How I Grew My Curly Hair LONG (357/365)

I don’t really consider myself a hair expert in any sense, but I got asked on Instagram about how I grew my hair and I feel like it’s difficult to really write everything down in the comments section – plus I needed an idea for todays blog post as I’m currently in the later stages of a massive migraine attack… I need to remember my body has limits so it humbled me… but back to hair.

So, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I’m lazy when it comes to my hair. A lot of the time I don’t even realise it has grown a lot until I straighten it and it hits me. My hair is fairly healthy, it does what it needs to do and I’m pretty good at finessing my frizz by either incorporating it into my style or hiding it completely.

My first tip is to leave it the fuck alone sometimes. I know it’s tempting to wear braids, twists, bantu knots and manipulate the fuck out of it, but your hair is delicate so loads of tightening and styling leads to breakage.. and breakage is the enemy. A lot of people believe black hair doesn’t grow very long, but it’s a myth, the only reason some people struggle to grow their hair is because it breaks off at the ends due to loads of extra styling. So leave it alone and throw it in a bun later on in the week, your ends will thank you in the long run.

I like to oil my scalp throughout the week, I’m not sure if it even adds to growth but it helps my dusty dandruff ridden scalp. I use a mixture of 2/3 Jojoba Oil, 1/3 Jamaican Black Castor Oil and a few drops of tea tree oil. Again, I don’t know if it helps, but it’s worth noting.

I also swear by keeping your hair moisturised, don’t let it dry out during the week. Your hair needs water and help, so moisturise it and really pay attention to how it’s behaving! Use masks, deep conditioners and leave in conditioners. You won’t see results straight away but trust me you’ll thank me in the long run.

I know it’s tempting to use every product you see influencers use but stop it, just stop it. Use what works for you and maintain a good routine. Some products out there aren’t good, and even though something new is out and every curly haired woman is saying it’s their holy grail, what works for them might not work for you. I’m a big believer in staying in your own lane and tailoring your routine to your hair as everyones hair is different.

Drink water… just do it. I know whenever I’m dehydrated it shows in my hair, and skin, so just stop being thirsty and drink some water.

Back to things that can cause breakage – don’t brush your hair when it’s dry, your hair will break a lot and you’ll lose all of your progress that you’ve been working on.

Last but not least, chill a little bit. I never really made hair growth my goal and to be honest I don’t really care about it’s length a lot, I just want healthy hair and the length comes with it. Most of the year I have no idea how long my hair actually is, I just keep it nice, moisturised and free to do what it wants. So stop doing length checks, and allow it.

Female Friendships Are So Important (346/365)

Sorry boys this post isn’t for you, so try not to feel too left out.

Female friendships are so bloody important in our day to day lives, both the media and many women out there really underestimate the importance of having other women in your life. It’s not even about empowerment, but about the special bond and having someone who gets you. Someone who has your back but also understands feminine struggles, let’s not even talk about periods, we all need someone who will tell us when we have lipstick on our teeth. Someone to let us know if we smell. Someone to fix our hair and keep us in check – women are honestly amazing and I really urge you to value you female friends.

I know a lot of us fell under the curse of feeling like male friendships had more value and even uttered the words ‘I just get along more with boys, they’re less drama’ – the cursed phrase.. which is a lie. Yes your male friendships are also important, but that internalised misogyny that promotes males over women by using tired outdated stereotypes are not ok and they’re also just causing you to miss out on a special bond.

Yes, some women are awful, and some men are awful. I’m not saying everyone is amazing and rainbows shoot out of their ass, I’m saying that if you find a good group of women, who aren’t assholes, you won’t regret the bond.

Sometimes I also want women around me just so I can complain about my period, and whine about the pain, the mess and just have a good moan. I do also have men that (unwillingly) deal with me talking about this topic, but they just will never get it and it’s upsetting.

So this is just a ramble to let you know, women out there, please value your friendships, especially your female friendships.

Every Sales Tips You Can Use To Get Your Way (340/365)

I’m going to round up this mini sales series with something extremely useful but easy to read. Sales roles are a great way to build your confidence and your people skills, but the thing I personally took from it was how the techniques you learn can be valuable and help you essentially get your way with people. They’re not 100% going to alway work, but every single one can help a lot when it comes to negotiations.

