The Incredible Events That Led To My All Expense Paid Trip To India.




It all started like a joke; I mean the idea of an all expense paid trip to incredible India. And not for a few days or a week, but 3 months. It sounded too good to be true.

"Wendi, I bet you are applying," a friend teased on our way home from the digital marketing training we were doing by Kuza Biashara. I nodded and smiled.

I had decided that if I was going to go through with this application, then the least I could do was stay positive. That meant belittling the little voice in my head that whispered doubtful thoughts to my mind.After a couple of internal debates and consultation with family and friends, I applied around May this year. 

Immediately after the digital marketing training, I got a day internship at Securex Agencies ltd. And  in the evenings, I would go for free creative entrepreneurship classes courtesy of the Go Downs Art Center.

With all these things to do, I totally forgot about the application. So it came as a pleasant surprise when I received an email towards the end of my creative entrepreneurship classes informing me that I had been shortlisted for the position.

The position was on digital marketing and the interview was scheduled on the same day as the graduation, at 1p.m.My graduation presentation ended a few minutes past 1pm, and I further delayed a bit to watch Sarah of Sama Paints make her presentation. So I ended up a little late for the interview

The graduation took place at the Crowne Plaza in Upper Hill and before it started, I had gone to talk to the guy in charge of booking rooms to ask if I could get an empty room later during the day to do a Skype call in.

The guy I met was very pleasant and although he left early for the day, he made arrangements with the person who took over after him so that I got a room. It was 1.30p.m. when finally I settled down for the interview.

There were around 5 people on the panel from Nairobi, Kenya, Chennai, India and Geneva, Switzerland. My current supervisor in India who was the main interviewer, noticed how tense I looked and asked me to breathe and relax.

I apologized about the delay and mentioned that I was just about to graduate seeing that I was yet to receive my certificate and I had left some of my classmates giving their presentations.

The interview went pretty well and weeks later when I was just about to finish my digital marketing internship at Securex Agencies, I received an email letting me know that I passed the interviews. 

Soon afterwards, I started receiving emails from International Trade Center, the sponsors of the initiative dubbed SITA (Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa) regarding my travel preparation. What seemed like a really big dream ended up to be an experience that is currently shaping my career path as I write this, in ways I never foresaw. 

A year ago I shared how my interest in digital marketing started , and I am encouraged by the comments that keep streaming in a year and some months later. 

See, a dot may seem insignificant  on its own until you add a few more next to it and voila! I am a pointillism (dotted artwork) artist and I have an intimate relationship with dots.These dots are very silent at times and thus they are used to going unnoticed; yet without them something will be incomplete. Pay attention to the dots in your life, the precious moments that turn your life around, don't let any doubtful thoughts come in the way between you and your next dot.

"You cannot connect the dots by looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future." Steve Jobs.

It has been a while since my last post, which has been a period of my life that will  remain engraved on my mind as part of my many dots. I am back though so stay tuned for some crazy experiences and beautiful artwork from India among many things. Until next time.

AA
Wendi Mutisya
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Art and Poetry : The Irony of He vs SHe



Flashback: I am 12 and as my girlfriends buy sanitary towels and slowly adjust their wardrobes to the changes happening to their bodies, a different kind of change is happening to my own.

I am not comfortable talking to you about it but my voice is changing. Now I definitely have to say something. It's either that or I remain mute for the rest of my life and even so, it will be a short lived solution.

So here goes, but before I say anything let me make one thing clear, I was born a girl.

I'm a Guevodoce which translates to the growth of the male genitalia at 12. They also refer to me as a Machihembra meaning first a woman then a man.

This is the story of many young children in the Dominican Republic.
Young girls who grow up to become boys.



The Art and Poetry event on Masculinity vs Femininity reminded me of this. Hosted by Ink Overflow, it took place at the Micheal Joseph Center Nairobi on the 18th of June. 

If you got a chance to read what I wrote on the one they did on beauty you'd understand why I was excited  and had to make it for the next one.

Masculinity and femininity is more dual than we realize. A single person can be both masculine and feminine. 

Actually biologically we all have a bit of both in us. The sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are found in everyone; the only difference is that they are found in different proportions.

That is the main issue the Ink Overflow team sort to address this time round. Many other issues that arise when we start categorizing people according to their genders were addressed by the performances we were graced with too. Having arrived a little late I will sample the few I got to watch.


