FREE VERSE POETRY 3

No set meter, no rhyme, no rules, no particular structure.
Just liberation, just a change of mind, just an expression.
Nothing has changed except me and the facts.
Facts about my imperfections.
Every season of life, you are imperfect in a perfect way.
In the fire, you look at the future.
Things you wish you could control and have at your finger tips.
Yet a box of opportunities.
You grab it and you won’t let go until you seize it.
You store memories of disappointments.
But they become a part of you and mould you.
You are stronger now.
Shelves of shared laughter.
Not the darkness of mere existence.
That’s all there is, laughter.

19’s Observation.

 

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ENTREPRENEURS: WHAT IT TOOK ME TO FINALLY TAKE THE BOLD STEP AND BE MY OWN BOSS

Many of us out there question our purpose and missions on earth without ever really having a concrete and certain answer. That’s simply because we don’t always have control over life and the future. But that’s fine! I believe one doesn’t necessarily have to be certain about things before making moves. Taking risks, trying new things and getting out of your comfort zones are three essentials that contribute to making things happen.

In the pursuit of independence and financial stability, I always worry about how to get any inch of independence and stability (in all aspects). I tried on so many occasions to think about what I could possibly do and how I could carry them out. My ideas were big, they were futuristic and they were gigantic. I was very interested in those and I still am.

THE ONLY BUG WAS FINANCES. I HAD NO SUCH CAPITAL AND I WOULDN’T ASK MY PARENTS ANY CAPITAL AND AID. 

I wanted something for myself, something I could say my parents did not sponsor. Something that came from me and whose capital I raised with my own hustle. So I decided to start with something small and keep my other ideas for the future. I started looking for something I would be interested in, a business I would see myself doing for a long run and something that could contribute to my growth and personal development. This took me two years since August 2015 when I started actively thinking about what I could do and behold August 2017, I launched my business.

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In the mean time, I had decided to save and work. Before summer 2017, the work experiences I undertook were either casual or not paid well enough but I was still grateful for that and saved the little I earned. I also started selling my old clothes (things I had worn once or never) and got money out of it. I also obtained a well paid internship over summer 2017 and all together, managed save enough to start. I sometimes thought it was not enough but I convinced myself I had to start from somewhere.

During those two years, I considered so many business options. I even thought I could start-up a YT channel, become a professional blogger or buy a car to start a taxi company back home. I know, very crazy isn’t it. Everything literally crossed my mind at that point. However, despite having interests (apart from the taxi company) in these things, i still didn’t feel any special. There was just something about these options that didn’t make me feel some kind of way.

You know, it’s like having a crush on someone; you get butterflies and feel some kind of way. That was the sensation I was looking for. 

One night, at about 3 am when those post-midnight meditations came, I thought to myself; girl what exactly do you love doing. What’s that thing you’ll do everyday that will make you happy and which you will want to repeat the experience, again and again, every moment, every second if you could. That night I didn’t have to think for a long time, I thought about my favourite activity besides cooking, reading, cycling, and photography … and the immediate thing that came to my mind was shopping. From that moment, I knew that was what I would invest my savings on.

I finally started operations. It’s own an online shopping platform solely managed virtually that operates in my home country. For a start, I would say, business is doing good. I am so thankful to God for making this possible. I try an accentuate on excellent customer service, product quality and timeliness in delivery. My expectations for the future is to expand geographically across all countries in Central and West Africa.

 LINK TO MY SHOPPING PLATFORM. BECOME A CUSTOMER TODAY 

Entering the shopping, retail and e-commerce market right now doesn’t necessarily mean these are the only things I want to do in my life. I also have carreer aspirations directly related to my academic pattern and I pray that God guides my steps so I can achieve those too. Owning this business today is an achievement down the bucket list which I would honestly say, I am proud of myself. I never studied shopping or marketing at University but I am currently using the skills I acquired from my academic and work experiences. I learnt about management, multitasking, entrepreneurship, accounting, finance, strategy, consumers, economics, modelling and today I am using every bit in my business.

I was once told, ‘You need to start somewhere and be flexible’. To all the auto-entrepreneurs out there, to all the ambitious and talented people out there, to all of you who are thinking a starting something for yourself, be motivated, be encouraged and be bold. It only takes a step forward to make things happen. Somedays I think of my other plans and projects and I will work hard to make those happen as well by God’s grace.

To winning women and men,

19’s Observation.

 

 

 

 

LETTER TO MY FUTURE TWENTY YEAR OLD SELF

Dear Twenty,

You are just few days away. I thought I would write a letter to you so we get to know each other and work as a team to climb up that lader we both are aware of.

Anyway, how are you feeling. I don’t really know how to feel as I’m about to enter the ‘Twenties’ stage. But I think to start things rightly, I need to give you a little history class about my current self.

I am nineteen (obviously) and I’m a recent graduate holding a Bachelors of Science with Honours in Accounting Studies in England. I recently started my business, an e-commerce business, solely managed online through social media which operates in my home country with the help of my twin (yes I have a twin) called Bygone Styles Cameroon (link: https://instagram.com/bygstyl237). Starting next October, I will be pursuing an MSc in Finance from the most reputable business school in England and probably in the world. So far this sounds exciting (although the struggle to get here was real and I hope to give a bit more on my experiences soon).

