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 as is 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 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, Joy, Fifi, Mobi, Tomi, Rukayat, Yanmife, Nedoux, Bisola, my cousins, my uncles, my aunties etc etc etc.
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. I just remembered, it 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 here’s an amendment and an apology; 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 and by the time I was done, I was exhausted. Also, 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.
P.s: I didn’t know I was going to do this review until halfway through my food. So there are 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 meat 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.
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.
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.
Sickle cell anaemia occurs when a person 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.
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.
Also, please look at Stem Cell donation as a treatment. There is hope yet.
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.
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.
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 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
The day I got baptized
Before M became a biting, scratching menace. Puppies be so cute!
The day I realized that I loved my short hair. #shorthairdontcare 😁 *fingersnap*
I like Leona Lewis. Very much. She has a really nice voice, she’s a vegan (I’ve always admired vegans) and she sang Bleeding Love. One of my favorite soulful songs.
But I love this song for a reason. I was about 16/17 when I heard this song for the first time. It was an insomniac night (they pretty much all were honestly), NEPA had brought light so I was watching MTV/Trace/Soundcity and I watched the video for this song.
The video concept was incredibly interesting, she met and liked a guy, we see them falling in love and then we see her in a wedding dress. As the chief bridesmaid.
But I like this song for the lyrics. I like this song for the words it says. And the way the words makes me feel. Honestly, Ryan Tedder and Leona Lewis were such a bomb team.💣💣💣💣. Their collaboration on the Echo album was so good! (I was a bit of a music nerd, as you can probably tell.)
While I walked back from Night of Worship the next morning, I was listening to half the songs on the Echo album on my phone (it’s been a while since I had them on my phone) and I remembered once again how much I liked her voice. And how much I love this song.
Release an album like Echo again, Leona. A fan urges you.
The song is Happy by Leona Lewis.
Someone once told me that you have to choose
What you win or lose
You can’t have everything
Don’t you take chances
Might feel the pain
Don’t you love in vain
Cause love won’t set you free
I can’t stand by the side
And watch this life pass me by
But safe as could be
So what if it hurts me?
So what if I break down?
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out out of ground
I gotta find my place
I wanna hear my sound
Don’t care about all the pain in front of me
Cause i’m just trying to be happy, yeah
Just wanna be happy, yeah
Holding on tightly
Just can’t let it go
Just trying to play my role
Slowly disappear, ohh
But all these days, they feel like they’re the same
Just different faces, different names
Get me out of here
I can’t stand by your side, ohh no
And watch this life pass me by, pass me by
So what if it hurts me?
So what if I break down?
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground
I gotta find my place
I wanna hear my sound
Don’t care about all the pain in front of me
Cause i’m just trying to be happy, ohh, happy, ohh
So any turns that I can take
like I’m a stranger on this road
But don’t say victim
Don’t say anything
So what if it hurts me?
So what if I break down?
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground
I gotta find my place
I wanna hear my sound
Don’t care about all the pain in front of me
I just wanna be happy
Ohh, yeah, happy, ohh, happy
I just wanna be, ohh
I just wanna be happy
I started both my blogs for me. For myself. I started the original blog as a compromise to an urge to be sociable, something I knew from experience that I could not execute for really long periods of time.
There were not so many people I felt comfortable showing my real face to. And that was okay. It meant that I treasured the friendships I formed, but it also meant that I needed incredible amounts of downtime from people.
The original blog was my way of being sociable, but on my own terms. That’s why I kept myself anonymous. That’s also why I started this blog.
While my old blog was my concession to sociability on my own terms i.e. being anonymous, this blog is my concession to my personality. That’s why one of the first things I ever posted was My Multiple Person Disorder. An explanation of sorts to you. The old blog was started by Obi. This one was started and is run by Obianuju. That’s why this is the blog I care about most. That’s why this is the blog I promote more. Because this blog is a reflection of myself and my personality in its entirety. And vain though it might seem, I want it to get all the accolades and admiration due it. And me.
