Wednesday, 14 December 2016

New paths, new opportunities

Good day SoulJourners!

I am back after my somewhat long hiatus! Firstly, thank you so much for being patient with me, and thanks for your support so far.

It has been a long few months, but I got up to so much! Namely, getting married - which took a lot of energy and money! But was a wonderful blessing.

Every new stage in life comes with growth, so I am both sad and excited to say that although SoulJourner's Story has been the perfect outlet for me to share with you beautiful women the issues brewing in my heart, I can no longer take it any further. At least not for now.

BUT please be of good courage because the end of SoulJourner's Story does not necessarily mean the end of Madeline. With the closing of one chapter comes the opening of the next beautiful one, so I would like to share with you my new offering to the world, which is a better reflection of where I am now in life.

It's both a scary and exciting adventure, which is much bigger than SoulJourner's Story. But it was a necessary step. The question is, will you come with me?


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Saturday, 8 October 2016

This is not the end, but...

...yes, we are going on hiatus. Not for long though, but I definitely need a break, If you read back on the blog you might have noticed that I made mention of my up coming nuptials (it's really not long now!), my business as well as other projects, which I hope to reveal by the end of the year. With my fingers being in so many pies, I figured that it was best to temporarily free up some space in my life and commit to fewer things, than try to do everything but with sloppy results.

To everyone who has been following this blog, please know that I will be back in the next 4-6 weeks, and boy oh boy do I have some great things planned. For starters, I will be rebranding SoulJourner's Story. I also promise to conclude my Rehired story. Not only that, I will be coming at you with better book reviews, interviews from women who are just killing it in their professional and personal lives, and much more.

In the meantime, please stay in touch via social media:


miss_souljourner
@misssouljourner

SoulJouner's Story








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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Rehired! (My Personal Story Part II)

When I shared my story in the blog post entitled "How I Bounced Back from the Sack", I was overwhelmed by the support I received. I alluded to the fact that there was some upheaval at work at the time that post was published, without exactly divulging all the details.

It is a twisted story with many lessons. By the time this is posted it would have been around two weeks since I (re)started my new job. Confused? let me explain.
First week at my 'new' job
I have been at my company for six years working in different departments, but within the same organisation. In June 2015, I was awarded a year's secondment (a secondment is when you are on loan to a department or organisation for a fixed period of time, whilst your original position is kept warm for you.), and around three months into my one years secondment, I was told that my contract would be extended for another year. I was ECSTATIC. Not only was the position a MASSIVE step up from what I was doing originally,I also loved my new team, and the job offered a better work life balance.

So from when I was given the good news until early this year, I was very much in the knowledge and the belief that I would be sitting comfy in my new position for a little longer than anticipated.

How naive.
My years' contract in pictures
I think it was February or March this year, my stony faced manager took me into her office to tell me that she was sorry, but HR had rejected her application to keep me on for a year longer, and come June I would have to go back to my original post.

I. Was. Floored.

From then, I was consumed by thoughts of going back to a role that I thought I had grown out of. I thought about colleagues that joined my organisation after me, and had basically frog leaped over me to higher positions. I couldn't help but think about all I had poured into two degrees; about the number of  "we regret to inform you..." emails and the repetitive advice to "keep trying".
After getting over the initial disappointment, I went into "fight mode". This meant upgrading my LinkedIn account and sending out a ton of emails and CVs, which proved a futile exercise. It was as if heaven had shut the "career" door in my face, and God was looking down, and laughing in hysterics whilst I chased my own tail.

June was approaching fast, and as the countdown wilted down from months to weeks and finally days, I was becoming more panic stricken. My search for a new job became more frantic, and less focused. Because I was desperate, I almost willing to sell my soul for absolutely anything. The feeling of dread in my chest was becoming unbearable. And then June 22nd arrived.

This story is kind of long, so we'll continue next time :-) In the meantime, please comment below with any job hunting tips you may have. 

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Sunday, 11 September 2016

First Year At University? Let's Chat!

This is from a post that I published last year. However I thought it would be useful to repost an updated version as we are at "that time" again!

The advice I have here is a result of my own personal experiences in university. I have gone through the process twice so I know what I am talking about.Trust me. For those of you reading in the US, I am referring to what you call "college". 

Here are my tips for new university students.

1.Make a note of your coursework deadlines. Put them in your diary, and add in reminders a month, two weeks and one week prior to the due date. Better still, invest in a yearly planner you can put up on your wall. I say this because your lecturer will probably only give you the dates once. I studied French and Linguistics at Queen Mary, and made the mistake of not paying attention to the due date of my “Language in the USA” coursework deadline. The result was a rushed piece of work, hastily put together on the afternoon it was due. It attained no more than a C grade!

2. Find out how your faculty prefers for you to do your referencing and stick to it. Here is a very good guide from the Anglia Ruskin university.

3. I stayed at home whilst at university as the distance between my house and campus was too short for me to qualify for student accommodation. If you are in this position, strike a good friendship with someone in living on campus, who you can trust. You will be grateful for this on nights after long hours spent in the library, or partying!

4. Space out your schedule and give yourself some room to breathe.I remember in my first year cramming my Mondays with six hours worth of lectures  (yes! with no break). The result was knackering! I sometimes even skipped my last class altogether - not good at all.

5. If you are taking a class such as literature, or any other class that requires studying from one book for the entire semester get your own copy – even if it’s second-hand. Your campus library will normally only have a few copies of that particular book, and you may not be able to keep it for the whole semester.

Good luck with university. There is so much more you will learn besides the content of your lectures. Work hard, have fun and make friends!

I hope you find these tips useful. Please share any additional tips you might have below. 


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Monday, 5 September 2016

"Good Traditional Values" that the Empowered Woman Must Shake Off.

Today's topic is coming straight from the heart so please forgive me if this entry is a little bit disjointed. The last few weeks have been quite full on and it all came to a head last week which resulted in my body finally giving up and becoming overrun with the flu! 

The blogging world can be a glossy place sometimes, with our photos edited to perfection and exciting updates of holidays and nights out at plush restaurants, so allow me to keep it real with y'all for just a second.
Over the weekend,  I received a distressing phone call from someone,  which left me feeling upset and very disempowered. This led me to think about some of the reasons why even as an adult with an empowerment blog, I am still overly sensitive,  concerned about others' opinions of me and often times super hard on myself,  particularly when I feel I have screwed up, in any area of my life.

After much thought, and long conversation with my fiancĂ©, I figured that the main reason for these feelings of disempowerment is down to childhood conditioning. Many of the "good traditional values", or well meaning lessons that our parents instilled in us whether we like it or not has affected the way we reason and behave as adults. Oftentimes for the good, sometimes not so good. 

I come from a good ol' Ghanaian, Christian background where there is a lot of emphasis on  "God first"  and "respect for others". But there is also a lot of "mask wearing", and tiptoeing around others so not to appear less than squeaky clean. 
Although my upbringing has helped me to become a highly spiritual, respectful and hardworking member of society, they have also in some ways been to my detriment, So I have compiled a list of five "good traditional values"  that I believe have contributed to the way I act now, and have been my setback as a woman, and that I feel should be shaken off if I am going to progress in life. Whilst I am writing this for you, I am also writing this for myself.  In the words of one of my favourite gospel songs "as I minister to you, I minister to myself".  So let's learn together. 

1. What people think about your life choices is a reflection of whether they are wrong or right.

2. Answering back to someone older is disrespectful. Never do it. (This has been a major one, that has even hindered me from standing up to my superiors at work!)

3. Taking a break / rest = laziness

4. Good Christian (*insert alternative label here*) girls don't make mistakes. If you do, then said mistake should be followed by excessive regret and apologising to those who may or may not be affected.

5. Crying is silly. It's a sign of weakness and you must not let anyone EVER see you cry.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are the main beliefs I feel I subconsciously hold, although I find it hard to admit it.  
If you have read to the end, I would like to thank you.  I would also like to encourage you by saying that you are most probably doing better than you think. If you do feel you have screwed up in life lately, then do what you can to fix it, leave the rest to God, forget about it and move on!

Can you add any more to my list. What "good traditional values"  are you trying to shake off?"

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Monday, 29 August 2016

Commuter Reads : We Should All Be Feminists

My next instalment of commuter reads comes from my all time favourite author. When I started the Commuter Reads  series I did mention that I loved literature from African writers. Well before I continue,  please allow me to introduce to you Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Ms  Adichie is a Nigerian novelist whose first novel, Purple Hibiscus, had me hooked from the first paragraph. But it was really her novel Americanah which won her the accolade as my favourite author. She executes the art of storytelling with such finesse and mastery. 

And for those of us in the African Diaspora, with a longing to know our roots, we crave stories that will bring us closer to motherland. I consider it a personal privilege to be able to read Chimamanda's work which brings characters and places and things to life so that you can literally taste, smell and feel the words you are reading. Her vivid descriptions colour the narrative and pulls you right into the heart of her scenes. 
"his advice to me...feminists are women who are unhappy because they cannot find husbands"
( yeah right! )
We Should All Be Feminists, which is an extension of a Tedx talk she held in 2013 is her latest piece that I read, and I must say like all her other creations I just couldn't get enough of it once I cracked the book open. I gulped every single word of it in one sitting.  Although I should have trusted that this would be just as good I was sceptical about reading it for two reasons:

1. I've always treated the term feminism with  contempt,  which I now know is because of my lack of understanding of it. After all how could I align myself with a movement that evoked so much anger and fighting against the status quo? How can I count myself a feminist when I don't hate men. I have always wanted to be someone's doting wife, and I loved lipstick so much?

2. It's a nonfiction piece of work. I just wasn't in the mood to read an essay. Although Chimamada has always used her novels as a platform from which to address social issues experienced by Africans, the message was always cushioned by the narrative. I guess I was scared that a non-fictional piece, may perhaps be too blunt. 
"Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice".
Well Chimamanda directly addresses my first concern within the first two pages, by speaking to my ignorance with her in depth analysis of what it really means to be feminist . Also within the first ten minutes of reading she addresses my second concern. I quickly realised that storytelling is woven into the fabric of this essay, which gives it some warmth and a tone of endearment.  She has so many anecdotal examples from her personal experiences as a woman living in Nigeria,  which complements her points nicely.
"All of us, women and men, must do better"
What  I particularly love is that she doesn't just address how gender equality affects women but how also how gender construction has also done a disservice to men.
I think I should stop here because I  probably will give too much away. But I'd like to finish by saying We Should All Be Feminists is only 99p on Amazon Kindle so there is NO excuse for not purchasing. Even, the paperback is little over £3 on Amazon. Also it's a very short and fairly easy read, so won't take up too much of your time. In fact it can probably be read in one train journey depending on how fast you read.

Can I now call myself a feminist? Chimamanda makes such a convincing case, but hmmm... I'd say maybe I am in some ways but still not entirely. (Ms Adichie, I hope we can still be friends!)


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Thursday, 18 August 2016

PRODUCT REVIEW: HOUSE OF SOLO

I am soooooo excited to be writing this post because alas!..it is our first ever product review. Ladies, I present to you 
House of Solo

House of Solo Magazine is the latest glossy magazine featuring fashion, art and culture to hit the shelves, and is brought to you by photographer Abeiku and fellow blogger Missy May, along with their team. 

When I first opened its package, I noticed immediately the quality of the pages - very much like many of the high end glossies you find in the shops, or even the Next Directory that gets posted through my door every season. This is a far cry from the flimsy paper new and small publications often come with. 

A flick through House of Solo allows one to feast their eyes on high quality content. Hi-res photos, with deep and bright colours, juxtaposed with easy to read articles, and interviews from creatives in the industry. 
This makes the perfect coffee table "flick through", or handbag filler, that you can whip out and read whilst waiting for your hair or dentist appointment (or any appointment for that matter!) It's also your perfect go-to for style inspiration, be it your personal style, home decor style or lifestyle.
When I asked Missy May, what the main purpose of House of Solo, she simply replied "it's to entertain, to inspire and to inform". She also mentioned that it's to "give a voice to the voiceless". Strange strap line for a glossy mag, you might say, but House of Solo is all about shining a spotlight on artists, and creatives who would otherwise go unnoticed, be it painters, writers, models or photographers. 

"House of Solo [will] 
entertain, inspire, 
and inform...it's 
about giving a voice 
to the voiceless"
                                     - Missy May


The first issue is The Fashion Issue and has all the features one might expect: high end fashion shots, fashion based articles and dreamy art that will capture your imagination. However, please do expect a lot more than that, because the magazine, which will be released quarterly will touch on everything from culture and social issues, to sports and motivation, so please stay tuned for more from the House of Solo. 

"House of Solo will 
touch on everything 
from culture and 
social issues, to 
sports and motivation"

In short, if you are a culture vulture, or are interested in refined as well as edgy art and fashion, then House of Solo is for you. 
Intrigued? I urge you to check it out at www.houseofsolo.co.uk or purchase the print edition from MagCloud



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