Categories
Weddings

10 easy tips that will have you glowing on your wedding day

We all want to look and feel amazing on our wedding day. We all want to shine and to be the most beautiful bride in town, but wedding planning can take a toll on us and make us forget to look after ourselves.

1. Don’t drop your exercise regimen.

[Image description: A lady doing a kettle bell workout.] Via Giphy
[Image description: A lady doing a kettle bell workout.] Via Giphy
As tempting as it is, do not drop your exercise regimen. Daily exercise will help you fight wedding-related stress and keep your nerves under control. Exercise is also good for your skin and mood. And we all know that we look good when we feel good.

2. Take vitamins at least a month or so before your wedding day.

A man gesticulating with his hands and saying
[Image description: A man gesticulating with his hands and saying “You want longevity? you gotta take care of yourself.] Via Giphy
Keep your health first even in the middle of wedding planning madness. Take vitamins to boost your immunity and to protect you from the flu. A particularly useful vitamin to take is vitamin C. You should start taking this at least a month before your big day.

3. Get enough sleep.

A lady yawning and words written
[Image description: A lady yawning and words written “I need my beauty sleep”] via Giphy
Do not, I repeat, do not sacrifice your sleep when your wedding is just around the corner. Beauty sleep is a real thing. Getting about seven hours of sleep every night does wonders for your skin. Plus, it keeps those bugs away from your eyes. Who wants the tired zombie look on their wedding day?

4. Drink enough water.

A lady drinking water straight from the bottle. via giphy.com
[Image description: A lady drinking water straight from the bottle.] via Giphy
Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day is one the best things you can do for your skin. Keeping hydrated helps your skin stay elastic and youthful. Paying strict attention to the amount of water you drink in the months leading up to your wedding will ensure that your face is silky smooth with a youthful glow as you walk down that aisle.

5. Don’t try new things on your face.

A lady waving her finger and saying
[Image description: A lady waving her finger and saying “don’t do that shit!”] via Giphy
Simply put, you do not want a breakout on your wedding day. Also, ensure that your bridal make up is hypoallergenic lest you discover a brand new allergy on your wedding day.

6. Take a break from wedding planning stuff a few days before the big day.

A lady getting up from atable while saying that she needs to have a break. Via giphy.com
[Image description: A lady getting up from a table while saying that she needs to have a break.] Via Giphy
Plan an escape from wedding stuff a few days to your wedding. Leave everything to someone you trust will handle it, and just relax. The change will do wonders for your mood and it will show on your wedding day.

7. Where possible, get a bridal treatment and don’t be afraid to go all in.

An asian woman fanning herself and saying
[Image description: An Asian woman fanning herself and saying, “I’m going to treat myself to a pedicure done by a white lady”] via Giphy
If you can afford a professional bridal treatment then by all means go for it! You will feel amazing after and it will assure you of healthy skin that can’t help but glow.

8. Ensure your wedding ensemble is comfortable.

Cinderella's clothes transforming into fine princess dress via giphy.com
[Image description: Cinderella’s clothes transforming into fine princess dress.] via Giphy
Make sure that your wedding dress is comfortable and allows you some breathing room. When you are comfortable you relax and there is something charming about a smiling, relaxed bride.

9. Arrange snacks for both before and after the ceremony.

A lady in spectacles saying that she is so hungry via Giphy.com
[Image description: A lady in spectacles saying that she is so hungry.] via Giphy

Do have someone organize a snack for you after the party or before it, or better, both. You will most likely forget to eat or won’t have the time to eat or you won’t have any appetite left. And a hungry bride… well it is not the best way to be on your wedding day.

10. Take a deep breath and remember to have fun.

A man in a black hoodie dances behind a bride. Via Giphy.com
[Image description: A man in a black hoodie dances behind a bride dressed in a big white wedding dress.] Via Giphy
Lastly, remember to have fun ‘coz it is your wedding day!

Categories
Weddings

6 incredibly important factors to consider when choosing a wedding venue

Wedding planning is one of the more time consuming and potentially stressful time in a couple’s life. This is not surprising considering the pressure and the desire to pull off the perfect wedding while keeping both parties happy. Right at the center of this is choosing a wedding venue.

Wedding venues dictate how the wedding will go, and as such a lot of deliberation goes into choosing a suitable venue for your perfect wedding. A lot of factors need to be at the front of your mind while checking out various options and lots of things need to align before a couple can say yes to the place.

Here is a quick guide to what you should consider when hunting for the perfect place in which to say ‘I do.’

1. Price.

Fingers counting money via giphy.com
[Image description: Fingers counting money.] via Giphy
What is the point of falling in love with a place only for it to be financially inaccessible? One of the first things you should find out about when looking at wedding venues is the pricing. This will determine if it is even an option for you or not.

Some places will quote a price per guest; some will offer you a flat rate for using the place and some will have different packages available. Normally the packages give more value for money.

Some questions you should ask in order to clarify the price quoted to you include whether or not the place offers catering, and whether or not they can direct you to vendors who will offer you discounts based on their recommendations.

2. Guest list.

A lady asking if she made it to the guest list via giphy.com
[Image description: A lady asking if she made it to the guest list.] via Giphy
Your wedding venue has to have enough capacity to host all your guests including a few wedding crashers. It is important that you have an estimate of how many guests you expect at your wedding.

You don’t have to have a complete list of wedding guests you want to invite before you look at venues, but you should have an estimate on hand.

Some venues have really small capacities and will not be suited for a large wedding.