But there was something I didn’t quite bargain for. I didn’t bargain on meeting people just like me, facing the exact challenges, and constant monsters I faced. Laughing at the not so funny things I laughed at, chalking it up to my weird sense of humor. If I have a weird sense of humor, then I’m in good company. I didn’t expect to find friends, even substitute big sisters. But I’m glad I found them and I’m glad my relationship with them is growing.
I present to you one of the most amazing and greatest writers of our generation.
This is not an exaggeration.
Adaezenwa constantly blows me away with the quality of the content she posts. I’ve never read a blog post of hers and come out without thinking, laughing, crying or humming. She is also a tremendously amazing human being and I hope she knows that. Because it’s difficult to recognize sometimes that you are amazing. That you are loved. That you are worthy of praise and envy and admiration.
But even if she may not recognize it from time to time, that’s what I’m here for. Because that’s what friends are for. Because friends remind you of you.
By the way, 👇👇👇👇 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. From Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. Please take some time to meditate on it.
9. Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor;
10. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
11. Again, if two lie down together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone?
12. And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Meditate on the passage, guys and eliminate all friendships that don’t conform.
Because life is too long to have useless/ bad friendships. – Obianuju Ayalogu
I convinced Adaezenwa to write a post for me. It’s the first time she’ll be appearing on my blog, so show her some love everybody! 👏👏👏.
When I was a child there were many times I wanted to run away from home, I’d even selected my running away clothes- my blue t-shirt that had a beach scene at the top half and white and black horizontal stripes on the bottom half, my yellow skirt that was excellent for twirling, my red top canvas boots with the blue trousers and blue shirt that went with it (I saw a picture of me in that outfit recently with my trousers hitched to my chest like an aspiring palmwine tapper) and my favourite pyjamas which was an ivory and red flower printed concoction of perfection.
I never did run away, even with all the annoyances that came with being my parents’ child (they put the over in overprotective) and the call of wild adventure in my blood that came from the children’s books I read (my aunt brought bags full of Canadian children’s books from her boss who was a Rotary club chapter president). For one thing I had no idea how I’d survive despite how easy it seemed in those books, I (wisely, in retrospect) decided that Canadian methods might fail me in Nigeria but I didn’t stop dreaming of grand adventure, I still do.
Growing up is the biggest scam, you think when you get bigger and have freedom then you get to do the things you want, when you want to and however freaking way you want to. Life sits at a corner and laughs like a maniac as the child that was you plots a better life. If that isn’t your story then you are extremely lucky and you have got to show me your BaBa…
The urge to run away still lives in me, this time it is almost as strong as my need for oxygen. I want to go away, far from home, from my many problems, from unfulfilled expectations and disappointing realities and most of all this crushing recession that makes the Naira almost become attractive for use as tissue paper… yes I said it. I want to leave Nigeria for a country I have not decided on yet but the United States- yes even with Trump as president, Canada (for all the books I read as a child and their superior educational system for Adaeze jnr and her siblings) and Ireland (because I was an Irish storyteller and pub owner in another life…) as top contenders.
I was talking to Obianuju about it on WhatsApp, about the options I want to explore that would make emigration possible. One strong reason for my wanting to leave is that the things I want to do with my writing and pharmacy are not feasible in Nigeria, plus the access to better management of PCOS makes me want to leave so bad. Unfortunately due to the downward slide of the naira, it is getting harder and harder to even make such plans- a real catch-22 situation.
“Write about it and send it to me” she ordered…
And I began to write.
So Trump won the election yesterday and Nigerian Twitter exploded in wails. I might write a post on what I think later but I don’t plan to post it on here.
All you need to know is that whether Trump or Hillary had become president of America, the so called “leaders of the free world” (fantastic slogan though, America 👍), nothing changes the fact that God is on the throne, constantly looking out for his beautiful, precious kiddies. Everything go dey alright. Breathe!
