#faves: TED talks

There’s nothing that quite compares to watching a captivating, thought-provoking TED talk. For today’s #faves post, I’ve compiled a list of my most favourite episodes.

Brene Brown’s vulnerability

I watched this TED talk on recommendation from a good friend of mine. She knew I needed to watch it at that point in my life because I literally wept watching it. If you’re having difficulty grappling with emotion, this may be for you. Brene captures perfectly the concept of vulnerability which she derives from her own experience and research. Highly recommended!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s feminism

This list would be deficient without a Chimamanda TED talk. I found this one most striking. For the first time, feminism was being framed in a context I understood. She drew on examples and situations that were familiar to me. Modern, african feminism. Chimamanda taught me. I’m also proud to say, I watched this TED talk before it became widely associated with Beyonce. Yes!

Fred Swaniker’s African leadership

Mama Tessy sent this to me towards the end of 2014. It’s a strategic and inspiring look at African leadership which Fred narrows down to two key areas for the next generation of African leaders to focus on. It’s so passionately and eloquently delivered, too. A must-watch.

Meg Jay’s twenties

This is definitely an eye-opening one for people in their 20s. The trouble is, you think you have time. Meg reminds us that our twenties are a formative period and we should strive to make the most of our youth. My kind of girl.


So those are my favourite ‘ideas worth spreading’. I would love to know some of your #faves! Share below.



© Tessy Maritim

Don’t Forgive Me

Last week my Mom and I were driving down from my auntie’s place when a conversation about forgiveness came up. We came to a unanimous opinion- many people think forgiving someone means leaving an issue unresolved, when in fact resolution is necessary for forgiveness.

I witnessed a very interesting situation early this month where a young boy was being accused of stealing money. I watched from a distance as more and more people surrounded him demanding for him to give back the money. This was really disturbing for me to watch. How did they know he stole the money? Nobody had any evidence that he actually took the money. Someone claimed that they gave him the money and he said that he placed it at the window sill but the money was not there. So they insisted he stole it.

I figured that this was not a situation I would be comfortable approaching because I was a visitor, so I approached my friend and explained the situation. He empathised with me and walked towards the commotion. I felt at ease knowing he was going to deal with the issue.

To my shock, he walked up to one of the women accusing the boy, called her aside and emphatically asked her to “forgive him“.

WHAT? Forgive him for what exactly? Had anyone confirmed that he actually stole the money? Theft is one of those things you are often not sure of. So WHY are we forgiving someone we are not certain is a thief?

This is not the first time I’ve seen ‘forgiveness’ being used as a blanket technique. My friend is often told to ‘just forgive’ his cheating girlfriend. The problem with blanket forgiveness is that it just throws a pretty rug over broken pieces of glass. It doesn’t examine the situation to determine why the glass is broken or how it can be fixed.

I believe in resolving issues. It’s difficult, it’s painful and it requires vulnerability but it is always worth it.

© Tessy Maritim

Vision 2015

Happy 2015! I trust you are all well and hope you had a lovely Christmas break. I must say, I’m still on holiday! For the past couple of years, my December has been marked by endless, stifling revision. This one has been different. As I am now part of the workforce, I’ve had the opportunity to take some time off and just relax. I’ve visited family and friends, ran errands for my parents and unapologetically overslept. It’s been delightful.

Now that 2015 is in full focus, many of us are planning for the upcoming months and setting goals. It’s great to feel a sense of direction for the year. But it can also be daunting if you’re not quite sure what you want to do or where you want to be. I think being uncertain about your purpose is healthy and normal. Uncertainty gives you the opportunity to reflect and re-evaluate what’s truly important to you.

Some years ago while I was wandering about on the Internet, I came across an eye-opening set of questions and thoughts that helped me brainstorm and reflect on what my purpose is. They may not give you the answers you’re looking for but they are definitely a good place to start.

p.s. I have no recollection of which blog I borrowed this from! So I must clarify that the following content is NOT my work.


 Lets start with the basics:

For these exercises, grab a sheet of paper, make yourself a cup of tea and go to a quiet, comfortable space.


To help find your purpose, answer these questions:

  1. What are you most passionate about?
  2. What activities do you find the most joy in?
  3. What is the one thing you feel you couldn’t live without doing?
  4. Who are your inspirations, and why?
  5. What skills are people constantly complimenting you on?
  6. What goals in your life are the most meaningful?
  7. What do you want to be remembered for?
  8. What comes exceptionally easy for you?

