Sunday, 24 June 2018
If you had a billion dollars, how many women would you marry? Would religion matter?
I am asking this question because of a conversation I have had one time too many with friends, colleagues and acquaintances about men and polygamy - the practice of one man marrying more than one wife.
They always say men if given the chance would marry more than one woman because it's in a man's nature to want more.
A lady even once told me it would be best for her husband to just marry any other woman he fancies instead of sneaking out to see her.
Now the practice of polygamy was a norm in pre-colonial Africa backed by tradition and strengthened by the belief that men are polygamous by nature.
In fact most cultures in Nigeria measured a man's strength by the number of women he could control and his wealth by the number of children he had.
However with the advent of Christianity many practices considered sinful were stopped or discouraged and polygamy was gradually replaced with monogamy - the practice of one man marrying one wife.
Religion aside, many young men today embrace monogamy - in marriage - because of modernization, the harsh economic realities as well as the fact that it is believed to guarantee peace of mind.
This doesn't mean that polygamy has been phased out as some people are still challenging the neo-status quo and are against the odds, holding on to and seemingly thriving in polygamy.
Okay maybe not polygamy in the real sense of it but most men still keep more than one woman especially where money isn't a problem.
Their actions are backed by the single argument that men will always want more. They even say things like 'you can't keeping eating only one type of soup forever.
I am not writing to judge anyone but to ask if it is true that men are polygamous by nature.
Are men created with an inability to be faithful?
Are they wired to cheat no matter what?
I have heard ladies say things like "a man will cheat no matter what so I'll prepare myself" and each time I hear it my head spins.
Isn't that a lie concocted by society to repress women and by misogynist for the purpose of self gratification?
Are we not making men believe they are helpless and incapable of loyalty?
If men are wired to cheat what about women because the reality today is that women cheat as much as men do regardless of culture and religious beliefs.
In fact I recently read about couples who decide to have 'open' marriages, giving each other license to cheat. This means that they can both have sexual partners even while they are married.
This shows that anybody can be anything if they decide to be and this isn't even dependent on religion or culture.
It is a matter of personal principles, loyalty and self control.
So I'll ask again, if you had a billion dollars, how many women would you marry?
Would religion matter?
Do you agree with the school of thought that men are by nature polygamous?
What is the place of religion and the place of culture?
What about morality?
Do you think a couple in spite of cultural norms and religious beliefs can decide how their marriage should be or is this a recipe for disaster?
If you are conversant with social media particularly Instagram, you would be familiar with these hash tags #mcm - Man Crush Monday and #wcw - Woman Crush Wednesday.
I do not know the origin of these hash tags but I know that they serve the purpose of celebrating Men and Women people admire - Men are celebrated on Mondays while Women are celebrated on Wednesdays.
Now there's no rule that says we should wait till these days but I guess since M goes for both Man and Mondays and W goes for both Woman and Wednesdays it kinda rhymes - 'remember this is 2018 and if it ain't cool then it's oldschool.'
I honestly just formulated that! Who says I can't try a career in rap?
Now back to my gist, I have noticed recently that most people no longer celebrate others instead they celebrate themselves as #wcw and #mcm.
So I post a picture of Me and tag it #wcw with a quote about how I am the most hardworking and inspiring woman I know and how I deserve some accolades - you get the drift?
When I see posts like that a part of me usually wonders why anyone would crush on themselves - is that even possible? And another part urges me to not be so critical and just let people appreciate themselves.
The goal is supposed to be self love but in reality how many really love themselves?
When you filter and edit your pictures till it has no semblance with reality, do you love you? Is your confidence based on the number of editing apps you have? Do you seek validation from 'followers' who know nothing about your reality? Do you measure your worth by the number of 'likes' on pictures?
In fact do you know yourself?
Who are you? What does happiness mean to you? What are the things that make you smile? What are the things you would sacrifice for? What values would you hold onto no matter what? Who are the people you admire and why? What does friendship and love mean to you?
I ask because I have learned that the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself but you have to know you to have a healthy relationship with you.
This isn't me advocating selfishness or narcissism (we have too much of that today), I just think most people today are concerned more with performing for the world when deep inside 'they are crying for help'.
I may be wrong but I met a young lady once and in the course of our conversation she revealed that she did most things because people thought they were cool. She hung out with her friends because they were cool even if she can't be herself with them, she had even spent her school fees while trying to fit in, she needed help getting the money but she couldn't even open up to her 'friends' or parents and was willing to do 'anything' to get the money.
She confessed that she had lost touch with herself and in her words "I don't even know what I like anymore, I just go with the flow - it's not easy o but people like it so..." she shrugged.
I shrugged too as she spoke cos I knew life's experiences and not my words would teach her the truth with time.
She had gotten lost in the crowd while seeking validation from the crowd and like her, most of us have neglected the most important relationship we should have - a relationship with ourselves and now we are 'just going with the flow'.
Knowledge and acceptance of ourselves will help us know where to draw the line with others, take criticisms with an open mind and not feel the need to impress at the expense of our peace.
You can't pour from an empty cup so you should fill yourself first with love and healthy thoughts before you can do same for others and this starts with knowing yourself and commiting to improving yourself.
Besides it is easier to fill a space in your heart where someone else used to be than to fill a space where YOU used to be and if you stay true to you, people who will love you, will love you as you and not the idea they have of you.
So starting today have a date with yourself (it can be in your room), write down the things you love about you, the things you should change, the people who should stay and those who should go, the things you want and how you can achieve them, the mistakes you have made and how you can correct them.
Laugh about the silly things you have done then inhale deeply and as you exhale say good morning to yourself and mean it.
Thursday, 21 June 2018
Life is spiritual.
You have probably heard that before and whether you believe it or not, it is true.
There is the natural which we relate to with our senses and there is the supernatural which controls the natural.
I have listened to quite a number of speakers teach on the power of thoughts and taking action for the change we seek but only a few emphasize the power of prayer which to me is the greatest power we can wield.