So here’s a list of all the methods you can use to get your way – that I can remember off the top of my head:

  1. Never seem too desperate, be indifferent. Like if the persons decision doesn’t matter because you can easily find someone else.
  2. SEE factors – Smile, Eye Contact and Excitement in healthy doses can make a huge different.
  3. Build a good level of trust, use relationship building tools like FORM.
  4. Always be prepared for every negative someone can throw your way with an overturn – in a sales pitch it would be when someone says they can’t afford it, and you overturn it with how the payment will be in 6 weeks time and as small as 20p a day.
  5. When using overturns make sure you stay indifferent, I feel like you should just think of desperation as the enemy of getting what you want.
  6. Keep everything short and simple. People have short attention spams and they honestly don’t care, so it’s your job to make them care as fast as possible.
  7. Be prepared for them to say no, I know this one seems a bit weird but at the end of the day not everyone is a yes, and that’s also ok.
  8. There’s this theory called Law of Average that I’d love to write about in more detail soon, but finding out you LOA, and using that to your advantage is a must!
  9. Have a winning mentality – even though number 7 said prepare for people to say no, you still need to have a mentality that you’ll win. If you go about pitching or talking with the mental state of someone who’ll lose, other people will sense it and not buy into what you’re saying. If you go in with a different mind set, it changes the game completely.
  10. Break down what you can and can’t control, because there are uncontrollables out there and you can’t spend a lot of time focusing on those things – it’ll make you feel sad and that’s not going to help the situation.
  11. Don’t spend more than 5 minutes focusing on something/someone who won’t make an impact on your life in 5 years time – not a sales tip, but something someone said in the sales office, and it sort of helps to build a winning mind set.
  12. Learn how to pick up on other peoples habits and use that to charm them, focus on how they present themselves, stand, look at other people. All of these things will help you figure out how to charm them and how to relate to them.
  13. You have to actually seem like you give a shit about the other person, in terms of their interests, why they’re saying no, and how to use that to overturn them in a way that doesn’t seem forced or planned.
  14. It’s all a conversation, not a pitch, not a plan and not something you’ve memorised. Once everything seems like a conversation, people are more likely to let their guard down and that’s when you have them ready for you.
  15. Last but not least, have fun. Honestly if you don’t seem like you’re having fun or care about what you’re talking about, the other person won’t give a shit. So have fun with it all!

How a Sales Pitch Works – It's a 'Conversation' (336/365)

Here it is, the promised sales series – in case you didn’t know I used to do door to door sales, and I not only did that unforgivable job for a year, but I also spent a lot of that time teaching people how to sell on your doorstep. Now I’m not going to pretend I was an amazing teacher as it’s a skill that took me ages to learn, as people learn in different ways and some need more encouragement than others. So let’s start with the basics, how a pitch even works.

Well they don’t actually see the pitch as a pitch, they see it as a conversation. A well structured conversation designed to close you, whether you’re aware of it or not. The reason it’s a conversation is that no one likes to be sold things, we’re just an anti social society who hates people in suits telling us what we need – and honestly after being in sales I completely understand it.

So the conversation is split into 5 easy steps:

  • Introduction
  • Short story
  • Presentation
  • Close
  • Consolidation

The introduction is a fairly easy step to begin with, although to master it takes a while. It’s where the first impression is built and honestly the first 3-5 seconds are arguably the most important. People are fickle and in most cases they won’t know anything about you, so you have to at least make them like you, because they’ll trust someone they like, over someone annoying and it’s all about building trust.

So that’s why sales people make a lot of jokes to begin with or say a comment to throw you off your scent of hostility, it’s to build a good first impression that allows them to be in control.

It’s also where they’ll actually say what they’re there form they need to answer the burning question of who they are and what they’re actually here to get you to sign up to.

The short story is where we start to answer the ‘what’ of the conversation, where they’ll start to elaborate but not spend ages talking about their importance. I personally pitched about charities so I’d break down who the charity helps and relate it back to the potential customer, if the charity involved deaf children, I’d find out if they knew anyone deaf or hard of hearing. Find out what support they get and hook them in as they aren’t removed from the issue anymore.

The presentation is also a part of this, as the what/where are closely linked, it’s also important that this doesn’t last forever. That’s why pitches tend to all be the same and go on for the same amount of time, which shouldn’t be longer than a minute and a half to be honest.

The close is a really important bit, and honestly you’re going to want to close someone after all of this. Even if they’re starting to lose impulse, you can always bring it back through explaining how it works but not in a way that’s intimidating. If they need to sign up to a charity it’s important to emphasise that it won’t start immediately but in 2 months down the line, if they already do charities ask them which ones and give a random name of a neighbour who also signs up to these charities and they also agreed to sign up today.

