THE DAY AFTER 7/10

As I move further into my 20s, I find that I tend to feel happier the day after my birthday. The pressure to be visibly happy is reduced greatly, the pressure to do things you’d rather never do for the sake of social media.

I’ve found that there tends to be so much pressure put on birthdays and it starts from childhood. I’m sure some of us can still remember the days of primary school when we’d share goody bags. And there was always that one person who had everything in their goody bags. So we’d go home and wonder why we didn’t have all that stuff in our goody bags and then resolve to change it up on our next birthdays. Except by then, the goalposts would have changed once again and the cycle and the questions would continue, and the pressure would increase.

I don’t do well with pressure. It makes my heart race and gives me what I call pressure paralysis. It makes me feel extremely anxious like I’m back in Law School, up on stage in front of 5,000 people and I know what I’m supposed to say but the words won’t come out and I start having a panic attack.

I figured out a hack that has helped me greatly: if the pressure to do something a certain way is choking you, scrap that idea and do it another way.

My birthday was yesterday and I did nothing out of the ordinary. I had planned this birthday to the last second, I’d have 2 cakes, small chops, juice, I’d have professional pictures taken, I’d go out and turn up etc etc. And then on the week of, I noticed I had literally no energy to do anything towards that. So in the end, I did absolutely nothing. No cakes, no professional pictures, de nada.

What surprises me is the peace of mind I had yesterday. I’d bought small chops and asun for the ones who gave me life on Friday and I’d praised the One who made it worth living on the day of and there was no one and nothing for whom I had to pretend anything for. So relaxing.

It’s the day after my birthday today and what started out as a thank you post has now become an op-ed. 😊
Getting back to the purpose of this post, I’d like to say a HUGE thank you to my village. The people who stand by me every day, every time. My brothers, Olayinka, Ayomide, Mobi, Rukayat, Yanmife, Nedoux, Bisola, my cousins, my uncles, my aunties etc etc etc.

I’M SO GRATEFUL I GET TO DO LIFE WITH YOU ALL!

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THE LEGEND OF LEONA LEWIS

The year was 2009. I couldn’t sleep. NEPA rewarded me for reading with my torchlight like every other diligent student of fiction, with some electricity. It was almost 4am then and history suggested that sleep would not come until 6am so I went to the living room, book in hand, put on Trace TV and was listening while reading. Then the video of the song Happy came on. I abandoned my book to watch that video because I was fascinated by the concept. And then I noticed; I had goosebumps.

The month was December 2010, I was in a car with my cousins in Abuja and the station was set to 96.9 Cool Fm; the song Love is Wicked segued so perfectly to Bleeding Love and for a short while, we had ultimate silence. And I noticed again, I had goosebumps.

The date was 19th of November, 2016, I was walking down the road, Joshuaville’s Night of Worship had concluded and I was hot, dirty and irritable. While walking down the road to Spur’s Seven Eagles for breakfast, I noticed that I had 17% battery left, enough to make the journey a little more tolerable and the shuffle landed on Leona Lewis’ Run, and again I noticed on a morning that was gearing up to be a scorcher, I had goosebumps.

Every one of us has gifts. In Leona Lewis’ case, it’s the gift of raising the hair on my arms and legs by being an amazing singer. In my case, it’s writing.

Every one of us has multiple gifts. There was a time, when I first opened my blogs, I was writing copiously, I’d spend hours on one 100 word article and hours again on the next, I’d sprinkle jokes that I’d developed, I’d have guest writers etc. But life comes in seasons and and I allowed my dedication to my writing to go with the season of 2015 as well. Partly because I did not feel it was getting the credit it deserved, partly because I didn’t know how to market myself but mostly because I had the persistent fear that no one cared and they were reading just to humor me.

My writing trickled down till it got to a point where I could not write anymore, where I started doing other things then and it turned out, I was reasonably good at those other things. Leona Lewis has not been singing except for features since 2015. She has been acting on Broadway though and writing songs for other people but I listen to all her old songs and they still affect me as much as they did the first times, and whenever I read my old articles, I can clearly see that my fears were not valid. Because I’m a damn good writer. But good writers need to write to be considered good. So I promise myself, that by the end of next year, I’ll have written at least a 100 articles. Maybe some of them will give a reader the goosebump effect. Maybe not.

