Tag Archives: inspiration

How I fell in Love With My Skin Again

For as long as I’ve lived-as long as I’ve been aware-I’ve had spots at the extremities of my body. I always tried to forget they were there but my mother would pull me back to a consciousness of them with her worry. We didn’t know any better.

As a child, in the early 00’s, being exposed to beauty parlours and hair salons, I got a basic description of beauty. It was about bone straight long hair (if not from your head, then extensions). It was about the things you wore (hello kitty and baby phat were all the rave in my childhood). Then it was skin, healthy, spotless skin. I didn’t have that. I have Papular Utricaria, but neither my mother nor I knew what it was at the time. All we knew was it left papules on my body that sometimes later dried to black spots and that it heightened after insect bites, after a change in environment or during the rainy season. But fuck it, I was in love with the rain as a child. I would go out and play in the rain only to come back in the evening scratching my skin out, because those papules were itchy. My mother’s friends would always say the same things, I would outgrow my spots.

Doctors said the same things. As a child, it was that i’d outgrow my spots. As a preteen, it became I would outgrow my spots… but here are some creams and tablets. I never cared, but I cared that my mother cared. So I tried to make some lifestyle changes. I wore leggings, which are now a staple in my wardrobe. I also used Dettol and antibacterials and mosquito repellents as she said I should, as the doctors prescribed. I used Dettol religiously, as though i could dight away the spots. It didn’t help that I was lazy, that up until 14 I only bathed once a day, that I was a weekend washer and scavenged the dirty cloth basket for a decent smelling t-shirt once in a while. But I really thought the Dettol was doing me good, Dettol and hot water.

I remember one time, when I was six and we still lived in my father’s 3 bedroom bungalow, and I shared a room with my siblings and aunty Mary. I closed my eyes before sleep, and I prayed “God please, if I wake up, let my spots disappear”. They obviously didn’t. I distanced myself from them until I couldn’t anymore, in junior secondary school. Back then, I was a fat girl with spotty dark skin and short relaxed hair. It was the perfect formula for a misanthrope. And that I was. I separated myself from fashion, make up, people. It didn’t help that my siblings called me names, or that my classmates called me names. Or that I was the only female I knew with an utricaria and I wasn’t sure what it was.

I never got the answers I needed until this year when I finally visited a dermatologist. I got to find out that its a common skin condition, very common. I also found out that with hypersensitivity of skin, Dettols and antibacterials only make the outward manifestations (papules and dark spots) worse. All I needed was a change of soap, advantan or an antihistamine and a mosquito net. Obviously, I would never wear a mini skirt in my life, but I skip that rule once in a while. I was relieved at the thought of saying goodbye to my spots but then I realised all the time gone into consciously thinking about not thinking about my spots. From praying them away at age six, to watching the way people stared at my legs at age 12 to seeing them fade away now.

I think about the money gone into creams and herbal medicine (I actually bathed with quail eggs once). I think of the time, the leggings!! And I cannot remember a time in those years, when I wasn’t conscious of myself and my looks despite my trying not to be. But who do I blame for that? The doctor? My mom? My classmates? My siblings? Who do I blame for the pictures I didn’t take? It would be easy to blame my mom, she was buying me leggings when she should’ve been taking me to the dermatologist. She was expressing her worry when she should’ve been giving an encouraging word. But I ultimately made the decision to let my skin rule my teenage years. Now, here I am on the brink of adulthood.

There are many teenage girls (and guys) with Papular Utricaria who because of the outward manifestations have lost their sense of self esteem. Your devil might not even be an Utricaria. It could be an infection, cleft lip, fat lips, gap tooth, flat nose, small nose, bad edges, bow legs, k legs, broken teeth, body odour, mouth odour, etc etc. And yes, there are measures we can take to work out these devils but I want to give an encouraging word where my mother did not. And that is, don’t let it rob you off years of beautiful experiences and memories.

I appreciate my aunty Akudo because she said something important to me.  She said its never about what you have, in my case an utricaria. She said, its about your confidence. When you walk with confidence, when you are confident in yourself, the last thing people will care about are the spots on your leg. She would always say, be yourself, free yourself, and be you. And that’s what I want everyone to take from this. Do not be anxious of the little things. Just be yourself. Be you.

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.

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness – A Lifestyle You Should Adopt

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

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

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

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

Give mindfulness a try this week!

