Why are we waiting? [Guest Blogger]

‘It seems to me that in the modern age, everyone is in some sort of rush. And it’s understandable, I guess. With social media, the Internet etc., everything is always instant and available at the push of a button. This is only ever going to lead to a constant sense of restlessness and a generation obsessed with phone checking (don’t worry youth, I feel you. I’ve just described myself!)
But why, then, does nobody appear to rush to do the things that matter, before it’s too late? We only have to watch a romcom to know that sadly, people can lose touch, either by distance or unfortunate circumstances, and fail to be reunited until it’s too late. I’m not trying to provoke feelings of guilt or regret here, but maybe the right word for the sentiment is realisation, or, the expression ‘carpe diem’.
Another phrase we hear a lot is ‘yolo’. More often than not, it is associated with reckless actions of possibly drinking (a world I’m most certainly unaware of), taking risks for the sake of impressing others and looking cool, or even denying responsibility altogether. But this is not the meaning of the phrase in my book.
I feel that the answer lies deep down, as it always does, with faith, and with putting everything into perspective. It’s a sad scenario, but picture being trapped on the other side of a glass window from someone you care about, unable to communicate except through facial expression and eye contact. What would you want to say? And is it something they don’t know already?
I guess this has gone onto a darker path than I intended. Maybe this derives from the fact I’ve been watching a little too much Call the Midwife lately, or maybe it’s the documentary I saw last night, ‘Before I Kick the Bucket’. It was an inspiring programme about the value and reasons behind ‘bucket lists’.
Personally, I don’t think bucket lists are the best way of living at any stage of life, because since when has ticking boxes made us feel truly satisfied (says the girl with a list for everything!)? By satisfied I mean truly content with life, you know, that warmth you feel in your heart when you touch someone or, even warmer, when someone touches you emotionally. That’s the sort of feeling you can’t get from ticking off bucket lists (by that I mean the kinds of lists that involve lots of high energy, adrenaline filled physical sports). It’s very likely that I’m wrong on that front, though. After all, satisfaction is such a personal thing.
But moving onto what I think is the solution, if there ever can be, to these feelings of regret that we all seem to experience at times (we need only look at @SixthFormProblems to know the dissatisfaction associated with the education system) mentioned by a psychologist on the bucket list programme. It’s people. After all, isn’t that what everyone thinks of when they’re in their time of need? As well as, crucially, our religious faith, I think people hold the key to making us happy! We’ve known this all along and it’s been said decade after decade. Regrets won’t be needed if you’ve told the closest people to you how much they mean to you, and sharing your ups and your downs with them. In a religious sense, I feel that God often reveals Himself in the form of wonderful human beings that we meet in our lives, and we have something to learn from each of them (Side note: listen to For Good from Wicked for more in this vein). It isn’t easy for anyone to wear their heart on their sleeve and share emotions with others, sometimes especially those closest to you, when it could hurt them. But the sense of sharing your life, your sorrows and your joy, with others, is such a precious and valuable gift. I realise this may not entirely link in with the initial point about rushing life, but in a way it does. We’re forgetting the things that matter in this whirlwind of instantaneous responses, and that’s the physical presence of our loved ones.
So I think the conclusion of this complete brain splatter is that though instant messages travel fast, they’re often short lived and temporary. Make more time for the physical memories that we tend to hold in our hearts forever. Cheese alert!!
Thanks for reading :)
Written by Jenna Noronha
Peace&Love.
Paula Melissa xx

Comparing yourself with others

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When I was a little younger, I had officially come to grips with the idea that I am obviously not as ‘naturally pretty’ as other girls. Where I got this idea from, I do not particularly know, but I believed it with all of my heart. In my young mind, some people are just beautiful. They were born with the lucky combination of chromosomes that made them gorgeous. But it is not all bad, because the rest of us had strengths too. Some of us were born with smarts, some can sing and dance, some with the undeniable talent to make people laugh. I did not believe I was given beauty, but that was okay because I exploited my strengths. I sang, I made people laugh, I worked hard in school, I wrote and I was a good friend to people who needed me. All the while, I never felt like not being ‘conventionally pretty’ hindered me. If anything, it empowered me, because I believed that everything I had, I had earned and not because I was nice to look at.

Looking back, it is clear that I only had this view about myself because I compared myself to other people.

For some people, comparing yourself to others just distracts you from the many good qualities you hold. You might be amazing in one aspect, but complete overlook it because someone else shines bright in one particular thing. I learnt that I was beautiful. Maybe not in the conventional way, but then again, who wants conventional? I learnt that some of the things that make some people pretty do not work for me. I had to find indiviudal things that worked for me and made me confident and gorgeous. I think I have.

