So late last year, I made this jumpsuit which modeled after a jumpsuit I was supposed to ( but failed to) make for my mom. Turns out it worked just fine when I made it for myself. I have worn this to one of my choir concerts, a work launch party and church and its always a hit. I used a really boxy blouse and some of my loose fitting work pants as a pattern for this. My goal was to go really loose all over and cinch in the waist so its a bit more forgiving. Something about its just looks like I’m a grown woman who is about her business no?
As I was planning for this post I kept thinking of what I wanted to say. What thoughts, views or stories could I share that would embody this jumpsuit. So I thought of how I felt when I wore it.
I felt powerful
I felt feminine
and I felt comfortable
For some reason this made me think of the Mulan soundtrack, specifically, “a girl worth fighting for”. Don’t ask how I arrived here, that was a long train of thought but all you need to know is this is where we ended up; at a girl worth fighting for. Now you probably don’t need me to but I’ll set the stage. The men of China are off to perform their unsavoury duties of going to war and to lift their spirits they decide to “think of instead a girl worth fighting for”. Of course to the men this really meant “she cute or whateva” and you know “she can cook or whateva” and “she thinks I’m funny or whateva”.
Now if you are a Nigerian girl/woman, at some point in your life someone has probably made reference to your “husband’s house”. This could be about how you should behave in this nirvana or how unfit you are to attain the priviledge of your husband’s house; no matter the form, the underlying message seems to be “be the girl worth fighting for”. Be cute and demure. Be entertaining but not in a way that overshadows him. Cook and nurture and be all things to all men really. I guess this wouldn’t be so problematic to me if we held everyone to this standard irrespective of gender but that’s a topic with plenty literature if you’re interested.
All that being said, I think we should all strive to be the girl worth fighting for 🙂 . Not in the traditional way of course. The girl you fight to become may not be the girl that every man wants but if she’s girl that you are proud to be then that’s where I want you to begin. I am fighting to be the girl that wakes up everyday knowing that she’s valuable. The girl that invests in herself and knows that it is not selfish to do so. The girl that actively enriches the lives of those around her. The girl that understands the need for balance in her life. The girl that holds herself to a standard of excellence in whatever she chooses to do because she knows mediocrity is not a good look. The girl that achieves her goals, that is true to herself and her beliefs. The girl who understands that she has choices to make and that her life should not be dictated by the requirements and expectations of other people. That’s the girl I’m fighting for everyday and I think she’s worth fighting for.
So last summer, I got to attend a wedding as my boyfriend’s date which was super grown up to me but apparently is something regular people do…who knew? For the traditional wedding, the colors were all white with red accents so I figured this may be a fine opportunity to make my dress. The dress ended up being a pretty simple project, fold in half, cut out a neck hole, sew up the sides a few inches in to create the waterfall arms and add a collar! Easy peasy lemon squeezey.
In addition to just being excited for a new project, I knew I was probably only going to know maybe 3 people at this wedding, I figured it might be a conversation starter. Now the catch is, I suck at bringing up my sewing in conversation (lol) and I’m also really awkward around new crowds. Needless to say, I was pretty nervous about the ordeal and perspiring heavily.
I see people who move effortlessly through crowds and are able to completely be themselves from the first conversation and they baffle me. In a good way of course but baffled nonetheless. No don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate meeting people and I don’t spontaneously combust into flames of anxiety and frustration when posed with the opportunity to face people I don’t know. My main concern is usually that I have no control over the version of me they meet that day and following up as my regular self just gets harder from that point. For some reason, when I meet new people, my voice gets a little high pitched or my accent sounds a pinch more Canadian. I can never hear it in the moment but I can read it in the reactions of others who either try to mirror my accent or who question whether I grew up in Canada.
Honestly I think my real undoing starts with the introductions. I don’t have a very common name so even growing up in Nigeria, I got pretty comfortable with my name being mispronounced. I wonder if anyone experiences as much stress as I do when people ask me what my name is. I now spell my name on autopilot just to save people the trouble of calling me Enai. For the record, my name (Enang) is pronounced as follows: EH–as in Canada eh!–Nang–as in bang with an N. I think it may be too late for some of my friends now because like I said I got so used to mispronunciations that I’d settle for good enough.
