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An Open Letter To My Sister

It’s my sisters birthday today so I thought I’d write her a letter. I don’t think she would mind if I shared it with you, so here it is. Bubsy, this is for you ūüíö

Hi ūüôčūüŹĺ‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ ūüĎčūüŹĺ

I got a text message a while ago from a number I didn’t have saved (we’ll call the sender X) , the message isn’t important but the spelling! The spelling was all over the shop! So much so that we were giggling over the poor use of English.

Later on that same day I was thinking about the spelling within the message and the comedic relief that it provided us. I thought about when we were younger and I used to tease you for your spelling. X’s spelling wasn’t even as bad as yours. You were crap at maths too but in my youth and ignorance I failed to realise that you were young and still learning. It was normal for you to be making these mistakes and struggling with equations, I was teasing you for being normal! And for that I apologise for not taking the time to recognise that you weren’t at the same place in life as me.

But, despite my teasings, you never let me get to you. You never let me see you get to you. You never batted an eyelid and my insults just roll off your back and as you grew, your spelling improved. And as I watch you age and grow. Growing into an amazing young woman and I want to encourage you to hold on to that mentality that you had. Continue to disregard the negativity that is thrown at you and rise above it.

Cliche as it sounds the world is full of haters and sometimes life comes at you side ways but just shrug it off and keep doing you because it’s so rare to find someone so comfortable in their inner self.

I love it. I love you. I’m proud of you.

Happy Birthday, Bubsy ūüíöūüíö

Lots of love

Janna ūüíē

Trying To Maintain a Level of Happiness

If you have been following my blog you will have heard me go on and on about my change in circumstances… Sorry but it’s current!

Obviously, these changes in my circumstances have resulted in me living in a state of happiness which I have been enjoying very much, however, there can be days where low mood and unhappiness tries and sometimes succeeds in infiltrating my personal bubble.

Feeling sad is a normal part of life. ‘They’ say that you’ll never be able to appreciate¬†your happy times if you’re never sad. However, even though sadness is “good” it’s not something that should be wallowed in the way that happiness is reveled in but I know how hard it can be to not let the sadness overcome you. So, I thought I would share with you a few things that I try to do in order to maintain a state of happiness.

  1. Stay grateful – We often take the little things in life for granted however it’s important to stay thankful for all the things that you have in life. Some people do this by writing in a diary, others do this by praying, some do it while meditating. I like to vocalise what I am thankful for and appreciate in life. For me, saying it out loud is a confirmation of how I really feel and as I hear myself speaking I remind myself of what it is that makes me happy.
  2. Stay active – In my opinion¬†boredom eventually causes unhappiness so I try not to spend allll my time indoors.¬†I have a job so I leave my house at least 5 days a week but it’s always important to step out at least for a good 25 minutes for a walk or something but if you spend all your time doing nothing, being idle or monging out in front of the tv then you are guaranteed to start feeling a little crappy, get busy.
  3. Share your happiness – No good thing is any good if it’s kept to oneself so share your happiness, let people know the joy that you feel. Share and share alike and I reckon that the feeling of happiness that you hold in your heart will last that little¬†bit longer.
  4. Reflection- You know I’m a¬†HUGE¬†advocate of this. Whilst very similar to my first point. I also think that recognising the times when you weren’t happy and the things that you’ve¬†had to go through to get where you are help in keeping your grateful about where you’re at and a result allow you to maintain happiness.

I find that the more I apply these things to my life the happier that I feel.

End of Year Reflections

So this is an end of/ start of year post. I reckon that as we’re only 10 days into 2018 it’s not too late. So for those who watch YouTube videos. You’ll know that tags sometimes make their way around the interwebs. So, inspired by Niknakz Ferrol¬†I thought I’d do a little tag of my own. Reflection is always good for the soul and sometimes prompts are required so I looked up a couple questions from to help me appreciate the ugly beauty of 2017 and fuel my excitement of 2018. So here goes!