 

 

 

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!

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

itchy vagina

8 Possible Reasons Why Your Vagina Is So Itchy

Just in case women didn’t have enough to deal with down there, you can go ahead and add itchy vagina to the list of everything bad that can happen to woman’s pubic area.

Vaginal irritation is never a singular problem either.

Here are some of the possible reasons why your vagina is itchy, along with quick remedies to ease the itch ASAP.

1. Allergies
The fabric of your underwear may be irritating your vagina, or the type of fabric softener you’re using could be the culprit.

It could also be a chemical reaction to a specific kind of soap, shaving cream, or the like that you’ve started using.

Combat sensitive skin with hypoallergenic products.

2. Bad Bacteria
Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are among the most common causes of vaginal itchiness and develop when good bacteria goes bad.

Luckily, these types of infections are easily treatable with a topical cream or probiotic.

If itching doesn’t subside gradually, though, consult your doctor, as you may need to be prescribed a stronger balm.

3. STDs/STIs
An itchy vagina can be a symptom of an STI, such as herpes, chlamydia, or gonorrhea, as well as STDs like HPV and trichomoniasis.

All the more reason to use protection, people.

4. Hormones
Hormones are such a hassle.One minute they make you crave ungodly amounts of dark chocolate and cheese fries, and the next you’re huddled in a corner crying for absolutely no reason at all, other than good ol’ female genetics.

During your period, pregnancy, menopause, or even when taking birth control, hormones are imbalanced, which can lead to dryness, irritation, and itching.

5. Feminine Products
There’s a reason you were taught to switch tampons and pads every few hours (aside from the obvious reason being that it’s just gross not to).

Wearing these feminine products hours longer than recommended can result in bacteria build-up, irritation, and itching.

Always carry multiples of these products when you’re on-the-go during menstruation for a quick change.

6. Condoms
Condoms are great for preventing pregnancy and all, but latex sure can be a pain (literally, in this case).

You may have an allergic reaction to the condoms you’re using, in which case it’s suggested you either switch brands, or find an alternative form of contraception.

7. Stress
When my aunt gets anxious, her arms get itchy, forcing her to scratch incessantly.

It’s not uncommon for the body to react to stress by forcing you to scratch here, there, and everywhere – including the vagina.

What’s interesting about stressful scratching is that, more often than not, the need to scratch is completely mental and self-inflicted.

This kind of self-soothing mechanism can turn into a habitual occurrence that creates microtears, leading to more scratching, and potential long-term harm for your body.

Though uncomfortable to discuss, it may be worth talking about the issue with a mental health expert to find an alternative solution.

8. Cancer
Little Things You Can Do To Lower Your Risk Of Breast Cancer

Vulvar cancer is the worst case scenario, and rest assured, it’s extremely unlikely that women under 65 will develop the disease.

However, if the itching persists in combination with burning, and/or extreme discomfort, it is definitely worth seeing a doctor to make sure all is well down there.

Culled from Elitedaily.com

The other woman

To Thine Own Self, Be True

To Thine Own Self, Be True

Recently I met with a potential client. During our conversation he said people had said different things about me while he was doing his investigation. According to him, one thing they all agreed on was the fact that I go after what I want aggressively and I’m never worried about mumblings about me.

They are right. I stand up for myself and refuse to take less than I deserve during negotiations.Men assume women shouldn’t be hard bargainers because they (women) don’t need as much money as men do. My client also said some called me the “B” word, that didn’t surprise at all but my focus has never shifted from the prize

There is no such thing as satisfying everyone, this is why I don’t listen or pay attention to talkers, especially those who do it behind me. People will call you every name in the book especially if you’re a woman who won’t take crap or allow herself to be cheated

We tip toe our way through life by doing things in order to please others, not because it’s what we believe in. Eventually our actions, appearances, and lives become moulded by how we think other people perceive us. This means you have given control to others, allowing them shape your path in life

Your job is not to make yourself likeable, it is to treat others exactly how you would like to be treated while staying focused on your goal. Even though they do not like you, they will always respect you and they won’t be able to hide it.

