On Why Our "Friends" Don't Support Us

Yes, I am going there. But I'm keeping it short and sweet!

Now, I know we always see comments about this on social media. We see the memes and jokes, but we also witness this kind of thing with our own eyes; in real life. We witness the way in which people begin to move wild when we start achieving greatness.

Why is it that we have people in our lives who don't support us when we do great things? I often ask myself how this is even possible; and to be honest... I don't know the answer. The end.

I'm joking lol. But in all seriousness, how? 

Speaking from my own perspective, I'm the kind of person who loves to see people winning at life. I don't even need to know you. If I see you achieving things, no matter how big or small; I am genuinely happy for you. You'll see me on Twitter or Instagram all up on people's posts with emojis, liking or retweeting their greatness. So obviously when it comes to my friends, I am their biggest hype woman!! How can I not be? Even if this greatness I am speaking of is something as simple as them slaying an outfit; I am there! So when it comes to their achievements, I can't even imagine not being on the sidelines cheering them on with my pom poms; because I will always be as proud of them as I would be for myself. And that's the truth.

Now, life has taught me that we can't always judge others according to what we would do, because everyone is different. However! If you're supposed to be my "friend" and I see you witnessing my accomplishments and pretending you haven't seen, then I'm judging you! #SorryNotSorry. Remember people, there's no hiding place (especially on social media). We see you watching the greatness! 

If you tell a "friend" about something you're proud of and the reception you get is anything other than joy, they're not your friend. If you're starting a business or sharing your work and your "friends" are just scrolling on by, they're not your friends. And more importantly, if your "friends" are unable to simply tell you that they are proud of you, THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND! It's really that simple; and I just had to shout to make sure everyone at the back can hear me. You don't need to ask your real friends for their support, because it comes naturally. Real friends want to see you win and they don't hold back on letting you know that they are proud of you.

We are all at different stages of our lives and everyone is achieving different things at different rates, and that's fine. I also know that social media can sometimes be hard whilst we're navigating through life. As they say, "comparison is the thief of joy." However, nothing anyone else is doing should stop us from doing what we need to do; and it definitely shouldn't stop us from celebrating the achievements of others, let alone the people closest to us.

With that being said, for every "friend" who isn't happy for your success or doesn't support you, I can guarantee that there will be even more support from people that you least expect it from. This is where your attention should be redirected, because those little acts of kindness deserve all the gratitude. And remember, if no one is clapping for you, clap for your own damn self because you are doing great and you are amazing!

If you've done something that you're proud of, or you're just doing your best during a hard time, comment below so I can celebrate you! x


Five Things I Achieved When I Stopped Letting Fear Hold Me Back

Life can be hard; let's start being honest about that. We spend a lot of our existence being told how we should be living, trying to chase what is "expected" of us; and if the things we are doing don't fit that expectation then we feel shit. I find it quite ironic that all of the things we've been told that we "need" in order to be successful and happy, in actual fact can leave us feeling quite the opposite. Unfulfilled and unsatisfied.

The achievements I am most proud of are the ones that I decided were important to me. The ones I talked myself out of numerous times, due to fear. The ones that lingered in my mind and stayed there until I would address them. The thoughts I had that scared me, that I knew if I plucked up the courage to see them through, would make me really happy. The ones that I knew would help me to grow.

Passing my driving test

I started my driving lessons when I was about 20 years old. I took my practical once and failed. After this happened, I was so in my feelings about failing, that I let my theory run out and didn't get back into a car until I was 29! 

Every year I'd say, "This is the one! I need to just get it over and done with!" But me being me, scared of failing. I kept letting the time pass. Have you ever been so worried about perfection that you avoid doing certain things out of fear of failing? Then you don't end up getting anything done and it's just one big cycle? Well, I am also that person. Or I was. 

When I got to 29, I decided that I had to pass my test or at the very least be ready to take my test before I turnt 30. So I started revising for my theory... AGAIN! Then I started my lessons. The difference was, this time I kept it quiet so I could focus, meaning I felt less pressure and I had a deadline to work towards. 

