Monthly Archives: October 2018

Deal With Height Insecurities

Being Short Has Many Advantages. Stop The Insecurities

I’ve spent years dealing with people pointing out my height, leaning on my shoulders, telling me how “cute” I am, and suggesting I am actually up to ten years younger than I really am. I’ve been out of college for five years – just this morning, someone asked me how my classes were going.

So, I totally get this feeling of insecurity you have about your height. I’ve been there – but now I’m at a place in my life where I feel happy with how short I am. I’ve accepted that I’m not going to grow, and I’ve learned how to love it. You can too, and you should! While it’s completely possible that you’ll grow a few more inches (you still have a few more years to grow), it sounds like being short runs in your family. Don’t worry about your little sisters growing taller than you – that’s normal. Everyone has different genes.

ALSO SEE: I Discovered My Father Was A Prostitute After He Died

Here’s the thing you need to understand: there’s nothing you can do about your height. You can’t control it, and there’s no use worrying about something you can’t control. So you may as well embrace it. As corny as it sounds, your height is what makes you you. Instead of acting like it’s something bad, treat it as the physical trait that makes you unique. That’s what I do – people remember me as “the short girl.” Annoying? Kind of. But everyone is known for something, and being short really isn’t that bad of a thing to be known for when you think about it.

Please don’t worry about what others say. Unfortunately, people are always going to make fun of things that are different about you, about everyone. If someone hurts your feelings, don’t be afraid to defend yourself. If your friends make you feel bad about your height, tell them they need to stop. If people are joking around with you (even if it’s annoying), try to realise that they most likely don’t realise they’re hurting your feelings.

I know how frustrating it can be when people don’t take you seriously because you’re short. But seeming grown-up and intimidating is really more about your attitude and the way you carry yourself than what you look like. Feel confident and sure of yourself, and other people will see that more than just your height. If someone treats you like you’re younger just because you’re short, make it clear that you don’t appreciate it, and that you’re more mature than they think. Show people instead of telling them.

To be honest, it may take a while to feel confident in your height. It took me until college to feel happy with how short I was. Give it time, and constantly remind yourself that your height doesn’t define you. Remember that being short has plenty of advantages. Own your height! And if you ever feel like being a little taller, there is always the option of a great pair of heels.

Source: Gurl.com

 

biggest fear

I Discovered My Father Was A Prostitute After He Died

My dad’s name is Jack. John, really, but the nickname “Jack” stuck with him throughout his life. As a transgendered woman, he then became Jackie.

Let’s just say that my brother and sisters really didn’t know Jack.

Instead, allow me to start with this: When my Dad came out to me as a transgendered female in February 2015, I was in full support of his choice. So long had he lived an inverted, double life, that I thought it was healing and inspiring to be open of his true self. Dad (through the 1980s) had always identified as bisexual, but I thought that was the extent to where it went.

I had even published an article on Elite Daily and Hello Giggles voicing the need for more familial and community support for the transgendered community. Sophia Rossi, co-owner of Hello Giggles, even invited me to speak at her book tour in Arizona about my essay on this fresh experience with my transgendered father.

But, all of that changed in June 2016, when my father passed away from (what my siblings believe) was a heart attack. Dad was 67, his body was chock full of hormones, he was a faithful stoner and probable user of other harder drugs.

As my two sisters were organizing Jackie’s finances, etc., there was an email on his laptop labeled “Life Plans.”

Great, my sister thought. This is the social security and life insurance information that we need.

Instead, the email detailed a much darker side to our father than we ever could imagine. My sister describes it as reading a “medieval gothic novel.”

At 32, I’ve come to know my emotional triggers pretty well and have yet to read the email. In fact, I have absolutely no desire to read it at all. Because in it, it apparently describes how he wanted to be consistently arrested by the police for prostituting, being known as the most famous prostitute in his city, along with other S&M fantasies where I cannot let my mind travel. His email server was also filled with Craigslist solicitations with his prices from people who wanted sex.

But, my sisters originally did not tell me about this email when Dad passed.

At the time, I had discovered two weeks earlier that I was pregnant. I was emotional, and there was an argument to have the funeral for “Jack,” the man and dad who helped raise five young children; or “Jackie,” the transgendered female we had gotten to know in less than a year.

I wanted to support this pure and true idea of an often misunderstood and complicated sexual lifestyle that my dad had struggled with for, apparently (what he told me), years. (As a teacher, I had worked with transgendered students as well, and know firsthand how difficult that lifestyle can be, especially having any familial support.)

What I did not support was the idea that my dad had used his trans-gendered identity to sell himself for sex. He used that title for money and steer away toward the idea of what is truly a deep and emotional sexual lifestyle that should be taken seriously.

Being “transgender” or “transexual” was being used in the frustrating and misunderstood way of archaic ideas of the actual lifestyle people struggle to be taken seriously for.

I was devastated.

That’s when I immediately asked that those articles be retracted by those publications; they weren’t the truth, and my father had been living a big, lard-laden lie. I wasn’t going to let him do that past death.

There were signs that he, she, Dad, Jackie, was prostituting himself of course. They weren’t obvious to me because no one thinks their parent — nonetheless their father — is offering sex for money.

Dad came out on Facebook as Jackie, and then pictures started appearing. Of course that was fine, but they were rather overt, as if my Dad’s idea of a woman was a sexualized Dita Von Teese minus the burlesque glamour.

Dad was the type of person who was sincerely nonjudgmental, and whom I could openly have conversations with him in hopes that his truth would come out. With that, I relayed to Dad: “Women don’t have to wear make-up or show underwear openly to feel beautiful. In fact, I think this is something you taught me as a father to three daughters.”

He did take that into thought and then posted a different profile picture, but it was still sexualized: a sheer top showing a bra. Again, I discussed his ideas of beauty and women, and he said: “Well, I want to leave something a little sexy.”

About a month or so after Dad’s funeral passed, I received a Facebook message from a stranger who had copied Jackie’s exact Facebook page. I was shaken, and confused, and my husband told me not to respond to message, but it had turned out that those Facebook pictures — his facebook page — was being managed by (God, do I call him pimp?) a pimp then.

I immediately deleted both accounts: the copied one and my father’s.

It has been two years of twisting thoughts as I attempted to process his life. But, as I raise my now 10-month-old daughter, I can’t help but miss him.

When Dad died, I coincidentally (though, I don’t think there are coincidences in life) was reading a book that had gotten me through my parents divorce in 1996: A Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt. It was probably one of the only books during that time about divorce and a parent’s abandonment, which is what Dad did to his five children back in the mid-1990s.

I love my Dad. I forgive my Dad. I think about my Dad so often, and the strange and deep and spiritual conversations that I had with him. I savor them. I wish he could meet my daughter; he would get a kick out of her.

But, I will never understand my Dad. I always wanted my Dad to feel open and loved, especially since my siblings had so much trouble forgiving him through his double life of adultery with my mother during my childhood; we didn’t have much of a relationship then.

It was through my early adulthood where we grew closer. And through all of this, Dad always lived a double life thinking that he would be misunderstood. My heart absolutely aches while writing this because wherever he is right now, I want him to be free of that shame and neglect, and to feel a love where he feel like he doesn’t need to hide.

His life was shitty, and he acted shitty because of it. That’s no excuse because life can be absolute crap, let’s just say it.

But, I cherish the gifts that John, Jack, Jackie, Dad gave me.

Source: Thoughtcatalog.com

DANG Network

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I HAVE A BABY….. LET ME EXPLAIN…

I’ve been working my butt off in recent past trying to keep two jobs and be excellent at both. After doing the job, I delayed letting you see it because I was a little scared. Maybe it wouldn’t work out, maybe I should discard it and do something else. But now, my mind is made up. I believe I have done a good job and I’ll just put it out to the universe
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ALSO READ: When a man has made money, he should make a noble use of it

DANG Network  is a business. MY Business. But at the heart of it, is value creation, inspiration, Visual storytelling and content creation, not like the ones you’re used to.

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The Kiss That Melted My World

#FlahbackFriday Yemi My Lover: The Kiss That Melted My World

Even though I didn’t have a choice, I hated taking the bus not only because it wasn’t comfortable: The stench, mixture of body fluids, men conveniently but pretentiously rubbing their thighs against mine or their elbows on the side of my boobs. Every time I got on the bus, I would say a prayer, “Lord, provide a car for me please, I’ve done this enough”. The day I met Yemi, I had just closed from work, I worked in the last building on Adeola Odeku in Victoria Island.