  1. If you could look back on one memory from the last year that you could relive what would it be? Last year I lost my concert virginity! I managed to see the amazing J.P Cooper in concert. I can honestly say that I would love to hear his beautiful soul perform Passport, Colour Me in Gold and Closer all over again. Not to mind all his other masterpieces.
  2. What was one New Years Resolution that you have accomplished? Historically, I haven’t made new years resolution due to me knowing that I never had any intention of keeping them.
  3. What are three words to describe the past year? Discouraging, Hopeful, Fulfilling
  4. Best music related creation/inspiration last year by an artist in your opinion? I’m not the kind of person who keeps up to date with new releases, I also find it hard to reduce 12 months, 365 days into one inspirational song. So here is a list of 10 songs I was inspired by this year (a.k.a played on repeat) they may not have come out this year but I have appreciated them all the same.
    ‚ó¶ Bambi-Jidenna
    ‚ó¶ Same Drugs- Chance the Rapper
    ‚ó¶ Passport -JP Cooper
    ‚ó¶ What Went Wrong – JP Cooper
    ‚ó¶ Intentional – Travis Greene
    ‚ó¶ 10 Billion X – Tori Kelly
    ‚ó¶ Oceans -Ashley Arispe
    ‚ó¶ Order my steps – GMWA Women of Worship
    ‚ó¶ May I have this Dance – Francis and the lights ft. Chance the Rapper
    ‚ó¶ Loved By You – Kirby Lauryen
  5.  What did the last year teach you? Having hope is not futile.
  6. What was your most worn clothing item of last year? My Smart Brown Girl jumper… (I think) it goes well with everything!
  7. If you had to sum up your year in one word, what would it be? So I just had to do it in three but if I pick one of the three it would be HOPEFUL.
  8. Best book you read last year? I haven’t finished any book that I have started last year!
  9. Something you’re looking forward to this coming year? Making progress in all aspects of life.
  10. What are you hoping for less of this coming year? Meeting inconsiderate people.
  11. What is your New Year’s resolution for the upcoming year? Start as you mean to go on and keep trying.
  12. What are you hoping for more of this coming year? Progress! I know I said I was looking forward to it but I have to hope for it too, no? And of course, put in the hard work for it.
  13. Well, that’s me, try this tag yourself! Answer your favourite one in the comments below!

Laziness – don’t stay idle

So, as you know, I was doing some reflecting a few weeks ago. I was thinking about all the aspirations and goals that I have set for myself and these things are not unrealistic but as I thought about my current state in comparison with where I wanted to be I could honestly say that I wasn’t stood in one place but I’d actually began to move backwards. I had become idle, complacent. Lazy.

Laziness isn’t actually a word used to describe a temporary state that someone is in. It’s actually a personality trait. Now, I don’t know about you but laziness it’s not something that I’d want to associate with myself or have others associate with me.¬† I shared my realisation with a friend who went on to say that my break in progress was warranted due to the stress that I had recently been through but whilst it is a comforting thought I had to resign to the fact that it wasn’t true. A hard pill to swallow.

The fact of the matter is that everything in life takes work, nothing is easy (sound familiar?) and I had been burying my head in the sand to this fact. Delusional, thinking that everything I wanted would happen or come to me by chance. I know I needed to make a change to my attitude but it wasn’t for another few weeks that I began to address the goals and aspirations where I had become stagnant, or rather regressed and as with most things that I write about, easier said than done. So how did I do it?

Firstly, it required a mental overhaul. I had to mentally prepare myself for the changes that were about to take place. I tend to do this by writing lists, it helps me focus on all the things I want to achieve and by projecting them on to something more physical. The list also helps me to get organised. The second thing that I do in order to meet my goals is giving myself time targets to work towards but not so specific that I place pressure on myself on myself trying to achieve them. Once I begin to reach the milestones they provide me with a sense of achievement, a fuel and a drive that defeats the laziness and inspires to want to continue.

© Glen Carsten-Peters

The hardest part about not being lazy is getting off your arse for the first time.¬† So push yourself, you’ll never know what will happen.

The Ease of Complacency

Happy New Year Everyone!

