Sunday, 19 November 2017

DEAR UNDERCOVER ABUSER,

You were not born with the right to lead anyone into a false sense of security; to manipulate trust only to unleash a myriad of abuse.

You are a vile, insensitive, cruel and ignorant dictator. In fact, your personality traits match that of a narcissist; you operate with a 'what I want, when and how I want it and no other way' attitude. You are desperately controlling and therefore destructive. Interesting that you do to others as you would not want them to do to you, nor your family.

The way you keep and use so many around you is disgusting. Although some would argue that certain individuals are stupid for allowing themselves to be repeatedly abused, the fault is entirely with you! 

You're such a mess and I feel so sorry for you. There's an insecurity, or demon you're not dealing with that has you roll around town all Jekyll and Hyde! You go from being so lovely and ridiculously thoughtful to distant, rude, manic, aggressive and abusive so damn quickly. You become a brutal sexual predator thirsty for what isn't yours to take albeit violently taken as and when you like. Despite the cries, screams, frightened voices begging you to stop, you continue to abuse your power and position to do one of the most horrific and life changing, damaging, scarring things one human can do to another. You then discard your victims ready to prey on the new...
CopyrightCharleyJai
Dear Undercover Abuser, 

You are the worst type of human because, you've successfully managed to have so many people believe you are "nice"; one who is "charming" and "really cares about everyone" when the truth is you only care about yourself, your needs, your wants, your perspective on things and your feelings (those despicable, unjustified urges you allow to drive you). Everything you do is about your own desires regardless of how wrong those impulses may be.

You have now been exposed and can no longer hide who and what you truly are. Despite the bars, you've been given an opportunity to reform. Take it! Get well, if that is even possible. 

Karma is a two way street and, whether or not you are one day rid of your nasty thoughts and soul destroying behaviour, it will pay you a visit. I just hope that when it's done with you it doesn't cause you the same pain, heartache, despair, fear, trust issue's, physical scars, deep emotional damage (and the rest) that you've caused others.

On behalf of an army of survivors,
Not Yours but, Sincerely,
Charley Jai.

....................................................................................................................

To The Survivors (women, men, children, anyone of any age who has had such an experience) - please be reminded that there is nothing you have done, or said, that can ever justify being violated in any way, shape, or form. You have been wonderfully made. You are beautiful and deserving of great things. Own who you are and then use that ownership to ensure you succeed, both personally and professionally. You can do it! 

Charley x

Sunday, 12 November 2017

A CANDID INTERVIEW WITH LINDA E

She is a self proclaimed ambassador of enjoyment and is one of the warmest voices on radio. Her love of all things entertainment has seen her interview American actress AJ Johnson, hair stylist Tokyo, music artists Lisa Maffia and Bonkaz, to name a few. Her likeable personality has also meant she is often chosen to host a variety of events including Live Lounge for City Connex, SWAFF (Streetwear and Athleisure Festival) and PITCH for O.N.E MovementI caught up with her for a well overdue catch up!
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How did you become a radio presenter? "Ha-ha long story short, friends of mine started a radio station a few years ago and I told them I wanted a show so, they gave me one".
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The creative/media industry is bursting with talent. What sets you apart from the rest? "My energy is unlike any I've seen before. I think my blood should be studied by a scientist. I also have a good mix of emotional intelligence, normal intelligence and confidence".
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Are you put off from pursuing your creative and artistic goals by the stories of misconduct and abuse within the entertainment industry? "Not at all. Unfortunately abuse and misconduct is part of many industries, so it has never put me off one bit".
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Do you feel social media is a help, or a hindrance to your profession/career? "Definitely a help, although you have to be savvy about the way you use it as well as filtering out the serious from the non serious people who may contact you".
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As well as radio, hosting events and handling press coverage for Pulse88 (the home of your radio show), you also have a regular job and you're very active on Instagram too! How do you manage everything?" Honestly, I don't know. God has just made me very good at juggling and when something is your passion you will always find a way to make it work!"
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You took took part in my 'Layers' photography project (I've included some of the images in this article) and we had so much fun! How important is it to you that your audience see different sides to Linda E? "It's extremely important, I am a human being and a multifaceted one at that which is a good thing. Different parts of me may appeal to different people, so I do want to show as many sides of me as possible".
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If given the opportunity to ask anyone in the world just ONE question, who would you choose and what would you ask them? "Oh, this is hard because I talk so much, but, I would ask Oprah to give me all of her contacts so I could start my own TV network!!"
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How do you intend to spend Christmas this year? "I'm not sure. Last year I was in Nigeria for Christmas, so, it will be hard to top that, lol... This year, I just want to have lots of fun!"
CopyrightCharleyJai


DISCLAIMER: All information in this post was correct at the time it was published.

