A Long Month Without My Brother
It’s almost one month since my younger brother passed away, he was 19.
It’s been a very tough month for me, my remaining siblings, as well as my parents.
What made this tough month a little bit more bearable, was the outpour of support we got from the Sudanese community, family and friends. People have been very good to us and many continue being good to us. The favours people are doing for us, the nice offers of this and that, sacrificing their entire days and even weekends to spend time with us… I appreciate it all.
Everyday I think of him and everyday I touch his clothes and hold it close to me, I really miss him. I’ve been trying to distract myself as much as possible by carrying on as normal, but life will never be normal and it will never be the same.
The thought that he is gone never escapes my mind. My smiles and laughter cover up how I truly feel inside. Distracting myself is the only way I can put my mind at peace for that little while.
It’s a known cliche that people always speak positively of the deceased but my brother was a wonderful person. He never harboured any resentment towards people.
I’ve been that typical older sister who’s shown him a lot of tough love, but he continued to respect and care for me. He was quiet, kept to himself but had a big heart for the people he loved. He was overly generous, with time and resources. He was also very easy to please. His birthdays were simple and he was happy with that. He never had a new mobile phone either; he was more than happy to get a handset which could call and text. He was never into the whole smartphone craze.
My brother was never demanding and never, ever asked for much.
When I went to the U.S. last year, the only thing he asked for was candy and FIFA 2012, which he really enjoyed playing. He was a huge football fan!
He tinkered a lot with our old computer, played online games and he loved the PlayStation 3 so much. He was also very intelligent; he achieved wonderful A level results and was very good at debating.
He spend a lot of time with a relative from South Sudan and his Dinka improved in matter of weeks! He was able to speak it to my parents and other relatives. He was a very proud Dinka man and definitely wanted to go back someday. My brother was very hopeful of South Sudan and had many dreams and wishes for our country.
My brother was also a joker. He was very mischievous! He would make jokes to annoy me to no end. He always had play fights with my baby brother and my younger cousins too. He was just this wonderful spark in our lives.
I am so glad I was able to have this wonderful person as my brother. I just wish I had much more time with him than I was given.
And although we had our ups and downs, I always told him I valued him very much because of his kindness and innocence. I really didn’t deserve to have him as my brother.
Many people he went to school and work with, can only say good things about him. His death has reminded me that life is precious and fragile. It’s unpredictable. Everything has been planned for us.
As time goes by, I may be able to accept his passing a little bit more, but the pain won’t ever go away. I miss him greatly, but I’m glad he was able to touch everyone with the way he was.
9:32 pm • 18 October 2012 • 3 notes
Sexualisation Is Not Love.
Sexualisation does not correlate with love.
I’ve found a number of social networking accounts sexualising black women. On Twitter, I find tweets discussing how full our lips are, how big our bums are and how beautiful our skin glistens in the sun. I can’t disagree with that. Women are beautiful beings but there is so much more to us than just that.
I’ve noticed that a lot of women are in support of guys who sexualise women (or black women in this case). I suppose it’s because they view the comments as compliments and compliments are nice.
I frown upon the way women support guys who sexualise them because I want people to not just see that I am sexy, beautiful, attractive etc. I want people to see that I am intelligent, outspoken and caring too: aspects of my personality need to be appreciated as well.
I’m completely against the sexualisation of women (even though it’s an integral part of society since we live in a patriarchal world). But why am I so against it? Well:
- Your physical appearance is temporary. Hit a certain age, have kids or pick up bad habits and everything will go south.
- Your physical appearance is subjective. One guy may think you’re the best thing since sliced bread, the other guy may think you resemble Cruella de Vil.
- Many guys will pay you compliments just to get you into bed and will kick you out when they’re done entering you.
- There is so much more to women than physical appearance. We are educators, presidents, scientists, CEO’s. We are thinkers, revolutionaries, leaders and warriors. There is more to us than just looks.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like compliments.
I’d be lying if I said I’m never flattered when a guy compliments me or women who look like me. Compliments are nice. Approval is nice. Basically, it’s always nice to get compliments, but my confidence and self-esteem do not depend on them. I don’t need compliments to continue loving myself.
Black women have been sexualised for centuries and even to this day, black women are heavily sexualised in the entertainment industry (particularly in music videos). Sex sells. But continuous sexualisation of us, makes people think and believe that we are good for one thing only; sex. It is not a good thing. My aspirations and sights are set higher than that.
