Lifestyle

Womanhood at 20-something

 

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I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a mentor, a mentee, employee, co-founder of a social enterprise and I also blog from time to time amongst other things. I am Rae Dosoo, a 20-something woman. But what am I outside these titles? Who am I without the things that these titles bring? If all these titles were to disappear, would I still be me without it?  Can you say who you are without referring to your titles?

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How do you find your womanhood as a 20-something juggling different ventures and hustles, discovering new paths, understanding others as well as yourself and still excepted to evolve into your roles as a woman? I know so many questions and so little answers. But that is alright, it is absolutely fine. It is okay to not know it all and have it all. I am the type of person wants to do everything and learn everything. However as much as I try to, it is not possible to do so. There is only so much you can do in 24 hours for yourself and then it gets harder once you add the titles you have. Someone I really really really admire told me that doing it all, you will crash and burn. She also told me trying to live up to the expectations of the titles you have or titles you want, you will never ever be you.  A good sister-friend of mine posted a touching instagram picture and one thing touched me that she said “…what really defines us through it all is our attitude and character”. Let who you are drive you and not the titles bestowed upon you. You are a FRIEND because you are loving, You are a BUSINESS OWNER because you are entrepreneurial, You are a MENTOR because you are caring, You are a MENTEE because you love to learn and You are an EMPLOYEE because you are hard-working. Your job can be taken away and who are you after that? Are you still the go-getter, hard working and resilient person that you once were when you had the job?  You could lose all your friends but are you going to lose all the love you have? When trying to seek who you are behind all the pomp and glitz, ask who am I truly?

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Let’s talk about expectations. There will always be an expectation with everything you do and every role you carry out. As you are x, you must do x and because you are from x you will go to x. Not every expectation that the titles bring for example being a daughter, friend, partner or a girlfriend will you fulfil every expectation that the other person in the relationship will have for you. You are bound to disappoint someone’s expectations and your very own. The person I really really really admire told me as well to take out some out for yourself, so you realise that not only can you always carry out every expectation but some roles that you carry will have to come first at times. So for example your friends and family may not see you for a while because you are busy at work or working to progress further in your career or your studies-whatever the case may be. This does not mean you are less of a daughter, less of a friend, less of a sister, less of a partner or less of a girlfriend. It just means you are prioritising. Those around will understand if you cannot be there every time for whatever reason, but you can be there in other ways. And please express this! Let your people know that you may be ‘ghosting’ or you have to take time out.  This means you are managing the expectations they have of you and your very own.

You have the power to design and choose how you wish your womanhood to be. Define your own womanhood at 20-something. You cannot let the pressures of the titles that you have given yourself or others have placed on you to forget who you really are.

I wouldn’t be me without adding a recent OOTD. Enjoy!

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Outfit Details:

Top-Marks & Spencer

Trousers- Can’t remember where they are from. Sorry

Shoes- Russell & Bromley

Jewellery- Topshop

Bag- Marks and Spencer

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Stay Blessed

x

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Ladies get into formation- The power of friendship #raeturns24

 

In between getting my girls into formation (by know you know that I am a fan of the Knowles family) and eating my Singapore noodles with sweet and sour pork at Grand Imperial London, it was reaffirmed that my friends are the ish.

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I like to observe  people (I like to think it as one of my gifts lol), so I often sit back in silence and study people’s behaviour. If you catch me being quiet (when I am around my friends which is never ever), I am taking notes in my head. What I noticed on this day was my friends at the table were getting along with each other so well as if they had known each other for years. Some of them it was their first time meeting each other and some first time seeing each other in a year (from my birthday lunch last year). It just goes to show what an amazing bunch of girls I have, they come from different walks in life and different stages in my life.

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(23 Birthday Pics taken with iPhone and Samsung)

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I am very appreciative of my girlfriends, some pictured and some not. They have helped me through the good and the bad. My highlight of my birthday was seeing this and realising this, for this I am thankful.

I was stressed out during the time of planning my birthday activities, yes waterworks came and went. Plans sprung up and then they failed I was all ready to give up, “It is only 24, I cannot be bothered” but then my friends forced me to do something. It makes me think when it comes to wedding planning what will I do, if small small 24 birthday planning I am doing Amazon river tears . I guess that’s when the wedding planner steps in eyy.

Why I think friends are important?

1. Support– Your friends will be your biggest cheerleaders, support your ideas and dreams. Encourage and motivate you to be the best you can be.

2. Laughter is good for the soul- Who else are you going to be catching jokes with uncontrollably, often at the most silliest of things?

3. Growth– Your friends will help you point out your faults, offer constructive criticism, keep it real with you when no one else will, tell you what you are doing right.

