Dear Future Me….

It’s my birthday (well it was on Saturday)!! Yaayyy!! Finally 29! You wouldn’t believe that now I am finally turning 29 all my friends have either turned 30 or are about to turn 30! So you can only understand my excitement!

I love birthdays! I always have. I think I love the idea of having all the people I love together in one room, eating, drinking, dancing and just enjoying life. Thinking about it, I would like my funeral to be one big party, with lots of food, drink and dancing. I would love for everyone to come in the colour purple or gold or both or wear African cloth. Just a burst of colour! I wouldn’t want flowers I would just like for everyone to donate to my favourite charities like Shelter, Plan UK and Men4Mentoring!

Anywhoo I digress…back to my birthday… I love them. Every year I try and celebrate. It just so happens that my husband is two days older than me so this time of the year is always very special to me/us. Although I love to celebrate and live life to the fullest from the 24th day through to the 26th day of the eighth month, I also take time out to reflect on the past year of my life and try and make some positive changes to improve my spiritual, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Last year I was terribly depressed on my birthday, I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I think I got up about 3pm in the afternoon. I was in a mood. I was disappointed. I was angry. I was resentful. I was not myself. I remember crying most of the day. Why? Well it’s a long story one that requires another blogpost, when the wounds of my past have fully healed. So this year I was dreading my birthday. I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. However this year I had to tell myself that I wasn’t going to let things or people affect my mood. I was not going to dwell on the things I could not control. The dark cloud called misery was not going to affect my life. Dwelling Dawn was leaving for good and Hopeful Holly was coming to stay. So after sieving through all my emotions and listening to ‘Dear Future Me’ by James Fortune and Fiya I sat down to pen a letter to my future self:

Dear Future Me,

Firstly well done for getting this far! At times I’m sure the road seemed rocky, at times I’m certain that you just wanted to give up! All I can say is well done for sticking through this complex, emotionally draining thing called life. You have made it to this day and you will make it to tomorrow and the next day by His Grace!

Now to the nitty gritty; Stop worrying about things that you cannot change. Your worrying will not make a positive impact to your situation instead it will only increase your anxiety and question your faith. Remember it will ALWAYS work out in the end. Trust in God and trust in you! You’ve made it up until this point haven’t you? Certain things will be out of your control….so simply let go and let God.

Focus on yourself, Isaiah, his brother and sister and Tolu. I guess I am trying to say in the most polite way ever is BE SELFISH! Always remember “I Before Others”! Stop going out of your way for people but instead go out of your way for yourself and your boys and little girl! What I have realised is that no matter how much you love people and make sacrifices for them, they will not always make the same sacrifices for you and that’s okay. Just remember do not break your back for people that cannot even bend backwards for you. Remember to say NO when you are not comfortable with something. Think about yourself first before you say yes. Saying ‘No’ does not mean you do not care! It just means that you cannot at that particular time.

I guess this leads me to my next point; do not dwell on the past or the past hurt that you have experienced in the hands of others. Life is too short. Think about it, did you ever imagine that you would be sat where you are currently reading a letter from a younger version of yourself? No. I didn’t think you did. So that illustrates that time moves forward. So should you. You have spent many years covering up the emotional scars of your past….embrace them and leave them where they should be…in the past. Don’t waste your precious short time on this Earth dwelling on things or people you cannot change.

Believe in yourself! You have so much potential, do not let the opinions of others (including family and friends) deter you from this mind-set. You have achieved so much in your life so far, think about how much more you could have achieved if you caught this revelation in your youth. Do not waste any more time! You can and you WILL! Whenever that procrastination spirit wants to get hold of you remember, “The secret to getting ahead is to get started”.

Live in every moment! I trust you will be able to do this because you love to have a good time. Life is about living. Go and see the world, Climb Mountains, run marathons! Live a life that’s worthy. Think of all the stories you’ll pass down to your grandchildren.

Finally always choose Joy. It’s the best armour against misery and the devil and your haters! Trust me it’s worked this far!

After writing my letter, I can now say I am E to the X CITED! To step into my last year of my twenties what has been the most emotional, most challenging, most revealing nine years of my life. However the nine years also gave me the greatest joys of all. They saw me from a Miss into a Mrs when I married Caramel Latte (yes I love a latte) man and obviously the nine years in which I achieved my biggest accomplishment of all…my big eyed, big smile, energetic, mini me! My Isaiah.

So yes… the storms have come but they’ve also gone…the sun is shining!! I cannot wait to shine into and in my 30s because I am on the path to being able to see clearly again.

Why don’t you give it a go! Write your own ‘Dear Future Me’ letter. What would like to tell an older version of yourself? What lessons have you learnt? Let’s start the #dearfuturemechallenge. Trust me it’ll be the most therapeutic thing you have ever done! I’ll leave you with a snippet of the song ‘Dear Future Me’.

As Always,

Be Happy, Be Bright, Be YOU!

Love Mabs xx

I Leaped

So obviously this whole posting on a regular basis is not working but hey…I will try to do better! And I will continue trying! So my sincere apologies for my lack of commitment…I promise I’ll get better… Well I did it! Did what? I hear you ask…I took the leap! I stepped outside of my comfort zone, for once I actually let go and let God! How? I hear you ask….well I finally made the decision to put myself and my family first.

As much as I had built lovely relationships with other members of staff as well as the students, I was however desperately un-happy. My old place of employment was not diverse at all, in terms of ratios it was probably 1:10 black minority ethnic members of staff to white Caucasian members of staff. This then meant that I had to deal with a lot of racial ignorance, sometimes racism from students, with little to nothing done about the abuse. I know what you are all thinking…why did you stay for that long? Well…I was comfortable-ish. The holidays were amazing, I was doing something I loved, and overall it was convenient. It took a comment from another member of staff to make me realise that I had to Get Out (with reference to the film )! The comment coupled with my monthly wage packet made me realise that my skill set was not aligned with the role therefore dawned on me that it was time to take my own advice and take the leap!