So it’s been a minute since I’ve posted a blog entry so I’ll keep this one short… If you follow my blog then you’ll know that I’ve recently moved home, cities and job. During the time of settling in I took a step back from my blog, not purposefully but it took me a while to adjust to all the new changes within my life. At first, when I realised that I wasn’t blogging I thought “It’s okay, it’s only been a few weeks, you’ve had a lot on”. Which is an understandable thought, as sometimes you need to recognise when you have too much on your plate and could do with taking a few potatoes off ūüėČ and in itself this is not a problem but then I went from “it’s okay” too “yeah, I need to put a post up now”¬† but spent most of my free evening catching up on shows I’d missed during my adjustment period. It then got to the point where writing a post failed to even enter my mind. It wasn’t until I spent a few days reflecting when I realised that I had become complacent.

© HS Lee

Complacency can be defined “as being satisfied with the situations that you find yourself in”. I had become satisfied with spending my free evenings and weekends doing nothing but wasting my own time¬†(remember my blog on using time effectively). However, it was never a conscious thought i.e “this is what I’m okay with”. It was just easy for me not to write. Sometimes it’s easy to be comfortable, satisfied, complacent with where you are in the life or in what ever you are doing in your life but just because something is easy that doesn’t make it right. Sometimes when we make commitments to ourselves, or even to others, it can be hard to fulfil them just because it’s easier not to but believe me when I say that easy is boring.


By the way guys, I will now be doing insta stories so follow me on instagram! @thruhereyesx

Change… Transition

Tears, tiredness, uneasiness and preoccupation are all by-products of transition. There are many different by-products of a transition but these are a few that I myself have experienced through my month of transition. Transition is defined as the process of a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

During this past month, I’ve moved from a town to a city, I’ve moved teams within my job and I’ve finally moved into a flat that I am happy to call home. This means that during this time period I have made transitions in location, work and habitat.

Whilst, largely, this has been a very positive experience for me as all of these transitions were and are for the better. The side effects that I mentioned before were present and as I look back and reflect on my experiences I realise how important it is to take care of yourself. I believe that there are four staples that need to feature in your day in order to make the transition a bit easier.

  • Breakfast

It’s no secret that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and there’s so much information as to why this is. Breakfast is actually my favourite meal of the day but I don’t always have time to eat it and I realised even more so during my period of transition.

Breakfast literally says “break fast” we sleep for a large amount of time at night, during this time we’re basically fasting. No food, no drink. Because of this if we start the day without it we have no energy, no concentration and no nutrients. It takes calories to even think. It doesn’t matter if you can function well without it, you’d function even better if you had it.

If you can’t eat so early in the day try preparing something “to go” so that you can eat later on in the day and not attempt to survive until lunch time.

©Carissa Gan
  • Sleep

This is another one that’s self-explanatory but it’s very important to get a good night’s sleep. When you’re tired it can become much more difficult to regulate rational thought and emotion when you’re energy levels are depleted. It also makes things very difficult in terms of concentration, performance and general functioning.

It’s not always easy to get a good night’s and as someone who struggles to sleep sometimes here are a few things that I find helpful:

  1. Don’t do any form of work in your bed
  2. Have a shower
  3. Go to the toilet before you go to bed
  4. Stay hydrated and keep a bottle of water by your bed
  5. Try to avoid using technology at least half an hour before your ready to sleep
  6. Practise mindfulness meditating during that half an hour of no technology (it’s helpful if you actually do it in bed)
  • Me Time (Quiet Time)

Another self-care technique to practice during a time of transition is to set aside some time for yourself. Ideally, this should be done every day but I know how life is and trust me I know that it’s not always possible, however, once a week is not enough. Try and find a happy medium between the two and take some time out during your week to:

  1. Do something you love
  2. Meditate
  3. Educate yourself on something you don’t know about
  4. Reflect on what’s going on in your life and how it’s making you feel

Finally,

  • Talk To Someone

It’s no secret that I’m a firm believer of good conversation although sometimes I still struggle to open my mouth…

Nevertheless, when going through a transition it’s important to air your feelings to a trusted confidant to allow yourself to vocalise your thoughts and feelings around your situation.