Once I got back into the car, everything came back to me pretty quickly and my instructor and I decided that I was ready to take my test not too long afterwards. I failed the first practical I booked onto. I was so upset (because I'm just an emotional person lol) but I was more determined to pass ASAP than I felt sorry for myself. I literally went home that night and booked the closest date I could find; AND THIS TIME I PASSED! 

I ended up passing my driving test three months after my 30th birthday. But if I hadn't set myself that goal, I'd probably still be making excuses and probably still wouldn't have my driving licence.

No matter how long it takes or how scared you are; don't give up! 

I travelled abroad solo for the first time

I love to travel! I love it, I love it, I LOVE IT! Does anyone else get really agitated if they don't have a trip planned or one to look forward to? Me too! So, in December last year, when I saw 2018 was fast approaching and I had no trip in sight I decided that I needed to book something ASAP! I wanted to get away and it had to be in January.

Instead of coming back to work after the Christmas break depressed about being broke because of that stupid early December pay, and spending the next four weeks eating tinned soup in the cold; I was going to Tenerife. Alone. "I did it!", I told everyone as I hit the confirmation button with my heart racing. I'd never travelled abroad alone before. I had thought about it, but never knew if it was something I'd ever have the courage to do. I felt so proud of myself, but I was also nervous.

I chose Tenerife because it wasn't too far, was still hot in January and I hadn't been before. This was something else I could say I did when I turned 30. I mean, I was officially a grown up now!

I had the most amazing adventures on that trip and made sure I experienced something I'd never done before, everyday.

Do the things that scare you and don't wait to enjoy the things you love. Life is happening now!

I decided to leave toxic situations 

You guys may or may not be able to relate to this, but as I get older I really start analysing my life, thinking about my happiness and how I really feel about certain situations. I can't really explain it, but I guess I just want to be sure that I'm being honest with myself and living my truth.

Naturally in life, change happens. Friends come and go, circumstances change and certain things we thought will last forever, don't always work out that way.

Change can be scary and it's so easy for us to stay in situations that make us feel comfortable; but that doesn't always mean that they're right for us. Deep down I feel that we know when something feels right and if it doesn't, naturally we question that feeling. But then what? What happens after we've questioned that feeling? Do we choose to ignore it or to address it? 

The only way we grow is to face what makes us feel uncomfortable or even unhappy. So I really started addressing the things that didn't sit right with my soul. 

I began with trying to work on my own flaws, because sometimes we are the toxic person; to others and to ourselves. Everything isn't always someone else's fault and when we learn to admit that, growth is inevitable. I had a serious look at the people around me and decided that in order for me to be my best self, I would have to love certain people from afar. Just like any relationship, not everyone is supposed to stay with you on your journey. And I left my job. Now this was hands down one of the scariest things I've ever done in my life. I had no job lined up, I wasnt 100% certain what I'd do next, but I knew I was unhappy, extremely unfulfilled and something had to change. From the minute I decided it was what I wanted and needed to do; I didn't have one ounce of regret and it was the best decision I ever made.

Take control of your life because no one is going to do it for you.

I shaved my head

This is quite a short one because I've previously written about it here.

Since then, I've cut my hair even shorter and I'm even more in love! 

Shaving my head was something that I'd been scared to do for a long time and the fear came from a place that was based on the opinion of others. Others, whose opinions mean nothing because I'm still bald and beautiful! (Yes, I said it lol) Do those people who's opinions we take into consideration need to give us permission to live? Do we need their acceptance? No. So why should we even care what they think.

If we're living our best lives and people are judging us for doing so. Who really has the issue? 

Don't worry about what people think. You don't need their validation to be yourself! 

I started my blog

And here we are! 

I had a blog about seven years ago and to be honest I had no idea what I was doing. I enjoyed posting, but I genuinely believed no one was reading it and after a while I gave up. 

