Posted in Blog

A New Found Confidence

I’m currently working on a Research Project on invisible disabilities, particularly discrimination and disability hierarchy theory (which off the top of my head I can’t remember who came up with, but the research behind the theory proves that society shows more empathy towards visible disabilities). 

I had a seizure on Sunday afternoon and therefore spent the rest of the day in bed recovering. It’s now 5.17am on Monday morning and instead of sleeping, I’m wide awake because I spent the day sleeping off the post-seizure migraine.

A LOT has happened this weekend – too much for me to get into right now – to trigger that seizure, because of society’s ignorance, causing me to feel like I’m not wanted. So when I saw this quote, I just had to share:

Quite frankly, I do not give a damn what you think, or whether or not you believe I’m sick because “I don’t look it”. 

It’s not my job to fix your stupidity. 

But one day, you will need me to complete your picture. 

Posted in Blog

My complaint to Superdrug:

If you remember, I originally posted the following complaint to Superdrug’s Twitter account on 1st October:

Hi,

On Monday 21st September 2017 I visited Superdrug on 201 Camden High St. It was raining and I had my hood up. A member of staff followed me through the store but didn’t say anything to me. I then got to the second isle of the store where the member of staff stood behind me and then asked me to put my hood down. He didn’t explain why. I did put my hood down but then put it back upon. The member of staff came back and said “excuse me, I told you to put your hood down.” I replied “yes, but you didn’t say why,” to which he replied: “well the security camera can’t see what you’re doing and it needs to see your face.” This upset me – particularly the beginning part of the sentence, so I said: “what do you mean it needs to see what I’m doing? I’m not doing anything wrong? I’m a grown woman, buying things, I’m not going to steal anything, I have money!” Some people were standing nearby and agreed with me and suggested that if the camera needs to see my face that I should turn to the camera which is what I did and then carried on shopping. The member of staff however became angry, once again told me to take off my hood and said if I didn’t I wouldn’t get served. Members of the public standing around told him that was unfair and that he should leave me alone and I again told him that I wasn’t going to steal anything. I then took my things to the checkout and was served. The member of staff turned out to be the Assistant Manager of the store and when I spoke to him before I left the store, I told him that I felt that I had been racially profiled by him, because he saw a black woman walking into the store with a hood on, who to him looked like a teenager and assumed that she was going to steal something, so followed her. He then asked me to put my hood down and was very rude about it, instead of explaining that it company policy – again, because he was under the assumption that I was there to steal something and that I was going to get aggressive. Instead of saying sorry for making me feel that way, he said sorry but he was just following company policy, which to me is NOT an apology. And if racially profiling really IS a Superdrug policy, then I’ll have to take my money elsewhere, which is a shame because I am 31 years old and I’ve been shopping at Superdrug since I was a teenager.

Thank you for taking the time to read my complaint, and I look forward to hearing from you,

Cece.

After some back and forth, I finally received this reply:

Hi Cece We really appreciate you letting us know what happened and we can completely see how you must have felt. I want to assure you that we have spoken to the area manage[sic] about this and they have advised that they will be addressing this with the store team today and taking additional appropriate action to ensure that this does not happen again. As a thank you for your feedback we would like to send you a gift voucher which you can spend in any of our stores so could you please email me back with your address so I can get this in the post for you? Alternatively, if you have a Health & Beautycard, let me know the card number and I’ll add the equivalent in points so you can use them in store or online. Thanks again for taking the time to write to us, and I’m sorry that your experience was so disappointing. If you have any questions, please get back to me or call us on 03456 710 709 and we’ll be happy to help. 

After setting up a Beautycard, I then received this final message:

I’ve added £10 worth of points to your card, these will be showing on your account no later than the 10th October. I’m sorry for all of the problems caused, if you need anything else please let me know.

I’m extremely pleased with this outcome.