Shikkiey on Feminism

The lights went off when she came on the stage. Then she did a couple of intense dance moves that totally caught my attention. She was joined by another lady who I later found out is called Seise. They recited some of the pieces in sync almost instinctively which was very impressive.

Shikkiey brought to light the fact that there is a difference between feminism and toxic feminism. She took us back to the 1980's during the onset of feminism. It became as a result of the fact that men assumed all power and were reluctant to give women a chance to air their grievances.



It was and should continue being a space for women to come and speak about issues. Issues such as voting  and participating in sports which not too long ago women were not allowed to participate in.

Thus feminism is meant to give hope for a better tomorrow to women rather than spread hate for men.She made it evident that we don't gain by fighting wrong with wrong or hate with hate. In fact we lose. The agenda is what matters than the title womanist, activist or feminist.

She finished her performance by saying, " What a man can do. a woman can do differently not necessarily better. In a world where only women exist the human race would be extinct and if men are trash then women are ashtrays"


Tetu Shani on Father's Day 

He was the surprise artist and boy was the crowd ecstatic. He lived up to and even exceeded expectations if all the applause he got after his performance was anything to go by.

 He started by wishing all the father's in the room a happy father's day. He went on to point out the fact that there are very few songs about fathers.

The few he knew had a not so perfect image of dads. Such as Queen Ifrica's Daddy Don't Touch Me There and Luther Vandross' Dance With My Father.

He told us that maybe the reason he had not written a song about his Dad was because he was not perfect. Then he posed a question to the crowd. Do we just celebrate perfect? Immediately after that he sang a song about his Dad titled An Ode to Pa

He owned the stage and engaged the audience with ease. I still remember joining the crowd chanting ladidadida  mbamba  to one of his songs. It was truly an experience and a half, not forgetting his epic whistling and beatboxing skills.

FUN FACT: Tetu Shani got a scholarship to Berklee College of Music to study performance, but he turned it down. A really bold decision. Echoing his words he explained " Why go where the sun is setting when the Kenyan sun is rising. There are many opportunities here right now and Berklee will always be there but when a window is open it's not open forever"


Abu Sense on 
 Woman is To Man What Man Isn't
x


He was the headlining act. His first performance was out of this world. He impersonated a Jamaican boy occasionally behaving like a Jamaican woman in this case his mother. His patwa sounded like the real deal. I even got lost a couple of times but I did not care much. His gestures and body movements were hilarious enough to keep me attentive.

His next piece was about gender and gender roles. He spoke of the way we have worked tirelessly to come up with a measure of manliness or womanliness. It's main component has been comparison to one another, meaning individuality is totally exterminated.

He told us about his experience living in multiple households and having learnt the most from the mothers and the daughters. As opposed to fathers and sons who are reclusive and had to play the role to appear wise.

The ladies embraced life to the fullest and if there happened to be tomboy, he would be accepted and plugged in both worlds. Notice the use of the pronoun he, I believe that it was used deliberately. I believe there is power in embracing both your feminine and masculine sides, because she is he and he is she for they contain each other.


As the performances came to an end. Kaatoony was at the back doing his thing.With his  permission I got to take a short video of the whole process. That along with the picture of a happy client. Watch out for his interview and the video.

Thanks to Ivan Irakoze and the Ink Overflow team for yet another successful event. To all that performed we loved you. To those I missed out on I look forward to watching you next time. Until next time.

AA (Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya

Photo credits:

@IAmNickJyalus
@InkOverflow








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Inside Out: Inspiration For The Creative Process



Sometimes feeling bad emotionally is the best thing that can happen to you. It took me a while to soak this fact up.

Eat, love and pray is a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert who drew inspiration from a messy divorce, and the result was 10 million copies sold.

Just like joy, all the other emotions we experience as humans are essential for the whole human experience, and the creative process.

 The animation Inside Out made this clear on so many levels, relatable to both adults and kids.



At times we want to get rid of those negative emotions quickly, but resisting them only seems to blow them up.

The idea is to become a silent observer and let them flow in and out. A lesson I am still learning during my guided meditation sessions with Andy courtesy of the mobile app Headspace. (You should try it out)

Inside Out is a narrative that plays in the mind of an 11 year old girl called Riley. The main characters in the animation are her feelings joy, sadness, fear, disgust and anger.

The animation simply gives faces to those little voices we have in our minds.

When joy is nowhere to be found then the other emotions tend to come to the rescue. If you watched Inside Out you can remember Sadness proved to be very useful when Joy was lost.