Fast forward seven years and I'm back again, but with a completely different mindset. Now I'm blogging because I have so much to say and I believe that I can empower people and spark interesting conversations through my stories. Even if only one person is touched by my words, that means the world to me.

Since I've started this blog the feedback has been great, but even better than that, people have reached out to me with stories of their own and have told me how reading certain posts has made them feel. That in itself is more than enough motivation for me to keep going.

I won't lie, it is a bit nerve-racking putting yourself out there and being so open, but I feel like there's no point in me blogging and sharing stories with you if I'm not being authentic and telling my truth. Sometimes that truth might not be pretty, but I can only be me, so I hope you stick along for the ride.

Stay true to yourself and don't give up on your dreams. 


Being Black in White Spaces

plural noun: microagressions

a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a certain marginalised group such as a racial or ethnic minority.

I started writing this about a week ago and it's taken me a while to post it because I've found it hard to articulate certain feelings; and as I began to reflect on certain experiences, the world continued to show it's disrespect towards black women and I am just tired. Can black women just live without the world trying to constantly police our behaviour, emotions and greatness?

When I think of my past experiences of navigating through life in predominantly white spaces, I usually see a version of myself which isn't whole. I see me, but not always the full authentic version. In fact, in most cases I am fully conscious of my appearance (this includes the way I am dressed, my hair, my accessories), the things I say, the way in which I say them and how they will be perceived. The sad truth of the matter is that none of these things were ever on my radar until they were made apparent to me. This happened from a very young age. Now this may sound strange to some people and you might even be confused as to why this is; so I'm going to go ahead and explain. For the sake of this post, I will be speaking about being black in your environment of work.

Now most people come into work everyday and the only thing on their minds is that they wish they were still in bed or where they're going to get their first morning coffee from. My experience of  working in predominantly white spaces is having to psych myself for a day of unnecessary comments (aka microaggressions).

Can I change my hair in peace?

From braids, to fros, to wigs, black women are known for having various hairstyles, and I for one have had many. But changing your hair as a black woman is one of the most tiring things in the work place. Before you've even stepped foot in the door, someone is waiting with a comment. Now don't get me wrong, there are a lot of genuine compliments, which is fine with me. I appreciate them. It's great; and I can get on with my day. But spending the whole day having to justify my appearance, listening to all the comparisons to any black woman with hair and answering unwanted questions like, "can you wash it?", "did it grow?", "does it hurt?", "is it real?" and the worst one of all, "can I touch it?" is exhausting to say the least. I am not a pet. And do you know how weird that sounds? Most of the day is spent trying to politely decline a hand in your hair or trying not to be rude as the hand has already entered your scalp. I remember the first time I went into work with my natural hair. I was so nervous about coming into the office that I ended up being late, as I needed to build up the confidence to go in. It wasn't even that I was nervous about going out on the street with my natural hair, but the thought of going into the office gave me so much anxiety. I remember putting up a post that evening. The caption read, 'something so simple shouldn't feel so hard.' And it shouldn't be so hard. But it is, because the truth is, in that kind of environment you are surrounded by a lot of ignorance. It was only three years after this, that I was asked by a senior member of staff, "so when are you gonna do your hair then?" when I came into work with an afro on the day of a work event. I was so taken aback I didn't even know what to say. When you ask me to "do" my hair that is growing out of my head, are you asking me to make it more European? More straight? More palatable for you? More white? I'm tired of seeing black girls and boys, women and men just like me, being discriminated against for merely owning their blackness. When people are being refused jobs, excluded from schools and are made to feel uncomfortable for something so natural that no one else has to deal with, then clearly there is a huge issue.

I am allowed to express my emotions however I choose to.

