Monthly Archives: June 2018

Learning Identity

Today, I Conquered a Bad Business Habit

Most entrepreneurs know that if we could do everything ourselves, we would. For me, even the things I can’t do myself, I poke my nose in and control every detail, this way, stressing out the vendors and eventually running them off. This is as a result of me being a control freak and quite impatient when it comes to getting results from people. Also, when I run off the vendors, I don’t call them back, I just look for someone else to do the job

Recently I’ve been working on a project, I sleep, breathe and talk about the project so it is expected that I would be hands-on and extremely annoying to my vendors. Yesterday night, as I was about to send a long text of harsh complaints to one of them, I told myself to take a deep breath, and then I asked myself, “what good thing has this person done? Is he all that bad?” So I took a look at the project, and I sent a message, highlighting everything I liked about it and closed it with “ well done. Have a good night”

You see, subconsciously, I knew I had enough of running people off my projects instead of making allowance for them to do better, thereby slowing things down and stressing myself out

This morning, when I looked at the project again, I was still not happy with it but I wasn’t as angry as yesterday night. I then called the vendor and told him the things I didn’t like and how I would like him to resolve them. Someone who told me yesterday afternoon he would be busy all day today suddenly told me to stay on the phone to resolve the problems. In two hours of intense but respectful dialogue, everything I wanted to be done was accomplished. The vendor then said “I’m sorry I’ve been mixing things up, I promise to do better, and thank you for complimenting my work yesterday, it means a lot”

I don’t even know why that almost made me cry but I know for sure I was proud of myself. Patience is not easy to come by and when it matters most you want to be the leader who is making smart decisions based upon sound principles rather than angry reactions. I know Patience is one virtue that will serve me well. I just wish it didn’t take so long to learn.

™Diaryofanaijagirl ©

Diary Entry: 01/07/2017

Gayle King and Oprah Winfrey’s Fierce Bond: How Their 40-Year Friendship Has Outlasted Every Rumour, Spat and Scandal

Lisa: Well, let’s get right to it! Every time I tell somebody, “I’m interviewing Oprah and Gayle,” the response is always the same: “Oh.  Are they, you know, together?” 

Oprah: You’re kidding. Are people still saying that?

Lisa: Every single person. And I say, “No, I don’t think so.” And invariably, they respond with something like “You know, you’re very naive.”

Oprah: I understand why people think we’re gay. There isn’t a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women. So I get why people have to label it—how can you be this close without it being sexual? How else can you explain a level of intimacy where someone always loves you, always respects you, admires you?

Gayle: Wants the best for you.

Oprah: Wants the best for you in every single situation of your life. Lifts you up. Supports you. Always! That’s an incredibly rare thing between even the closest of friends.

Gayle: The truth is, if we were gay, we would so tell you because there’s nothing wrong with being gay.

Oprah: Yeah. But for people to still be asking the question, when I’ve said it and said it and said it, that means they think I’m a liar. And that bothers me.

Gayle: Well, particularly given how open you’ve been about everything else in your life.

Oprah: I’ve told nearly everything there is to tell. All my stuff is out there. People think I’d be so ashamed of being gay that I wouldn’t admit it? Oh, please.

Lisa: Do the rumours bother you, Gayle?

Gayle: Not anymore, but I used to say, “Oprah, you have to do something. It’s hard enough for me to get a date on a Saturday night. You’ve got to go on the air and stop it!” And then you realize you really can’t stop it. And, you know, somebody made a good point: “Well, every time we see you, you’re together,” which is true.

Oprah: We were just down in the Bahamas—I was giving a wedding for my niece there. And we’re having this big party in my suite. And who comes walking in—

Gayle: With my suitcase.

Oprah: With her suitcase! And I knew what all the waiters, what everybody was thinking: “They’re gay. This proves it. Has to be, because Stedman isn’t around.”

Gayle: And sure enough, the tabloid headline was OPRAH’S HIDEAWAY WITH GAL PAL. Ridiculous. But that said, I have to admit, if Oprah were a man, I would marry her.

Lisa: Sorry, Gayle, I just don’t buy it. Everyone knows Oprah’s not tall enough for you.

Oprah: She has a point.

Gayle: I do like them big.

Oprah: The truth is, no matter where I am, whether Stedman is there or not, Gayle’s in the other room. I mean, she’s always coming in and asking, “Whatcha doin’?”

Gayle: I really do marvel at this because if Stedman didn’t accept me, it would be very difficult for us to be friends.

Oprah: See, that would never be a question for me. If you don’t like my best friend, then you don’t like me. That’s not negotiable. Smoking is nonnegotiable. It’s just a deal breaker. Not liking my best friend—forget it! Or my dogs—you got to go!

Lisa: Oprah, how did you feel when Gayle got married?

Oprah: Actually, I was a little sad. Did I ever tell you that? Mostly because I just didn’t think it was going to work out.

Gayle: You didn’t? You never told me that.

Oprah: No—it didn’t feel joyful. You know how you go to weddings and they’re full of joy?

Gayle: Wait a minute! You didn’t think it was going to work out at the wedding?

Oprah: There are some weddings you go to and you’re just filled with all this hope for the couple. And you feel that there’s something special going on. I didn’t feel that at yours.

Gayle: But you were my maid of honour!

Oprah: Yes, but it just felt kind of pitiful. I never told you because it wasn’t my place to say that.

Gayle: I wouldn’t have believed you anyway.

Oprah: No. And also because I felt like, well, maybe it’s just me being jealous. Maybe I couldn’t feel the joy because I was feeling like our friendship was going to change. But it didn’t.

Lisa: What about when you had a baby, Gayle?

Gayle: Nothing really changed between us. Oprah was there. She came shortly after Kirby was born. She came shortly after Will was born. She was there.

Oprah: I thought it would change just in terms of time. But my gift to her was a full-time nanny.

Gayle: Right. The kids are 11 months apart, and Oprah goes, “I got you the perfect gift.” And I’m thinking, “Oh, good. She’s giving me a double stroller.” Back then double strollers were very expensive. But the gift turned out to be a nanny! She said, “I want to pay the nanny’s salary for as long as you feel you need her.”

Oprah: She kept that nanny for like seven or eight years. But what I love is that even as a working-outside-the-home mom, she was always there to put her kids to bed. She said, “I want my face to be the first face my kids see when they wake up and the last thing they see at night.” So it wasn’t like the nanny came and—

Gayle: Replaced me.

Oprah: I admire a lot of things about Gayle. But when I think about the way she raised her kids, that makes me weepy.

Gayle: Why weepy? That’s so surprising to me.

Oprah: Maybe I haven’t said it to you very often, but I say it to other people all the time. Gayle is the best mother I have ever seen, heard, or read about. She was always 100 per cent there for those kids—to this day. We’d be on the phone, in the middle of a conversation, and the kids would enter the room. This just happened last week, and her son’s 19. She goes, “Hi, Willser. You got your Willser face on. Mommy loves you. Good morning, Bear. Hi, Kirby-Cakes.” She stopped the conversation to greet them and let them know that they were seen and heard. And then she came back to the phone and carried on the conversation.

These kids have grown up with such love and support from Gayle, and also from Gayle’s ex-husband. I love the way she understood that though the marriage was not going to work, her husband still needed to have a space to maintain a strong relationship with these kids. That takes a real woman. It’s always, always, always been about what’s best for her children.

Gayle: Years ago when Oprah was thinking of leaving the show, she said, “You should move to Chicago, and we’ll incorporate you into the show. And then at the end of the year, I’ll pass the baton on to you—but you’d have to move to Chicago.” And I said, “I can’t do that because Billy wouldn’t be able to see the kids on a regular basis.”

Oprah: I said, “Do you realize what I’m offering?”

Gayle: And I go, “Yeah, I do.” But the kids were young, and I just said, “No, I can’t do that.”

Oprah: That’s why she’s the best, and her kids are the best. Her kids are my godchildren. There are shots of me riding around on all fours with Kirby—you know, playing horsey and stuff. I remember when William first came to the farm: He was running around saying, “Auntie O, you have a pool and a wacuzzi? Can you afford all this?”

When he was little, little, little, I had all these antique Shaker boxes. He was stacking them like

Gayle: Blocks.

Oprah: And knocking them over. I went, “William! Put those boxes down!” These kids weren’t used to anybody raising their voice—they were never spanked or yelled at. So he was like, wacuzzi or no wacuzzi, I’m outta here. And he told his mommy, “I want to go home.”

These kids made a lot of noise, and there were all kinds of bright yellow plastic things that made noise. And the TV was on and the same video was playing over and over and over. But Gayle helped me adjust.

Gayle: I’m always kind of taken aback, Lisa, when Oprah talks about me and the kids because I see a lot of mothers who feel about their children the way I feel about mine.

Oprah: But they don’t always have kids who turn out the way yours have. Everybody wants to raise good people, not just smart people at Ivy League schools and all that but good people. You have to be a good person to raise good people.