Joy just like many of us, was of the opinion nothing good comes off negative feelings. It was later evident that however painful some of these emotions are. They are there for the ultimate good.


The Emotional Guidance Scale (double click for a clearer view)

According to the book Ask and It Is Given, emotions always provide clues as to what kind of energy we are allowing to flow. It is good to identify where you are on the emotional guidance scale, so that you can raise your vibration gradually and comfortably.


It is also explained that it is better to travel upwards, through the contrasting number of emotions in the guidance scale in order to raise your moods. Than to leap from a very bad mood to a very good one.

So that rather than leaping from say doubt about your work, (number 19) straight to rekindled passion (number 2).You could experiment with your craft, fail  and get disappointed (number 12) but then you have learnt what works and what does not work.


You could start trying many other things to see what works and end up feeling overwhelmed (number 11). A good place to be because it means you did not let the failure stop you.

You may continue trying​ out many things for a while and none of them seem to work so you get frustrated (number 10) . However, since you tried out many opportunities before you got to the frustrated stage you start receiving positive feedback when you least expect it.

You slowly start getting hopeful  (number 6) that all the effort you put is paying off. You start positively expecting  (number 4) more good to come in your life.

Good things happen, you get two free trainings consecutively. One is on digital marketing and right after you are done with that one, you get another one on creative entrepreneurship.

The creative enterpreneurship one conveniently happens to be taking place in the evening. Perfect for you considering you just started an internship on digital marketing meant to cement what you learnt during the training. You become more enthusiastic (number 3) about life.


With every session in the creative entrepreneurship training now, you take something home that rekindles your passion  (number 2).

You are a creative and you have always wanted to use your talents to start a lucrative and sustainable business and now you are slowly solidifying and executing your plan.You realize that the whole process was important.

 The emotions you went through kept you alert and more appreciative of the small wins in your pursuit of rekindled passion. I strongly believe in this process, because the steps along the emotional guidance scale you just finished reading have been my journey so far.

So the next time you feel like you are stuck in a bad place. Try identifying where exactly you are on the emotional guidance scale.

Be kind and gentle on yourself. Even more through the emotional roller coaster life often presents and give yourself time to gradually raise your vibration by moving up the emotional guidance scale. Before you know it you will be where you want to be. So all the best to us, cause we are in this together.

AA(Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya


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Mobile Arts School in Kenya (MASK) Award Ceremony 2017


Award Winning Piece Titled
Pieces of Me by 
June Wambua

There's a story behind every piece of art and at times the artist is aware of it and at times they are not. Some painters even start painting without knowing what they are painting and the story behind their piece unfolds as they paint.It took a while for me to realize why I draw what I draw.

I draw portraits of people who inspire  and challenge me to be a better version of myself. The story and meaning behind the pieces of other artists go even deeper .


June

June did accounting in uni so she is good with numbers. What fascinated me even more about her is the fact that she had never stepped inside an art class, that she learnt how to draw on her own and that she drew the digital art piece above from an app on her phone. Have you seen the detail on that piece Amazing!

She told me a little about the reason why she worked on the piece above. Well apart from the fact that she needed to create a piece for the MASK competition. She was also trying to depict her life. The pixellated sections indicating the fact that she is taking life a piece at a time. The piece incomplete because she is still living and as long as she is living she will continue filling the missing pieces of the puzzle.





This year's MASK Award Ceremony was held at the Micheal Joseph Center on the 27th of April. The image above shows Edwin Wainaina, the first prize winner of the Visual Arts under 25 category receiving his gift from David Kimathi the Managing Director of Mabati Rolling Mills. Alla Tkachuk  the founder of MASK in the background looking proud of Edwin. Edwin has participated and won prizes almost every year since the inception of the Award ceremony 5 years ago. I wrote about his work from a previous MASK award ceremony here.



Edwin's Award Winning Piece 

Jeff Koinange was invited to award some of the winners and it was nice to find out how passionately he supports the arts. He encouraged the artists present to continue doing what they love and putting their best because it will lead to big and better days.

He gave a good example of an artist who kept at his craft and later succeeded immensely. The artist was Vincent Van Gogh who is said to have sold one piece in his lifetime before he died at 39. He had done more than 900 pieces and the piece he sold now resides in Pushkin Museum in Moscow. His other pieces are still selling even after his death and in 2015  one of his pieces was sold at $66.3 million. He ranks top along with famous artists such as Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol having sold the most expensive pieces.

