Monthly Archives: March 2012

#9. Once upon a time, life was simple

I grew up in Africa. Kenya to be precise. Nairobi to be even more precise. My childhood spanned the 80s and the 90s. While the U.N. was busy describing my upbringing as mundane, deprived and deplorable, I was living some sort of a dream. A dream where the world was simple at least as far as I was aware.

Blue Band

We called margarine blueband, because that was the only brand available. We called toothpaste Colgate, or Aquafresh. Or close-up. But you were clear that you didn’t want the ‘close-up’ Colgate because it really had a sucky taste. Television began at 6pm and then, eventually at 4pm – what a treat. So while there was no television to watch, we played  outside, as in ran in the dirt and socialized with other children.

We grew up with ONE, yes one television channel. In high school, we ‘got’ a second one and boy was that revoluntionary. Enter the world of MTV, Fresh Prince of BelAir, Murphy Brown. Those were the days.

Choices were simple. Never mind that structural adjustment was in effect and my parents faced very complex decisions everyday. As a child, choices were simple.

I miss that childhood. Continue reading

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Wonderful reminder! Thanks

Live & Learn

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#8. Life is a gift

I had no part in my birth. I didn’t supervise, I didn’t direct, I didn’t call “Action!”

In fact, my earliest memory was when I was about 3 years old. I have flashbacks of moving house, or are they stories that I have heard my parents retell over the years that have now become memories, even though I wasn’t really conscious in the moment? I am not sure. All I know is that my earliest memory dates back to when I was around 3 or 4 years old. Before that, I was unaware. Most of us are like that though about life. We go about it unaware. Unconscious of the fact that each day is a gift. Each moment is a gift. It often takes a jarring moment, a near-death-experience, the loss of a loved one to come to grips with the fact that life is a gift, not to be taken for granted, not to be assumed.

We often forget that life is a gift. Continue reading

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#7. Inspiring success stories – Tyler Perry

I absolutely LOVE biographies – there’s nothing like the stories of the journey to success to inspire you as you go along your own journey. They reveal so much character and help you appreciate all that a person has gone through to get to the final product including the good, the bad and the ugly.

Tyler Perry mixes it up with the media on the ...

Image via Wikipedia

Tyler Perry’s story is one of those inspirational ones. One of the ways in which I relate to Tyler is that he was watching the Oprah show and heard about the therapeutic effect of writing, so he began to write, and write and write. His faith also played a key role in healing and overcoming past pains and hurts. It was from writing and writing and writing, that his plays were birthed. Using his savings of $12,000, he put out his first play, I know I’ve been Changed. 

Tyler has been criticized for his Madea character, I put that in the category of ‘haters are gon’ hate’ and he does the same too. He’s ignored this and gone ahead to be a role mode, philanthropist and a game changer in the film industry.

Tyler Perry,  born Emmitt Perry Jr., September 13, 1969

Occupation: Actor,  Author, Screen and playwright, Producer, Director, Song writter

Best Known for: Diary of a Mad Black Woman (his big break); Madea’s Family Reunion and other Madea films

Net worth: Last estimated to be $646 million but he has declined to be on the Forbes richest list

Education: GED

Interesting Box Office Trivia: Only film maker to have 5 films open at #1 at the box office in the last 5 years. His 8 films grossed less than $418 million and cost less than $10 million to make.

Tyler Perry identifies himself as a devout Christian and attributes his success to the grace of God. Is it just me, or are you surprised the he has  GED for his education? That just makes his story that much richer. He put out this video on how to be successful and he talks about working hard, believing in yourself and never giving up (in his own words of course!) Ok go on and watch it!

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#6. Work hard, believe in yourself, never give up!

A couple of weeks ago, I was in my valley phase. Feeling down, unmotivated. Just couldn’t seem to get inspired to write, or do, or think about anything really. Those dry spells are usually hard to get over – you’re there trying to visualize a better future but you just can’t seem to get over the now.

And then these three short phrases popped in my head: Work hard. Believe in yourself. Never give up.

So I wrote them down, and for the rest of the day they kept on reverberating at the back of my mind. It got me thinking about the journey of success, the process and how we get to there. Grad school can be so dry sometimes, and you find yourself either having a mental block or just in a state of unmotivation. The difference with undergrad or a course based-masters is that you often will have a mid-term or a paper to jar you out of your catatonic state of inactivity. But on the long road to the PhD, some days just go by. Unproductive. unaccounted for. The main thing I have to look forward to with dread is my annual review that goes to the faculty. Its like a performance review only for a job you are not really being paid to do. Now that is a post for another day.

Back to my three phrases: work hard. believe in yourself. never give up.

As I mulled over the words, I went further into what each phrase signified. Continue reading

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