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Hello all 100 and some of you! 🎉

Karibuni! I am happy this our lil' community is growing (Geng! Geng! Geng!). Thank you for being here, <<First Name>>!

I will be writing from 2021 next so switching it up a bit with this serenade 😏.  Those Alex Elle’s daily gratitude emails put me on some ASMR wave y'all so just indulge me and play it. As the fire crackling and rain sounds play, get yourself your drink of choice as usual. Find somewhere comfy and exhale! Then inhale...and exhale again... with all that 2020 has been and not been you (we) really are still here.
With that awareness...How have you been? How are you feeling?

I feel slightly better than last month. lt still feels like I have the emotional equivalent of a cold - not enough to put me in bed all day so I've got to keep going - but I guess it makes sense. I don't like London so far apart from living in it with my sister. It's the long hours of darkness, the going outside burdened with layers and the high cost of living but low quality of life that's not doing it for me. The Master's also intensified real quick and I am finding it hard to genuinely enjoy the course when I am busy stressing about deadlines. The plan is to ride it out for now but if things don't get better I'll need to get a stronger emotional cold treatment. 

In other news, my dad graduated with a Master's in Public Policy and Management yesterday! We are all very proud of him and there was talk of the mothers being inspired to go back to school☺️ imma keep y'all posted! Natasha, one of my sisters,  turned 12 this month - I feel so blessed that I get to witness all that she is becoming! Lastly, my bestie and I had our 9th year friendversary, we are going through it with school so we hope to make up for it next year. But I am appreciating this steady solid "I know you're there" kinda love from her as well as my other friendships. Wait, I hope this is not how complacent married people sound 🙈. Anyway, I continue to be grateful for the family and friends I have been blessed with. I don't know who I would be without them✨
Now let's do these lessons. Keeping them brief  because essays await but enjoy!

1. Hard things build character.

This lesson is from one of my most grounding Bible verses, Roman 5:3-5, "And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
I am finding this phase of my life, adulting as a whole really, hard so I have been leaning on this verse and remembering there is reason. That, " He who has begun a good work in me will continue to perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." Eyyy! I am preaching!!! 😊 But yeah trusting in the bigger picture.

2. Luxuriate more

A friend shared this quote by Amber Janae with me, "Abundance is your birthright. Luxury is in your DNA." in response to last month's newsletter,  She also shared her newsletter which helped me shift my view of luxury. I think I had come to romanticise suffering and put it on some pedestal. Partly based off a flawed interpretation of the above verse or general suffering teachings from church mixed with class privilege guilt. I am still unpacking this but I am allowing myself to ease into the belief that I am worthy of nice soft fluffy scenty joyous things and experiences. It isn't the best time for that realisation I must admit because STERLING POUNDS!!!! but I think that's also helping me to redefine luxury beyond (expensive) things and find pleasure in the every day. 

3. Talk to yourself nicely. 

Waaah! I can't believe how badly I talked  to myself last month. I would go from "so you think what you just said makes sense?" to "you are actually a crappy human being" in a second.  I would not have tolerated such talk if it came from someone else. Acknowledging the external pressures that come with adjusting to the changes in my life is helping me get better at how I talk to myself. My sister also gave me a useful tip, she suggested that for every "bad" (in quotes 'cuz moving away from the dichotomy of bad & good but I don't have the language yet) thing I say about myself I should find evidence of a good thing that counters that. It's working in showing me how unfounded most of the nasty things I say to myself are. And even when they are actually justified "bad" things I am finding ways to communicate them to myself in a way that helps me do something about them as opposed to just making myself feel bad it.

4. Hug yourself, it works, kinda.

I did not realise how essential touch was for my wellbeing until I was begging for hugs from my sister (physical touch is not really her thing). Left to my own devices, lol, I have been exploring self touch. I am finding it really therapeutic to just wrap hands around myself and hold myself. Also giving my arms little firm squeezes or notice my fingers caress my skin just to remind myself that I am here. They still don't come close to my younger sisters' unwarranted hugs or my mummy's and lil bro's cuddles but I'm just gonna have to take my small wins at this point. I definitely will not to be taking touch for granted the next time it's in abundance.

4. Embrace the messy and incomplete.

This one I am learning as I force myself to put down messy incomplete sentences down for my essays. Also the realisation that complete and full thoughts and ideas are made up of incomplete messy ones. Embracing this is also helping me to not freeze as I wait to have something perfect and complete but just start where I am with what I am...

6. Patriarchy kills.

This is more a fact than a lesson but it's like every day I become more aware of ways in which patriarchy continues to kill, steal and destroy. This month it was about the withdrawal of care and reflecting on the effects of gender based violence... a lot of heavy. Finding ways to self preserve and protect those I love... But my prayer is that one of these days soon we succeed in laying this demon of a system to rest once and for all because we all deserve freer safer fuller lives.

7. Still dream, still hope.

Thanks to 2020, I am having a hard time dreaming, imagining and praying for 2021. I just don't feel like brighter days are coming but I have been reminding myself that that outlook leaves little to live for. As I let go of the the fear and despair let me end this letter with some dreaming and hoping. 

This year will end beautifully. I will submit good work. I will have a one-year old brother, an 18 year old sister and two sister-friends joining the mid-twenties by the end of it! I will be successful in finding new joyful ways to celebrate life with loved ones. I will make time to create more. Healing, calm, balance,  joy and immense love will find me. 2021 will be a good year. Amen.

I hope you keep dreaming and hoping too. Wishing you a wonderful ending to the year. Keep safe and take care of each other extra because pandeeemic✨

I look forward to writing to you in 2021!
Sending Light & Goodness,
P.S: If this was your first, feel free to catch up on Issue#1, Issue#2Issue#3 & Issue#4!
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