Tag Archives: ayo al

Worldly Riches

Death, they say is inevitable but is it less painful?

I am not an emotional person. I will say it again. I rarely get emotional. So years ago, anytime death was mentioned around me, I never used to feel anything. Maybe I was of the mindset that we will all die one day – I don’t know but somehow, death seemed to be a faraway thing to me.

That was until I read a book – I cannot remember the title at the moment but in the book, a mother lost her Police officer son and it broke her. Permit me to say that I got broken too. Days earlier before I read the book, a friend of mine had lost a relative and even as I consoled her, I knew deep down that I did not understand her grief. But as I read that book, about 6 years ago, I wept.

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It was not small weeping. For days, I felt like I was tied down in a fog where I was not given permission to rise. I just kept tearing up at every little thing. I would look at my parents, friends, siblings and start crying. My grief, I could not explain to anyone. No one understood what was breaking me.

Then very recently, the son of a popular musician died and it shook me again. All I could think of was why it happened. I remember saying to my friends, “How will they cope. How do they get over this loss.” Throughout that week, I found myself constantly fighting tears. Sometimes, I’d bow my head down at work just to cry and then pray. Other times, I got so overwhelmed, I’d run into the toilet to cry.

And then just last week, my pastor lost his wife and that, I still cannot understand. I mean they had known each other since University days. They were friends first before lovers. They then married and then started a family – out of love, commitment and all. They gave to each other. Oh, they loved. And then, came death and snatched her away, so coldly.

As I watched him struggle with tears and his emotions during the ‘going home’ service, my heart bled for him. He had lost so much weight, got darker and looked so gaunt. Reading his tribute to his wife, I couldn’t hold back the flood of tears. The only thing I kept thinking of was that he had lost his best friend.

As I left church, My friend said to me “How is he so strong? How is he holding up? I swear I would fall apart.” I voiced out the same thought, telling her how I felt exactly the same way. I mean I don’t know how I’ll live again if I lost my mama. I dread that thought.

We both came to the same conclusion : Do well for that loved one today before it is too late. Share memories, laugh, cry, live, love together. Do not neglect them only to mourn when they are no more.

And for everyone mourning who has just lost a loved one, may you have a thousand and more reasons to smile soon and may your broken heart be mended.

Written by Ayo Al for Diaryofanaijagirl,ng

Learning To Forgive

On the Topic of Regret: A Resolution That We All Have To Deal With

I was on a reporting trip and once it had come to a close, I decided to stick around for another week to explore the city of Berlin on my own. I was preparing to celebrate my 22nd birthday, and I was determined to get into Berghain — one of the world’s most famous nightclubs and, not surprisingly, one of the hardest to get into. So when I had made it up to the bouncer, after an hour of waiting in line, I didn’t take it personally when he shook his head and opened his arm toward the alley without even consulting the notorious Sven Marquardt — the club’s long-time bouncer who was standing in the corner, obsolete and uninterested.

I reluctantly left and began making my way back to the hostel I was staying at. I had looked up several other clubs earlier that day as a backup, should I fail to make it into Berghain, but it was getting late and I didn’t really want to stand in another line. I was walking to the nearest bus stop, and enjoying the quiet of the dark streets. I took two buses, before making it to the train station that would bring me back to Urbanstrasse.

I was sitting in the underground, waiting for the next train, when a man behind me started playing music. He was playing an instrument that I had never seen before, an instrument that I had never even heard of. I now know that it was a hang drum, but the name is of little importance compared to the sound that it made at the touch of a young man dressed in bohemian garb.

Everything stopped as the sounds echoed and reverberated off the walls of the underground tunnel. I sat there, not moving, just listening. I started to cry.

I cried because I didn’t ever want it to stop.

I don’t often believe in fate, but I believed in that moment, as I do now, that I was meant to be in that tunnel, listening to a stranger play an instrument that was entirely foreign to me. There was a reason I didn’t get into Berghain and a reason I walked into that subway station at that moment.

I was meant to hear him play.

I sat there listening, and everything else faded away. The rest of my day seemed unimportant, and I recalled having felt all day as though I had been waiting for something grand to happen. I had mistakenly thought that Berghain was what awaited me.

But that moment, to me, meant more than anything else that could have possibly happened — on my birthday, or any other day.

I eventually turned to look at the young musician who had captured my soul and all that I am with the simple rhythmic drumming from his hands and the tips of his fingers.

