Monday 30 December 2013

Letter to my past

I’m no advocate of focusing on the past; in fact I strongly believe that one should keep the past in the past, live in the now with your eyes gleaning on the future. However, I do believe that reviewing your past can be essential to helping you progress in life.
Identifying and learning from past mistakes can be a better teacher than anything you will ever hear or be advised.

I saw a video 'Note to Self' by Tyler Perry where he was advising his younger self. I decided to do something similar, and write a letter to my younger self (I have written this letter in a ‘tough love’ style – as this has been the most effective way of getting me to think about making progressive changes):

Dear Me,

Do you remember this conversation?

A Person: So what Uni would you like to go?
Me (in a half-joking manner): Oxford would be nice
A Person (now addressing a group of us): Umm…You are all destined for greatness, it’s in each and everyone of you. However statistics show that based on your geographic location, your up-bringing and ethnic background, it will take a miracle for any of you to achieve much in life or fulfill your dreams.... Don’t try to stretch yourself, because the odds are against you and you will only raise your hopes which will eventually get dashed”!

Yet again you allowed what others thought of you to shape your future.
Why did you never question this statement? Why did you allow it to take root deep within you and subconsciously grow, spreading its tentacles and affect the way you perceive your potential and what you are capable of?

Believe me when I say that its often well-meaning people who will say the worst things to you, and can be very discouraging when it comes to accomplishing your dreams or goals.

You do not know it now, but by accepting this statement to be a fact; you have set yourself up to living mediocre in certain areas of your life and accept it as the norm.
Your thought life is SO important. Do away with comments like that, because it really isn’t going to do any good for your confidence in the long run.

Don’t go through life thinking that statement is true because although stretching can hurt or feel uncomfortable; stretching yourself is good, as it will enable you to discover those hidden treasures and potential locked away.

How many successful athletes fail to train before a race? None! So in the same light, the training you may be going through now may seem difficult or even painful, but you cannot let that phase you! Don’t let it stop you! Don’t allow these precious years go to waste!
You’re allowing hurt from past experiences to hold you back. Don’t get to the stage where you will regret not making a move into the unexpected, because risk taking is part of life!

You may feel that life has dealt you some wicked blows at such a young age, but you need to know that this is not all life has to offer, and all of these experiences only make you stronger; helping shape your future and who you become.
Start to develop a positive vision for your future, because believe it or not, a lot ties into this and as you think so you will become.

You are currently investing too much of your time and energy into pleasing people and hoping they don't think bad of you, when in reality; no matter what you, do good or bad, people will still talk.
So why waste your time on what doesn't matter?
Do yourself a favour, and just LIVE & ENJOY your life; focusing on what’s important.

Refuse to use the race card as an excuse for anything you have not pushed yourself to try to accomplish. You will soon see that a black man can become president of the free world, so nothing is out of your reach – diligently apply yourself and don’t give up on the first hurdle.
You have a wealth of role models and aspirational people making things happen, so you have no excuse.

Finally, stop worrying so much. Things always initially seem a lot worse than they actually are. That situation that you think is the end of the world…really isn't. Things will always work out in the end, they always have and they always will!

With everything said, don’t be too hard on yourself because everything you are going through now is shaping who you will be in the future. So chin up and walk with your head held high and remember that you are what you think, so intentionally think positive thoughts and do things with ‘PURPOSE’ in mind!

All my love.

Your Older Self.

P.S: Don’t cut up those pictures of yourself that you think you look bad in, because you will look back and wish you had never destroyed those precious memories. Just because you have low self-esteem now, doesn’t mean you always will.

I hope this inspires both young and old alike to focus living a more purposeful life as we step into the New Year.

Watch the accompanying vlog below:

Sunday 15 September 2013

The Waiting Room

Wait.ing room

A questioning and trying period in ones life which entails a lot of patience before the pain is alleviated.

Nausea, Discomfort, Anger, Sickness, lingering pain, fear

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock...was the sound of what seemed like never ending time. With my eyes fixated on the clock in front of me, what must have felt like a whole hour turned out to only be two minutes.

An overbearingly clinical smell, coupled with the dingy lighting of the surgery made the wait seem even longer, and I began to feel queasy.
This meant that any moment from now, what I could only describe as the ‘now active volcano’ placed between my nose and chin would inevitably erupt.

Tightly grasping the sick bowl begrudgingly provided by the receptionist in one hand, and a ball of squashed blue paper towels in the other; thoughts began to flood through my mind.
Is this life? I dont think I will have a shred of dignity left after this whole agonising ordeal is over. Can I really handle this pain? Am I going to have to wait months before this horrendous sensation subsides?