This is not just because I am Christian but because I am human being that has been in situations I could never have thought or worked myself out of, only a Supreme could have helped and when I prayed, I got help.
The thing I have learnt about prayer is that everyone prays.
When you present a case before a Judge in court, it's called a Prayer.
When you delegate a responsibility to someone or even request a favor, you are praying to them.
Even when you make a wish, you are praying although not to God it is prayer being said and hope being expressed that what you desire would come to pass.
Prayer is the hope we have that life as it is can be better and when that hope is in a God who is almighty, you can be sure of a change.
The thing I have learned about praying to God and why it touches his heart - when said in faith, is that it is an acknowledgement of our human frailty, mortality and fallibility.
When we pray, we cast down our crowns, lay our trophies, rid ourselves of our intellectual mentality, swallow our pride and challenge everything we hold as true to go before a God we cannot see but believe exists to ask for help.
In prayer our humanity connects with divinity to bring about a different reality.
Talking about the power of trust in God, do you know the motto of the most powerful nation in the world, America?
'In God We Trust' - that is it.
The men who not only discovered but fought for the land we call 'the land of the free', the founding fathers who worked for the vision that is the reality we see today understood the importance of 'Trust In God'.
That phrase signifies the belief that built America and whether the societal reality today is an aberration of that phrase, is a different matter altogether.
Prayer is powerful, so powerful that a statement attributed to Queen Mary of Scots says "I fear the prayer of John Knox more than the armies of England" - can you beat that?
Oftentimes we talk about what we want to see which is great and beyond talking we make plans and set goals to ensure that what we want becomes reality which is also great but human ability is limited.
This is why prayer is important because with it, you hand your thoughts and plans to a God that cares and is powerful enough to grant your heart's desires.
So as you dream about the life you want and set goals to achieve it, remember to use the greatest weapon available to you, the power of prayer. It works!
Tuesday, 19 June 2018
Would you donate blood or an organ to save your child, partner, sibling or friend? If a loved one is at the point of death would you let your belief stop you from saving their life?
Let me tell you why I'm asking these questions.
The world blood donor day is June 14 and to mark the day we had a Haematologist discuss 'Voluntary Blood Donation' on the the Morning show - remember I am Co-Anchor of the Morning Show on Wazobia Max TV?
Today on the show we discussed the concluding part of the topic and I have learned certain things about blood donation viz:
1. Pregnant women, people under 18 years and those with chronic health conditions like Cancer, Diabetes, Hypertension etal should not give blood.
2. The average human has about 10 pints of blood and shouldn't donate more than 1 pint at a time, a later donation can be done after 3 months.
3. Men have a higher blood level than women - we involuntarily pass blood monthly via menstruation so go figure.
While we were fielding questions from viewers, a caller stated that her religion forbids blood transfusion as such we ought to educate people on ways to boost their blood so they wouldn't need transfusion instead of encouraging donation.
The doctor noted that she was sure the caller is a member of the Jehovah's Witness religious sect and stated that religious views are respected as such people who as a result of their beliefs refuse blood transfusion are not forced even in life threatening situations.
She added though that sometimes no matter what one eats in a bid to 'boost' their blood, they may have emergencies that would demand blood transfusion citing cases of people who lose blood in accidents and women who lose blood as a result of complications during delivery.
After the show I spoke to a colleague who is a member of the Jehovah's Witness sect seeking explanation for the law against blood transfusion and he explained that the law was put because blood is considered sacred.
After his explanation I asked if he would let his wife or child die if they need blood transfusion to stay alive.
"It's a matter of faith not my personal decision so I'd rather let them die than go against what I believe" he responded.
He cited the case of an ex who died after infected blood was transfused in her body. He had advised against transfusion but she had secretly asked that a transfusion be done as she didn't want to die. Unfortunately for her a blood that had not been properly screened was transfused to her and she got infected with AIDS.
She died 3 months later.
This experience strengthened his resolve to never allow blood transfusion for himself or family member.
I understand that certain experiences influence our opinions on issues but is it okay to let one experience form our opinion especially where life is involved?
This isn't to disrespect any faith but should we place religious beliefs over human life and vice versa?
Where do we draw the line between religion and humanity?
Monday, 18 June 2018
"They write songs about itThey put it in movies
How life would be better with just enough love There's not enough caring,
there's not enough sharin'
Too much me, me, me and too much double-darin' There's too much delayin',
We don't tend a garden,
we just plant the seeds
Cause there's not enough love in our hearts"
These are lyrics from the song 'Not Enough Love' a soundtrack from the movie 'Joyful Noise'.
Days ago I was browsing an entertainment blog - forum may be a more apt word - and I saw 2 different stories that struck me not because of their content but because of the comments from visitors.
One was about a wedding ceremony where the bride had no make up on and the other was about a young lawyer that died just a few months after her wedding.
The first story was greeted with insults, the Groom was called 'Ugly with an ape shaped head' and his bride was called an 'Ugly and ordinary' girl who thinks she's too good for makeup, some even predicted that their children would be uglier than both parents while the second story which also had pictures from the late lawyers wedding day had really loving comments wishing her soul eternal rest, comments about how beautiful she was and what tragic loss her demise meant for her family and the nation.
To be honest I laughed at some of the comments about the no-makeup-wearing-bride and her husband but I chided myself as I recalled how it's been said severally that humans especially Nigerians do not show love for people until they are dead.
It is the reason why a man who barely ate 3 square meals while he was alive would be given a hero's return home with his body 'transported' in a limousine shaped casket to the 'great beyond' while the woman who lived a lonely life would have the whole community crying their hearts out only to end up quarreling over who should be in charge of 'meat and drinks' at her burial.
As I compared the comments on both posts I was forced to agree that we respect, show love to and honour people more when they die than when they are alive.
This isn't helped by the fact that we seem to have a culture that equates repression and suppression of emotions with strength - especially if you are a man.
