Grief and Denial

Throwback to this beautiful self portrait of me at our homestead in Nanka, Anambra state. A snapshot of one of the very few quiet moments I had during my grandma’s burial. Nanka was my refuge during one of the darkest, lowest times in my life. In Nanka, I was reminded how ferociously I was loved. I was reminded that I could always go home, I could always come back and there would be love waiting for me there. Unquestioning and unconditional. I had so many memories in this place, so many… and it breaks my heart that a place I once loved so deeply now lies empty. My aunt is gone, my grandma is gone, my grandpa is gone. All we have left are three graves and shadows. My heart is still so broken and every once in a while, like today, the grief creeps up on me without warning. I still find myself bargaining for their return, I find myself still in denial, a part of me still believes that if I go back there enough times, it’ll go back to what it used to be. It’s delusional, but grief is a senseless, painful process. I know that time will make it better, I understand that one day it’ll get easier…but until then, my mind echoes the plea for them to return. Come back to me. Please, Auntie, please Grandma, come back to me…

Colours, all of them!

I had a phase in my life where all I wore was black. It was my thing, colours were for the unfashionable and fashion goddess that I fully intended to be, I was definitely going to fit in at Conde Nast with all the black I wore. I started this black wearing in Enugu, took it through my life in Lagos, and brought it all the way to Canada where it further intensified. Then at some point last year (or was it the year prior?), I can’t quite remember, my world exploded with colours. I started listening to the nagging voice that pulled me towards colours – a voice I’d told to shut up and suck it up, many many times. I stopped telling it to shut up, started listening and it turns out I love colour! In utter disbelief I watched myself as I fell in love with pink, yellow, orange, lavender, peach, yellow and more yellow. I have so much yellow right now in my wardrobe it’s ridiculous! It’s also okay. Who I am becoming is okay. I neither want to nor do I need to fit in a mold anymore. I am allowing myself to discover and love who I truly am and it’s so beautiful to watch. I’ve never known so much peace.

I hope you find the strength to be you. You will be loved, I promise. ♥️

Keeping Promises

I read through most of my posts today in a bid to restore some of my joie de vivre. Why, you ask? Well, my family has once again been visited by death and we’re in mourning. However, I am aware that that does not excuse all the long hiatuses I have taken and the fact that I have left this blog, my outlet, to fallow. To be quite honest, I’ve spent the last few years since my Aunt died, battling a deep, dark depression. Actually, if I’m being completely honest, I’ll admit that my depression began much earlier than that, her demise was just the final nail in the coffin. I haven’t been right emotionally for a while. Finding joy is harder. Laughing is not as easy as it was. I don’t love things as deeply because I am afraid to lose them. I am slowly coming out of that, slowly healing, slowly finding love within me again. As I scrolled through the posts earlier, I saw a post where I promised to post on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I obviously never kept that promise but I will do my best henceforth. Now is as good a time as any and I have made my peace with the fact that I might not ever be the same person I once was before death dragged me into this darkness. That’s fine, I will still thrive through it. I’m still here and that’s all that matters. Here are some shots I took this month. I loved them.

  • Jacket: Thrifted
  • Top & Earrings: Zara
  • Pants: Topshop
  • Headgear: Individually pinned flowers.
  • Makeup & Photography by me

Making Progress

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

Baby Steps

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?

Here Comes Christmas!

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

Follow the bomb photographers Lano and Jevaughn (who pulled all this together in under 3 hours) here —> D3Sylva and here —> Jay Spades Photography

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.

xx

Motivation is a helluva depressant.

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!

IMG_0028

See you again soon. How does bi-weekly sound? Good. I like it too.

xx.

On Denim

Noella-73

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!

Noella-101Noella-66

Happy Monday! Go forth and slay and if you can get away with wearing jeans to work, doooo ittttt!

xx

On Jumpsuits

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:

Noella-34

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:

  1. You get to look great and you don’t have to match two separate items of clothing.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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!)
  5. 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!

xx

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.

On Date Nights and Slip Dresses

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.

Noella-20 (1)

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:

Noella-26 (1)

Step 1: Dramatic entrance because what’s the point of dressing up if you can’t be extra?

Noella-12

Step 2: Strike a pose for no reason because we’ve established I’m extra

Noella-25

Step 3: Pause for effect, Queen of Zamunda drawing on the regalness of all my ancestors

Noella-15

Step 4: Finally sit down, promptly resume being extra

Noella-21

Step 5: Yas baby, I’m this hot and you’re that lucky.

Noella-18

Step 6: So… we gon’ eat or nahhh?

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 1: ASOS Ultimate Strappy Cami Mini Dress

Dress 2: H&M Slip dress

Dress 3: Miss Selfridge Cami Slip Maxi Dress