©Joshua Ness

Imagine going through a significant change or transitioning whilst you’re constantly tired and hungry, internalising all your worries fears and hopes around the situation whilst never being able to focus on yourself… Doesn’t sound that great? So the next time you’re going through a transition, in fact throughout your life, try applying some of these things that I’ve learned.

I know I will be.

Just Let It Go

If something is bothering me I can spend hours talking and thinking about it.

It’s good to talk, we’ve established that. Talking is a process that can allow you to get your frustrations and feelings off your chest to prevent you from exploding. When something negative happens to us, be it a direct result of someone’s actions or just an unfortunate event of life, it is necessary for us¬†to talk things out. Internalising isn’t good for anyone. However, sometimes end up directing far too much towards the negativity that we are experiencing. You’ve been there I’m sure: “I can’t believe s/he did that to me?!”; “I don’t know why this has happened to me!”

However, spending so much time focusing on the hurt, pain, anger and incredulity of¬†your situation will begin to steal your joy, time and¬†all kinds of your energy. This goes beyond just talking about it and soon you will find that the negativity will weave itself through your thoughts and eventually and inevitably your behaviour: your negative feelings towards the situation will soon begin to consume you. This is why it’s important to let go. In all honesty you will want to let go of the situation before it gets to the point where it’s all you can talk about and you start interrupting¬†everything you’re doing¬†just to¬†state (or think about) your frustration with the¬†situation but then again we are human so what are the chances of that happen?

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Letting go… two words that are simple enough to say but doing them? That’s a whole¬†other story. The amount of times I’ve had someone say¬†to me¬†“just let it go” is enough to drive me up the wall! The biggest question I always had was HOW!? No one could ever give me any advice on how to “let it go” just that I should. I finally managed to figure it out for myself though and to be honest it’s definitely easier said than done. For me, letting go requires conscious effort. It involves rationalising my thoughts and verbally correcting¬†myself. For example, someone did something to me that was totally uncalled for and¬†put me in a difficult situation, it¬†left me feeling very hurt. I struggled to “let it go” initially and I battled with myself as to whether¬†or not to “tell them about themselves”¬†but¬†I started¬†repeating the following things to myself to free myself from the negativity¬†that was starting to drown me:

  • It’s not the end of the world; you’ll get over it
  • Do you think they are thinking about you the way you are spending so much energy over it?
  • If you were to tell them your thoughts on the situation how would it benefit you?
  • What other things could you be spending your time on than focusing on this?
  • Is preoccupying your time and thoughts with this going to solve your problems?
  • Is it even that big of a deal?

Now, everyone is different and my method of “letting go” might not work for¬†you but you owe it to yourself to try and discover what works.

23 Things I’ve Learned In 23 Years

Life is one long lesson and we are constantly learning. I recently turned 23 and over my birthday weekend I considered some of the things that I’ve learned over my short lifetime. I’ve had so many lessons and so many learning curves, some good, some bad but I thought I would share a few of them with you.

Photo by Christian Kaindl on Unsplash

So, in no particular order, here are 23 things I’ve learned in 23 years (this list is not exhaustive):

  1. It’s okay to be alone, it’s not okay to be lonely
  2. There’s always room for improvement
  3. It’s important to know where you stand on things so that people cannot take advantage of you
  4. Don’t let your desperation make your decisions for you
  5. Sometimes just say no – it’s not everyday try and experiment
  6. My heart is big and it needs protecting
  7. Don’t let your temper control you, it’s down to you to control it
  8. Make time to enjoy yourself
  9. Money isn’t everything
  10. You are the most important person in your life
  11. My naturalness is beautiful
  12. Confidence takes practice
  13. Not every day will be a good day and that’s okay
  14. Change takes time, don’t be too hard yourself
  15. It’s okay to not fit in
  16. Trust your gut; you can read people better than you think
  17. There are people who love and care about you
  18. If you don’t wanna go out then don’t; you’ll only regret it if you do
  19. Everyone is not looking at you; just relax
  20. Don’t make too many or too specific plans, they change
  21. Not everyone you call your friend (or calls themselves your friend) will have your best interests at heart
  22. All relationships require work, both the physical and the spiritual
  23. You don’t have to trust all your “friends”

Life is not just a lesson it’s an exam so I constantly have to revise and remind myself of what I’ve learned. Some days it’s easier than others but I have to keep trying, traveling and fighting and so do you.