Have a read here where I talk about more about the power of friendship

Enjoy the rest of the birthday mixtape:

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P.S Thank you to my girls who went through the impromptu birthday photoshoot with me. I have always wanted a formation picture and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Looking forward to year of 25 and #Raeand…19 #Meetthe….19 where we will capture even more friendship memories 🙂

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Stay Blessed

x

24 – 7 things I learnt at 23

So it is my birthday. Yes, I am 24 (woop woop!) and I have decided to share seven things I have learnt this past year as well sharing an outfit post.

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1) Stepping outside the comfort zone

The year of 23 forced me to be uncomfortable, in other words I had to step outside of my comfort zone. I usually stick to what I know for example the same old meal at Nandos-half chicken and two sides of peri peri chips with perinaise and if I am feeling cheeky a wrap instead of half chicken. As I am sure with you all, you have your routine and patterns that you stick to and find it hard to go against what you are familiar with. We find it hard because it is natural to want to have a sense of security and certainty in life. Coming out of your comfort zone opens you up to risks and the possibility of stress, so we just crawl back to the box that we feel comfortable in to avoid the fear of the unknown.  I decided in the year of 23 things have to change…Rae try something new. For some things it meant going in a whole new direction, for some changing my strategy and doing things I would not usually do. For example all of my friends know how I have a slight technology struggle (a good family friend was shocked to see me with a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and joked that I need the good old Nokia brick phone ), so I decided to learn ways of using new technologies. Who knows I may even join snapchat in the year of 24? This is very unlikely but who knows. I even recently decided to get some colour in my hair. This is the first time ever that I have gone out of my hair comfort zone-colour 1b-and I love it. I do stray to colour 33, for the braids but only braids.  I even want to try a short dark blonde pixie cut!

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Why go out of your comfort zone?

  • Pushes you to achieve your goals-being uncomfortable forces you to step out and be brave
  • Growth– the challenges and the risks that comes with getting out of your comfort zone will stretch you and push you forward

2) I am the bomb.com

May your highlight shine bright, contour be strong and believe in your slay sis.

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Sometimes life’s difficulties makes it hard for you to believe in your accomplishments and what you have achieved. I will not lie, I am extremely tough on myself and find it hard at times to appreciate my journey. However, someone once told me that ‘there are people who love to be in your position’. I screamed ‘Me, ME, MEEEEEE’… ‘Why would anyone want to be in my position?’ Then people will remind you of what you have done, ‘You have done x, y and z’. I have learnt in the year of 23 not to wait to hear someone tell me that I am the bomb.com. Yes, I still moan and probably will for a while. It is still a learning process for me. Just last week I was having a conversation with my best friend and she told me off for it. So I took out time to write out a list of things that I am most proud of and what I love about me. One thing that struck me is that the journey I am on has made me the individual I am and the person I will continue to be and for this I appreciate it all. You cannot be the bomb.com without overcoming hurdles and challenges. Do not hate the grind, own it and appreciate it. So with this in mind, like Beyonce said ‘I see it, I want it…I dream it, I work hard, I grind till I own it…I slay, hey, I slay’.

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3) Fellowship

I am part of a fellowship where we meet once a month and discuss the word of God. What I love about our fellowship is that it easy to be open and transparent. A member of our fellowship group sent me a voicenote prayer and I was so moved by it. Fellowship is more than just a catch up over doughnuts and talking on occasion about Jesus. What I have learnt in the year of 23, is that the purpose of fellowship are one to share things together and second be there for one another spiritually and physically.

Follow Ladies who Fellowship in the City on Twitter: @LWFITC , on Instagram: @ladieswhofellowship , on Facebook: ladieswhofellowship  and website ladieswhofellowship.com/

4) Life is too short

As cliché as it sounds, it is true-life is too short. Enjoy life, buy those shoes that you have been eyeing for a while.

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5) Take time out

This is one thing that I really wanted to implement in the year of 23, to take time out for myself. Whether its reading a new book, or trying out a new restaurant it is really important to take time away from your routine.

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6) Resilience

The definitions of resilience:

1) ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness’

2) ‘the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity’

Not today, Satan, not today!

One of the lessons I learnt in the year from 23, is to never let a setback to hold you for too long.

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7) God is everything

I knew this before, but he has proven it even more in the year of 23.

What I was wearing:

You all know by now, I love all things M&S-some things are really cute and not everything there is ‘granny’. You can transform a dress, or a shirt for example by the way you style it (this is a blog post for another day).

