The Uuuhs and Aaarghs of my life

Posts tagged ‘courage’

Love is Risky

When it comes to real love, “Conviction and Convenience don’t live on the same block,” as Lisa Nichols would say.

See, when you love someone, you actually give them permission to break your heart.
Are you willing to love, still?

When you love someone, it unearths some deep wounds you never thought you had.
Are you willing to love, still?

When you love someone, it pushes you to be vulnerable with someone with things that literally scare you.
Are you willing to love, still?

When you love someone, you wire your mind to see relationship challenges as opportunities for new lessons as building blocks.
Are you willing to love, still?

When you love someone, you heal by practice. Dangerously loving someone new or anew, without knowing if they’ll stay for life.
Are you willing to love, still?

When you love someone, you hurt in places that dig deep, to build new depths of imperfections from which you could love.
Are you willing to love, still?

You could fly.
You could land on a soft place.
You could fall rock bottom.

But your heart will always grow stronger in it’s capacity to love deeper and fearlessly.

Are you willing to love, still?

Ayuma

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Open Journal: Singlehood is a Platform for Growth

Let me begin by saying that if you’re a people-person like myself, please don’t travel to the Kenyan coast alone. 

If you’re a solitary being like my big sister Susan, you just might enjoy it alone as long as you find a great and private place way out of town like African House Resort where we stayed in Malindi (http://www.booking.com/Share-2KvXT8

Because…

First of all, people approached my friend saying how, “It’s wrong for women to travel like this alone.” And by “like-this” the bloke meant financially independent. He enthused that we should ALLOW men to take us to such nice places. I shan’t even comment. Abeg!

Secondly, it’s like these hotels only cater for couples. You can easily get overwhelmed. Those swan towel things on the bed with love-heart flowers. Mood music by Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston… those deep emotional ones that drain your soul.

And not to forget how the other guests are mostly couples. 

And then on the only novel you’ve carried to read, the next chapter is about romance… Yes, even those Christian ones about the story of Queen Esther, and the classical Ruth and Boaz. 

Please, don’t do that to yourself.
You might end up doing something STUPID like contacting that Ex who’s just waiting for an excuse to crawl back into your life.

Don’t do it woman!

But that was me last time I travelled alone to the coast on a work assignment as a travel magazine writer.

Now I’m wiser.

Planned this year to travel with a friend and we totally had so much fun as single, financially able, and God-fearing women. 

And we influenced our experience so much that the hotel manager (whom we now call Uncle John) literally called us yesterday to say that the hotel staff miss us so much because we were like their flowers. 

My heart was full!!! 🙂 
But here’s the juice.

So my friend and I kept talking about the frolics we experienced in our businesses this year as we swam in the Africa-shaped pool.

We kept planning our laps saying, “Let’s swim from Egypt to South Africa” 

Ha! So much fun.

And little did we know that nearby was a room for a well-respected Kenyan lawyer who’d been attending a conference by the Law Society of Kenya. 

When we finally met each other, she commented on our conversations saying they were so refreshing and that she can relate since we’re right where she was back in her 30s. #CareerGoals
Meanwhile, this whole time they’d been a 30-something year old European guy also swimming in the pool, but in the North Africa side. He’d smile every time we talked, but he literally said not a word.

His parents had been drinking tea or “something strong” nearby at their room patio.

Maybe he was afraid of engaging in a black-woman-circle conversation in front of his parents? 

Hmmm… Interracial connections can be tough though.

And so he kept doing this every day, swimming only when we decided to swim. But neither of us were going to make it easy for him by saying hello first.
But an opportunity presented itself.

As the lawyer and my friend talked, I completely forgot the guy was in the pool and started doing a backstroke to Egypt. But as soon as the ladies saw me, they warned me to stop because I was going to crash into him. 

My friend later on laughed saying that he’d been standing there with a smile on his face just waiting for me to crash into him. 

Maybe it was his chance to finally talk to us in front of his parents with a reason?

Hmmm… we’ll never know.
And still, he kept swimming, smiling, and timing us, but just never gathered the courage to start a genuine conversation with beautiful bold black women just a swim away.
Then came the moment I later went on Instagram to share a photo journal of my trip. 

And the strange private messages from guys came along, “Hae” “But why are you still single?” “Hi” 

And I looked up into the heavens with my hands stretched high and said, “Fix it Jesus!” 

Because I literally can’t entertain empty, demeaning, and shallow conversations like these. 
And I just wondered, Where Are The Gentlemen? 

