Tales of 2 Timothy 1.7

Tales of 2 Timothy 1.7

When people tell you who they are, believe them, from the first time.

This was an expression made by Oprah in one of her many great interviews. The first time I heard this I was completely shocked. This resonated so much with me, more than I could explain. I have spent a great deal of my life making excuses for others and not willing to see the clear signs that were right there in front of me.

Today I would like to talk about this simple phrase that brought so much insight to me and I believe that it can help you too on your journey to separate the wheat from the chaff .

Five years ago I met the most wonderful man. He was handsome and had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. We fell in love, and yes it was that kind of ‘love at first sight’ thing. I met him on a packed busy night out, when I saw him I didn’t move until he came and spoke to me; from then on the sparkles flew all over the place. It was an attraction almost as strong as gravity. After spending the whole night dancing we exchanged numbers and had our first kiss; from then on I was hooked for five years straight.

He lived 185 miles away from where I lived and at the time I had no car so seeing each other was a matter of detailed organisation. What we managed to do for a whole year and half. We would see each other pretty much every weekend as we both worked during the week. I have to say, he was the one travelling the distance most of the time. Opening the door after having been waiting to see him for a whole week was like heaven. No fringe in me would think that this would ever come to an end. For me he was the one. I loved every little hair on his head to his little toes. To him I was the first woman he brought home. The first one to meet his grandmother and the rest of his family; and the one to celebrate new year with his best friends. As you can see all was set for a successful life together. Needless to say that I spent all my free time dreaming of our wedding. (That’s an inside female note, please don’t judge me).

Although love was strong and present it wasn’t enough to last. The distance was too much. As I couldn’t make all the parties or some other occasions there were, of course, other women who made sure to fill that gap. Because of this I grew insecure over us and over myself. He loved dancing and so he often took one day of the weekend nights off to go and dance, as I lived on the other side (of the world) I couldn’t go dancing with him and so he did this with a “friend”. (The first red flag; who not so long after we broke up became his girlfriend but they eventually broke up not so long after that). Which was of course like a needle in my heart every time I thought of it. He was honest with me and so I trusted him with my most precious. But as time passed by, the distance and the so called friendly dance partner started to come in between us.

Well, life happened. One day we went to a lovely restaurant and after that he broke my heart and told me that he didn’t think that we were made for each other and that this wouldn’t work. Hearing this shook my whole being, I was young and over my head in love and this did hurt more than I could put in to words. This was another red flag, but instead of listening to it; I choose to ignore it.

We parted ways, but not so long after that he contacted me again and from then on the wheel kept turning. Instead of learning the lesson once; that when someone had hurt you that deep, you shouldn’t offer them this same broken heart again for them to keep, I did exactly that.  I would travel around the world and meet new people but right when I would start opening myself again for a new romance I would receive one of his messages and just like a drug I would be hooked again, thinking that we could give it one more chance.

On one side he was a friendly kind and generous man with a good heart; on the other side he could be this cold hearted person that I barely recognized. I remember once he invited me to his mother’s fiftieth anniversary, this was a year after we broke up and had barely seen each other. I accepted the invitation, I was young and foolish what else could I do? So I went all the way there, only to hear him declaring somewhere in the middle of the party to his family members that he would never get back with me that between us there was nothing left. I felt hurt and humiliated, why would he have me come 185miles far  for this occasion if I meant nothing to him? Red flag number three, but again, I choose to ignore it.

I would go travelling, but once I was back in the country we would meet up.  Sometimes we would be so close that it would feel like we had never left;  and other times he would sit on the corner telling his friends all the 101 reasons why I wasn’t good enough. Which would weaken my self confidence and my self worthiness big time. You would think that I learned the lesson by then but it took me five years of these ups and downs to finely hit that point. It wasn’t till I heard this  simple saying: When people show you who they are believe them from the first time, not the 29th time. That I realised what was happening. He had showed me many times before that I couldn’t trust him with what was most precious to me, my heart; but still I kept on avoiding to see this simple truth that was right in front of me and decided to chase something that wasn’t there. I have to add to this that he wasn’t a bad man, in fact he had helped me in so many ways and deep down he has a good heart also he gave me plenty of mixed signals; such as coming to see me for a few days once I moved to London. I mean I’m a woman, when a man those that for you; you just melt. But the thing was, his good heart wasn’t meant to be with mine. You see, not all good souls are meant to run in the same direction as your good soul. But I choose not to see this  and because of that it had cost me so much.

This particular phrase made me think past my romantic relationships. I have had friends who wanted me to be a certain way, who didn’t love or accept me the way I was.  Instead of seeing this from the first time and taking distance I would ignore the signs and hold on to the idea of a friendship. Of course it was only a matter of time before the castle came tumbling down. I would realise that I couldn’t live up to the expectations of an untrue friendship and would then let go. But this would be after spending many years of investing in the wrong things instead of allowing the emptiness,  in order to meet the right people and create relationships and friendships that were healthier for me.

