Smile

The secret to staying young is smiling everyday

Even though your heart is aching on the inside

  • Uzo Ekwuribe
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Free your mind

Earlier today I was listening to a message by Joel Osteen titled “Power of Your Vision.” He said something that caught my attention, he said, “when our vision is negative, our mind tends to go in the same direction…your life is going to follow your vision. If you have a small vision, you’re going to have a small/mediocre life. There is power in our vision.

I remember a time when I had no dreams..no goals…no vision. I really took to heart the saying, “live one day at a time. Sure, that’s a good advice for a world that’s driven by stress and anticipation of what tomorrow holds.

I was afraid to dream because: 1) I didn’t see a future for myself and 2) nobody believed in me. I became the architect of my own failures. I talked myself out of every opportunity or chance to do something extraordinary. Nobody believed in me, so in turn, I didn’t believe in myself.

All these years I was living a paralyzed life – paralyzed by fear of dreaming and fear of even trying. I convinced myself that nobody would care if I amounted to nothing in life. But I was wrong… I would care. I was so accustomed to keeping everything piled up on the inside. I was constantly overwhelmed by negative emotions.

So, one day I woke up and I told myself, “your pity party is over. It’s time to snap out of it.” I decided from that day henceforth that I was done feeling sorry for myself and feeling like a loser. Sure I was dealt a dirty card during my entire childhood, but I wasn’t about to allow my past define my future.

I decided I was going to try new things and it’s okay if I failed at some of them. I took to my journal somethings I wanted to accomplish before the year was over. I began to dream of better future and I saw myself walking with my head held high – I was free. My mind no longer had control of me, but instead, I was in control of my mind.

I will forever choose to free my mind.

Allow yourself to dream. Allow yourself to see…far beyond the horizon

love,

Uzo Ekwuribe

 

Depression

feel-aloneI was in so much shock when I heard about the death of Robin Williams. I was even more shocked to hear that he committed suicide. I grew up watching his movies and I liked him as an actor. Jumanji, dead poet society, and Mrs. Doubtfire are probably my all time favorite movies of his growing up as a kid.

I grew up in a culture/ society where suicide is considered a taboo. I was told that those who commit suicide are bound to eternal damnation and all those scary mumbo jumbo stories. But truly, who is to say where we will all end up?

I am not a child anymore and I’m able to place myself in other people’s shoes. Robin Williams was said to have struggled from depression, drug use and alcoholism for a very long time. I am not a drinker or a drug user, but I do know what it’s like to suffer from depression. I know what it’s like to feel like there’s no hope. I know what it feels like to feel useless, unwanted, worthless, and in those dark moments the only resolution I saw to be the end to all my problems was to not exist any longer. I can honestly say that the only way I’ve been able to defeat depression was by knowing that I am  tremendously loved and wanted by God. I learned not to base my happiness on people and my life circumstances.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Some people might say, “well Robin Williams was famous, funny, and rich…what does he have to be depressed about?” I sure hope you’re not one of those people because you should know that most people don’t wear their problems on their faces. And money and fame can’t buy you happiness. We all have our demons and we’re always in constant battle with them. Some of us are strong enough to defeat them and some of us not so much.

WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
    It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
    This debt we pay to human guile;
    With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
    And mouth with myriad subtleties.

    Why should the world be over-wise,
    In counting all our tears and sighs?
    Nay, let them only see us, while
            We wear the mask.

    We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
    To thee from tortured souls arise.
    We sing, but oh the clay is vile
    Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
    But let the world dream otherwise,
            We wear the mask! – (Paul Laurence Dunbar )

Nobody knows the demons in a man’s mind, so it’s not really our job to judge and condemn those who take their lives. With that said, Robin William found peace in death- as tragic as that might sound, it means he’s not fighting anymore..no more demons…no more masks.

If you’re reading this and you suffer from depression, I hope you know that suicide is not the solution to your problem. I hope you know how much you’re loved and how great the plans God has for your life is. No condition is permanent. What you’re going through is just a phase and it will surely pass.

If you need someone to talk to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255

There’s always hope.

– Uzo Ekwuribe 

GFP Spotlight: A girl named Safa

safa1If you’ve been on Tumblr long enough, you should have come across this picture of this little girl. I remember the first time I saw her picture I was in awe. I thought she had the most beautiful skin, eyes, and smile. I thought, “there’s no way this girl is real…maybe she was painted or something.” She looked like a real life barbie.