Those who can gather the courage to respectfully approach women despite what family, social, racial, cultural and religious norms say.

Those who can engage women in deep, meaningful, challenging conversations with growth and not sex being the objective.

Those who can say, “Hello” followed by words that speak life into a woman, not waste her time.
I know Jesus is snapping His fingers to this and will sort me out accordingly.

Jesus is fixing it y’all!
To fellow single women out there, remember to use your singlehood as a platform for growth. Mostly, the kind of growth that helps you learn about yourself and invest in yourself; What do you REALLY want and need out of this life?

Challenge yourself to go out there and get it unapologetically, without settling for less.
#Remember: Talk is always cheap. Watch out for consistent actions, those don’t lie. And I say this after learning from my own share of expensive mistakes that robbed me of my time, investment, confidence, love, and grace as a woman.
The joy of singlehood is the Time to learn, grow, and commit to your standards.

And what better standards than God’s best for you?

You are worth it woman!
Love & Sunshine,

Ayuma.

WHY I WEPT ON MY 2015 BIRTHDAY

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Courage is an Attitude

I had just come from Nairobi Garage where I had hosted an early-morning speed networking event for young Nairobi entrepreneurs. It was the very last event. I could not afford to produce another one. So I had a little cupcake and coffee party to thank my guests, and to encourage them to keep on with their good work. I went home.
 
With my handbag still on my shoulder, I sat on the couch, silent.
With a box of stationery still on my lap, I stared at the feedback forms inside.
Warm tears slowly slithered down my cheeks into the box.
Suddenly, a loud cry burst out of my mouth and echoed into the box.
 
I felt like such a big failure!
A failure to my company. A failure to myself. A failure to my parents who’d invested in my business. A failure to my supporters. A failure to my country.
 
After weeping, I sat on the couch for a while, trying to figure out my next steps. Normally, I would write an evaluation of the event and plan for the next one. Then send a message of thanks to guests, along with a networking tip.
 
But this time round, I had no idea what would be my next step.
I could not afford to pay back the loans from my parents because the banks I had visited didn’t offer loans to young unmarried ladies with small enterprises. I got to understand why there are so many microfinance banks for women in Kenya. Despite modernisation, most banks still see women as high-risk customers.
 
I could not reach out to my mentor because our relationship had been tarnished by his sexual advances. He had been in the process of supporting my application for a grant at an embassy, the accounting firm already set to receive the funds. But when he realised that I stand firm on my principles, he blocked the process and sent me this message: “I can’t be a mentor to a person like you. The people I mentor understand how we work. No wonder your startup is not working!”
 
So I put down the box of stationery, slipped off the couch onto the floor and removed my shoes.
I prayed. I wept. I prayed some more.
 
Exposed and vulnerable is what I felt as a human being. But I did not care at that point. If I were to be broken and all vulnerable, I would rather be so before my God who is also my friend. I asked Jesus to show me that all my effort had not been in vain. I asked for His guidance.
 
A wave of calmness came over me and I found the strength to smile. Suddenly, I noticed the chocolate cupcake that had remained from the party I had with my guests. I grabbed it, took a bite, and told myself: “Happy Birthday Michelle! All will be well.”
 
One birthday later, I am so grateful to have my prayers answered.
My parents chose to look over the loans I owed them, and invested in furthering my education in Social Innovation Management at the Amani Institute. So happy that I’ll be graduating this month. Yay!
 
I found the courage to take a few steps back on the idea I had had to focus on the core, which is positive conversations that inspire positive change. Now, I serve change leaders as a coach through a project that celebrates storytelling for leadership.
 
Despite not having surplus funds at the moment, I have never lacked. Opportunities are showing up along my journey. Not to mention the amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and learn from.
 
I’ve got a strong roof over my head, food to put on my table and clothes to keep me warm. Every day, I wake up to new opportunities to serve people by doing what I love.
 
The greatest lesson I have learnt is that…
Failure is a great teacher with an ugly face.
It takes courage to look past the ugly face and see a resource to learn from.
 
Courage is a key word this new year of my life.
 
My hope is that this little story of mine encourages you never to give up on you. And remember…
 
Courage, Prayer & Chocolate cake!
 
Happy Birthday to me

Rivers or Dams? Pick one!

 

Berta Caceres 2015 Goldman Environmental Award Recipient

Berta Caceres stands at the Gualcarque River in the Rio Blanco region of western Honduras where she, COPINH (the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) and the people of Rio Blanco have maintained a two year struggle to halt construction on the Agua Zarca Hydroelectric project, that poses grave threats to local environment, river and indigenous Lenca people from the region. Source: goldmanprize.org

 

As we chase after modern knowledge, skills & lifestyles, are we loosing ourselves?

