Resolutions for 2017

I like the sound of 2017, mainly because of the number 7. I was born on the 17th of June. My aptitude test seat number was number 17. I have a long history with the number 7 and next year will make it 7 years since I lost my mother, and I will have an odd number for my age as well. For some people, odd numbers are unsettling, for me, even numbers lack the jutting angle of excitement, so I am really excited about 2017.

My new year resolutions( primary school style) include:
I think it was two days ago when I went to a cosmetic shop to buy some things. It was about 8.30 in the morning. So I held the main  door to the building which houses the smaller one with the cosmetic department and was about to close it because people are quite touchy these days about having to manage cold air coming into their offices because thoughtless visitors don’t know doors can be closed. Unfortunately for me, I mistakenly brushed a woman who’d been closely following me behind. She complained in Russian saying ‘ arghhh! girllll’ . Thinking about this, I realise the distance she gave me was rather too close, cars on the road follow each other at safe distances to prevent accidents. Shouldn’t humans do this too? The thing is, she sort of ruined my mood, because on this particular day I was doing all I could to prevent having another episode of this. I will tell you about this in a minute.

This was me going to the police station some days ago too, to get my international passport made. I did not know where to ask for assistance, so I asked someone and was directed to the director’s office to get information. There was a queue in the room close to hers and so I asked people who they were waiting for. No one seemed to be on the queue to the director’s office and I knocked and got in, looking for who the director was. She was sitting with a man and the chairs arrangement made it look like he was also working there. This was my misplaced assumption because the truth of the matter was he was her guest and so she asked me if I could not see she was busy with someone and I should wait outside. I apologized and did. Now this made me extra careful of offending anyone and so when that woman voiced her displeasure when it was obvious to me that she had been following me at an abnormal distance,I was pissed at the situation even though I apologized without looking at her face, and quickly suppressed memories of it, because I decided I cannot look out for everyone. If I hit you mistakenly , all I can do is say sorry and I know for a fact your turn of body misjudgment will occur and you will have to say sorry to someone someday as well. That being said, my new year resolution has as its first:
1) To not get upset and irritated by people . I have decided that if I cannot control other peoples reactions, that I will control mine. Do as you want others to do to you, so that if I am the object of unjust criticisms, I can at least say, I wouldn’t have done that to you if I were you. It’s not a matter of superiority or gloating, but one that will give me peace and prove to me that there is always a better alternative than accusing people quickly of wanting to intentionally harm you, sulking because of it and further uttering mean words with lasting effects for what occurred in very few seconds or minutes at most.

2) To articulate my wants more. I am a people pleaser. I don’t want people to to through all the trouble with me and so it is very typical and common of me to say yes to requests that I don’t want to fulfil or the agree that something has met my specifications when it hasn’t. This is because I want to be kind and not hurt feelings. Now it might look like it is at odds with what number one is all about, but it isn’t. While number one has lots of passive aggressive behaviour, number two has polite and reasonable confrontation with the aim  of fostering understanding and not petty pickings on another person.I want to be louder this year. My voice should be louder, my requests should be clearer and specifications as well. I want to be the type of person to say ‘ I like this and this but I think this is not for me, I am sorry’.
3) I want to invest in my friendships with people. This year I want to be able to have friends I can lean on and who can lean on me practically. Nothing less. I need to see that this friendship is not only for laughs and jokes but that something tangible has changed, whether it is ideas that have been shared, changing habits and perspectives. Are my friends the kind of people I can talk to when I am feeling low or am I prone to hide and run away from them when this happens? Are they the kind of people I am afraid of asking to talk to me? Am I too polite to disturb them? All these things will be ruthlessly dealt with. I cannot keep anyone that I am too polite about their time and interests in me. We Will be friends only if this is mutual. Nothing less. And this goes for me too. I want to be a more reliable person.

3b) Make sure I work this year. Get a job or many jobs. Fail in many if it needs to happen, but I must work this year by all means.
4) Finally and by no means less important, I want to be more prayerful and closer to God than I have ever been. 