3. Location.

A man looking at his surroundings while saying
[Image description: A man looking at his surroundings while saying “Beautiful”] Via Giphy
The location of potential wedding venues is of importance. You want a place that is convenient for both of you and for your guests. It should be somewhere accessible because you don’t want your guests to be late or for them to get lost.

You should also consider if the venue would require travelling and how that affects your plans for the big day.

4. Alternative options.

A group of three men, one of them asking th others if they have a plan B. Via Giphy.com
[Image description: A group of three men, one of them asking th others if they have a plan B.] Via Giphy
If you are planning an outdoor wedding, find out how your potential wedding venue deals with sudden weather changes. What kind of arrangements do they offer? Are these arrangements free or will they mail an extra invoice while you are honeymooning?

This is an important factor to check off because you do not want a panic attack when it shows signs of rainfall on your wedding day.

5. Check the fine print.

A man saying
[Image description: A man saying “details girlfriend”] via Giphy
In your search for wedding venues remember to check the fine print. Check to see if they have any rules or deadlines on your party or preferred vendors you must use if you go with them.

Carefully consider these details as it relates to your wedding vision before deciding on a place.

6. Reputation.

A lady flipping her hair while saying
[Image description: A lady flipping her hair while saying “go do your homework”] via Giphy
Snoop around and look for dirt on your potential wedding venue before you commit. You do not want any surprises on your wedding day. Find out what previous couples that used the place have to say about it. Double-check their reliability. Basically, do your homework and do it really well.

There are so many things that can go wrong when choosing the correct wedding venue for your important day, but following just a few of these tips will ensure that you’ve covered all your bases before making a big commitment.

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Weddings

9 types of wedding guests you won’t miss, especially if it’s a Somali wedding

We all know that Somalis love weddings; I mean we travel for them and spend weeks obsessing over weddings that aren’t even our close relatives’. We spend a small fortune on clothes and jewelry. If it is a Somali wedding you’ve got to show up big or not show up at all.

In the midst of all the travelling guests that the couple’s family takes in and the joy of reuniting with long-lost relatives lays these nine types of wedding guests. Next time you are at a Somali wedding just pay attention to the conversations and the people around you and you are sure to spot them.

1. The freeloader who just expects the whole world to cater to them.

A man pointing and accusing another man of being a freeloader. The words read
[Image description: A man pointing and accusing another man of being a freeloader. He says, “You, sir, are a freeloader.”] via Giphy
This is that guest that shows up for a wedding they knew about months before and shamelessly expects the host family to sort out their wedding wardrobe plus henna too. I mean, really now? As though weddings weren’t expensive enough.

2. The sticky-fingered cousin you wish you hadn’t invited.

A lady in white steals something from the table while a lady in black talks unaware of what happened. Via giphy.com
[Image description: A lady in white steals something from the table while a lady in black talks unaware of what happened.] Via Giphy
There is always that sneaky relative who just can’t keep their sticky fingers to themselves. They take full advantage of the crowd to steal things as varied as the weather, from make-up to cash. Woe unto you if your beloved necklace falls off.

3. The melodramatic aunties who should’ve stayed home.

An animation of a lioness putting her paws over her head in a dramatic version. The words read
[Image description: An animation of a lioness putting her paws over her head in a dramatic way. The words read “Oh, the drama”.] Via Giphy
Ah, those aunties who can’t help but start a fight. They seem to feed off the drama and then spend the next few days narrating the incident with such melodramatic nuances that it somehow ends up being funny.

4. The gossiping aunties who really just hate everything.

A lady gesticulating with her hands and saying
[Image description: A lady gesticulating with her hands, saying, “No shade, but SHADE.”] via Giphy
The group of aunties and cousins whose only order of business seems to be picking faults and indulging in gossip and can be found hunched together in some God forsaken corner. These types of wedding guests sit around tearing everything and everyone down while the rest of the guests have fun.

5. The comedian who makes everything that much better.

A lady in blue laughing hard. Via giphy.com
[Image description: A lady in blue laughing hard.] Via Giphy
This guest has entire groups in stitches. They have a natural talent and help invigorate the wedding with their easy demeanor and endless jokes. Truly a joy!

6. The photographer.

A black and white picture depicting a man in a hat taking pictures. Via giphy.com
[Image description: A black and white picture depicting a man in a hat taking pictures.] Via Giphy
This guest appears to think that they are the photographer. They will insist on taking photos even when you explicitly ask that they don’t. There constant flash will have you unable to relax lest they snap you at your less than best.

7. The guest who brings plastic bags to keep everything in place.

A lady walking with bags in her hands then the contents of them fall out. Via Giohy.com
[Image description: A boy walking with bags in his hands then the contents of them fall out.] Via Giphy
This type of guest seems to think that the wedding invite extends to the people they left home. They eat to their fill then unashamedly proceed to fill bags with food. If caught, they will guilt you with how they left their houses without cooking and their little ones would like some wedding food. Lady, please.

8. The late-comer. Period.

A man hurriedly fixes his tie as he almost runs down the street. Via giphy.com
[Image description: A man hurriedly fixes his tie as he almost runs down the street.] Via Giphy
This guest shows up super late after calling almost every other guest asking if the bride has left yet, ‘coz then what’s the point?

9. The foodie who can’t wait to share everything on Instagram.

A man asks another man
[Image description: A man asks another man “I’m gonna get fat, aren’t I?” as he continues to chew.] Via Giphy
This guest can’t decide whether to eat the food or take a thousand more pictures of it. Hashtag that.

