Tag Archives: life lessons

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.

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Oredola Akinniranye for Diaryofanaijagirl

Image from: Shutter Stock

Mindfulness

Mindfulness – A Lifestyle You Should Adopt

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

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

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

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

Give mindfulness a try this week!

 

 

 

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

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

“Hi Mama, I hope I did not wake you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huh?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Issokay

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.

 

Yemisi Falaye

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

DANG: First of all, introduce yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

DANG: How has it been?

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

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

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

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

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

DANG: It took you 8 years to get here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DANG: Who are your clients right now?

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

DANG: Do you handle cases outside of entertainment law?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DANG: Have you ever pressured yourself?

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

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

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

Interview: ™Diaryofanaijagirl©

Amanda

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hyperthyroidism

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

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

This is my story.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by J for diaryofanaijagirl.

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!

Chigul

“When my Marriage Fell apart, I Felt Like I Had Failed at Something” – Chigul

Read below an excerpt from the interview with Chigul with KemiAdetiba’s KingWoman on Accelerate Tv

“I married at 33 and married a virgin.

My husband and I had our happy times. We were married for about a year. We just got to a point where we both didn’t care anymore. It just sort of fizzled. I’ve been made to believe it was my job to keep the marriage afloat and the fact that it sank, I take on my head. It was supposed to be easy. I had the Indian theme of roses in mind. I didn’t understand how no one cared. Except for my brother. I was depressed.

When my marriage fell apart, I felt like I had failed at something and I had nowhere to land… I felt like I disappointed my dad. But no one was there for me. And I wanted to be able to go to my mum and cry and tell her ” I am tired” but she was just always saying “go back to your husband”. The worst was when I found out my husband has a child with someone else and I found out my mum knew. Read: Chigul, on the pressure to get married

My mum and I, clash of titans. We clashed over everything. My mum and I quarrelled over my grades, my relationships, my marriage…I resented her.




There were days I would get back home on Friday and wouldn’t get up till Monday except go to the bathroom or kitchen. It was one of the worst things that happened to me but also one of the best because it taught me a lot. I am now more responsible. I’m learning how to deal with men folk.

Would I have changed anything about it? No. Because it happened for a reason. I’m happy it happened at one year with no children, no attachments.

I have come across people that have told me I was no good and I would never make it and I was ugly. My self- esteem was literally in the out. I had little or no self-esteem and it affected me in a way that I saw myself become quite a people pleaser…

My weight has always been a sore spot. Always. My mum was worried because she had a brother who was big and had diabetic and eventually passed away. The worst thing someone ever said to me was on Instagram. It was a picture with a friend of mine and somebody said, despite the heavy make up “it is finally good to see Fiona from Shrek in person”. It hurt me so deep. Now I do work out everyday. I have a very good teacher and a supportive group.”

Biafra

Tales From Biafra By Yvonne Nwanyibuife Ada Chu-Ejikeme

Tales From Biafra

I was not born during the Nigerian Biafrian war. My mum was a little girl when the war broke out. She hates to relieve the memories of war but a few times she talked about the war she tells tales of hardship, hunger, fear, bunkers, air raids and the smell of death

One account that rings true is the tale of kwashiorkor suffered by the Biafrian children. She tells of an evening she returned from gathering leaves from the bush to prepare soup for dinner with her grandmother. They get home only to discover that her younger brother, my uncle who was suffering from kwashiorkor was missing. Inquiry from neighbours hinted that he may have been taken to the truck going to Gabon which was filled with Biafrian children suffering from kwashiorkor

They were going to Gabon to get relief

Her grandmother ran as fast as her legs could carry her towards the direction of the truck. It was already making its way out of their hometown. She kept screaming and running towards the truck in hot pursuit. Her hysteria made the truck driver pay her attention and finally stopped. She took my uncle from the midst of a lot of whimpering, frightened, hungry, potbellied, Biafrian children.

Imagine the number of our brothers and sisters who were forced to flee from their motherland as a result of war

Did they ever return? Your guess is as good as mine.

DANG NOTES

The war was bad. No one wishes war upon themselves or a nation. Why is it that some Igbos cannot forget and forgive what their ancestors do not wish to happen again? I spoke to a man who fought in the civil war, he told me he wishes the war had never happened. In his words, “it was senseless”.

