First Born of June

Hey guys, I’m so sorry for the long silence. I just couldn’t bring myself to put down anything most times, even though my head is always full of stuff (from really important stuff to trying to decide whether I want to drink my garri with or without milk 😀)

1/6/2018 was my birthday and I got a lot of wishes…and…the best surprise I’ve ever gotten so far. I can say that for this new year of my life, I’m most grateful for the privilege of experiencing true friendship. A great friendship is really a breath of fresh air. I count more than twice the blessing of having people in my life who love me just because they love me. The ones who put up with all that I am, from the goofy and chatty person, when I’m in a comfortable space or just in the mood, to the person who’d barely talk to you and seems withdrawn (the later takes being a true friend to deal with…those who know, know).

I’ve been going through a discovery of who I am, what I like, who I want to be, what I’m good at and what needs extra effort or just needs to get out of my list completely. It’s been a period of unlearning some of what I’ve been told to be, relearning the important things and learning what I don’t know. The truth is, especially for the unlearning part, some times it feels like I’m losing my mind (I guess this is what growing up feels like, the fight between the old and the new), but I’m getting comfortable with the feeling as long as I’m making progress.

I’m learning the importance of my voice (notice that I used the continuous tense. Past tense sounds too conclusive to me because I’m still living and there’s always more to learn). I’m learning that part of being a grown up is choosing to stand up for something…it’s braver than standing up for nothing and falling for anything. Few days ago, I thought about my dad and how he’s been teaching me to not be afraid of my voice, to have an opinion. He probably doesn’t know that he was doing that. I didn’t know either, until recently. He’d ask my opinion about something and to show respect, I’d say his opinion was okay. He’d simply disagree and tell me he wants to hear mine. I’d finally speak. Getting older, I have realized the value of owning my thoughts and not being afraid or ashamed when I think differently about anything.

I’m learning to like me. To have a healthy relationship with myself. To not try too hard to be in a conversation just because someone said I am unfriendly (just because I do have the personality that they prefer). To not fight my love for solitude after a long day (sometimes shorter) of socializing, to understand that it’s very normal.

“Self made” is a myth. The person who came up with that was probably bored, or hungry, or both. They either don’t have friends or have an exaggerated view of themselves. We need one another (maybe not everyone but there are people who contribute to your success), therefore, relationships matter. No such thing as “doing it all by yourself” because we were made for community. Seek for your village. I’m learning that too. Plus, I belong to a pretty interesting village.

I’m learning to keep in touch with my world. Notice the things around me. I don’t want to be so busy chasing my ambitions that the loveliness of the simple things in life passes me by.

Finally, thank you to everyone that wished me a happy birthday. My birthday is a birthday because of you all. I love you all.

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First Born of June

Hey guys, I’m so sorry for the long silence. I just couldn’t bring myself to put down anything most times, even though my head is always full of stuff (from really important stuff to trying to decide whether I want to drink my garri with or without milk 😀)

1/6/2018 was my birthday and I got a lot of wishes…and…the best surprise I’ve ever gotten so far. I can say that for this new year of my life, I’m most grateful for the privilege of experiencing true friendship. A great friendship is really a breath of fresh air. I count more than twice the blessing of having people in my life who love me just because they love me. The ones who put up with all that I am, from the goofy and chatty person, when I’m in a comfortable space or just in the mood, to the person who’d barely talk to you and seems withdrawn (the later takes being a true friend to deal with…those who know, know).

I’ve been going through a discovery of who I am, what I like, who I want to be, what I’m good at and what needs extra effort or just needs to get out of my list completely. It’s been a period of unlearning some of what I’ve been told to be, relearning the important things and learning what I don’t know. The truth is, especially for the unlearning part, some times it feels like I’m losing my mind (I guess this is what growing up feels like, the fight between the old and the new), but I’m getting comfortable with the feeling as long as I’m making progress.

I’m learning the importance of my voice (notice that I used the continuous tense. Past tense sounds too conclusive to me because I’m still living and there’s always more to learn). I’m learning that part of being a grown up is choosing to stand up for something…it’s braver than standing up for nothing and falling for anything. Few days ago, I thought about my dad and how he’s been teaching me to not be afraid of my voice, to have an opinion. He probably doesn’t know that he was doing that. I didn’t know either, until recently. He’d ask my opinion about something and to show respect, I’d say his opinion was okay. He’d simply disagree and tell me he wants to hear mine. I’d finally speak. Getting older, I have realized the value of owning my thoughts and not being afraid or ashamed when I think differently about anything.

I’m learning to like me. To have a healthy relationship with myself. To not try too hard to be in a conversation just because someone said I am unfriendly (just because I do have the personality that they prefer). To not fight my love for solitude after a long day (sometimes shorter) of socializing, to understand that it’s very normal.

