Tag Archives: DANG

Childhood Memories: Mamu Tutu Vs Mama Wale cross daggers

I may have told you about Mama Tutu, if you haven’t read about her in any of my previous stories, let me re-introduce her.

We lived in a compound with a story building of four flats Mama Tutu and Mama Ngozi lived on the ground floor while Sisi Mi, our landlady and Mama Bimbo (My mama) lived on the first floor. Mama Tutu’s flat was below ours while Mama Ngozi’s flat was below Simi Mi’s.

Mama Tutu was the only university graduate in our compound and she never hesitated to let the mothers know, and the kids too. This was why we spoke very little vernacular and zero pidgin around her because she would come down on you like a hammer.

Mama Tutu was a bit haughty but beneath all of her haughtiness, she was a good woman. It was environmental sanitation Saturday, which meant the whole street came out to jointly clean our environs.

The men mostly manned the drainages, raking dirt out and piling them in a neat stack while the women shovelled the refuse up in old rice sacs, dumping the sacs at the edge of the street where the Mallam in a large wheelbarrow would clear them up before mid-day.

Environmental sanitation Saturdays were mostly playing time for kids, as we weren’t involved in much except inconsequential errands. On this day, Mama Tutu asked Onyinye, one of Mama Ngozi’s daughters to watch her shovel as she pulled a sack of refuse to the edge of the street.

Onyinye and I were friends, which meant we rolled together at all times. So, when Mama Wale from down the road comes to snatch the shovel from Onyinye, I was right there by her side. “Onyinye give me that shovel, I go return am na na.” Said Mama Wale, the sun had made her bleached skin turn crimson, her brows were bare. During the day when Mama Wale had showered and dressed up, she would draw an arch to replace her brows, beginning at the top of her nose, ascending towards her hairline and suddenly drops very close to her ear.

I thought she looked ridiculous but this was the style in 1992, everyone did it, so I had no say in the matter. “Na Mama Tutu shovel ma. I no fit give you, she never pack the dirty finish” Onyinye said, securing her position as guardian of the shovel.

Mama Wale’s bare brows furrowed, her skin turned redder as she looked at Onyinye in shock for daring to refuse her. “My friend will you give me that shovel! Tell Mama Tutu say na me take am,” She snatched the shovel from Onyinye who looked on helplessly and in fear.

Onyinye knew not to challenge adults so we decided to let Mama Tutu know her shovel had been forcefully taken. “Excuse me ma,”Onyinye called Mama Tutu’s attention as she walked past us. “Yes?” She responded, she seemed to be in a hurry. I noticed Onyinye had gone mute.

“Mama Wale has taken your shovel, she said we should tell you that she took it,” I spoke up for my friend. “Ahn! Ahn! She did what? Why is this woman such a trouble maker?” Mama Tutu turned around towards Mama Wale’s house and off she went, screaming Mama Wale’s name,

Onyinye and I stayed put. We weren’t really ‘arand’ for adult squabbles. “Mama Wale… Mama Wale…” the rest of Mama Tutu’s words had become inaudible but we could see both adults pointing fingers at each other in anger. Soon, Mama Tutu waved at us to come over.

“Ngbo, Onyinye, wetin I tell you say make you tell this woman?” Mama Wale turns her red face on us. Before we could respond, Mama Tutu cut in, “Who is ‘this woman’? I don’t want to believe I’m being referred to as ‘this woman’. Mama Wale address me by name, show some respect.

You can’t bully me like you bully your husband! I will not allow it. Give me my shovel please!” ‘WAWU! This is news. First of all, Baba Wale was nice, so his wife bullies him? Na wa!’ I thought to myself. “Ah!“ Mama Wale scoffs at Mama Tutu,

“Your grammar no mean Shigbain! Don’t insult my husband Mama Tutu, face me, face meeeee” Mama Wale was screaming at Mama Tutu at this time. Me in my mind, ‘But she didn’t insult your husband now. Abi?’ Onyinye and I looked on, ready to pounce if Mama Tutu was losing the battle.

Mama Wale unties her wrapper and reties it, making it shorter so she could spread her legs wider, ready for battle. Mama Tutu had on knicker burger, she was good to go. “And I go make sure say I no give you that shovel today, oya come collect am now… “

Mama Wale stood at ease, hands behind her back, shovel held firmly. Mama Tutu tried to get behind her, but she is shouldered off by the bigger Mama Wale. Onyinye and I took over, we grabbed Mama Wale by the waist, held on tight, she tried to shake us off but we refused to let go.

Mama Tutu then gets behind us, bites Mama wale’s hand which made her yelp and immediately release the shovel. “Ife, Onyinye, run inside, now!” Mama Tutu instructed us as she held the shovel up, ready for war. We released Mama Wale and made a run for it, scared but happy.

Both women’s scream became less audible. As it was the tradition, after environmental sanitation, we would play competitive football in the compound, Boys vs Girls. On this day, as we played, I noticed all the mothers in the compound sat by their balcony, all four of them.

When Mama Wale came into the compound to look for Onyinye and I, they all stood by their territories and asked her to leave. They let her know if she ever touched us, the street would be too hot for her. Us children paused, it was like we were watching Voltron in real life.

Mama Wale turned around and left in shame. Our mothers watched her leave and only then, did they leave their positions at the balconies. I knew then, Mama Wale was a wise woman because how could you not be afraid of such force?!

Forgiveness

Mastering The Art of Forgiveness On World Forgiveness Day

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

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

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

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

Forgiving someone doesn’t take away my power:

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

Forgiveness brings about a release of energy:

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

Forgiveness is a gift:

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

Forgiveness doesn’t equate enablement:

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

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

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

You might have to forgive more than once:

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

Believe in paying it forward:

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

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

Written by Oluwayomi for Diaryofanaijagirl.