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Here are the details:

Dress: Marks and Spencer

Leather Jacket-Marks and Spencer

Corset Belt: Vintage (Have a read of a post where I was talking about corsets)

Shoes- Marks and Spencer

Earrings: Topshop

Bag: Marks and Spencer

Hair: Pride and Prestige Hair

Stay Blessed

x

Tug of hair

Weaves, wigs, microbraids, box braids, cornrows, natural, permed I have had it all…yet to try crochet and twists but one thing remains DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR!

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So this week, I had a ‘DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR’ moment and I must say it is the worse one yet.

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“I like your hair”, I reply with a thank you. The person then tugs my hair without my permission. when did a thank you give permission to tug hair? I thought a thank you was something your parents taught from an early age to say when someone complimented you or gave you a gift. My thank you is not a word of consent to touch my hair. I thought the tugging of hair would be a one off and the person will back off after, so I decided to not a make a biggie about it. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG-Rae you were so wrong!

‘The person’ as I have decided to call him/her, then proceeds to ask me whether my hair is real (how I was keeping my anger by now I do not know, Jesus saves, he really does), I say no. You think the tugging is over, the person TUGS AGAIN and says “It is so cool” in reference to my hair not being real. In retrospect, I should have told the person the hair on my head is real, (human hair) but then that will probably confuse the person further. Then again, the person when asking whether the hair was ‘real’ was probably asking whether it is my own hair *shrugs shoulders*.

Is Tug of hair a game?

Please, please, please do let me know whether there is game called ‘Tug of hair’ as the person TUGGED my hair again and said ‘This is so fun Rachel’. Is your hair alright? I did not know tugging hair was a source of entertainment or enjoyment. By this time, I was fuming, mad and all forms of angry. The person I believe actually did think tug of hair was a game, as he/she tried again. I moved, like this was a game of dodge the tugging of hair. I was so fed up, so I asked ‘Let me tug your hair too’, to my surprise the person said yeah go ahead. I knew this was not going to end, that the person had time on their hands to play ‘Tug of hair’, me on the other hand I did not. So I said, bye and thank goodness the person knew she/he was dismissed.

The arrogance of some to think it is okay to touch others’ hair, baffles me. I am not an animal for you to pet my hair. I am not an art piece for you to stand over me and peer into my hair (I do not know what you are looking for anyway, my weave tracks never show). Say your compliments and move along. I understand that weave may fascinate you, but all types of women wear weave, whether its called ‘hair extensions’ or ‘weave-on’ its extra hair attached to your own hair . So why the games, person?

Let’s talk

It is so strange to me because I would never dream of tugging, touching, petting another person’s hair unless the person has asked me too (which usually would be a girlfriend of mine) I know sometimes its ignorance and lack of awareness of others cultures, that people do silly things but at least let us talk. I am very open to discuss my hair, what I do, how I wear some styles for beauty purposes and others for my hair to grow. Girl, we can discuss where you can get cheaper argan oil, instead of the £40 you spend. Let’s share hair secrets and save coins at the same time. Or even, do your research? Google, like everybody else when they do not know the answer to something.

Hair, whether its ‘real’ or not is part of the body. Hair comes from the roots of the head, the head is part of the body. Everyone should respect that each individual has control of their body. So what does this mean? You should not be touching anyone’s bodies including hair without permission or consent. Please don’t touch my hair, or tug my hair for that matter!

Thank you for allowing me to vent!

Current Fave- Si

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I have decided every now and then, I will update you all with my current faves. You can see my first one here.

I have received so many compliments when I have worn Si. The perfume is intense yet has a soft and feminine feel to it. It is not overbearing or overpowering and I love the combination of the cyphre, light musky wood and cassis nectar scents. It has a rich smell and I count it as one of my favourite perfumes.

I got the 30ml as I wanted to try it out before committing to the 50ml or 100ml. When the bottle finishes, I am definitely getting the 100ml.

Stay Blessed

x

Current Fave

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Elie Saab’s ‘L’Eau Couture’ is my current fave. It was one of my 21st birthday gifts, way back in 2014 and I have not used it until now (yeah I know its a long time). I like to use one perfume at a time. I absolutely love the smell, it is a fresh clean fragrance-reminds me of spring time. It is a light perfume not heavy at all. It is quite hard to find a perfume that is perfect for the daytime-that you can wear to work and everyday outings. Well, let me tell you ‘L’eau Couture is it’! It lasts for the whole day and is refreshing. The hue of the perfume is actually a green-blue colour but with lighting and pressing something I should not have on my camera, the picture came out looking like this and I like it.

My perfume preferences are usually light and fresh scents, I have a strong dislike for strong and overbearing fragrances-think Christian Dior ‘Poison’. I also like vanilla and floral scents…I stay far away from strong fruity fragrances. Why do I want to smell like an apple or an orange?