I made the decision to move on. However, I went into the application process with a defeatist mentality. Who would want to hire me? I don’t live in St. Albans, neither do I have blonde hair and blue eyes, I am a mother, I have a ‘foreign’ name and to top it all off I had been out of the project management sector for three years! However the little voice within me told me to let go and let God and so I did…kind off. After downloading the application pack and filling out all the basic aspects of it, False Evidence Appearing Real kicked in! After convincing myself that I was not competent enough to fill out the personal statement part of the application form, I asked my husband to do it for me…

‘No, do it yourself and I’ll just check over it’. My response, ‘You NEVER want to help me…blah blah blah’. His response ‘You need to have more faith in yourself Mabinty, stop putting yourself down’. My reply, ‘Whatever, you just don’t want to help me’.

So the Stubborn Susie within went ahead and filled out the application form without even telling him and sent it a day before deadline! When I sent the application form in, I had convinced myself that I wasn’t going to get shortlisted at all! Thursday May 25th rolled along, exactly a week after the application deadline. I remember being in the sports hall invigilating yet another exam… bear with me while I digress…

If you ever want to know what dying of boredom would feel like, invigilate an exam. Literally the most soul sucking experience EVER! Especially when you are made to do it time and time again!

Anywhoo back to my testimony…at that moment, as I contemplated my life, I had a conversation with God! Actually let me rephrase I was telling Him off paired with a lot of woe is me statements “Why doesn’t anything good ever happen for?” so on and so on. At the end of the exchange with God I simply said, “If this is for me then it will be for me”. In hindsight I believe God was laughing at me, He probably thought ‘look at this girl, if only she knew’. Then the email appeared in my inbox at 3pm…I looked for the ‘You have been unsuccessful on this occasion’ line but couldn’t find it! Instead I saw, ‘You have been successful’ then I panicked! Sugar Honey Ice Tea! I never expected to get shortlisted! So I spent the following week reading on everything and anything to do with faith and education!

Interview day came, the sun was shining. I remember telling myself that the interview was a practice for the future roles I was going to apply for…then I walked in and committed a faux par immediately! I called the director Stuart instead of James and immediately thought that was it! The job was no longer mine! It’s funny because after that incident my nerves were gone! I decided to be myself! I left the interview content with my performance and for a practice went well.

I didn’t expect to hear from them until the following week! But two hours after the interview I got the call that I thought I would never get ‘We would like to offer you the role of Project Coordinator for the Church of England’s Foundation for Educational Leadership, we look forward to working with you’. At that moment in time I felt that God had truly come through for me. I did it! I faced my fears and took the leap from one fish bowl into another!

I have said all this to ultimately say; Apply for that job you’ve always wanted, move to that country you have always wanted to live in, start that business you have always wanted to start! Have faith in yourself but more importantly have faith in the God that you serve! I felt stuck in a job where I wasn’t growing, a job that I wasn’t happy in however I stayed stuck because I was scared and confused. Then I took a leap into the unknown, within the unknown is where I found happiness and clarity. Let go and let GOD!

As Always,

Be Bright, Be Happy, Be YOU!

Love Mabs x

Ten Years On The Pain Still Remains….

I still can’t believe it’s been ten years. I never really understood grief or kI still can’t believe it’s been ten years. I never really understood grief or knew what grief was until she left us. Aunty Hawa, was more than an aunt she was like my second mum. Yes, it’s a clichè phrase but God and family members know this to be true. She was down to earth, open and loving. Boy was she loving! Aunty Hawa was never short of gifts, words of affirmation and hugs. I love hugs and words of affirmation. ‘Mabinty, I’m proud of you’. ‘Well done for going to University, Mabinty’ she would coo so softly with that big wide amazing smile that will make even the most miserable person on earth smile too.