 

 

 

Perserverance

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

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

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

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

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

DANG: WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR OFFICIAL FIRST SHOOT?

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

DANG: WHAT EXACTLY WAS IT THAT CAPTIVATED YOU ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DANG: WHEN OR WHAT JOB CLICKED?

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

DANG: HOW DID YOU MAXIMIZE IT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DANG: WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO RIGHT NOW?

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

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

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

DANG: WHAT GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE NOW?

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

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

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

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

 

football

The Power of Football: My Russian Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Oredola Akinniranye for Diaryofanaijagirl

Image from: Shutter Stock

Mindfulness

Mindfulness – A Lifestyle You Should Adopt

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

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

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

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

Give mindfulness a try this week!

 

 

 

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

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

“Hi Mama, I hope I did not wake you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Issokay

Ex Girlfriend

That Time I Tried on Love That Wasn’t Mine

I remember that time I tried on love that wasn’t mine. I convinced myself that it fit. The owner wore it without discomfort but love itself told me it belonged to me. I’d watch the owner wear it, and I’ll wait for my turn to try it on. But I had only a short time to try it on because it wasn’t mine. Then I’d pray to God, ‘let this love fit me. My heart wants it. Even love wants me’.

But it wasn’t mine.

So, I took it to a seamstress, “fix love for me”. I said. The seamstress turned it inside out, looked at me with pitiful eyes and said, “The owner has stretched it. There’s no space left to adjust for you.” I looked at love, it said, “maybe both of you can fit into me” I stamped my feet, pouted and put my arms akimbo “you’re mine, I don’t share”. Love said, “but you’re already sharing”.

Wow. Love was wrong, I wasn’t already sharing, I was borrowing. Even when I did borrow, it didn’t fit. The owner of love was living in ignorance, which was bliss. I, who tried on love that wasn’t mine lived in tears because of open wounds I had sustained.

From trying on love that wasn’t mine. In trying to forcefully fit it on, it tore at every corner of my heart, it hurt but I didn’t notice because I was focused on making a borrowed item permanently mine.

But then, the heart began to bleed. I eventually had to take care of my wound, so I stopped trying “IT” on. Love had No time for drama anyway. I was damaged, its owner was living la vi da loca. Love went back to where it fits.

I know now if love doesn’t fit, don’t forcefully try it on. Love looked beautiful and perfect but it wasn’t for me. Now, I choose Love that only fits without me having to squeeze myself in. Love that calms my heart, not the one that tears it apart.#Most importantly, I know now, love doesn’t have to be beautiful and perfect but it has to NOT have an owner. Then, I’ll try it on.

Yemisi Falaye

Girl Boss: Yemisi Falaye, The Most Celebrated Entertainment Lawyer in Nigeria

DANG: First of all, introduce yourself.

Yemisi Falaye: My name is Yemisi Falaye. I’m a lawyer. I was called to bar in 2005 and I’ve been practising law since then. I did my service year at the law firm where I work now, ACAS Law firm and got retained. I started working fully in 2007. I’ve been with them ever since. I’m a senior counsel of the firm and I head the entertainment law group of the firm. The entertainment law group used to be part of, well; it’s still part of the corporate commercial group/intellectual property unit of the firm. Until the department became a standalone.

DANG: The entertainment group, did it have something to do with you performing well…?

Yemisi Falaye: Yes. Prior to the department standing alone, we had been doing one or two things for celebrities, a couple of them are my friends. We’ve been doing stuff for them on a corporate commercial law basis and intellectual department basis. The managing partner then was, Mr Folabi Cacs Martin, who is my direct boss, he decided to make the department stand alone because of the emergence of entertainment law or entertainment as a whole in the economy of Nigeria. We thought that it was an evolving market and we should concentrate on entertainment. He went ahead to make me the head of the department because entertainment is my forte and I have a cordial relationship with celebrities.

DANG: So, how long have you been head of the department?

Yemisi Falaye: About 3 years now, we started 2015.

DANG: How has it been?

Yemisi Falaye: It’s been awesome. I have found something I will always want to do. The entertainment law group keeps me going. It wakes me up in the morning, energizes me, it makes me want to go to work, makes me want to work. I love to see an agreement that has to do with entertainment law. I discovered that’s my flair, that’s my passion, that’s what I’ve always wanted to do.

DANG: What has given you the push you all this while? When there are hitches, timelines? What keeps you going?

Yemisi Falaye: Meeting timelines, crazy timelines have always been a part of me. I grew up in practice meeting terrible timelines. Meeting deadlines, being under pressure hasn’t been a problem for me because of my passion for entertainment and entertainment law.

DANG: So you are saying that if you have passion, you really don’t feel the pressure?

Yemisi Falaye: Exactly. It no longer becomes pressure. It no longer becomes work. You know, like comedians, it is work for them but then again, it is a hobby. For musicians, it is work for them but then again, it is a hobby and talent. That’s how it is for me as an entertainment lawyer. Entertainment law and entertainment law related agreements are like food to me. As a matter of fact, when I receive an email from my clients it gives me lots of joy. It gets me excited.

DANG: It took you 8 years to get here.

Yemisi Falaye: Yes. I think God actually has a purpose for all of this. I believe that, because, prior to 2015, work was work. Getting up to work every day was a real chore. But at the point where I personally discovered entertainment law, work now became or has become a pleasure for me. It’s become a passion for me. I find rest. I’m laughing. I meet my deadlines. Nobody needs to put me under any form of pressure. As a matter of fact, I now begin to put people under pressure because I want to impress my clients. So, I’m thankful to God; albeit late, but I’m still thankful to God.
A lot of people say to me that “finally, Yemisi you’ve found your passion…” I’m glad that I’ve eventually found it. And I’m pursuing it.

DANG: What do you go back to when it’s crazy?

