Sunday, 9 December 2012
It's been a while. I've neglected this space for far too long and I need to figure out what I'm going to do with it in 2013. The plan is to do a much better job and fit it in with all the projects that I'm getting off the ground.
In the meantime, I'm now a contributor to xOJane.com ! This is an honour, because it's essentially a space where incredible, intelligent, relentless, honest and unapologetic women speak their truth with audacity and authority. Spaces like this aren't found as often as I'd like in the online sphere, so I'm really happy that my voice is part of this great community.
My first piece went up earlier this week and here's a link to my author bio. Let me know what you think!
If you like to follow what I'm doing, I use my tumblr and Twitter quite a bit. I also have this goal setting web project called 5 Goals, 1 week that is markedly different from the other web stuff I do, but I love it.
Until next time!
P.S Strive to live your purpose, with purpose, on purpose.
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
I've just realised that the freeze frame from my new YouTube video is absolutely ghastly. Unfortunately my pride isn't stronger than my laziness, ergo it'll stay the same!
Hope you're all well, I've done another video! I've also developed a flair for stating the obvious. I told you I'd attempt to be more consistent. I'm getting there....kinda! The video is about embracing being single. It was a struggle to record because I was trying to figure out an angle that would make my tits look larger than they actually are. I jest (perhaps) Watch, share, comment, critique, subscribe. You know the deal : )
Could you all keep October 6th free? I'm doing my first live event. Think a fabulous group of intelligent fearless women gathered in a room exchanging ideas that will transform their life for the better. There'll be a stellar panel facilitated by myself (my uterus just leaped with nerves), cupcakes and champagne. If the promise of sweetened carbs and alcohol doesn't convince you to attend, I'm not sure what will. I'll be posting more information on the event soon. Stay tuned lots of fun stuff about to happen.
There's always a risk I'll start to ramble so I'll stop now. I'm off to procrastinate, google image Ryan Bailey, tweet about things that are unequivocally ratchet and hopefully get some work done.
Love and Light
Friday, 27 July 2012
It’s been a while since I blogged. In fact it’s been precisely a year, one month and three days. In that time I have experienced exhilarating highs and devastating lows. Lived, “died”, seen myself morph into incarnations I didn’t recognise, and then watched as those incarnations vanished as quickly as they appeared.
I’ve done things I didn’t believe were within my capacity. I ran the Berlin Half Marathon. Drank less wine. Read more books, gave less of a damn. I found new friends, lost friends, lost newly found friends, felt a smorgasbord of emotions and within that time discovered the person I needed to be a friend to first was the awkward woman staring at me in the mirror.
I started running barefoot. Temporarily concluded my credo was “life should be lived naked with heels on”’ Fortunately I never publically enacted this belief.
I gazed at shoe porn. Acquired a few of the shoes I coveted. I discovered obscure words like “demimonde” “rectitudinous” “bloviate” “traduced” “sybarite” all of which I understand, none of which I have had the chance to use until today.
I rekindled my love for dating. Cancelled many dates to read a great book, because I prefer the warmth that emanates from a brilliant book to the presence of a stranger. I learnt the hard way that if you refuse to learn a lesson the universe will keep on sending it back to you.
I shopped less.
I learned that I don’t need much to be happy, just need the best of what I do have. I was forced to distill what mattered and leave the rest. What mattered were my faith, family, and friends. The assurance that all was well with them was enough to get me through the day. I concluded that life is best when living on the intersection between opulence and simplicity, and as incongruent as those two concepts may seem the appreciation and pursuit of both bring joy.
I joined Team iPhone. The impetus was the need to track my runs using the Nike running app and my vain desire to join the instagram club. I discovered that instagram filters are great for days when you’re not wearing much makeup and want to deceive yourself.
I learnt life is meaningless unless we’re serving others. That if all we do is done in a spirit of love, good things follow and strife diminishes.
I thought I was in love. It turned out I was in love with the concept of love.
I went up a bra size. The prior statement is a lie.
I finally met Beyoncé. This is also a lie.
My meeting with Beyoncé has happened so many times in my head it feels real.
I found faith, lost religion. Serendipity brought me a great weave supplier. I’m not entirely convinced this has nothing to do with my increased faith.
