“The things you fear are undefeatable, not by their nature but by your approach”- Jewel
So I ask myself first what is fear? and second what is approach?
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat to ones personal peace. So what are you afraid of? What I learned most about myself in 2017 was that I am afraid of failure and of not being able to show anything for my life and most currently my service as a Peace Corps volunteer.
At the start of 2017, I had spent approximately 7 months in country and what did I have to show for it? Nothing tangible is what I had thought to myself so of course after a wonderful new years vacation in Mozambique to rejuvenate my senses I was ready to hit the ground running. Soon as the gates of the schoolhouse opened for the year I attended all school meetings, did a few interviews to gather teachers’ interests and most importantly the needs of the youth. What I learned most about my service to others is that it’s not necessarily about me but instead the needs of the people. What did the youth need?
For most of the teachers and staff they shared a need for structural things including more classrooms and a hall. All things that I surely wouldn’t be able to grant them but I still listened and heard them out considering that there was a big problem of overcrowding in the classrooms which further affected the learning of students and thus lead to a need. One need though that the staff collectively expressed for students was an increase in resources to assist them in their English speaking.
And that’s when a splendid idea popped into my head. How about we do an English camp and since the students really expressed such interest in the arts I thought why not do a hip-hop English camp like the one I did during my time in Malaysia? From there I went and found my old grant application and tweaked it a bit to submit to the embassy. Then presented what seemed like a splendid solution to aid in the problem to the staff and they all loved it. I then gained interest and secured funding from the embassy and the project was basically ready to go forward until things began to slowly fall apart due to lack of participation and cooperation from the school. I had done everything and I had put in so much work and it hurt me to see such a potentially successful program just crash and fall before it even got off the ground. If you look at most of the above sentences you will see an over usage of I statements. All things centered around me and then that’s when it hit me that maybe my approach was all the way off. So now we ask ourselves what is the meaning of the word approach?
Approach is a person’s way of dealing with something. So from this situation I learned that my approach was all off target. If my target audience was youth then why exactly was I asking others about their needs instead of going to the source its self? I am in no way saying that one must go over authority but I am saying that youth are the experts at their own lives and probably have a better understanding of how they would like to be assisted than adults. I’m just saying lol.
Fast forward from that situation and feeling far less stressed and overwhelmed I began to focus a bit on this approach thing and I began to focus on the way in which I approached my relationship with God. Since arriving at my permanent site I had attended Sunday service with my host family almost every Sunday while at site. Although the church was preached in siSwati I still attended as an act of obedience to god, a way to fellowship with other believers and also as a way to integrate and meet more people in my community. The church is the cornerstone of my community and Christianity is of most importance here in Swaziland so it was important that I attended church but over the months I found myself growing further and further away from Christ. Most times due to the language barrier I faced in church I would often times sit there in silence while distracted by outside thoughts, which would take me out of my zone. I yearned for all out fellowship and inclusivity. I felt so alone most times during service and just wished I stayed at home instead. I also felt a bit afraid to no longer attend church because I wanted to continue to make my family proud and also not offend others at the church. So back to this approach thing, I said what would I do? My first approach was to inform my make (mother in siSwati) about my struggles but she had very little solutions to the problem because the pastor did not speak English and there were very few English speakers in the church that could effortlessly translate siSwati to English. Whelp that was pointless I said to myself. My second approach was to reach out to a friend for help and that’s exactly what I did. She suggested I pray about it but also just inform my family that I would no longer be attending Sunday services with them due to the lack of English, which was a legitimately understandable concern. Although they were saddened by my decision when I broke the news to them I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders.
