First Day of Lent: Trusting God Day by Day

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Today marks the first day of Lent. In fact, as I write this post, I can hear the church bells ringing in the distance to mark the start of service. This is the season where people give up something they are attached to (e.g., red meat, chocolate, staying up late, etc). It can be anything. This year, I decided to give up social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter), red meat, and processed foods. Let’s just say, it will be a tough 6 weeks. This year however, instead of only giving up things, I have also decided to add routines, healthier cuisines and practices to my daily life. One of these such additions is this book by Joyce Meyer, “Trusting God Day by Day.” Lent, at the end of the day is much deeper than making the decision, “should I get the plain baked chips or the salt and pepper kettle chips”… it’s also about getting closer to God.

My relationship with God has always been present. However, through reflection and a recent car accident that could have been fatal, i’ve realized that I can no longer hear God’s voice. It sounds very cliche, but there was once a point in my life growing up where a sensation would come over me, and I would know it was God working through me. But adult life has stripped me of this luxury. I go to church every Sunday,  Monday – Friday at work, on weekends I binge watch Netflix or visit friends/family, and when i’m not doing any of those, i’m keeping up with current events– most likely reading the New Yorker magazine with a cup of coffee in my right hand. In short, I am constantly going. I need to learn to stop and think. To breathe. To listen.

I pray this lenten season will yield the results I want, and if you’re participating in lent too–I hope yours is an amazing success as well.

The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump

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Despite holding a degree in Political Science, I don’t always enjoy reading books about American political leaders. However, this particular book caught and held my attention. It was the perfect blend of the technicality of the field of psychiatry, and the emotional world of activism. 

This book centers on the analysis of 27 psychiatrists who diagnose 45 with a range of illnesses including narcissism (of course we all knew this). However, they make a very interesting point. It does not take a psychiatrist to  identify that 45 has multiple mental illnesses, diagnosed or undiagnosed. They do not argue that mental illnesses by default make a person unfit to be president, as indicated in the fact that previous U.S. presidents have struggled with mental illnesses and have completed terms. However, they note that the combination of mental health issues that plague 45 are problematic for the entire country. To name a handful: his continuous outlandish lying; his contradictory statements; his aggressive behavior; his sociopathic tendencies; and his inability to hold a thought. All of this, the American populous can easily identify through public platforms (e.g., television, social media). Given the public knowledge regarding the mental health of 45, it is a surprise that he was still voted into office.

Despite the knowledge of his shortcomings, the authors recognize that 45 is not their “patient” per se, rather, their “patients” are individuals who voted for him. It’s quite the plot twist. The authors aim to better understand, why people made the conscious decision to elect a man who executes irrational and unstable behaviors into the highest office in the nation. Thomas Singer asserts that this is due to the “woundedness at the core of the America group Self,” with 45 offering an avenue through which the wounds can begin to heal. This possibility, makes his supporters overlook his mental state, and many may even deem him as being normal despite the obvious red flags.

This book will certainly be a hot topic of debate in the coming months as people strive to better understand how in the world a man like 45 was elected. 

 

Saturday Sayings: We Should all be Feminists

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Some people ask:Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

On this gloomy Saturday morning in San Francisco, California, I decided to ignore my chores and take the time instead to read this 64-page masterpiece. Needless to say, this book did not let me down. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as usual, was witty and straight to the point- we should all be feminists. 

Growing up as a Nigerian woman in both Nigeria and the United States, I connect with Adichie who is also a Nigerian woman. I’ve recognized that Nigerian culture is deeply patriarchal. One that I relent not because I despise men, but rather because I want to be equal to them. Chimamanda clearly states what feminism is – the, “social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” Yet, some people are incapable or unwilling to grasp such a simple premise. Why?

After I finished the book, I texted someone dear to me about all my take away points from the book. He didn’t respond right away like he normally does. In fact, he didn’t respond an hour, or even two later. It was four hours before he finally replied. He stated that he was well aware of the struggles that women experience because he grew up in a house full of women. Then he went on to talk about how he cares a lot about labor rights. Correct me if i’m wrong, but I texted him about women’s rights and not the latter. Right? So why is it that when the topic of gender equality is brought up, it quickly turns into a conversation of other rights? This is a key point that Adichie makes. For example, yes women’s rights are an aspect of human rights, but we aren’t talking about human rights as a whole, we are talking about women’s rights and to broaden the conversation to humans as a whole is an injustice. 

I challenge you if you haven’t already to read this book. Step out of your comfort zone, and for the duration of the book, and hopefully longer, put on a feminist lens.