I remember the last time I spoke to her, actually I remember it well, it was a Saturday in March of 2007 I had been out the night before so stayed in Kingston that weekend. Aunty Hawa was back in hospital then, even from her sick bed she still wanted to check on me and tell me she loved me and that she was proud of me. She never once mentioned her illness or the severity of it, instead she kept the call positive, sweet and short. If only I knew that would be the last time I would hear her soft yet melodic voice; I would have begged her not to leave us, I would have told her how much we all needed her still, I would tell her how much of a blessing she had been to us and finally that my love for her was infinite, never ending and deep.
I was oblivious to the fact that Aunty Hawa was only given months…..I still can’t believe it’s been ten years.
I never really understood grief or knew what grief was until she left us. Aunty Hawa, was more than an aunt she was like my second mum. Yes, it’s a clichè phrase but God and family members know this to be true. She was down to Earth, open and loving. Boy was she loving! Aunty Hawa was never short of gifts, words of affirmation and hugs. I love hugs and words of affirmation. ‘Mabinty, I’m proud of you’. ‘Well done for going to University, Mabinty’ she would coo so softly with that big wide amazing smile that will make even the most miserable person on earth smile too.
I remember the last time I spoke to her, actually I remember it well, it was a Saturday in March of 2007 I had been out the night before so stayed in Kingston that weekend. Aunty Hawa was back in hospital then, even from her sick bed she still wanted to check on me and tell me she loved me and that she was proud of me. She never once mentioned her illness or the severity of it, instead she kept the call positive, sweet and short. If only I knew that would be the last time I would hear her soft yet melodic voice; I would have begged her not to leave us, I would have told her how much we all needed her still, I would tell her how much of a blessing she had been to us and finally that my love for her was infinite, never ending and deep.
I was oblivious to the fact that Aunty Hawa was only given months…..Thursday, May 24th 2007 hit me like a tonne of bricks. Even to this day as clear as my memory is in terms of my emotions and how I felt that sunny Thursday morning, everything else is hazey. Looking back now although the sun was shining and everyone around me was happy, to me it was completely darkness. I remember thinking about Moses and Ben and then casting my mind to oblivious six year old Becky, her children. Questions like, how will they cope with this tremendous loss? How can we support them? To bringing my thoughts back to whether aunty Hawa was truly gone.
I wish every day she was here to witness the amazing acomplishments of my cousins. She would be so proud of the amazing men they’ve become and the beautiful young lady that her only daughter has become. Aunty Hawa loved to spoil us with gifts, so I can only imagine how she would have spoilt her grandchildren.
Before aunty Hawa’s death I didn’t know what grief was, I had never experienced that gut wrenching pain that felt like it would never leave. I cried. I cried alot. Actually till this day I still cry. I’m actually crying now as I pen my thoughts down. That’s how I pretty much dealt with aunty Hawa’s death, through my tears. It’s funny because every single member of my family felt the same pain as I did, but we never really discussed it, we rarely shared our memories of her. In hindsight I believe it was because the pain was all too much for us to handle, the reality that we will never see her again was too big to come to terms with.
I wrote her letters after she died, telling her how much I loved her etc, just giving her the low down on my life and the lives of those she loved. I guess that was one way I tried to deal with her passing. For months I was unable to sleep, too afraid to incase I too would pass away during the night. Irrational. I know. But grief makes you think and believe irrational thoughts. I still struggle to sleep today, my fear and somewhat obsession with death is still prevalent today. Honestly I firmly believe it’s because I haven’t been able to grieve properly. I don’t know how to grieve. I’m still processing my pain and coming to terms with it. I guess there is no right or wrong way to deal with loss. I’m still on the journey.
I’m at peace with aunty Hawa’s death but ten years on the pain still remains and I think it always will.
I want to finish off with my favourite memory of her…
It was Christmas 2006 (what would be aunty Hawa’s last Christmas) as family tradition went, aunty Hawa, Moses, Ben and Becky all came over to my family house for Christmas lunch. They always woke us up with presents and insults because we were all still asleep. After we opened presents, got dressed we would all help set up the table, prepare the last of the meals and we would all then ascend to the table as a family. During all of these activities my cousins Moses or Ben would walk around capturing us all on video. Once sat down, we would pray, then eat. As we ate, this year in particular, we decided to play games…chinese whispers is the one game I vivdly remember playing. Let’s just say it was so funny because it was a hot mess! Africans and Chinese whispers is funnier than funny. After Christmas lunch, the washing up and tidying up would be done and the children would descend downstairs whilst the adults stayed upstairs talking about grown stuff. ‘Mabinty, Mabinty, come upstairs please’. ‘Please can you put that song on’. ‘Which song aunty?’ ‘Vuli….dun..da..le…..’. I knew exactly what song she met because it was the new banger that every Sierra Leonean person loved! So I went over to the CD player and put it on Brenda Fassie, Vulindlea. The opening line boomed from our living room speakers…’Vuliiiiii’ and juat like that aunty Hawa jumped out of the chair she was sat on and began to dance, she danced for the whole five minutes constantly smiling and proclaiming her love for the song.
So that’s who my aunt was! Fun, loved life to the fullest and that’s how I choose to remember her even through my tears.
https://youtu.be/1RvfDkzUOosursday, May 24th 2007 hit me like a tonne of bricks. Even to this day as clear as my memory is in terms of my emotions and how I felt that sunny Thursday morning, everything else is hazey. Looking back now although the sun was shining and everyone around me was happy, to me it was completely darkness. I remember thinking about Moses and Ben and then casting my mind to oblivious six year old Becky, her children. Questions like, how will they cope with this tremendous loss? How can we support them? To bringing my thoughts back to whether aunty Hawa was truly gone.
I wish every day she was here to witness the amazing acomplishments of my cousins. She would be so proud of the amazing men they’ve become and the beautiful young lady that her only daughter has become. Aunty Hawa loved to spoil us with gifts, so I can only imagine how she would have spoilt her grandchildren.
Before aunty Hawa’s death I didn’t know what grief was, I had never experienced that gut wrenching pain that felt like it would never leave. I cried. I cried alot. Actually till this day I still cry. I’m actually crying now as I pen my thoughts down. That’s how I pretty much dealt with aunty Hawa’s death, through my tears. It’s funny because every single member of my family felt the same pain as I did, but we never really discussed it, we rarely shared our memories of her. In hindsight I believe it was because the pain was all too much for us to handle, the reality that we will never see her again was too big to come to terms with.
I wrote her letters after she died, telling her how much I loved her etc, just giving her the low down on my life and the lives of those she loved. I guess that was one way I tried to deal with her passing. For months I was unable to sleep, too afraid to incase I too would pass away during the night. Irrational. I know. But grief makes you think and believe irrational thoughts. I still struggle to sleep today, my fear and somewhat obsession with death is still prevalent today. Honestly I firmly believe it’s because I haven’t been able to grieve properly. I don’t know how to grieve. I’m still processing my pain and coming to terms with it. I guess there is no right or wrong way to deal with loss. I’m still on the journey.
I’m at peace with aunty Hawa’s death but ten years on the pain still remains and I think it always will.
I want to finish off with my favourite memory of her…
It was Christmas 2006 (what would be aunty Hawa’s last Christmas) as family tradition went, aunty Hawa, Moses, Ben and Becky all came over to my family house for Christmas lunch. They always woke us up with presents and insults because we were all still asleep. After we opened presents, got dressed we would all help set up the table, prepare the last of the meals and we would all then ascend to the table as a family. During all of these activities my cousins Moses or Ben would walk around capturing us all on video. Once sat down, we would pray, then eat. As we ate, this year in particular, we decided to play games…chinese whispers is the one game I vivdly remember playing. Let’s just say it was so funny because it was a hot mess! Africans and Chinese whispers is funnier than funny. After Christmas lunch, the washing up and tidying up would be done and the children would descend downstairs whilst the adults stayed upstairs talking about grown stuff. ‘Mabinty, Mabinty, come upstairs please’. ‘Please can you put that song on’. ‘Which song aunty?’ ‘Vuli….dun..da..le…..’. I knew exactly what song she met because it was the new banger that every Sierra Leonean person loved! So I went over to the CD player and put it on Brenda Fassie, Vulindlea. The opening line boomed from our living room speakers…’Vuliiiiii’ and juat like that aunty Hawa jumped out of the chair she was sat on and began to dance, she danced for the whole five minutes constantly smiling and proclaiming her love for the song.
So that’s who my aunt was! Fun, loved life to the fullest and that’s how I choose to remember her even through my tears.