Looking back in my life I had seen many times where people showed me who they were but I had chosen to deny this. This is why I wanted to tell you this story today. Hoping that it wouldn’t cost you as much tears, energy, time and money as it had cost me to learn from the 29th time. Instead you can choose to see the signs of an unhealthy relationship right away and get yourself out of there before this would consume the time that you could spend building better and healthier relationships around you.

Is it art imitates life or life imitates art?

Yesterday I was having this conversation with a friend, somewhere in the middle of the conversation I said; ” Well as they say, life imitates art”. To which he replied no, it’s art imitates life. I paused for a second and thought about it and than concluded: “I’m pretty sure that it’s -life imitates art-. As we couldn’t agree on the matter, we went online to our dear friend Google; who confirmed that both statements were true and spoken by great philosophers.

Aristoteles declared around 320 BC that “Art imitates life” but many decades later Oscar Wilde declared in an essay that “Life imitates art far more than Art imitates life”.

Now you’re probably wondering where I’m trying to go with that. Well see, first of all let me tell you that these two statements are perfectly true. But like Oscar Wilde said the former is more applicable than the latter. Let me give you basic examples to demonstrate this:

Art imitates life goes without saying. This is for example when an artist sits in front of a fruit bowl and actually try to paint this same bowl on his canvas. Or when a musician tries to duplicate the sound of a bird into a music peace. Or even when a movie director makes a movie based on a true story.  These are simple clear examples of ‘art imitates life’.

But what is life imitates art and most importantly why is this even more meaningful? Dramatically this can be explained as, you become the some of the art that you allow yourself to be exposed to. Of course  you have to expose yourself in a great level in order for this to have an impact. Let’s say a child who grows up in a house where both his parents are musicians and dansers will end up doing the same thing or he may at least end up doing something leaning in that direction. He will probably end up to be a composer, a music writer or having other functions that lean on the images and views that he grew up being exposed to.

An other example is when you watch videos of sport or crossfit, you go to seminars and read books about this kind of workout, you will end up wanting to become just like that. Because in your mind this has become your new normal, your way of life.

The biggest industry who makes the most use of this theory is the advertising industry. By broadcasting a certain product several times in a day on a tv channel or billboards; the great companies hope and know that people will end up buying their products because that’s what they’ve been exposed to.

These are all clear and plain examples of the latter. But when we look further into this we can see that, art imitates life in such a way that even the elements that we get exposed to on an unconscious level end up to become part of us.

For example nowadays we often see explicit images of sex on tv. This comes up on more and more regular basis, and this tendency ends up making younger and younger children want to be intimate at a very young age just because they got exposed to these images on an unconscious level. Also images of violence and the notion of fear that is proclaimed on tv nowadays results to the fact that more and more people goes on to live in fear and are more prone to violence or accept it much easily because they’ve been served this on a daily basis.

Knowing all this results to one outcome: How can you use this for your advantage instead of letting it control you?  When I wanted to start writing a book I went to a book launching event and one of the speakers told me that if you want to write you need to surround yourself with other writers in order to share ideas, experiences and to improve in your skill but most of all you have to read lots of books. If this is true for writing it is definitely true for any industry or any other aspect of life. If you’ve always wanted to run a marathon, start running, watch videos of others doing the running, study the best methods of running and talk to people who have done it before you. By surrounding yourself with the art of what you want you prepare your mind to accept the fact that you are ready to go after that which it is that you want. If there are elements in your life that you don’t want then make sure to delete and avoid exposing yourself to those images or other forms of art that express these ideas.

Once on a plane to the States I met this girl who was sitting next to me during the flight. We were talking about music and somehow we ended up talking about Adele, I told her how I admire her music and how steady her voice is and so on. To which she replied, she is a great singer but there is a lot of drama and I don’t like all that sadness. This hit me, it was the first time that I realised that listening to someone’s declaration of sadness actually made me feel the same, even when I wasn’t going through those emotions at first. This made me more selective to the kind of music I was listening to and which art I was allowing around me.

So now that you know all this; which art would you like to surround yourself with?





How being in the right environment is important cause this will influence your behaviour


A while ago I started a new job. In this new position 55% of my colleagues were smokers. One of my colleagues that I started with was a non-smoker. In the first two months we were on the job, I never saw him touching a cigarette. Our office was located in such a way that we had a bright big view of the smoking area of the company. From our desk we could see how other colleagues smoked their stress away through a nicotine stick.

One-day, during our break someone else in our group of friends said that he was about to leave to use the rest of his break to smoke outside and so it happened that my other colleague decided to tag along. What seemed to be a very innocent thing to do. But then this happened a few more times and before we knew he was the one smoking outside. At first just cigarettes that he received occasionally from others but eventually he decided to bring his own pack of 27 sticks of nicotine.