Interesting Fact: Jeff has collected African Art for the last 20 years


Jeff awarding Mary Muringi

Mary Muringi's story is an interesting one. She loves art and children so much that she decided to start a private art studio for kids from different schools. One of her student's was awarded for doing an awesome piece. It was very heart warming to watch as well as listen to how the parents to her student were supportive to their son. 

The mother of the student, told the audience that they would take their son for football sessions. However, when they noticed he was not interested  they decided to enroll him for Mary's classes and the rest as they say is history. 

They were so proud of their son and were right there on the stage with him when he went to receive his award. The whole experience gave me and I believe many other people in the audience hope. 

Hope because it is our environment along with the people in it that nurtures or cripples creativity.If relatives are supportive of the creatives  among them then there will be more room for creativity and innovation.


Mr. Majani representing the Permanent secretary (PS) of Education awards Jeff Kariuki in the Music/Video Category.


After passing the message from the PS of education Mr. Majani told us about his own children and how he encourages them pursue what they want. He also told us that 400 schools will be used to implement the new curriculum for a start. This new curriculum will bring back the arts that were scrapped from the curriculum in schools a couple of years ago 

It is important to note that MASK awards all forms of artists and it does not restrict itself to one form of art only. Jeff Kariuki does animations.One of the winners in the music category Patrick was even given a chance to perform his song as the award ceremony drew to a close. 
.
In support for another creative in my family.I will leave you with the following video. It is a project my sister did for her Journalism class. It is about art as a business in Kenya, I appear somewhere too. 

In the spirit of supporting the arts please give it a thumbs up, subscribe or leave a comment. Also feel free to visit the MASK website to see more on the other winning pieces. Thank you again Alla for the invitation.Until next time kwaheri. 


AA (Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya



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Building Digital Footprints





"When you are on a lonely path, make sure you leave a trail so no one ever feels lost on that path"
 by Sriram Bharatam CEO & Founder of Kuza Biashara.

Are you a trail blazer?

Last year I actively embarked on a journey. A journey towards social media and digital marketing. I shared a bit of my experience  here with you.

However, at some point I felt overwhelmed and my social media activity tanked. This is because my efforts to boost my online presence did not seem to pay off. It also felt lonely because I had not identified someone who I could journey with.


#SheGoesDigital Team

2017 came with it's share of blessings though. Along with other 49 ladies. I got shortlisted as a beneficiary of a free social media/ digital marketing skills training by Kuza Biashara. In partnership with International Trade Center.

The selection process was very rigorous and it was  humbling when I received a congratulatory email. On our first day we were told that we had been selected out of an applicants pool of around 600 ladies. That, proof enough that many people are embracing Digital and Social Media Marketing as potential career paths.

I am very grateful to Kuza Biashara for the opportunity they granted us. I finally got to meet like minded people who were experiencing similar challenges. True to his words,Sriram had left a trail behind so that we would never feel lonely on that path again.

We are now spoiled for choice on who to pick as accountability partners. In addition to that Kuza Biashara is willing to support us, even after the training as we continue working on our digital marketing endeavors. 


Thank you Sriram

I did not pay attention to how many days were left for the training to end so when it was announced that it was coming soon. My heart sank. I will really miss the #shegoesdigital team.

The sessions were so informative, interesting and engaging. Special thanks go to Paul Hughson the awesome trainer that took us through a huge percentage of the trainings. His attention to detail and ability to draw examples globally and locally was impeccable. 



Paul


One exciting topic we learnt from Paul was Phygital Marketing. Phygital marketing combines popular trends in physical marketing and digital marketing.

Imagine doing your shopping while waiting for your ride home. Tesco now known as Homeplus banked on Korea's busy lifestyle.They brought virtual stores where the people were. Which was at the subway stations.

The only requirement was to own a smart phone. This is because they would need to use smart phones to shop by scanning the QR code of the images of the items they wanted to purchase on posters stuck on the subway walls.

The online purchase would then be delivered to them once they got home. As a result online sales increased tremendously.




Another store that has really worked on it's phygital marketing is Amazon. So cool!

Then there was James Keru the guy who cheered us on. He was the instructor that engaged the most with our content. Commenting on everyone's posts, after we created blog posts and wrote articles on LinkedIn

His words of encouragement and tips on how to improve will go a long way.  My take home from Keru was that it is better as a blogger  to write one article well than to hastily write many low quality ones. His success on Kuza Biashara's  blog also set a great example. It was evident that he actually did what he preached.