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Weddings

5 ways to beat wedding planning stress – and keep your sanity

Weddings and wedding planning can be notoriously stressful. It is ideally supposed to be the best day of your life but usually ends up feeling quite the opposite. So here are some key ways to keep out the wedding planning stress and help you truly enjoy your big day.

1. Plan ahead.

Two men in a group of four telling each other that they love it when a plan comes together via giphy.com
[Image description: Two men in a group of four telling each other that they love it when a plan comes together.] via Giphy
Plan ahead on how the actual wedding day will go. Create a timeline for yourself and jot down all that you are supposed to do on your wedding day. Make sure you write everything down and remember to give allowance for eventualities. We all know weddings do not always go as planned so keep that in mind too.

This will save you a lot of time as you go about your day. You’ll know what comes next and this will eliminate the tendency to underestimate the amount of time it takes to get ready. Trust me, you don’t want to be late to your own wedding like I was.

2. Delegate.

A little boy telling a man to let him help him while pointing to himself then to the man. Via giphy.com
[Image description: A little boy telling a man to let him help him while pointing to himself then to the man.] Via Giphy
If your culture is in the least bit similar to mine then you probably won’t hire a wedding planner as aunties and cousins will help your mom figure it all out. They are the unofficial wedding planners. Of course, this causes a lot of confusion sometimes, as people don’t always agree on things. But to save your sanity, let them do the planning for you and shamelessly inform them of all the things you would like done.

If you do hire a professional wedding planner then definitely leave the heavy lifting to them and learn to trust the process.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

An animated cartoon dancing and singing while saying
[Image description: An animated cartoon dancing and singing while saying “let it go.”] via Giphy
Continuing on the above point, do not let the small, insignificant stuff suck the joy out of your wedding preparations. I know, I know, it is easier said than done especially if you are the slightest bit obsessive but at least attempt to relax.

Keep your focus on the big picture and remember to breathe.

4. Stand your ground on how you want your wedding to go.

A lady saying that she expects everything to basically go her way. Via Giphy.com
[Image description: A lady saying that she expects everything to basically go her way.] Via Giphy
Well-meaning relatives and friends will try to hijack your wedding plans but if you have a particular idea or vision on how you want your wedding to turn out, you will have to put your foot down.
You can do this as politely as you want but it has to be firm, otherwise you will be in for quite a stressful time.

5. Stay within your budget where possible.

A lady saying that she is about to spend so much money via giphy.com
[Image description: A lady saying that she is about to spend so much money.] via Giphy
Nothing takes the fun out of planning for your big day quite like financial stress. As hard as it may seem, you need to stay within a budget because weddings can be overly-expensive, extravagant affairs. And worrying about money will ruin your day.

Don’t fall for out-of-this-world ideas if you can’t afford it and remember that weddings are one day and marriages are long term. You don’t want to start your happily ever after in debt or with money-related bad blood between you and your spouse.

Although these tips don’t account for every stress weddings can create, following them might help you avoid the big ones. So go forth, and plan!

Categories
Weddings

15 special moments that made my big day as a Kenyan bride totally unforgettable

Weddings are deeply memorable occasions that mean the world to the couple tying the knot. It is a ceremony that has vast potential for offering special wedding moments that are heart-warming and authentic; moments that forever remain close to our hearts.

My wedding was no different. It was full of little moments that made things easier for me as the bride, and other little things that went a long way. Here are some of the ultra-special moments that made my wedding amazing.

1. When my sisters confirmed their attendance.

[Image description: Two ladies jumping and clapping in excitement] Via Giphy
[Image description: Two ladies jumping and clapping in excitement] Via Giphy
When both my sisters confirmed that they would be attending my wedding, I was over the moon. One of them would be travelling across the country and the other would be travelling across an ocean. What better way to say I love you?

2. Finding the perfect wedding dress.

A lady happily swirling around in a blue princess dress via giphy.com
[Image description: A lady happily swirling around in a blue princess dress.] via Giphy
When I saw it, time stood still. There it was in all its sparkling glory calling me into the store, promising me that I would be the most beautiful bride in town. It was love at first sight.

I knew it was the one even as I went into every other shop just to confirm. I could not stop thinking about it till we went back to get it the next day. This was on the same day that my sisters confirmed their attendance, by the way; easily one of the best days of my life.

3. Omigod. My bridal hijab killed it.

[Image description: A cartoon flipping a pink hijab over its shoulder with a smug look.] via Giphy
[Image description: A cartoon flipping a pink hijab over its shoulder with a smug look.] via Giphy
Most bridal hijabs that I saw were basic scarfs with a few sparkly pieces thrown on as a way to bling it up… and a tiara of course. So I wasn’t really expecting too much from my bridal hijab until I saw The One. My bridal hijab was simply beautiful and unique.

4. The wedding night.

[Image description: A newly wed couple still in wedding attire jumping on a bed] via Giphy
[Image description: A newly wed couple still in wedding attire jumping on a bed] via Giphy
I’ll never forget the two rakats of prayer hubby led me in, and the glass of milk he offered. I was famished (guys, don’t forget to eat something on your wedding day) and it was beyond thoughtful of him.

5. When I took a random girl’s breath away.

[Image description: A blushing bride putting her hand to her mouth and holding a bouquet of flowers in the other] via Giphy
[Image description: A blushing bride putting her hand to her mouth and holding a bouquet of flowers in the other] via Giphy
As I arrived in the venue I heard a random girl exclaim, “Wow she is so beautiful!” Needless to say, that made it to the list of special wedding moments I’ll never forget… and it had me smiling all the way to the stage.

