25 Nov

The Gist. And the winner is…

Waldorf Hotel London

Thoughts running through my mind as I make my way to the awards ceremony.

I love my new hairdo, it totally rocks! I could live like this (uber chic) every day. Perhaps not, there’ll be nothing to look forward to. I wonder if I’ll win. I hope I do. Zack’s party is today isn’t it? Only one child for hubby to pick up from school today. Glad I got the size 7 shoes not 71/2. I hope I come back with an award. What does it matter? I was happy before & I’ll be happy after. Yes even though they’d have ruined my life by nominating me in the first place. No my life is not ruined. It is blessed.

Pause to have mindless conversation with a guy hitting on me ‘you are looking gorgeous, where are you going? What’s ‘the’ name please?’ (dead give away of his nationality) I tell him the name. ‘That’s a gorgeous name’- clearly needs to acquaint himself with more adjectives- ‘Can I have your number please?’

I respond. ‘I’m married I don’t give my number to guys, sorry’.

‘Then I can give you mine, please, just to be friends, please, blah, blah, blah…’

I tune him out auditorily and physically and rush to catch up with my thoughts- after wondering why I don’t attract  Denzel Washington type gentlemen. Where were we?

At the event, the hotel is a stunning, stunning piece of art in bricks and mortar. The Waldorf speaks of opulence like it wants me to become familiar with it. One day. Today. I am friends with opulence and breathing rarefied air- deep breath, hold, exhale! hmmm!

I meet Angelina. She. talks. a. lot. She hates people who arrive late for events and she can feel there’ll be late-comers  She turns the corners of her mouth down as she spits out that hateful two-word phrase like the very mention of it disgusts her. Which it does. She hates to toot her own horn during conversations and doesn’t like to bring up the big shot celebrity that she helped launch into stardom. So she mentions his name. Two more people join us and we all chatter happily. Angelina again doesn’t like to mention her big shot client so she does again (remember the newcomers were not there the first time)
We sit down to eat. The lady next to me is vegetarian. I spend 2.5 minutes feeling awfully sorry for her- even though she looks perfectly happy with her life. Dessert is served and I wonder aloud what a knob of butter is doing on my plate. I’m told its clotted cream, my bad! Don’t worry I didn’t disgrace the family name. There’s pride in confidently admitting to not knowing some things.

The awards are now being called out. Can you hear my heart beating? I recognise a few celebs and newscasters. Okay I didn’t know the one now giving a speech was a newscaster. I spilt water on her shoes earlier while asking her what she did for a living. Another post that belongs under the title, ‘major cringe factor’. Eventually my category is called out and the winner is…. Not Toks! How come, did the judges not do their research well? Why not me? My tantrum lasts for 49 seconds as I hear story after story of inspiring women, challenges, loss, even HIV. I feel humbled and blessed to be in the company of these leading ladies, I realise that it is truly an honour to have been shortlisted along with this calibre of women.

I have a fantastic time networking and meet some very exciting business women, all successful in their own rights. They balk when I reveal I have 4 kids. They sputter on their champagne when they learn I don’t have kids, I have boys. We end on a happy note and I make my way out with one of them. I walk on the cobbled streets of Covent Garden, and stop at my favourite designer’s store- Michael Kors. That’s favourite fashion label but I don’t own a thing of his (yet). I think I blend in with the other shoppers seamlessly. My feet are now painfully sore. I learn a new thing about myself- I will not compromise comfort over style. I look around the station and become green with envy; my eyes shooting daggers at every woman wearing trainers. On the train I squeeze myself into the seat between two men who don’t want to share their space, I will fight them if needed, it isn’t needed. Hubby picks me from the station, I’m still all glammed-up, then I walk indoors. All glamour disappears. Life back to normal, far, far away from the Hilton.

Thank you for reading, do come back!

Read my other blog for Christ-Centred Inspiration- InspireMe

12 Nov

When I Compare Myself to you…

Each week the Lord teaches me a lesson. Sometimes the lesson runs for weeks, sometimes it’s a short 2 -day course.

