A long time ago in church, I saw this beautiful sky blue dress with just the right amount of flounce to it. No ruffles, no scratchy stuff on the skirt part of the dress. And best of all, it was going for a very affordable price; N20.
I was just about to go buy it and lots of other stuff when my dad saw me and said these life defining words; “That was brought for the welfare service. We bring things for welfare, we don’t take things”. I have no complaint with this by the way.
Very often as well, my mom would go into my closet and take lots of my clothes to give random people. Like I didn’t need my own clothes. Eventually, I started locking my closet door whenever I was going out.
It’s not hard to see how my attitude toward giving developed bent. I have some trouble with being too helpful and charitable. It actually was a huge, insurmountable problem for me once but then I started putting up roadblocks. From taking specific sums of money when I went out, to only carrying one ATM card, to telling someone I’m out with that I expect them to pay and actually sitting down/ standing aside when the bill came. Little roadblocks. Big difference.
The family doctor once told me of someone who had a similar set of problems, that is, giving and caring too much. And as a result, she restricted her trips outside her house because she could not say no to people. And I was heading down that path, where I was a sucker for every sad story, and every beggar, even the ones I knew were scammers.
For some who read this, the question might float around, “how does generosity become a problem?”. Well, it becomes a problem when you cannot control the urge to give, then the urge to apologize, then the urge to let your giving and presumable niceness define you. You and your personality slowly fade away into an overly apologetic, blubbering mess. And I watched it happen. I even got a caution by Baba God once when I gave my tithe as an offering. But I needed a total and complete shake up. And that is what I got. I gave everything. And it still wasn’t enough. But now, I can walk by a beggar, head held high, dropping not one kobo in. It may seem odd to you but it was a monumental triumph for me.
However, as I wrote here, I did a little experiment last year and I decided to continue with it this year- strategic giving. Last year, I gave a specific number of a particular item and I waited to see if it would come back.
Not only did it return, it returned x2. These days my ratio of giving is 60 (sentimental giving) :40(strategic giving). I’m quite happy with those levels. I don’t want to become so cold hearted I only give when I expect to get back. But at the same time, the farther away I get from giving away all my savings again, the better.
Even more important this year, was my resolution not to take just anything from anyone. And I am not talking about attitude either. There are specific gifts people give you and you wonder if you mean anything to them. Or if they know you at all. I have received many such gifts. This year, I put a stop to it, for good.
This was the year of the birthday wish list. On that list was a new laptop, a footwear makeover, a clothing makeover, specific books and other items. In June, I created the laptop fund and asked people to contribute to it instead of giving me a birthday present. I bought the laptop recently and my savings contributed 55% to the total cost, the laptop fund 45% and counting.
I will admit that asking for money instead of gifts made me feel incredibly weird at times but in the incomparable words of Brigitte Bozzo, (Lupita in Manuel and Silvana)- “If I don’t do my asking, I won’t do any getting”.
So I introduced my parents to the blog this year. And by that I mean; I wrote about my parents on the blog this year. And one of the most philosophical moments of this year happened when a blogger friend of mine commented that someone might steal my father away from my mother and our family because of it.
I don’t believe that gender should forestall well deserved appreciation.
My dad in fact, once complained that mothers get all the glory and fathers don’t get so much. It’s true. And it shouldn’t be where the father is deserving. Nnabuife (fathers are something/fathers are important).
Someone else commented along these lines to me last year, asking what I’d do if my husband cheated, why it was best not to advertise how good of a boyfriend/fiance/husband (when I had him) lest someone steal him. And when I heard that, my soul disagreed with it instantaneously.
I am not naive. I know that these things happen. If you read 10 yards of Husband Material by Adaeze (really, do read that. It’s awesome and I recommended the idea to her, I’m so proud of me) you’d even see it detailed. But I said it before and I’ll say it once again: I don’t believe that gender should forestall well deserved appreciation.
You don’t think women can be stolen okwa ya? Trust me, they can. And often are.
Nevertheless, I will endeavor to keep quiet about certain things because like I said once before; I do not like people knowing too much about the intimate details of my life, when I do not know as much about theirs.