The close is really where the sales person comes out, even though it’s still a conversation, it’s when you really have free reign to lie about a lot. If they’re worried about cost, say it’s in the future and only works out to 20p a day, people hate math and they’ll probably want to do it, especially if you compare it to the price of a freddo, or make jokes about how freddos are expensive. Once you’re joking they’re sucked in.

The consolidation is the last step and funnily enough it happens after card details have been exchanged – it’s the step where you thank them.. well it’s when you also incorporate a guilt trip by reminding them about the children they’re helping, or animals, or anything charity related – I’m not sure how this works if you’re selling windows or anything physical. The consolidation exists for the ‘feel good factor’, the last thing you’d want is for someone to feel regret once you’ve left them to their own devices, because they’ll cancel the sale. So consolidation exists so that they’ll feel good and happy about your encounter and will happily continue the direct debit.

The emphasis on conversation is because that’s the scam of it all, it actually sounds like a conversation, but it’s all planned. Every joke, every statement every time they play with your pets – it’s all fake.

What Writers Block Feels Like (315/365)

I make a lot of jokes about my issues with writers block and how I’ve resorted to some lazy posts or just a stream of consciousness, which always turns out to be a mess, but I don’t think I’ve expanded a lot on how this feels or how it comes about. Writers block happens to everyone who dabbles in writing, whether it’s professionally or for fun, and we use the term a lot but we don’t spend a lot of time describing the sensation.

I guess because everyone kind of knows what it is, it’s a straight up mental block.

It feels a lot like your brain has ideas, and wants to write but they’re stuck beneath a service that you can’t seem to access. Like a weight that is draining every single hope and dream you have of writing in that moment. You want to write, but you can’t.

It’s kind of like a form of hopelessness but in the form of something that isn’t allowing you to actually write down all the thoughts you have.

I’ve had many moments of having ideas, writing down the title of the ideas, and then not finding the words of even the will to write the post. It’s linked to a minor fear of it being shit, and a major fear of being able to do the topic justice. So in my case I get in my own way, but writers block is honestly an annoying thing because there’s not physical way to get yourself out of it, you kind of have to walk away, do something else and hope that you’re able to put words together later.

Which isn’t good when you have a daily blog, but I put myself in this hell of having to write a post every day of the year.

F*ck Society – My Old Anarchist Self (303/365)

I rewatched an episode of Mr Robot and it really inspired me to write this post, not only because the show is amazing, brilliant and a must-see piece of television, but also because there’s so many layers, symbolism and relatability in it. Yes, a lot of it is wild, and honestly if you relate to Elliot 100% I do worry for your mental health, but the way in which this show captures revolutionary themes and the problems within our society just make my anarchist heart bleed.

The show takes a very anti capitalist approach to revolution, but also cleverly looks into the the negatives within that as well – this post isn’t about the show because I honestly would never intentionally spoil it for anyone, IT’S THAT BRILLIANT. This post is about one of their central themes and the apt name of the main hacking group – F*ck Society.

As a youngster I would always outwardly scream about how our materialistic culture and society is numbing our minds, and about how the media is implicit in lobotomising everyone on a global scale. My thoughts were so fresh and anti-capitalist I was like a white person who had heard of Marx for the first time. I loved screaming about how we support large conglomerates who were taking our coin and fucking us over with that same money, a lot of my arguments were naive and ignorant but I did have a point,

At some point I had to become a cog in the machine because I needed money and honestly it’s hard to be anti-capitalist when you’re broke and working class. It’s very much a rich girls game, which is extremely ironic in itself. It’s hard to fight society when we live in that same society, we rely on everything that is consumerist, materialistic and let’s be honest, retail therapy makes you feel good.

Watching a cheeky episode of Mr Robot sort of reminded me about how I used to think and how I think now, and although I’d love to be a revolutionary and fight the good fight, I’m black and need money. I also don’t have the luxury of fighting and going to jail – refer back to the point about the fact that I’m Black and need money. I feel like there’s a lot of people who don’t see how classist it is to have the luxury to be able to revolt and honestly that should be a post about another day, as the UK is getting ready for another general election, so I might just post a lot on this blog about all of my thoughts that are against society.

I’m going to end this post with a quote from the lovely show in mention as it really ties in all of my thoughts.