Ben Kamara 20160201_222736

FB_IMG_1495579241071 new what grief was until she left us. Aunty Hawa, was more than an aunt she was like my second mum. Yes, it’s a clichè phrase but God and family members know this to be true. She was down to earth, open and loving. Boy was she loving! Aunty Hawa was never short of gifts, words of affirmation and hugs. I love hugs and words of affirmation. ‘Mabinty, I’m proud of you’. ‘Well done for going to University, Mabinty’ she would coo so softly with that big wide amazing smile that will make even the most miserable person on earth smile too.
I remember the last time I spoke to her, actually I remember it well, it was a Saturday in March of 2007 I had been out the night before so stayed in Kingston that weekend. Aunty Hawa was back in hospital then, even from her sick bed she still wanted to check on me and tell me she loved me and that she was proud of me. She never once mentioned her illness or the severity of it, instead she kept the call positive, sweet and short. If only I knew that would be the last time I would hear her soft yet melodic voice; I would have begged her not to leave us, I would have told her how much we all needed her still, I would tell her how much of a blessing she had been to us and finally that my love for her was infinite, never ending and deep.
I was oblivious to the fact that Aunty Hawa was only given months…..I still can’t believe it’s been ten years. 

I never really understood grief or knew what grief was until she left us. Aunty Hawa, was more than an aunt she was like my second mum. Yes, it’s a clichè phrase but God and family members know this to be true. She was down to Earth, open and loving. Boy was she loving! Aunty Hawa was never short of gifts, words of affirmation and hugs. I love hugs and words of affirmation. ‘Mabinty, I’m proud of you’. ‘Well done for going to University, Mabinty’ she would coo so softly with that big wide amazing smile that will make even the most miserable person on earth smile too.