6. Getting to hide out in my aunt’s super cool crib.

A lady telling another lady that her house is really nice. Via giphy.com
[Image description: A lady telling another lady that her house is really nice.] Via Giphy
When travelling guests started arriving and the house started to fill up, I got whisked away to my aunt’s house to keep me away from prying eyes. I stayed there for a couple of days and it was amazing. My aunt’s crib is super cool, plus I got treated like visiting royalty. I loved it and it definitely helped me relax before the wedding.

7. Getting the sex talk from my sister.

[Image description: A lady saying "no way" in a surprised manner.] Via Giphy
[Image description: A lady saying “no way” in a surprised manner.] Via Giphy
When my sister decided to give me the sex talk, it was a talk like no other. She wasn’t planning on scaring the hell out of me and was considerate enough to address the fears I had but dared not mention them to anyone.

8. Making my grand entrance… on camelback.

[Image description: A man dressed in golden clothes makes a grand entry followed by a group of women.] Via Giphy
[Image description: A man dressed in golden clothes makes a grand entry followed by a group of women.] Via Giphy
Getting to ride into the reception on camel back was the highlight of my day. It was something that shocked and surprised my guests and by that, I was hoping to make my wedding truly unforgettable. Not to mention the adrenaline rush! It was breathtaking and I would do it a thousand times over.

9. My aunt’s utterly hilarious commentary on camel safety.

[Image description: A camel running away from a girl in a strange manner.] Via Giphy
[Image description: A camel running away from a girl in a strange manner.] Via Giphy
As I rode in on the camel, one of my aunts took to addressing the crowd on camel safety. Without bothering to hide her panic, she asked the crowd to be calm as she comically repeated the words bismiLlah and incessantly made dua over the microphone that the camel not run off with the bride on its back.

10. Having my husband help me off the camel.

[Image description: A cartoon character blushes and says "Aww shucks" while turning away.] Via Giphy
[Image description: A cartoon character blushes and says “Aww shucks” while turning away.] Via Giphy
Watching my husband rush to help me off the camel and seeing how blind he was to the crowd as he offered to be my step was humbling. In that moment, I knew I made the right choice.

11. When my brother snuck on stage.

[A boy asks another boy to hug him then proceeds to lift him up in a hug. Words at bottom read "hug me brotha".] Via Giphy
[A boy asks another boy to hug him then proceeds to lift him up in a hug. Words at bottom read “hug me brotha”.] Via Giphy
When your usually quiet brother who prefers his own company and avoids crowds sneaks on stage just to talk to you, you know it’s real.

12. When the wedding food and decor floored everyone.

[Image description: A table filled with a delicious range of food.] Via Giphy
[Image description: A table filled with a delicious range of food.] Via Giphy
The wedding food was so good and the décor so mesmerizing that the guests could not stop talking about it, even a whole week after it was done. We had set some new wedding standards that would be difficult to live up to.

13. Having the ladies’ reception at my parents’.

A lady dressed like a princess in a blue dress and a tiara smiling. Via giphy.com
[Image description: A lady dressed like a princess in a blue dress and a tiara, smiling.] Via Giphy
Convincing my mom to let us have the ladies’ reception at home was an uphill battle I’m glad I won. Riding into our home and seeing it transform into a ball fit for a real life princess made me tear up. It was beautiful. It was a dream-come-true. It was my wedding reception and I loved it.

14. Candle-lit dinner by the beach.

A man swings a lady with outstretched hands around in the rain. Via Giphy.com
[Image description: A man swings a lady with outstretched hands around in the rain.] Via Giphy
Having a candle-lit dinner by the beach in real life was indescribable. It was beyond romantic and I’ll never forget how the breeze felt on my face that night.

15. My mother. Just… my mother.

An animation depicting a mother swinging her daughter in a heartfelt hug. Via Giphy.com
[Image description: An animation depicting a mother swinging her daughter in a heartfelt hug.] Via Giphy
The way my mother went over and above to indulge all my whims made me so happy. The manner in which she meticulously worked to make sure everything was perfect, no wedding planner could have done it better and I’m forever grateful for that.

Plus mom slayed on my wedding day… you should have seen how she glowed.

Categories
Love Advice

10 steps for resolving conflict in your marriage

Conflict in marriage is a given. Living with another human who has had a different life and cultural experiences from your own is not easy, not in the least bit. The process of bringing your two worlds together without crashing them into each other involves a lot of give and take.

Arguments and fights may occur in the process of resolving the inevitable conflicts that come up and that is okay. The problem is never about the bickering; the problem is in how the fights are carried out. Resolving conflict in marriage in an affable manner is one of the signs of a healthy relationship and doing so is achievable for you.

Here are some pointers to help you fight clean the next time you feel majorly (or slightly) aggrieved.

1. Take responsibility

A man saying
A man saying “take responsibility for it” via giphy.com

Your spouse upset you so you did something terrible about it? Take responsibility. Don’t blame your partner for your reactions because those are always on you. Yes, they did something that made you feel a certain way and your feelings are valid, but blaming them for how you choose to react is problematic and takes the power away from you.

Nobody can make you do anything unless, of course, you are being actively coerced. Playing the blame game will only make the conflict worse and will illicit a defensive reaction from your partner.

One way to take responsibility is to use “I” statements instead of “You”.

2. Don’t hit below the belt

One man telling another
One man telling another “that wasn’t kind” via giphy.com

You know your partner better than most people do. You know their secrets, weak spots and fears. You know this because you are their home and they trust you; please don’t abuse this trust in a moment of blind anger. It is never worth it.

