People Lie, Actions Don’t..

Last year whilst watching Jessie Williams’ BET acceptance speech I decided that enough was enough! I was tired of being tired of inequality in all forms! I was tired of Black men being killed in America for no apparent reason, I was tired of people living their lives and being killed just for doing that! I was tired of the social class stratification inequalities, I was tired of society as a whole! That night I stayed up (until very late) and literally cried whilst trying to articulate my social frustrations to my husband! I was angry! I was angry with society but most importantly I was angry with myself. I was angry with me because I felt that I could do more!

As a child, I admired people like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Diana Princess of Wales, Mother Theresa and the list goes on. I admired these icons because despite all the challenges that they were faced with; they stood and acted on what they believed in. I can hear you say ‘Gosh, give yourself a break! You alone cannot change society!’ Yes you’re right, I alone cannot change all of society but I can do something to make a difference to it. I feel as though I can’t be waiting around for someone to bring about the change I want to see in the community I’m apart of or the change I want in society! So I Mabinty Esho declare that I am ready to make steps towards making a difference to three aspects of society…I’m not yet going to share how I plan on doing this until I have actually done something! However I will share with you what social change I want to see….

Homelessness

I have been passionate about homelessness since 2011/2012 when I worked for the charity Shelter and volunteered for my local Foodbank. Whilst working for Shelter I came across a lot of vulnerable people who were homeless, some were on the streets and others were in limbo whereby they had been placed in temporary housing. It was definitely a shock to the system when I found out the amount of people who were homeless due to no fault of their own. It was very different to how the media portrayed homelessness. I met many people who had mental health issues, PTSD  (post-traumatic stress disorder). To be honest it made me angry because as a so-called first world country why do we not have enough housing, especially for the most vulnerable? Furthermore we need to get these people back to work and staying in work! It’s literally that simple! More support with finances, more mental health facilities, more centres (not job centres because they treat anyone who’s unemployed like scum..I’ve had bad experiences) to assist in confidence building, CV writing, Interview training etc. As a country we need to step up and place people, families into homes…it’s a basic necessity not a luxury.

The Elderly

The elderly is something that’s just as close to my heart as homelessness. I feel that we as a society need to look after our elderly better. If the norm is to put them in care homes then those care homes need to be regulated better. That means in my opinion, better pay for the carers and nurses, better staff training, employment of more staff which in result will mean less working hours. I truly believe that a happy team equates to a happy work environment and will therefore mean great quality of care. Having worked in two elderly care homes I’ve seen how it’s been done well and unfortunately how it’s been done badly. We also need to bridge the generational gap between the old and the young. We can do this by getting more young people into care homes, reading to the elderly, playing games with them or quite simply just being a listening ear. It’s that simple..the elderly just want company and care. Like the rest of us, they too just want to feel as though they belong. Especially in a society that has changed so dramatically from when they were youths. In all sincerity wouldn’t you want to feel apart of a society that may often exclude you?

Disadvantaged Boys

This is my priority focus! At first I wanted to focus solely on Black boys and trying to get rid of that social stigma surrounding them. However after working at my current job  (Yes I’ve had many jobs) I’ve now realised that such struggles are not exclusive to only black boys but rather boys from lone parent and low socio-economic backgrounds. The boys who fall under these categories generally ‘play up’ at school, are not academically driven, have low self esteem and may end up breaking the law which inevitably will lead to them ending up in jail hence becoming another societal statistic. I guess I am extremely passionate about this topic because it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that needs to be broken. I am tired of seeing young men either die or end up in prison. It’s time for us to step up and show up! These are the next generation of leaders, the next generation of husbands..the next generation of fathers! Let’s not let situations that were out of their hands determine their future! Let’s be the generation that breaks that cycle…

If you are passionate about this topic and you are a male, came from a low socio-economic background and/or lone parent family, are now in full time employment and/or own a business…Please leave a comment showing your interest.

