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THE GLAMOROUS TRUTH ABOUT COURAGE

Hello everyone. My name is Nike, I am the owner of the fashion and lifestyle blog SpecsandBlazers. It is my pleasure to share with you the glamorous truth about courage. Truth is…it’s not. It’s not glamorous at all. My story starts on a farm in Abeokuta, Nigeria – my father was a professor but always had this passion for farming. It was by all counts a home that was full love and I recall that at every dinner we had to go outside and pick our own vegetables. (the real organic). Around the age of three I can remember my parents arguing about their daughter – me, my mom would say : “Oh that child she’s so stubborn, she only listens to herself what are we gonna do about her?” My dad would say : she’ll grow out of it. Well…I never did. My behavior continued all throughout pri...

HOW TO RAISE A FEMINIST SON

The news cycle of this past year has been too difficult to navigate, as a woman but more importantly as a parent, especially one of a very aware pre-teen. I want my kids to be aware and informed of the world and to be active citizens as they grow into their teenage and adult years. But, I also want to protect them. Not all the news of the day is meant for kids’ ears. The line of what to tell them or let them know can be blurry. We now live in a 24-hour-a-day news feed, on TV, the internet, our phones. We have a president who tweets inappropriate things constantly and who has been caught on tape saying even more inappropriate things! Our kids hear that, even if it isn’t coming from us. They hear things at school or see headlines in the checkout line or the news on the radio before you...

WHY THE TERM “OVERCOME YOUR FEAR” NEEDS A SERIOUS RETHINK

I’ve been consumed by a sense of scarcity lately. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s as though my soul is choking on dust. It seems like this world has limited, depleting resources and I’m always running behind the candy train. My pulse races over the smallest of things slipping through my fingers: the last nacho on the shared plate going into someone else’s mouth, losing one earring from the set, the extra cash on restaurant meals (I can cook at home!). I feel smaller, contained, nervous, fearful that if don’t keep a beady eye on all parts of my life, the things that I hold dear will slip away, or be snatched, irrecoverably. I re-enforce boundaries, protect what I have, hoard my thoughts and my stuff. In my fluster of activity, I’m trying to achieve fullness and satisfaction, but...

YOUR SOUL IS SCREAMING FOR YOU: WHY IT’S TIME TO LISTEN

Our world is devoid of listening. Yes, we listen to music, to talking heads, to TedX speakers. We listen outside. We’ve come to love it. There’s something very safe about listening to what others have to say—about succumbing to the bombardment of lyrics and directives and seminars and countless other messages that influence our lives. I don’t mean that kind of listening—we’ve gotten good at that (though it comes at a price). I mean deeply listening. Deep listening means hearing the nagging pain in our bodies that tells us we’re working too hard, to the repetitive dreams that suggest a situation we’re in is smothering our souls. Deep listening means noticing the conversations we can’t escape—the ones where we keep saying the same things over and over again, but nothing seems to change. The ...

WALKING MY WAY BACK TO ME

In the summer of 2014 I found myself crying in the shower each morning. I was living in paradise but deep inside it was dark, joyless and so utterly pointless. This was not the life I had envisaged for myself. Then I heard it! That whisper. So soft! So silent! Calling! Calling! I nearly missed it.  There it was again, every day, louder, LOUDER, my name being spoken along with ‘Santiago el Camino.’  I listened to every whisper, tormenting, teasing and then one day it settled over me, warm, soothing and I allowed myself to trust it. I bought a beautiful pair of boots, hauled my backpack out of the attic and was good to go.  I was excited.  I had been attending to guests as an international hotelier for so many years that I had forgotten how to be a friend, a true friend, having a conve...

LESSONS I LEARNED IN MY TWENTIES

  I will be turning thirty next week – June first to be exact. I haven’t had much time to really dwell on it until now. This milestone leaves me feeling a sort of sadness and regret for wishing time to pass so quickly during some of my twenties; anger for not learning lessons as quickly as I should have; and hope for a better decade – one filled with adventures, love, mistakes and a desire to keep on living life to its fullest. So before the clock strikes midnight on May 31st and I transition into a new phase of life – here are the lessons I learned in my twenties: Rules were made to be broken. I spent so much time playing by the rules when I should have been trying to redefine them. I learned this lesson later in my twenties and I wish I would have learned it earlier. There are so ma...