What are your fave perfumes, scents and fragrances? Let me know

Stay Blessed

x

You are beautiful

This post was inspired by my a dear sister of mine. I saw her tweets and it moved me to share my own views of the perception of beauty today. It got me thinking and I decided to write a post on it. This is probably my first truly personal post on the blog (I’ll be sharing some of my experiences). I hope it will bless you all and give you an insight into what beauty means. Grab a cup of tea and some hob nobs, and hope you enjoy the post.

What does beauty mean to you? What comes to your mind when you think of a beautiful person? A face without no flaws or does it mean perfection. Does it mean having the curves in the right places, or does it mean being slim?

Here are some definitions to get you thinking  on what beauty has been defined by:

Definitions of beauty :

  • the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, colour, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
  • a beautiful person, especially a woman.
  • a beautiful thing, as a work of art or a building.
  • Often, beauties. something that is beautiful in nature or in some natural or artificial environment.
  • an individually pleasing or beautiful quality; grace; charm:

Definitions of beautiful:

  • having beauty; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind
  • excellent of its kind
  • wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying
  • the concept of beauty (usually preceded by the).
  • (used with a plural verb) beautiful things or people collectively (usually preceded by the)
  • the ideal of beauty (usually preceded by the)
  • wonderful; fantastic

Why I wrote this?

I wrote this blog post based on what I believe being beautiful is. My definition of beauty comes from what God says it is and just having confidence in yourself. You may ask why I am doing this, it is really personal to me. I grew up not feeling pretty enough until I became comfortable in my own skin. I would also like to encourage younger girls growing up that they are beautiful and are wonderfully and fearfully made.

When I began writing this in my journal, I planned to write only from my personal experiences and what beauty meant to me. However, I decided to share this experience with others and ask people what beauty means to them as well. The reasons could have been long, short, spiritual, religious or inspired by anything. It could have even been selfies to express what beauty means to them. Below, I have included what people thought of what beauty means.

What does beauty mean to you?

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“Beauty is you”.

“Beauty to me is God. I believe that is where Art comes from and life imitates Art”

“First of all beauty fades…outer beauty and appearance fades true beauty comes from within. Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, shall be praised. Personally I believe my outer appearance is not enough to define my beauty. But if I search my heart and find that I have accepted the way in which God has created me it is then I will begin to see the beauty in me. The only time we can define beauty is when our heart matches our outer appearance. I believe I am beautiful not because of my face, my eyes, or my body, but I’m beautiful because I’ve accepted it in my heart that God created me in his own image and likeness. He makes all things beautiful and I count myself as one of those things”.

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“Beauty is an opinion and anyone can appear “beautiful” to you if you give them a chance”.

“I think I am beautiful because of the fact I never give up, so the fact I can think of a million reasons as to why things won’t work but I am just courageous enough to follow through it. A lot of it has to do with inner and outer beauty. I think I am beautiful because of the fact that just like anyone I have been through so much but I consistently look on the bright side. I think I am beautiful because of how my mother raised me to be the woman that I am. I am beautiful because I have a lot of self respect. And I think I am beautiful because I am surrounded by so many beautiful people that gradually becomes a part of me”.

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“My reasons are simple God made me who I am and I believe that with or without makeup I am beautiful regardless. So why should I listen to other ‘human beings’ who may think I am not beautiful? Who are you to call me, God’s creation who made me….UGLY? What matters is that God created me not you and not any one else. Therefore, I have learnt to embrace the truth that I am beautiful each time I wake up, smile, pray, eat and sleep”.

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“I know I’m beautiful because I’m made in the image of God. My mummy says I’m beautiful too”.

“I think beauty is a feeling rather than a look. The way you feel is the way people perceive you, like if you’ve realised when someone is beautiful and rude, their beauty immediately becomes irrelevant. So I feel like the way you feel, act, and perceive yourself all constitutes to how beautiful you are”.

“I am beautiful because I love my baby face, my lips and cheeks. I love the fact that God made me in a way that delighted him but let us not forget that God measures beauty from within”.

“I’d class it as the inner you, the honest core of you shining through your skin and affecting the outer core because I do believe our souls affect our appearance”.

“I’m beautiful because God made this way and if he did then who am I (or anyone else for that matter) to argue? It takes practice to start believing that though and many years of dissatisfaction to even realise it”.

“Personality, smile, confidence is what makes some beautiful. Not always about the outer appearance. AND YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL RACHEL”.