I have a gift for making friends. Good friends. Great friends. Whether our friendship lasted 15 years or 15 minutes, whether it ended peacefully or acrimoniously, if I never said it, I am incredibly glad you were in my life. All of you. Primary and secondary school friends, University friends, Law School friends, NYSC friends, Church friends, getting on and off bus friends, friends I met through my blog, friends I met through my family, friends I met on the road, or while eating or doing the most random things. Thank you.
ON INTERACTIONS AND BLOGGING
I met Adaezenwa this year IRL. I met Nedoux for the second time as well.
In other news, I wanted to shut down this blog this year. This one, and the other one. But I reasoned, that if I threaten to go over to Adaezenwa’s house and flog her if she closes her blog, she has a right to come to my house and flog me if I close down my blog as well. Quid pro quo is such an effective check.
There have been lots of new improvements on this blog in recent times.
Thanking my Scars: where I state how a “traumatic” event from the past has improved the quality of my life in the present.
Lyrically Speaking– Where I showcase songs I love with lyrics that speak sense.
Wedding Playlist Suggestions– A list of songs I want the DJ to play at focal points at my wedding. Substitions will be allowed at the appropriate time.
Happy …days– I was sad and depressed when I started this. I haven’t been consistent with it, but this is my way of highlighting the good news in my life, the country and all over the world. Horrible news gets more press. Horrible stories are shared around more. I choose to share the good stories instead. What you focus on, is in fact what you attract. And I refuse to focus on doom and gloom lest I attract doom and gloom. I choose to focus on blessings, so I can attract even more blessings to myself. Clear enough for you, Adaezenwa? Yes, I am looking for your trouble in this post. 😁😁😁😁
Talk …days– I know, I could just type out a post and speak to you guys about something. But no, I had to create a new category for it.
Jill Moments– The DIY spot. I show you how to do stuff I know how to do.
On the other blog, I started writing Letters to my Children. It’s open to everyone by the way. I want every child of mine to know what I wish I’d been told earlier on. Knowledge is power.
In the sphere of interactions with bloggers, I remember that I promised to visit every blog that visited me and left a comment.That promise caused me a lot of problems.
1. Looking for Vivian’s blog. Her Gravatar image led to a blog with site name http://skinnybrownie1.wordpress.com but there was nothing on there. And I had a feeling that she did in fact have a blog where she posted stories. And I looked. I Googled even. But it was until I saw the face from the Gravatar post on a comment on one of Nedoux’s Instagram posts and followed it that I realized her blog address is http://skinnybrownie1site.wordpress.com. 😕 You’re welcome.
2. Olaitan of http://laitanbee.com. I commented so many times. With my phone and my laptop. I switched off my laptop once because I’d tried commenting about 8 times and it wasn’t appearing. And when I switched it back on, it still didn’t show that I’d commented. I was so frustrated! Other blogs I’ve had this problem with are not at all surprising; blogs hosted on Blogspot. (http://portableisthenewhot.blogspot.com.ng, http://dateswithdanie.blogspot.com) and I really love the GirlsChat Series! 😢
I’d like to say I’m as tenacious as a bulldog when it comes to commenting but I’m not. And Blogspot is obviously having a beef of some sort with my devices. I will try to comment but if I don’t succeed, just know; I tried.
3. I think perhaps I need to reiterate something. I believe in setting standards and leaving it up to people to meet up to them or not.
Now, there is nothing quite so annoying to me as thinking up a witty comment or even a bleh comment and being ignored. I hate that. I legitimately cannot and will not stand for that nonsense. It drives me up the wall. And it makes me batshit crazy.
If I have commented on any blog and been ignored, thrice after 6 months, I will STOP reading those blogs. No matter how popular you are, no matter how busy you are, I couldn’t care less. You are not the only blogger in the world and I do not have to read you. So far, I’ve stopped reading about 12 such blogs. And to qualify what being ignored means,
a. Liking my comment instead of replying.
b. Replying me on any platform other than your blog.
c. Completely ignoring my comment.
That is my standard. Meet up to it or not.
ON DEPRESSION AND HYPOGLYCEMIA
These two things were the definitive causes of all the low points I had this year. That, and being touched intimately without my permission being given.
The Depression caused me to create something beautiful- Happy ….days, and the Hypoglycaemic attacks especially one desperately awful one in November caused me to completely change my diet.
I realized that ulcer was not the worst that could happen to my body. I’ve had low blood sugar and low blood pressure for a while but it didn’t affect me very much. As long as I remembered to eat at least once a day. But from October this year, the low blood sugar kicked into high gear and caused me a lot of problems.
If I don’t eat breakfast, I can expect a round of dizziness. If my food is too concentrated in one category, problem. After one particularly horrible episode in November where I was dizzy, tired and my stomach was revolting, I realized that I didn’t know what or how to eat and I needed professional help. So I bought the Lose it Nigerian cookbook. Not because I wanted to lose weight but because I wanted to see a sample diet plan for a week and because the reviews were always full of praises. I joined the LBD challenge because, why buy a weight loss book if you don’t plan to lose any weight? I finally shed most of the belly weight. My waist is currently a 29 with some bloating. Eliminate the bloating and I figure it should be a 26/27. And that without doing absolutely any exercise either.
More importantly, I haven’t had any hypoglycemic attack except the day Adaezenwa called me to go to LCC with her and I skipped breakfast. So, Ms. Ronke Edoho, you might never read this but thank you for Lose it Nigerian. We’re grateful.
2016 IN ONE SHOTS
- Never, but never add cameroon pepper to an Omo Alata prepackaged ofada sauce. Your tongue will suffer until it gets used to the heat. Thanks though for being one of the sponsors at the #Blassion event.
- To LeriesAccessories for my 3- way swapped necklace that replaced my broken black necklace from earlier this year. It was kismet. Even though I was originally aiming for the paint party ticket. Thank you!
- To D, the original one, for my geometric shaped earrings.😁
- To C who did not study engineering, for everything he did, including buying me a birthday cake 😉.
- To countless others for all they did.
- To Dealdey.com, for introducing me to Shaw Academy and IFSBM. I’m grateful.
- To my boss, for giving me work, for sending me to court the first week I came, to the police station various times, to court to file multitudes of times, for giving me an environment to learn that wasn’t fraught with tension all the time.
- To V (is it weird that I’m thinking of Hugo Weaving and V for Vendetta rn?); for being my reason to come to work many days, your laughter, inappropriateness and generosity amazed me. And to AY for being awesome.
- To The Winner of the Samsung BestMomentsNG competition for “Hello Uju, how are you doing” starters on WhatsApp, for buying me the TNC anthology.
- To One of the greatest writers of our generation, for calling me and staying on the phone with me for over an hour and regular shout outs. Hugs. Happy birthday again. May God over abundantly bless you!
- To One of the greatest fiction writers of our generation, for shout outs, for having me on your Blogs I regularly visit, for the taking my advice on writing Husband Material, for writing a blog that I’m positively addicted to.
- To aspiring chef (J), God’s gift (I) And earth girl (T), for SS, for the Alternative Childbearing Act and the Alternative Childcare Act. I love you guys.
- To the moderate giant, for being so bright and friendly, for being so generous with your small chops, for visiting constantly, for widening my worldview and ability to get around Lagos less expensively a lot. Thanks boo.
- To Che, for being my go to girl for laughter and fun, for your interesting and completely defenseless outlook towards life. I love you.
- To my parents, for the lovely borehole, it’s so beautiful it makes me cry, for my own room, for expecting me to do better, be better.
- To Y- man, for actually reading my blog, validating my “materialistic” nature and PTN Africa. Thank you!
- To Firestarter. The Short spitcracker, for having pretty much absolutely nothing in common with me except love for a few old songs + a shared refusal to be treated like shit and still being such a kickass friend to me. 14 years. 🍧🍨🍷🍩. I hope for countless more.
- To LafayetteAngel of Http://lafayetteangel.com for sharing my posts, commenting on some and still being such a faithful reader years afterwards. I don’t deserve you but I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
- To God for showing me that the prayers I say while laying on my bed about to drift into sleep are of value to you. And for the newest addition to my family.
You contributed a great deal to making Obianuju Ayalogu a wonderful person. And I’m very happy with who I am right now.
A special thank you of course must go to God, for giving me hope and answering a WHOLE LOT OF ALL my prayers and needs in one fell swoop. For healing me, for being there for me, enveloping me constantly in His love and His grace. I Love You Lord. Thank you for everything You’ve done, continually do for me and are currently doing for me. I’m incredibly grateful. And I know that just as you have started this good work in me, you will bring it to completion.
2016 IN PICTURES