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But let’s have a little more face about myself and my personality.

I am a very short (about 5.5 ft), overly* ambitious individual in the pursuit of stability, independence and continuous improvement. What I mean by overly* ambitious is that, I always set high goals and standards for myself (even though things do not always go as planned). I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself (no need for external pressure from parents as they tend to worry often) and I am very conscious of the competitive business environment, existing societal pressures and complexities. I am often told I am too hard and strict with myself and I need to relax a bit. But the only reason for this is that I strongly want to make it in life and I am scared of failure (the thought of that is simply impossible).

I am also fun. Aside caring and working for my future, I love networking, meeting new people, writing, photography (I’m that one friend that always takes pictures), cooking (very creative, cycling (20km cycling is the longest i’ve ever done in a day), music ( I wish I knew how to dance! But you’ll realise that quickly) and swimming. Very often, I tend to meditate (there come times I totally don’t feel like talking, seeing anyone or stepping out).

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I don’t drink enough water (somehow, I don’t get that thirsty) and there are a lot of things I do not eat (not that I am allergic to those but I don’t just like them). But in no way does that mean I am picky as some people tend to say. It’s just that I have different taste. I don’t like sugar (anything sugary) and I don’t like salt either (I can cook without).

Character wise, I am quite sociable. Very open-minded, kind, caring (every Uncle and Aunty and even my parents are at rest when I am with their children) and non-judgemental. I am often told I have family and team spirit. People don’t appreciate the fact that I speak the truth (because it always hard to hear) and say I am too forward (This is something I am working on – it’s good to watch our mouths). This is because the words we speak can have long-lasting impacts directly connected to present and future circumstances.  However, I find it really hard. It’s so difficult for me to ignore a situation or approve of something because I can’t give my sincerest opinion for the fear of hurting someone’s feelings (of course I should be close to you to say something). Perhaps, I need to work of the way I say out these things so that they do not come across as rude or too forward*. I most certainly mind my business (If it doesn’t concern me or anyone particularly close to me, I’ll definitely shut up, unless it threatens people’s safety).

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I’m a Christian believer. Practising my faith has been a journey and everyday, I pray it gets better. One thing I’m sure about is that God is real. I pray on my own (especially in moments of crisis which is not very nice) and every other day with my closest friend. I am a sinner I admit. There are things I struggle with and I am also working on those. However, because I am hitting the ‘Twenties’, I would ask of you categorically not to accept my bad doings. I want everything brand new.

So my Twenty Self, that’s grosomodo what I have to say.  I am just curious about what you have in stock for me? Are you ready for me?

I have inserted a bucket list of my goals and expectations for you. I just want you to know them from the start so that we can make these things work and happen. It is just between you and me (sorry my readers, when they begin to happen, I promise I will let you know). I hope to reveal this list around this same period next year.

A minute of silence for this 🙏🏾.

Now that I have made you aware of all these things, how do you feel? I feel ready for this new stage of my life. I pray for wisdom, courage, discernment and consistency. I pray for God’s guidance and protection.

Sincerely ,

19’s Observation.

SKINCARE SELECTION FOR DARK-SKIN

Hey lovelies,

Today I thought of sharing some of my favourite skin care products. A bit of background information before diving right into the subject; I am dark-skin, with sufficient melanocytes in my genes. I would say I have a normal skin type except that I am quite oily around my t-zone and I have a quite sensitive skin (react to any little scrub, shavers, razor blades which I do not use and even the sun gets my skin irritated). I had acne like every other girl around puberty age but now rarely have blemishes or skin irritations. I’m not sure about this but I would say a bit hyper pigmented on my cheeks but that’s okay.

The products I will be reviewing are those that work for me and hopefully would work for someone who has a bit of the skin type I described above. I have used them for the longest time now and they really work.

  1. Shea Butter (100% natural, raw, unbleached and unrefined).

It is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F. It offers UV protection with an SPF of approximately 6 and provides the skin with essentially fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production. Not only do I use it for my skin, and face but also for my hair (see previous posts). It moisturizes, reduces inflammation and smooths the skin. I remember having a bump once (actually on several occasions) and applied Shea butter. Guess what, it disappeared without leaving a dark spot. I apply it to my face every night before bed and use it daily as my skin moisturizer and massage it gently into my skin.

  1. Aloe Vera Gel by Dr. Organic (99.9% Aloe Vera)

Link in the description box

Holland & Barrett Aloe Vera Gel (buy)

I get my Aloe Vera Gel from Holland & Barrett, a pretty popular shop in the UK renowned for natural medicines and products. The gel is made from Aloe Vera as you may have guessed which is a specific plant that grows in tropical climates around the world and is cultivated for medicinal, agricultural and decorative purposes.

It contains Auxin and Gibberellins hormones that have anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. I use on my face after applying my CLINIQUE moisturizer (during the day ), on my blemishes or irritated areas of my skin, on my stretch marks (although Shea butter works perfectly for that). I also apply it sometimes on my feet (especially if they get too dry).

  1. CLINIQUE Skin care Product Range

Guys keep calm! I have found the perfect brand aka products for my skin. Early in September 2016, I decided to invest on my skin and hair care products. I was not breaking out but I was just tired of trying so many products (side note: tea tree products from body shop were so aggressive, didn’t work for me) that ended up causing irritations or just didn’t work. So from there, I literally bought a range of products from CLINIQUE (got the essentials from the start, benefited from offers and gifts that came with purchases and around mid May, got myself sun cream) .

Firstly, the moisturizing lotion, liquid facial soap and clarifying lotion.

3-Step Face Care for Combination Skin Type (buy)

I use the liquid facial soap twice everyday. I massage it on my wet face and throat and pat in gently. after rinsing and during my face up with a towel, I apply the clarifying lotion. which in turn smooths my face before the moisturizer.  The moisturiser helps to balance out the skin’s moisture levels providing long-lasting hydration. It gives some glow to the skin and what I like most is the fact that it is not greasy. I apply it once a day after washing and toning my face.

From time to time, I apply their anti-blemish solution.

This helps reduces spots and even stops bums from appearing right from the moment the skin feels irritated. I just apply it on the spots in question.

Finally the sun cream.

This is fantastic to use very lightly on the skin. Contains an SPF of 50; very high but worth it. I use it often during summer or every other day when I will be exposed to sunlight. Very comfortable and  works perfectly for sensitive skins. The coverage is quite invisible (blends nicely) as compared to sun creams I have used in the past which left my face quite purplish. I have heard it’s not that great with oily skin as it leaves quite visible pores. But I will definitely recommend for sensitive and normal skin types.

Apart from those essentials, I got some gifts from CLINIQUE house when I purchased the sun cream back in May and renewed my moisturizer. I gave some of them away but I want to mention some of these gifts which I kept that really work and are also useful. I kept the makeup remover, eye gel, the mascara (I also have sensitive eyes and any product that I use such as eye shadow or mascara easily irritate my eyes. This is the only mascara that I have tried which feels very light and do not itch or smear as others), and more face soap.

I will suggest any reader who recognises her/his skin type from my description to try out these products. They work. They really do! You just have to remain consistent with them because for all I know, the results are quickly apparent. And if you are still stingy to invest on skin products, remember it’s a good investment and it’s your own skin we are talking about. I’ll leave the prices or links to purchase each of these items.

Disclaimer: The pictures belong to the official providers of these products.

Till next time beauties xx

19’s Observation.

 

 

BEHOLD THE DREAMERS -By Imbolo Mbue: REVIEW

Two weeks ago, I finally got myself a copy of the book Behold the Dreamers by the Cameroonian Imbolo Mbue.

I was so excited about it as I have been interested in African-American literature since Chimamanda Ngozie’s Americanah. I find myself relating more to African writers and philanthropists although I also very much love Wall Street novels or French literature.

In my most recent reads, in addition to this book, I read an article from Edgar Grande with title – European Identity: A Dangerous Obsession. I also read another article from Granovetta (1973) (quite old but only found it recently) about the Strength of Weak Ties. I will definitely recommend it those interested in the debate around current EU political crisis and analysis of social networks respectively (Find the links attached below).

Strength of Weak Ties by Granovetta

European Identity: a dangerous obsession by Edgar Grande

Coming back to Behold the Dreamers!

I literally lack words. This was mind-blowing and before I start, I need to congratulate her on this book. This is the first time I read such from a Cameroonian writer. I’m so proud of it.


Let’s have a little recap on the story line.

The book is about a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, Jende Jonga, who has come to the United States in search of a better life for himself, his wife, Neni and their six-year old son. Around fall of 2007, he luckily and unbelievably gets a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark makes high demands of his chauffeur including punctuality, discretion and loyalty. Clark’s wife, Cindy, later on offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. These opportunities make Jende and Neni gain a foothold in America and have hopes of a brighter future.

However, things do not go as they had wished. Jende and Neni soon discover cracks in their employers’ facades. Things worsen with the collapse of the Lehman Brothers alongside the financial crisis and Jende looses his job. The Jongas marriage threatens to fall apart and they are forced to make an impossible choice.

The novel perhaps highlights the naivety of the immigrant’s dreams given the harsh reality of the world. The author touches on the issues of race, culture, violence, pain, and the impact of male decision-making on women. The writing is beautiful and quite authentic picture of an immigrant experience. The characters of Jende and Neni are complex and captured my interest easily. I loved the portrayal of their home country Cameroon and their connections with it. I could relate with the slang and songs and areas mentioned in the book.

For the most part, the book was quite understandable. I loved the way I could depict the financial crisis through a non-academic angle. It really shows what is known in simple terms as ‘the gap between the rich and the poor’. At one end of the spectrum, we have the Jongas, Cameroonian immigrants desperately in search of a green card and on the other end, the Edwards family, wealthy upper-class New Yorker.

The story once more brought to my attention the fragility of the American Dream which saddened me a little.

Sometimes I wanted a bit more from it – perhaps a continuation.
For my readers,
19’s Observation.