What are you passionate about? What social change do you want to see? What are you planning to do about it? Leave a comment and let me know!

Let’s get the conversation started.

As always…

Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You!

Love Mabs xx 

‘Wha Gwan Ma’am’

“Wha Gwan Ma’am”, said a year eight boy as he entered a Religious Studies class I was covering for a teacher who was on training. “Pardon, What did you say?” was my response. The young boy went on to repeat his greeting to me. At that point I said to him I found that racially stereotypical as he would NEVER greet a Caucasian teacher using that term. I gave the boy a consequence (a warning) and carried on with my lesson. The most upsetting thing is that this was not the first time that a student or a member of staff had been racially stereotypical towards me in this particular establishment and others before it. I have had to deal with students googling pictures of Harambe, making comments about the colour of my skin (being called a Nutella) as well as other derogatory terms. Now, when I experience such racial ignorance (I don’t believe it’s racism because their comments are born out of lack of information rather than hate) I generally proceed to educate rather than take offence. To be honest once I’ve explained the implications of their comments I am usually bombarded with intelligent questions to understand why their comments may come across as offensive.

In saying that, I feel as though I have become immune to racist/ racially ignorant comments. In one hand I know it’s a sad state of affairs that I no longer feel a way about discrimmination (even though I know discrimination is wrong). However on the other hand I am very much socially aware that I am apart of an ethno-centric society that is not designed for me, a Sierra Leonean born woman.

Honestly, I think the only times in my life where I felt my race was not an issue was in secondary school and when I visited Sierra Leone. Therefore I have ALWAYS known that institutional racism exists and truly believe that it will always exist.

So, when I read Jamelia’s blog post on institutional racism I literally smiled because to me it was ‘same s**t (sorry for the profanity) different day’. As angry as I was reading Jamelia’s experience I couldn’t help but think that we can’t expect a society that was not designed for us to eradicate a system that is deeply engrained in them. For example, some African countries are extremely tribalistic. Despite most tribes now being fully integrated there are still some people who will not allow inter-tribal marriages and not even their religious beliefs (which should outweigh all other beliefs) will change that point of view. That’s because it’s a system in which they grew up in and it’s the only system they know. Now do not get me wrong…I am not excusing the action of racism/tribalism/ prejudice, however we must try and rise above it and educate rather than respond hate with hate.

When a boy referred to me as a ‘Nutella’, I didn’t get angry, I didn’t shout, I simply said; ‘Just so I am not offended by the statement you made, please clarify’. I responded in this way because I wanted him to think and feel stupid for what he said, which he did. As his punishment, I sat him down and explained to him how his statement may have made me feel and how it may have affected my perception of him. As a result, me and that particular student now have a better teacher-student relationship.

I fear for the future, for my son’s future because society already expects him to fail only because his parents are from a land where the sun is a lot hotter than the land in which he was born. I will teach my son to know about his history, factual as well as emotive. I want him to be able to go out into the world and be able to educate anyone who is uneducated about his heritage. I would love anything more than for him to be in a crowd of Caucasian people and fit in and equally fit in amongst a crowd of his black counterparts.

I urge anyone who experiences such racism/discrimination to educate and empower the ignorant counter-part. Kill them with kindness and love…it is what they least expect. If you respond with anger and hate then you will just play into their hands and fulfil their expectations. I know it is difficult but take it from someone who is constantly the only black/ African in the room.

So long as we are living in an ethno-centric capitalist state then racial, social stratification will always occur. Equality is a utopian ideology as a whole and here on earth we are far from getting there! In my head heaven or the after-life is the only utopian state there is…..That’s another blog post for another time!

You can read Jamelia’s blog post titled ‘First Class Racism here’; https://www.jamelia.com/new-blog/2017/1/14/first-class-racism

 

As Always..

Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You!

Love

Mabs xx

 

The Ring Don’t Change a Thing!

