Gratitude list: Sept 2018

1. My ability to bounce back from adversity

2. For discovering writing as a form of therapy and healing

3. Waking up and seeing the sunrise

4. My travel experiences and being able to experience the richness of the black diaspora

5. Growing up on India. Arie’s music

6. Having friends who support and inspire me

7. For discovering Toni Morrison,my favourite author

8. Recently being exposed to the Tarot card world

9. For trees that give me oxygen

10. All the spiritual teachers in my life- my partner, my friends, strangers, the ancestors & people who battle with adversity on a daily basis but are brave enough to live within a love ethic.

 

HEY guys! At the beginning of each month I will upload a post on expressing gratitude. It’ll either be a written post, a video, link etc. I think it’s necessary that I utilise this space not only for self-analysis but somewhere to celebrate and appreciate the beauty and wonders of life.

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Heyy I’m back from my blogging Hiatus!

Hey guys,

I’m not sure if anyone noticed but last month I took a break from blogging. I’ve spent the past few weeks in South Africa exploring the lovely Johannesburg and Cape Town! I’ll be totally honest, it was an unintentional break. Just as I was about to board my flight, I ended up breaking my phone (just my luck)! I was devastated however it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

There’s been a lot happening in my life lately, transitions I am going through and burdens I have been carrying that I had not giving myself the time to process. Not having my phone allowed me the space to address emotional needs and desires. I began to centre myself and delve into the personal issues that I realized have been weighing down on me for many years.

I learned this holiday how to switch off and truly unwind without the guilt of being unproductive. I realised that I am the most productive and in alignment with my purpose when I carve out time for self-care and prioritise my well being.

Not having my phone made me hyperaware of what I was experiencing, instead of focusing on capturing every moment digitally. I tuned into the different cultures, people, history, stories I was experiencing in South Africa. I connected with nature. I ate some amazing South African and West African food. I watched plenty of action movies. I immersed myself in the experience which is often missed when we are so focused on using our phones all the time.

Anyhoo I am glad to be back! I also want to say that I am so thankful for the support I’ve received since the beginning of the year. It warms my heart that I am able to connect with some amazing people on this platform. You all inspire me and reading your stories has helped me on my own journey. I do have a few new blog posts coming this month which I am excited about so stay tuned.

Do you take Social Media breaks? Do you think they are helpful?

 

Love Ash x

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

How to survive a job you hate

Copy of The ugly truth about self love (6)

Do you frequently walk into work each morning and think ughhh not this again? I know that feeling all too well! Waking up to a 9 to 5 job everyday feels like you never left work. One minute you’re making your way home and the next you’re turning off the alarm for work the next morning. If you’re someone like me who’s constantly buzzing with ideas/plans of things they want to achieve in life, going to a job you’re not passionate about is mental torture.

Not a day goes by when I don’t ask myself why am I still here. Dealing with the bitchiness, microaggressions and managers breathing down my neck on a day to day basis is emotionally draining. In an ideal world I would never work a 9-5 job and just live my life pursuing all the things I enjoy. However like many others, I depend on my job to pay my bills. I don’t come from a privileged background with an abundance of savings to fall back on. The option to just quit and pursue my goals is not realistic at this present moment. Coming from a low-income/poor background does not afford you the same options as someone with a safety net who can leave their job without any repercussions.

I think society undermines the emotional and physical toll it can have on people who are in a job they don’t enjoy. Within capitalist society, it’s not about whether you like your job, but working as a matter of survival. This harsh reality requires us to find coping mechanisms to help preserve our well-being. Over the past year I have been finding new ways to cope on a day to day basis until I am finally able to make that leap to pursue my career goals. These methods have helped me and I want to share them with you.

Tips to help you survive your job:

1. Have a passion outside of work- Whether it’s reading, community work or dance classes, indulging in a hobby outside of work will bring joy and a sense of fulfilment into your life. Having a hobby can keep you motivated to continue your day knowing that you have something to look forward to afterwards. If you’re in the process of setting up a business you’re passionate about, the dislike you have for your job should act as a source of motivation to spend a little time each day working on that said idea and putting it into fruition.

