To be honest, it feels weird to be posting on the blog right now, but I was chatting with another Black content creator this week and we were reflecting on how easy its been for some non Black bloggers to go “back to normal” and resume their posting after what was hopefully more than a week of performative silence. So although I’m still reeling from the news of the past few weeks, compounded by the shift of everyday life due to COVID-19, and all the thoughts and feelings that have been stirred up within me as a result, I’m going to do my best to continue to do the things that both make me happy and have an impact in the world, including blogging! Here are your questions from last month’s Q&A:
What are your thoughts about police brutality happening in the US? How do you foresee change taking place?
Police brutality is reprehensible, but it is just one example of sustained systemic racism that has been impacting Black people in America since the beginning of the country’s history. With the police specifically, I am in support of the 8 Can’t Wait initiative. Systemic racism overall though must be changed on both an individual and policy level so I believe it is the work of white people to educate themselves on their bias and challenge their friends and loved ones who do racist things.
How was it growing up as an African in the United States? We hear about a lot of racism. Did you ever experience any?
Absolutely. I shared a few of my experiences with racism here. I think what Africans can realize is that the average racist person in America doesn’t care that you’re not American. Color is seen first before nationality. So regardless of whether you identify with the Black American experience, others will often perceive you as Black, and ascribe whatever biases they have about Black people, onto you. That’s why I believe that racism, and the fight against racial injustice, is not just an American issue, but a global one.
Are things like what is currently happening in the US one of the reasons why you moved?
It wasn’t a main reason why we moved (full explanation here), but it did make me more open to exploring living elsewhere as I am not necessarily beholden to the idea that America is the best place to raise a child.
Moving From The US
How are you settling into the new city? Do you have a friend/support circle yet?
Are you ever going to move back to the US permanently?
I don’t know. The Rona has really made me question the utility of long-term life planning – I’m just trying to take things a week or a month at a time, and pray that God continues to show us what steps we should take next for our family.
Most challenging part about living in an African country?
Being on a different time zone than my family, closest friends, and work.
Family & Motherhood
What is Jonathan up to? How is his spirit? Glad you are in Africa with your black man and boy.
Jonathan has been working on his own start up business, and making tons of progress. He’s a pretty positive person (definitely the optimist between the two of us), so he’s doing pretty well. In some ways I’m glad we’re physically away from everything going on the US, but I still have brothers, cousins, and other family members there, and my entire life and thus world view is framed there so it’s not like being away makes this any less painful for me.
How do you split financial responsibilities with Jonathan?
We decided that having a joint bank account would be best for our marriage and finances, so everything is paid out of that one account. Most of our bills are set to autopay, so I wouldn’t say there’s one person who is responsible for this versus that. We’ve created a monthly budget for both necessary and discretionary spending, and review our finances together at the end of each month.
Advice on how to keep LDR progressing with the hindrance of the pandemic? 8 months strong.
Congrats on making it 8 months so far! Long distance relationships are HARD, but I found that being in one really gave us an unshakeable foundation for our friendship, and ultimately our marriage. Continue to date each other both one on one and hanging out with friends while you’re apart – I recently went on a double date with my best friend by playing a virtual escape game, and it was a lot of fun!
At what point did you decide to indulge Jonathan in your blog?
I think this means when I decided to introduce/feature him on my blog. I’d posted him on my IG pretty early on, but he featured in his first YouTube video in May 2015, a few months before we got engaged. By that time we’d discussed marriage and I knew we were on the same page about progressing our relationship from dating to a long-term commitment.
Was it hard for you to adjust to motherhood? Did you experience any signs of postpartum depression?
I’m still adjusting to motherhood. And it is HARD. It’s changed my priorities, and changed my marriage. Although I’ve gotten the hang of breastfeeding and could probably do it upside down, it’s exhausting.
I was asked about postpartum depression here too, but I’ll expand a bit. There were a few days in the first few weeks when I was extremely emotional. although I don’t think its fair to those who struggle with postpartum depression to say that I experienced anything close to it. However, in those moments of feeling low, I either took a break by getting out of the house and leaving the baby with Jonathan for a few hours, or I just let myself have a good cry.
Any advice on the first trimester of pregnancy? This is my first pregnancy.
Congrats! I can barely remember my first trimester because I was trying to finish writing my dissertation but I do remember that I was super sleepy and took a nap almost daily. I would say that even though you might not see any bodily changes and you can’t feel your baby kick just yet, remember that your body is GROWING A WHOLE HUMAN! Be kind to it and rest if its telling you to.
How do you get rid of pregnancy melasma?
Sorry girl, this one I don’t know! I got lucky and had better skin than usual while pregnant (which has stuck around, knock on wood!)