I love with the utmost passion Judge Lynn Toler from Divorce Court! I truly believe that she keeps it real (which I love) and gives sensible and practical advice. When I came across this video; https://youtu.be/MNCMdZ13UmU; I thought ‘Thank you Jesus’ (in my southern accent)! Every woman who is wanting that ring needs to hear this! God knows I needed to hear this when I was single it would have squashed any idealistic Mills and Boon marital ideology I ever had! The truth of the matter is whatever you dislike about your partner does not miraculously vanish once you get the ring or after you walk down the aisle!

I honestly believe that God shows you signs as to why the person you’re dating should/should not be your future spouse. Both men and women put their best feet forward during the courting stage. For example a woman will cook her man a meal fit for the king just to impress him whilst a man will shower his woman with gifts and holidays to impress his lady. Therefore, if a man’s best is having a ‘side-chick’ or him being incapable of holding down a job then consider these as signs that maybe he is just not yet ready for marriage as these traits will not automatically go away when he gives you a ring.

I find these days that women are more keen on getting that ring and planning a big lavish bellanaija wedding than they are about preparing for their marriage. Yes, the wedding day is important because it is the day you make a solemn promise to your partner and God in front of your family and friends, but once it’s over then you and your spouse are left to your own devices and then life begins! Boy does life begin! 

Marriage is a daily compromise between two strangers who love one another (the key word being strangers)! I thought I knew my husband (we met when we were sixteen years old) but in reality I didn’t know him as well as I thought I did. Once we started living together I saw a different side to him and he saw a different side to me, sometimes a side I/he loved but most often sides we both probably could do without! 

I tell my friends to ALWAYS pray for their relationships. This is because I find that many females are prayer warriors when they want the ring then once they get the ring they think their job is done when in actual fact the work has just begun. Dating brings it’s own challenges, same as when you’re engaged that brings more challenges and so forth and so forth. 

Issues will surely arise when you are engaged/ married but don’t lose faith in your spouse but most importantly don’t lose faith in God.

As Always…

Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You!

Love Mabs xx 

Goodbye Mr President

Dear Mr. President,

It feels like it was only yesterday that you were voted into office. I remember the day so clearly, waking up on that cold November 4th Tuesday morning, switching on the television to find out that you did what you set out to do! As a black man you made it into the White House and became the most powerful man in the world…something no black man had succeeded in doing. As a black university student I never believed that a black man (especially one who was half Kenyan) would be leader of the free world yet you restored my hope in humanity. I couldn’t stop my tears as I heard your acceptance speech or when I saw Jessie Jackson in the crowd with tears in his eyes, you not only fulfilled your dream but the dreams of many black politicians before you. In my opinion that alone is an accomplishment that many cannot take away from you.

You were not only the most handsome president but also the most charismatic! You knew how to engage a crowd and make everyone feel as though you were speaking to them, you were creative and found a way to relate to everyone. I believe that you were the vessel of hope that many people so desperately needed at that point in time.
For me personally, the poignant moments of your term were when you allowed Jacob Philadelphia to touch the texture of your hair just because he wanted to know whether it felt like his own. An extremely small act but yet left a small piece of hope with that little boy. Mr President you fought and toiled for Obama-Care ensuring that those from the poorest backgrounds had access to health care. This was another confirmation that you were the people’s president!

Your eight years flew by! I some how wish that we could adopt the dictatorship (without the dictator) ideologies of third world countries where leaders stay in power until death, however I know that will defeat the purpose of our democratic society and will go against everything you fought for. So, as unhappy as I am with the President-Elect, I have come to accept his appointment.

Your appointment as President means so much to me now more than ever as I am raising a black boy who will become a black man. Mr Obama, because of you I will teach my son that skin colour should have no limitations to success, I will teach him that integrating in society does not mean losing your norms and values, I will teach him that despite his socio-economic background, he CAN and WILL achieve all things through hard work. Mr President sir, thank you for creating a society whereby my son will grow up knowing that YES HE CAN!

