Everybody has a story to tell…Everybody has a soul which brings their story to life.
The Black Farmer’s ground-breaking new TV commercial offers a glimpse into my soul, and I have launched #thisismysoul – inviting people from all walks of life from across the UK to share their stories on #thisismysoul at TheBlackFarmer.com.
My own story shapes everything I do. From my own humble beginnings in Jamaica and then inner-city Birmingham, to TV director, to buying my Devon farm and launching The Black Farmer brand, you can catch a glimpse into my soul and what makes me tick. The importance of sharing our stories, unites us, makes us stronger. I find people and their stories endlessly fascinating and enriching. I never stop learning and being amazed at what drives and inspires us. We can learn so much from each other.
For example, I just love Flamenco dancing. I also love Morris dancers and British eccentricity. I want to celebrate the traditional side of being British. Championing rural Britain is in my soul.
#thisismysoul offers a window onto the lives and loves of all sorts of individuals and gives us an insight into what makes us all so different and yet so alike. Every week The Black Farmer will share different stories across social media and TheBlackFarmer.com. It is open to everyone who would like to share their story.
As a teenager my friends always made fun of my tendency to head-over-heels “fall in love” with my current fling of the month..week..day? A shameless wild child I was! But quickly I discovered at age 21 while continuing to be open-hearted and effortlessly meeting the man I thought I’d spend my life with that the silly teenager love was not true (maybe true lust), and I also sadly discovered that when that same man breaks your heart, it’s devastating.
It’s been three years, and I regularly find myself envying that girl I once was with her starry-eyed vulnerability and blissful ignorance (with the stress on the bliss) to love because I just can’t seem to rediscover that part of myself…. I desperately want her back but fear I’ll never find her again.
A human touch, smile or hug can mean so much. We live in London where an exceptional number of people are lonely, even though there are millions of us, and so we decided to go out onto the streets and offer people a meaningful hug! It was a spontaneous idea that surpassed all of our expectations.
To see so many people smile, to hear ‘thank you’ hundreds of times and to be told some people had had a bad day or that they needed that hug, meant the world. A hug is for free; we weren’t collecting for a charity or doing this for any other purpose than to make people happy. It’s made me realise just how easy it is to make people feel loved and cared for, and just volunteering a sunny Saturday meant so much to everyone who came up to us. I saw London differently on that day; I saw a collection of people who didn’t fit one mould. Everyone had come from across the globe and from different backgrounds in terms of age and race.
We all spoke different languages but in that moment we were all just human, embracing the love between two strangers. It meant a huge deal to the both of us to make a single person’s day better, let alone the hundreds that even formed queues to hug us! I’m still in awe and astonishment… it goes to show that two people who don’t even know each other, who may not even exchange any words, can find a moment of peace and love in a warm embrace. I have hope and faith in humanity, and we’re all gentle creatures deep down. The young kids who swarmed us and grabbed onto our legs, giggling as their parents smiled on; the elderly people who shuffled forwards and thanked us for the hug; the business people in suits; the younger teens who were shy to approach; the entire families going in for the ‘group hug’; and the people who were passing by on their own are all ultimately the same. We’re all people with a conscience, people with feelings and emotions and a desire to feel love. We must be caring and considerate towards one another, we’re all here together to make this planet go round and I feel inspired to do bigger and better and make more people happy. It doesn’t cost a penny to make a change, we’re all powerful, we just need to fight for the right reasons.
With love… Sevim.
The key to any relationship is honesty. Being able to stand in front of that other person, whether family, friend or significant other, and allowing them to see our strengths and weaknesses, and for them to do the same. It means that they can see who we really are and this means that they can truly help us. They can build us up when we’re feeling down and need encouraging, but they can also help us to see when we’ve got it drastically wrong and then help us through that. So why do we shy away from these types of relationships so often? We’re content with being just Facebook friends or having superficial relationships where we don’t share who we really are or even admit to ourselves who we really are. But what real good is a superficial relationship? We might feel good for a while, but they won’t help us sort the problems we have. We may get told what we want to hear, but we won’t be told what we need to hear. Now let’s compare that to an honest relationship. In an honest relationship we can find: joy from pain; security from vulnerability; healing from hurt; and growth from destruction. So, from all kinds of negativity, lasting positivity can be found.
