The Home Stretch

I saw this tweet the other day that said 2016 was wild because it drastically changed everyone who lived through it— that when we all look back to who we were a year ago, it seems like we can barely recognize ourselves. I read it and I was like, dang I think this random person on the Internet is right! At the very least I can see and/or sense that people around me have undergone dramatic transformations in their lives this year. Y’all already know I did— I have been VERY CLEAR about my 2016. I say all the time that I feel like I grew five years in this last one. When I look back on who/where I was last year, the things I thought, even how I chose to spend my New Year’s Eve, that girl feels so far away. She feels really young and blissfully ignorant. Not to insinuate that I’m like, totally awake and alert to everything happening inside/outside of me now— that’s an ongoing process. But struggling through a broken heart, learning you have trauma, and starting the process of healing through EMDR will wake you the FUCK up to some shit, let me tell you.

While I have very…VERY few nice things to say about 2016… … …

I feel like I must say that it’s kind of cool that everyone in the world has felt marked by it. 2016 knocked us all off our asses— maybe in a shitty way by stripping us of pieces of ourselves that we thought formed core parts of our identity, or by devastating us through one the excessive iconic deaths that happened this year (RIP Bowie, Fisher, Michael, Rickman, Ali, Thicke, Prince, Lee, Reynolds, Wilder, etc.) Or maybe you’re one of the six people globally whom 2016 affected in a good way, by making space in your life for a dream career, new life partner, or the prospect of welcoming a new baby. In either case, 2016 made her fucking POINT. And now hopefully we get to send her off into the Abyss with dear friends, merriment, and a SHIT TON of champagne.

Here’s to 2017 y'all! And the incredibly low bar 2016’s set for its greatness! Cheers!

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Oh and below I’ll show you more of my Christmas presents* because I promised I’d tell you what I got. Thanks to my beautiful friend Delara for snapping the pics!

*Note: "Christmas presents" denote any fun item bought for me either by myself or someone else between November 15and December 25, 2016. I didn't actually get any of this shit on Christmas.

First 'fit Skirt: Topshop | Necklace: Forever 21 | Lipstick: “Too Faced”, Sephora

Second 'fit: Jacket: All Saints | Shoes: Steve Madden | Earrings: China, like the actual country

MERRY CHRISTMASSSSbreak

Hey y'all! Listen this post was about to be a thousand different things, and I couldn't choose, so I decided to take a break. Just for this week, since I'm sure you're all home with your families, trying to navigate difficult conversations without drowning yourselves in wine. I get it. Let's all take a second, rest, do something to care for yourself, we'll reconvene next week and I can show you all my birthday -- I mean Christmas -- presents. Love you miss you! 😘

Aleppo

You guys, we have to care about Aleppo. The city is falling, civilians are being slaughtered— what started as peaceful protests has now been escalated to nothing short of massacre. I feel overwhelmed, as I'm sure a lot of us do here hundreds of thousands of miles away, but we can't let that feeling make us ignore what's happening. A lot of my friends have posted or sent me helpful articles about how to help so I thought it would be good for the blog this week to list some of the relief efforts/ideas I've found helpful. Not sure what else to do but write about it and give money but if that's all we got, let's do it. 7 Real Things You Can Do Right Now About the Catastrophe in Aleppo

5 Ways You Can Support the Victims of Aleppo

Get Wounded Syrian Rescue Workers Back on Their Feet

 

It Doesn't Have to be A Dream

Last night our yoga teacher asked us to raise our hands if we were currently working at our dream job. About five people out of the thirty-person class raised their hands— I wasn’t one of them. Her follow-up question was: “If you aren’t doing your dream job, what’s something you could do every day to get you closer to it?” Cue full on panic-attack, and me drenched in sweat before we’d even started moving. It was like a large, heated spotlight had been pointed directly at my face. “Well?!” Femi said to herself like a schoolmarm to a child who hadn’t done her homework. “What are you doing???” …What the fuck am I doing?

Is anyone else scared? I feel like I’m terrified, and I’ve been working to name that fear. I know what my dream job is. I have a date by when I want to be doing my dream job. But what do I do between now and then? How do I get from here to there? And the worry that I’m wasting my days is a constant presence. I’m sitting in this yoga class, fully aflame, because the teacher is right – our dream doesn’t have to stay a dream. We can do it! Or get close. But suddenly there comes all this pressure, and weight, and worry, and fear. What if I can’t do it? What if I’m not good at it? What if I keep spending all my free time watching Netflix and my life stays the same and I never get out of this job that I kind of hate? I think about those people who are like “This job was supposed to be a two year gig!” at their 20th anniversary office potluck. The last thing I want is to wake up one day and feel like my life flew right by me, and I never used it to do something that made me feel alive.