When speaking to one of my best friend about the incident, who is of Pakistani descent, wasn’t surprised and reason why was because she has suffered racial profiling in the SAME store. She went to the checkout to pay for her body cream and the guy at the checkout said to her:

“how does you husband feel about you spending his money on things like this?”

She was so horrified she didn’t respond, yet simultaneously she didn’t feel like she could complain afterwards, and this is why I felt that I had to about what happened to me.

As people of colour, we are always made to feel ashamed when people ridicule us. White people – especially British people – are so quick to put in complaints when they are wronged, yet when the same thing happens to us – especially when it’s to do with our skin colour or culture – we are made to feel so ashamed (remember what I said in a previous post about microaggressions), that we don’t want to complain because the bully shames us from drawing attention to their wrongdoing.

Yesterday, I  submitted my formal complaint to my GP surgery about the Practice Nurse. I’ll keep you posted.

Now I’m off to spend my £10 worth of points! Adios! And black power!

XOXO

 

Posted in Blog

Fenty Saves the Day

I barely had any sleep last night because:

(a) I was in quite a lot of pain. Epilepsy SUCKS.

(b) I went to bed über late watching a film about a beautiful black lady who ends up dating a psycho with beautiful eyes (The Perfect Guy, 2015), and then I had to wake up über early to buy Bon Iver tickets (so worth it! I can’t believe I’m finally going to see Bon Iver 😍😍😍😍), then go to an African Caribbean Ancestry talk. 

Therefore I looked awful, and decided that I needed to wear makeup. Bring out the Fenty! 


Just a little bit of foundation and eyeliner (the eyeliner isn’t Fenty, it’s Rimmel).

This is the first time I’ve actually worn the makeup since buying it and I bought a whole new brush and sponge set, especially for the occasion. I’m not even a girly girl, but this was pretty fucking exciting. Again, applying the foundation was an incredible moment; as you can see from my first picture, I haven’t applied a lot as you can still see some of my blemishes (I was only going to a talk, I just wanted to add some colour to my face – I looked like a zombie before!), however the coverage is perfect and just enough to make me look fresh and youthful. 

I can’t wait to use it all properly! I’m going to look like a queen! 

Posted in Blog

Bitch, I Ain’t Fat!

If you remember on Thursday, the reason why I decided to treat myself to some new make up was because I had such an awful day. It began with the trolls on Twitter, followed by a New Patient Healthcheck with the Practice Nurse at my new GP Surgery.

I hate these appointments; I hate throwing shade at Practice Nurses because I’ve worked at GP Surgeries and I’ve worked, with some highly qualified and educated Nurses. However, the ones who work in the surgeries I’m always registered, at always seem to be dumb and prejudiced towards Epilepsy and people of colour.

My appointment was at 11am – I stupidly rolled out of bed and straight into the Surgery, without having anything to eat even though the week before, my partner had told me that he had had to wait over half an hour for his own appointment because the same nurse was running late. I ended up waiting over half an hour. The receptionist apologetically informed me that the nurse had struggled with some baby immunisations earlier in the morning.

The nurse finally called me almost forty minutes after my appointment time, offering no apology for running late. Then she saw a patient she knew and left me in her room to take this other patient to another room. I could hear them chatting, she was offering him a newspaper to make him more comfortable while he waited. I even heard her offering to make him a cup of tea! All while I was standing in her doorway, waiting for her. By this point I was furious and close to passing out.

The Nurse finally returned, still didn’t apologise but came in and sat straight down. I informed her that I she was running late, she had offered no apology, that I had Epilepsy, had not eaten and was extremely upset. Instead of apologising, she replied: “oh were you told to fast? You didn’t need to”. I then informed her that my medication makes it did difficult to wake in the mornings and that it also makes me sick, however that doesn’t excuse her lateness. She then told me that I could cancel (!) At this point, I’m ready to smack her, just apologise! And get on with the appointment. I had to explain to her that this was my second attempt to see her, as the last time I booked an appointment, I had a seizure and was rudely told by the receptionist that if I miss another New Patient Healthcheck I won’t be registered with the Surgery.