Yemisi Falaye: I turn to God. I’m a very spiritual person. It’s amazing the kind of things that I “disturb God for”. The minutest things ever like where to park when I attend a party. I talk to God about everything. Most especially, when I’m worn out because, to be honest, it does get tiring. In my down time, I find rest in God and if it is work related I sort it out with my colleagues.

DANG: Entertainment law in Nigeria is not really keyed into in Nigeria. Can you explain more to my readers about it?

Yemisi Falaye: In the past creatives and entertainers did not see the need for entertainment lawyers but the narrative is changing now. It is never just an agreement to read and sign, it is important to consult a lawyer to avoid signing a deadly deal. Some agreements are capable of wiping out an entertainer’s career this is why it is important to hire a lawyer, let the lawyer guide you how to hire a business manager, road manager, record label and some. At the end of the day, you focus on your craft while the lawyer handles the nitty-gritty of the business side of it for you

DANG: So who and what do you cover as an entertainment lawyer?

Yemisi Falaye: I do everything. I deal with musicians, I deal with actors, I deal with bloggers, I deal with creative’s generally; songwriters, authors, sportsmen and women, everybody generally.

DANG: Who are your clients right now?

Yemisi Falaye: On my roaster right now, I have Toke Makinwa; incidentally, she is my first client and then I have Chidinma, Adekunle Gold, I have Small Doctor. I have Ice Prince, Waje, Beverly Naya and more.

DANG: Do you handle cases outside of entertainment law?

Yemisi Falaye: Yes. Absolutely. Entertainment law is just part of what I do. I still do intellectual property law; I do some form of corporate and commercial related law. I do company secretarial work as well. I do immigration law. I’m all-encompassing.

DANG: What edge do you think you as a person have over everybody?

Yemisi Falaye: For me, I tell my clients that when I say it, I mean it. “You have my 24 hours”. You can reach me at any point in time. I don’t see my clients as just clients. I befriend them and I try my best to make them comfortable around me. That way, they can confide in me to tell me what they are going through and I can give them a clear and objective advice. I am a friendly person which makes it easier for me. My clients can reach me at any time of the day even if it’s 1 am and I work very hard to meet their needs. No brags. That’s the truth.

DANG: I know people will have questions about being an entertainer. So what advice do you have for them?

Yemisi Falaye: The first thing is to focus more on the work aspect. The work will make you go for those shows. You can’t afford to mix it with play. Your diligence and your hard work will attract the glamour of the work to you.

DANG: I’m a lawyer and I want to go into entertainment. What part of Law should I focus on?

Yemisi Falaye: Do corporate commercial law. Become a transaction lawyer. I hate courts. I’ve never been to court. Litigation is not my forte. Focus your attention on corporate commercial law where you will be taught all forms of agreement; tenancy law, property law, telecommunication, tax, every form of law asides criminal law.
Expose yourself to all forms of contracts and specification of law. That way you will be well grounded and you will have sufficient knowledge that will be helpful to your clients. Spread your wings and don’t limit yourself to entertainment law.
Don’t limit yourself to entertainment law. I didn’t start with entertainment law. I was doing and I am still doing all forms of law. That has made advising my clients and doing entertainment law a piece of cake for me.

DANG: Have you had conflicts about your faith and law sometimes?

Yemisi Falaye: I have never had conflicts between my faith and my work. I work in a firm where our core values are; integrity, creativity, and excellence. These three items are somewhat God related. Creativity is of God, excellence is of God, integrity is of God as well.

DANG: So, you are a single woman working hard, how old are you?

Yemisi Falaye: I’ll be 38 in September. 37, now.

DANG: Do you ever get people making assumptions of what you do? Do you feel pressured?

Yemisi Falaye: I’ll tell you a quick story. I remember when I was going to buy my first car; I was going to buy a brand new car. I remember somebody saying to me, “Oh Yemisi, you are a young girl. You are not married yet, I don’t think you should buy a brand new car. I think you should just buy a Golf 3 that would cost you lesser than a brand new car. So don’t chase guys away from you.
I said to him, whether married or single, I would enjoy my life. I love the good life nothing is going to stop me from having a good time. I live once and I must make the best of it.

DANG: Have you ever pressured yourself?

Yemisi Falaye: There was a time in my life when I did. I would attend almost all singles program in every church. I have stopped doing that now. In fact, I rarely pray about it. Whatever happens, I’m good. That’s the point I’m in right now. If you pray for me, I’d say Amen. If I remember to pray about it, I pray about it. But I have stopped putting myself under pressure to get married. All I want to do right now is to advance in my career. And make money, good money.

DANG: In five years, where do you see yourself?

Yemisi Falaye: In five years, I will own the best and the only properly structured record label in Africa. And guess what? It’s going to be an artist-friendly record label because most record labels are not artists friendly.

Interview: ™Diaryofanaijagirl©

Amanda

Meet Amanda, The Courageous 4 year old With The Brain Defect.

Amanda is a hydranencephaly (a central nervous disorder characterized by a large head and neurological deficits). I found out about Amanda’s condition after doing a scan seven months into the pregnancy. She had a brain surgery when she was 8 months old.

The doctors told us Amanda would die at 3 months but she is here and she will be 4 years on the 4th of July.

Amanda can not see, talk, sit by her self, nor do anything but she can hear and differentiate between light and darkness. She can also smile. Her condition has affected me emotionally, physically and mentally, in ways that I’m now spiritually strong and physically weak.

She cried continuously in my ears for more than two years, I have become accustomed to the sound of Amanda crying, to the extent that if I am seated somewhere quite, it feels like my head wants to explode. It was disturbing and I could hardly get any sleep. Nonetheless, I am proud of my little girl because she has been strong right from the first day; through the surgeries and the pains, she has endured it all.

Creating awareness about hydrocephalus isn’t easy because mothers with affected children usually hide their children. I believe through exposing pictures of her life journey on the Instagram and Facebook platform has helped so many mothers out there.