Lisa: Do you two talk every single day?

Gayle: We usually talk three or four times a day.

Oprah: Then there’s my night call. When she was on vacation with her sisters, and we hadn’t had a conversation, I realized I felt far more stressed. I’ve never had a day’s therapy, but I always had my night conversations with Gayle.

Gayle: We talk about everything and anything.

Oprah: What was on the show, what the person was wearing. What I really thought, what she really thought.

Lisa: Let me shift gears. It feels as if people are always trying to enlist my help in getting some kind of a letter to you, Oprah—and it’s usually for a worthy cause. But I was thinking, Gayle, you must get that every hour of every day. 

Gayle: Well, I know what Oprah would be interested in hearing and what she wouldn’t, and, you know, I’ve figured out a way to politely decline. But I love that people love her so much and are so interested in communicating with her, so I never look at it as a hassle or burden.

Oprah: She handles it. It’s one of the things that’s so amazing about this friendship. Gayle is more excited about my success than I am. It makes her genuinely happy. We’ve been friends since I was making $22,000 and she was making $12,000. We’ve made this journey together.

Gayle: Not much has changed, except now she’s making a stratospheric salary.

Oprah: The first time Gayle spent the night at my house was because there was a snowstorm and she couldn’t get home. She was a production assistant and I was the 6 o’clock anchor in Baltimore.

Gayle: Anchors and PA’s do not socialize—the newsroom hierarchy.

Oprah: But I said, “You can stay at my house.” The next day, we went to the mall.

Gayle: Remember Casual Corner? They had those two for $19.99 sales.

Oprah: I ended up buying two sweaters.

Gayle: I had to call my mother and say, “You know my friend Oprah? Guess what? She bought two sweaters!” I was into layaway back then, for one sweater. [Laughter]

Oprah: Years later, for my 42nd birthday, we were in Miami, and I decided I was going to buy myself a birthday present. So we were on our way to the mall, and we pass a car dealership where I spot a black Bentley in the lot. I’m like, “Oh my God, that is the most beautiful car.” So we pull over and I go in and buy that Bentley right on the spot. And I say to Gayle, “This is a Casual Corner moment.”

They get it all cleaned up, and it’s a convertible. The top is down, and guess what? It starts to rain. It’s pouring.

Gayle: And I say, “Shouldn’t we put the top up?”

Oprah: “No. Because I want to ride in a convertible on my birthday!” Anyway, Gayle was like, “You’re going to buy that right now? Shouldn’t you think about this or try to negotiate a better deal?” I said, “Gayle, that’s the same thing you said when I bought the two sweaters.”

Lisa: What’s that Paul Simon lyric? “After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same.”

Oprah: The scale got larger. I mean, you need a moment of silence every time I write a check for my income taxes.

Gayle: I can’t even wrap my head around all this. I knew she was talented, certainly, but who would’ve thought that it would get this big?

Oprah: One of my favourite moments was about ten, 12 years ago when we were in Racine, Wisconsin. We’re caught in a traffic jam because everyone was headed to the concert hall where I was speaking, and Gayle says, “Where are all these people going?” We pull up to the venue, and Gayle goes, “What’s going on here?”

Gayle: The cops were lined up, double rows.

Oprah: Gayle’s going, “Who’s here? Who’s here?” I go, “I am, you nitwit!”

Gayle: “You mean all these people are coming to see you?” I could not believe it. That was the first time it hit me.

Lisa: Gayle, when you started at the magazine, did either of you worry that working for Oprah might change the dynamic between you?

Gayle: I wasn’t worried. I don’t think Oprah was, either. But people did say, “Oh God, you should never work with your friend.”

Oprah: But that’s how I know people don’t understand this relationship because other people’s definition of “friend” isn’t what ours is. Just the other day, I was doing a show about when your best friend is sleeping with your husband. The ultimate betrayal. Well, that is not possible in this relationship.

Gayle: What I know for sure: I will never sleep with Stedman.

Oprah: What did you use to say, “If you ever find me in the bed with Stedman—”

Gayle: “Don’t even be mad. Just scoop me up and get me to a hospital, because you will know I’m very ill.”

Oprah: “Carry me tenderly out the door.”

Gayle: So people ask, “But how can you work for a friend?” I say it’s because I know that the magazine is called O. The bottom line is somebody has to have the final word. Oprah’s not right all the time, but her record is pretty damn good. That’s not to say you can’t disagree.

Oprah: That’s why Gayle’s so great for me at the magazine—she’s going to have almost exactly the same opinion that I do. But when she doesn’t agree, she’ll fight for her opinion as though there were a G on that magazine. We have “disagree,” and we have “strongly disagree.” If Gayle strongly, strongly feels something about somebody—

Gayle: It makes her pause.

Oprah: It makes me pause because she’s been my—she’s apple pie and Chevrolet. She loves everybody. So if there’s somebody she doesn’t like, that will get my attention because she’s truly everybody’s friend—far friendlier than I am. I would not call myself a friendly person.

Gayle: I’m very social.

Oprah: I’m not social. Nor am I all that friendly.

Gayle: All Oprah needs is a good book. My only request when she’s building any house is, “Could I please have a TV in my bedroom?” She goes, “You’re the only one who complains about not having a TV in the bedroom.” I go, “Well, everybody thinks it, they just don’t want to say it to you.”

Oprah: I don’t have TVs in any bedroom except Gayle’s. In my house, there’s a Gayle wing.

Gayle: I don’t want to offend her, but I’m never afraid to be truthful with her.

Lisa: So I’m hearing about differences. What are the similarities? 

Gayle: We became friends that first night because, for the first time, I met somebody who I felt was like me. I’d never met anybody like that. Certainly not another black girl. I grew up in an all-white community. I remember getting embarrassed in fourth grade when a boy in my class named Wayne said, “If it weren’t for Abraham Lincoln, you’d be my slave.” I can remember that very clearly. Oprah and I had the same sensibilities. We liked the same kind of music. We thought smart—

Oprah: Smart and articulate—

Gayle: Was not a bad thing.

Oprah: We were the only black girls in our schools, and I was the only black girl in my class who loved Neil Diamond. So when you’re around black folks, and they say, “Who’s your favourite singer—”

Gayle: I liked Barry Manilow.

Lisa: Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow? You guys were made for each other.

Oprah: It’s that whole being-the-odd-girl-out thing—we didn’t fit into everybody else’s perception of what it’s like to be a black girl.

Gayle: But we still had a very strong sense of being black and were very proud of being black. So to meet another black girl like that was, wow! And we were the same age, we were both single, and we just immediately bonded.

Oprah: But she was clearly upper middle class, and I was clearly from a very poor background. Gayle had a pool growing up!

Gayle: I had a swimming pool, a maid. We grew up very, very well.

Oprah: She had a maid. My mother was a maid. You know what I’m saying? I’d never met a black person with a maid. It was like, “Lord, really? At your house?”

Gayle: So that’s how we became friends that first night, and we’ve been friends ever since.

Oprah: See, we were always together in the newsroom. I remember when they decided to fire me—

Gayle: Not fire, demote.

Oprah: They wanted to fire me, but they couldn’t because of the contract. My $22,000 contract.

Gayle: They had run a big campaign: “What is an Oprah?”

Oprah: I’d been on the air, I started in September. By April they decided it wasn’t working, because of the anchorman—

Gayle: Didn’t like you.

Oprah: But I didn’t know it. I was so naive. The day they decided that they were going to take me off the 6 o’clock news, I said to Gayle—

Gayle: I’m just typing away at my desk. She goes, “Get in the bathroom now!

Oprah: We’d always meet in the bathroom. We were, like, “Oh my God. Do you think Jerry Turner knows?” Of course, Jerry Turner was the main anchor who was kicking my ass out, but we didn’t know that. Jerry was like, “Babe, I don’t even know what happened, babe.” You know, “Sorry, babe.”

Gayle: I was stunned.

Oprah: It’s like your life is over.

Gayle: You were going to see your dad that next day.

Oprah: And that was the hardest thing because I’d never failed in front of my father.

Gayle: He was so proud of you.

Oprah: It was devastating. But God closes a door and then opens a window. If I hadn’t been removed from the news, the whole talk show thing would have never happened.

But I didn’t know that then. It was like the end of the world. You are the 6 o’clock main anchor, and there’s been this huge promotional campaign. But I learned from that. When I came into Chicago, I said, “I will not have a big ad campaign. I will earn the respect and credibility of each viewer. I will not set myself up to fail.”

Lisa: Gayle, has Oprah ever said anything about you on the air that inadvertently crossed the privacy line? For example, when I was pregnant, I had the show on, and—

Gayle: Oh, I know, I know, I know. When she said I pooped all over the table during the birth. People literally stopped me on the street after that one.