I can't even count the amount of times I've been patronised or dismissed for giving my opinion or speaking with passion about something. It's very unlikely that you will voice an opinion without hearing any of the following responses, "alright! calm down", "oohhh, someone's [insert stupid description]", and my favourite of them all, "no need to be so aggressive."  Just say that you can't stand black women having a voice and go; because I'm bored now. To be a black woman is to be constantly critiqued for simply just being; but it is also remaining unapologetic and self assured in times of adversity. It has taught me that regardless of the situation I am in, to always speak my truth no matter how it makes anyone else around me feel; because our light should never need to be dimmed to make anyone else feel comfortable. It was only on the weekend that we saw Serena Williams being portrayed by the media as a tantrum throwing, masculine, difficult, "angry black woman" for speaking up about a blatant case of discrimination. This genuine passion and upset for the things that we believe in is always dismissed and reduced to us being irrational.

I just want to feel comfortable.

It isn't unusual to be made to feel uncomfortable by people who just have no idea how to conduct themselves around people of colour. If someone has a certain preconception of you, their ignorance will never fail to make an appearance. It may be as a passing statement or more often than not "banter". A classic example of this, is a time that a colleague felt the need to shout repeatedly that they were having "jerk chicken tonight" because they were in close proximity to a few black people. What are we supposed to do with that information? It's just awkward for everyone involved and really unnecessary. You also don't need to tell me that my hooped earrings make me look "ghetto",  turn up your nose at my food choices or ask me if my partner is a "rude boy" [if I had a side eye emoji, it would go right here!].

If you're going to speak to me, speak to me properly.

For anyone that isn't aware, you are allowed to interact with black people just as you would interact with anyone else. You don't need to start a conversation by telling me about the latest hip hop or RnB song you listened to and you also don't need to start speaking in a way in which you think I will "relate" to. I can't tell you the amount of times I've witnessed colleagues approach someone of colour and either try to mimic their accent whilst speaking to them, or turn on the worst ever "road man" accent [insert plenty of outdated slang]. You also don't need to click your fingers in an attempt to be "sassy" or call me "girlfriend." It really is OK for us to simply not speak at all, if you have nothing constructive to say to me.

The worst thing of all, is that many people don't feel that they are able to call out this kind of behaviour when it happens to them, for fear of being labelled as "angry", "aggressive" or any other stereotype people tend to attach to black people; in particular black women.

"The journey towards understanding structural racism still requires people of colour to prioritise white feelings."
Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race

As individuals, I feel that it's so important to stand up for what is wrong, regardless of whether it affects us or not. An injustice is an injustice, no matter how big or small and unfortunately people of colour aren't blessed with the luxury of privilege to be able to ignore race, hence these conversations. It is also important to recognise that we don't all experience life in the same way.

Time has taught me that change doesn't come from turning a blind eye to things and pretending they don't exist, it comes from speaking about issues regardless of how uncomfortable they may be for yourself or others. I may not have always had the courage to do that, but that is what growth is about. 


How To Get Bikini Body Ready

OMG, I'm sooo bored of hearing that phrase! What does it even mean?!

According to this statement, we will never be ready to go to the beach, on holiday or live our best lives unless we fit a certain kind of aesthetic. But what happens once we get there? Do we begin walking on air and feel that all of life's problems have been absolved? No. Because in reality, we have always been 'bikini body ready' and what we are striving for is actually much deeper than what's on the surface.

I say this as someone who used to believe that once I lost weight, happiness would then follow.

Growing up, I always had a love hate relationship with my body. In fact, if I'm being totally honest, there wasn't much love involved. I actually hated it. 

I hated that I didn't look like all the women I saw on TV and in the magazines, I hated that I was usually the biggest out of all my friends and I hated the constant battle with myself over what I thought I was "supposed to" look like. I was always trying to "fix" something. From the age of 18 well into my late 20s, I was an on and off gym member. I'm not a huge fan of the gym but I always believed it would be the answer to my problems. Going to the gym was what adults were supposed to do, right? 