But I’d scheduled this blog post for today before I even realized it was the day after the elections. And seeing the results, I think it’s time I put on my happy girl, growing-Christian- girl- giving- testimonies- hat and shifted your focus for a little while.
Y’all ready? Awesome.
I took a bike on the 26th of October to meet an “urgent” appointment. Straddling the bike, this car, from nowhere seemingly, while reversing almost toppled the bike over and crushed my knee.
But God was looking out for his baby girl. Right before impact, the car stopped. The okada guy was about to start berating the driver when I gave the car a solid but ultimately ineffective whack and told him to drive on. #notimetowitnesspointlessargumentsbiko
I’m just glad my knee wasn’t crushed.
PS 1: Also people, do not call people to come urgently if you know you’re going to make them wait for thirty minutes afterwards under the hot sun. I hate that nonsense.
If you read the last thing I posted on here, you know that it’s in my nature to be nice. But I’m working on not being so nice anymore, it’s like a signal to people “see this one here, come and take advantage”.
The thing is, niceness is in my nature. It’s what I’m most comfortable with. My default setting. So now, I try to be low key nice. Low key because if you’re highkey nice, people will flock, take advantage and leave you so bitter and angry, you recoil at the taste for years.
Amyway, back to the point, when I had to go for my CDS clearance, I noticed that the keke who’d picked me was only carrying me. So I decided to be his conductor and I called passengers for him until he had a full napep.
Then getting closer to our destination, I noticed that he was taking me directly to the NYSC secretariat instead of stopping me at Bode Thomas, I told him to stop so I could get down. I’d had a bad experience with napeps taking you on journeys against your loudly expressed will and fully expecting you to pay them for, in effect, falsely imprisoning you.
There was another corper in the napep. And when I told the man to stop, he told me to calm down. I was already looking through my wallet for the complete fare to Bode Thomas (the Napeps charge an extra #30 to drop you at the NYSC secretariat). Barracks to Bode Thomas is usually N70. I was going to only pay him N70. I’d told him to stop, no?
When he stopped me in front of the secretariat, I gave him N150 for the both of us. He gave me back N50 and told me that although he knew he’d made me angry, he wasn’t going to let me walk when I was the one who called passengers for him. Gobsmacked, once again. And he gave the other girl a pass on the fare, because she and I were talking and he didn’t want to upset me. I was so humbled! I got off the napep with such an awesome feeling of wellbeing and the feeling of being highly valued.
PS 2- I am indeed quite well aware that there exists no such word as highkey. If in fact there is a chart depicting levels of niceness, there would be more than 2 options and highkey and low key would not be the names of the markers either. But they are the names of my markers and they work well. For me.
I am very thankful that God prevented me from hitting someone with a car yesterday. When I started driving, I begged God not to let me kill, hurt or maim anyone. Yesterday, he answered. And I’m more than grateful. Pray for me, please. Pray for my driving also.
PSA: Do not ever drive when you’re tired or sleepy. Ever. Bad stuff will happen. You’ll miss signs, forget what you need to do or hurt someone. More people driving when tired/sleepy get into crashes than people who drive drunk. Do not ever drive tired or sleepy.
My friends just welcomed a bouncing, cute, gorgeous little girl recently, Her name is Oluwasemiloore Ajijola and she is so gorgeous you can’t believe it. Congratulations guys!
So, on the day of my POP (passing out parade), I aimed to get there super early because I wanted to get my certificate and return home to do something else I’d had slated.
I got to Berger, got on a bus to Iyana Ipaja. It was N250 but given that it had been N200 last year and they removed subsidy this year, that was not a red flag. I got on the bus, paid my fare and sat down. From previous experience, I knew the NYSC secretariat was a bus stop along the road so I checked my WhatsApp, Twitter and other social media, started reading a Wattpad novel etc. He called stops for passengers but until he called a stop called Ajegunle, I wasn’t particularly interested. I didn’t remember much about Iyana Ipaja from last year but I was quite sure there was no stop called Ajegunle. Still he kept on driving and reasoning that he might be taking another route, I stayed on.