I remember the last time I spoke to her, actually I remember it well, it was a Saturday in March of 2007 I had been out the night before so stayed in Kingston that weekend. Aunty Hawa was back in hospital then, even from her sick bed she still wanted to check on me and tell me she loved me and that she was proud of me. She never once mentioned her illness or the severity of it, instead she kept the call positive, sweet and short. If only I knew that would be the last time I would hear her soft yet melodic voice; I would have begged her not to leave us, I would have told her how much we all needed her still, I would tell her how much of a blessing she had been to us and finally that my love for her was infinite, never ending and deep.
I was oblivious to the fact that Aunty Hawa was only given months…..Thursday, May 24th 2007 hit me like a tonne of bricks. Even to this day as clear as my memory is in terms of my emotions and how I felt that sunny Thursday morning, everything else is hazey. Looking back now although the sun was shining and everyone around me was happy, to me it was completely darkness. I remember thinking about Moses and Ben and then casting my mind to oblivious six year old Becky, her children. Questions like, how will they cope with this tremendous loss? How can we support them? To bringing my thoughts back to whether aunty Hawa was truly gone.
I wish every day she was here to witness the amazing acomplishments of my cousins. She would be so proud of the amazing men they’ve become and the beautiful young lady that her only daughter has become. Aunty Hawa loved to spoil us with gifts, so I can only imagine how she would have spoilt her grandchildren.
Before aunty Hawa’s death I didn’t know what grief was, I had never experienced that gut wrenching pain that felt like it would never leave. I cried. I cried alot. Actually till this day I still cry. I’m actually crying now as I pen my thoughts down. That’s how I pretty much dealt with aunty Hawa’s death, through my tears. It’s funny because every single member of my family felt the same pain as I did, but we never really discussed it, we rarely shared our memories of her. In hindsight I believe it was because the pain was all too much for us to handle, the reality that we will never see her again was too big to come to terms with.
I wrote her letters after she died, telling her how much I loved her etc, just giving her the low down on my life and the lives of those she loved. I guess that was one way I tried to deal with her passing. For months I was unable to sleep, too afraid to incase I too would pass away during the night. Irrational. I know. But grief makes you think and believe irrational thoughts. I still struggle to sleep today, my fear and somewhat obsession with death is still prevalent today. Honestly I firmly believe it’s because I haven’t been able to grieve properly. I don’t know how to grieve. I’m still processing my pain and coming to terms with it. I guess there is no right or wrong way to deal with loss. I’m still on the journey.
I’m at peace with aunty Hawa’s death but ten years on the pain still remains and I think it always will.
I want to finish off with my favourite memory of her…
It was Christmas 2006 (what would be aunty Hawa’s last Christmas) as family tradition went, aunty Hawa, Moses, Ben and Becky all came over to my family house for Christmas lunch. They always woke us up with presents and insults because we were all still asleep. After we opened presents, got dressed we would all help set up the table, prepare the last of the meals and we would all then ascend to the table as a family. During all of these activities my cousins Moses or Ben would walk around capturing us all on video. Once sat down, we would pray, then eat. As we ate, this year in particular, we decided to play games…chinese whispers is the one game I vivdly remember playing. Let’s just say it was so funny because it was a hot mess! Africans and Chinese whispers is funnier than funny. After Christmas lunch, the washing up and tidying up would be done and the children would descend downstairs whilst the adults stayed upstairs talking about grown stuff. ‘Mabinty, Mabinty, come upstairs please’. ‘Please can you put that song on’. ‘Which song aunty?’ ‘Vuli….dun..da..le…..’. I knew exactly what song she met because it was the new banger that every Sierra Leonean person loved! So I went over to the CD player and put it on Brenda Fassie, Vulindlea. The opening line boomed from our living room speakers…’Vuliiiiii’ and juat like that aunty Hawa jumped out of the chair she was sat on and began to dance, she danced for the whole five minutes constantly smiling and proclaiming her love for the song.
So that’s who my aunt was! Fun, loved life to the fullest and that’s how I choose to remember her even through my tears.
https://youtu.be/1RvfDkzUOosursday, May 24th 2007 hit me like a tonne of bricks. Even to this day as clear as my memory is in terms of my emotions and how I felt that sunny Thursday morning, everything else is hazey. Looking back now although the sun was shining and everyone around me was happy, to me it was completely darkness. I remember thinking about Moses and Ben and then casting my mind to oblivious six year old Becky, her children. Questions like, how will they cope with this tremendous loss? How can we support them? To bringing my thoughts back to whether aunty Hawa was truly gone.
I wish every day she was here to witness the amazing acomplishments of my cousins. She would be so proud of the amazing men they’ve become and the beautiful young lady that her only daughter has become. Aunty Hawa loved to spoil us with gifts, so I can only imagine how she would have spoilt her grandchildren.
Before aunty Hawa’s death I didn’t know what grief was, I had never experienced that gut wrenching pain that felt like it would never leave. I cried. I cried alot. Actually till this day I still cry. I’m actually crying now as I pen my thoughts down. That’s how I pretty much dealt with aunty Hawa’s death, through my tears. It’s funny because every single member of my family felt the same pain as I did, but we never really discussed it, we rarely shared our memories of her. In hindsight I believe it was because the pain was all too much for us to handle, the reality that we will never see her again was too big to come to terms with.
I wrote her letters after she died, telling her how much I loved her etc, just giving her the low down on my life and the lives of those she loved. I guess that was one way I tried to deal with her passing. For months I was unable to sleep, too afraid to incase I too would pass away during the night. Irrational. I know. But grief makes you think and believe irrational thoughts. I still struggle to sleep today, my fear and somewhat obsession with death is still prevalent today. Honestly I firmly believe it’s because I haven’t been able to grieve properly. I don’t know how to grieve. I’m still processing my pain and coming to terms with it. I guess there is no right or wrong way to deal with loss. I’m still on the journey.
I’m at peace with aunty Hawa’s death but ten years on the pain still remains and I think it always will.
I want to finish off with my favourite memory of her…
It was Christmas 2006 (what would be aunty Hawa’s last Christmas) as family tradition went, aunty Hawa, Moses, Ben and Becky all came over to my family house for Christmas lunch. They always woke us up with presents and insults because we were all still asleep. After we opened presents, got dressed we would all help set up the table, prepare the last of the meals and we would all then ascend to the table as a family. During all of these activities my cousins Moses or Ben would walk around capturing us all on video. Once sat down, we would pray, then eat. As we ate, this year in particular, we decided to play games…chinese whispers is the one game I vivdly remember playing. Let’s just say it was so funny because it was a hot mess! Africans and Chinese whispers is funnier than funny. After Christmas lunch, the washing up and tidying up would be done and the children would descend downstairs whilst the adults stayed upstairs talking about grown stuff. ‘Mabinty, Mabinty, come upstairs please’. ‘Please can you put that song on’. ‘Which song aunty?’ ‘Vuli….dun..da..le…..’. I knew exactly what song she met because it was the new banger that every Sierra Leonean person loved! So I went over to the CD player and put it on Brenda Fassie, Vulindlea. The opening line boomed from our living room speakers…’Vuliiiiii’ and juat like that aunty Hawa jumped out of the chair she was sat on and began to dance, she danced for the whole five minutes constantly smiling and proclaiming her love for the song.
So that’s who my aunt was! Fun, loved life to the fullest and that’s how I choose to remember her even through my tears.

 

Ben Kamara 20160201_222736

 

FB_IMG_1495579241071

The Friendship Diaries….

