#faves- Apps on iPhone

 

El Pastor- Borough Market, London

Bible App

What I use it for– Divine intervention

I’ve lost my physical bible so having a digital one is a great fallback. I’m still going to need a physical one though! There’s something about turning the pages of a physical bible.

Camcorder

What I use it for– Making home video aesthetics.

I use this app mostly for videos on my instastories. It transforms it into a really pretty home-video (with the date and time at the bottom left of the screen). If you follow me on Instagram, you know how cute it looks!

CamScanner

What I use it for– Scanning documents when I’m not near a scanner.

I use this app to scan documents on my phone. It’s particularly useful when I’m not in the office and need to scan something quickly.

Clue

What I use it for– Tracking my period.

My sister, Tebby introduced me to this app a while ago. It helps you track your period, fertile window and PMS days. You’re supposed to help make the app more accurate by putting information about your cycle e.g. sleep patterns, emotions, bleeding, energy etc. It’s great!

Heads Up

What I use it for– Games night

If you’re with friends or family at a gathering, ‘Heads Up‘ is a really fun and competitive game to play!

Taxify

What I use it for– Moving around Nairobi.

Although I have both Uber and Taxify on my phone, I mostly use Taxify because it’s cheaper. I’ve heard some people complain about it, but my experience has been pretty good so far.

What apps do you use? I’d love some recommendations, please share.

T

© Tessy Maritim

Working Through

When work is difficult, it’s natural to feel like you want to stop. Difficult work requires the best of you and it’s not always effortless.

If you find yourself in a difficult space, struggling to push through and deliver what you need to do, it’s perfectly fine to pause. A pause doesn’t mean you’re quitting. A pause means you’re giving yourself the room to feel inspired again; the room for an influx of new energy to recharge you.

When it’s difficult, work through it, engage and confront the tough issues. There are things you won’t be able to run away from- because any (good) work will require you to reach far and wide and pull your best self in to action. I’ve found it useful to have quiet moments to talk to myself and ask the critical questions- What’s going on here? What are you not happy with? What can you fix? What’s the next step?

If you find yourself facing something big and difficult, find a way to unpack it- divide and conquer. It works every time. For me at least, anyway.

But it’s also necessary to realise when you should walk away from something big and difficult. You don’t have to work through every situation that comes your way. Sometimes, leave it alone.

I’ve said this before here– even the things we love to do are sometimes big and difficult. I’m learning the discipline of putting my head down and just working through the difficult things that come my way. It’s scary and sometimes very overwhelming. But I try to see the discomfort and pain as a process- shedding my skin and growing into something new.

One of my favourite songs on Sampha’s album, Process, is Plastic 100°C, where he says:

It’s so hot I’ve been melting out here
I’m made out of plastic out here

You touched down in the base of my fears
And that’s when your beauty appears

The analogy of the sun (or fire?) and melting plastic is poignant. Sometimes the things that awake our fears are vessels for the growth of new and beautiful in your life. I’m learning to not be afraid of the heat, the pressure- it may be good for me.

But, as mentioned earlier, I say this with a caveat- don’t burn out. Step back when you need to. Your life, your health and your happiness are far more important.

I’d also like to always remember that even the work I love to do will be difficult, stressful and exhausting. That doesn’t take away from the fact that the work is still worth it.” | Alliance Francaise, Nairobi

I hope you find your rhythm again and may things come together for you!

T

© Tessy Maritim

Just Like Before: A Pep Talk To Myself

Okay, you’ve done this before.

It always starts like this- seemingly impossible. Big. Scary. Above you.

Like a mountain. Insurmountable. Little me. How did I even get here?

Well.

You got here slowly. Step by step. One leg after the other. You divided and you conquered. You committed the journey to God. You covered yourself in prayer. You looked after yourself- every day, every moment. You reminded yourself that it’s okay.

You asked for help. You took breaks. You slept. You cried. You woke up, determined to face each day.

Looking ahead, it seems like there’s no way. It always feels like that. But remember the valley of dry bones:

Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Ezekiel 37:4-6

This work, this life, may seem like an endless valley of dry bones. But, speak life into each situation. Watch the tendons, flesh and skin come together and bring life again. You can do it, just like before.

The journey will emerge, even if it doesn’t seem that way. Just like before, you’ll rise up to the occasion. Because you’re prepared, you’re capable. You are loved. You are precious.

Just like before, you’ll go up, across and down.

And you’ll celebrate. Not just at the end, but throughout the journey. Because small victory is still victory.

Remember that things may be different. You can’t always use yesterday’s blueprint for today’s journey. You may have to go back to the drawing board. Take time to think. Turn things upside down. Unpack the issues. Deconstruct, so you can construct again.

That’s bringing to life what was not there before. That’s the power you hold, never forget.

What seems above you is above you for a reason. So that you can stretch yourself. Make yourself bigger. That’s the essence of life and that’s what you’ve been praying for. A richer life. An exquisite life. This is what it looks like.