Is any of it real? I mean, look at this. Look at it! A world built on fantasy! Synthetic emotions in the form of pills, psychological warfare in the form of advertising, mind-altering chemicals in the form of food, brainwashing seminars in the form of media, controlled isolated bubbles in the form of social networks. Real? You want to talk about reality? We haven’t lived in anything remotely close to it since the turn of the century. We turned it off, took out the batteries, snacked on a bag of GMOs while we tossed the remnants in the ever-expanding dumpster of the human condition. We live in branded houses trademarked by corporations built on bipolar numbers jumping up and down on digital displays, hypnotizing us into the biggest slumber mankind has ever seen. You have to dig pretty deep, kiddo, before you can find anything real. We live in a kingdom of bullshit, a kingdom you’ve lived in for far too long. So don’t tell me about not being real. I’m no less real than the f***ing beef patty in your Big Mac.

Being a Somali In Pro-Black Spaces (302/365)

I’m going to try to not offend anyone but honestly I can’t make any promises because this is personal and based on my actual experiences. It’s also something I don’t feel the most comfortable writing about, but sometimes the truth needs to be spilled and this is something that everyone kind of forgets about.

So sometimes I actually make the effort and socialise or interact and go to events and a lot of the times it’s wonderful, insightful and I learn a lot. I’ve been to a lot of events surrounding Black activism, feminism, South Asian excellence and I enjoy these spaces a lot. Even as an outsider I do genuinely feel like everyone can benefit from learning and watching other cultures celebrate their amazingness. This post is going to focus on my experience around pro-Black spaces because honey it’s a lot.

So incase you didn’t know I’m Somali, which means I’m east African and therefore Black – the thing is a lot of people won’t really see me as Black as there’s this weird exclusion of Somalis when it comes to the notion of Blackness.

I’ve written a post about this but I grew up hearing this phrase a lot:

“You’re not Black, you’re Somali”

Now this is something that still gets thrown around and honestly it’s ridiculous in every single way, but the thing is people still feel it and therefore Other us a lot. I’m not even sure why, I can make a few guesses though since Black identity as a whole tends to refer a lot to West Africans, Afro Caribbean and anyone who looks the part, whereas Somali’s tend to look different, our culture is different and our religion is ultimately different, which leads to a lot of exclusion in these spaces.

I’m sure there’s more to it than this, but as someone who feels excluded I can’t really answer it. I’m also genuinely too afraid to ask the question as the response could lead to a level of ignorance that would make me either angry, uncomfortable, sad or all of the above.

I’m not even sure if people intentionally are aware of the exclusion or if it’s all subconscious bias taking place. People’s ideas of Blackness still have a long way to go, even in activist spaces as there needs to be a general expansion of thought considering that Africa is huge and not every culture looks the same. You can’t sprout pro African ideals and then only cater to a specific section of the continent.

I’m still open to going to these activist spaces purely because I do enjoy them and learn a lot, but do I feel at ‘one with everyone’? – fuck no. I’m aware of my distance from it all and honestly I could try to break through and do more but this requires a level of effort that I’m not always comfortable bringing.

-Obviously I’m aware a lot of the Othering isn’t intentional, just wanted to quickly make that clarification-

300 Days of Blogging (300/365)

I don’t mean to toot my own horn but I’ve written a lot of posts dedicated to each and every milestone and it’s mainly because every time I reach one I am shocked. I can’t stress this enough, I didn’t think I’d make it past three months, and that was just to be nice to my own self, but now we’re on day 300 and it’s honestly shocking.

I feel like this daily blogging challenge started as a way for me to write again because my creative soul was killed off by my day job and my mental health was fucking awful, so I thought – let’s do something super challenging publicly because what’s the worst that can happen, and honestly I’m happy I started this.

It’s taught me many things like:

  • I can actually find time in my life to focus on my own creative projects.
  • I have more motivation and discipline than I give myself credit for.
  • I do love writing, but I’m not a good writer, and I can admit that wholeheartedly.
  • Writing is really good for my mental health, because it gives me a nice little escape from the crazy world we live in.
  • People are really supportive, like honestly, each and every one of you who take time to read these posts and give support are actual rays of sunshine.
  • Even at my laziest, pride will force me to stick to my promises.

I feel like as a whole this project has helped me get through 2019, it hasn’t been easy but having something to focus on and a set goal has really grounded me. I do genuinely enjoy this, but don’t expect a daily blog challenge next year – WRITING EVERY DAY IS SOMEWHAT STRESSFUL.

65 days to go b*tches!

Weird Ways We White Ourselves Up In Order To Assimilate (299/365)

If you haven’t heard the term ‘white yourself up’, or whiteness being used as a seperate behaviour for POC, then you’re either white, or don’t know enough POC (or live in a country where this isn’t a thing). For the rest of us living in a white mans world we kind of have to ‘white ourselves up’ as a basic survival mechanism and that is called assimilation. We don’t get the benefit of really being our true selves because in order to do that we risk being ‘othered’ or ostracised or even just never having a chance to make money and navigate our capitalist world.