The sign of your 'manhood' seem to be measured by how insensitive and emotionally distant you act.
So when you love your wife and would give anything to prove it, you are encouraged to not show it else 'it enters her head' - whose head should enter and on whose heart should it be imprinted?
The in-laws that sat down to count even the pieces of chewing sticks on the bride price 'list' while threatening to hold back their daughter until the 'list' is complete or your brother that probably wouldn't spare a grain of rice for your son if you are no more?
And when you are wrong you have to remember you are the head of the house and 'stand your ground' instead of apologizing- shior!
Remember also you are told not to cry when hurt because it is a sign of weakness and men should never be seen as weak?
So you decide to 'be a man' and hold back no matter how hurt or depressed you are - you forget that even 'Jesus wept - John 11:35' instead you choose to 'be a man' and seek the comfort of a bottle of beer, glass of whiskey or cigar instead of another human.
Women are told to not show they love a man too much else he would 'see her as cheap' - there more ways to prove your worth and value darling and withholding love isn't one of them (so I have learned).
We repress our emotions and hold back when what we really should tell those we love is that 'we love them' - heck don't even tell, show them.
Show them by your actions, hold them a little longer when you hug - if you dare to, listen when they talk even if you are thinking 'did you really do this?', laugh at their 'dry' jokes, say thank you for the littlest deeds, let them know you miss them when they are away, kiss them impulsively instead of trying to show how much you 'don't need them', buy them a gift to show appreciation just for their presence in your life - they shouldn't lift a rock first before you do, be there for them like you promised and don't betray their trust - love them with your words but most importantly by your actions.
Don't wait till they die to write about how beautiful and great they 'were' and then invite all of Africa to witness the 'exit of an icon' who gets to move in a convoy for the first time as a dead body.
We (you and I) should say I love you more and do love more while we have the time.
Sunday, 17 June 2018
In celebration of Father's day, I thought to share a profound letter written in Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’.
It is to me a reminder to Fathers the need for patience in the quest to not fail in their duties to their children.
It is another Father’s day and a reminder of the special role Fathers play in our lives.
Like Pastor David Ibiyeomie says “Fathers give us the feathers and wings with which we fly, without a Father you cannot fly”.
I think we do not celebrate fathers enough but the truth is that no matter how efficient a mother is, children need the influence of fathers, a male parent who would love, provide for, correct and protect them physically, emotionally and spiritually.
On this very special day I say Happy Father’s Day to every father for your time, sacrifice, words of encouragement and love.
Saturday, 16 June 2018
As I write this I have facial mask on.
I am supposed to use it 3 times a week but between living and trying to meet up with my daily activities, anytime I remember is just fine - by me.
As I applied the facial mask I smile as I recall the magic cure to pimples a friend once told me about - honestly I remember it anytime I have to scrub, exfoliate, steam or cleanse my face.
Maybe if I had tried it I would have said bye bye to acne who knows I might have started a business teaching people how to wave acne or pimples good bye and would have made my mark in the beauty world, a girl can dream right?
I imagine me granting interviews about how I discovered the secret to a clear skin and then holding up a bottle of my precious formula as camera men take photos of me...snap back Okiemute.
It was in 2014, I was in the kitchen when she walked in.
We hugged and screamed even though it had been only 3 days since we last saw each other.
As I examined her I noticed she had a different glow to her, her face too was smoother than usual.
'Lee you are glowing' I said. Your pimples seem to have vanished, they are gone, what did you use?'
She smiled mischievously, looked around to be sure no one could hear us and said "Sperm".
'Sperm? You mean sex?' I asked obviously lost.
"No, Sperm. I read that it's a great cure for pimples so I have been applying So's Sperm on my face and I guess the difference is clear" she was smiling as she spoke.
So is the petname for her fiance who is now her husband.
I was taken aback, I mean I have read and even tried different things on my face - Lime, lemon, tomatoes, sugar, salt, bananas, pawpaw, toothpaste, someone even once suggested mud but Sperm?
I had never heard of that.
'Wow' I said trying to mask my irritation mixed with disbelief 'how do you'...before I could say more So walked into the kitchen asking what it was I was cooking that smelled nice.
As he spoke I glanced at his groin not sure of what to say about the magical cure to pimples between his legs and tried to smile as we hugged and exchanged pleasantries.
As I continued with my cooking, I thought about the extent we go in our search for perfection. 'Sperm ke'.
It's been 4 years since that day, I am yet to read up the truth about Lee's experiment and of course haven't mustered the courage to apply Sperm on my face.
How would I even ask for that? Who would I ask? I mean what else would define gross, grotty or sloven?
But would Sperm really have wiped all my acne cares away? Or better still made me a rich CEO of my own beauty empire? Who knows what they mix in these chemicals we buy anyway?
You know what they say, na wetin you look troway face naim your mate take pass you.
What do you think?
'To see a man I met online and have never met in real life? A man we both know nothing about?' I scoffed and imagined my Mum's face.
She would probably have slapped my colleague for daring to suggest that.
'My dear forget age o I cannot, I won't even dare - I had to stress D.A.R.E - tell my Mum I am travelling to see a man I met online'. I added.
This conversation started after he told me of plans he had to feature me in a short film he was working on adding that he would be shooting his first the next day but would need me on the next one.
I responded that I'd be delighted but would need to know the storyline and the role I'd be playing.
He said plans were underway and proceeded to tell me about the one he would shoot first.
It is about a young girl who goes to visit a guy she met online. She goes without telling her family and friends, while she is there she has an Asthma attack but because the guy isn't aware that she is asthmatic, he doesn't know what to do and she dies.
'Ha! Sounds nice, so is it a story to educate people about Asthma?' I asked.
He responded that the aim was to let people know the importance of informing family and friends about their movement. "If the girl had told her family they would have known where she was." He said.
"But even if they knew, how would they have helped with the attack seeing as she was alone with the guy?' I responded.