The relationship that I have found this to be most true in, is my relationship with Jesus. He made himself vulnerable for me, to the extent that he was killed for me – he sacrificed himself so that I can have a relationship with him. And in making myself vulnerable & being completely honest to him, and through trusting in him, I have found immeasurable joy, security, healing and growth.
Having an honest relationship with anyone is important, but having an honest relationship with Jesus is invaluable.
I arrived in London in September 1988 as a shy teenager. I went to the American Community School (ACS) in Uxbridge to get my High School Diploma and graduated in 1996 from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) with a Law degree. The best part of the latter was the genius and beauty of the English language as well as the drama in case-reports, the eloquence of related literature and the philosophies of comparative jurisprudence. Since, I’ve transferred my passion for such by becoming a freelance journalist and blogger in the niche field of the Arab-London arts, literature and culture scene, to help promote a positive image in terms of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region; away from all the negative headlines and the false prejudices that can be adopted if you don’t read behind the news and figure out for yourself what is really happening and what is really at stake.
I have a love-hate relationship with London, but at Imperial I’ve met some of the best people in the world, and made some of the best memories that I will hold dear for the rest of my life. Here’s to the future.
My girlfriend and I own two rabbits, little fluffy balls of joy. Most of the time.
Last Saturday we were feeling pretty good; we’d been paid, soon our banks would be out of overdraft, we could stop budgeting as strictly. So we went out to Waitrose (the Luxury!) and bought some nice bacon, burgers, snacks etc to enjoy while watching the rugby. When we came back, we noticed one of our rabbits had a weeping eye. This can mean one of a few things:
- A) Dust flew into his eye, he’ll be fine
- B) He’s bashed it on something, he’ll need steroids
- C) He’s got an infection
- D) He’s dying
So you can imagine our reaction. Obviously we were distraught, vets were all booked up, had to go in the next day. We were trying to comfort each other (she was succeeding, I was failing), and turn our attention to lighter things (it didn’t help that England lost).
Next day, went to vets, he’d just scratched his eye, he’ll need eye drops then steroids. All good. Apple leaves all round.
I like it when a homeless person smiles back. Smiles are contagious. I cherish my family and very good friends. I ring my mummy everyday. She’s my ‘Queen’. I just had a lovely weekend with my sister. We all have funny conversations, lots of dinners, inspiration and support. It’s important to make an effort and to bring lovely people together. It’s bliss. This week, I have received a few bunches of flowers from my friends. That was really nice.
When I was very young my parents would always encourage me to wear my hair natural. My mother would take hours out of her sunday to wash, blow dry and style my hair sometimes braiding it into little intricate plaits and other times leaving it out as the wild mane it was. I had beautiful thick, brown, long, curly hair which I adored. Up until I turned around nine years old when I wanted a different hairstyle, something which would be easier to manage. This was when, much to my parents disdain, I began to relaxing and straightening my hair. It became a constant battle of trying to eradicate the curl and now, looking back, I realise it was just as strenuous a process as my previous hair routine. My hair began to break and became thinner and thinner by the week. But still, I persevered with the straightening irons. By the time I was roughly fourteen years old my hair was weak and dry and I started to miss my natural hair. One morning I decided I had had enough, I took a pair of scissors and began to cut off my straight ends of my leaving only the natural roots. A mere two days later, I was scouted for hair modeling, this really built my confidence and my love for my natural locks returned. Since then I have had my hair short, long, coloured and shaped, and I have grown to recognise and love the versatility of afro hair. It is part of my identity now, I am proud of it, and I wouldnt change it for the world!
Born in Nebraska (the flat lands) I have somehow become obsessed in climbing mountains and rock climbing. I now study bass in London and I enjoy good conversations and good museums and terrible wine.
Hey There, this is just a crazy story.