When I would ask him if he was now an official smoker he would say no, he was just smoking from time to time, but that he wasn’t dependant on it. This was when he was a social smoker accompanying others to the cosy common smoking area. Before long I would see this dear colleague standing there by himself smoking his time away.

This could have been a coincidence but this happened to two of those who started with me on the same day. Not sure if the other smokers there all started by this occasional cigarette but I doubt that these two were the only ones who were influenced by the environment we were in. Well, just in case you were wondering, I would never be a smoker, I’d rather travel and go see the world,  than spend any dime on nicotine. But that’s another story.

My text today is not so much about just smoking, which I believe that everyone has the right to do if they enjoy it. What I want to underline here is that two individuals have found themselves drawn to a habit that at first wasn’t theirs and eventually have given in to it. Those individuals were just like you and me. Intelligent, young, strong personalities. So what brought them into changing their behaviours?

Well, first let me tell you that our environment is of great importance. When you grow up in an environment of university graduate you are more likely to work as hard as you need to, to make sure that you end up with a degree as well. Not because you can’t make it without it, but more because your environment has generated this into your unconscious system that you need to have that too.

In the same way many studies have shown that children of abusive households end up to be abusive themselves. But before you go on and categorise yourself in a certain box because you’ve seen that pattern very often, so you think that’s your lot in life. Let me tell you the other aspect that many studies haven’t been able to explain.

The second element, which is the aspect of your will; the strongest element in a human’s brain. If your will is not strong enough you will end up falling into the pattern of what you’ve seen or see around you. But if your will is strong enough than your options are limitless.

Let’s go back to the smoking area, my two colleagues were not the only ones who have started to work there at that period of time, they weren’t the only ones to see cigarettes and smokers on display every single day, I was there too. I was one of those, 45% who had made up my mind long time ago that I would never be a smoker. So even though I was in an environment where this was almost promoted, I didn’t feel the pressure to go and be part of it. Ofcourse in the beginning it takes a lot of courage and strength to decide not to walk a certain way because the mainstream does so. To decide not to be a drug addict because all your friends are, to decide not to be just a simple party animal because that’s what “everyone” else do. It takes lots of courage to walk “the road less taken”. But it’s only by making the decision upfront and stand firm to your belief that you will not give into something that you don’t believe in just because of peer pressure or because of easiness that you end up opening a whole new path for yourself. A whole new wold where you get to decide how things go and how things will work out. You see it’s easy to follow the mainstream and end up in jail because your parents did so. But it takes a strong man (woman) to say -No- I want something better for my life, I want something better for my future and so I will not give in and will focus and work on the things that I believe will bring me to the right path.

Let me tell you that at first the pressure will be tough. I remember sitting there by myself when all my friends went smoking or standing there being the only one not drunk in the bunch and seeing everyone else half wasted away. In the beginning it can feel a little awkward, trying to grab your phone to keep yourself busy but before long you will be the one taking actions. You will be the one enjoying your evening but also the next day because you didn’t need the whole day to recover from the night before. You will be the healthy one building a great family without having to worry about your health or desperately looking for a cigarette at the end of the day cause you haven’t been able to smoke for a few hours.

Just like you copy the negative behaviours of others, you also tend to copy the positive ones. Although the latter is bit more difficult.

What I’m trying to say is that life will serve you many occasions to weaken your will, but when this happens remember that those who created the path, those we all look up to in this world aren’t those who’ve just decided to follow the mainstream because it was easy. But they were those who decided to take a step aside and follow their own path. So don’t be afraid to be a little different than the rest. Follow your own path and have faith and trust that you are making the right decisions; and can I share a secret with you? Well, by being the first to take another path you unconsciously open the way for others to follow YOU.

Hello Masi


It’s been almost five months since I set feet in this new city called Maastricht.

Maastricht is a city located in the crossing of three significant countries; Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany and only a three hour drive from France. Historically Maastricht is the place where “het verdrag van Maastricht” was signed, the foundation of the EU.

It’s an old renewed city. With many beautiful new buildings but at the centre the typical characteristic beauty of old “herenhuizen” or town houses. Something that you find mostly in Europe. There are plenty of little cosy pubs, coffee shops and restaurants. With the Maas crossing in the centre of the city Maastricht doesn’t miss that level of romantisme that you can find only while standing at the top of a bridge looking over the river.

The city has a perfect balance of young and old not only in the buildings but also in the composition of it’s population. While there are many retirement houses for such a small city there are also plenty of universities to balance it out. Because of it’s location the composition of the universities have never been more diverse. There is a great mix of not only students from those three neighbouring countries but also students from all over the world come to study in the so called Masi. In the first month that I arrived I met a Canadian, a Venezuelan, a Hungarian, a German, a French, Belgian, and of course Dutch to name a few.

