Dealing With Winter Ashiness

I have dry skin. Very dry skin. Which I inherited in combination, with my nose and D-cup, from my lovely parents, whom in retrospect where probably not considering the resulting mixture of their genes when they did that which shall not be named.

This was not a particular concern of mine while I lived in Nigeria. I did make sure to moisturize my skin (thank you, Vaseline! and all the Natural Oils…), but it didn’t go much beyond that.

Then, I came to study/live in Belarus (a small European country southwest of Russia) and experienced my first winter, and just like that, my years of so-and-so relationship with my skin came to a halt, and I knew I needed some sort of routine to avoid looking like I bathed in talcum powder on the reg.

It took a a hot minute, buuut, I finally got it. A routine of sorts, a selection of trusted products that could possibly take the ash away. Nothing to grace the feed of a beauty blogger or anything of the sort. But I’ve managed to reduce my ashy levels to near non-existent, because :

I became a moisture alchemist : Creams + Oils (Olive, Shea Butter and Coconut are my trusty trio and the only ones within my price range, because for some reason, natural oils are quite pricey here). It became a game of figuring out which ones worked best together, how they worked with my skin type and if they were kind on my purse.

The good body lotions gut me with their price tags, and the cheapskate in me wanted to stick with the lower shelf brands, with colorful packaging and sketchy ingredients, but the ashiness of winters’ past loosened my grasp on my purse strings.

The Igbo part of my blood cringes when they get scanned, but I’m still alive…

Here’s a non-sponsored (updated) list of skin care products I use(d) :

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1) Avon Care (a very recent purchase, and my skin is loving it)
2) Dove ‘ Nourishing Secrets (I only bag this baby when it’s on sale 🙌
3) Parachute’ Pure Coconut Oil (it really is. Smells sooooo good too)
4) Зелёная Аптека ‘ крем для лица (face cream… with Vit C complex)
5) Olive oil (no games, from the grocery store)
6) Vitamin E oil….

I’m not the only alchemist either. Have peeped my roommate a few times, doing the same. And the black girl in me smiles, and I wonder for a minute why she uses way more of my shea butter than she does hers.

Side note : Okay, I know winter is long gone. I’m clearing out my draft list, and came across this gem. Why I didn’t post this earlier? “One” phrase : over criticism of self. Hope you enjoyed it anyways!

 

 

 

 

A Rant : “The Speech Cliché”

We’ve all seen the scene before. It’s the end of the movie, the bride and groom are standing before the priest, ready to exchange their vows, and then he asks the question —

“If anyone here has any reason why these two shouldn’t be joined together as man and wife, speak now or forever hold your peace…”

For a few seconds, the church is quiet. The bride and groom look round at the people gathered to celebrate and wonder whether someone’s going to fuck things up. And then suddenly, someone crashes through the church doors. His/her clothes are bashed up, because she had run all the way. Or had taken a bus that had gotten stranded in the middle of nowhere and had resorted to hitchhiking on the back of a farmer’s truck, sharing the space with just enough hijinks with barnyard animals to make the audience laugh.

But he/she put up with it, because it would all be worth it in the end. Why? Because of the speech.

They run down to the altar, panting, clothes and pride torn to shit, heart on their proverbial sleeves, eyes pleading at the professed love of their life, standing next to said true love’s intended partner. They begin. And in its paraphrased form :

” I know I’m not perfect, or haven’t achieved *fill in blank space*. But I love you. And I’m better than *intended partner*. And here, I have conveniently with me *a list of reasons intended partner is an asshole*. Take a chance. Choose me. Did I mention I love you… “

The assembled guests are gasping in turn. The camera pans to approving or disgruntled parents, and the music swells. And then the bride/groom runs down from the altar towards him/her , smile on face, worries to the wind and intended partner forgotten.

Why though?

   No, really? Why? Let’s explore this. You decide to spend your life with a person. You tell your families. And preparations go underway. You meet with the wedding planner, pick out your dresses and tux. The venue is picked, the whole sha’bang. You’re both in high spirits, because it’s finally happening. You’re getting married. Then, a speech changes your mind?? 

 

  Yes, forget all the work you put into your wedding. Forget the people you’ve invited to share your day with. Forget how expensive the whole thing was to put together in the first place. Forget the fact that you’re in a freaking relationship with someone who you were about to exchange vows with, literally seconds before the interruption.