YOU ARE YOU

It’s hard to find your voice as a woman. We are told to be dainty. Told to be soft. What if we are none of those things? If we are not what the world wants us to be, then what are we? The answer is simple. We are us. We are ourselves. I have chosen to take on the battle, to challenge these old-time beliefs of women. I am currently working on a series of cliché and grotesque self-portraits using digital media. I replicated famous artists and art pieces, such as Andy Warhol and his Marilyn Monroe. I also take my own photos of myself and shape myself into monstrous creatures. I do this to show my hate for the standards we are held to and the beauty expectations that are forced upon us. The series is for a project in my college, Kentucky College of Art and Design, or KYCAD. My teacher, Kenyatt...

BRACE YOURSELF TO FACE YOURSELF

The realization of feeling happy, enough and valuable hit me so suddenly I almost choked. It was a chilly afternoon, and cotton candy clouds were hugging the setting sun. And I just stood there, almost crushed by the discovery I’d just made. Now, I’m not here to brag about how spiritual, mindful and enlightened I am, because I am not. My life has been very far from perfect: from being molested from ages seven to 11, which lead to 15-year long depression, anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, borderline personality disorder, alcohol abuse, PTSD, insomnia and panic attacks – you name it, I had it. But at the core of all of my problems was one simple belief: “I am not enough”. Not worthy, not valuable, not lovable, NOTHING. Looking back, the desire to stop existing was enweaved into my life fo...

REALIZING THAT HE ISN’T THE ONE (& LIKING IT)

He saved me. I hate to say it but he really did. For over a year I had be swimming around in confusion and putting my interests on anyone who would give me attention but never for long enough for me to care about them. I balanced on a wall leaning down to give time to anyone who asked for it but never jumped down into their arms because that would mean I might break. Then he came and I jumped off that wall faster than I could have ever fallen. I dove right into him and soaked myself in his love for months. It lifted me up and protected me. He took the time to know me and love every part of my aching soul. I was completely his and yet still free to live as I wanted. He helped me grow and he watered my roots every single day. We were unbreakable and ready to be together for the rest of our l...

STOP COMPLIMENTING YOUR FRIEND ON HER BODY

It was Friday night, my friends and I had just finished dinner and we were excited to spend a night out on the town. We did what all girls do when they get ready – turn on some music, ask each other for outfit advice and slowly nurse our red solo cups of cheap wine. It had been the first time I had seen my girlfriends from college in seven months. Naturally, we were excited to relive our time together but I couldn’t shake this unwelcome wave of insecurity. It was a feeling I hadn’t felt in a very long time. What triggered it? My friend, who for the sake of the story we’ll call Carrie (for some odd reason we have an ongoing debate on who is which Sex and the City character). Carrie began to point out what she liked about all our bodies, which sounds weird from an outsiders’ perspectiv...

LESSONS FROM A FAILED FASHION BLOG

My cursor blinked on and off on an empty page, mocking me that I still hadn’t worked on the blog post I’d meant to submit weeks ago. As I stared blankly at my computer screen, I realized that I hated fashion blogging. It wasn’t anything remotely close to what I wanted to write about and it wasn’t much fun anymore.  Last August, I launched a fashion blog because I needed a project. My dad had just died, my relationship was failing, I hated my job and I desperately needed to lose myself in something. I spent every minute of my free time flipping through fashion publications, reading (and re-reading) Sophia Amoruso’s Girlboss, and stalking my fashion icons on social media. Everywhere I looked I saw someone other than myself achieving success. I hungered to get my...

SELF-TITLED

I miss the good old days when I was given a title. The title came neatly packaged with a full description mapping out 50 to 60 hours of my week. A one page present of convenience. When living in the corporate world explaining what I did for a living was never worrisome. When someone asked, “What do you do?” I didn’t have to think. The answer was written for me. I was a coordinator or a specialist or senior account executive. It was even typed out on a 2 1/2 x 3 inch card in case I forgot. When uttered, these titles were often accepted without explanation. It was an easy exchange. Titles, particularly job titles, are a funny thing. They can hold immense weight in the description of a person. It can determine salary and how close you park to the office. It can determine the...

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