If you realise something does not work for you, you either forget about it or make it work for you. Life does not give you time to whine and cry about things that do not work, because there will be many things that do not work. If you do not work hard for it, you do not deserve it. Simple as that. And if you get things without working for them, you will not fully understand its value.

I am proud of the beautiful, young woman I have become today, mainly because I worked hard to become her. Because of this, I fully understand my value. I do not ever need to compare who I am, what I am, what I have to someone else, because I am enough. Until I realised this, I was incomplete, whether I realised it or not. If more people could see their worth, they would not care so much when they are cast down or told they are not good enough.

When I was a little girl, I was ‘encouraged’ to join my church choir, mainly because they desperately needed members. I had no interest in music and singing, I was much too busy with things nine-year old girls do. But I joined and soon realised… I hated it. It was not for me, so I believed. I couldn’t hit the high notes, it took up way too much of my time and to make matters worse, the members were incredibly rude. They were not afraid to tell a nine-year old girl that she really could not sing. After crying on multiple occations, I realised they were probably right. Compared to the adults in the choir, I could not sing at all. However, I also realised that if I kept working hard, I will be able to sing. Fast forward a decade or two, and here I am. I can sing. I may not be Mariah Carey, but I can definetly hit more notes than I could then. The point of my anecdote is to demonstrate that comparing yourself with other people can also be a positive thing, but only if you use the comparison to motivate you. If you do it to pinpoint all the bad things about yourself, then it is not helpful.

You do not need someone to make you realise that you are better than where you are in life, right now. You just need yourself to make that first step to improvement. But sometimes it can be just as helpful to have people to measure against, just to show your progression.

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

10 reasons why I would not go on I’m a Celeb

To the wonderful people who have not yet had the divine pleasure of watching or knowing of the show, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! allow me the honour of introducing it to you. I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here (I’m a Celeb) is a British reality TV show, where ‘celebrities’ are taken to a jungle in Australia to stay for a couple of weeks. They have to do creepy, scary challenges, such as eat bugs, just in order to win food. Honestly, it is one of my guilty pleasures. Absolutely love it.

Most of the time, the ‘celebrities’ are people that were on some show that only had one series about six years ago, or were in a band that had one hit about fifteen years before I was born. Basically, people who were once relevant and are no longer relevant, so they go on the show to try to become famous once again! Lovely. Shout out to the amazingly brilliant ITV producers who manage to make us, the Great British TV viewing public, tune in every night (or record the whole series then watch it in one go, if you are like me) with their fantastic writing. You guys are the real MVPs.

So, I was watching the show and wondering whether or not I would do I’m a celeb, you know, if I ever got famous. To be perfectly honest, I do not think I could ever bring myself to do it, and here are 10 reasons why;

1. I would spend most of my time fangirling (adjective: obsessing and acting crazy in the presence of a famous person/people) over Ant and Dec and that one lone relevant celebrity that IS actually famous and everyone ACTUALLY knows who they are. But mostly Ant and Dec. Sorry but they are freaking legends. I would honestly just stand there, wide-eyed, gawping and grinning at them (I bet I’m taller than Dec). They would actually kick me off the show as soon as I got there.

2. This is probably a big reason – I am scared of everything. Literally everything, I am not even exaggerating. From that first step into Australia (Actually, how would I get to Australia,  I’m scared of planes) I would be terrified. I would probably cry. A lot. I’d probably do a Gillian (if you know, you know;)

3. I would find everyone irritating as hell. I would get into so many arguments. Not because I’m argumentative but because in that kind of environment, anything and everything would annoy you. And it is the kind of thing where you can’t even walk away, trying to be the be the bigger person and everything. Like, where could you go? To the shower? Toilet?

4. The idea of cameras watching and following your every move freaks me out. I always say I want my life to be made into a reality tv show, but honestly I wouldn’t really. In the jungle, you can’t even discretely pick your nose without it becoming news in the Metro back home. Stress.

5. This one links with number 4 but I honestly think it is so significant it deserves its own number. Number five: the fact that women are constantly filmed parading in bikinis or showering or sun-bathing. I understand that here in England, we get no sun so the excitement of feeling the suns rays in Aus is overwhelming but this still bamboozles me. Obviously, no disrespect to the women, because they are obviously allowed to do what ever they want to. Some of these ‘celebrities’ are married, some have kids. And now their husbands have shared their wives, and their kids have shared their mother, with the entire male population of the UK. I couldn’t do it to the future beau. Other than that, how are they comfortable knowing that the whole country is judging their bodies. The whole country is deciding on who shouldn’t have had that extra jam doughnut on the helicopter ride into camp, and who evidently had spent weeks living in the gym prior. I just could not do that to myself.