It is not your fault that people don’t have the patience or goodwill to get to know the real you before reaching conclusions.Even when some get to know you, they’ll still find faults where you don’t see any. People will judge you, you can’t control that too. Take a deep breath, then do what you have to do. The good part is , those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind

We are not on this earth forever, so let today be the day you take back the wheel from strangers, and “to thine own self, be true”

Dear God

Dear God, There is One Question I Do Not Want an Answer To

Dear God,

You created me to be curious. To dig deeper and ask questions when I lack understanding. So I ask, and I prod and research until I am satisfied with the answers I find to the questions that plague me. It is a gift, and I thank you for it

One question I don’t want an answer to, even though you have created me to ask questions and fervently seek answers is this: Why do you bless me so?

I am undeserving. I am deeply flawed, I do not tap into my full potential, my back and forth with you knows no bounds and I mostly forget to say “thank you”. I sometimes forget your faithfulness and so I ask questions like “Lord, why not me?”. Yet, you always put a song in my heart, you take my one jar of wine and multiply it by a thousand, there’s not a day that goes by without a reassurance of your love Read: the God Factor

I am scared to know why I receive special Favours from you, so I’ll just make up my mind to try harder and be a well behaved child. There’s nothing in this world that shocks and intrigues me more than your unfailing love

When I imagine you, I see you seated on a high throne, huge hands holding the world in place, your garment flames deep red even though I can still see that it’s white. When I dance all by myself for you, Just the two of us, bonding, I picture you smile at my silliness. I love it. I love you. When I bow down and hold your feet, it smells like the sea, refreshing…

Lover of my soul, My Comfort. Thank You!

the first black PhD holder in Biomedical Engineering

“I Hawked Pepper On The Streets of Ibadan From Age 10”- Dr. Adeola Olubamiji, First Black PHD Holder In BioMedical Engineering

My name is Dr. Adeola D. Olubamiji and I’m the first black PhD holder in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

As the 5th child of 5, I always had to wait for my turn. I was the last, a girl child and raised by a mother who is a farmer and a father who has little. I hawked pepper on the streets of Ibadan as early as age 10 to help my mum. Went to public primary and secondary school in Ibadan. Attended OOU and studied Physics. Because I had a 2.1, it opened the door for me to proceed to Finland for a Masters Degree in Biomedical Engineering. During this masters degree, I worked part-time as a cleaner and did this after my Masters as well

Out of determination, I applied to over 100 schools for my PhD and finally got a full 3 year scholarship (later extended to 4 years scholarship) at University of Saskatchewan, Canada to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. While in that PhD program, I worked part-time as a makeup artist, teaching assistant, braided hair and fix weaves to make extra money Read: The Only Combined Cardiologist and Nephrologist (Heart and Kidney)Specialist in the World is a Nigerian, Dr. Olurotimi Badero

Today I walked the stage as the first black person to bag a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of Saskatchewan, Canada!!! I walked this stage for you Mama Africa and for my Motherland Nigeria!!! I walked the stage for all of you black women disrespected and looked down on!!!! I walked for all of you from my ghetto hood “Mokola”, Ibadan. I walked for all OSU students and ex-students that got that look from people who think we are not brilliant!! I walked for all of you Africans in Finland wondering what is next for you!!
Specially, I walked for you my parents. siblings and extended family in fulfillment of your dreams! Specially, I walked the stage for you my late sister Omoleye Olubamiji and my late mentor Ayodele Olatunbosun.

Today I walked for my future husband and my unborn children who patiently waited for me to fulfill my dreams so that he can have a wife he will be proud of and they can have a role model to look up to. I walked for all immigrants and all young adults who strived everyday chasing their dreams!!! I walked in celebration of the unfailing love of my first and one truly true love Jesus Christ (in you I walk in you I live and in you I have had and will continue to have my being)!!!

Be bold, be innovative, be different, be you, be everything you want to be but remember to put God first!!! Let no man, upbringing, money, circumstance, colorism, past mistakes, institution, company, partner, background, let nothing tell you you can’t do it. Go smart! Go hard!! Go for Gold!!! Go with God!!! Just Get Going!!!!

Rejection

My Real Life Definition of Pain

Pain.

A dictionary defines it as a highly unpleasant physical sensation caused by a wound or injury.

Me, I say pain is more than a physical sensation. It’s more than a throbbing that comes from a wound. Pain is more than an ache a drug prescription can heal or an x-ray can see

The tears of a broken heart. The groan of a disturbed mind. The screams of a crushed soul. The wails of a drained brain. That’s pain. The kind I feel. That which comes from my heart, mind and soul.