Kuvunjika kwa mwiko sio mwisho wa upishi” (Swahili Proverb) | Nairobi, Kenya

May you see life in all its colours. May you learn throughout the journey. May you always see yourself the way God sees you- as strong, as kind, as compassionate, as smart, as important, as special.

You can do it, again.

T

© Tessy Maritim

What I’ve Learnt From 3 Years in The Arena

In August this year, it’ll be 3 years since we started The Arena. I thought of waiting until then to write this as an anniversary commemoration post but I’m feeling the urge to write and post it immediately.

Working on something you love is difficult. A labour of love soon morphs into something laborious. There was a time I really disliked being asked about The Arena. I would brush it off and say, “it’s just this thing I’m working on“. I was confused about what we were doing and I didn’t want any questions because I didn’t have answers to give. It was messy. Everything was under construction (everything is still under construction). And it scared me that we were out here for the world to watch but things were not quite in place.

The Arena is about not being afraid. It’s about taking your imperfections out in the open because that’s where they become productive and lead you towards your purpose. So in worrying and panicking, I was contradicting myself- teaching one thing, practising another. 

I’m learning to change that slowly. And in honour of this, I’d like to share some of the important lessons I’ve learnt so far, courtesy of The Arena.

  • Treat your work seriously- It’s a job like any other. If you’re a student, it can be difficult to balance your time but allocate a few hours each week to working on it. Protect the energy within the organisation. Build a culture in the way you work that’s unique to you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have an office or revenue streams yet- work as if you do.
  • Be consistent with your work– This isn’t necessarily about being consistent on your public platforms. I think it’s more important to be consistent behind the scenes. I’ve found that sometimes there’s a pressure to keep up with the image people expect of you and you end up rushing just to be seen to be doing something. It’ll drive you crazy and it’s not worth it. Focus your energy on being consistent with your vision. Don’t worry about keeping up with expectations- stay committed to your vision.
  • End working relationships with people who don’t take your work seriously– Everyone wants to be part of something that looks glossy, light and fun to do. But the truth is that before you get to the glossy, light and fun part, there are a lot of difficult hurdles to jump over. Not everyone can handle that. Very few people are willing to stick it out through to the end. And that’s okay. But you should never compromise your work to keep people comfortable. If you allow sloppy work at the early stages of your business, that’s the work culture you build for your organisation. Only work with people willing to work as hard as you do. Quality over quantity.
  • Be professional- Package your work well enough to circulate. It makes it easier to get support when you have something for people to share. Here’s a website that makes it super easy for you to make your own promo material.
  • Let go, go with the flow– Allow ideas to change. Sometimes you lose more by holding on. Relax, it’ll be fine.

FullSizeRender (9)

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision; then it becomes less & less important whether I am afraid” (Audre Lorde) | Loch Katrine, Scotland

Your work will change over time and that’s an inevitable part of the journey. Just remember to hold on to the vision. Remind yourself why you started, often. It’s what will carry you through the most difficult days. Stay in love with your work.

T

© Tessy Maritim

p.s. This is the quote that inspires the name ‘The Arena’:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt, 1910  

Balance? What Balance?

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been snowed under books and articles. My lecturers did that evil thing where they put all the deadlines in one week, so I had no choice but to put my scholarship in full gear. That’s where I’ve been hiding, for those of you who’ve been missing me.

In my time away, I wondered, how do people achieve balance in life?

I don’t know because as far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing.

I learnt this from Carole Mandi and have recently embraced it as my life philosophy.

Work.

School.

Family.

Friends.

Social life.

Ideally, I’d be able to commit equally to my work, academics, family, friends and social life. But at any one point, that is not possible. I work on a priority basis, rather than one of balance.

I ask myself, what really really really needs my attention right now? And then I centre my life around that. All other commitments are put on pause.

Because I’m not trying to be a Jill of all Trades. I’d rather work on a few things excellently, than a lot mediocrely.

I can’t be everything to everyone all the time. Prioritize your life so that you can show up when your ready. On your own terms. Don’t try to keep up with a social life when you have urgent work and academic commitments waiting on you.

As my parents always say, parties and social life will always be there. If you’ve been to one party, you’ve been to them all. Trust me, you’re not missing out on anything.

The beauty about being overwhelmed is that it gives you an opportunity to declutter- you can stop what needs to be stopped. Pause what needs to be paused. And focus on what needs your attention now. This is how I avoid burnout.

It’s not always easy and there are times when you really have no control. But where you can exercise control, take control. My commitments don’t control me, I control my commitments. 

When you focus your energy on priorities rather than balance, you can take better care of yourself. People focus too much on their commitments to others but forget their commitment to themselves. Remember you, always. 

IMG_3767

backdrop to my thoughts and the place I wish I could be right now | The Burns, Scotland

T

© Tessy Maritim