He looked like a gypsy, a traveller — his clothing was worn, with many holes and frayed edges. He must live in those clothes, I remember thinking.

His hands never stopped moving as he beat on the instrument in a series of pulsating taps. The instrument was little more than a piece of cutlery — a large metal bowl with dents in it. But the sounds that came from it stemmed from another world.

I could have listened to him forever. I could have stayed, happily caught in a musical trance. But eventually, his song ended. The metal instrument sat silently in his lap, and the train soon came.

It pulled up to the station and the doors slid open. I hesitated before standing up, my feet slowly carrying me forward. It was a shuffle more than a walk. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to leave the strange traveller and his beautiful instrument, who had made me feel so much.

I could feel something in me fighting back with every step I took. But I made it to the train and I stepped on. I turned my back to the opposite set of doors so I could still see the man and his upside-down metal bowl.

The buzzer sounded, signalling that the doors would soon close. My heart fluttered as I had the urge to run, to jump from the train and back onto the platform.

To do what, I don’t know. I just knew that I was meant to be there.

But I couldn’t move. Every cell in my body wanted to, but I just couldn’t.

I stood there, frozen, as the doors came to a close. The train jolted forward and my heart sank. The silent tears that had been sliding down my face, one at a time, were now spilling in a continuous stream as an immediate feeling of regret took hold.

My regret was more than the simple act of not jumping off that train — my every regret was present in that moment. I envied the hang drummer, who seemed so content in his music. I only wished that I, too, could become my craft as he had. To abandon all else for my passion, even when the stresses of the real world begin to close in. The worries of debt, bureaucracy and an overall lack of time, lost and forgotten.

I was stricken with fear, a fear of the unknown maybe?

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That moment seemed to sum up my greatest struggle in less than ten minutes — it was the worst instance to date of my inability to act, to move forward and do what I want to do, simply because I want to do it.

I have thought about that night so many times since — each time playing it over in my head, the regret growing deeper and imprinting itself into my mind.

I think about it now more than ever as I close in on the one-year mark since my trip. It’s a sign, and one I must follow. A sign that something must change. A sign to go after what I want.

So from here on out, I will jump off that train. I will jump off that train every day, for as many times as it takes to make up for the one time I failed to do so. I will listen to fate, and let instinct be my guide. Even for something as simple as a metal bowl with dents in it, transformed into a beautiful instrument at the hands of a young bohemian musician.

Written by Alyssa Gray for Possibilitychange.com

Stop Comparing Your Life

Stop Comparing Your Life To Beautifully-Filtered Instagram Photos

Hey, we all do it.

It’s the reason that social media “depression” has become a thing, and why some people take hiatus from social media or have stopped using it altogether.

You see, we’ve all become storytelling masters. Our iPhones have become a photo-editing tool, allowing us to take an ordinary photo, crop it, filter it, and turn it into a piece of art. An ordinary before photo instantly becomes much more interesting once you turn it black and white and add a witty statement to it.

Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. Hopefully it’s making us more creative and more imaginative. Some billboard ads have even been shot with an iPhone camera, therefore giving everyone a more level playing field to put together an amazing photo or video.

The problem emerges when we sift through other people’s social feeds, pages and posts. Often, their lives come across as a perfectly organised catalogue or magazine, chock full of glamorous trips, family portraits with gorgeous lighting, and seemingly perfect (and perfect-looking) kids.

It’s mind-boggling how easy it is to start down the path of, “I wish we had as much money as them” or “I wish my kids were like that!”

I do hope most folks realise that people’s lives are not nearly as perfect as their online profiles.

There was an Instagram post recently that hit home with me. A blogger I follow was posting about a bike ride that she and her family had been on earlier that morning. She had some great photos and a perfect caption, but then she added a P.S. paragraph about how the event had actually not been so great. One of her kids fussed most of the morning, frustrated because he couldn’t get the hang of riding.

The blogger emphasised how irritated she was, mainly because there was another family nearby who was seemingly having the time of their lives. Why couldn’t this be us, she wondered. The blogger wanted that picture-perfect bike ride and everything that came with it.

But she conceded that things are not always as they appear. Her lesson? Enjoy the moments you do have, and stop comparing yourselves to others. Appearances can be deceiving, as you never know what’s actually going on with others’ lives.