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My definition of beauty

Often beauty is seen in one way-that you have to look a certain way to be beautiful. That you have to be thin to be beautiful, that you have to have light skin to be beautiful, that your hair has to be a certain type to be beautiful. There is a ideal of beauty that it is forced down our throats by society,  I find that if you do not meet its standards you are seen as ‘ugly’. I refuse to believe anyone is ugly. Everyone looks different, God created us intentionally that way. Beauty comes in different forms. It is not one standard. This is why I do not follow the world’s standard as is it ever changing. In some parts of the world beauty has different meanings. Obviously I do like to look at beauty trends (I am a woman after all) but what I am saying is I do not look to that as my standard. As my sister said there is, ‘Nothing wrong with having an appreciation for physical beauty, but just realise that is not everything’. My perception and definition of beauty is different to the world’s.

What the Bible says about beauty? Here are some verses to help you:

  • Proverbs 31:30-Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  • 1 Samuel 16:7-But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
  • Genesis 1:27-So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11-He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

What I love about God’s standard of beauty, that it is not ever changing. It remains the same throughout the ages. The bible says that the grass withers, flower fades but God’s word remains the same forever (Isaiah 40:8). This means many things will change, die, fade and go away but God’s word will stay the same throughout these changes. The same applies to beauty, the world’s standard of beauty changes all the time but God’s word remains true yesterday, today and forever. Your outer beauty may also fade, after all we will all grow old one day (I don’t know about you but I will still be fabulous when I’m eighty with all my wrinkles and grey hair). The point I’m trying to make is that outer beauty is not permanent, God’s word is. So your focus should be more on your inner beauty.

What does the Bible say about inner and outer beauty? Take a look at 1 Peter 3:3-4:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

This means that your beauty should not come from outside or what you wear but instead what is in your heart. God is concerned of the state of your heart, your inner beauty. Are you kind, selfless, generous, loving, humble, forgiving, patient, faithful and peaceful? These are some of the things that God considers to be beautiful in his sight. It is your heart which makes you beautiful. You can have what man says is the prettiest face but if your heart is full of hate and envy, what good is that? Why not seek to have a beautiful heart (inner beauty) as well as the beauty on the outside of you? Everything na double double *dances*, I call it double beauty blessings-having both inner and outer beauty. I know my beauty does not alone come from my Kurt Geiger heels nor my 24inch weave or even my make up but it comes from my heart. Have you ever noticed when someone who has a good heart, that light shines on their face and makes them beautiful? What is in your inside shows on the outside.

God tells you that you are wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalms 139:14). This is my definition of beauty. It further adds in the verse that ‘your works are wonderful, I know that full well’. Everything God has created is wonderful from the trees, to the seas, to animals and to you yourself. Knowing that you are wonderfully and fearfully made, comes from believing it yourself. You are beautiful when you believe you are wonderfully made and know that God created you in this way. To say that God created me beautiful is not being vain nor is it being over confident or narcissistic. It is recognising what God has said- we are FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE. There are days when I wake up and I’m not feeling great. But don’t we all have those days. We are all human. It’s okay. But I know and believe that I am still beautiful. You are beautiful. There are days when I’m struggling to fit into my jeans in the morning because the previous evening I had too much banku and tilapia. When someone calls me ugly or insults my appearance, I don’t have time for it because I know who I am. I know who God calls me. I know he created me. I know he calls me beautiful, my father God.

It wasn’t always like this.

Personal Experiences of beauty

I had struggles growing up, I disliked my physical appearance. I grew up in areas looking different to people. I didn’t appreciate my beautiful black skin, I wanted to be lighter and thinner (when I was young I used to be chubby lumpkins). People would make horrible comments about my lips and my bum, I just didn’t want to be me. They would laugh at me and make jokes and I would feel so ugly. They would ask me why my bum and lips are big, like it was my fault that I had those features. I would ask God why he gave me big lips, why couldn’t he make my lips small. Funny enough, the same people who made jokes about me back in primary school now idolise people like Kim Kardashian. Some are now wearing bum pads and distorting their pictures to make it look they have a large behind. It’s funny to me, because late last year Vogue said “Big Butts” are in because of Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea’s song. When women with “Big Butts” has always existed. Similarly, now big lips are in too, all because of Kylie Jenner drawing on her lips to make them appear bigger. When they always have been in. I don’t see how big lips can be a trend when so many people naturally have that feature. Have they all of sudden forgotten that there are many women who naturally have big lips?  Next thing you know, big noses which they call ‘unbeautiful’ will be ‘in’. If you always follow trends, you’ll always be unhappy. Love your freckles, love the gap in front of your teeth and love your dimples. Why change what makes ‘you’ you? Why would you want change yourself to look like another person? When there is only one of you on this earth.

