Tag Archives: diary of a naija girl

strangers' conversations

#ThrowbackThursday I Listen to Strangers’ Conversations and Give my Opinon…In My Mind

Remember how one time I told you I listen in to strangers’ conversations and give my opinion in my mind? You also remember how we all agreed it is only human? Ehen…

So, yesterday, I went to see Heartbeat the Musical (It was fantastic), I sat behind a couple and heard them arguing before the show started. Here is “our” conversation below:

Male: You don’t hug someone you don’t know that well like that is what I’m saying.

Female: (cuts in) How do I hug him? Side hug? C’mon nowwwww.

Me in my mind: Yea, me too. I hate side hugs. It’s childish.

Male: But I’m telling you I didn’t like something and you’re telling me to “c’mon now”. Are you for real?

Female: I don’t see any reason for you to be uncomfortable. When I give your friends full hugs, you don’t complain.

Male: My friends don’t squeeze your boobs tight when you hug them.

Me in my mind: LMAOOOO. Jealousy oshi.

Female: (Laughs out loud)

Me in my mind: Exactly. Very funny.

Female: Okay I’m sorry. Ma bi nu (I’m sorry). (She pulls his head closer to hers and gives him a forehead rub.)

Me in my mind: Awwwwwww!

Female: I won’t hug someone I don’t know that well like that again.

Male: You should have just said that instead of arguing.

Me in my mind: SMH!!! Babies!

Female: (Rubs his head more and gives him a peck) I’m sorry oooooo.

Male: (Shakes his head and Smiles)

Female: (Brings out her phone to take a selfie)

Me in my mind: Awwwwwwwww!

Male and Female start talking about snapchat.

I lose interest.

Musical begins.

This is my public opinion on the matter. I hate half hugs, I feel like half hugs are childish. Like why hug from the side? Can everyone hug like adults?

The only thing is, I worry about some men and their pervasive ways. Even though I give full hugs, I try not to hug some men too tight. Why? Some men hug you so tight and spend far too long pushing against your boobies. I find this really classless and extremely inappropriate. Anyone who has tried this with me never gets a hug again, just handshakes and a very nasty side eye…for being a creepy worm!

This post was first published on the 4th of September 2017.

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

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

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

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

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

Gayle: Wants the best for you.

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

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

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

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

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

Lisa: Do the rumours bother you, Gayle?

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

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

Gayle: With my suitcase.

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

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

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

Oprah: She has a point.

Gayle: I do like them big.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gayle: But you were my maid of honour!

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

Gayle: I wouldn’t have believed you anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gayle: Replaced me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gayle: Blocks.

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

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

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

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

Lisa: Do you two talk every single day?

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

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

Gayle: We talk about everything and anything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oprah: I ended up buying two sweaters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gayle: The cops were lined up, double rows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oprah: “Carry me tenderly out the door.”

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

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

Gayle: It makes her pause.

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

Gayle: I’m very social.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oprah: Smart and articulate—

Gayle: Was not a bad thing.

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

Gayle: I liked Barry Manilow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gayle: Not fire, demote.

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

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

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

Gayle: Didn’t like you.

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

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

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

Gayle: I was stunned.

Oprah: It’s like your life is over.

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

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

Gayle: He was so proud of you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lisa: And if something happens to you? 

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

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

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

Gayle: $482.

Oprah: Okay, $482.

Gayle: But who’s counting?

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

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

Oprah: Okay, you tell the story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gayle: That’s not necessarily financial equals.

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

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

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

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

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

Lisa: People ache for connection. 

Gayle: They do, they really do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Forgiveness

Mastering The Art of Forgiveness On World Forgiveness Day

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

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

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

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

Forgiving someone doesn’t take away my power:

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

Forgiveness brings about a release of energy:

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

Forgiveness is a gift:

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

Forgiveness doesn’t equate enablement:

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

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

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

You might have to forgive more than once:

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

Believe in paying it forward:

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

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

Written by Oluwayomi for Diaryofanaijagirl.

 

 

 

Perserverance

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

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

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

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

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

DANG: WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR OFFICIAL FIRST SHOOT?

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

DANG: WHAT EXACTLY WAS IT THAT CAPTIVATED YOU ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DANG: WHEN OR WHAT JOB CLICKED?

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

DANG: HOW DID YOU MAXIMIZE IT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DANG: WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO RIGHT NOW?

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

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

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

DANG: WHAT GIVES YOU CONFIDENCE NOW?

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

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

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

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

 

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. 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Oredola Akinniranye for Diaryofanaijagirl

Image from: Shutter Stock

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.

support system

Life is Hard – Get Yourself A Support System

So many things happened to me today, I feel like I must share some of them with you. Early this morning, my supplier slammed me with a shocking news: “No more credit sales, henceforth, you must give me bank guarantee of…(A huge sum of money) before I release product to you.