Hyperthyroidism

Are You Aware of the Beast Gradually Eating At the Women Folk? It is called Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a beast gradually eating the womenfolk. Whilst some women are ignorant of this disease, others are too scared to share their story.

This is my story.

I have been living with hyperthyroidism for close to two years now. For those who are not aware of what it means. It simply means my thyroid gland functions abnormally, secreting too much of hormone.

This over secretion has resulted in me having Goitre, what the Yorubas call ‘gege’ (I hate the Yoruba name for it between). Goitre is just one of the physical attributes of Hyperthyroidism, the internal effect is much worse.

Anytime I forget to take my drugs, I experience serious chest pain coupled with palpitation, muscle contraction, irregular menstrual flow, consistent stooling, loss of breath and some.

The goitre isn’t gone and I am usually embarrassed when people’s attention is drawn to it. I woke up this morning remembering how a client called my attention to it yesterday. I felt sad! She assumed I didn’t know and was asking me in front of a colleague if I was ‘taking care of my neck’. I am not one for pity party though.

I went to the hospital when I noticed I had a swollen neck and persistent chest pain. Ever since I have been doing series of tests.

Initially, I visited a government hospital until I realized government hospitals were time wasters. Every time I went to the hospital, I would return home feeling more depressed due to the ill-mannered way in which I was being treated by the doctors and nurse.

After wasting so much money and time, I travelled down to Lagos, to register for my NHIS and chose LASUTH, however, they are presently on strike.

There are Foundations who offer free medical surgery for Thyroid but I am not comfortable with my face shown all over different social media pages. I want my story to be told when I am most comfortable.

I am a very beautiful lady with a high level of self-confidence but ever since my journey with hyperthyroidism began, I have become the shadow of myself. I walk around my head bowed. I fear that when my head is raised, people will see my neck and pity me.

I have made a decision to go to the NHIS office located at Yaba, Lagos State soon to change to my hospital to a private hospital (I hope I’m allowed to do so).

I will advise all readers of this blog to go for Thyroid function test. It isn’t that common in men, like 1 man in 100 but 80 women in 100.

Hyperthyroidism doesn’t stop at having an operation to remove the organ. I will be faced with using drugs for the rest of life to manage it.

Women, please get tested today. Hyperthyroidism is no joke.

Written by J for diaryofanaijagirl.

City,

The City’s Vision Line is “We Shall Become a City of Urban Excellence in Africa” – Patricia Muhongerwa, Deputy Mayor Kigali City

My name is Patricia Muhongerwa. I am the deputy Mayor in Kigali city. I am glad you chose to visit Kigali.

DANG: Thank you.  Tell me about your career, why did you get into politics?

I did not start out to become the deputy mayor or a politician. My thoughts were I would remain a social counsellor and evangelist.  However, my career path as always been along the path of a social worker. I once worked with an organisation that took children off the streets, I also worked as a customer care in a hospital, it was from the hospital I began to have the ambition to become a minister. I began to pronounce it and that attracted it to me.

DANG: okay, that’s fantastic. Is there anything special from when you started the social work, is that where you picked up your manifestos about caring for children majorly and making sure, there are no children on the streets of Kigali?.

One of the tasks assigned to me when I became the deputy mayor of Kigali was that the city is free of beggars, children and street vendors. I won’t say I was the one who achieved that, but God through his people that during my tenure the city became free of all these things. There was a time there were so many street vendors and beggars but today we don’t see them. The city’s vision line is “we shall become a city of urban excellence in Africa”

DANG: So, the position of the deputy mayor is like an employee, not political by-elections into office?

Dep. Mayor: Yes, people vote. It’s according to your position.

DANG: Is Kigali clean because of health purposes or is it clean to attract tourist?

In Kigali two things are important; Safety for the people and Cleanliness of the city. On the streets, you will see green leaves, trees, palm fronds, flowers and more. We hire contractors for trimming and planting and watering palm fronds, trees and flowers. During the night they sweep and mop the streets especially during the dry seasons, and when everyone wakes up they think it is a gift from God which is not the case, we’ve just committed ourselves to this purpose.

Cleanliness for us is both for health and beautification purposes. Cleanliness begins at home, we teach our citizens to be clean at home, keep the roads clean and also, we teach cleanliness in schools. Every week we have contractors collect rubbish and waste from all homes. Weekly inspections are conducted to ensure all citizens abide by this.

DANG: Do you tell them when you are coming?

No, often we go unannounced, to catch them unawares, to see how they do things before inspection. We commend them, but in the case whereby, our requirements aren’t met by a school we close such schools down.

DANG: What are your thoughts about Nigeria and Nigerians as well.

Dep. Mayor:  In Rwanda, we see Nigerians as capable people if only they sit together to brainstorm on how they can improve the lives of their people.

We have the City Council meeting and every year when we are planning our budget year, we visit the grassroots. We meet and ask them what they want us to do for them if they want roads if they want water, whichever infrastructure, they just propose it and we do it for them

I believe this can also be done in Nigeria. I think things will begin little by little but it begins from the constitution. What does your constitution say? Are your people following it? From the constitution, many laws are developed by the parliamentarians. Are they doing it right? And if they do, is the execution part being done right? It is all about responsibility, accountability, ownership and then the heart at the end of it all, Do I love the country? Do I have it at heart or I’m pursuing my personal interests? I am not saying that’s what happening in Nigeria, but it does happen also or everywhere. So, when people agree together, to do things together, things get done and you can’t do it all in 1year but you can build a strategic vision.

To be honest, there’s nothing I can say about Nigeria because I haven’t been there.

