11 thought-provoking quotes from Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Adichie

It feels that I haven’t had a chance to sit down and actually focus on anything blog related in a lifetime.

I’ve missed this feeling. And I only have my annoying iPhone to thank, there’s always a problem with it. Luckily I have my upgrade to look forward to next month, so I may move on to something else, but probably not as I’m a sucker for punishment.

Anyway, I digress. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the Southbank Centre for their annual Women of the World Festival (check it out) where one of my all time favourite authors – Chimamanda Adichie – hosted a talk all about feminism.

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First of all, I have to thank Stylist magazine, as I had no idea that this festival even existed until it was printed in their magazine. As soon as I saw that the talented and sometimes controversial Chimamanda was talking there, I booked my tickets immediately as I’ve literally dreamt of having the chance to sit down and quiz her about her books, since I finished Half of a Yellow Sun, and although this was hardly a one on one, the chance to see her in real life was good enough for me lol.

Ever since reading a few of her books, I have been a die-hard fan of Chimamanda, I mean she’s even featured on Beyonce’s tune – if you haven’t heard of her, what have you been doing?!

Two weeks ago she released a short essay called; Dear Ijeawele or a feminist manifesto in fifteen suggestionscheck my insta – in response to a friend who asked her how to raise a feminist daughter, which she also discussed in depth on stage and let me tell you the whole experience was life!

I’ve never really liked labelling myself as a feminist, as I feel it has soooo many negative connotations, and in my opinion, you either agree with the equality between men and women or you don’t, but Chimamanda discussed many great points, during her talk and in her book, that after listening and reading I proudly say ‘I’m a feminist’.

She shares so many suggestions, some of which really did have me chuckle, so I thought   I’d share my favourite quotes with you, although I do recommend that you read for yourself as it’s such a quick, humorous and thought-provoking read:

  • Be a full person
  • Never apologise for working. You love what you do, and loving what you do can be a great gift.
  • ‘Because you’re a girl’ is never a reason for anything. Ever.
  • The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina.
  • Being a feminist is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not.
  • Reject likeability.
  • We have a world full of women who are unable to exhale fully because they have for so long been conditioned to fold themselves into shapes to make themselves likeable.
  • Never treat marriage as an achievement.
  • Kindness matters… but teach her that her kindness should never be taken for granted.
  • To love is not only to give but to take.
  • If you criticise X in women but do not criticise X in men, then you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women

There are so many quick-fire quotes from this book, that I’ll always have in mind, especially in the fight of feminism. Have you pocketed any quotes from this book?

Do you label yourself a a feminist? Have you ever read any of Chimamanda’s other books, if so, which is your favourite?

 

OOTD: Confidence

Hey ya’ll,

Today I’m switching it up.

After recently retweeting a thread that really struck a chord with me, I’ve been dwelling on whether to write more posts on subjects that affect me.

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-21-39-42I was so scared of sharing this thread (pictured above) on my twitter timeline. In fact, I toyed back and forth about whether I should retweet for my followers to see. I didn’t want any of my followers who I actively interact with to feel uncomfortable, but at the same time I just couldn’t stay silent. Twitter is my platform to share whatever I like, and although, I didn’t like this post, I could relate with subject matter.

Most of my posts are about what I do on the weekend, the places I travel and what-not which is great because I genuinely enjoy sharing those aspects of my life, but most of the time my head is swirling with a gazillion things that affect me on a daily basis, and one of those ‘things’ is how I choose wear my confidence as a black woman.

And I use the word ‘choose’ because every way in which I am confident is not always accepted in the society I live in.

Being a black woman living in London is something that I treasure and love about myself. In my home, in front of my friends and family I am Rianne without any limitations, however, in society being black acts as anchor that doesn’t allow me to fully be myself without stereotypes and tags being attached to me and everything I do.

Angry, loud, passive aggressive, ratchet instead of their positive alternatives like passionate, confident, intelligent and honest are labels that get thrown around at black women on a daily basis. A few of these words have even been hurled at me and used to put me down which  of course, over the years have had a detrimental affect on my confidence and means I have to always be socially and consciously aware in situations I’m in.