'Maybe if they had talked about health challenges the guy would have known but saying she should have told her family that she was going to see a man she met online? Ha, that won't work o. At least I know I can't tell my Mother that. If it is someone I know fine' I added.
I suggested that a story to educate people about Asthma and stigmatization would be better and Ijeoma said she thought so too.
That was how the argument started.
Most thought that at 25 people should be free to go where they please so long as family is informed.
"So what if you have to travel for work?" Another asked.
'That's different.' I responded. 'I am not living with my parents now am I? They are in another state but I'm here for work. I just can't tell them I'm travelling to see a man I have never met.' I said again.
Parents ought to be liberal they said and I thought isn't that like a license to go wherever and have sex with whomever so long as they are in the know?
At this point I imagined me telling my Mum of plans to go see a man I met online.
Ha! My Mum that defied security and jumped a school fence to pick my brother and I when she was not allowed in?
It was during the tribal war in Warri and she had explained to the security officers that there would be a curfew from 10am as announced on radio, they refused saying we were safe. She jumped the fence and ran straight to our classroom screaming our names as she ran. By the time she got us to the gate, there were cars all over as other parents had come to pick up their children.
My mum that called my siblings for a meeting to beg me to leave my Church because they close midweek service late?
A woman who packed her bags ready to go to Sokoto because she couldn't reach my elder sister who was serving as a Corps member at the time on the phone? I had to plead with her and thankfully we were able to reach my Sister that morning.
When I go out for late events she would call till I am home even if it's at midnight.
So imagine me telling her that I would be travelling to see a man I met online, she would probably react like I had written a suicide note - no jokes.
I recall when I had to travel to Akwa Ibom for work in April. She called to pray for me 3 times before we embarked on the trip. She called while I was on the way, when I arrived, before I slept and before I set out the next day.
While I was out we spoke and I assured her that I would let her know when I was done as I would be busy - I was the video director for the event.
My phone battery was drained before I got home and because I was tired, I connected the phone to charge and slept off. Mummy tried to call but my phone was switched off.
The next day as I turned my phone on, I saw messages from my siblings and before I could read them my younger sister's call came in - "please call Mummy now Okiemute, what happened?"
Apparently because she wasn't home having gone for her final clearance at school, my Mum had called her at 2am to say she couldn't reach me. She also called my elder sister who lives in another town and even got angry when my Sister reminded her that I am no longer a child.
My brother who was on call at the hospital wasn't spared, he had to deal with his patients and my Mum throughout the night.
In summary, no member of my family slept that night.
My Mum had packed her bags ready to come look for me in Akwa Ibom even though she didn't know where I was staying.
When I called her she was panting, said "Oh my God" like 7 times and proceeded to sing praises to God for saving me.
Saving me from what? A drained battery?
I promised there and then to borrow any phone available to reach out if same happened in future.
So imagine me telling her that I am travelling to see a man I met online. She would freak out and if I insist she would probably ask for his number, his family's history, address and would be at my destination before me.
They may exist but not in my mother's dictionary.
As my colleagues continued the conversation, I got up and walked out.
It's a beautiful Saturday morning.
It is raining heavily, I am tucked in bed - oh wait, let me snuggle a little more, yes done - and I'm thinking how perfect it is, for me.
A voice in my head is reminding me though that it may not be so perfect for someone else right now.
Someone who has an event to attend, a ceremony to host, an early morning flight to catch or any other plan that would require being in the outdoors is probably having a fit and would begrudge me if they here me say it's perfect.
So I think to myself, if they knew it would rain so heavily this morning would they have risked making plans?
Life is indeed a risk and much of what we do as humans is a matter of faith.
We make plans without guarantees that they will succeed yet we go on in faith.
When you dress up in the morning in pursuit of your daily bread - whether work, business, school it's all a hustle for survival - there are no guarantees that the day will go as planned still you go on, in faith.
You take up a job and promise to give it your best to turn the company's fortune around because you have a great plan, hope for a cooperative team and what more? Thomas Edison wouldn't have tried 1000 times to event the light bulb if he had you on his team - but there are no guarantees with that either.
We get married and commit to another for the rest of our lives, trusting that they would always be there but there are no guarantees with that either. They could change anytime and become total strangers - isn't that why people pledge for better or worse? Yet we go ahead, in faith.
When you drop your child off at school and kiss them goodbye there are no guarantees that they would be really safe, yet we go on and leave them behind in faith. You see then why I say life is a matter of faith?
We set goals in hopes that we will get expected results and even when we have no evidence of the expected results, we still take our chances.
Whether you choose to become a Soldier risking it all on the battlefield or a homemaker caring for your family in the comfort of your home, it is still a risk.
All life is a risk, from the day you are born till the day you die you are at risk. You and I are at risk.
But the biggest risk of all is not taking action because you fear what the consequences might be.
Choosing to play safe because you are not sure you will succeed is wasting this opportunity called life.
Not going after or asking for what you want is a risk.
You risk waking up someday and looking back with regrets at the chances you didn't take cos you may end up thinking of what might have been - coulda, woulda, shoulda, but you did nothing.
So as I have said, all life is a risk and it's up to you to choose what's worth risking it for and - oh wait, I had planned to have Akara with custard for breakfast and I'll need to go out to get the Akara but it's still raining.
Isn't it supposed to be a perfect morning?
Can the rain stop already?
Hmmm, lemme see what risk I have to take...brace the rain, make another plan or
Thursday, 14 June 2018
Wow, just like that!
That was me exclaiming to myself as I watched Candace and Michael - characters in the movie 'Think Like Man Too' - exchange vows to become husband and wife.
Let me add here that I have seen the movie like 50 times, it just never gets old for me.
All they had to say was 'I do' and voila, they are bound together for the rest of their lives.
As the movie ended, I thought about the fact that their lives had changed not because their families were present, not because of the clothes they had on or even the rings exchanged, it was the words 'I Do', those two simple words that changed everything forever.
This shows how powerful words are.