DANG: This has been very educating for me. I hope that when we go back and talk about this, there will be changes and maybe Nigeria is not too faraway from change, maybe our leaders will ask people who have done it well, ask them how they did it and adopt it because some of the things you’ve said are very far-fetched going to the villages to ask questions, we don’t do that, we don’t even have council meeting so we need to start from the beginning and now the only means available to people is social media, complaining to their own family and that doesn’t make any difference. I think that we have learned a lot from you and when we go back, we have this discussion and work from there.

Dep. Mayor: You know it all has to come from the head. It’s about leadership what are the leaders doing to make the country a better place, what are the examples they are showing the citizens. If from 8-11am on sanitation day, the President joins in community cleaning, why won’t ministers and every member of the parliament engage in sanitation? This then brings about a collective engagement of the people

 

Mistakes: The Beautiful Ruin We All Need.

We all make mistakes. Sometimes it’s small while other times it’s a big mistake. There are times we let ourselves down or we let other people down. We do something we shouldn’t have done or act way below standards we’ve set for ourselves. However, our actions after such moments determine if we live a life we can’t stand and continually want to change or we living our best life.

Most people cave in, suffer emotionally by constantly guilt-tripping themselves and give up, while very few people hold themselves accountable, they acknowledge their mistakes, but they don’t let them become a virus that spreads throughout their lifetime

They have come to understand that in life there will be ups and downs, and they aren’t about to throw away the whole book because of one bad page/experience. They make a conscious decision not to allow a bad/sad page turn to a whole book their life is. Instead, they flip the page to the next chapter.

This decision is what most struggle with, they hold on tightly to that bad page. They let one argument ruin their entire day. They let one bad day ruin their week. They let one mistake define their life!

Move on! one mistake is not our entire life! one page does not define our book! Let go of the past. We do not have to suffer from the past for the rest of our life. We must throw away who we use to be because WHO WE ARE is so much bigger.

We are capable of so much more. But we’ll never get to that so much more unless we take responsibility for our results. ALL RESULTS, not just the results we want to claim, not just the results we want to see.

It is said that we are the authors of our lives. The decisions we make today determines what will be in the next chapter of our lives. Crying and fussing about something isn’t holding ourselves accountable but doing something about it.

Saying we are going to do something doesn’t count, it is what we do about it that counts.

It’s important we note that holding ourselves accountable doesn’t mean others will never do us wrong. It doesn’t mean everything is our fault. It only means, whatever happens, we are going to make it work. Whatever happens, we are going to win! whatever happens, nothing will stop us.

Be one of the few who is strong enough to tell the world: I was not good enough… but I soon will be!

Scar

I Am More Than You Can See

“Lock up and lights off!” Yasmin, my beautiful colleague/friend snapped this order at me as we exited our small office. I was a receptionist and her, Ops supervisor. I was charged with opening the office sometimes and locking up so her request was not out of place, it was…for lack of a better word, haughty.

This was the year 2008.

Everyone had left the office except both of us. I was by my computer, updating the day’s log and trying to do it as fast as possible so Yasmin could drop me off at Awolowo road, Ikoyi where my friend would then drop me off at home. I noticed she was staring at me and because we were cordial I said to her, “Madam warrisit? Have I suddenly developed wings?”
She responded with a wide smile, a very small chuckle and a soft touch to my chin, “what happened to you here? How did you get this scar?”

Yasmin wasn’t the first person who had asked me about the 1.5inch zigzag scar on the right side of my face slightly below my bottom lip. I would usually give one answer, “accident”. But that day, I felt I needed to entertain Yasmin with my story as she waited for me.

It happened in 2002, on my way from church to my shared room in the University with family friends. It’s funny how I can never forget the thoughts in my head that day. I was on a bike, genuinely enjoying how the breeze hit me hard in the face and then sweep past it simultaneously. I silently begged God to get home and meet an empty room because my roommates liked to entertain on Sundays but I just wanted a quiet nap. From the bottom of my heart, I prayed that they would not be home. I had bowed my head to say this short prayer and as I looked up to continue to enjoy the breeze, I saw a white Honda coming towards us with speed. I held on desperately to the bike man and….silence.

Someday soon, I must take you through the process of me waking up on the side of the road, to how many scars I incurred from that accident (including the scar on my face) and how I reacted when I saw my face.

I narrated the story to Yasmin and when I was done, I asked her “You’ve been meaning to ask me for a while right? Why are you now just asking today?”
“Looking at you now, I just realized you would have been so beautiful without it. Maybe more men would be toasting you sef, then you and I will be getting married around the same time. It makes me feel bad when I see the scar. I even heard a client call you ‘Scarface’ one time like that…” Yasmin responded as her eyes scanned my face, settling on my scar. She pitied me.

I didn’t know which came first, the anger or the discomfort but I felt both and struggled with myself as to how to react. My anger won and I immediately lashed out at her, “Why is beauty that important to you?” I asked her and noticed she stepped back from the front desk in surprise. I continued, “you assume you’re better than me because you’re prettier? You seriously think you’re all of that and a bag of chips? Don’t ever equate my scar to ugliness again or you and I will stop being friends!” I closed my laptop and picked up my bag and office keys, ready to leave even without her. This was when she quickly walked ahead of me and snapped the order “lock up and lights off!”.

Truth? Her words scared me, I was afraid she was right, which is why I got really mad, I couldn’t handle the discomfort. Will I ever get any man to marry me? Does that mean I’ve been looking at myself as beautiful all these while and others have looked at me as ugly?

I got into a taxi, refused to make my usual stop in Ikoyi, instead I got on the phone with Emma, an older friend and sobbed as I told her everything.

Emma’s words worked like magic.

“The first day I saw you, I immediately noticed how hot you looked, then your smile, your confidence and how you excelled at every little task given to you. I never saw your scar until months later. You’re amazing Ife and you will go places and meet a man who can match all that simmering volcano in you. You must never forget that your scar is an added feature to your beauty, it doesn’t take away from it”- Said Emma

When I got home, I looked at myself in the mirror and for the first time, I accepted my scar as beautiful and as my facial feature, breathing in Emma’s words, feeling my confidence seeping back through my nose, into my mind and heart. And as I took in Emma’s words, I added mine, “I am beautiful but I am more beautiful inside, that is important too.”