Nigeria’s problem is corruption, lack of leadership, application of law and good governance. not segregation. If Igbos get their wish and are given their own republic, they will afce the same problems. I wish though, that the Biafrian agitators know that their leaders just want to amass wealth and power. Now that the noise is getting louder, their thirst for power becomes more potent…and deadly

sextuplets

Nigerian Couple Who Tried To Get Pregnant For 17 Years Welcomes Sextuplets

On May 11 Ajibola Taiwo gave birth to sextuplets. Three boys and three girls—by cesarean section at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, United States. Taiwo was 30 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to her bundles of joy whose weight ranged from 1 pound, 10 ounces to 2 pounds, 15 ounces. While their mother was discharged on discharged her babies are still in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, but are doing well.

“I hope for the smallest of my six children to grow up and say,‘I was so small, and look at me now,’” said Taiwo, according to the hospital’s press release. “I want my kids [to] come back to VCU to study and learn to care for others with the same people who cared for me and my family.”

This is the first sextuplet delivery in VCU Medical Center’s history. My Prayer for Mothers Who Have Said Child Birth is Not That Painful

The hospital stressed that these types of deliveries are complicated and require a serious team effort in order to ensure a safe birth for both mother and babies.

“The team quickly assembled to begin prenatal management and delivery planning including pre-delivery drills and resuscitation exercises,” said Susan Lanni, M.D., medical director of labor and delivery and maternal-fetal specialist at VCU Medical Center.

“A typical labor and delivery shift includes one, perhaps two premature births, usually with time in between. We had to coordinate with our colleagues in the NICU for six premature babies to be delivered simultaneously.”

Hospital officials stress that Mrs. Taiwo and her husband Adeboye Taiwo worked hard with their doctors during her pregnancy.

“We’re going through this extraordinary journey together with the family,” said Ronald Ramus, M.D., director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at VCU Medical Center.

“It’s not every day that parents bring home sextuplets. Mrs. Taiwo was eating, sleeping and breathing for seven. A lot of the support and encouragement we gave her to make it as far as she did was important, and one of the biggest contributions we made as a team.”

Mr. Taiwo praised the VCU Medical Center for all of their help and professionalism.

“The medical team is excellent in medicine and hospitality,” he said. “We are far from home but the medical team is our family. That is what got us this far.”

Congrats to the Taiwo family!

“If Your Husband is ‘Naturally’ A wife Beater, You need To Help Him Mange It”- Empress Njamah On Domestic Violence

“If Your Husband is ‘Naturally’ A wife Beater, You need To Help Him Manage It”- Empress Njamah On Domestic Violence

“If Your Husband is ‘Naturally’ A wife Beater, You need To Help Him Manage It”- Empress Njamah On Domestic Violence

“I will say this on domestic violence, when a man hits a women, it’s domestic violence but when a woman does it what is it called? The truth is some women are headstrong and they can traumatise their partners mentally and drive them mad. You need to work together with the man, if he is naturally a wife/woman better…” – Empress Njamah tells broadwaytv

Dear Empress Njamah,

In the US alone, it’s estimated by The Huffington Post that at least 3 women are killed by intimate partners each day in the US – over 1 thousand per year. This is in the US alone not to talk of Nigeria where there are hardly laws to protect the victim. Then you say, “women should work with their husbands to avoid being bashed?”

I am Sentimental towards the victim, not the gender so let’s be clear here. There’s nothing called “a natural beater”. Everyone has a responsibility to control their anger, except ofcourse we’re animals. In which case you’re saying we should train snakes to become friendly pets? Read: Mercy Aigbe’s Domestic Violence Experience

There is no excuse for DV. Anyone should walk away from situations that are unhealthy and go find a solution from afar. A man who is being nagged continuously by his wife or whose wife’s character he detests should step away from the marriage until they can both amicably learn to respect each other. Hitting anyone into submission or acting right is barbaric, it is time we all must unanimously say “No” to Domestic Violence

We have laws for a reason, anyone who flouts them should be treated to its wrath. Madam, it is not okay, let it not be heard from people like you that “instead of walking away, manage it”. It is because of statements like yours that people die untimely while trying to “manage it”

The other man who lodged in Kirikiri for 7 days will think twice before hitting any woman again. People are beginning to take this seriously, this is how it should be

Carve a Niche

9 Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think You Are

As a reminder that everything is going to be okay, here are 9 signs you’re doing better than you think you are:

You’ve got a roof over your head…

Now, you may not have the means to splurge on this season’s hottest bag. But you’re capable of providing, putting food on the table — you’ve got clean water, the lights are on, and, occasionally, you’ve got a little extra to spare on a “good morning” latte. Because it’s the small things (we often neglect the most) that make all the difference!