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - THE BEST PROTECTION

Sunday, 5 November 2017

THE BEST PROTECTION

This particular subject is one (I believe) everyone should speak about whether they have been directly affected or not. It's about raising a high level of awareness in the hope that we can bring about a long-term, effective change!

Sexual misconduct is not exclusive. It does not only occur amongst the elite, rich and famous. The difference between one with a public profile and the likes of Miss Nobody (aka me) is being in the spotlight. 

Sadly, one too many (males and females, of all ages, shapes, backgrounds and the rest) have been subjected to some form of inappropriate conduct by someone in/with a position of power (physically, or professionally) and the immediate emotional response varies. In a lot of cases that very response has been the extremely thin line between the incident taking a more sinister turn and the victim getting out alive...

There still remains the misconception that attire, or behavioural choices determine whether or not someone is more at risk of being subjected to a sexual, or violent offence and this is the most ridiculous thought, ever! A would-be perpetrator will likely target anyone they are convinced they can 'have their way with' and not get caught. 

A woman could be completely covered up except for her face, hands and ankles. A man could be dressed in jeans, with an oversized jumper, socks, boots and a hat. 'Monsters will do what monsters do'.

If one is physically unable to prevent an assault, should they survive their ordeal, one way to protect themselves (and others) going forward is to speak openly and unashamedly about the experience. EXPOSE the offender/attacker! Of course, such a thing is not at all easy and can take some time, but, it is so necessary. Now more than ever!! Speak out.
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Way too many powerful individuals exploit their privilege of power for the most horrid personal gains and I feel silence is their enabler. We all have freedom of speech and the choice to exercise that freedom.

ALWAYS say "no" firm and strong. ALWAYS fight back. ALWAYS expose anyone who has abused, or is abusing you. ALWAYS seek justice. You are not to blame, it will never be your fault, nor are you responsible. Take back control by reporting the perpetrator (giving as much detail and information as possible). Do not allow yourself to be held prisoner by your thoughts about your ordeal. Confront it (with the support of your loved and trusted ones, if possible) so you can move on.

The best form of defence and protection is your voice. Use it.

PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST POTENTIAL HARM
  • Keep a mini flashlight with you
  • Carry a whistle, or personal alarm
  • Use an alcohol based spray to stun
  • Do not drink yourself into an oblivion! 
  • Keep jewellery and expensive wear to a minimum
  • Leave distracting items out of sight (phone, music player)

This link will provide you with further information and tips relating to this subject.

You will help yourself massively and do a great service to others when you report a crime, so, please make sure that you do! We each have a duty of care to ourselves and those around us.

Be safety conscious.

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - click here

Sunday, 29 October 2017

7 FACTS ABOUT HALLOWEEN!

Halloween has most definitely become a global sensation! Costumes have gone from the traditional witch, devil, ghosts, zombie and ghoul masks to sexy, trendy and fashionable. Forget frightening, it's all about being freakishly stylish! I'm not into the Halloween hoo-ha myself, but, I have wondered if those of you who are have any idea what Halloween is really all about! 
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1. It was a pagan holiday honuoring the dead.

2. Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats to placate spirits who roamed the streets.

3. Originally, you had to dance for your 'treat' - this was a European practice where people in costume would go door-to-door performing choreographed dances for treats.

4. Jack-o'-lantern comes from an old Irish tale about a man named Stingy Jack and was once made out of turnips, beets and potatoes not pumpkins!
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5. In a few American towns, Halloween was once referred to as "cabbage night". This came from a Scottish fortune-telling game, where the girls used cabbage stumps to predict information about their future husbands.

6. Some animal shelters will not allow the adoption of black cats during Halloween for fear they will be sacrificed.

7. Studies have shown that Halloween actually makes children more evil.
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Be safe if you plan to be involved with any Halloween shenanigans, folks! Enjoy!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED...

CopyrightCharleyJai
In my opinion, it is so simple. We tweet our thoughts, we Facebook our upset, we Instagram a snippet of our reality, we blog about our feelings, we snap our random moments and we look to Google, or YouTube for answers to almost every question we have. 

