So I went to therapy. It was…whew. A lot. I left feeling relieved and at the same time so mad at myself for not doing this sooner. After I was done, I tasked myself with preserving my energy and communicating better. So far, it’s been a bit hard to do, but I’m learning to also give myself permission to be imperfect. I demand so much perfection from myself and it breeds a lot of self-loathing whenever I don’t do it perfectly the first time. I am so hard on myself and I expect so much from myself and honestly, it’s crippling to say the least. It is exhausting. I shouldn’t add to my own problems by literally being my biggest bully. How can I ask for patience from others when I have no patience with myself? How can you expect kindness, tolerance, love and acceptance from others when you won’t even do it for yourself? My therapist said that and at the risk of using a trite Twitter-ism, I felt that. Lol. Here’s to being more patient, more loving and more tolerant of myself this Pride month. Happy Pride, please be kind to yourself. x
There’s a pile of unfolded laundry in my apartment that has become a metaphor for my chronic problem avoidance. It started as a small pile, could have easily been folded and put away in the space of 10 minutes, but it kept getting pushed and pushed.
“I’ll do it later”
“OMG but it’s so little, it’s not a big deal!”
“It’ll take me all of 10 minutes to get this done, I’m too busy right now”
“GET OFF MY CASE, IT’S CLOTHES NOT GENOCIDE, I’LL FOLD THEM LATER!”
“Okay, okay, OKAY. I’ll DEFINITELY do it on Saturday”
It has been 6 Saturdays. The pile has grown to the height and width of my bed. For any other person, this would comprise the entirety of their wardrobe, and therefore force them to fold said clothes and put them away, but not me. My wardrobe is still bursting at its seams, in fact, I have enough clothes to wear till the end of the year without ever having to touch that pile. A fact that I have made damn sure of.
Those clothes are a painfully accurate metaphor for my life and I just… The thing is this, shiny new problems keep arising, taking place of the old problems and because the old problems are terrifying – deep set traumas that definitely need attention – and I am afraid of what I’ll find, they stay untouched in a corner of my mind, judging me daily and hindering me in ways that I am aware and unaware of. Just like these clothes at the foot of my bed. This apartment is tiny, I can’t access my windows and dressers without doing a pole vault over the clothes or stepping on them, it would be far easier to simply sort through and clean up but, no.
See, If I sort through those clothes, I will find that I have far too many duplicates of the same items, or I might find that there are items there I forgot I even had. I might even find the one article of clothing I have been searching for in my wardrobe and have had to replace. It would make me feel terrible for spending money when I absolutely did not need to – a guilt I thoroughly hate feeling – but, BUT it would also give me a holistic view of my wardrobe, making my life and dressing up in the morning generally easier.
But I don’t want to feel guilty about whatever I find, so I make do with what I have, and what I can’t find, I conclude that I don’t have and promptly buy a new one, thus highlighting the fact that I tend to polish problems instead of solving them…deep breath.
Just like my laundry, I have been putting off seeing a therapist or even seriously considering seeing one. There are too many negative connotations of therapy where I come from – you’re insane, weak, an attention seeker, too rich to spend money on basic things so you pay someone else to listen to your entitled problems – the list is endless. I have been grappling with the idea for over a year, talking myself in and out of it in the same breath.
“But there are so many things you need to work through, you know this”
“Yes, but my problems aren’t special, other people have bigger problems”
“You’re diminishing your issues because you don’t want to get help, that’s toxic”
“Yes, but thinking that I’m special enough to warrant therapy is also toxic”
“This is bullshit, go to fucking therapy, your partner, your friends, your family, EVERYONE WILL THANK YOU FOR IT!”
“Sigh, I’m an asshole and the therapist is going to see through this blatant attention grab and call me out on it. I would have spent money to have someone tell me I’m a complete shitbag, I don’t think I can bear it.”
“My God, please, I’m begging you be kind to yourself, talk to someone.”
“…It would break my parent’s hearts…”
On and on and fucking on. I have endless arguments with myself and they’re all circular. I never end anywhere but right where I started. Even when I decide to go for it, I put it off to an undefined, yet specific later date, just to shut myself up. I never do it, just like I haven’t folded my laundry even though all it will do is help…
Now that I’ve written it out and put it out there to be judged, it sounds ridiculous to even me. Alright, I’ll do it. I’ll fold my laundry.
