Home Is Where The Space Is

When I was growing up my parents’ house was always full to capacity. There were always aunts, cousins, and all kinds of relations that were visiting or staying with us at any particular time. We lived in a three bedroom house. The master was my parents’ of course and in the early part of my life when my kid brothers were toddlers, the second bedroom was where everyone else slept. The third bedroom was left as a storage room. So at any given time, our bedroom would hold at least 4 of us. Later, when my brothers got older they were moved to their own room and thus the boys’ bedroom was formed. But the girls’ bedroom was always full to capacity.

I don’t know when this constant lack of space started to bother me but at some point I would spend lots of time in the bathroom just to be alone. While other girls dreamt of their crushes and whatever else girls dream about, I dreamt of having my own room that had a door that could actually lock. I was ferried to a boarding school for the first 2 years of secondary school and my home situation seemed like paradise compared to this. A group of 20 girls sharing a big room was not as bad as always having to share a shower with someone you don’t know. This time I couldn’t even escape to the toilets because they weren’t clean enough. I remember telling my mum that when I passed my Grade 12 exams, I wanted to have my own room. She smiled and mumbled something that I don’t remember.

I rent a tiny 2 bedroom flat now which I like most times. For the first time I have my own space and I’m holding on to it like crazy. But the space issue has left its mark. I can’t imagine sharing my living quarters with anyone else apart from The Hub. I figure I would feel invaded. I have a serious space issue you guys. Unexpected visitors leave me feeling resentful and a bit violated. People that call my phone in the evening when I’m at home make me cringe. My friends have to inform me a few hours before they drop by because I have to mentally prepare myself when someone is coming over.  It’s got me thinking I might be made for solitary life. I dream of living in a farmhouse in the outskirts of town one day, I hope it comes true.

After years of never having any personal space or privacy, I finally have it. It’s probably something some people have never thought about depending on how they grew up. I relish the feeling of freedom at being able to walk half naked around the house. The fact that I can leave my tub of yogurt in the fridge and find it at the end of the day. I like my house and how I feel inside it but most of all I like that its mine. I don’t know if I like my space because of the lack of it when growing up or I was born like this. But one thing I know is that I’ve always desired it ever since I can remember. They say home is where the heart is. Well my heart is in a tiny 2 bedroom flat in the middle of Lusaka City and I love it.

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Get up, Dress up and Be Human.

Have you ever had one of those days when your body fuel gauge is on E? Of course you have. You’re human. Most people use the term “I’m only human” to excuse a horrible thing they did or about to do. In my case last week, I had to keep repeating it to myself to avoid feeling like I had let myself down.  I’m this self-love journey you see. And I’m all about accepting your body and all its quirks. But this day, I just wasn’t feeling the love. I was having one of those days when nothing on my body felt like it belonged to me.

I looked in the mirror and my arms felt floppy and my tummy wouldn’t flatten no matter what I did. I found myself wishing I was pregnant because then I would have a justification for my growing midriff. The worst part of all this was that I was scheduled to appear in front of a camera that evening. Great timing!

Two things caused my trepidation. First being my current argument with my body. Second my usual unease whenever my dress choice is put under scrutiny. I feign nonchalance about my dress code of choice but when I’m at a formal event or one that requires me to dress like an adult; I’m like a non-swimmer thrown into the deep end.

I was nervous about what I should wear but Sekayi from Mafashio guided me through it. She was gracious enough to give me a t-shirt and jeans alternative after I confessed that I was not a beholder of dresses. I was so uncomfortable with my body that I walked over to the mall near home and bought myself one of those spanx contraptions hoping it would help but all it did was restrict my breathing.

When I arrived at the Tikambe* set, I was a bit overwhelmed. There was more than one camera in the room and everyone knows cameras are insecurity’s worst enemy. The team was extremely nice and they eventually put me at ease. It was whole different experience. Who knew looking into a camera and expressing your thoughts is harder than it seems. TV people make it look easy.

After that was over, the first thing I did when I got home was strip off all my clothes and stand in front of the mirror. For some reason I was arguing with my body and I didn’t know why. I looked at myself and told myself that I was beautiful over and over again. I didn’t believe it in that moment but the more I said it, the more it sounded like the only option. I wish I could say I felt better immediately but I didn’t. I went to bed that way but the next morning, I was better.

So many times we feel under the weather, overwhelmed or we’re just in the valley of self-doubt. But life must go on and we can’t allow those feelings to consume us. Sometimes it’s best just to step back and have a healing conversation with yourself. There are also times when you will have to get up, dress up and fulfill your obligations like every other adult because no one else will do it for you. I’m learning to forgive myself. Because even though I have good intentions sometimes I will fail. Because even though I’m on this journey to self-love, I will sometimes fall. And that’s alright because I’m only human. The trick is to get up and continue the journey.

*I’m currently not at liberty to detail what the Tikambe project is about until it airs on TV but I will say this; it is great stuff.  It’s awesome being a tiny part of the creation of a program that adds to the Zambian story. I am so excited whenever I see new Zambian content being made because we don’t have enough of it.

26 going on 30

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

If you had no idea how old you are now, how old would you think you are? In short, how old do you feel you are right now?