While the blogger’s lesson applies to her real-life experience, it can be even easier to fall into the trap online. Scroll through enough beautiful photos and that green-eyed monster can easily sneak up.

So remember this. Social media is just that – MEDIA. It’s designed to entertain, be shared, and tell a story. And some folks are really, really good at it.

So next time you’re online and feeling like your life doesn’t quite measure up, remember that what you’re seeing might just be ONE (heavily cropped, filtered and boomerang’d) aspect of everyone else’s regular lives.


Source: HuffingtonPost.com

First Date Disasters

First Date Disasters: Yes, I have a List

In my other life, I used to just go on dates with whomever, even if in my mind I knew this person didn’t cut it for me. But I still had to go on those dates, you get? Because…desperation. Here’s a short list of first date disasters I’ve experienced.

Disaster No. 1: KPATCHA!

This was a date set up by a popular magazine with a then-popular celebrity. My friend saw that the magazine was setting women up with single celebrities so she sent my picture over and one of them picked me. We went on a date, I got to the restaurant and he gestured for me to sit down. He didn’t bother standing.

Long story short, my focus was on my food when I heard “kpatcha kpatcha kpatcha”

Ehn? That can’t be! I looked up, uncle was eating with his mouth open and the sound came directly from his throat. Then when he spoke, he spoke amidst the “kpatcha kpatcha”. Here’s how the conversation went: “So (kpatcha) how are you now? (kptacha kptacha Kpatcha). I hope you’re (Kpatcha kpatcha) enjoying the food (Kpatcha Kpatcha kpatcha kpatcha kpatcha)

The last Kpatcha took longer than normal because he was waiting for me to answer while he chewed on loudly, still with his mouth open. Let me tell you what made me resign: a grain of rice flew from his mouth to my face during the process of talking and Kpatchaing. The date ended early, I gave no feedback to the magazine, I cussed my friend out!

Disaster No. 2- THE EX FACTOR

I was having trouble with my ex and when he said he needed space, I automatically assumed that meant we had broken up. So, just to forget about him, I went out to brunch with someone else who I met at the gym a day before. When we got to the restaurant, I kept looking at my phone because I had seen my ex online on WhatsApp and was hoping he would buzz me. My date asked me, “do you want to put your phone away so we can talk?” I felt embarrassed so I put my phone away but did not put it on silent mode. My phone rang, it was my ex and it was a facetime call. I picked it up, completely ignoring my date then asked him to excuse me as I stepped into the bathroom to take the call. It was still the same, ex was checking up on me but he still needed space. When I got back to my table, my date had left. He wrote on the bill, “Good luck with everything.”

I felt terrible, about life.

Disaster No. 3- ALOHA!

I met the Hawaiian Pilot on a trip to NYC from Hawaii. He was piloting the plane and when he took a break, we got talking by the bar. Mr. Pilot asked me out on a date and I was quite excited. During our date, I wasn’t too hungry so I had a glass of Vodka and Tonic with Caesar Salad. He had pasta, red wine, water and soufflé. Unfortunately, pilot expected me to follow him back to his hotel for a nightcap. When I declined, he said, “okay we split the bill then”. WAWU! Issokay. He then dropped money for half of the bill.

Eskis sir, please stopeet.

I picked up the bill, brought out my pen, traced out my own meal and beverage to be sure I got it perfectly right, called the waiter and told him what the deal was. Mr Pilot looked on as I gently placed my money on the table and walked out…Like a boss!

Disaster No. 4- WHATITDO

I met him at work in 2008. I was at the front desk and he came to the company for business. He asked me out on a date that night. So, we went on the date. When we were seated, he asked me in an American accent, “so whatido?”. I was like ‘Ah, this one too is good. He’s fine plus American accent. So sexy’. So I told him what-it-did. He then proceeded to nod his head many times and accompanied it with “Riiight. Riiiight.” Then smiled at me and went back to eating. Okay, what next? I wondered. Should I say whatitdo too or…. “So how about you? Had a good day?” I caught myself asking. He smiled again, “Yup. Fantastic”.

That’s it, that was all the answer I got.

Ah Toh!

For one hour, he asked me “whatitdo” like 10 times and he meant it every time. We had nothing to say to each other and he looked perfectly comfortable with that. When I got home, he called me and said: “Hey whatitdo!? I had so much fun mehn, let’s do this again”

Uncle, I moved on in life since ‘Whatitdo!?’ Number 5!