Little wonder the Bible says in the book of Proverbs that we are ensnared by the words of our mouths. It's as we say in Pidgin 'if you no take care your mouth fit put you for trouble'.
We read stories of people who have been sentenced to death and all it took to seal their fate were the words of a Judge.
There are lives that are broken today because a someone they trusted said something hurtful or couldn't keep their words.
Just recently, precisely in April the President while giving a speech at a business meeting during the Commonwealth Assembly in London, noted that 60% of the Nigerian population are young people, majority of whom are uneducated and waiting to be given everything for free.
He had implied that Nigerian youths are lazy.
This demoralizing statement was met with harsh criticisms and even birthed the hash tag #lazynigerianyouths in defense of the spirit of the Nigerian youth who toils and pushes hard against the odds.
The President while visiting Morocco just this past Monday stated that Nigerians are the most 'intellectually aggressive and economically ambitious' people in the world. It's safe to say he had learned to use positive words.
This tells you the power of words.
I read a story shared on Twitter yesterday.
A young girl wrote about how an older woman constantly called her beautiful and would go ahead to say 'please tell me you believe you are beautiful' and she would go on to say that she believed.
She recently asked the woman why she always said that and the response she got 'shattered' her - in her words.
The older woman's teenage daughter had committed suicide because she was constantly bullied in school and called ugly for being black. This made the woman decide that she would constantly make every young girl she meets know she is beautiful regardless of her skin colour.
She understood how careless words can hurt and even end a life because she had been a victim.
I could go on to share stories about the power of our words but the truth is that our words have power.
We can create the life we want with our words, we can call out the good in a person with our words, we can start or end battles with our words and can end a life with our words.
Life is challenging and the last thing you want is for the people you love to feel worse because of the words you said. You may apologize for words spoken in anger but an irreparable damage might have been done.
So before you open your mouth to speak think about the consequences of your words because words when spoken can never be taken back.
Wednesday, 13 June 2018
I listened intently as he spoke and still recall his words.
"Everything you see is created twice. First in the mind and then in reality".
He paused for a while and continued, "You have to first see what you want in your mind before it can become a reality as such much more important than eyesight is visionsight. Visionsight helps you see beyond your present condition".
It was my mentor speaking to me in the course of our conversation about the change I wanted in my career.
He reiterated the power of the mind, reminding me of the days when what I have now were just dreams.
"You didn't know how what you wanted would come but you kept thinking and talking about it and prepared for it, so when the opportunity presented itself you took it because you were ready. Never stop dreaming Okiemute". He said.
He went on further to talk about the entitlement mentality which causes us not to give and do our best because we think something is due to us or someone owes us because of who we are or what we have done.
It's as Rev Howard-John Wesley puts it, a sense of entitlement is what makes people not give their best because they think showing up is just enough. It is feeling something/someone owes you more than you owe it/them as such you you are excused from giving your best to it/them.
"Most people are entitled, don't be like most people", he added. "Be the one that goes the extra mile because even if no one appreciates you now, someday somewhere someone will", he went on.
"Just keep seeing all you want and not all you have. Forget your present and work for your future".
He said a lot more which in summary is creating the life you want first in your mind, preparing, dressing and working for it so that when the opportunity comes you will be ready to fit in without struggle.
Some people call it the law of attraction - the great secret, which is that the universe responds to your thoughts.
The Bible calls it Faith, having the evidence of what you expect even when you can't see it.
So you live like it, confess it, prepare for it, work for it inspite of the odds until you become it.
Everything you see is created twice, first in your mind and then in reality.
What are you creating now?
Tuesday, 12 June 2018
I recently read a post on a Facebook group page that made me laugh out loud, really loud.
My neighbour showed it to me as she commented on her friend's reaction to the post.
It was a post made on a group for women. You know those ones with names like women in Nigeria, brotherhood and sisterhood, ranting women etal whose goal is usually to 'support' women but becomes a lamenting ground for the injustices women suffer in the hands of men - boyfriends, husbands, in laws etal and the prayer house of those looking for marriage.
I am all for women supporting women but when women begin to talk only about marriage, relationships or how to get the ring it becomes worrisome and outrightly annoying.
Why don't we support each other with ideas to grow businesses, ways to be dependent and self sufficient no matter the amount one earns, job opportunities and ways to be active participants and contributors (not solely via procreation) to society instead?
It is for reasons like this that I dislike - yes I don't like them - such groups.
So back to the gist about the post my neighbour showed to me. It was the testimony of a young lady who had gotten engaged. In her words, she liked and typed 'Amen' on posts about engagements/weddings and miraculously the man in her life proposed.
You should have seen the torrents of comments from ladies all typing 'amen' and 'tapping' into her testimony.
My neighbour saw her friend's comment on it too and showed it to me.
I laughed really hard. Not because I do not believe in miracles but because I thought she - the poster wasn't being entirely honest.
Marriages do not happen because you typed amen neither will they be sustained by amen.
Relationships require work and dedication as such even if a man proposes marriage - which can be declined by the way - in weeks, months or years, it would have taken serious thought, a lot of work would have been put in and a lot of sacrifices made.
So as much as I would love to agree, I think it takes more than typing 'Amen' to sustain a relationship or get a man to decide that it would be you for the rest of his life.
But then what do I know about the poster's experience? It is different from mine so it could be true that she typed amen and then he proposed.
What do you think?
Monday, 11 June 2018
I felt her tap me on the shoulder in a bid to buttress her point.
Apparently she wasn't satisfied with raising her voice and so she had to touch me to make her point.
Then I turned to study her as she spoke.
She was wearing a t-shirt, a pair of denim pants with slippers and her hair was covered in her hair net.
She looked like she didn't get enough sleep the night before and as she spoke I thought I heard a hint of sadness in her voice, like she would cry if she wasn't given assurance.
Another voice jolted me out of my thoughts "wetin happen, any problem"? The voiced asked.
