ZaliwaZawadi Zaobration

Via #Note2Self @ZeroByZawadi pinterest board

I am actually really starting to like Mondays! I guess it’s because I am experiencing so much newness this season of my life and each week gives me an opportunity to start anew.  So despite sleeping through my alarm after a late night, when I was supposed to be starting my #5DayFast with my sister lioness @Lafrohemien at 6am this morning, I’m still very hopeful that this week is going to be one of incredible breakthroughs.  Even the fact that I am fasting is a huge breakthrough in and of itself.  Definitely qualifies for a #JumaTatuMilestone.

So, what’s with all the hash tags? It’s funny how these things creep into our lives. Just last night my girl @MissKenyaUSA cracked up when she heard me saying “Hash Fail” to @JWKimathi (of the #AfroFunky “Jamhuri Wear” line) when he told me he wasn’t at the #AncestralSoul show with @AncestralBoddhi at East Africa’s biggest monthly music festival Blankets and Wine.  Let’s just say, that if you were in Nairobi and weren’t there, that was an #EpicFail.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I danced that much, and now I totally understand why Bodhi calls his music Ancestral Soul. After that experience, I am proud to say I’m a fully converted member of the #AncestralSoulMovement.  I would also like to give a mega shout out to Edith Weutonga, the first performer yesterday. I don’t even know where to begin! This woman moved me! This sister warrior who is currently carrying love in her womb, hails from Zimbabwe.  I had never heard her music, and although I was trying to take a much-needed nap when she got on stage, as I listened to her beautiful sounds, my spirit was tempted to get up and dance, but I’m learning every day to listen to my body, so instead I fell into a deep blissful sleep.  When I woke up halfway through her performance and realized nobody was dancing, I was stunned! Just then she called out all the women to join her as she was dedicating the next song to us. She didn’t need to say it twice.  Before I knew it, I was totally in Edith’s zone, and by the time she was performing her last two songs, I was in an AfroZenMusic zone and was just inspired to start doing yoga, right there, in front of everyone, to her music. I didn’t care, because I was responding to my body, keeping it real, and I was “Feelin’ It” like the #BaussLady @MuthoniDQ herself – the brainchild & proprietor of the Blankets & Wine event.

Back to the hash tags.  If you are a twitter geek like me, then you’ll understand where I’m coming from. And if not, I’ve been meaning to write a really comprehensive “How to make twitter work for you” type blog post for a while.  For real, once you understand how the tool can work for you, the possibilities are limitless.  I’ve met some of the most amazing people on twitter & nothing beats actually meeting them in person, especially when it’s totally unplanned.  Just this past week I had two epic tweetups – @EveEnsler on Friday, and Africa’s top publicist and siSTAR @Ophiona on Saturday and Sunday.  The Eve Ensler story requires a full blog post on its own. I’m really looking forward to connecting with this amazing woman’s energy and figuring out how I can make a valuable contribution to her #1BillionRising campaign.  Yes, another Hashtag! 🙂 This is why I love them! Just watch this cool music video by Paul Nowell@JazzTrombonist about the history of the Hashtag and you’ll get it.

So since I’m always using Hashtags – sometimes more successfully than others, this month, which is my birthday month, I decided I would create one and commit to using it every day, but in a very intentional way.  See, for some reason, for the past 10 or so years, I’ve been dreading, instead of look forward to my birthday every year.  I can count the number of birthdays that I actually had an amazing day. So this year, instead of focusing on just one day, I’ve decided I’m going to approach the entire month with a positive attitude and take it into my own hands.  After all, I am the one that is responsible for my happiness so this month I am choosing happiness, peace, inspiration, love, patience, wisdom and grace.  I’m choosing this not just for me, but also for you, for Kenya, and for the world.  If you are reading this, I honestly hope that together we can manifest the birth of many precious gifts in our lives this September 2012.  For those who don’t know, Zawadi my name, means gift in Kiswahili.  My maternal grandfather blessed me with this name because I was born on his birthday, and was also his first grandchild.  And would you believe that I can’t remember ever actually being with him on our birthday? I have to do something about that. In fact, I am declaring today that on September 23rd 2013, I will go and spend my birthday with my papa in Gem village.

It’s funny how my brain works. I’ve just realized that three paragraphs later, I still haven’t actually written about my hash tags for this month. When I had the idea to do this, I immediately did what I always do – consult a few other people and get their inputs. So I sent out a tweet to a few of my tweoples and asked them if they could help me create an appropriate, but fun and inspiring hash tag for September.  I came up with #Zeptember (I’m not always creative J), and my boy @itsBuddhaBlaze suggested #Zaobration because he just recently learnt through #TrueAfricanOriginal @Lafrohemien that the nickname my friends from my St. Mary’s School days use is Zao. I liked the sound of #Zaobration, but then @DenisNzioka came up with what I like to call a moment of #HashtagBrilliance.  Denis, who I hadn’t even tagged, but obviously saw the conversation, had something to valuable offer, and jumped in (as is great twitter practice), came up with (wait for it) … #ZaliwaZawadi! BOOM! Now, if you are a Kiswahili-speaker, this requires absolutely no explanation. But, if you are not, “Kuzaliwa” is the Kiswahili verb for “to be born”.  So now you see how this is just sheer brilliance!  Makes me smile just writing it J.  Thank you Dennis!  So, once again friends, every time you see me tweet using this hash tag, it is because I am either writing about a new gift that has been born in my own life, sharing gifts that are being born in others’ lives, or wishing others the manifestation of the same.  I am really hoping to be a blessing to others this month.  I know I often fail to do so, and I have definitely had my fair share of experiences and behavior that I am not proud of, but I like to believe that:

Via @ZeroByZawadi #Note2Self board on #Pinterest

As part of my #ZaliwaZawadi #Zaobration in #Zeptember (I just had to! J), I’m also doing Rosetta Thurman’s #31DayReset program, which I tried to do in August, but didn’t actually get past Day 4 because I didn’t make the time to do it.  This month, I am really committed to resetting my life and I can’t think of a better person to do it with.  Rosetta runs the Happy Black Woman blog and community, has an online blogging school (Last live run starts September 10th), and is just incredible in so many ways.  She’s another person that I met on twitter and then had a truly epic tweetup with in Oahu, Hawaii with Hawaiian PR Diva @Melissa808 in December 2011.  If I even started to tell that story now, it would take up three pages.  But I’m sure they will both feature in future blog posts because they are an integral part of the ZeroByZawadi journey – they were there during the first month of my baby’s existence!

Last, but not least, I am writing down my birthday wish list.  I really believe in the power of declaration. Some of these wishes are more like goals I want to set for myself this month.  Others are hints – if you are reading this and want to buy me a gift, please don’t hesitate J. And others are wishes for you and others (see, it’s not ALWAYS #AllAboutMe J).  So here’s my list of 23 wishes this Zeptember, starting with my #GeekGirl & #FemTech (Feminist Technology), needs of course:

  1. New blackberry bold
  2. I-phone
  3. Canon Digital Camera
  4. I-pad
  5. Projector
  6. An epic photograph for my twitter avi – to be updated Sep 23rd & changed next year same time. (My current avi is my favorite photograph taken my @Lafrohemien of @TrAfOri – check out her True African Original blog)
  7. A hotttt #Afrofunky dress for my birthday  – in ZeroByZawadi colors – turquoise, orange & white.
  8. Enough turquoise, orange & white clothes & accessories to last the entire month – if you see me in the same clothes a lot this month, just understand because right now I probably have enough to last a week max!
  9. A weekend trip to Naivasha with the good peeps in my life
  10. New financial breakthroughs with ZeroByZawadi
  11. Healing from a broken heart
  12. Figure out how to make hyacinth paper notebooks
  13. Open my ZeroByZawadi Etsy store
  14. Help at least 1 person every day (friends & strangers)
  15. Start a weekly #ReciprocalWebDay
  16. An #Afrofunky jacket by Uhuru Clothing in ZeroByZawadi colors
  17. #Afrofunky shoes in ZeroByZawadi colors
  18. A clear plan & finances to realize my #StaceyannInKe dream
  19. A clear plan & finances to realize my #MayaAzucenaInKe dream
  20. Successfully launch ZeroByZawadi newspaper bag project
  21. Seeing my papa some time in September & sharing a birthday cake & candle with him
  22. Having at least 23 reasons to be incredibly grateful on September 23rd.
  23. The birth of at least one amazing gift for everyone that reads this blog post this September

So that’s me. What about you? What’s your September wish list? Please share and let’s manifest lots of blessings in our lives this month. 

And in honour of this #Zeptember, play this video, sing out loud & dance!

Bless!

And in case you don’t know all the lyrics (like me), I hope you enjoy singing along to this:

What Feminism Means To Me

Every day I get better at knowing that it is not a choice to be an activist; rather, it is the only way to hold on to the better parts of my human self. It is the only way I can live and laugh without guilt.
― Staceyann Chin

I was recently introduced to the amazing work of Feminist Spoken word artist Staceyann Chin  and all I can say is that I hope to have the opportunity to meet this sistah souljah one day.  I feel the fire that burns in her belly as I strive to make sense of the spaces I occupy every day. When asked by another African feminist sister #WhatFeminismMeansToMe, I said it is “Listening to the song of my soul and dancing to her tune.”  

Feminism means lots of things to me – it is the lens through which I make sense of the world, and it’s exciting to connect with other young feminists around the world thinking about these issues.  Here’s what Jessica Horn, an African feminist poet & co-creator of Our Space is Love had to say on the FRIDA – Young Feminist Fund  facebook page:

I LOVE feminism. Yes I do. I LOVE the feeling of being part of a mass-movement of everyday people constantly messing with the patriarchal order of things, celebrating women, girls, people who transgress gender norms, asking why things are so unequal for all kinds of people, and offering new ways to frame our lives as human beings. Yes. I love feminism. And I love knowing that my feminism grew out of my mother’s revolutionary love and political consciousness. Yes a Ugandan woman born before independence- and feminism is hers and she helped me make it mine.

I couldn’t agree with you more sis! My feminism was definitely inspired by my mother, even though she might not realize it. By the time she was my age, she had dealt with more than I can even imagine dealing with in my entire life time, and yet she is one of the most loving, non-judgemental, spiritually grounded, wise, and powHerful women I know. Thank you for making me me. I love you mama!

So friends, what does feminism mean to you? Please share your comments here or join the conversation on twitter by using the hash tag #WhatFeminismMeansToMe.

Feminist Love & Light!

Zawadi