“Self made” is a myth. The person who came up with that was probably bored, or hungry, or both. They either don’t have friends or have an exaggerated view of themselves. We need one another (maybe not everyone but there are people who contribute to your success), therefore, relationships matter. No such thing as “doing it all by yourself” because we were made for community. Seek for your village. I’m learning that too. Plus, I belong to a pretty interesting village.

I’m learning to keep in touch with my world. Notice the things around me. I don’t want to be so busy chasing my ambitions that the loveliness of the simple things in life passes me by.

Finally, thank you to everyone that wished me a happy birthday. My birthday is a birthday because of you all. I love you all.

Dad, calling. 

This morning my phone rang, it was my dad calling. After the first ring, I picked up and we talked. My friend who was with me the whole time said, “That’s one phone call I’ve never had.” I didn’t quite understand at first, I thought he meant the enquiry my dad called for but he said he meant never having a dad to call him. You see, he lost his dad when he was a baby and didn’t ever get the chance to see his dad or even grow up with him. He was admiring what I had. I didn’t think much of it but this evening, while folding clothes, it hit me…Someone appreciates and would be so happy to have what I have and probably take for granted some times… A dad that calls me. To be honest, I became aware of how often I overlook my blessing of a dad that isn’t just alive but is available. I’m grateful for the calls that come in even when I don’t feel like talking, the constant questioning about my life (at least someone cares), always asking if I’m praying and attending church when I’m away from home, for our conversations, the times of calling me out on attitudes I have to work on, his patience with me as I evolve and grow up, his love that stays even when we can’t see eye to eye. Above all, for showing me that a real man treats his woman like a queen (Now I know what I shouldn’t settle for). Thank you for calling me, dad. 

LEADING WORDS… LAGGING ACTIONS 

Recently I was thinking about how we let our mouths run ahead of our heart commitment to actually do what we said we would do. There could be many reasons why this happens from just talking during an emotional high (over excitement)…that’s why it is often said, “Do not make promises when you are happy” (you might want to ask King Herod in the Bible who promised to give anything to Herodias’ daughter even to the half of his kingdom just because he was so excited at the way she twirled her body to the music while he watched her and drank. All this girl could ask for was the head of a man, her mum saw as a nuisance, on a platter. Of course, Herod regretted his promise). 

Another reason is fear, just trying to please or escape trouble, fear makes us say things without thinking them through. We stand the chance of betraying ourselves everytime when we left fear control our mouths. 

Then there’s ego. Sometimes we just want to look good with our mouths so we say things we do not plan on following through with our actions. Let us not let tending to our egos preceed the value we place on integrity in our relationships. There are times we are trying to get something in return so we make promises and offers we know we should not. What better way to use others than appeal to their emotions by saying things we do not intend to do, especially it that thing means a lot to them (of course they do not know we would not do it). There are so many other reasons but for whatever reason, I thought to myself, letting my words go ahead of my inward commitment to do something is not very healthy for the relationships I value the most. Sometimes pressure could make our mouths run ahead of us. This is why it is important to check with yourself inside before speaking. What’s the motive and will you actually do what you’re about to say? 

I recall a story about two brothers who were given an assignment by their father. One agreed to do it without hesitation but never got around to doing it. The other was hesitant but did it eventually. I am not encouraging delayed obedience, pls don’t get me wrong, I am just saying this year we should make an effort to mean what we say and say what we mean. If you know you’re not going to show up for your friend’s party, don’t day you would… And maybe add that you’d bring them a bottle of wine, just to get them off your back. I used to be guilty of this, saying yes, making promises because I wanted to be a nice person and could not say no to commitments that I know I would not keep up with or I do not like, but all of that has changed. Do you know when you never keep to your words, you break trust and eventually no one believes what you say anymore, even when you are actually serious? 

This year, make sure that if for any reason you cannot keep to your words, it isn’t because you have a problem of talking without any intention to do what you said you would do. Let it be that the situation was beyond your control for real. And I mean beyond your control such that there is nothing you can do, and make sure to let the other party know. If it isn’t beyond your control, then live up to your words. If you are known to say and then DO, you would be respected. Now, don’t you want to be someone others respect? I know I do. 

With Love… 

Iso and I

I’ve be told that I am a difficult person to be friends with, and I hardly argue about that. Maybe because I know it is true as I have a talkative, animated side and also a more introverted, somewhat melancholic side. I think it’s the introverted part of me that’s the hard nut to crack. There are times I live in my head, and won’t be very enjoyable company (depending on your kind of person anyway) because I become quiet and I suck at keeping in touch (that is changing gradually by the way). In response to Iso (the guy in the picture above), who said I barely speak, I said, “If I start talking, you’d beg me to shut up”. He simply said, “I have never had the chance of asking you to shut up. Please talk at least just so I could tell you to shut up.” I laughed. 

I don’t want to begin the new year without showing how much I appreciate those who make the effort to stick around regardless. To Iso,  who looked out for me in school, constantly being in my face, what seemed to me like a silent message of  “hey, I’m your friend and I’m here if you need me”, to Otuekong,  for giving his ears while I rapped on about my thoughts about life and for always bringing light to other people’s lives. To my siblings for being the most annoying, yet enjoyable people that I still cannot do without. For the inside jokes, slangs and gists. With you guys, I laugh the hardest.  To Frank Amobi, for teaching me the strength in vulnerability. For being my best friend. I have had the realest friendship with you. I have embraced that truth could be ugly but it’s a solid foundation for any friendship. To Mr. OtoObong Ekpenyong, thanks for always looking out for me even when I sink into default mode of not using my phone for the calls and texts it was invented for. To Gift, for being a nice and beautiful lady. To Floyd Anekwe, for simply being Floyd,  and understanding sarcasm so well I don’t have to explain myself. Then there’s Nedu, who even though we could have months of silence between us, we would begin chattering the moment we see, text or call each other like we have been talking forever. Friends like you are the realest. Oh my, thanks James Dandy, for loving me the way I am.  Isaac, you make me smile every. single. time. 

To everyone who looks beyond my “resting face”, that looks like I’m about to slit someone’s throat, to really get to know me, LOL.  Through the ups and downs, talks and silences, everyone who has touched my life, the ones who’d fight with me and yet fight for me…I love you so much. Those who love me from afar, I may not always see you, I may not know you but I thank you. 

LET THE LIGHT IN

Yesterday, I was putting my makeup on. After I was done with putting on my foundation, I walked into the other room (my sister’s) which was dimly lit (compared to mine). I saw this lip stain that I liked and wanted to try on, so, I put it on. There wasn’t much light but I tried as much as possible to make do with the one available. In the dimly lit room, it looked good. I thought it was beautiful… Well, until I walked back to my room that was well lit and looked in the mirror. Oh, my goodness! The lip stain wasn’t as perfect as it looked in the dimly lit room. The light exposed all the flaws…

And isn’t that how it is? Let’s liken the light to knowledge. As long as we stay in the dimly lit space of a closed mind, packed with what we know or sometimes we think we know and desperately hold on to, we never get to see the light. And because that space is not exposed to the bright light of knowledge, the dimly lit confines of a closed mind can make us see things the way I saw my lip stain…it looked Okay, even when it wasn’t. We would feel intelligent. As long as the light doesn’t come in and expose all the flaws in our thinking, we would feel like we really know and what we know if okay. 

Let the light in. Open your mind, your brains won’t fall out, trust me. 

By the way, I fixed the lip stain and went out looking great 😉

I’M NOT A FEMINIST 

I gave this title because I anticipate some people will place the label “feminist” on me after reading this (or before they even get done). This has been a defense some people use when a woman decides to think differently. 

Well, I’m not a feminist but that doesn’t mean I do not disagree with some views we have about what is acceptable or not from both genders. 

One thing that really plagues me is the views I get to encounter every other day about faithfulness and the male. And I think nothing gets to me more than the statement “it’s just a man’s thing to cheat”. I wonder why we have to use this as a reason why a lady should put up with unfaithfulness. 

Someone I know has a man she’s been dating who cheated on her. She told her mum and basically what her mum did was tell her to let it go because it’s just how men are. This is to say that she is telling her daughter to accept the reality that she cannot expect more from a man. To say the least, the advice made me cringe…Okay it offended me. Why do we have to drive it into our heads (as women) that it is okay to be cheated on because it’s in a man’s nature, therefore assuming that he’s “helpless” and can do nothing about it but succumb to cheating Every. Single. Time. Why do we embrace the term “loose woman” for a woman who is promiscuous but I have never heard the term “loose man” for a man in the same shoes? Or do we think that women do not have to deal with the temptation to cheat? We seem to raise the bar so high for the females and raise excuses for the males. This, in my opinion is imbalanced. 

Mothers please do not teach your daughters that they have to settle for being disrespected because “that is just the way it is”. Teach them to expect and demand better even though you had to go through such experience. By the way, let me quickly add that not all men cheat. Yielding to temptation is a decision. There are some men who stick with one woman (yes, they exist. I know some). So don’t settle with the mentality that demanding faithfulness is asking for too much. 

One last story. I was at a barbershop and this conversation came up, the Barber said, “Of course, it’s not okay for a woman to cheat but it’s permissible for a man because after all he’s the one providing”. I was amazed at this level of thinking, in 2017. Like whaaaaaaattttt? 😕

I’m not against forgiveness but there is nothing wrong with expecting better and demanding respect and loyalty. You are not helpless and without options. 

I was telling my bestfriend the other day that some of my wrong decisions have come from not listening to my mum (If she ever gets to read this, I’m sure she’d have that “I told you so” vibe going on but she deserves to 😀).  Those times I felt I had modern knowledge and the Internet, but she had something greater, wisdom gained through years of living before me, seeing ahead and learning from experience. Dad would most times say, this life is deep, very deep than the Internet oh, and dad is right. 

One of the greatest challenges we have as young people is not listening to elders. Maybe because we feel we are “more enlightened” in a sense, considering this era where we have the Internet just a click away, we have friends (our peers) we feel we could talk to and we have society, just look around and you’ll know what to do… I guess. Who needs some “elderly nuggets of wisdom” to choke on? Well, we need those nuggets. Here’s why:

That’s right, elders have lived before us and they have experience. I’m not saying they are always right, no, they are not but they are still worth listening to, especially those who are where you desire to be in life (I’m sure you desire to be in a good place). We don’t have all the time to make all the mistakes, it’s therefore wiser to learn from the mistakes of others who have gone ahead of us. It’s better to save ourselves years of learning from certain experiences, don’t you think so? 

I remember being told of how in those days, the kids (who are our parents now) would come together and sit at the feet of elders to listen to stories from which they could draw life lessons, some of these lessons helped them. This isn’t so popular these days since we’re busy with our phones and lives but I still think there’s so much value in a good old time spent listening to one who’s older and wiser. 

Last week I had a work meeting with my colleagues and our leader. He’s a respectable matured man. What started out as a work related meeting somehow turned into a relationship talk. Coming from a man who’s ahead of me in years and experience, I had to listen. My colleagues and I were like…Wawu (that’s a local wow). I had a great time learning for free by listening to an elder. Why should I make an unwise decison if I take those words to heart? 

No matter what we know, it’s still a good idea to listen to those who are ahead of us. 

4:58am Thoughts 

I’ve often wondered what it would look like if we were not governed by ideals. I mean, if we decided to be original, not controlled by what others think of us and not having to compare ourselves with others and measure ourselves by standards that were invented by man. I’m curious, what if we didn’t have to depend on pop culture to tell us who we should be, what we should wear, what we should be listening to and watching, to even shape our lives. What if I could put on clothes for my comfort and not be bothered that they are not in style or be a certain way and not be bothered that it is not popular. 
I wonder how stress free life would be if we were not about pleasing, being liked and maybe going as far as creating an illusion of who we truly are. What if we were authentic, what if we could have things that meet our most important needs and not care if we were falling behind in the possessions department? What if we could wear our hair the way we liked and not have to be so anxious about not having on the current styles. If we could walk around as free men content with who we are, totally set free from the need for approval and the struggle to belong. 

What if we stuck to timeless values and not have to be ashamed that we are old fashioned and not in sync with the times and what seems acceptable? What if we accepted that popular is not always right and right is not always popular? What if we did not have to be photocopies and shadows. I’m still wondering what it could be like if we were not so scared of looking stupid that we muffle and shrink ourselves and hide behind popular opinion? I remember sitting in a meeting, having a different idea from the rest of the group, yet sitting there, muffled, struggling with my thoughts I so wanted to let out, because it was going to be me VS them. I was silenced by my need to not have a different opinion from the group’s idea. I WAS MAD AT MYSELF. Why was I afraid of thinking differently, whether my thoughts were accepted or not? Even, there are times I have behaved differently because of popular opinion. 

What if we stopped being afraid of different and we could see God’s unique fingerprints in each of us shining forth in our personalities, our looks, our passions, in our entire being. What if we could become comfortable with “outside the box”.  What if we do not believe another human over our creator and then bow our heads in shame because of other people? What if we didn’t have to keep running away from ourselves because we are trying to catch up with everyone else? 

Necessary goodbyes, beautiful hellos

I used to be scared of goodbyes. There are times I get too comfortable with things, situations and even people and moving away from them becomes a battle. Why go through the stress of starting all over with something new when I’m already camping where I am? It’s not convenient, my heart aches for growth and something new but this in front of me is what I’m used to so I hold on tightly. Recently, I began to let go of that fear, in short, I have let it go because some goodbyes are necessary.  It is said you never know what you have until you lose it but it is also very true that you never know what you are missing until it arrives. But how will it arrive when you’re so busy holding on tightly to what you have, that you pay no mind to what could be? 

Sometimes we pitch our tents where we shouldn’t, not because that’s where we should be but because that’s what we are used to even when we know we can do better. For beautiful hellos to happen, there has to be some necessary goodbyes to some people, situations, habits, anything that holds us back. Goodbyes hurt but is there ever any change without pain? 

It is not always easy but remember necessary goodbyes could lead to beautiful hellos.