On this day, after waiting to get on a bus for over 30 minutes without luck, I decided to walk to Ahmadu Bello -which was a little more than a mile from where I was- maybe I’d have better luck with the buses coming from Ademola Adetokunbo, a less busy road. When I arrived at that Bus stop, I found that there wasn’t much difference but I couldn’t go back, so I joined the crowd hoping to get first dibs at the next bus. Not less than 5 Minutes later, a black Toyota Camry pulled over on my side and was immediately rushed by commuters. I never took free rides so I didn’t join in the hustle.

“Ife,” I heard my name clearly.

So I followed the sound and it was Yemi, very tall, dark-skinned, white teeth contrasting sharply with his skin, I thought it was kind of funny and I smiled. “Yemi, I didn’t know that was you o,” I said as I walked towards his car, feeling somehow special, ‘only me amongst all these people, na free ride dey rush me.’ Hurry, get in before we cause more traffic,” Yemi said. I was immediately conscious of blaring horns and somewhere in my subconscious, a bus driver screaming at Yemi to move his car. I got into the car and before I could use my seat belt, Yemi drove off to join the 6 PM V/I traffic. I tilted to my side to get a good look at him, “Ehen, Yemi Yemi, this is you I just saw like this without collecting Visa o. How have you been? It’s been ages.” I said.

ALSO READ: #FlashbackFriday One day, I picked up a N5 note I saw on the floor, I didn’t turn to stone so I went on to brag to mama.

Yemi and I studied at the same university, we were not close friends but we had mutual friends which made us see often, especially during exams when we all read together. We had a good rapport and always had something to talk about. However, since we graduated, we had no reason to look for each other. This day was approximately 3 years after graduation. You don’t ask after people now. You know I never had your phone number in school so I just knew sha, we go jam one day,” Said Yemi as he tried to look at me and focus on the road at the same time, “You’re still skinny o, look at you, you’ve not changed, even your puff-puff cheeks are still there.” I laughed, I remembered this was his normal way of teasing me. “Won’t you ask me where I’m going? Abi you’re willing to take me anywhere?”

I asked because I had to be mentally prepared to alight at any bus stop that was convenient for him. “Ah! What do you mean? I’m taking you home, I don’t care where you live o” Yemi was serious. I found out he lived in Gbagada which meant he would be going further than his destination if he chose to drop me off at Maryland where I stayed. But he insisted and our friendship began. I stopped taking the bus because from that day, Yemi picked me up from home and dropped me off at home, every day.

I stopped asking if it was convenient when I started enjoying the commute with him. We became really close, he met my siblings, I met his and stopping by at each other’s houses became a norm, even if none of us was home. On the fourth week, Yemi asked for us to go to the beach, so we went to Oniru beach. He was a chatty man but on this day, he was really quiet and I allowed him as I also didn’t see the need to talk. We sat and enjoyed each other’s silence while we held hands. I was deep in thought, wondering what we were doing, knowing I really liked him but I was adamant that if he wanted more, he would have to ask me. So I waited for Yemi to do the needful. Y

emi, the kind gentle giant, smart, hardworking and in love with his family, playful and straightforward like me, even though he was extremely annoying and refused to read anything that wasn’t news. He wasn’t perfect but he was an amazing man, I waited for him to make the first move. “Can I kiss you?” His voice jolted me out of my thoughts. I had slipped into another life, where I was asking myself to behave, not to jump the gun, to enjoy the friendship.

I was my mum, chastising and calming myself at the same time. I shifted in my seat, it was an abandoned fallen Palm tree. I turned to look at Yemi, and through his sunglasses, I saw the smooth choreography of the waves of the beach. I shifted again to straddle my make-shift seat and moved closer to him. I could hear the birds sing and the ocean waves striking the beach as it was immediately accompanied by a ‘swooosshhh’.

The continuous “swoosh” of the waves created a rhythm in my mind but there was one sound missing; the sound of my heartbeat. I had literally stopped breathing. Focused on nature’s music, I touched Yemi’s heart through his T-shirt, it was strong but it thumped harder than normal. His T-shirt felt really soft under my palms, I closed my eyes and imagined reaching through it to hold his heart. I realised I wanted the kiss him too but I wanted to be sure we had a real connection. I removed his sunglasses, placed it on my head, touched his face and pressed my cheeks to his, it was a little wet and cold. I had not had enough time to process this when he playfully bit the tip of my ear. I was cold but that wasn’t what gave me goosebumps. When he bit my ear again, I impulsively detached my face from his.

I felt even everything, all the way to my toes and my body froze but my fingers, which lay on his other cheek shook badly. I was nervous, Yemi could tell. He removed my hand from his face and trapped it between both his palms. ‘Lub-dub, dub-dub, lub-dub’ Finally, I heard the missing sound now, my heartbeat rate had spiked, my goosebumps had multiplied. Yemi finally let my hand go, then he kissed me. I guess he didn’t see the need to ask again.

He was gentle. He ran the tip of his tongue on my lower lip, sliding it through every crack like he wanted to close them up. Then he pulled my lip gently with both of his, intent on sucking the life back into them. The roar in my ear had deafened the sounds of the birds, I was no more physically present, my eyes hurt from shutting them too tight, I felt my thighs pressing down too firmly against the tree. Even though I was seated, I was holding on tight. I felt something for this man it was pumping blood through my heart at record speed.

“Hey, kiss me back, please” Yemi pleaded, his voice was soft now and it shook a little. I didn’t realise I wasn’t kissing him back so I opened my mouth just a little more and our tongues quickly melted into each other as a frozen ice-cream would, in a warm mouth. There was no rush at all and I felt no urgency to go deeper but I finally wrapped my arms around him and he gently held the back of my head controlling the movement and the pace of our osculation. So does this mean you’re my girlfriend now?”

Yemi spoke into my mouth, I immediately disengaged and playfully pushed him away, “Bros, you better calm down. Ask me properly, take me on a date then I’ll tell you.” Yemi moved closer, searched my face as if he wanted to be sure I was serious. Then he said,

“Okay, I’ll take you on as many dates as you want, just say yes again the first time”. I laughed at him because at that moment, in my heart, I was already his. We lived happily ever after… for a few years until we heard the bad news, and there was no way up from there.

“I’m sorry to tell you, your blood genotypes are both AS.”

Getting my dream job

Getting my dream job after years of unemployment changed my mindset completely

10 years ago today, I lost my job. I was a statistic amongst many in 2008. I remember driving home from my meeting and crying my eyes out. I called my Dad and shared the news. I had no idea how I was going to pay my rent or my newly leased car payment.

I was the first of my friends to lose my job during the recession. I was embarrassed, even though it wasn’t my fault.  During the first couple months, I was completely lost. I couldn’t find a job, but I refused to spend my days sitting at home on the couch watching tv or sleeping late.

I was on unemployment, so I didn’t have much money at all. I walked to the bookstore every day. I would visit Borders or Barnes and Noble or sometimes both. I would pick up a book that I wanted to read and I would literally read ALL day. I would take a break for lunch and cross the street to the other bookstore. I didn’t finish a book in a day but sometimes I was close. I would make notes on what page I finished on and picked up the next day. I would read anything and everything. I even considered going back to grad school.

ALSO READ: To Anyone Who Struggles With “Letting Go”

10 years ago today, I lost my job. I was a statistic amongst many in 2008. I remember driving home from my meeting and crying my eyes out. I called my Dad and shared the news. I had no idea how I was going to pay my rent or my newly leased car payment.

I was the first of my friends to lose my job during the recession. I was embarrassed, even though it wasn’t my fault.  During the first couple months, I was completely lost. I couldn’t find a job, but I refused to spend my days sitting at home on the couch watching tv or sleeping late.

I was on unemployment, so I didn’t have much money at all. I walked to the bookstore every day. I would visit Borders or Barnes and Noble or sometimes both. I would pick up a book that I wanted to read and I would literally read ALL day. I would take a break for lunch and cross the street to the other bookstore. I didn’t finish a book in a day but sometimes I was close. I would make notes on what page I finished on and picked up the next day. I would read anything and everything. I even considered going back to grad school.

One of my friends asked me if I could do anything for a job what would it be. The answer was simple, “I wanted to travel the world taking photographs and find a way to get paid for it.” This was way before e-commerce took off. I had no idea how I was going to make this happen. I truly believe in putting what you want in the universe.

By 2011, I was completely on my own as a Travel Photographer. It was one of the scariest parts leaving behind stable income from being a Nanny to relying fully on my photography. For anyone who has taken the scary leap, it somehow finds a way of working out.