And…and I’ll speak to someone. It’s 2019, what people will say should not be my problem anymore…right?
Every new beginning starts with a loss of some kind doesn’t it? A rejection from a place you really wanted to work at, a breakup with someone you really thought was “the one”, the loss of a loved one whom you never thought could die, the disappointment of realizing that your boss was never going to reward all your hardwork…the list goes on. For me, it’s all of the above and then some. They didn’t all happen at the same time, but happen they did and the each heartbreak was as painful as the first.
Right now I’m sitting in my living room, after getting a rejection from a job I thought I was a-shooing for, after coming home from working a job where I am completely under-appreciated and overlooked, and the existential crisis is in full throttle.
“Why does any of this matter?”
“Is this even worth it?”
“Am I even as skilled as I think I am?”
“What’s the point of this drudgery?”
“Am I destined to be a failure forever?”
“Should I just jump off a bridge and be done with it?”
The more I think about all of it, the more dramatic and dangerous the thoughts get. But…I’ve been here before and I have learned to reel myself in and talk myself off the ledge. I learned quite early that no one is as skilled or as persuasive at talking me through some shit times as I am. I know myself better than anyone else, so it goes without saying. That’s not to say that my friends and family are lousy at it, on the contrary, I have the greatest support system anyone could ever ask for, however, these spirals come often and they sometimes show up without warning so I need to know how to administer mental first aid for me as well. I do it quite well.
What is today’s spiral about you ask? Well, today, I started to mourn the loss of the person I used to be. The girl who had such lofty dreams, such high aspirations, such grandiose plans to take the world by storm. When I was younger, I spent all my days working nonstop at this dream I wanted: Starting a fashion house for petite women. I would sketch for hours on end, visualize, manifest, dream and sketch nonstop until it was second nature. Everything was inspiration, every piece was unique and meant something to me, I poured my heart and soul into this dream and I never conjured a reality where that dream did not come true. It was impossible because I was going to work my fingers to the bone, seize every opportunity and do the work sunup till sundown if necessary. I was fucking unstoppable!
Fast forward 12 years and that girl is nowhere to be found. Sometimes on days like this, she resurrects in a blaze of accusations. Fingers pointing, angry, furious at who I let us become.
“You let me die!”
“You keep making excuses!”
“You kept waiting for the right time!”
“There is NO RIGHT TIME!”
“WHY DID YOU LISTEN TO THEM?”
“WHY DID YOU BELIEVE THE LIES?”
“How could you!”
“WE WERE GOING TO BE SOMEBODY!”
And I try, you know…I try as best I can to explain to her that none of it was planned. Life came at me so quickly and so vehemently, I couldn’t hold on to her anymore. I had to “grow up”, “do my part”, “help out”, etc. I had to be an adult and make adult decisions. I try to explain how hard I held on to her in the first few years when I finally got the chance to leave my home country and move to a new country. I tell her how I immediately put together my portfolio and applied to Fashion school, ready and willing to do what I had waited my whole life to do. That application was rejected, the first of many, many more to come. I was crushed but I still had her fire burning in me so it didn’t stop me! I applied to a different program (Marketing) at a different school and I got in. I was determined to make inroads into Fashion with this course. Marketing is important, can’t sell a product if you can’t market it right? So, I stayed in that course – even though I was miserable. Everyone asked why I wasn’t doing a fashion course including my professor.
“You’re clearly cut out for it!”
“You have the style!“
“You’d fit in perfectly!“
“You should still go for it!”
And I smiled at the questions. “This is important too”, I said to myself, “This will matter, don’t you worry.” I held on tightly to that teenage girl and her dreams as the years began to pass. However, with each passing year, I lost the will to dream any longer, with each passing season, I lost the ability to hold on to her as fiercely as I once did.