So, here’s a few ways I choose to wear my confidence, when the world tells me I can’t…

Posture
It’s proven that posture has a direct reflection of how you feel and are perceived. Standing with a straight back and head held high makes all the difference to how I feel. For me it’s totally natural for me to recoil into my posture if I’m not feeling great, or if there’s something society deems as not being something I should be proud or confident about. Whenever I catch myself doing this, I remember to readjust my position to show –  I have a purpose and I am meant to be here.

Hair
If you didn’t know I have dreadlocks, take a look at my posts about it here & here. Although this hair journey is becoming a lot more mainstream as a natural, protective hairstyle for black women, it’s not always understood and still very much not an ‘approved’ hairstyle in many workplaces, but I love how I wear my hair as a way to display my heritage and culture. My hair is very versatile, sometimes, I have it in styles, sometimes I have it out, but I love that it can be a conversation starter, where I can educate anyone who wants to know more.

Attitude
Stereotypically black women can be seen as intimidating and unapproachable. Confidence isn’t just about the exterior and how you appear to seem, but it starts from within. At first glance people may have a pre conceived idea about me I’ve been told I have RBF (resting bitch face), but I actively agree in quote: If you have good thoughts (and a positive attitude) they will shine out of your face…

Inner Thoughts
Occasionally, I recite quotes in my head that reaffirm and boost positivity.

Public Speaking
When I refer to this point I don’t necessarily mean in front of a big crowd. Speaking up in certain situations takes courage and therefore confidence, and the older I get I find myself doing this more and more. There are many examples where I feel I have to do this to set the record straight or give the black perspective and to even break stereotypes by someone who is reinforcing them. (the thing about stereotypes is that  they’re not necessarily untrue, but they don’t tell the full story).

One instance where I had to speak out was when someone voiced that they think Blue Ivy is an ugly baby, that she looks nothing like Beyonce and that North West is much prettier. This may seem like a minor issue but to say a child is ugly is quite pathetic tbh, but then again everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, I had to question why they thought this.

When quizzed they simply said her hair wasn’t nice because it was too ‘frizzy’ and because her features resembled Jay Z. This is true but I had to highlight the fact those qualities are qualities of her blackness and for that to be used against her is not cool.

Ultimately, it shows that from a young age, confidence is something that can be snatched away, but it is our job to reclaim it and make the ways in which we are confident a force to be reckoned with.

The subject of confidence is so much bigger than this one blog post, and there are many other ways in which confidence can be radiated.  Although I am talking about my experience as a black woman, I want to know how you wear your confidence, no matter where you’re from or your background?

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Podcasts you NEED to listen to

Hey guys,

I’m back in full force, and let me tell you…there’s reason for it!

Living with very limited internet connection for nearly 3 weeks has made me really… really value internet connection. I mean lets be fair… it practically rules our every second.

But, when it’s suddenly taken from your fingertips is it any wonder why we… or matter of factly speaking I was left not knowing what the hell to do with my time. It’s actually crazy how much my life is consumed by online shopping, blogging, social media and everything else that comes with owning a smartphone.

While my phone was practically out of service, I had to become creative with how I managed my ever depleting data (there’s just never enough is there?!) so instead of downloading movies on Netflix I decided to discover, subscribe and download different podcasts. (Just click on that little purple icon, you wont regret it)

Podcasts literally saved my sanity. I had no idea that podcasts were a thing (again) until Christine put me on to one, on our trip to Paris and it’s now become a personal fave.

Keep reading and let me fill you in on podcasts you NEED to listen to just because… or if you ever find yourself in your bedroom that doesn’t have a TV and no friends to call (Yes it was hell and some tears were shed but I’m seriously living for the moment when I can laugh at this 😫😂)

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The Read
This podcast is my absolute fave. If you love keeping up with music, pop culture, sipping and spilling tea, take some time out with the cool kids; Kid Fury and Crissle as they throw the utmost shade at celebs you love to hate. They literally make my Mondays worth living and have me dying with laughter at my desk and on my commute. Each episode lasts at least 2 hours but it’s still not enough.

Pandolly
I have been a fan of Pandora Sykes forever – she has the coolest blog and is Fashion Features editor for The Sunday Times Style. Little did I know, that she’s teamed up with her buddy and dating columnist Dolly Alderton to bring you feminist debates, news, and general girl talk without any limitations. If you ever wondered what privately educated women talk about, plug into Pandolly airwaves and be a fly on the wall for an hour or two.