Being a globetrotter – (that doesn’t sound very sexy to describe someone who travels around the world, we need to find something else for that) I know that moving to a new city can be lonely at times. I remember when I arrived in New York at first, I had to push myself to get out of the house cause I didn’t know anyone and had no clue where to start to make new friends. This settled it’s self of course over time; cause now I’m still connected to the friends I made there 4years ago.

I didn’t have that problem arriving in Maastricht. Maybe I had grown up and have gotten more confident or maybe it’s because I arrived here for work and it was easier to connect with my new colleagues and later on to connect with their friends. Because it’s such a crossroad city. People don’t expect you to belong to a certain group and are therefore more open and accessible. Not only in their actions but also in their speech. Maastricht is a Dutch city but many here speak English effortlessly and make it therefore easier for international students, workers and travellers to express themselves.

Masi is a cosy low pace city, much different then what I’m used to living in London or NY or even Ghent my old home town. The bike is an effective way of transport over here, what no one would consider living in NY or London. While here I see decent business people making their way to work on a bike with their suit and tie on. At first this made me laugh. I’m used to seeing Rangerovers, Audi and other fancy cars standing at the parking lot before taking a plane to our next destination now I was seeing bikes lining up in front of the office buildings. This is not so much a financial thing but more of a choice. Many employees or even directors find it more efficient to take the bike, of course this is all depending on the distance you have to travel.

What about love in the Masi city:

One writer once said the only constant thing in the world is change, I believe the other only constant thing in the world is love. Without it there would be nothing.

Of course love is omnipresent in the Masi city. Being a very international city it is much easier to connect date and marry someone from another country or culture. Having thousands of places and ways to meet people such as salsa parties, local concerts and other events getting a date in the crossroad city is more of a child game. Of course meeting the one is an other game. I didn’t really open myself in meeting someone new in the city as I knew that I was leaving soon but I could see how being in an international city made it easy to connect with others and therefore to build good relationships.

He who controls the past controls the future

At the moment I’m reading this great book about how to run your finances. One of the chapters in the book is called: He who controls the past controls the future, he who controls the present controls the past by R.K. Although I’m not going to talk about finances because I still have a lot to learn on that subject; I found that the title perfectly fitted in a more personal context: the fear of commitment.
 For many years I’ve let past experiences control my present but reading these lines makes me realise that I don’t have to let it be that way, not anymore.

As many of my writings, I tend to write out of life’s tough learned lessons.. I couldn’t let what had happen to me in the past control the rest of my life and thus I learned that I had to control the past in order to plan a better future.

Life gave me lemons in different forms, most of them in relationship forms. At a young age I found myself in a court room where my parents decided to officialise their divorce. Because of that from a young age I knew that love doesn’t always last, although I claimed to believe in the opposite.

After spending a few years with my father we quickly moved to Europe where we grew up with our aunt. Leaving the country where I was born behind together with my parents and other siblings I then realised that even that relationship doesn’t last for eternity. Adding to that, our aunt who was supposed to be our sole family in Europe ended up to be an abusive figure in our early pre-teenage and teenage years.  Again I was shown that love even coming from your own relatives could be taken away from you. Fast forward ten years ago, or a little less; my best friend got involved with someone I was dating at the time. This too crushed me double time. Cause this thought me that you could lose not only the love that came into your life by a natural string, but also the love that you choose to bring into your life could be taken away from you in such a brutal way. With this last one I was more hurt for loosing a friend that I loved, trusted and cared for dearly than loosing the guy I had a crush on at the time. I felt like my friendship was betrayed, a friendship something so pure and innocent. Ever since I build walls around me in every relationship I entered in, this being a friendship or a romantic relationship. I thought myself how to love from a distance and I got so good at it that I could trick someone into a romantic relationship while I still held the walls around the fort of my heart high and strong. I often wondered why I wasn’t able to build strong deep meaningful and everlasting relationships anymore. This was because I got so good in making people feel as if they didn’t really matter in my life. By doing so I could keep my bruised heart protected from potential hurt. I couldn’t afford to let anyone in who could potentially one day hurt me in one way or another, and so I took the upper hand.

But you see safe heaven can be a lonely place to be. We go through this human experience not so that we can find a way to avoid all the pain and hurt but so that we can find a way to learn to get up and keep going even when we are hurt and wounded. Life is not about avoiding the pain but about accepting it and learning to still see the beauty in it. You see I managed to forgive everyone who ‘s ever hurt me, I even forgave myself from being so tough on myself. But forgiveness is easy. It’s tougher to put yourself out there again and let people in this secret garden of yours.

I created thousands and one rules to keep love on a distance and it worked for a long time. But the perks is that love is a currency in human relationships, a rule to live on by in humans life. It is as necessary as the water you drink or the sunlight on your skin. You can only live without it for so long, after that you need to receive it in a high dose otherwise you lose the sense of being.