You see, I had moved to a country where I was seen as less, for something I had no say or control over. The micro and macro aggressions came daily, wave after wave of cruel putdowns and letdowns. I walked through all of it – the inability to land a job I was qualified for because whatever experience I had was foreign and therefore irrelevant, having to work a menial job to make ends meet (even though I had left a well paying job back home), the sidelong glances from College Faculty when I asked why I got a lower score on an essay I had thoroughly researched, being told I couldn’t possibly know what I was talking about and had clearly read ahead in the course when I correctly answered a question that hadn’t already been taught in class (I hadn’t, I simply already knew this information from high school back home). The thing no one could grasp was that the education system here is backward compared to back home, so when I got here I already had an edge over my “peers”. Back home, learning was not phased by age, then strictly packaged and dished out carefully once you came of age. Back home knowledge was available to all who sought it – if you could comprehend the curriculum of a class, and pass the tests, you were put in that class, no questions asked. The objective of education back home was to make you learn, so you were constantly tested and pushed beyond your comfort zone. Education here was comfortable and designed to be easily digested, and what that translated to was that what they were teaching in business school at a college level, I had learned in business studies at a high school level. I knew more things because no one had ever told me I couldn’t learn back home. No one had ever stopped me from reaching further than my curriculum.
But, no one believed me. I was the girl from a foreign country, I had a place and it was beneath the rest of them. I was not allowed to be as good, the fact that I was foreign dictated that, so who the hell was I to dare to presume that I could compete? At some point I stopped arguing, and just went with it. I had no idea I was internalizing all of it, and by doing so, was slowly letting go of the girl who could do anything. No one believed I was capable of the things I said I was and at some point, I too stopped believing me.
I woke up one day and I was the girl who had no future. The girl with no direction. The girl who couldn’t write an essay properly because
“These couldn’t possibly be your words, you need to go back and cite them“. – College Professor after reading an assignment I handed in.
The girl would couldn’t maintain an A average because no one believed she could and she figured they were probably right.
“The fact that you even made it on the honour roll is amazing, you shouldn’t try to get back on it, you should be happy with where you are.” – College Professor after I sought guidance on how to improve my grades.
The girl who was so deeply depressed that she couldn’t find joy or inspiration or happiness in any of the things she used to love. I woke up one day and I was the girl who was miserable with no idea why. I had lost myself, with no clue when or how it even happened.
Naturally, I tried to fill the void. With other people, with things purchased, with seeking validation in things that made no sense at the time: I insisted on moving out of my parents’ home, even though I couldn’t afford to (did not go well the first or second time), I insisted on starting a relationship with a person I knew deep down there was no future with, but I insisted (that definitely did not go well), I tried to take back my future by transferring to a course in Fashion (my third course in the span of 8 years at college) but by the time I did that, the girl who lived for it was gone already. Fashion school gave me no joy, and no hope. I had been beaten down so thoroughly by this time that I could barely get out of bed on the best days, couple that with toxic habits and an even more toxic relationship…I barely made it out alive. Then I decided after 9 years of struggling, that it wasn’t me, but the environment I was in. I couldn’t cut it in the foreign land, so I would move back home where I could be surrounded by things that were familiar and loved. I would go home to where it all began and rekindle my lust for life. Convinced that this was the right decision – even though everything pointed to the contrary – I packed my bags, desperate to find myself again, bought a one-way ticket and moved back to my home country. The boy I thought I loved was there, my friends were there, I had some family there, and I had determination, I was definitely going to make it. Also, I had a job offer so I knew what I was doing. Right?
Wrong. The next two years were the most difficult years of my life. The relationship I held on to, ended within two months of my move back, the job I thought I had was a sham and ended within 2 months, I endured and suffered so many indignities in my bid to prove that this move was worthwhile, culminating in me ending up homeless (twice). Everything I thought I knew was questioned. The girl I thought I was got eviscerated in ways I never thought were possible. She died a messy, merciless death and I looked on helplessly. One year into my move and the void I felt and had hoped to fill was greater now than it ever had been. The dreams I had managed to hold on to had been completely shattered.