3. Be respectful

A man gesticulating with his hands while saying
A man gesticulating with his hands while saying “I’m trying to respect you asshole” via giphy.com

Even in your moments of exasperation always remain respectful of your partner. They are still the one you are going to wake up next to. They are still the one you love.

There are countless other ways to communicate your displeasure without overstepping your partner’s boundaries.

4. Watch the approach

A lady in brown braids and a cap saying
A lady in brown braids and a cap saying “now is not the time” while gesticulating via giphy.com

Timing is everything. Pick a time and place that is appropriate to bring up your concerns. Don’t start a delicate conversation when your partner is obviously distracted, tired, hungry or sick. Getting the timing right will reduce the chances of your fight going south real quick. Also, learn to pick your fights… not everything is worth the trouble.

5. Develop rules of combat

A woman that looks upset spinning a paddle in her hand via giphy.com
A woman that looks upset spinning a paddle in her hand via giphy.com

In every game there are rules. You and your partner should mutually agree on a set of fight rules for the next disagreement you have. This is important as it sets clear boundaries and repercussions. Setting fight rules also makes it more likely that your adult brain will overpower your animal brain the next time your partner gets under your skin. An example of a rule may be no arguing in front of children or no publicly critiquing each other and such.

6. Be the bigger person

A lady has her hands outstretched at another lady in an attempt to get to hug her via giphy.com
A lady has her hands outstretched at another lady in an attempt to get to hug her via giphy.com

In the thick of things, one of you usually has to give in order for peace to prevail. This does not mean that you have lost. It is never about a winner and a loser. It is about nurturing and protecting your relationship through it all.

You don’t need to always be right. Being the bigger person is more important than winning the argument.

7. Diffuse the situation

A man saying
A man saying “everybody calm down” via giphy.com

One of the ways you can keep your fights clean is to quickly diffuse the situation as soon as you notice that things are getting out of hand.

For example, you can use humor to cool things down or you can compliment your partner.

8. Take a break

An animation depicting a black cat and a little girl sitting and taking deep breaths via giphy.com
An animation depicting a black cat and a little girl sitting and taking deep breaths via giphy.com

If you have been arguing and nothing is coming out of it you can take a break and agree to come back to it later. This tactic will definitely stop an argument that is spiraling out of control in its tracks.

9. Stay focused

A lady pointing to her temples and mouthing the words
A lady pointing to her temples and mouthing the words “focus” via giphy.com

Do not turn one argument into another by bringing up unrelated issues or previous misunderstandings. Stay focused on the current problem. Bringing up other arguments will only serve to prolong the conflict and risk it getting ugly.

10. Communicate clearly

A man gesticulating and asking,
A man gesticulating and asking, “Why are we having this conversation?” via giphy.com

When attempting to put a point of concern across do your best to be as clear and concise as possible. Hit the nail on the head and don’t be afraid to state the real root of the problem. This will make it easier for your partner to understand and empathize with you.

Categories
Love + Sex Love Life Stories Wellness

I felt betrayed by the men in my family – what would happen if it were me and not her?

First time I saw an abused woman’s face, I thought she was having a severe allergic reaction to some food she ate.

This was in spite of the way she was holding her child like her life depended on him. The tears that were pooling in her big beautiful eyes… the fact that she was standing on a neighbor’s balcony. In my innocence and my unparalleled naivety, none of those signs stood out to me. My mind just could not fathom such a horrible thing.

The idea of a man who had the nerve to hit a woman was unimaginable. What kind of monster does that?

The kind we marry.

[bctt tweet=”The idea of a man who had the nerve to hit a woman was unimaginable to me. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

When the truth of the matter finally dawned on me, I was shocked and stunned. To be honest, I had no idea how to behave, let alone how to offer genuine support. I didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable or seem like I was meddling in affairs I understood little of. So I pretended to have no clue of the issue that was unraveling until it became common knowledge.

And then, of course, I was sure she’d leave him and never look back. And of course, that didn’t happen. To my surprise, nothing much happened. While this woman had physical, emotional and psychological wounds to heal, this man walked out of it unscathed… save perhaps for a little embarrassment.

[bctt tweet=”I had no idea how to behave let alone how to offer genuine support ” username=”wearethetempest”]

I did not even know which way to feel. I mean, domestic violence kills, and for the perpetrators to get away with a mere scolding shows just how much we value the lives of our women.

At some point, I felt betrayed by the men in my family. I wondered what would happen if it were me and not her. I became terrified of marrying the ‘wrong’ guy because as far as I could tell; when push came to shove I’d be on my own. None of the menfolk would do as little as give it back to him double.

[bctt tweet=” I became terrified of marrying the ‘wrong’ guy because as far as I could tell; when push came to shove I’d be on my own. None of the menfolk would do as little as give it back to him double. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

If these statistics are anything to go by, domestic violence is a tragedy that is here to stay, It is steeped in so many misconceptions that it is difficult for society to recognize it, let alone offer effective support. Our patriarchal and collectivistic societies only make things more difficult for the victim. We go as far as to accuse them of somewhat provoking the episode as if it is ever ok for the abuser to lose control like that.

Her face that day is one that will never leave me. It was an image that opened my eyes to the silent realities around us, a haunting image that wags its finger at me in an attempt to prevent me from fully relaxing in my own marriage. An image that has me always on the lookout for real or imagined signs of abuse from my partner. Be it physical, emotional or psychological.