2. Change your perspective of your job- I was watching a Lisa Nicols video (check her out if you haven’t already) on Youtube and she said something that had a profound impact on me. She said “see your job as your investor”. Once I heard this I stopped thinking of my job as a burden but as something that was funding my goals. When you start to feel low about your job, say to yourself I’m going to work for my ‘investor’. If you picture your job as someone who’s funding your dreams then it’ll make you feel more motivated to go into work.

3. Set yourself a realistic time period for you to leave your job (if you want to quit)- If you hate your job so much that you want to leave, set yourself a realistic and attainable deadline of when you want to leave your job. Take into consideration that your financial situation might fluctuate and any other external factors that might inhibit you from quitting i.e. whether you’ve accumulated enough experience or how long it’ll take you to find another job. I made the mistake previously of over anticipating when I could leave, only to be disappointed when certain financial burdens got in the way. Set yourself a target and focus your mind each day to preparing yourself to meet your goal.

4. Take breaks at work when you get frustrated- If you’re at work and you find yourself feeling agitated about your job, take a few minutes away to recollect your thoughts. Take an extra few minutes away from your computer screen or take a longer toilet break (do whatever doesn’t get you caught out lol). If you’re someone like me who gets easily annoyed this is important. By taking some time out, it gives you an opportunity to remind yourself of your intentions and why you’re at your job in the first place.

5. Set yourself mini goals- Dedicate some time to write down what you want to achieve every week. It’s usually recommended that you write down a few mini goals to achieve each day instead of a lengthy list. Writing down your goals and achieving them will make you feel more fulfilled knowing you’re spending time nurturing your life outside of work.

And lastly. You might dislike your job but i’m sure you can find some good aspects of it too. Your job is probably teaching you excellent transferable skills that can be used for your next job/career choice. That annoying manager is teaching you vital skills about leadership. Your retail job is teaching you how to interact with customers which is vital for having your own business. Your salary is funding those nights out with your friends and start the up money to pursue your dreams. Take advantage of the experiences that your job is offering you. The positives and negatives all make for great live lessons. And remember, you don’t have to be stuck in this job forever!

Are you currently in a job you dislike?

What are the struggles you face on a daily basis? And how do you cope, if at all?
I hope i’m not by myself in this struggle haha.

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Fear of not being Good Enough

Copy of The ugly truth about self love (5)

Living in your passion is what many of us strive to achieve in this life. When you decide to take that first step into doing what you love, it can be the most liberating feeling ever. However doing something out of your comfort zone and playing bigger than ever before can evoke unintended feelings of inadequacy. You find that the very thing you’re passion about is shared among other people. You find yourself competing among people who are very established in your industry and appear to have it all figured out.

I’ve had my fair share of negative experiences when trying to finally show myself to the world and step into my passion/s (politics, blogging). One instance that stuck with me was going to a networking event which turned out to be more like a popularity contest. If you didn’t dress a certain way or have a social media following, you were quite frankly overlooked and ignored. As someone who had just started putting myself out there I quickly felt like I didn’t belong and started believing that I lacked the ability to be successful. This experience in particular made me scared to put myself out there in fear of rejection. But by suppressing what I loved I missed out on some good opportunities that could have been beneficial to my personal growth and development.

At the beginning of the year I decided that I wasn’t going to hide away any longer just because I’m new to an industry/space. Even if I’m only recognised by a few I told myself I would produce unapologetically. This gave birth my blogging journey which I put off for a few years. I was adamant not to let anyone make me feel like I don’t belong. To test this new mantra I started going to a few events/talks that I’m passionate about so that I could better my craft. My highlight so far this year was going to my first my bloggers event called #blackbloggersuk where I met some amazing, genuine people.