Since this is an Art and Tech blog. I will be sharing some of the tips I learnt during the training here with you so stay tuned. You could also subscribe to this blog so that you can receive updates on new posts directly as they come.


Keru

We all need the ability to communicate effectively and build rapport with our online audience. That way they will be more receptive when we introduce a new product or idea to them. This is where Avni Shah came in. She introduced NLP  (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to us.

We all looked forward to her exciting sessions. She always kept us engaged. The sessions revolved around concepts such as building rapport, eye patterns and perceptual positions just to mention a few.

These concepts are very important for anyone who talks and deals with other human beings, which is all of us. Just be careful when we meet and I ask you a question.

There are specific eye patterns that can help someone tell if you are lying or trying to recall a past experience. Alternatively you could try extend your blinks so that I don't tell if you are lying 😉. I will really miss Avni and her fun sessions.


Avni and Mariam (a fellow trainee) during one of the sessions

 Social media is facilitating online communication in a big way. Which is an important thing in this age where more and more people want to be their own bosses. and even more want to build their personal brands.

The sessions during my time as a Digital and Social Media Marketing Trainee at Kuza Biashara taught me many things. I can only mention so much on this post.

However more follow up posts are coming soon. So stay tuned, better yet drop your email address on the subscription box on the far right side of this blog for updates on new content.

Special thanks also go to Mugure, Vaines,  Esther, Julius, Cleopatra, Stanley, Yvonne, Chris and my fellow ladies for your awesomeness. You are all gems in my life. For all those who organized this training directly or indirectly we are grateful and we will always remember the sacrifices you made for us. Lots of love from me to you.

AA (Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya
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Collateral Beauty Via Art and Poetry


MiCE- the band


Collateral beauty refers to inner beauty, the kind that never fades and that goes hand in hand with an individuals personality. 

By the way have you watched the movie

Well I finally did after wanting to do so for so long. It caused a battle between me and my tears. "Nope I'm not going to cry" I told myself. We all know that what we resist persists. So tears won. 

On the 8th of April ,the Ink Overflow team graced us with an artistic event themed around beauty at the Micheal Joseph Center, Nairobi, Kenya. They gave visual artists, poets and musicians a chance to do what they do best together.

 


Kaatony 

If you wanted to have a caricature of yourself drawn while the poets and musicians did their thing. James a.k.a Kaatoony was there with his art materials waiting for you to ask. 

When my friend and I walked into the Micheal Joseph Center we found Kerosh  (the graffiti artist I introduced you to last month) drawing Kaatoony his former classmate in Art School. Kaatony had already drawn Kerosh and Kerosh was simply returning the favor.



Ivan
Then there was Ivan the guy who made the whole event possible. He told us that the event was inspired by the movie Collateral beauty. We went to the same campus and I had seen him in poetry events a couple of times. I just had no idea he was a poet himself until early this year. He was the first one on stage and it was really nice watching how his face lit up while he got in the zone.



MiCE the band
They just made me happy from their unique name to their passionate and energetic performance. They are four friends who teamed up to create and learn how to express themselves through different modes of art. I  later find out that MiCE stood for My Inter-missive Creative Escape. 



Shingai
She repped the poets like a boss. She has a way of capturing your attention and maintaining it.She caught mine when she projected the results of a Google search she had done on beautiful skin and lips.

 After which she went on to dispute those results with a touching piece on the beauty of chocolate skin and that it is a color that is needed in this world too. She touched on major issues many women and girls go through about beauty.

Then she maintained my attention when she took us back to African history and slowly unraveled the achievements of African Queens such as Queen Amina of Nigeria, Queen Nzinga of Angola and Ethiopia's Queen of Sheba.

These women added her story to history. Shingai made us see the beauty these women exuded that went beyond their looks. After her pieces it was evident that history is not just his story but her story too and I thank her for schooling us.



Glady 
Glady kept the crowd silent and attentive with her unique performance. The two guys playing the guitar and violin set the mood for her pieces. At some point the guy with the guitar sang and I got goosebumps all over. I was not the only one that got touched by his voice cause people cheered him on.

Mitteiy
She is a visual  artist who paints because there are stories she wants to tell and sometimes cannot find the words. She did a couple of pieces but the one that stood out for me was the one she did about natural african hair. Having cut her hair a couple of times and grown it back she told me African hair is many things but above all it is pretty.