Once you have answered these questions, try to find the ‘common denominators’. Do you see any patterns/similarities? Is there a recurring theme? These patterns/similarities are an indicator of your purpose in life. If you are still having issues; try to focus your quest on uncovering your rawnatural abilities, things that come innate to you.

Set your goals using the S.M.A.R.T method:

: Stands for specific; you must be as specific as possible when writing down your list of goals. Focus on why you want to do it, how you want to do it, and when you want to do it.

M: Stands for measurable; you need to find a way to keep track of your goals so that you are able to make any necessary changes to your plans along the way. There needs to be “mini-goals” built in your main goal so that you are able to note milestones and progress.

A: Stands for attainable; make sure the goal set is truly important to you; whenever a goal is important to you, you remain motivated, and you are able to think of workarounds to bypass potential problems.

R: Stands for realistic; make sure your goals are within reach. However don’t confuse setting realistic goals with lowering your expectations. Setting realistic goals helps fuel the momentum and keep the excitement going as you move through your list. Make sure you have all the tools/skills/resources available to achieve your goals, as you are more likely to work hard to achieve them.

T: Stands for time based; make sure to set specific dates for completion of your goals, if specific time frames aren’t set, you may feel like you can start at any time.



Once you have figured out your purpose, and written down your goals; it’s time to practice the BE – DO – HAVE Paradigm. Are you are a Human Doing or a Human Being?

Simply put, you need to BE in harmony first. That is your state of being. Acting in love manifests an abundance of blessings.

Once you’ve mastered the art of “being” you need to actually DO some work prior to HAVING the true fulfillment you desire!


You can take it further than this and create a vision board which will help you envision your goals and purpose. I shared how vision boards have helped me in this previous post.

This exercise helped me clarify some of my plans and I hope you find it equally helpful.





© Tessy Maritim

14 Reflections

Can’t believe how quick this year has flown by! It feels monotonous to always say the same thing at the end of every year but where does the time go?

I’ve had a great 2014. Although I can’t quite capture some of the high highs and low lows, here are some of my special 2014 moments.


Saw the Queen


In February, my girl Nyambura and I went to see Beyoncé live. I’m not the biggest Beyoncé fan but she is a phenomenal performer. Being there was an experience like no other and the energy was infectious.


Lupita Season 


Lupita’s success this year reminded me that the success I envision is not elusive. She reminded me that it’s possible. Adore her!


She wins, We win 


I had no plans of running in an election but God did. The weird thing is that I had random thoughts in my second year of how amazing it would be to be part of the Students’ Union Executive. Somehow, what’s meant to be will always happen! My election taught me that there is nothing to ever lose by trying. Making an effort will always take you a step ahead. It’ll give you courage and fearlessness. You owe it to yourself to always try.


Page 3, darling 


Soon after my election, I got several requests for features in Kenyan newspapers. To God be the glory! Yaasss.


Law School Graduate


Earlier in the year I wanted to repeat my third year of university. I had received my January exam results and they were not great. So I figured that I would rather repeat than graduate with mediocre grades. But I wasn’t allowed to because I didn’t have mitigating circumstances that would justify me re-doing my final year. I was told that the chances of me pulling up my overall grade with the remaining set of exams were slim but my only chance nonetheless. So as you can guess my final semester of third year was tough. At the end of it all, I was content knowing that I did the best that I could. So whatever I achieved I would be at peace with. In the end, I graduated with a 2.1 Honors degree! My family was there to celebrate with me and I could not have asked for a more magical day.


Team Spirit 


One of my favourite quotes is “If you want to fly with eagles, you have to stop hanging out with chicken”. So imagine how lucky and blessed I am to work with a team of 7 highly intelligent, brilliant, activist eagles. My mind has been stretched because they have each in their own way taught me something new about the world. Luvz my team!


My Money Story


This event took 7.5 months of planning. I was in Manchester for 7 of those months. The execution of this event can only be attributed to my team and the guidance of God. I’m so thankful for a supportive and dedicated team who went all out to ensure everything was organized. Teamwork makes the dream work, for sure.


Oh hey AM Live


Courtesy of The Arena, I did my first TV interview ever on AM Live! It was a wonderful experience and Kobi was so warm and welcoming to us.