[bctt tweet=”Her face that day is one that will never leave me. It was an image that opened my eyes to the silent realities around us” username=”wearethetempest”]

Because by now, you should know that monsters don’t hide under your bed, they make themselves perfectly comfortable on top of it. And that is the real horror of it all.

Categories
Love Life Stories Advice

My brother died three years ago. So why do people want me to forget him?

Three years ago I lost my brother to cancer. Three years later and it still hurts. Sometimes it hurts like it was a fresh blow, other times it hurts like a healed spot that still remained tender. I wonder, is there really such a thing as getting over it? Some things are so profound that they change us. They impact us in such a way that they forever stay with us.

[bctt tweet=”Some things are so profound that they change us. They impact us in such a way that they forever stay with us. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

My brother died and we buried him, but that does not mean that he never existed. He is part of the fabric that makes up my memories and I don’t want to forget him. When he died, I promised myself that I’d never let his death be for nothing, that I would find a way to make his death meaningful. Whatever small way his death helped me grow would be a testament to his life.

[bctt tweet=”My brother died and we buried him but that does not mean that he never existed. He is part of the fabric that makes up my memories and I don’t want to forget him.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Watching him battle a disease as perverse as cancer was not easy. Watching my parents’ hearts break a million times over everyday was worse. There are no words to describe the feeling of impotency that comes with seeing some one you love suffer and not being able to do a damn thing about it.

[bctt tweet=”There are no words to describe the feeling of impotency that comes with seeing some one you love suffer and not being able to do a damn thing about it.” username=”wearethetempest”]

As more time passes, it becomes clearer that talking about him makes people uncomfortable. After some time, society expects you to move on, and by this they mean never mention the dead ever again. Like they never existed except in your mind.

[bctt tweet=”It is clear that talking about the dead makes people uncomfortable. Society expects you to move on: and by this they mean never mention the dead ever again. Like they never existed except in your mind” username=”wearethetempest”]

Not only is this hypocritical because we all know we never forget the ones we love, but it is also harmful.

Talking about things is healing. It helps us process emotions and categorize events. Conversations matter… so why the different attitude when it comes to death? Or deep down are we just little kids terrified of ghosts?

[bctt tweet=” Are we just little kids terrified of ghosts? ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Talking about our dead loved ones helps us get closure and a sense of community. It helps us feel less alone in our grief and make peace with the reality of our own mortality. Perhaps even prompting us to live better lives and better prepare for the inevitable.

Going about life never talking of or thinking about death is simply burying our heads in the proverbial sand. It offers no solace to our bleeding hearts and makes us terrible at comforting the bereaved. It is the reason we don’t know how to react in the face of death. It is the sole reason for all the awkward and totally non-helpful things ever said to the bereaved. We barely have a clue how to respond to death and all the ways it shutters our comfort zones.

[bctt tweet=” It is the sole reason of the awkward and totally non-helpful things ever said to the bereaved.” username=”wearethetempest”]

This has to change in order for society to function optimally and for us to be more engaged with and empathetic to the reality around us. Death is as much a part of our existence as life is… there is no escape to that.

Categories
Love Life Stories

Why this viral post on being a hot mess mom is exactly what we need

When my new neighbor knocked on my door one night, I went into panic mode because my house was a mess. I had just barely put the baby to sleep and had yet to put away the toys that lay littered all over my living room. Plus my first was wide awake and smack in the middle of his terrible twos.

I stood at the door trying to decide whether to invite her in or not. I was concerned about the kind of first impression my house would have on my nighttime visitor. I was frazzled as it was and I didn’t want my new neighbor to think that I was nothing but a hot mess. So I stood at my door for what seemed like an eternity before I decided to let her in.

[bctt tweet=”When my neighbour knocked, I panicked. The mess on my floor was too real and I didn’t want her to think that I was nothing but a hot mess #hotmessmom #mummychronicles” username=”wearethetempest”]

I told myself that if she was a mother or a grandmother then she would understand. I made a mental note not to apologize, neither for the state of my living room nor for my hyperactive toddler. I let her in and continued as though the mess on the floor was the norm, as though the fact that my son was jumping all over the seats wasn’t infuriating and didn’t have me feeling embarrassed.

[bctt tweet=”I made a mental note not to apologise for neither the state of my living room nor for my hyper active toddler. I let her in and continued as though the mess on the floor was the norm #hotmessmom #realitycheck” username=”wearethetempest”]

This is the reason why this Facebook post   by Danielle Silverstein about being a hot mess mom was shared so widely. It resonates with mothers across geographical and cultural divides. It speaks to an issue all mothers relate to: the expectation of perfection.

[bctt tweet=”Danielle Silverstein’s post on being a #hotmessmom speaks of an issue all mothers relate to… the expectation of perfection.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Motherhood is hard. Taking care of another human being is not a walk in the park. The added responsibility is heavy and women feel it the most as they are still the primary caregivers. Mothers raise kids amid their own insecurities and shifting sense of identity. They sacrifice their sleep, their me-time and sometimes their ambition in a bid to be there for their offspring. They do all this and more with little recognition and almost no avenue to vent.

Yet we still expect perfection from mothers all the time. We expect a clean house and even cleaner kids when we show up at their door. We expect mothers to handle it without ever breaking into a sweat. But the reality on the ground is different. Mothers have days a thousand times worse than your bad days and they deserve a break.