So between awkward introductions that always last too long and involuntarily starting conversations in a Canadian accent that I can never seem to reign in on demand, this is my SOS. All my socially savvy readers, how do you do it??? How do you navigate the crowds and finesse the awkwardness?
This isn’t a premeditated post. I feel it’s been a little while since I’ve come on here just to write about something that wasn’t particularly important or serious…you know just a regular shmegular chat about life and living. So let start with where I am right now. Sitting on my bed, legs crossed, still in my work clothes (lol my mum won’t be too pleased), belt unbuckled because dinner needs to settle and this bra is about to clock out of her shift because comfort is key friends. I had a to-do list for this evening but I also kinda knew I wasn’t really going to get around to much. I’ve spoken to a couple people lately about how I feel like I am not being productive outside of work. Maybe it’s a temporary thing or maybe I need to stop being lazy and actually do the things I need to do. I guess me writing this post is one of those things.
Which reminds me and I’m not sure how these two things are related but I need to create a budget for this year if I’m going to meet my financial target at all! It’s so funny how quickly money leaves your account when you’re not tracking every dollar spent. Ever wondered where the slang “cake” as it refers to money came from? weird.
I had a couple weird dreams last night. Don’t judge me but I think its partly because I slept in some of my “Outside” clothes. Dreams are a funny thing. You know it can’t be real but that doesn’t stop you from being fully immersed. I guess that brings up the difference between dreams and thoughts or maybe even dreams and perception. You know your perception is only one aspect of a larger reality but that doesn’t stop you from defending it as if it were the whole truth. Does that mean dreams are the same? One perspective of a larger reality?
Some times I wonder if we think any more and I mean really think. Remember when you were little and learning to wear your shoes for the first time? okay maybe not the first time but that experience as a whole. I remember thinking really hard about why switching which foot I wore my shoes on made such a difference in my comfort. I remember thinking about why I couldn’t read the reflection of my hand writing in a mirror but if I wrote on the mirror I would be able to read it.
Sometimes we should pause
Yea I know it’s been said a thousand times before but really just pause and listen. Watch the dust fall. Blink hard. Be present. Avocado <Ha! you didn’t see that coming did you?
Writing like this is particularly fun for me. I’m not concerned about being clear or succinct or using a bunch of fancy words to impress you. I’m just writing as it rolls in my mind. mmm sushi.
Kay I’m done now. Follow your dreams people 🙂 Unless your dream is to be a bad person then you know maybe reconsider
I’m back again with another DIY, however I kinda like the format of my last post where I kinda spoke about something completely unrelated to the outfit. I’ll try to balance my regular style of briefing you all on my creative process with my general musings in the next couple posts and we’ll see how that goes mmkay?
Now a little backstory, I was in Nigeria last summer and as my mum and I do, we were pow-wowing over fabrics and fashion and generally being girlie girls when this delicious fabric turned up. She mentioned she’d had it for ages and was highly unlikely to use it so I swiftly scooped this bad boy up amidst promises to make a skirt or co-ords set before she had time to reconsider. Truth be told, I had no real idea what I wanted to do with it, I just knew I had to have it.
This segues beautifully to a thought I’ve been grappling with lately. I strongly believe in the value of learning and absorbing information however I’ve recently had to explore the “why” behind all this data gathering. As many people may be able to relate to, we spend so much of our lives gathering data about the strangest things, some of which we may never use outside of awkward small talk on a second date with that guy you met at the gym. For example, the plastic on the end of a shoelace is called an aglet. Now, it’s highly unlikely that I’d ever utter the words “Oh you just stepped on my aglet” or “My aglets are really shiny today” but it’s a word I know and enjoy knowing.
I suppose my dilemma is really this: if there is no purpose or direct use for this information, do I still need to gather it? Should we only learn things that are relevant for our goals and if yes, how do we determine the bounds of relevance?
To answer my question –and please feel free to leave any dissenting thoughts in the comments– I don’t think all learning must be geared towards a particular goal. I say learn the cookey, quirky, random bits and roll with the tide! Just as I had no idea what I was going to do with this fabric when I picked it up, take on something new even if you don’t know where it fits. As long as it piques your interest, what’s the harm?
