Bleaching and Worrying

Can I just say…

I never realized how dusty Lilongwe is till I moved to Blantyre, Sigh! The little pleasures we take for granted as Blantyre people lol. The thought crossed my mind as I walked hurriedly kwa Senti trying to make it to church. Every passing minibus  seemed to destroy my hopes of just a minute of dust free air, just a minute. Well, life moves fast in L-City.

But I digress…

I arrived a few minutes late. The midweek service centered on being grateful to God without having to wait for something extraordinary to happen first. It is something that I have heard before; but this time it came with a unique twist- bleaching. I surely didn’t see that coming.

The preacher, a short man by all standards, had initially shared a story of how a few days back a friend had found him buying pork in the market. Teasingly, the friend had made a comment about how he, a short man, was also buying a short animal, a pig. Funny really. His reason for telling the story lied mostly on how he found the story not offensive because indeed, he is a short man. And quite happy about it too if I might add. The story somehow led to the issue of bleaching as he gave examples of how we as people become slaves to our own bodies as we try to change stuff we do not like about ourselves.

Bleaching as a topic is quite complex and I will not labour my brain by going deep into its complexities. However,  I would like to dwell on how as people (me inclusive) spend majority of our time worrying over what usually we cant change instead of living. Gosh! There is just so much we worry about as young people. We worry about how others view us, we worry about our height or lack of it, we worry about finances, we worry about relationships, we worry about career progress, we worry about everything. Lord have mercy!

I have realized that majority of our worries go down to the unreal images we have been taught to paint of ourselves to others. In as much as we would like to share positive stories, dreams and our wins, sometimes it is good to be real. Let us remind each other that we all get broke, we all feel like failures sometimes, we all worry about progress; and honestly let us remind each other that light skinned men and women are not spared from life’s difficulties.

It is good to share all aspects of life and not just the filtered aspects.

I hope someday our focus will solely be on exploring the world and not worrying. I look forward to it!

 

 

 

 

 

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Conversations, Good reads and Oprah

I have been staring at the blinking cursor for quite sometime. I am stuck trying to decide how to express myself on so many issues I wish I could talk about. Easy does it so let us start with the conversation I had with my colleagues over lunch some days ago.

‘A girl that is accountable to no one’

Growing up within the African culture and set up, girls are always accorded extra care and protection when compared to boys. Curfews are stricter for the girl child, more advice is given to the girl child and physically the men in the family always step up when the girl child is in danger. This oversight role is primarily left with parents, who eventually pass it on to the husband on that walk down the aisle. Personally I love it! I love being treated like an egg; because why not. The confusion begins when the girl grows and parents can no longer exercise this oversight control and yet (and that is a very big YET) there is no husband or boyfriend in sight to pass over the role. Say what?!! Society goes bonkers! Society has not yet come to terms with what to do with a girl that is accountable to no one. She is viewed as a loose canon. Will she make the right decisions? Why is she alone? What does she want? Women will mostly conclude it is because she wants to steal other peoples husbands. Hehe. It was a good conversation.

‘What you seek is seeking you-Rumi’

I just finished reading an article on accomplish press blog. I cannot rephrase the beauty I read, so here is an excerpt:

But what if you dared to step outside your fear and your ego that is holding you back? What if you suddenly decided that pursuing your desire is worth more than staying in your comfort zone? What if you just took the first step, and then the next? What if…? Well I tell you what happens – suddenly you start seeing things “magically” happening! The right people start appearing in your view, you “coincidentally” find the right resources to read, you “stumble upon” the right website or article online, you “somehow” meet a mentor who has taken the same path you wish to take, or you suddenly start getting new opportunities that help you take the next step. Do you know what is happening? What you were seeking all along, has been seeking you! That desire you’ve always wanted to bring to life has been waiting for you to make the first move of faith, and then everything else will start falling into place.

I’ve seen this happen in my own life and career over and over again, too many times to count..”

Deep within us, we all certainly know our calling. Enough said.

Let me leave with this link to Oprah’s interview at Stanford Graduate Business School. It is life changing. It is almost an hour long.

Now that I look at all I have written, I did not have much to say after all. Forgive my over-dramatic ways. Lol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Money 101

Can we ever have enough of it?

 

Well…

 

In the words of Onesimus, money is good! Not many things compare to having the ability to attain whatever we want. To provide for our parents, our children, our neighbours and all those in need of our assistance. And also just to spoil ourselves with the best that the world has to offer. It is a good feeling, it gives confidence and breeds power. And that is why most of what we do revolves around it. chasing money….