    Were you just going to marry someone you didn’t really want to be with if someone hadn’t intervened?

Now, I understand. the movie usually sets it up that we side with the protagonist, that is, the person that chooses a person’s wedding day to make up their mind, and the intended partner always turns out to be an awful person; thus making the choice easier.

And I understand that it is a movie, and rightfully so, because real life doesn’t work that way. The whole thing baffles me really. Who started this trend? Who wrote the first script depicting the scene, thus kick-starting the trend, forever more, in movies? – Meet me outside, I just want to talk.

Kudoz to “The Graduate”, a movie that stayed on to show what happens right after the high of “the speech”. The slow, hounding realization of the ashes of a relationship left behind, in lieu or rushing forward towards the attractive unknown/uncertainty. The heady feeling of jumping off a building met with the rush of the ground towards you, security net left behind on the roof.

 

  Mbok, join me in the Anti-AltarSpeech movement in the comments!

    Does the altar speech get to you too, or are you a die-hard romanticist true and true? Let me know. I can’t be the only one that feels this way…

 

In Retrospect : “Day Of The Woman”

  I started the day : A strong, independent, Nigerian woman —– having cake for breakfast. And I didn’t even bake it myself. My friend was baking a cake for someone’s birthday, and it’s a silent unspoken rule between us, that when she’d “level” the cake, I would have some of that.

   As you well know, it’s not even close to healthy for breakfast, or any meal, but I was too lazy to make anything else.    However, after a few mouthfuls of cake, I got introspective. Like, soul-out-of-body-look-at-your-life kinda introspective. And I’m thinking,

   what am I doing? I’m totally going to feel awful after eating this. Bloated too.  

So, I get out of my headspace and plan a get-together with my friends : let’s meet together and have dinner and window-shop. It would be fun. [It was.]

 Highlights Of My Day :

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      The new additions to my window sill, and to my “green family”. I got them as “gifts” from Евроопт, a large chain grocery store, and i think they’re adorable. They came with pre-packaged soil and seeds, and planting instructions. I planted them in the morning,  and prayed that I wouldn’t loose my green thumb this time around.

 

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 My first bowl of Miso soup. It was delicious. I’ve read about it a lot in manga, so actually having it was surreal. We couldn’t decide on what to order collectively, so we bought food from different stores and had a bit of everything : sushi, miso soup, french fries, wraps, cola, you name it.. (the picture does not do it justice). 

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  My friends… + Zaynab (being the camera-lady). Literal balls of sunshine, and the most disloyal people ever (inside joke. They’re actually pretty cool) 

  I put together a “video” of sorts : literally scraps of pictures I loved, and I’m just going to leave it here (below)…

 

 

 

I hope your day was as fun, as my breakfast cake was delicious

– the nigerian millennial

le jour de la femme

In celebration of what today stands for, here is a collection of poetry and quotes by women, for women :

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size, but when I start to tell them, they think I’m telling lies. I say, it’s the reach of my arms, the span of my hips, the stride of my step, the  curl of my lips. I’m a woman phenomenally. Phenomenally woman. That’s me. ”   – Maya Angelou
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“When the world unravels around you

When even your dreams are crumbling stones

When everything you touch is set on fire and all around you is ash and smoke,

Remember this

Rock-bottom is a perfect place for rebuilding

Remember that you are you Mother’s Daughter, Your Grandmother’s unanswered prayer.

A whole bloodline of women who bend in response to raging winds, there’s nothing broken here.

Nothing damages or discarded.

Each scar is an act of defiance against the sun,

Each step is a victory dance waiting to happen and you are – a woman becoming.

Learning the complicated language of forgiveness

The intricate lessons of the universe, and your heart is just a muscle waiting for exercise,

And you were born for this sort of heavy lifting.