These are a few words of advice I am interchangeably learning from others and through my own experiences:

1. We all start from somewhere- Whether you’re trying to grow a business, a blog or break into a particular industry, we all start from somewhere. A lot of people who you perceive as successful have been doing the work for many years and built their way up. You can’t compare the beginning or interim part of your journey to someone who’s been in the game longer than you.  And yes there will be people who receive their lucky break overnight or at a quicker pace than you through connections or by chance. However just because someone’s got their quicker than you, it doesn’t mean you won’t either. Our journeys aren’t meant to look the same. Trust that your journey will lead you to somewhere profound.

2. There’s room for all of us to win- Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t belong. Conflated egos and huge personalities can sometimes makes us feel inferior and as though we are playing where we don’t compete. Remember that just by virtue of being your true self, you have something special to add to any space you’re entering!

3. Feel the fear and do it anyways- It can be super scary getting out of your comfort zone. You might have to start talking to people you never imagined, or go to that networking event and finally promote that business you’ve been planning for years. The fear of failure can force us into convincing ourselves that it’s not worth stepping into our passion or stalling for the ‘right time’. But remember that any loss you take you can rise back from. You have to believe that no failure is big enough to stop you from living your potential. You don’t want to live your life constantly regretting your inaction so just what you love anyways and have faith that things will eventually figure itself out.

4. Every mistake is a lesson- Your blog layout isn’t the best (coming for myself lol) or you’re unsure whether your mixtape bangs. But who said you’re going to figure out everything overnight? Don’t be afraid to try different things and see what works for you. All the mistakes/ misjudgments you make will be a lessons that can be used to your benefit. Instead of striving for perfection, just experiment. Remember this is a learning process so don’t be harsh on yourself!

Have you ever experienced this feeling before?

What advice would you give to someone who’s starting a new career/hobby and feelings out of place?

Leave your thoughts!

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Loneliness

Copy of The ugly truth about self love (1)

Loneliness has been the darkness in my life that always finds its way to haunt me. When I begin to feel like I’ve finally overcome it, I find myself feeling isolated and lonely all over again.

The truth is I’ve always enjoyed my own company. However for the past few years I spent long periods of time in isolation due to experiencing low-moods which has resulted in me frequently battling with loneliness and feeling detached from others. I’ve always struggled with feeling like I have no one who understands me nor I can connect to on an emotional level.  Loneliness is such a horrible feeling.  It feels like you’re invisible and no one cares enough to help.

I’ve come to realize that my battles with loneliness are partly rooted in certain childhood and adolescent experiences. This is an area of my life that I’m only now beginning to explore and I look forward to the possibility of gaining a better understanding of how these issues have affected me. Another root cause I’ve identified comes from my current reality. I work 9-5, with friends all over the country and I don’t get an opportunity to see people often. Somedays I just crave going out for Friday drinks or having intimate conversations with my friends in person but this rarely happens these days as everyone is so busy. When experiencing loneliness what has helped me is using a few coping mechanisms to go through the motions a little bit easier.

Here’s a list of (tried) practical things to do when feeling lonely:

1.  Show gratitude- This is probably the thing you want to do the least when you’re feeling lonely but focusing on being thankful for the things you have in your life puts things into perspective. Instead of focusing on what you lack, showing your appreciation for the mundane things like waking up in the morning, hearing a song you like, will help re-shift your energy so that you feel more positive.  Try writing down 10 things you’re grateful for or say it through prayer/meditation. You will begin to realize that your current feelings are just another hurdle you will eventually overcome.

2. Contact someone you love- Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and express how you feel. If they have time, ask to meet with them or send them a message. Having that human interaction helps a lot.  You’ll be surprised to learn that there’s people out there who feel the same way as you so you reaching out could also be helping them!

3. Get out the house- Avoid spending too much time in isolation because it’s not good for your mental wellbeing. Your environment can consume that energy, so if you’re constantly inside feeling lonely and sorry for yourself then your environment will start to feel negative. This will make it harder to deal with your emotions in a productive way.  Walk down the road, take yourself out to the museum or go out to eat. Do something outside of the house so you can clear your mind. And don’t be afraid to do this all by yourself.