Sexualisation is not love.
Sexualisation is lust and not love. Love and lust are two completely different things. Sexualisation focuses on the physical appearance of the person concerned. It focuses on how they look, not on how they think.
We live at a time when women have more rights and more freedom than ever before. Sexualising us and deeming us as just good enough to look at and masturbate over, ignores our capabilities in many different areas of life. You can sexualise me and appreciate my body, but you will never think that I’m good enough to make something of myself.
Your love means nothing if the only thing you love is her body.
He may love her hips and her lips but if he doesn’t love how she thinks, how she acts… who she is… that’s not love.
You can love our bodies, but don’t forget to love our minds too. Preach about how we look, but also preach about our minds too. Women need to be appreciated and loved for more.
12:02 am • 7 October 2012 • 16 notes
If You Belong On NoWayGirl.Com, Don’t Give Me Your Salon Card
Last year, I was waiting at a bus stop in Camden for a bus to Victoria (both places are in London). While I was waiting, a woman approached me. She had a lace front wig which was tied back into a ponytail. Her edges looked like this:
Kelly I love you, but this style was a hot mess.
This woman’s edges were thick. She had no baby hairs at all and you could clearly see the glue! The hair looked old and synthetic as well (you could tell by the shine it was giving off). Her lace wig was so unsightly, I felt embarrassed for her.
And as if the lace front application and quality wasn’t bad enough, the hair was freaking blond. When will people start accepting that the colour blond isn’t for everyone?
The friends or family members of the woman concerned, clearly didn’t love this woman enough to sit her down and tell her that her wig was a total tragedy. But I digress.
It’s one thing to be going out with a hair helmet and it’s another if you approach me with a freaking salon card. Of course I shook my head and declined. If I needed my hair done, it wouldn’t be anywhere near the salon of a Nowaygirl.com poster child.
Some salon-card-givers are obviously very unabashed about what they do. Many seem to lack basic manners and even friendliness.
I appreciate the fact that everyone needs to pay their bills but there are some things you shouldn’t be doing if you actually want people to take you and your business seriously.
Future and current salon-card-givers, take heed of what I, as the non-salon-card-acceptor, think about you all:
Many of you are rude, rude and rude.
- The woman I described in this post, was particularly aggressive. I’m sure a bit of intimidation prompts someone to accept your card (even though they don’t want to), but do you really think they’ll visit your salon if you approach them so aggressively? I think not.
- You’re insinuating that I require your services because the hair on my head right now isn’t good enough. Offering your salon card can be deemed as offensive.
Your own hair looks bad.
- Yes. It does. It wouldn’t be wrong for me to assume that it probably looks bad 95% of the time. I’m very unlikely to accept your card if your hair looks bad.
- Your hair should be regarded as an advertisement of your salon. If it looks bad, we will expect a bad salon experience. Good luck with getting anyone to visit after seeing your sumo wrestler hairstyle.
- If your tracks are so visible that even a train can use it, consider that you are probably more in need of your own salon services… no scratch that, you should probably close your salon. No one in their right mind would go to a salon where the hairdresser has messed up hair themselves.
Salon-card-givers, if you want people to accept your card and visit your salon next time, make sure your hair is on point and give your salon card with compliments, please and thank yous. Don’t forget to smile too!
P.S. If you’re reading this and your hair resembles the hair of the woman in this post, please go back to the salon you came from and demand your money back. You’ve been scammed.
P.S.S This post is a true story and satirical, it isn’t meant to be taken too seriously.
8:45 pm • 1 October 2012 • 4 notes
Bullied: I Was Called E.T.
Disclaimer: This post contains a lot of profanity that is uncensored (I’m angry, that’s why). Further, if you’re a hater of foreheads, please exit this post immediately. If you stick around anyway and find this post uncomfortable because it forces you to question whether your distaste for big foreheads is pathetic, then I have accomplished my mission. I want everyone to know that if you see me with a big forehead that you should shut the fuck up because I have had enough of hearing about it. Thank you.
Step aside Tyra Banks and Rihanna; I have a bigger forehead than both y’all.