Radio came calling too


I did some radio as well in the run up to #MyMoneyStory and it was sweet! Made some good networks and met the loveliest people.




My family make everything I do worthwhile. Celebrating success with family and friends is the sweetest!


Aspire Scholars


I won a scholarship to attend the Aspire Women’s 2-day ‘Connected Leadership’ conference in December in London. ‘Networking’ is a word I have used a lot but this event taught me true networking!


Tiwa Sa-vage

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I would pay double what I paid to see this woman perform again- she is amazing live! She carried the show all the way and hit it out of the park.





Relived my high school prom at our Law School Ball. Definitely had a princess moment!


As we step into 2015 in a couple of days, I wish you a groundbreaking new year. May success, whatever that means to you, be yours. Be great.



© Tessy Maritim

What Determines Who We Fight For?

For the past couple of months I’ve been asking myself a question- what determines who we fight for? I’ve reflected and reflected and reflected some more. Last week, on my flight home, I came across a very interesting revelation about character that links well with the above question.

We form friendships and relationships with people based on their character- interests, behaviours and traits. We love who they are when they are with us. And as a result we begin to expect based on character. There’s reliability and consistency in being able to have that expectation of the people who are close to us.

But as humans are fallible, there are times when people fall short of those expectations. Many times we’ll compare a mistake that’s been made to what we expect of the character and if the two are not a match, we drop the friendship real quick.

As I was reading ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell on my flight home, I realized that we often forget the role of context in influencing the character of a person. He explains so eloquently, “It is much easier to define people just in terms of their personality. If we constantly had to qualify every assessment of those around us, how much harder would it be to make the thousands of decisions we are required to make about whether we like someone or love someone or trust someone?”. It’s just much easier to categorize people as either bad or good. No in-betweens, no understanding.  

As humans we ought to understand that others too are human- complex, delicate and powerful beings influenced by anything and everything. People are not absolute. Your closest will do things that will hurt you and your perceived enemies may pick up battles on your behalf. For this reason, be open to forgive when wronged and be quick to remorse when wrong.

As I’ve grown and developed over the past couple of years, it’s become clear to me that choosing who you fight for is about a deep understanding of yourself- your needs, your wants, your boundaries and the other person(s) needs, wants and boundaries. And this requires stepping out of situations and always looking at the broader picture- who is this person outside this situation?

I will leave you with this excerpt from the book,

Character, then, isn’t what we think it is or, rather what we want it to be. It isn’t a stable, easily identifiable set of closely related traits. Character is more like a bundle of habits and tendencies and interests, loosely bound together and dependent, at certain times, on circumstances and context. The reason that most of us seem to have a consistent character is that most of us are really good at controlling our environment



© Tessy Maritim

#faves: Bible Verses

I got my first and only bible when I was about 14. It was a gift from my auntie. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it- was I supposed to read it like a story? I couldn’t quite figure it out but wanted to make an effort to read because I wanted to strengthen my knowledge and understanding of God.

To this day, I haven’t read the bible cover-to-cover. Many of the verses I know and love come from church service. I’m also really fond of the ‘Bible App’ (available on both iOS and Android) which I downloaded about a year ago. It notifies you of a daily verse, allows you to highlight your favourite verses and enables you to connect with your friends on it and see what they highlight. It’s a really cool way to grow your knowledge of the bible.

So courtesy of the bible app, here are 10 of my favourite verses.



I love this verse because it’s a reminder that He’s got a plan for each and every one of us- and it is a perfect plan. No mistakes.



A couple of Sundays ago, I sent this verse to my youngest sister Tania and she asked me what it means to be made fearfully. I actually never thought about it. It made me reflect and do some research- in the bible ‘fearfully‘ is used in the context of respect and reverence i.e. “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom“. My understanding is that this means we are created in the highest regard by our Maker.


When you are worried and fearful, this is the verse to remember. How comforting to know God walks with us even in the darkest moments.


Guidelines for love. I don’t think there’s much I can add to this that isn’t already said in the verse- perfection.


Discipline is never easy and but always worthwhile. This verse captures that accurately.


The strength of the Lord is in me. Powerful.


I love this verse because it is a reminder that even after preparing to face a challenge, it’s important to commit that challenge to God because ultimate victory rests with Him.