I know though that I want to try.

P. S- A very happy birthday to me!

I kept a pen for 6 years and other short stories

I kept a pen for seven years…

I have a fascination with unusual pens, whether their unusualness is color related, the place I got it from or the shape. I have a pen shaped like a toy car. And basically everything most people lose often, I have a tendency to keep for ages. Bobby pins; I’ve had my current pair for 3 years. Hair bands, nail cutters, hair decorations, there are some in my room that my mom has threatened to toss out. They’ve been with me for a long long long while. Think 11 years and above.

The point, a colleague of mine received a green pen from a customer and after a while, she forgot it at home. Now I had a green pen too. So we were hanging out after work and she mentioned that I’d taken her green pen. Lol. I then fully explained all the differences between my green pen and her green pen and then I ended with the statement, “Don’t test me oh, I’ve kept one pen for 6 years before.” I had indeed, from age 12 – 18 only ending once my pen bag was filched, probably because of the N1000 I’d taken to keeping there. But as a lesson to everyone who has a pen similar to mine, “do not test me oh, I’ve kept pens for 6 years” and not for lack of usage too. 😊👏👏 I’m clapping for myself.

DiCS personality testing

So in one of my bank’s training sessions, the facilitator had a breakdown of this personality test and she explained that dominant personality types are drivers, result oriented people who don’t particularly care if they hurt your feelings, how they look etc etc. I know some dominant people. Influential people are the kind who care, who’ll take the time to explain why while making you feel like the choice is completely yours but you’d definitely want to do as they say because you see the benefits. And then she explained C and S. Cautious/conscientious (prone to reading everything before signing or agreeing (I’ve read the terms and conditions of quite a few online agreements, think 60 pages of small print), have unbreakable, sometimes unreasonable routines, conscientious people really really don’t want problems and they look for lots of ways to not get in trouble and Steadiness. I was listening to the personality traits she described and I was like, Uju, this is so you. And then she said, everyone has little bits of all these personalities but the difference is the ones they exhibit constantly. Imagine someone being a C and an S in one body. Basically me. Chai. Chim o. I almost burst into nervous laughter. I’m a bloody hero guys. I’m a super hero. I’ll sign autographs for you as long as you feed me for an entire day day. And I eat, a lot. 😊

P. S- I have absolutely no idea why the I is always in non capital. I completely forgot what the opposite of capital letters is. Small letters.

John Oliver- Last week tonight

Please take some time out to watch this show. It’s crazy funny and very very informative. See,

This is my rule, ignore it

I wrote on a previous post, that I’d stop reading blog posts if the blogger didn’t reply comments I’d left on their posts. So an amendment, shit happens. I realize that lots of people have commitments to more than just me and I’m cool with that. I don’t like it at all. But if I like a blog and leave a comment and I’m not replied to, I’m cool. It’s very peaceful not caring too much about crap like that.

Jevinik Place: A review

Went out with a friend today. I suggested Jevinik and he agreed. I had to be at work by 7am and we were to meet by 2. So I was quite hungry by then. Remember, I like food and Jevinik is known for its huge portions.

I ordered Abacha and my friend ordered pounded yam and vegetable soup. And then I ordered Nkwobi to go.

Things to note, you had to order your sides separately. Basically, my friend had to order goat meat separately. My Abacha was good. I had to answer questions about Abacha and what it was from my friend. And my abacha came with zero “encouragement”, zero “motivation”. I had to pick out my friend’s dry fish and munch. I didn’t know you had to order sides separately. Sorry, I didn’t know I was going to do this review until halfway through my food. So no full pictures. Sorry.

Then there was the bottle of water we did not ask for which the waiter gave us. A confused order perhaps. But still. I’d ordered the abacha as a starter but in the end, it was starter, main course and dessert. I have a tendency to overestimate my appetite. Adaeze can tell you. We had fresh juice, as the waiter called it. He did not make a distinction as to what the fruit was but, come close 😳 it was pineapple juice with lots of foam. You’re welcome. The prices were fair, except I just noticed that the price of the goat meats was more than the price of the soup. Lol.

