#FakeItTillYouMakeIt*

*Or, Excitement over Fear – Faith equations

So I will be Twenty-Five in a Few days!! By few days I mean 10-ish, I’ll be 25 in 10 days (really, it’s 11 but 10 sounds cooler than 11 so yah)!!! I was telling my older sister how I’ve never been this excited about a birthday before and felt kinda weird but it is what it is hey. Go big or go home. I, hopefully, will be this excited about birthdays in the future too but hey, who knows. I have said it before (if you follow me on social media, that’s where I’ve said it – before you start asking me, where Nosi? Where did you say it “not now but before”? hahahah – also that last statement in quotes makes no sense but it is funny to me so I’m keeping it). Anyways, what I’ve said is:

I am looking forward to the best 52 weeks of my life!

I had/have to own my 25th birthday! No, seriously!! I saw myself slowly drifting towards anxiety and depression because “twenty-five is the peak and it’s only downhill from here”; because I always thought I’d be all figured out at this point: Finances, checked… Future husband, checked (future because in my grand 5 year plan he would be in the picture but we would be moving towards that husband place – Oh how we dream)… Dream career, check… That second degree, check… The list goes on and on, we can sit down and talk for the rest. Hahahaaaa. Anyways, I almost reached the (oddly expected) quarter life crisis. So, while I was watching myself watch myself get to that place I decided NO!!! I am not about to be about that life and I am not about to be the stereotypical young adult going through a “darn you social constructs for messing with my mind” place. I decided I would channel those emotions somewhere else so…. Here are some reasons I am excited for the BIG.TWO.FIVE

 

1 – I AM EXCITED FOR A NEW START

Yea, yea… God’s mercies are new every morning, I know… The New Year is for clean starts, I know… Any day is a good day to start again, I KNOW!!! It is more than that though. I believe that I am at some sort of peak. I have an idea of how messed up the world is but I have also seen how beautiful it can be. I have made my childish errors – don’t get me wrong, errors will definitely still be made – and I have learnt lessons from them. I am at what many call the peak of my young adult life (by many I really just mean my mum, or you if you agree).

I am a YOUNG ADULT!!! Goodness gracious!!! No, seriously!!! At 21 you are barely legal, 22 is just a weird age and at 23 and 24 you are figuring out how to put one foot in front of the other but…. At 25!!! Good Lord!! You have made most of the mistakes you’ve made: in love, in friendships, in family, in regards to yourself. Trust me when I say I have ticked off a lot on my “not to do” list that I didn’t realize I had. Hahah… I have failed at love, I have failed at being a good friend, I have messed up at being a good daughter, a good pastor’s kid, a “good” Christian. I have done my fare share of messing up and I am ready to press the refresh* button.

*REFRESH AND NOT RESET BECAUSE I WANT TO KEEP THAT SEARCH HISTORY FOR REFERENCE WHEN I AM GOING THE WRONG WAY. *insert giggling emoji here*

 

2 – I AM EXCITED TO EMBRACE ALONE-NESS

I discovered this year that I love being alone!! I really do!!! I moved into my first “adult” apartment, by myself and goodness gracious!! There is something to be said about getting into your own space – a space that you can mold into whatever you want – and be ALL.THE.WAY.FREE. Like, you can come home and be yourself. You get to make (and break) the rules, you get to define the atmosphere and you get to create something!! You, ALL.YOU!!!

I always thought that I was a lot more on the extroverted side. Assertive, yes, but more chirpy, come-alive-in-the-crowd type. I am slowly learning that rejuvenation happens when I am by myself. I gain my energy that way, my creative side flows and my dreams find a way into my conscious. Alone-ness has allowed me to realize, in my head anyways, dreams I had forgotten about and some that I never knew existed. It has allowed me to create new ones, too. I have seen how small, and big, the world is as I spend time by myself. I am learning what makes me come alive, what gets me excited, what drains me! It is safe to say that I have discovered more about myself in the last few months than I did most of my college life.