Not one time since then, have I ever seen my scar as anything other than badass!

My name is Ife, I AM NOT MY SCAR. I am more than you can see.

READ ALSO: A Grieving Handsome Man, My Chipped Nail and An Awkward Moment

Bolanle Ninolowo, Times, Failing, Failing forward

In Times I Thought I Was Failing I Was Only Failing Forward – Bolanle Ninalowo

DANG: For legal purposes, please state your name and that you approve of us publishing this interview.

Bolanle Ninalowo: My name is Bolanle  Ninalowo. I am an actor and I do approve diary of a Naija girl to publish this interview on all of their social media platforms.

DANG: Thank You. There have been allegations that women in show business work twice as hard as men and they still end up with low pay. Do you believe in equality or equity?

Bolanle Ninalowo: I don’t believe in this general consensus. I believe in equality, however, I do not believe the statement you just made about women in this industry working twice as hard and not getting the recognition in show business. In fact, to an extent, I believe that in this part of the world women indulge in unethical means to get things done.  The reason why I think it will be difficult for women who do such is that there is a competition among women who are willing to use their body to get roles.

DANG: Let’s talk about the difference between when you first started acting and now. What did you do differently to get that break?

Bolanle Ninalowo: I’m an advocate of doing what you know how to do until you know better. One of the problems that we face in the society is, everybody wants perfection nobody wants to be laughed at. Everybody wants to do it and do it right which is impossible. That is where your failure comes.  I have come to understand that to stand out you need to do something different.  Then came picture perfect, I realised I had been roleplaying instead of acting. I went ahead to become a bus conductor for about two weeks, I lived around touts and thugs, I spoke with them, I ate with them. You will often find me on google watching other Actors to see what they are doing differently to become better.  At some point I almost forgot who I was; it was at that point I knew I was ready to shoot the movie. When I got on set people were doubtful of my abilities to deliver but I believed I could and I did.

DANG: I read about your bankruptcy and all of that. How did you live through all of that how did you survive it I know we’ve talked about failure and all but deep inside what was that for you?

Bolanle Ninalowo: It was hell for me. I went into chronic depression. Although, I was born a Muslim it was the bible that helped me pull through that phase. During this period I found myself; what made me tick, what differentiated me from other actors. The difference between you and the next successful person is time and what you do with it. All these I learnt during my downtime.

DANG: So, all these time that you have been in Nollywood and you’ve reasoned the way you reason. What have you learnt, I don’t mean your personal experience. What have you seen that you know is a lifeless thing for you in your rise in Nollywood People, circumstances?

Bolanle Ninalowo: One of the most important lessons I have learnt is, never to look down on anybody and that has worked for me before now. Another is, count your blessings because when you do that you will have more to tell.

DANG: When you said don’t look down on anyone. Were you looked down upon?

Bolanle Ninalowo: Yes. A lot of people passed upon me and it is the typical thing that we go through in life. However, for me, the key to success is hearing “NO”. It motivates me to accomplish and to achieve. In December 2016, I was named one of the worst actors in the country, a year after I was number one on the top actor’s list for the year on every blog’s list. The truth is, the people that criticize you they haven’t done anything wrong, you have to prove yourself to everybody. Nobody is going to give you anything; you just have to take a chance.

DANG: Looking at the likes of RMD, Ramsey Noah from the old school to the new school and still relevant. How do you intend to do stay relevant, to do better?

Bolanle Ninalowo: I am sure if you ask RMD or Ramsey, they will tell you that it’s not by their doing but by the grace of God. I do not bother myself with trying so hard to stay relevant, what I’m more concerned about is not losing God’s grace over my life. I’m on the pursuit of grace.

DANG: Tell us about your daughter.

Bolanle Ninalowo: (My son as well). I like to refer to my daughter as my destiny helper. Aliyah made me responsible, she made me the man I am today, she gave me the success so, I owe it all to her. That’s how I see it. I live and work hard for Aliyah and Kiho.

DANG: I’m always worried about you being typecasted. Are you trying to run from Jobe’s role?

Bolanle Ninalowo: You can’t typecast me, it’s impossible. Before Picture Perfect I had broken into the movie scene everybody knew me. Picture Perfect broke me out of the movie industry. If I don’t shoot another Jobe in my life the one shot is enough, that one film is for life. People tell me I have to surpass this character but that’s a No. No, I am not in pursuit of beating the Jobe’s character. I’m only in pursuit of my grace, may I not lose that.

DANG: Are you a die-hard Nigerian or a frustrated Nigerian?

Bolanle Ninalowo: I used to be a frustrated Nigeria until I learnt the importance of failing forward. I’m a die-hard Nigeria now and I have come to realize that to have better Nigeria, you have to become the change you want to see. Influence yourself, influence your circle and gradually you will see the change

 Also read: Find Your Grit: Don’t Get Tired Of Starting Over

 

 

Single mother

This Single Mother Got Laid Off Then Started A Candle Business That More Than Doubled Her Income

This Single Mother Got Laid Off Then Started A Candle Business That More Than Doubled Her Income

In April 2012 this single mother, Kristen Scott was laid off from her job where she was overworked, underpaid, and miserable when the idea of starting a candle business came to her. Despite the uncertainty and lack of knowledge about the business, she chose to take a leap of faith instead of filling out another job application. She initially started searching for tutorials on YouTube, but soon realized that her research wasn’t yielding enough information to know how to make the candles. The constant feeling of defeat became too much to bare, and she decided to call it quits soon after.

“I had somebody say it’s not burning down right—it’s not burning evenly, and there was no scent. That was like my first couple of months; then I stopped.”