The Hub turned 30 last week. In the months leading up to his birthday, he was in quite a state. It had hit him that he was reaching a major milestone in his life. Another point to evaluate just how close or far he was from his goals. I was so certain he would hyperventilate on the actual day so I made sure I had a few emergency numbers in my phone. I had a plan laid out in my mind; if he did panic or faint, I would call the guy next door to carry him to the hospital. So I encouraged The Hub to stay fully dressed at all times because there was no way I was going to try and get his dead weight dressed before anyone saw him. Surprisingly, he was really calm on the day. I don’t know what conversations he had with himself but it seems he has come to terms with it.

For some reason, everyone around me is turning 30. I swear I know more than 6 people who are 30 this year. 1985 was quite a productive year for our parents. The thing about marriage (and any other relationship if you seriously think about it) is that you get to experience certain things multiple times.  The life you share makes it necessary to go through their joys, pains, insecurities and moments of confidence with them whether you want to or not. And so when The Hub was fretting about his life goals and ambitions, I was analyzing mine too.

It was during one of these moments that I realized that somewhere deep in my heart, I am looking forward to turning 30. I’ve been practicing how to be 30 all year long and I didn’t even know it. There are certain things I have adopted or taught myself that normally would have come from living with me for 3 decades.

Self-Love: There have been times I wanted to be anyone but myself, lots of times. But I have been on journey to learn how to love myself. I have been learning acceptance and gratitude. One of the things that prompted this was the realization that the time I spent looking into the mirror criticizing myself was huge compared to the time The Hub spent and he weighed more than me.

Knowledge of Self: In the past I have relied on people to tell me where my strengths lie. I found myself always mining for the negatives in me but not the positives. And I would act surprised when someone pointed out a good thing about me. But now I’m finding out my strengths and any compliment from friends is a confirmation and not a discovery.

I’m not guilty about my dress choice anymore: I have never been the chic girl or the best dressed girl. For the longest time I felt the need to apologize for not being the type to dress up. And now as time goes on I am learning that I value how clothes make me feel way above how they make me look. So I will dress up when I want to but I am dressed down most times because I want to. I’m not apologizing anymore for my dress choices.

I do what I want: So many times we do things because someone in our class or position is expected to. We buy things that we don’t even like just because someone said it is fashionable or classy. We get married or have children because that’s what everyone our age is doing. Coming from a background that expected me to act a certain way because “that’s the way we’ve always done them”, I question my intentions for almost everything now. I am learning to do things because I want to or decided to and not because society expects me to.

I pay my own bills: It’s needless to say a major part of being an adult is paying bills. I swear bills hold meetings to plan on how to haunt our lives. But it’s safe to say no one is out for my head for any outstanding debt.

How old would I be if I didn’t know how old I was? I would probably be 30…for the next 5 years.

How old do you think you would be?

My Moringa State of Mind

I was talking to The Hub the other day and I commented on how life has become so incredibly busy. There never seems to be any time left at the end of the day. When I get home I am so exhausted and grumpy that sometimes I wonder if I’m being a good spouse let alone roommate. As I get older I have so much going on in my life that I just can’t flip the off switch when I want to.

I am what you could categorize as a “worrier”. I worry about everything you guys. Whenever a family member is travelling I’m always on edge hoping they will arrive safely. I am never able to sleep when travelling because I always have my eyes on the road just in case the driver takes his off the road. I’m always asking The Hub if he’s okay because I’m afraid he might have a heart attack. I worry about the world ending in a zombie apocalypse or a huge earthquake, and movies like 2012 and World War Z do nothing to help. So as a result I have a chronic case of insomnia. I can’t sleep peacefully most nights; I toss and turn like the bed is on fire. And of course as life’s sense of humour would have it, I am married to a man who could sleep through a thunderstorm. This usually means I am tired during the day. And when I’m stressed and grumpy, I crave for junk food and needless to say that junk food makes me pack on the kilos.

When I picked up my Moringa powder sample from Umoyo, the green colour and its herby smell reassured me of its safety. It doesn’t get more natural than this. I was a bit worried that my maid would find it in the cupboard and think it was a herbal concoction to keep The Hub in love with me or something. She hasn’t said anything about it yet, but again she probably wouldn’t tell me her suspicions, right? I wasn’t sure how to use it but I googled a few ways and I was good to go. I found that easiest thing for me was to put it in my daily protein shakes. My workouts involve a lot of heavy weight lifting and as a result I require a very high protein intake to repair my muscles. The fastest source of protein has proven to be protein shakes so I decided if I was going to add Moringa powder to anything, it would be that. So I added a teaspoon of Moringa to protein shakes every day.

Moringa Powder [photo credit: dgsspices.com]

Moringa Powder [photo credit: dgsspices.com]

After a few days of taking it I realized that I woke up fewer times during the night. After a week, I had even slept through the whole night. I found that I was less anxious and stressed too. I noticed a significant boost in energy too. I also noticed that my appetite had reduced abit. I had taken the Moringa thinking it would make me lose weight but what I got was probably better. I’ll tell you the truth, Moringa powder is not some miracle weight loss supplement. What it does is that it completely nourishes and energizes your body. When all your nutritional requirements are met, that will naturally bring down your junk food cravings and you will have enough energy to lead an active lifestyle. I don’t know about you but that’s sounds like a great deal to me.