The funny thing I’m realizing about dreams is that they’re scary either way. I feel scared to do it, and I also feel scared not to. But fear is paralyzing and I think that’s how people end up spending decades in places they only intended to spend months. “What’s one thing you can do every day to bring you closer to working your dream job?” I feel like another way to ask that is how do we focus on a manageable task in front of us to help us release all that fear?

My initial reaction was “HEY GET OFF MY BACK ALRIGHT?!” which I wasn’t entirely expecting. Not directed at my teacher of course, this is a conversation concerning only me and Me. But “Me” noticed that the inflammatory response is fear-based. Because that little question pokes a hole in my “safe” bubble and I want to close it up. It makes me look to see what steps I could take out of my box, and even just looking outside feels frightening.  But if we can get past the inflammatory reaction, past the fear mongering we love doing, can we answer it? What’s one thing you can do every day to work towards your dream job?

At this juncture I’d also like to point out that we'll need grace. We'll need to ask ourselves this question with grace, and we'll need grace for ourselves on the days when we don’t do anything to work towards our dream job. Those days have to be okay too. I just want to encourage you, and encourage myself. And hopefully also calm myself TF down. We can do it, right? I think we can make our lives what we want them to be.

I don’t know what your dream job is, but at the end of class our teacher encouraged us to share it with each other so I’ll tell you mine: I want to be a blogger (lol surprise). And I’d like to be making most if not all of my income from it in 5 years. There it is, out in the Universe and on the Internet forever. Honestly it felt really vulnerable to put out there, but also exhilarating! Give it a shot –maybe not the Internet part, you can just tell a friend. Or you could make it your Facebook status— whatever feels right. And then let’s get to work, let’s share and connect and support and bolster each other in our quests. We can do this.

Happy December!

Well, friends! We made it. We’re finally at the best month of the year, and there’s only 31 days left until this God-forsaken, post-apocalyptic hellscape called 2016 is over! My apartment looks like Father Christmas had one too many Rumple Minze shots at the bar and vommed all over it, but honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s to holiday parties, presents, family, friendship, drinking too much, taking time off work, and having a safe and non-traumatic New Year’s Eve. Cheers!

To Be Seen

A few months ago at the start of yoga class, our teacher offered a quote intended to inspire our meditation. I don’t remember the quote, and when I asked her last night she didn’t either, so I will do my best to paraphrase: “The most joyful meditation is the contemplation of one’s own existence.” In other words, the mere thought that you exist brings the most joy during meditation. In reflecting on that, I was like if that is true, then perhaps the most distressing thing must be to feel like you do not exist. That you cannot be seen, heard, or felt – that you have no impact. It feels abstract, but as I’ve observed my own process through therapy and through sustained observation of human behavior, I've noted that we all desire to be seen. Especially through infancy and childhood, we need to know that we are heard, that we can be felt, that our existence is consequential. And I wondered, is this why we hate getting cut off on the freeway? I know this seems like a silly image to use in illustration of a serious concept, but bear with me. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed in myself that when I get cut off on the freeway, rage swells in me unlike any other experience.  All of a sudden I feel hot— my heart is pounding the righteous drums of indignation. And since I don’t believe in “overreactions”, and in the grand scheme of life being cut off on the freeway seems such a miniscule event, I ask myself, what am I reacting to? What basic plea is being violated? My best guess is that being cut off is infuriating because it is another person operating as though I do not take up space. I’ll often hear myself go HELLOOOOO?! I'M RIGHT FUCKING HERE!!! Is that what we’re all screaming? At parents who abandoned us, literally or figuratively; who carelessly played favorites among siblings? At romantic interests who keep looking us over for someone else— Hello, I’m right here! Why can’t you see me?