Since my first solo trip to Paris in 2010, I have been fortunate to have had a lot of Paris adventures I had no idea that this would turn into a full time business and Paris would be the main focus. It was never the plan. I actually thought if anything, I was going to move back to Italy after my semester abroad.

Earlier, I mentioned that you have to put what you want out in the universe. In the very beginning when I was walking to the bookstore every day, I stopped by the store Papyrus that was close by. I decided that I wanted to sell one of my photographs in the store. I had no idea how I was going to do it but I simply asked. I made it a goal. A few years later, I received an email from Papyrus asking to license one of my images.

In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to sell my work at Barnes and Noble (3 projects) You should see my face when I see my work out in the wild, I can’t help but hide the biggest smile. I am so proud.

When people ask me about what I do for a living, it always sparks a conversation. I couldn’t find a job back in 2008, so I created one. I found a way to travel the world, take pictures, and make a living.

There is a lot of the story that fills in from my first solo trip to Paris up until now. It hasn’t always been easy and it hasn’t been a smooth ride. There have been a lot of roadblocks along the way and my business is constantly changing and evolving. If I had the chance to do it all over again with all the struggles, I would say yes! Owning a business isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of dedication, late nights, and early mornings. I am a self-taught photographer, blogger, and now social media consultant.

I lost my job in my twenties when my friends were still single and going out on the weekends. I had to make a lot of sacrifices with money and time to get to where I am. It has been 2 years discovery and 8 years as a solo entrepreneur.

Struggling With Letting Go

To Anyone Who Struggles With “Letting Go”

A few weeks ago I snapped that photo above, outside of my sister’s house, and shared it on social media.

I captioned it with this quote: “the trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let dead things go.”

The phrase “let it go” used to really irritate me because I didn’t know what it meant or exactly how to do it. And there are times when I still struggle with it a lot.

As an analytical person, I need visual aids and practical steps to help me understand and accomplish things.

It’s the virgo in me.

I prefer finding ways to compare those lofty ideas with things I can really wrap my head around.

In my mind, I connect the act of letting go to that time I was finally able to release both hands from my handlebars while riding my bike. And yes, “letting go” is what happens when I frantically drop a hot pan on the stove after realising one of the oven mitts has a hole in it.

That’s some serious let go if you’ve never experienced it.

But the kind of letting go that involves a conscious choice versus a physical action, can be extremely challenging and scary. It can also be painful as hell if it’s not something you’re ready to do: especially if your heart and mind are singing two different songs.

Letting go in this sense is releasing all doubt, worry, and fear about a situation, person or outcome.

It’s releasing anything that disrupts your happiness and no longer serves you on your journey.

Letting go is a choice to decide that you will no longer ruminate on things that are out of your control, and focus on what you can control, instead.

Letting go creates space for fresh beginnings: stripping you of what happened yesterday, and enabling the doors of brand new opportunities to open today.

Letting go is about accepting what is happening right now and not worrying about what will come up tomorrow.

It involves much more than just saying you have let go. It’s an internal process that must happen for you to truly feel better and get on with life in a healthy way.

Throughout this year, I’ve been having lots of conversations with people and reading an assortment of spiritual books on exactly how to let go. I’ve come up with these five steps that helps me better understand how to do this thing and could possibly help you too:

As a gentle reminder, it’s important that we honour where we are on our individual journeys of letting go. This is a process that may be more challenging for some than others. Know that wherever you are right now, is okay.

1) Mind control?—?The human mind is the most complex tool we own and can either be our biggest ally or worst enemy. Having the power to let things go starts there. Making an intentional choice to no longer let past issues and people who hurt us control the mind is what can break the cycle of unhealthy rumination on these thoughts, ideas and feelings.

For me, what ends up happening when I let my mind go down the dark road of rehearsing painful experiences is I began to create a story about myself that typically follows the lines of “I’m not good enough”, “I’m unlovable” and “no one cares about me”. The more I think about it, the more my mind creates space to allow feelings of hurt, anger and frustration to fester and completely ruin my mood.

Although I’m still working on this, it’s important to constantly be in observance of your thoughts without attaching yourself to what it is you’re thinking.

The reality is your thoughts don’t define your value. You are not the summation of your past experiences. Just because something doesn’t work out, doesn’t mean you are now labeled as a failure or you’re incapable of receiving what you desire in life.

The more we can simply watch our thoughts come and go without attaching our identity to them, the easier letting go becomes.

Thoughts are nothing more than thoughts. What we decide to do with them is what can either make or break us.

2) Getting it all out?—?Having the ability to express your emotions in a healthy way is another step to processing things before deciding to let them go. As a writer, this is also a must for me because it serves as a form of catharsis and creative release. I like to spend time journalling out my thoughts and emotions.

While obsessing over the details of what happened in the past is never the healthy route to take (we all do it), it’s important to analyse why you’re feeling a certain way, and how you can show up differently the next time.

There are so many breakthroughs to uncover through self reflection. Other ways to express yourself include talking to a trusted friend, family member or therapist. I have discovered that seeking out counselling is one of the best ways to receive objective advice and support throughout my journey of healing and learning to let go.

Sometimes, friends and family sit so close to a particular situation that they’re unable to provide unbiased support the way in which you need it. And, sometimes they don’t always offer the best advice. Sometimes it’s not always that easy to let something go. Especially if there are old narratives that are lodged somewhere in your subconscious mind from previous experiences.

When we continue holding on to grief, anxiety, pain, and resentment from the past without fully working through each situation, all of these experiences, patterns, and narratives accumulate inside the heart, making it even more difficult to let things go. When this is the case, it’s so important to seek out therapy to help you work through and heal from the inside out.

3) Acceptance?—?We all want to know why something ended the way it did or how someone could end up hurting us so badly without having any concern about how it negatively impacted us.

We believe that we deserve the right to these answers. We want some level of understanding. The painful truth is, we don’t always get that “closure” we think we ought to have.

Not everyone will explain why they did something or even apologise when they are at fault. And I know firsthand that this reality stings a lot. Like someone pouring salt in an open wound.

Not getting solid answers and having to move on with life without closure is no fun, but it’s something many of us have to do at one point or another.

Fully accepting the situation as it is without constantly wishing it would be different is really the only way to getting on the road to being okay. And this isn’t only about accepting situations. We have to start accepting people for who they are as well and believing them when they show us their true character. Because they aren’t lying.

4) Forgiveness?—?To truly let go and move on, sometimes you have to forgive people who aren’t even sorry. Sometimes you have to accept an apology you’ll never receive. That takes so much strength and courage and humility. While it may seem unfair and backwards, sometimes, that’s how the chips will fall.

There’s nothing worse than holding onto resentment about someone or something for years, while they happily move on with life. And the reality is, doing this only hurts you. The most important thing is that we also have to learn to forgive ourselves.

This can be done by writing a letter to yourself, replacing self-loathing with compassion, and deciding to make better choices next time.

READ MORE: My rapist is not sorry, Forgiveness and freedom might just be overrated after all.

5) Stay present?—?The present is all we have. We can’t go back and fix the past, and what happens in the future isn’t here yet. We must make an effort everyday to remember that and allow ourselves to open up and enjoy what is unfolding right in front of us: all parts of the journey both easy and hard, good and bad.

A friend of mine once said to me “you are right where you are supposed to be”, in the midst of a very rough season. My initial reaction back to that was filled with frustration and confusion.

I didn’t want to accept the fact that he was probably right. Because life is full of so many teachers and lessons. Sometimes you will be the teacher, and other times you will be forced to learn a hard lesson.

This year has found me in the role of the student on so many occasions: pushing and encouraging me to let go of old narratives and painful pasts.

This year has inspired me to work harder at letting go of self-loathing, insecurities, hurtful people, unrealistic expectations and timelines, comparing myself to others, and obsessively worrying about things far beyond my control.

I owe it to myself to be more kind to me.

Everyday, I am consistently reminded to embrace the present and all it has to offer: a new opportunity to begin again. No matter how much I may stumble on this journey of letting go, the present is always here to remind me that I don’t have to stay stuck on yesterday, or worry about what will happen tomorrow.

I trust that this opportunity is open for you to receive it too.

Everyday we have a choice to keep holding on just a little bit longer, or conclude that today is the day we will finally let go.

Source: Medium.com

Edo-abasi McGee Breast Cancer

Breast ‘Cancer Was The Best Thing to Happen To Me’: Survivor, Edo-abasi Mcgee Recalls Battle

“Happy birthday to me. I turned 34 today… I am documenting this to remind me that I have to take care of myself. I am just doing the small things I enjoy to celebrate the year, which is a pretty big deal.”

