Categories
Advice Me and Life.

“Aye God if you want me to be a nun…just say dat!” (2/3)

I have stopped and started this post at least 30 times over the past two…now three months. I’ve tried to come at it at different angles. I’ve talked to my friends about it. I’ve even tried to make it a generic post when in reality this is supposed to be a place where my writing is supposed to be one of kind; it’s supposed to be authentic.

The irony of it all is it sounds exactly like my dating/love life.


I first experienced love, an unapologetic love, from my parents and the second time would be with my girlfriends who I am 1000% sure are my soulmates. These relationships are unique, they are dynamic and some of the most sacred and beautiful relationships I have in my life. Things just click and I rarely have to review the terms and conditions (because they don’t exist) and they have given back to me tenfold LIKE THIS SHIT IS BETTER THAN BITCOIN. There’s no anxiety, “peace” is guaranteed and I never ever ever ever have to question whether I can text, call, zoom (whatever the hell we doing now in a panorama) because there is an understood/mutual agreement to access. So with these solid examples of reciprocated love and healthy relationships you would think that I would understand and know how to apply it to other types of relationships right?

Fam you couldn’t be more wrong.

When I think about how I’ve approached liking/loving, dating and relationships in the past I truly laugh (to keep from crying from embarrassment). At one point in my adult life I was completely oblivious to the communication required to maintain a relationship. Like I somehow understood how communication worked with my friends but not my romantic entanglements. I was so nonchalant that I made a guy feel like he was an afterthought…his words not mine. I mean I guess I just assumed everything was fine without checking in (mistake number one…I was doing the bare minimum but in my defense I didn’t have unlimited text messaging so really, my guy, what did you want me to do)?!

I went through another phase where I used my goals as an excuse for why I couldn’t commit. I was enthralled with my studies and blog at the time that I didn’t even take the guy seriously. This man fell in love with me and I was very much so unavailable. So much so that when he finally came to his senses he jokingly said “I think you were the man in this relationship” and I didn’t flinch (mistake number two I wasn’t present…he may or may not speak to me to this day).

Ok now if you thought I had range with those two examples here is a third one for you – me overcompensating because all of sudden I GOT TIME. I had done a complete 180 where I’m like “ok dating is important” lemme go figure out this vulnerability thing right quick, laugh at the mans jokes and get my shit together. HA!

Putting on my smarter than you glasses to spit this free game.

These phases and many other personal and professional life experiences have brought me to where I am now. So here I am to impart my wisdom upon you all because I, too, was one of Lori Harvey’s foot soldiers but enough is enough thou shall not run the streets for all of eternity. We are all here trying to figure it out (well actually some of you because the two friends I know reading this already got mans dem on lock *waves hi friends*).

Here is what I’ve learned and I am continuing to learn:

  1. Liking/loving/dating requires a decision. If you have ever hung out with me you know I am the most indecisive person on this planet. Nothing gives me more anxiety than deciding. If horoscopes are your thing I’m a Libra, so yeah, do with that what you will. What I have learned is that relationships just don’t happen and they don’t miraculously sustain themselves. Being with someone means actively choosing them day in and day out. Go figure! Another thing to keep in mind is that decisions are not permanent, decisions can change at anytime but if you don’t make a decision you will never know peace. Take it from me who struggles to decide on a nail polish color…now throw in a man holding the nail polish bish I might as well roll over and die.
  2. Unfiltered communication and active listening skills are key. You’re probably like “wow groundbreaking stuff Aster…say it again.” And I get it. There are a million and one Cosmopolitan articles on the internet about communication and guess what?! Here goes a million and two because we are still f’ing this part up. For example, I can callout my girlfriends on their BS anytime and anywhere but swap my girlfriends out for a guy and all of a sudden I’m overthinking, journaling, stating my affirmations and calling in my council on how to broach a subject. My best friend one time even pulled out the sage to smudge our apartment! LOL. It ain’t cute…stressed Aster just ain’t cute. So yeah speak up, speak up often and if you aren’t able to then that should be something you reassess because who wants to be in something where they don’t feel like they can say what they need to say when they need to say it. Right? (All this applies to listening as well).
  3. Trust your gut. You know you. That is it. If you feel something is off then it probably is…my gut is right 99.9% of the time (I would say 100% but I’m working on being humble). Now I don’t want you to confuse this with thoughts stemming from insecurities. This is more so that feeling that you can’t shake because you know what is in front of you truly isn’t adding up. The math ain’t mathing and you have every right to act, rationally (of course), on it.
  4. It should be easy. This is my favorite tid-bit and I’m willing to die on this hill. When I used to work for the Mayor’s office back in 2014 -ish I met this woman, who is now my mentor, and she unintentionally taught me everything I needed to know about a happy and healthy relationship. While working I had met her husband and hung out with them a couple times at art events around the city and every time I would catch myself starring in awe at how they just fit. Of course, I only saw what they showed me but my curiosity, during one of our coffee dates, led me to ask her how is it being married. She picked up her cup of coffee, smiled and said “It is easy Asteriye.” I sipped the rest of my coffee like damn sis is that all I get?! Is this what I’m supposed to run back and tell my constituents, village, my tribe aka my girlfriends?!?! I was stressed. But now that I am older I know exactly what she was getting at and I wholeheartedly agree it should be easy. I can also already see you all shaking your heads and before you get your panties in a bunch let me clarify. Relationships take effort yes, relationships require work yes BUT relationships should not leave you drained, tired and/or spent. Think about your friendships – they are relatively easy otherwise why the hell are you friends with them!? I don’t know what is it but something happens when we go into dating mode. It’s like this added pressure makes us think romantic relationships are supposed to have ups, downs, and drama when in reality you (I) want it to mimic some of your closest friendships but with a little extra fun so yeah it should be easy and if it isn’t, make it and if you can’t…leave it.

Whew that was a lot of free game. To unlock all 10 key elements of a successful relationship please pre-order my ebook that will be hitting Amazon this summer titled “Make it Last Forever and Ever: Suggestions From a Fine Ass Single Girl.” (Hehe for my premium content check out my onlyFans). LOL in all seriousness take my advice with a grain of salt because I am a hypocrite and because deciding on people whether romantic or platonic is a very important decision. I’ve had great experiences and met amazing people but bottom line is a person should bring you peace, make you feel good, challenge you and push you to be the best version of you and that’s on what? Mary had a little lamb.

Stay Down,

Astu

Categories
Advice Human Character Inspiration Me and Life.

where to start (1/3)…

Wow. I felt amazing after writing those 200+ words the other day – like really amazing. I also started to overthink about when I run for public office will they find my confessions or grammatically incorrect pieces and drag it into some sort of campaign slander.

Yeah that is how I think. I go from 0 to 100 real fast. Some call it anxiety I call it proper planning.

Anyway you may or may not be here because of my decision to overshare. I’m not sure where to start. I promised three things: my love life, how I reclaimed my personal power and what I am continuing to learn. So I guess I’ll start with how I reclaimed my personal power…


Do you know what its like to achieve your biggest GOAL at 24? I mean something you’ve said you will do in the future and plan and plan and structure your everyday to meet? I’ll tell you what it feels like…it is devastating. My biggest goal at one point was to live, work, and give back to Ethiopia. At 24, I was fresh out of graduate school and just landed a fellowship that would give me, little ole ME, just that the opportunity to serve my beloved Ethiopia but little did I know it would take so much more from me.

Ok I’m being a little dramatic but when I say this trip changed my life IT CHANGED MY LIFE. I’ll start with the good. I met brilliant people, I was finally doing it (whatever “it” was at the time) and working in a space that I thought was meant for me and of course the ego boost whew those “I’m proud” of you messages hit different when you about to leave the country. But the 6 months were difficult. During those months, I experienced imposter syndrome, I struggled with the idea of being the eldest in my family returning to my parents country with empty hands, partying in a city with some of the most privileged people merely because my passport said American, and I struggled with the language – oh the LANGUAGE – that left me mute and sometimes isolated. Some parts of me shrunk and I didn’t even know it. I even let others communicate for me…bish whet?! This fellowship put me face to face with some of my insecurities around identity and I had no idea.

It wasn’t just identity like cultural identity BUT identity as it related to my field of study and work. Up until fairly recently I associated my identity with employment and truth be told I am still processing my detachment from that mindset (because friend you are not your job…OKURTT). I landed an incredible opportunity with some of the most brightest people in Addis and I learned so much from them. I, also, came face to face with blurred boundaries, burn-out from late hours and quick turn arounds, and immature coping mechanisms. No one could have prepared me for this and I’m not blaming anyone I’m just pointing it out for what it is an experience that accelerated my personal growth.

Reading this may seem like I figured out God was testing me pretty quickly, or that I pivoted or that the road to personal development was immediate but the gag is sis I am just now facing the impact of the trip in year of our Lord 2020. For the three years after I romanticized the experience when in actuality my confidence took a blow partly from my own doing AND partly because I was unable to address the experience.