Oprah: You know, in retrospect I might have thought a little more before saying that. But I was talking about pregnancy, what actually happens—and that’s one of the things people never tell you. She goes, “Well, listen—”

Gayle: “Next time you’re talking about shitting on a table, keep my name out of it!” I was a news anchor by then: “I’m Gayle King, Eyewitness News.” And I’d get people saying, “Yes, I saw you on the news—I didn’t know you pooped all over.”

Lisa: Let’s stay on bodily functions for a second. My best friend, Brenda, and I have established the Sunny von Bülow pact: If something ever happens to one of us, whoever’s still mobile has to come by every three weeks and pluck any unseemly facial hair.

Oprah: We don’t have that pact because it would happen automatically.

Gayle: My only instructions have been to go get her journals.

Lisa: And if something happens to you? 

Gayle: I would just want her to be involved in my children’s lives—always.

Oprah: Which we would do. Her children are my children. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her, there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for me. There is a line of respect that is unspoken, on both our parts.

I remember once when Gayle came to my house: I was already making a lot of money, and she was making not a lot of money. And we discovered I had $422 in my pocket.

Gayle: $482.

Oprah: Okay, $482.

Gayle: But who’s counting?

Oprah: I had $482 just sort of stuck into a coat pocket.

Gayle: In your pants pocket. You know how sometimes you just find a five? Or a 20 is like, whoo! She pulls out $482.

Oprah: Okay, you tell the story.

Gayle: In 20s. And I’d gotten to Chicago on a Super Saver ticket; you know, back when you had to buy 30 days in advance for a decent price. She was living in Chicago, and I was married, and we had scrimped—I remember that once Billy and I didn’t have $10 to go to the movies. He was in law school and I was the only one working. So for her to pull out $482 was like, wow! She goes, “God, where’d this come from? You want it?” And I went, “Oh, no. No. I’m good. I’m fine.” But I’m thinking, “God, that would pay the light bill, the phone bill, the gas bill.” And she just puts it back. It’s probably still in that damn pocket. She was just extending a gesture, just being nice: “Oh, you want it?”

Oprah: But years later, she said, “You remember that time you pulled out the $482?”

Gayle: I said, “I wanted that money so bad!”

Oprah: “I needed that money so bad, but I wouldn’t take it.” You know what that’s like? That is incredible for somebody like me who lives in a world where everybody wants a piece of you. I mean, people feel they deserve a piece of you. Strangers think that.

Gayle: Now I happily accept all gifts. No, but I just wouldn’t have felt right.

Oprah: She’s never asked me for a dime. There is a level of mutual respect that comes from being with somebody you know doesn’t want anything from you but you. There will never be an ulterior motive. I have to say, this would have been a much different relationship had that ever happened. Not that I wouldn’t have done it, but in order to have a real friendship, you have to be equals.

Gayle: That’s not necessarily financial equals.

Oprah: No, equal in respect. I can’t put myself in a position where I need you to do things for me or expect you to do things for me with any kind of strings attached.

Gayle: Yeah, I never feel lesser than, or one down. Never.

Oprah: But let me just say this, too. The person who has the money has to have a generous spirit. Early on, when I started to make a lot of money and we’d go shopping, I’d say, “Look, the deal is this: If you see something you really want, I’ll get it. I don’t want to play this, ‘No, no, no, you don’t have to buy that for me,’ because I’m really willing to get it for you.” I do that now with all my friends.

Lisa: That makes sense. Otherwise, you would have all this money and nobody to enjoy it with. 

Oprah: What you don’t want is a situation where the person always expects that you’re going to be the one to pay. Otherwise, you’re just the bank, and nobody wants to be seen as an ATM machine.

Lisa: People ache for connection. 

Gayle: They do, they really do.

Lisa: They want someone who doesn’t have an agenda, doesn’t see you filtered through the prism of their own needs.

Oprah: Absolutely not. And so in a way, our friendship is better than a marriage or a sexual relationship. You know, there’s no such thing as unconditional love in a marriage as far as I’m concerned, ’cause let me tell you, there are some conditions. So don’t ask me to give you unconditional love, because there are certain things I won’t tolerate. But in this friendship, there isn’t an expectation because there isn’t a model for something like this. There isn’t a label, there isn’t a definition of what this is supposed to be. It can be all that it can be, and it’s extraordinary, in terms of the level I’ve been able to achieve and to have Gayle by my side as happy as I am for those accomplishments.

Gayle: My God. Sometimes you don’t even realize how big it is. You don’t. Maybe I’ll get some perspective years from now when we’re sitting on a porch somewhere looking back on it all.

Lisa: Do you ever think about who’s going first?

Gayle: I think about when we get old, but I can’t imagine life without Oprah. I really can’t. I’ll go first if I can be 90 and you can be 91.

Oprah: Something about this relationship feels otherworldly to me like it was designed by a power and a hand greater than my own. Whatever this friendship is, it’s been a very fun ride—and we’ve taken it together.
SOURCE: oprah.com

 

Forgiveness

Mastering The Art of Forgiveness On World Forgiveness Day

Forgiveness can sometimes be one of the toughest traits to master.  Different life scenarios require some level of forgiveness in a day – like forgiving a driver who almost bashed your car in traffic or a co-worker throwing you under the bus at work or someone bumping into you.  For situations like this, you can decide to maintain the act of calmness and make conscious efforts not to allow them to get to you. However, some hurt runs deep and forgiveness becomes laboured.

I would know this because of a situation I found myself in 11 years ago. My best friend had just gotten a good paying job and he was constantly busy.  My calls were either missed or he had little or no time to talk. We had a fight one day  (I can’t remember what it was about now) and I promised myself I wasn’t going to call him to resolve it.  To me as that then my decision was a logical one.  The fight went on for about two weeks, by the second week I had a very strong urge in my spirit to call him to resolve our fight but I kept fighting it.  Close to the end of the week, on  a Thursday by 8 pm I was going to dial his number but pride, I said to myself “why do I always have to be the matured one that resolves arguments and says sorry?”

Three days after, I got a call, my best friend had passed away that Thursday night and his family members had buried him immediately. The times we spent together flashed through my mind’s eye and I couldn’t believe unforgiveness had cost me a chance to hear his voice one more time. Ultimately, unforgiveness had cost me saying goodbye to him. I don’t know how I went through that period and I can’t confidently say that I have gone through all the phases of grieving because I still have flashbacks and it still hurts when I do.

However, I can say the experience taught me some things about the art of forgiveness;

Forgiving someone doesn’t take away my power:

It is only my pride/ego talking when I feel like if I forgive someone it takes my power away. When I choose to forgive somebody, I am actually regaining my power by releasing what they did to me from my subconsciousness and in that way, it no longer subtly affects me – psychologically.

Forgiveness brings about a release of energy:

Anger and resentment consume a lot of energy to harbour, which can make one less productive if care is not taking. Ever wondered why when you forgive someone and it feels like a heavy weight is lifted off your shoulders? – Well, it is because anger and resentment no longer drain you of your energy.

Forgiveness is a gift:

You shouldn’t forgive someone because you expect them to make it up to you. I should forgive and have no expectations. Forgiveness is a gift and when you truly give someone a gift you don’t expect something in return.

Forgiveness doesn’t equate enablement:

11 years ago I thought forgiving was the same thing as allowing people to hurt me. I have come to realise I can forgive someone and acknowledge the fact that what they did wasn’t okay.

You don’t have to know the reasons why before you forgive:

You don’t have to wait until you understand why somebody did what they did before you forgive them. The truth is everyone has different life principles and because you consider something wrong doesn’t mean it is wrong and unacceptable to other people. Remember that when you forgive, you aren’t asking for anything in return—including an explanation.

You might have to forgive more than once:

You might have to forgive people more than once and that doesn’t make you the fool it is just that sometimes people never learn from there mistakes. So you cannot forgive with the condition they don’t repeat their actions. True forgiveness is unconditional. However, you can decide to do away with such people but forgive them before you do.

Believe in paying it forward:

Consider forgiveness an act of paying it forward. Perhaps someone will forgive you one day. Perhaps even this person you are forgiving now will remember this, and be in a position to forgive you one day.

I hope you will decide to choose forgiveness today and always! Have a fab day!

Written by Oluwayomi for Diaryofanaijagirl.

 

 

 

Perserverance

From Crashing Weddings to Being a Celebrity Photographer, Akintayotimi’s Success Story is Rooted Firmly in Perseverance

DANG: YOU SAID BEFORE YOU GOT INTO PHOTOGRAPHY, YOU WERE MANY THINGS, YOU WERE KEKE MARUWA OWNER, OWNED A RECORDING ALL THAT. COULD YOU TELL US HOW YOU TRANSITION FROM ALL OF THAT AND WHY YOU DECIDED YOU WEREN’T GOING TO WORK FOR ANYONE?

TIMI: During my third year, we were expected to do industrial training and I was opportune to work at Reddington Hospital, I spent 6months there and I learned a lot. The experience also made me realize that I have no interest in a 9-5 job in the long run.

After school, I bought a Keke plying Ajah to Badore, I opened a recording studio and a barbing salon. Also, I invested in a friend’s pure water business and I ventured into making class frames. It was then photography came to light. I did not quit the recording studio when I began photography, I just divided the apartment in two. In whatever I was doing then, I looked the part and it was hard to say no to my offer.

I took photography classes from Youtube and partnered with event planners. I will go to weddings to take pictures. That period was the beginning of the revolution of weddings in Nigeria and security wasn’t a top priority as it is now, making it easy for me to sneak in to take several pictures. I  grew from there and with time every other business dropped.

DANG: WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR OFFICIAL FIRST SHOOT?

TIMI: I can’t remember the date exactly but it was in the year 2014.  I can remember the details, they were twins and I charged them 50k with albums. I think I gave the money to the church because I was so excited.

DANG: WHAT EXACTLY WAS IT THAT CAPTIVATED YOU ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY

TIMI: It was the fact that I could work with people. Over time I’ve come to realize that I am an ambivert. As much as I like to stay at home a lot, am actually like a people’s person, I love to have a good conversation, I like to talk, and I love to rub minds. You know being a photographer makes you meet a lot of people and it’s so much fun when you discuss, how did you guys meet, and they tell you crazy stories, it’s very interactive and that’s one thing I love about it.

DANG: WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT THIS IS IT FOR ME

TIMI: It was when I started looking at other reputable photographers wedding pictures. Aside from YouTube or Google, I was checking out blogs and websites of photographers that had one. I got fascinated by their works, looking at what they were doing differently. The beauty in their works made me hunger for more and it was then I felt it.

DANG: HOW DOES PHOTOGRAPHY INFLUENCE YOUR THINKING IN THE WAY OF LIFE?

TIMI: Photography has redefined my definition of beauty, it has made me realize that there is beauty in everything and everywhere. When I shoot I don’t go for someone who the society terms as perfect, I go for who I can connect with. As a photographer, you need to connect with people to tell their stories through the lens of a camera. Photography has made me appreciate the beauty in people’s stories and it has helped me see the world because travelling the world isn’t only luxurious, it’s educating.

DANG: AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE PHOTOGRAPHY WASN’T A PROFESSION OR PASSION BUT ALSO A CASH COW FOR YOU?

TIMI: It wasn’t a cash cow initially or rather, that wasn’t my motive when I started. I took on a lot of free jobs when I started. It was a new rave for me and I had no idea where it was going to lead to. I just felt this is my new craze and after a year I would just dive into something else. However, my mantra then was,  find a man who’s passionate about what he does, and he will stand amongst kings.  I just feel at some point there will be a breaking point where, my hard work, my passion, and my desire is going to bring financial returns.

DANG: WHEN OR WHAT JOB CLICKED?

TIMI: It was a job I did which wasn’t my job directly. I posted it online and it got a lot of reposts. Everyone wanted to know who Akintayo is. And about a week after, I got an email from Bellanaija saying they want me to be part of the photographers to shoot for Psquare’s wedding and from there, my status transformed from photographer to celebrity photographer and I  tried my best to maximize my new celebrity status.

DANG: HOW DID YOU MAXIMIZE IT?

TIMI: Well to an extent I was already in the public light, I had to push harder for people to realize I was a working photographer.  The harder I worked the higher my services were demanded and then I began to reflect on my prices. That was when I realize I could earn a living from this and live a decent life at least more than my bosses were living at the hospital.

DANG: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS BROUGHT YOU SUCCESS MORE, GRACE, EDUCATION, LUCK, NETWORKING OR PERSEVERANCE?

TIMI: You know your work has to speak for itself for you to be flown to any part of the world for a shoot even when there are amazing photographers in those countries. All I will say is, it is grace. Education to me is not what you studied, it is having a general knowledge of how things work, interacting with people. I didn’t finish school with the best result, but I dabble in different things.

DANG: YOU KNOW EDUCATION HELPS YOU SELL  ALL OF THESE THINGS

TIMI: Yea, it helps you package yourself better. I don’t like the fact that people could call me paparazzi or oluya. I have come to realise that most times you are addressed as you have dressed. And if I am dressed accordingly it’s in high terms you will not call me paparazzi.  To an extent, it is because of education  I’ve been able to see a loophole. I’ve been able to find a way to work around it.

Perseverance is key, you just have to keep going even when it doesn’t seem like. Although the story I just gave you now makes it look like a sweet sailing process, I’ve had to do free jobs, I’ve had to be patient, I have had to learn to focus on my lane and believe in myself and time.

There was a time I was with my colleagues who relocated from foreign countries, we were having a discussion about what the various thing we were all dealing with and they will say things like they are working for this big company and they’re making $5000 per month. They will stop amidst conversations and to say  TY, what’s up with you? I tell them I’m a photographer and it looks like, dude but we went to the same school, where did it all go wrong exactly?

For me, what was even more challenging was the fact that my parents weren’t over pintable notion of primary school, secondary school as well. So, if I had it up to here, there was a job for me, waiting for me, I will just walk into administrative because there will always be something, but I knew what I wanted to persevere and then luck, let’s replace luck with taking opportunities or discerning the opportunities and just taking it and grabbing it.

A lot of people see opportunities and they are probably too slow or they procrastinate or they are not just fast enough to decipher opportunities that are staring at them in the eyes. It’s something that I’ve picked up over time. It’s not luck per say, it’s just discerning there is an opportunity in front of me and doing it. Even though it may seem like a stupid decision now, there is a bigger picture coming and that’s it.

DANG: IS THERE A PARTICULAR TIME FOR YOU TO GET THE PERFECT PICTURE, RIGHT ANGLE, SHADOW BLEND AND ALL?

TIMI: Those that are into photography come into it for different reasons and we all have different styles. For me, as a wordy photographer, I am more of a storyteller. I like to document the days as it goes by. I barely alter anything so, I’m the least photoshop guru. However, if I were to be a portrait photographer, I’m not documenting anything I’m not telling any story, I’m just taking a flattering picture of a subject.  Then, Photoshop will be one of my mantras but I can adjust because I want to get the best.

That said, for me, it’s not really a function of a good time to take a picture or a bad time to take a picture. As a wedding photographer, I’m always at alert you never want to miss a moment. Once you’re always alert even if you’re a bad photographer, you’re bound to get something. The concentration level I have, differentiate me from than other wedding photographers. I’m not technical when it comes to pictures, it’s not a sport, there are no rules even if there are rules, you break them.

DANG: WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT FROM AND OTHER WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS?

TIMI: The value I add to myself is what differentiates me. And a couple of other things. My personality  I honestly feel my personality goes a long way. My ability to switch from my serious side to a playful side and from a playful side to serious side. My personality shines through my work.

DANG: WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO RIGHT NOW?

TIMI: I’ve always liked Jide Alakija, I love his works. Another person I like his works is Joshua Dwayne. Both photographers are based in New York

DANG: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW WHEN YOU STARTED TAKING PHOTOS?

TIMI: Hmmm, I guess I eventually knew that with time everything will fall into place. I was too worried asking myself if I really wanted to be a photographer, can I have a life, can I marry, can I have kids? They were doubts, let’s be honest but if I had known that if you persevere for a long time you can have it all. If I had known this back then, the time I spent worrying, I would have used it to do other things.

DANG: WHAT GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE NOW?

TIMI: Experience. I’ve done so many projects, which has given me the opportunity to practice, learn, and grow. Experience has made me confident but then, also investing in myself has really made me confident. I do a lot of investment in myself and that’s why, when I pull my records for the end of last year, I realized that I spent $5270 on learning something new. Only when I do that can I have confidence because I knew I’ve learnt something. But if you’re not learning anything, you will keep getting the same results.

DANG: TO A BEGINNER, HOW DO YOU BUILD A PORTFOLIO?

TIMI: First of all, don’t crash weddings like I did. Try to network and associate yourself with a lot of people you admire. It may be a painful task but trust me it works.  I do get a lot of messages from people saying; I want to come intern with you.  Just keep trying, the guy I work with now, is a product of perseverance. I got tired, I blocked him on all social media platforms, but he kept coming and then I called him in, he worked fantastically well and that was it.

Don’t have that hammered mentality, don’t be in hurry for that, let’s the passion led you and then the funds will come in eventually. Be consistent, improve in yourself, don’t squander that money. Put back into what has given you this, so that you can get more. I think that’s really it. Peer pressure can be really horrible. Don’t associate yourself with people that make you feel you’re making the wrong decision or don’t see the value in you. In my first two years, I made a decision that 3 sets of people that I don’t work for; I don’t work for an extended family member, church, and I don’t work for friends who don’t value me.

 

#DANGTRAVELDIARY DAY 2: Still on the Visa Russian Experience, Who Would Have Thought My Village People Will Follow Me To Russia?

On the day of the Nigeria-Argentina match, Visa took us on a “Warm up” Tour. This means we would be right by the field watching our team warm up. We were given these simple instructions “Do not scream when you see your team. Do not wave at them. Do not shout instructions at them”.

First, I’m quite disciplined. I generally compose myself in public except of course I’m in a John Legend, Wizkid or Tuface concert. I’ll scream my head off and dance away. But, I needed to know what the consequence would be if my home training was suddenly seized by my village people in Nigeria. So I asked our Visa representative “what would happen if I screamed or talked to the players?”. He said to me “We’ll have to get you off the field”.

Ah! That would be bad for my reputation. What would I tell the DANG community? I told myself I must compose myself.

We got to the field, it was empty. So, I started chatting up a Nigerian photographer with an inspiring story (To be posted soon). I was so engrossed in the discussion with him I didn’t see when the Naija team trooped into the field but the sudden cheer from the crowd distracted me so I looked to the field to see what was causing the cheer, it was our dear Nigerian team, walking majestically into the field, chatting amongst themselves, smiling a little, looking confident.

If I wanted to stretch my hands to touch one of the players, I could. They were so close to us Nigerians and as they spread across the field to warm up, my inner self cautioned me: Breath Ife. Don’t scream. Don’t move. Don’t call names. Stay calm. My inner self cautioned.

I looked at the Visa representative standing behind me, said “I’m sorry” then shouted at the top of my voice, “Go boys. We love youuuuu. We’re rooting for youuuuu…. You can do thissss…” My voice went up a notch at every sentence. I heard the Visa representative laugh, I turned around to see him bent over in laughter.

“Am I in trouble?” I asked him sheepishly. When he recovered from his bout of laughter, he shook his head and said “No you’re not. Let’s go behind the net to see the goalkeepers practice.

Phew! I blame my My village people, they tried it!

Ignoring The Signs Is A Good Way To End Up At The Wrong Destination : Diary of an Abused Woman

This year would make it 7 years since I got married to a supposed God-fearing man but he is a beast with the rage of the devil. We met in Church, he was a worker, who has been working in the vineyard of the Lord for about 10 years before we met. After dating for 9months we announced in the church we were getting married. I got a lot of cold reactions from members( but I ignored them thinking they were probably jealous a new church member came to steal their fervent brother in the Lord).

Those who were bold enough told me I would need to be very patient with him. When I met his younger sister, she told me her brother was better than the person he used to be. However, all those warnings did not make sense to me because I was in love.  Fast forward to 5 months into the marriage, my hubby slapped me ( I was 4 months Pregnant) because I had taken my time to get dressed for his friend’s introduction. He came back shortly after to beg me, after which he insisted we attended the ceremony together. We got to his friend’s brother’s house and we waited for 4 hours before his friends family got ready to go to the bride’s family house in Mowe.

When he gets upset, he calls me unimaginable names such as slut, mad, crazy, ill-lucked. He wouldn’t stop until he rains curses on me, insults my parents & my entire generation. He once beat the living day out of me shortly after giving birth to our son because he insisted on naming our son his late father’s first, and second name. He also insisted the names would be registered in the same sequence on our child’s birth certificate.

As if that’s not enough, he spends my money at will and uses my atm cards to run his businesses ( he is into building construction). Three years back, he forced me to obtain a loan for the advancement of his business and he has not given me a dime to pay back the loan. I have solely been responsible for paying back the money monthly from my meagre salary ( the loan runs for 4 years). I am saddled with the responsibility of running the house, he has never given me money for the upkeep of the house, but I have never complained.

Presently, I am exhausted from the emotional trauma, this man has put me through. I am tired of trying so hard to please him( I would do anything to make him happy or avoid an altercation). I have become so edgy and I trip off at the slightest provocation.

Two days ago, we had an argument about money. My father kept some money with me ( over 1million naira). My hubby got a contract around that time and he  needed money to execute it. I stupidly gave him part of my Daddy’s money with the promise he would pay back. He completed the project and was paid about 7million naira, but he has refused to pay back the money I lent him. Earlier, this week I told him my daddy called to ask for his money, he rudely asked if he should go rob a bank or commit suicide because he owns my father money. He concluded it by saying “we should do our worst”.

I got so angry as usual and we had an altercation. He took his time to abuse & curse me, my parents and my generation. He reminded me how he is 10years older than I am and he went as far as opening the doors to our apartment for our neighbours to listen in ( we live in an Estate, so you can imagine the situation).

Our last argument has made him  change the locks to the house. He has refused me entrance into the house to pack my belongings. My family & church members are trying to mediate the situation but honestly, I am so tired. I don’t think I want to remain with a disrespectful, unforgiving,  immature and vile man with the rage of the devil.

How do I move on from a marriage I have invested my whole life into with two lovely children? I am presently shattered and I can’t stop blaming myself for being stupid. I should have never ignored the warning signs. We shoule have never been here in the first place.

Written by Olajumoke for Diaryofanaijagirl

#DANGTRAVELDIARY Day1: Visa’s Hospitality and Amazing Surprises.

It took almost 18 Hours to get to St. Petersburg from Nigeria. We had a 4-hour stopover in Turkey and another 3-hour flight to Russia. I was tired, a little cranky and all I wanted to do was go to bed once we arrived at the hotel.

From arrival in Russia, it was very difficult for me to stay tired or cranky. The Visa team made us feel welcome. “Let’s help you with your bags” “have some water”. “Should we see you off to the bathroom” “you must be tired”. All of these with smiles on their faces.

I relaxed a little bit and smiled more. Then we got to the hotel and I could not be more amazed by the reception we got. Especially Ilya and Hana, they were professional yet sweet. I told Ilya “when can we get to our room? I’m so tired”. He said “I know. I’m so sorry. You need to register at the Visa hospitality lounge first then you can go rest. In the meantime, I can help with your bag”. He dragged our bags into the elevator with us and followed us to the lounge.

Hana kept cooing into my ears “we have a surprise for youuuuu”. She looked excited. I became excited too, and I forgot for a minute about how tired I was. “Tell me, tell me. I like surprises”

She then said, “two actually.”  Okay… now I was curious. I trailed behind Hana to the registration desk and in minutes, the lady behind the desk whisked out two Visa cards for my friend and I. “Here, you get to shop on Visa’s account.”. My friend was super excited, she began to dish out questions…”are you sure? We can do anything with the card? Good shopping, anything?”  Hana nodded in the affirmative even though she was quick to let us know there was a limit but then, it was such an unexpected gesture for her.

Then we saw the other surprise…and my heart beat rate spiked. Oh no!!! Visa! You didn’t! 

I’ll tell you the surprise tomorrow. But, can you guess? 

 

football

The Power of Football: My Russian Experience

At the Airport in Istanbul, while we waited at the gate to board our flight to Russia, Nigerians and Argentines argued about football technicalities and how one will whoop the other tomorrow. 

The banter continued until someone mentioned club football. In minutes,  sides changed. Nigerians and Argentines were no longer grouped as countries but as fellow club fans. The change was amazing because those who had just trashed each other as patriots have now become team members. Fellow countrymen no longer took sides with one another. This is football, the love for it seemed to be beyond what country they’re from.

Nigerians and Argentines were no more threatening to score a dozen goals against each other, citizens of both counties seated by that airport departure gate, wearing different jerseys had become fast friends as they discussed international club football.

When the time came for us to board, these strangers walked into the plane together, laughing out loud, leading one another, and exchanging hotel addresses.

I smiled. This was good to see.  Football, uniting the world and breaking down barriers.

This trip is sponsored by Visa. They’re everywhere I want to be. 

 

“I Have Learnt To Never Judge People By Their Mistakes Because I Have Made Some Myself”- Vector on Recovering From Downtime

Through my downtimes, I realised certain things:

First, I realised the power of women.
The truth is, I tried as much as possible not to let the downtime weigh me down but then, I didn’t know how to deal with emotions. Kudos to my girlfriend, she pulled her weight. There was a time I got really drunk due to all of the pressure, my girlfriend came to get me and found me in the toilet. She didn’t leave, she didn’t get disgusted, she stood by me. She tried to be there however she could.

Second, I realized that truly, at the end of it all, you’re all by yourself. So, I began to appreciate life more, it then made sense to me to be around people who I care about genuinely and those who genuinely care about me but I had ignored due to my busy schedule and fame. It just happened that around that time, my dad died. I wish we’d spent more time together, done nice things together more but I was always travelling.

I also realized the power of prayer. I was so into the heat of the moment and the race of the competition, I would forget to pray. Prayer elevated my spirit because whatever/whomever you believe in and you pray to, gives you some sort of energy and faith yourself. For me, I prayed to God and the moment I prayed and connected to my belief, my energy was renewed. I began to believe I can be better and do better

DANG: NOW THAT YOU’RE OUT OF THAT DOWNTIME, WHAT WAS THE ULTIMATE LESSON FOR YOU?

VECTOR: Few are the artists that have gone through my ordeal and are still artists till today. One ultimate thing I learnt during this time was never to judge people’s mistakes because I’ve gone wrong in my own ways and I’ve learnt from it. Karma will hit us all at some point in our lives, let’s stay calm, learn from it, grow from it and become better people

Whatever you’re going through right now, there is a reason why you’re being humbled with that experience. Take life and everything that happens to you as a process of growth. You must grow from your pain or it would have been a waste of your time and God’s.

#FlashbackFriday: When an African Parent Tells You “put it on my head”. Don’t Do It

I remember one time, mama just got back from a party, her gele (head tie) pushed up to rest on her forehead, indicating tiredness from too much Jollof (literally and figuratively). I was seated by the landline, waiting on a call from my abroad boyfriend while I read a Nora Roberts novel. I was immersed in the book, so I greeted her with the least enthusiasm ever, Ekaabo (Translation: Welcome).

“Hmmmm” she responded. If my brain was functioning at capacity at the time, I would have known that was a bad sign, but Nora Roberts got me hooked. I didn’t have time for anything or anyone, not even my own mother who pushed me out of her jajaina. From the corner of my eye, I saw mama remove her gele without untying it and handed it over to me. This is the way our living room was set up: Our landline had a special table and chair away from the living room sette, right behind the 3-seater. The 3 seater was closely connected with stools in the middle as demarcators. Mum was seated on the 3-seater which means she had two stools, a couple of settes and the extra space beside her to place her gele.

But she avoided all those and passed it to me. Still distracted, I collected the gele and asked: “what should I do with this?”.She mumbled something, I didn’t hear. I believe I was reading the chapter where the hunk had slammed the door and walked away, leaving his romantic interest sprawled on the floor crying in agony. Did she hold her chest to keep her heart from breaking into tiny little pieces? I can’t remember. But, it was an agonising time in Nora Roberts land and I just needed to knw if the hunk would turn back to make things right. They always turn back. Still, I had to know.

In the midst of all these, I asked mama “ma?” She repeated herself “I said put it on my head now”. Oh. Okay. She was probably going out again. I dropped my novel, face down, and I moved the telephone designated chair closer to mama and helped place the gele firmly on her head. I checked to see that I had done a good job and then I attempted to move back to my previous position to continue reading.

I don’t know what landed on the floor first, the book, the chair or me. Mama had a mean backhand and she flung it straight in my direction, hitting me smack in the face, causing all of us (book, chair and I) to hit the floor almost simultaneously. Nora Roberts landed faded quickly, I returned to real life, where there was no hunk and my mum was queen.  Shock kept me on the floor, as I watched mama calmly remove her gele and strut to her room with a warning side eye.

What have I done now? I thought ti myself. It took a minute but I eventually got it.

Shoot! Error!!!

Damn Nora Roberts!

Find your groove

Find Your Groove. Own It. Dance To It: How Ife Got Her Groove Back!

Find Your Groove. Own It. Dance To It.

I have extreme flaws, one of them used to be; trying to make people feel better about my ambitions. When I’m asked about my plans, I would worry that people may not understand or that I may intimidate them, so I either say nothing or simply be modest in my response.

Someone once told me, “You’re dropping too much content on your page, you’ll burn out and run out of things to say. Slow down, you have all the time in the world”.  My answer should have been “I enjoy writing, why should I stop doing that because I’m afraid my talent will run out?” Instead, I said, “Really? what do you suggest?”

Not like I intended accepting her suggestion but that was the best way to not seem over-ambitious.

Another time, a friend advised me to include some sort of celebrity/sensational news in my blogging style as this was what “brings the crowd to your platform”. my response should have been: “I trust absolutely in my abilities to hold my own without dragging people down in the process”. I didn’t say that, instead I smiled and said I’d think about it.

In my business, when I was asked to quote a price or margin for my product, I know exactly what price I’d like to set, but I didn’t want to seem over-ambitious, especially when clients say “you like money too much madam”. So, I tone it down a notch, give a lower price than I intended and then feel bad about it later.

I know what I want, I just didn’t like for people to judge me for it.

Things changed when I read “The Girl Entrepreneur” by Ibukun Awosika. I realized in no way would I reach my full potential if I continued to underprice myself, tone it down or slow things down because I don’t want people to feel bad. These same people who are living their best lives…

I then made up my mind to ask for what I deserve and speak like I mean it, I actually wrote down a list of people I needed to set right. I told my friend who was a client, I was done with lowering my prices just so I won’t look bad. “Henceforth I will demand what I know I deserve and we can take it from there”.

Guess what? She did not argue, I bet in her mind she thought “It’s about time”.

when the lady who suggested I may run out of things to write messaged me again and said, “Madam you’re still doing that thing we talked about”. I responded, “LOL. I love it”.  With a smile and heart emoji. She unfollowed me and I didn’t even notice.

It was like I found a new superpower, I stood up straighter and looked into people’s eyes when I told them my ‘ridiculous plans’. Now, I revel in my ambitions, I don’t feel like I owe anyone an apology and I feel so much satisfaction in fulfilling my purpose. In my mind’s eyes, the door to possibilities is wide open, I just have to walk in and explore.

This is such an exhilarating feeling.

If you’re reading this, Find your groove. Own it. Dance to it.  And when you need counsel, your soul always knows who to listen to and what their motives are.

#DANG

Vividly

The Time I Almost Committed Murder : Postpartum Chronicles

I vividly remember when I had my first child. Every day of the pregnancy was bliss. I was so strong and energetic that I didn’t know I was in labour until the doctor advised he checked if I was due for labour, to our surprise  I was already in labour. That evening, my husband and I decided to have a cup of Ice-cream and Sharmawa just because; “It was our last night of freedom, and we were going to enjoy  ourselves .”

The next day, had me strolling into the hospital to give birth to my precious baby. Barely less than 40 minutes into active labour, she came forth, no words can explain what I felt at that moment. Then came the time to sew the cut I had, they gave me anaesthetics and then the light went off.

You can imagine the pain that was waiting for me after the light came back on. The drug had waned off, they had to sew me without any anaesthetics.. Olorun mii. The pain was worse than labour was for me.

I had done all the needful to prepare myself for the experience of breastfeeding but I was not ready for the aftermath of the painful sewing of my vagina. When the procedure was done and it was time to feed my daughter, viola! No breastmilk

The nurses kept pressing my nipple (imagine the pain again) and when they saw my nipple was clean and still no milk, we were advised to wait. We waited again and again for two days, but all that came out was tiny drops of breast milk. My daughter was crying uncontrollably, but I had heard people say exclusive breastfeeding is the only way, and any other way doesn’t make you mother enough. So, I was persistent…

People will call me and the first thing they will ask is “hope you are lactating well, you must do exclusive breastfeeding please no artificial milk abeg”

Nobody asked if I was doing ok?  If I was resting enough if I was relaxed and adjusting well as a new mother. They were rather concerned about the exclusivity of the breast but not about the breast owner.

Less we forget I was in excruciating pain. Nothing was healing at all and in less than a month from delivery, the worst thing happened ….” My awful menstrual period started.”

Looking back at that time, I wasn’t as informed as I was then. Thank God for my husband, he’s a true man. He is really the priest over my life. I really wanted to be a complete mother and achieve the goal of exclusive breastfeeding but I was suffering from postpartum depression. I cried non-stop for weeks.I felt dead a lot of times though alive. Suicidal thoughts were always going through my mind but God’s mercy kept me.  There was a time  I was rushed to the hospital but they couldn’t decipher what was wrong with me.

Now, when I see a new mother, all I am concerned about is the mother. Only her. Check up on new mothers. Pray for them. Don’t you dare ask a new mother if she is doing exclusive breastfeeding if you haven’t asked her if she is doing ok. Also,  do not condemn a woman who didn’t do exclusive breastfeeding if you’ve never asked about her wellbeing.

Be constructive with the way you ask questions, don’t say are going through Depression?

And if you are going through post-partum depression please don’t keep quiet, ask or pay for help.

Talk to the Holy Spirit, He’s a great friend.

 

 

Multi-cultured Marriages and Inter-racial Relationships – The Story of the McClure Family

The McClure twins became an internet sensation when their mum Aminat shot a video of them fighting with their dad, Justin,  for eating all their snacks. And everything has snowballed from that moment. They had since shared their family moments with their millions of followers on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.

Recently, the family shared their family portrait to celebrate their family’s mixed heritage. This has prompted thousands of people to share their individual stories of what it feels like to grow up in dual or multi-cultured families.

The Mcclure couple and their kids wore a West-African inspired outfit to celebrate Aminat’s Nigerian culture and heritage. Aminat who relocated from  Lagos, Nigeria with her family to  America when she was a young girl. She met Justin in Washington Heights, New York City when a guy attempted to hit on her. Justin had intervened by pretending to know Aminat.  There journey to forever had since begun from then.

Justin shared with BBC that they wanted to give the girls a lesson about how diverse the world is so they can learn to enrich themselves by opening their eyes to different cultures.

“As a family, we like to make bold statements and I wanted to celebrate Aminat’s culture.” – Justin

The clothes were made by a Cameroonian designer Claude Kameni, who contacted the family offering to design their outfits.

The couple, whose identical twin daughters already have a large social media presence, posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook where it has been shared more than 15,000 times and attracted more than 69,500 interactions.

The post which was captioned “Celebrate your culture, but also the culture of those you love. Who’s here for this?” has received more than 2,200 comments.

BBC shared that this isn’t the first time for the McClure Family to explore Aminat’s Nigerian heritage by visiting Nigerian restaurants to cook Nigerians such as Nigerian jollof rice and puff-puff.

There family portrait picture has encouraged people to share their inter-racial family stories and to appreciate the beauty of inter-racial relationships.

“Still Wearing My Accent as a Badge of Honor” : Diary of Naija Girl Living in London

When relocating to another country, you become so pumped up with excitement to lead a new life, experience a new culture and to literally see the world through a new lens, you totally forget to take a breather to think about this ‘new place’ you are going to. You forget to ask yourself questions like; will I fit in? Will I be accepted? Will the culture be totally or slightly different from mine? How hard or easy will life be in this new place?

As I am writing this, I’m reminiscing old memories, and I realise those were the questions I forgot to ask myself in my eagerness and excitement to begin a new life in the UK.

Settling into my new home has been surprisingly difficult, I have always perceived myself to be versatile, able to quickly adapt to a new environment just as easily as an indigene would. Maybe I am blending in well because  everyone around me (my family and the “few” friends that I have been able to make) seem to think that I am doing really fine but I think otherwise or at least not at the pace that I want (then again maybe that is just me setting the bar too high as usual and being hard on myself as well). Coming from Nigeria, a country where saying a casual ‘hello’ or ‘morning’ to a complete stranger is not just the norm, it is appreciated and expected. In London, the norm is completely opposite because saying a casual ‘hello’ or ‘morning’ to a complete stranger is not only seen as being overly friendly but intrusive and unwelcomed.

I had to learn ‘how things are done around here’ the hard way. I remember, my first month of being here, how I was still trying to find my way around, especially from Potters Bar where I live to the University of Hertfordshire where I am currently studying. Sometimes, I would miss my way going home or I miss my bus and I would have to wait for the next one (I had not learnt the brisk London way of walking). On this funny day, I had missed my bus as usual, (I call this day funny because I had an interesting encounter with a stranger) but this time just by a minute. Thinking back now, I think the driver might have seen me and chosen not to wait because I was literally running and panting to catch up with the bus as soon as I saw it move. I guess today is not my lucky day I said to myself as I sat, d trying to catch my breath I consciously looked around to see if anyone witnessed my unsuccessful attempt to catch up with the bus, to share a laugh with them if they did.

It was going to be a long forty-five minutes to get on the next bus. I had only sat for about a quarter of an hour when a  young man around my age came  along  being the Nigerian that I was eager to share a laugh with the stranger, I turned around to tell  him my tale of missing the bus by a minute and all I got was an awkward ‘hmmm’ as he hurriedly put on his headphones. I got the message he was trying to pass across loud and clear.

Even now as I remember the stranger and his awkward reply I am laughing really hard because I know that if this had happened in Nigeria it would have turned out differently. The stranger and I would have had a good laugh or the stranger would be sharing a similar story of him in the same situation or that of a friend who had been in that situation as well. My encounter with the ‘stranger’ made me confirm that the ‘heads down and hands typing away  on the phones’ and the ‘headphones on’ culture that I have noticed while  waiting for the bus or sitting inside the bus every time is a subtle message which I now understand to mean people do not welcome or appreciate ‘overly friendly chat with strangers’. A culture  I will soon come to imbibe myself.

Do not get me wrong I am all for learning and embracing a new culture, after all, they say ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do’. The question is should you lose yourself or what makes you ‘you’ in trying to fit in? One thing I have noticed since being in London is the way some Nigerians in the bid to fit in or blend in lose their ‘Nigerianism’ (that’s what I call those things, for example, your name or accent that makes you Nigerian). These Nigerians in the bid to fit in make their names sound English or outrightly drop their Nigerian names and adopt an English one. Well, I do not blame them as that is the way they know how to handle being different coupled with the notion of having one’s name being mispronounced or the ‘what’? And ‘I’m sorry what’? the reaction that follows when you say your name coupled with the feeling of excitement when somebody finally pronounces your name right or makes an effort to.

I mean effort; actual genuine effort is all it takes to make a fellow human feel ‘seen’, feel accepted and that’s the reason I tell myself that it is not my responsibility to make my name sound cool enough or English enough for you to pronounce. It is your responsibility as well as mine to make an effort to pronounce peoples names right, as you do not know what meaning you take out of the names when mispronounced (Nigerian names are known to be unique and descriptive, so when mispronounced the meaning is lost as well as the story behind the name). I get it, I really do, I understand the need, the urgency to desperately to want to fit in and belong in a world where your difference is seen as clear as day. So, I get it, but I really do not understand why those Nigerians will give up their Nigerian names for an English one but I see it as giving up without putting up a fight in this battle to be relevant, to be visible, to be heard and to be acknowledged as an equal although different  but yet unique, because the difference is an identity,  a badge, it is what makes that Nigerian ‘Nigerian’ (so to say).

Now coming to accent or identity, as I will prefer it. Well, excuse me if I do not speak English like the English, after all, the way I speak is a reflection of my heritage, of my culture and of who I am as a person. I should not be resigned to hide from that or choose to become a reticent version of my usual chatty and outspoken self, like some people who speak different like me have been resigned to. One of the ‘few’ friends I have been able to make is a Chinese girl in my class who at first I thought was a ‘ quiet and reserved Chinese girl’ who smiles a lot. On getting to know her, I realised her real self is the direct opposite of this quiet and reserved façade that she has created in response to the reaction she gets when she speaks English, in the way she knows how to with her unique voice and an accent that reflects her heritage.

Another is my Ugandan classmate who has resigned to being quiet and not letting her voice be heard just because she speaks differently. There’s also my Pakistani classmate who has resigned to quietness, which is the direct opposite of her real self. I will not be resigned to creating a dual version of myself: a reticent version shown to those who see my difference and the real me that I show to those who see me as I am; the Nigerian girl who speaks English in her rich and unique Nigerian accent. No, I refuse to create a dual identity. ‘I am who I am’ and I will not apologise for that. I wear my accent as a badge of honour, that is a reflection of where I am from and who I am.

For now, I have decided to acknowledge and embrace my new world with its rich culture but I wouldn’t make my heritage any less while embracing it.

Written by Oredola Akinniranye for Diaryofanaijagirl

Image from: Shutter Stock

Mindfulness

Mindfulness – A Lifestyle You Should Adopt

 Practising mindfulness brings you into the moment. It gives you control over your thoughts and makes you conscious of the world around you.  It doesn’t take much to be mindful it can be as easy as taking a deep breath, or listing the things you’re grateful for. Mindfulness helps you filter out negative thoughts and helps you to become more productive in your day-to-day activities.

Mindfulness works wonders, but how exactly does one go about it? Here are few tips on how to go about it:

  1. Have an in-depth meaning of Mindfulness: Mindfulness simply means observing and acknowledging your feelings, thoughts or sensations without dwelling on them. There are times people convince themselves to do something and begin to over think it, naturally, the mind makes up stories and ‘spin’ around them. When this happens you lose focus  and spending time worrying without getting anything done.When this happens, take a deep breath and focus on one thing at a time, this will enable your mind to settle and you will be able to get more things done than you would have ordinarily
  2. Observe it every day: The easiest way to incorporate mindfulness into your life is to find a way to connect to it on a daily basis. Simple things such as noticing the sensations in your body or your breath as you brush your teeth, drink water, or drive home from work, Having a daily routine  helps you stay mindful.
  3. Release your expectation: Mindfulness requires that you release all expectations and  you sincerely appreciate the moment as it is. Without worrying or over thinking thinking the situation.
  4. Begin now: Just start! Make up your mind today to  stay mindful. The beauty of mindfulness is you can practice it in multiple ways such as sitting, standing, lying down, walking or eating. And it can be done at any place or time.

Mindfulness can be an ideal tool to improve your personal and professional life—something that can cause a “positive ripple” effect across both areas and it will ultimately help you to be successful.

Give mindfulness a try this week!

 

 

 

That Time A Married Woman Tried To Hustle A Single Man With Me

Yesterday, around 10:20 pm my gas finished while I was boiling rice. Please focus on the topic at hand, stop wondering “Ife, why eat so late?” What to do? No way I going to buy gas at that time of the night, so, I decided to call my neighbour, Chi

“Hi Mama, I hope I did not wake you?”

she replied, “Noo, we still get visitors for house, What’s up?”

“Well, I was cooking and my gas finished. Can I come through the back door to finish boiling my rice at yours?” I asked with no shame. It was payback time because one morning at 4:30 am she called me non-stop to ask for toothpaste so…….yea.

I picked up my pot of half cooked rice and went through the back door which was the entrance to her kitchen. My dear neighbour had turned on her gas cooker for me, I simply placed the pot on the burner and waited.

I asked her where her husband was and she informed me he was entertaining guests but I could peek my head out and say a quick “Hello”. I stepped out of the kitchen to a room full of 4 men in my pyjamas and a week old cornrows. I scanned the room quickly for Emeka (my neighbour’s husband) but my eyes landed on Idris Elba mixed Mbaku with a slight Micheal B. Jordan as an ingredient. Oh, let me clarify, this is one with all those people’s features. I don’t know who did it but something pulled my brows up, widened my eyes and I instinctively took a step back.

I bumped into Chi and I wondered what she was doing behind me. My brain soon kicked in and I smiled at the chocolate mixed with honey. He smiled back, full teeth, Jesuuu! Ekis sir put all your teeth back, I can’t breathe. Emeka then said, “Hey Ife how now?” Emeka had been beside me all along but teeth so bright, I lost focus. We exchanged pleasantries and I did a quick about turn into the kitchen, with Chi on my heels.

“Why are you following me so closely?” I asked Chi as soon as we got into the Kitchen. She said, “Shebi you saw that fine man. Hay God! He’s so cute. I knew you’d notice him. Let’s go back out again as if we’re going to the room, to take another look”

Huh?

“Ekis ma your husband is right there. Control yourself” I laughed out loud. She looked quite excited like she had found an accomplice. “What’s his name?” I asked Chi

“I can’t remember, everything stopped when were being introduced. And I can’t sit there, they’re talking business” she replied

Not that I didn’t want to see Captain America plus Black Panther again, I just wasn’t going to roam around the house aimlessly. When I told Chi this, her shoulders slumped and she called me a killjoy.

Just about then, Emeka came into the Kitchen to announce their departure, in an unspoke request for his wife to bid their guests’ bye. Shortly after, I heard the kitchen door open, I did not bother to look up from what I was doing on my phone thinking it was Chi. Then I heard an unfamiliar voice say “I had to come to say goodbye since you didn’t come out to bid us farewell”

“Bid us farewell” who says that? I thought to myself as I scanned the features of his face with a smile

In a flash, Chi was by my side, smiling foolishly, looking silly with no care in the world. I found my voice and  said to him “Oh sorry about that” I did not know what more to say, however, Chi took over in split seconds and said, “You must come back to visit, we will be glad to have you?”

Mr Caramel nodded, bid us farewell again and off he went. I told Chi “Could your lust be more obvious?” She planted her heavy behind beside me on the kitchen Island and gave me a side hug saying “Oh Ife, what a fine man. I hope he comes back.”

Oh wow! None of this was about me or how he came back to the kitchen to look for me”  SMH.

Issokay

Oprah

Oprah Signs $1 Billion Deal With Apple: 4 Things #OprahTaughtMe About Business

The tech race for the top streaming platform just got interesting thanks to our billionaire bestie Oprah’s newest partnership with Apple.

The $1 billion agreement will be the biggest in the tech company’s history and will up the ante in the competition between platforms like HBO, Amazon, and Netflix who said that they would commit a total of $8 billion dollars to programming this year.

In May, Netflix announced their multi-year deal with Barack and Michelle Obama, proving that web streaming is the wave of the future and everyone wants a piece of the action, even industry heavy hitters like Shonda Rhimes and Steven Spielberg.

Apple said in a statement:

“Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.”

Oprah’s become one of the most prominent and visible businesswomen of our generation, and she acquired this title through a whole lot of hard work and black girl magic.

Here are four things we can learn from Oprah about business:

Build Your Resume So That One Day You Won’t Need One

I can bet that Oprah didn’t have to apply for this partnership. Apple, like the rest of the free world, was aware of her accolades and credentials before she even took a seat at the negotiation table. She didn’t need a resume. Sometimes it’s best to make moves in silence, but it’s also important that your hustle is visible to people that matter.

Never Accept Less Than You Deserve

According to Google, Oprah’s net worth is $3 billion dollars. Her recent partnership was equal to a third of her current net worth and is one of the biggest deals ever made by Apple. As black women, we are constantly devalued, especially in professional spaces. Oprah is proof that tenacity and some serious black girl sorcery will make even the biggest companies cut the check.

Balance Multiple Hustles

As a part of her agreement with Apple, she will remain Chief Executive of her own network. Under Oprah’s current contract with OWN, she is only able to make limited appearances on other networks. Our girl O finessed the situation so that the few appearances she does make are wildly lucrative. Your 9-5 doesn’t have to eliminate your opportunity to pursue other hustles. Oprah has a magazine, television network, book club, and has invested in a number of industries. She didn’t become a millionaire by being a one-trick pony, and now she’s a billion dollar stallion. Take notes.

Leverage Your Brand

Oprah has become wildly successful by building a business around being herself. The difference between Oprah and other women with the same career path is Oprah’s ability to see herself as a product and do business accordingly. Your brand is more than a logo and a website, but your ability to connect with your target audience and fulfil a specific need. According to Apple, her ability to uncomparably connect with audiences around the world made her an ideal brand to partner with. What value does your brand add to the world?

Oprah had no immediate comment, and no details on the partnership have been released as of late, but we know that O will bring the heat and has definitely made me reconsider renewing my iTunes subscription in the future.

Written by Taylor Honore for Xonecole

Father

Molding a Boy into a Father

Fatherhood has been an underrated topic. Presently, the world is more preoccupied with empowering the women and girl-child, and no one talks about how to equip a man or boy-child to become a good man or at least a better father. It is assumed that as a MALE, you are expected to know everything by default.

Unfortunately, it has been proved wrong beyond numbers, with the steady increase in the number of crime perpetrated by the male folk. Notwithstanding, the prejudice against either gender should be eliminated. Both the male and female child should be treated with both love and care, to be raised up properly by their parents to be better leaders in our society. Fatherhood is a lovely experience if only the average man is equipped with the right tools to carry out his role.

In Nigeria, an average boy grows in a hostile environment, where his father reprimands him when he is wrong but fail to encourage him when he does the right thing. He goes to school and battles with peer pressure, being bullied or becomes a bully because he is not shown love by his primary mentor, his father. Sometimes, the role is left void and his mother tries to fit into the role with minimal or no success at all. He enters into the tertiary institution where he is being asked to join a cult group to prove his strength. When he commits into a relationship because he his raised in a home filled with sorrow and domestic violence,  the only language he most likely understands is violent and more often than none he might beat his woman to submission.

We have so many men but fewer fathers. Fatherhood is indeed a blessing. To bring out an offspring from the loins of a  man and watch that seed grow in a woman to become a child, there’s no better miracle than that. Our society should begin to recognise the roles of fathers in the society.

According to Myles Munroe, “Every father is the foundation of the home”. He goes out to battle with daily forces, he experiences rejection and failure. He enjoys 10% or less of his salary to make ends meet. In essence, the father is there to support his wife and his children. He provides and he protects his home. He is there to be his children’s primary source of education before any teacher. The roles of a father cannot be overemphasized. And that is why the devil focuses on destroying more men to bring the society to a level of decadence.

There are men who neglect their roles as fathers because they were not taught from the beginning what should be done. They leave all the work of parenting to the woman, which is entirely wrong. Some grew up to see females as a means of sexual satisfaction to the extent they rape their own blood to fulfil that urge.

The Bible in Proverbs says, “raise the child in the way he should grow, so when he is old he won’t depart from it”.

The Home is  primary source of education. Tell him that impregnating a lady and denying the pregnancy is cowardly, sleeping around does not prove manhood, neither does joining a cult make him a man.

Raise him to know that beating a woman is not manly, that a woman should be pampered and in any situation of provocation he should leave. Make him understand as a man, there is strength in keeping his cool. That the bible gave us the right model and which is Jesus and to be a good man, a good father to his family.

Imagine a society where 70% of the men have good morals, imagine a society where fathers chose to stay at home to raise their kids. The society will not be only be better and also prosperous.

Girls will feel protected and will no longer be victimized by rape, boys will learn to earn an honest living and treat every lady with respect.

Henceforth, every MALE-child should be taught the morals of being a good man, assumption that he would pick the right way should desist. Because he will one day be a father too.

Fatherhood is not easy, we should always encourage them.

God bless fathers.

HAPPY FATHERS DAY

Sochy Uche for Diaryofanaijagirl