When I got my first job, no one ever sat me down to tell me how to handle money. No one had done so before that either. It is assumed we all know how we should handle money- you know, the usual you earn and spend-no rocket science there. Frankly speaking am pretty sure there were quite a number of  publications in the papers and books that I could have read; but most of these finance talks and literature tend to be boring. All I knew back then was that to really progress in life, one needs a really well paying job. And that is what I was looking forward to, the next job!

As far fetched as it may seem, we can actually achieve a lot with what we get. Let me share with you a little secret called “investing”. Truly speaking, it is a life changer. It is something I have grown to be passionate about and something I wish we can share on this space in the coming weeks. I am not going to write a lot on investing today. As I said, these finance talks tends to be boring.

I almost dozed off there…

 

 

 

 

 

Malawi and it’s hate for beauty queens

Today is the day!

Fourteen beauty queens selected from across the country will today be battling it out at BICC Lilongwe for the Miss Malawi crown. The event has been heavily publicised by Zodiak and the team; and from the look of things, the organisers have been doing a terrific job. Only one girl will be crowned by the end of the evening, closing the curtain on the long race it has been.  However for some contestants, the real battle might have just began.

Deciding to run for Miss Malawi has got to be undoubtedly one of the hardest decision a girl can make. I mean, putting yourself on the national stage to be judged on your looks?  That requires guts. I should believe one goes into such a competition with the belief and confidence in their looks and abilities to fulfill the requirements of such a role. However I doubt if they all come out with the same belief and confidence they possessed while going into the race.

Malawians are brutal.

I do not want to dwell on everything that has been said about the contestants, just one comment I read off Nyasatimes. One “Le Colone” had this to say;

Koma ku Malawi komvetsa chisoni ndithu. So these skinny shabby looking girls consider themselves beautiful? Pitani mukaone pa Nairobi, Maputo, South Africa, Addis Ababa ndi Lusaka.

“…..So these skinny shabby looking girls consider themselves beautiful?….

The idea that only a special section of the population have a right to feel a certain way about themselves is truly disturbing. I am tempted to think maybe as individuals this type of thinking in our society is what really holds us back; this idea that certain feelings, goals, ambitions are meant for a secluded extraordinary that were born to win and succeed.

We are perplexed when we see someone that resembles us, whose past and experiences we share go out on their way to break through the boundaries we have set for them. We are quick to point them out because just like we have condemned ourselves to the average life, they too should do the same. How dare they? what do they have that we do not have? And maybe that is the problem…

We fail to realise that life is for the ordinary person. You and me. No one is born extraordinary. I know there are some people are that are born into great families, with great genes and with superior intelligence. But that does not mean they have a monopoly over that. Everyone can feel the way they want to about themselves and anyone should be able to dare and dream beyond their currents state. Life is for the ordinary. As a society we have got to learn to let people be free to curve out an extraordinary life for themselves; without projecting our own insecurities on them.

The sad reality is that while we would have gotten over the Miss Malawi fiasco after tonight, some of these girls will go back to their homes questioning their self worth and whatever confidence they had built before the competition. And that is a battle that rages in silence but whose impact we see in our own fears.

Feeling anxious? Try fixing a light bulb

I am pretty excited for the new week, which is odd. Mondays are supposed to be boring, a rude reminder that our fun is restricted to two days of the week only! Well, that theory rings true when the weekend was actually fun. Spending the whole day in bed scrolling through my Facebook feed doesn’t count as fun. Don’t get me wrong, my weekends are not usually like this. Just that the past week I have been pretty anxious. And when I am anxious my brain shuts down. I usually cant focus on one thing, I have the constant urge to not be in one place. When knocking off last Friday it had already been settled in my head, I needed to stay home the entire weekend, and fix myself –not in a drug abuse kind of way. I needed to know what was making me feel this way. A part of me knew it was because lately I have been making plans regarding my future. Unfortunately some of those plans rely on decisions of other people, a thing I have no control over. That makes me anxious.

And so the weekend arrived, on schedule. The only problem was I couldn’t shake off this uneasy feeling. I opted to constantly refresh my feed and sleep a little. But still, this feeling wasn’t going anywhere. I got a call, I needed to drop off a phone my friend had forgotten some weeks back. Maybe that would get my mind off this anxiety, or maybe not. Still I went, dropped it off and on my way back passed through Game stores to window shop headphone prices- pretty expensive! Before I went out on my way, I remembered! I needed to buy a light bulb. The light bulb in the toilet had exploded some weeks back. Like literary exploded. I still don’t understand why. I had tried to replace it with a bulb I had in the house, turns out there was a fault with a bulb. But I did not know this. All along I had thought the explosion messed with the bulb holder. But anyway,I went ahead to buy a new bulb, maybe it would work.