 

3 – I AM EXCITED TO DREAM

Y’all, I am realizing the beauty of dreaming with God!! Seriously, looking at hopes and goals, and recognizing that they are possible has set my heart on fire in a way I never thought I’d experience. Sidenote, you are never too old to pursue your dreams. You are never too young either. The universe works in your favor and, once you set your mind to it – and work tirelessly towards it – it will happen.

So, this coming year, I am about to dream my wildest dreams. He says that he cares about the things I care about and I am ready to see if he really meant that. It is sad that we get to a place where we forget the things that brought us excitement when we were younger, the things that we thought would just happen simply because that is what we wanted. Oh, how I pray that I develop the heart of a child (not the mind though, I’ll keep an adult mind. lol).

 

4 – I AM EXCITED TO TRAVEL

If you know me, even a little bit, you know I LOVE, LOVE traveling!!! I haven’t done that enough this year though, so I am doing better next year – they do say do all the traveling while you are young and free right? I am currently at 31/50 in American states and 4/7 in continents and would love to see that increase. I am excited to learn how to create time to travel and explore with a work schedule that doesn’t always allow me to. Hopefully this year we can make it 40/50 in American states and Asia, I am coming for you next.

 

5 – I AM EXCITED TO WALK EVEN DEEPER IN MY PURPOSE

Learning what your purpose is a beautiful thing… Walking in it, now that is amazing and hard at the same time. This year has been a year of revelation in as far as my purpose is concerned. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still wouldn’t tell you much. I sure would tell you more than I did last year though, so that counts right? Hahaha… The fun thing about purpose is, in my opinion anyways, it is constantly being refined. It is like being at the optometrist and going through the letters, the letters never really change (aside from your optometrist moving to the next one) but your ability to see them does. The different lenses allow you to look and, as the right lens comes into play, you get to seeing the letters or numbers just right.

I am learning that I have to go through the lens selection process. My purpose is unchanging but my viewpoint changes from seeing one angle and then another. I see what I have matured enough to see. The purpose stays the same but my maturity is the lens-selection process. Until I find the right lens, the purpose will be blurry! As someone who wears glasses, I know that the lenses selection process can be both scary and exciting! I refuse to be scared, I choose to be excited.

And that, right there, is pretty much it – the reason I am so excited about twenty-five. I REFUSE TO BE SCARED, I CHOOSE TO BE EXCITED!!! So here’s to an amazing year ahead!!! Let the countdown begin!!!

 

*Disclaimer: 31 Is a guesstimate. I haven’t been too good at keeping track, I just know I celebrated when I made it to 25 – then I stopped counting

#25andfeelingFINE

The thing about insecurities

AKA thoughts of an insecure pretender.

Hi, my name is Nosi and sometimes my insecurities overwhelm me…

Ok, ok. That might be too much for you, so you can stop reading right here. Or not, that’s totally up to you. I am, right now at this moment (lol, gotta clarify there just so you know.hahaha), battling to write this post because heck, how does one even start? Does one even start?

Issues of the mind

I remember getting into the habit of sticky notes and mirror writings in college. Affirm yourself, they said, that’ll make ALL insecurities go away… And affirm I did – all day, every day. I remember having a conversation with a roommate my sophomore year.  It was all well and good but it definitely threw those sticky note affirmations out the window. Thanks roommate, you tried.

Oh, oh… Or those counseling sessions. Yes!!! If you’ve ever gone through counseling, you know how exhausted you can get after the session. It’s almost as if you feel something, and nothing, at the same time… Your perspective changes but, then, you realize you are taking skeletons out of the closet that you vowed you’d never take out. So you stop, you quit… Moment of silence for us people who quit counseling because we “just couldn’t even”!!

Identity crisis

I have been reflecting on insecurities a lot these last few weeks, I sat in the car and cried over Covenant worship’s “I am loved” the other day. I was there on some, “hold on, Holy Spirit. Why are you tugging at my heart like this” tip. See, we get so used to pretense, sometimes, we start to recognize it as a reality… Because alternate realities are so cool, right?