Everything considered, including the 10 minute power outage, I give the place a 3.5/5 star rating.

P. S- Thank you so much dear for being the kind of person whose food I can grab and chew without shame. Thank you for the long ass walking tour and everything else.

The men in my life (2)

Sorry I’m just posting Part 2 now guys!

*

Honorable mention must also go out to Eleazar, Chinedu, Bimbo and more for being parts of my squad at one or more parts of my life.

After Law School part 1 was over and done with, I didn’t attach myself to any one person.

Then penguin school part 2 came and I didn’t succeed in making a new boy friend but then again, it wasn’t looking out for it.

But NYSC came round, and it brought Chimaobi into my life and it completely changed my perspective on lots of things.

Currently in my office, are Damola, David and Leke. And I like each and every one of them with everything in me. I make them laugh, they make me howl with laughter. As much as I like them, as much as I wouldn’t want to compromise contact with them when I swan off to chase my pie in the sky, its a story as old as time. Boy likes girl, girl likes boy, boy and girl teach each other multiple lessons, boy and girl part ways, all the richer for having met each other.

I could have named this post, The women in my life, but I like the shock or humorous factor when I title any post. Or failing that, I just aim for respectable interestingness.

I believe, as one commenter on my last post said, that this is the plan God has for me concerning my future husband. I believe that. But this post is not about the men in my life as it pertains to me exactly right now or even to my future plans regarding marriage, its more about how so many things are transient.

Friendships, seasons, in some cases, family. Maybe I should have kept more in touch with Bolu. Or Tayo. Or Mobi. Maybe. I did in fact keep in touch and we’re more like acquaintances right now than really close friends. But I know they’d make good husbands one day, if that’s where their life compass leads. But they’re not in my life anymore, not for want of my trying, They are just not part of my life so intimately anymore.

So often, I find that I chase things a lot longer than I should. We all do to be honest. I’ve made friends and I’ve lost them. I’ve made money and I’ve lost money. the friends i lost were not lost because i forgot to keep in touch, they just faded out of my life. Every so often, i call an old friend up and then we make plans but never follow through.

These days, i know to embrace the transitory nature of situations. To realize that circumstances and situations are only there for a short while and to squeeze as much of the experience as I can.

Bloody Nail Clippings

On this auspicious day, I want to talk about sickle cell anaemia. Now I know that there are 2 types of people reading this, the curious and the affected so while I’ll try to make this an interesting enough read for the curious, I’m definitely going to leave the affected with several tips also.

Basically, sickle cell anaemia happens when someone inherits the abnormal S hemoglobin from both of their parents. In other words, where the normal red blood cell looks like a capsule you take to get better or a round fried ball of unhealthy goodness, the sickled blood cell looks like a nail clipping.

Photo courtesy of Google. YourGenome

As it is an anemia, a condition where there is not enough blood to carry oxygen round your body, people who’ve inherited this disease often find themselves experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and an inability to breathe.
When I was in secondary school, a sickle was defined as a tool used in farming for harvesting grain crops. And when I first heard about sickle cell anemia, I thought that something used in providing food could not be so bad. I shake my head at my 8 year old self.

The defining feature of this disease is basically that your body works against you. The sickled blood cell blocks the passageway to the organs it is meant to provide blood to. When one blood cell blocks the passageway, no other blood cell can enter. So they split apart and cause a lot of pain to the affected person. The affected person may find that their kidney, liver, brain and major body organ functionality is decreased. The affected person may also find themselves experiencing joint pain, leg cramps and multifarious infections among other things. That’s the most simplistic definition I can give to a sickle cell crisis. 

Now that we’ve gotten a basic definition of what sickle cell anemia is and what a sickle cell crisis entails, let’s talk about living with it and managing it.

The key to managing sickle cell anaemia is to note that prevention is ALWAYS better than cure. Recognize your triggers for what they are, triggers which if not properly managed can lead to a sickle cell crisis lasting for a couple of hours to a lot of years.