6. I am much too awkward to go on the show. This is a real problem, please dear reader, take this seriously. You know that bit where the celebrities are meeting for the first time, with their guarded smiles, polite handshakes and unsure hugs – yeah, that, I couldn’t do that bit. My introduction would be a mixed of statements similar to, but in no way exclusive to;

“Hi, I’m Paula. Yes, the Paula of telly.”

“No. No, I swear I AM actually famous.”

“So, who are you then?”

“Omds, my mum used to watch you on telly. Before I was born. Wait.. Was it TV or radio? I think it might have been newspaper.”

“Wow! I remember you! You look so… different in real life.”

“I used to love you when I was much younger.”

“Do you have Twitter? Follow me when we get out if here. Oh… Instagram then? Okay, ask your granddaughter to instead.”

You see, I just haven’t mastered the art of small talk and conversation yet.

7. I am quite picky about what I eat and drink so I would probably just starve. They have meals like Ostrich and Emu – am I a goat to be eating that, please? I would fully eat rice, beans and porridge every single day. And to drink, they ways give them ‘treats’ of alcohol. “Do this challenge and everyone gets a beer” – but I don’t freaking drink and I don’t freaking want a beer, so that is a waste of my participation, to be perfectly honest. I would probably ask for mango juice, or apple if they didn’t have mango.

8. I would probably have super crazy mood swings due to lack of better food than beans, rice and porridge. I do not deal with hunger very well.

9. Feeling obligated to say, I would probably miss my family and friends. I would end up crying every other hour, moaning about how I miss my dog. And I am not a pretty crier.

10. Finally, the biggest reason why I probably would not and could not go on I’m a Celeb is that my mum probably wouldn’t let me. She saw a snake make a cameo on the show once and assumes the show is of the devil (obviously). My family would probably disown me, then tell everyone at church to disown me. That would be bad.

So there you have it, ten perfectly legitimate excuses reasons why I could never and would never do I’m a Celeb, even though I love watching it. But then again, the money…

I hope you enjoyed this post. I had a lot of fun writing it. Do not take anything I have said too seriously, it was a joke. Mainly ;)

Peace&Love.

Paula ox’

Blue on Blue – Long Sequinned Gown

I was feeling myself today.

I am no fashion blogger as you can probably tell from my blog, which is mainly filled with posts of me ranting about life and people and everything in between. But today, I wore this dress and felt like a Queen. If that doesn’t qualify me to write this post, I do not know what else will, to be honest.

The dress (not #TheDress but still The Dress, do you get me?) –
2015-05-17 14.03.53I don’t know the technical term for this dress but, it is a figure hugging, blue, sequinned, ankle-length gown with a high neckline and thigh-high slit at the back (not too bad for a novice, if I do say so myself). I paired the dress with a pair of blue suede platform heels and a simple silver choker necklace.

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Peace&Love… and all things blue;)

Paula Melissa xx

I’m a First Gen

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Hello, my name is Paula and I am a First Gen.

What is a First Gen?

A First Gen is someone who is born in a country their parents migrated to. My parents were born in Nigeria, I was born in England. Therefore, I am a First Gen.

What is significant about being a First Gen?  

Being a First Gen is hugely significant because you have to learn to combine two (sometimes even three) totally different, and often clashing, cultures. Your friends at school are allowed to stay out all night and go raving or partying, whereas your parents at home have a set curfew for you and expect you to go to night vigil with them on Friday night. See.. clashing. Being a First Gen is significant because you have to carve your way through life incorporating both aspects of who you are and where you come from.

What is a common struggle you, as a First Gen, have had to deal with?

When people ask me where I’m from. To which I reply confidently, “London.” Then they say,

“No really! Where are you from? Like from, from?” And I reply a little uneasy

“umm.. London.” They then arch their eyebrow, tutting and shake their head whilst waiting for me to try again.

“No, we mean where are your parents from?”

“Ohhh! Nigeria!” 

“So, you’re Nigerian…”

“What me? No, I’m… No, I’m British Nigerian.”

The struggle is real. After years of this same exact conversation I’ve taken to answering the initial question with, “I was born in London but I’m originally from Nigeria.” Saves time and energy.

Do you consider yourself more Nigerian or British?

I pray no one reads this and condemns me, saying I’m disowning my country, decieving myself, trying to be white… I’ve had enough of that over the years. Simple answer: I feel more British (*draws a breath in quickly*) and let me explain why.

I was born in London. I’ve lived here ALL of my life so far. (In a few months I am taking a huge step and relocating to Sheffield to study.) The only time I have ever been to Nigeria was when I was aged 2 or 3 (My mum cannot remember the exact details and obviously I don’t remember because I was a baby) and I stayed a couple of months. A tiny holiday to the Homeland when I was an infant does not quite equate knowing, living and understanding Nigerian culture. I cannot even speak my language of Igbo (shoutout to all my Igbos!), I cannot even imitate a Nigerian accent so how can I be more Nigerian than British???