I love me some good old ratchet television! Every Monday you will catch me watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta, then on a Tuesday some form of Love and Hip Hop franchise. From Basketball Wives to Married to Medicine, to Bad Girls’ Club, I indulge in them all! I honestly cannot put my finger on why I find them so entertaining….actually I can, they all have money (of some sort) but will still be acting like a hot mess!
The premise of these shows is that they put women with completely different personalities together and set up situations, then the producers sit back and watch the drama unfold or sometimes explode! I can literally write a thesis about these reality shows and the different scenarios that occur and how they are dealt with. Today however I am going to focus on their friendship groups.
Some of the women on these shows have been (real) friends for years! They start of really close say during seasons 1 and 2, then by season three the cracks in their friendship begin to surface and by season four that friendship is dead, buried and resurrection is as alien to them as salad is to carnivores. For example (apologising in advance for the spoilers) in The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kandi Buruss and Phaedra Parks were really good friends. They did everything together, not just on the show but away from the show also…then something or the other happened and let’s just say the brown stuff hit the fan big time when Phaedra claimed that Kandi was sleeping with another female. However it wasn’t only Phaedra that was throwing shade, Kandi had her little tea to spill on Phaedra by confirming that Phaedra was in fact ‘seeing’ a man she named ‘Chocolate’. Chile (in a southern accent)….it is literally all going down in the ATL!
On a serious note, I often wonder why female friendship groups never last as long as male friendship groups. A boy in my school said to me the other day ‘Ma’am, boys aren’t complicated though, we just fight and move on!’ Why can’t women just air their differences and move on? Instead we (myself especially) harbour feelings of resentment and hurt which inevitably manifests itself into malice. Obviously this is not the case for all friendship groups, however I know a lot of people who were once friends that are no longer friends and literally hate each other!
I was in a friendship group once, like the real housewives scenario, we started of wonderfully. We would go out together, do alot together and just basically have a great time. I found myself confiding in these girls and actually considered them as sisters. However (as always) my expectations were too high. I also felt as though I didn’t set out the boundaries of our friendship and hence felt hurt by a lot of their actions and sometimes lack of. Towards the end of the friendship I felt as though they had battered my confidence, I felt as though they weren’t loyal to me as I was to them and felt as though I didn’t live up to their way of life and hence felt as an outsider. Although they made me feel the way that I did, I never addressed it. I did the Mabs thing and shut down, I withdrew. I never actually told them how their actions made me feel or the effect it had on my life at that time. In my head, for my mental wellbeing I had to flee from that friendship group and so I did. Although I still speak to the girls in that group the scars of their actions/ words are still very present today. In all honesty I don’t think that me telling them how I felt would have salvaged the friendship because they most likely would have denied their actions and not taken responsibility and finally I now know that our worlds are miles apart. I have come to realise that although they are lovely ladies we are just not compatible for a deep and meaningful friendship. Which is totally okay….now. It took me a long time to accept this.
I couldn’t write this post and not mention my six amazing girlfriends who have cried with me, laughed with me and most importantly prayed for me and my family. These girls are always there for me when I need them regardless of time, place and weather! Like seriously!! Some of the girls I have known since childhood and others I have known a lot less but I have never had to question their love and loyalty towards me. Also I can be myself around them…I can be weird, sensitive, throw shade, angry, funny and wonderfully and fabulously me!
This however does not mean that we don’t have disagreements, or we don’t argue, we do! God knows we do! However we sit down and we have conversations and come up with resolutions. I mean six, successful women with big personalities and different perspectives are bound to crash sometimes but it is not the way in which you fall but in the way you get up.
So to finish up, here are a few things I have learnt about Friendships:
Some are Seasonal
I have realised that some friendships are only for seasons, like Kandi and Phaedra or myself and the other group of girls. I’m pretty sure that Kandi and Phaedra learnt a lot about one another whilst they were friends and also learnt a lot about themselves. So when your friendships come to an end or you are not as close as you used to be…remember it’s a season and a lesson.
It’s okay to grieve
Give yourself time to grieve the friendship. Cry if you have to cry, eat all the chocolate in the world if you have to. Friendships are not that dissimilar to romantic relationships. Actually the only difference is that you are not sleeping with your friend. However you spend equally the same amount of time with your friends as you do your partner or spouse. Not only has time been invested but so have emotions. So when a good strong friendship comes to an end it’s similar to that of a death. So give yourself  time to come to terms with your loss.
Manage Expectations
Moving forward in your next friendships learn to manage expectations. I find that the majority of misunderstandings and friendship break-ups are due to unmanaged expectations. I firmly believe that just like romantic relationships, friends should learn each other’s love languages. I feel it is important to love your friend the way in which he/she wants to be loved. I also feel that boundaries should be spoken about…what would you tolerate? What wouldn’t you tolerate? Many times in friendships we go through them without setting out clear boundaries. If uncomfortable conversations need to be had then so be it! At least then you will all know where you stand and will hopefully have a stronger and more sustainable friendship.
A true friend
As Always…..
Be Happy, Be Bright, Be YOU!
Love Mabs x

I’m Minding My Womb…..

Sometime last year I came across an article aptly titled ‘Mind Your own Womb’ by Nadirah Angail. In the article Nadirah describes the relationship between society and the woman who is of a child bearing age. She speaks of different scenarios where people make assumptions or ask questions about when a woman will decide to have children or why a woman hasn’t had children. She also delves into the criticisms that society bestow upon women who decide to have more than the national average of two children. In both cases Nadirah beautifully describes the feelings of these women, their emotions, their tears and their heartache behind the reasons why they’ve had children so late or why they’ve still not been able to biologically birth a child. The article is beautiful and extremely moving. 

The article got me thinking alot! It got me thinking about my cultural background and the insensitivity of some African mothers, aunties, grandmothers, sisters, cousins and dare I say it mother-in-laws. 

Personally, I didn’t leave it long enough to experience such insensitivity and abuse because I became pregnant five months after my husband and I got married. I can actually only remember one time that my mother-in-law mentioned having children  (besides the standard grandchildren prayers) she asked me to ‘go home and convince my husband’. Ironically I had done my 4th positive pregnancy test that morning so I was 100% up the duff by then. In actual fact our (my husband and I) plan was to wait two years before we had a baby, however Dr. Google convinced me that it’ll take six to nine months before the contraceptive I was using at the time left my system. So, not being sure how long and kind of hoping that it’ll take a year to conceive, I came off my contraceptive and fast forward exactly a month after my last period two blue lines appeared on that white stick. The tears flowed as I wasn’t mentally prepared for a baby. My husband on the hand was ecstatic and excited to become a father. So there I was pregnant with only five months of marriage under my belt! The comments that came after I kind of expected…I mean I surround myself with Africans I didn’t expect anything less from them. “Wait you’re pregnant? Didn’t you just get married yesterday?” No actually we got married five months, ten days and nineteen hours ago but anywhooo (my mental response). “Oh Congratulations, you guys didn’t waste anytime boi”. Errrrmmmm we’re married, married people have sex, it was going to happen eventually….congratulations on its own would have sufficed (I’m screwing my face at this point and rolling my eyes). I soon realised that people always had something to say regardless. Mind Your own Womb or you wife’s Womb! Leave mine alone! 