Yet she kept having this nagging feeling that somehow these candles were tied to her purpose. She confided her new business idea to a friend and was referred to a woman with her own successful candle business out of Detroit, who schooled on the basics of business such as coming up with her brand name and getting her LLC. Kristin then purchased her first 10 pounds of soy wax, fragrance, and five boxes of glass jars with just a few hundred dollars to her name.




But having a mentor didn’t excuse her from the trial and error process of being an entrepreneur. Despite her newfound knowledge and research, the product, nor the smell, were coming together quite like she imagined.

Not willing to let go of her vision, Kristin took a trip to Detroit to pay a visit to her mentor in hopes of getting the first-hand information that she needed to make her candles burn without burning a hole through her pockets. This time she learned that seeing is different than doing, and no matter how many times she was shown the process, she still couldn’t seem to master the right wax-to-fragrance ratio and left feeling like she gained no more knowledge than she came with. Once again, she caved in and gave up.

“I just was like, okay, forget it; I was just done again,” she admits. “I don’t know how many times I felt like that in that first year; I put so much time in.”

This wasn’t the last time that she would feel defeated, but it was the last time that she would quit.

Around September she once again got the urge to try again. She got back in the kitchen and kept making mistakes until she finally got it right.




“I think it was a good thing for me to learn my way through trial and error,” she says. “I literally had to teach myself how to make them. You think you’re doing everything right until you get that one honest person like this is not worthy. And then you’ve got to really go back in the kitchen and just try different methods, you know, so, basically I just really taught myself.”

Confident that she finally had the perfect candles, Kristin began attended her first event in October 2012 to sell her deliciously fragrant soy-based candles. She’d light the match and watch the candles draw in buyers by the dozens. She admits that at this point she didn’t view herself as an entrepreneur; in fact, she lacked knowledge about the product that she was selling. When a potential buyer came up to her and told her that she could make more money if she advertised that the candle could also double as a massage oil once the wax melted, she was shocked, and maybe even a little embarrassed, that this wasn’t something that she was aware of when she began purchasing pounds of soy wax.

Once she began marketing her candles as massage oils, her sales dramatically increased, and she closed out her first year of business with almost $40,000 in revenue.

Taking her side-hustle seriously, she began researching the product and how to reduce her costs. At the time she was conveniently purchasing all of her supplies from her mentor, but the more her sales grew the more the profit-margin decreased, so she cut out the middleman and started purchasing her wax from a wholesaler.




She also realized that there weren’t enough hours in a day to be a full-time boss a full-time employee. Back in November 2012, she has picked up a job to pay the bills and was burning the midnight oil trying to juggle her job and her business. But between traveling and attending events to promote her product, the businesswoman had to make a decision to leave her full-time job, and in May 2014, almost two years after launching Gifts From A Virgo, began pursuing her newfound passion full time.

“I looked at it as, if I do this full time and it does not work I can always find another job, but I can’t go to these events and I can’t do as much as I want or get my company because I’m up 24 hours. Basically come home, making candles to two in the morning, getting up at 4AM or 5AM, getting my son up for school…it basically was like, Kristin you’ve got to just go for it and pray about it, so I did that.”

It’s ironic that Kristin, who admits that she never even had a passion for candles and no desire to even be an entrepreneur, is now shopping for an accountant for 2016, and hopes to eventually catch the attention of retail giants such as Wal-Mart to wholesale her products. It’s even more ironic that she still can’t tell you what made her even think to sell candles, and yet it’s the one thing that’s undoubtedly saved her life.

“My business has allowed me to grow and mature so much, and I’ve been able to have a better relationship with God. I was a lost person at one point in my life. My business, this is my everything right now. I put my all into this. I dedicate myself to this every day of my life.”

If that ain’t God, I don’t know what is. Read:Celebrity Diary Entry: For Two Years I was in a Massive Debt of N22M. This is How I paid Back Every Kobo

Culled from XONecole

Marriages in Nigeria

Diary of a Naija Guy: Marriages in Nigeria and Most parts of Africa are sustained by women

Marriages in Nigeria and most parts of Africa are sustained by women. You can argue this with your village deity. Women in general, put up with a lot of bullshit just to make their marriages work. From childhood they have been taught that a wise woman keeps her home. In order to keep their homes, they end up enduring a lot of ill-treatment.

Find any woman who has been with a man for donkey years and ask her if she would love to marry that same man over again in her next life. Majority would say no. This brings us to the point that most marriages are endurance marriages not happy marriages. Unfortunately, we are told that marital success is about duration.

A successful marriage isn’t about duration but happiness. If two people spend five years together, happily and add immense value to each other; if they decide to break up without fighting about it, their marriage can be rated as successful. Spending eternity together in sorrow isn’t the idea of success to me. It is what you do in the marriage that counts not how long.

Scan through the length and breadth of marriages in Nigeria and see the things women endure. This is not to say that women are innocent. Marriages in Nigeria is quite disadvantageous to the women folk. Except you are lucky to have a man who has a good head. Infidelity, entitlement mentality, domestic violence, third party interference, patriarchal orientation etc are some of the things women bear up. How many women are willing to walk out of their marriages when they are abused? They want to keep their homes and status. They want to raise their kids. They don’t want to be seen as failures. The moment a marriage fails, everybody points at the woman. This in itself is psychologically abusive. What is Marriage Really About?Turning Your Wife into A Househelp?




When it comes to marriages in Nigeria, everything wrong with the marriage, is the woman’s fault. Bad children are her fault. Failed business, failure to have kids, crappy sex, the man’s infidelity, the man’s arrogance towards his family members, his stinginess to people in general, his lack of spirituality, his night crawling attitude, his poor dressing, everything is her fault.