So, although the days ahead look bleak, I want you to be rest assured that the hope you have introduced to our society still lingers. We will make you proud by working harder in school and at our jobs, by not falling into the hands of the oppressors and living by your example; being law-abiding citizens and people of integrity and love.

I know that the best is yet to come for you, you will go down in history as the peoples’ president, the vessel of hope and the coolest and most charismatic president of all time. Thank you for fulfilling your purpose and being all that you were called to be.

We’ll miss you Sir!

As Always…

Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You!

Love Mabs xx

obama

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office, Dec. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.Ê

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New Year…New You?

​Happy New Year!! I was so excited to write and publish my last post that I forgot to wish you all a Happy New Year!! I hope your first 7 days have been great so far!

Wow seven days has passed us already! To think this time last week I had been to watch night service, had a catchup with new friends and was most likely tucking into my ayemase  with white rice whilst gisting with my husband and friend. This week however, I’m on the sofa  mentally preparing myself for work on Tuesday and reflecting on the past week.

Week one of 2017 has been dramatic for some (from celebrity big brother to Chris Brown and Soulja Boy to Nikki and Meek Mill)! For me, however, its been very positive! I took my first leap of the year by publishing this blog, began to be more sociable (went on a few dinner/lunch and play dates with friends) and created a spreadsheet with all my plans and goals for this year. So I guess I have started off on the right foot! The only thing now (what I find the most difficult) is to keep the momentum going. In order to get over that hurdle this year I asked a few people to mentor me. I felt that by asking for a mentor (in different areas where I need improvement) I’ll be accountable to someone and I’lll also be building genuine relationships (also one of my goals this year).

It took a lot out of me to ask those women to mentor me. I felt that in order for me to achieve my utmost potential this year and always, I need to have a constant figure in my life who will steer me back on track when and if I derail.

I envision that 2017 will be a year of firsts and lasts for me only because I am soo tired of (year in and year out) being in the same position. Always wanting change but never doing anything about it. I am ready to take control of my life. I’ve had enough of making excuses. I literally have no excuse, I’m alive, I’m well, I have all the resources available to me so why am I still stuck on square one? Whilst others have greater challenges and are going through deeper issues.

To finish, I just want to encourage anyone who hasn’t had the greatest of weeks…YOU CAN DO THIS!! Whatever ‘this’ may be. You’re a lot stronger than you think! So make that move towards a happier and healthier you not just for 2017 

As always…. 

Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You!

Love Mabs xx

7 Lessons From My 1st Year of Parenthood  

​Midway through December last year I marked one year of Motherhood! An accomplishment I  thought would never come especially during those sleepless nights. So when the day came I was overcome with emotion. We did it! We got through our first year of sleepless nights, lack of social life, endless nappy changes and  milky vomits. One thing that was certain was that it was definitely not easy but in saying all of that here are seven things I learnt.

1. Do not say No to help..You’ll need it

Myself and my husband both have a lot of pride! We find it very difficult to ask for help even when we really need it. After Isaiah was born I wanted to be super-mum, trying to do it all and then cry at night to my husband that I was burnt out! When in actual fact I could have saved myself the agony by accepting help that was offered to me and also asking for it when I needed it. It really does take a village to raise a child.

2. Go at your own pace.
One thing I must say that I did and did well was do things at my own pace. A lot of people will give you solicited and sometimes unsolicited advice. Pick and choose what it is you want and what it is you do not want. Many will tell you ‘this is how I did it’ or ‘you’re not doing it right’. Your child your choices! Do not let pressure tie you down or question your parenting. Only you know your child, so go with your instincts (they’ll never let you down).

3. Every Child is Different.
This was the statement I used when people would ask me why my son wasn’t doing something. For example, he didn’t do a poo every day in his first three months. So I would constantly be asked by family and friends why he hasn’t pooed and would be told that it wasn’t normal. Well…truth is it was normal for my son. He would poo every other day and on the days he did poo it would be at the very least three times! Also my son started walking at eight and a half months but at that age only had two teeth whilst another boy his age had six teeth but was still only crawling. Be rest assured that your child will develop appropriately but at his and her time.