I researched it online and found that it is used by so many communities as a natural remedy to several ailments. Apparently it helps with anemia, arthritis, constipation, diabetes and ulcers. It contains proteins, vitamins and minerals and it’s even used in some parts of Africa in feeding programs to fight malnutrition. It lowers cholesterol and is a great detoxifier. It lowers blood pressure; I guess that’s why it helped me with my sleep problems and anxiety. I read somewhere that it stimulates hair growth so I’m keeping my fingers crossed, it might just be the answer to my dream of having waist long hair.

I’ll keep adding Moringa to my meals for a long time to come, if not for more energy, more nutrition and higher metabolism then for better sleep. As I get older and life gets more demanding, I will need all the help I can get to keep me from crushing. If you want to try it out, you can get Moringa from any Umoyo Health Shop. Let me know if what you think about it.

*This is post is sponsored by Umoyo Natural Health but the opinions and experiences expressed are my own.

As Sweet as Xylitol

What’s your biggest weakness? What kills your self-control with just a glance? Mine is sugar. I have a serious sweet tooth. I love sweet things so much you have no idea. I love sugar so much that there are certain things I don’t eat just coz they are not sweet. For example, I rarely eat maize cobs and pumpkin because they have a sweetness that is not so sweet after all. Every month when on my periods, I survive on chocolate bars and cake. It’s probably not surprising that I have 3 extracted teeth and 3 cavities to show for my unhealthy addiction.

Xylitol
In my quest for better health, I needed to find something that would give me the same pleasure while not causing as much damage to my teeth and body weight. So when the therapist at my Umoyo health consultation suggested using a sugar replacement called xylitol, I was definitely interested. I have occasionally used honey and I know that it works for some things but not all. So I was interested to see how xylitol would be.
I picked up my sample pack from Umoyo and I was ready to go. First of all, Xylitol is a pure white grainy substance just like sugar so I was already feeling quite comfortable to use it because it looked familiar. It’s almost as sweet as table sugar but it has 33% less calories. I had a few worries about the origins of xylitol so I looked it up and I found out that it is naturally found in many fruits and vegetables and people have found a way of producing it commercially.

Xylitol on spoon
Xylitol is very instrumental to attaining and maintaining a healthy weight. Table sugar is everywhere like carbonated drinks, pastry and all the good stuff that bring the extra kilos. It might be possible to abandon those vices but there are just some things that are necessary in our diets. There are just some things that require sweetness like tea and cereal. But the problem is that table sugar is addictive and is an empty food that gives us nothing healthy. So Xylitol comes to the rescue. It does not spike blood sugar and insulin levels like table sugar. This makes it safe for diabetic people to use it. It is also not addictive and is very good for our teeth.
Xylitol can also be used for baking though it can’t be used in a recipe that requires yeast because it won’t rise. I tried to bake a chocolate cake using xylitol and it turned out quite well I must say. Xylitol is very safe for humans and has almost no side effects but if you have a dog I would think twice about feeding it anything containing Xylitol. Apparently a dog’s digestive system doesn’t take kindly to xylitol.
Xylitol is something that I will probably always use. With my love for sugar, I can’t completely stay away from sweet things so it provides a very good compromise. I am just glad I won’t have to extract any more teeth. I was afraid I would have sunken cheeks in my twenties. Though I think I would have looked exotic, what with my high cheekbones and all. If you want to avoid a toothless mouth or you would want to help lose or maintain your weight or you are diabetic and would like an alternative to honey, you can try out Xylitol. You can get it from any Umoyo shop and try it out. You’ll thank me for it. Let me know what you think when you try it.

*Please note that the post is sponsored by Umoyo Natural Health but the opinions expressed are my own.

My Umoyo Health Consultation

When the Umoyo Natural Health media team asked me to try out some of the weight loss services they offer, I was a bit pensive but excited. Everyone knows that weight loss is never an easy journey so I braced myself for work and starvation. But what I found out was the contrary; there wouldn’t be anything like that here. The first step was to go through a health consultation.

How much would you pay for a comprehensive health consultation? A sit-in session with a qualified health therapist to discuss solutions to some of the health issues you’ve been carrying around? What if I told you it could cost nothing? I found out that Umoyo currently have a promotion. They are offering a free health consultation (which is worth K100) to anyone who has one of their fliers.

So I quickly carried a flier and went to their woodlands shop. I met the lady at the counter and told her I wanted a health consultation. I was sort of nervous because free things do that to me. They fill me with such an excitement and thrill but also fear of it not being real. But the lady smiled at me and told me to wait a short moment while the therapist got ready for me. I looked around the shop and saw so many things I wanted to carry home with me.

I finally sat down with the therapist and the health consultation began. She asked me how she could help me and I went blank. I didn’t know where to begin and what exactly to tell her. Was I supposed to tell her that I have dreams of an army of zombies and that I sometimes wink at dogs and I swear they wink back? I’ve never met a therapist before; I don’t know if they all can handle my mental health or lack of. But as I looked at her, I remembered why I was there and told her about my weight loss journey so far and asked her what she could recommend.

She gave me some dietary recommendations which included increasing water intake, reducing carbohydrates, increasing green vegetable intake and avoiding sugar. She also gave me a list of some supplements that would help me in achieving overall health. I will be talking about some of these in the next few weeks. I asked her so many questions but she had an answer for all of them. She highly recommended the 7 day weight loss program that Umoyo offers which contains cleanses and juicing. I asked her if she only handled weight loss issues, it turns out she can handle questions ranging from diabetes to reproductive health. 