After all these years of matrimonial slavery, women are beginning to set their priorities right. It is becoming clear to them that the quality of the marriage is what matters. They have come to agree that being single and happy is more important than being married and frustrated. But men won’t let them be. The same men would abuse a woman for opting to stay single. Isn’t this insane? You are not ready to treat somebody right, yet you won’t let them be. You tell them how stupid it is for a woman to be single, but your mouth won’t utter a word to tell men that they should treat women better. These things are worrisome to me.

The women who are standing out and demanding for their rights as humans are being tagged with all sorts of names. We say all manner of things to dampen their spirits. We are citing them as the reasons behind the failure of marriages. What we have failed to see is that marriages weren’t successful as we were told. It is just that the women were covering up our nakedness just to make everybody feel that their marriages were perfect. The burden of covering up our masculine insanity has increased and they can no longer handle it. Recently, they have chosen to unmask the matrimonial institution and show the world what they have been hiding for ages. We are scared that our little secrets are being revealed. We aren’t as powerful as people thought we are. We are just cowards hiding under patriarchal privileges.




So the question is, how many men are willing to put up with a woman who would give them the same dose of madness they have been giving to women? Exchange the roles and let the men be at the receiving end. Men are walking out of their marriages for little things as who cooked food, she starved me of sex for a week, she slapped me, she was flirting with my boss, I met the house dirty. Very insignificant, compared to what women have been putting up with.

I would like you to judge for yourself. When it comes to marriages in Nigeria,Who is sustaining it? Apart from a few reasonable men, most men marry without a sense of marital purpose, which is why they destroy their marriages themselves and blame their wives. Now you can see that we can’t even put up with marital challenges, yet we are always quick to say that women who walked out of abusive marriages were not willing to make their marriages work. If you are such a man, I wish you a very bad woman, and I hope you stick with her and make the marriage work.

I want a good woman. I cannot come and suffer for the sins of other men. Bad women should go and marry bad men. Let the good marry the good. I didn’t come this far to pay for the stupidity of other men. After abusing a woman I will now come to reap your madness from her.

I wish myself and all the responsible men out there, good women that would value us.

Copyright Victor Ibeh 2017

Grenfell Tower Inferno

“I’m A Grown Man Who is Now Afraid of The Dark”- Oluwaseun Talabi, Nigerian Grenfell Tower Inferno Survivor

“I’m A Grown Man Who is Now Afraid of The Dark”- Oluwaseun Talabi, Nigerian Grenfell Tower Inferno Survivor

“…We tried to run out of the door, that’s when the massive smoke, I can’t describe it to you, you have to be there to see but I wish you would never be in that sort of situation but yeah, you got to be there to understand it. It’s like an inferno coming towards the house, so we shut the door straight away.

We put a towel, a blanket and things like that around the door. My partner was holding it. While she was holding it, I run to the bathroom. I’ve got water and I start pouring it at the door. And while I was doing that, we saw smoke seeping through the door.

Then I started tying blankets together. I went around every room in the house, all the dirty blankets, all the clean ones, all the old ones we don’t use, I started tying them together and my partner asked me what I was doing. But I just carried on doing it, then I went back to the window, I started screaming “fire! Help please I’ve got a child here. Help please!”

I carried on in my survival mode. I carried on tying all the blankets together and everyone was looking at me like I was crazy like, “what are you doing ?”READ: I was burnt but not broken

From outside, they kept shouting “stay in your flat. They are going to come and help you.” but I kept on tying anyway, tied it as strong as I could. Then I tied it around the window. People were telling me “no, don’t do it””. But I was not looking to die in there. So I’ve climbed out the window and I told my partner to pass me my daughter but my daughter was not having it. She was crying.

Now my daughter isn’t coming.I’ve got to get back into the flat because I’m not going to go down without my daughter. So now I’m finding it difficult getting back into the flat because I’m dangling from outside of the window from the 14th floor. Guess who helped me out? One of the guys that is dead now. A Syrian guy and his brother pulled me back in because I couldn’t pull myself back in. But anyway -this is what Africans do you know, when they put like a child behind their back, and they tie him up- so I put my daughter on my back, used two wraps and tied it so tight, so when I have to go through that window again, my daughter doesn’t fall off my back.

I’m about to go through the window again, and the fire brigade has come and said, “Run!”

I’ve grabbed my missus by hand, my daughter tied to my back already, and I don’t look back. I don’t know who followed us, I don’t know who stayed in the building, we just ran. It was pitch black but we found our way through the thing and we are all coughing and choking. I can’t describe this choking.

Please God, I pray no one ever have to go through that. I can’t describe the choke. Literally, like I was going to die at that moment. To me, I was dead already. My daughter behind me was crying, my partner was falling down the stairs. I’m trying to make sure I don’t lose her, I’m trying to make sure my daughter is safe and I’m trying to be strong for myself. It was mad. I gave up.

Anyway, we kept on going and we got to the fourth floor or something, then I could see that the next floor below there’s light. So that kind of gave me energy, like just one more push. We’ve gone down now, the fire brigade had stopped us and tried to take my daughter away from my back, to rescue her. But because I’ve tied her so tight because I was going to take her from the window, it was kind of a struggle.

While I’m there I’m still inhaling some smoke and my daughter is still inhaling some smoke. My partner is waiting for us and she’s all scared like “where are these people?” So they grabbed my daughter off of me and took all of us to safety.

I’ve had probably about 10 hours sleep in one week. I can’t even go in the dark by myself. I’m scared of the dark. A grown ass man, I’m scared of the dark. Imagine going to the toilet and you have to switch on the light quickly. How long is that going to happen for? I can’t go back to work. You see the building I run at my workplace, it’s about the same height as this. I don’t know if I could go back and do the same thing. Every little thing is just going to get me scared and paranoid.

I need to get myself. I need to sleep. I need to be able to sleep…”

Transcribed by Diaryofanaijagirl.com from Abcnews.com SURVIVING THE GRENFELL TOWER INFERNO