A mind burnt by failure. A heart broken by society. A soul crushed by life. Read: Tales From Biafra

Life gives more than joy and laughter all year round. Sorrows and tears creep in when least expected. Yet we smile for that’s what the world wishes to see.

Physical pain lingers only for a while..as an awareness that it was indeed at one time painful.

This pain has the unique ability to come back over and over again.. No one can see it, no one can feel it, just me

Heavens be thanked for the skin that covers the soul. Nature be thanked for its beauty that radiates the earth even in the dark. Grateful are we for scars that do not show on our skins.

In all, I await the new dawn. The dawn that brings happy songs to the lips. The dawn that brings sincere smile to the mouth. The dawn where I shall live again. Let the dusk pass for I weary in its darkness. The shine of the dawn I want to bask in.

For in the depth of my soul is a glow. In the innermost part of my heart is a light. In my mind, is a girl who wishes not to hide.

Let my glow shine. Let my light be bright. Let my mind be free. Let my ache be eased. And my pain be ceased

Written by: Zaynab Yusuf

Red flags

Forget What People Want. It’s Your Life. What Do You Want?

Everyone is quick to tell you what to do and how to do it. Admittedly, their advice is coming from a good place, It’s Your Life. What Do You Want?

When I wanted to resign from employment, no one, not even my dad encouraged me initially. Everyone was afraid for me, they wanted to keep me safe and secure in employment. But I was miserable, I wanted to do better, even though there was no assurance of success, I had confidence in God and myself. What did I want? I wanted to own my own business and find fulfilment in working tirelessly for myself.

What did I do? I prayed, felt peace in my heart and resigned. No one was happy, I was. Those who asked me not to resign, are quick to tell everyone today how proud they are of me

I remember when I almost got married to the wrong person. I had collected money for Aso-Ebi, MC had been paid, sugar band had been paid, hall was paid for but I knew deep in my heart If I went along with it, I would regret it. What did everyone else want? They wanted me to worry about my age, to try it and see if love will come later, some of my friends wanted to wear aso-ebi

What did I want? I wanted out, I wanted to stop choking in my sleep knowing the magnitude of mistake I was about to make. I wanted to marry for love. I wanted to stop crying every day. What did I do? I called it off. No amount of money was worth my happiness. Today, I couldn’t be more proud of myself

I started this blog to tell my story, and hoped that in time, people would trust me enough to tell theirs too. My very dear friend told me, “no one will pay attention to your blog if you don’t include gossip. Just mix things up a little”. That wasn’t what I wanted but I was almost tempted to do it. My friend didn’t mean any harm, he just wanted to stop seeing me write everyday and only my friends noticing the hard work.

Then, I asked myself, “Is this who you are? Is this what you want?” I hate gossip, I believe only small minds indulge so I stuck to what I wanted: To portray myself, as I was, and as I wanted to be. Today, my friend couldn’t agree more that that was bad advice

What do you want? Not what others want. You. Who are you deep in your heart? Life isn’t an exam, there are no model answers but what you must understand is that doing what is right for you is a definite pathway to getting the answers you want. For the rest of your life, you will continue to feel more inadequate and unsure of yourself until you step into your own.

Don’t be deceived, life sucks! The path you know in your heart is right for you may not be easy or smooth, or both. But this is the path you have chosen, if you ride the waves, I can assure you, you will arrive at shore in victory

“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier” —Oprah Winfrey

Ben underwood

“I’m not blind, I just cant see with my eyes.”- The Amazing Ben Underwood

“I’m not blind, I just cant see with my eyes.”- The Amazing Ben Underwood

I lost my eyesight when I was 2 years old…my mum says she noticed my right eye had a glow, kind of like the glow of a cat’s eye when caught in headlights. The doctors said it was a tumor, and we began treatment but at a point, it boiled down to ‘save my eyes and lose me’ or ‘save my life and lose the eyes.’ My mum chose to have my eyes removed. When I woke up from the surgery she said I screamed, “Mom, I cant see anymore, I cant see!” And she responded, “Ben, you can see, you can see me with your hands. Smell me and you can see me with your nose. Hear me and you can see me with your ears

Growing up, my brothers helped me a lot. My brother Derius taught me how to look for the seems under my clothing and the heels on my socks, so I could put them on correctly. And my little brother Isaiah was my eyes whenever we went out. When we would go shopping my mum would let me roam around and feel everything. When she was ready to go, she would go to the counter and start snapping her fingers saying, “Okay Ben, lets go.” I learnt to use my ears to find her.