She then apologised.

Now, the reason why I keep making a big deal about her failure to apologise straightaway, is because when I told my partner (who is white, and so is the Nurse) what happened , he told me that the Nurse apologised straightaway and couldn’t apologise enough.

Yet I had to beg for mine. Because I’m Black, right?

She then took my height, weight and blood pressure.

She didn’t say anything about my weight, but I knew a lecture was coming…..

She told me that my blood pressure was high – no shit. We’ve just been arguing! However, she tried to convince me that I had high blood pressure because “people like you do”. And there we go, health professionals making assumptions. Instead of taking into account the fact that she had kept me waiting for over 30 minutes for an appointment, without any food and then provoked me into an argument, she instead diagnosed me as having a high blood pressure problem. She ordered me to come back and see her in two weeks time. I immediately refused and ordered her to read through my medical file, to which she will find that I have never had a high blood pressure issue.

Lion

(Image source)

Which of course was confirmed in my records.

As for my Epilepsy, she told me that she has a patient who also has Epilepsy and can talk themselves out of their seizures. I told her that was a lie, and I am under the care of a great team. She disregarded that, and recommended that I try Tai Chi for my seizures, “just like her patient who can talk herself out of her seizures”. 

As people of colour, we need to educate ourselves. This same dumb woman who is telling me this shit about my epilepsy, was also trying to diagnose me with a blood pressure condition I know for a fact that I don’t have and also told me that I have a weight problem.

I’m not skinny, but I’m not fucking obese either. Since I had to stop working and my seizures became worse, I’m not as active as I was and I’ve noticed a little weight gain around my middle, however I’m nowhere near as heavy as I was 2 years ago.

Last year I went to see a Psychiatrist, and when I told him I was a UK size 12-14, he looked at my like I was lying, and in the clinical letter, he actually wrote that I was “clearly lying.” This was actually one of the reasons why he also believed that I was lying about having Epilepsy and therefore diagnosed me as having Borderline Personality Disorder.

Anyway, the point I’m making is  *breath* as women of colour, especially in the U.K. we need to challenge Primary Care clinicians more, because they have no idea what the fuck they are talking about, especially when it comes to our health. The BMI calculator in particularly, was not created for us! I’ve weighed my boobs and each one weighs 1.5kg! Our body fat is distributed differently in comparison to White women, which the BMI calculator doesn’t take into account. We have booty and also a higher bone density: physiologically we are completely different to the White European “ideals” that the BMI calculator was created from. When you go on the NHS Choice website to check your BMI, all you see are White women telling you how to be like them. Eurocentric standards healthcare are one of the reasons why so many women of colour have eating disorders. It was one of the reasons why I spent most of adolescent years with an undiagnosed eating disorder.

I found this great article by Linda Lowen about Black BMI, which is a great starting point. I’m definitely going to stay healthy, but I’m also going to be doing my own research.

XOXO

 

Posted in Blog

Inspirational U – Natural Care: Hair, Mind and Body

Hey! 

My second beauty blog post of the week! Well, it’s also a natural health post too.

Yesterday I went to a Natural Hair Talk, run by Inspirational U:

The panel was made of all beautiful black ladies (and one man) with natural hair, including the Editor from Natural Hair Weekly

I was so inspired (haha see what I did there) that I went out and bought some stuff online straight away. The main message was what you put into your hair should be as natural and healthy as what you put into your body. 

I’ve been really bad at looking after myself lately, but particularly with looking after my hair. I once was into healthy eating and healthy living, but only because I thought that it would help my seizures and when it didn’t I just gave up. It never occurred to me that 

(a) healthy eating can do wonders for my hair! And 

(b) I am more than my Epilepsy. Why does everything have to be about Epilepsy? Why can’t I just eat healthily because I enjoy it? 

I used to drink tonnes of water, so much so that I would dry up like a raisin if I didn’t get any and one of the women on the panel actually said that yesterday and I thought, why don’t I do that anymore? I just couldn’t be bothered to look after myself. It just became a chore.

I did used to straighten my hair obsessively when I was younger. As Black women we are told that have to look a certain way to conform, otherwise we won’t get a man, get a job. This is especially so when you grow up around white people. White boys didn’t like me with plaits, so I had to straighten my hair every day. Then at the beginning of the year I started going to the hair salon to have Keratin treatment which has done wonders to my hair’s health, however I very rarely use products in my hair. 

Another message I took away from yesterday’s talk was what you put in your hair affects your mind. What chemicals are we putting in our hair? 

Most of the products with the most harmful chemicals are directed towards the black community.

 The ladies on the panel advised us to buy things for our hair that we would either eat or use on our skin. Therefore, I bought avocado butter, castor oil and a blend of plant oils (almond, argan, macadamia, sesame, lavender, rose and ylang-ylang). All of these products I bought on Amazon 🤘🏾 

I applied the avocado butter immediately to my hair and my hands! 

My hair and hands feel lush already! (I have eczema so anything natural that I can apply to my skin too is a bonus.)

As for my body and mind, I’ll be hydrating myself too. I’m not shallow, but my looks are important to me, therefore keeping healthy and losing weight is important. Not being able to be as active as I used to be, is having an extremely negative impact upon my mental health, which is why things like looking after my hair, mind and body in little ways that I can are empowering. 

Posted in Blog

Fenty

I don’t usually do beauty posts however yesterday, I had such an awful day mentally, that I decided to finally treat myself to Rihanna’s Fenty make up range.

At £25 for foundation that actually matches your complexion, that’s not asking for much!

Fenty.jpg

I did queue outside Harvey Nicol’s in Knightsbridge for almost 2 hours in the rain though….. but do you know what? It was totes worth it.

I was telling my partner about buying make up as a teenager from Afro-Caribbean hairshops in Peckham, South-East London and how you dare not touch your face because that stuff would transfer onto your hands and then onto your exercise book. Plus my complexion is an in-betweeny colour – I’m neither light-light-skinned, nor dark-skinned, therefore I could never get the right shade to match my skin. And forget about buying anything in Superdrug or Boots, because the high street only sell make up for Lady Casper and her friends.

So I’d never had the whole make up experience before either, until yesterday.

The girl sat me on the stool and tried three different shades and the third one was the hit, and it was like rubbing chocolate onto my skin…. beautiful.

They didn’t have the shade in stock for the Pro Filt’r soft matte Foundation, so I just took down the shade number and bought it online when I got home. But before I left, my eye caught the Match Stix Matte Skinstick concealer. So, I’ve never tried concealer either, because again, I’ve never found concealer in a shade darker than a milky bar LOL. Until yesterday. The girl took this stick, rubbed it under my eye and it was like magic. As you can see from the picture below, the coverage is immaculate:

IMG_20170921_205714

So I bought that and some Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer. And when I got home, I also bought some Killawatte Freestyle highlighter (blusher).

Over the last year I’ve barely worn make up and I know some girls of colour who like me, have just kind of given up on make up. However, when we knew Fenty was coming out we just had to get behind it because this is the first time anybody has done anything for us. There was a girl in the queue in front of me who said to me: “it’s weird how she’s done so many shades right?” My reply: “that’s because it’s needed!” Desperately needed! The girl was white Columbian so she didn’t get it. In the queue with us were so many young girls! I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be valued like that in your teens. I cannot tell you how shitty it felt to have to make up your own colour of foundation for so many years, because there just wasn’t any thing on the market for you. Boots No7 came close – that’s the last foundation I bought 2 years ago, however even that was too dark for my complexion.

Yesterday was glorious, to look in the mirror, and finally see my melanin face made up how it should be.

Rihanna has created a brand for us and shown us that we are valued and appreciated, because black is fucking beautiful baby. Finally.

Thank you.

XOXO