When you lay your head
And close your eyes
Do you dream of me?
When you wake up
and see the sunrise
Do you think of me?
When you pick up the camera
and look into the lens
Do you see my face?
Do you see my eyes
Staring into your soul?
Do you see my smile
and the wrinkles on my nose?
Do you notice my dimples
Dig deep and bore holes?
Do you smile back at me
With your tongue out
And your eyes in a squint?
Or do you try to break our glance
and realize that I have you locked
and unable to leave?
I love you; I really do
and I'll be damned
if I let you go this way.
This story is available in an audio version on iTunes Podcast.
We lived in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, where my husband owned a thriving manufacturing business. I was a stay at home mother of one – my Oriade. We were stinkingly rich, wealthy, affluent – whatever word you could use to describe two people who lived in a seven-bedroom house with a gym, basketball court, two playrooms and a swimming pool.
Well, my husband was. He always liked to remind me that it was his money, and I was only sharing in it. He didn’t want me to work though, never. Whenever I brought up the topic his brows would do a wiggle dance and his nostrils opened up as he threw a fit.
Didn’t he give me everything I asked for? I obviously didn’t appreciate his hard work. Why was I such a thankless wife?
“Nike, the Bible says to train young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, kind, working at home. Please, let’s not anger the Holy Spirit.”
So I just stopped asking.(more…)
Does it hurt to die?
When the soul leaves the body
does it slowly drag
in a gruesome manner;
allowing the body to experience
an unbearable pain
For the last time
Just for the fun of it?
Or does it leave
in one swoop;
so fast that the body
doesn't even notice
that it's been left alone
With no life to continue?
This morning, a question popped into my head.
‘Are you for God?’
I immediately replied, ‘Yes, of course. That’s a dumb question’
But then I’ve been thinking about it all day. Am I really for God or do I just do the surface level ‘good’ things in hopes to earn points from the ‘big guy up there’ so that he’ll be ‘nice’?
I’ll give an example. A few weeks ago, I prayed to God for the restoration of a friendship that was on rocky grounds. That night, the friend reached out to me and surprisingly, I wasn’t excited. It turns out I really didn’t want that friendship to be mended. I just wanted to be the ‘good’ person in God’s eyes. But we can’t mock God.
Oh, another example is my constant search of how close I get to doing the wrong things without actually doing them. How long can stay angry for? I waited until I was about to sleep before I replied that friend – because the bible says ‘don’t let the sun go down on your anger’. I was more worried about going to hell if I didn’t wake up the next day than keeping the peace.
How revealing is too much for my clothes? How vulgar is too vulgar? This one is a huge one – how far away is too far to love someone from? I can literally quote bible verses and tell you all Jesus did to validate my reason for cutting off relationships. Proverbs 4:23 is my absolute fave verse; ‘Above all else, guard your heart’. And my favourite sentence to pull out? – ‘Jesus wasn’t friends with the Pharisees. He loved them from afar‘.
While these verses/interpretations are valid, I made them the bedrock of my lifestyle. I ascribed this attitude toward wisdom but have recently realized that they were excuses. What happened to the numerous verses about loving like Jesus loved us? If Jesus was loving me from as far away as I was loving people I would be wretched. And what about the verse about forgiving others seventy times seven times a day?(more…)
I was able to put this together after months of being under a creative dry spell. I hope you enjoy it. If you have any tips for me to get over this block don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments, please.
A lone tear rolled down my left cheek as my mother ignored my nagging and struggled to pull the comb through my thick, afro hair. I shuddered, imagining little blobs of blood forming on my scalp.
‘Maami, it hurts!’
We were outside in the hut-like building where the bicycles and hula hoops slept at night. It was the place maami made us stay because she knew that if baami saw my tears, he would rescue me from her smooth, long, shaven legs that were tightly wrapped around my torso.
I wondered if I would ever grow up to be like her. She was beauty in itself. Speaking with purpose and eloquence. When she walked, her hips swayed from side to side with force. It was her big bum-bum that caused it to move that way. “Shine-shine baby!” The Igbo man selling shirts on the corner of the house always hailed her with his two hands raised to the sides of his face in salutation.
As she weaved my hair into a neat Shuku Ologede, her hands pressed my head closer between her thighs and her index finger lightly tapped my head in rhythm. I didn’t mind it. She didn’t smell like Iya Yewande, who oozed an unpleasant rotten fishy smell when she pushed my head between her fat thighs, almost in a bid to push me in and give me a rebirth.(more…)
Happy new year, beautiful people!
I hope you rang in the new year surrounded by the people you love. And if you were alone, I hope you gave yourself lots of love too.
Let’s be honest, entering a new year isn’t always a happy jolly experience. One moment, you’re hugging your family and friends after counting down to 12 am and the next minute you’re thinking about the unaccomplished goals you set at the beginning of the last year. You still swear like a sailor, gossip, gamble, eat junk food, and you still haven’t left that toxic relationship you said you were done with last year. You look at the lives of the people you’re with and suddenly feel like a failure. Sally got that promotion she had put on her goal board; Jim’s body now looks like it was sculpted by the gods themselves, unlike last year when you both looked like sticks (sticks are beautiful too btw); and Fade now heals the sick and speaks in tongues. Last year, she was getting drunk every night and puking in bars – the worst part is that you are the one who took her to church and you can’t even find a voice to pray.