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The Receipts
The ultimate girl talk. When I’m talking to my girls this is kinda what it sounds like. The Receipts podcast is hosted by four women from different walks of life who just happen to be friends. Controversial they may be, you can be sure to get the real from these ladies, who will have you nodding, chuckling and wanting more.

Champagne Room (available on soundcloud)
Please Urban Dictionary the name of this podcast and you’ll get the vibe lol. If you know you’re the bad and boujee type, the Champagne room is for you! The perfect evening podcast. Turn on when chilling at home, and get ready to turn up and these girls -will have you mmhmmm’ing in agreement.

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Cut The Chat
OMG. Ever wondered what guys talk about in the barbershop? Check this podcast out! Hosted by four inner city men, you get to know a general consensus around hot topics like Chocolate City, music and more important hot topics like the recent inauguration. Please Check it out…

So there you have it. If you’re ever in need of a pick me up, plug into one of these podcasts and be entertained.

Many thanks to Starbucks for being the real MVP and providing me with free wifi during this tough time 😂

Life Update & How I De-Stress

Hiya,

It’s been a while, but I’ve got exciting news to share – I’ve got a new job! 🎉💷 

It’s been a long time coming and I’m super excited to start the next chapter in my career, but since finding out, and telling my current employer that I’m leaving the company, plus sorting out my whole big hand-over, it has been nothing short of stressful.

It’s weird how such exciting news can quickly turn into a daunting process 😑 😒

Thoughts like; How the hell am I going to tell my manager? Am I meant to look upset or be more apologetic that I’m moving on to different and better pastures? Should I give up a great opportunity? – kept popping into my head, and I found myself quickly stressed with not a clue of what to do. There really should be a handbook for dummies on the subject.

I’ll be starting my new adventure towards the end of the month, but before I can really enjoy and bask in my excitement I’ve got a mammoth job of creating a ton of content before I leave, and to be totally honest it’s all just too much to deal with.

So, if you’re like me and are transitioning into new waters, here’s my tips on how to deal with stress at work…

Plenty of breaks. This point has been said a bazillion times, but it’s totally true, and while I’ve got even more work to do, I’ve found myself stepping away from my desk a little bit more, to take a stroll, make a coffee, and just talk to people. As I stare at computer screen for most of the day, it helps me to take a break from the harsh computer light and take my mind off of my ever growing work load.

Drink lots of Water. Water refreshes and hydrates and to be totally honest with you a nice cold glass of water is calming. It keeps me alert and when I’m rushed off my feet. It’s crazy what a simple glass of water can do. 

Make Music Work. When I arrive at work the first thing I do is put on 1xtra in my browser and plug in my head phones. It helps me disconnect, focus and helps me relax as I’m listening to music I love. Plus, it means I’m not distracted by stupid office politics and it means people don’t disturb you unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Side note: Do you have any albums you’re loving atm? Solange’s new album ‘A Seat At The Table’ and Wretch 32 ‘Growing Over Life’ have been on replay!

A Lovely Bubble Bath. I try and not to take any work home with me – mentally & physically. I also really try not to dwell on things that have really bothered me throughout the day, so once I’ve got home, I like to take some time to myself, grab a cup of tea, chill in a warm bubbly bath using with a Lush bath bomb and turn on an episode of Narcos – the perfect relaxing evening!

 

Enjoy Exercise. I’m sure many of my loyal readers know that I go to the gym, but throughout the month of September I took on a massive challenge of running 26.2 miles for The British Heart Foundation, which meant running at least 2 miles every night. Although it was tough, I’ve tried to continue running a couple times a week as it gives me something to look forward to and actually helps me to de-stress, which I guess is due to my body releasing endorphins. After each session I  actually feel happy and proud of my accomplishments which is a plus!

Reading & Instagram Scrolling. This is a weird de-stressing mechanism I use, but escaping to another place through a book or looking at amazing imagery really helps me chill out and relax. I guess being a serial Instagram scroller has its perks 😂

Do you have any tips on how to handle stress levels? Have you ever had to deal with an awkward resignation? Let me know…

23 Things I’ve Learned In 23 Years

It’s been so, so, soooo long since I last blogged – it’s September already and there’s only 16 weeks until christmas (how crazy is that!)