She is in fact real and her name is Safa Idriss Nour. This picture was taken of her in a film called Desert Flower, where she played the young Somali model Waris Dirie. Waris is an anti-FGM activist and the film Desert Flower tells a story of how she underwent female circumcision at the age of 5. Safa’s parent signed a contract that states that they would never perform such act on their daughter.

What is FGM?

FGM stands for “Female Genital Mutilation.” It is a form of circumcision for girls. It involves cutting a girl’s clitoris,the part of the vagina that provides sexual pleasure. In the countries where FGM is practiced, it is considered to be a symbol of purity. The girls are believed to be more desirable to a future husband and in return, the family gains a lot of money from her bride price.

I personally think this is a horrible horrible act. No child should ever have to go through this. I think the people that still does this needs to be educated on the dangers of such practice. Some girls aren’t as lucky as Safa. They don’t have anyone to rescue them from such horrendous act, but this is where we come in. We can play a huge part in bringing awareness to this treachery.

Learn more about Waris Dirie and FGM here: What is FGM?

What can you do to help? : sign the petition

More on the story of Safa at : The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/oct/14/waris-dirie-female-genital-mutilation-fgm

 

 

You are more

words“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

– Maryanne Williamson

The look in his eyes

Every time I look at my father, I can see the sadness in his eyes

His presence breathes an aura of disappointment towards me

It’s almost as if he’s questioning every decision he ever made concerning me and each time the conclusion is that of a regret and a big mistake

It breaks my heart to see him this way

But I’ve made up my mind that this life belongs to me and I need to do the things that makes me happy

Selfish as it may sound…

I no longer feel the need to prove anything to anyone but myself

And I hope one day, being myself will surely lift up the sadness in my father’s eyes.

Until then, I’ve got one life to live and I’m living it the best I know how to

– Uzo Ekwuribe

GFP: Setbacks

graduation

Today was supposed to be one of the happiest day of my life. Today I was finally going to graduate from college (after 6 years of being in college…this is a different story for a different time) with a Bachelor’s degree. None of that is happening – at least not today.

Today is not just a reminder of how my dreams of saying “goodbye college” failed, but also a reminder of how I’ve failed my parents – at least that’s how they make me feel. Six months ago I was so certain that this semester (summer 2014) was going to be my last semester and in all honesty, it should’ve been, but when the time to register for classes finally arrived, I found out that one of the courses I needed to complete my minor requirement wasn’t being offered in the summer session. As if that wasn’t enough, I found out that I had to drop one of the classes I registered for because I didn’t have enough money to pay for it. In that moment it felt like the pyramid I spent years building was crumbling down piece by piece with the mere touch of a finger. Suddenly I fell into a shameful and guilt filled mode. I didn’t know how to muster up the courage to tell my parents that the graduation day they’ve been looking forward to is no longer going to happen. So being the kind of person that I am, I tried to fix the entire situation. I ran to my college adviser seeking for help – anything to make this day happen. She gave me an option that at the time sounded reasonable.

The idea of participating in the summer graduation sounded reasonable until I had to explain it to my parents. I told them that I would be participating in the graduation but not actually graduating. In other words, I would walk across the stage, but at the end of the day (in this case, in a few months) I will not receive my diploma until I go back and finish up those two classes. As you would imagine, they stared at me like I was speaking some sort of alien gibberish.

It was at this point that my thinking light bulb came on, so I began to ask myself, “what exactly do you thing you’re doing,? whose life is this? yours or theirs?.” I finally realized that for the longest time I’ve spent my whole college life trying to make my parents happy and caring too much what other people think.

Who cares if it’s taking me longer to finish school? Who cares if I didn’t pursue a degree in nursing, pharmacy, or medicine? This is my life and I need to do what makes me happy because at the end of the day, I’m the one that has to walk in my shoes.

I think I can finally say that I am FREE from the holds that the opinion of others had on me. I’ve come to realize that this is my life and how I choose to live it is completely up to me.

As far as graduation goes, I will be graduating this coming December by the special grace of God.

Have you ever experienced any setbacks in your life? How did you deal with it and what advice do you have for those who are still struggling with their setbacks?

written by: Uzo Ekwuribe