We get into a habit of putting our identity on things… On people. That break up that makes you feel inadequate, unlovable…. That comment a colleague – or a boss – makes that makes you feel like you will never be enough or do enough at your job… That “F” grade that has you thinking you may never make it out of college – and Lord have mercy if that happens, the list is endless.

I turn 25 in a couple of days and, as I deal with my mini quarter-life crisis (the devil is a liar y’all. hahah), I am learning to re-evaluate where my identity stems from. See, I have been going through an identity crisis so long I can’t even trace it back to a “start”. I have a case of “my heart, my mind and my soul have been fighting so long they are not even sure what the fight is about” *insert rolling on the floor laughing WHILE crying emoji here* (someone needs to come up with this emoji). I am re-learning what it looks like to put my identity on the Lord. I mean, I am spiritual like that, so for me realignment means going back to the source.

Hello there, Source

I am re-learning what the source says in regards to affirmations. I am unlearning what my mind has taught me, too. I am learning that a smile on the outside can not be healing if it does not come from a smile on the inside. I am learning, that, my identity doesn’t come from affirmations by others – that is all well and good but what use is it if the source is not affirming me. I am learning that my job, degree, $$ in the back account (Lord knows if that was the case then it’d be Nosi = 0 and affirmations = immeasurable level of winning – aka I would be losing at the affirmation game).

More than anything, I am learning that the source is ALWAYS affirming me, which is the COOLEST.THING.EVER because that simply means I don’t even have to stress about it!!! Sure, it is not an overnight thing but I am learning.

I am dedicating my 25th year of living to dealing with my identity crisis and embracing the source more than ever.

So What is the Point?

I read over this post 3 – maybe 4 – times before this last paragraph and thought about deleting the whole thing but I am posting it. Posting it because I know that I am not alone. I know that there is at least one other person out there who walks with a load of insecurity on their shoulders but seems like they have it all together. I am posting it because, sometimes, it is a relief to know that you’re not the only passenger in the struggle bus.

So, wassup comrades, I am here! How about we tackle this load together and see where it leads. Here’s to 25 – a year of finding (and walking out in) my identity. Insecurities have no power!!!

 

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” – Romans 8:38

 

That one Time I wrote Jesus a Letter – Excerpts from my journal

Disclaimer: Personal blog post ahead.

Confession: Sometimes I question Jesus; I question my faith and I question the reason behind it all. I am glad, though, that Jesus can handle ALL.OF.IT!!! (I had to use multiple exclamation marks there so you know it’s an exclamation statement – I don’t even know if that makes sense. Hahaha). Sometimes, when I go through those phases, I am reminded that He says, “test me in this”. Yes, yes, I know He was talking about a different kind of test but it all involves faith, right?

Spoiler alert: He has proven himself 100% of the time.

Anyways, here goes an excerpt from a letter I wrote to Jesus (insert monkey hiding face emoji here).

 

I want that… “ooh he just gave me a hug” type of love. The love that gives me goosebumps when I think of you. Oh, no, wait… Butterflies. I want butterflies. Yes, yes, I want that goosebumps AND butterflies when I think of you kind of love.

 

I want that AGAPE -type business. That, I don’t care what you do for me, to me… I don’t care what you don’t do, even, but I just want to love you, to be loved by you, to please you. I want to serve you with every ounce of my being.

 

I want that, “running through my mind all day” love. The “all my dreams have your face in them” type of deal… My best dreams with you by my side, my worst dreams with you coming to the rescue.

 

I want that, “dreams and reality intertwined” kind of love. The “ride or die”, total trust, no fear when I’m with you kind of love.

 

I want it… But, you gave it to me already!!! I say I want it but I keep looking every other place for it. Every other place but you. (Insert sad face emoji here. haha). I say I want to give it to you but my actions say otherwise.

 

I say I want you, claiming the love is real… But I am constantly asking, “where are you at though?” I say I trust you, your judgement through the Holy Spirit, your plan and your leadership but I don’t act it.

 

You tell me you have the best plan for me, I say I ain’t listening. You say you died for me – and you would do it all over again – I tell you to “talk to the hand”.

