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Wandering Thoughts

Because sometimes hiding behind a pen and paper is the only way we can express our true thoughts and feelings

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Ireland based

Inner Compass, What am I Even Doing!?

 

A few months ago, a friend asked me to do something. I won’t lie, I had my reservations about taking it on. I am generally a cautious person, and I tend to overthink things, so when I faced this dilemma, I told myself I was overdoing it.
I went on to do this thing, and for a while, things were going alright. I was able to manage stuff and keep everyone happy. However, as I kept on doing said thing, I began to struggle. Long story short, I became overwhelmed, stressed and unhappy and had to put an end to things. shaking my head

You can probably guess where I am going with this. If I had listened to my inner compass, I would have saved myself a few months of stress and anxiety. But did I? Nope, I decided to push away the one thing that usually keeps me out of trouble because I wanted to prove a point (or something like that).
So here is the thing. We all have an inner compass. Some people call it intuition, but to me, it’s the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is my compass. When I don’t have peace about something, it’s usually the Holy Spirit telling me I have no business getting involved with it. Whether you refer to your inner compass as intuition or the Holy Spirit doesn’t change the fact that there is something on your inside that tells you what to do and tells you when you are on the right side of things.
The world we live in is full of voices striving for our attention and if you do not know what your inner voice sounds like you will listen to the voice of everyone but yourself.
know yourselfDon’t let anyone sway you. If you know for a fact that you cannot do something, or you do not think a particular task is in your best interest, then take a step back, because here are the facts, most times people do not know you as well as you know yourself.

We often talk about discovering ourselves and finding our paths in life. To me, the first step in achieving this is learning to hear and listen to your inner compass. It genuinely saves you from a lot of mistakes, stress, anxiety and the likes. And often when we don’t know what we are doing, or how to handle a particular situation, our inner compass acts as a guide.
The truth is, I haven’t always listened to my inner compass and nine out of ten times I find myself looking back and seeing all the signs I saw but dismissed. I look back and remember all the times I heard in my spirit that I should have followed a different path, and I’m like, “but you know if you had listened you wouldn’t be here right now”.

Remember, you are the driver, they are the passengers. Even if they sit up front with you, they are still passengers, and you get to decide who you listen to on this journey of life.

It isn’t always easy to listen to and follow the inner voice in us, but it is necessary. Learn to tune out the world and pay attention to yourself. To your mind and your heart. You are the main character in your life, don’t give the lead to someone who doesn’t deserve it or knows the story as well as you do. check yourself
Finally, if you are ever in doubt, or not sure your inner compass is making sense, talk to a mentor, a friend, or someone who knows you and someone you trust. Chances are if you are on the right track they will point you in the right direction.
Remember, you are the driver, they are the passengers. Even if they sit up front with you, they are still passengers, and you get to decide who you listen to on this journey of life.

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I’m Back!


IMG-20180908-WA0032So it has been a while since I last wrote. I want to say I took time off to create more content and reorganise my life, but that would be a lie. The truth is the last few months have been challenging, and I couldn’t keep up with work/school/blogging, so I had to take a step back.
Having said all that, I am back (for the most part)! And I have a few things lined up. The one I am most excited about is a series I will be kicking off titled, “Letters to Sophia”. As the name implies, it is a series of posts written to Sophia! Who is Sophia you ask? Lol, watch this space to find out!

Another thing I will be doing in the coming months is introducing you to my life as a PhD researcher/candidate. I realise that a lot of people do not understand what a PhD journey looks like, and so I would like to share mine with you.

Finally, I will be featuring guest authors on the blog, so if you are interested in being featured, drop me a message at shaybolanta@gmail.com or send me a DM on Twitter/Instagram @shayrunn lets hook up!

In reality, this is mostly a “hey I’m still here” post, but I can’t leave without saying a little something, so here we go!
I started my blog as an escape. It was how I got stuff off my chest. It was how I shared my then unpopular opinions. However, as I have gotten older, I have learnt that my so-called unpopular opinions aren’t that unpopular and a lot of people resonate with the things I have to say. Now, this has made me quite happy, because it means I can speak my mind without judgement (sometimes) and even when I get judged, I don’t mind, because I know I am not alone in my way of thinking.
Okay, so where is the lesson here? I said thatWell, the problem is I don’t always say what I think. I hate confrontations, and I get very passionate about things, so sometimes I “un-look” to avoid unnecessary drama. And while “un-looking” is sometimes necessary to maintain peace of mind, there are times when we need to look and speak.

I have said this before, but it’s only right that my first post after months of silence is on speaking up. The older I have gotten, the more I have come to realise that the women I look up to, are women just like me. The only difference between us is that they speak up when necessary. Does this mean they get dragged on Twitter all day long? Yes!

But it also means they get to educate and inspire people all the time!happy dance

Sometimes it takes just one good connection, from one honest, down to earth conversation with a random person to push you in the right direction.

And here’s another thing. Speaking up is not always about educating and inspiring, it’s about connecting with likeminded people and I for one, am all for it! Sometimes it takes just one good connection, from one honest, down to earth conversation with a random person to push you in the right direction.
So moral of the story, you have a voice, thoughts, and opinions for many reasons. Use them, they are tools and assets, and when used wisely they can change your life in ways you never thought or dreamed!

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Random Thoughts on Abuse and Society

So today, I want to talk briefly about abuse in relationships. nervousTo be honest, I do not know where to begin. So I am pretty much going to do a word vomit and hope for the best.
Recently, I have been in contact with people, young women and girls, who have been victims of physical and emotional abuse. And every time I hear one of these stories, my heart breaks a little because no one deserves to be raped, assaulted or abused by anyone.
Whenever I hear these stories, there is usually one thing that stands out in all of them. A sense of entitlement and a lack of respect. These are two things, in my opinion, that causes people to treat other humans as objects and not people.

No matter who you are, you aren’t that important and turning to violence because you don’t get what you want doesn’t make you a “bigger, better or stronger” person.

I have never understood people who felt entitled to other people. idgiPeople who think that because they are in a relationship with someone they by default own the person.
It baffles me how some men can say, “If you do not date me, you can’t date anyone else” and then proceed to become physical if the person doesn’t agree.
It is easy to say, “Oh the person has a history of violence”, or find some excuse to justify the persons’ actions, but the truth is, those are just excuses used to protect abusive people.
In my opinion, the root of the problem lies in a society that teaches people to “get what they want at all costs”. A society that doesn’t teach us to respect people, especially women. And at the end of the day, we have men (and women) who think their mere existence is a blessing, and everyone should fall at their feet in awe and wonder. However, the truth is no matter who you are, you aren’t that important and turning to violence because you do not get what you want doesn’t make you a “bigger, better or stronger” person. It just makes you immature and petty.I said that
The way society is set up we unconsciously train young men to view women as secondary to men. Sometimes, it appears that women are prizes to be “won”. Maybe it is because men pay obscene amounts in bride price, or spend so much while wooing a woman. Whatever the reason is, it breeds a mindset of unhealthy ownership which often spirals into abuse.
To my way of thinking, if you say you “own” a human, then that makes you a slave owner. You don’t get a woman as a prize for all your hard work. You also don’t get a woman to be your slave. That’s not what a relationship is.
Long and short of the story is this. Abuse is a horrible thing for anyone to go through. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, abuse is horrible. However, it is very prevalent in our society and we, need to speak up about it. The time of enduring it in silence is past. Now is the time to speak up and to make a difference.

I know this is a different post from what I usually write, but I would love to hear back from you. Please comment, like and share. Also, if you want to share your story or experience, feel free to email me at shaybolanta@gmail.com

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The “Bad Guy” Theory

For most of my life, I have had an interesting relationship with being the “bad guy” in people’s stories.
On the one hand, I genuinely don’t enjoy hurting people, and so I often allow myself to be painted as the “bad guy” (i.e. taking all the blame) when I have issues/disputes/misunderstandings with people. On the other hand, I don’t really enjoy “debating” with people (especially opinionated people who always have to be right). just noWhich means most times, when I discuss controversial or potentially controversial issues, I keep my opinion to myself. Partly because I don’t have the patience for stubborn people (lol) but mostly because I don’t want to be on the receiving end of anyone’s disapproval.
However, over the last couple of weeks, I have been toying with the idea of being the “bad guy” in the story, and I have come to a few realisations.
Realisation number one. In some situations being the “bad guy” doesn’t make you a “bad person”. For example, recently, I have read a lot of articles and posts about sexual abuse and gender equality. Surprisingly, a lot of those posts have received a large number of negative criticism even though the issues raised in the posts have been valid. Now, to a lot of people, the writers of these posts are the “bad guys” however, in reality, they aren’t the “bad guys”. In reality, they are a voice for those who are on the receiving end of gender inequality and sexual abuse which are important issues.
So what does this have to do with the “bad guy” image?excelent question Well, we live in a world with ever-increasing problems, and we often shy away from speaking up on important issues because we don’t want to be the “bad guy”. Or we do not want people to view us as the “bad guy”. However, the truth is, we cannot change the wrong things around us if we remain silent. And most times, speaking up will temporarily make you the “bad guy” because people do not like to be challenged or told they are wrong.
Another realisation is this. The “bad guy” is something fear tells you to keep you from stepping out of your comfort zone and to make you doubt your self-worth. It is probably hard to swallow this “idea” but think about it for a minute. When you don’t understand that your thoughts and opinions are valid, you shy away from voicing them. Which in turn leads to my first point. You shy away from sharing those thoughts because you are scared of the response, you might receive.

You shy away from sharing those thoughts because you are scared of the response, you might receive.

In the past, I often played the “bad guy” role because I felt if someone was upset with me, then my feelings weren’t valid. Even when the person’s emotions were misplaced, I still felt I had to be the “bad guy” so the other person would not be hurt and would feel better. I have now realised that it is not my place to prevent people from getting hurt by their actions. That is something they need to deal with themselves.
I guess at the end of the day, what I am trying to say is, it’s okay if people see you as the “bad guy” if you are doing it in the right way and for the right reason. Everybody who has made a difference in this world was a “bad guy” at one point or the other. Finally, your thoughts, feelings and opinions are valid. You don’t have to bury them or accept undeserved blame because you think you deserve it or because you are avoiding a confrontation. speak up
So speak up, your voice matters.

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The Weight of the World

Sunday = Picture dayGrowing up as a pastor’s child, I had what I would call an “interesting” childhood. Right from childhood, I knew I had to live up to being “The GOs only daughter“. The bar was already set much higher than it needed to be because of the family I was born into (I love them btw).  The bar was set so high, that I spent my childhood, teenage and early adult years trying to reach it. Everyone expected something from me and I couldn’t disappoint.

I didn’t get to do normal teenage things because “people would talk“.   I couldn’t be anything less than brilliant at school, and ultimately I had to be the epitome of all that was good and calm.  So, I lived by these unspoken rules laid out for me by the men and women I met at church, at school and anywhere in between. I grew up feeling as if I had the expectations of the world on my shoulders. I lived in a glass house and didn’t get to make mistakes.

PK Problems

I grew up the one people came to for advice (I enjoyed this though; a little too much I think lol!). For some reason, everyone assumed I was always good and as per pastor’s daughter, I was a “mini pastor”. I became a pro at hiding how I felt. I learnt to swallow all my emotions, my anger, hurt, confusion, etc. I swallowed it all. At the end of the day, I ended up knowing everyone, looking out for everyone, but being alone.

 

So many people carry the weight of expectations on them and end up alone because of it.

There is nothing wrong with being a role model, or being there for people, but like everything in life, there needs to be a balance. Many people never have the chance to develop this balance. They spend all their lives living up to expectation and being strong for others, while they silently suffer.  I hurt when I come across people like that because I have first-hand experience of how lonely and hurtful that life can be.

The truth is, I haven’t quite figured out how to balance living my life and being there for everyone. I still take on more than I should and get consumed by people and their emotions and I still internalize a lot. However, I have learnt some things along the way.

I have learnt that we are not perfect people and we need to be kind to ourselves.  I have learnt that you can only truly love others when you love yourself. I have learnt that beating yourself up for not living up to “standards” isn’t healthy. It can make you see yourself as not good enough. You are. be kind to yourself Most importantly, I have learnt that you cannot give when you are empty. Any help or advice you give when you are weak and empty is never a hundred percent.

At the end of the day, there is nothing wrong with being the person who is always “there” for people. There is also nothing wrong with living up to certain standards. However, while you give yourself to others and while you live up to “standards“, remember that you too are human and the same kindness you extend to others you should extend to yourself.

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What are You Thankful for?

A few weeks ago, I was talking with someone and she asked me what I was thankful for. I replied with “I’m thankful for my family.” In my mind, my family was a good thing to be thankful for, but lol, she wasn’t impressed.

not impressed.gif

She said, “Well, it’s good to be thankful for your family, but they are not here with you. So what are you thankful for that happened today? Because it’s important to be able to be thankful or happy about things that happen in your everyday life.”

This got me thinking, and I realised that, although generally, I am thankful for many things in my life, I find it hard to see and acknowledge good things in my day-to-day life/activities.

I’ve come to learn that in life, it’s important to find joy in the small things. It is important that you don’t let situations you go through steal your peace and happiness. Life happens in stages and seasons. Sometimes you have a lot of sunshine, and on those days, it’s easy to say “Oh wow, God is good.” However, what happens when the clouds cover the sun and the winds roar? How do you deal and overcome those situations?idk

All my life, people have told me the usual “give thanks in all situations,” but I never understood it. To me, it felt like people were living in denial (in some cases they were tbh, but that’s for another day!). However, I am starting to look at it differently. The idea of giving thanks in all situations isn’t about pretending that x, y, and z aren’t happening. Rather, it’s about acknowledging the fact that although those things are happening, there is still something good in your life.

Deciding to be thankful shifts your focus from all the bad around you to the good. It isn’t always easy to do, but it’s necessary. Why? Well, sometimes the things that aren’t going right might be overwhelming. They might make it seem like there is no hope. If you keep focusing on these situations and their accompanying thoughts, you might end up in a dark place. However, when you are able to look at all the darkness and find a beautiful lone star, that star might be enough to get you going.

It’s easy to say “well nothing good happened today”, but the truth is, the things you are thankful for don’t have to be massive things. You don’t have to win the lotto or get a raise before being thankful. It can be over something as small as what you had for dinner, jollof-rice

 

or an enlightening conversation you had.

Personally, I think choosing to be thankful daily, causes you to analyse your day and find the good in it. Take my day for example. I got to work this morning and everything that could go wrong went wrong. By lunchtime, I was ready to go home and cry. Ordinarily, I would have said, I really don’t have anything to be thankful for. However, as I write this, I’m looking out the window by my desk (it’s a beautiful view) and counting all I have to be thankful for. I somehow got inspiration for this piece, (I was really stressed about what I would write about) I had a nice salad for lunch (I like good food) and to top it off, I found something I had been looking for to complete my experimental setup. So yea, maybe my day didn’t start out great and maybe nothing happened the way I wanted it to, but I can, and I have chosen to look back and be thankful.change

Moral of the story, choosing to be thankful is honestly the only way to keep going on at times. Some call it looking at the bright side, but irrespective of what it’s called, it’s a powerful tool for dealing with trying times.

Finally, lol, coming to this realisation prompted me to join a friend on twitter in finding something to be thankful for, every day. I have found it quite helpful (and challenging tbh) and today, I am inviting you to join me.  Use the hashtag #Iamthankful to post something you are thankful for every day. You can do it for a week, a month the rest of the year; it’s entirely up to you! But give it a try!

Thank you for reading today’s post! I hope you enjoyed it! You can follow me on Twitter @shayrunn

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Beautiful Storms

I was listening to a message on Sunday, and a question popped into my mind. “What if we channelled some of the energy from our frustrations, into finding joy from within?” I know this does not sound easy (trust me, I really do) but think about it for a second.
Often times, life comes at us with potholes, speed bumps and blind spots. This happens at almost every turn in life, and usually when we least expect it. It can seem worse when this happens with something you love or feel passionately about and everything around you appears to be working against you.banging head
At times like this, it is easy to get discouraged and frustrated. It is easy to forget why you started and lose focus on what it is you are doing. When this happens, we tend to get so caught up in trying to solve the problems, in what is not working and in the many things we are yet to achieve, that everywhere we look we only see grey. We focus so much on the negative, that we lose sight of what we are doing, the progress we have made and why we started in the first place. This shift in focus makes it harder to keep going, to push forward and to keep fighting.

Sometimes all we need to do is go back to what really matters, the reasons we started, the foundations of our dreams.

In my line of work, it is easy to get lost in the tiny details. This means it is also easy to get discouraged. When this happens to me, I go back and read my initial proposal. It reminds me of the reasons I started and the goal I am trying to achieve.
The same goes for relationships (any and all relationships). So often we are caught up in the idea of how or what we think a relationship should be. So much so that we get lost, trying to achieve that, instead of enjoying the person’s presence and lose out on enjoying the relationship in front of us.dancing beyonce
Moral of the story, sometimes you just need to sit back and remember why you started. Remembering why you started may not pay your rent, or get you clients, but sometimes it’s enough to give you hope. It is enough to get you to try again.
When our eyes and hearts focus on the storms of life, seeing and enjoying anything becomes almost impossible.
So maybe our minds should not focus solely on what we are trying to achieve or what is not working. Maybe we should focus on the people in our lives and find joy in the now, so we do not get lost in the process of “getting there”.

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Adventures and Borrowed Troubles

 

As a person, I generally tend to get anxious and stressed a lot. Like it’s a normal part of my everyday life. I generally overthink things which in turn means I get anxious, which means I get stressed.

For example, last week Wednesday I had to go to the Nigerian Embassy to apply for a new passport. Would you believe it if I told you I started getting stressed from Sunday? Three days before the actual event? And would you believe it if I told you the night before I barely got any sleep because I was stressed about it? mortified  smh, and why was I stressed? Well, it’s the Nigerian Embassy and I don’t know how to hustle or bribe or do all those things people do to get ahead, so I was there thinking and worrying about how they would not attend to me because I didn’t know anyone or because I couldn’t hustle or do “my brother/my sister” type of talk.

LOL, long story short, it actually was not as bad as I thought it would be and not for the reasons I anticipated.

Or, another example, this Sunday I had to drive into town, now just to bring you up to speed, myself and driving smh, let’s just say we aren’t friendsnot friends. Thankfully, I only knew I would be driving to town from the day before (Saturday) so I had less time to stress and be worried, however, on the day, LOL I was quite stressed, I even told the people who were meant to ride with me to enter at their own risk!

Lmao, las las sha, the whole driving in and out of town was actually fun and, one of the occupants of my car actually ended up inspiring this post. We were talking about something, and she said she looks at life like an adventure.

I laughed at it when she said it, but it’s actually something that I think we, (myself included) can benefit from.

Life in itself is full of many unknowns, many up’s and downs. The way you look at life and the things you go through in life determines how you respond to your situations. If you get stressed over everything you’re going to do, you’ll spend the majority of your life stressed, frustrated and tired. However, if you look at life as an adventure, then you look at each day and each experience as something new and something that could either be fun or challenging. You see the good in the experiences and find ways to have fun even in the most unlikely situations.no way

LOL, now, I know a lot of people (like myself) this probably sounds crazy and maybe even impossible, but it isn’t. Your perception situations will genuinely change the way you experience them.

An example of this is exercise. The way you view exercise will determine whether or not you do it and whether or not you enjoy it. Yes, it’s usually hard work and you might be sore afterwards, but if you view it as something that’s fun and helps relieve your stress, you actually look forward to doing it.

Long and short of the story is this. Life is like a roller coaster, but that doesn’t mean it cant be fun, and it doesn’t mean it cant be an adventure.happy dance

Face each activity and each day with the mindset that “this will actually be fun” you may not know what will happen, but instead of thinking of all the bad possibilities, think of the good. And instead of stressing when things go wrong, find a reason to laugh, smile or be thankful for everything that went right!

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Crisis of Faith

A crisis of faith. A lot of people who believe in a Supreme Being experience this at some point in time in their walk of faith.

Everyone knows I’m a hardcore Grey’s Anatomy fan. I mean, this is my third time watching the show from the beginning and I don’t feel any type of way. LOL. Anyways, for anyone who has been watching the show, you’ll know that April Kepner has been having a major crisis of faith. So much so that she has abandoned everything that she once held dear to herself because of Kepner leaves.gifit. To be very honest I understand and empathize with her character and what she is going through (she’s had her fair share of crap happen to her).  

I always have a problem with how silent Christians are about how hard life can be at times. They tend to paint Christianity as pink roses and blue skies all day every day, but it isn’t. Too often, people turn away from the faith because they think maybe God isn’t really for them. I mean, the pastor said when I receive Jesus life will be rosy, but my life isn’t, so maybe Jesus isn’t really for me. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, and then they walk away.really Or if I do x, y, and z I’ll be successful and live well and be happy, but it doesn’t really work like that.

 

Like April, so many of us grow up following or trying to follow all the commands in the Bible. We don’t drink alcohol, lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, etc, but somehow, the people who are doing all of those things seem to be making it in life and we are stuck in a rut. It’s devastating. It hurts and it makes you feel foolish. Because it seems like all your “being good” is for nothing.

In my opinion, having a crisis of faith is nothing to be ashamed of. Because almost everyone goes through it and it’s at this point you get to discover for yourself what your faith means to you and why you believe. In the last Grey’s episode, the Rabbi asked Kepner why she expected life to be fair? I mean, if life was fair, Jesus wouldn’t have died on the cross, because that wasn’t fair for him. He said if life was fair Moses would have seen the promised land and on and on he went. Which begs the question of, why do you believe? Is your faith simply because you want to be blessed? Is that why you follow the commands? Pray every day and go to church? Is it for the blessings you want/expect/need? Or is there more?thinking

At some point, you have to question yourself and your faith. You can’t keep doing it because you were born into it. Sooner or later, you need to ask yourself those hard questions and challenge what you have been taught all your life. You need to test the words you’ve been told. Why? Well, if you don’t, when life gets tough and you’re getting knocked over and under, if you don’t know for yourself what and why you believe, it becomes very easy to abandon the faith.

These day’s I’m quite frustrated with where I’m at in my life. However, even when I’m mad at God and tempted to scream, I still trust Him. Because no matter how upset and angry I am, a huge part of me still believes in what He has said concerning me.

I can only say this because my faith is mine. It isn’t my parents or my friends, it’s mine. And that’s why I don’t beat myself up if I don’t read my Bible first thing in the morning every day. Or why I don’t swallow everything “Internet evangelists” spew at me.

It’s also why I can feel like my life isn’t working but somehow trust in this God that I can’t see. Because my faith is mine and I have come to the point where I know and understand that it’s not by how many rules I follow. It’s about a relationship.meredith-alex-feature

A crisis of faith might seem scary or make you feel embarrassed, but don’t let it. Embrace this time of discovery. Don’t be scared to ask questions, it’s the only way you’ll find the answers you’re looking for.

 

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