This drive to be acknowledged is universal. We intuitively recognize its presence in archetypes and old stories that cross cultures, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, races, gender… We all know about the younger sister who always felt like she lived in her older sister’s shadow (remember when Ashlee Simpson actually released a song called “Shadow”? Perhaps a better question might be: does anyone remember Ashlee Simpson? Anyway, we can move on.) We all know about the poor kid’s disappointment when he scores a point at his basketball game and he looks over to see his dad on the phone with his back turned, completely disengaged. How many of us have heard a toddler go “Watch me! Watch me!” when he/she is no doubt about to do something utterly mediocre but is seeking acknowledgement and recognition from an audience? I mean, hell, if we want to get biblical about it, Cain killed his goddamn brother because he felt like he wasn’t getting as much attention from God as he deserved. #Drama. We have a desperate need to be seen. I think this is also why the cry of the marginalized is so great, and why representation in media is so important. We need to see ourselves reflected to know that we exist to our society.

I’ve believed for a long time that the thing that keeps us running is love. It motivates all growth, inspiration, benevolence, trust, goodness, life, compassion, honesty, faith, kindness, you get it. Obviously food, water, and shelter are necessary as well but if we are to connect with our humanity, to feel ourselves and to be ourselves—even to properly inhabit our physical bodies— we need to be loved in some capacity by someone. I believed that love was the most fundamental thing, but you can’t be loved until you are seen. You can’t be loved until you are acknowledged, received, and experienced, hence being seen usurps—or perhaps joins—love in being the most fundamental thing. We have to be seen before we can be anything else. And not just by others, though that is clearly imperative. But I’d argue that as seeing another comes before loving another, seeing yourself comes before loving yourself.

Fear Won.

A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against women. A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against Muslim Americans.

A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against immigrants.

A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against black people.

A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against the entire LGBTQ community.

A vote for Donald Trump was a vote against racial reconciliation.

And a vote for a third party candidate was a vote for Donald Trump.

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised but I am. I'm completely shaken and floored that blatant fear mongering heaped on empty promises can work to win the presidency in the most powerful country in the world. I didn't think we'd fall for it, but I gravely overestimated. I feel like I can't recognize my country anymore. There's no eloquence or inspiration to be found here right now, only very raw emotion and sadness. I hope you all are faring better.

Powerful and Divine

Alright sooooo this year I decided to be a witch for Halloween. Technically I decided last year, but how far in advance I come up with my costume ideas is a separate issue. I wanted to be a witch because I feel like the traditional idea of a Witch as we know her was born out of a patriarchal society’s basic fear of women. **steps up onto soapbox, clears throat** Fear of their power and sexuality, primarily. I think a “witch” is actually just the image of a woman who has a strong sense of her Self, owns and inhabits her own body/sexuality, is maybe unbound by familial ties, is definitely unconcerned with being palatable to men, and is deeply/spiritually connected with the earth and nature. She has nothing to prove to you or anyone else, you know? Witches are the antithesis to a puritanical, male-dominated culture, so obviously I was like, YUP. Found my costume.

I also liked the idea of taking a basic concept for a costume and giving it more interesting execution, so in wanting to keep away from the archetypal representation of a witch (hook nose, green skin, pointy hat), I decided to go with a look that was informed more by pagan European and Yoruba tribal traditions. Kind offfff nodding towards the duality of and tension between my Nigerian and American identities, but it's like whatever. I wanted my witch to be earthy and dreamy; alluring but also like she might kill you without laying a hand on you or saying a word, you know? Normal witch shit.

My beautiful friends Madi and Steph were kind enough to take pictures of me as I traipsed and at times stumbled (#SixInchHeels) across Kate Sessions Park. You can see my favorite ones below, and at the end I’ll detail where I got different elements of my outfit. Hope you love it!

“...To reclaim the word ‘Witch’ is to reclaim our right, as women, to be powerful; as men, to know the feminine within as divine.” – Starhawk

Dress: NastyGal | Shoes: Zappos | Crown: Michael’s/My Friend Kara’s Genius | Temporary Henna: Etsy | Nails: Hello Birdie Nail Salon

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s justttttttt about that time again kiddies!! Halloween is upon us! a.k.a. The Best Holiday a.k.a. My Other Birthday. Today, my message is simple:

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT WEAR BLACKFACE IT’S NOT FUNNY, COOL, OR A COMPLIMENT, IT’S RACIST AND IF YOU DO IT YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE, NO DISCUSSION.

Okay? Great, now that we cleared that up, happy celebrating everybody! Stay safe! Get drunk! Hook up! But only if that’s a safe place for you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Take care of yourselves!

Oh and if you want to see my costume, stay up on my Instagram and/or come back here next week— imma do a full spread and talk about the meaning behind the costume choice. Stay tuned! #Suspense #ImsogoodatHalloween