So what is ‘whiteing yourself up’?

It honestly ranges from little to big things like:

  1. Shortening your ethnic name or allowing yourself to have a ‘fun’ nickname because your name is difficult to pronounce.
  2. Preteding to understand white banter (I refuse to believe people actually get it)
  3. Skipping on talking about your race, your culture and your heritage because colonisation fucked it up and you can’t speak about these things without being condemned.
  4. Not talking about racism, discrimination.
  5. Looking down at groups of people within your own race or other races.
  6. Saying ‘I’m not like <insert race> people’ .
  7. Not using slang terms.
  8. Not speaking in your language.
  9. Fighting the urge to be pro-Black or pro-Asian in terms of language, clothing and your general aesthetic.
  10. Not wearing symbols of your race, culture or religion.

The list goes on and writing it is annoying me so I’ll just state some of the extremes. We have people of colour in government condemnig immigrants because they truly in their heart have whitened themselves up to the point of forgetting how their parents/grandparents got them to the country they live in. We also have POC people who are pro-Brexit – which is ridiculous as the second that drops we’re all fucked – yes even you, with your good job, and your white friends, it doesn’t matter, at the end of the day when you walk into a room all they see is your skin colour.

When your a person of colour living in the Western world it’s kind of difficult to navigate it without having to fall on these methods, because on some level we do need to assimilate in order to function. Some people use the word integrate, but that suggests a manner of choice and to be perfectly honest we don’t.

Anyone who says otherwise is either painfully ignorant or probably someone who’s neglecting their own truth (yes those two options are the same, but one sounds nicer right?).

It’s weird how we kind of have to do this, because some of us even have a ‘white people’ tone when it comes to answering phones or presenting ourselves in job interviews and when you really break it down we’re just putting in an extensive amount of effort to appear palatable and non threatening to the world which is intrinsically fucked up.

Due to our physical features like our skin tone, our hair, our clothes and anything that isn’t ‘white’ we’re automatically in the red when it comes to how threatening we are. It’s why anyone who dares to say anything is automatically assumed to be aggressive and sassy, and anyone who is excessively timid is just normal when in reality we’re just trying our best to not get killed, attacked or even fired because we dared to behave like our white counterparts.

The way we navigate our white world isn’t healthy and honestly I feel like the fact that we have to overthink everything fucks us up. I’ve even made the mistake of being myself, and let me tell you that shit gets you fucked over in the wonderful world of employment.

This post started off weird and got very political, it wasn’t planned and honestly I’m going to end it here as I’m about to go out of my house.

Feeling Uninspired (293/365)

I don’t know what’s in the water around this time of year but I’m seriously feeling super uninspired. I was almost about to give up on this challenge due to this feeling and the fact that I don’t want to write anymore filler posts as they’re sort of cheating in my books. I asked my followers on Instagram for ideas and although most of them were amazing, my brain couldn’t find a good way to write most of them. I figure if I’m going to do it, it can’t be shit.

So instead todays post is about my sheer lack of inspiration, which is strange because I’ve spent a lot of time watching detailed analysis videos on the show The Leftovers (if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out the show is brilliant). Every video breaks down all the themes of grief, loss, sadness, religion, philosophy and honestly makes me want to watch the show again since it’s one of the best television shows to ever be created in my books. So you’d think this would inspire some form of thought but honestly I’m just tired and lacking ideas.

I want to blame my personal life and say that I’m busy and all that crap but in all honesty I always have things going on, and I haven’t used it as an excuse to not create content here because I do want to complete this challenge of writing a blog post for every day of 2019. I’ve written posts before going to funerals, dealing with employment issues, personal issues, family issues so I can’t really say I’m not capatable of writing when I need to. It’s just writing something that is good in my eyes and something that isn’t a recycled or generic thought.

I might need to write more personal posts and that is going to emotionally scare the fuck out of me. As I’ve written a lot about race issues, gender, feminism, mental health, nerdy things and honestly I feel like I’ve done a good job exploring most of those topics. I try not to ‘nerd out’ too much because a lot of those posts don’t receive any love and I don’t think anyone who regularly reads this website cares about my achey breaky nerdy loves.

In all honestly the main thing that seperates my writing habits now and at the beginning of the year is that I actually scheduled posts better. I took the time and really wrote a few posts in advance, I also had a job that included zero work so I did use a lot of that time to write them, but despite being busier I feel like I need to plan my time a lot better and not rely on fillers.