We are all indigenous to somewhere on this earth.

We all came from somewhere!

Our human identity isn’t in fashion brands, fast cars, academic achievements, air mileage and fancy houses.

Our identity depends on real connections with humanity, not things.

Berta Cáceres has taught us an expensive lesson – to protect our identity or allow our footprints to vanish from existence.

This International Women’s Day 2016, I celebrate Berta’s courage as a female warrior who fought for equality, environmental conservation, protection of her indigenous culture and peace!

Visit goldmanprize.org for more about Berta Cáceres!

#IWD2016

 

 

Lessons from Betty the Bean

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Betty the Bean

So a few weeks ago, I planted Betty the bean in the backyard. She is a special bean because she can produce about 300 beans even in a tiny space!!! I had to search for a safe place for her to grow and I found it. But it took her longer than an ordinary bean to germinate.

I was afraid that she wouldn’t make it. The rains fell upon the ground for a number of days and I kept checking up on her every morning and evening. At last, she sprouted off the ground but some ants ate up one of her food reserve on her cotyledon.

Still, I kept watering her and feeding her some organic manure. Monday morning this week, as I brushed my teeth I went straight to the backyard and saw Betty standing tall and strong with two whole leaves 🙂
She’s now a strong little seedling!!!

In my journey to discovering my purpose, I keep facing challenges that make me doubt if that great purpose is really for me. But even when the time takes longer than usual, even when stormy seasons almost drown me, even when adversity tries to bully me… I still believe that by standing my ground, I’ll break through the tough times.

I’ll soak up the good from all that’s around me and turn it into a motivation to help me get to the next part of the journey.

It’s not easy, but after coming this far, it’ll only be silly to give up hope when everything in me is already showing that little by little I’m almost there.

Do you feel like a Betty bean today?

Be strong, courageous, and believe in your able roots.

Flag of All Flags!

Flag of all flags is love.

Flag of all flags is love.

FLAG OF ALL FLAGS: It’s heartbreaking to watch people fight on social media about something that should actually bring us together as humankind.
“Why haven’t you changed your profile picture to support France?” “Why haven’t you changed your profile picture to support Lebanon?” “Why haven’t you changed your profile picture to support Syrian refugees?” “Why haven’t you changed your profile picture to support…?”

If you’re like me, you might have already picked up on the real purpose of the virtual flags: Love for humanity.
But by choosing to isolate and attack each other because of Facebook flags, we’re choosing that which the terrorists are promoting? Fear, the mother of terrorism.

Fear makes us believe that we are more different than we are similar.
Fear makes us violent with our words, thoughts, intentions, and actions.
Fear makes us strip people of their power of choice.
Fear makes us foolish enough to be inhuman.

So whether or not you choose to use a Facebook flag, the biggest question we have to ask ourselves is, “So what next?”
So what next, after the terrorist attacks?
So what next, after we change our profile pictures?
So what next, after fear knocks at our doors?

Instead of fighting over Facebook flags, why not focus on what really matters? Sharing love with humanity.
How do we do this? It’s in the everyday simple things like smiling with a stranger. Sharing your meal with a homeless child. Offering a friend your shoulder to cry on. Affirming what’s good in someone instead of magnifying the faults.

As we start the new week, I encourage you to observe the world around you and spot opportunities in which you could directly respond to fear with love.
We are all superheroes if you think about it. We fight in the background with acts of courage that save the world from further decay.
This is how slowly, we get to change the world one act of love at a time.

Love & Sunshine

Courage

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I can confidently say that I am not the same woman I was two months ago.
Why so?

Well… fear checked in big-time! I woke up one day and imagined myself as a 50-year-old woman. Judging from the attitude I had in life I predicted the kind of situation I would be in. Let’s just say that it didn’t look good at all. It was pitiful to picture myself as the woman I had imagined.

Snapping back to reality was the best feeling ever! I realised just how much I could still do to end up at a better place than I had seen myself in. There was suddenly an opportunity to work on my attitude and realise that the change begins with me and in my mind.

The best thing is that suddenly I don’t fear much in life as I used to. The greatest lesson I’ve learnt is that instead of focusing on fear of the uncertain future, it is much better to focus on the possibility of great things that lie ahead in my life.

So be kind to yourself. Don’t leave any room for fear, open wide your life to the possibilities of a positive future.

Courage is a state mind!

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