4. Stay away from Google!
I learnt the art of this whilst pregnant! If you’re a hypochondriac like myself then Dr. Google is no place for you or your baby. It’ll make you think that your baby has something new and contagious when it might just be a common cold. What I found useful was the NHS 111 service. Everytime I had a question about something I would call them and they will either refer me to an out of hours doctor or tell me to give him calpol or some sort of painkiller.

5. Make time for you and yours!
In the blur of parenthood it’s easy to forget who you are and also forget your relationship as your sole focus is on your new addition. The new financial pressure meant we couldn’t go on our regular date nights. We were both so engrossed with our mini-me we forgot about each other and also ourselves. So once you feel comfortable leaving your baby resume your date-nights, make some time for yourself and whilst out try not to talk baby (very hard to do)! If money is an issue ask family and friends to watch baby whilst you and your partner enjoy a Netflix and Chill 😉 with the Marks and Spencer Dine in for two for £10 or if you shop in tesco swap your clubcard points for a meal out. The options are endless! Please remember they won’t be babies for long…one day they’ll move out so continue to invest in your relationship.

6. Prayer is Key!
When in doubt pray! Prayer works. Only God can give you the tools and the wisdom to raise your child accordingly and be the parent that you want to be. I found a lot of comfort in praying especially during those times when I found things difficult or felt like ‘just a mum’. For me prayer isn’t  (always) speaking in tongues or on my knees, eyes closed in tears. Most of the time it’s me on the sofa speaking to God as if I were speaking to my husband! The best therapy ever! You should try it.

7. You’re doing GREAT!
Quite simply…You’re doing an amazing job. Tell yourself that everyday and eventually you’ll believe it. Remember this is new to you too so you’re not going to get everything straight away. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself! Enjoy every moment you have with your little one because (it’ll shock you) they’re not babies for long. Before you know they’ll be running around and trashing your house! 

As always…

Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You!

Love Mabs xx

End of Year 5 Days of Reflection: Day 5 Forgiveness

​To conclude my 5 days of Reflection I’m going to end on one of the things I find the most difficult to do…that is to forgive! Now as a major aim in 2017 is to have peace in every aspect of my life I know I can only do that by forgiving those who have hurt me. However I believe that it’s a lot easier said than done. In my heart I often tell myself and God that I have forgiven all those that have hurt me…but then…I get a flashback or the same people disappoint me (again) and the feelings of hate and resentment crop up (maybe hate is too strong of a word, I’ll say extreme dislike 😊) and I find myself under that dark cloud called misery. Sometimes in my head I am plotting ways I can get back at them or if they happen to have contacted me I’ll hit them with the truth…but not in a loving way…in a way that I know that’ll hurt them the same way they hurt me.  I always know it’s wrong but I don’t always feel bad which I know is wrong also! So moving forward in 2017 I’m going to work on forgiving all those that have hurt me. I will also work on thinking before I respond to disappointment and hurt! God knows my intention every year is this but this year it’s not just an intention it’s a prayer/ fasting point (fasting alone is a prayer point by itself! We’ll leave that for another day! 

To conclude in 2017 I’m stepping into my year of divine Faith. My year of Love in Action, My year of endless Joy, My year of unknown territories and finally my year of forgiveness and peace! What are you stepping into in 2017?

End of Year 5 Days of Reflection: Day 4 It’s Time to Leap!

​Hi! My name is Mabs the Procrastinator! I love to make an excuse at every given chance..2016 was no different. I had so many goals and targets I wanted to achieve this year but to be honest I haven’t achieved any apart from going back to work. Don’t get me wrong I am extremely proud of the fact that I went back to work, in a new school, in a new area and a different role but there were a million other things I wanted to achieve this year that I did not. Everytime I wanted to take the leap..I would make an excuse as to why my goal wasn’t achieveable or cave in to my fears hence today 29th of December I’m no step closer to what it is I wanted to achieve.

