Hello Chai Geng!
Welcome to the First Ever Chai with Chebet Newsletter! As you may have read in the welcome email, I will be serving you chai in the form of the 7 lessons I have learnt in the month backed by the tea farm of experiences and resources that have informed them. I also endeavour to build a lovely community based on vulnerability and authenticity (aka Chai Geng) so thank you for being here!
Before we dig in, I encourage you to make your favourite beverage (my recommendation would be chai but it’s a free world) and take a sit in your fave place. Now, how are you? No, really how are you doing? (I’ll be waiting for your response). Me I am just there. Kenya is beginning to open up but we are still isolating with my family in Narok. At first it was cute but it has been four months and I am actively finding ways to make living in this new world worthwhile.
A big part of July was figuring out what I want to do with my quantity surveying degree: I applied for Master’s programs and reached out to my networks for internships and jobs. This process is still ongoing and a lot is uncertain but I am leaning on this piece of advice from my sister-mentor, Unathi, “The spirit of fear and hope cannot co-exist , choose one”. I am going with hope and I am certain that all things will work together for my good. In the content creation side of things, I started a YouTube Channel! I am loving it – peep one of my fave videos below. I also celebrated my locs’( aka Cheblocs) 6th anniversary, you can check out this blog post and youtube video if you missed it.
Family wise, I am so proud of my sister who is now a lawyer! To have studied and passed her finals virtually is no mean feat. I am actually just in awe of everyone who could graduate in this season – Congratulations! Lastly and on a sad note, July took away my Uncle Kirui – it was devastating. We are still learning to live without him as a family. All in all, I am ever so grateful to have made it through this month and I am glad I get to share the lessons learnt with you.
1. Loss just is.
Immediately after my uncle passed I noticed myself trying to find things we did not do or should have done to prevent it. And then I listened to Brené Brown’s conversation with David Kessler, a grief expert, and that helped me come to terms with the fact that loss is just part of the human experience. This awareness helped me become more gentle with myself as I grieved and found ways to keep living. With all of us experiencing loss in its different forms due to the pandemic, I would like to recommend listening to the podcast here.
2. Life is meaningless.
If you plunge in and out of existential crisis like me then am sure you know this. I learnt that we are the ones who give life meaning through faith and hope. For me as a Christian, this faith and hope is anchored by the promise of eternal life through Christ. So yes, life is meaningless ( Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 ) but loving God and people gives it meaning. We attend online church with my family at Rivers and this sermon by Ps. André drives the point home nicely.
3. Start where you are with what you have.
The high level of injustice in this world has often left me feeling helpless. It’s like not enough can be done to fix or heal it, that’s why I am usually on the hunt to hear the stories of people who have found a way to create meaningful and sustainable impact. The Living Room Podcast shares the stories of such people and the story of Ebele Okobi, Facebook’s Public Policy Africa Director, especially filled me with hope and inspired me to contribute from the stage of life I am in using the gifts and skills that I have been blessed with. This instagram post by Ijeoma Kola encouraging creators to stop waiting for a better camera/more followers/validation from friends…also solidified this lesson for me.
4. Other people’s achievements are not indicators of your progress.
I think being at a crossroads career-wise especially makes me susceptible to using my peers’ achievements as indicators of what I should be doing. This was a hard lesson to learn because it took being aware of my high levels of anxiety and envy to no longer use other people’s achievements or even my own past accomplishments or expectations as a benchmark of what I should have achieved by now. I am doing my best to celebrate and draw inspiration from other people’s victories and my past expectations. Because that’s the difference between seeing myself as an unemployed busy body (yhuu! ain’t I harsh to myself) and as a digital content creator taking time to find employment in the built environment (or otherwise) that would match her aspirations. On that note my alma matter African Leadership Academy made a wonderful series of alumni who are redefining expectations, check it out below.
5. Ask for help.
I realised asking for help makes me really anxious and most times I go to great extents to teach myself things so that I do not need the help in the first place. However, getting past the anxiety to ask for help was very beneficial. Because of help I was able to: write an amazing personal statement for my Master’s application; figure out how social media analytics work ; and get some leads for jobs. I am definitely going to be doing it more often.
An aunt gifted me this book ‘She Speaks by Yvette Cooper. It is a compilation of brilliant speeches by trail blazing women. It taught me the power that is in using our voices to advocate for a better world for ourselves and everyone around us. I also learnt the importance of telling my story.
P.S: This youtube video further helped me to know how that story can fit in a CV.
7. Know thy shape-shifting ever-evolving self.
RuPaul has a Masterclass on self expression and authenticity. The whole series really just made me fall in deeper love with myself even as I change. There were also some great styling and posing tips in there. This lesson will also inform my August blog series on reflections about loving my body so be sure to check out my blog. Check out the trailer below and feel free to sign up here, it comes with a free 3-day trial.
And yeah! Those are the seven lessons I learnt in July, I hope they warmed up your soul and fired up your heart the same way chai does for me. Please let me know what you think.
I look forward to hearing how you are doing!
Wishing you a Happy New month!
Light & Goodness,