You’ve got a solid support system…

I’m not telling you to squad up, a la Taylor Swift. Your “support system” could be a trusted teacher, neighbor, childhood friend — anyone that’ll hold you accountable — but more importantly, will pray with you. Often, when we face hard times, we neglect the many blessings we currently possess. This person will kindly remind you that you’re doing better than you think you are! Everything will be okay.

You’ve got a little something to look forward to…

While you may not be in the best mood, drowning in bills, or worse, thrown in the towel altogether, holding on to that ONE goal – for example, finishing your degree — will provide you with the ammunition you need to just keep swimming.

You’ve learned from your mistakes…

While I certainly don’t have all the answers, one thing I’ve learned (countless times), is that there is no one way to approach this little thing called life. Remember this: as long as you make the conscious decision to get up when you fall, failure is nothing but a fallacy. Anything is attainable if you never give up!

You’ve become somewhat of a chameleon…

Change is inevitable. It’s how you approach a new season that makes all the difference. If you’re able to approach life’s disasters with a little grace – not saying it’ll always be easy – you’ve nailed it. Coping skills are crucial when it comes to success. If you don’t work at developing these skills, failure will eat you up repeatedly, honey!

You know there’s more to life than material things…

In today’s social age, it’s easy to get caught up trying to “Keep Up with the Joneses.” Only, truth is, genuine happiness doesn’t come by way of material things. Fortunately, knowing is half the battle. If you’re aware that joy doesn’t lie in that Birkin bag, a new car, or a bigger house, you’re prioritizing areas of your life that are lifelong and hold real value: family, friends, or your career.

You’ve chosen happiness on your terms…

You’ve stopped chasing the world’s definition of happiness, and have begun to define your own path. It’s not about the chase, but recognizing that happiness is right at your feet – if you just take a minute to stop and smell the roses. Read: Let Loneliness Spur you into something to live for

You’ve got some stories for the grandkids…

What’s life without taking a few risks? Much like taking a leap of faith, jumping head first here or there is a great learning tool, which will equip you will the skills necessary to take on whatever hiccups the universe throws your way. Even better, you’ll have an arsenal of stories to tell.

Last, but certainly not least…

You remember who you are…

These words are ones I’ve heard since I was a child. Since I can remember, my father would yell, “Remember who you are,” as I ran out the door to school, basketball practice, hang out with friends, start my first job – you name it. While I didn’t quite understand the meaning as a youngster, as an adult, I get it.

As I stated earlier, life is chock full of transitioning periods. Nothing is set in stone. You will encounter all kinds of people, face all kinds of hardships, and you will fail from time to time. Still, you don’t let a little fork in the road, disappointment, or loss change you. You are resilient. You are strong. You are someone who, when knocked down, responds with a quick upper cut. You remember who you are and where you’re going. Trust, that alone will help you sleep better at night.

Keep going, sis!

From: Ruu Hawkins for XONecole

This Couple Was Married for 87 Years. And Now They Are Sharing Their Secrets With You!

Some things have stood the test of time; Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher are a shining example of love’s longevity. They made a commitment to spend all of their tomorrows together on May 13, 1924. They share their secret to their long lasting marriage below:

1. What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all?
 
With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option, or even a thought.
 
2. How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
 
We were best friends before we married. A friend is for life; our marriage has lasted a lifetime.
 
3. What is your advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mr. Right is really out there?
 
Zelmyra: Mine was just around the corner! He is never too far away, so keep the faith – when you meet him, you’ll know.
 
5. What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
 
Respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true. Love each other with ALL of your heart.

 
6. You got married very young – how did you both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as a couple?

 
Everyone who plants a seed and harvests the crop celebrates together. We are individuals, but accomplish more together.
 
7. What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?

Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.
 
8. Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?
 
The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs – together.
 