A common trigger for females afflicted with sickle cell anemia is their menstruation. Do I need to define what menstruation is? Okay. Menstruation is your body’s way of reassuring you that you’re not about to embark on a 9 month journey. At least not yet. No cute kids in your 9 month future. Try again next month. 

Still, menstruation involves shedding of blood from your uterine walls and can be slightly to curled- in- the- foetal- position-on- the- floor- painful. When a sickle cell affected female starts her menstrual cycle, she is shedding blood at an alarming rate. The rate of blood shed in women with sickle cell anaemia and women without it is like comparing Game of Thrones to How I Met Your Mother. Now, remember that an anaemia is when there is NOT ENOUGH blood in your body, so losing the blood you do have is definitely a trigger. In both sexes, too much exercise and stress are other known triggers. 

Now that we’ve identified some triggers, let’s talk about managing them. First of all, HYDRATE. Drink water. Drink plenty of water. When you wake up, drink water, after you pee, drink water, make games out of drinking water. Have different colored water bottles. I know someone who never climbs up a staircase without a bottle of water in his hand. I know yet another person who has different colored water bottles, orange for the office, yellow for her car and white for home. Whatever it takes, ingest H2O at any and at all costs. Drinking water should be a lifestyle. Not only does it help to keep your blood circulating, it gives you clear skin, flushes out toxins from your body and mutes the effects of alcohol in your bloodstream.

Which brings me to my second point, limit your alcohol intake. And don’t smoke. Please. Narcotics are especially bad for anyone with sickle cell anaemia. So limit intake to the barest minimum or just quit as fast as you can before lung or liver function is compromised.

Exercise is good, it bolsters your health but be very careful not to exercise to the point where you’re gasping for air or become really tired. And when you’re exercising, HYDRATE!

Recognize that stress is the enemy. Manage your stress levels. You can work very effectively without stressing or worrying yourself. And since worry is stressful, STOP WORRYING!

Wash your hands before you eat. With soap and water. Wash under your nails, wash again if you don’t feel like all the dirt is gone. This is a lesson I learned in 2014 during the Ebola crisis. Regular hand washing prevents infection. Infection prevention is a very very very good thing. How many times did I emphasize the very?

Speaking of infection prevention, vegetables and fruit have to be part of your daily diet. Eat your vegetables. They are actually really delicious. Eat them with fries, eat them as salad, grow your own vegetables and be test subject zero for yourself, whatever you have to do to make fruit attractive enough to eat, do it. Take blood tonics and supplements after you come out of a sickness/crisis. They could be the major difference between going back to Egypt or proceeding to the Promised Land. 

Okay, last but not least, SMILE and be happy. While you do have problems, the singular best way to counteract your problems is to focus on the things that bring you joy.

Kisses and hugs for the affected. Read up on sickle cell anemia if you want to know more, for the curious. Google is Your Friend. And not in the sarcastic way The Police is Your Friend has come to sound.

Meme: Sourced from Twitter
Peace.

Also, please look at Stem Cell donation as a treatment. There is hope yet.

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Now, let’s talk about why I wanted to talk about this today. 

You all know I had 2 younger brothers right? Well, this lesson was sponsored by Nebolisa Anselm Ayalogu, whose death at the age of 12 from complications arising from sickle cell anaemia that lasted 4 years ensures that I will always remember to talk about this disease to as many people as I can. Know your genotype. Know your genotype and for the love of pancakes, please do not subject any child to living with sickle cell Anaemia. 

Bohboh, life passes by whether you are having fun or not. So, I intend to have as much fun as possible. Rest in peace. You were such a happy person and even though you didn’t get to grow up and impact as many people as possible, you definitely impacted my life. November 15, 1995 – December 9, 2007.

The 7/10 Phenomenon

My favorite number is 7. It’s a De facto favorite because that’s the day my birthday falls on. 

And speaking of birthdays, I presume that as you grow older, the goalposts of what makes you happy on your birthday change. On earlier birthdays I was never satisfied unless I was celebrated, feted, given oodles of money and told Happy birthday about 50 times.

This day, I really just wish that my office could have said, no baby, you’re not going to have a long ass, completely pointless meeting on your birthday. Go ahead and make some plans with your friends. But alas they didn’t. 

So I’m lying on my bed, planless right now, waiting for Godot to happen so I can finally get it through my head that today I turn a year older and that’s a good thing. 

I suppose the goalposts have changed in that there are no goalposts anymore. 

Happy birthday to me! I wish me a good life, great health, fantastic investments that give me continuous passive income. a future where I don’t pay rent for more than 15 years. I wish that people continue to smile at me, that the sun continues to shine on me and that by this time next year a lot of my dreams come true.

The men in my life *(1)

The first time I noticed it was in university. Everywhere I was or I went, I always seemed to attract one particular guy. No, not the way you’re thinking. 

Let me give you a general description of this guy: He’s nice, he’s kind, he looks out for me and he makes me laugh. And he’s always not interested in me or I’m not interested in him or neither one of us is in a position to do anything about it. 

But it all started when I was in junior secondary school. There was this guy: Folahan, who went to my church, was three years ahead of me and looked out for me. He got married, last week I think. But alas, I had to work.

And in senior secondary school, there was Tayo. And Bolu. Who I’ve mentioned here once before. And Wale. But Wale was a part time friend, who I showed my poems to, got advice from and knew not to get too closely attached to. Both of them, Tayo and Bolu had some of the same characteristics. They had super smarts, were incredibly funny (or maybe I really just like to laugh, regardless of if something is funny or not) and looked out for me. I hope never to forget coming out of a two hour crying jag and blowing my nose on my handkerchief or was it Bolu’s? Sad memory. Perhaps I’d best forget it.

And in university, there was Dimeji. Dimeji was special. He still is. Despite the fact that we hardly talk anymore. From year 2 to his graduation, (he was 2 years ahead), it even spilled over into law school, he was always there. One or seven phone calls away. He helped me somewhat through some of the toughest periods of my life, and even though we’re not as close anymore, I’ll always be grateful to him for that. I definitely don’t plan to miss his wedding, that’s for sure. But then again, he hasn’t even proposed to his girlfriend of an indeterminate number of years, so I shouldn’t be thinking farther than he is. 

*I’m writing this post so I don’t forget. It seems impossible that I’d forget people so incredibly close to me at various points in my life but the smallest pen is stronger than the sharpest memory. And even though I’m quite a private person and this post is definitely TMI, I don’t want my job to be the only thing I have left in my life by year’s end. I like my blog and I refuse to let my job take my readers away from me as well. So, make of it whatever you will.

Fair to middling

It’s a beautiful Saturday not that i’ve seen so much of it’s splendour. I’m at work, hoping my colleagues and I won’t have to come in tomorrow as well. life has been good and i have several plans to get to a place where  life is better for myself and everyone i love. One of those plans involved checking up with all of my readers.

How has life been for all of you so far?

p.s- I have absolutely no idea what the title means. i just went with it.

Wedding Playlist Suggestion 5

This song brings memories of laughter. Not because it’s funny. Not because you can laugh to it. But because I danced to it with a very funny guy at my office and I laughed all the while. 

Speaking of my office, I have mixed feelings. Half of people there, the riotously funny, the strict but kind have been moved. As have I. But I do know that the people who’ll replace us are kind and kind is a hop and a jump away from being funny. To me. 

Happy Easter Friday everyone!

And BTW, why don’t people like to dance? It’s like people believe that dancing with a girl= marriage. *rme*. 