The promotion for a free health consultation is still running. Just get yourself one of these fliers from any Umoyo shop and you’ll be able to get personalised consultation and advice. For more information on them, visit their website at umoyo.com and they are highly present on the social media sites. 
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*Over the next few weeks I will try out different products offered by Umoyo that help in weight loss and general health. Please note that the post is sponsored by Umoyo but the opinions expressed are my own.

The Day I got Screened for Cervical Cancer

I was nervously pacing across the tiny room. I knew I was crazy to be this scared but that didn’t make it any easier. I told myself this was just routine and nothing would go horribly wrong. But I didn’t believe a single word I told myself. I was in the Cervical Cancer screening room waiting to be screened. You would think that I was waiting to hear my HIV status by the way I paced.

Cervical Cancer is the most common cancer in Zambia and Zambia has the second highest rates of Cervical cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa. I knew all this and that’s why I was nervous. I have heard of women who have died from Cervical Cancer. It shows no signs or symptoms until the cancer is in full gear. Many people have crazy misconceptions on how a woman can get it. But the simple explanation is that it is caused by the viral infection of the cervix by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Oh yeah, and this HPV is sexually transmitted.

But here’s the crazy thing about Cervical Cancer; it can be prevented. See, before the viral infection causes the cancer, there are some precancerous cells that can be detected and removed to prevent the cancer. So routine screening is very important. Now I know all this but I still hadn’t gone for a screening yet. The thing is I don’t trust “routine” checkups. Each time I have gone for a checkup, they always find something wrong with me. And because I work in a place where I see pictures of full blown cancer ridden cervices everyday, I had the worst-case scenario in my head.

I was tired of the anticipation so one morning I just walked over to the clinic and told the nurse that I was finally here to do it. She had been prompting me to do it for a while so she was ecstatic. She left me in the room and told me to get ready, I already knew the drill. I took off my underwear and got on the bed. Oh, I forgot to mention, the Cervix is slightly past the vagina and is the door to the uterus. So taking off my underwear is a necessary move. When I get nervous, I get a gassy stomach so I was so worried I would accidentally fart in the nurse’s face.

The nurse then inserted a Speculum that looked quite scary, I must say. The key is to relax, then it will only be slightly uncomfortable. Try thinking of chocolate cake or something.

Then she swabbed my cervix with vinegar and waited for a few minutes. The vinegar makes everything on the cervix visible enough for inspection. Then the nurse got a camera which was connected to a T.V besides the bed and got a picture of my cervix. Because it’s impossible for the human eye to detect anything, they use the camera to zoom in and pick up every single detail. If there are any precancerous cells (cells that will turn into cancer after some time), they show up looking white on the picture. So while the nurse was taking the picture, I was on the look out for anything that looked anything close to white. I think sometimes knowing too much is a bad thing because the worry is unbearable.

She showed me the picture on the TV. It was clear! I had a very clear and pink cervix. No precancerous cells and no cancer. The relief I felt was almost tangible. I almost cried. The picture of my cervix stared back at me like a pretty little baby. I thought it looked beautiful. If I had got the picture I would have shown you guys. I have encountered cases of women younger than me who found out they had the early stages of cancer so I knew just how blessed I was. I got up from that bed feeling so relieved, I didn’t even care if the nurse saw my stretch marks. I was also so happy my sphincter muscles hadn’t let me down.

The whole procedure took about 15 minutes. 15 minutes that made my life a bit lighter. 15 minutes that took away the worry of cervical cancer. Even in the event that I had been found with cancer cells, it wouldn’t have been so bad because I would have caught it early and something would have been done about it. Most women die from Cervical Cancer because they catch it really late.

Any woman who has had sex needs to get screened for cervical cancer. It is done for free in government-run clinics. Go to a clinic near you and get screened. Have you been screened for Cervical Cancer? You might want to do it soon. Early detection leads to early treatment.

My next appointment is in 2018, three years from now. I’ll make sure I keep it.

keep-calm-and-fight-cervical-cancer-1

Valentine’s messages should be funny and true

I dislike mushy things that don’t make sense. Love messages that are copied and pasted from popular love songs that defy all forms of logic. “I would travel to the end of the earth just to find you”, really? How are you going to do that when you don’t even have enough money to travel to a neighboring country? Mushy stuff just doesn’t make sense for me. Valentine’s day is when the world is a giant playground box of mushy quicksand. Everyone’s talking about love in all those out-of-this-world descriptions they don’t even understand like “You are the apple of my eye”. What does that even mean? (I don’t even want to know what it means)

Imagine my pleasure when in my travels around the internet, I stumbled upon valentine’s messages that were so true and funny I could have sworn they picked them right out of my mind. These messages said exactly what love was to me without being pretentious and stuck up. I just had to share them with you.

Let’s face it, people suck. We all have qualities that we would be better off not having. We all end up mistreating another human being in one way or another. But when you have that one person who sucks less than most people, you have to tell them.

When my siblings and I were younger, we would have contests to see who could burp and fart the loudest. It used to be so funny. The older I get the less funny it becomes. To hear someone fart an endless number of times and still love them is true love y’all.

Have you ever wanted to get away from a crowd so bad? Crowds drain me and life tires me. At times I just want to retire, buy a house and never come outside ever again. But I find myself wanting that less and less with The Hub around.