My spiritual growth is a top priority for me at this stage in my lifeand if its not helping me grow then I’ve learned to let it go. My final approach was the tell god all of the desires of my heart which was something really hard for me to do in prayer. I always wondered the necessity of speaking it if he already knows the desires of my heart. But then when I read Luke 10 where the disciples asked Jesus how to pray and he told them to start off every prayer with “Father hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done…” then it all made sense to me. It’s about honoring him through our prayer life. Just fellowshipping with him and having faith in him to tell him your problems and believe that he will deliver. It’s also important to not make our prayers shopping list but for us to learn to have real life conversations with him as if we are talking to a friend. For me it made prayer real and much closer. Before it seemed like I was praying to some far off person but with this approach it brought him much closer to me. Its like he’s sitting right next to me when I’m praying. And unlike a therapist taking notes, he’s all ears and I have his undivided attention. Its feels good to have someone who will always be there to listen to me no matter the time or the severity of the problem. That’s what I cherish most about being a child of God. The knowing that he will never leave me or forsake me gives me a peace that surpasses all understanding. So my prayer to him mid year was to help me grow more spiritually, find a church home, practice the fruits of the spirit and to find love. I put love at the end because I wanted it but would also continue to be patient as I did since 2014. But to my surprise it moved itself up on the list.
May 2017 is when it happened as I attend Bush fire music festival with friends. I had planned to meet a few Peace Corps friends from Mozambique and I was excited. That’s when it happened and as much as I didn’t know my spirit did. Something was different about him and although I couldn’t quite place my finger on it things felt just right. He was a friend of a friend and it was so unexpected. Can you believe we kissed on the first day we met? Yeah that happened. Maybe it was the kiss that ignited something between us? (Probably not, that’s for the movies). I fully attribute all of it to God for allowing me to let go and receive all in one breath. I met the love of my life all by changing my approach. After coming out of a long three year relationship, slightly going on a hiatus while also looking on the low to simply shifting my focus to myself god granted me a beautiful and carefree love. Lets just say I’m grateful. Since dating we’ve started having weekly bible study with one another and also attend church together at least every other Sunday. I feel so full.
After fasting for a few days leading into the next year we decided to fast so that we can be in the perfect position to receive all of Gods blessings for 2018 and also to attend service on new years as opposed to turning up somewhere. This years message we received from attending church on was RESTORATION and that God is restoring all things lost or forgotten in 2017 in 2018 and I am excited. I think last year was the first year in a while where I didn’t spend my new years eve in church so it felt good to continue traditions while making new ones with my partner. I am excited for all that is in store for me this year in 2018 but more importantly I am excited for all the things that didn’t go my way in 2017. I take those defeats as blessings in disguise and I am ready for restoration in my spiritual life and my love life so I claim it in the mighty name of Jesus. One of the ministers pastor JB used the analogy of an octave to symbolize the importance of the number 8 for completion. He said that in every octave there are 8 notes with the first being a low doe and the last being a high doe and then back to a low doe to go into the next octave. The symbolism in this is that in life although we may start out at a low point through Christ we will always end up higher than where we started if we just trust in him. Also when getting to that higher note you have to start at the low doe of the octave and that’s what most people recognize you; at your lowest note but what they don’t know is that you have just reached a higher level. It was so simple the message but made so much sense when it came to putting our total faith in our savior when we want to get to the higher place in Christ.
Before this realization of changing my approach to alleviate fear I thought to myself damn am I going insane? I think Albert Einstein said it best when he said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result and that is exactly what I had been doing leading up until 2017. I wanted a closer relationship with God yet my approach was to read my bible every blue moon, listen to gospel music when I needed a pick me up, continuing to attend a church that wasn’t meeting my spiritual needs, praying only when things got rough or when I really wanted something and lastly and keep looking for a Love that I first had to find within myself. Thank god for what we call realizations but what I call gentle reminders from God because I would have kept down the same path going nowhere. Almost forgot, since changing my approach to my service as assistant coach for the girl’s volleyball team we won sections, myself and my counterpart started a successful girls empowerment club at the primary school and with my other counterpart we will be working to open a library. I owe none of these successes to myself but all to god and the beautifully wonderful people he has placed in my life along my Peace Corps journey. I officially finish my service in about 7 months and I am trying to hold on to every moment while also counting down the days until I can hug my mom again with a slice of pizza in one hand and a burrito in the other.
Images taken from Nathalie’s blog: negesnarratives.wordpress.com
Me: Sawubona bhuti? (How are you bhuti?)
Stranger: Yebo sisi
Me: Unjani? (How are you?)
Stranger: Ngiyaphila nami. (I am fine with such a confused face)
*It was here at this moment when I realized the drunken elderly man was confused. My senses lead me to believe this so I inquired a bit more. The khombi ride was going to be a while so what did I have to lose.
Me: Is everything okay?
Stranger: How? Ubuyaphi? (Where are you from?)
Me: Ngibuya e Melica. ( I come from America)
Stranger: How are you from america?
Me: I am African American (a distinction that I have to make far more often than not considering some people still believe that all Americans are white).
Stranger: How? (still confused)
Me: Yes I am American (begin to talk about my work with Peace Corps as a volunteer, etc)………are you drinking on a sunday?
Stranger: Esh yebo kancane (Yes I am drinking a little)
Me: No not on a sunday. NO drinking
Stranger: Esh sisi. You are right.
Me:Okay bhuti it was nice to meet you. Salah kahle (stay well)
Stranger: Hamba kahle sisi (Go well)
*Out of most things in Swaziland, long and hot rides on public transport are quite common. With these long rides, they are usually accompanied by random conversations with strangers who by the end of the ride become friends. Look forward to more segments from conversations on a khombi.
As I reflect back on this year I can’t help but share the wonderful experience I had at the Bushfire music festival. Video footage coming soon but here are some photos from the event. Let’s just say we brought our fire
This past Fourth of July marks my second one celebrated here in the magical kingdom of Swaziland. And much like the last it was filled with lots of love, laughter and delicious food. I was able to meet the new group of PCV’s aka G15 and share some of my experiences from this past year. It felt so weird to be on the receiving end of the questioning when just last year I was the one asking all of the questions. Non-the less it was an enjoyable time although I was missing home and family a whole whole lot. I took a few pictures in the PCV made photo booth. It wasn’t until I took one with the American flag when it really hit me. Although the fourth of July is the American Independence Day where there was the separation of the thirteen colonies from the British and the adoption of the declaration of independence not everyone was free on this day, more specifically my ancestors. So despite the celebrations and the jubilee most African Americans don’t see Fourth of July as an independence day. Well at least not Independence Day for us.
Slavery began in 1619 and even though Abraham Lincoln “ended” slavery by signing the emancipation proclamation in 1863 there were still slaves in Texas until 1865. It “ended” for African Americans on December 6th 1865 when the 13th amendment of the constitution was ratified. The three most important documents in American history; the declaration of independence (Jefferson), constitution (Madison, Morris, et al) and the bill of rights (Madison) all were created with the belief that there were a set of natural and inherent rights just from the fact of being human. The declaration of independence was written to express all grievances from the British. I like to think of it as all the reasons for why a couple is breaking up so I like to call it the break up document. The thirteen colonies hit the British with the “oh its not you its me. I need to be free from you and your controlling ways. It’s time for me to go find myself and that’s exactly what they did. The declaration and the bills of rights served as sort of limitations on government power and control. I like to think of it as a lesson learned aka best practices document where the colonies were able to voice how they would like to be treated in this union since the previous relationship
ended in a breakup. In summation the two documents (Constitution and Bill of rights) were intended to serve as a tool to ensure that all Americans are equal in the eyes of the law.
I can remember growing up hearing some adults say “the fourth of July aint nothing but the white mans Independence Day. Hell our ancestors weren’t free and shit today neither are we any closer to freedom”. At a young age those words didn’t mean much to me in the midst of the fireworks, endless food, ice cream and hours of fun with my cousins whom I didn’t always get a chance to see. Fourth of July was a time of fun, family and laughter so often times we suppressed the harsh realities of what this day meant to our history. On this day at home I’m usually the Debby downer in a sense that I don’t feel patriotic enough to celebrate such a holiday so I’ll go to the cookouts more for the chance to spend time with loved ones but not for the holiday in it’s self because I know my history.
I can remember the first time is heard abolitionist Frederick Douglass’s speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” and his most quoted line “The fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn”. This resonated with me so much. And now with my interest in the criminal justice system and modern day slavery this quote reigns supreme. On my khombi (kum-bee:mode of transport here in Swaziland) I couldn’t help but think of all these things and decided to hit up some friends from back home to take my mind off of things. I hit up my friend Christi (love you baby grrrlllaahh) to see how her Fourth of July went. She said things were wonderful but then was like “Sis you got any of those salty friends who make sure you know that we weren’t free on the 4th?”. My response: “Hell yes that’s pretty much me”, as I chuckle to myself. She then begins to say how she can be like that also but then goes on to tell me that for this 4th of July she posed this question to herself and friends: “What do you feel liberated from?” or “What are you liberating yourself from?”. Leave it to black people to be able to turn any negative to a positive and make that ish their own. So the fourth is a day of celebration of independence but as we know from our harsh history in America that African Americans weren’t free on this day so why not focus on liberating ourselves from the things that hold us back from living our best lives. I had to give my sis two snaps for that as I immediately went into my infamous introspective phase. I asked myself “Kirah what are you liberating yourself from?”
The list of things just came so fast but the one thing that stood out to me most are people. This has been one of the most self reflective years I’ve had in a long time outside of my freshman year of college and the year I spent teaching English in Malaysia. This year I’ve spent so much time working on myself that I don’t know if my family and friends will recognize me when I get back home. I dug a whole lot deeper into those places I’d closed off and threw away the key; to those thoughts that I would usually pretend to have amnesia when they would randomly resurface. But not this time around. I had to sit with myself. With my thoughts. With my feelings. It was like fighting for survival from myself at times but it was and is necessary for my spiritual growth as a woman and as a citizen of this earth. I wouldn’t change this year for a thing.
In this year I can truly say that I’ve learned to liberate myself from people who are not good for my spirit. The ones always on the receiving end but never give to my spirit as I give to them. I swear at times it felt like I had loss weight because I felt so light, so free. I don’t want to go back. One of my favorite authors Rob Hill Sir wrote this quote that resonated with my whole entire being: “It’s nothing wrong with wishing the best for somebody, but you have to realize when keeping them close isn’t best for you. Unrealistic expectations attract disappointment. Realize that what you want from certain people may be more that they’re able to give. Don’t be naïve. You can’t force loyalty or love; and you’ll only let yourself down trying to. Everybody won’t always be who you want them to be. Accept the fact that you can’t always change certain things or people, regardless of how much you care.” I had to accept the fact that not everyone is meant to stay with me along this journey and that it’s okay to leave people to grow by themselves and allow them to do the work. In doing so I can see Gods light shining brighter on and thru me for others to see the God in me. I’m in a good place. A happy state nearing Joy and it feels good. So I ask you my readers: “What are you liberating yourself from”?. Special thanks to Christi for being my spiritual sista and inspiring me to write this piece. Keep your peace queen and keep liberating yourself from all the things that decide they want to steal your shine. Love you to always and in all ways.
In a day and age where it seems like our generation is yearning to be loved or love themselves, it confuses me to think that a term like “The thirst is real” can exist. There are so many ways to think about this quote so I decided to ask a few of my millennial friends what they thought about it before I decided to share my own thoughts about it.
Before I share their thoughts about the quote I would like to first give a very brief definition of the word thirst from both the Webster’s dictionary and of course the urban dictionary.
According to the Webster’s dictionary “thirst” is defined as a : a sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat associated with a desire for liquids, the bodily condition (as of dehydration) that induces this sensation and or an ardent desire most synonymous with a longing or craving for something.
Now let’s see what the urban dictionary had to say shall we? According to urbandictionary.com thirst is a form of lust of or want of members of the opposite sex. This term can refer to both males and females.
So from these two definitions it seems like we have a few different meanings for the word, let alone the term itself. For our generation the term is most frequently used in the way depicted in urban dictionary but I am curious to see what my fellow millennials had to say about it.
So here is what they had to say:
Thirst in the form of pursuit of the opposite sex
“Low key in some cases the thirst is really that real. Especially if it’s the person that your soul is tied to. Especially if it’s the person who has everything within them that’ll make you better and you too are reciprocating that beneficial and genuine energy. The thirst is forever gonna be real if that person is dope. But when the thirst is rooted in simple physical attractions or fascination when no foundation and soulful ties. Its vague. Its easily replaced. Its never truly quenched but has the never thirsty again. Its never satisfying. The thirst for success and growth is real. The thirst for wisdom is real. The thirst for guidance is real. Like I’m dead thirsty for God to just use and uplift me. To comfort me. To mold me. When it’s materialistic or superficial it loses its ability to truly hydrate you. But the type of time I’m on, I’m not looking for those quick reliefs. I’m looking to truly be filled and hydrated. “- Twilight
“To me thirst means yearning or wanting the opposite sex or sexual desires. So when you ask is the thirst really that real it means is wanting sex or someone from the opposite sex that important that you’ll do anything for it, such as pretending to be somebody you’re not, killing for it, selling your body for it. Are you really that thirsty that you’ll do anything to be quenched”- Nijah
“What is thirst? When all we want is to be loved 100%. I want some one to be thirsty for me. I want some one to be someone’s water If water is all I need to live a healthy and nourishing life. The thirst only becomes thirst when you add a third party. You know what you want and what you need to be happy with someone else but the second you go and ask for a third parties opinion they somehow slip that thought into your mind. How dare you look at someone and tell them they aren’t good enough for you without attempting to accept the initial thirst. So thirst is just lust, curiosity, and infatuation. You can’t put a cap on someone’s feelings so don’t judge their thirst” –Vanetta
Women and men have forgotten what it means to court someone. These days when a person is trying to date or court you its considered being thirsty. This term makes me feel some type of way honestly. The thirst is real is a sense of our generation believes that this is a negative thing when it’s not. Back when my parents were younger consistency as good and showed a person that they were very interested in you but now consistency is he “thirst”. Who the heck made up this dumb term”- Whitley aka Whit aka Big TX
“I would say it means people lowering their dating standards because they’re thirsty or people not seeing the thirst in the courting scene” – Sherra
“If you like someone, there should be no shame in telling them. Person A wants to boost their ego when Person B’s trying to get their attention by calling Person B thirsty. Person B’s thirst reflects positively on Person A because they view themselves as highly desirable. So desirable in fact that they have the power to indulge in Person B’s affections or tease them for it. In the end, both people are losing out on something that could blossom into something positive. I would rather be Person B a thousand times over. If you like someone and want to be with them there’s no other way to express that than to show them. And if they claim “the thirst is real” then they ain’t thirsty for you and you need to keep it pushing. Someone will need you to quench their thirst eventually” – Erica
“Is the thirst real? When I think of that I think it means do you really want it? How bad do you really want it that you can taste it and be thirsty enough to get it” – Omar
“Coming from a heterosexual guy I would say the shameless pursuit of trying to get in another person’s pants. So I would say just randomly sliding into someone’s DM’s when you have no mutual friends or no connection to even knowing that person. Also being borderline creepy to another person by constant compliments and just saying anything to get that person to take mutual interest. I would say in Botswana from women to men its them approaching me. Me telling them that I have a girlfriend and not wanting a second and them saying “I don’t care and following me around trying to look for an opportunity to try to get into my pants.”- Caleb who was in Botswana
“First thing that cross my mind is guys chasing girls” – Michael
“So when I think of the term/question, “But is the thirst really that real?” or “The thirst is real”, I focus on a few areas. For me it’s a dilemma of moral integrity and how we define ourselves based on our ability to satisfy ourselves sexually through the use of others. Measuring our self-worth based on what we’re surrounded by or exposed to and wanting to emulate it by any means, even if we don’t understand why. So to me, the thirst couldn’t be that real. But it is, because we make it so and we’re not doing anything to change the narrative.”- Addison
“Is the thirst really that real = are you really that horny that you can’t control yourself”- Ashley