Edo-abasi McGee, a pharmacist and professor in metro Atlanta, wrote those words in her journal in February, about four months before her doctors told her she was breast cancer-free. Another trip around the sun was especially momentous.

“Cancer was probably the best thing to ever happen to me,” she said. But that wasn’t her sentiment last March when the married mother of one child received the diagnosis at 33.

“It was a shock. While driving home from the clinic, I had lots of thoughts,” she remembered. “Of course I’m crying and trying to figure things out.”

ALSO READ: Tips To Survive Postpartum Depression And Love Your Baby Wholly

Beating the odds

Her big sister had been diagnosed with the same disease while pregnant about five years before, but she beat it. The experience was so scary that McGee was encouraged to begin annual mammograms in her 20s, although the American Cancer Society recommends most should start at age 40.

The stage 1 discovery was also a surprise, because she and her sister had tested negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2, two human genes that increase the risk of female breast and ovarian cancers.

About 72 percent of women who inherit a BRCA 1 mutation and about 69 percent who get the BRCA2 mutation develop breast cancer by the age of 80, according to the National Cancer Institute. However, only five to 10 percent of breast cancers are related to an inherited gene.

“It wasn’t necessarily something I thought I would get,” McGee admitted. “My mother and grandmother never had it. I have four sisters total, and only one of us had gotten it at that point.”

McGee’s life was changing quickly, and she was suddenly faced with some hard choices. She needed to decide between a lumpectomy, the removal of cancerous tissue in the breast, and a double mastectomy, the removal of both breast completely.

Fighting to win

“I asked my husband, and he didn’t feel like he could tell me what to do with my body. He said, ‘You have to be comfortable with that decision. No one can make it for you,’” she recalled.

With guidance from her sibling who survived the illness, McGee followed in her footsteps and picked the latter.

“It was difficult. We are all born with our breast, so you don’t want to lose it,” she said. “At the same time, I was young and didn’t want to go through this again. I didn’t want it coming back in the other breast.”

After nearly four gruelling months of chemotherapy, which resulted in hair loss and constant fatigue, McGee endured the 14-hour operation. During the procedure, surgeons were also able use the fat from her belly to reconstruct her breasts.

“That was enticing. I had been receiving chemo and felt like an oompa loompa with the steroids. I thought, ‘Oh I’m going to get a tummy tuck after this? Do it,’” she joked.

A new normal

Her recovery period was no laughing matter though. “It was tough,” she said.

She had to sleep upright in a recliner for two weeks to protect her wounds. For about four weeks, she had to replace her bandages constantly to manage the usual drainage and discharge from the incisions. And by the eight-week mark, she was walking more comfortably, finally achieving a new normal.

The survivor became breast cancer-free in June. She said she no longer has to go in for mammograms since she doesn’t have breast tissue, and in September, doctors took out the port in her chest, which was used during her chemotherapy treatments.

In addition to having to take Tamoxifen medication daily for the next 10 years to reduce breast cancer recurrence, therapy is also now a part of her daily maintenance routine.

“I started going the fifth or sixth week after surgery. I was having lots of anxiety about going back to work, and I was trying to deal with self-image issues,” she said. “The main thing I learned from therapy is self-awareness. I have to protect my time for self-care. I do various things, whether it’s working out, meditating or journalling.”

The Journey Begins

McGee laughingly said her preachy lectures about self-care annoy her sisters, but they take breast cancer prevention very seriously. They get their mammograms regularly, but their oncologists said they might not need BRCA assessments since the two breast cancer survivors in the family have already tested negative.

In fact, McGee, born in Nigeria, has submitted her health information to researchers at a Chicago university for a study about breast cancer risk factors specifically associated with West African women. Their findings won’t be revealed for several years.

In the meantime, McGee has vowed to share her journey with as many as possible.

“Everyone’s story is so different that you can only tell yours and hope people can benefit,” she said. “I truly believe God allowed me to go through this to help other women. Sometimes we go through some battles to hold the rope for others.”

For McGee, last year was about growing to a new level. This year is about applying the lessons she’s learned.

“I’m believing that at 34 God will use me in the places he matured,” she ended her journal entry. “I thank God.”

Source: HowAfrica.com

Genotype in relationships

Tips To Survive Postpartum Depression And Love Your Baby Wholly

There’s no single reason why some new mothers develop postpartum depression and others don’t, but a number of interrelated causes and risk factors are believed to contribute to the problem.

My rapist is not sorry, Forgiveness and freedom might just be overrated after all.

  • Hormonal changes. After childbirth, women experience a big drop in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. Thyroid levels can also drop, which leads to fatigue and depression. These rapid hormonal changes—along with the changes in blood pressure, immune system functioning, and metabolism that new mothers experience—may trigger postpartum depression.
  • Physical changes. Giving birth brings numerous physical and emotional changes. You may be dealing with physical pain from the delivery or the difficulty of losing the baby weight, leaving you insecure about your physical and sexual attractiveness.
  • Stress. The stress of caring for a newborn can also take a toll. New mothers are often sleep deprived. In addition, you may feel overwhelmed and anxious about your ability to properly care for your baby. These adjustments can be particularly difficult if you’re a first-time mother who must get used to an entirely new identity.

Postpartum psychosis is a rare, but extremely serious disorder that can develop after childbirth, characterized by loss of contact with reality. Because of the high risk for suicide or infanticide, hospitalization is usually required to keep the mother and the baby safe.

Postpartum psychosis develops suddenly, usually within the first two weeks after delivery, and sometimes within 48 hours. Symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t real or hearing voices)
  • Delusions (paranoid and irrational beliefs)
  • Extreme agitation and anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Bizarre behavior
  • Inability or refusal to eat or sleep
  • Thoughts of harming or killing your baby

Human beings are social. Positive social contact relieves stress faster and more efficiently than any other means of stress reduction. Historically and from an evolutionary perspective, new mothers received help from those around them when caring for themselves and their infants after childbirth. In today’s world, new mothers often find themselves alone, exhausted and lonely for supportive adult contact. Here are some ideas for connecting to others:

Make your relationships a priority. When you’re feeling depressed and vulnerable, it’s more important than ever to stay connected to family and friends—even if you’d rather be alone. Isolating yourself will only make your situation feel even bleaker, so make your adult relationships a priority. Let your loved ones know what you need and how you’d like to be supported.

Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. In addition to the practical help your friends and family can provide, they can also serve as a much-needed emotional outlet. Share what you’re experiencing—the good, the bad, and the ugly—with at least one other person, preferably face to face. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, so long as that person is willing to listen without judgment and offer reassurance and support.

Be a joiner. Even if you have supportive friends, you may want to consider seeking out other women who are dealing with the same transition into motherhood. It’s very reassuring to hear that other mothers share your worries, insecurities, and feelings. Good places to meet new moms include support groups for new parents or organizations such as Mommy and Me. Ask your pediatrician for other resources in your neighborhood.

Source: HelpGuide.Org

My Rapist Is Not Sorry

My rapist is not sorry, Forgiveness and freedom might just be overrated after all.

Today I’m very hurt and angry at myself, here’s why. 8 years ago, I lost my virginity to a sexual predator, I was only 17 at the time and was on my own for the first time ever, in a completely different city hours away from everyone and everything I knew, I had always had my very protective mum or siblings watching out for me so I didn’t really know how to handle myself on my own. I have always been a conservative person and one major flaw I had, (still have) is being so easily trusting, I didn’t have to know you to trust you or your words, I just have to feel somewhat comfortable with you.

The rape incident quickly turned my life inside out and opened the door for a whole lot of bad things to happen to me. Fast forward to tonight, I decided it was time to be free, I had been constantly told that I needed to openly and genuinely forgive myself and everyone I hold a grudge against in order to be completely free. This rapist had reached out to me last year saying he’d been searching for me and wants me to forgive him but I told him off, tonight after deciding to finally tow the path of forgiveness, I decided to reach out to him, I found him on Facebook and told him he was free of any grudge/hate from me but I think I might have just hurt myself rather than liberate myself.

ALSO READ: My Friend’s Husband Molested Me. Now I Feel Guilty Because I Do Not Know How To Tell Her

He just made light of the whole thing, I feel so hurt and humiliated over again, he thinks he did nothing to me and that his act was completely justified. I only just wanted to be free but I’m so hurt all over again, it’s like reliving age 17. Forgiveness and freedom might just be overrated after all.