I feel like sparing a paragraph to praise these bulbs I get in Game stores. But let me not waste your time. I pay for my bulb and walk out of Game feeling like am carrying the sun in my hands. I get home and straight away try it. It works. And from that moment I feel my anxiety lift away. I really did not understand what was going on. But then it becomes clear, as clear as these amazing Game store bulbs.

My anxiety kicks in whenever I feel I have no control over a situation. And lately waiting upon another persons decision regarding my own future has been making me pretty anxious. But fixing my light bulb gave me some of that control back. I did not think I would fix it- which is embarrassing because it is just a light bulb really. But I did.

There are a lot of things we can not control in this world. But there are things we can- however small they be. When the big scary situations come knocking on your anxiety, try fixing yourself by fixing that which you can control.

Happy anxious free Monday!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day!!

Growing up, I never thought  I would one day celebrate being a woman. I hated it, being a woman that is. It brought with it too much pressure and expectations – things I knew I would never meet or satisfy. I wasn’t ready to go through the rigorous scrutiny and race for one to be declared a good woman. To be placed on the scale of beauty, respect, how well I carry out my chores, to always look together and dressed up – and for my success to ultimately be measured by the man I attract into marriage. I just wasn’t ready or built for such a race. But nonetheless, I had been placed into this race anyway. And what was left for me was hating what got me into such a race in the first place- being born a woman.

A lot has changed since then; a lot more is changing. Just like with any challenge, perceived or otherwise, being a woman has taught me a lot. The journey of identifying myself as a woman has led me through dark sleepless nights and bright sunny days. Through fighting pimples and dark spots(ugh) and wanting a particular hip waist ratio to basically just being flat out depressed about it all. Through moments of trying to fit in and failing at it. But here I am still, a proud woman. Soft to the core but courageous and daring still. Ready to mould the next generation of brilliant young women. That is what I am becoming from this journey.

A woman faces a lot of challenges everywhere just as men do, though arguably at different levels and scale. A lot more women are still on the journey of identifying themselves while others do not have the strength to even begin. But there is hope for all women. You do have the strength to conquer your fears, to rise above expectations and to stand tall on the highest mountain. You are a woman, and that is all you need. Be bold and discover what the world holds for you -beyond the expectation of mankind, beyond your imagination!

Happy International Women’s Day!

 

Why are we here?

Am not a morning person, not at all.  

I woke up today and hurriedly prepared for work.  My sister was still getting her sleep the whole time I was preparing -and not jogging as she has been saying for the past two weeks. Resolutions are hard people!  Now, getting ready for work is something I do every working day, I can do it even without  thinking. Usually my mind is wandering elsewhere the whole time am getting ready. But I still manage to get everything done. Today my mind wandered in a different direction and it came in the form of a question(s); what is my purpose on earth?  Just being an accountant didn’t seem like a good answer.

Before I get judged for not being grateful that I have a job in the first place, maybe I should mention that I almost got into an accident last weekend. I was driving in Chilobwe close to ‘pa centre’ as people call it. There was a Lorry driving ahead of me with those mchenga boys in the back. As I usually do when going uphill, I drove a bit slow because I have this fear that those cars can easily develop a braking fault and crash into the car driving behind. Well guess what? The Lorry lost its brakes! It lost it’s brakes! It started moving backwards to where I was. Now, let me at this point thank God for keeping me calm the whole time. In normal circumstances I would have probably died from fear alone. But nope, I was calm. I simply drove to the side of the road and kept driving uphill while the Lorry sped uncontrollably downhill. I do not know how it ended.

As some guy from some clip I watched said, we live life with the assumption that we will live forever. Rarely do we make plans with the knowledge that someday we will die.  But moments like these remind us. We are not going to live forever, at any moment we can die. Any moment. Once this realization sinks in, most of what we do in our daily lives doesn’t seem as important anymore. But what should we be doing instead?

The idea of our mortality remains a constant fear in our lives. We fear death and yet there is nothing we can do about it. Literally nothing. We will go. But when you really think about it, the idea of our mortality should not be scary. Worrying over the inevitable is really a waste of time; and time is ticking. The idea of our mortality should be a good motivation for us to haste and create/find our purpose, whatever that might be. Simply surviving on this earth seems like a raw deal. I definitely do not want to spend my limited time on earth with the only goal being surviving from one paycheck to the next.

With the year still fresh, I hope you start to find the answers to why you are here. Or better still, write your own story of why you are here. And while at it, make sure you sing out loud, dance, travel the world, love hard and laugh so damn harder. Because whatever your purpose, we are here to leave a mark.