4. Write down your feelings- You don’t have to be a writer. Just write down how you feel unfiltered. Don’t judge yourself whilst you write. It’s your opportunity to express yourself. Writing your feelings down can really help put things into perspective. It’s an opportunity to dig deeper at the root causes of why you’re feel lonely and to identify areas that need healing in your life.

5. Declare the day as “me day”- If you don’t have anyone to reach out to in that present moment, rather than wallowing in self-pity, get up and declare it as a day dedicated to you alone. This is where the power of perspective comes in. Spend the day pampering yourself and doing what you love (vibing to music, drawing etc). Maybe those days you feel lonely is a sign to fall deeply in love with your own company. So spend it getting to know yourself at a little bit better. Be your own best friends for those lonely days (this might sound silly but i’d literally envision myself spending time with my clone). This will help you cope better when it comes to those days you’re feeling hella lonely.

Do you ever feel lonely? What are your coping mechanisms, if you have any at all?

Love Ash, xx

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Gentrification in Birmingham, UK

Copy of Copy of The ugly truth about self loveOver the last few years, my city has continued to undergo some drastic changes. From luxury apartments, food stores, John Lewis, and a tram system, Birmingham’s city centre is barely recognizable! Having the option to buy vegan hotdogs, or picking up a juice from Jo the Juice bar certainly beats the days of just Nando’s and McDonald’s.

In 2013 they opened up the biggest library in Europe in my city. They are currently in the process of building HSBC’s main headquarters in Birmingham at the end of 2018. The HS2 high speed trains project is predicted to make Birmingham a popular destination to live for professionals over the next few years.

But what people are not talking about is the process of gentrification emerging in Birmingham as a result of these changes. In Ladywood, an area in close proximity to the city centre, housing prices have risen by a whopping 17% in 2017. This is the same area that was ranked as the worst area for child poverty in 2016, according to End Child Poverty Campaign. The irony of this ‘development’ is that many working class, poor communities are forgotten about in the process.

Luxury apartments and hotels are being built everywhere whilst many people struggle to pay their rent. Homelessness is on the rise, as evident simply by walking around the city centre. The amount of people facing the threat of eviction or drowning in rent arrears is a common occurrence. Toppled with a highly competitive job market, cuts to universal credit and low wages,  survival for low-income families is getting harder by the day.

I recently came across a white-owned hipster ‘games shop’ on monument road, a corner that is known for prostitution and drug addicts.  Even though the area is very diverse, I have never seen a local from the community inside the shop- mostly white students and professionals. They stand out like a sore thumb, making no effort to attract or engage with the locals. This is a common example of white gentrifiers exploiting rent prices in poor, working class areas whilst making locals feel like outsiders in their communities. Urban regeneration in Birmingham is starting to mimic the early stages of gentrification that took place in areas like Brixton or Hackney in London.

For the purpose of being nuanced, there are many people who have moved to Birmingham due to the extortionate housing prices in other parts of the country, particularly London. People who have been victims of gentrification themselves have been forced to move to places like Birmingham not out of choice, but as a matter of survival. Essentially this problem is rooted in the class inequalities and government austerity measures that discriminates against the poor.

Whilst I can empathize with those people who have been forced to move for that reason, I cannot support luxury apartments being built within communities that are experiencing high child poverty, lack of job opportunities and high rent prices.

To conclude, it’s time to start looking closely at how this is going to develop in Birmingham and what impact it is going to have on low-income communities over the next few years. Change is a good thing but only when it’s not at the expense of the poor!

References-

https://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/gentrification-could-spell-death-jewellery-

11673037https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/nov/28/birmingham-area-named-poorest-in-uk-fastest-house-price-rises-

ladywoodhttp://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/poverty-in-your-area-2016/

https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/50028/transport_information/502/high_speed_2_hs2/3

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved