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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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lifestyle

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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You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram @shayrunn

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.

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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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Unapologetically You … (II)

glasses

I’m one of those people who finds it hard to say no (I may or may not have mentioned this before). I’m better at it these days, but in the past, 9 out of 10 times I’d always say yes. You see, I often felt like I wasn’t good enough, so I thought if I  did what the people around me wanted, I would become good enough for them. LOL, let’s just say things didn’t quite work out that way.

I’m older now, and even though I haven’t completely mastered the art of saying no, I’m working on it – and this leads us to today’s post. Recently I was asked to do something. My first impulse was to say no because it was beyond my abilities at the time. However, I thought, “what would people say if they knew I said no”? I then told myself I was being silly for thinking I couldn’t do it (even though I knew there was no way I could deliver) and being the stubborn person that I am, I decided I would say yes! LOL, I’m sure my village people were laughing at me. Anyways, I said yes, then promptly decided I wouldn’t think about it. I mean, I knew I had this thing to do, but I didn’t want to stress about it, so I didn’t give it too much thought. I did all that I could physically do and lived in denial for a while. As the deadline got closer though, I realized how unprepared I was and let’s just say things went south really really fast. facepalm

Looking back, I know I could have prevented all that by simply saying no, or saying I couldn’t deliver within the time frame. I could have avoided all that emotional and mental stress. I could have handled the situation in so many different ways, but I decided to go down the one way that would cause me the most stress. I knew it wouldn’t end well, but my fear of “what would they say” stopped me from making the right choice.

So here’s the thing, in being unapologetically you, you have to know who you are. You have to know your strengths and weaknesses, make the most out of them and protect them. If you know you get stressed easily, you need to remove yourself from stressful situations when you can and find less stressful ways to deal with them. If this means doing things straight away instead of leaving them until the last minute, then do that. Don’t sit in situations that will cause you to pull your hair out when the option to walk away is available.  It’s like eating chocolates even though you’re allergic to them just because you don’t want people to think you’re weird or because everyone is doing it. It doesn’t make sense!

Protect your peace of mind, your health and your joy and do it with pride

You can only protect what is yours if you know how too. What are the parts of yourself you are working on? What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths?  What are your unique qualities?  You can only protect and nurture them when you identify them. This isn’t to say don’t work on becoming a better you, but as you’re on that path, take care of yourself so you don’t jeopardize your progress.

When I first started my PhD, one of my colleagues said to me that she doesn’t work 7-day weeks because if she does she’ll become overly stressed and become useless to everyone. So she works 5-day weeks, goes to the gym, has a life outside of work and is productive as a result. She knows herself and she makes no apologies for being that way!no apologies

Your life is yours and yours alone. Protect your peace of mind, your health, and your joy and do it with pride. It doesn’t matter if they think it’s an anomaly. At the end of the day when you’re sick or stressed or worried, the people you were trying to live for most likely won’t be able to help.

Moral of the story, you know yourself better than anyone else. Don’t let the thoughts of people or society push you into a situation that robs you of your peace and joy.

Life is too short for you to be constantly stressed when you don’t have to be!

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Unapologetically You… (I)

IMG-20170914-WA0005As a personal blogger, writing can be hard at times. Especially when you’re trying to be honest and speak about the things that matter to you. There is a constant battle between how much information is okay and how much is too much. You wonder if people will actually understand the point you’re trying to make or if they’ll blow it out of proportion and be annoying.

I’d like to talk about mental health, faith, sex and sexuality, race and so many other things, but I often wonder how I can talk about those things without the accompanying backlash. It’s not necessarily that I am worried about what people will say about the topics, it’s the things people will say to me.

The internet can be mean and heartless sometimes and quite honestly I don’t want to be on the receiving end of that hate anytime soon. This in addition to some other things, has stopped me from writing about certain topics and doing some things. But you know what? I think that needs to change.change

How many times do we hold back on being the person we are meant to be because of what people will think/say? How many times do we hold back on saying what we really think because we think people won’t approve? For me, that’s like all the time. (as you might already know)

You’ve most likely heard this before, however, I’ll say it again. You only get one shot at doing life. You’ve been deposited with so much greatness, so many ideas, so many dreams. Don’t let the idea of someone’s hypothetical disapproval stop you from doing what you know you should be doing.

If you know for a fact, that this is where you should be and this is what you should be doing, then go ahead. Don’t let the people that will never approve (or will only approve when they are broke and need your money) stop you. rolling eyes

There’s so much in life that you can do, there is so much that you were created to be. Don’t let the world stop you. Step out of your comfort zone and do what needs to be done. People will talk no matter what you do. It’s just human nature. So don’t let what they’ll say stop you.

Also, in most cases, the things you think people are thinking, are most times false. Most times they are projections of our fears and insecurities. Sure they might think stuff, but it’s usually not as bad as you think and even if it is… who cares?  It’s your life, full of your dreams and your passions.

If you’ll let anything stop you, don’t let it be the thoughts and opinions of others.

Because you were made to be you. UNAPOLOGETICALLY You.

I’m a 20 something-year-old woman and people often ask me if I plan on getting married because  I’m doing a Ph.D. in polymers/materials. I hear it all the time (it’s ridiculous btw, but that’s a post for another day) but it won’t stop me from doing what I want to do. That’s one area of my life I have learned not to compromise on, but I think it’s time I took that attitude to the rest of my life. To my dreams, my thoughts, and my desires.

Moral of the story, don’t let the opinions and thoughts of others stop you from being you.

you

Because you were made to be you. UNAPOLOGETICALLY You!

 

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From the archives

 

So today’s post is something I actually wrote last year. I lowkey feel like I’ve shared this before, but lol. Nothing wrong with sharing twice!happy gif

 


I remember how I used to pride myself in being this bad ass girl that never cried.

I told myself over and over again that I wouldn’t cry. It was like a mantra I repeated to myself ever so often. So no matter how hurt I was, I hardly ever cried. Nothing could faze me.

The few times I did cry, were times when I was extremely pissed off, and since I had also told myself I would work on my then explosive temper, crying was the only other option.

That was then… About two months ago, all that changed. Imagine my surprise and astonishment when all of a sudden, I started crying almost every day. The first time it happened, I blamed “mother nature” but the next few times, she wasn’t there to blame, and I was left trying to figure out what in the world was going on!

I started asking myself if I was okay, started questioning my mental and emotional health! Lol, I remember one Sunday morning, where I cried for most of the service! I’m sure everyone thought I was under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Lol! crying gif.gifThe truth of the matter though was, I was hurting and all I could do at that point in time was cry.

I started losing weight, and I became quieter than I usually was. I avoided conversations and unless it was work related, or my family I avoided people too.

After a lot of searching within myself, I finally accepted the fact I was just really hurt and needed to allow myself deal with and process the hurt. Now, that isn’t some story about how overnight I became better, or how I discovered the key to getting over hurt, far from it. I mean I did learn things during that time, but that isn’t what today is about.

Now, that isn’t some story about how overnight I became better, or how I discovered the key to getting over hurt, far from it.

I mean, I did learn things during that time, the most important being that it is important you allow yourself grieve when things happen. Brushing it under the carpet doesn’t and will not fix anything, cause when you lift up the carpet, everything will be right where you left it.

It hurts to hurt, but feeling the hurt, in my opinion, is a sign that you are human, that you are alive; and where there is life, there is hope.  But I digress!

Often, we look at people, and they are all smiles, but inside they are hurting. Other times, people seemingly “disappear”, they go AWOL, and we are left wondering why… when this happens, don’t be too quick to judge them.

Everyone is different, and everyone handles pain differently.

Don’t be too quick to say “this person doesn’t even care.” It could be that they are hurting and just need a little time and a heap loads of love.

Everyone is different, and we all deal with things differently. It is so important to be nice to people, you don’t see how your actions affect them. Sometimes a smile is all a person needs to feel better about themselves and their situation. Simple things like text messages go a long way. Allow your actions speak. Not everytime only saying “I love you” sometimes (most times actually) show it. loved

Learn about the people you meet, learn to give people the benefit of the doubt. Some people need patience, lots of it, while others don’t. Some people need time, and others will pour out their hearts to you the minute they meet you.

Be sensitive, be nice, don’t be so quick to write people off. Be careful with your words and actions, because some things you do might leave lifelong scars on others.

And finally, when things happen, and you feel broken, there’s nothing wrong in taking the time out to heal.

Having said that, if anyone reading today’s post needs a listening ear at any time, you can reach out to me. Email: shaybolanta@gmail.com. Twitter and IG:  shayrunn and Facebook: Sharon Bolanta

 

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Greener Grass

I’m sure you were all expecting Part 2 of Relationship Bants! Lol, sorry to disappoint guys, I will post it, but just not today!

smug gif

You know what they say about delayed gratification!

Okay, so to today’s post. For the majority of last week, I struggled with feelings of “everyone seems to be having a better time than I am” 😦 .

I was comparing myself to former classmates that had gotten married, classmates that got new jobs, classmates that seemed to have had amazing summers etc. And there I was . . . going to my “8- whenever I close job”. Doing experiments that for some unknown reason kept failing, marriage nowhere in sight. (not that I really want to be married right now, but still) No chance of a new job for at least 2 more years and summer is over, so no amazing summer for me this year! 😦

As you can see, everything in my life paled in comparison to what everyone else seemed to be doing, and it was hard to not be depressed or to not compare my life to theirs and feel like I got the short end of the stick. sad face

I wish I could say I “slapped myself” and got out of those feelings just like that, but it didn’t happen that way.

I had to have conversations, with both myself and other people. I had to remind myself why I do what I do, and why my life is just as good as anyone else’s.

It’s very easy to think the grass is greener on the other side. It’s easy to look at others and feel inadequate to the people around you, but you shouldn’t, and there are many reasons why.

For starters, you don’t know personally what they are experiencing. I have learnt that social media life can be as real as it can be fake and it is often difficult to determine what is a stunt and what is the reality. Another thing I have come to learn about the grass on the other side is that it is rarely ever the kind of grass I like. It looks good, but if I am completely honest with myself, then I have to admit that the things I am envious of, are not really things I am interested in, which raises the question of why am I jealous of those experiences in the first place! idk

Human nature is always searching for more. Day in, day out we want more. We are hardly ever satisfied, and I think that’s why the grass often always looks greener.

So, what do we do about that? How do we deal with this illusion of greener pastures?

Honestly, I think everyone will deal with such issues differently. However, one thing we can do is when we are tempted to look at other people and think less of our positions or accomplishments, we need to remind ourselves of why we started in the first place and why we have stayed all this while. We should have those conversations with ourselves and the people around us that reaffirm what we already know about ourselves and the things we have. Because as human beings, we love affirmations and reaffirmations. affirmation

So, yeah… The grass does often look greener, but your grass probably looks greener to someone too, and maybe if you pay a little bit more attention to the good in your life, you’ll see all the greenness that others see in you!

 

One Mans Food…

Recently I found myself  involved in a series of conversations, and these conversations, as usual, got me thinking. Today, I will share some of my thoughts with you!

So, a lot of those discussions, revolved around questions that had elements  of “would you do this”, “is this acceptable to you” or “is this wrong” in them.  And obviously, because we are all different, the opinions of everyone involved in the conversations varied.

This got me thinking, and in the midst of that, I remembered having a conversation with a guy about long distance relationships. The guy basically told me that, if I am not with a person as per the same physical vicinity, or at least an hour or two away from said person then my relationship isn’t really a relationship.Obama_laughing LOL, I laughed, in my head, because I know wayyyy too many people that have had long distance relationships that have worked out perfectly fine. I mean sure, they have had their ups and downs, but that goes for every other relationship out there.

Now, I could go on to talk about all the perks of long distance relationships, but I think I’ll save that for another day!

I personally don’t see life as black and white. I don’t see life as an absolute left or right. Why? Well often times the views/opinions we have are based on past experiences or our upbringings or the societies we grew up in. However, those factors do not by default make our views and opinions law.

I have learnt that it’s very useful and helpful to keep an open mind when dealing with ANYONE, not just people from different countries and what not. I have also learnt that it is okay to disagree with someone, and more than that it’s okay to disagree without fighting or being hateful or malicious!

At the end of the day, what works for you may not work for someone else and that is perfectly okay. We are not all the same and we do not function best under the same circumstances. Therefore we should not expect the things that work for us to work for everyone. We are unique, and that uniqueness plays into the way we see things and handle situations…

As the saying goes…

“One mans’ food is another mans’ poison”

At the end of the day, today’s post is simply to remind everyone, that because something works or does not work for you does not make it any less real or false for someone else. And when you find yourself with people with different backgrounds, always be willing to listen to them and what they have to say. Don’t be so quick to shut them down or dismiss the things they believe in. Who knows, it might turn out that their views might make more sense than yours!

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