Consider, for a few minutes, the following as being FACT.... Your thoughts are shared, any upset is understood, your reality is common, your feelings are mutual, your random moments have been experienced by others, Google and YouTube are not entirely reliable sources of information. 

For a growing majority, it would seem that genuine human contact has lost its appeal. Some would rather direct you to their social media profiles, or website, to see them, literally, or offer you a WhatsApp conversation, over some quality one on one time in the flesh!

Personally, especially when I need to de-stress (and get my Feng Shui back on point), I want face to face company. For me, that's the best way to seek reassurance, support, encouragement, nurturing, good conversation, laughter and love (which we all need) instead of whatever impersonal escape I can find on the internet.

CopyrightCharleyJaiI know, for whatever reasons, there are a lot of people who prefer to keep their relationships virtual. (I mean, can you even call it "a relationship" if there's no real life contact and communication?). However, it does absolute wonders for me when I spend time with my loved ones. During that time I can forget about any troubles I may have. Of course the problems we encounter need to be resolved, eventually, but, having a breather from anything stress related is a must!! You cannot resolve any issues without having a clear mind.

My closest friend and I try to meet as often as we can and it's all about making the most of the time we're blessed with to spend together. We recently met for an impromptu shoot (I need to continue working on my camera/photography skills) after which we enjoyed a ridiculously tasty 3 course meal at Prezzo inside Victoria Place in London. The staff were super kind, attentive, accommodating and complimentary. We absolutely loved it!! You can read my TripAdvisor review with pictures of the food here.

We only get one life, folks; one chance to make it count in as many ways as we can and for all of the right reasons. I've said this a number of times in the past, but, if presented with an opportunity to talk on the phone, or physically see someone you claim to care about (who also cares about you) take it!! Make the effort! In fact, message anyone you have not spoken to, replied to, or seen for the longest time right now and invite them to meet with you. Life is too short to keep saying, "life is too short" but not change the way and with whom you spend yours!

CopyrightCharleyJai
Anytime you find yourself thinking of someone you've not seen, or spoken to in a while, get in touch with them and ask them to join you for lunch? You've nothing to lose and potentially so much to gain! Do it!!!!

Nothing but this very moment is guaranteed. Invest your time wisely.

DISCLAIMER: This post is in support of Prezzo (Victoria Place, London).

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

8 REASONS WHY THAT JOB ISN'T FOR YOU!

This should not apply to you if you're self-employed because, surely the work you're doing is by choice and therefore you love it. If it does apply, perhaps you ought to reassess the nature of your work, how you're working and look for ways in which you can improve productivity and progression. Alternatively, you may need to consider a new venture. What are you passionate about?

If you tend to moan and complain about your job more than you speak of it fondly chances are things are terrible and not likely to get any better, or you haven't yet found a positive and productive way to jump the hurdles that come with it. That said, it could be that it just isn't the job for you especially if you identify with the following (and other such factors):

1. Monday is more than the sort of struggle we meme about! You feel quite low, irritated, moody, have a headache and these feelings stay with you throughout the working week.

2. You care about the company/your job much less than you did when you first started and, not only are you no longer working to the best of your ability, you find yourself frequently checking the time to see how long you have left before your shift ends.

3. Although you get along with your colleagues, you've lost interest in them socially and actually find yourself easily annoyed by them from time to time for the smallest of things which is causing tension, conflict and an uncomfortable working environment.
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4. You're cutting corners instead of being thorough, you lack attention to detail and always avoid going the extra mile.

5. You've started smoking more, or have taken up smoking so as to have frequent breaks.

6. Eating has either become a comforter, or there's a loss of appetite. Sometimes we eat larger quantities/portions when we don't have much to do, are bored, or just cannot be bothered to get on with our work. If you have found yourself suddenly eating junk food, or more processed foods than usual, your stress levels may be higher than you feel. A change in your appetite might be a sign of something a tad more serious! Could be worth consulting your GP.
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7. Outside interests have taken a back seat due to minimal enthusiasm, or you find yourself wanting to participate in activities that are a bit outlandish to compensate for the boredom and frustration you feel when at work.

8. Despite the fact that unemployment is not the way forward, you have considered quitting your job without first securing other prospects.