Another fine example of the value of rolling with tide would be this pretty little frayed hem I got going here. I saw this technique in a video about a year ago but hadn’t tried till now. When I watched the video, I was probably on a YouTube binge but somehow it’s found a purpose.
Is it okay to know, just so you know or must you know so you can do?
As promised, I am back with this jumpsuit I made a while back however, I wouldn’t really be talking about the jumpsuit today. You already know the drill, a stitch here, a snip there and the inevitable complications with finishing touches. Instead, I want to talk about something that’s been gnawing at me for weeks/months now.
I have been so inconsistent with blogging, posting for my business and sewing in general this year. I basked under the cover of being busy at work for a while then eventually soaked in my lack of motivation. Neither of the two being particularly untrue, I still feel like I could be doing more.
So here’s are a few questions I’ve asked myself regarding my lack of motivation:
Why am I doing this?
Am I blogging/sewing because I feel it is a genuine outlet for my creativity or am I doing this because I feel like I have to?
Why did I start blogging or sewing in the first place and what did I enjoy when I was at the peak of consistency?
Do I still feel like this blog is the space for my creativity?
If I never earned a dollar from sewing or creating content, would I still do it?
Am I happy with my work?
Is it time to grow?
Now of all of these questions, the one I found to be pivotal is the last question. I feel like I have been comfortable in this space for a bit too long. If I am going to be more consistent, I need to set clear goals for myself. These goals cannot be tied to external feedback or influence because my motivation will start and end with those bursts of views or comments.
Now when I started this blog, I was also just starting out with sewing and as such the name “Begin” held personal significance for me. While the message of taking the first step continues to be true, I feel that I have evolved past that starting line. While I am yet undecided on a new blog name, I feel like the name of my blog will be changing soon. (suggestions welcome).
All this being said, how do you guys stay motivated? Some days I really just want to lay in bed, eat and watch baby goats learn how to walk. Growth
Soooo if you hadn’t guessed it’s my birthday 🙂 . I will be posting about this jumpsuit soon btw jsyk ;). Anyhow, I’m really here to leave a note to my self. I thought it would be a fun exercise to think of 3 things I have learned in my now 23 years of living and 3 things I want to learn going forward. So without much ado, here goes:
Things I have learned
With friendships and relationships, quality trumps quantity. It’s easier and far more fulfilling to keep up with a select few knowing that you are giving the very best of your self to them and receiving the same.
It’s okay to be afraid. Not to borrow too heavily from Mulan here but it really is. Bravery is acting in spite of your fears. You can achieve great things when you challenge your fears.
Second chances are a beautiful thing. To be given a second chance is one thing but to give a second chance and see meaningful change is truly special.
Things I would like to learn
To be truly confident in my abilities and my beliefs even when it is uncomfortable to be
To let go.
To learn when to use my voice to initiate change and when to draw back
That being said, I feel very calm about the year ahead. I am grateful to God for so many things but on this day, I am especially grateful for life, family, friends and love.
“You will never attempt anything greater than your self-image”
I went zip-lining for the first time this week and I should preface that by saying I am deathly afraid of heights so this experience was truly ground breaking for me. When I opened my eyes for the first time as I zipped over the lake, the first thought that came to mind was how breathtaking the view was. I completely forgot in that moment all the fears that had glued my feet to the starting board and when I made it to the other side, zipping back didn’t seem like the most terrifying thing to do anymore.
I’ve been thinking a bit about self-doubt, fear and the relationship between the two lately and I have concluded that self-doubt just gets in the way of being your best self. I’ve also thought deeply about who “self” is and why “self” is so easy to doubt but I wouldn’t get too into the weeds with that. Point is, in a world where we are almost constantly required to seek validation from one source or the other, it gets easier to fear that you don’t quite measure up.
Seeking validation is exhausting. Am I smart enough to graduate yet? Am I qualified enough to get this job yet? Am I good enough to keep this job? Am I cute enough? Fun enough? Creative enough? Talented enough? Have I pushed hard enough? Am I enough?
Whether it’s worrying about what other people will think, worrying that you would let people down or worrying that you are already not good enough, I say try anyway. Try because in the middle of the line, the view is unparalleled, you are that much closer to succeeding and the fears you feel now fade into memories.