After two years, and losing the one family member I relied on for support and encouragement to cancer, I moved back to the foreign land in shreds and quietly grew up. There was no more talk of that girl, no more wishful thinking, no more insane beliefs in who I was and what I was going to do. Who I was was an adult, what I was going to do was get a job, pay bills, do my part and if I was lucky, buy a few things I liked on the way. And I did just that, none of it was conscious, it simply happened because it had to, and quite frankly, I was tired of fighting for a dead girl.
I am currently trying to explain all of this to the 19 year-old presently screaming at me internally. I am doing my best to explain to the ghost of the girl I once was that I replaced her wild dreams with the promise of a paycheck, that I traded her untamed optimism for a defeated realism. I am trying, desperately, to make the girl who thought, nay, believed without a doubt that she could do anything, understand that I now have a specialized skill set. I am now one thing and one thing alone and that thing is definitely not what she dreamed. I go to work, I do the one thing I’m supposed to know how to do and I pick up a paycheck at the end of the month. On days like this, when she comes at me with the full force of her guilt and anger, I explain to the dead girl whose spirit refuses to be buried, that I have no choice – that I had no choice. I had to pay bills, rent isn’t free, this car won’t pay for itself and retirement won’t save for itself. I tell her that dreams don’t come true for everyone, that only a select few have that luxury. I scream back at her that parents, friends, lovers, almost everyone I know has given up on a dream they once had, not for lack of trying to achieve them but from the pure fucking exhaustion of trying to scale the insurmountable obstacles constantly put in their way – especially when they find themselves in a foreign land. I try my damndest to drown her yelling and accusations with platitudes and justifications, to put the ghost of this girl to rest once and for all with all the things I tell myself to sleep well at night. I try, and usually on other days, I succeed…
But she’s not having any of it. Not today.
I love Christmas. I do. I’m a December baby, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with my love for the most festive time of year. My birthday is exactly two weeks before Christmas, I know, you’d think I would get double presents but NOPE! All my loved ones are cheap so I get the ONE present and I’m supposed to make do because “OMG you got a present two weeks ago!” So? I didn’t choose my awesome. Side eye at ALL. OF. YOU. >_>
Anywho, cheap people in my life notwithstanding, I still love December. The month gives me so much energy and life! So, in keeping with that, I thought why not do a Christmas themed shoot, that’s popping but not corny and regular. No trees, no tinsel, none of that Santa stuff cos I’m cooler than Santa (and way more stylish, thanks). I took a walk into H&M, spied the perfect outfits for my shoot, took a look at my girl Lala’s cheekbones and knew she was the perfect candidate. I reached out to her with the plan, she brought the dream team of Lano & Jevaughn together and this awesome foursome made some seasonal magic! Check it out.
Those boots though! Right? I know, I know. I’m so proud of me. Proud of my friends and the dream team at Reel Urban Entertainment for pulling this together and shout out to my girl Lala Dale for bringing that bawse attitude and diamond-cut cheekbones to the party!
Follow the team on Instagram here –> Reel Urban Entertainment.
Follow Lala here —> ItsLalaDale
Annnnnd follow me, (if you don’t already) here —> TheNoellaE
I already have a birthday shoot planned AND a Christmas party shoot planned because OMG Christmas! Are you excited yet? Well, get excited. IT’S DECEMBER!!!
Yeah, I’m excited.
I haven’t been motivated to do any blogging recently. I have stayed fabulous and quirky, but I have not found the get-up-and-go required to pen down all my thoughts and the processes behind all the looks I put together. In my defense, I have no defense. I’m just going to be straight with it, I just didn’t want to. I didn’t see a point to it.
However, I read a nice little blurb today about something called a 2 year test. Close your eyes, set a timer for 2 minutes and imagine your life in 2 years if everything you dreamed, came true. Now in the few minutes you have, go into that fantasy guns blazing and explore it as much as you can – where would you go? Whom would you go with? What would you wear? What would you drive? What would you buy? What habits would you pick up? Which ones would you drop? How much would the overall quality of your life improve if all that you dreamed came to pass – exponentially or marginally?