There was this guy that I liked and he claimed that he liked me. He told me that he did not like women with big bottoms, he preferred women with a large chest (I have kindly paraphrased his words). He always use to make comments about my appearance, he said he was joking. Obviously I did not fit into his description of what was beautiful to him. I used to pretend not to get upset at his comments all because I liked him. Looking back now, I think why did I allow him to make me think so lowly of myself. How did I let another judge upon my beauty and tell me what beauty is? Do not allow another person to determine your beauty. Do not wait for a man to tell you are beautiful. Do not rely on the world to tell you are beautiful. Speak to your soul and tell yourself you are beautiful. A man when he loves you, will not insult your appearance, he will not make you feel bad about yourself. He will love all of you-your flaws and your strengths. He will appreciate both your inner and outer beauty. There is beauty in love, love is beautiful. If you find yourself seeing ‘ugliness’ in your relationship then there is no love there whatsoever. What do I mean by ‘ugliness’ in a relationship? It is whatever love is not. If it causes you pain, then it is not love. If it is abuse, then it is not love. If it makes you have low self esteem, then it is not love.

Body and appearance issues

It is always nice to look good, everyone loves to make an effort regardless of whether you like to admit it or not. The question is who are you are you doing it for? If you are doing it to please man, then you’re in the wrong. Beauty comes within, it is for you, not another. Do it for yourself. When you’re beautifying your outer beauty, make sure it is for yourself. In relationships, so many believe people that you have to make yourself look good for your partner. Yes, I believe that too but make sure it is for yourself first. When you want to lose weight, lose weight for yourself. When you want to add on weight, do it for yourself. Who are you going you gym for? There are days when Auntie so and so will comment on your weight ‘Oh, Rachel why have you lost so much weight’ or ‘Oh, Rachel you have put too much weight on try to cut back okay’. Then I’ll think long and hard of whether to eat the galaxy chocolate bar or not. I came to the realisation I will eat the galaxy chocolate bar. Why? I am happy with my weight. If I wish to lose or add weight on, it will because I have decided too. I will step on and off the treadmill, when I want too. Not because others have said too. If I am healthy and happy with my weight, what else matters?

I remember I told a friend of mine when we were back in secondary school how beautiful she looked. She told me no one had ever told her that. I was shocked. I told her girl you do not know how stunning you are. She has such a lovely inner beauty and a gorgeous smile. A friend of mine, felt too dark to be beautiful. Another friend of mine wished she was not skinny and wished she was curvier. There are pressures in society to look a certain way, that we blame the media for. Yes, some of it is created by the media but sometimes we have to look at ourselves. Why do we as women (this also applies to men) put pressure on people to look a certain way? Why do we tell women that the only  way to be beautiful is if they have a large behind? Why do we tell women that the only way to be beautiful is if they are curvy? Why do we tell women that the only the way to be beautiful is if they are skinny? Beauty comes in all sizes and shapes. Whether you have an athletic built, a skinny frame, an hourglass or a pear shape you are beautiful. No matter what shape you are, know that you are beautiful and celebrate yourself.

Why do we put women against another? Why do we create light skinned vs. dark skinned? How many times have you heard that horrible phrase ‘you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl’?  Why do we create silly stereotypes based off a light skinned girl’s appearance? Why do we create fat vs. skinny? Why do we create the notion that the colour of your hair determines your intelligence and your beauty?

Where am I now?

It took me a long time to see, that God created me beautiful, he created me in his very own image and his very own hands. This means if I am I created in his very own image, I am a reflection of him (I am beautiful just like my father God is). It was only after studying the word for a long period of time that I came to see, that it is very much an insult to call yourself ugly or someone else. God doesn’t like ugly. All that he created was good in his sight, no where does it say what he created was bad in his sight. He created you with his very own hands.

So many feel compelled to conform to the world’s standards of beauty and therefore do not think themselves good enough. My sisters and my brothers too, do not think your physical attributes are not good enough. God says you’re more than enough! You are more than just what is on the outside, there is your inner beauty.

I will not allow any standard to reduce my self worth when I have the best standard to look up too. I love all of me. I love me from my 4c hair all the way down to my size 5 and 1/2 feet.

You are beautiful.

Have a read of my poem, ‘I don’t like me’

P.S Thank you to those who shared their opinion of beauty and what it means to them, God bless you. It is not too late to share your views on what you believe beauty is, I will include it in the post. To do so you can email me at renaissanceideal@yahoo.com. Or if you wish you can share your views with me on Twitter (@RaeDosoo), Facebook (www.facebook.com/renaissanceideal) and Instagram (@renaissanceideal).