At first I went purely for the enjoyment, but as time went on I noticed that the gym started to become a means of punishment. Punshishment for the way I looked. I would use it to remind me of all the things I didn't like about myself and it was the place where I would go to remind myself that I still didn't look good enough. But I kept going, because obviously once I lost weight it would all be worth it. I would wake up at half five in the morning and spend an hour in the gym before work. I did that multiple times a week. I would even travel into the city on my weekends (who was I?!) And guess what! I did lose weight. And people gave me compliments about my appearance and I'd feel good for a little while. Then I'd look at myself in the mirror and still be unhappy with what I saw, because I still didn't look like the images that are forced down our throats on a daily basis. 

Even after losing two stones I still didn't have that euphoric feeling that I'd been expecting to feel. As time went on and my love of food stayed, I gained back some of the weight I'd lost, so I tried out The Body Coach, then I joined Slimming World. My weight has always fluctuated and I've always had a belly, boobs and thighs. To be honest, I don't actually know what I was trying to achieve because regardless of any weight loss I "achieved" I was never satisfied. 

My wake up call came one evening after I'd come home from my Slimming World group. I remember this evening in particular because I had come home distraught, literally breaking down in tears. I had put on one pound and I felt like a massive failure.

I've never really been someone who cared about the scales. I would usually just judge my weight according to whether or not my clothes were getting tighter. So on top of that judgement, I was now in pieces because of a number. One pound!! I couldn't believe how upset I had gotten and it scared me, because until that moment I always thought I was doing all of this stuff for my own good. But in actual fact, all I was doing was hurting myself. I'd spent so many years telling myself that I wasn't good enough and trying to change parts of who I was, that I didn't realise all the ways in which I had held and was holding myself back.

It was time that I had a real serious conversation with myself.

How many times had I compared my body to someone else's? How many times had I said that I hate a particular part of my body? How many times had I beaten myself up for going to the gym but not staying long enough? How many times had I tried stupid diets which left me starving, but it would all be OK because "you'll lose weight"? (10 cashews in a stupid little Tupperware container isn't a real snack!) And how many times had I tried to starve myself before a holiday? The list is endless, but I had had enough. 

I'd had enough of not showing myself love. 

Every single thing I had been doing involved me focussing on my exterior, but happiness was never going to come from me losing weight or toning up my stomach, my arms or my thighs. It was going to come from me appreciating my body for what it was and building a healthy relationship with myself, according to my own standards and not what society told me to be! So I began to remove anything I deemed toxic from my life. I stopped buying magazines that pushed this nonsense narrative, I began to unfollow people and accounts who promoted this kind of toxic behaviour and made me feel rubbish about myself, I began to take social media breaks and I started focussing on the things that I believe to be of importance. These are the things that make you who you are and have absolutely nothing to do with your physical appearance. Are you a decent human being? Do you care about others? How have you helped someone recently without expecting something back? Are you pushing yourself towards self growth? And most importantly, are you happy? Mental health is so important and we sometimes neglect that whilst we worry about things like whether or not we're posing at the correct angle, the amount of likes on a post, whether or not our bellies are flat enough, comparing where we are in our lives to others etc etc, all the while forgetting that these things hold the least significance towards our value as a human beings.

None of the above is to say that being conscious of our fitness and health is wrong or that as if by some miracle we will no longer have negative thoughts, because working towards unlearning the toxic behaviour we've been conditioned to believe is the be all and end all of life is a journey. As I mentioned in a previous post, it is always important that we ask ourselves why we're making the decisions that we make. And if any of these decisions are coming from a place of negativity or self hatred, maybe we need to rethink these decisions and focus on why we feel the way that we do.

One thing I know for sure is that losing weight didn't bring me happiness, but filling myself with love did! 

Leaving situations that cost me my peace brings me happiness, working on loving myself brings me happiness, checking myself for own toxic behaviours brings me happiness, sharing my stories and feelings with people brings me happiness and going on a damn beach and living my best life, regardless of what size I am brings me happiness. Do I look like a magazine cover girl? No. Does that mean that I'm not "bikini ready"? Hell no!

Life is happening right now and time isn't going to wait for us to realise how amazing we are,  so let's try not to waste anymore time worrying about who we aren't and what we don't have and instead focus on what we are blessed with right now. 

© Unique Rosch
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