What important life lessons have you learned in your life? Leave them in the comments!

Address the Stress

An air of disruption has surrounded my life for the past few weeks. My sleep has been chaotic; I’ve been having wild dreams, so vivid that they themselves have been interrupting my sleep. I’ve struggled to fall asleep and then, in turn, waking up so early, it’s been bizarre. On top of that my concentration levels have been very low. I struggled to maintain focus on any of the tasks that I’ve undertaken. My mind would wonder, preoccupied with the cares of my life, my thoughts had hijacked my attention making everyday tasks harder to complete.

The cause of these disruptions: Stress. Stress is one of the of leading causes of sickness in the workplace, I’m not saying my job is causing my stress I’m just highlighting how disruptive stress can be and that stress cannot really be “separated”. Your work life, home life and social life are all a part of your one life and try as you may they can never be divided. However, there are things that can be done to help minimise stress. *Disclaimer: these suggestions are based on my own personal experiences.

First, you most likely will have a clear indication of the cause of your stress. Don’t hide your feelings towards them. Burying your feelings can be likened to a volcano: inactive for a time being until a catastrophic explosion destroys everything around it: Address the Stress.

This can be done by taking a step back. People always say “look at the bigger picture” but I think when it comes to issues keeping you up at night sometimes the best thing to do is to focus on different areas of the picture. This is called compartmentalising. Take that picture and assess the foreground; what’s happening? Within the middle ground of the picture what can you see and what can you make of the background? Break you issues down, look at them as little hills rather than one big, massive mountain.

Once you’ve broken your stresses down you can develop an action plan for the bite-size problems that make up the bigger one. A lot of the time when something is causing us stress we ask ourselves the question “What am I going to do?!” The joke is that nine times out of ten we don’t even answer the question, we just leave it unanswered and allow ourselves to be consumed (and stressed) by the question. This is where the action plan comes into play. Remember you’ve already broken down what’s getting to you from its huge entirety into segments, this is important when creating your plans. You may recall my post on SMART targets, creating an action plan is not a dissimilar process. Consider the questions:

  • How can I break this situation down even further?
  • What do I have control over?
    • What can I do about that which I have control over?
  • Can anyone one help me?
  • Do I have a time limit surrounding this situation?
  • What quick wins can I establish?
  • How can I resign my feelings over that which I don’t have control over?

If you can answer these questions in regards to the segments you manage to break down from your mountain then you should be able to think more clearly in response to situations that you find yourself in. ¬†After developing a plan you have to trust it, you can’t create a solution and then stay worrying about your problem. For one, you’ve wasted your time and you may need to consider if you actually like feeling stressed. No? Then let the plan take its course.

Another thing to consider when being consumed by stress is exercise. Yes, I know, that is the last thing on your mind but the chemical benefits of physical exercise cannot be disputed. Give it a try and let me know how it goes if I’m wrong and it doesn’t positively benefit you then I’ll eat my hat. It’s also important to have a supportive network of people around you. This network may not consist of a large number of people, it may not even consist of people you consider to be your closest friends but there will be people around you (and you’ll know who they are) who can fulfill this role. This support network will offer objective advice in relation to your situation or may act as a sounding board for days when your situation is getting to you more than normal. Not sure what a good support network looks like? Consider these attributes:

  • Non-judgemental
  • Listens
  • Doesn’t belittle or patronise
  • Offers advise but doesn’t take offense when you choose not to take it
  • Rationalises your thoughts

Finally, do you have a faith? Use it. There is evidence to suggest that having faith in a higher power (in my case, God) can lead to a reduction in stress. Having a faith produces a sense of optimism that those who don’t believe in anything do not hold. For me, my faith allows me to feel comfortable and secure in the fact that things will eventually work for me no matter how long it takes because my God “keeps the promise of love to those that love Him”.

In closing, don’t bury your feelings; compartmentalise your problems; create actions plans; exercise, establish who your support network is (and use them!) and utilise your faith.

As far as I’m concerned? It’s time to take my own advice.

Insecurities: My Natural Hair Journey and Beyond

From the day I was born until… this year actually, ¬†my biggest insecurity was my hair. I have very thick, coarse, kinky hair. When I was young I used to hate having my hair done because it hurt, yes, many a comb has been broken in my hair. I used to cry and cry and cry, apparently, once I refused to let my mum do my hair and felt no shame in walking around with it looking like a total mess (I just wished I had a picture of this).

As I got older it wasn’t so much that I didn’t want my hair doing but that my hair wouldn’t do what I wanted it to. As I said I have very thick hair, typified as 4C (sometimes I joke and say I have 4Z hair). This means that when I straightened it wouldn’t stay straight for very long, it means that it doesn’t lie completely flat, it means that I can’t just gel it and go. When I was younger I didn’t really understand this and in theory, none of those things are really a problem but when you’re the minority comparing yourself to the majority all of these things matter. I didn’t want my “nappy head” to mean I stood out from the crowd.

Photo by Ralph Evans on Unsplash

Going to church every week was the same. I’d imagine a style in my head but when it came to executing it never quite looked the way pictured it. I never even liked the way I looked with a scarf wrap when whatever style I originally wanted didn’t work. This resulted in A LOT of tears and I would flat out refuse to go. Sometimes I’d be allowed to stay home, other times I’d be told to suck it up and get a move on. In the end, I got a perm then I grew that out, relaxed my hair and wore clip-ins but then my hair started thinning so I decided to grow it out. Transitioning from chemically treated hair to natural hair isn’t an easy process and I didn’t really do my research so my ends began to break even more as the pressure required on my natural hair was far more intense than my relaxed ends. Now, I can be quite emotional and dramatic at times (I’m growing) so one day when I was full of frustration, with tears falling down my face, I grabbed a pair of scissors fro my dad’s barbering kit and cut all my hair off.

From there I started a “natural hair journey” but I still lacked the confidence to wear my natural hair out. I wore wigs, weaves, sometimes braids and a pony every once in a while and though whilst I did not have the confidence to wear my hair out during this time I learned a lot about my hair and I learned to love it. I discovered what my hair can do, what works for it and what doesn’t. But like I said I still didn’t have the confidence to wear it out. After about three or four years my hair was about shoulder length so the fool in me decided I wanted to relax it again I loved it but then I had it into a bob and I wasn’t really feeling it so much anymore…

Six weeks passed and I really didn’t want to touch up my roots, my sister suggested, and not for the first time in my life, that I cut it. I seriously considered it but was still unsure. In the end, I did it, I made an impulsive decision whilst out to lunch with my friend and got my hair cut.

Since cutting my hair my confidence has definitely risen. I like the fact that in my most natural state I can be comfortable, I like the fact that I don’t have to be stupid hot with a wig on my head to like the way that I look. It’s made me more impulsive as far as my appearance is concerned, a couple of weeks ago ¬†I was walking around with purple hair. I came to the conclusion that how can you be insecure about something that is supposed to look the way that it does?! My hair is kinky, it grows out my head that way so why wouldn’t it suit me, am I not fearfully and wonderfully made?

Nearly everyone has insecurities as far as their appearances are concerned. This is no secret as there are so many articles flying around highlighting the increase in the number of individuals suffering from low self-esteem due to features on their persons. The reasons for these insecurities can be blamed on so many different things. We say it’s film and television; we blame magazines; we attribute it to our upbringing and we believe that social media has its part to play too. I can’t dispute these causes and I cannot say why people appear to be less confident in themselves in years gone by. However, we spend too much time talking about the reasons why and not enough time trying to build up confidence in ourselves and in other people. Think about it, how many times a day to you say or think something negative about yourself? Now, many times you say or think something positive about yourself, does the number pale in comparison? If it does try changing that, you can only benefit from turning the tables. Consider the amount of time spent talking with your friends about the appearance of others in a not so positive light? Does it benefit you? Does it benefit them? No. So what’s the point?

Just stop wasting your time and your breath. Give more compliments, to yourself and to others and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Love yourself.