I’ve often heard stories of mother-in-laws or family members who insensitively pressure their daughters/daughter-in-laws to get pregnant immediately after getting married and for some odd reason will place the inability of conception as the woman’s fault and not the man’s. News Flash!! Men can also have fertility issues! 

For the Africans reading this post, we have all seen the Nollywood films where the man and woman have been married for years and yet they have no children. Conception seems to be difficult for them and hence the strain of such pressures can be seen in their marriage. Then along comes mama Ade who makes things worse by abusing her daughter-in-law by professing that she is barren and insists on calling her ‘Barren Woman’ instead of her first name. Mama Ade doesn’t stop there though..she takes it a step further and encourages her son to find another woman and impregnate her, which foolish Ade does. Ade then finds a young little miss and does exactly what his mama advised him to do (at this point I’ll like to encourage all single ladies NEVER marry a mummy’s boy! You’ll thank me later) and Little Miss is pregnant. The day Ade tells his wife about little Miss and her pregnancy…his wife tells him that she too is three months pregnant! Chineke! That’s some real life stuffs. 

Although I’ve made light of this issue the truth is many women go through this torrent of abuse daily, monthly, yearly. Their pain is so real, so raw, so deep. The feeling of being made to feel inadequate because of no fault of your own. Being made to feel less of a woman because you may have chosen not to have children. Being made to feel less of a wife because your body cannot physically cope with carrying a child. Even being made to feel like some sort of irresponsible sex addict because you chose to have more than two children. The thing is it’s your womb, your business! Not any one else’s. 

So to finish this post of I’d like to say…

To the women who are waiting to have children…take your time and have children when you’re ready. It doesn’t make you any less of a woman because you chose to have a child at 38 instead of 28. Remember you’re the one that has to do the nightly feeds and the nappy changes….no one else. 

To the women who have more than two children..there’s a reason why you have the amount of children you do. They all have a purpose in life. Remember that. God will give you the grace and the tools to raise the amount of children he blesses you with.

Finally to the women who are trying for a baby to no avail, or who have been told not to have children due to health issues or even that they can’t have children…DON’T LOSE HOPE! A very close friend of mine was told (when she was 15) that she couldn’t have any children. Fast forward twelve years later at twenty six years old and two months before her twenty seventh birthday..she defied doctors as she gave birth to her first born…a bouncing baby boy! Then there was another friend who was told that pregnancy would kill her, her local hospital refused to treat her because they had advised her against the pregnancy. Fast forward nine months…then along came that baby boy who doctors thought wouldn’t survive, healthy and very much alive! Oh and the mother who doctors thought would die during pregnancy is also very much alive and is probably changing nappies as you read this post. You don’t have to believe in God to believe in miracles because miracles really do happen to any one! Keep believing and one day you too will be holding your bouncing baby boy or your graceful gorgeous girl. 

I apologise because this may not be your conventional Mother’s Day blog post but I thought it was a message that needed to be passed on. Let’s be sensitive and loving this Mother’s Day because we never know what other women are going through when it comes to their womb.

Happy Mother’s day to every single woman out there! 

As Always….

Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You 

Love Mabs xx 

Seriously, Specifically and Strategically Shifting Focus.

I’m back!! Sorry I took some time away..I was at a crossroads in my life (‘Crossroads’, I’m so dramatic) and I needed time away to reflect and regroup! I won’t call my ‘time away’ a sabbatical because I was still writing however alot of the pieces I wrote came from a place of anger and hurt and would require a lot of editing before I post them, I ever do…. I guess you’re all wondering what I was going through…..well it was mostly centred around my relationship with God and my faith.

During February and March I felt angry with God, I felt as though He wasn’t fulfilling the promises He had made to me. I felt that God was moving slowly and generally felt abandoned by Him. Due to all these feelings I did what Mabs does best! I dis-attached myself from Him and everything that concerned him. I stopped going to church and I realised that I started questioning and critiquing everything concerning Him and church. My focus shifted from Him (God) to things I don’t like about church and institutionalised religion. I found myself focusing on all the negatives and blaming others rather than trying to figure out how I could be the change that I wanted to see in church.

Then I started reading Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious Specific and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer. That’s when my perspective changed….okay let me be honest…my perspective is changing….

The book is split into ten strategies she believes that our prayer life should focus on and encourages us to write down strategic prayers after every strategy. I’ve found that having to write down my prayer points works for me and it has been very, very helpful because it  focuses my prayers on specific areas in my life.

In the book Ms Shirer speaks about the relationship we have with the devil…actually his obsession with us and how he would do anything to steal our joy and shift our focus from what’s really important. She explains that the devil’s main aim is to steal our passion and shift our focus away from God which in turn leaves us questioning God’s love for us. WOW! WOW! WOW! What a revelation!! That statement hit me like a tonne of bricks! In my head I equated my relationship with God with that of my relationship with my husband and therefore pictured the devil as a side-chick.

(In a Wendy Williams voice)…In my head….My husband and I are living happily, having fun, going on holiday, doing what married people do and we’re falling deeper in love and our union is getting stronger. Then along comes Buki with the good hair (sorry to all Buki’s out there), the big booty and big breasts who has been observing my relationship with my husband and insists that she too wants a slice of the yellow Nigerian pie; what do you think her first mission is going to be? Yeap that’s right! She’s going to make my husband believe that she is the best thing since fried plantain and that whatever she has to offer it will be a lot better than whatever I was giving him (shifting his focus). Buki, will also try and encourage my husband to invest in her and whatever else she wants to persevere in (stealing his passion, which was once me and his family). Buki, would do all these things in different ways she doesn’t necessarily have to sleep with him, she could just be sowing little seeds of doubt in his head by making him focus on all my negative points and encouraging him to forget my positives. I, on the other hand, will still be loving up on him and doing everything I am supposed to be doing for him as a wife (Just like God does for us). In my head my relationship with my husband has never changed because I (the wife ) have never changed because I chose to love my husband unconditionally (the way God loves us).

