FGM is a silent epidemic?

It has been a while since I last posted. It’s been a long road, and its almost near the end…. or shall I say the beginning.

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The stress of being in final year….in my final semester has honestly been the most difficult thing I have done. I honestly thought it could not get any worse, little did I know.

Completing my final project was a challenge that I thoroughly enjoyed doing, despite the anxiety and troubles it would cause me. All those late nights and days being spent in the library was an experience, one which I could look back on and smile about now….although during that period I did not think I could ever smile about it. I don’t think anyone does when you’re in that position.

The topic I choose was an extremely difficult and personal one, it was on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), for those that don’t know, it is an extremely barbaric practice which involves the removal of all or, part of a women’s genitalia for non-medical reasons; it is considered a violation of the human rights of women and girls. It is a cultural practice, practised in 28 countries in Africa, in Asia and the Middle East.

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Spending almost four months working on this project and reading very distressing content daily as part of the research was honestly the most difficult thing I have done. But I did it, I managed to complete my project and ended up achieving an outstanding grade.

All the anxiety and overwhelming emotions was honestly worth it at the end. What kept me going was the fact that I want to be able to help these women!

I wanted to highlight that FGM is a problem, regardless of where you are in the world, it is affecting our women and girls. It is estimated that over 2million girls have undergone FGM in countries which it is concentrated.

My project looked at the challenges these women face when accessing healthcare services.

Conclusion….it is a problem and it is unacceptable. 

‘Some health care workers do not want to question those who have been subjected to FGM or , even the practice itself, for fear of disrespecting peoples culture’.

As members of society it is our duty of care to protect all vulnerable people including women, children and the disabled.  and girls The phrase “disrespecting people’s culture” should not be a reason why we do not act to protect members of society; we should not let people be abused in the name of culture.

Why do we do this?

Is it because these women and children are black or from any other ethnic minority background, dark-skinned, bilingual, which is why we do not question this practice? Is it because you do not consider them your children?

And yes, FGM is abuse; it is dangerous and considered a felony. Many of these women do not consent to the practice, while others are manipulated to have it done. If they refuse to have it done then they will be marginalised and ostracised from community members.

I want you to know that just because FGM is a cultural practice :

A. does not mean that you cannot question it

B. does not mean that you cannot call it abuse

C.does not make it acceptable

D. does not suggest that these women or girls, or those from practising communities do not want help.

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We must know longer sit in silence and stand up against FGM!

Just know that despite all the pain, stress and emotions you experience whilst studying, it will not last long; remember that you will look back and wonder why you was stressing.

Tips for achieving a *:

  1. you must know what you want and really want it
  2. develop a good relationship with the library
  3. research
  4. speak to those already involved in the topic such as activists
  5. be enthusiastic and passionate about topic.

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Stay bliss and remember to beboldhideless

A x

Life is not cheap

Beauty can be defined as the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind.

To summarise, I define beauty as happiness. 

It is not a state or quality rather, it is moments that inspire and represent the attractiveness of our souls. It is the moments we feel free, happy, alive and proud.

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The standard of beauty in todays society is constantly evolving and changing. What is considered beautiful today, will change tomorrow.  The more stressed and frustrated we are about todays beauty standards, the likelihood it is to change tomorrow.

Hold up…… does that mean that I have to constantly work every day on different parts of my body to be considered beautiful? to fit into the standard of beauty? Yes, unfortunately thats what society wants. 

Many women in todays society are suffering from a negative body image, low confidence and lack of self-esteem. Our women are constantly being pushed and labelled to fit into todays standard of beauty; beauty which was different from yesterday, heading to the left and tomorrow, will deviate to the right.

Beauty has been distorted and is often misunderstood. It has become something we strive for rather than seeing it in our most happiest moments.

I can honestly say that the times I have felt happy and beautiful, was when I did not fit into the beauty standards; my face was not painted with makeup, my hair straight, I did not have the most money nor was I wearing the trendiest of clothes. I was the complete opposite- and this is the moment I felt beauty.