 BETTER TODAY- COFFEY ANDERSON

To see your face, to hear your voice

And oh, to touch you is a dream come true
So I’m standing here, with my hand held out
Knowing that your love will never fade, I stand amazed without a doubt

[Chorus:]
And I wanna hear your voice, in the morning when I rise
I think I know I’m just a normal man, only made of sand except when you’re by my side
Will you love me, teach me, don’t leave me I pray
And when I, and I’m thinking of the times
Your hands in mine, together we will stay
You made me better today
Better than I was before
And now my heart can rest and I will search no more
You made me better today, today, today

[Verse 2:]
My heart has wings
Oh you take me away
And every prayer I’ve ever prayed was answered today
So I’m standing here, with my hand held out
Knowing that my love will never leave
My hearts on my sleeve and now I believe

[Chorus:]
And I wanna hear your voice in the morning when I rise
I think I know I’m just a normal man, only made of sand except when you’re by my side
Will you love me, teach me, don’t leave me I pray
And when I, and I’m thinking of the times
Your hands in mine, together we will stay
You made me better today
Better than I was before
And now my heart can rest and I will search no more
You made me better today

[Verse 3:]
I stand proclaimed, true love is here to stay
I stand proclaimed, forever starts today
Today…
You made me better today
Than I was before
And now my heart can rest and I will search no more
Cuz you made me better today, than I was before
And now my heart can rest
And I will search no more
You made me better today
Today…
Made me better today.

*

I’ll look into enabling audio. Because I’ve played this on repeat and its so amazing to listen to. And I want you to listen to it.

Lyrics- LyricsMode.com

Talk Thursday 2

Caution: This is one of my pointless stories/rants. You’ll be assuming all risks of reader dissatisfaction if you continue reading. Reader beware!

Once upon a time I watched a completely stupid story on African Magic. I don’t remember the title but I do know it made me grind my teeth and cover my mouth lest I screamed at the insipidity of the script, the placidity of the actors or the fact that it actually got made into a film.

My face is hardly one I can use to play poker. All my feelings since 2015 can be seen on my face. If I’m angry, you’ll see, if I’m irritated, you’ll see and if I’m incredibly happy, you’ll see. I obviously don’t have time for pretense nor do I necessarily want to pretend.

The plot of the aforementioned story has a Lothario with ill equipped machinery if you can catch that dirty joke, and he plows and mows through girls left, right and center. But he owns his own house, so his stupidity is passed off as being discerning. Okay. But the man has a bias against city girls. He believes that the best place to get women who are virgins, unexposed, beautiful, willing to cook, iron and do domestic chores, honest and submissive is in the village.

So he turns 40 and he decides to go catch one for himself. And he eventually does. Without marrying her, he makes her his live in lover and she becomes his house help with benefits.

Then he notices that his village girl is dirty, and his house is unkempt and she is not willing to do what she used to. And only keeps asking him for money. So he gets angry, gets into an argument with her and then certain things come to light.

Then she runs away/he chases her away and the Good Samaritan she goes to is lo and behold; a virgin, submissive, willing to cook and iron and honest to a fault.

They marry the next day. And that was the end of the film.

I watched yet another stupid film recently.

Girl and boy are childhood sweethearts. Girl grows up, says she no do again. She’s in love with someone else.Girl’s mother tells her she must do because boy has sacrificed a lot for their family, even becoming a house boy at a point and refusing to sleep with his boss’s daughter. Besides, girl and boy signed blood covenant when they were young and only boy can break the covenant.

Girl marries boy grudgingly and makes his life hell. But he still loves her. Then girl invites friend to come in and destroy her home, specifically.

Friend is worried and a little in love with husband so boy eventually is persuaded to free girl from blood oath.

But girl does not want to leave again. She fights with friend and then begs boy for forgiveness for her stupid ways.

And the story ends with some stupid compromise that has girl, boy and friend in annoying love triangle.

What pissed me off the most were people’s reactions to this film. I said girl has been shouting that she wants to go. She’s in love. Object of affection returns the love and she promised to provide monetary value for all he’s done for her plus interest. Let boy let her go.

And I began to hear gibberish. “She’s not serious.”

“That’s how you women are”

“So what if she changes her mind and wants to come back again?”

I understand how stupidity can travel far. I get it. But there is stupidity because you’re tired and really don’t have time to waste analyzing the personalities in a film and the words they speak. And then there’s the stupidity that comes with a supreme sense of being right and never expecting to be challenged because the only people who can challenge you are female and their sex organs make them primed to be labeled that name guaranteed to shut them up: “Ashawo”. That is willful stupidity.