Every time we watch Walking Dead I always ask The Hub where he would be if it were real. And we always say that he would be a Zombie by now. Well since we all know I would be one of the survivors, I’m glad it’s not real because I wouldn’t have to kill him.

Yep, Jesus definitely loves him more. But I pull in a close second though.

Sometimes all someone wants to hear is just how phenomenal their butt is. How else are they supposed to feel comfortable when they’re walking away or in front of you?

Nope! I would not! Never! It was in the vows, I swore to never shave my legs. Well, the silent vows in my head. It should have read “I love you but I will only shave my legs if it will stop a Zombie apocalypse.” It is such a commitment, and I have too many of those already.

Yes, okay! I do it! I look at my phone all the time, and I practically live on the internet but who better to do it with?

So this Valentine’s day try to say what you really mean and not what you think is appropriate for the occasion. Be original without spending a lot of money. Do things that would really mean something to your person. And don’t wait until Valentine’s to be all mushy and stuff. Let your person know how you feel every so often. As for me, I’m not a big Valentine’s day fan. But I admit, the world needs a day totally dedicated to love because there’s too much hate circulating.

Happy Valentine’s.

9 things to carry to the gym

When I decided to join a gym, I had a very basic idea of what I would need on each visit. I only knew I needed workout clothes and a towel but I discovered I needed more things. With every session I found myself requiring more and more items. So to save you from that discovery journey and to let you walk into the gym like a well equipped boss, here are some things that you will need in the gym.

1) Workout Shoes – When I first started, I would wear canvas during the workout. But that proved to be uncomfortable and my feet would hurt. So I bought tennis shoes that were half a size more than my foot size and that did the trick. Feet tend to swell during exercise so make sure you buy shoes that are half a size larger than your foot size.

2) Sports socks – Make sure you buy more than one pair because if your day is anything like mine, you will only have time to do your laundry on the weekend.

3) Full set of fitness clothes – I’ve seen some people workout in t-shirts and sweatpants. If that’s your cup of tea then go ahead but I prefer tank tops and leggings. I might graduate to shorts when results start to show but for now capris work just fine. Make sure you have at least two sets of workout clothes.

4) Sports bra – Buy a good fitting sports bra. It shouldn’t be too loose but should not be chest-clenching tight either. A good sports bra restricts boob movement down to a healthy minimum without being uncomfortable. Have at least 2 bras because they are the first contact with your body’s sweat.

5) Gym towel – Some people overlook the importance of a towel. The whole point of working out is to work up a sweat and that sweat needs to be wiped away before it gets into your eyes.

6) Shower essentials – If you’re like me then you prefer leaving the gym clean with no evidence of sweat. If you prefer to take a shower at the gym you will need to carry a few things. A travel sized bar of soap or a small bottle of shower gel, a shower cap and flip flops. You might need to carry spare underwear because people often forget that they get sweaty down there too.

7) Water bottle – One of the biggest rules of exercise is to stay hydrated. Most gyms sell water but I suggest carrying your own water bottle. This is cheaper and less cumbersome.

8) Lifting gloves – If you’re going to be lifting weights, you will definitely need gloves. I still have blisters on my hands from before I realized I needed them. I had to keep removing my rings just to lift weights and that made me fear I would lose them one day. But with gloves I can keep them on the whole time.

9) Gym bag – You will definitely need a gym bag for all these things.

There are other little things that you can carry if you prefer, like a sweat band and an ipod. But the listed items are the necessary things every one will require. Beware though, it might get addictive. I find myself buying leggings and tank tops every time I go clothes shopping, somehow they now look more appealing than jeans. If you have any questions about where to get any of these things, let me know and I’ll help.

This Girl Loves her body ….Finally

I was out of breath, trying to keep myself upright. Rihanna’s “Where have you been” had just started playing in my earphones and I kept telling myself just to keep running until the end of the song. The gym instructor walked up to me and told me he was impressed with my determination then he asked which part of my body was bothering me and what I wanted to get rid off. I could see he was ready to dish out some advice about which exercise was the best. I slowed down the treadmill to think about it and I came up with nothing. I couldn’t think of a single part of me that I hated. I told him all I wanted was to be stronger and healthier and for the first time I meant it.

A friend of mine sent me a picture of us in college. When I looked at it I gasped with surprise. I was so small back then. And the worst part is that the size of my head was exactly what it is now. Seriously, I looked malnourished. This was the past I kept looking back to. This was the 60 kilos I kept on aiming at. This was what I had been craving ever since I gained weight. I had been glorifying the past, wanting to go back not knowing that my present was better. The crazy thing is that when I weighed 62 kilos all I wanted was to lose a bit of weight. When I went up to 65 kilos, I stopped eating just so that I could go back to 62. And now on the upside of 70 kilos I found myself just yearning for the 65 I once had. I noticed a trend here, I was living in the past, forever looking back. This nostalgia could easily be triggered by anything, like someone commenting how much weight I had gained or just an old pair of jeans not fitting. I stopped taking pictures of myself because I wanted to lose some weight first.