“Yes I believe the thirst is real. The thirst for attention. There are a lot of individuals who primarily use social media as a platform to draw the attention that they feel they need to validate who they are, and make them feel better about themselves. This can go both ways with men and women. There are a lot of women who post seemingly harmless but more so inappropriate pictures of their bodies online to attract warranted attention from men who gravel over the sight of any uncovered skin. Men as well. Some more famous examples can be images of the game and amber rose. Today’s society is all about flaunting and portraying yourself as something you really aren’t to attract attention and notoriety of others. This “thirst” is tainting our generation. –Dallas
“The thirst for attention is real. The thirst for a love that looks better than it actually feels (hence social media times have mad us our own marketing teams) also “fake love” from likes on social media, to perfect couple photos from the not so perfect (far from even perfect couple) thirst is real but what people are seeking to quench, the thirst is not real at all. So as long as we have half individuals searching for something to fill them up (outsourcing the power to fill themselves up and looking for it somewhere) the thirst will always be real. My main point is the thirst is real but what is being used to quench it isn’t. “ – Rahwa
“Sexually I question whether the thirst in Swaziland is that real for people within the country and then volunteers; myself specifically. I think a lot of the sexual tension especially for young people is pressure. There is a belief that everyone else is doing it and I want to be like everyone else. I was just telling someone today, I have noticed a lot of people even as children are afraid to stand out. Therefore just the notion of their friends are doing it makes them think they have to do it as well. The issue is the attention. No matter who you are or where you are from there is some part of you that likes the attention of being needed while others like the attention of being catered to. You want to feel wanted and quite often we express that desire sexually. Sometimes its not even the sex it’s just the feeling of not being alone. So I guess I am saying the thirst is there is a way but it comes from something much deeper” – Lisa
“Yes the thirst is real. Why and what exactly does this phrase mean to me? Well a lot of people are trying to keep up with others whether it’s a celebrity, co worker, family member, etc. instead of being content with themselves and living life for self. Johnny got a new car. Guess its times I get a new car. Johnny only rock designer. Damn let me find a way to buy some designer. Thirst is doing it for others acceptance and liking. Now a days some are becoming so thirsty they’ll even kill or die to quench it and I ask myself why? It’s the generation we’re living in. More parents must teach these kids/teens its okay to struggle and fuck what Johnny doing”- Dashaun
“Thirst is me not having running water in my tap almost ever. Needing something so badly that you don’t even want to admit. But can’t help but show it. Usually it’s some kind of snack for me. Like fruit roll ups. Once, I stole one from another kid in first grade” –Nada
“When real is the only thing that matters, I’d have to say the thirst is pretty damn quenching”- Sunshine
So from these responses it is clear that there are so many ways to look at this quote. The way in which I would like to talk about is the thirst for love and lusting after the opposite sex. For me “thirst” was always used synonymously with “court” or “showing interest”. To me if you are wanting to get the attention of someone you like then why not pursue them? Why is this considered thirsty? I do not know?
Over the years i’ve grown to learn my personal love language and that is time and thoughtful gestures. If you do those very things I’m bound to fall in love. I can’t imagine catching feelings from someone who was too afraid to express interest because he was more concerned with not seeming too interested aka “thirsty”.
So for me the thirst is real. It’s real in that we should stop caring what other people think. It is real in the sense that we should have more faith in ourselves to pursue the desires of our hearts. And lastly it is real in the fact that we should not seek acceptance from anyone else but ourselves.
From reading my fellow millennials responses to this question: Is the thirst really real I couldn’t help but come to these conclusion. Some folks in this generation are lacking something and to be honest that something can be love for some, attention for others and overall acceptance from the world. I’d like to think that it’s natural to desire such things but my problem is how we go about these things. Are we loosing ourselves in the pursuit? And most importantly, Are we forgetting who we are and what we believe?
I ask these questions because they are important things that we should consider before we decide to look anywhere else outside of ourselves. It all starts with self-acceptance. It’s something that can be taught but more than anything it’s learned. You must believe in yourself and love yourself first.
It’s a process, and it can be hard at times I know but it’s important. I only speak from experience. So Let’s get back to love and more importantly self-love. It’s truly needed in the world.