Blogging And Cyberbullies
I have a blog idea, but it feels like it’s too much of a niche. Is that possible?
I mean yeah, I guess if you’re writing about something that only 2 other people in the world care about, then that’s probably too niche. But I’d rather you start by writing things for those two people and making the content so good that they feel compelled to share with their friends, than waiting until you figure out a different blog idea.
How do you come up with engaging content on Instagram?
I usually just share what’s being asked of me, or get inspiration from current events, my personal life, or other creators.
Now that you are in Kenya, will your content be geared towards having a Kenyan presence? Please start doing Kenyan collaborations so that we can participate in the discounts.
I answered this in an IG story that was perceived by some as rude, so thanks for asking again so I can redeem myself! I create content based on what goes on in my everyday life, the products I use, and what my audience wants to see. Although we currently live in Kenya, the majority of my audience is still based in the US, so I typically create content with them in mind. Also, due to both lack of knowledge of the Kenyan market and familiarity with things in the US (and the fact that we moved with all our stuff), a lot of the things that I use – beauty, hair products, etc – are from the US. Lastly, the Kenyan brands that have approached me for unfortunately do not have marketing budgets that can accommodate my partnership rates.
All that said, I have been making more of an effort to buy locally and tag/share where I bought items in Kenya, even when they’re as trivial as string for wall art! I however, do not feel like I’m an authority on life in Kenya, and ask that you defer to other Kenyan content creators for discounts.
How many weird bullying messages do you come across, like the one you posted?
I can’t quantify the number of negative comments I receive because I often immediately delete them and try not to let them bother me, but it’s part of the territory of putting yourself out there on the internet. People always have things to say.
How do you keep your heart protected from negative people on the internet?
I usually allow myself a minute to get in my feelings, then I let it go! Sometimes there is merit baked into rude comments, so if there’s any constructive criticism I can distill, I try and focus on the positive. But I also come from a culture where insults are a love language (LOL) so I generally let negativity roll off my shoulders.
Your post give me that boost to speak confidently at work. Any tips on how you do it?
Not sure which post you’re referring to but if there’s ever a time when you can be bold, occupy space, and say what’s on your mind, it’s the present!
Beauty & Style
What products do you use for your natural hair?
I get this question a million times and I can’t stress enough – it doesn’t matter what products I use! You can use the same exact products as I do but 1. your hair might have different needs based on texture, porosity, density, and environment and 2. your hair practices have more impact on the health of your hair than the products you use. All that said, I’ve been currently using Hair Food’s styling products – the Nourishing Hair Butter is a really creamy daily (or more like weekly in my world) moisturizer.
Do you have any tips to help stop excessive breakage?
Yup! Answered here.
How often do you get your ends trimmed?
Ideally every 2 months, but I just realized we’ve been locked down for 3 months now, which probably explains why my ends are mad at me!
Spirituality & Wellness
Thoughts on yoga?
Absolutely love it! I use the Down Dog app and do a few sessions a week. I approach it like a fitness routine, and not a spiritual practice, though I do like to pray during the shavasana at the end of a practice.
Do you hear the voice of God?
Not in a booming IJEOMA THIS IS GOD SPEAKING way, but I do believe he gives me direction and instructions for my life.
Do you have a fellowship or community that you do life with as a family or spiritually?
We regularly attend a church here in Nairobi (though now virtually), and since we moved while I was pregnant, we were waiting until post-baby to officially join a small group and get more plugged in. Obviously we can’t do that now but we do have friends whom we consider our spiritual family.
Now that you have TKB, in what ways are you and Jonathan preparing to instill or train him to have a relationship with God, if that is what you want or are thinking of doing?
Whew, y’all coming in hot with the religious questions this go around! Faith is one of our core family values (highly recommend married couples to identify your family values), so we plan on raising our kids with a love of God. But I ultimately think it’s everyone’s individual decision on whether to follow Christ, so the most we can do while he’s a child and unable to make that decision for himself is expose him to scripture and community, surround him with people of similar faith and values, and model our religion and relationships with God for him to see.
How’s your walk with God at this time?
Ya know, it’s been dicey. I think there were two weeks in a row where we missed out on virtual church which spiraled into me not reading my Bible or any kind of devotional for two weeks, so its definitely difficult to focus on a relationship with God when there are two pandemics and a baby who takes up every other waking hour of my time. But I’ve also realized that the traditional ways of reading the Bible (aka just opening it and reading on your own), don’t work for me, so I’ve been playing around with other ways to stay spiritually enriched – newsletter devotionals, Instagram accounts, and even YouTube videos.