9. How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?
 
Herbert: We were apart for 2 months when Z was hospitalized with our 5th child. It 
was the most difficult time of my life. Zelmyra’s mother helped me with the house and the other children; otherwise I would have lost my mind.Read: Mr and Mrs Oladimeji, married for 41 Years

 
10. At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?

 
Remember marriage is not a contest, never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.
 
11. Is fighting important?
 
Never physically! Agree that it’s okay to disagree, and fight for what really matters. 
Learn to bend – not break!
 
12. What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?
 
…We pray with and for each other every day.
 
Story Credit: Epic Dash

“It is better to Be with yourself, Not by yourself” Life Lessons from Iyanla Vanzant

At the youthful age of 63, Iyanla Vanzant has so many words of wisdom and life lessons that every teen, twenty-something and thirty-something need to live by

Please read below excerpts from her interview with XONecole

How do women learn to be okay with being by ourselves and not needing the validation of a man?

Being by yourself is very different than being with yourself. “By Yourself” is when you feel the lack, the separation, and the deprivation of something or someone else. Being “with yourself” is when you’re taking the time to get acquainted or reacquainted with who you are and the life that’s flowing within you.

How your life unfolds is determined by the choices you make. I had three kids by the time I was 21, two at 19. I didn’t want that, but I didn’t make choices that would have kept me from being in that situation. I didn’t get married because I wanted to, I got married because I grew up in a time where its bad enough to have one baby out of wedlock, how dare you have two? So let me marry the first ‘Boo Boo the Clown’ that comes through and wants me. Then I had to spend thousands of dollars to get out of that. It’s all about choices and decisions and not allowing outside pressures to push you in a direction or make decisions that don’t honor who you are. Not everyone wants to have a baby [mama] at 22 or even 28. I certainly didn’t want to have one at 16, but I didn’t make the right choices.

Culturally, one of the things that helped me when I was unfolding as a woman were my sister circles. There were four of us and we got together and talked. Two of us had kids, one of us was in college, and the other was as lost as a shoe, but we all supported each other through that. I would tell young women gather within your age group and have three or four sister friends. Come together not to pressure each other, but to share how you’re doing and how you’re feeling.

What would you say to yourself in your 20s, 30s and 40s that helped you be as confident and content with yourself now that you’re 63?

I have to take it even further back to my teens. I would tell my teenage self, ‘have fun, stop taking everything so seriously, and don’t tie yourself down to anyone or anything unless it’s moving you towards your vision.’

In my 20s: “What’s your vision boo?”
You have to have a vision for yourself and for your life. It’s not necessarily about what you’re going to do, but who do you want to be as a woman? Having that vision will help pull you forward.
At 30: “Just do it and stop complaining.”

The kids, the work, the babies, make time for yourself and just do it.

40s: “You have arrived!”
Because you’re not really a woman ’til you’re 40; everything else was busy work! Now you’re getting ready to move into the fullness of who you are, pay attention because you matter. You’re gonna sweat but you matter!

Now at 63, I feel like I’m 20. At 20, I thought I knew everything and at 63 I understand I don’t know anything and I’m okay with that. When I see myself in my children and my grandchildren I say, ‘you look good on other people,’ they’re doing what I taught them. And I don’t have anything to prove to anybody so I can do what brings me joy. I’m no longer disturbed by the things people say about me, and the good news is I’ll probably forget half of it anyway (laughs). Read 67 year old Ayo Iroche Life Lessons

How do you find your purpose? When you speak of having a vision and having a plan, if you don’t know what you want to do, how do you know what God is leading you to do?

Doing, working, and purpose are three different things.
Your purpose isn’t for you; it’s for other people. Teaching, healing, leading, loving, nurturing, those are “purposes,” not “I’m going to be an engineer with a PhD from Harvard.” That’s work! You have to get clear about the difference. You’ve heard this saying before, “what would you do for the rest of your life for free?” What are you good at? What brings you joy that you would do whether or not you got paid for it? That’s your purpose. Remember that your purpose and what you have to do to make a living may be two completely different things.