Stay Blessed

x

What is Gospel Music?

 

A while ago I was having a conservation with friends on the state of Gospel Music today. I also was discussing with some people some time last year on Twitter on what Gospel Music is.

When Gospel Music comes to your mind, what do you think of? American Aunties and Grandmas in their Sunday Best shuffling, shaking their tambourines to ‘hallelujah’ sung music. What clothing does a Gospel singer wear? Do you think of a certain type of people singing Gospel Music? Is Gospel Music Black? Is Gospel Music White? Is Contemporary Christian Music different to Gospel, are they the same? Do you have to sing a certain type of music for it to be classified as Gospel Music? Can Rap be Gospel? Can Rock be Gospel? Do you have to dress a certain way to be a Gospel singer?  Do you have to shout and have a strong voice to be a Gospel singer? Can you have a mellow and soft melodic voice as a Gospel singer? Is Gospel Music only sung in English or does it to belong to all nations? Can you sing both secular and Gospel? Is Inspirational music the same as Gospel or is it different?

These are some of the questions that I discussed with some friends of mine and that frequently pops up when discussing the state of Gospel Music today.

What is Gospel Music?

To define Gospel Music is hard and controversial. It embodies different genres of music but if you were to find a common definition of Gospel Music you would find:

A popularized form of impassioned rhythmic spiritual music rooted in the solo and responsive church singing of rural blacks in the American South, central to the development of rhythm and blues and of soul music- www.dictionary.reference.com

Other definitions include:

Intense, joyful music that is associated with evangelists in the South, especially among African-Americans. Gospel had a strong influence on many rock ‘n’ roll singers- www.dictionary.reference.com

Gospel spans many genres, races, ethnicities, nations and languages. Whether Gospel is sang in Hindu, Norwegian, Persian, Zulu, Arabic, English, Twi, Indonesian or Yoruba it remains Gospel. This is what this collage represents, Gospel is for all. IMG_4355

How many faces can you recognise in the collage above? Alexis Spight is one. She is known for her contemporary Gospel music that has influences of dance music. Yes, Gospel dance music!

Definitions of Gospel found in the dictionary would have you thinking that it belongs to one type of people. It does not. The misconception of Gospel music is that it is sung in African American Communities and Churches only. That is not strictly true, it is very much a stereotype.  Gospel is sung by different types of people and in different forms of music.  But what does the music have in common? Gospel Music’s purpose is to spread the message of Jesus Christ through music.

So you may ask again, what is Gospel music?  The word Gospel refers to ‘Good news’, that Jesus died for our sins so that we may have eternal life. The Good news means that we have been given a extraordinary gift of forgiveness, grace, mercy and love. It is God giving his son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, a gift of salvation  to humanity. It is sacrifice, overcoming death, having the victory, resurrection and life. So when I think of Gospel music I think of these things. I do not think of Gospel music belonging to one type of people, it belongs to all. I think of the promises of God, I think of salvation, I think of deliverance, I think of love, forgiveness, kindness, peace, joy, comfort- all the things God has said in his word. That is what Gospel Music is.

Gospel music as a term is interchangeable with the term Christian music nowadays. Gospel music is also a type of Christian music, but can be described as Christian music. Now do not get me wrong, if you were to look at the Billboard charts for example you would find various Gospel or Christian charts. Some types of Christian music are described as Southern Gospel, Urban Contemporary Gospel, Christian Contemporary Music-this is all marketing purposes! Different forms of Gospel music are marketed to appeal to different audiences. So if you prefer R&B or Soul influences you would tend to like Urban Contemporary Gospel. That is the market tools of the music business. It does not mean Urban Contemporary or Rock influenced Gospel music is not Gospel. Some people get caught up if a song does not sound like traditional Gospel or Christian Music and rule it off. The Bible tells us that music we listen to must be spirit led, so listen to the words? Is it praising God? Is it speaking the message of God? Is it preaching the Gospel? Does it edify your soul? Does it speak the things of God-to love and to be kind etc. If it ticks these things and others, then it is truly Christian Music. There are no instructions in the Old or New testament on what type of instruments should be played or what style of music is allowed and forbidden. All God commands is for the music to be spirit led (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16)

Gospel Music, Insiprational Music, Secular Music…

Now this is very much a controversial area. Is Gospel Music the same as Inspirational Music ? Is it similar?

There are great inspirational songs, that are used to inspire people in their day-to-day activities. Inspirational songs often speak about peace, love and kindness. But is this the love or the peace or the kindness that God speaks about? The world’s definition of love, peace and kindness is different at times. I do not think Inspirational music is wrong, but to describe Gospel Music as the same or similar is wrong.

I have often discussed this with friends, is it okay to sing and listen to both Gospel and Secular Music at the same time. There are singers that do and did so- Whitney Houston is one. It is a area of conversation that you would find many people have heated conversations over. It must be hard to sing both Gospel and Secular Music, one is Godly and one is worldly. However it depends on the type of Secular music it is, if it is crude and vulgar and against the things of God, the two cannot mix. If it speaks of the things and promotes the things of God, then it may be acceptable.

 

What is Gospel music? It is music that praises, that worships, that sings, that exalts the goodness of God. No one has to look a particular way to sing, it does not belong to one  particular group nor do you have to dress a particular way to sing it. Lara George, Andy Mineo, Daughters of Glorious Jesus, Oslo Gospel Choir,  Jesus Culture, Shirley Caesar, True Worshippers, Benjamin Dube…are different artists, sing in different languages, dress differently but they all have something in common. That is Jesus Christ. Spreading the message of Jesus through music. Now, that’s Gospel Music! 

P.S. these are all my opinions. You can disagree if you want

Stay Blessed

x

Place to Visit- Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014’

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A couple of weeks ago I went out with my brothers to Victoria & Albert Museum. We went to see the Museum’s exhibition ‘Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014’. The exhibition started from 5th April 2014 and will continue to 27th July 2014.

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The exhibition explores designs after the second world war to the present day. The clothes on display were breathtaking and just seeing the craftsmanship that goes into designing clothes is extraordinary. We also learned what the ‘Made in Italy’ brand means to designers, creative directors, artisans and writers. Franca Sozzani (editor-in chief of Vogue Italia) defined Italian fashion and ‘Made in Italy’ as quality, creativity, glamour, richness and unnoticeable luxury. Additionally, what was fascinating to see was the business aspect of the Italian fashion industry and Angela Missoni of the Italian fashion house Missoni commenting on the lack of support from the Italian government.

I thought Fausto Puglisi’s commentary on Italian fashion was very interesting:

I trust so much in Italian art and craft. That is something I like to do. I can never accept to do something out of Italy. I believe so much in sacrifice in fashion. Rome wasn’t built in a day and that’s for me the same thing. I mean a dress is not built in a day. A dress needs to be fitted, a dress needs to be sewed, a dress needs to be amazing. And if we think about the big names in fashion we think about sacrifice. Sacrifice means that fashion is your obsession and fashion is the only girlfriend and boyfriend you can have in life. Fashion is the only obsession, there is nothing else than fashion.

Francesco Cianferoni, Gucci Artisan:

On average a modeller has more than 20 years of experience. A prototype artisan, more than 10 years. I personally have done this job for 37 years. Obviously, our values are tradition, “Made in Italy” and quality. These are, of course, constantly challenged by innovation, which we must confront every day to have a young product that keeps up with the times.

Of course, during the making process the bags are assembled by hand, sewn with sewing machines, etc., but there is always a large human component – that is what determines the expected final result. We are talking about productions that were made in the 1960s and 1950s, and are still made today in the same manner and using the same tools. We draw a lot out of our historical archive.

We work with living materials. Leather changes according to tanning, dyeing… so many factors. The product always has to be followed from beginning to end, as every product is unique; each piece of leather is different from another. So it is not an assembly-line job, but a job requiring concentration, analysis and passion.

It made me appreciate fashion even more than I already do. The passion that goes into creating high fashion pieces is clearly visible in the exhibition. I am happy that I have brothers that equally love fashion as I do, we enjoyed ourselves so much (fashion geeks ha).

There is a book with the history of The glamour of Italian Fashion that you can buy from V&A’s gift shop. I can’t wait to read it!

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Sadly, I could not take pictures of the exhibition. They were really strict on photography-sad times. You all need to see the beautiful clothing in the exhibition. It is only £8 for students. I want to go again!

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Go check it out!

Stay Blessed

x

Happy Birthday John Lewis!

 

Now I usually do not do this, wishing Happy Birthday to a store but John Lewis deserves it. If you know me, John Lewis is one of my favourite department stores. Simply because their service is excellent, customer assistants are always eager to help and they have great clothes too.

Last week Sunday (not the one just gone, the previous week to that) I was shopping at Oxford Street and walked into John Lewis.  They had an 150th exhibition named ‘Stories of a Shopkeeper’ on the third floor, showcasing their history from its beginnings in 1894 to now and even its plans for the future.

Happy Birthday John Lewis

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Happy Birthday John Lewis 3

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The exhibition has been extended to the 31st August. Go and have a look, it’s really interesting!

Stay Blessed

x