I sat up straight on hearing the amount and began to quickly find a way around it. As my head was calculating and throbbing at the same time, my friend called.

“Ife can you talk?” She asked

“I can if it’s an emergency” I responded

“Well, it is. I want to run away. Would it be irresponsible if I just dropped everything and go away for a while? This responsibility is too much. I’m so tired. I need to go away. The burden is too heavy on me…” My friend’s voice was thin and tired. I felt her words deep in my soul and even though I had my own stuff going on, I had to make a short stop to check up on her in her office. I couldn’t stay long but I was able to make her laugh and we were able to reach a solution as to how she can take a break but not run away.

I went back to trying to find a solution to my own situation. Then, this evening another friend called to talk about some things she was going through. She was weak and tired of it all when she was done sharing all that she was going through she said to me “look, I’m going home. I’m shutting down this laptop and going home to take a walk or just chill, we’ll pick things up tomorrow”. I shared with her what had happened to me earlier in the day and we ended the conversation encouraging one another

This is the lesson I took from today’s situation: no man is an Island. You can’t hold everything in yourself, you will crush from the weight of it all if you don’t unburden to someone you trust.

My friends and I felt lighter today after we helped shoulder one another’s burden. That enough, made us want to try again tomorrow.

Life is hard. Please get a support system. Though they may not be able to solve all your problems, you’ll never lack practical and emotional support.

 

Read the Story of Kenya’s Serial Entrepreneur Who Went From Selling Yogurt to Building a Multi-million Dollar Telecoms Empire – Without a Degree

Before venturing into the ‘tech world’ I had tried various businesses before hitting this goldmine.

My first business was selling yoghurt from a friend’s car trunk to high school students. Also,
I was a part-time hairdresser, I was at the salon when I realized another business opportunity. Which was selling luxury merchandise to my high net worth clients. I would fly to London to get luxury goods for retail purposes.

In 2000, I co-founded East Africa’s first mass-market oriented Internet Service Provider (ISP), Wananchi Online (a Swahili word meaning ‘citizen’ or ‘the people’) it made Internet connectivity affordable for the average household in Kenya for the first time.

My name is synonymous with this company. The company is the reason why I am called the “Tech Entrepreneur” in some circles in Kenya. My business partner and I grew the business from a typical start-up to become the largest Internet Service Provider in East Africa, with a network of five regional offices.

As CEO, I raised the first tranche of $500,000 and the second tranche of $3M for Wananchi, eventually, the company’s worth rose to $238M.  I was responsible for raising the initial start-up capital for Wananchi Online.

In 2008 I was assigned to lead the restructuring of Telkom Kenya, a previously state-owned corporation. I oversaw and was instrumental in the retail brand launch of the Orange brand into Kenya and, in doing so, I handled a commercial budget of up to $44M. In commercializing the GSM network, I was responsible for 826 employees.

I do not have a degree however, I have done various certificate courses because I found that they were more practical in allowing me to achieve the things that I need to achieve.

I judge myself based on my performance vis-à-vis today’s challenges and opportunities. I am passionate about growth in others and myself. Success for me is defined by increased value – not simply financial rewards.  I think that there are lots of opportunities in this world and a lot of opportunities in Africa for both men and women.

I’ve demonstrated that being a woman is not a barrier to success. If you are determined, and passionate about what you do and work hard you can be successful no matter what.

First seen on BBC News

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.

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!

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

Happily Married Woman

Diary of A Naija Happily Married Woman: “Sometimes, Marriage is Gross”

Diary of A Naija Happily Married Woman

The foremost thing on my mind right now is to keep from sounding like a marriage handbook, or a how-to guide. Too many write-ups on marriage out there already. Far be it from me tell you what marriage is like. I’m not sure I know…but it’s been 2 years. I’d like to think I have earned the right to a few words on the subject.
No need to bore you on how we met. It’s a good story though. Remind me to tell it some other time. We have had quite the interesting relationship, I will say that. I like to think that I’m one of the lucky ones who legitimately married their friend. Some days I like him a lot. Some days, I need him out of my face. Well at least until it’s time to turn on the generator

Life with my husband is interesting. Our fights are legendary. I’m married to a man with a temper. Yes, I know what I said. Don’t bother waiting for the part about physical violence. Some temperamental men are not wife beaters guys, keep your earrings on. So yes, legendary fights. However, nothing beats a man who is so mad at you but still loves you even though you are currently the bane of his existence. I remember a time when we had a God-awful argument, and in the morning I was up to run my own water to bathe and he got angry that I had the nerve to do that when I knew he always ran my bath water. And that now became the fight for the day. *Insert rolling eye emoji*

Try not to sleep on an argument. That’s like marriage 101, abi? Sorry guys. Sometimes you will. One time, I was so angry that in my sleep, I mistakenly rolled and touched him, then remembered I hated him and rolled away so fast. He still laughs at me about that sometimes.