Written by Kim for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng
Single parent Tips

Single parent? Here are some tips for raising a child alone

Child rearing can be difficult under any circumstances. Without a partner, the stakes are higher. As a single parent, you might have sole responsibility for all aspects of day-to-day child care.

Being a single parent can result in added pressure, stress and fatigue. If you’re too tired or distracted to be emotionally supportive or consistently discipline your child, behavioural problems might arise.

Single-parent families also generally have lower incomes and less access to health care. Juggling work and child care can be financially difficult and socially isolating. You might worry about the lack of a male or female parental role model for your child, too.

Positive strategies

To reduce stress in your single-parent family:

  • Show your love. Remember to praise your child. Give him or her your unconditional love and support. Set aside time each day to play, read or simply sit with your child.
  • Create a routine. Structure — such as regularly scheduled meals and bedtimes — helps your child know what to expect.
  • Find quality child care. If you need regular child care, look for a qualified caregiver who can provide stimulation in a safe environment. Don’t rely on an older child as your only baby sitter. Be careful about asking a new friend or partner to watch your child.
  • Set limits. Explain house rules and expectations to your child — such as speaking respectfully — and enforce them. Work with other caregivers in your child’s life to provide consistent discipline. Consider re-evaluating certain limits, such as your child’s screen time, when he or she shows the ability to accept more responsibility.
  • Don’t feel guilty. Don’t blame yourself or spoil your child to make up for being a single parent.
  • Take care of yourself. Include physical activity in your daily routine, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep. Arrange time to do activities you enjoy alone or with friends. Give yourself a “timeout” by arranging for child care at least a few hours a week.
  • Lean on others. Work out a carpool schedule with other parents. Join a support group for single parents or seek social services. Call on loved ones, friends and neighbours for help. Faith communities can be helpful resources, too.
  • Stay positive. It’s OK to be honest with your child if you’re having a difficult time, but remind him or her that things will get better. Give your child an age-appropriate level of responsibility rather than expecting him or her to behave like a “little adult.” Keep your sense of humour when dealing with everyday challenges.

Be aware that some research has shown that teens in single-parent households have a higher risk of depression and lower self-esteem. Signs and symptoms of depression may include social isolation; feeling sad, alone or unloved; disliking one’s looks; irritability; and a sense of hopelessness. If you see these signs in your child or teen, talk to his or her doctor.

Talking to your child about separation or divorce

Many single-parent families are the result of divorce or separation. If this is the case in your family, talk to your child about the changes you’re facing. Listen to your child’s feelings and try to answer his or her questions honestly — avoiding unnecessary details or negativity about the other parent. Remind your child that he or she did nothing to cause the divorce or separation and that you’ll always love him or her.

Being a single parent can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By showing your child love and respect, talking honestly and staying positive, you can lessen your stress and help your child thrive.

Source: Mayoclinic.org

My friend Husband Molested Me

My Friend’s Husband Molested Me. Now I Feel Guilty Because I Do Not Know How To Tell Her

I want to get and seek knowledge from doctors about my state of health.

I am a rape victim, it happened when I was 11 years old, now I am 22. I am about to lose my mind and I am scared. At the same time, I  feel dirty and my heart bleeds 

I went to spend some weeks with a friend of mine who is also like a sister to me because she just put to bed, but her hubby has been making move towards me and he forcefully kissed me. I was in my room sleeping when I felt hand around me, only for me to realise he’s the one. He forced himself on me but he couldn’t penetrate but I could feel the touch of his Penis on the surface of my Vagina.

SEE ALSO: Why You Can’t Expect People To Treat You As Good As You Treat Them

My problems now is this

1- have been having some pain in my stomach since I woke up today (though I tried to drink salt and lime because my mum do give me whenever I have menstrual pain) is this pain normal?)

2- I want to inform his wife but how do I go about it without being made to feel guilty? Would she believe me? I was thinking of sending her messages when I get back to my place because I express my better through message than oral conversation.

Written by anonymous for Diaryofanaijagirl.ng

Age-Shaming is wrong

Why You Can’t Expect People To Treat You As Good As You Treat Them

We’ve all been there in a situation where you give a person your 100 percent best. You put everything into them and you would do anything for them. You’re there when they need you, you’re kind even when they do not deserve it. You go above and beyond for this person and you are so hurt when they do not treat you the same way back.

I know what it is like to feel this way sometimes and you feel so drained and beaten up seeing all of your hard efforts not even gaining you a slight bit of kindness in return. Whenever this happens I always go back to the time my mom gave me some of the best advice she could have ever given me when she said; “you can’t expect people to treat you as good as you treat them.” And she is right.

ALSO SEE:My mother is a self-made career woman but until recently, she was the most stingy person I ever knew

If you have this problem then just know you have an extraordinarily kind heart. You are a giver, a lover, and a helper. You care even when no one seems to and you give out kindness like it is free to everyone you meet. Never change that because that means you contain a special kind of love and compassion some people do not even have the potential to possess.

I know you get tired of people hurting you or taking you for granted, I know you hope one day this will end and pain will never emerge again. The truth is though this world is full of people who do not always make smart decisions or appreciate what they have while they have it. There will always be someone testing you or trying to knock you down, someone who cares more about themselves then they do others. There will always be someone taking advantage of your kindness or never willing to do even close to how much you do for them- and that is okay.

Do not be mad or upset at yourself for the kindness you gave. Whether the person appreciates it or not, your kindness has a purpose and will take you so far in life. Keep giving out kindness and helping people and doing things for others because every kind act you do makes the world a better place, you leave a positive mark on this planet. Whoever you meet, no matter who they are, show them the capacity and capabilities you have in life and the love and greatness you have to give. Just do not expect anything in return from them.

Do not expect people to treat you as good as you treat them. Nobody can ever be you. Not everyone has your big heart, your kind mind, or your sweet smile. Not everyone appreciates life or people the way you do or understands the importance of being a good person and lending a helping hand. So with that said, if not everyone thinks the way you do or values people in the ways you can, how can you possibly expect them to treat you the same way back?

Never expect anything back from the things you give. Give love and kindness knowing you may not get it back at this exact moment but that is okay because in some ways you impacted that person’s life and even if they did not treat you okay in the end, one day you will get what you deserve.

One day all of your hard work, good efforts, endless amounts of love, and your kind, sweet heart will pay off and you will wake up and find good people to be in your life if you have not found them already. Cherish those who are good to you back and still respect those who are not because you are too good to stoop to their level.

Never change who you are and never let anyone knock you down. You are an extraordinary person who will always continue to grow. Just please, keep being kind while knowing you can’t expect people to treat you as good as you treat them.

Source: Theodysseyonline.com

Raising Good Men

My mother is a self-made career woman but until recently, she was the most stingy person I ever knew

My Son Inherited His Father's Bad Genes

Despite All I Tried, My Son Has Inherited His Father’s Bad Genes

I’m so unhappy. I have put in so much effort and resources to see my son becomes better and responsible in future. My life/ well being/ career is stagnant all because I want the best for him. 

My son’s gene is 100% his fathers’! A father he has neither seen nor benefited a dime from. Yet all behavioural and physical characteristics points towards him! I am in pains. I am in tears as I type this…

I am a single mum, I was 16, naive and I just left secondary school. If I recall honestly, the sex was manipulated and non consensual( I wasn’t forced or beaten either). I got pregnant as a result, had the baby and started dating him because he manipulated me all the time to believe I would never be loved or accepted by any other guy but him. He even manipulated me into keeping his identity secret from my parents ( when they asked who was responsible and how it happened. Until recently, when I revealed WHO). He would beat me mercilessly at any slightest provocation with belts, cursing my mum/ entire family and while I am groaning in pains, he would apologise and then have his way with me.

Quite a number of times. he would make jest of me and my family that we are only helping him take care of his son and since he is a boy, he’ll definitely ask of his father. ( Did I mention that I’d always take the boy to his house without my family knowing). Oh! Once he even broke my waist while beating me, I got home and told a lie to my mum that I fell down while trying to sit on a broken chair. What about the countless times I was beaten because I said it was over between us?

Then suddenly, I don’t know how but I got over everything after I summoned courage and left him. Like I completely moved on! Started life all over, got admission and took my son from my parents in the village to stay with me. I battled with school ( as my parents were already retired) and did odd jobs( nothing indecent) to ensure we were OK, with little help from my siblings. How about my son’s school teachers knowing me too well because I’d always default with school fee payment??? How they’d sneak in my son into the exam hall with promises that I’d pay up before the school vacates!

I am tearing up as I type this because my little 10 year old has 100% his father’s gene! The lying,  sugar coated tongue, stealing, terrible anger issues, manipulative devil etc etc.