That picture made me realize that if I didn’t love myself now, I wouldn’t love myself when I lost weight. So I stopped taking the diet pills and I sat myself down (I seem to be doing that a lot). I had to stop mistreating myself. I had to stop punishing myself for who I was. I had to forgive myself for all the neglect I had suffered by my own hands. I had to accept myself. I had to, I had no choice because no one else would do it for me. I knew it would be a long process but at least I had to begin. So I started researching and educating myself on health and fitness. I started learning how to cook so that I could prepare the best food my body deserved. I finally joined a gym. I told myself each time I was changing into my workout clothes that I was doing this because I love myself. In the back of my mind, I was secretly hoping I would lose weight. I started lifting weights and discovered just how much I loved it. I started learning things about myself that I never knew, like how I have the endurance of a horse. I was realizing I felt my happiest after a hard, tiring workout session. In the two months that I’ve been religiously working out I have had zero depression episodes. That is such a great improvement considering that I had them on an average of once a week.

I fell in love with myself with each day that passed. And so when the guy asked me what part of my body bothered me, I learnt something about myself. I finally work out not because I despise myself but because I want to be strongest version of me. Let every action you take be driven by love and not hate. Every time I see some new muscles showing, I get excited even though I know I’m the only one who can see them. And it must be life trying to teach me a lesson because I haven’t lost a single kilo since I started working out but I’m definitely feeling healthier and more content. I have a spring in my walk now. I’m not apologizing for the space I occupy anymore. It’s my space and I love it.

Is there something keeping you in the past? Something that keeps you turning back, comparing and living in constant discontentment? Maybe an old relationship that looks better than your current one, or an old job that is better paying than your current gig? There’s a chance you might be looking at things the wrong way. Love where you are now then strive for better things. It’s the only way to be happy, well there’s chocolate too but you know what I mean.

This Girl Can

This Girl Lifts

Here is a video that perfectly describes where I’m at now. It’s called “This Girl Can”

Don’t welcome me (to 2015), You weren’t here first!

“Welcome to 2015!”

I keep hearing people say that like they arrived earlier than me. Unless they are in a timezone ahead of me, they really should shut up. People talking about leaving their problems in 2014. What I know is problems are there to be solved so if you leave them in 2014 who’s going to solve them for you?

It’s the beginning of a new year and people are reviewing how their life turned out in 2014. They are standing on (facebook) rooftops and shouting out all the things that happened and all the things they intend to do in the new year. Some lists are practical, like losing 10kgs and enrolling for a Masters Degree. But others just make me wonder how the hell someone will do certain things. Someone listed falling in love as one of the resolutions this year. Um, maybe it’s just me but love can’t be dictated to. Another girl said she intended to get married and have a child. How are you going to do that if you’re not in a serious relationship? I think people forget that a year only has 365 days.

So I find myself in the second week of the new year, still hesitant to list down my expectations of the year because I don’t trust myself. I’ve let myself down far too many times. Last January I wrote down that I wanted to join a gym. There must have been a shortage of gyms in Lusaka because I only got round to joining one in December. A few months ago I found a piece of paper while cleaning out my stuff, it was a list of my resolutions for 2010. When I read it I cried (well, not tears or anything but I could hear my heart wailing). It was so full of hope and wonder. I wanted to do so many things, things that I have long forgotten to keep wanting. I saw a girl who trusted in her ability to make things happen, a girl who really believed the world was at her fingertips. I saw the girl I still want to be but have forgotten how.

Now I’ve not grown, but just learnt how to act. I have now mastered the art of not expecting too much from life. I’m still considered quite “out there” by some people’s standards but by mine, I’m under-performing. I’m stuck here, unable to make resolutions not because I don’t have any but because I’m afraid I won’t achieve any. I’m reading all these articles about how to set smart goals hoping this time I won’t let myself down. But while I set my goals, don’t worry. There won’t be any of those sentimental unrealistic babble like I want to be a better me and whatnot. I’m setting tangible, achievable goals this year. And I’m not telling any of you unless it’s got an interesting story tied to it.

What have I achieved in 2014? A lot that I’m thankful for and can only attribute to good fortune and being blessed. But I won’t go shouting it on “The Facebook” as some senior citizens would call it. Sometimes I think people posting their “blessings” is just a sleek but obvious way of bragging. Things like “I would like to thank God for my brand new car in 2014”, if it’s God you’re really thanking why not just pray huh? Is he on facebook? Away from that, I’m very glad that I’m alive, healthy, in love and happy.

I wish you health and happiness.

Happy 2015.

May this not be you!

May this not be you!

What Christmas means to me

Is it too late to wish you Merry Christmas? What is the statute of limitations on that? 1 week or maybe as long as we’re in the holiday mood? I totally have no idea but I will do it anyway.

There is so much excitement and hype about the Christmas period that it’s difficult not to get caught up in it. This was The Hub and I’s first Christmas together as a married couple and we wanted to make it special. So many TV shows and commercials made us want to do something we’ve never done. We wanted to make our own tradition, something that would stand out from the rest. It was the holidays and everyone does something extraordinary during this period right?

But in all that hype and noise I realised something. All I wanted to do during my Christmas break was rest and be quiet. When I sat myself down and had a talk with myself, I found out that I wasn’t excited about Christmas at all. What I was excited about was the break away from work, the 2 weeks of not having to wake up at the crack of dawn. Christmas in itself was something I had become numb to and I suddenly watched people’s excitement while detached from it. It’s the same thing with birthdays, after celebrating 25 of them I don’t get the fuss anymore.