I’d love to hear you’re thoughts on this topic so feel free to comment and subscribe below. Peace and blessings always
Ya girl Kirah!!
Just when I was feeling spiritually low God sent me my sisi in Christ and fellow PCV Nicole. Go check out her blog when you get a chance at settlernswaziland.wordpress.com
This weekends Reach Conference in Jo burg with International Church of Christ was exactly what I needed. I indulged in familiar american foods and restaurants and god to hang with some awesome Christians who are souled out for Christ
I really enjoyed the message from the singles session entitled “Take a Selfie”. A selfie was we know it according to Websters dictionary is
A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media but for the purpose of this message a selfie means to take a good look at yourself and your walk with Christ.
Lamentations 3: 40
Let us examine our ways. If you are going to reach in and grow you have to really examine yourself. Are you more concerned about your hair than your heart?
ASK YOURSELF THESE THREE QUESTIONS
- Am I spiritually fit?
In order for you to be a servant in the kingdom of God you have to be spiritually fit.
2. What are you choosing before Christ?
When we lack contentment we begin to look back.
Luke 14: 34
3. What does your spirituality look like?
Colossians 3:5-6 (get rid of the filth in your lives that is holding you back from a relationship with Christ)
3 steps to taking a perfect selfie
- examine yourself
- take action
Remember: Have the humility to accept what you see and Humility to accept what others reveal to you about what they see
Its never to late to make a change and change is continual. God bless and keep the faith
So from the last blog post you can see how much fun I had at GLOW Camp 2k17. The camp was filled with such great energy and amazing counselor lead sessions for the girls. Of course I sat in on almost all of them because I am always excited to learn. One of the sessions that stood out for me was the one on Self- Acceptance. What exactly is that? I thought the definition given to the girls was excellent so I wanted to share it.
Self acceptance is an invitation to stop trying to change yourself into the person you wish to be; long enough to find out who you really are.
Wow. I hope you enjoyed that definition as much as I did. For me it was exactly what I needed to hear. I feel like I’m always changing but the core of me always stays the same. I’ve been struggling with accepting the fact that I’m single, away from family and friends, out of shape, and not always my optimistic self. So I decided to challenge myself to jumps start my acceptance of my current self and embrace the adversity and understand that God has a plan for my life that doesn’t need my approval or understanding.
The session have an excellent list of 8 ways to jump start self acceptance that I would like to share.
- be kind to yourself. (no one judges you more that you judge yourself. be patient with yourself and accept your flaws)
- confront your fears
- stay positive (write yourself sweet notes)
- accept imperfection
- don’t take it personally
- forgive wholeheartedly
- believe in yourself (try and fail but don’t fail to try)
- don’t give up no matter what
So I challenge you to join me on the is self acceptance journey. I can’t guarantee that you won’t experience discomfort, minor set backs, etc but what I can ensure is that it will be worth it.
Glow Camp 2k16 was a blast. GLOW stands for Girls Leading our world and is a female empowerment program started by Peace Corps Volunteers here in Swaziland. Through this program clubs are formed by PCVS and Swazi counterparts all over Swaziland to help empower young Swazi girls to make better informed decisions about their lives. Since you missed it of course here are some photos from this years GLOW camp compliments of my best friend Nathalie. Go check out her blog: https://negesnarratives.wordpress.com/
Crowning of Big Mamma: The camper who showed leadership and commitment to GLOW during that day
Beautiful GLOW girls just casually QUEENING!!!
No obstacle formed against these girls shall prosper. Amen!!
So this one has been a long time coming so for that y’all please forgive me. I can remember the first time the head wrap chose me. It was after countless hours of trying to figure out how to perfect the Queenness of such a wrap. I literally didn’t want to let my ancestors down so it had to be right. I consulted my kindred sista Queen herself baby J and she showed me the way. From there I doned a head wrap almost everywhere I went. It has become second nature to me. A way to always give homage to the Queens who came before me. In most recent years I’ve become very intentional about almost everything like the way I dress, from the trinkets on my locs down to the natural deodorant I rock under my pitts.