We have different love languages. My bobo likes to use words. He is touchy-feely. He likes cuddles and kisses and hugs and mushiness and all that jazz. Me? Hmm. My case is in the hands of God. I’m not that bad though. I used to be romantic, I swear. But sometimes, life can affect you more than you know. Not because you are hung up on an ex, or two, but sometimes it just takes a part of you away and then your husband has to suffer it.

So my single sisters, remember that. Scratch that. I specifically said I didn’t want to be ‘self-helpy.’ Moving on.

Marriage is gross. I had always seen the glamorous side; you know, get dressed up and go out, perfect couple stints, IG stunting and all. But that’s like 10% of the matter. In a particularly bad couch-potato kinda month, 5%. Sometimes you want to have sex but purge will not let you be great. You fart under the duvet and nearly become a widow by your own making because the poor guy doesn’t stand a chance. Sometimes if there is too much heat as a result of NEPA, cuddling is a no-no because body contact=body heat= yuck!

My husband thinks I’m too serious. I’m the worrier; I’m the one that would prefer to collect all his savings from him and put in a trust somewhere he will never find it till we need it. He, on the other hand believes “Money will always come”. Nah bruh, I ain’t taking that chance. He also likes play too much. I’d rather sit and watch series. We’re quite different, him and I. Not opposites, but different.

My favourite thing about my marriage is the calm and peace I feel. Do I imagine what life would have been like if I didn’t marry him, or if I stayed single? Yes.

Do I sometimes want to throw him down the stairs and be done with it? Yes.

And I tell him every day. What I don’t tell him is how I’d be lost without him. What I don’t tell him is that he saved me from myself and that with all his plenty flaws, (they are a LOT) I still don’t feel like I deserve him. But hopefully, someday I will figure out just how to tell him.

Written by: Miss Vee for Diaryofanaijagirl.com

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

Orphaned at 17, I Automatically Became a Mother of Four to My Siblings: Here is How We Survived

Hello DANG, I’m not a writer but I feel an urge to share this

Today makes it 15 years I’ve been an orphan. My parents were decent civil Servants: Mum a teacher and jack of any trade she was interested in, and dad an Engineer. We all fought for daddy’s approval. If you did well in school you were a favorite. Me? I was never close to first or second place in class. Rarely 3rd and mostly between 4th-10th place.

Life was comfortable and good…then, the worst day of my life happens. Both of my parents died on the same day!!! I still remember where I was when I heard…. I was in the house in Lagos where my family stayed anytime we come around. I was standing outside while my brother was in he bathroom while my aunt walked into the compound. I was not surprised to see her since she didn’t stay far away and would sometimes come around unannounced.

“There has been an accident, there was a plane crash and your parents were on it”. She said. I remember seeing the news of the plane crash shortly before then but it didn’t occur to me that was the flight my parents were on. Still standing as I stared at her in shock, I began to shake uncontrollably, everything became blurry as I felt like my body was no longer present in the physical

I snapped out of it quickly. “Oh Lord, my baby brother is about to turn 5. Will my sisters be ok?”. I couldn’t reach them immediately, they were in Warri at the time while I was in Lagos with my brother studying for our A-levels. I could hear my aunt’s voice, “We don’t know anything now, there may be survivors…”. I wasn’t listening, I also didn’t really believe her, I had quickly moved on to survival mode. At this time, I had not cried. We were taken to my Uncles house, where we found so many people crying and looking sober

I was thinking to myself, Why? What next ? What should I do mummy? How do I take care of 4 people?

I quickly realised, when you lose someone, theres nothing anyone can do or say to make you feel better NOTHING!!! I didn’t cry when anyone was around, I only cried from my sleep because in my sleep, I wasn’t thinking about how my siblings would survive. But my subconscious knew I had suffered a loss, so therein, I mourned. So many promises were made by uncles and parents’ friends but I think the most honest people said to me “All you have is one another”.

How true! Days and months and years ahead revealed the truth in that statement. I was scared my siblings would grow up without guidance. I wasn’t an academic genius so all I thought was how to find something to do to take care of my siblings. Help did not come where we expected but help came from people we had never even seen and never heard of. They knew my parents and came forward at the exact point we needed something to happen

I know not many people may have had their stories turn out this way, I can say that God truly is the father to the orphan. Today and at every memorial, I look back in gratitude. My lessons learnt;

– God always has a plan. You just need to trust and believe.
-The power of a praying mother never goes to waste

I have grown from being a scared, confused young Lady with so much uncertainty, to an executive in a multinational company and a very happy and fulfilled mother of 5 (My siblings and a beautiful baby girl). All lines have fallen in pleasant places and my gratitude to God and the people who came out of nowhere to help, knows no bounds

Written by Anonymous for diaryofanaijagirl.com