I always stood up for my little boy! I remember taking him all the way to the shop of a guy he said tried to touch his private part. I had the guy apologise to him after I gave him a deafening slap! (I stood up to the men saying it was wrong of me to have laid a finger on the guy,until they had no more to say than apologise). Or was it the times I fought with my siblings for using derogatory words & statements on him??? I tried to show him how I was willing to stand by/ with him any day so long as he was on the right part. How did I ever get it wrong???  I would counsel him when he did something wrong and told a truth about it.

On the other hand, I’d beat him for doing something and telling a lie about it. I’d never hesitate to take us on outings whenever there was an extra inflow , just so it could be balanced! But to my greatest disappointment, my little boy has a double personality! He is sweet, cheerful,caring and godlike when I’m around (he’d even caution me if I do something wrong and would have me apologise to the person), but in my absence, he is the true definition of his father! He’s always filled with rage,anger,greed etc.

I remember one day I came back from work, he told me how a girl in his school got him upset over something and how he was so angry he feared he’d beat his wife when he gets married! Yes, I was shocked too but I calmed my nerves and talked to him about it.

Recently, a family member stood him in my presence while narrating stuffs I’d have sworn on God’s name he would never do!  ( painful part is, the person said he was telling me all of those so I won’t disgrace myself by standing up for him when there are such occurrences). I am shaken and I really do want to take him back  ( as much as I am still struggling to make ends meet, I didn’t mind putting a hold on myself while focusing on his future.)

I am an unhappy woman and if he grows up under my care and still ends up like his father, I may not be able to handle it well. (I had huge dreams for us?)

 Here’s what I think of doing : Take him to his paternal side but still ensure he attends school. So every month, I’ll send in some little amount for his upkeep etc. Or is there some sort of parenting skill I haven’t tried that could overpower the gene??? I need help! I need advise, caution me where you think I got it wrong because I really need to come to a conclusion.

P.S : His father and family are actually not educated ( yes he lied he was a graduate awaiting NYSC then), but I am AFRAID! I am afraid of what would happen seeing that these genetic traits keeps manifesting as he gets older. And in all honesty, I really crave happiness too.

Written by anonymous for Diaryofnaijagirl.ng

How My Mother Pranked Me

#FlashbackFriday One day, I picked up a N5 note I saw on the floor, I didn’t turn to stone so I went on to brag to mama.

My mama used to say, “don’t pick money from the floor, you’ll turn to stone or disappear.” One day, I picked up a N5 note I saw on the floor, I didn’t disappear or turn to stone so I went on to brag to mama.

It was around 3PM, I had just arrived home from school. I pushed our red gate open slowly because I was tired from walking miles home. As the bolt at the bottom of the gate made a mark on the sand filled compound, the sun behind me shone bright and clearly on a N5 note.

It was like God wanted me to see the money. I stopped pushing the gate open midway, squeezed in between the open space quite conveniently and looked around. The compound was quiet. Not even “daddy wa” our Landlord was on his semi permanent post on his balcony high chair.

Standing over the N5 note, I heard mama’s voice clearly, “don’t pick money from the floor, you’ll disappear or turn to a stone”. I looked around the picked a fairly heavy stone, careful not to touch the money with any part of my body, I dropped the stone on the N5 note, then I went from door to door. First stop, Baba Ngozi’s flat.Mama Ngozi came to the door “Nma guraftun.” “Welcome” Said Mama Ngozi as she stood away from the door, expecting me to walk in and get comfortable. I didn’t enter. I had things to do, I wasn’t there to eat Abacha.

I said, “Nma, are you looking for any money?” She turned around, unfolded her wrapper, untied the knot at the edge where she normally kept her money then counted quickly. Mama Ngozi tied her money back in a fresh knot, folded the wrapper around her securely and looked at me suspiciously as she shook her head, “Mba. Why? Did you see any money?” Yea right! Who’s a fool? “ No Nma. I didn’t see any money, I’m coming.” I shut her door and off to Mama Tutu’s flat I went. Her door was opened but the door net was a barrier.

ALSO READ: I never wanted to go back to foster care, so I had to deal with my Grandfather’s sexual abuse for nine years.

Unlike other flats, I couldn’t barge into Mama Tutu’s. So I called out, hoping she’d hear me through the net. “Good afternoon ma,” I saw mama Tutu poke her head out of the kitchen. “Ehen what is it? Will you go upstairs and change your uniform my friend!”

As expected, she wasn’t the most friendly. “I’m going upstairs now ma. But I want to know, are you looking for your money?” I asked meekly. “Which money are you looking for? No jor!” Mama Tutu dismissed me and disappeared into her kitchen. Two down! One more to go.

Off to Sisi Mi’s flat I went. Sisi mi was our landlady, she and “Daddy wa” were almost always home and their door was always open. I walked in straight to Sisi mi’s room as no one was in the living room. “E ka san ma” I greeted Sisi mi, bending my knees in the process.

“Ehen jare. Ka bo. How was school?” She was folding clothes and whistling happily. She didn’t look like she had lost any money but to be safe, I had to ask. “Fine ma. Sisi mi, are you looking for your money?” I asked, impatiently shifting from one foot to the other.

Even though my miracle N5 was hiding safely under the stone, I didn’t trust the compound children not to find it. We were professional scavengers, us kids. “Iro o. Mi o so’wo nu (No. I haven’t lost any money)” said Sisi mi, “Did you find any money?” She paused to ask.

I was out the door at that time. I gave her no response. I rushed back downstairs, spit on my hand, did the sign of the cross, rolled the stone away and as I picked the N5, I whispered to our Lord Jesus, “Holy Ghost fire”. I felt good knowing the money didn’t belong to anyone in the compound and because there I was, alive, breathing and present. I put the money in my school bag and proceeded to our flat. Mama was home. Quick salutations and I was off to shower and change. It was while I ate yam and garden egg sauce for lunch that Mama asked me,

“Mama Tutu said you stopped by to ask if she’s looking for money. Why? Did you see any money?” Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. Why always Mama Tutu? That woman was so loyal to my mum, I disliked her for it. The sweet garden egg sauce immediately turned sour in my mouth. I took a deep breath…

“Ah, yes I saw N5 on the floor o, by the gate. I spit on my hand and prayed on it and I didn’t disappear”. I secretly wished my mum would be happy for me but no! Then the shocker! “Who told you you’re not disappearing? As we’re talking now, I can’t see your legs. No wonderrrrr”

I smirked at mama, looked at my legs, they were strong and present. I laughed and continued to eat my lunch. “Ah. Now I can’t see your hands. Yeepa! Your head is gone! Ahhhh. Ife!!! Mama Tutu! Mama Ngozi! Sisi mi! please come oooooo, yeeeeeeeeee” Mama rushed to the kitchen balcony while she called these women.

In my mind I was wondering and laughing “So dramatic this woman. I won’t fall for it” Some minutes later, the other three witches appeared at the balcony, mama dragged them in and announced, “Ah. Help me. Ife picked money from the floor, now we can’t find her. She has disappeared”. I thought it was a joke until Sisi mi looked past me, poked her head under the chair I was seated and said “Ahhhh….I can’t find her too o. Ah! Awon omo yi!”

She continued to search frantically as Mama Tutu said wickedly, “Don’t look for her Sisi Mi, let her disappear for a while so she’ll learn her lesson”. It was then I believed, I was no more of this world. My heartbeat increased, I began to cry. “I’m here, mummy I’m here. Sisi Mi, see me here. Mummmyyyyy” “Chai! These children! Ehn! Why will she do this to us now?” Said Mama Ngozi as she walked past me to look for me in my room. I was transfixed, I couldn’t move, I cried and called to mum but she was busy looking for me in the kitchen drawers, opening and closing them repeatedly.

My eyes had become blurry, for a second, it truly looked like they too, were disappearing. I quickly wiped my tears but they kept coming, the tears. I couldn’t stop sobbing. “Ife if you can hear me, please return the money so you can join us in the world again,” Sisi mi said as she ran to the balcony to repeat herself loudly. “But Sisi mi I’m here” I cried louder. The adults looked through me.

I ran inside, took the N5 from my school bag and ran to the gate to put the money back where I found it. I shouted from downstairs, sobbing loudly, “Sisi mi, I put the money back, can you see me now?”. She took her time. Then her face lit up as she called out to my mum “Mama Bimbo, Mama Bimbo, I can see her, she has joined us again”. I ran upstairs, hugged Mama tightly as I sobbed. I was so happy to join the living again.

