Self reflection- what I have learned so far…

Honestly did not know how to begin writing this post. I reflect almost every day and it comes easy but writing this post was a bit difficult. Where do I start? I started with 3 different titles and ended up with the one above. I have learned a lot about myself especially in the past eight months. Here are things I’ve learned:

Give but do not give so much of yourself that you neglect self care– One of the things I learned is that I’m too giving. I give too much of myself to people and that has caused me heartbreaks. I was never careful on who I gave my all to because of acceptance, this wanting of being accepted by people. I had the mindset that if I gave my all to the people in my life, they would give me love and care. But I was wrong. It caused me to isolate myself a lot. To the point where I became lonely even though I had people. I couldn’t tell people in my life what I was going through. I’m not saying do not give, but it’s important to make yourself a priority. It is draining giving your all to people. Before you give your time, love, and care to others, give those things to yourself first. You feel me?


Stop bottling your emotions- I learned that I am terrible at communicating the way I feel (but I been knew this). Usually, I bottle a lot of things up without realizing the self-damage. It’s never healthy to keep things to yourself. One day, you will come to a point where you just feel like crying and you can’t stop. No seriously, you just can’t stop crying. Your emotions are not meant to be withheld and bottled up. They are meant to be expressed. Whenever I had problems with someone in my life, they would never know that I had a problem with them because I never expressed how I felt. That’s horrible, I know. But, I think I am somewhat getting better at communicating the way I feel. It’s a working progress to be honest. But you need to communicate. You need to feel comfortable in telling people how you feel. Most importantly though, do not hold it all in. Let it out from time to time and it is okay to cry, slap someone (actually don’t do this), throw your phone at a wall (don’t do this as well… please), or sit and just breath. Find your support system, the people who are there to listen, hug you or give you food when you’re in pain and hurting.


Whoever is meant to be in your life will be in your life (whether good or bad)- Stop holding on to people that do not want to be in your life. It just brings you down. Take a pair of scissors and cut the string that bonds you and that person. The person who didn’t want to be in your life probably did that for you already. They probably let the string go, now it’s your turn. You know when someone is meant to be in your life. YOU KNOW. People will walk away and you will feel hurt, but you have to let them go. You have to make room for other people to come into your life. But you must also realize that your focus should be on those that are already in your life. Those who really care for you. And, I say whether good or bad because those who are meant to be in your life are not always good, they could be bad as well. They could bring you down constantly and be very toxic, but they are there to teach you lessons and help you grow. However, they are only there for a short period of time. I’m saying this from my own experience.


Life is full of surprises (good and bad)- There have been times when I wanted to give up on a lot of things. Eight months ago, I was put in a situation that I never thought I would be in. Actually, I put myself in that situation. Yeah, I will admit to that. This situation changed the way I think about myself and the people around me. Because I put myself in that situation, I ended up hurt. However, from this situation, I picked myself up and continued with my life. I thought that everything was going to go downhill after the situation but it didn’t. It turned out to be better. During that time, I was receiving recognition for all the hard work I’ve been doing. That recognition reminded me of my true potential. I couldn’t let one situation dictate my life. Life really is full of surprises, you never know what will happen. Yet, it doesn’t mean you give up. You pick yourself back up because eventually you overcome these situations, and you grow.


Love Thyself- When I tell you self love is hard… for others, it comes naturally but for people like me, it’s a struggle. I struggled a lot when it came to loving myself. I would love everyone else but myself. This has caused me to be so hard on myself. Loving yourself is not just about loving your physical characteristics, but it’s about loving EVERYTHAAAAANG about yourself. Your beauty, interests, intelligence, flaws, and other characteristics that define you. Earlier this year, I started putting post it notes on my mirror. Each one has a quote that I wrote when I was at my lowest or at my highest. In one quote, I wrote: “Stop comparing yourself to others. Love yourself.” It’s hard for me because I was always brought down by people closest to me. I let their words take over me without even realizing it until now. Everyday I try to tell myself that I am a good person and a goal of mine is to be a good person. You’re not a narcissist for loving yourself. Anyone who tells you that you are can catch these hands. But I digress.