Okay, 2 minutes are up. Your fantasy is over. Now reset the timer for another 2 minutes, and imagine what your life would be if you remained at status quo. If you kept doing exactly what you’re doing right now, without making any modifications to your lifestyle or pushing yourself any harder, what would your life look like in 2 years? I shuddered! THE HORROR. So, despite my exhaustion from a long day, I have written this blog post and will continue to write many more. If not for anything, for the fact that I need to completely mortify (or impress!) my future teenage kids and I intend to look fantastic doing it!
See you again soon. How does bi-weekly sound? Good. I like it too.
I feel like there needs to be a song dedicated to the awesomeness of denim and whoever invented it – probably a black mother who was sick of doing the laundry (I seriously think so!) The song needs to be an R&B style song with so many runs, featuring Keith Sweat (whoooo can love you like denim, NOBOOOODY!) Jhene Aiko will do a cameo, Queen Latifah will rap, …guys, seriously, this needs to get done.
Before you tell me Levi Strauss & Jacob Davis invented denim, let me clarify – No they did not. They did invent jeans, a style of pants made with denim, but they did not invent denim. Denim comes from the term serge de nimes, meaning serge from nimes where the fabric originally comes from. Check out this article for some more knowledge, so you can boss your friends at trivia, you’re welcome.
That said, check your girl out in these pictures, serving face and sass, being all dope and what not. Yassss!
For real though, there really needs to be an ode to the inventor of denim. The fabric is so versatile, so eternally stylish and completely adaptable to any situation – like black women (hey soul sisters!) How many times have you wanted to look good effortlessly and did not reach for your favourite pair of jeans? How many times has said pair of jeans saved the day because you threw on a white tee shirt and called it a day? Man, I cannot tell you how much I love denim. I try to buy as many iterations of it as I can. Whenever I see something different made with denim, I’m drawn to it. Hence this fabulous jacket and pants ensemble. I knew I had to have them the minute I saw them and I get compliments (and some comments) every time I wear them. The compliments outnumber the backhanded comments though so heyyyyy! Your girl is winning still. So, what’s my point? My point is life is too short to wear boring jeans. Step your game up and come correct in these streets booboo! Thank me later.
Photo credit for these shots goes to Aminaz (@loveoverlenses) as always, her magic makes my magic twinkle uninhibited. Girl always got me looking like an album cover!
Happy Monday! Go forth and slay and if you can get away with wearing jeans to work, doooo ittttt!
I’m grateful for a lot of things in my life – family, love, blonde hazelnut lattes, shoes with the perfect platform to heel ratio, jumpsuits…man, jumpsuits! The answer to every lazy fashion girl’s prayer. The fashion gods’ solution to days when you really need to look great, but don’t have the energy required to rummage through your wardrobe. I could go on and on about jumpsuits (and rompers but that’s a different post).
I don’t remember my life before jumpsuits because I never had a life outside of them. My earliest memory of my absolute favourite outfit to wear as a child was a polka dot jumpsuit. I wore the crap out of that thing. There was once a picture of me in it (it’s long lost now) I was at my uncle’s convocation ceremony in Nsukka, and from the look of pure contentment on my face, you could tell that my outfit was comfy. The look was very similar to this one:
Okay, there were no flailing hands – I was a very stoic child, but I know I was feeling that way! I could extol the virtues of one piece outfits all day, especially stylish ones, and you know what, I will. Here’s why jumpsuits are fantastic:
- You get to look great and you don’t have to match two separate items of clothing.
- Jumpsuits flatter every body type. They’re basically giant upside-down stirrups for your body and we all know stirrups aren’t picky, just helpful.
- Jumpsuits transition effortlessly through the season – Winter? Throw on a coat. Spring? Throw on a cardigan. Summer? Throw off everything (heck, underwear is optional). Fall? Throw on a cozy knit sweater (and a latte!) #winning
- Jumpsuits pair well with everything – flats, heels, sneakers, sandals, clogs, boots, mules, wedges, peep-toes, maryjanes, slingbacks, slip-ons, flip flops… you name it! (See what I did there? Thank you, I’m here all week!)
- As a petite woman, jumpsuits and rompers are Jesus’ answers to my #shortpeopleproblems tears. Can I get an amen from a fellow petite sis?