I felt beauty when I was at my most happiest moment; and this is because I was alive and did not consider or believe in society’s standard of beauty.

I have not always been aware of this….

During my teen years, I battled with my self-image and confidence. I was never slim nor was I a big girl; I was always in-between. Although some thought I was small. As I grew older, I became obssesed and paranoid about my weight, exercising almost every week. I was very focused on being skinny and having prominent bones- because society considered this as beauty.

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It gradually started becoming a problem; I began restricting my intake and counting calories. I would aim to consume either one meal a day with one treat or, not eat in a day. Every time I went shopping, I would look at the calories religiously. I would not eat anything unless I knew how much calorie and fat content it contained.  As soon as it hit, 7pm, I would stop eating until the next morning.

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This went on for years; not knowing it was a problem, so I didn’t seek help or mention it to others. It somehow made me feel “beautiful” and in control, although deep down I was harming my body. It’s intriguing because you never see it as harming yourself. You consider it a way of fitting into society, societies beauty standard. Yet, it cost me my health. I was deficient in vitamins and was not healthy.

I realised that it had to end. This lifestyle was not healthy and was costing me my health. It was not beautiful. It was dangerous and inexcusable.

Women should not have to put their health on the line to be considered beautiful, why must I hide my beauty or, amend it to fit into society standards; standards which are constantly changing and a society which does not acknowledge you.

It’s not worth it. You are worth millions. You are a diamond. You are beautiful.

Note: Remember, if you are struggling with a similar issue, eating disorder, and are finding it hard to quit, then do seek help!! This is often an issue which can be difficult for a person to ackoelwegdi and work through alone either due to trauma or, bullying and may require assistance of a professional. Please do not feel ashamed or embarrassed. You are beautiful and courageous for surviving. You know longer have to suffer alone, please do reach out. 

Stay strong and remember to beboldhideless. 

A x

Don’t hold your breath

These past few weeks and days have been hectic and busy.  I submitted my final project of the year! yaaaay me! and have been planning for other assignments that need to be completed before summer….. if you’re interested, I have been successfully procrastinating with that and its no fun.

I was reading a book the other day, and it made me think and ponder. It goes like so “Your life span is but one day; with this attitude you will not be caught between an obsession over the past with all its anxiety, and the hopes for the future with all its uncertainty. Live for today.”

grateful.pngOnce I read this statement, I decided that I wanted to live life like this; I wanted to be in the present. In every way possible, I have tried to not dwell too much on the past or, look too ahead in the future; if I do this I will have the opportunity to live in the present. I will not miss out on the things which are right there in front of me.

For too long now I have been looking at my past, I have been focused on that which I do not have and that which I lost. It would make me completely oblivious and blind to the things which were in front of me. This only increased me in sadness and grief; living in a constant state of anxiety.

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To overcome this I have been writing:

  1. all things which I am grateful for every morning
  2. my strengths and qualities whenever I feel worthless and down.

It has been proven that a way to overcome your sadness and low mood is by showing gratitude. Sounds simple but, yet many of us do not focus on this. We tend to dwell on that which we do not have. When we are thankful and grateful for something we are automatically looking at that which is working in our life rather that which is not. Just by writing 3 things which we are grateful for everyday can improve our mood.

Remember to always thank God for all that He has done for you. For keeping you strong. You may not see it but out of His Mercy He has protected you and given you strength. He has allowed you to see today, and has given you an opportunity to embark on your journey; so make sure that you give every thanks to Him. 

Don’t get me wrong, if you have gone through trauma or been wronged by a colleague, manager or friend and have not had justice, then of course you will find it hard to not dwell on the past. You will feel fear, anger, guilt and shame but, this can all contribute to your growth. It’s okay to grieve over that which you have lost. 

Dwelling on the past is like driving your car with your foot on the brake, your eyes on the rearview mirror, and your gas tank empty.  You’re wondering why you aren’t moving forward, and yet all the while you’re focused on the wrong direction.  Parrott and Warren.