My forehead has bothered many people to the point where I got ridiculed relentlessly for it. Primary school was in the Netherlands and honestly the best time of my life. I was never bullied. I was made fun of at one point and then I attacked the guy but that was different. I was never made fun of when it came to my forehead and being the only black girl in class (and one of the only few in school).
A childhood friend of mine (living in my childhood neighbourhood) did point out my forehead on multiple occasions. During one instance, we both got upset, got into an altercation and she proceeded to make fun of my forehead. I was shocked, confused and hurt… I did not know what the hell was going on. No one had ever pointed out to me that my forehead was large as a kid. To me it was normal. I didn’t even know that my forehead mattered because it definitely didn’t matter to other people.
Fast forward, secondary school in the Netherlands and United Kingdom, I got bullied about it. I was bullied by people who looked like me; people of African descent and mainly girls. I was bullied relentlessly. On some occasions I got attacked and I had to fight back and the other girl was suspended. She had so much hate for me, all because of my forehead.
I had food and drinks thrown at me. I was ganged up on. I even remember in one of my classes, a classmate said; ”hey your forehead isn’t that big, it’s just that your hairline starts far back”. It was as if he had a fucking epiphany. I didn’t say anything… of course. I mean how do you respond to such unnecessary bullshit?
The same girl who physically attacked me in secondary school, always called me E.T.
Yes you read it, E fucking T. E.T. E.T. dammit. E.T.!!!
FUCKING E.T.. I WAS CALLED E.T. *laughs hysterically*
I wish they called me fucking Tyra Banks or Rihanna. At least the things I have in common with them is that we all have a big forehead, we’re all black and we’re all women. I have nothing in common with E.T. Wait let me think… nope. I have nothing in common with E.T. I tried to see the link and I tried so hard but I see absolutely nothing. I know deep down though, that she wanted to be a smart ass and call me E.T. because I looked like an alien to her. If you saw her today you’d probably call her a hypocrite for that…
Fast forward to sixth form (where I endured the very last of my bullying), I got bullied again about my forehead. Guys laughed at me. Guys looked at me and talked behind my back. I felt uncomfortable. I would purposely avoid certain places of the school to avoid them. I felt like I was watched all the time. The guys would hang out with people I interacted with. They’d flirt with them, hang out with them etc. while making fun of me. Those guys were of African descent.
I went to a boys grammar school sixth form so it was majority boys. Girl and boys were allowed into the sixth form.
At this school, I remember a particular incident where I was in the library. I had my hair done (in braids and then the rest left out, it was fucking ugly but it wasn’t me who did it so…). One guy made a comment about my hair (a guy who’s always been bullying me about my forehead and he was in Year 13, likely 18 years old) and I called him out on the spot. He was embarrassed. I know he was and everyone was just looking. I left the library and went about my way. The guy apologised later and never bothered me again.
My school life was a disaster. Despite this, I still managed to do very well in school. I did have many friends and I was very likeable. In some cases people stood up for me, in other cases they didn’t and I don’t blame them. To be up against nine girls or a group of guys isn’t something someone wants to endure.
The teachers were helpful and did as much as they could to curb the bullying. I’m very grateful for their support.
I want to let people know that making fun of the way someone looks makes you very pathetic. Before we were born, we didn’t have the option to choose how we can look like. The way we look is something beyond our control. This is why I detest people bullying or putting others down because of the way they look.
I can’t do anything about my forehead except wear a fringe to cover it. I don’t want to though and I shouldn’t have to do that to prevent looks, comments etc. This is what I was born with. It displays my heritage and where I am from. It is a part of me that will always remain with me. Unlike lips and noses which can be adjusted using surgery, I can’t adjust my forehead. I can bring my hairline forward but it’s unnecessary pain and money spend.
I am in the process of accepting my forehead for what it is. I am not 100% comfortable with it, but I am slowly, but surely, getting there. If you have a problem with my forehead, take a fucking number and get in line. The fact that you’re so consumed with someone else’s looks just shows how pathetic you are.
Here are some forehead pics of some beautiful people. If it bothers you so much, click the fuck away;
And here is a forehead pic of me:
Me in Amsterdam. In a park. As you can see, I’m not an aspiring model.
This post was emotional and quite uncomfortable for me because it brought back many painful memories. I almost shed a few tears too. People can be so cruel and destroy a confident and happy person and turn them into nothing. All those years of pain takes a long time to get over. My last bullying experience was when I was 18 which was only 2 years ago. I’m learning to love who I am and what I have.