Although I’ve been away for the majority of August, there has been good reason for it – It was my birthday month and boy did I enjoyyyy… I was insanely spoilt so i’ll be sure to share soon.

But, more recently I’ve been in reflective mood, enjoying the people around me, and the experiences/ lifestyle I’ve been fortunate enough to have, which is why I think actually noting down 23 life lessons – one for every year I’ve been alive – will help me remember what’s actually important in life, and perhaps help younger females out there that come across this post somehow.

23 things I’ve learned in 23 years (in no particular order):

  1. Failure is necessary. I think everyone says this, but no one knows why failure is actually necessary. When I was younger, I was quiet academic, always on the straight and narrow and never really felt any failure or rejection until I finished uni. I searched for nearly a year with many #FAILS in the process but it was so necessary because it made me work harder and really appreciate what I did get.
  2. Scrutiny is necessary. Just like failure, you need to experience scrutiny as well as constrictive criticism to move forward and better yourself.
  3. Learn to live below your means. This point has never been more relevant in my life, especially when things like buying my own house and getting a better car become more of a priority, it’s never been more important to save, even if it’s just a little every month, in order for me invest in things that matter in the grand scheme of things.
  4. Buy experiences, not things. When you work and you can afford to buy things yourself, you soon realise, experiencing things and travelling takes precedent over owning the latest pair of trainers. After all memories last a lifetime.
  5. Avoid trends. As far as I’m concerned trends are a waste of time and money. I have learned to invest in things that I genuinely like.
  6. Not everyone will be there for you. When you go through real tests in your life you realise who’s actually there for you, and who makes time to check up on you. Sometimes it’s a harsh but necessary wake up call on who you need to cut #CutIt
  7. Keep your head up. As a black female, especially over the last year with all the madness happening throughout the world, I’ve learned how important it is to keep my shoulders back and head up, no matter if I’ve got an unusual hairstyle, rocking an au natural face or weird ensemble.
  8. Do what you want. Life is way to short. Don’t worry what other people will think, as long as you’re safe and responsible, live life and do what you want #YOLO (what happened to that yolo)
  9. Speak up! Never shy away from voicing what you actually believe in, no matter how daunting – the feeling of keeping quiet is more disappointing when you look back.
  10. Never accept bad treatment.
  11. Love yourself.
  12. Consistency is key. I think I’ve mentioned this in a previous post before, but being consistent will help you get to where you want to be quicker. Whether it’s in blogging or at the gym – keep at it.
  13. Be a ‘Goal Digger’ – If you been on my insta, I recently posted this quote with a somewhat motivational message. Don’t rely on anyone else to gain success, be a goal digger and get’cho goals!
  14. You are a queen. #MelaninGoddess
  15. Hustle Hard. No one will hand you what you think you deserve, so hustle… HARD!
  16. You can always rely on family. I know this may not be completely true for everyone as every family is different, but I’m sure everyone has at least one person that’s so close they’re practically family whom you can rely on. Having a ride or die is the best.
  17. The world is not fair. Point blank, but what are you doing to make it better?
  18. Look after your relationships. Whether romantic, family or a friendship, look after the relationships that are important to you. Relationships are so fragile and it’s so common that if you get into a romantic relationship, your friendships can take a back seat, but it really doesn’t have to be either or – just be better at time management and care about those close to you.
  19. Parents are always right. A lot of mistakes I’ve made could have all been avoided if only I had listened to my parents. They can be annoying at times, but they are usually right – parent’s intuition and experience is a crazy thing.
  20. Live in the moment. (see no.8)
  21. Keep your circle tight. Not everyone is your friend. There have been so many people that I thought were for me, only to find them bitch about me, take ideas and pass them as their own and everything else, so keep your circle tight.
  22. Keep moving forward. Never become stagnant, no matter how hard life gets, as long as you’re still breathing (Have you seen the Revenant?) you can keep going.
  23. Life’s too short to be unhappy. Stuck in a dead end job? Have a lifelong dream of working for yourself? Want to travel the world? Whatever it is that you think will truly make you happy – do everything in your power to achieve it, even when fear tries to hold you back. You don’t want to look back and regret staying put.

So, there are my pearls of wisdom, hope you enjoyed and make sure to stay tuned for my next post all about my trip to Dubai!