In saying all of this, this past month I started making moves towards bringing two not for profit initiatives I want to embark on in 2017 to life. I sent emails to various businesses and charities explaining what it is I want to do but only a handful came back to me congratulating me about my idea and wishing me luck but not showing much interest past pleasantries. So in typical Mabinty form I gave up! In my head it’s not worked…when in actual fact I haven’t even tried!
Moving forward to 2017 I’m going to endeavour to have more self belief and be more daring in all aspects of my life. I always let my anxiety get to me and (especially this year) use it as an excuse as to why I can’t complete things! Well no more!! 2017 I’m going to step into the most daring year of my life yet! I will take those chances and jump into unknown territory. So if you’re like me a ‘Safe Sally’ or a ‘Procrastinating Priscilla’ I encourage you to take this leap with me to achieve your goals this year. Really…think about it…What’s the worse that can happen?

End of Year 5 Days of Reflection: Day 3 Joy

“…Joy is a decision, not a reaction to circumstances….” 

We may not be able to choose or control the circumstances we sometimes find ourselves in, but we can choose and control how we respond to those circumstances.
This statement was posted on Monday September 19th on Collate an all female whattsapp group I am apart of. It resonated with me because for the past God knows how many years I haven’t felt complete joy. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve had joyful moments, my wedding day, the birth of my son, time with certain family members and friends but for some reason I’ve felt that my joy has not been constant. After reading this statement I chose to choose joy in every situation…then October 3rd happened exactly 2 weeks to the day. A situation occurred whereby I was blamed for doing something which had absolutely nothing to do me by someone who I believe had no right to involve in the situation at hand. I flipped! Anger, resentment, hurt that I had buried for a long time resurfaced and I said a lot of things I did not mean and acted in a way that was not aligned with my new ‘zen’ self. Although I got an apology I found that I went back to my depressive state (a state I was in for a long time previously) I felt low and the only 2 reasons I was able to leave my bed was because of my 8th month old son and my 9-5. Then I read the statement again; “…Joy is a decision, not a reaction to circumstances….”. Although I was extremely hurt by the events that transpired on the 3rd of October I should never have allowed that circumstance to determine the way I felt or for those people to steal my joy and ruin my week. Therefore in 2017 I am choosing joy over everything. I can’t control other people’s actions or
circumstances I may find myself in but I will definitely choose how I respond and control how it affects me! #fivedaysofreflection #Day3Joy #2017IchooseJoy 😊😊

 

End Of Year 5 Days of Reflection: Day 2 Love

This year I spent most of it dwelling on the reasons why certain people didn’t love me, show an interest in me or my family to the point where I felt I took those people who God strategically placed in my life to fill that void for granted. I spent the majority of the year expecting to receive love the way I gave it or expected people to show the same interest in me as I did in them. There were many times this year where I felt disappointed by certain members of my family and friends as I felt they didn’t make the same efforts I made/ make for them. 

It baffled and hurt me this year whilst trying to comprehend how complete strangers went out of their way to show us random acts of love and support (especially after we became parents) but the people who we thought would step up did not.

Until my wise husband opened my eyes to something. Just because you love someone in a certain way does not mean that they will love you the exact same way. He (and other friends) urged me to decrease my expectations because inevitably unmet expectations breeds disappointment which in result breeds resentment. It’s taken me a long time to come and accept this…actually in all honesty I’m still trying to accept this concept. 

So to all those people who have been actively present in our lives (old and new) and have made the utmost efforts to show us love and support..thank you and sorry if I/We took you for granted! Moving forward in 2017 my aim is to build meaningful relationships and ultimately  friendships to last my lifetime. I will aim not to expect anything other than what it is. Overall next year I want to show love to those who need it the most like the way certain people randomly showed me/us love when I/we needed it the most. My #Loveinaction starts in 2017! #fivedaysofreflection #2k16 #Day2Love