Then when the last bus stop was announced and I got off the bus, I found out that I was in Ipaja, Ogun State. 😐
I explained my predicament to the driver who laughed his head off at me but told me to get back into the bus as he was going to Iyana Ipaja next.
When I finally got to Iyana Ipaja and collected my certificate of discharge, I hung around with Chima for a while and then with my friend Chinyere. I said hello to a former pastor of mine, at the Oasis. He’d brought his 8 month pregnant wife to the camp to collect her certificate.
When I determined to leave, I almost fell. Now, I have recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia and the main symptom of it in my body is dizziness. Incredible dizziness. And then incredible tiredness. I went over to a guy selling yoghurt (to increase my blood sugar levels) and brought out my money to pay but he kept right on wasting my time so I got a chair and went to sit under a canopy. Every part of my body was tingling (my body was trying to compensate by pumping blood faster) and I had to close my eyes because it looked like everywhere was spinning. Even under the canopy, the sun was still hot, I desperately wanted to remove the crested vest because the collar was choking my neck. So I did something I usually wouldn’t; I asked for help.
I went over to my former pastor and I asked him if he could drop me off somewhere where I could get a bus directly to Berger. He said okay and directed me back to my seat until his wife finished her clearance. Then, explaining the situation to his wife, they agreed I’d come with them. And they did not drop me at a stop where I could get a bus to Berger, they dropped me at Berger itself. New Garage to be precise.
For people who lived in Lekki, this was over- and- beyond nice. Wherever you guys are, thank you. Thank you so incredibly much. May God bless you abundantly and remember this always in your favour.
(PS: I got a doughnut almost immediately afterwards to increase my blood sugar levels.)
http//hopesdiaries.com/2016/10/18/the-god-of-all-comfort/- Very lovely article.
Chinedu will be having a sewing club programne on the 19th of November. You can buy for yourself, your friends and family. Even boys will like it.
Details in the picture 👇👇👇. Just make that call or send that email. Thank you.
On the 18th of January, 2016, the junior associate who was already working at the office got back from her vacation.
What that meant was that there were 3 people working in the office doing the work of one. Don’t mistake me, when we were busy, we were very busy, but when we were idle, we were very idle. I took my dad’s advice and pored over the precedent file (Yes, there was a file labeled Precedents. Two actually.) Drafted all of them again and saved it to my flash drive. I’d look over case files too. But what I did most in that office was watch movies and read.
But I didn’t write this post to tell you about a boring PPA (place of primary assignment). It wasn’t actually boring. It was actually a little too interesting for my liking.
On my third day at the firm, I went to court with my colleague, without the principal. My colleague informed me that she wasn’t going to do anything in court that day and it was up to me to defend the case. So I did. And when the case was adjourned and a date was given, I felt like I’d climbed Mount Everest. Whatever else happened during this year, I’m grateful that my boss assigned me that case. In the course of that case, there were revelations of fraud, impersonation, forgery and theft. Very interesting. Two days before I left the firm, the judge struck out the matter for want of diligent prosecution. We were the defendants. 🙌🙅🙆🙋😻💃💃💃💃💃💃👊☝👆👐👐
Around the 10th of the next month, the carefully built up nice façade of our principal began to crumble. My boss/principal had this extra annoying rule. I started work on the 11th of January so all my salaries were due on the 11th of the succeeding months. In other words, my January salary was due on the 11th of February. My February salary was due on the 11th of March etc etc.
Now, when he explained this stupid rule to me at the end of January, I took it in stride, reasoning that I only had 2 more weeks until I got my salary. But that rule caused a lot of problems with the other girls.
The girl for instance, who resumed on the 12th, she only came twice a week and he’d told her he would only give her transport money at the end of the month. She agreed. And the junior associate who resumed on the 18th, her salary was due on the 18th of February. She was the first to leave. The way she left was so acrimonious it was odd. One day, around the 23rd of February, she, I and our boss went to the Magistrate Court in Shagamu, Ogun State for a divorce case.
When we got back, she asked him again for her salary and he said he didn’t have the money but when he did, he would pay her. I was drafting a letter. But when I walked into our shared office, I saw her packing up all the stuff she came with into a polythene bag. Thinking nothing of it, I was stunned when I heard raised voices and then she came out, polythene bag and all and waved us goodbye.
The other girl left at the end of March. Originally slated to come twice a week, she’d been coming everyday because the principal had a talk with her. And then at the end of the month, he didn’t pay. When she went to find out about her salary, he gave her some stupid excuse and she left in a huff.
And then there was me.
I’d ask about my salary often but when he’d tell me to wait, I would. In March, he paid me half my February salary and then in the last week of April he paid me my March salary. When I asked about the rest of my February salary, he asked me to sit down and tried to determine if I was lying. I’m very nice a lot of the time. But you do not accuse me of being a thief and yell at me without repercussions. Imagine, he asked me how come I was still coming if he had owed me for almost 2 months. I told him the excuse he’d last given me and he screamed at me. I told him immediately, “Do not EVER shout at me again”. He paid me the half of my salary from February and all of my March salary and when I got home, I told my parents I didn’t want to keep working there. But they told me to see it through till the end.
And so, we did that whole dance, where he’d delay paying my salary as long as he could and around the six week mark, when I’d decided to leave, he’d pay me.
That is, until June.
I had access to his email account. One of my duties at the firm was to summarize the emails he received from the ILO (International Law Organization). In one of the emails from the bank, I didn’t even open it, the first line was on display, I saw that the firm’s account balance was in six figures. I thought nothing of it but, when my salary became due and he gave me only half of it, I was angry enough to go on strike.I didn’t go to the office for 2 weeks until he called that the rest of my salary was in the office.
I understood that I was a novice at legal practice. I understood. But despite being a novice, no one could deny that I didn’t earn that salary. Pretty much everyday, he’d send me to court, or the police station, or to the Lands Registry and I’d go. Once he sent me to the Ikeja High Court and then the Ministry of Public Procurement on the same day, giving me money to cover only one of those trips. I went. Another time, he sent me to the Magistrate Court in Ikeja, then the Magistrate Court in Ogba then back to the High Court in Ikeja.
He’d throw stuff on the floor and expect me to pick it up, he’d yell at me and act like I was the most incompetent person he’d ever met, he’d ask to use my phone and credit to call someone and then never pay me the monetary value back (I stopped having credit in that office), he once tried to bully me into coming on Saturdays and on my CDS days (trying to deprive me of my weekly pineapple bread and movie but God was looking out for me, say Amen!) and when I categorically refused, he brought it up every time as a reason he hadn’t yet paid me, he either micromanaged me or gave me incredibly vague instructions and expected me to work miracles, he’d make stupid jokes about how I should go and get married because my time was running out and how I wasn’t looking so young anymore, he’d ignore the barriers of personal space, during my lunch breaks, he’d come and investigate my food and joke that I was ripping him off and using his money to buy food.
I was already on slow boil. Once, I was very sick but still I went to the office. And I clearly remember, at the end of the day, this man who knew full well that I was sick, drove by me, turned to look at me and kept right on driving. It’s not by force to be friendly with your employees outside the office, I understand. But when he had the nerve to give me only half my salary in July for the month of June, I got home and I told my parents again that I did not want to work there anymore. My mom told me to keep working there because “it’s not just about the money, it’s also about the relationship” and then she told me stories of how states had owed civil service workers for months.
I told her that I wasn’t in the civil service. But I agreed to return.