You need to not dwell on it for too long, for this only increases you in being static. If you want to grow and embark on the journey then you need to start moving and stop dwelling on the past; stop beating yourself up; stop blaming yourself; for you only deserve better and nothing less.

Don’t allow anyone to tell you any less; for you are beautiful and courageous.

I want you to know that you can live in the moment. You can enjoy what you have despite all the pain and suffering you have gone through. You just need to take small steps… this includes not spending most of your time looking back. It’s time to live in the moment.

Stay strong and beboldhideless

A x

I just want the world to know, you’re

Beautiful.

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This is something we are not told often by our friends, our families, our neighbours, our colleagues or even……ourselves.

It is something that is very very important,

Yet, we are NOT told often……..

We do not tell OURSELVES we are beautiful.

We do NOT hear it enough.

Instead, we hear and focus on all the negative comments,

“You’re too skinny” “you’re fat” “Your thighs are too big” “your skin is too dark”

We cling onto all these nasty comments, that now “we” begin to believe it.

We start living these comments, until we no longer feel good about ourselves,

Until our self-worth heads down the drain and our self-esteem jumps out the window.

O, how happy would that make our enemies!

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Do you ever consider how harmful it is to not tell yourself you are beautiful? To define oneself as beautiful..

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,but true beauty in a Woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”  Audrey Hepburn 

We are so busy focusing on outer beauty, beauty which is short-lived, that we completely neglect our inner beauty, beauty which is long-lasting,

Inner beauty is important for growth, yet many of us neglect it; we are heedless of this. The same way planting a seed requires nurturing and observing, to help it grow and stand strong, is the same way us, as humans require constant nurturing and attention; to allow us to become the best that we can.

In order to focus on this inner beauty, then you need to start by planting and nurturing the seed:

Step 1: You need to start off by telling yourself every day, maybe more than once a day, how beautiful you are…I know it may sound weird or even uncomfortable but, it is vital for growth growth. Once you start nurturing this seed, will you then begin to see the outer beauty.

Step 2: Keep away from toxic individuals.  It may be something that is obvious. But sometimes even those closest to us, are often the most harmful.  Those individuals who constantly highlight your shortcomings and remind you of your imperfections are the ones to avoid. STAY AWAY.

 

I want you to tell yourself:

Upon rising in the morning, tell yourself,

You’re beautiful.

Upon heading to the bathroom, tell yourself

you’re beautiful

Upon having breakfast, tell yourself

you’re beautiful,

when you’re getting dressed for the day, tell yourself

you’re beautiful

when you step out of your home tell yourself

you’re beautiful.

when you see an enemy tell yourself,

you’re beautiful.

Why? Because you’re beautiful and it deserves to be highlighted.

You deserve to be happy!

Stay beautiful and beboldhideless 

A x

Are you really worth it?

The story of why I keep blaming myself….battle.jpg

For a long time now I never really understood myself. I haven’t been able to understand why I am such a reserved person; for a while now I haven’t felt like I know who I am.

Only recently do I feel like I am getting to know myself. I am hopefully beginning to love myself more and use more of my capabilities

There is a particular issue I want to address, it’s the issue which will hopefully make more sense as you read along..

I’ve been raised around family most of my life, as most people have I presume. My family were pretty much my life. We would do everything together. I even considered them to be my best friends- for that reason I didn’t particularly make much friendships. Looking back now I feel like that perhaps wasn’t the best of ideas because it meant that I was not able to form very close relationships with people because I knew that I could do most things with my family.

Only now, in my early twenties have I realised that things aren’t what it is. Now that I see the “family” I was once close to, who was once my world, have I realised that it was not a healthy relationship.

I feel like I’m losing track of what I’m saying….

During my late teens, I made a disclosure, a disclosure which was going to change the rest of my life.…… in particular how I viewed my family. But, was going to uncover myself.

Before I made the disclosure, I knew I would not be supported, I knew that my “family” would be against it. Yet, I still hoped. I had a tiny bit of hope, why? Because I’m someone who has faith and hope is what keeps me moving.