It was one of the women who had come to help out, apparently Ann's half talk half scream had caught her attention.
'No problem Ma, sorry' I responded and turned to Ann again as she continued talking, this time in low tones.
"I have told you o, tell your friend that if after her wedding she abandons me it's her Mum and Dad that will settle us because no be today I dey work for friends o. I go work for dem finish and after dem marry dem go forget me. I will not take it this time" she said.
I had to comfort her somehow, I wasn't the bride but I had to give her assurance... 'Babe haba na calm down, she will not forget you' I said but you know what they say, no one calms down from being told to calm down so I shook her shoulder to get her to stop talking.
We went back to our work but as everyone moved on, I thought about everything.
I didn't blame Ann, she anticipated but hoped not to experience the kind of breakup no one talks about.
It was the morning of one my happiest days. My darling girl was getting married.
We have been friends for about 4 years and through this time we have laughed and cried together.
We have gone to war together and been at war with each other.
We had prayed and talked about this day and finally it had come.
She was getting married and would be sharing her life with someone else other than us. She would prioritize him over everyone else because she would be one with him.
As beautiful as this is - something most people desire or at least are told to desire - it sometimes marks the end of great friendships, painfully so.
So you see why I do not blame Ann?
It is because I understand how she feels. She loved this friend and hoped she wouldn't lose her.
As I continued gleefully with my work and my thoughts however, there were things I never envisaged.
I didn't envisage me crying as my friend got in the car after the ceremony to go home with the love of her life.
I didn't envisage the days I would sit with my phone thinking of who to call about certain issues knowing she was the one who would understand but not calling her because it was late and I wouldn't want to intrude in her time with her husband.
I also never envisaged the day I would write about it.
You have heard, read or talked about and maybe even experienced heartbreak.
The kind that results from a breakup in a romantic relationship - the one between a boy and a girl.
But have you heard, read or talked about and experienced the breakup with your friend of the same sex?
It may have been caused by an action that made you feel betrayed or events beyond your control.
As painful as it is, sometimes more than that with a member of the opposite sex, it is the kind of breakup nobody talks about.
After a long drive through town back home I decided to check my phone which I had muted and dumped in my bag.
I was T.I.R.E.D and my body was begging for a massage.
I couldn't wait to fling my heels and I wished I had a wig on instead of braids, I would have flung it too.
Now I like long drives - a lot - but on days like this when Port Harcourt traffic is at its peak, long drives become a chore - by the way I was not driving. I had gone in the company of Ada my friend and a driver had taken us.
I was finally glad to be home and checked to see the calls I had missed.
I saw my Cousin's call alongside others and put off returning her call because getting her on the phone is as easy as getting honey from a bee's hive. I returned other calls but before I dropped the phone, I decided to call her not expecting her to pick up but surprisingly she answered.
"Sister sister"! she exclaimed.
Busy woman, I responded asking what I had done to deserve her call as she was yet to return the calls I made weeks ago. She noted that she had not seen the call and then we went on with talk about work, meetings, friends and all the things that get in the way of us finding time for the most important things - us and our relationship.
We decided for the umpteenth time to call each other more and then she asked about a friend that recently had a baby. When I answered that the baby was growing really fast, she popped the question - the one I have come so used to hearing that I answer without even thinking.
"When is your own coming na"? She asked.
I do this every time I'm asked especially when it's accompanied with the supporting argument of how a 'fine girl' like me shouldn't be single.
'Soon, very soon'. I said
"Hmm, finally! She exclaimed "My sister is bending o, who is he? When is the date"? She reeled out.
'Date ke, I said soon. Let's leave it at that'. I retorted.
Then she added, I'm asking because I don't want our dates to clash o.
There, she dropped it. My cousin is getting married, what a way to announce it.
'Clash? Oh my God, you are getting married'! I screamed in excitement asking when the date would be and if it was the guy we all knew. She responded in the affirmative and there and then I pledged my support.
'Just let me know when you need me, I will give maximum support' I said gleefully not knowing I was setting myself up.
"Support"? She asked, "you are not supporting o, you are the main organizer and now I need to start picking colours for Aso Ebi".
I laughed. Organize what?
I imagined me going through different shops at the market looking for the perfect fabric and then reaching out to friends to buy and then having to deal with those who would promise to pay later but never will which usually results in some people drawing debts 2 years after their wedding. Mba, not me.
I quickly responded, 'Aso Ebi? Me? Hmm, my dear even when I get married there will be no Aso Ebi o because I'm not ready to be stressed so I'm not the girl to help with your Aso Ebi, at all at all'.
She laughed and continued as though she didn't hear what I had said.
"You will have to take a leave when it's close o cos I need you to be hands on. I want someone that is strong and that I can trust and that person is you".
As she said the word 'strong' I imagined me lifting weights and developing muscles just to fit into the role of Aso Ebi prefect and responded again.
'Didn't you hear me? I'll not even have people wearing Aso Ebi when I get married, I may choose colours to be worn but I am not buying fabric to be sold to people only to end up begging some to pay. I no dey do'.
"So you will get married like that"? She asked.
'Yeah. Do I need Aso Ebi to have a beautiful wedding? It will go well'. I responded.
"I didn't say it will not go well, it just wouldn't be so colourful". She said.
Since when did colour become a prerequisite for a great marriage?
I sighed and responded, 'Wetin concern me with colour? My wedding will be as colourful as I want it to be, my marriage will be great too and there will be no Aso Ebi'.
"Hmm, that's your own o, just get ready for me cos when you get married I'll personally take charge of your Aso Ebi, whether you want it or not".
There and then my Cousin had imposed the duty of Aso Ebi prefect on me and assigned herself prefect for mine.
I imagine my groom arms folded watching his wife being arm twisted into doing what she didn't want and I decided not to respond again.
We went on to talk about a business we were to work on, laughed and ended the call.
Just as I dropped the call, Ada who was standing with me took up the 'Aso Ebi' issue.
"Babe, do you know you are in charge of my own Aso Ebi too? I plan to hand everything to you o cos I don't want stress". She said.
I almost saumasaulted and I exclaimed again that I wanted nothing to do with Aso Ebi issues.
Is this a gang up or what?
I tried to explain and looked around for anyone who would understand my point but there was no one. There were just the two of us.
And so it was that in less than 20 minutes I got the job of wedding organizer and Grand Commander of Aso Ebi Affairs.
I am still grumbling in my head.
I will still make them see reasons why I want nothing to do with Aso Ebi and assure them that they wouldn't have to bother about returning the favour when I get married because amongst other things, Aso Ebi (the whole drama of persuading people to wear a single uniform) is one thing I wouldn't have when I get married.
Sunday, 10 June 2018
That's all you have left of him and of your time together.
Memories of his voice, the deep richness of it and his laughter, the way it reverberates long after it sounds.
You think of him now as you recall the telephone conversations.
He could make you laugh without even trying hard. He had a way with you like no one else before him did - he didn't have to struggle to get you to respect and even trust him.
And now you wish you had more time together.
You wish he didn't have to leave as soon as he did.
You wished you had met earlier. You wish you had recorded your conversations on the phone, you wish you didn't take for granted the fact that you could easily reach out to him and even now that your heart asks if it would have been better to not have met him, you shut it because you know you would never regret knowing him even if you never see - or talk again.
You want to whisper in his ears a line from the movie 'The Fault In Our Stars' but you can't because he is too far now to hear you so you just say it out, to no one in particular - "you gave me forever within a numbered days and for that I am grateful".
And then you smile.
You smile because you know he would laugh if he could hear you now, he would laugh and proceed to tell you how you have made his day.
But now he is too far to hear you so you write.
You write in hopes that he would read this and know that no matter what happens you would be grateful for the shoulder he provided, the arms he extended, the words he spoke, the advice he gave and the hugs, those goodnight hugs that sent you smiling widely into dreamland.
You feel a tear rolling down your cheek, another follows and now your tear glands are threatening a torrent of tears.
So you stop.
You stop to wipe the tears as you recall his last words to you, "you must live like I never existed, you must get me out of your head, you must go on dates and see the world. You must be strong cos that's what I'll do".
So you tell yourself to be strong.
You decide to find ways to wean yourself of him and even though you know it will not be easy, you know it is possible.
You know it is the best thing for you - and for him.
You feel the tears welling up again and you know that this time it will flow for longer.
So you stop.
You stop writing as you decide to put each memory of him in a box - a box of sacred things, one only you can reach, one you will keep safe and hold close to your heart till that day when you finally exhale.
I watched him keenly as he continued staring.
He looked at me lecherously and I swallowed.
His lust was almost tangible I feared what might happen if I stayed a little longer.
He had asked that everyone else be sent out and so we were seated alone in the VVIP section of the lounge we had gone to for drinks and an important discussion about my future as he had put it.
Then he said the words. The ones I had come so used to hearing and knew he would say sooner or later.
‘Let me take care of you’, he said. I cringed.
He paused a little as if expecting a response from me and continued.
“You are a very beautiful young woman, very ripe – in my head I imagine me on a tree, ripe and ready to fall. You are intelligent and have a great future ahead of you, all I am asking is that you let me be the one to help you achieve your dreams”
He paused again and as I inhaled, he continued.
“You know one thing I like about you ehn is that you are stubborn. Chai! How many girls do you think will stress me like this”? Ehn, that’s why I want you. You are a very decent girl” He pronounced girl as GYEL.
I exhaled as I thought to myself. ‘If I say yes, would I still be the decent GYEL girl you want at all cost’?
To think that I thought he would say something new or at least discuss my future.
He paused again but when I said nothing he smiled and just when I thought he would stop, he went on.
“I know you will say nothing, it’s your way but just know that you have potentials and I can help. Just say yes and leave it all to me”.
I watched him keenly as he continued speaking but as he spoke my mind drifted.
He isn’t your typical Nigerian ‘big man’.
You know the one portrayed in Nollywood movies.
The middle aged, bald headed, potbellied and oftentimes overdressed – because he has to wear all his money at once with hopes that it compensates for his lack of formal education evident in his poor grammar.
He isn’t that kind.
He is middle aged but fit – the kind of fitness that comes from healthy eating and a strict exercise regimen, very well dressed and an air of confidence that comes from being the predator and never the prey.
He spoke well too but had slight affectations which showed in his pronunciation of words like girl as GYEL and beautiful as BEAURIFUL.
He was attractive too and seemed like he could make a success of any venture he put his heart to – his business and career success spoke volumes, the only challenge though is that like most men of his ilk that I have encountered he was wrong. He was wrong in his assumption that the key to unlocking MY potentials, the key to MY success is in my Vagina.
The key to my success or any young girl for that matter is not in the Vagina and sleeping with a man who is successful wouldn’t automatically make me a success because as they say ‘success or at least good and sustainable success is not sexually transmitted’.
I was jolted back to reality when he touched my hand. He made to take my hands in his and I flinched, snatching my hands from his.
He looked at me askance, “do I irritate you”?
I shook my head.
He made to take my hands again and I shifted, raising my hands as if to pull my hair backwards but there was no hair to pull as my hair was packed in an updo.
As if to show that he wasn’t bothered by my actions, he continued.
Did you hear what I just said’? I shook my head in the negative again.
“You see, you are not even listening. You don’t even want to give me a chance”. He sounded slightly irritated.
‘I am listening now’, I responded.
“I said I want to give you a flat in one of my estates. I will buy you a car and also help you get a job with the state’s civil service even though you are not an indigene”.
I looked at him again as it was obvious he would never understand.
I was a Corps member and would be passing out in a few weeks but my idea of success isn’t a flat or a car paid for by a man who has a daughter my age or a job with the state’s civil service.
Won’t you say anything”? He asked.