Thus the reason created the piece of a lady with puffy african hair. Although it should not be, hair is a definition of beauty to many. That's why many women with afro textured hair go to great lengths to "look good". Go on, look lovely ladies but before anything else love what you have, love your beautiful kinky hair.



Ben Soul
He was the last one to perform along with a friend on the piano. He sang and played the guitar soulfully. At some point he even sounded like two people singing together. I found that so cool.



Jonathan
Jonathan told me he is a Fine Arts student at Kenyatta University, he draws inspiration for his work from people. objects and events. He is currently studying interactions contained in body language.He is drawn to communication between individuals, attempting to capture what goes unsaid in people's interactions 



Obfuscate I

The art piece from him that stood out for me was one piece he did that had another piece hidden within. I later found out it was titled obfuscate I.  

He also had a piece of someone holding their belly fat. He told me society's definition of beauty is often slim well toned bodies. He wanted to challenge that with that piece. 

We should love our bodies regardless. That does not mean we leave out healthy living, it simply means truly embracing  our bodies as we journey towards healthier ones.

Walt Whitman's poem Leaves of Grass sums  up the message the Ink Overflow team wanted to pass across. It goes:
"I exist as I am that is enough.
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
and if each and all be aware I sit content.
One World is aware and by far the largest to me and that is myself 
and whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years.
I can cheerfully take it now or in equal cheerfulness I can wait."

We should work on our relationships with our inner selves. That is the only way we can nurture that unwithering inner beauty . So when self defeating thoughts come our way.  Whitman's message I exist as I am and that is enough should  be our mantra. Until next time.

AA(Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya




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Ten Life Lessons (TLL) from Trevor Noah's Book: Born a Crime



One John W. Gardner once said "Life is art done without an eraser". Today I list down some 10 life lessons from Trevor Noah's autobiography Born a Crime. I'll do so along with a few steps I took getting to the finished dotted ( pointillism/stippled) art piece I did of him.

The book is a memoir of  his childhood as a biracial in South Africa during apartheid. He was born of a South African Xhosa mother and a Swiss-German father. Interracial relationships were illegal at the time and thus the title Born a Crime. His mother had risked 5 years in prison when she had him.

The book caught my attention and embraced it gently that there was no letting go. I was always looking forward to continuing from where I left of.

The descriptions given in the book are so vivid and African that they resonated so well with me as a Kenyan. Through his words I could feel his joy and his pain and at some point he managed to make me an emotional wreck. A wreck in a good way though, because the point was driven straight home.

Trevor is known for his comedy and it goes without saying that the list will start with something related to laughter and a positive attitude.



 Lesson 1: Look for humor even in the worst of situations

Trevor's step father shot his mother in the head and she miraculously survived.

A few days afterwards in the hospital, his mother was the first one to crack a joke. Trevor was crying by her bedside and she said to him. Don't cry. Look at the bright side: Now you're officially the best-looking person in the family.He bawled his eyes out and laughed hysterically at the same time.

According to Trevor they overcame a lot because of laughter That is why he says he thinks he loves comedy so much. It is what kept his family going through every single type of adversity.



Lesson 2: Nurture your spirituality

At the very beginning of the book we are introduced to Trevor's mother and her strong faith. On Sunday's Trevor mother would take him from the black people's church to the mixed race church and then to the white people's church to attend different services. To her, each of the three Churches offered something unique.  

As I drew close to the end of the book, the vivid expression of the emotions that were felt after Trevor's mother got shot in the head drew tears to my eyes.

I still remember that day I was reading it in a matatu and I had to stop reading it for a while to prevent myself from crying in a bus full of people.I had to take a few deep breathes too in order to calm down. Emotional movies do that to me all the time, but that was the first time a book had evoked such strong emotions in me. 

When someone gets shot in the head and suffers no brain damage and is alive and does not need to go through any surgery because the bullet completely passes through the head, missing all the major organs. It is hard to deny the miracle in that.


Lesson 3: Language unites sometimes even beyond race

In many instances Trevor realized language unites. In the book he says "Maybe I didn't look like you, but if I spoke like you, I was you.

He can be described as a polyglot a person who has mastered multiple languages. He speaks several languages including English, Afrikaans, German, Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho.

Due to his light skin color Trevor got a hard time in school. In order to gain acceptance from the black kids like a chameleon  he would blend well with people when they spoke different languages. When someone spoke Xhosa to him he would reply in Xhosa the same applied to the other South African languages like Tswana and Sotho.

There's one instance Trevor heard a group of guys speaking in their native language planning to mug him. He turned and started speaking their language saying "Yo, guys, why don't we just mug someone together? I'm ready. Let's do it" They looked shocked for a while then they started laughing. The fact that he spoke their language made them change their attitude towards him, they even apologized and told him they thought he was something else.





Lesson 4: Use your gifts and be keen on spotting opportunities

Trevor ran very fast. His naughty nature had helped him improve on his speed. He wrote" Nobody ran like me and my mom. She wasn't one of those come over here and get your hiding type of moms. She'd delivered it to you free of charge." Even if it meant running after him.

This was a gift that he leveraged at school. Immediately after assembly, there would be a race to the tuck shop because the queue to buy the food was so long. Every minute spent on the queue was working against people's break time too.

Trevor was always first in line, so people started going to him to buy things for them in return for some money. He grabbed that opportunity and started telling everyone at assembly to place their orders. He was an overnight success and in his words " Fat guys were my number-one customers. They loved food, but couldn't run."

Fun fact:
 Trevor was a naughty child but luckily unlike his cousins he never got punished by his grandmother. "A black child you hit them and they remain black" she used to tell his mother. "Trevor when you hit him he turns blue and green and yellow and red. I've not seen these colors before I am scared I am going to break him. I don't want to kill a white person."



Here I was working on his mischievous grin


Lesson 5: Fear regret rather than failure

In his own words; " I don't regret anything I've ever done in life, any choice that I've made. But I'm consumed with regret for the things I didn't do, the choices I didn't make, the things I didn't say. We spend too much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection, but regret is the thing we should fear most."

"Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have an answer to. ;"What if?" "If only" "I wonder what would have..." You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days"


Lesson 6: Be comfortable being unique

Imagine yourself living in a land where you are isolated because you are not black enough even though you were born and raised in an African family. You are not white enough because only one of your parents is.

Trevor was able to see and feel what both races went through during apartheid. He could not walk next to his mother in public and at some point his mother had to hire a mixed race lady friend Queen to walk with her and Trevor. So that she looked like Trevor's mother and his real mother would look like his nanny. Trevor could also not call his father Dad. He grew up calling him by his name Robert.

Trevor used his unique qualities to his advantage. He used his language skills to reach all races, he may not have felt like he fit in anywhere during his teenage years but speaking a certain groups language helped him earn trust.  Even to date Trevor says he enjoyed his childhood because it was all he knew. He never felt like he lacked much.



Lesson 7: Even in hardship home is where the heart is


Trevor got tired of seeing his mother abused by his step father. He felt helpless because he did not know how to assist her. They had reported him to the police a couple of times but he had some police friends. So nothing really ever happened to him.

His mother is the key personality in his book and he wrote the following " Finally, for bringing me into this world and making me the man I am today, I owe the greatest debt, a debt I can never repay, to my mother."

Lesson 8: Be better because of your past

Patricia Trevor's mother being a key personality in his book and in his life in general had the following to say" Learn from your past and be better because of your past, but don't cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don't hold on to it. Don't be bitter."

Patricia had gone through a lot but she practiced what she preached. She was never bitter. The deprivations of her youth, the betrayals of her parents, she never complained about any of it.



Lesson 9: Have respect for other people no matter how they treat you in return 

Patricia had suffered a great deal from her husband Abel, Trevor's step father. Trevor was hurt when he saw his mother suffer in Abel's hands. He did not at any point disrespect this vile man though.

It was only when Abel shot his mother that Trevor lost control and called him. At that point he thought his mother was dead. She had been shot in the head so it was hard to imagine she would survive that. Trevor threatened to kill Abel at that moment of rage.

He says " To this day I don't know what I was thinking. I don't know what I expected to happen. I was
just enraged." Clearly Patricia raised Trevor exceptionally well.


Lesson 10: Make the most of your situation

Trevor was hidden from the real world. His innocence as a child hid the truth behind his special treatment. To his young mind he did not think his special treatment was because he was light skinned. When it came to his grandmother to him it was "Trevor doesn't get beaten because Trevor is Trevor.

For a while Trevor did not have friends because he was neither black nor white.He learnt to accept his situation and resorted to living in his head. He would also read a lot while he was a lone. That would eventually make him the awesome author he is today that penned this amazing book. If you are going through a tough time, remember it is there as an opportunity to learn something new. That lesson is bound to stick and will probably help you a whole lot in the future. So hang in their and try to make the most of the situation.