Disclaimer: The only time jumpsuits are annoying is when it’s time to pee – but come on, the trade off is worth it. It’s pure, effortless chic. Need I say more? Everything is just awesome in a jumpsuit (even the lego dude wore one!), so sign me up every time please. Bonus points if it has pockets.
Now that I’m done singing the praises, check me out in this jumpsuit from H&M, looking all ready to party and what not, highlighter popping, looking like I did the most, when I didn’t even do much.
Okay, I did the complete and utter most with those spring blossoms, lmao. But hey, I had a great time, and I regret nothing. Go forth this Monday and do the same!
PS: Yes, Aminaz shot these. Go follow her on Instagram (@loveoverlenses) and use her services before she becomes famous and you have to get on a waitlist. You’re welcome.
I believe wholeheartedly in the power of a good entrance, in a drop-dead outfit – Yes, I’m that girl. I mean, it makes sense that I’m that girl, I make an effort with what I wear, my payoff is the inevitable “oooh” when I walk into a room.
Fun fact: I don’t advocate lateness to any event, however, whenever I am late, 9 times out of 10, it’s because I couldn’t decide what to wear. Also, I make up for being late by looking extra wow because I strongly believe late and gorgeous is forgivable, but late and still didn’t even try? You can piss right off.
Disclaimer: If you have children (esp. toddlers), showing up at ANY time wearing ANYTHING is perfectly fine. Heck, phone it in. I’ll take it.
Moving on, let me tell you about this dress. I bought it from Zara and it came with a cropped t-shirt attached to it. I cut out the tee and now I have this dress that is easily one of my absolutely favourite pieces. My husband is a huge fan too (well, duh), and I won’t even lie, this dress moves and hangs better than some of the more expensive counterparts in my wardrobe. Just look at it, look at this beauty. The sequence below is me on an imaginary super swanky date night with le bae:
Bae (After Step 2): “Nne biko me’enu ihe a osiso ka anyi rie nni”
Cue me dissolving into laughter and ruining the rest of the dramatic sequence. LMAO! I will attempt this regardless, let’s see how far I get into the sequence before either of us makes a joke. I digress though, moral of this post is invest in a slip dress. Put it on, throw on some heels and you can’t be told nothing. There’s just something about slip dresses, maybe it’s all the extra breeze, I don’t know, I can’t describe it, but trust me. Shhh, just trust me. Below are some links, go forth and prosper.
Dress 2: H&M Slip dress
Dress 3: Miss Selfridge Cami Slip Maxi Dress
Update: The pants are sold out at Nordstrom (sad face!) BUT, I did some sleuthing for the ladies who asked, and found them online (and they’re on sale!)
I fell in love with these pants at Nordstrom the minute I saw them, but true to my petite body, they had to be altered even though the size was XS. Nordstrom stepped up like champs and for a minor fee, altered the pants to perfection! They fit great, look great and hey, I must have done something right with the styling because the wonderful people at Vince Camuto were impressed. Click here to check your girl out on their Instagram page.
Vanity aside, I believe in the power of wonderful tailoring. Just like a classic button-down white shirt, perfectly tailored pants and suits are a staple in any wardrobe. They are the items you can and should splurge on. Personally, most of my pants are bespoke (get you a good tailor darling!), however in the absence of a tailor, I strongly support spending the extra cash to get pants that fit right. As a girl who owns several pairs, I can tell you they are well worth the investment.
Pants: Vince Camuto
Sandals: Ralph Lauren
Coat & Top: Zara
Happy Monday! Serve up some slay. xx
It’s MAY! Summer is around the corner, woohoo! Are you ready for the slay? Because I was born ready. Yusssss! LOL. I have no anecdotes or cute stories to tell about this outfit. The only thing I have to say is that it made me feel wonderful. You can tell too! Look at me revel in my cuteness. Juslookadit! Love it. Never mind the fact that it was way colder outside than we thought it would be on that day, so I was freezing half to death. Didn’t matter; I was adorable, I loved my outfit and those sneakers were all the sunshine I needed!
Sneakers, skirt & coat : Zara
Images by the incomparable Aminaz K. Have you followed her on Instagram yet? Do it! @loveoverlenses
Happy Monday! Don’t let anyone steal your sunshine. xx