“I need to go home. I have clearance at the NYSC secretariat in the morning and also have to be at work. I really thought we were really going to talk about my future. Would you drop me off now”?
Before he could respond, I stood up and made to leave.
He dashed after me with apologies, asking what he said or did wrong as he didn’t want to lose me.
I said nothing but thought to myself as I stormed off. ‘Lose me? Did you ever have me’?
He caught up with me as I walked out of the VVIP section through the dimly lit VIP section to the regular section and then outside the lounge.
“I will drop you off” he said and added “but if you don’t want to go home, I can get you a suite at my hotel, you know”
I looked at him again and thought to tell him that he had it wrong. I was not interested in what he had to offer and I didn’t think I needed to sleep with him to ‘make it’ in life but I kept shut and said ‘thank you but I need to go home’.
“Chai! I love you the more” he said but all I could see was my bed and the pack of Fox Chunkies Cookies waiting for me at home. I exhaled.
Friday, 8 June 2018
‘You must be careful of your expectations and be sure they are realistic as you may be hurt if the other person’s actions doesn’t match your expectations’, I said.
“Of course, that’s why you must do it only because you want to”, Pere retorted.
‘Just do it for you, because you want to and not because you want it to sway his opinion of you’, I added.
“Yes, you get it”, he responded as we continued our conversation.
We were having a conversation that was turning into a debate of some sort. It was about relationships, sex and love.
We had all read an article by a colleague that depicted a passionate lovemaking session between a couple and I commended his sense of imagination and his ability to paint a scene that was almost tangible.
But Ijeoma exclaimed that it was a perfect description of what she envisaged and craved as it seemed like what could only happen between a couple in love. To her, great sex meant perfect love.
But Pere thought she was setting herself up for series of hurt and heartbreaks if she assumed a man loved her by how good sex is between them.
That was the genesis of our conversation cum debate on if the quality of sex is a determinant of love between a couple.
Some thought great sex equated great love, others thought it was possible to have great sex without love, some others thought the issue of the quality of sex in a relationship should be kept personal and others thought each participant should seek to enjoy the experience.
That was when I spoke up about expectations and how they can set us up for hurt and heartbreak.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t have expectations especially in relationships but that in spite of them we should seek to just enjoy the journey.
We should make sacrifices because we want to and not because we expect that it will make a person love us or stick with us.
You are only responsible for how you behave and can never really control how others will behave or act as such you may make sacrifices in hopes that they return the favour but that may never happen and as unfair as it may seem, it is the way with humans. They will do what they will.
So before you give in to demands or expend time and emotions in a relationship be sure that it is because you seek to make the other person happy and that it is what you want and not because you think it will make them indebted to you.
There are no guarantees that your favour will be returned so whatever you do, do it for you.
Thursday, 7 June 2018
"His village people are after him".
The phrase above is one most of us have used to describe a person who we think destroys their chances by themselves.
You may have said it yourself when certain things happened but I am learning that more often than not, the village people we blame only exist in our heads.
Sometimes the real village people is you and the problem you have may be your fault albeit unintentionally.
You may have read that you cannot give what you don’t have.
This is true as you can pretend to be who you are not for a while but with time the real you will show.
Every day I see the truth in these words.
Every day I come to see that when you keep getting less than you deserve then maybe it is because you are not as valuable as you think.
So you may call yourself strong, beautiful, valuable and deserving of the best but if you do not work to be what you say you are then you will still sabotage yourself because your nature – who you really are – will betray you.
It reminds me of the Prodigal son who squandered his inheritance.
It wasn't his village people that took the money but his inability to handle his new found wealth made him squander it.
Wealth that took his father years to acquire was gone in a short while because he didn’t have the capability to acquire or manage such wealth.
Let me share this profound story my brother told me with you.
Once upon a time in a certain town where slaves were not expected to associate with men considered to be free born, there lived 3 men.
They were friends but their relationship was unique because 2 of these men were free born and the other was a slave.
The 2 free born men had a meeting to attend in another town and when they informed their slave friend of their plans, he pleaded to go with them as his master had gone on a trip and he was free of his duty at the time.
His friends obliged but he pleaded to be treated as a free born when they got to the town they were visiting so that he would be treated with respect.
His friends obliged but he pleaded to be treated as a free born when they got to the town they were visiting so that he would be treated with respect.
This too they agreed to.
On the set day, they embarked on their trip and upon arrival at their destination headed straight to the house they were to be hosted.
When they got to the house, their host received them at the door while his own slave took their coats to be kept amongst those of other guests because the custom is that guests coats would be hung neatly while those of the guests’ slave is kept on the floor in a corner as free born and slaves do not associate.
Pleasantries were exchanged, introductions done, the table was set for dinner and everyone sat down to dine.
While they were dining the host excused himself briefly and while he was returning to the table, he saw a coat in a corner on the floor. He wondered whose it was as none of his guests came with a slave and he knew his own slaves kept their coats in their quarters.
He beckoned on his slaves who were waiting on the guests and asked them who had the coat and when his slaves said they didn’t know, he proceeded to the dining table to ask his guests.
He asked “did anyone of you come with a slave? Because someone has kept their coat here like a slave and you know no slave is allowed on the dining table”.
His guests looked at each other with astonishment each wondering who the slave was in their midst.
While they exchanged glances, the 2 men who had brought in their slave friend looked at him with regret in their eyes as it dawned on them that introducing him as a free man didn’t change the fact that he had lived his life as a slave and had the mentality of a slave.
The fact that he was called a free born and treated as one didn’t change the fact the he still had the mind of slave.
He did not learn the ways of the free born, how they acted, talked and behaved.
He is nature had betrayed him. He became his own enemy.
This story is profound because it shows that you may change your name or even your appearance but if you do not change your mind and learn to act differently, who you are will still show.
You cannot pour from an empty cup as such if you do not consciously learn a new way of being your nature and not your village people will betray you.
You may become your own enemy.
You may become your own enemy.