You were born; one part warrior, one part saint,

And loving yourself without shame is the most important thing you have to fight for… ”  –  Titilope Sonuga

 

 

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  “Yet, if a woman never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got? If she never takes off her high-heeled shies, how will she ever know how far she could walk, or how fast she could run?” – Germaine Greer

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  “I have not ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me. I have accepted fear as a part of my life. Specifically, the fear of change and the fear of the , and I have gone ahead despite the pounding in my heart that says, #turn back#.  – Erica Jong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above all, be the heroine of your own life”  –  Nora Ephron

 

I haven’t walked long on this earth, and I know I’ve barely begun to live. My life behind me holds up mistakes I’ve had to learn from, accomplishments I still celebrate, the tentative dreams I’m walking towards. My feet now, are still learning what to run away from and the ground that’s fertile for growth. My arms reach out to hug the friends that pass by, the family I’m surrounded by; my hands trying to press joy into my chest. My heart is hungry for the person I could be, thirsting after the One who can bring it to pass. I know I’ve barely begun to live.  – the nigerian millennial

 

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HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!!

 

  

“Clean Up Your Room!”

I’m not a messy person naturally. At least, I don’t think I am. But over a few months, I started slipping up, and it began as most habits do…. with a shrug and “nahhh, I’ll get to that later”.

I would leave dirty plates of a dinner before for the next day. I would rush off to school, bed undressed and sometimes, with bathing towel and robe still on said bed. After classes, jeans and bag were thrown on the “chair” ( self-described by my friend, Rasine, as the chair we randomly dump stuff on) to be put away later . And on, and on..

Unfortunately, this seeped into my daily life. The sloppiness. I would put assignments off till the last-minute, take f o r e v e r to put away my laundry, or even get my laundry done. Plates would pile up before I got to them, and my diet suffered. It was basically a roller-coaster of shitty decisions, that I had willfully gotten on, and was fast losing control over. I’m not naturally untidy (is anyone?), but I was cultivating the habit.

Clean up your room!

Those were the words of renowned clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson in one of his lectures I had stumbled onto his videos on YouTube (due to my watching a previous one of his that had gone viral). It was straightforward, and concise and a sort of blow to my lack of self-awareness of my acceptance of my bad habits, or worse, i was aware of it, but refused to work towards changing them.
Kernels of truth from one his lectures :
1) Clean up your room . Organize your local landscape.

This is one of my major tasks this year. Being more mindful of my space and keeping it tidy. And I’ve noticed, the more i practised this. The better off my mindset was for whatever tasks I had for the day, and when I didn’t.. Well, if you’ve visited my room on a Saturday and seen me in my pj’s watching random videos on YouTube and looking miserable. This is why. It seems like a small change, but believe me, it’s not.
2) Schedule your time. 
Ah, this one needs more work. I’m currently working on having tasks that I want to accomplish and writing them down, but having a time scheduled day is not a current thing for me. But, the first day I consciously monitored my social media usage, (and it was a l o t), i decided that this was definitely a useful skill.
3) Stop saying and doing things that make you feel weak
“Self depreciation” is a topic I plan on unpacking in a later post, as I am a repeat offender. But yes, right now, stop saying and doing things that make you feel weak.

I’m not near perfect. And I’m not trying to be. I just had lunch, so the plate is on the table next to me as I’m writing this (the idea of the post came to me then, and I didn’t want to put it off. Lol, okay… But i am going to wash right after I schedule this post 🙇). But I’m starting where I can, and doing what I can. And I believe the same for you, dear reader.

Personally, I need to listen to his lectures a few times over to, because there’s usually a lot to unpack and go through, so here is a link to the video I curated for this post. It’s a short four-minute video addressing the topic of this post, and I think you should watch it.

I plan on doing more posts like this, where I talk from a personal point of view based on experiences, books, videos, and all. If you enjoy content like these, I’d love feedback from you, by subscribing to the blog &/or leaving your opinions in the comments.

Thanks a lot for reading, and before I go…

Go clean up your room!

  From Where I Stood, You Were All I Could See

"Our feet left prints in the dust beneath us, marking the trail of regret in our wake..

           PART TWO

    Present

Liz stands at the apartment door for what seems like hours, the breathing exercises her therapist had recommended serve her little. Her heart thuds loudly in her chest, and her palms feel sweaty, fists clenched by her sides.

   I can do this. It’s different now. I’m different now.

The door stands innocently before her. It must have been dark green once, but years of neglect have left a faded, pale shade in its place. She reaches for the door knob with one hand, the other adjusting her bag strap. The key jams in the lock for a few seconds before she remembers that it had always needed the extra tug. The door creaks loudly as she pushes against it, the familiar scent of the living room wrapped up in musky undertones. Light barely gets through the worn out curtains, hanging at the windows. It’s the same ones, she thinks idly.

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