This week’s lesson started  when I came across a statistic that said 67% of Americans are blue collar workers as opposed to 10% of T.V characters. This means  about 90% of T.V characters depict people who are well heeled. While it’s nice to see so many of your favourite characters doing well in er.. T.V land, the problem is that it creates a false reality. Lucky for you if you live in the UK, you won’t have that false-reality issue. Have you seen EastEnders?  They go out of their way here to make sure the homes are run down, characters are in dire-straits and only ever wear grey jogging bottoms and puffer jackets. They live half their lives in smoke-filled pubs, gossiping or whining about their lives in the doldrums. It would appear the plot is thoughtfully woven to stop you from aspiring to be anything beyond working as a security guard at your local supermarket. Compare that to Desperate Housewives, or Dallas where the characters drive nice cars and live in suburban golf communities. They are NEVER without make up; blink and you’ll miss the slight glimmer of lip gloss even as they roll out of bed. They stop for a quick chat and tall latte at gourmet coffee houses,  opening  tiny sachets of sweet ‘n’ low and pouring in the contents ever so slowly with French -manicured nails. Oh, and they only stopped for coffee on their way to the nail bar. The bottom line of the research is (American) television makes people unhappy as they compare themselves to the characters and constantly fall short. I don’t know if the Brits have conducted a similar research but we all know what the result will be. A happy bunch of people. Theoretically.

I guess that triggered a series of observations for me. I discovered that I compare myself unfavourably to others a lot. The most obvious is found in my mothering skills. These are just some of my observations as to what some mothers have done that Toks did not do:

Post first day pictures of their little one with child holding up a large postcard complete with dates, etc.  At least I did take a picture, it’s buried somewhere on my phone providing #4 hasn’t deleted it.

Organise a coffee morning- we see each other every morning and afternoon, there aren’t enough hours between school opening and closing time. Never even crossed my mind!

Ask if anyone else has successfully logged into the new homework monitoring system – didn’t know there was one.

Ask how to make Mr Fox’s tail curl upwards for the upcoming Road Dahl book day- blank stare.

Keeping fit- close to half of the yummy mummies come kitted out in designer, sometimes matching sportswear complete with water bottles and heart-rate monitors. They jog home. I jog to the car. They are a wonderful group of ladies, glad to have them in my life!

I stumbled across a movie on T.V. The scene I had the patience to watch featured three siblings plotting to get their separated parents back together. These young kids discussed. They were well dressed. They ate cookies (which did not crumble unto the vacuumed carpet) and didn’t squabble and scream the words that mine do; ”that was my cookie! I had it fir-ir-irsttt ahhhhh!”

Besides life as a mum, I compare myself to other women in business. I had mixed feelings as I watched another mumpreneur grow her seedling to seemingly huge heights. We started our businesses in the same year, but she has rocketed and I feel like I’ve been left behind. That was until someone told me that things were not what it looked like. For starters she had a multi-millionaire for a husband and worked on her business for 4 years before she actually launched it. I haven’t complained since.

With all of this palaver I need to start a new blog. Pawpaw & Mango remains my first love but an additional one is needed. When I applied to add my business blog a certain organisation to join their network of bloggers, I was turned down on the basis that my business blog was of a commercial nature, promoting a business. They were right. So I was advised to start one that was non-commercial where I could promote my business ‘occasionally’, this was at the start of 2012. The reason I have held back is because I felt doing so will be denying who I truly am. I do love to drop the occasional pidgin or ebonics in my writing but  in the midst of bloggers like Mary, Mary Quite Contrary, and The Quick Brown Fox of Hampstead Heath , I’d stick out like a sore thumb. I am also not too keen on using the word ‘one‘ excessively in place of ‘I’, because one does not really speak like that. There’ll be no talk of eba and banga soup, or NEPA or Kumasi market. You get the picture. So I need an appropriate name for this new blog, I would greatly appreciate your input for a catchy, creative  one please.  Bear in mind I’ll be blogging along with others who go by names such as ‘down the laundry hole’ and other sweet sounding Enid Blyton-type names. While I am trying hard to be authentic and be me, I have to learn how to blog like these ladies do, is that comparing myself?

So this evening I came across an angry tweet conversation started by one of such bloggers and visited her page to see what the furore was all about. I discovered the playing field wasn’t as daunting as I thought. There are some writers I would not compare myself to, some do have a fine way with words. But the exclusive  network of bloggers isn’t really what I imagined. There was bickering, arguing, insecurities, grammatical errors you name it, she was there. They were being themselves.

Comparing myself to them certainly worked well in my favour, just for today.

So what should we name the blog?