Mama looked happy to see me as did Sisi Mi and Mama Ngozi. This happened when I was 10. I told the story to everyone who cared to listen, warning them of the danger of picking money from the floor. It was at 15, that mama told me, I was pranked!

 

 

How to Love Yourself Through Cancer

How to Love Yourself Through Cancer or Any Other Terrifying Diagnosis

One minute your life is just humming along, and out of nowhere you’re hit with a devastating diagnosis. Cancer.

Believe me, I know what it’s like to get the news you have cancer and to live with the trauma that follows, because I’m not only a licensed psychotherapist, I’ve been treated for both breast cancer and leukemia.

I know how that diagnosis changes everything. I know how the world around you can still look the same, but suddenly you feel like a stranger in your own life.

You have trouble getting up in the morning. You have trouble getting to sleep. When you finally get to sleep you’re jolted awake by nightmares. Or maybe you sleep all the time. You can’t eat, or you can’t stop eating.

You’re drinking too much. You’re smoking too much. You’re terrified, exhausted, and have no idea how you’re going to get through the next few hours, let alone the days, or weeks ahead.

When I was going through chemo for breast cancer, I read all the books about surviving cancer I could get my hands on. I talked to my oncologist and to other women going through the same thing, trying to find the way to “do cancer right.”

I worried myself sick that I would get things wrong, until a friend said, “You know, everybody does things differently. Just find what works for you, and do that.” Those words changed everything for me.

I realised there wasn’t “a right way” to do cancer. There was just the way that worked best for me.

I believe it’s the same for you. No matter what kind of diagnosis you’re facing, it’s up to you to find what works for you and do that.

To get you through those tough first days, I’m offering you some thoughts and techniques that worked for me. I hope some of them will work for you, too.

Be Gentle With Yourself

When you’re going through a tough time, you may not have the time or energy keep up your usual self-care routine. So, why not let the big things go and start looking for little things you can do instead?

If you can’t get to the gym, go out for a ten-minute walk at lunch. If you don’t have time to cook a nutritious dinner, add a salad or vegetable to your take-out order.

Instead of trying to check things off your to-do list, think of ways to make life easier for yourself. If you don’t have time to do something yourself, hire someone, or ask for help.

Focus on what’s best for you, and that means speaking up for yourself. If you don’t have the time or energy to do something, say “no,” and don’t feel guilty about it.

Find the Joy

Be sure to do something you love every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes: sit on a beach, gaze at the stars, read a book, go for a walk, watch a funny You Tube video or TV show. Smile when you can and laugh as often as possible, because laughter connects you with the world in a way that eases anxiety and heals the heart.

Affirm Courage, Love, and Safety

What you say to yourself matters. And when you’re going through a tough time, positive self-talk can make a real difference in how you think and feel.

When I was struggling to find even one positive thought, I found it really helpful to focus on powerful affirmations instead. So, if you find yourself spiraling downward into the depths of negativity, try the following process to break that cycle.

Healing Affirmations

Begin by saying your name out loud. Then remind yourself that you’re safe and secure in the moment. Let that feeling soak all the way in to your belly and your bones.

Once you feel safe, affirm:

“I have the spirit, will, and courage to meet any challenge ahead.”

“I can handle anything, one step at a time.”

“I am always surrounded and protected by light and love.”

“I speak to myself with loving kindness. I treat myself with loving kindness. I care for myself with loving kindness.”

“I am always moving in a positive direction toward a positive future.”

“I am safe.”

End by promising you will always treasure yourself and honor your beautiful spirit. Affirm courage, love, and safety.

Nourish Yourself

Experts recommend eating well, and eliminating sugary and processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine when you’re under stress.

But maybe you’re having trouble eating anything at all. Or maybe you’re living on chicken noodle soup, pretzels, and chocolate doughnuts.

Please, give yourself a break. When you’re going through a traumatic experience it’s no time to be following a strict diet or to beat yourself for not eating a balanced diet. Instead, focus on making healthy food choices when you can, and letting go of judgement when you can’t.

If you find you’re having trouble eating, choose foods you can tolerate and enjoy smaller portions more often through the day.

ALSO READ: A Personal Story of Living through Depression: I joined up with depression around the age of 8.

If you’re over eating, try eating fruits and vegetables first. Commit to eating only when you’re sitting down. Focus on eating more slowly.

But if you’ve tried everything you can think of and are still struggling with food, please let your health care provider know what ‘s going on. They’re there to give you support and help in all aspects of your health care.

Rest

A good night’s sleep is an important part of healing your body, mind, and spirit, but if you’re struggling to get enough sleep there are a number of things you can do.

Try going to bed an hour earlier each night. The extra time in bed can give your body some needed rest.

Once you’re in bed, do your best to keep your focus off your troubles. Relive happy memories, or imagine yourself vacationing in a place where you can relax and enjoy.

If you haven’t fallen asleep after twenty minutes, get up and do something calming. Write in your journal, do a crossword puzzle, or sip a cup of herbal tea.

Finally, if you aren’t able to get enough sleep at night, take a nap during the day. Make it a non-negotiable part of your daily schedule. If time is an issue, try scheduling all your activities and responsibilities before lunch, leaving your afternoon for napping or resting.

Seek Support

It’s important not to go through this alone. And asking for help is a sign of strength and courage, not weakness.

When things get rough, call a friend or a family member and ask for support and help.

If you’re completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn, consider getting some professional help. Talking to a mental health provider can give you new insight, hope, and bring you peace.

Finally, you may also want to consider working with a support group. There’s great power in knowing you’re not the only one suffering this kind of challenge. There are people who are in the same boat and know exactly how you feel.  They may be able to offer comfort and advice in the days ahead.

Give

Giving is another powerful way to connect with the people around you. It reminds you of the gifts you still have, and that you’re not the only one going through a tough time.

There are lots of ways to lend a hand. Offer to drive a neighbour to a medical appointment. Walk the dogs at your local animal shelter. Write a check to your favourite charity or drop a few coins in the donation can as you pass by. Send a card or text to a friend to help them through the day.

Source: TinyBuddha.com

Learning Patience

Here’s Why You Need To Learn The Other Half Of Patience In Business

I’m kicking myself for not learning this earlier. I could have been so much further along! I could have progressed quicker. I could have been bigger.

But it doesn’t matter now because just recently, I learnt what it truly means to be patient.

Honestly, I thought I had it nailed. I thought I knew exactly what it meant to be patient. Until I started looking at writers profile pages on Medium. Then I realised I had learnt only half the lesson.

I’ll cover what I originally thought patience was and you can see if it matches up with what you think it is.

If it does, don’t worry. You’re about to learn an important lesson, one I only just learnt.

Being consistent in chasing a long term goal.

That, to me, was it.

You see, I thought that by doing this routine, everyday, I was setting myself up. In other words: I have the patience for the long term.

I have the patience to commit 3–5 years of my life to someday be an influencer.

ALSO READ: How Humility Will Make You the Greatest Person Ever

I have the patience to commit to relentlessly chasing my new business to someday see it be a success.

But like I said, this is only half of it.

I think a lot of us have a pretty good grasp on staying patient for the long term.

We know great things don’t happen over night and that we need to work in order to make them happen but we focus all our energy on that long-term goal and we forget to look closer.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I doing something the quickest way possible instead of the most effective?
  • What is the most effective way ( you’ll need to do some digging here)?

From here, you need to start implementing.

As soon as I waited for my article to be posted through a publication, it got 1000 likes. My usual is 15 likes and since I’ve been waiting, their engagement has been consistently high.

So ask yourself one more question, one I’ve already mentioned in this article:

Realistically, in the grand scheme of things, how long is the wait?

SourceMedium.com

My Mum Abandoned Me

I never wanted to go back to foster care, so I had to deal with my Grandfather’s sexual abuse for nine years.

When I was five, my family left me and I was put into foster care for about two years. During my time in these homes I was sexually and physically abused. I was always told that I was nothing, a worthless person, that my family wanted nothing to do with me and that’s why I was put into foster care. I was beaten, thrown down stairs and pulled up by my hair. I remember one day I was in the bathtub crying because I just wanted someone to love me, and because of the crying my head was pushed under water.

I started crying myself to sleep at night because I feared the abuse if someone caught me crying again. I never was given a chance to celebrate my birthday, which didn’t really matter at that point because the only thing that I had hoped for was a loving family.

When I turned seven, my grandparents were given custody of me so I was out of the foster care system and very excited. I thought this was the best thing to ever happen, but that feeling would change dramatically two weeks after I got there.