However, the lesson hadn’t yet sunk into his head. So whenever he’d owe me again, I’d stay in my house. A favorite excuse of his, was that there was recession or that he had many more responsibilities than just to me.
Transportation costs had skyrocketed, still I came, he made me wait until 8:40pm once at a police station doing absolutely nothing, still I came. He’d asked me to contact the other party in yet another divorce case we were handling and based on that instruction, I spent 2.5 hours listening and comforting this person when I was cooking, and again on weekends, and again when I was asleep. Still, I came. He only remembered that he had stuff for me to work on minutes before I was set to leave. Still, I came (although after a while, I conscripted my father to come pick me up. He usually came around closing time and whenever my boss conveniently forgot until the last minute that I was to draft or do anything, I’d only do it until my dad called me to come out).
I was stupid. I realize in hindsight. But apart from the fact that I was saving up to buy a new laptop, much of the reason I still kept coming was because of the office manager. Victor. Now while I cannot claim to have many positive feelings concerning my boss, Victor always made me smile. He was the one I complained about my boss to and he’d tell me to calm down, he’d buy snacks for me, when it was Valentine’s day and Cold Stone was having their 2 for the price of one ice cream combo deal, Victor went with me. Most of the movies I watched in the office, I watched on Victor’s laptop. When Victor left in June, I wanted to mutiny.
But then came Ayo. Ayo was like a younger version of me. But completely awesome in her own right. She knew about Wattpad, she shared the same taste in music with me, she was incredibly funny and despite everything, she was calm, nice and regal in her day to day dealings with my boss. Once, when Ayo had left (she came for a month’s internship), my boss called me up one Sunday and told me to go with a friend of his to the police station and then he hung up. I called him back trying to get further instructions. Nothing. What was I meant to do? What was his friend accused of? Anyway, I went to the police station in the morning. Seven hours later, seven extremely boring hours later where nothing was said or done that wasn’t insulting to my client or myself personally, we left. The only highlights in that day was that Ayo came out in the pouring rain to give me 2 novels and talk with me at the police station. And his friend’s nephew dropped me at the gate of my house. Everything else, 👎.
When September came I was so happy. My mom was still telling me to keep working for him, see it through till the end. My dad and I were counting down the days until I didn’t have to go to work for him anymore.
When NYSC announced that there would be a separation of Stream 1 and 2 and we would pass out on different days (Stream 1 was set to pass out on October 6th. Stream 2 on November 4th), I gave him a clear month’s notice that I would leave on the 14th of October. And so I did.
I remember my friend Aisha telling me that he was actually a nice man and telling me a story of how one boss didn’t pay his staff’s salary for about 6 months and when the staff took matters into their own hands, the boss arranged to have them beaten.
Apparently, suffer head behavior is very common these days. I never actually realized how much of a toll our constant arguments/swallowing my words was taking on me until a week after I’d left the office. I’d had a constant, daily headache on one side of my head and I’d concluded that I needed to bring it to the attention of my parents, maybe get an MRI. Then I left the office for good and after a day, my head did not ache at all. I was so shocked. I never believed they were correlated.
But we learn our greatest lessons from less than ideal situations, don’t we?
I got enough practical experience
I met a need
A combination of some of my savings and another source (to be revealed later) means I got myself a brand new laptop. Yippee!
I’ve been to every court except the Supreme Court and mostly gotten over my shyness and stuttering in front of Judges.
But I have also learned that I’m way too nice. And I need to stop letting people take advantage of me.
That while the Bible says that “servants” work unto your masters as unto the Lord, the same Bible says a workman is deserving of her wages.
That if the workplace environment is not conducive, it’s best to leave. Jobs will come and jobs will go, my health is paramount.
That people’s advice should be taken as just that; advice.
That if I ever find myself at Ikeja again, talking to the traffic lights, telling them to turn red, so I can cross the road without getting hit, I need to come read this post again. Because affliction shall not arise a second time.