I learned the value of sisterhood by being welcomed into a group so incredible it’s changed the fabric of my life forever.
I grew a lot. Not the ugly duckling into an elegant swan type growth. It was the messy, this-is-all-confusing type of growth. Within that period of growth, it made sense to be silent and not to use this space to channel my confusion.
It’s near impossible to summarise the most pivotal stage in your personal development thus far in words. Even having to explain my “hiatus” is mortifying. Seems all a bit self-indulgent and self-important, but whatever it had to be done. Enough with the quasi abstract statements. I’m back! Probably with more video blogs than written blogs, but I’ve got a few surprises up my sleeve.
To everyone that emailed, queried, tweeted, called, asked me “why?” Thanks. Thanks for caring and thanks for your continued support. Meant more than you know.
Above is a video. I’m talking about “Keeping It Real” a phrase so ubiquitous it now has no meaning. It’s so embedded in our vernacular we cease to grasp its gravitas. As is my custom I’ll refrain from expounding on the video, watch it and make your mind up. Hopefully you’ll like it, if not you can mute me and look at the Audrey Hepburn canvas gazing over me in the background.
There are lots of exciting things happening. I can’t wait to share them.
Love Christiana xxx
Friday, 24 June 2011
It's been a while! I use this phrase more than I should, it's a guilty procrastinators way of subtly apologising for their incompetence. For those that care, I am back! With a video blog on high maintenance women.
The fact I filmed this vlog wearing a sequined gold jacket with Chanel earrings is an irony that does not fail to escape me. I do sincerely hope the visual contradiction does not detract from the spirit of the message.
As per usual I'll refrain from commenting further on the content of the blog. Please!
For that have already and will, thank you!
I get asked to do hair and beauty vlogs a lot, though I find it flattering that the state of my hair/makeup has finally progressed from the comical state it was permanently in through 1998 to circa 2006, I remain diffident about my abilities. I'll leave the beauty vlogging to those that do it well.
Sidebar: My go to beauty blogger of the moment is Shirley of Meek~n~Mild check her site/videos for hair and beauty tips! www.meek-n-mild.com Did I mention she writes on The Tip too? www.thetiponline.com
However since I get a lot of asks...
In terms of what I used in that video/in general
Foundation: Bobby Brown, Oil Free Compact Golden 6. I've found Bobbi Brown to be the best foundation for my skin. Great match, not too heavy and the right amount of coverage. I don't use it often because I'm still not confident in terms of its application, plus I don't like foundation...but I'm gettig there.
Mascarra: Miss Sporty, Fabulous Lash. Cheap and cheerful. My bestie recommended it to me and it has changed my life. I will stage a protest if it is ever discotinued.
Eyeliner: Sleek, twist up pencil. Cheap and does the job (I'm sensing a trend).
Eyeliner 2 (used on lids) : Blue Heaven, Kajal. It's a product from India and is incredible. It's black as soot and soft. I'd like to shout out my eyebrowologist Mena for introducing me to India's best kept secret/
Blush: Nars, Exhibit A (if blushes could be books in the bible, pretty sure this would be in the pentateuch, it's THAT crucial) and Sleek, Flamingo.
Lips: Can't be bothered to dig through my bag. But I'm pretty sure the gloss is a clear one by Bourjois and the lipstick is a hot pink by Rimmel (maybe?)
Colour: I don't know my hairdresser Amanda bleached it for me. I simply obediently sat in the chair. It's technically a honey blonde.
Products: Kera Care Silken Seal (great for gloss and finish) and L'Oreal Elnett supreme hold because it's a hairspray that can hold through anything...if you get my drift *cough* Daily I use Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Moisturizer.
In the video I'm wearing 3 tracks for a bit of lenghth and bounce, the hair brand I'm currently using is Milky Way, it's colour 4/30. The hair type is yaki because the texture's rough enough to blend with my natural hair.
In terms of shampoo and conditioner, I switch between Kera Care and Motions. Currently I'm loving Kera Care's conditioner, it's superb.
Erm, that's it in terms of makeup/hair stuff. I was asked to give a hair/beauty tip and all I have at the moment is drink lots of water and always believe in your sexy. Hope that was useful!
Thanks for reading,
Friday, 27 May 2011
I finally got around to posting this video blog! I recorded it a few weeks back (before I went very blonde at the front of my hair) and kept procrastinating, hence why it didn't go up. Alas I have may vices and procrastinating is the one I can't seem to shake. Procrastinating, over-shopping, over-thinking, under-exercising....yeah let me not list my vices!
As per usual I won't extrapolate further on the content in the vlog. The title sums up its message 'Create Don't Hate'. As a victim of anonymous internet haters via comment sections *waves at the e-haters*, I guess this is the closest thing those people will get to a response. Create more than you criticise. If you're doing more criticising than creating, you're wasting your life. Life is too short to spend it tearing down others, build up yourself so you can in turn help someone else. If you find you have so much vitriol within you, you're compelled to transfer that negative energy to someone else, seek therapy. I say that in all seriousness. Your pain is not there to be transferred to someone else. It is your responsibility to deal with your pain and by doing so you become a better person. Let me stop! I'm trying to not come across as a didactic elitist... : )
At the moment I'm awaiting an ASOS delivery. Pretty convinced that shopping was ordained by God, but internet shopping was the brainchild of Satan. Do you know how many hours I spend on netaporter.com? There's only so much shoe porn a woman can watch without giving in and becoming a participant. I don't know the names of many of my cousins, however I know the names of shoes, bags and dresses. Why am I telling you this? Oh yes I'm awaiting my ASOS delivery, so I must go because I don't want to miss it. Plus I think I've divulged enough about my sick (yet oh so delightful) sartorial addiction(s).
Hope you all have an excellent weekend and thank you for all the support.
Monday, 16 May 2011
Any child of immigrants will attest to the fact that there is a 'moment' you realise your home life is distinctively different from that of your peers. Mine came when I was corrected on my pronunciation of the word “crisps”. I always thought it was “crips”. When I exclaimed to my friend “but my mum says it CRIPS” she seemed rather appalled and retorted “well your mum’s saying it wrong”. Over the years it became apparent that it wasn’t just the way my family spoke that was different, it was also the way we lived.
Though there are similarities, children of immigrants don’t all have the same story. Some of our parents pushed against assimilation and others encouraged integration. Then there were the parents who feared the dilution of their core cultural values, but didn’t want their children to feel left out, so they promoted both integration and rejection.
Depending on their experiences growing up and the ideologies they adopt as an adult, we invariably have radically different perceptions concerning our identities. Some us struggle with a sense of belonging and ask ourselves "where do I belong?" Others aware they're fortunate to have been born “abroad” wrestle with internal guilt. The privilege that comes with being born in the West (especially when juxtapositioned with the perilous state of much of the developing world) burdens many with a sense of responsibility they haven’t chosen to bear.
Then there are those like myself who for whatever reason have never been preoccupied by such questions. However the fact we’re not preoccupied by our national identity and picking a side, leaves us vulnerable to accusations of being a 'sell out’ or not knowing who we truly are.
The politics and complexity of identity aside, I’ve found "belonging" and being familiar with two worlds means my life is richer. I have a deep insight into two cultures. I'm aware of their points of tensions and areas of overlap. My perspectives and experiences have a width and depth they would otherwise lack. This means I understand cockney rhyming slang and Igbo (sadly I speak neither). I can make bangers and mash and then pound yam for my dad (the quality of both dishes is horrendous). Ultimately being from two worlds has taught me the lesson that all people have more in common than they believe. We all seek the same things, love, acceptance and security; we simply have different methods of pursuing our aims. Finally, if a person is good (or bad) it is not because of their culture or nation of origin, it is in spite of it.
I remember growing up and cringing at some of my parents idiosyncrasies. Now I look back and marvel at how two individuals who came here with nothing built incredible lives for themselves and their children. This story of hustle, determination, tenacity, belief and vision is not unique to my parents. Despite what the Daily Mail and other right wing news outlets like to propagate, most immigrants don’t migrate simply to take from society, they come to give. They seek to give to a better life to their children, give to their families back home and ultimately they give back to society.
Today I'll focus on some of the random experiences that occur when you’re raised in the West by parents from Africa. I shared some of these thoughts on Facebook and Twitter earlier last week and two things struck me. Firstly, the sheer number of people who identified with what I wrote. Secondly, how people from other cultures, be it West Indian, Irish, Indian, Arab, English or Polish, also identified with my anecdotes. Apparently it's not just African parents, all parents are a bit special (crazy).
Things that occur when Growing up African.....
That moment of shock when you discover everyone doesn't bath with a bucket and sponge.
That day you discover that they don't serve Supermalt in pubs. In fact they don't serve it anywhere. Most people outside your milieu have never heard of Supermalt. This fact will puzzle you forever.
Finding out the woman you call grandma isn't your grandma. Neither is your aunty, your aunty. Or your cousin, your cousin. In fact 95% of the people you refer to with a term that suggests they're a blood relation are not.
Contrarily, you're often dragged to parties and introduced to someone you have never met who is actually your cousin, aunty or uncle. Due to convention you must then have a conversation where the starter question is "how is school?" No matter how school is going you say "good”
The realisation "how is school?" will be the starter question for every conversation you have with an aunty or uncle until you graduate. When you graduate the question becomes "when are you getting married?"
Going to parties and there's a high table for special guests. Ironically the table is often not that high. It's just an ordinary table covered with wrapping paper and draped with Christmas lights. At some parties there are more people on the high table than at the rest of the party.
Weddings usually begin 1-3 hours late.
Conversations that begin with rhetorical questions such as "Am I your mate?" and "Are you calling me a fool?" rarely end well.
The phrase "Can you imagine" never requires the use of your imagination because it normally follows/precedes a story told in vivid detail.
That embarrassing moment when you go to the airport and despite obsessively using the scales at home, your mum has excess luggage. You stand at the check-in desk watching your parents try and negotiate a deal so they don’t pay for excess luggage. When that fails, they start to "spread the weight" across the suitcases. When that fails they eventually hand over the stuff they really didn't have to take to the relative who drove you to the airport. The first 3 hours of the flight back to Africa is spent with your mum lamenting over the luggage lost.
The shock when you discover that using "Plum Tomato" isn't the only way to make stew.
The phrase "the devil is a liar" is used as an exclamation, response, question, and declaration.
That moment of confusion when you realise that women getting money thrown at them whilst they dance is considered objectification. At the parties/weddings we’re taken to, having a bunch of dollar bills thrown at you is called getting ‘sprayed’. It simply means you're dancing well. And if you're anything like me you've discovered it's a great way of funding your shoe fetish.....
Going to parties in school/community halls and all the drinks are in a big black bin filled with ice.
Living in a house filled with “Souvenirs” collected from parties means you can start the day drinking tea from a mug with a dead man's face on it. On the mug are the words "Chief Adeyemi goes to glory. Sleep well Daddy. Psalm 23:1”
Pretending to be dead after a severe smacking. Your parents never believe you're dead and if they do they either 1) Smack you more to wake you up 2) Leave you for "dead"
Being called downstairs to change the channel, even though the remote is NEXT to your mum.
Trying not to stare at that aunty who shaves off her eyebrows and draws them back on.
That awkward painful silence that envelops the room when a sex scene comes on TV.
When the ends of your extensions have been burned and keep sticking to your school jumper.
The first time you decided to experiment and told your parents to 'shut up'. What happened after is too painful to share on this blog.
Discovering you won't have a room for months because an 'aunty'/'uncle' is coming from back home and they're taking your room. If you're fortunate you'll be notified a day prior to the event.
Microsoft Word putting a squiggly red line underneath your name after you type it. Actually that still happens….
Your mum saving oil to refry food in it. So your plantain tastes like fish. Or your chips taste like plantain.
Your dad giving your schoolteacher permission to "cane" you. She looks appalled and politely refuses. He's disgusted.
Being threatened with getting sent back to the "village" whilst your friend Tommy gets put on the "naughty step"
"Dad I got 96%!!" "Where's the other 4%? The girl that came first did she have two heads?"
Going into the freezer, taking out a tub of ice cream, opening it and feeling devastated when you discover it's frozen stew. This still regularly happens to me.
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
The discourse surrounding men and their behaviour is rather polarised. On one side we have those who believe all (or at the very least most) men cheat, lie, have commitment issues, dislike hard work, will forget your birthday and insist on playing mind games. If you're particularly misfortunate you may meet and fall in love with a man who manages to possess all of the above traits.
Then we have the romantics. Those who passionately believe every woman is predestined to meet a man who will perfectly fit her imperfections and specifications. In ‘The One’ she'll find the love, security and serenity she seeks, and finally be able to retire from the futile dating game. Unfortunately we don’t often speak about ‘Mr Average’, the man who lives in the gulf between the two myths. Much like the average woman, Mr Average is fundamentally good but prone to the occasional screw up.
In an ironic twist the reality about men seems to have become as skewed as the myths. Depending on where you go, who you know and what you believe, if you meet a man he’s either a demi-God or a fully fledged demon. Mr Average seems to have all but have vanished and at times it seems as though the demons outnumber the demi- Gods .
It is said there was once a time when being a gentleman was part of a man’s duty. Male identity was so bound up in gentlemanly conduct to behave otherwise was to choose to abdicate from your responsibility and masculinity. Those days are no more. There's been a downward shift in what society expects from men which has negatively impacted the standards men set for themselves. We’re in a bit of a predicament and many women are constantly asking "Where have all the gentlemen gone?"
Before writing this blog, I decided to discus the subject with one of my best friend’s and get his opinion. He raised a number of salient points about why there seems to be an underwhelming number of gentlemen. Firstly, hazy conceptions concerning what precisely it means to be a man and the subject of gender itself being immersed in unnecessary controversy and complexity means men who do display gentlemanly conduct are at risk of being labelled as the "nice guy" and instantly friend zoned.
Gestures that were once deemed gentlemanly are now viewed by some women as offensive. Such women (who he described as “crazier than Germaine Greer on her period”) feel insulted when men behave in a chivalrous manner, as they believe it implies they can’t take care of themselves. After assuring him that no woman I know personally would ever take offence if a man paid the bill or covered the taxi fare home, he responded with “That’s not because you’re post-feminist. That’s because you’d all rather spend your money on shoes. Witches” Yes he called us witches.
When my friend realised I intended to focus this blog on the decline of the gentleman he launched into a long monologue, most of which is too offensive to post. However the final part of his rant is worth sharing.....
“Christiana, where are the ladies? You can’t sit here and lament about the decline in gentlemen, when there are no ladies for real men to court. I'm not trying to deflect. I understand men need to step their game up. But I know even if they did step up their game a lot women aren't doing their part either. However no one’s talking about it because you’re all so sensitive… ”
After thinking carefully about my friend’s argument I came to the realisation I couldn’t blog about the decline in gentlemen without acknowledging that there are less women behaving like ladies.
Tracing the decline in the lady is a complex task. It’s an unsurprising turn of events considering we're in a culture where every female singer in the charts (bar Adele) seems to be in a competition with the next to see who can wear the least amount of clothes without revealing her labia.
We live in a bizarre time where a woman broadcasting intimate details about their sex life is empowering rather than crude. Being drunk and disorderly in public is viewed as liberating rather than uncouth. Edgy is better than elegance. Foulness is preferred to finesse. More (weave) is better than less.
For every man unaware of the power of a well-tailored suit, there's a woman who thinks leggings are trousers.
Sidebar: Leggings are not trousers.
For every man that doesn't walk on the right hand side of a lady, there's a woman that won't cross her legs. For every man that approaches a woman with unnecessary aggression, there's a woman who responds to a man with unnecessary abrasion.
Now I understand the discomfort surrounding labels such as gentleman and lady, they were popularised in a time when women were subservient and men were dominant patriarchs. However I don’t think our status quo is desirable either. A lot of women are losing out on the joys that come from being a lady and being treated as such. Countless men are losing out on the esteem that comes from being a gentleman.
It doesn’t have to be zero-sum. There is a middle way, where we take the best of the traditional conceptions of being a gentleman and lady and then blend it with our modern way of thinking.
In essence being a lady or gentleman is about striving to be excellent in all things. It means holding yourself to a standard that is higher than necessary. It's not so much about one’s appearance (though that comes into play) it's about conduct.
Being a gentleman or a lady involves a great deal of responsibility. We can shirk away from that responsibility or we can aspire to embrace it, and live it. The challenge I leave with all of us (myself included) is to strive to do the latter.