So its the end of the summer 2012 early September. And I’m at the airport I’m going to my friend wedding in Sardinia, Italy That same year an Italian movie that i was in came out. My flight is just great I even liked one of the flight hostess. I land in Cagliari and I’m supposed to wait 5 hours for a few friends to share a car. I decide to go see the city. By the time I’m in the city I just realise how lucky I am to have a European Passport had i forget that Italy has loads of migrants. I hang around talk to a few of them. we share. A few people give me some looks but i don’t know why so i don’t bother… I meet my friends at the airport and we go the village to attend the Wedding 3 hours away from Cagliari.I SAW THE BEST WEDDING EVER. I stay longer than expected, go on a road trip with my tent, discover Agro tourism at this time I’m in Love with Italy and then I realise that my passport is missing. My flight is in 28 hours I come back to my friends the newlyweds place. Try to call the consulate on a Sunday, it’s pretty hard especially in Italy. A friend we have in common is leaving now so she gives me a ride to the airport. As leaves she is a hurry.
So now I’m at the airport police station. Officers are asking me if I really have European Citizenship. Two cops know me from somewhere, they suspect that I’ve been sent back to Nigeria before while they go through the pile of passport, I’m sweating, It’s super hot, I’m Hungry… Starving. One of the cops is checking a Passport that happens to belong to me. He looks at my picture
He says : Attore ?
Him : Il film sul il Blitz della Diaz
Me : Si
So in that film ironically I hide from the Police. 15 min later I’m having lunch with the 3 Italian cops at the airport. We exchange emails, I go the city to book a Hotel. I’m flying Monday at 7pm. At 11am I got a mail from one of the cops and we had lunch. He takes me to a tiny restaurant in Cagliari and I get to meet his sister the hostess from my previous flight. But nothing happened.
I moved to London when I was nineteen. So here’s me and Betty, smoking a cigarette, catching up for the first time in over a year in the hazed late summer sun in the alley near where I work. We both have a degree now but apart from that, nothing much has been occurring. This is the alley way, the whore shrouded and junkie glittered Wardour Mews, the side-street that’s seen me smoke hundreds of cigarettes when I’d nip out of my casual café work in Soho and whisper small utterings of my dreams and cries for equilibrium to its bloodied brickwork. London’s quite the city to try and be a young dreamer, dreams get torn by the adult notions of paying bills and travel cards and money money fucking money. Angel Haze says ‘You gotta make the decision to be the one difference in your life and turn it around’ which gave me the strength to bail, regain energy and return empowered. I’m Clary, and this image was taken of me three days before I admitted defeat, and left the city I fell in love with four years ago.
My parents have a running joke (which they rarely laugh at) that any country I visit is doomed. When I was in Chile, an 8.8 earthquake leveled a number of nearby buildings and cut off communications for a week. In Egypt, there was a military coup and we had to be evacuated. In Thailand, a bomb went off in a temple, an hour or so after I left the area. This summer, my mom frantically sent me an article warning of a ‘super-typhoon’ headed towards the Philippines while I was there; I pointed out to her that the article was 3 years old, which did surprisingly little to assuage her fears.
I had a nose bleed on a girl. I had gotten hit in the face with a hockey puck during a game. Throughout the day I didn’t think anything of the initial nose bleed. Went out later at Imperial Union. Everyone kept seeing blood and letting me know about it, but all I wanted to do was make out with this girl. People kept interrupting us to tell me there was blood. We eventually went to the loo and I realized that the blood was coming from my nose because of the earlier hockey puck incident.
I came to London on a total whim. I bought my ticket 3 days before I was set to fly out, which is the craziest thing I’ve done in a while, and kind of a weird thing to do as well considering I just moved to New York three weeks prior. Whoops. But I’ve found myself at this point in my life where I have no idea where I want to live next and what I want to do, so I’ve just been throwing myself at every opportunity and seeing what sticks. So I went to London super spontaneously, and it was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. It made me realize how much I would love to live there again, and now I’ve got this fire under my butt to try and make that happen!
I’ve lived in Colombia, Panama, Hong Kong, Germany and England. It’s hard to point exactly where home is, but it must definitely be where the amazing people I’ve met on the way live.
I am a London girl born and bred with big dreams in the best city. I spend most my days on the DLR travelling to a studio where I write and record music that I have written about great loves and drunken nights. Fuelled by over a hundred cups of coffee my producer and I have hopefully created something quite special. I am about to release my debut single ‘belief’ under the name Delaire. The track was recently Record of the Day. Hopefully that’s just the start of my story.
I’ve struggled a lot with my appearance over the years, particularly with an eating disorder. I never felt particularly ‘feminine’, and long hair always felt like wearing a costume-even though i’ve always admired ultra-glamorous vintage ladies and wanted to pull it off-it just never felt like an honest expression of myself.
I’ve made peace with that.
I first shaved my head in solidarity with a terminally ill loved one two years ago, and ended up keeping it that way until this January. I also dress fairly Tomboyish, which used to get me flack.I realised without my hair people were forced to see me for my face and who I was, which was insanely liberating and taught me a lot about myself-and the world’s attitude towards women and our bodies.
I think that women have such a narrow space to navigate their identity that’s considered socially acceptable. I’m not conventionally attractive-but why should that be such a bad thing? Although I’ll always have my bad days, I realise now that I’d rather be interesting than beautiful. As women, our worth is intrinsically tied to our physical appearance and you only need to look at insults aimed at us to see where society tells us our pride in ourselves should be. I believe should have the right to be ugly if we want to. There are there far worse words to be called than fat. My self-worth and worth to others shouldn’t come from my how attractive I am or my sexual availability.
I want to help others like me and change how we consume these messages. At my worst I weighed just 75lbs, and a lot of that came from feeling like I didn’t deserve to take up any more space. Now I’m learning to stop apologising for being, to present myself how I want to without the need to please others and talking openly about my experience with mental illness. People have called me a loud-mouth whining feminist (and far worse), and called me inappropriate or attention seeking for being open about my illness. I think this just shows how much we need to have an open dialogue, because problems only get solved by working through things together.
I’m lucky to have the love of a chap who understands me,who respects my journey and supports me in my pursuit of happiness. I honestly never thought I’d ever meet anyone who could surprise me so much everyday with their empathy, kindness and eagerness to learn and understand more. It’s exhausting some days trying to keep positive when you feel like weight of the world is on you to help change it. Having someone amazing in your corner to give you a cuddle, get the tea on and remind you to take baby steps makes it all worth it.
The world isn’t perfect. Neither am I. And that’s okay.
I haven’t eaten meat for about 15 months or so. I eat fish for several of my own reasons. Some people may say pescatarian, but I much prefer the term my friend coined – a vegequarian. As is the case with most veggies I don’t judge anybody else for eating meat, and this story should explain why.
I am happy with my choice, and am really not finding it difficult at all anymore. However, before July of 2014 I wasn’t finding it so easy not to eat meat. I started with doing ‘meat-free May’ after “encouragement” from my girlfriend, who is a vegan.
I agreed to give it a try, however I think I knew from the off-set that my heart wasn’t really in it. For example, if I was at work, and I was hungry, and the only options of sandwich happened to have chicken in, I wasn’t going to let myself go hungry… are you mad?? So I am ashamed to say that there were a couple of times that I ate meat, and it slipped my mind to inform my vegan girlfriend about it…
Anyway, this continued until one morning in June of 2014, which I now think of as ‘Self-Intervention Day’, I was running late for work. My partner had just left to go to her own job herself; she was walking today as I needed the car. I knew it was going to be a long day and I hadn’t had any time for coffee or breakfast, which incidentally are two of my favourite things in the world. I left my house in a rush, got in our car, and drove around the corner where there is a line of various shops, grocers etc, and a bakers that I knew sold coffee (a famous chain). So I ran into the bakers and ordered a coffee for £1.75, then realised I could also have a bacon and sausage sandwich if I paid an extra 25 pence. 25 PENCE?? Done deal.
My mistake, I put to you, was not driving away before taking a bite out of this delicious, greasy bacon and sausage sandwich. Greed was my downfall. It was whilst savouring this glorious mouthful that I heard a loud knock on the passenger side window of my car, and looked up into the blazing eyes of my girlfriend; a mixture of disbelief, disgust and rage painted across her face – with a tiny, tiny hint of humour. Very tiny. She pointed first at my contraband sandwich, then at my shocked face, then shook her head and walked away without another word.
I wasn’t ashamed of eating meat. If it wasn’t for the things I have (since) learned about the way in which animals are treated in the meat industry, then would still eat it. No, I was ashamed of being “CAUGHT” eating meat.
I couldn’t do anything but laugh lamely, the bacon grease slowly dribbling down my chin. That and finish my sandwich. I had to. It was going to be my last one for a while.
I was born in Moscow, Russia to a half American family. At the age of 10 my family decided to move to London and I’ve been here ever since…
When I was studying at LSE last year I had a part-time catering job where I worked as a waitress at some fancy events around London. There was a VERY strict rule about not eating the guests’ food under any circumstances, which I always struggled to stick to, so they always gave out packed lunches before shifts. On one particular occasion I was pretty dissatisfied with my soggy cheese and pickle sandwich and made a silly decision to skip out on food prior to a 10 hour shift. Five hours in I was in hell – unbearably hungry and irritable. To rub salt into the wound my phone (which I discreetly used in the guests’ closet to vent about the situation to a friend) was running out of battery. At that point I impulsively decided to grab a couple of lobsters, grab my phone charger and hide out in the deserted toilets in the basement. After an hour, my boss started searching the building for me and found me locked in one of the cubicles, where I was making my way through my stash of stolen food and listening to loud music. In my state of panic I blamed my absence from work on food poisoning hoping he’d leave me in peace. Unfortunately, as I was leaving the bathroom with my lobster carcasses he was standing right outside giving me a death stare. I shamelessly stood there as he lectured me about my poor work ethic and lack of respect for the team…The food was so good though I wasn’t even sorry. Needless to say that my last catering shift.
I went on holiday with this guy that I really connected with. Unfortunately he has a girlfriend. As any girl would, I found her on Facebook and casually browsed her profile. Actually it was stalking really. Ha ha ha. I must have been scrolling through her profile for quite sometime as I landed in 2013. I was looking through posts that they had both responded to, which was in another language. I pressed what I thought was the translate button. After a few seconds I was wondering why the translation wasn’t coming up. I realized that instead of posting the translate button, I had actually pressed the “like” button. I freaked out and deactivated my Facebook due to embarrassment. Now I’m walking through uni hoping that I won’t run into him or that no one will look at me because of the Facebook mishap. I’ve had to reactivate it because a friend sent me a link that has something to do with a project we’re working on…
I was born in Italy where I lived until four months ago. I’ve been in London for short time, but enough to understand how much I love this city, so busy but peaceful at the same time.
I started as au pair for an amazing family that made me feel home since the first day. I’m working as waitress in a cute café for the last month at the moment.
I’ve never regretted leaving my home; I’ve discovered aspects of my personality that I didn’t think I had thanks to this experience. Living far away from your loved ones it’s very hard, but it made me a stronger and a more brave person.
I always used to believe that everything is happening for a reason, also when you can’t see the reason. You will probably see it months or even years later.
But one day something bad happened, something that caused a very and strong, deep pain to the people I love most and to myself as well. When something like that happens, would you really still believe that there is a reason for everything? You don’t believe it, you just can’t and don’t want to believe it anymore.
So when you start to believe is that sometimes things happening without any reason and that you have to stop thinking that there is a magic thread in people’s life that is going to explain everything in the end.
Some time later something happened and this time it was not something bad, but one of the most beautiful things that could ever happen in the lives of the people, and happened in the lives of the same people that were experiencing such a pain a few months earlier.
I looked back and I tried hard to link all the little points together with a red thread and what happened is that I have done it! I linked all the points with a red thread and what came out was not just a story that made me feel better, it was still there a sad part and that sad part was still hurting, but there was also a good one, one that was bringing joy.
The life is starting with the birth and is ending with the death. The life is the starting point of the red thread and the death is the ending one. They are opposite points, but they are still in the same thread.
So life for its own nature is made by opposites, is giving you bad and good things, but a bad thing, like a bad point, is not the whole thread. Every bad point on the red thread will maybe be followed by a good one and is maybe true that it is not possible to experience happiness without experiencing pain.
It is everything like the light and the dark, one cannot exist without the existence of the other. There are infinite points, but the only point that can change everything in your life, is not a good or a bad one, but is your point of view and you’re the only one that can decide your point of viewing of the life is a good or a bad one.
I used to work at a Deli in Paddington. One day when we were particularly busy I saw something small and quick dart across the entrance to the shop. After about 20 minutes when the shop is empty we move aside a box by the entrance and there, staring up at us is a mouse.
We then spend the next ten minutes trying to catch it – running back and forth across the entrance trying to trap it under a bin. It looked like something out of a Benny Hill sketch. Thank God no customers came past as I have no idea how we would have explained what we were doing!
Losing my baby, my business and my house in a three-year period helped me find out for myself that I could get through anything. Going from having no strength to speak or lift my head off the pillow, to lifting my head off the pillow and giving thanks for my life, my family and the love of people around me. Getting on a plane and travelling more than I ever could imagine. Creating my beloved hot sauce in the refuge of London Town. This, London, allowed me to heal and rebuild and make a new dream to follow, wherever it takes me.
My story is simple, as simple as it has not been yet written. At seventeen I discovered my passion, Figure Skating, and I followed that path while I was studying a degree I knew wasn’t for me. Skating made me travel and meet different people from which I learnt valuable things and that lead me into photography, dancing and finally evolved into any theatrical/performing art. Love being surrounded by people and I have many things to share with the world, but after 5 years of never having the chance to pursue those dreams I realised that I had to change my life completely because I wasn’t doing what I was meant to, therefore, I moved to London to start from scratch and find the new me. That’s where we are right now, in the beginning of my new story which is going to be amazing.
I moved to London six years ago to go to art college. It was the best decision of my life, but now I’m leaving! Juggling bar work and freelance design work hasn’t been kind to my state of mind or my bank balance, so I’m taking myself out of the city for a few months to work, save and travel, with the hope of coming back to London next year in a better position. I was going to talk about the dead man on the bridge, but I didn’t know how to word it sensitively.
I’ve been making records, and had a recording studio in East London for nearly 15 years now; I’m lucky enough to work with some of the most exciting up and coming talent around. A few years ago a young ginger lad started coming in to my studio to make an album at weekends, out of school time. This continued for several years on and off, and I helped him find his voice, taught him to play in time, and how to sing in tune. That lad was Ed Sheeran and it just goes to show It’s pretty amazing what you can achieve if you put the time and effort in. I’m currently writing a record with a fantastic artist called “Delaire” – the recordings we’ve made are just surfacing now, so look out for something special from her soon…
It was my first week to work in a big kitchen. At the beginning I thought it would be so easy. At the first party, I was overwhelmed of how much work it was and like thought. “Now starts my nightmare shift.” I was in charge of preparing and cooking the meat. While I was doing my work, all of a sudden I heard somebody screaming and complaining. Another man who was in the first line almost started to cry that he can’t handle so many orders, that the waitress arrives too fast to pick up the food and that all is to much for him. Then the chef switched my position with the other chef. I was red, I felt good that the chef trust me, but I didn’t know if I could handle this task. He showed me once and then told me, “Now it is your turn, good luck”. The orders started coming, I did what I saw him doing and with lots of emotion I managed to do great. There I learned that I can work great under pressure. For my first time in my life, I felt useful and capable to concentrate on a task that doesn’t involve just my work, but the work of my colleagues. We worked as a team. That was the first time I realised that the work in kitchen was the work that I can do all my life. I finally was enjoying what I do and this is what I will be all my life. I am a chef and I will always be because this is what I love.
Once, while I was singing at a gig a guy came up to me mid song and handed me his false eye saying “I’ve got my eye on you.” I finished the song, handed him his eye back and proceeded to wash my hands.