I have written this post in honour of the children who get bullied for the way they look, for their sexuality, for their personality… for all of those reasons. This post is for you. Please love yourself. Please. Tell someone if you’re getting bullied. There are people willing to help. You don’t have to end a temporary situation using a permanent ‘solution’. There is no need, you too can overcome it.
And to the bullies, get some fucking therapy. It’s unhealthy to be obsessing over someone else’s looks/sexuality/personality.
9:37 pm • 10 September 2012 • 9 notes
Not Married, No Kids? No Success.
How many times have you heard or read people state that getting married and having kids is pretty much the epitome of success (or at least suggesting that in a myriad of ways that it is)?
I’ll be the first to admit that I was guilty of this attitude that marriage and having kids is the epitome of success. I believed that I should get a university degree, a career, then get married and have kids. Now that I’m 20 years old and going towards my final year of my degree, my mind is changing. I have come to the realisation that success is:
… achieving what you want to achieve.
For the smart alec’s that may say ‘oh but getting a BTEC is not success’ well it’s a success if it’s their goal and they’ve achieved it. Everyone has different goals and not everyone is aiming to get a £100k p/a job. Not everyone is capable of achieving such a feat so it’s good that people are realistic about their goals (whatever they may be).
When I think back on what I used to believe, I look back with a bit of embarrassment but I excuse myself because I was young. Nearly everyone can get married and have kids so it’s not exactly something brag worthy. What should ideally be classed as a success, is how well the kids are raised and how long the marriage lasts etc.
Anyhow, the bottom-line is, success shouldn’t correlate with marriage or children and too often people try and use that as a measure of success (the people I have seen anyway).
For instance, you may have a career, your own home and a marriage. Your friend who is your age may have a career but still lives at home and she is not married. Why should people deem you (the person with the marriage, career and probably future kids) more successful? Just because you’re married?
Not everyone is aiming for marriage and that person living with mummy and daddy may be living there because it’s cheaper/more practical or because they just love living at home.
Does a marriage mean that you’ve been able to get someone and you won’t die all alone? Therefore making you a much more attractive individual (looks and personality-wise) in comparison to your friend?
Does not being married mean no one’s checking for you, making your personality and looks unappealing and therefore you’ll die alone?
I don’t believe that at all, yet people try and insinuate that all the time. I have seen and heard people use their marriage to appear mightier than those who aren’t married: ‘I’m better than you because I have a ring on my finger and a man in my bed’. Someone who seriously thinks this way should probably not be married.
Someone who chooses not to get married because they aren’t ready or they’re just taking it slow are being very responsible and people shouldn’t scold them for that. Besides, not many relationships end in marriage. Less people are getting married these days because of cultural changes.
Oprah is one of those good examples of successful people that aren’t married or haven’t got any children, yet people insinuate that she must be feeling empty inside because of that. She appears to be doing just fine. Doesn’t she have a girls school in South Africa? I think she took them shopping recently too. Those little girls look happy and they definitely look up to Oprah.
While the need to reproduce has been ingrained in us because it’s an evolutionary survival mechanism for our genetic lineage, people are getting away more and more from what is natural to us. Times are changing, gender roles are changing and our culture is becoming more and more individualistic.
There’s no doubt that parenthood can be a rewarding and exciting stage in life but seriously, parenthood and marriage is not for everyoneand some people should be encouraged not to have any kids at all. I myself have doubts about having kids someday because the world is just that messed up. I wouldn’t want them to have to endure what many other people are enduring. It’s painful thinking about it.
And as if it’s not awful enough to expect everyone to be married with kids before you deem them as successful, this is always used in the case of women. It’s like a woman’s sole purpose is to get tied down and birth kids left and right before they can be seen as successful. This may have been the case 60 years back (and in collectivist cultures today) but today it isn’t the case and women have a lot more freedom and opportunities now, than they did back then.
Marriage isn’t the end all, be all form of success and it is unfair to assume that everyone needs to get married or have children in order to live fulfilling lives. I’ll probably get kicked for saying this but some people may even argue that they are leading more fulfilling lives because they have no kids. Human beings do not fit in a ‘one-size fits all’ box and that needs to be appreciated.
4:56 pm • 7 September 2012 • 5 notes