I learned more things but I think this is enough. I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned these past months. I encourage you to do some self reflecting as well. Thank me later. I’m going to go drink some coffee and binge watch Scandal all over again. Don’t judge me, I am engaging in self care. But I’ll leave you with this:


Thank you for reading. Written by: Diaka Thiam 🙂

Pronounce this African Girl’s Name Right 2

And we are back with pronouncing my name wrong edition 2. It has been three years since I wrote the post “Pronounce this African Girl’s Name Right.” Yeah, three years. There has been a lot of changes since I wrote that post. In 2016 and 2017, I went by Diaka (Dee-ah-kuh). It was a struggle getting people to pronounce it right. It got to the point where I started to hate the name Diaka.

Can I be honest with you? Diaka is not my real name. The pronunciation of Diaka was given to me by my third grade teacher, Mrs. M. I was back in the United States after being in Senegal for three years. I didn’t speak English and it was difficult to understand what anyone was saying. I remember Mrs. M was doing attendance, she was at my name and directly looked at me. Before I continue, my name is spelled as Diaka on my documents but it is really Diakha (I know confusing right? Keep reading). So when Mrs. M called my name, she pronounced it as Dee-ah-kuh. As I said before, I did not speak English but because she was looking at me directly, I nodded my head. From that day on, Diaka was born.

My real name is Diakha (Ja-ha). My parents and relatives call me Diakha. It’s like I have two different lives. When I step out of the house, I am immediately Diaka. Yet, when I am at home, I am Diakha. How did I do it? I got used to it. What I didn’t get used to though was constantly telling people how to pronounce Diaka. It was starting to become exhausting. And, yes, I know it’s not people’s fault that they do not know how to pronounce it. It’s a name that is not common. I repeat, it is a name that is not common. A person would ask for my name and I would say Diaka automatically. They would then ask: “Wait, what was that?” and I would have to repeat it again.

OR I would be at the hospital. When a nurse comes out, I brace myself. I look at the nurse with intensity, just waiting to hear it. “Die-a-ka.”

There it was. I would cringe and then correct them. The process of correcting has been, I repeat, exhausting. So now, I have decided to go by Dee. Yes, just Dee. Whenever someone asks, “What’s your name?” guess what I say? Dee. I have accepted Dee to be the name. Now it feels weird when people call me Diaka. It feels foreign. I’m like who is that? I do not want to choose to identify as Diaka. Someone chose that identity for me, that pronunciation for me. But I’m not going to banish the name Diaka. It reminds me of when I came back to the United States at the age of 8, and my struggle in learning English. That reminder is kind of what pushes me to do better especially in my education.

Do I want to go by Diakha (Ja-ha), my real name? Yes, of course. Why do I not tell people my name is Diakha? In all honesty, I do not know. I think I have gotten so used to being called Diaka that if people who are not relatives call me by Diakha, I would be uncomfortable. So Dee works for me. It’s simple. I do appreciate those who learn how to pronounce Diaka. And, those who say it is a beautiful name. Eventually though, I might get to a point in my life where I just go by Diakha. But as of now, Dee is fine (unless you’re family).

Diakha. Diaka. Dee. One person. Three different names.

my thoughts…

Note: here are some of my thoughts, I have the dates down because that’s when I wrote them. they’re short entries, so I didn’t really elaborate or anything. As I continue to jot down my thoughts, I will edit them and add them to this post. 


Sometimes, we let certain things bother us to the point where we lose it. It can be the smallest thing and we let it get in our heads. We let it strangle us, taking the oxygen away from us. Unable to breath, feeling so numb and allowing this thing become the disease that spreads in our mind. Our mind is consumed by this one thing. We become desperate. So desperate that it is hard for us to stop thinking about it. The thoughts alone cannot be left alone, no matter how hard you try.

Sometimes, we don’t want to talk about the beauty and ugliness of friendships. People say, “the ups and downs.” See, the beauty of friendships is that you can love. You can be yourself, and be rest assured that you have someone or people next to you. Yet, there is such an ugliness that we tend to ignore. The abuse, the constant needing and being taken advantage of. You do not realize it until it grips your arms tightly. To be continued…


How do I make sense of the world? How does one make sense of their surroundings? What is it about this world, that makes us humans fall in love with it? Actually, I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I want to talk about love. Have you ever loved so much that you end up forgetting what it feels like to love yourself? I have a serious question: can you love others before yourself? I think I can answer that question because I have loved before even loving myself. I would say that I struggle to love myself at this point. I am so worried about loving others, caring for others, that I am forgetting myself. I wonder what it would be like if I fully loved myself. Would I be considered a narcissist?