Whoever named this morning sickness was an absolute clown. Period!
This was an all day, all night, 24 hours, 7 days a week sickness, and no amount ginger, peppermint tea or the inundated concoctions I had been advised to take actually worked.

After another 5 minutes of staring at the same tiring clock, my gaze shifted to the emerging shadow of a rather stocky looking woman, who then sat adjacent to me.
Our eyes briefly met and I managed to catch the beginning of her flashing a smile at me.
However, I speedily unlatched from the glance as returning the gesture would only use up energy that I did not feel I had.
I was entitled to act this way! I mumbled to myself. No one would expect otherwise if they knew exactly what I was going through, and besides (as I further tried to validate my excuse) this is London; where we are notoriously known for being unfriendly.

I had always envisaged that this stage of life would be both an amazing and exciting time, whilst I could freely indulge in all things fabulous for my palette. Instead, it felt as though every ounce of energy was rapidly being sapped out of me.
Any elation initially felt drastically subsided as it was turning out to be more of a living nightmare, with which I just wanted to be woken up from.

Question upon question protruded my mind...How was I supposed to stay positive when something so often associated with joy was overwhelmingly distressing and painful?
How could some women be so physically well that they didnt even know they were pregnant? This must be a test, because I am definitely being dealt the unfair card of life AGAIN!

Before I had the chance to ask myself another question, an annoying knuckle crackling sound abruptly interrupted me.
Glimpsing over to my right, I saw the same woman who I noticed earlier now practically hovering over me.
Her preying posture was invading my personal space and I was now feeling very awkward.

Rapidly trying to avoid any form of conversation from taking place, I slightly turned my body away from her in the pursuit that she would stay silent or go away. Conversely, she leaned in towards me; forcing me to turn my head back in her direction, then she softly whispered "luv...if theres anything I have learnt in life, its that it's never as bad as it seems!"

Judging from my unapproachable disposition, blank faced stare and clocking on to the fact that I was in no conversing mood; without giving me the chance to respond, she winked at me whilst returning to her seat.

My first reaction was how dare she?
How could this stranger have the audacity to make such a statement? Who gave her the right to assess me and based upon her perception, come to the conclusion that what I was suffering was not that bad?
Screaming in my head were the words What on earth is wrong with people? I couldnt believe that even in sickness, I had to deal with their never-ending need to comment on my life.

At that point I had a choice; a choice to either continue in self-wallowing pity (which really wasn't helping my condition), or to take on board what this complete stranger had just said.
I could embrace this new perspective and start being a little more positive and optimistic; even though every cell in my body was opposing this notion.

Reflectively, I remembered that I had previously made the decision that I would no longer be ruled by how I felt or what people said to me. I was now 'The Confident Woman and right here and now posed the ultimate test.

Upon leaving the surgery after hearing the doctor condescendingly say “…these things happen, and theres nothing much you can do but ride it out, it suddenly occurred to me that this woman who I probably would never meet again, actually spoke the exact words that I needed to hear.

Although everything physical ruled against considering her statement as reasonable or fair, what did I have to lose by choosing to see things her way?
Was I going to allow my current state to prevent me from using this adversity to make me grow and become stronger? Or would I remain close-minded and allow past hurts and experiences to determine my attitude towards the situation?

Whenever I felt as though I could no longer handle the pain; (as I must have suffered every known pregnancy symptom), I reminded myself that it could be a lot worst.
On those dark and dreary days, I would play those words on repeat in my mind as I ticked yet another day off my calendar. I knew that although I may not understand why all this was happening, my faith in Gods strength would be made perfect in my weakness.

The choice to change my mindset and focus on the end result rather than the problem was one of the best decisions I made for my mental state and well-being.
It infused the will to persevere no matter how tough it got, because after all; this was only a temporal matter!

Acting upon this realisation may not make the 'Waiting Room' experience any quicker, nevertheless, it will give it purpose with which you are willing to endure till the end because the destination will be worth it.

I resolved to using that statement in situations that arose even after my pregnancy, because when you think about it; no matter how tough, challenging or daunting the circumstance is, it's ultimately up to you to chose to believe that it "aint half bad!"

Feel free to watch the accompanying blog below:

We may be going through challenge(s), but we should always remember that 'it could be worse'.
What 'Waiting Room' experience(s) have you had, and how did you get through the wait? - 
kindly leave your comments