A job is one aspect of your life, so it should not consume your entire being. If you feel strongly that, even though you may enjoy the work, your job isn't for you, start making plans to go after what it is you'd rather be doing (career wise) and begin taking the relevant steps so you can move on! While it can be a scary time (especially as we approach Halloween - cue ghost sound effects.... Okay, lame joke), it will most likely be one of the best times of your life, as you will undoubtedly learn a lot about yourself and will have opportunities to try new things, or maybe gain additional qualifications. So, get planning! Go and pursue the better that you deserve!! You were born to live not merely exist, especially not to serve someone else providing a service you don't even enjoy.

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - 5 TIPS: HOW TO LIVE BROKE

Sunday, 8 October 2017

5 TIPS: HOW TO LIVE BROKE!!

Sometimes, despite every effort to keep our heads above financial water, we can run into difficulties and go through stages where we have a lot less than we need to keep the roof over our head and ensure we're eating every day. Sadly, for too many, this can become an ongoing problem. If it's about low wages and your employer will not, or is not able to, give you a pay rise, keep looking for a job that pays better (without costing you more). If it's about expenses, revise your outgoings and cut, or cull anything you can minimise, or do without. 

Whenever you can foresee a month where you will have less money, it's a good idea to try to make sure you will still have everything you need (NOT want) because, the situation will be made a whole lot worse if you're unable to cover your costs and fuel your body, real talk!

1. Bills first, always! - This must be your number one priority!! Take a look at your expenditure and make sure, no matter what, you have your overheads covered. Having a clear yet detailed spreadsheet can help to keep you on top of things.
CJai_Exp_CopyrightCharleyJai
2. Reduce monthly travel costs by cancelling any non urgent plans - you can see your friends next month, go on that weekend trip with your partner another time and that treat you wanted to give yourself can wait until whenever!

3. Groceries - purchase the cheapest of the best/healthiest range from quality supermarkets/stores. Asda's own range is decent and Lidl is really good too! 
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Asda1_CopyrightCharleyJai
Asda_CopyrightCharleyJai
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4. Toiletries - bulk buy cheaper alternatives of any products you're running low on. Especially deodorant, body lotion, etc. Not feeling good due to a lack of funds is one thing, but, you want to make sure your hygiene and appearance is on top form!

5. Increase your income - if you can, do (some) overtime and/or put your other skills to use by offering Freelance services to independent organisations (you may need to register as self employed to do this). Grab a pen and paper right now and list all of the things you're good at for which you have proven experience, put together proposals of your services, then seek out those who are looking for someone with your skills/expertise and contact them. You've nothing to lose!
Copyright_CharleyJai
BONUS TIP
Take a look at the following apps (active at the time of publishing this post, however, they may not be available on all phones, or in every country) to help boost your bank balance by saving you a lot of money on your shopping! 

  • Receipt Hog - scan shopping receipts to earn rewards.
  • ClickSnap - cashback, discounts and more at selected retailers.
  • CheckoutSmart - tells you where you can find local bargains and exclusive offers.

You are not your circumstances and everything is temporary, so, remain hopeful, stay busy, pray, confide in your trusted loved ones (who may be able to assist you during your tough times) and where necessary seek professional advice and support. You are strong and you're a fighter. There is no setback that you cannot overcome. x


Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

HOW TO GET AHEAD THIS CHRISTMAS! 🎅

If you've been reading my blog posts for the last few years you will be very aware of the fact that I was so against the festive season. However, I'm now all about it from becoming an auntie for the second time! I love my niece and nephew to absolute pieces and it's lovely to see their faces light up during the celebrations...

I've always enjoyed buying gifts for others, especially when it comes to birthdays so, I tend to plan and prepare well in advance which allows for a decent amount of time to create, or buy presents I can put a lot of thought into. I actually start thinking about Christmas gifts as early as July!
Here are some tips on how you can get ahead without going broke this Christmas.

TIP 1
Charity Shops / Discount Stores - towards the end of September/beginning of October, many of them stock decorations (much cheaper than high street shops), as well as novelty and sample products, like those pictured below, (that haven't been used) which are good for stocking fillers, or they can be added to a box of assorted gifts.
These were 49p each from an East London charity shop!
TIP 2
Unwanted items - as long as they haven't been opened/used, you can give them as a beautifully wrapped present. Just make sure you're not giving the gift back to the person who bought it for you! LOL!!