I believe it would take a strong wind, a force greater than anything I’ve ever known so far to pull down the walls that I’ve build so carefully over the years. But in the meantime, I decided to open the door into the fort of my heart, into new friendships, into new trusts, into true love. The opening is small and I still guard it with all my might but I trust that one day I could love so purely that I could allow myself to let my heart float in the air without being afraid to fall. Cause I’ve learned that the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and in return to be loved.


How to live in the present and not dwell in the past or uncertain future.

Recently I had a conversation with this wonderful woman, when we were talking she told me that she has been learning to live more in the present and no longer dwell in the past as she used to. As I was listening to her describing this characteristic of herself I realised that I was just like that. One who spends the majority of her time living with the regrets of the past or the fear of an uncertain future. How is this possible you are probably asking yourself? Well, let me explain this in a way that will give you an insight into something that can improve the quality of your life.

Before I carry on I need to define the areas in which we are working on.

Living in the past means reminiscing about something that no longer exists. This can be thinking about a good thing that took place a long time ago and you are having difficulties letting this go and so you spend a great amount of your time rethinking that moment of your life. That element can be something good, in which case it’s absolutely fine to recall that memory from time to time as long as you don’t dwell in it. By dwelling in it I mean, spending more time thinking about the past than you do enjoying the present time. Even though you can be thinking about something positive, being too focused on the past can restrain you from advancing in your life. But the problem occurs more when you dwell in a negative past. Telling yourself if only I had taken this or that decision this would be different. Although this might be completely true; because your life is a result of your actions, living in a negative past will not only prevent you from enjoying your present life but also from making better decisions that will benefit you in the future.

Living in the future means that you are focussing on that which will come or that which might not come that you don’t enjoy your present life and let life pass you by. This can be for example when you are expecting something that will come in a few months or in a few years and instead of enjoying your life meanwhile you’re so focused on that event that you don’t fully appreciate the things that are in front of you and aren’t able to fully enjoy the present moment because your thoughts are constantly in what shall come. The bad thing about this is that we sometimes focus so much on something that we believe will come in the future, but that very thing may never come or may never take place in which case we’ve been wasting our time all along. Let me give you an example to explain this: First example: Let’s say you are in a relationship, you’ve been together for quiete some time but you haven’t been able to enjoy the time you spend with your partner because all this time you’ve been focussing on the fact that your partner might be unfaithful to you. Of course this might be true and if so, it would be a sad thing to have to deal with. But you could deal with that problem when it occurs instead of spending the entire time of your relationship worrying on what if. When you have someone who seems genuinely interested in you, spending your time worrying on something that isn’t there will get you waste beautiful valuable moments and may even damage your relationship. Of course living in an uncertain future doesn’t only apply in relationships but also in other aspects of life, in your job, in your family life in your health and so on.

So now that we’ve established what you shouldn’t do, let’s see what you should do instead.

Living in the present time is a choice. As simple as it may sound, it is something that many people never really master. There are numerous books written about how to live in the present time this because many have realised that not doing so will let you waste many years of your life. First of all you have to know that it is not a default. Everyone go through some moments in life where they dwell a little more in the future or more in the past. But acknowledging this and taking the right steps to avoid it will bring you more joy and fulfilment in your life.

What you can do to live in the present time:

Acknowledge your thoughts: First of all as you now know what living in the past or in the future means, you can easily detect yourself when your thoughts start to go that way. When you are not thinking about the current moment, about what you are doing now or about who you are with at this moment but instead are dwelling in some other tense then you know you should do something about.

Take action: Once you’ve noticed that you’ve been thinking more about everything else but the now, just stop those thoughts and ask yourself: What are you doing right now; who are you with, and what are the positive things about the moment you are in? Not the moment you will be in a few weeks, months or years.  Not how it used to be when this or this was there but the now. What are the great advantage of your current life? In the beginning this might seem tricky and you might not find anything positive to say about your life now. But with practice comes mastering and so by acknowledging when you dwell in other times and taking the right actions to get back in your present time you will start to see that your current life has many great things to offer if you only took the time to see it and enjoy it.

See the result: As you practice this deliberate choice of living more in the present you will start to see the great things that you’ve been missing on while you were dwelling your thoughts in the past or future tense. You’ll start to do more, achieve more and even be more cause you are more aware of the now. Although we can never change the past, by living more in the present you will notice that your future will improve as you are more aware of your choices as you take those choices in a more current state not because of what happened in the past but because of who you are right now.

Eventually all these little efforts, which might seem insignificant in the beginning will eventually improve the quality of your life and therefore bring you more happiness.

Your true beauty isn’t in the way others perceive you, but in the way you see yourself

Source: Your true beauty isn’t in the way others perceive you, but in the way you see yourself

Your true beauty isn’t in the way others perceive you, but in the way you see yourself

It’s only been a few months, since I’ve started to feel more beautiful with my natural hair than I would with hair extensions.  For many years I’ve covered my hair religiously with extensions as I believed that I was most beautiful with that than with my natural hair. To arrive at the point where I am now, it took me a very long journey. To understand what this has meant for me I need to take you back to the very beginning where it all begin.

Many moons ago, (well not soo many) I was born out of two 100% black parents in the beating heart of Central Africa. My father, a very religious man always thought us that a woman should be the way God has created her to be. He is very conservative, so growing up we didn’t know much better than our natural afro hair. Our skirts had to be above the knee length and extensions didn’t even exist in our dictionary back then. But as my sister and I moved to Europe at a very young age, we came into a very different environment. We left a country where everyone was black and had our type of hair, to come into a place where we would seldom see someone with our natural curls and everyone else had beautiful silky straight hair.

From the very beginning of our life in Europe we learned that we had to cover our natural afro curls. Because it wasn’t beautiful enough and was even seen as dirty. This not so much from outsider, but more so from people of our own race. So for several years we would religiously replace one extension hairstyle for the other and during all this time we would never walk out of the door with our natural hair.  As we grew up, every African women we knew did this, we saw this as a normal procedure.

I got through school and through work effortlessly while doing this until I got my first flying job. I was accepted as a cabin crew in a great airline. Being a cabin crew meant coming to work around 4am in the morning already in your uniform, with your hair all tied up in the back. Well for someone who was used to have her hair in beautiful long extensions this was a real challenge. How was I supposed to tie all these extensions in the back without it looking funny? I was so used to see myself with these extensions that I couldn’t even picture myself walking out of my house with my natural hair let alone go to work like that. With ups and downs I managed to get through that, by waking up extra early to manage my hair. But little by little I started to realise that this wasn’t right.

As I love travelling and NY has always been my young girl’s dream; after long thinking I decided to travel to the city of the big apple. Just a side note, I believe that everyone should travel at least once in their life; to a place they’ve always wanted to go. I believe that it should be a part of the law that one shall go and see the world out there at least once in their life time cause you learn so much from travelling. With that being said, I made my way through the most exciting city in the world.

I remember my first day in Manhattan I was in an absolute aw! Not that it is the most beautiful place that I’ve ever been to, but it’s definitely the craziest place I’ve been able to travel to. Being there I was able to witness how some people could be unapologetically free in the way they were. You didn’t just have people with blond and brown hair in a long or short hairstyle. You had all kind of people, all kind styles , all kind of hairs and all kind of structure and colours. I was so amazed to witness this. I remember  once seeing this elder black women with beautiful long healthy gray hair, this completely disrupted everything I had known about black women’s hair back then. She was fashionable, sophisticated and looked absolutely beautiful and she didn’t seem to be bothered with her natural hair, instead she wore with confidence and pride. I wondered how she had come to that point.

While being in NY, I did some modelling gigs, and I got to know this young girl from Brooklyn. She was so amazed by the fact that someone looking like her, would travel the world just to come and do something that she loved. Therefore she kind of looked up to me. One day I asked her where I could buy extensions to put on my hair. She looked at me all surprised and said ‘I don’t know where you could buy that, I didn’t know that this wasn’t your hair”. I explained to her that I was wearing extensions and she nodded understandably. Afterwards I felt disappointed in myself, here I was being an example for this young girl to live her life the way she wanted to and now I just showed her that you could go across the world and travel to places but then still not accept yourself or love yourself completely.

Going back home I started a small but sure battle of making my hair as long and beautiful as I wanted it to be for me to wear it naturally. At the time, social media was just making her way all over the world so there were just a few social pages that you could follow with beautiful images of black women with long beautiful natural afro hair. But whenever I would show some of my close friends any of these pictures, they would discourage me saying that the only reason they had such long hair is because they were part of some mix of races which gave them some of those genes that makes your hair grow faster effortlessly and I believed this. What I didn’t know was that just like any plans in nature, when you nurture it and give it water and enough light (which means no constant covering with extensions) it will grow.

As I couldn’t really share this experience with many of my friends my battle for natural long hair became a long and lonely journey. This changed a few years later when some of my friends began to embrace their natural curls as well. As social media started showing all those images of beautiful black women, they luckily also shared tips and tricks of how to take care of our natural curls. So little by little I started gathering everything I could find from products, to Do’s and Don’ts of how to make my hair grow faster and more beautiful. But as I never gave my hair enough time and space to grow I had a hard time reaching my goal.

It wasn’t until long after that, when I was working in a new nine to five job that I met this young African woman, who was 100% black just as me, with beautiful long natural hair. Ofcourse I asked her about her secret and she told me to simply leave my hair at peace. She said that the reason my hair didn’t grown as well as I wanted it to is because I constantly covered it under extensions. If I would leave it alone with minimum care it would grow effortlessly. I told her that I wanted to but didn’t have the courage to just walk outside with my natural hair. What she told me then, would forever change my life. She told me that our hair was part of the oppression from decades ago and that now, we should wear our hair with pride. Looking closely into that I started to learn that our parents and grand parents were oppressed in being different than what they were and not expressing themselves the way they would want to. Because they weren’t allowed to wear African hair, our mothers and grand mothers went on to find different ways to cover their hairs such as wearing wigs or cover their hairs with fabric to be more accepted. Because of this disturbance in our self-image, we learned not to accept ourselves the way we were but the way the oppressor wanted us to be.