Anyway, now on to the part about reclaiming my personal power part because no one likes a pity party. Here are three things that I believe have played a role in me getting back right post fellowship:

  1. Journaling – My journal is that b****. Actually I meant to say my journals are* because I have three large journals that have every crush, achievement, moment of weakness recorded. Them pages know the real me. I say this to say it is where I truly unload. If you think this post is a bit much whew you don’t want to see what my pages have. My journals give me a safe space to truly reflect and that was how I began to notice patterns, behaviors, things that didn’t make sense and I needed to get a grip.
  2. Plan – Part of my freakout with Ethiopia was due to the fact that I had achieved a goal and didn’t have the next thing lined up. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a job lined up because obviously I did. I came back to the US and landed a position at one of the top firms in the world BUT I didn’t get real about my passions and plan for them until I was already working 60 + hrs doing something I didn’t intend to do. My career counselor once told me if you don’t decide/plan someone will decide/plan for you and it won’t always align to what you want for your future. That was the realist shit I ever heard. I mean I am just now letting that sink in BUT hey it is sinking in.
  3. Don’t give up your power, its yours!Whew child. The number of times I willingly let this happen. BISH I should be arrested. I’m trying not to sound like a self help book but everything I type sounds like a page out of 7 Effective Habits of Successful People or something lol. In all seriousness be mindful of your energy, who has access to you, how they transfer on to you and what you take from them. Stay true to you BUT stand your ground. I say this because everyone has this image of someone telling another person to back off when they feel disrespected but that’s not my personality so stay true to you but stand your ground gently and in a way that is YOU.

All in all I do not regret my fellowship experience but I do want folks especially children of immigrants who return to their parents home countries to really have a soul searching moment to understand how this experience will transform and impact a person. These moments and experiences are invaluable and I can honestly say I thank God for his grace and for his roadmap on my life because he has been patient with me and it is truly up to Him in the end. Now go out there friend and reclaim that power because it is already yours…God said so.

Part 2/3 to be continued…

#StayDown

Categories
Advice Entrepreneur Events Human Character Inspiration Politic me.

#Bringbackourgirls

Dear readers,

Hello! It’s me Astu. I am writing you today to bring about attention to a topic that has not only confirmed that women are still second class citizens but that Africa has a long way to go. Over three weeks ago, 234 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped by the Islamist group Boko Haram. If you are still unsure of what is going on please read this article.

As much as I want to rant and throw shade at the Nigerian government, US government, the United Nations, and the UNwomen, I will not. Let’s remember nothing happens over night. This blog was launched in efforts to highlight what our generation is doing to bring about change, what we are doing with our start-up inventions, and how we are leaving a legacy behind with whatever we create. With that said, I want to encourage everyone to overcome this relatively new phenomenon of “lazy activism” and figure out a way you can solve an issue in your community or in your life.

And I can proudly say I will be taking my own advice, starting this afternoon. I am launching a photo campaign called the 234 project. With this project I will randomly stop people in the streets of DC and VA, on my campus, in the lady’s restroom and at Chipotle…literally where ever I am and ask to take a picture of them holding up a sign with one of the following phrases “this could be me” or “this could be my sister.” You may not think much of this but spreading awareness and starting a dialogue IS THE FIRST STEP to any major movement. Ha ha I’m not saying I will be taking over the streets of DC with a protest but everything big, starts small.

The question I pose to you, the reader, what will you do today to make a difference in your community, environment, or in your family? I really want to know, please leave comments below! I want to learn what matters to you and if it is the 234 girls that were abducted please tell me! Don’t be shy, and talk to you soon. Much love.

 

Sincerely,

Astu Mengesha

 

Categories
Advice Art Me and Life. Wednesday's Business

Day Trip

Yesterday, I woke up and went into DC. I went straight to the MLK library did some reading and went right over to the one of the “Smithsonians”, I learned a lot! For example, when in a museum you do not wear your backpack on your back but rather hold it by the handle and that LL Cool J has a huge portrait in the 20th century contemporary arts section. Art all in your city. I don’t understand how people can live here and not visit these places. So instead of just highlighting new talent, I took a different approach.

Enjoy, the pictures!

 

Categories
Advice Entrepreneur Inspiration

To live by . . .

Lately, I have been thinking I haven’t been living my life to its fullest potential and this post came just in time. #goodhabitsshortie

Courtesy of onlinecounselingcollege:

1. Set yourself some daily goals. Keep them realistic and achievable. That will give direction – so you don’t fritter your time.

2. Read inspirational books and blogs; hang around people who are positive.

3. Stay in touch with what’s happening in the world. We’re not just islands – we are part of one another.

4. Make the effort to stay in touch. Just a “like” on facebook, or a brief text message, conveys to that person that they matter to you.

5. Invest some time in your appearance and health. We’re more confident when we look and feel our best.

6. Pay attention to your priorities. Do what’s most important, and not most urgent, first. (Note: If you never learn to prioritise then everything seems urgent – and that’s what runs your life!)

7.  Smile. It makes people feel more positive towards you – and it tends to lift our mood, and enhance our feelings, too.

8. Tidy as you go. It’s easier to work, and you’ll feel a lot less stressed, if you’re working somewhere that’s devoid of clutter. Also, if you tidy as you go then it feels less overwhelming.

9. Include some margin in your life so you don’t feel so stressed, as unexpected things always eat away our time. Expect that to happen – and leave some extra time.

10. Take time for yourself as you need to relax, unwind, recover, and recharge your batteries.

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Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up