Everything serves a purpose. Everything is symbolic of something larger than myself. On this journey of self-discovery I wanted to learn more about the head wrap and its history both for African Americans but for my ancestors from the motherland. Most of what I’ll share about the head wrap is from this awesome article I recently read entitled “The African American woman’s head wrap: unwinding the symbols” by Helen Bradley Griebel. Feel free to check out the full article here: http://char.txa.cornell.edu/griebel.htm
Another great resource is this video https://www.facebook.com/refinery29/videos/1619284988101687/
There are some awesome nuggets in there. For starters the head wrap originated from the motherland and is symbolic with the crowns in which Queens wear. When Africans were brought and sold into slavery their masters would often require for them to wear their hair covered as a symbol of bondage. Can you believe that? Some states like Louisiana even had laws in place where slaves were not allowed to walk around without their hair covered at all. Could you imagine having to live under such restrictions considering the resurgence of rocking fros and loving our natural hair?
Hattie Mae Daniels. She is best known for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the first Academy Award won by an African American entertainer.
Of course like every other tool used to oppress black women, slaves flipped the meaning of such a thing. For one wrapping our hair at the time ensured tidiness and protection from insects and dirt while working long hours in the field.
Unlike traditional European usage of the head wrap where women would use a triangle like piece of fabric tied under the chin, the African American head wrap was the total opposite. It started with a long rectangular piece of fabric tied upward on top of the head and tucked within itself. It would elongate the face and bring attention to the natural features like a crown. I love my head wrap and I rock it with great honor and pride because I know I am a reflection of my ancestors. Here is a quick step by step quide for how to do your own:
Step 1: Get you some popping fabric, cloth, t-shirt, towel (yes i’ve wrapped my head with towel before)
Step 2: Decide which style of wrap you wanna rock
Step 3: Put your hair up at the top of your head or find a filler to add inside your wrap as a base to wrap the fabric around
Step 4: Ill be describing how to do this wrap pictured for this post. Start with the wrap at the base of your neck
Step 5: Bring the fabric forward and bunch it in your heads in front of your forehead
Step 6: Cross the fabric and begin to wrap the cloth in a circle around your hair
Step 7: As the cloth begins to run out begin to tuck the ends inside the already wrapped fabric
Step 8: Thank the ancestors and get your black girl magic on and popping. OOooookkkaayyy
Also below are a few pictures of some of my favorite headwraps I’ve rocked with some of my favorite people in the whole entire world.
My thoughts have become a dangerous place to be left in. As if my mind is some sort of toxic landfill. My pen and paper have become my saving grace. Typical days like this in the states would be filled with the company of both family and friends, grad classes, field placement, work, activities, night clubs, music concerts, stimulation, common language and the list could go on. Most days here are the polar opposite.
You get lost in the idle time. Lost in your thoughts. Lost in yourself. The very things that once worked for you are not suffice enough to quench the thirst of stimulating conversations, familiarity, convenience and ultimately all the things that once masked the loneliness that was maybe always there. There is no real busy here because there is always time for reflection.
There is always time for introspection. Like you really get to know yourself in your alone time because sometimes no matter how full the homestead, classroom or community meeting is you still find yourself feeling alone. It’s like that song “cranes in the sky” where she talks about her use of distractions to rid herself of the loneliness and past pain. I wouldn’t consider myself pain ridden or hurt but I must admit that I’m struggling. I am struggling in all the places that I thought I had figured out. Like myself. I’m ever-changing, I’m constantly evolving and reliving old experiences while experiencing new ones. It’s like my feelings are all over the place and I can’t get a grip on them at times.
“The Mother Bear Project is dedicated to providing comfort and hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in emerging nations, by giving them a gift of love in the form of a hand-knit or crocheted bear.The simple gift of a hand-knit bear with a tag signed by the knitter has touched children with the message that they are unconditionally loved”.(taken from motherbearproject.org)
I had the great priviledge of partnering with this organization this past week to deliver teddy bears to children in my community. The smiles on their faces were priceless. Here are a few pictures from the big day