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Posted in Awards

Sunshine Bloggers Awards

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Oooh wow! This is so huge for me. Thank you so much jstlouise of the amazing Poems Found for nominating my blog SheQuotes for the Sunshine Blogger Awards. Being a new blogger, this is a good big surprise and I really appreciate it.
Since this is my first blogging award nomination I wish to share it with the following people; my mom for cultivating and nurturing the reading culture in me which in turn bore my love for writing, my siblings for the criticism which is well intended of course, Prof Olubayi for believing in me and nudging me to start this blog, my friends and those amazing writers and wonderful people who follow my blog and faithfully read my articles.

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Rules
1. Display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post on your blog
2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to her blog.
3. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and provide them with 11 questions.
Answers to the 11 questions from jstlouise of Poems Found
1. How long have you blogged and why do you blog?
This is my 8th month as a blogger and I love the journey. I love writing and I love blogging because it gives me a platform to share my thoughts and poems with the world.
2. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I see myself waking up every morning in a house somewhere along the beach where I will be living with my family and several dogs and sitting on a swing chair facing the wide ocean with a cup of tea (I love tea), pen and scratch pad for my thoughts.
3. What inspires you to do what you do daily?
It is the desire to live up to my fullest potential and to not disappoint my mom.
4. What book changed your perspective on a subject or life in general?
To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This book taught me that part of growing up is learning about society but not necessarily accepting it.
5. If you could impart one ultimate lesson to society, what would it be?
Love the life you live. Live the life you love.
6. What was your favorite childhood story or book?
Cinderella! Say or think what you may but I am a sucker for fairytales and a good happy ending.
7. Do you love school, think it is okay, a waste of time or what?
I do love school and I believe it provides a good environment to make friends, learn important aspects of life like cultivating good human relationships, dealing with conflicts and of course there is no better way to grow other than with your peers. Now that you mention it, I miss school😊😊
8. If you could meet any person, dead or alive, who would you meet?
Are fairy tale characters included? If so that would be Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty. On a horse with a sword, he set to out to rescue the princess from a sleeping curse. What could be more attractive than that? If we are talking about real people, make it Bruno Mars. He is so talented and fun too.
9. Would you rather have privacy or fame?
Can’t I have both?
10. Who is your favorite author?
That would be Harper Lee of the famous To Kill a Mockingbird and Go set a Watchman
11. When do you like to write most, day or night?
I am a morning person. I have a habit of penning down whatever I think the moment I wake up.
My Nominees
Being an avid reader myself, I have had the pleasure of going through wordress.com blogs and I came up with this list of nominees. They are in no particular order but I especially commend number 6 for the many lives they are touching by talking about addiction.
1. nataliescarberry of Sacred Touches
2. Haden Clark of Help Me Believe
3. Sharon Mwaura of lifesabout2017
4. Sundhir Chauhan of @sundhirchauhan
5. Aquileana of La Audacia de Aquiles
6. Addictions Podcast of the Podcast about Addictions
7. Train Today to Reap Tomorrow of On a mission
8. Pinkpeeli of Pink Peeli
9. Ankandas of Exploring the Epiphany
10. mistimaan of Mistimaan
11. Brenda Davis Harshman of Friendly Fairy Tales
Questions for my nominees
1. When and how did you discover your love for writing?
2. What nudged you to start your blog?
3. Which one do you prefer, sketching on your notepad first or typing directly on your laptop?
4. List 5 adjectives that best describe you
5. What do you think of Game 0f Thrones?
6. What is your most embarrassing memory?
7. Subtitles or no subtitles?
8. When are you at your peak of creativity, early morning, day or night?
9. What do you regret not doing in high school?
10. Fiction or non-fiction books?
11. What is your favorite post on my blog?
Till next time,
Love, Shalleen.

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Featured
Posted in Dreams, Experiences, Life, New Year, Uncategorized

Celebrating my Birthday in ‘Style’.