Once I played that scenario out in my head (Nollywood style) I started to think about the spirit behind my actions and the actions of others and that in relation to God. God will forever be God, He doesn’t change, He never has or never will! God will be the same whether we worshipped in big lavish buildings in the middle of a buzzing city  or in a hut in the middle of a village in Africa! However the spirit of the devil makes us lose sight of God’s never ending love for us. I lost sight of God’s never ending love for me. I let Buki with the good hair, big booty and breasts sow seeds of doubt and despair in my head. Now I cannot put all the blame on Buki, I have to take some responsibility also. I made myself available mentally. I wasn’t prayerful enough, I allowed the physical actions of others to determine my spiritual being therefore leaving a gap for Buki to come in and play her part.

So “gurl bye” to the Buki with the good hair, big booty and big breasts! Your services are no longer needed and wanted here because me, myself and I are seriously working towards specifically and strategically shifting focus from the things that do not matter to the things that DO matter. Those things are firstly my relationship with God, my family and friends, my career and my Men for Mentoring scheme!

I’m back with a VENGEANCE!!

I cannot recommend the book enough! I suggest you grab one asap!! It definitely puts a lot into perspective. Here is the link to the book:

As always

Be Happy, Be Bright, Be You!

Love Mabs x

 

 

My Come Dine With Me Experience- Part One- My Day.

Yes..I did Come Dine With Me and I LOVED IT!! To be honest it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

To be completely honest I don’t actually remember when I applied…all I remember is that I saw a post on Facebook asking for people in and around Watford so I thought why not?!?! I applied then months later… actually on May Day to my surprise I got a call back from a producer and had a telephone interview..again to my surprise I got through! They then asked if they could come and film a ‘screen test’. They literally said be “yourself”….and I was. Three weeks passed and I got the phone call to say that I’d been picked to do the show. I was so shocked that I was speechless! If you know me you know that I am NEVER speechless (other than that time I saw Morris Chestnut)! Just like that I was going to be on T.V. Honestly I hadn’t thought about the repercussion of me being on the show until D-day…then I thought oh..Sugar, Honey, Ice, Tea…it’s really happening….

Day 1 (my night)

The camera crew arrived at 9am in the morning…yes you read right…9am! Lucky for me I was dressed but had no makeup on so I delayed filming to put my face on first. Then we began filming…all I can remember is that it was a very long day! I managed to cut myself, cry and walk off in a huff and puff!! That all happened off camera! After seven hours in front of the camera I was finally allowed to get dressed and host.

When you saw me open the door it was really for the first time….those facial expressions were all one hundred percent real.

Perdie

Boy was I happy to see Perdie! I honestly believed that I would get a caucasian middle class man turn up first and we’ll have to forge an awkward conversation about the weather. However Perdie and I instantly hit it off! Her smile, her warm hug and the fact that her sister-in-law was Sierra Leonean was definitely the deal breaker.

Sam.

Once again, when I saw Sam I thought YESSSSSSS!! I automatically knew that he would be a lot of fun! I couldn’t help but think what a handsome man…with his gorgeous blue eyes. In saying that though, I knew he liked to be centre of attention which I thought would irritate me but actually he brought the life and soul to the party.

Ben

When I opened the door and saw Ben…it was really really awkward..we sort of did this awkward hug thing and I remember just thinking ‘Jesus take the wheel!’ I initially thought that Ben was going to be the quiet, weirdo of the group…as the night went on I LOVED him! He was so sassy and quick! My kinda person!

Food.

My starters were; Green banana cake, Chicken gizzards and Chicken wings. I was confident in my starter because everyone I know loves chicken wings and the banana cake tastes alot like a bhaji so I knew that was a winner. Okay…I always knew my gizzards were going to be controversial but it’s always good to try something new…right?

My mains were ‘African Fish and Chips’. Confession…I hate yams! I find them to be dry and slightly bitter so I really can’t tell you what had possessed me to serve them. The fish and plantain tasted good though! I was so pleased that Sam and Ben liked their meal and ate it all up!! I’ll be working on Perdie!

My dessert was coconut tamarind ice-cream with Akara. Another confession..it was my first time making this dish! Growing up I had watched my mum make hundreds of akaras but never made them myself (and haven’t made them since). Furthermore although Akara is a sweet doughnut like cake, it is traditionally eaten for breakfast with some sort of fry stew so it was definitely out of the norm to serve it for dessert and pair it with ice-cream. My biggest gamble but I guess my greatest reward because the dessert tasted good and Sam loved it! Plus my homemade ice cream tasted creamy, tamarindy  (I love tamarinds) and coconutty.

Entertainment.
I cannot believe that my entertainment didn’t make the final cut for the show! I personally think my entertainment was the best…and no it wasn’t wearing the wigs!! I taught the other three to Shoki, Oliver twist and Shakiti Borbor (all African dance moves). We all had a great time! 
My Score.

I got a 19 out of 30! To be fair that was higher than I thought I would get and less than what I probably deserved after all my hard work. To be honest I was just happy that I introduced them to some Sierra Leone cuisine…my ultimate aim is to educate anyone and everyone who will listen about Sierra Leone. 

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed my night and at the end of it (midnight) I was shattered! I was looking forward to going to the other’s homes and tasting their food!!

In case you missed it…you can check out our episode here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/come-dine-with-me/on-demand/63972-010

Come back on Sunday for my analysis of the other’s homes and their food! Also some behind the scenes gossip!! 

As always..

Be HappyBe BrightBe You 

Love 

Mabs xx



 

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

 

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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