JOMO: The Joy of Missing Out

The clock on the laptop struck 5 and I felt the pressure from my clenched jaw lessen. The small pain that seems to live in my left temple during work hours, magically went away and I could feel my Arthur curled fist release in a sign of relief.

I quickly passed my coworkers, ignoring any attempt to make plans or talk about dumb shit.

All I wanted was a bottle of wine and a good romantic comedy on Netflix.

In my late teens and early 20s, my FOMO was out of control. I didn’t go out but I’d kicked myself envisioning my friends partying, drinking the night away, and making bad decisions we were supposed to be indulging in at our age.

Now in my mid-20s, I can’t be bothered to go out if I’m really not in the mood. Cheap liquor doesn’t go down as smoothly and I prefer to wear sweatpants over any tight ass bodycon dress any day. In following my own advice, I have tightened up my budget and my budget really doesn’t acknowledge tri-weekly happy hour or $50 dinners every weekend anymore.

I really admire the people who are willing and able to go out but that’s just not my life currently. I wish we could all come to an agreement to stop shaming one another.

If your bank account isn’t upset that you’re consistently abusing it every weekend then who am I to judge. Just don’t complain that I’m home every weekend, standing ass naked in front of my exhausted and overly opened fridge.

Please keep all comments about me and my friends making homebody decisions, especially when we do decide to show face at the function. I can’t count the number of times that people have just stared and pointed as if I owe them money.

I know, I’m outside. This wasn’t initially my plan but I’m here now and trying to make the best of it.

We are all trying to navigate through this dimly light and overhyped space of adulting. There may be days, weeks, and months in which happy hour regulars turn over their last shots glass in exchange for a Power marathon in an incensed filled room. This shift in the social universe may lead, I and my fellow aunties, to electric side to Beyoncé’s Before I Let Go in some overcrowded and poorly cooled establishment.

But until then, please don’t kill my vibe.

All photos by Tatyanna Chamere

The Waiting Game

Photography by: Morgan Daniels
Styled by: M. Ansah
I vividly remember the day I started waiting for love, or rather on it. A friend’s church had organized a women’s conference. It was three days of getting to understand how to be the woman that God had called you to be.
Being an angsty 14 year old, I embraced the thought of God being able to help me deal with pimples and missing homework assignments. We prayed, laughed, and cried as we talked about the insecurities of womanhood. I felt heard and seen, as I saw older women confess to feeling less than beautiful in their younger years. I absorbed every question brought up and discussed, while furiously and meticulously taking notes to apply to my real test of life.
Then, this woman stood.

“I’m intelligent. I’m accomplished. I’m beautiful and yet I’m 30 and alone. Is God punishing me?”

Our eyes, and exposed hearts turned to the speaker, anxious to hear her insight pour forth about love and God.
“Just pray and wait.” She replied and moved on to the next question.
We all sat in shock and I knew the collective thought in the room was “Girl wut?”
We had dissected almost every question. Pouring through the Bible for answers about everything from body image, to being a good friend to others, even mental health. But when it came to love and marriage, We were told to wait.
That message never sat well with me but it definitely stuck with me. I remember mentioning to my mother that I could and would date in college.

“Just wait Maame, there is no need to rush into that part of life.”

College came and went with two interesting relationships and a handful of situationships under my belt.

And I was still waiting.
I thought I was waiting for my crush/favorite rapper to put me in a song. But when it did, the song didn’t move me like the rest of his music. Then I moved on to waiting for my lil business man boo to explain to me what our future looked like together but his proposal was depressing and not as romantic as he has lead me believe. The picture the artsy LOML made of us just wasn’t in focus. So I just kept waiting.
It wasn’t until my parents a few months ago, so lovingly asked

“So Maame. Why aren’t you dating?”

I replied that I was taking a break. And they asked me what the wait was for.”
I calmed looked up from my phone and replied,

“I dunno, the speaker never went into that part.”

Faux Reality

Photography by: Tatyanna Chamere

I looked up from my phone completely unaware of what I’ve been going on for the past two minutes only to catch the last bit of a conversation from two very chic women.

“I mean her life looks interesting but we all know that can’t be true she’s probably just super unhappy and super miserable. I mean look at her? Nobody can look that amazing and be that happy all the — wait, she’s coming up. She said she’s here.”

The two quickly adjusted their faces just before an equally elegant woman, LV’d down to the socks sauntered up and embraced them with an excited giggle and a big smile. They mirrored her with the same enthusiasm before they both linked arms and walked up to the café like a scene from the Sex And The City movie

In my mind, I immediately began to criticize. How could these women have been so terrible? And then just smile in her face like they had not just come for her entire life? Firmly perched on my pedestal, I turned my attention back to my phone and started scrolling casually through Instagram. Before I knew it, I had fallen off my holy than thou art throne into my own shallow pool of hypocrisy.

“Wow, must be nice to be rich when daddy is footing the bill.”

“Her Loubs aren’t even all that. I know them sh*ts hurt.”

“He ain’t even that cute to be shirtless like that all the time.”