Today is my birthday. I am turning 23 which is both exciting and scary. Exciting because, well, who wouldn’t be excited to be alive and scary in the sense that turning 23 takes me a step closer to 30 and if we are being truthful, we all are a little scared of getting old.
Setting that aside, when I tell anyone that today is my birthday, the question that pops up is, and quoting, “How will you be celebrating it?” The general assumption is that I will be in some club partying my way in to a crazy headache and the hangover of this ‘birth year’.
After some reflection, I decided to take a different path and celebrate my birthday asking myself the questions no one has asked me. What have I achieved so far? Are they in line with my goals? If not, why? Can I still achieve my goals? How will I do that? Is there anything else I want to achieve? What is it and how will I do it?
I don’t know how you guys celebrated your birthday or how you are planning to do so, but I do hope that this will act as a helpful guide.
As for me, I just hope that I don’t soak my pillow because of the responses to some of these questions.
Happy Birthday to me and everybody who is celebrating their birthday today!

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Posted in Feminism

The Bible and the Strength of a Woman

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My friend and I were discussing my previous article ‘The Pains of the African woman’ and were all sad about how women around us thought that they neither have a choice nor a voice. He pointed out that the cause of all this is the bible since it is the most popular and yet chauvinistic book in the universe.

This got me thinking about the feministic themed mentorship program I ran awhile back. The girls and I looked at the women of substance-the women who made a difference in society both in history (biblical and non-biblical) and contemporary society.

These are just but a few of the names that came up from the Bible;

Esther (Esther 2)

Esther was the one who replaced Queen Vashti as wife of King Xerxes/Ahasuerus of Persia after she disobeyed the King. After learning that Haman, the King’s advisor had asked the King to authorize a royal decree to annihilate the Jews (her people) who had been driven out of Israel and exiled in Persia, she came up with a brave plan to stop it from happening.

Being the Queen, and after fasting for  three days to seek for God’s grace and favor, she asked the King and Haman to dine with her twice and on the second time, she who had hidden her faith from the King, revealed her secret and begged the King to spare her and her people’s (the Jews) lives.

Rahab (Joshua 2)

Though an Amorite, Rahab recognized the Jewish men who were sent by Joshua to scout Jericho as men of God and hid them from the king of Jericho. Furthermore, she understood that God had given the Israelite the Amorites’ land and was key instrument to the Israelites successful claim of the land.

The wise woman of Tekoah (2nd Samuel 14)

After killing his brother Amnon, David banished his son Absalom. This resulted to Joab seeking the help of the wise woman of Tekoah to convince David to lift the banishment and reconcile with his son.

The woman went to David crying and recalled how one of his sons killed his brother and the rest of her family were seeking his head. When David said that the son should be spared, she said so should Absalom. Therefore David lifted the banishment and Absalom returned home.

Abigail (1st Samuel 25)

She was the wife of Nabal from the house of Caleb. She is described as a woman of good understanding and beautiful countenance. And true to that, those are the qualities that saved her husband Nabal from death by the King’s hand for disregarding and insulting King David and saved David from blood-shed.

She placated him, reminded him that God will establish his dynasty and urged him not to have staggering burden of needless bloodshed on his conscience.

In conclusion, there is no book that has explicitly shown just how both intelligent and powerful a woman is like the Bible. So people, other than respect, I may not fully understand what else the Bible meant by ‘wives, submit to your husbands’ but one thing I know for sure is it doesn’t mean women should let their husbands oppress and suppress them.

Hit the comments box below for discussion.

 

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Posted in Feminism, Women

The Pains of the African Woman.

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Being an African myself, born and bred in Africa, I can say that I have had the displeasure of witnessing/seeing firsthand what the African culture/society has done to its woman.

Sure, I happened to be lucky enough to have a mother who made sure I know that my place isn’t the kitchen, that I can do anything and be anything I set my heart to, but that is not the case for every girl. The average African girl is brought up with the mentality that she is inferior to her brothers both young and old.

She has to serve her brothers as her masters. She has to serve them food and water even if they walk in when she is in the middle of her meal, and when they need a refill, she has to ‘pause’ eating and refill their plates. She doesn’t have a ‘name’ until she gets married and gets her husband’s name thus making marriage her biggest dream and highest achievement. Therefore, she learns how to be a ‘good wife’ from as early as she can walk; she learns to cook, fetch firewood, balance a pot full of water on her head cause, these are the qualities the man’s family will look at when the time for marriage comes.

If she falls pregnant while still in school or before marriage, she gets ostracized by everybody around her, while the boy, who made the same mistake as her, is treated with some sort of reverence because he has proved that he is a ‘man’.