TIP 3
Get creative - If you know a loved one is really into wall art, or home decor, for example, you can make a gift using bits and bobs you have at home, or inexpensive quality materials from your local craft shop. If you're not very good at D.I.Y, have a look on YouTube for 'How To' video's.
Home made wall quotes, total cost £3.99
TIP 4
Treatwell - this app/website is super useful for amazing bargains! Whether it's a back massage you're after, a personal trainer, a weekend away, or you want to book an experience for someone, there are many affordable treats and there really is something for everyone, literally! Do the relevant checks before making any purchases.

TIP 5 
Recycle - instead of buying new outfits, especially if you'll only be indoors with your family, why not customise an old festive jumper and hat, or team the jumper you wore last year with a different pair of trousers, skirt, dungarees, dress, or jeans with an alternative make-up look and hairstyle?
Yes, that is my 2017 Christmas jumper of choice!
BONUS TIP
Going forward, if you can, buy a few bits throughout the year, every month, so as not to spend all of your November/December wages (in one go) leaving you behind on bills and broke come the New Year!

It isn't necessary to spend thousands, or even hundreds, for the few hours in the one day on which we all celebrate Christmas. The most important aspect is being with your loved ones, chilling, having fun and munching some yummy food! See how much you can save this year in comparison to 2016. I challenge you to be, at least, £100/$130 better off!!

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - UNINSPIRED & LOST

Sunday, 24 September 2017

UNINSPIRED and LOST

There are times when I feel empty. It isn't just about a sudden creative block, or not being able to decide what I should blog about, or cover on the radio, etc. I have moments that can turn into weeks, or months of complete absence of self. Do you get what I mean by that? I literally go through a stage / phase of just not knowing what I'm doing, why, of my actual purpose and where I should be at this point in my life. Sounds a tad dramatic, I know, but, this is (my occasional) reality...
Despite knowing better, I've often believed I'm the only one who will go through this. Feeling uninspired and lost. However, I recently had a friend reach out, about one of my blog posts actually, who shared with me their own self tug of war and it reminded me that we are never the only person to face difficulties, nor are we ever alone with anything we go through. There is always somebody else who has been, or is, on a similar path. Not only is there comfort in that, there's reassurance.

Okay, so, what do I do when I feel this way? Well, aside from pray, meditate and listen to upbeat music, I just stop. Seriously. I stop thinking, I stop searching, I stop being frustrated with myself and I start reading and taking walks. No joke... I have many books at home, all of which are motivational and I know of scenic places in and around London / Essex that have a calming effect on me. I also talk to my closest friends and they're very good at, not telling me anything I might want to hear, but, giving me the (honest) push I need. I also create visual reminders of how far I've come, keep positive quotes on the walls at home, I have a vision board and I also write whatever comes to mind without thinking about the words on the page too much (which is how this particular post came about). These things help massively!
I think when you feel uninspired and lost, it can be a great place to be in. Sometimes that's when you create your best work, a new idea, or get the answers you've been looking for to take you to the next stage of your life / career, as long as you remain open to receiving such things by not being hard on yourself over this hurdle. Nothing lasts forever including our emotions... 

So, try not to feel down when it seems like everyone else has their ish together and you don't. Remember, no two people are the same and none of us are walking the exact same road (that and the fact that a lot of what you see online has been edited to portray a lifestyle, or present an image, that does not represent truth). Also, anything worth having is likely to be challenging which is a good thing because, you will appreciate it even more when it finally happens and it will happen if you keep trying

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - I'm Having Surgery!

Sunday, 17 September 2017

I'M HAVING SURGERY!!

A disclaimer: This post contains raw, unedited self captured images of my abdomen.

Improving ones health and fitness are intimidating, real talk. When I made the decision to change my lifestyle I was prepared to be challenged both mentally and physically. The truth is, if not for the pesky fibroids (which live in the lower section of my abdomen, causing it to protrude) I doubt I would have been able to maintain the changes I've made. 
Eating better (vegetarian/vegan), exercising (up to 1 hour each morning), meditation (up to 20 minutes a few days each week) and even working on my relationship with God (daily) has all contributed to the progress I have made and instead of a hysterectomy, I will undergo a myomectomy.
On Friday 15th September 2017 I had an appointment with a new Consultant at my chosen London hospital and she gave me the news I had been wanting to hear since I was first diagnosed!! "You don't need to have your womb removed, we can just remove the fibroids".