A wonderful reminder that no past mistakes or failure can cripple us.


Every situation we face in life leads us to fulfilling our potential.


Put your hope and faith in Him- he will not let you down!

Would love to hear some of your favourite bible verses! Share below in the comment box.


© Tessy Maritim

Birthday Behaviour

December 13th is my date of birth. I remember in my younger years, I would wait with great anticipation for my birthday morning. Birthdays were exciting because my family would wake me up with their croaky morning voices singing ‘Happy birthday‘, my Mom would make me a yummy big breakfast and later I’d meet my friends & family for a birthday lunch.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised that birthdays, surely, should mean more than just a materialistic celebration or gifts. A new year represents new possibilities and a second (or third) chance to get things right.

One thing I know I need to get right this year is my health. For a long time, I have forsaken my health while I pay attention to what I thought were more important things such as doing well in university and working hard in my job. But these past few months, I’ve reached a new low in my lack of health-care. My foodie-ness is through the roof. I eat when I’m cold. I eat when I’m tired. I eat when I’m hungry. I go to the gym but not as regularly as I should. I think my body has had enough.

As I turn 21 this Saturday, I want to make a few commitments to myself:

  • I promise to eat clean – clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. More clean eating tips here.
  • Drink at least two litres of water a day.
  • Go to the gym at least 3 times a week- Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (flexible depending on schedule)
  • Reducing sugar levels from 3 spoons to a maximum of one spoon and gradually decrease until I wean myself off completely.
  • Go to the doctors’ twice a year for a health check. 

This is here as a reminder to myself and for you to keep me accountable. If you spot me anywhere eating a burger, spaghetti bolognese or pizza, please take a picture of me as I dig into my food and tweet me or post a picture on my wall and remind me that I’m backsliding. Seriously.

It will be really difficult! Apparently it takes more than two months before new behavior becomes automatic – 66 days to be exact. But I know when I look back a year later, I’ll be thankful for these changes.

I’ll leave you with this song- Happy Day by Patoranking, which I love and will be dancing to on my birthday. Happy born day to me!


© Tessy Maritim

Undressing Women, Undressing Society

Last week Uhuru Kenyatta finally responded to the outrageous undressing of women. And for once, I agree with him. He grasped and articulated well what most people have seemingly missed in this fiasco.

To me, it seems as we undressed women, we were also subconsciously undressing ourselves. We revealed what makes up the fabric of society- rape culture is rampant, misogyny is manifested everywhere.

I think I get why Uhuru Kenyatta’s words in this video make us extremely uncomfortable. It’s because we don’t want to be called out. I’m obvs not misogynistic; I don’t undress women on the streets. Yet, without flinching, you grope a woman in the club when she walks past you. Without flinching, you add alcohol to her drink to make it harder for her to say no to your sexual advances. Not as bad as those whose misogyny is publicly seen, right? It’s the classic case of the glasshouse.

Uhuru unapologetically and rightly calls us out for turning a blind eye to what happens in our own backyards and then turning around to yell at others for what they do in public. If you truly think undressing women in public is barbaric- you must identify the issue for what it truly is- rape culture and misogyny.

Rape culture manifests in our society deeply and widely. It’s the idea that male sexual violence has penetrated our society to the extent that it is normal. When a man makes comments about a woman’s body on the streets; when rape is blamed on how short your skirt is; when a man sexually assaults his niece- it’s because of rape culture.

I’d like us to deal with this issue for what it truly is. It has little, if anything, to do with safety and security, and more to do with how we view women. And that’s not something Uhuru Kenyatta can fix. We could have police presence on every street in Kenya and there will still be men beating their partners at home.

If you think you truly care about and respect women because you’ve condemned their public undressing, look at your own life and those around you critically. Because if you would still have sex with a girl when she’s drunk without consent, you might as well strip her in public.



© Tessy Maritim

Monster(s) In My Head

We all have things we worry about. I certainly do. My anxiety is particularly worse when I’m alone. The scope of anxiety extends far wider than it should when you are alone because your mind is idle. If you’re not occupied doing something, your mind takes the opportunity and runs wild- sometimes with positive thoughts but more often than not with negative, poisonous thoughts.