I will say, however, as I have grown up, my Nigerianness (yes, I made that up) has also grown because I have become more interested in Nigerian culture. The food (!!!), the politics, the movies, the music and the fashion. But I still do not know enough to contest with my British culture. I am learning more and more and I love learning more and more about Nigeria. Yes, I am not white and yes, I am British. Yes, I am British and yes, I am also Nigerian.

What’s one thing you hate about being First Gen?

I hate that your parents feel the need to pin all their hopes and aspirations on you.

“You were born in this country, why cannot you not go to Oxford or Cambridge?”

“You will be a medical doctor/lawyer in Jesus name, amen” *prays intensely*

“You have all the opportunities in the world in this country and you want to become a fashion designer, an actress, a journalist. You’re trying to kill me, isn’t it?”

Like no. Maybe I don’t want to go to Oxford or Cambridge (they don’t do Journalism anyway!!) and what’s wrong with being a fashion designer. Obviously, not all Nigerian parents or First Gen parents are like this (Thank God my parents are not (fully) like this) but it is a large majority.

The worst thing is when you’re First Gen and the eldest sibling…………………………………

What is the best thing about being a First Gen?

Life is always fun. When you’re a First gen, life is full of spice and variety. You might have fish and chips for lunch today, then gari and okra soup tomorrow. Or you might have a roast dinner on Sunday or ackee and saltfish with home-made dumplings. Life is different everyday because you are ALLOWED to pick and choose bits if both your cultures. I repeat, you are ALLOWED to pick and choose as you like. I know this one girl who managed to incorporated Nigerian tribal clothes into her everyday wardrobe. She’d literally be wearing black skinny jeans with a crop top created from her mum’s gele. Talk about being a proud First Gen.

I love being a First Gen, despite the daily struggles we may face. One thing most First Gens will agree is, being a First Gen means your parents will not let you fail. Let me rephrase that, you are not allowed to fail (by fire, by force loool).

I got the idea for this post when I watched the trailer (below) for a new show called First Gen. It really got me thinking and made me realise I am a First Gen and totally PROUD. I also did the Nigerian Tag (also below) with my younger sister, so check that out too.

 

 

Udo na ịhụnanya (That’s ‘peace and love’ in Igbo, we thank God for Google translate lool)

Paula Melissa xx

The Restoration Plot pt 2

Two years ago, around this time of year, I wrote a blog post on Easter. I want to share it again, because sometimes we take Easter, and what it represents, for granted.

He died, but now He’s alive. It’s a miracle.

We are remembering all the pain Jesus took upon His shoulders. All the discomfort and humiliation – just to make sure we have our place with God. He restored creation, after sin had attempted at decreating creation. He was that restoration. He gave us the provision, the pathway, the guide, on how to be sin-less. He brought a never quenched light into the darkness. No darkness can comprehend His light. He sent a comforter, a friend, a still small voice, living in the depth of our hearts. It was His Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit dwells with us, within us and we didn’t even need to fight for that. We didn’t have to work for it. He gave us the easy job and took the hard one. He gave us the job of having to love Him. Of having to praise and glorify Him. And if you realise how great He is, you will realise our praises are nothing compared to what He deserves. Compared to how amazing, and awesome He really is. How loving, and huge and unimaginable He is. The human mind cannot even begin to understand how great He is. We weren’t worthy, we aren’t worthy, but He made us worthy. He became Sin. Sin died on that cross. He became Sin so you and I could be spotless. Spotless. Without a spot or blemish. We have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. We have His love working in us. His unfailing, unending, unexplainable, undeserving love, made available and accessible to us. Forever. And ever. He did that. And not for His gain, but for ours.

What kind of love is that? What manner of man is Jesus? That even death could hold Him. That even sin couldn’t phase Him. 

That’s my King. My Lord. The Lord of my life. The love of my life; That’s my Jesus. And your Jesus. The Jesus who fights for us. He is salvation.

And for all of that, I live in continual gratitude.

Thank you Jesus.

Peace&Love. Made available by the Blood of Jesus being shed for us.

Paula Melissa xx

My day at a deaf youth event – VIDEO

You can find inspiration in anything, especially when you do not expect to find it. My mum invited me along to a deaf youth event she was asked to speak at. I went along, not really knowing what to expect. I left that evening with inspiration and a whole new perspective on a side of life I didn’t really know a lot about. What better way to explain my day, than in video form. Enjoy!

I really did not know anything about being deaf, sign language and everything of that sort. It feels good to have my eyes opened.

In many parts of the world, deaf people are somewhat segregated, hidden away in small colonies. People do not expect them to have a life, do not expect them to be funny, beautiful, inspiring people. This saddens me because of course they are.

You can find inspiration in anything. Even in people you have never really known about. Even in people who cannot hear.

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx