Monthly Archives: July 2018

Love Letter Writing Teenagers

PART II: At 13, I was caught writing a love letter to Monday. That fateful Saturday, I will never forget.

There was a brief pause and then sudden chatter, everyone seemed to be talking at the same time. I immediately glanced at my dad and I noticed he was the only one without his mouth moving but his hands moved, he beckoned me to come downstairs. I had on a grey dress trimmed with sequence, so I quickly ran to my room, pulled on two pairs of shorts underneath the dress to cushion my buttocks from what I knew was coming and then walked slowly downstairs.

I met brother Tunde at the staircase, Brother Tunde was the Landlord’s oldest son. He had always taken a liking to me and sometimes shielded me from communal punishments, so when I saw him, I held on to his hand and said: “Brother Tunde, what’s going to happen to me?”

He looked at me with disappointment and pity in his eyes and that made me burst out crying. He said, “just go to the garden” and continued to walk upstairs. My tears ran like water from a damaged tap.

I finally emerged into the compound and almost slammed into Ngozi.

“Na wa for you. You no dey shame. TA!!!” Ngozi gave me a thoroughly judgmental look

What?! My tears dried up like NEPA had turned off power on my inner tap. Ngozi! Ngozi that just the other day I saw her talking to Samson through the railings that demarcated our house from his house? They were even holding hands. Is this one mad ni? Ngozi who stole a whole bag of sawdust from her family’s stash to give to Samson. Sawdust that was meant for Abacha stove because Kerosene was scarce. I was so angry I stopped in my tracks and as I seriously contemplated going after her, I heard Mama Tutu’s voice, “My friend will you walk faster! Come here and explain this letter!” She barked at me, but it felt like a puppy’s bark. Mama Tutu had a tiny voice. She was also my mum’s best friend in the compound, her anger was justified.

I ran to the garden and stood beside my mum, but she did the worse, she pushed me towards Monday, Monday’s dad pushed him towards me almost at the same time. We both stood, head bowed, right in the middle of Lion’s den.

NEPA turned the power back on, my inner tap gushed open and this time, with hiccups. I heard Monday whisper to me, “don’t cry, it’s okay. don’t cry”. Monday may not have feared his parents but I feared mine so his words made no sense to me.

The community deliberations began, with Baba Ngozi as my dad’s deputy. He read out my letter to the hearing of everyone gathered. Then read Monday’s as well.

“Dear Ife,

I am fine, I hope you are fine too. Titi is my friend but she likes Benjamin, not me. Nothing is going on between us. If evening comes and there’s no light, come and watch television at my house. See you then.

Yours truly,
Monday.”

“Ife, how long has this been going on?” Baba Ngozi asked as he handed both letters to my mum.

“What?” I feigned ignorance

As if my response was expected, I felt a sharp pain at the base of the back of my neck which immediately spread to my forehead. Only my mother would give you a knock on one side of your head and you’d feel it in your toes.

“Nothing is going on. Nothing is going on. It’s just a letter, I was just playing with him, I didn’t mean it that way. I was just playing with him” My mum’s knock on the head had opened my voice box, there I was, blabbing away.

“So these letters between both of you was just play?” Asked my mum, as she held two pieces of papers up, but she wasn’t looking at me, the question was directed at Monday.

Quiet…

“Answer the woman!” barked Monday’s father

“Yes ma” Monday responded in a steady voice.

Out of nowhere, Baba Monday’s belt emerged and whoop! Monday received a stroke on his behind. With the speed of light, Monday took off! His father ran after him and we watched the drama as they disappeared through the gate.

My turn.

“Let’s go” My dad finally spoke up.

Go where? Ah God Almighty!!! My chest! …Death where are you?

My parents walked in sync and I didn’t see any other choice but to follow them upstairs. As soon as the door shut behind us, dad turned to mum, “Talk to your daughter. You better talk to your daughter!” He took off to his room but left silence behind.

Then, mum sat on my Dad’s designated chair, looking at me for a long time as I stood there, contemplating my life expectancy. After what I can swear was my lifetime, she spoke.

“I know you’re just 13 so you don’t really understand love. But let me tell you, don’t ever write a letter to a man begging him to choose you or leave another girl for you. You’re very smart and look at how pretty you are with your ‘oyibo’ nose. Ehn! Let him write you letters, begging you to choose him. Do you know why?”

I shook my head, the tears had not stopped flowing, they had probably flooded my voice box. I couldn’t bring myself to speak.

“Because you’re special that’s why. Okay?”

I nodded.

“I’m sure you feel punished enough abi?”

I nodded.

“Oya come let’s make food. But go and wash your face first and remove those shorts. You look like Baba Sala.” She smacked my buttocks and smiled at me as she walked to the kitchen.

THE END!

Getting food At Owambe

Owambe Guide: These Are The Best Tips To Getting Food And Drinks At An Owambe

 

 

I am a pro at attending owambes and believe me when I say this. I have studied the interesting art of ‘Owambenism and Lagos Parties’ and I can boldly say I am a force to be reckoned with when it comes to this issue.

You see, I did not learn all I know in a day. In fact, it took me a while to know that one had to speak the right language at an owambe for you to get the best service.

An owambe I attended one hot afternoon about 6 years ago where I ended up not being served food made me realise that I had been dulling and I needed to sit up.

Now, if you have an owanbe tomorrow or in the near future, I have got some great tips for you to ensure you get the best out of that party.

  1. Dress well

The truth remains that you will most likely be addressed by the way you appear. Men, get that starched native on, polish those shoes to gleam, and let your fila be at the right angle. Ladies, we are not saying you should steal the shine off the bride but please look good. Wear the appropriate underwear, let your makeup be minimal but beautiful, and your dress? Let it speak!

  1. Smile

This is not the time to be stronging face or be forming unnecessary posh. Abeg, let those your lovely dentition work for you. Smile graciously – your smile makes you look approachable, lovable and pleasant. And you need all these to be on the good side of the servers.

 

  1. Sit with the right people

I will be doing you wrong if I do not share this tip. Do not, I repeat, do not go and take a seat with the wrong set of people. If you are attending a party alone, before taking a seat, scan the crowd. Aim towards a seat where the group on that table look good. Chances are you will get food faster this way.

  1. Try to avoid the back seats

The importance of sitting position at a party can never be over-emphasized. See ehn, if you sit at the back, you may be unlucky and get told, Iyan is finished. The best thing is to find a seat in between. Not too close to the front but not far back either. The idea is to play safe.

  1. Ask

Again, do not go to an owanbe and be looking for who will attend to you specially. If you see a waiter passing with a drink you like, politely ask for a glass, with a cute smile and trust me, it works. Do not expect people to be at your beck and call. It is a party for heaven’s sake. Sometimes, you gotta help yourself.

  1. Be smart

Be on the lookout for souvenirs, for who attends an owambe without something tangible to show for it. Don’t slacken especially if you have sharp and greedy table members, they’d have everything off the table and into the bags in a second. You better shine your eyes.

READ HERE: Simi See Me Live Concert: All About That and My Search For New Friends.

  1. Go with an extra nylon in your purse

This is not a joking sturz. Are you God that you can predict the future? What if the souvenirs are very large? Or you get extra plates of food, or barbecued meat? What of the cans of malt you may have to take with you? Please, do not shortchange yourself and go without a nylon bag – not rucksack o!

Written by Ayo Al for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

2019 Nigerian Elections: Making The Uneducated Vote Right

Would Showing The Uneducated Members Of Our Nation The Difference Between Us And Other Well Developed Countries Help Them Vote Right?

 

 

Here’s my idea.

Humans are very visual and react more to pictures than words. well, the average human is. I was thinking if we could make the ‘uneducated and unexposed’ members of the nation see the difference between us and the rest of the world, even smaller countries than us, poorer countries than us, maybe they will appreciate the value of their votes.

The Bold Step I Took Moving Out Of My Parent’s House And How It Worked For Me

I have never been outside Nigeria but I have been privileged by virtue of education to see how things are in the abroad from tv, novels etc.

Now, Ade, the agbero on the street may or may not have caught glimpses of the infrastructures abroad, and never really imagined that hospitals are not supposed to look like the room with broken beds he sees every time he takes his son to see a Dr. that streets can actually be clean and buses for public transportation must not be refurbished abandoned buses.

Show him what it is (Nigeria) and what it ought to be like (somewhere abroad). Show him the dilapidated school his child attends and show him around the classroom in the private school abroad his favorite politician’s child attends.

if we could get support to mount huge clear photos on already existing strategically placed billboards, laying pictures of our Nigerian reality side by side with pictures from the abroad. so one picture has obalende, lagos, Nigeria. Population figure, oil revenue figure, salary and allowances os senators and co, average minimum wage. the other is a picture of a similar structure (in this case street) with the caption, Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai, UAE, Oil Revenue, etc. it doesn’t have to be just Dubai, it can be anywhere else. let them see how our leaders have used us rotten.

I hope I have been able to paint the picture for you. I am ready to join in whatever way to reach the uneducated. I have decided to no more be that Nigerian who sits behind the screen shouting but never ever do anything to help in however small a capacity. I have recently stopped eating beef in my own protest of the herdsmen killing. I am burning to do more.

 

Best Regards

Written by Twyla Idigbe for DiaryofaNaijaGirl.ng

Love Letter Writing Teenagers

#Flashbackfriday At 13, I was caught writing a love letter to Monday. That fateful Saturday, I will never forget.

 

I was 13-Years-Old, my breasts were a little bit bigger than a peanut and I hated life. It was very important to me that I started wearing bra as soon as possible. This is not because I was in a hurry to, but because my street boyfriend, Monday had begun to talk through the balcony to Titi, who had already started wearing bra.

Titi, dark-skinned, gap tooth of life and then of destiny, cute chubby cheeks and wide smile, was a thorn in my flesh. She lived next door to Monday and I would sometimes see them chat and laugh heartily. I didn’t have breasts, I imagined this was why Monday would even think of talking to Titi. I had to let him know how I felt, so I wrote him a letter. I will paraphrase the content as I cannot recall exactly how I wrote it.

P.O.Box 442, Oshodi,
Lagos.

13th Feb 1996

Dear Monday,

How are you? I hope fine. If so, doxology. I have a question for you, why do you talk to Titi too much? Is it because she has started wearing bra? I just want to let you know I don’t like it. Please stop it if you love me. I have to pen off here.

Reply.

Yours in love,
Ife.

I sent Nonso, my neighbour who was my younger brother’s mate with the letter. Nonso promised to deliver it in secret and wait to collect Monday’s reply. For his work, I promised to give him my almond fruit pickings from the next day. I was watching them from my balcony, they would be ripe enough to pluck the next day.

I waited for Monday’s response on the balcony. It was an environmental Saturday, our parents were all under the fruit tree in our small garden, the men discussed politics, the women watched their children play football in the compound while they gossiped about our landlady. I must tell you, she was quite unpopular in the compound.

While I took a break from straining my neck so I could catch a glimpse of Nonso, I heard someone shout from the gate “Mama Ngozi! Mama Ngozi! Mama Ngoziiiiiii”. Mama Ngozi was Nonso’s mother, Ngozi was her first child. I looked up and the sight I saw caused my heart to stop. It was Monday’s mother, pulling Nonso by the ear as she dragged him through the gate. Baba Monday was right behind her, holding Monday by his Knickerbockers.

OH NO!

Nonso‘ s bow legs looked even more pronounced as he moved unwillingly but without choice. The children had stopped playing football, parents had stopped chatting, Nonso and his supporting acts were the focal point. Then he looked up at me, his eyes glassy from unshed tears as he pointed at me, “Na the person wey send me be that…” he said.

Back to The Basics: For The First Time Since 2009, I Used Public Transportation in Lagos

It was like a slow-motion movie, everyone in the compound looked up at me at the same time. It was then I realised…I was in hot soup!

What happened next, I am not sure you can imagine.

To be continued.

Life Lessons For Greatness

Now Is Not The Time To Settle. Go Ahead And Build That Empire

Imagine waking up 30 years from now, perhaps social media would still be in existence, a bit of changes but still the same and the only thing that fills you is regret.

Regret for carving in to defeat – for not fighting back, regret about not taking that step, regret about listening to negative minded people, regret about letting that dream die.

You see the truth is no matter how nice your game plan sounds or how plausible it is, most people (friends at that) will give you many reasons why it would not work.

They will tell you, it isn’t the right time to start that business, write that book or proposal, make that trip, leave that relationship.

No time is ever the right time to make that move. Start while you can.

ALSO READ: “The rehearsals in the backstage will one day lead to a spot on the stage” – Debola Williams, CEO Of Red Media

Never in history did we hear that multi billionaires had it easy. They always took that bold step.

If you need to go back to school, why not do it now. Don’t wait until you are 40, Don’t wait until you make more money. Start now.

In years to come, let it not be that you are immersed in regret and guilt about not leaving your comfort zone.

While you are at it, know that your journey is different from that of others. What works for your friend might be a disaster for you.

Take time to study, learn your passion and work towards building it and it’d pay you in the long run.

Stay inspired and build that empire!

Article written by Ayo Al for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

Cheating Definition

Cheating: Should It Only Be Connected To Sex?

A big question lays in my heart – oh, so heavily, seeking an answer, wanting to find the truth. What exactly does cheating mean?

At what point in a relationship can you boldly say a partner cheated or you cheated? Are there rules that guides how much importance one should give to a particular kind of cheating? These questions may seem so much but I think they are important.

I have a neighbor who just recently proposed to his girlfriend and he tells me she has been with him for about 6 years. While he stays in Lagos, his babe resides in another state but they always find time to visit each other.

One day jokingly, i asked him “Have you ever cheated? I mean cheated on your babe” To this, he responded sharply, “Never!”

I don’t know what got into me but somehow I wanted to hear and know more, I was wowed! NEVER cheated? This is great. So I asked, “Not just sex o. Emotional attachments to another lady, financial cheating, romance with another lady, anything you do with the opposite sex you do not want your girl to know.”

On Relationship Drama: I Want Love That Gives me Peace of Mind, Even When There’s Conflict

At these questions, he floundered a bit, smiled sheepishly and said – “I have not slept with another girl on this my bed.”

So without him answering the questions I had thrown at him, he gave me proof that he was actually guilty of cheating but cheating smartly acquitted him of all wrongs.

I stand to be corrected but I am of the opinion that cheating does not always have to do with sex. You could be cheating your man emotionally, financially, and then through sex.

People need to learn that the fact that a woman is keeping her body just for you or because a man keeps his phallus in his pants does not mean they are innocent of cheating.

Once you begin to make sneaky movements, sneaky chats which you know will hurt your partner, ask yourself again if you are truly guilty of cheating.

I have been in a relationship with a man who never touched another lady physically but gave his heart and thoughts to her and kept insisting to me that he was faithful.

If we will go into relationships, why not go into one that will edify us? When the spark is dimming in your love life, why not seek ways to reignite it? Why equate cheating to sex alone when we know it is absolutely more than that?

Written by Ayo Al for DiaryofaNaijagirl.ng

Awesome First Date Questions: I Promise You, This is The Only List You'll Need

Awesome First Date Questions: I Promise You, This is The Only List You’ll Need

Awesome First Date Questions: I Promise You, This is The Only List You’ll Need

We are in the modern days, dating rules have changed and life is no more as we knew it. Going on a first date has become super stressful because men lie, women lie. So, you need questions to help you get to really know your date inside out on the first date? Don’t worry, I got you.

Are you married?: Please don’t say “do you see a ring on my finger?”. Just answer the question and look into my eyes.

Is someone married to you?: No need for you to get defensive. Many a-times, people you’ve divorced have not divorced you.

Do you have a girlfriend?

If no, is your ex girlfriend still in a relationship with you?




If no, when was the last time you had sex with your ex-girlfriend?: I ask because somebody will get into a relationship with you now and as soon as we get comfortable, your ex brings pregnancy. I don’t want stories that touch, ask Ludacris

Do you bother to shower on weekends?

How many days do you wear your boxers for before it becomes a problem?

What about sense, is it in your possession?

If yes, Can I have your medical test results? Don’t forget to Include brain scans

Do you have a fiancée?

Do you have a boyfriend?



Bobrisky or Speed Darlington?

Were you originally born a man?

Do you have a spiritual wife?: I like my sleep please so I don’t want any problem

Wizkid or Davido?: This is so important to me so think hard before responding

Do you know Jon Snow? If it’s a “No”, how about Khaleesi and her dragons?

Who turns you on more? Olivia Pope or Mellie Grant



What are your hidden talents? Do they include boxing or taekwondo?

How many seconds into the first movie theatre preview do you finish your popcorn?

Do you smoke? If your answer is “smoke what?”, then you smoke weed.

*We’re almost done here*

Did my villager people send you?

Final question: Are you going to call me after this first date? Read: Making The First Move : That Time I asked A Guy Out on A Date

Depression As A Nigerian Lady

The Journey To Overcoming Depression And Getting Your Peace Back Is Worth It

 

Depression is akin to being in a sunken place; you are fighting it and drowning at the same time and one day you just stop fighting and stay in the sunken place ……where worthlessness , shame and everything dark dwells and the only thing that makes sense is how you feel … the deep hole of sadness , the intent fixation on negativity where you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel; that light is disguised and everything is like an upside world.

Nothing makes sense except how you feel – you don’t want to get up and dreaming is solace to the never ending nightmares your mind has created.

Depression is real …. be kind to others , show love, understand that everyone’s reality is different and once in a while, check up on your friends!!!

I went through a lot last year , my business wasn’t just working despite all I had put in money , time , everything I had….I had stayed home several years to look after my kids and in between, did my masters in psychology ( clinical psychology ), worked part time in Luth ( wasn’t paid for 2years+) and on the advice of my husband started a business as working without pay was not sustainable.

READ HERE: Postnatal Depression :”It Took Me Three Years To Connect With My Child”- Bunmi Laditan

I started a business and was so full of enthusiasm and optimism… I put so much pressure on myself for me to succeed I felt I had to prove myself to everyone . I was my biggest critic. I also sadly didn’t manage some situations well also during the course of the business. Had fallout with some friends and was just managing the business which was on the brink of extinction … fighting tooth and nail for it to survive but to no avail.

Because of all this I felt like I had failed. I was trapped in and felt like I was in a prison and i even couldn’t tell anyone what I was going through, I couldn’t stand the judgement, even my husband who had supported me I kept in the dark and I kept drowning and felt so worthless. I tried everything for it to work … It seemed I was fighting a lost cause and the only solution was to stop and redirect myself, take some time out. I went through a lot of grief , anger , regret to how my life turned out ..

The business. I was running and consoling myself that I could have it all and seeing as it wasn’t working sent me to the “sunken place” .

My husband was supportive and helped me a great deal … along with the depression developed a classic migraine..

Luckily I had a good support system , family and friends.. even spoke to some people I wasn’t that close to who were quite older than i was and I found out people have gone through what I had and it wasn’t the end of the world and you live to fight another day.

One of my friends stood out as she shamed me and was judging me but I didn’t die, I took her headlong and told her since I have known her, she had done over 10 businesses so what gave her the right to judge me ? All my fears that people will laugh at me disappeared..

I changed my thinking and decided to focus  on what was important .. God / my family / looking at what went wrong why the business wasn’t working and what next? I forgot to add I have always been termed the happiest girl nothing ever got me down..

My motto was always “ woo I cannot always kill myself jare “ I never let anything make me sad … momentarily of course I am human but I bounce back fast.. I didn’t know when the shame crept in and robbed me of my happiness.

Anyway this write up is just so people understand how depression is real and it can happen to anyone and no, you can’t pray it away…

A good support system / talking to a professional and changing your thinking which is akin to psychotherapy works!

Written by anonymous for DiaryofaNaijagirl.com

 

 

Jasmine Pettross Cancer Survivor

Cancer Survivor, Jasmine Pettross Is Writing A Book To Show Cancer Patients That They Can Also Survive

 

Jasmine Pettross learnt she had colon cancer at the age of 23 in 2015 and it was a moment that would change her life forever. After multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and wearing an ileostomy bag for almost a year,  she is now cancer free at the age of 26.

What is amazing is that instead of just moving on with her life after her trying ordeal, she has chosen to write a book which is intended to encourage other cancer patients out there never to give up and to keep fighting for their lives, with joy and hope.

My Name is Rika Cargill. I Have Survived Breast Cancer Twice

She said talking about her ordeal:

“I had had abdominal pains and blood in my stool that wasn’t going away. It is crazy to think that if i had waited to talk to my doctor, i probably wouldn’t be here today.

God saved my life an kept an Angel on earth. Remember that suffering can help us grow and mature , it helped me ! Gods good is different from mine , my good would never included Cancer . He used suffering to display his work in me.I realised my purpose going through this . He defiantly revealed himself and used me in ways others can’t be used. “God doesn’t simply want us to feel good. He wants us to be good. And very often the road to being good involves not feeling good”.I was in a place that I didn’t even know I was going be in but he didn’t desert me or forgotten me .

With my book, i aim towards a future where more cancer patients will become cancer survivors and people remain positive even when they have this disease.

God forbid that i live my life without impacting and trying to help cancer patients out there. I was saved and i hope my book would save someone too”

Source: Instagram

Pregnancy Scare As An Unmarried Lady

Pregnancy Scare- I do not think I am ready for this stage of womanhood

Over the weekend, I travelled to Ibadan for my best friend’s child’s christening and I must say it opened me up to a new world of revelations.

As she hugged me, I looked at her and I couldn’t stop staring. My friend used to be light skinned , with an even skin tone and always managed to look so innocent and like a baby.
The person who looked back at me with laughter in her eyes was no baby. Damn! but she had grown.

The first thing I noticed was that she was considerably darker. I had heard stories of women who got darker in pregnancy but you know what they say about seeing making you believe more’.

When I saw her stomach, I was even more shocked. My friend who had the most lovely skin before child birth with no stretch mark in sight now had her stomach region covered with dark angry stretch marks which she laughingly told me she didn’t know if they would ever completely clear off.

It was like a mystery to me. The sanitary pads which had to be doubled, the breast pads that prevented her clothes from being stained by breast milk, the careful way she had to sit and stand because of the stitches in her vagina, the way she winced in pain anytime her baby’s lips touched her nipples, her swollen feet which had grown larger than any of the shoes she owned.

It was a big mystery.

It did not end there. The baby had to be taken care of: bathed, breastfed, burped, petted, trained and all of that. Sure, she had relatives who had come to help but as she told me, one day, she will be all alone so she had better get used to doing her chores herself.

As I lay in bed that night, I tossed and turned asking myself if I really wanted this. I knew I was at that stage in my life where a lot of relatives were giving me the side eye and asking casually when I was bringing ‘brother’ home. Aren’t babies expected to be next?

Again, I asked myself if I was just being vain. What does physical appearance matter when you have a beautiful and healthy baby, a contented husband and a peaceful home?
I remembered how happy her husband was during the christening, taking centre stage as the man of the house and laughing as the pastors cracked jokes.

He had no extra fat, no tears, no pain! But my friend had changed. She loves her child, she loves her husband but she still misses her old self.

I have never been the mushy type but seeing her that day as I walked into her room, I asked myself if I could find a husband who would agree for us to adopt rather than having children naturally. Because, If this is what womanhood is – the eagerness to have a family and birth a child, maybe I am not a complete woman.

Written by Ayo Al for DiaryofaNaijaGirl.ng

Single Lady Moving Out Of Parent's House

The Bold Step I Took Moving Out Of My Parent’s House And How It Worked For Me

 

 

I knew telling my Dad I was moving out -regardless of the fact that I was in my late twenties at the time- was perhaps the most difficult thing I would ever have to do.

So I did it via a text message.

Chicken abi? Yes, I know!

Before you crucify me, let me give you a background. My Dad is the strictest person I know. I lived in fear of him, every decision I ever made growing up was made in fear of his reactions. He was a disciplinarian. God help you if he fids you talking to a boy on the street, you will hear it. He had standards and expected same from all his Children. He expected us to have the best results from school and I was never the least in class but I wasn’t always far from it.
The cane was always waiting for me.

Yes, the fear of Baba was the beginning of wisdom.. at the time. Confronting him about my decision to move out was a nightmare. I told my siblings and everyone thought I was mad. My sister was sure pops would disown me. She also talked about Culture and tradition. A young unmarried woman moving out and staying by herself was not customary, it was a taboo. Many people actually had a lot to say. People had their opinions about the issue. I had mine too.

When asked why I was moving out, my response was/is that I wanted to be accountable to myself, to live life outside the decisions and fear of my Dad. I needed to take on the world and make my own mistakes, wanted freedom, I wanted to meet “Me”, needed to know myself before attaching myself to someone else. Craved my own space,I was too comfortable in my parents house, in the protection they constantly offered…I wanted to know what I wanted in life … I wanted a lot and I knew I had to get out to get it.

After a lot of consideration, I did what I knew how to do best. I wrote to my Dad and I poured out my heart. The text message ended with this sentence, “I know you don’t always approve many of my decisions, but you have raised us well and I hope you trust me enough to make this one”. I clicked “send” and then went to my office toilet to pray and ask myself what I had just done. An hour later, pops replied and said he’s wishing me the very best and God bless me.
Ahhhh! Issalie! It definitely cannot be this simple.

How much can I fight for someone else’s child?

He was watching T.V in the living room when I got home, I was in deep shit.

“Eku ile Sir”, I said
“Kaabo o”, he said with a smile.
Okay, so far so good. I went to my room, expecting him to call me and start the scolding.
Nothing.

Summoning courage, I met him, apologized for telling him I was moving out through a text, explained why I couldn’t face him. And he gave me his blessings.

Phew!

Looking back, I’m glad I made that decision, I think I’m better for it today. For many people, it’s not just about moving out, it’s about knowing what you want and actually doing it. I’ve learnt responsibility, discipline, independence, self motivation, learnt to be happy with myself, I’ve met God, I’ve learnt personal finance and budgeting, after all the bills won’t pay itself. Plus I have the best housemates! We call our place “Wakanda” Haha!

Best part is, my Dad and I are now buddies.

If you haven’t moved out, tell us why and if you have, kindly share your experience.

Written by Titilola for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

DANG Readers Mail

How much can I fight for someone else’s child?

 

#AskDANG How much can I fight for someone else’s child?

Dear DANG,

I can’t believe I’m asking an online community for their opinion but I’m at a crossroad on a particular matter and I’m not quite sure how to handle it.

I just had my first baby a few months ago and naturally the subject of getting a help came up. I was at first opposed to the idea but my mum eventually convinced me to take in a distant relative of hers from the village.

Dating: He Told Me He Liked Me Too Much To Date Me – What Does That Even Mean?

I complained that I wasn’t ready to be saddled with the responsibility of raising someone else’s child, being a new parent myself but she managed to convince me to give it a try. I already have someone that comes in to clean and another who does laundry. I work from home so I figured I could somehow manage. It just all seemed like an extra expense.

So a young, gangly 15 year old arrived and at first I was like ‘Nah mehn’ but she’s somehow wormed herself into my heart. She’s very bright, willing to learn and most of all, my baby loves her. She had gone to school up to JSS3 when her parents couldn’t afford to train her anymore but decided her younger brother being the 1st son would benefit more from an education and kept that one in school instead(mscheww). She’d been home selling for her mum. My husband and I decided we’ll enroll her in school here this september. Even sent her mum money to go collect her results from her old school to send to us.

She’s been with us for 3months and we’ve been sending her ‘salary’ to her mum;who I learnt had been on the run from police since she took a loan from a microfinance bank and was unable to repay. She’s since paid off the loan. Her mum had spoken to me that she has given me her daughter o. I overheard a conversation she had with the girl over the phone, telling her to be a good girl so she can even school up to university level with us. That there’s nothing back in the village for her so she should make the best of this opportunity.
So now you have the background.
For about 2 weeks now, there’s been drama from the village over her matter.

Apparently, the parents have been fighting because the father says her mum is emasculating him. Saying things like if not for her sending the daughter over here and we sending her money, they would not be seeing food to eat.In summary, that the man is unable to cater for their family. So the man has now vexed that since this is bringing insult, the girl should come back home.
Last night, he called asking that I should send her back. I tried to reason with him but he wasn’t having it (i think the fact that he’s barely literate and me being unable to communicate in my native language might have played a role). My husband has already said she should come and be going. Her mum called later begging that she wants her daughter to have a future that I should please keep her. The girl here has been crying all night. Woke up this morning to see her face all puffy. She doesn’t want to go back.

I’m just here confused. Honestly, this girl would do really well in school. I give her books to read and make her write summaries for me. Even though her grammar and spelling need work, her intelligence is still evident. I even make her watch that Mindset Learn channel on Dstv and she seems to be learning from it. I just know she’ll go far in life if given a chance.I also know for a fact that when I send her back, it’s all over.

Her father’s brother even called that he has a farm somewhere and when she comes, he’ll take her there to be with him(whatever that means). I don’t have strength for wahala but my conscience would judge me if I don’t at least fight for her. My husband on the other hand doesn’t have patience for drama and is already done with the matter.

So my question is; how much can I involve myself? Is fighting for her worth ‘village trouble’? Or should I just leave her to her fate in the hands of the people that gave birth to her? I can’t keep her here against her father’s wishes. I’ve pleaded with the man to not let pride get in the way of his daughter’s future but he no gree. Her mother got pregnant with her when she was 14, she’s scared a similar stituation might befall her daughter if she stays in that village. I really don’t know what to do. HELP!!
For those that would wonder why I have a 15 year old help…. that’s not the situation. She doesn’t cook for me, doesn’t wash my clothes. Doesn’t bathe or feed my baby. Has never even as much as changed his diaper.I’m too OCD to let her. All she does is wash his tiny clothes, play with him when I’m working, go on small errands for me and wash dishes. I was already in university far away from home at her age, so…..

Ps; I love you DANG!!!

PPs; I would like to be kept anonymous

Debola Lagos Profile

“The rehearsals in the backstage will one day lead to a spot on the stage” – Debola Williams, CEO Of Red Media

Debola Williams Profile featured on Diary of a Naija Girl

Diary of a Naija Girl recently met with media guru and all-round gentle man, Adebola Williams who is more known by his nickname Debola Lagos and it is quite an interesting chat.

My name is Adebola Williams. I’m CEO of the group, RED. And under RED Group, we own several brands; project the future awards, stage craft, RED media, ynaija amongst others.

DANG: Why do people call you Debola Lagos?

D.L:
You know memory seems to be failing me on that name. I think I gave myself Debola Lagos. I think I wanted to open all of these handles on social media and I felt what name do I use? Adebola Williams or a name that gives me a kind of identity that I like. Adebola Lagos is a bit long so I removed the A. I like Lagos. I’m a Lagosian. You know, people always say things like “nobody from Lagos” and we from Lagos sometimes, find that quite unfair. Because we are from here. If you are not from here, we love you, we appreciate you, and we welcome you but do not tell us that we are not from here because you moved here.

DANG: You dabbled into acting a while ago; do you ever want to go back?

D.L: Well, I’ve done a bit of acting in the last two years. I had a big filming in 2015, ’93 days”. The EBOLA film. I was the Protocol Officer who got the disease first in the film. And it was interesting you know, 10 years after trying to be an actor and it didn’t work. I mean, it worked on stage but I just couldn’t cross over to television.

You know, nepotism was more rampant at the time. But then of course, you can sit and make your own judgment and say what you want to say but if it wasn’t your time, it just wasn’t your time. But then, I love acting. I love stage particularly.

So since 2013 or thereabouts, I’ve been back on stage doing a few plays here and there for a few of my friends – Scripts that I love and I take it. I did the ‘whys’ with Kate Henshaw and Joke Silva. I did ‘Lagos life, London living’ with Funke Akindele. And then did the film in 2015.

 

DANG: How do you think you’ll have time to do more of that?

D.L: I think every leader must be able to find time to express their passions. That’s what it is. So it is my passion, I like it. And I had said that I would do at least one production a year. In 2017, I don’t think I did it. I had films but I didn’t do the films.

 

We were born here. You know, from Olobowo in Lagos Island. So for me, it was identity. And identity is important to me. It’s always in my branding tool to look a certain way but I go out of my way to ensure that I’m being branded as a Nigerian with the Nigerian identity. Well, I tell people all the time, I say “listen, I travel around the world, anywhere you see me, I’m wearing my Buba and Sokoto and I’m carrying the cross of Naija with the scars and blessings of being a Nigerian.

I ensure that I put myself out to behave in the best way I can – the best of any human being. So when they think about that man who came in Buba and Sokoto and the cap from Nigeria, they will only have good things to say and that begins to change their perception. If I came in as a man in a suit, and I behave appropriately, I will just be one of the men. “Oh yeah, some guy…” but from looking at me, you know any memory I leave for them is accrued to Nigeria.

When I’m in hotels, I get very finicky and when I leave the hotel, I ensure that I leave the hotel in a decent state. So they won’t say “those illiterates came in from Africa and scattered the bed or the room”. I’m that extra because I believe that I am an Ambassador for the country.

DANG: Do you think that right now in the governing system of Nigeria, we are ready for young leaders?

D.L: I think we are ready for human beings who are capable, who have the capacity and who are competent. It’s not about the age because we have had young leaders in Nigeria. The guy who was there before President Muhammad Buhari was a young person, the guy who was in Ghana before President Akufo-Addo was a young person, Dimeji Bankole was a young person. We’ve had young people in leadership. For me, it is who is capable, who understands the economy, who understands the economics of a Nation, who understands how to envision and creates a strategy and road map to deliver that vision. You know, that for me, is most important. But there is some plus with having young people.

First of all, if you have a young system, then you know that the tools for that system will be young and vibrant. The visions and the idea will be young and vibrant. The things that they will aspire to will be globally recognized. They are those types of things that come with the young people. But then, there are also the things that come with the older guys and foresight. But what I find is that you can then merge the two; where you put the young people to do the work and you as the elder statesmen support them.

So, I saw Obasanjo, for example, saying in an interview that young people need to get up and fight for power. My response to Obasanjo is that: “No sir, at this age sir, we’d expect that you will take the hand of a young person and help them secure power. That is the only legacy you can leave. We don’t want you to die and your legacy will be; before Obasanjo died, he used to say young people should fight for power, no.”

If he truly believes that young people need to be in power, he belongs to the boy’s club. Either convince the club to support a young person or step out and say “my own legacy would be that I took the hand of a young person, and I pushed it up, I fought, he didn’t win or he won,”  Whichever… The outcome is, your legacy won’t be about talking but will be about doing.

DANG: How do you feel knowing that you were a major reason Buhari won the last election?

D.L: First of all, I don’t give myself too much credit. So, sometimes when you see people online saying all kinds of funny things, I just laugh. So you know, I don’t respond to those things because I don’t give myself too much credit. When President Nana Akufo-Addo came to Nigeria and said those things he said on stage, I was embarrassed. I bowed my head and almost wanted the ground to open. He said you helped me be President… God is the only kingmaker and if God doesn’t bless the King, he will not arise.

 

DANG: God used you.

D.L: God used human beings. A combination of elements; I am one of them. We are one of them. You know, campaigners are huge. But the beauty of our work is that the communication party is what people see. People talk, people feel. So that’s why people will then accrue us all of this credit because that is what they connect with. But there is so much; from training party agents to monitoring. You know, the people to deal with is a lot. It’s so many things. But communication work is a key rallying point. It’s a game changer because at the end of the day, you need that message to provoke action. And so, for me, you know, I am at a point where I think we can move faster. So, I’d be happy to work with whoever I believe has the vision to take us…

DANG: Did you make money from Buhari’s campaign?

D.L: Because they were oppositions, they didn’t have the money to pay us like the incumbent and we were approached by the both of them. In Nigeria, we were not approached by the incumbent first. We had started working for Buhari campaign when the incumbent came and realized that we were not joking. In Ghana, we were approached by both of them from the beginning. And we chose the opposition. So for us, at the heart of our work; how do we reengineer the society? What can we do? What are the platforms we can create? Who can we partner with? So these were the ones we partnered with to help fix the nation. And that was the intent we went with.

 

READ HERE: From A Pepper Seller To a Lead Engineer in an Aerospace Engineering Company : Read Adeola Olubamiji’s Compelling Story

 

DANG: How long did it take for Red Media to really pick up?

D.L: It was probably 5-6 years.

DANG: You’ve been friends and partner with Chude for a while, a lot of people say don’t mix friendship with business. How have you been able to balance that?

D.L: It has been the best decision we made. By the Grace of God, it has been the best decision we made. You must respect each other enough to have lines. But you must also love each other enough to forgive each other when you cross the lines. That’s the beauty of having a solid friendship before going into business.

DANG: What do you both have in common?

D.L: We had a solid friendship for about 2 years before going into business. And we had gotten a rhythm on how we could support each other before going into the business. So we already had an idea of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Though we still went through the first five years teething.

DANG: Would you be running for office?

D.L: So like the trajectory I just told you, because I get that question more and more these days, I think for us, it’s always about cultural tension. If there comes a time where we think that me running for office will be the solution, once there is a need – there has to be a need, so once there is a need, of course we can run. But at the moment, we are happy working with other people. We are happy giving advice, showing people areas they may not be giving attention to. We are happy to support.

DANG: Are you saying the solution is for youths to be in power?

My solution is for Nigerians to begin to take more seriously, the responsibilities as citizens. You cannot hold people to standards you don’t practice. As a vendor or as a business person, are you offering me value, because when anybody goes into office, they will do the same things we do in our quiet corners.

On the other hand, when we put people into office, it’s a contract. You go to the contractor to supply you governance, you have given him your money, your resources, we should no longer sit down and wait. We need to put them on their toes.  We keep focusing on the President. We are not even putting the governors on their toes. That’s the problem. The governors have more money and are to do more things than the president. We need to pay more attention to those.

And when you see a government you do not like, get your PVC and give them a red card. Vote on who you really think deserves, not the best of the worst. Get your PVC and be ready. People will come.

DANG: Do you think that the new media right now changes people’s perspectives or is powerful enough to enforce their results?

D.L: I say media is the most powerful estate in the world. Media controls everything. These things you are wearing today, you were told by the media. This color combination you are wearing, you were told by the media. The designers you want to wear, the things that Toke Makinwa or Kim Kardarshian wears, the Beyonce wears and outfits that are sold out for three weeks, it is the media. And what nations that are smart are doing is to use the media to prime their people. That is why LOA in Nigeria has lost the opportunity they had to prime and direct this nation to show how human beings should behave; the value of life, the dignity of being a Nigerian.

Those are things you communicate at the national level. You have a national media strategy on how you want your people to behave and engage. The values are important to you as a nation; you use the media to communicate them. So the media controls everything, literally.

DANG: What is the difference between branding and originality?

D.L: It can be the same and it can be created. Branding can be created. Originality can just be you emphasizing your brand “This is who I am. And I want to make sure it comes through on my social media”, in what you do. Branding is “go forward, this is who we want you to be. Own this as your original self”. Branding is the expression of what you’ve chosen to be either by originality or just by choice.

Branding is engineered. But the foundation is either who you are originally or you amplify it. But there must be a foundation. Branding is what the world comes in contact with. But you must first be something. So that something can either be original or what you chose.

DANG:  Which one sells more?

D.L: It’s not about which one sells more. It is about which one you choose to. If you choose a brand and you are able to sustain it and you think that’s what works for you, then it’s your choice. Of course, the first thing would always be to do an original so that you never get tired,. You are not acting but if you’ve taken up this persona and you believe that’s what you need, it’s a choice really – you can’t blame anybody.

You can’t be rigid. Tweak here, tweak there, to fit the times. The chameleon changing color doesn’t change its values, doesn’t change it capacity. It’s still a chameleon. It’s just adapting to the environment. So once your core essence is solid, it’s good.

DANG: What advice would you give someone who wants to use the media to impact people?

D.L: Find a purpose. Once you are in for a purpose, you know the impact you want. For us many times, all the things we’ve done and that have gotten the national attention they got is because our purpose is to solve problems. Our purpose is to solve cultural tensions for young people. So our passions lie with youths.

So what party does your passion lie with? Then, we wanted to use the media as a tool. So, we found our purpose, we found our target audience and our tool is the media. What’s your own purpose? What’s your own targeted audience? What’s your tool? Find the cultural tensions and see how you can make your tools align with your purpose to solve it. So we wanted to in the beginning, create an environment where young people who were like us and we were working ,  we empowered and we felt they could take on the world.

We wanted to create more people like that, so we created the future awards because we realized that young people needed a place where they were celebrated and validated. There was a cultural tension that made them feel like they were nobody, they couldn’t do anything, society told them they were useless. So we created the future awards to solve that problem.

We galvanized and told them “this is your future. You can’t be sitting back.” And that changed the game in youth advocacy in Nigeria since then. When we did Ynaija.com, there was no platform where young people owned and had a voice on a political level. Bella was fashion; Linda was gossip and things like that. We created the first platform focused on young people, by young people voiced politically, that also then merged with pop culture. The difference was that we merged pop culture with hard news and politics.

DANG: What guides your principles?

D.L: My value for me is for our society and for human beings. I am very much concerned about the betterment of the human race and so, if I see values that can better the human race, and I don’t have it, I learn it. Because I learnt mathematics, I didn’t understand it. I learnt Biology; I wasn’t born to understand Biology. But it was key for that purpose of education. And so for it is key to have a value, to have a character trait, it is key to advance humanity. And I learnt it. Humility, kindness, love, forgiveness, whatever it is, you learn it. Because you are human. Because you are perfect. You are like a pot, you can be molded. That is why even when moments you are squashed and on the floor at the most moments when you build.

And so spirituality for me is basically understanding that there is someone higher above me who I can always turn to. When I’m doing this thing I’m doing with you now, by the time we are done, virtue will leave me.  You need to find the ways to refresh and renew in spirit and those things spirituality helps you with; it guides you on how to live your life. It helps you understand some things that you hold yourself in bondage with. Spirituality gives you freedom.

For example, God doesn’t say love me or try to love me. He said “just stay in my love. I have loved you already. I’m giving you abundant love, so stay in it.” Your job is now to understand, so it helps you hustle less. It helps you stay focused. It helps you have peace. It helps you stick with your truth.

DANG: Do you mean that when you have God you do not need to hustle?

D.L: First of all, I’m not a big fan of the word “hustle”. I feel like it means you are just going all over the place and running around. So that’s why I said it helps you hustle less. When you have understanding, you focus. And you zero in. You concentrate your energies on what is important and what matters. And so when you have clarity, and based on your spirituality with God, you find your purpose with Him, then you are not chasing everything that comes your way. Not every opportunity will you take; you focus on what God has asked you to do. That way, you don’t ball out. That way, you are more effective, efficient and more productive.

DANG: How do you feel when people say awful things about you?

D.L: Posterity will tell. You don’t need to get into any squabble with anybody. If your intent is pure, time will tell. Did they not stone Jesus? Did they not spit on Jesus? Did Judas not betray Jesus? Dr. Obi Ezekwezile, one of the purest and most sincere Nigerians I know; did they not cast suspicions on her every day? One minute they say she is supporting Hausas, she is a bad person. Next minute, they say she is supporting Biafra, she is an Igbo person. Next minute, she is not supporting Biafra, she is not Igbo enough. But she maintains her truth so she sleeps well at night.

For everybody reading this interview, maintain your truth. The world will talk. The world will speak. If you try to be what the world wants you to be, you will lose your truth and it’s not worth it. So you have to find your truth and stick with your truth regardless of what the world says. Time will tell. When Steve Jobs was walking barefoot, he was a madman. When the world does not understand you, they will say you are mad and they are normal. You are strange. But only strange people have changed the world. Only those who have been mad have changed something. They were mad to chase electricity, to chase possibility to use the mobile phone, to create a computer. It was madness.

DANG: Have you ever been disturbed by any particular criticism?

D.L: Even Jesus wanted his cup to be taken away from him. So we all have our human wants. Of course. But these things I say to you are not just things that I say to you.  They are the things that I live by, the things that I say to myself. Every leader must have his own trusted circle that will remind him of their essence, remind you, you are special.

For everyone, you must have your trusted circle. Listen, everything that you have done in your life, you didn’t do it by chance. You did it because you are special. You did it because God has given you the unique talent that you have pursued and expressed and you are now excelling at it. So for you to guard that talent and guard your space, you must have your trusted circle who will remind you when you are in your down times and you are burning out and they will fire you back up and tell you “ no, no no. you are not mad. You are on the right track, keep going”. But you must know your truth and when you have God and you know He is working with you and you know there is a journey, you have some level of peace.

DANG:  Say something nice about yourself.

D.L: I don’t know how to do it. And I’m sincere. Maybe I can joke about it. But I don’t know how to be serious about it. I just want to give someone a reason to live. I think if that’s all I do in a day for one person, I think I have achieved something. You know, one of my team members will always say to me that he was suicidal the first time we met and how my conversation changed his life. And he will always remind me every year. I think those are the moments I live for. The more I can be able to help someone; I’m fine when people around me are fine. We all can be like that but it’s a good place to try to be.

I’m not perfect though, I have people who ask me for help and I can’t even figure out how to help. But the ones I can do, I do and I move on. But I say to people, if someone doesn’t help you today, doesn’t mean they can’t help you tomorrow and doesn’t mean they must help you. Nobody really owes you anything. So just do your best to succeed. People will throw shit at you, just take that shit and keep climbing on it. By the time you get to the top, you’ll have value. Just keep doing something. The rehearsals in the backstage will one day lead to a spot on the stage.”

 

Public Transportion in Lagos

Back to The Basics: For The First Time Since 2009, I Used Public Transportation in Lagos

On Thursday, I decided to take public transportation in Lagos as I had not done this since 2009. I felt it was time to go back to the basics to reflect and see how that would make me feel.

The bus ride was pretty interesting. I actually wrote down everything I noticed on my notepad.

Destination: Obalende.

From Lekki first gate, I saw an empty bus going to Obalende and I remembered I used to prefer to sit at the back to the left, by the window, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone rubbing themselves on me whenever they wanted to alight from the bus. Even while taking public transportation in Lagos, one needs to be strategic.

Read:The Good Things- And Bad Things- About Having My Nephews Spend The Holiday With Me

I was happy about the empty bus, however, I wasn’t the only one with this strategy. While smiling to myself and feeling lucky, a lady pushes past me and went straight to the seat I had designated for myself in my head. Pschew! I didn’t like that but I went in after her anyway, if she gets down before me, I could still take over.

The man who sat beside me wore an oversized grey blazer and clutched a bible to his chest as if he was afraid it would be snatched from him. As he sat down, I heard him mutter “reboshcalaba”. I took a quick glance at him, ‘was he anointing the seat or what?’ He caught me looking so I smiled at him, he smiled right back. I shook my head in wonder…why do you have to scabash out loud before taking your seat?

The lady beside me snap chatted herself with her earphones on. She had no care in the world, bus or no bus, snap chat must be updated. I wondered to myself if this was something I would have done, I didn’t think so. This is what was going through my mind when I heard “thud!”

Something had dropped, it was the pastor’s phone.

As he tried to pick it up, I made room by pressing my legs together and moving more to the left. Pastor bent to pick up his phone, on his way back up, he managed to graze his bald head on my breast. I instinctively elbowed him. His head hit the seat in front of us and he sat back up awkwardly, I elbowed him again, trying to catch his eye but he wouldn’t look at me. The girl sitting next to me laughed out so loud, passengers turned back to find out what was happening. No one said anything…the girl couldn’t stop laughing, I kept a straight face and pastor -still refusing to look at me- stylishly rubbed his forehead.

We got to Obalende but not Obalende bus-stop. The conductor screamed at everyone to get down from the bus. I told him “Aha aha but we’re not at Oblaende Bus-stop now”. He looked at me like I was crazy since I was the only one complaining and everyone was already alighting from the bus. “Come down jor,” said the driver from his seat “na Obalende be this”. I accepted my fate, as I was alighting from the bus I felt it move under me. “Oga wait now, I’m trying to get down,” I said calmly “motor don dey behind me, come down! come down!” the driver barked at me. So I alighted from a moving bus, like a pro.

On my way back from Obalende, I was lucky to sit by the window at the far back, to the left. The conductor announced the fare was N200 from Obalende to Lekki. However, I heard the lady who came on the bus after me say: “Na N150 I get o”. The conductor whispered to her, “no wahala, enter”.

Huh? Can we negotiate bus fares? As the bus filled up and started moving, I called the conductor’s attention, “Me too na N150 I go pay o. All of us dey go the same place” Before the conductor could respond, lady negotiator jumped at me “Abeg abeg no jealous me. We no enter this bus together, pay your money make I pay my own”. Her voice was loud, more than one vein on her neck seemed to be stressed too.

WAWU!

I was shocked at first but that quickly dissolved into a fit of laughter. The man seated in front of us adjusted himself and looked back at lady negotiator “she dey jealous you inside your ranger rover or what? Abi the mansion wey you carry enter this bus?” Lady negotiator almost spat in the guy’s face “face your front oga, e no concern you”

The gentle man then told the conductor “if she’s paying N150, we’re all paying N150”. Of course, everyone thought this was a good idea and an association was immediately formed in the bus. the conductor and driver threatened to drop us all off mid-way but when we all refused to back down, they eventually agreed to collect N150 and we all became gist partners…except lady negotiator, her veins looked more stressed and seemed to have multiplied. Obviously, she wasn’t happy.

Eskis ma, you’re no more the special child paying a reduced bus fare. All animals are now equal!

First published on August 7, 2017

Why You Should Consider This Approach to Finding Yourself

5 cups of water – two half full, three quite full – seated gently on the kitchen table tilted a bit unto saucers. The cups quite full spill off some water on the saucers while the cups half full stay still in motion, waiting patiently to be tilted a bit more. No, they can’t give any water this way in this position. Problem is, tilting them will make them give more and more of the water that they lack already. However, the goal is not to make them dry.
The approach majority of the people I have met and I’ve had personal conversations with on friendships and relationships is that they understand that relationships are about giving so much of themselves to their partners or friends to make them a better person and sticking with them come what may, because “a good friend sticks closer than a brother”, this isn’t a bad thing. I have thought about this a lot myself; about how that being loyal to a group of people entails that I remain in the same level with them and accept the status quo that the relationship presents to me. About how I should grow but should not grow so much in such a way that it affects this friendship or this relationship or the way this other person might feel or something. I have thought about this deeply because I have found myself in points in my life where the best option for me was to go against what the people in my circle thought was the best for me because I knew deep down in my heart that it wasn’t.
One crucial thing we have to understand as individuals is the fact that we are of more help to those in our circle when we are empowered as individuals. Life’s journey is a personal one that is made up of personal decisions which we are individually responsible for and we all have our different paths. We should be accommodating enough to let those in our personal space be who they truly are without trying to control them or fit them into our personal mould. There is a popular saying that goes thus, “Givers need to know when to stop giving because takers rarely ever know when to stop taking”. True, it is very important to give and make the lives of those around us better. It is also important that we go out of our way from time to time and put a smile on someone else’s face. But, it is also time to pause and ask yourself if you have been giving so much of yourself in the light of excessive compromise to sustain certain relationships in your life. Have you given so much of yourself in toxic relationships to the extent that you feel empty and used? You are your greatest priority and the people who truly love you will want what is best for you. Are you holding back from pursuing that degree because you feel that it would put some other people in an uncomfortable situation? Or are you cringing at the thought of leaving that terribly abusive marriage because of the child you have already? You are doing more damage to your soul by chaining it this way. More damage than you could ever imagine.
It takes courage to follow your heart.
Following my heart has cost me friends but I have learnt that not everybody needs to be in my life anyway. The true friends will stay.
It is okay to say “no”, it is okay to take care of “you”. You are of more benefit to others when you are full.
Rejection is a part of the journey and playing it safe has not got anyone anywhere.
In reading the biographies of outstanding individuals like Richard Branson (Losing my Virginity) and Mary Kay Ash (Miracles Happen) who have recorded various degrees of successes in their diverse fields, one would most readily find a reoccurring pattern of rejection at one point or the other in the lives of these individuals. Disruption entails challenging the status quo and one cannot attain remarkable heights without challenging certain existing systems and this will entail that you follow your truest convictions as against the chatter all around you; that you embrace who you truly are and fight for her over and above the external demand to fight for what is not truly her path; that we embrace the struggles and challenges that come with developing her into her fullest potential because at the end of our journeys, when we look back, we will be glad we did.