When she gets married, she becomes her husband’s property. She is expected to just be seen but not to be heard. She can’t make any decision regarding the children, the family or even herself except what they are going to have for breakfast, lunch and supper. If the husband turns out to be violent, she is expected to receive every beating graciously because, well, there is no better show of ‘affection’ than a beating from your husband.

If the husband starts cheating and going around with other women, she is expected to stay put since men are not meant to be monogamous and after all, it’s her job to keep ‘her house’ together. If she keeps on complaining then she is told that she is the problem; she must be doing something wrong, otherwise, the man wouldn’t be looking at other women.

In the cases where the husband abandons her and the children, raises her children but at the end of it all, it’s said that the children belong to the man. If one or a couple of them end up ‘not doing so well in life’, then those are hers cause its assumed that they must have got it from her or she simply didn’t raise them well.

Video clips of cats drowning while trying to rescue their kittens, or dogs getting hit by a car or pleading faces of street kids begging for food are as sad as hell, but there’s nothing as heartbreaking as watching an African woman going through all this and so much more with a brave smile on her face.

 

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Posted in Inspirational, Life, New Year

BE THE REASON YOUR 2018 BECOMES AWESOME!

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I have always had the habit of holding on to the things I no longer need or that are of no use to me. But today, immediately after breakfast, I decided to go through all my stuff and got rid of all the unnecessary ones; clothes, books, shoes, name them all.

This led me to thinking, how many of us hold on to grudges, past mistakes, toxic relationships etc only to get weighed down and held back from possible love, happiness, friendships and general success?

If you are one of these people, let’s do things differently this time. Start by closing 2017 on a clean slate. Apologize to those you owe apologies. Accept the apologies of those who apologize. Following R. Brault advice-Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got, accept the apologies you haven’t and probably, will never get. Analyze your relationships and get out of all the toxic ones, they are only holding you back.

When 2018 comes, love yourself first, then you will be able to love others, after all, as someone said, you can’t serve from an empty vessel. Love until you feel like your heart is bursting. Give, but give until it hurts. Laugh and smile more. Forgive more. Define your own gravity-get out of your comfort zone and take more risks.

Worry less, especially about money keeping in mind that the best things in life including love, laughter, family, friends, hugs and kisses are free. Hate less, fear less, frown less, hold no grudges.

Spend more time with your family and friends. Give more hugs and kisses especially to your mom and remind her you love her every day. Bring joy and laughter wherever you go.

Embrace your imperfections because they are awesome! Forgive yourself for your mistakes and for those you find hard to, laugh them away until you do. Get that body that you have always wanted, you will look amazing! Love the one you have, you have never been more beautiful! Frequently treat yourself to nice things, you deserve to.

This 2018, fall and stay in love with being alive and when the year ends, you will look back and thank God for the choices you made.

HAPPY 2018 Y’ALL!

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Posted in Inspirational

You Have a Unique Voice.

Your-voice.jpg

Growing up, especially in my early teenage hood, I wanted to be a lot of things. My dream list went like this: a great actress like Angelina Jolie, famous musician like Michael Jackson and a super model like Giselle Bundchen but I ended up being a writer like,well,no one but me!
We have all gone though that at some point in life. Wanting and working towards being like someone else and it mostly backfires on our faces. Because, let us face it, the only person we can successfully pull off being is a better version of us.
I am not saying that having a role model is bad. On the contrary,it is good. It kind of gives us a push towards whatever we want to be.But it is creating our own paths and finding our own voices that will get us there.
So I encourage you, to find that which makes your heart race and make it your own wonderful unique voice.If it is painting, let each stroke of the brush on the canvas be uniquely yours or if it is fashion,then make each design show the world why you are different from another design. Whatever you do, let your voice be loud and clear.
Osho once said “Nobody superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody is equal either. People are simply unique,incomparable.You are you, I am I.” That which makes you you, that which makes you unique. That is your voice. Find it.Develop it.Be it! The world can’t wait to hear from you!

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Posted in Uncategorized

The View From My Window.

 

avocadotree-e1411365981187The view from my window is not
of waves cascading on the ocean
or of people walking barefoot by the beach
or of little kids runninng after each other
or collecting seas shells by the shore
neither is it of a fancy swimming pool
from a fancy balcony, No it is not!
It is a perfect view of
my neighbour’s rich avocado tree
from my small bedroom window.