When I was a child, I was in the Nativity play every year. And for some reason, I was always the narrator (I have something in common with Morgan Freeman, he and I would make awesome friends). So Christmas would mean memorising lines and preparing outfits. We would have a huge Christmas lunch after church in our new clothes then go out and play. As I got older I realised that the huge Christmas lunch doesn’t cook itself and I was now in charge of preparing it. This year we still held the Christmas lunch at my parents’ house but I wasn’t a host this time.

What does Christmas mean to me? Christmas is spending the few days before it shopping for herbs, vegetables and meats. Christmas is trying to locate gammon in all the supermarkets and butcheries and only finding it the day after Christmas. Christmas is waking up at 5 am to prepare for a 2 pm lunch. Christmas is my feet and calves aching by 9 am and realising there is still a full day awaiting. Christmas is preparing an awesome assortment of food and forgetting to get a photo for Instagram (bummer!). Christmas is two families that did not know each other 2 years ago eating and laughing together like they’ve known each other for ages. Christmas is receiving our first (and only) Christmas card addressed to Mr and Mrs The Hub and thinking “Oh crap! We actually did this marriage thing!” So Christmas is really cool and remembering the birth of Jesus keeps us thankful. But the excitement around the celebrations is tiring. So in my last week before I go back to work, I’m retreating from the world and taking time to recalibrate myself. I need to be on top of my game in the new year.

I hope you had the Christmas you wanted and I hope you’re taking some time for yourself.

Happy Holidays.

Keep Your opinion to yourself or get punched!

It is widely known that Zambians are friendly people. They will stop what they are doing and gladly give you directions if you ask. They will randomly start a conversation about politics with a total stranger on the bus. It really is a good quality and I appreciate it but I have a complaint; some Zambians have no limits. They dish out their opinion whether you like it or not, whether you look accommodating or not. They will just blurt it out with no regard of who is listening. A supermarket employee will start giving you marriage advice right there at the till just because you said you don’t know how much sugar you should buy. Continue reading

I’m sick but I swear I’m not pregnant!!

Life has a crazy notion of timing. I moved to a new job less than a month ago and I’ve been trying to learn the strings. My previous job was extremely stressful and I dreaded having to go back every morning but then I got a new job and I was relieved. One of the best benefits of having a job for me has been medical insurance. I can just walk into a private clinic when I don’t feel well and I won’t have to pay a ngwee. But right now I’m in between insurances, I just gave up my old one with my old job and the new one is still being processed. So if I want any health services, I’ll have to pay for them myself. And as if life is a serial prankster, I fell ill last week. Continue reading

Why you should never go grocery shopping on your period

For the past few years and ever since I can remember, I’ve been trying to lose weight. I have been on so many diets and cleanses, I could write a book. I finally figured out recently that what I need is regular exercise and a healthy eating plan. so I’ve been trying to work out consistently and eat healthy and while I can testify that my energy levels have shot to the roof, my weight loss has been really slow. It’s been a rollercoaster ride with numerous ups and downs. The biggest problem has not been how hard it is to lose the pounds but how easy it is to gain them back. And every month just as I’m starting to think I’m making substantial progress, nature throws me a biological curve ball.

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Today is a good day

Today is a good day. I like myself today. I know I should everyday but the truth is I don’t. There are days when I look at myself and I want to hug myself. But there are days when I can’t bear to look at myself in the mirror. But today is a very good day. Maybe it’s because I didn’t stuff myself with unnecessary food or because I don’t have a bloated stomach. I just feel like I don’t have to change anything about me right now. I looked at my mid section in the mirror and actually smiled. I feel like I am who I’m supposed to be. I don’t have to give any excuses for the weight I gain or lose. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. Yep, today is a good day. 

How My Network Provider Nearly Ruined my Marriage

They say nothing makes a person more productive than the last minute. I’m one of those people. Some of my best work has been produced with the deadline looming right above my head. In school I studied right before the exam. I send out reports right before they are due. I show up for meetings less than 5 minutes before the stipulated time. It’s not something I’m proud of it but I’ve lived with myself long enough to know and accept that I’m a slightly disorganised human. I find myself taking up too much on my plate that I end up having so much to do at the end of the day. It’s my way of living life on the edge.

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Happy Anniversary to Me!

It’s been a year already. A year since I finally decided to start blogging. I had been thinking about it for years then I finally did it. It’s fun and challenging to think that thousands of people are reading what I write. It pushes me to write better and often. So to celebrate my 1 year blogversary, here is a list of my five favourite blog posts since I started this blog. Take a walk with me down memory lane. 

1. My first post ever –   Heavy On My Mind

2. My second post –  I struck Gold

3. The most creative and saddest piece I’ve ever written – Beautiful Lie

4. My most revealing and vulnerable piece – Mirror Moments

5. My bravest post – How to be a woman

 

Friday Five – Celebrity Crushes

The life of a teenager involves a such continuous chain of crushes that it’s almost a full time job. Okay who am I kidding? It never stops when we get older, we just get preoccupied with real life men that are admittedly less dreamy but more available. Here is a list of my celebrity crushes;

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As soft as a baby

Winter is upon us. All the coats, scarves and boots have been unearthed and are back in use. Among my friends, the cold season has been dubbed the season of lovers. It’s so cold that you have no choice but to cuddle with your Significant other. Well, I call it the season of dry skin. My face gets so cold that it loses all its moisture and becomes cracked. It looks wrinkled, old and scaly. Continue reading

Be-You-tiful

I realized quite early that I was different from most of the people in my life. I had different aspirations and dreams. My personality was different and I enjoyed different things. I preferred reading and writing to boys and nice clothes. When I got my first job, people tried to get me to dress a certain way but I was already set in my way. I had different views from the rest and when I tried to air them out, I got burned. Continue reading

Do Not Disturb!!