Today I Learnt Two valuable Lessons: My Mood Should Never Dictate My Manners. There is Always More To People Than Meets the Eye

Today I learnt two valuable lessons: My mood should never dictate my Manners. There is always more to people than meets the Eye

This morning I woke up in a good mood and went about my business, but that wasn’t going to last long because I found out my bank was deliberately delaying a transaction. I had a deadline to meet and the bank was going to make me miss it. So I left where I was and rushed to the bank to resolve this issue. As I walked really briskly to the entrance of the banking hall, I slightly brushed a man and said “sorry” passively. I heard him complain but I didn’t look back

I was still waiting my turn at the door when someone said behind me, “Madam you brushed past me and didn’t even apologize”. It was the same man. I replied irritably “but I already said sorry to you oga”. I noticed his rubber slip on and dusty denim.I mentally shook my head at him and walked in when the door opened

After my issue was resolved and I was about leaving, my account officer told me Mr “T” was around. Mr “T” is the MD/CEO of a company I’ve been meaning to work with for a long time but he is usually unavailable. When I found out we share the same account officer, I pleaded with her to set up a meeting with him anytime she could get a hold of him. Today was that day. My mood changed immediately and I followed her happily to the meeting room

You guessed right. It was the man with the dusty denim. I paused and quickly calculated in my head how to deal with the situation, to make a joke out of it or seriously apologize? He took the choice out of my hands. “So it’s this rude madam who refused to apologize to me at the door” He said with a smile. I sat beside him, apologized profusely and frantically explained my situation and desperately made my account officer corroborate the story. He accepted my apology and asked that I plead my case as he had only 5 minutes

Even though he agreed to see me again, I still felt so terrible and deflated in my spirit. What if he had refused to talk to me because of what happened? If he looked and dressed the part would I have dismissed him so quickly at the door? I thought I was better than that. I started to question myself, “Is this who I am? Someone who does not regard people because of their appearance?” I learnt a valuable lesson: My mood should never dictate my manners

Banky W and Adesua Etomi’s Love Story: Lessons Learnt

While we feel all mushy inside over Banky W and Adesua’s love story, lets not ignore the obvious and hidden lessons therein. Some of these lessons we already know in our hearts, but their love story has just slapped the reality in our face. This story may as well be a written fiction, but in every story, there is a lesson or two

Life is hard enough, everyone needs someone to make them feel like tomorrow is not just another day. So, we search desperately instead of waiting patiently. When we’re desperate, most men look appealing and any sign of them being nice to us is deemed as a gift instead of a right

During the process of desperately searching, you may find the love of your life but even the best person will misbehave when you don’t pause and give things time to take root. Adesuwa could have given Banky a chance immediately but she didn’t. She needed to be sure, she understood the power of pause and she used it. She wasn’t scared that that may have been her only chance at love, she was focused more on herself, making sure she got it right, so she made him wait




Love cannot be forced or rushed. Any man or woman who does not understand this is not ready to build a quality relationship. One time, I met someone and it felt so right, so perfect. I felt like something this magical could never be wrong. So I jumped in without thinking and most importantly, praying. What was the point? This is exactly what I have been waiting for. It shouldn’t have been that way though, I should have prayed. I should have acknowledged my feelings but also cultivated it. I should have waited to see if it was fleeting or solid. Needless to say it was the wrong approach and the wrong time. Who knows, may be the wrong person too. No matter how strongly you feel about someone, praying before jumping into a relationship will set you in the right path. Bear in mind, sometimes we may not like the answer to our prayers, but we must learn, at the long run, it is for our own good

Friendship cannot be overrated. When everything goes to shit, this is what binds you, even more than love

Some people are so unhappy being single, they’ll latch on to any man that comes across bearing some sort of remote happiness. We all get lonely sometimes, but our single status should not make us unhappy. This is the time to live consciously, time to develop yourself and be filled with so much substance. This way, no one will be able to deny the quality of your mind and soul




Dear woman, when you make a man wait until you’re sure, you are not posing, you are not proud. This is not for women who like to play games though, this is for that woman who is filled with so much substance she cannot risk losing all that work she has put in for anyone. A man that sees this quality will wait on you, because he is desperate to tap into the awesomeness you carry in your spirit. When a man is sure that he wants you, he won’t give up on you unless he absolutely has no choice. Someone will tap into your awesomeness, let it be someone who deserves it

P.S Remember, our paths are different, not all of our Cinderella stories will be the same. In all you do, apply wisdom