Don’t give up! Don’t give up on being a better version of yourself. And please, stop with the comparison. Sally, Jim and Fade might seem like they have their lives in order but there’s a good chance they have unachieved goals (and if they hit all, good for them; you’d achieve yours too).
Go back to the drawing board and tweak the wordings of those goals. Instead of being so broad and ‘finish line’ centred, give yourself little checkpoints. We all have different ways of motivating ourselves. Some people like to see the end goal and some people like progress checkpoints. It’s a new year, a new beginning. Forgive yourself for the shortcomings of last year and push on this new year.
If like me, you’ve already failed at some of the resolutions you made this year (yes, I ate that burger), don’t fret; every day, actually, every second is another chance to a fresh start – a clean slate – Let’s hope I don’t end up using this sentence to enable myself and break my resolutions LOL!
2019 is for YOU. Make it your bitch.
It’s eleven days until the year 2018 ends. Last month, I started writing my last post for the year. I wrote about how the year started rough for me and the roller coaster of emotions I experienced; the fact that I cried more than half of the time and had suicidal moments. But then I switched about halfway through my draft and began to write of how I rose above it all and how I’m a much better person who has learnt to live, to love, to forgive, to grow and learnt to accommodate.
I wrote about my newly found love for hugs and embraces; for the sun and bright colours; for people and their individualities. I wrote about my intentional approach to relationships with people and how my resolve to have open and honest conversations had made me a better person.
But last night, I came crashing down – HARD. I realized that I hadn’t really overcome like I thought I had. All the thoughts and fears I had struggled with for years came rushing back at 2 am, and I panicked. My chest hurt and I suddenly could not breathe. At that moment, I thought I was going to die. Not like it mattered to me.
So maybe I’m not really ‘healed’ or ‘grown’ like I had thought, but I would not sit here and say that there has not been some progress; that would be a lie. I’ve had great days this year, I’ve met great people, explored new places, laughed my butt off and felt a real sense of identity. I even let myself have a little crush – LOL! I know, it’s almost unbelievable that a makanaki like me would fall. Maybe I’ll tell you guys about it one day.
There have been tears; tears that would have probably filled a pool if I kept them. There have been times of distress, discomfort, sickness, pain and near surrender. And as much as I love to be hard on myself, today, I’d like to show a little love to myself. I’ve shown great strength and resilience to the bullshit life has offered me. I’m just here, hoping and praying for complete healing and a higher knowledge of my worth in the next year. If that’s even possible.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year guys! Don’t forget to laugh at serious moments.
The day the mechanic died, I was in the kitchen giving a dance performance to one of Ayefele’s songs in front of my cousin.
I heard my dad’s loud voice from upstairs. He was singing loudly as he usually did. Flakes and I rolled our eyes and shook our heads laughing at his untuned voice and resumed my show. We stopped abruptly a few seconds after. That wasn’t a song. He was lamenting.
“O God! O God why? O God why? Why?”
My heart sank and I ran upstairs jumping two steps at a time.
I met him in the prayer room. His eyes were red and wet with tears and he hid his face from me.
“Daddy what happened? What’s wrong?”
My mind raced and many thoughts entered my head. Did something happen to mum? Was his business okay? What could have happened to make daddy breakdown?
I probed some more before he looked up to me and broke the news – “Oluware is dead.” A cold shiver went down my spine.
You see, uncle Oluware was not just a mechanic to us. He was like family and there was not one week that passed that he didn’t come over. In fact, it was when he didn’t come over the last week that my mum figured something was wrong and reached out to him. He was terribly sick. He had adult measles and another sickness at the same time. But that’s not the point of my post.(more…)
I’d be the first to let you know that I haven’t really dealt with the death of my mother. I have buried it deep down and haven’t come to terms with it.
I honestly haven’t cried that I lost her.
I’ve cried that she didn’t get to see my husband and tease him, cried that my children wouldn’t be able to receive her kisses and unending love, cried for the people that depended on her, cried that I couldn’t save her.
But not once have I cried that the only person I have loved with all of my heart is no longer here with me. That I would no longer have air kiss competitions after she told me she loved me at the end of our phone conversations. I haven’t cried that I wouldn’t hear her call me ‘pretty babe’ while caressing my face or take a jab at my small bum and squeeze it.(more…)
The back pains started again yesterday.
It was a sad day.
If this happened last year, I’d have comforted myself in the fact that my mother would be back soon to give me her healing back rubs.
“Just a few more months. Be patient”
There was nothing to comfort myself in yesterday. Knowing that I’d never feel her tender, yet firm hands kneading my back and sharing in my pain with her words.
But I’m comforted in the fact that there’s a God who loves me more than my mum could have ever been capable of. So he’ll give me those back rubs when I need them. He’d not only share my pain, but he’d also take them away completely.
I have to learn to trust in his love and realize that he’s enough for me.