[bctt tweet=”Mothers raise children amid their own insecurities and shifting identities yet we still expect them to have it handled… always #hotmessmom ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Posts like that one should be more commonplace. We should actively push back against the perfect earth mother myth because it makes mothers have unrealistic expectations of their new roles. The subsequent and unavoidable gap between this expectation and reality is where postnatal depression rears its ugly head.

[bctt tweet=”We should actively push back against the perfect earth mother myth. It is an impossible ideal that we should not hold mothers to #hotmessmom” username=”wearethetempest”]

Instead of advancing a narrative that makes all of us feel like we have to be real life Stepford Moms, we should peel back the mask and show the world the truth. We should do this unashamedly because none of us is perfect.

Categories
Career Advice Now + Beyond

Online work is perceived in a lot of ways, and it has a lot of faces to it – take it from someone deeply immersed into it

 

Some years back there were widespread rumors in my country of a mysterious group of youth who didn’t work but were living the life – complete with dream cars and fancy homes with even fancier interiors. These youth were a source of fascination and sometimes you would catch radio shows discussing their supposedly eccentric mannerisms. These eccentric mannerisms were nothing but a new wave of interest in online work.

Now, of course, the only logical explanation for their seemingly untraceable source of wealth was that they were into something dark. They must be into the occult or witchcraft. There was a preponderance about what was happening to our youth? How can they sell their souls for just a little bit of luxury in a passing world?

Lo and behold, people were panicking. They gave their neighbors the side eye. They blamed – unsurprisingly – foreign media for brainwashing our youth into thinking a bit of cash was the be-all and end-all of it and don’t they know that there is no such thing as a free lunch?

Fast forward some years and I was deep into exploring work from home options. Being a mother to young children gave me the motivation to see if the world offered more flexibility than traditional work environments did.

As I was researching and sort of surveying the remote work options available, I suddenly remembered the story of the devil worshipping youth. And dear me did I laugh. It was such a hilarious sight, seeing the light the moment as it clicked in my mind exactly what those youth were up to all those years back when hardly anyone imagined that you could really earn a living working remotely.

While nowadays there is more awareness in my country partly thanks to the government’s  Ajira initiative during which there were massive campaigns designed to raise awareness of the viability of online work among other things.

There are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding online work. Just a few days ago a post was put up in one of the Facebook freelance groups that I am a part of asking members to share strange comments that had been thrown their way due to their online work.

Within minutes of the post going up there was a flurry of seriously hysterical comments. These comments were ranging from accusations of being secret nighttime thieves to pity about not having a ‘real job’. What exactly is a real job anyway? And who decided that?

While online work is not for everyone, it is an outstanding option for those seeking increased flexibility; more creative license and can muster enough self-discipline to actually get the work done. Because believe it or not, online workers also have to meet deadlines and deliver quality work. They don’t (not usually anyway) work for automated robotic systems, they deal with real people just geographically removed.

Online work may not provide the same solid set of benefits your usual day job does but it is an option that needs to be made more visible, plausible and accessible. This is more so to the women of the world. To the mothers who have anxiety about leaving their angels with strangers and those who do not have the luxury of having willing family close by.

Because earning a decent wage from online work is a thing that is happening all over the world. It is not just a side hustle. It is not without effort. It is not just for the techies among us. It is good honest work that can keep you up at night navigating time zones and trying to beat looming deadlines. It is work, just like any other work, deserving of respect.

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Categories
Love + Sex Love

Dear Kaka, you were the sports superstar I always crushed on – and it’ll never change

Dear Kaka,

I was never the kind of girl who was into celebrities.

I could not recognize most A-listers and I was not bothered about it. I preferred books that transported you to another world, but all the males close to me were very much into football. So it came as no surprise that when I developed a crush on a high profile personality, it was not on a Hollywood star but on a soccer superstar.

You.

[bctt tweet=”It came as no surprise that when I developed a crush on a high profile personality, it was not on a Hollywood star but on a sports superstar. You. @KAKA #MyCelebrityCrush #TeamKaka ” username=”wearethetempest”]

The first time I saw you, it was on a recording of a confederation match. I was intrigued.

“Who is that?” “What team does he play for?” “How long has he been playing for?”

My brothers looked me straight in the eyes and calmly proclaimed that I liked you. Of course, I denied it. I thought I was just being curious. Even after I spent the next hours going through the recordings in a bid to unravel you, see more of you…I still thought it a harmless curiosity.

At this stage I did the next natural thing. I searched like crazy.

The first time I ever had a jealous outburst was when I typed your name into Google’s search bar and a picture of your wedded bliss showed up. Apparently, you had just gotten married. I felt the heat rise up my chest and kiss my cheeks. I mean… what the hell? Yes, in my rummage through my father’s football magazines I’d gathered that you were engaged, but it still took me aback. I was transfixed and embarrassed and so damn jealous.

I didn’t really know the feeling before that day.

[bctt tweet=”The first time I ever had a jealous outburst was when I typed your name into Google’s search bar and a picture of your wedded bliss showed up. I mean… what the hell? #Kaka ” username=”wearethetempest”]

In the searches that inevitably followed that one, I found out that you had waited until marriage to have sex and that your teammates thought it hilarious. I was impressed.

You were a superstar with all that fame and money and women who would just die to be with you, yet you choose to wait.

In that moment, you won my respect.

And with rock-solid principles like this, my respect for you was cemented. You went from being an inaccessible star that I had it bad for to a human being I could relate to as a Muslim girl committed to waiting until marriage.

[bctt tweet=”You went from being an inaccessible star that I had it bad for to a human being I could relate to. I was a Muslim girl who was expected to wait till marriage and never go near any intoxicant. #Respect #kaka” username=”wearethetempest”]

So I spent the next few years following your career.