One morning I woke up and my Nana had already gone to work, so it was just my step-grandfather and me there. As I was about to get out of bed, he walked into my room and sat down … taking total advantage of me. He forced me out of my bed and into the shower where he sexually abused me.

He continued to do this to me for months. One day I asked him, ‘What would you do if I told someone?’ He pulled out his belt, smacked me and said, ‘If you tell anybody I will hurt you. I will send you back to foster care and you will have nobody.’ I never wanted to go back to foster care, so I had to deal with the abuse for nine years. This man took my childhood days, my self-esteem, my trust and my life. I was turned into this boy who lived in fear daily and carried the shame of who I was. Each day of my life was a living hell.

As a teenager, I couldn’t live in this world I was in, and desperately wanted to get out. I started inflicting pain on myself … I was admitted to the hospital so many times until I was 18. I was in pain and mentally in another world.

READ HERE: A Personal Story of Living through Depression: I joined up with depression around the age of 8.

Finally my step-grandfather was put in jail for 13 years, on 21 charges of sexual abuse.

My self- inflicted harm and suicidal thoughts stopped when I was 21. Here I am today … I almost lost my life more times than I can count due to the abuse, and to this day I still cannot work out how I survived. I have been through hell and I have seen some things that a child should never witness or experience at such a young age, but I have come to believe this: if you can live through the worst times of your life, you can live through anything. Your life is beautiful even if one person or many people try and take it from you. You will get days that you just want to give up but you don’t, you keep on marching and moving forward. All I can say is, just live your life how you want it. As we get older we learn, as we learn, we succeed, and when we succeed, we achieve greatness and we know we can overcome anything.

Source: Teara.govt.nz

Living through Depression

A Personal Story of Living through Depression: I joined up with depression around the age of 8.

A recovery story is a messy thing. It has dozens of beginnings and no final ending. Most of the conflict and drama is internal, and there’s a lot more inaction than action. The lead character hides in the shadows much of the time, so you can’t even see what’s going on.

I joined up with depression around the age of 8. There are snapshots of me in the shabby brown jacket I liked to wear. My mom took beautiful photographs, and there are lots of me in moody shadows, looking as down as could be.

She had her own depression to worry about. My typical memory of her from that time brings back a couch-bound, often napping, mother. She explained her sleep problem as a condition she called knockophasia – a term I’ve never been able to find in any dictionary. A few minutes after lying down, snap! Sound asleep. No one mentioned strange emotional problems or mental illness in those days. My parents occasionally talked about someone having a nervous breakdown as if they had died. There was no hint of a need to get help for my mother, much less for me. No one worried about me since I was a star in school, self-contained and impressive to teachers for being so mature, so adult.

Migraine headaches started then, and increasingly intense anxiety about school. I missed many days, felt shame as if I were faking, and obsessed over every one of my failings. I spent long hours alone in my room.

Through my teenage years, depression went underground. Feelings were dangerous. There were too many angry and violent ones shaking the house for me to add to them. So I kept emotion under wraps, even more so than in childhood. Nothing phased me outside the house and even at home I showed almost no sign of reaction to anything, even while churning with fear and anguish.

It was in my 20s that I broke open, and streams of depression, fear, panic, obsessive love and anger flowed out. In response to a panic attack that lasted for a week, I saw a psychiatrist. In one marathon session of 3 hours he helped me put the panic together with frightening episodes from my family life. I was cured on the spot but never went back to him. It was too soon to do any more.

It took another crisis a few years later to get me back to a psychiatrist and my first experience with medication – Elavil. But I had no idea what it was. I took something in the morning to get me going and something at night to help me sleep. I took it short term, got through the crisis but continued in therapy. From there I was steadily seeing psychiatrists in various cities for the next 8 years. But no one mentioned depression.

I first saw the word applied to my condition in a letter one psychiatrist wrote to the draft board during the Vietnam era. But I wasn’t treated for that problem. Therapy in those days was still in the Freudian tradition, and it was all about family life and conflict. Depression was a springboard for going deeper. Digging up the past to understand present problems was a tremendous help, and it changed me in many ways. But depression was still there in various forms, reappearing regularly for the next couple of decades. There were wonderfully happy and successful times as well, but I had these ups and downs through marriage, children and a couple of careers.

Gradually, depression became so disruptive that my wife couldn’t take it anymore and demanded I get help. So I finally did. This was the 1990s. Prozac had arrived, and I started a tour of medication over the next dozen years that didn’t do much at all. Nor did therapy, though two psychiatrists helped me to understand the more destructive patterns in my way of living.

Depression pushed into every corner of my existence, and both work and family life became more and more difficult. The medications only seemed to deaden my feelings and make me feel detached from everyone and immune to every pressure. It was like having pain signals turned off. There was no longer any sign coming from my body or brain that something might be wrong. I felt “fine” but relationships and work still went to hell.

The strange thing was that after all these years of living with it, I didn’t know very much about depression. I thought it was entirely a problem of depressed mood and loss of the energy and motivation. As things got worse, I finally started to read about it in great depth.

I was amazed to learn the full scope of depression and how pervasive it could be throughout the mind and body. I finally had a coherent, comprehensive picture of what depression was.

That was a big step because I could at last imagine the possibility of getting better. I could see that I wasn’t worthless by nature, that there were reasons my mind had trouble focusing and that the frequent slowdown in my speech and thinking was also rooted in this illness. Perhaps the right treatment could bring about fundamental changes after all.

There were still traps ahead, though. I became obsessed with the idea of depression as a brain disease. I studied all the forms of depression, the neurobiology and endless research studies. That was a good thing to do, but after a while I was looking more at “Depression” than the details of my own version of the illness.

I wondered how many diagnostic categories I fitted into. For sure I had one or more of the anxiety disorders. Perhaps I fit into bipolar II instead of major depressive disorder. What about dissociation? I read the research study findings as if they were announcing my fate.

It was comforting to know I had a “real” disease. Not only could I answer any naysayers about the reality of depression. I also had a weapon to fight my internalized stigma, the lingering doubt that anything was wrong with me. I used to think that maybe I really was using the illness as a way to avoid life and cover up my own weakness. Here was proof that depression wasn’t all in my imagination but in my brain chemistry.

Neurobiology was far beyond my control. I couldn’t recover by myself. Doctors had to cure me through medication or other treatments, like ECT. However, that meant my hopes were pinned on them, not on my own role in getting better.

ALSO READ: The Danger of Wishful Thinking: Nothing Changes If We Don’t Take Action

When the treatments failed to work, I got desperate that there would never be an end to depression. Hope in the future fell apart. My life would continue to run down. Could it even lead to suicide, as it had for friends of mine?

Fortunately, as I learned more, I listened to the experts who had a much broader view of the causes of the illness. Peter Kramer’s overview of research in Against Depression made it clear to me that contributors to the illness could include genetic inheritance, family history, traumatic events and stress as well as the misfiring of multiple body systems. No one could point to a single cause or boil it down to a few neurotransmitters.

So I went back to basics and looked much more closely at the particular symptoms I faced. I tracked the details in everyday living and saw that I needed to take the lead in recovery. Medication – when it had any effect at all – played a modest role in taking the edge off the worst symptoms. That bit of relief gave me the energy and presence of mind to work on the emotional and relationship impacts, to try to straighten out the parts of my life I had some control over.

I was determined to stop the waste of life in depression. I got back into psychotherapy and tried many types of self-help as well. Many didn’t work at all, but something inside pushed me to keep trying, despite setbacks.

One of the most important efforts was writing about my experience with depression. Writing is one way I discover things, but a deep fear had blocked me from doing it for years. I can see now that the real reason I got stuck was that I had been trying to write about everything but depression. When I could finally take that on directly, writing came naturally.

Blogging turned out to be the right medium. It was manageable even when I was down. The online community of people who lived with depression gave me a form of support that I had never had before. Another decisive step was getting out of high-stress work that I had been less and less able to do effectively. Taking that constant burden away restored a deep sense of vitality.

After all this, recovery finally started to happen. It took me by surprise, and for a long time I didn’t trust that it would last. But something had changed deep down. I believed in myself again, and the inner conviction of worthlessness disappeared.

I had found a deeply satisfying purpose in writing, as well as the energy and humor to do what I wanted to do. I regained the awareness and emotional presence to be a part of my family again, instead of the hidden husband and dad.

As anyone dealing with life-long depression will tell you, setbacks happen. There’s no simple happy ending. But if you’re lucky, an inner shift occurs, and the new normal is a decent life rather than depression.

Source: Mentalhelp.net