 

I want you, I want to love you like you loved me. I want to serve you, no questions asked. You say, “make your desires known to me”. Mine is to know you more.

 

You say, “delight yourself in me”, I say “teach me how”. Teach me how to walk in faith! Teach me how to love my neighbor and serve like you served. Walk with me…

 

Walk with me in the valley of the shadow of death… Walk with me in the green pastures. Eat with me at the table you have prepared for me… For US… YOU… ME… US

 

I want more. I want more… I want more than I’ve had before. Lord, I want so much more!!!

 

How about that for Monday motivation! My prayer – and hope – is that we are all constantly wanting more…

“As the hart pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God.”

-Psalms 42:1

 

Pressure… Thanks Jonathan McReynolds

Y’all!!! Sometimes pressure comes from the most random places – or maybe not THAT random because you see it coming – but still…

Ok, Ok. Let me not get carried away. So I’ve been listening to “Pressure” by Jonathan McReynolds a lot. When I say a lot, I mean A LOT (Thank you, Thandwa, for introducing me to him) … As in 3 times in a row, 5 times in a row, so many times in a row I am not even sure how many times I’ve listened to it in a row kind of a lot!!! As I was listening to it today, though, some words stood out more vividly this time around… The words say (some of them anyways):

  • “Pressure to be someone else that the WORLD has made”

  • “Pressure to be someone else that the CHURCH has made”

  • “Pressure to be someone that YOU did NOT create”

I had to pause for a second there, right now even, and read those three lines a couple of times!!! Woah!!!! I am so grateful that, in different seasons, words can say the same thing but mean so much more.

Say NO to social constructs

“Pressure to be someone else that the world has made”

So, to start off, no one is normal!! I am being for real. If someone doesn’t have some random (read weird) thing that is just a “them” thing, then I would be very afraid. You probably should be too. We are all perfect versions of ourselves, peculiar and made to thrive in that place.

How many times have you tried to “fine tune yourself” or turn you volume down because you are just “extra”? Had to laugh a little more lady-like because that is what society expects of you? Fold your legs? Dress some type of way because that is what the “cool kids” wear? How many times have you had to re-image yourself to fit into a system in which you were never meant to fit?

How’s about we #Makeweirdnormal? I know I have been in situations where I – without anyone saying anything really – have found myself trying to be “proper” to blend in. After all, don’t they say “when in Rome do as the Romans do”?

I think it is time to define ourselves though, yah? You and me, yah? Define you, your life, who you are!!! Don’t conform, TRANSFORM – cliche I know ( I am proud of that sentence though). Think, who may be inspired by you stepping out and being unapologetic for who you are? [I mean, you’ll probably never know who all you inspire but you – WE – might as well try and see what comes out of it].

Church, why you do me like that?

“Pressure to be someone else that the church has made”

Yeah, yeah, yeah. This does not just pertain to the church alone, though. It can be whatever place of gathering or worship that you ascribe to. Think about the circle of your Masters or PHD colleagues, in the workplace or anywhere where  people gather in an attempt to “not conform to the standards of the world” mentally or spiritually. There are always expectations, a standard, that you are expected to live up to.

Coming back to the church aspect of things though… Regardless of what denomination (or lack thereof), “church culture” is a thing. I think, sometimes, we get so focused on this said culture that it almost seems as if the focus is more on whether or not individuals “fit into” this culture rather than whether or not they are growing in their relationship with the creator.

Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a lot to be said about church culture. My pastor sometimes says that the denomination he is in is just the lens through which he sees the creator most vividly in. That it is this lens that is clearer than any other lens, for him. However, without even trying to, church culture gets us to a place – sometimes – where we find ourselves trying twice as hard to adapt and become part of the culture compared to the main reason we are there – God. (Ok, I hope that is why you are there, if there are other reasons well, you do you! hahaha).