As predicted, the reaction was that of shock and horror, and no it’s not what you think.

The reaction I received was anger. I had in some way betrayed the family.

Surely, I shouldn’t be blamed for something that was not my fault? No? I guess they thought otherwise..

For years now I’m talking less than five years I’ve had to come to terms with this. I’ve been blaming myself so much for everything that has gone wrong, I’ve had to listen to the sly comments and pretending everything is okay, when in actual fact…I mean clearly things are not ok.

I’ve had to hide my emotions… ignore them and pretend they’re not there, despite the amount of times they would creep up….I would quickly shut the lid and say “there is no room to deal with the pain” Honestly, the pain and hurt just cannot be expressed in words.

-Do you understand why I blame myself for everything?-

For the next…only God knows how long, I was to live in an environment that was toxic, harmful, pernicious and draining- that was called, home.

Words cannot express how much pain this place causes me. It causes me so much hurt and anguish. Home is meant to be a place you come back to, a place where you feel safe and secure. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel like I’m not safe. I just need positivity around me,

It is extremely difficult when you want to work on yourself and grow as a person and yet you’re surrounded by so much negativity.

There are times when I can feel myself grow, then suddenly, I come crashing down. All the self-hate comments come running….. Most of the times there is a trigger.

“you’re worthless, ugly, weak, a burden…..” They just don’t stop.

You feel worthless, unloved, weak, degraded… you’re basically battling with yourself.

The way I deal with this when they creep up on me is by repeating affirmations, may sound weird, but repeating comments like “I am great. I am confident. I am beautiful” can actually make a massive difference in terms of erasing the negative thoughts. As humans, we tend to dwell on the negative comments. For example, if someone asks how your day went, most often than not you will mention everything that went wrong or, talk about how your boss treats you awfully, right? Have we ever mentioned how great our day went or, the amazing chocolates your colleague, who you dislike, brought in today?

*just something to think about*

Only recently have I felt myself growing and becoming stronger, much stronger than before.

If I’ve learnt something I have learnt that as humans, we adapt to change. We adapt to things to help ourselves cope and to help us thrive. I mean I would say one of our strengths is that we can adapt whatever the weather.

I just wanted to share my experience nor, do I want this to go on any longer, which is why I’m cutting it short. But I do want people to know that I don’t act the way I do because I’m being snobbish or, arrogant. It’s just I’m trying to survive.

The person I am today is because of my previous experiences and current because without this, I’m telling you I wouldn’t have come this far nor, would I be the person I am. I’m am standing x10 stronger because of my experiences. The key thing I’d like to share is self-reflection – It’s the secret to a happy and mindful life.

I am utterly grateful for everything that I have experienced and gone through. I will admit, it wasn’t easy, as I have mentioned previously but, I can see myself changing for the better and getting to know who I am; which is something I haven’t been able to do for a while.

I am thankful to God, for getting me through these difficult years and days. Without His Mercy, I honestly wouldn’t be where I am.

“Be your own torch bearer– be a light through your dark days and see your way out. For darkness does not exist if there is light, and light does not exist without darkness.” A

Beboldhideless

A x

Source: image from simplereminders.com*

It’s okay not to be okay

Hurts.

Hurt is an emotion, it’s a feeling, it’s something thats very deep. And it hurts.

We have either been hurt or are hurt by others.

It can be painful and uncomfortable to deal with.

One of the reasons for this hurt is because again, I touch upon, our expectations we have of people.

We expect so much, that when that isn’t fulfilled we become broken. We feel our lives have crumbled down. We feel as though we can no longer move on with anything. It hurts, it really hurts and pains.

We wonder what we’ve done to be treated this way.

We contemplate on life, and wonder why people are acting in such a way, why must we always be hurt? 

Our contemplation leads us to think “why must I continue?” “What is the point?” “I can’t do this anymore” “I’m in so much pain”.

You feel as though you’re in a tight compacted container, with little air to breathe, you feel the walls closing in as though its something thats in a computer game, you feel your heart racing and find it hard to control your breathing, something that is an unconscious movement now becomes conscious.

You just want it to end, you want it to stop you just want the world to stop spinning around you.

This is only short-term pain, my dear. It is what you make it out to be.

You’ve been chosen to go through this pain. Your name is written all over it…

Life can be such a FLU sometimes. I know it hurts! I know.

Silhouette of Woman Kneeling in Prayer and Surrender

 

 

 

 

 

My dear sister or, brother

Please have the strength to keep going! I promise it wont last long. Only for a little while longer. 

I know you’ve gone through so much hurt and pain,

You feel no one will listen

There is someone who will listen.

Remember God does not burden a soul more than it can bear. You are going through this struggle and not your neighbour or, you relative, thats because you can handle it. You just have to find healthy ways of coping.

I’d like to share 3 healthy ways I cope when things get tough. They are:

  1. Praying. Whether you believe in a God or, not. This is something that has given me so much strength, peace and patience. I honestly would say it’s a secret weapon.
  2. Going to the gym. This is something I’ve been doing since my easy teens and have now made it a regular routine to go at least once a week. Makes you feel so wonderful and good; as though you’re on top of the world 🙂
  3. Eating healthy greens. Its’ a new thing I’m trying. The phrase you hear “you are what you eat” is real! Hear me out.. the types of food you eat has a massive effect on your outer and inner beauty. Even your mood!  (I’ll hopefully be blogging about this shortly) I would start off by having a banana and spinach smoothie (with or without soya milk). It’s literally so so good.

Stay strong and beboldhideless 

A x

You are, your own enemy

I’m back at it again. and I wanted to let you know how my journey was going.

Today marks the end, yet the beginning ,of what I hope will be a beautiful journey.

I have successfully completed my therapy sessions (counselling) and I honestly feel like I have benefited so much. To give you a small insight, I have begun to feel comfortable in my own skin and have a much better awareness of my current situation; something I haven’t been able to do thus far.

It has not been easy.

It wasn’t an easy journey,

I honestly remember going into my first session, bearing in mind I have never spoken about my emotions, to either a friend or family member, let alone a stranger, was one of the most difficult things I have done. Yet, I had the strength to keep going back. Despite how awful I felt I kept going. There’s a phrase “you are your own enemy” < this is what I was conscious of, I knew that the only person who could get in my way, was myself. So I battled and fought.

*It’s actually not as easy as I thought it would be to write about my emotions and journey*.

To go into a room, where it is you and a “stranger”, and the sessions are going to be about “you”. “You” are the focus of discussion, was something I had to come to terms with. Something I had to get use to despite how uncomfortable it made me feel, despite how much I wanted to crawl into a ball and disappear, because, I knew that, I know longer wanted to feel this way.

I know longer wanted to feel as though life was not worth living, I know longer wanted to live in my past,
I know longer want to be silenced. I want to live in the present, without paining. I want to be free. I want a voice.

To grow and overcome this trauma, I must connect with myself.

I must connect with that inner child, I was not able to comfort, reassure, love and support.

That inner child is calling me back, is calling to ask for a hug, to ask for my love, comfort and support. It is asking for the things I was not a
ble to give; I promise I will give you all that was missing. 

I have acknowledged and I’m healing. I am on the journey.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go but, I’m hopeful. To be honest, I feel as though I don’t have much of a choice, I’m either hopeful or, I’m hopeful. Not much of a choice is there?

As I have mentioned,  it marks the end, yet the beginning. I will continue to grow as a person and I will continue to focus on what’s around me, rather than that which I don’t have

These past couple months, I have realised that the only person that can stop you from growing and believing in yourself, is yourself. You really are your own worst enemy. And until you realise this, you will continue to harm yourself and stay static. You need to acknowledge and realise what you are doing
; you can do this alone or, may need someones help/support, (remember, it is okay to ask for help) once this happens, you can start your journey… 

Stay focused and be strong. Remember to always through the good and bad to, beboldhideless

A xfriend or foe

*Image from thethingswesay.com*