I started practising echolocation because of her. She would take me down the sidewalk and let me echo to see how far it could go. I practised on hearing my environment, and things around me. Pretty soon, I could hear a trash can on the floor and pretty much anything stationary. I play video games, climb trees, ride bikes, roller skate, pretty much anything by ear. I even taught myself Japanese. People think it’s the end of the world when you lose your sight, but I can do pretty much anything I want to.

There was a time a fifth grader thought it would be funny to sneak up on me and punch me in the face. I chased him, clicking until I got to him and socked him a good one…He didn’t reckon on me going after him, but I can hear parked cars, walls, you name it…I’ve learnt to perceive objects by making a steady stream of sounds with my tongue, listening for the echoes as they bounce back. I can gauge distances like that

People ask me if I’m lonely, but I’m not, because someone is always around or I’ve got my cellphone so I talk with my friends. The hardest thing for me though is rejection. I can always tell when someone rejects me in any way. The thing I’m most scared of is water, but if I had eyes, its what I’d like most to see

I tell people I’m not blind, I just cant see with my eyes. There’s a difference.”

Ben’s cancer was in check until 2007, when he developed a tumor in his sinus cavity. Intensive treatment failed to knock down the disease. He died in 2009

Narrative culled from benunderwood.com, ABC News, OWN

Taraji P Henson

At The Age Of 26, Taraji P. Henson Ran Off To Hollywood With $700 And A Baby, Here’s How She Made It

At The Age Of 26, Taraji P Henson Ran Off To Hollywood With $700 And A Baby, Here’s How She Made It

1) You are the sum of your work and effort, not other people’s opinions.

“We went to Paris and screened the pilot [of Empire] for a thousand people. Lee Daniels [the series’ co-creator] brought me onstage. The audience stood up on their feet and clapped. I cried because, for so long in Hollywood, I’ve been told that black women don’t do well overseas, that they can’t open a film overseas. That moment for me was the best moment of my life. That’s better than any trophy, any award, any nomination. You know how they say music can heal the world? I feel that way about art in general.”

2) Trust your journey, avoid looking in the rearview.

“I don’t think about other people. They are not walking in my shoes. They are not paying my bills. What makes me happy is when I do what I like to do, for me.” Read: I Disguised as a Man To Work in The Mines

3) Your obstacles are only as big as the power you give them.

“When I got pregnant in college, people said, ‘This is it for her.’ But I did not stop. I never missed a class. I was in the school musical when I was six months pregnant—we just made the character pregnant. When I graduated, I carried my son across the stage. I wanted to be an actress; I moved out to L.A. with him. People were like, “Are you crazy, moving to California with your son?” My father was like, ‘Leave him home.’ I said, ‘I can’t leave my son at home.’ [And eventually] my father said, ‘That’s your baby. That’s your blessing. He’s going to be your strength.’ And you know what? He was. I didn’t have time to go to the club to “network.” That’s B.S. No business deals go down at the club. So I didn’t get caught up in that. I had a mission. I had to make my dream come true. If I didn’t, what was I proving to my son?”

4) Avoid Situationships! Develop Relationships with partners who are willing to grow with you

“I’m a mother first. I’m not trying to bring this guy and this guy around. I’m raising my son, and he’s gonna respect women, and that starts with me. [Dating] in the spotlight—I have to consider my son. I don’t want to make it uncomfortable for him when he goes to school with his peers. And I have to answer to my mom too.

I’m not twenty-something. I’m not trying to find myself—I know exactly who I am and exactly what I want. And I don’t want a fan. I want a man who understands me, who challenges me, who calls me on my sh-t instead of letting me get away with it because I’m supposed to be a star. I want a best friend.”

5) Fear is a Jedi mind trick that can cripple you if you aren’t careful

“Fear will cripple you, fear will kill you, fear will make you believe you’re not worthy. After 17 years in prison, Cookie feels there is nothing to fear. She made it out alive. In her mind that’s how strong she is. We all have that strength inside us. We just have to choose it.”

Via: Glamour Magazine