AA (Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya


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Ten Life Lessons (TLL) from Oprah





She is definitely an inspiration to me and that is one of the reasons I decided to draw her. Having taken weeks working on her dotted piece. I feel like I would also like to share some lessons I  have learnt from Oprah over the years.

Lesson 1: Honor yourself and be authentic
Put yourself at the top of the list, honor yourself, nurture yourself. Your being here is miraculous enough and your real job is to honor that and as soon as you figure that out. You will be like "Oh wow wow! I am one of the lucky ones I got to be here.

Fill yourself up and keep your cup full. She used to get offended when people said she is so full of herself but now she embraces it because now she considers it a compliment. It is when you are full that you have so much to offer.
  

Have fun and smile more

Lesson 2: Remind yourself to relax
If given a chance to say something to her younger self she would say relax it's going to be okay. She said this is because when we feel uneasy that is something telling us that we have to change.  When we feel off course that's our cue. 

We should therefore think of how we will turn around.Through the challenge sit still and ask ourselves what the next right move is. Remembering not  be overwhelmed by it because our lives are more than that one moment.

Step 1

Lesson 3:There's no such thing as an embarrassing moment.
She believed that there is no moment she can possibly experience on air that someone else has not already experienced. Even those that seem very embarrassing. 

When she started out she said this was not true for her because she was more interested in impressing other people than she was doing what she was supposed to do.

The take home here is you can laugh at yourself and you can make a mistake it is not the end of the world. You don't have to be perfect.

Lesson 4: Everyone makes mistakes
Actually there are no mistakes because we all have a supreme destiny. When you don't know that, you get stressed all the time. 

There's a supreme moment of destiny calling on your life. Your job is to hear that and to know that... and sometimes when you are not listening you get taken off track you get into the wrong marriage, the wrong relationship or you take the wrong job but it's all leading to the same path. 

There are no wrong paths. There's no such thing as failure because failure is that thing trying to move you in another direction. So you get as much from your losses as from your successes because your losses are there to wake you up.

If you understand that, you don't allow yourself to be deeply affected by a grade or a by a circumstance because your life is bigger than any one experience. Pay attention to your life. Your life is your greatest teacher. Everything that happens to you makes you go closer to who you are.
                                      
Step 2

Lesson 5: You are what you believe
Even as a child to her she was always the smartest kid in the room.That is how she convinced her kindergarten teacher to take her to a different class because she felt like she did not belong there. 

She wrote her a letter and told her she felt she did not belong there because she knew a lot of big words. (It's funnier when you watch her give this story) She was taken to the principals office where she was asked to rewrite those big words. After which she skipped first grade and second grade.

The fundamental key to success is what you believe is true to yourself. You don't get what you wish for or hope for you get what you believe and know to be God's dream for you.

Lesson 6: Learn to listen to your instincts. 
Did you know Oprah never thought of herself running a talk show. In fact in her teen years she wanted to become a teacher. 

She says every time she made a good decision it was because she listened to her inner voice and every time she did not make a good decision it was because she did not listen to it. Do what feels right for you.
  
Step 3

Lesson 7: Find out why you are here.
Your real job is to discover why you are here and then align your personality with your purpose and nobody can touch you.

Lesson 8: Be here now
Be present every time so that you get the most of every moment.  Stop carrying the past into this moment. Pay attention to the people you interact with and the environment you are in.

Step 4


Lesson 9: In business don't waste too much time looking at what other businesses are doing.

Think of it like a race. The energy it takes for you to look back at the other guys in the race takes energy from you. If they are too close it scares you. It's not about the other guy it is about what you can do.You just have to run that race as hard as you can and give it your all every time for yourself.

Lesson 10: Provide value
She used to complain about the state of Television until a friend mentioned to her that she could start her OWN network. Coincidentally the letters OWN were her initials. She thought it would be nice if she created a network that was about mindful Television.

The thought was scary to her at first and she said she would wake up frightened at night. The reason she pushed on was because she believed people need to have value centered, inspirational programming for themselves.

                                     

Step 5: A portrait of Oprah Gail Winfrey


In conclusion Someone once told me about a phrase. The phrase went "blacks don't crack". I liked how the words rhymed but the message behind it made me even happier. The phrase I was told meant that black or dark skinned people do not wrinkle or show age quickly. Having spent a couple of days drawing her and years watching her I totally agree. She is  truly beautiful both inside and out.

AA (Auspicious Art)
Wendi Mutisya



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