I think my anxiety is far worse when I’m away from home. I spend most of my time alone and if my mind is not occupied, I start to think about home. I’ll remember that I haven’t heard from my Dad in a couple of days. So I’ll text him and wait on a reply. If there’s no reply after an hour I check to see if he’s seen my message. After another hour, I’ll text my Mom, my sisters, my cousin(s). And sometimes there’s no reply from them also. At that point, I get obsessive and stop everything I’ve remotely been doing and focus on waiting for a response from anyone. Why is no-one replying?! From there, it all goes downhill.

If you’ve been in a similar situation you understand how paralysing it can be. The worst thing about anxiety is that you don’t stop until you solve what you’re worried about- and sometimes that’s not possible.

Most times, you’ve created a situation in your head that actually does not exist. Or rather, as they say, “You’re mind becomes the devil’s workshop”. I’ve realised that sometimes you just need to focus on keeping productive.

My sister Tebby sent this list to me a while back with things to do to keep busy (I’m quoting her exact words from here):

  • Buy a pot and seeds and grow a plant.
  • Go ring window shopping (get fitted and all lol)
  • Cook something special and have a special dinner for one
  • Hire a bike and ride ride away
  • Go to the park and run
  • Make some flavoured water
  • Draw something
  • Do push-ups. Loads, the right way

Create your own and refer to it whenever you feel anxious.

As I conclude I’d like to highlight something very important- sometimes anxiety can be kept at bay with simple activities like going to the gym or cooking. But be aware that there may be a more complex underlying mental health matter that you need to speak to a medical professional about. Don’t let your mind paralyse your existence.


© Tessy Maritim

#faves: Things To Read

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fave; a thing or person loved, preferred and adored

I’m introducing a new segment on this blog called #faves. I’ll be sharing some of my favourite things so if there’s anything you’d like me to do a #faves post on, let me know. 

I like to think I’m an avid reader. I really do enjoy a good book. But I lack one thing- consistency. It could take me a whole year to finish a book. My sisters always make fun of me for this actually. They love to read and find it funny that when they see me 5 months later, I’m still reading the same book.

But when you do find me reading, I’m very particular about what I read and how I read. I don’t like to borrow books I prefer my own copy. Books are so personal and I like to highlight and be able to refer to it over and over again, and sharing books makes that difficult.

I’m not much of a fiction person. In fact, there’s only one fiction book I read that I truly loved- Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun (obvs). She writes so vividly and deliberately. As much as I appreciated the historical and political importance of the context of the book, I reveled in the love journey of Richard and Kainene. I love that Richard seemed to never truly understand Kainene. He was always trying to figure her out yet that somehow made their relationship all the more mysterious and intense.

Another one of my favourite books is Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. I didn’t enjoy it for the first couple of chapters because it relied too much on examples I felt I couldn’t relate to. But after a while, I was hooked (my reading rate even became faster than usual). It had some really important lessons about patience with challenges, waking up early and the ten thousand hour rule.

He teaches about patience in the book through an example of a woman who was given a problem to work out that she had never learnt before. She tried and tried and after approx. 20 minutes she got the answer. The reason she was able to figure it out was because she took time with the problem. Many times in life we encounter problems and take a couple of minutes trying to find the solution and if we can’t find it instantly we throw our hands in the air and give up. This example taught me the importance of sticking it out when it gets tough.

Gladwell also uses Chinese farmers as an example of why we should endeavor to wake up early. He explains that due to the nature of farming, farmers needed to be awake early in the mornings to sow the seeds that would later allow them to reap a bountiful harvest. He uses a powerful quote to sum it up- “No-one who rises before dawn 360 days a year fails to make their family rich”. Literally, this would apply to few of us. But it’s an important lesson in various contexts. Waking up early can really transform your day and in the long run, your life.

My other favourite lesson in Outliers is the ten thousand hour rule. It’s simple- on average it takes ten thousand hours to become a master in a field. He gives examples of the long hours of practice people like The Beatles and Bill Gates put in to be where they are. It really puts ‘microwave success’ into perspective.


I don’t usually read Forbes magazine. But this month’s edition featured the indefeasible Tabitha Karanja, a woman I adore and admire. She is fearless and a pioneer. It’s always amazing to read about people so passionate about building Kenya and Africa. She’s definitely my kind of person.


Would love to hear if you’ve read any of the above! Or share any of your #faves below in the comment section.



© Tessy Maritim