Sarah wanted to find love online. They found each other on craigslist, he seemed really interesting and they seemed to click so they arranged to meet up. What she didn’t know is that he is a predator and now she’s dead. Chloe was an avid texter and social media addict. She posted her every move, meal and endeavours. He stalked her on facebook. Read her every status and studied her lifestyle until one day he caught her did all the nasty stuff he had been planning from the start.

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Say something!

I know I’ve been away for some time. I’ve been prompting myself to say/write something but a few things have been going on with me and I’ve never been one to handle too much emotion. When things get too much, I shut down and play dead like a possum. I become non functional and can’t concentrate on anything for long. I tend to become depressed quite easily. It’s quite silly because it’s the most trivial things that get to me. Like more than 2 people telling me I’ve gained weight releases an avalanche of emotions of failure, disappointment, dissatisfaction and disapproval. It’s crazy really, but in the words of one of Zambia’s musicians with a funny haircut/hairdo, Judy, “It is what it is” . (She probably got the phrase from somewhere else. I just wanted a way to say something about her hair) 

Anyway, to break the silence I come bearing a gift. It’s a new video by Pentatonix called “Say Something”. It’s a cover for a song originally done by A great Big World and Christina Aguilera. It is so beautiful and gloomy. Just the kind of song I would listen to during one of my depression modes.

I promise I will say something soon before you guys give up on me.  

2013

2013 has been good. It’s been a year of growth and changes. I started school and dropped out of it. I made my first big investment. I moved out of my parents’ house and then moved back in (rent in Lusaka can kill a girl). I bought my first furniture. I finally started this blog after years of procrastinating. Continue reading

Less is not More!

I am coming to terms with the fact that I’m a big girl. At size 12/14 I’m bordering on being plus sized. I look at myself in the mirror and try to figure out how to go down to being a size 8. There are times when I’m confident that my body is okay but most times I look at myself with dismay wondering why the hell I had to get my father’s features. Why do I have to love food that much? Sometimes the self loath gets so intense that I’m tempted to induce throwing up. It wouldn’t be so bad if I was bulimic right? But of course I freak out and I’m much too lazy to stick to sticking my finger down my mouth every time so I don’t go through with it. I think of starving myself sometimes but I always give in by 10 AM. So I try to work out whenever I can and eat healthy whenever I can but the sad truth is I may always struggle with my weight.

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Adventures in the mall

I work right opposite one of Lusaka’s big shopping malls. This means I get to walk through it two or three times a day. The proximity of such a vast number of shops has its advantages and disadvantages. There are the obvious ones of being able to get groceries on my way home without having to make any detours and having the best clothes shops at your finger tips. But there are the less obvious perks like: 

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Bird Names in Kalingalinga

Am I the only who didn’t know that most of the streets in Kalingalinga are named after birds? I should probably be ashamed of my ignorance because I somehow, not really, live there. Well, I like to tell people that I live in the Mass Media area but geographically speaking I have been living in a compound for the past 5 months. So if I ever decide to pursue a musical career, I can safely rap/sing about my life in the ghetto without being contradicted.

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Get Fit Campaign : Update

It’s been 2 weeks since I joined the Get Fit Campaign. 2 week of extreme workout. 2 weeks of trying to eat healthy. It’s been great, it’s been painful, but most of all it’s been challenging. It is teaching me commitment to working out, consistency in my eating patterns, and persistance even when it hurts.

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Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

 

So the month-end is here. The main reason I go to work every weekday. The time to make the budgets and pay off debt.

Tonight while making my budget for the month of August, I broke down. I realized just how little I had compared to how much I needed. My salary can’t cover the rent, transport, groceries and paying of the debt on my new and much needed laptop. That’s without mentioning the wedding costs and tuition fees I need to take care of. I wrote down a whole list of everything and I panicked. Continue reading

Beautiful Lie

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He’s coming back soon. He told me so himself.When he’s back we’ll hang out like we always do.With him being so handsome and me in perfect health.He’ll call me, you’ll see!He’s probably just busy with work or maybe he doesn’t have enough credit, I just have to wait. I keep checking his facebook page for a new status, a new comment, wallpost, anything.  He’s not gone, he’s just silent. I keep turning my head in church coz I know he might walk in late and sit next to me like he always does.  Or maybe he’s just out of coverage area. He’ll text me soon, I probably should check my mailbox. There’s obviously an email waiting for me.

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Heavy on my mind

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I’ve been putting this forward and never getting round to it. Writing should come easy considering the number of things that flash through my mind. But the speed at which they do is probably the cause of the chronic writer’s block. So here I am, Emelie Sande in my headphones, stuck in traffic and the keypad under my thumbs. Just the right conditions for me to zone out and try to focus on my fleeting thoughts.

The biggest issue on my mind recently has been my weight. Once upon a time I was a skinny kid. But that was eons ago. Since puberty struck, the numbers on the scale have been alternating like a teenager’s moods. And now in my 20’s, it continues to spiral out of control. I’ve been a size 10 and 12. The problem is probably that I know exactly what the problem is.

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