Although black people were delivered from slavery many decades ago, we had never learned to free ourselves from this oppressive way of thinking. The oppressor had let us free, but we have kept ourselves captive in our minds as we had lost every since of our true identity.

A woman’s hair is a woman’s pride, by not being able to accept our true beauty we unconsciously put ourselves inferior to those who do.

Now almost in my thirties I finely realise that my true beauty isn’t in the way others perceive me but my true beauty is in the way I see myself. I used to spend a fortune to have my hair covered with extensions now I feel a sense of beauty, freedom and pleasure in rushing my fingers through my natural curls. It’s still challenging as I’ve yet to reach my ideal length, and hair length is defined in depth while my hair structure defies gravity and grows in the height.

I needed to share this story with you as I believe that it’s time for us black woman to look ourselves in the mirror and call ourselves beautiful again. As the media restraint, itself from representing us for a very long time most of us grew up with the image of an ideal woman who was very different from who we are. Now we are in the most wonderful age ever in history, where many great black woman are doing greater and greater things, this should be an inspiration for us to walk with the heads up while bouncing those curls with confidence. So, don’t be afraid, show me your curls. 



The four phases in which a man falls in love

In these past couple of months I’ve been able to observe a friend of mine from his first date until now as he’s been falling in love with his girlfriend. It was amazing to have witnessed this process from the very beginning. Knowing this process would have saved me so much time, energy and emotions in my own dating life in the course of the years. While I was expecting that a man would commit to me after a few dates, I’ve now learned that a man’s commitment phase comes much, much later than a woman’s commitment phase. That’s why I want to share these phases with you because I believe that it will give your relationship more chance to succeed. Although character and attraction are the key to get a man to be interested in you, it takes the patience to go through these phases for him to fall in love with you.

The first phase is the denial phase:

You must be asking yourself what is she talking about? But just bare with me as I’m trying to explain a man’s thinking in a woman’s brain.

The denial phase is the phase in which a man won’t admit to anyone that he is seeing you. You’ve been on a first-, second- or even third date and you had a great time. You enjoyed each other’s company and all seem to go well. For us as women we tend to go and label these moments way too fast. So we start dreaming away about our life together. While for a man, this is simply a time of denial. Whenever someone would ask him about the two of you, he will deny that there is anything between you two. Although you’ve been hearing from him every day since day one and although he asked you on a few dates, he won’t mention your name to any of his friends or family yet.

This is normal, because a man is mainly driven by his ego and reputation so he won’t risk to put it all on the line if he doesn’t know you well enough. So he takes his time before he even thinks about mentioning your name to those around him.

The second phase is the minimisation phase:

This often comes after two to three months of dating. So he’s been going out with you; you’ve done the cinema, you’ve done the lovely dinner out, the hand in hand walk across the park and the cosy little bar on a night out. While you as a woman are now high on your horses and want to get the label out and call him your boyfriend; you want him to clarify and put a stamp on the fact that the two of you are an item. He on his end, will minimise and downplay anything that has to do with you to anyone who ask about it. Of course he will do his best to treat you well. But whenever you try to pop the question: “Where is this going?” Cause you want some clarification in your dating life. He will try to avoid the conversation and just find something else to talk about. Or he might even ignore your question or try to get away not having to answer it.

Here we are, three months into your dating life. As it gets kind of difficult for a man to denial that he is seeing you, he will simply minimise the fact that you two are seeing each other. When asked about you, he will answer things like: “Well yeah it’s just someone I met recently”, “Yeah we went out, no big deal”. If he finds you beautiful he will say things like, yeah she’s alright, simply cause he wants to downplay it. Also to you, he will be more cautious, he won’t text you too much. He won’t share with you the important things of his life yet, cause he is still on the look out to see if this is going to be something worth it. Cause a man would do anything not to lose face.

The next phase is the admission or commitment phase:

After five to six months of dating (if you’re patient enough to stick around), a man will start to confirm his engagement to you. In this phase, a man wants to be sure that everyone knows that you are his and therefore he will go on and label you as his girlfriend. Because he simply wants to make sure that you don’t go see anyone else but him.

When asked by family or friends, here he will confirm that you are his girlfriend. He might let you meet his friends and family and sometimes even ask to meet yours. Here he will start to engage you in his life, such as bringing you out with him while his friends are around. By doing this he wants to make sure, not only to others but also to you that you are his and no one else’s. In this phase he will admit that he finds you attractive. He will contact you more than he did on the previous phase, and sometimes it might even feel as if he is testing you. He will check on you more frequently and will want to know where you are, with who and so on.