We create an image of ourselves with the question, “how do the church see me now?” in mind. We reinvent ourselves to fit in rather than allow the maker to polish us in the way he best sees fit. Think about it, my church-going people, how many times have you seen (or listened) to someone who goes to your church and thought “this one needs a little bit more Jesus” or “this one just started coming here they’ll change soon”. Who are you though?

Redefining your purpose

“Pressure to be someone you did not create”

If all was stripped, who are you? No, I am not talking about “hello I am a female engineer” or “hello I am a doctor”. Nah, none of that. We have been defined by factions within the social structure: gender, skin color, jobs, careers, where we’re from, what degrees we have. The list is endless. We have taken these identities on and wear them proudly, hiding behind a facade of titles and accomplishments.

I am going back to the drawing board!! I am there right now, learning to define myself as HE sees me. Defining who I am – without all the other things. I am creating a personal mission statement. It is an idea inspired by some who have created mission statements for their families. I have been asking me questions; who am I? What do I believe? How do I see the world? How do I want the world to see me? How about you join me and create your own!!!

#projektdefineyourmission

 

 

Truth be told – Confessions of a struggler

(But why does it seem like I am always making confessions. Oh, well *insert shrugging woman emoji here*)

Is struggler even a word though? Auto correct didn’t try to fix that so I guess it is. I got excited for a second thinking maybe I just created a new word for the “Nosi dictionary”. For 2 weeks, I contemplated a post on falling in love… Evidently that contemplating didn’t get me anywhere with that. Heek, heek. You’ll just have to watch this space for that post now. Don’t get too excited though, you might be disappointed.

But then, as I was sitting at my desk today – because Monday’s are hard and you zone out some times – I had a thought… Which led me to this post. Anyways, this is a blog-reflection on the last couple of months because the struggle has been real y’all (can you tell I’ve been in OK a while? That time autocorrect corrected me but we will just ignore that).

Self-worth struggle

You know you go through college with some idea of where you want to go, who future you will become. It starts off with that degree for the parents (you know what I’m talking about, don’t be fronting). Then it is the “where would I like to be in a year, 5 years, 10 years and maybe even 20” … You have a plan; it is constantly being tweaked but it is there.

I think that is where my self-worth struggles come in. I have a plan, some days it feels like I HAD a plan, and the process and movement towards the goal seems to be getting slower and slower. Please tell me you’ve experienced this somebody, anybody? Anyways, in this – my struggle – I am learning to embrace the stalled plans. I am learning that there is a purpose for every step that we take. I know, trust me I know, that we are constantly evolving and I remind myself often.

So, to anyone that can empathize, embrace the worry. Actually, scratch that, DON’T YOU DARE EMBRACE THE WORRY!!! I heard something a few weekends ago that put worry into perspective for me. It was this, “if you worry, you assume that God can’t handle your situation”. I was there like, ok! ok! ok! I will back up Lord!! Worrying assumes that you don’t trust the one who made you, or closer yet, that you don’t trust yourself. (Shame on you if that is the case. Ok, not really because I go through phases like that all the time).

But seriously, if your self-worth doubts are anything like mine, that is, based on where you think you are supposed to be versus where you are right now… STOP FRETTING!!!! I am NOT, I repeat NOT, saying this lightly but seriously!!!! That is why we believe in a higher power right? So that the higher power can deal with our worry? Ok, maybe that’s not why but you see what I am saying… TRUST YOU FUTURE SELF!!!

Job struggle

Now, Now, Now… I like my job – some weeks I like it more than others and some week less. But man, sometimes the struggle gets real!!!

The root cause again, surprise surprise, is my initial plan for that BS (BS as in the degree before you get carried away). Hahahah. See, I always thought future Nosi would be saving the environment one experiment at a time *Insert Dexter’s lab soundtrack here*. For real though, I loved any time spent in the lab and I came alive in my environmental law classes – yes I was the student who asked all the questions and stopped you from having a 20-minute lesson because the professor didn’t have anything to add #sorrynotsorry.

I still have dreams of going to grad school and pursuing environmental ish at a higher level – hello there DR. Khumalo!!! I mean, scratch dreams because that assumes it is all in my head, let’s just say I have a goal that I am taking baby steps towards. IT WILL HAPPEN!!!

I think sometimes we are convinced that once we get that degree, that BS, we will get right into our “dream jobs”. FALSE, FALSE, FALSE!!! Ok, maybe some people are blessed like that but I am learning that we should not bank on that… So some days I struggle with seeing how my tiny steps will get everything to come together, how I will get to the final goal. Also, I have tiny feet so that doesn’t help. Hahaha

I am, however, learning that the small beginnings are preparation. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be working my current job, I would have laughed in your face and told you “I’m a scientist excuse me”. I am not, by any means, saying my current job is small. It is not. Every day brings its own challenges and I am continuously challenged professionally. Corporate America needs to come with a “Handle with care” label, or did I miss it?

Believe me when I say that my professional demeanor has been nurtured immeasurably over the last 4-ish months. But wait, there’s more. I feel like my job encourages my personal growth daily and enhances my understanding of people in general. The more I learn, the more I see growth, the more I realize that every day is making me better. Look at that, I used a group of three for emphasis, my English teachers would be proud.

Ok, I digress. Every position that we are in, at any stage, is an opportunity for trimming. You know how that works right? Trees (and hair even) need to constantly be trimmed so that they can grow better and healthier. I am slowly becoming the best future Nosi environmental-world-changer-extraordinaire!! To anyone in the same place, recent graduates even, please and please take any place you find yourself in as an opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t despise the place that you’re at, it is preparing you for something bigger and better.

Age struggle – Hello 25

Y’all, I guess you know my age now!!! So my half-birthday just passed and I am officially 24 ½ +… Shhhhh, I’m still 21 till I die though. Growing up, I used to see 25 as sooooo… old. I think that our culture – or should I say my culture – had me thinking that I had to have my life all figured out at 25. Spoiler alert, my life is not figured out.

People that I spend a lot of time with will tell you that I’ve been going off about that 25-yrs issue way too much. It is lowkey scary!! I don’t even have a stable savings account, and I’m still trying to figure out how a 401-K works. So, to everyone who told me 25 was the alt-get-your-ish-together age, thank you for adding struggles to my life! (I love you though, mama. Hahahaha).

On that, though, I am creating my own path and Lord have mercy on anyone that tries to tell me what color pebbles I should use to set it up. I encourage you to do the same there – granted you better be working on getting your stuff together too. It just doesn’t have to be all locked down by 25.

(P.S. If you have it on lock down or HAD it all figured out by 25 please halla at me, I NEED to know how you did that!!)

Well, that is my Monday truth y’all. Here’s to struggling together until we don’t have to struggle anymore!! We’ve got this!!!

 

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” – Luke 12:25-26

(But Jesus threw some shade with this passage though, y’all better walk with me in the light of no worry)

Oh, snap!! There they go!!!

So I went out with some friends a couple of weeks ago… We dressed up, tried to look nice (flips hair), the whole nine yards!! Now, I’ll put it out there that the dressing up part was NOT my idea but you know how peer pressure works. So we are looking good, right? Right… And we hit up the “club”… well, not really. We went to a restaurant. Hahaha…

Anyways, as we were entering the restaurant, one of the servers was on that “woot, woot” and complimented us on how we looked – in the most excited way possible. Now, I wasn’t about to let baby girl be the only excited person in the room so of course I did my twirls and my noises, STRONGLY approved of her “joining us at our table” and ALMOST gave her a hug even… Almost, I stopped myself midway. Hehe. Heck, I felt like we were friends that hadn’t seen each other in a while!

And that was a beautiful feeling – having someone appreciate you for the effort made. Trust me, getting dolled up takes A LOT of effort!!! I’m sure you know!!!

Why all the hating?

This interaction had me thinking: Why did she do that? Why was she that excited? Wasn’t she afraid we might respond differently – granted no one (that I know of) has ever responded negatively to a compliment. I mean, I just had thoughts ok. My mind does that sometimes.

Thoughts aside, her attitude reminded me of the importance of showing love to all that we meet. It emphasized the value in focusing on the good – the positive – regardless of where we are or who we are interacting with. Isn’t it funny how we are quick to point out the flaws in others – strangers and friends alike – but are very slow to point out the positive? Like, it takes 2 minutes to notice how bad an outfit is, how ugly something looks or how messed up a situation is but waaaaaay longer to notice that – amidst that bad outfit the color compliments the person’s skin tone very well. Just saying!!!

It took me back to good ol’ Swazi times!! I grew up in a culture that embraces strangers and is keen to start new conversations. If you are Southern African – or just African really – you know what I’m taking about… Those long lines at the bank, while you wait at the government offices. It starts with that “sisi, siketi sakho bo!”  translated to Sister, your skirt is popping!!! No really, if it is not a skirt it’s a dress, or a shirt. There is always something to be found. Which, of course would be how that would work since no conversation with a good ending has ever started with, “your shirt is soooo ugly”. If you know of one that has started like that please, please, pleasssse let me know.

Before you know it, you’ve made a new friend in that line, on the bus or in that office and y’all are homies like you’ve know each other for a lifetime. What I’m getting at is, loving – versus hating – has never hurt anybody.

Cheer on to lift up

While we’re on this topic, I’ll make an example using my family. Daddy, I love you, but you know this is the way you are set up!! Y’all, I love Dad, a lot!! But sometimes… let me explain. My father, right, is the typical “African” father. Let me break it down for you. He is the guy who will ignore the A’s on a report card and only see the C  or – God forbid – the D. Like, it’s almost like he has a radar for it. Everything just gets blurred and that is all he sees. I love him but man, sometimes I wish he just wouldn’t. When I know I’ve had a messed up semester I gotta channel all the prayers – even halla at the Khumalo ancestors and see if they’ll get my back!! hahaha

My mother is the exact opposite of that. She is the person who will tell you, after you flunked the semester, how proud she is that you survived the last 4 months. Legit!! She will be on some, “look, you woke up and went to class. You sat down on that chair to write you exam! You may have done horribly in it but I am so proud of you for showing up”.

I have learnt a lot from my mother because of that. Cheering people on is powerful! Some people will perform better merely because they know someone is proud of them. Imagine how beautiful it would be if you saw people become better versions of themselves because you let them know they are doing a great job.

What am I getting at? To be honest, the message it simple. It does not need the 600-something words I have just typed up. Let us cheer each other up a little bit more. Let us make it an effort to give a compliment that raises someone else up. Tell your buddy how proud you are of them. Tell you homie how on point their soccer skills are. It is really that simple.

My mother has taught me the importance of letting others know they are doing a great job. The server at the restaurant reminded me that we don’t just tell those we know this, but that we spread it to friends and strangers alike.

My encouragement for the week; find someone to cheer on and watch them grow… And maybe, keep at it this whole year and give out a heartfelt compliment every week; to a friend, a stranger… to Anyone.

Watch others bloom around you because, hello, ONLY FLOWERS THAT GET WATER BLOOM

BE THE WATER!!! WATCH THE FLOWERS BLOOM!!!

Mess Up to Clean Up

So I was cleaning up the other day – Aaaaand, by the other day I mean a few hours ago because #Saturday. I’ve been told that’s how “adulting” works. You get on that 8-4/9-5/whatever your 8-10 hour workday looks like. So you do that, right, from Monday to Friday and then you “take care of the housework” on the weekend. I had to pause for a second and ask where the “fun” times fit into that whole schedule and I am slowly realizing the fun is in the housework… hehehe….

Anyways, I was doing what every “proper adult” does on the weekend and I made a mess of the kitchen!! When I say mess, I mean ME…E…SS.SSS!!! For a second I had to laugh at myself for 2 reasons: (1) because I was like, but I thought you were CLEANING UP Nosi!!! And (2) because I realized how much I was (and am) failing at this adulting thing. Then I realized, in so many ways, the picture in front of me was a portrait of life itself – CLEANING UP CAN BE MESSY!!

Seriously!!! Ask anyone who has ever ended a relationship or marriage, relocated, or tried to end an addiction. Ask me, I’ve been trying to end the social media “addiction” for the longest time and it’s been a mess!!! *Hides face, weeps quietly*. The point is, we often fear the mess that comes with cleaning up that we avoid it entirely. Having made – and conquered – the kitchen mess, I have decided I’m about to go on a mess-up-clean-up season in my life.

I am cleaning out my closet

I have been toying with the idea of cleaning out my closet for the longest time and ALWAYS find a reason not to. It ranges from, “I don’t have clothes so I really shouldn’t be getting rid of anything” (said as I try to figure out where to fit the rest of my folded clothes) and then it becomes, “I cleaned out recently when I moved” (recently being last May as I moved out of an apartment I’d lived in for 2 years). There is always a reason why cleaning up isn’t a good idea.

Then, of course, there’s the part that thinks about all the clothes that’ll be lying around as I decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Hello fear of the “mess”. Not anymore!! I am moving into my closet….. soon. Hahaha

I have been toying with the idea of minimalism for a minute now. I have been listening to podcasts, reading books, watching videos on the gains that might come from that. So I think that cleaning out my closet will be moving one step closer to achieving that. (P.S. If you know anyone who had pursued that minimalism route halla at me, I need some motivation).

I am cleaning out my refrigerator (and pantry)

Disclaimer: I don’t own a pantry. Hahaha!!! What I am getting at here is, America spoilt me!!! See, growing up in my mother’s house (and my sister and brother’s house too), we didn’t eat out much. My mom boiled a lot of our food, we had a lot of vegetables (granted most of them were harvested from the backyard so there’s that). Coming to college though, I stopped cooking at home and ate out a lot. If it wasn’t the cafeteria it was Papa Johns. If it wasn’t Papa Johns it was the sonic that is literally a 5 minute walk from my apartment!! It just got easier to eat out and harder to stay in. If I am cooking, it got easy to forget the vegetables (because who has time to cook an extra dish besides your carbs and proteins).

So in cleaning out my fridge and my imaginary pantry, I am cleaning up my health and choosing to do right by my eating habits. Here’s how that might get messy, this girl LOVES her fried chicken nuggets/fried chicken eerrrthang!!! Additionally, (yep, I used additionally), while I enjoy cooking every now and again, I am not one to habitually cook so here’s to more messy kitchens in the future. It’s a one step at a time thing that I am willing to pursue though because, hey, the mess comes with rewards eventually.

I am cleaning up my heart!!

Oooooh, I went deep there!! You were never ready!!! One of my favorite verses gives this advice: “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. How true that is! I am realizing that there are a lot of things that shouldn’t matter that I take to heart and, in turn, tend to respond negatively to situations and events. I refuse to let my heart be unguarded so I am taking initiative to ensure that it remains pure.

One of the ways I am doing this is ending relationships that really should have ended a LONG time ago. Now, now, I know that y’all get carried away at the word “relationships” but for me it encompasses all kinds of “-ships”. You know those friendships that you KNOW you should have ended ages ago, the ones that drain you rather than give life! I am slowly bidding those farewell, one step at a time… That’s about to get real messy.

My relationship with fear, worry, negativity, those are being cut off as well…. You know why that is hard and messy? Well I’ll tell you why… I feel like we get to a place where all these emotions start to give us comfort; you are comfortable staying in the same place because then your fears definitely will not come to pass; you get comfortable with conformity because you worry that breaking out of it will cause backlash…. You use negativity to justify pessimism (which you mask as realism). I mean, the list goes on and on and on. I refuse to let these relationships run my life so, with no sorry, I say bye.

Think about your life, about what you do whether it is work or school. Think about the things you do (and those that you don’t do). Ask yourself, am I afraid to clean up in these areas because I think things might get messy? Your fear is probably valid but, here’s the beautiful thing, the other side of that mess will be beauty – FULL. So, why not join me on that mess up to clean up journey!!! We’ve got this!!!

#Messuptocleanup…. It begins with a mess, it begins with you!!