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Today was the perfect day for some much needed R&R (reading and relaxation) time. So after watching a few episodes of Bob’s Burger on Netflix, I decided to disconnect and tackle the books that I had gotten in a recent book haul on Amazon. I finished the final chapter of the mystery book that took me a month to read and decided that I would dive into some of the great works Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I read Half of a Yellow Sun a few years ago and hadn’t had the opportunity to read any of her work since so I was excited when I got my hands on a copy of “We Should All Be Feminist” that was originally adapted from one of her famous TEDTalks.

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So I found me an awesome sun spot in my room, made me a huge cup of warm chai and prepared to have my life handed to me. Although, I do wish it were a longer read, her words did pack a powerful punch and it was really interesting to see how “feminism” showed itself in so many different ways culturally whether in America or in Nigeria. So in between sips of chai, I found myself with a bulk of yellow stickies making notes and sticking them in between the pages I wanted to read over and over again. Here are six times I got my life, snapped my fingers and let out a “yaaaaasssss” as I read along. Had I been at her TEDTalk, I’d have probably been that one black woman doing that.

“We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likeable. We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons. All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.”

“But by far the worst thing we do to males–by making them feel they have to be hard–is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is. And then we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.”

“A Nigerian acquaintance once asked me if I was worried that men would be intimidated by me. I was not worried at all–it had not even occurred to me to be worried, because a man who would be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in.”

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“We use the word respect for something a woman shows a man, but not often for something a man shows a woman. Both men and women will say ‘I did it for peace in my marriage.’ When men say it, it is usually about something they should not be doing anyway. Something they say to their friends in a fondly exasperated way, something that ultimately proves to them their masculinity–‘Oh, my wife said I can’t go to the club every night, so now, for peace in my marriage, I go only on weekends.’ When women say ‘I did it for peace in my marriage,’ it is usually because they have given up a job, a career goal, a dream. We teach females that in relationships, compromise is what a woman is more likely to do.”

“Some people ask why the word ‘feminist?’ Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that? Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general– but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human. For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem that should acknowledge that.”

“Some men feel threatened by the idea of feminism. This comes, I think, from the insecurity triggered by how boys are brought up, how their sense of self-worth is diminished if they are not ‘naturally’ in charge as men.”

If you didn’t get your life after reading those quotes, or if you weren’t prompted to get your own copy then I don’t know what else to tell you, but it sparked something in me. She made it a point to make feminism a universal cause. We should literally all be feminist just as we should all read this book!

Next Up: “Americanah”

FullSizeRenderWhen you’re a kid, the possibilities of what you can become seem endless. Some want to be doctors, firefighters, policeman, and ballerinas one day, but the next day the answer can change to pilot, astronaut, or chef. I knew I was going to be a writer. I had learned to read earlier than most of my classmates in Pre-K and always excelled in literature and writing. I knew that I had found my calling in life, but there were a ton of obstacles that took me off track. After years of sitting on my gift instead of walking in it and using it, I knew it was time for a change. I had a great group of inspirational friends who I knew would support me every step of the way so, a year and a half ago, I began a journey down a path I never thought I would. I opened up a legal notepad and outlined what would be the blueprint for my FIRST book. It was in some way a blueprint to also help me make sense of the last 24 years of my life at that time. So I entitled it “Wanderlust Musings: First Hand Guide for The Girl in Search of Herself.”  I was searching for myself and I knew that there would be thousands of other women doing the same. Now at 25 I’m still growing and learning, but the wisdom I have acquired is so overwhelming that I must share it with others.

I recall a time when I attended Pose ‘N Post Symposium with Chrisette Michelle in Newark. The event was filled with bloggers, writer, entrepreneurs, creatives and innovators. We were all women and all dreamers. Someone asked the question, “How do you stand out in industries that are heavily saturated?” The answer was quite simple, “Be you.’ I thought about ways to make myself stand out and it came so easily to me. We each have something no one else can take from us and that’s our stories. Our lives. Each of these women authors I have encountered whether via social media, or in person each open themselves up to share parts of themselves. There is beauty in vulnerability and I believe that you will be inspired by making the choice to invest in their stories.

Twenties Unscripted by Tyece Wilkins. Available for purchase on Amazon.
Twenties Unscripted by Tyece Wilkins. Available for purchase on Amazon.

Twenties Unscripted by Tyece Wilkins  (Amazon, $15.00)

Because who said you had to have life all figured out in your twenties? If you consider yourself to be a woman who dances to the beat of her own drum and creates her own standards, Ty’s work will certainly be a breath of fresh air to you. I love how she challenges millennials to think for themselves and think about the things that really matter in our lives through her personal stories. Navigating life in the 20’s is difficult as hell and it can be hard to find your footing and reading Twenties Unscripted was no typical “how-to” guide. As a writer, I totally identified with her journey. I especially love how she tackles this new age form of dating and the standard of relationships nowadays. She questions the traditional norms on whether they are as relevant today as they were in the past. She kept it real. I found myself nodding in agreement, laughing, and seeing myself in a lot of her journey. Readers will close her book with a fresh outlook on life.

419JZDvxEWLAlexandra Elle’s “Words of a Wanderer” (Amazon $5.39) & “Love in my Language” (Amazon, $16.19) 

31AlRS4L+FLFrom the moment I followed her on Tumblr, and then Twitter, and then Instagram it was instant inspiration. I get my life with every single post whether it’s her self-love notes, finding love and being an amazing role model to Char Baby, her daughter that is so full of life. Her first book, “Words of a Wanderer” definitely helped me during a time where I was struggling to find my own identity. I was fresh out of a long term relationship and I was trying to figure out who I was outside of the guy I had been with for six years. Reading her poems of love lost, motherhood, growth and self-image made me revel in her strength. I was amazed by it. Her “Note to Self” can be seen plaster all over the internet for daily inspiration. Her sophomore album is a continuation her journey. She really opens herself up to her readers and shares short stories and poems on her struggles, the joys of finding love again, daddy issues, being a mother and teaching her daughter important values. She challenges readers to journal and write their way to finding their own peace.

71jLDP1OODLGo Girl Astrology Guide by Bindu Kabba (Amazon, $19.99)

I am a huge fan of astrology even though I have studied it seriously for fifteen years like Bindu. Her book is very unique. As a psychology major, Bindu has been able to use her knowledge of astrology and psychology to better understand people. A lot of folks say we should rely to heavily on the stars as a deciding factor in our destiny, but I think the stars are on to something when it comes to the way my life is set up. I read through her chapters and she really gets people. I’m a Sagittarius and I’ve dealt with my fair share of people and for some reason Bindu seems to be the only person to understand the evils of the Geminis. Lol. If you enjoy her book, you’ll also enjoy her candid radio talk show The Buzz Klub.

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For the month of July I decided that I would launch a Brunch and Books Series for women who can’t seem to find time for leisure reading outside of work and school. Myself being one of them. I wanted to create a way for us to share something and I believe that reading books for and by women can bring us a little more closer and help us gain a better understanding of ourselves and each other. We are currently in week two of reading and the first meet up isn’t scheduled to take place until the end of July, details will be posted within the week along with discussion questions to reflect on with your reading.

If you are interested in reading along with us you can subscribe here.