I celebrated your wins with you and mourned your losses. I proudly proclaimed that I was your fan. At this point I didn’t bother to hide my fondness of you. I entertained fantasies in which you were the one obsessed with me for a change. In some, you would travel to my country, get lost, and I would be the Good Samaritan who saves you. You would then become entranced with me and even accept Islam as a result.

In others, I would hunt you down to one of your game locations, make sure you took notice of me and the rest would be history. I even found a contact I thought was a direct line to the San Siro but I don’t remember ever dialing it.

Yet in others, you would be retired and Muslim and I would be widowed or separated and we would end up together. It was amazing the kind of stories I told myself. It was no wonder my dreams were mostly enactments of these meet-you fantasies.

[bctt tweet=”I entertained fantasies in which you were the one obsessed with me for a change.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Then one day your team was pitted against mine.

See, a long time ago, I decided that I was a Manchester United fan. I had a bad case of divided loyalty that night. On one hand, of course I wanted my team to whup you guys but on the other, I wanted you to shine. And shine you did, netting a goal that is still considered one of your best, a goal that had me laughing out loud.

It was beyond hilarious.

Your big move to Spain upset me. Not because I had anything against La Liga but because I had read reports in which you explicitly denied that you were making a move. I didn’t expect such disparity between your words and actions. I expected more from you.

Then began your professional downfall. Each time you got injured I was concerned but kept up hope. You were still the best, a little delicate now, but still kickass.

[bctt tweet=”Each time you got injured I got concerned but kept the hope. You were still the best, a little delicate but you were still kick-ass. #kaka #TeamKaka” username=”wearethetempest”]

I defended you when my brothers made it their business to let me know that your star was waning. They did it just to get a rise out of me and I took the bait every time because I just had to come to your defense. So you can imagine my anger when you announced your move to MLS – usually the last step before a soccer player retires.

I know it was none of my business.

You didn’t know me, had no hint of my then obsession and you have thousands of fans but hey, I was pissed. As far as I could tell, you were giving up. How could you give up on yourself when I was busy defending you?

More importantly, how could I keep expecting you to get up and dust yourself off if you’d already thrown in the towel?

[bctt tweet=”How could you give up on yourself when I was busy defending you? #kaka” username=”wearethetempest”]

In retrospect, it was probably a good move considering your injuries and your reputation. You ‘left’ when we were still hungry for you thereby executing an honorable retreat.

Your recent retirement from professional soccer brought back memories of the years I spent obsessing over you and all the ways in which we would end up together. So this one is for you, one of only eight footballers to have won the World Cup, the Champions League, and the Ballon d’Or.

Soccer history will never forget you… and neither will your fans.

[bctt tweet=”This one is for the legend that you are. Football history will never forget you… and neither will your fans. #Kaka #GoodbyeKaka #GoodByeLegend ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Now that all is said and done:  @KAKA follow back maybe? 🙂

Categories
Love Advice

Society teaches us to never trust other women from the moment we’re born

Growing up, I was warned not to blindly trust my friends. I was advised against the free sharing of dirty secrets because girls can’t keep secrets, not for too long anyway. When I was older, subtle warnings become blatant counsel against letting single girlfriends too close to your partner when and if you got married.

Stories about the best friend who became the co-wife were shared in juicy detail. It was almost like a horror story in its deliverance. There were even stories of blood sisters stealing husbands!

[bctt tweet=”There were even stories of sisters stealing husbands. I mean blood sisters. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

These stories were not tied to the domestic. They had a professional aspect as well as an academic one. There was the evil female boss who always got in your way. The female gynecologist who was downright mean… didn’t you hear how male doctors are just gentler and nicer?

All these warnings set women up for a life of mistrust. We learned from society and family that women are not to be trusted, so then who is to be blamed if our female friendships are characterized by suspicion?

If we are told over and over again throughout our formative years, that a woman is not the type of human being you can trust…can we really be blamed for being defensive around each other?

[bctt tweet=”If we are told over and over again throughout our formative years, by family, society, friends, strangers and media, that a woman is not the type of human being for trust… can we really be blamed for being defensive around each other? ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Our cattiness is so universal, so obvious and so strange that we inspired an entire saying,  women are their own worst enemies. But why? Why do women feel the need to put each other down?

[bctt tweet=”Our cattiness is so universal, so obvious and so strange that we inspired an entire saying… women are their own worst enemies. But why?” username=”wearethetempest”]

I believe that the answer is in the mind. We believe that there aren’t enough resources to go around. Not enough brag-worthy jobs, not enough responsible men, not enough money, love…you name it and we believe it to be a resource worth fighting over.

[bctt tweet=”We believe that there aren’t enough resources to go around. Not enough brag-worthy jobs, not enough responsible men, not enough money, love… you name it and we believe it to be a resource worth fighting over. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Women have had to fight for everything, for their right to work, to choose a partner, to not undergo female genital mutilation, and even to live. Female infanticide is still a thing in today’s world. This puts women in a mental mindset in which all these rights are still privileges and as long as that is the issue, women will always view each other as competition first and whatever else second.

[bctt tweet=”Women have had to fight for everything, for their right to work, to choose a partner, to not undergo female genital mutilation and even to live. Female infanticide still a thing in today’s world” username=”wearethetempest”]

This mindset has to be shifted and we have to truly believe that there is more than enough for everyone. Only then can the sisterhood begin to heal. Only then can we be true friends and helpers to each other.