This past week I have been mostly thinking about lessons that I would give my 20 year old self. Things that I never know but now realise, things that I, although a very reflective person should have done differently. Maybe it's because of the recent rushing around, being in two places at once. The working single mum going from school to work, work to school, keeping the home and managing the tiny budget all the while wondering if the state of financial wobble is even worth the rushing around.
I was thinking about the 20 year old me, just coming out of university, about to turn 21, lovely boyfriend at the time and a fabulous family. I was wondering whether she would be proud of my achievements today, whether they match the ambition I had at the time. I had so much ambition. Like the young people of today; "NEETS" as it were, hope snatched away with every rejection until all that's left is a hollow shell of your former self. The child with so many dreams and a heart full of love and promise.
I was thinking about what she would say about me not being married. Independent, confident, ok but not married. I have carried on and been so busy that this last week, it has suddenly struck me that I am alone. The Bible states "... Husband to the husbandless" but what about the the companionship of Adam and Eve? Was it not God's intention that we would be one? I'm sure we do all yearn for the "balance"
So today's lesson to my 20 year old self:
1. You are more than your relationship status
2. Sometimes the people you aspire to be do not know what they are doing and are also making it up as they go along
3. If you want relationship advise, ask an older woman
4. Sometimes you will yearn for the love of another, we are made of love and it is what keeps us going.
5. You are someone else's inspiration so keep smiling and be the example
What to wear to London Fashion Week. Actually, scrap that, what do I wear to London Fashion Week as a 6'0" tall woman? You'll think it would be ideal and that I would perfectly slot into place and look like one of the models on the catwalks (or at least the hotter older sister).
I do this every year. The issue is, it doesn't feel right, rocking along in trainers or flats if the whole outfit screams stilettos. My look must all coordinate lest I I look "off key." Gone are the days from school when a men's shirt, boys trouser and ugly black plastic things on my feet had to do. I have left those days way behind, and I think it is hardly acceptable that I be excluded from the fashion that I once modelled so gracefully for.
The move to 6"+ platforms recently has left me and other tall ladies a little left out of trend. I refuse to wear ugly shoes. Perhaps I should set a trend for going bare foot? I find my trusty low heel, white leather sling backs that maintain perfect silhouette, classy corporate and at a limited height extension. I need not tower above my peers even in their platform stilts but I will still hold myself up without bowing down to pass through the door.
In fact, I shall go to the ball. Be it trainers or heels, tall slim models like myself own Fashion Week, being tall should actually be an advantage, where this lack of confidence came from, I do not know. So during London Fashion Week I shall reclaim the throne as a tall woman and will mostly be wearing anything I want and look fabulous.
I am 90% certain that with all my trying, training, certificates, networking, diplomas, effort and applications that if I had whiter skin, I would be a senior manager or head of services by now and that is what upsets me.
I love my job in employment and skills and the idea that I am actually helping people work their way out of poverty. It's like the old saying "give someone a fish and he(she) will feed himself (herself) for a day but give him(her) a net and he(she) will feed himself (herself) and the family for a lifetime." That's my motivation for going to my 9-5 day job. I worked in emergency housing, rehousing homeless people into immediately available social rented properties, that to me is so important but the next stage is to prevent this from happening, provide a solution that ends the handouts and ensures people can look after themselves and their families independently.
I am good at my job. Surprisingly, the jobs I could never get as a new Graduate, I have supported new graduates into. The motivation and pep talking that I never got for each rejection I received is what I can offer and what is helping people psych up for the interview and get the job. The success of helping people reach their dreams is my motivation everyday and I love it. I am truly thankful for this.
It is so hard to convince business owners to recruit. I don't know how they wish to run a business, grow and succeed without the support of staff members but convincing them to take on anyone is like a near impossible task. Even to recruit someone into a catering role or bar job seems like jumping through hoops. Surely a day's training will suffice? What's with the screening interview, group interview and 121 interview followed by a week long trial before starting out on probation? It's a job. Give someone a few days to meet staff and find their way and I'm pretty sure they will be fine.
To be honest, today is a struggle to progress as I have been valued at a certain rate and seems that no matter how much effort I put in, it won't budge. Disheartened and disappointed that younger people with less experience, less qualifications and seemingly less enthusiasm are "leapfrogging" over me career wise. I wonder how much my value would increase if I change my name and had white skin? How do I tell the next generation that all this hard work, study and effort has amounted to nothing? What example are we setting the children? Should I quit? No, I have another plan and I will continue to always have a plan until the day someone says "yes!"
September has always been special. A new season, new term, new winter coat. The feeling of starting something a fresh or making a new resolution has always appealed to me.
September represents the new stationary; a chance to start a new exercise book, turn a page, use the brand new pen and make a whole new story.
The season has changed, the leaves turn brown, the bees go somewhere. Where exactly? The spiders hide and the ants dig deeper.
The bikini goes away and the demure covering and creative fashion styling comes back. It is a great opportunity to demonstrate that creativity of fashion. Personality always wins over "sexy" -any day.
With September month, I always think about the mid year resolution; what have I done so far and what can I do now? I think about starting a new job, creating a new project, buying a whole new wardrobe and making a change.
Just like starting a new school, it's time for a new exercise book and a story.
Don't get me wrong, I am really enjoying being "natural." My hair is now all "virgin" true African kinky texture. No more relaxer!
Really appreciate that I have the confidence to do it and also slightly weird that it is such an issue in our society . Going "natural" has become a statement or a "movement" as if I needed permission to stop relaxing my hair.
My decision to stop relaxing my hair had little to do with anyone else. I merely realised that the (normally male) shop assistants in my local "Afro hair and beauty shop" had no idea what they were selling and they probably didn't know what a hair relaxer was made of. Everyone just wants to make money. I didn't even know what a relaxer was!
So here I am today, with an all natural mini pony tail. Wondering how to style it for the winter months. I don't take this risk of breakage as a joke, looking for a good protective style that is professional for work but easy to manage and keep.
Abi the fashion blogger