All while double tapping to show my social sign of approval and acceptance

From my days in college, the idea of being fake friendly was not foreign to me. My alma mater is known for people showering each other with praises and graces, only to turn around and slander each others names. To say that I didn’t participate would be a lie. It was extremely easy to get caught up in the mess. I would often sit in a corner with some friends, drink some wine in “kiki” about people on social media before turning around to collaborate with them on group projects about the dangers of sexual miseducation. **nervously clears throat**

My slight wake up call happened during a particularly difficult time in my life. Brooding over a bad break up and on going school stress, I posted a picture with a cryptic caption about being happy when things weren’t going well. The picture had been taken weeks prior, when I was happier and much more “in love”. I saw my notifications ring with words of affirmations and love. With an uplifted mood but head still down, I entered my apartment elevator and moved to the back. I barely lifted my head to see two girls enter the elevator, glued to their phones as well. I could hear their cackles through my Afrobeats blasting through my earphones and decided to be nosy.

“Sis, look at her brows. They look like enemies.”

“Flat chested ass. She thinks she cute because she cut her hair. Who cares?”

The picture was mine and the two girls were people I thought to be friendly acquaintances . It hurt and broke my already fragile state into pieces.

I’m much more aware these days of how critical people can be of what they see on social media. The likes and comments, though I like to think come from a place of genuine love and respect, can also just be nothing more than a socially normative routine done to hide indifference, envy, or simple distaste. The problem with this fake reality is that getting caught up in the mess of it has become normalized. What we don’t quantify is the toll it can take on people. Sometimes it’s better to go ahead and unfollow, unlike, and log off.

Street Style: Les Jumeaux

On Maame: Top & Skirt: Forever21|Jacket: H&M | Shoes: Stan Smiths| Scarf: Amazon Fashion |Rings : Forever21
On Seynabou: Top: Forever21|Pants: Express |Jacket: H&M | Shoes: Stan Smiths|Rings : From Senegal
Photos by: Morgan Daniels

It’s very seldom that I ask for help. Being raised in a “Go and look for the answer and then comeback to me” type of household stunted my quickness to seek assistance at an early age. I eventually learned through so many avoidable but necessary lessons about the humility in asking for help. But it wasn’t until fairly recently did I begin to ask for direct assistance in anything creative in my life. In the past, I’ve always just tried to place myself in a creative space and hope and pray that I could be offered assistance without looking “needy” or “greedy.” And in a similar pattern, I made avoidable mistakes in my creative life. Losing out on certain opportunities and people were enough of a lesson for me to swallow my pride and reach out to people who have always been present.

Thank you to Seynabou and Morgan for being present and ready to ride in my creative journey.

Street Style: Black Friday

 

If I had to describe my daily style in one word, it would be black. For the aesthetic of the blog, I’ve tried to show off more colorful pieces in my wardrobe. As much as I adore those looks, nothing makes me feel more comfortable or confident than wearing all black. I’ve always wanted to be the physical embodiment of the color black.

Black is classic. It is not loud. It doesn’t scream or demand attention like other colors such as red or white. It quietly and calmly asserts itself, knowing exactly its place and power. It’s sharp and clean. It goes with everything. It’s timeless. And honestly, who doesn’t look great in it?

Dress: TJ Maxx |Jacket: H&M | Bracelets: From Ghana| Bag: Myth House| Boots: Dolce Vita |Rings : Pandora and H&M
Photo by: Morgan Daniels

The Road to Girlfriends

I have always been surrounded by the guys. As mini Maame, I quickly became the trailer to my cousins. They found me annoying but I got to tag along one way or the other. I spent most of my afternoons playing wall ball on my street and trading my older brother’s “vintage toys” for whatever I found useful that day. Most of the girls that lived nearby were just out of my age limit, either too young or too old. I knew I had my mom for girly conversation but every time I saw a moving truck on my street, I always prayed they had a girl just my age.

After a while, I got older and started to venture into activities that were meant to breed sisterhood like the Girl Scouts. It was an experience I detested at the time but it first sparked my desire for an organic group of girlfriends. Feeling let down by my troop to have the true American sense of sisterhood, I opted out of Girl Scouts and took the streets to find my own clique. I tried a few times in middle school and high school but saw how jealousy could quickly turn best friends into each other’s victims. I made mental decisions to leave the gabbing and clothes sharing to Joan and gals. The crazy part was that every part of my being still longed to have the right group of girlfriends. I had seen my mother build a group that laughed and cried together, as if they had been born to be in each other’s lives. With no biological sisters and uninterested extended family, I initially struggled to find women who felt like home to me. Many times insecurities and inability to communicate cost me the chance to build and grow with certain women. I thought I had been cursed  by the Girl Scout gods to roam the rest of my life without my Miranda, Charlotte, and Sam. It wasn’t until I was completely myself that I was blessed with some of the most beautiful relationships of my life. Women change your life. And the women in my life do nothing short of that.

I could write for days about the impact that each one has had, starting with my mother but my words could fully never express any of it. The women in my life are the smartest, most stunning, witty, ambitious, rude, petty, and selfless people I know. Dressed in grace, humor, and wisdom, I’ve gained the honor watching their brilliance while being in their corner. As overly emotionally as it comes off, it’s completely necessary and overdue. It takes very special people to pour into others without searching for anything but friendship in return. It sounds simple but it’s something a lot of people, including myself, forget to do. But when someone or something betters a life, the right thing to do is to pay homage.