In early June,
When the tree is covered by little, creamy-white buddings
She can only be compared to a big, beautiful cauliflower

Then, one develops to a tiny, green oval fruit
and by mid-june
the whole tree is covered by them.

Still, the big miracle is
when I wake up one morning to a view of
a tree whose branches are weighed down
by full grown avocadoes.

Soon afterwards,
What is closely related with ageing happens.
The first one to bud,
The first one to develop
The first one to ripe,
becomes the first one to fall.
And as with the first one,
the others follow suit.
Mostly one, sometimes two,
heck, it even goes up to three a day
until there is only one left
and she goes back to looking like a virgin again
as she awaits her next season.

I have witnessed the beauty of birth,
the rapidity of growth
the sweetness of ageing
and the swiftness of death
all from my small bedroom window.

I love the view from my window.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Be Cool Girl!

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You make the first call
He did not pick up the phone.
After two minutes, you call again
NO answer.
Now, you are worried.
Something is definitely wrong!
After 5 minutes, you call again,
For the third time!
Still, NO answer!
At this moment, your imagination is out of control.
He is with another girl.
(And yeah, he probably is and calling him won’t stop him)

So you call again and again and again.
You stop at the 47th call
And wait for him to call you back
(Which you should have done after the first unanswered call)
But deep inside, you have concluded he is going to break up with you.
And yes girl, he definitely is.
You see, boys smell desperation
(The way a cat smells a rat)
And they often use it to their advantage
That’s before they dump you.
So a piece of advise,
Just be cool girl!
It is attractive!

 

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Posted in Life, Pain, Poems, sadness

Trapped

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The room is dark

I can’t see

The air is musty

I can’t breath

The room is small

When I stretch out my hands I can touch the walls

The floor is wet

I can’t sit

My mind is clouded

I can’t think

There is no door

I can’t leave

No window

I can’t escape

I need to call for help

But I can’t make a sound

The walls are so high

I can’t even see the roof

I am trapped!

And the only light I have

Is the hope that somehow

Someone will rescue me.

Posted in Uncategorized

DRAINED

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It’s 11:58 pm. About 32 minutes before lunch and I am feeling drained. So drained and lifeless. I think it is one of those feelings that come with the realization that you turned a year older but you haven’t yet achieved what you hoped you would have achieved by then.
I walked in to the office this morning feeling so energetic and vibrant that when I told one of my colleagues that I had not yet had my breakfast, she could not believe me. But then, from only God knows where, there was a flip, a twist, a mysterious force that burst my bubble and drained me dry.

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I ended up on the rocking chair at the corner of the office with the door closed, AC at 5 and with the little energy I got, started typing away at the laptop on my lap while listening to the sound of the birds, on the trees just outside the office window (which I left open by the way because I want to catch the sea breeze) and hoping that after this, I would be feeling much much better.

Posted in Love, Teenagehood

Confession of a once boy-crazy teenager

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After high school, just before I joined university, I started volunteering for a certain NGO near home. During the long holiday (which is always about 4 months long) I went back there to earn me some money (we were paid a monthly stipend) for airtime, clothes, shoes, you know, the most important things in a teenage-girl’s life.

Back to the story.A couple of weeks after reporting back, our boss told us that two young foreign guys will be visiting us for a month or so. Believe you me, I wasn’t as excited as everybody else around me, but all that changed when, weeks later, he brought them and one of them caught my eyes!

He was tall, had long hair-not Harry Styles long, but long enough for my liking and had a Justin Timberlake body. To wrap it all up, he looked like a cross between Justin Timberlake and Harry Styles and this girl here, had an instant crush!

During what we called, round table introduction, he sat next to me. Boy oh boy, the butterflies in my stomach!

After the meeting, I hanged around a little to try to have a few words with him, but he didn’t even seem to notice me. He was busy chatting with my colleagues.So I told myself that by the end of their stay, he would have eyes and ears only for me. Little did I know!

I started putting my plan in to action on the first working day of their stay. Before he came, whenever I wasn’t working, I used to sit by myself, in an isolated place and read. I love reading. So my first step was to move from that place the office where they spent most of their time.

Within a span of like 30 minutes in that office, I learnt that he is a huge fan of hip-hop. I just happened to have this play-list which was like 85% hip-hop (I am not a fan of hip-hop myself, it was just an identity crisis thing), so whenever we were in the office, I would play hip-hop and even rap along to some (goodness me! I must have looked really stupid doing that!).

When I realized he was neither impressed by my taste nor my rapping skills, I resorted to love songs. I was totally in love with Celine Dion’s songs, especially the Titanic one-My heart will go on.

In the evenings, the boys used to go play football with the primary school boys. On this particular evening, first day in to the love songs plan, everybody had either gone to play ball or do something else, I ended up being in the office alone. I was busy thinking about the adjustments I should make for my plan to succeed when, I saw him walking towards the office. I immediately started playing and singing along ‘My heart will go on’. Those who have heard me singing must be bent with laughter right now. Anyway, when he walked in, I pretended not to notice him, but from the corner of my eyes, I saw a really cute confused expression on his face. He went to the other room, picked something up, came out, stood at the door still looking confused, invited me to play ball the next day and quickly walked out.

Wait! He invited me to play ball! I know it’s not any girl’s idea of quality time spent with a crush and he must have done it out of politeness, but still it looked like a step forward. I could not contain my excitement!

The next day, I carried my ‘sporting’ gear. Notice the quotes? That is because I did not have any back then. I had to be really creative here .I picked a pair of black tights, oversized gray t-shirt (mark you o-v-e-r-s-i-z-e-d) and a pair of black old schools. Don’t even get me started on everything that was wrong with this whole outfit, but back then, I felt hot hot hot!

I am not a football girl at all. I play a little bit of basket-ball, badminton and lawn-tennis after but no, not football. Both in primary and high-school, whenever I tried playing football during physical education, the game would end without me even touching the ball. Yeah, I was that terrible but on this particular day, since there was a huge prize I was angling for, I gave it my all. I played football like real football. I was even as good as some of the terrible male players. This went on for days. Same ‘sporting’ gear. Same determination that by the way earned me thumbs-up from him severally but no, no confession.

On one humid after-noon, I went back to the office right after having lunch. I had this really heavy feeling in my heart. You know that strong wave of sadness that hits you when you realize your efforts are bearing no fruits and it makes you want to bawl?Yeah,that one. The boy joined me shortly after. He looked at me for some time and asked me why I looked so sad. I saw this as an opportunity of expressing myself. I mean, is there any harm in being straight forward with a guy?

I started by getting all philosophical (I can do that too. Wink!) and he listened attentively. Just when I was getting to the part where I tell him how I feel,bam!in came one of my colleagues and through the same door, out walked what came to be my one and only chance of having a heart to heart conversation with him.

The next day, I went to work feeling very frustrated by the fact that I had tried everything I could think of to get this guy’s attention and he didn’t event seem to notice. I remember I had a slight headache, but not strong enough to require painkillers. As my last desperate cry for attention, I asked my supervisor for some painkillers hoping that this guy would rescue me from my misery. But he just sat there, calmly watching my every move and thinking about how crazy I was because I know he knew I was just trying to get his attention. Do you think that made me abort the pills mission? No way! I rarely start something and leave it mid-way. So I popped the pills (speaking of boy-crazy, this was psychotic level!) and don’t for a moment think that made the boy pour his heart out to me. If anything, it drove him away from me. Way out of my reach.

One week to the end of their stay, he bought some African print material and asked me and some other girl, to help him design some female outfits. I asked him who he was making the outfits for and he told me one was for his mother while the other one was-just wait-his girlfriend! Go figure!

 

 

Posted in Dreams

Shattered

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She smiles down at me.

Her face is brighter than I remember.

Wait!

Why is she floating?

She reads the question on my face

And stretches out her hands.

I stand on my toes to reach back.

I feel a knot in my stomach.

A tightness in my chest.

A choke in my throat.

Her hands are just a couple of inches away.

The pain is increasing

I should be happy!?

In an effort to understand why I am not,

I look down for a second

And when I look back up,

It is in to the darkness of my room.

It hits me then,

That her bright face,

That beautiful smile that

I will always remember,

Was just but a dream

But the pain,

The tightness in my chest,

Is as real

As the darkness in my room.

Posted in Dreams, Experiences, Uncategorized

Surrender.

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My mind is clear,
My head feels light
The sensation spreads to my shoulders
and they each,
the right after the left,
fall in to a comfortable position of relaxation.
Then my hands,
one by one,
fall to my sides
and my body
goes ahead
and revel
at the sensual feeling
of
surrender.