The “F” word

It is so powerful. It can physically and mentally immobilize you, get your heart racing, sweaty palms and all. The word is fear. It refrains us from trying new things or taking life-changing steps. We feed this until it completely paralyzes us. If the word you were thinking of is fear, you are absolutely right.

You know that guy you always run into when you go for your morning jog. You have run into each other for almost a year now. You like him a lot and look forward to every morning because of him. You also know that he is single. You have come to know that he is kind, educated, down to earth and a proper gentleman. You want to ask him out. Instead of thinking of all the good ways this could go, you let fear prevent you from what could be the most beautiful relationship you could have. You think of all the horrible ways this could go like what if he doesn’t like you like that? What if this ends badly? So now you torture yourself with all these “what ifs”. You end up missing out because fear got in the way. May be you want to relocate to a new state, start a business because you hate the 9-5 routine, try bungee jumping, travel to see the world or even apply for that promotion you’ve been dreaming off.

Let go of your fear and watch how amazing your life will become. If you are reading this, try something new today, you might be pleasantly suprised. If you live in fear you only live half your life. Do not fear failure, but be terrified of regret. Go out there and live your best live. The fear may not go away, you might just have to do it scared. What has fear prevented you from doing lately? Kindly share in the comments below.

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Have you heard about the Sande society?

The Secret Society of the Sande Women

The Bundu helmet mask which is sometimes called the Mende or Sowei mask is a type of mask worn by the Sande female society in Sub-Saharan Africa during solemn rituals or ceremonies. Most masquerade or masks are worn by men.  The Sande women are the only women in Sub-Saharan African allowed to wear mask during ceremonial activities or rituals. However, Sande officials commission male carvers to make the mask in secret. The Bundu helmet mask is especially used during initiation rites or puberty rites. This is a coming of age ceremony for girls to become women. The mask can only be worn by women who have certain standing or position within the society. These women receive the initiates at the end of a three-month reclusion in the forest.

            The mask represents an ideal of feminine beauty admired by the Mendes. These ideals include a full forehead, elaborate headdress or hairstyles and small facial feature. Each characteristic of the mask has a symbolic meaning associated with it. The shiny surface of the mask is a representation of healthy and glowing skin; this happens when the mask is anointed with palm oil (modern carvers use black shoe polish to get that shine). The mouth is made small to teach the initiates (girls) not to gossip. The ears are also made small to teach the initiates not to eavesdrop. The neck has deep incised lines which is considered marks of beauty and a promise of proliferation. The neck is also made broad so it could fit the person who wears it.

            The mask is worn with a costume made of thick cotton covered with raffia which has been dyed black. The sacredness of the mask and complete costume is seen as a representation of the long deceased founder of the Sande society. The wearer also has to be an official of Sande society and very good dancer, who can dance in the heavy costume for over two hours. The dance moves are also symbolic. It is said that the spirits that possess the wearer send messages in the form of the dancing. The messages sent in the puberty rituals is to teach the girls what they need to know for womanhood.

What ceremonial practices do you know of? Have you ever witnessed one? What are your thoughts on these traditions?

The Hair Controversy

The fight for equality is still going. We are constantly striving to make the world we live in a better place. This can be seen in the policies that are being passed, one of which is, the law passed lifting the ban on discrimination based on hair. NY State has passed a law that makes it illegal for any individual or institution to show any form of discrimination towards anyone based on their hair. There have been many instances of people facing discrimination based on their hair. For instance, a Buena Regional High School varsity wrestler had his dreadlocs forcefully cut by a referee before his match else he forfeits his match. There was a video of it posted on social media which went viral. This led to a national outrage and got the referee banned. However, it doesn’t take away from the emotional and mental strain the wrestler may have experienced.  “The New York City’s human rights commission specifically asserts the right of people to have natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, bantu knots, fades, afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state” (Andre D. Wagner, New York Times). Carmelyn P. Malalis, commissioner and chairwoman of the New York City Commission on Human Rights said, “They are based on racist standards of appearance.” It may seem like such a trivial issue to some people, but this has been an ongoing problem all over the world, which dates all the way back to the era of slavery.    

It is often said that the hair is a person’s crowning glory. Hair represents different things for different people. Runaway slaves braided patterns in their hair that served as maps to their escape route. Mothers put rice in the hair of their children before braiding during times when their children were going to be sold to new slave owners. This was to ensure that their kids didn’t starve on the long commute to their new slave owners. To the Rastafarians, dreadlocs has a spiritual symbolism.  The hair can represent beauty, social status, spirituality, religiosity and many other different reasons. During slavery, slave women were asked to cover their hair with head wraps or scarves. The overlords or slave masters imposed it as a badge of enslavement. The slaves rebelled by using beautifully patterned scarves and tying them in intricate styles to adorn themselves.  In the 1960s, for example, wearing an Afro, was seen as a political stance rather than for its pure aesthetic purpose. Today, certain hair types and styles are considered unsightly and unprofessional.

The question however is, why should a person’s natural hair be seen as inappropriate when it is what the person is born with? It doesn’t seem to affect the person’s productivity or attitude to their work, so why should it be an issue for others? For instance, a soldier is still a soldier protecting a country whether they have dreadlocks, braids, straight or curly hair. It doesn’t take away from their duties or make them less efficient. This may not seem like a big deal for most people, but for individuals who constantly face discrimination in varying ways, this is a huge deal. It means that we are making our way to an egalitarian society. This ban will help promote self-confidence, boost self-esteem, eradicate bullying and lead to an overall great mental health. Hopefully, other states in the country would follow suit as well as the rest of the world. This is because, a person’s hair should not define them or their capabilities. No one should be made to feel inferior because of their choice of hairstyle.

May be we should kiss a little…

May be we should kiss a little..
First time could be awkward but the bitter sweet taste of you moist lips would ship it off to sea.

May be we should kiss a little..
my arms around your neck, lips part, tongues touch, bonjour with a minty taste.

May be we should kiss a little...
You'd throw in a little tickle, I'd laugh so hard.. may be try to run.. hehe
You'll lift me up in your arms, hold me tight and rub my back...
Bliss, you are my lucky charm..

May be we should kiss a little cos you are right here by my side.
You are sexy, I am weak.
It is simple, you blow my mind.

Now we are bored, nothing to do. We are done with the laughs, done with the giggles and tickles. I am stuck, dreamy eyed and dimples.
You read my mind, I read yours.
You are so divine, I'd sing songs...
You hear the chords of my songs, they hit yours...

We give in to emotions, lift off...
So we kissed a little....