I'll be sure to keep a diary and take as many pictures as possible so I can share the journey post op / recovery, god willing, to inform, educate and encourage those with any poor health conditions to seek advice and the necessary / relevant help to remedy the problem.
I am already feeling anxious about things, however, I am so ready to have these gremlins removed from my stomach and to then, hopefully, regain my former shape and continue living my healthier lifestyle! Pray for me, or if you don't pray, visualise the operation being a success, please. I'll need all the positivity and words of encouragement that I can get!!

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - You Could Save A Life!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

YOU COULD SAVE A LIFE!

With each birthday comes deep reflection and this year the focus has been loved ones...

When a friend reaches out to you, send back a positive response.

Your friend might ask if they can talk to you in person. If you can't meet with them, give them a call. A Skype call, FaceTime, WhatsApp video call, even, but, make sure you speak with them. Maybe that said friend just wants to hear your voice and so, actually, a chat on the phone will suffice. NEVER be 'too busy' to set aside all of 5 minutes for someone you call "a friend". If you really cannot spend time with them, or on a phone call, send a recorded voice message. There's always a way in which you can be there for someone. To ignore their message, or fob them off should not be an option!

Do whatever you can do, within reason, to reassure your FRIEND that you want to be there for them and will make every effort to do so.

Several years ago a beautiful, sweet, genuine friend of mine (who was like a sister to me) committed suicide. She was 16. On the day that she took her life I had promised to call her. I was unable to honour my promise because, at the time I was living at the family home and was not allowed to use the house phone. I could've easily gone out to top up my (then pay as you go) phone but, I chose not to.

I know now that her death is not my fault, nor the fault of anyone else. I know that her woes had been with her long before she and I met but,her suicide; her choice to take her own life, affected me in ways I cannot put into words because, for the absolute longest time, I did in fact blame myself. I firmly believed that my call would've saved her.... To this day, although I no longer feel guilty, I still feel so awful about the circumstances. Why wasn't the call important enough; why wasn't she important enough for me to go out and top up my mobile?

She and I spoke in detail about her troubles. Until that horrid day, I was the readily available shoulders to cry on, gave all the cuddles she wanted and the distractions through music and banter that she craved. I'll never forget the call I received from her mother to inform me that my dear, darling, friend, whom I had grown so fond of, had hung herself in her bedroom on the day I was due to call.

Sherelle Black was one of the shiniest humans I'd ever met and those who knew her will know exactly what I mean by that. A generous heart and such a lovely disposition, she made my time on the Theatre summer project where we met the absolute best and I miss her. I will always miss her.
You don't know what anyone is truly dealing with (deep down); how desperate they may feel about certain aspects of their life but, hearing from, or seeing you could potentially have a positive impact on them. It might just stop them from making a decision that will haunt you forever! I AM NOT SAYING SHOULD IT BE THE OPPOSITE THAT YOU WILL BE TO BLAME, absolutely not!! I am saying, wherever possible, MAKE AN EFFORT WITH THE ONES YOU CLAIM TO LOVE AND CARE ABOUT. 

There have been times when I've asked / invited certain 'friends' to meet with me and haven't received a reply, or I've been asked, "why, what for?". I don't give them an answer. In fact, I don't contact them again. A true friend, in my opinion, will simply reply with, "sure, when were you thinking?" Or, "I can't meet with you at the moment but, I can give you a call sometime soon. Let me know when is good for you?". No matter what you might be going through yourself, please try not to reject someone who reaches out to you.

We all need someone. Nobody wants to be out here with life's hardships alone. Also, the one in need will not necessarily reach out directly stating their reason for doing so. They may share their work with you, or something funny just to grab your attention and engage you in a conversation in which they can ease their way into opening up about their troubles. Sometimes, there's nothing gravely wrong until your rejection...

So, again, when a friend reaches out to you, send back a positive response. Look out for your friends the very same way you expect, or would like them to look out for you. If you don't consider them a friend of yours, tell them. Quit stringing them along! 

BE THERE FOR ONE ANOTHER. IT'S SO IMPORTANT.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

A GREAT WAY TO SPEND ANY BIRTHDAY!