We as women see this phase differently, we think yes; he is in love with me but that’s not yet the case. A man needs more time and confirmation before he gets there.

Only around this phase a man will be fully committed to you. In the previous phase he might even take some other woman out on a date, as he hasn’t committed to yet, so he is technically free to do so. It’s only in this phase, that he will limit his dating scene into one person, you. As he is open in telling others that he is seeing you, he will expect you to commit to him and he in return will commit only to you.

Please note that this means that if after six months of dating a man still doesn’t call you his girlfriend or doesn’t want to commit to you or hasn’t brought you to any of his family nor friends then it means he is not worth your time. Meaning that he might be seeing someone else or he is just not that into you.

But if you’ve passed all those phases successfully then the next phase is the Falling in love phase.

The falling in love phase

This phase comes after the admission or commitment phase. Which means it’s about eight to nine months into your dating life. This is the phase where you are now the centre of his world. As you’ve been able to stick around, you’ve seen his ups and downs and his flaws and all and you are still with him, he will do anything for you. Yes, I know you want me to repeat it again so here it comes: He will do anything for you. He will go out of his ways to make you happy. If that means buying expensive things for you; going long distance to see you, taking you out on fancy holidays he will do it (depending on his personal situation of course). All this are just a fracture of what he will be willing to do for you. You see a man isn’t as sentimental as us women. A man when he can get sex, he’ll go for it. In general he won’t do that much effort for a woman but once you’ve reached this phase in your relationship, nothing is too much. He will go exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond to make you happy. For a man to be able to do all this effort, means that he is in love with you.

Although he won’t go and scream it to his friends and family he will show it in everything he does for you.

After falling in love comes the building a future together phase:

Although for us woman this phase already comes after two to three months; and yes for some it already comes after the first date. A man needs somewhat nine months to see himself being bonded to you for a long time ( please note that I didn’t say for life, cause that term scares some men, having to think that he would spend the rest of his life having sex to only one woman) But if you’ve been able to stay with your man for so long and he has fallen in love with you, he would see his future with no one else but you.

In this phase the rolls turn around, he will be the one asking you to book things many months ahead. For example a friend’s wedding in a few months or a concert or end years celebrations. This because he starts to see the future with you. In this phase he will want your presence in his life. If he lives by himself he will want your stuff in his apartment such as pictures of you, or little things such as clothing, toothbrush so that he is always reminded of you. Sometimes he will even suggest that you move in with him. Note that I only mention this now, because until a man falls in love with you, having your stuff in his place will feel smothering to him. Even if he has confirmed that you are his girlfriend, he doesn’t want to see too much of your stuff in his house yet. So wait until the right time comes before you start to leave things in his place. There is nothing attractive about a woman being too pushy; or a woman who already leaves her under wear in your place after a few dates.

With this all being said and done it’s important to know these phases, to respect a man’s timing and to let the man take the lead. I don’t say that every man reacts the same way, but this is a blue print of most relationships. Of course some situations might be different. The key to win a man’s heart is patience and time. If you have these two main elements and he is attracted to you then your relationship is set to succeed.

The little big impacts we have on other people’s life:

A friend of mine used to work in a company where he did many hours of overtime. He was one of the best in his job, was well organised, very punctual had great leadership skills, everything you need to run a business But at the time he was working for this company, being miserable and having nothing but complaints.

After hearing him complaining for a few months I told him that the next best logic step for him would be to start his own company. I told him he had all the qualities needed to run a successful business, and having worked in that industry since he was a teenager he knew all there was to know. I told him that I believed he could start his own business, make it successful and find fulfilment in what he does instead of depending on someone else.

A year later he called me and informed me that he was in the process of staring his own business. A few months after that he signed the documents and was owner of a limited company. Now a few years later, he keeps on adding zeros to his pay checks as is collecting the fruits of his own labour.

It all started as an encouragement of something he wanted to do anyway and now it has worked out as a successful business adding new workers to his employee’s team.

Every time someone comes to me with a dream, a wish a vision, a goal I never break it down, I always try to find ways to encourage him to bring it into completion. I believe that when someone conceives a certain dream, wish or goal and has this for a certain amount of time, and it’s a positive building force, a positive goal than we should all encourage that him.

The other side is true as well, you might have a dream, a will or a wish, but after consulting the wrong person, this last can put you off your dreams and hopes and give you all the reasons why things wouldn’t work. People like that you should avoid, as they could stop you from achieving your greatest goals if you depend too much on their approval.

It’s important to know who to share your goals with and who not to.

To the person giving advice;

we should all be careful in giving our opinion to someone else. The impact that our words have on others is bigger than we can imagine right now. Weigh your words and never speak unless it’s to build up the other person and not to break him off. Your words have the power to build or destroy so choose the correct ones and choose to build others up whenever you can.