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.

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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!

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

© 2018 Ashanty Alves All Rights Reserved

You’re too Sensitive!

Copy of The ugly truth about self love (1)

If you’re sensitive you’re probably well accustomed to hearing phrases like “it’s not that deep” or “you take everything so personal”. This may be true! However for us sensitive folks it’s much more complex than just simply getting over ourselves. Deciphering between whether our emotional responses are valid verses taking things too seriously is very difficult to figure out (well for me anyways lol).

Hyper-sensitivity feels like being an unwrapped lollipop (weird analogy I know). You feel exposed to everything and easily contaminated. Negative experiences or words just stick to you and you have a hard time convincing yourself that it’s not worth your energy nor concern.

This affects different aspects of your life, especially when it comes to expressing your feelings in relationships (Family/Friends etc). There’s a fear of not being taken seriously or having your feelings undermined. Trying to build and maintain emotionally healthy relationships can often get complicated and draining. This can also have negative effects on your self-esteem. It can make you distrust of your own feelings and intuition, causing you doubt who you are as a person.

But despite the challenges, I believe being a sensitive person makes you extremely empathetic. Within a world that’s callous and unjust, being sensitive can be used as a tool to make a positive impact on the world. Growing up I was constantly told that I had to be ‘tough’ in order to survive and for the longest time felt like my sensitiveness made me a liability. Now I’ve started to see it as a blessing not a curse. When I get told that I’m sensitive, I can confidently admit to it without feeling shame or guilt about who I am. What has helped me get to this point is exploring ways to deal with it especially when I get overwhelmed by emotion.

For my fellow sensitive ones, I’ve thought of a few coping mechanisms that have helped me along the way:

  1. Establishing boundaries in relationships– People who are sensitive often have a hard time creating appropriate boundaries for themselves. There’s so many times that I’ve felt bad for saying what I will and will not accept because I felt like I would be considered “extra” or “too sensitive”. This led to me accepting unfulfilling relationships and caused a lot of distress.  Realize this, you decide what you will and will not accept within your relationships! Your needs are important no matter how trivial someone else may think they are. Don’t be afraid to set appropriate boundaries. It will save you a lot less emotional turmoil and constantly doubting yourself.
  2. Own your sensitiveness- The next time someone calls you sensitive to derail your feelings, turn around and say “yes I am sensitive”. Be proud of it! That way when someone tells your you’re being sensitive it will have minimal affect on your mood because you’ve already accepted that it’s part of who you are. Remember that your sensitiveness is a blessing not a curse.
  3. Find an outlet to express your feelings- I write my feelings down to filter through my thoughts and understand them better. This is really helpful especially when you have to make important decisions or confronted with conflict. Instead of reacting based on our immediate feelings, we get to make more informed and rational responses. If writing isn’t your thing, find a means to express your feelings, whether that’s confiding in someone, making music or painting etc. Do whatever helps you to deal with your feelings in a healthy, productive way.

Are you a sensitive person? How do you cope with your feelings?

Is there anything you would add to this list?  I Would love to know your thoughts..x

© 2018 Ashanty Alves All Rights Reserved