I decided to spend part of my birthday celebration in a town I visited during my youth which I could just about remember.... I enjoy travelling anywhere (outside of London) and am always excited to discover new things, or reignite good memories. Plus, I personally believe there's something wrong with knowing more about places abroad than (the stunning places in) your own country so, I had to revisit Bournemouth on the south coast and it did not disappoint! Well, apart from the sudden torrential downpour that is (thankfully the day before my birthday), LOL!!
Bournemouth was such a relaxing, fun time. The first day was spent sightseeing and exploring, walks along the beachfront, the air festival, plus a chance to get up close with a barn owl! The second / last day (my actual birthday, 1st September) was spent at the Marriott Spa and it was too good!! The staff were amazing, the massage had was heavenly and the facilities we enjoyed were lovely!

Back in London, I chose to dine and have drinks at Sketch with a few of my loved ones and it was wonderful!! The decor is fantastic, the vibe is awesome and the hospitality is on a level nobody will ever be ready for, real talk! If you haven't already, make sure you check out this stylish, classy establishment.
As a Londoner, In the past, I have underestimated just how many hidden gems and gorgeous places there are with lots on offer in the way of entertainment, etc. So happy that I looked closer to home, on this occasion, when arranging my birthday plans.

Special thanks to my girl Caroline, who accompanied me to Bournemouth and a mahoosive THANK YOU to each person who sent me a birthday message, bought me a gift, card etc. It means so much to me that you made such an effort!! God bless.

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - When The Love is Real

Sunday, 27 August 2017

WHEN THE LOVE IS REAL...

To the tweeters, instagrammers and anyone else who often share their tales of not feeling loved, of being let down by so-called loved ones and who struggle with love in general, please know that love starts at home; with you. The goal should be to fall in-love with all that you are instead of the need for any sort of validation through someone else's love for you. A lesson I have not always found easy to apply.

You are so much worthier than you realise. Worthy of being appreciated, valued, respected, wanted, needed, desired and loved however, first and foremost, you've got to work towards feeling that way about yourself!

Love really is for everyone because, it can be found anywhere and has so many levels. From the feelings shared between friends, to family, colleagues, or your partner, love is there for the taking and should be celebrated as often as possible, but, the celebration starts with you. Do you truly love yourself? How do you demonstrate that? Think about it.

Rarely do I share such candyfloss on this blog, but, my aunt and uncle held a very stylish and enjoyable party for their 20th wedding anniversary and it reminded me just how important it is that we love ourselves before we go looking for others to love us! Everybody was on top form. We laughed, ate great food, danced, hugged, had good conversations and a lot of love was felt. It was one of those family parties when you're reintroduced to cousin's, auntie's and other relatives that you've (sadly) not seen in the longest time and somehow it's as if you all saw one another the previous week. There was a lot of love in the house!

I love myself - a statement I once never thought I'd be able to say out loud. I love who I was because, she is the reason I love everything about (the better) me today. I have a lot of self respect; I value myself and have no problem ensuring my happiness is at the top of my list every day. If we are not right with ourselves, how can we possibly be right for anyone else? I am so proud of all that I have overcome and achieved, I'm grateful for my life; I appreciate all that I have and I love the way I am always so full of gratitude. I'm not perfect (show me someone who is) however, I am a good woman with a kind, nurturing, loving heart for which I thank God. The Lord has been forever good. I didn't recognise this in my youth. 
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I serve my heart before I seek to serve another and that's what I believe self love and being loved is all about.

You are loved. Whether you believe that or not, you are, it's a fact! Somebody somewhere loves you so, so much and they wish words never failed them so that they could express the depth of their love for you. If you've not yet reached the stage where you are completely in-love with who you are, which will enable you to see the true, unconditional love others have for you, you've just got to somehow keep it in your mind! You. Are. Loved.

When the love is real there will be no questions asked. Each of your senses will feel it!

Thanks for reading.
PREVIOUS POST - Being A Black Woman

Sunday, 20 August 2017

BEING A BLACK WOMAN

If easily offended, or the type who thinks you know everything, or you believe all black people experience life in the very same way, you should log off from this post right now! This is not the place for arrogance, or ignorance, real talk... Although, if you're 'awake', as the saying goes, you'll fully get this!

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
Growing up in London was cool for what it was (we were free spirited, our front doors remained open as we played outside, there were no police on the street and we rarely saw people littering and spitting in public) during the 80's and 90's but, I say that having grown up in the East End. I've no experience of what it may have been like to grow up anywhere else.

I was 'introduced' to racism at a very young age. The mini play area behind where I lived (during the mid 80's in Canning Town) was the spot! Most of the children in the area would bring their bikes, 2-wheel roller skates, barbie dolls, Polly Pocket toys and we would generally have a lot of fun until our parents called us in for dinner. One day whilst playing with a pair of white non identical twin sisters, the eldest of the pair asked me if my skin is "black because of the sun" and if I would look like her "when the sun goes away". I remember a physical feeling that didn't feel nice and looking back, I recognise that what she said made me feel uncomfortable and really sad. "No, I'm just brown", I said. We were about 6, or 7 years of age. I rarely went to the playground after that, opting instead to play on the balcony of my then home. I never told anyone, not sure why. This is actually the first time I've shared this...

IGNORANT YOUTH
You see, the thing with children of the 80's (in the area where I grew up) is that we were innocent. Perhaps too innocent. Nothing was easily accessible, crime wasn't close to home (or if it was we never knew about it). We played with the neighbours' children inside their home with our parents thinking nothing of it, school was formal and teachers used books and the chalk board to educate us. We sat together with our families during mealtimes, we were occupied with arts and crafts and encouraged to read for the purpose of knowledge as well as fun. So, it's possible that very innocence is what drove the elder twin to share her curiosity with me about something she saw that was different to herself, which she had yet to learn about; a case of innocent ignorance?

NO LIMITS
Today? There is so much information that is readily available and within reach for anyone, anywhere, at any time to access and divulge! Sometimes, that can be a great thing. Other times, not so much.

Racism has become a regular thing; a casual event. I've now experienced it countless times (both privately and publicly) and those within earshot haven't batted an eyelid (due to fear, maybe, or perhaps blatant ignorance). However, the absolute worst is when it comes directly from those who are supposedly 'my own'...
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BLACK ON BLACK
I'm done with pretending racism on the whole doesn't exist on the scale that it does and that it doesn't happen within same race groups. The amount of times a black man has referenced my "light skin" as being "not really black", or "not black enough". Usually born from having their advances rejected, (SOME) black men would ask if I'm "too busy ******* a white man to notice" them; am I "a honky lover"? I, mean, really? What flipping century are we living in? Why do these things still happen? Why?!?

(SOME) black women can be equally horrendous with their same race racism too. "She thinks she's too nice because, she's light skinned". "Your eyes are too light. You ain't no black girl". "Listen to the way she speaks, though. She ain't really black. Don't know what she is" - those are a few of the more tame comments I can share. 

"I DON'T WANT TO BE BLACK ANYMORE"
I did not want to be black; a black female, black anything. I didn't (and don't) want to feel pressure from 'my people' to conform to a label they themselves didn't seem to understand nor be committed to. I don't want to 'get behind' anything based on the colour of my skin if it actually goes against my morals and beliefs. I refuse to get involved with something that doesn't feel entirely legit simply because, you and I share the same skin tone!

Black History Month is a brilliant example of how disillusioned (SOME) black people are. Yes, let's all elevate one another by selling to each other at the highest possible prices (then shade, side eye, or talk bad about anyone who doesn't buy anything) instead of just coming together for a hearty celebration of the achievements of black people from centuries ago until this very day. Choopse! No other race has made me feel embarrassed to walk in the colour of my skin, or inadequate; unqualified for 'the role' as though I have no right to be what I identify as based on a combination of both my heritage and upbringing. None as much as my fellow blacks - men and women!!

DEFEND and PROTECT
Authenticity, positivity, hope and prayer. Real talk! Rather than stoop to the level of an individual who has no idea why they have taken the position 'against you' that they have, I choose to accept whatever their views and opinions may be for exactly what they - a reflection of all that is wrong with them and everything that is right with me.

Now, as a grown, super independent, courageous, good, kind, loving woman, I couldn't love my complexion any more! I, mean, what's not to love about being tanned all year round? LOL!!!! That said, before my skin colour, I am a woman and before being female, I am a human-being. I just happen to be brown skinned and the colour of my skin tells you nothing about the person I am. My shade is simply an identifier. It doesn't have any labels attached.

We're all broken, damaged, searching, needing, struggling, wanting, striving, hurting and then some. We each remain students of life as we know it and the best way, I think, to get the most out of the free education that life offers us is to remove the blinkers and walk with both an open mind and an open heart. Free yourself from the chains of ignorance. Life is way too short to walk around blind if you have the ability to see. Do not take your sight for granted. 

I do, honestly, wish, we could / would all get along. The world would be such an awesome place to live and life itself would be golden which is what we all want. Isn't it?

God bless.
Thanks for reading.
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