Advertisements

Raheem’s diaries (1)

   Dearest Raheem has allowed me to publish some of his diary pieces, a move that makes me want to jump all over the place. I don’t think there’s any real friend or fan of mine who hasn’t heard about Raheem. News flash: I talk about him all the time, or almost, see definitely more than a lot. I think Raheem has the most colorful imagination ever, like ever,ever and just like those people who feel like hoarding their favorite things, I feel the same way about hoarding my writer friend. I don’t want to share and have people with greasy fingers soil this fine writer :D, but I will post four of my favorite pieces in the next few days. 

This one written last year in December is one I decided to pick because we’re both off facebook and have gone mental about it. Enjoy 🙂
I deactivated my Facebook today and nobody died. I also noticed the heavens did not fall. I’d been been toying with the idea for quite a while and finally took the dastardly severing step today because my friend list had a significant number of ‘undesirables’. Despite the fact that there existed a handful of saints and untainted cherubims, the needful was inevitable seeing the swarming undesirables dynamically raising my blood pressure to startling proportions for no just cause. When the recent demise of one prominent comedian reached my hearing it really dampened my moods. But when I learnt the culprit over his mortal departure was same high blood pressure, my moods were completely submerged and I had to act fast before my caper caved in.

I was unable to download my account data though (which should by the way should be running into gazillions of bytes). It felt like not apologising to that one beggar whose alms you stole to augment your date with your college crush and now you’re lying in a vegetative state in a hospice thinking of how saint Peter will iron things out with you at the pearly gates. He might even delegate your case to a ruffian like John the baptist or Samson and he’ll re-enact scenes from “Samson and the philistines” with you being cast as a philistine pawn.


Not downloading your Facebook data before balling could go either way; one, you could tear up–repentant fashion–when in a few months time, you play the DVD file and remember a lot of the mind-blowing action and fun you’re not a part of. That’s the tail side of the coin. Heads is, you might have overgrown so-called fun and come to dwell in an advanced realm of mature and wholesome fun (which is everything my friends and I deliberately avoided engaging in).

For my own sake, for all the good in the world, I do hope my coin falls head-ward.

Facebook is a great place to unwind, but if it starts making you wind up feeling like a great loser, maybe, just maybe, its an indication that you have to take your rewound self to places less enthusiastic about winding. Finally, I wont advise anyone to embark on such a downhill trip else they’re prepared to make an upward climb out of the valley ‘undesirables’ have been holding them in. Do have a nice evening people!
*initiates 500Tb worth of movies cool

A maybe yes/no God or not

You know, child. It might happen and it might not, but there’s no harm in trying. If it works out, thank me. If it doesn’t, hey thank me anyways.

Believing in God feels like this statement many times. It feels like God is taking the easy way out, never saying a concrete yes or a no. a maybe, just in case things don’t work out. It looks a lot like He is doing all to minimise taking responsibility for the outcomes of our lives. There are passages in the Bible that tell us to ask and He will do this or that and yet, there are those that preach that even if the earth yields nothing, we should be thankful. How exactly do we reconcile what reads like an aggressive I will surely do this thing for you with a Gods knows best and His ways are higher and they may kill the body but not the soul, so erm fear God, brethren? This in my opinion is what causes the crises of faith. We wonder if we should believe very hard for something to happen to us and for a situation to change or if we should believe with caution expecting it might not, and that if it doesn’t,it was for our good. Because, on one hand is the verse that says we should not be lukewarm if not we would be spat out and if we waver in our belief, God will not move. What exactly do we do? 

As I sit now to ponder upon this question, I realise I do not know, but I think that as long as there is an opportunity to ask for God to do miracles, we should pray without ceasing still. In each step of the way, it should be revealed whether God will change things or like in Paul’s case, allow that thorn to remain. Paul did ask many times for it to be taken, so that’s the cue. Ask, and wait for the reply for your particular life. The healer who heals others might just as well choose to not heal you and the verses that refer to Him as healer do not become invalid even when that happens.

Today I’ve been meditating so much upon these words :

So don’t be intimidated by anyone’s bucket list. Let go of the things that are distracting you from serving Christ.

A Simple List, an Easy Yoke

In fact, here’s my suggestion. Why not create a hole-in-the-bucket list? A list of things that can fall out of the bucket list. Identify the things you feel the pressure to do, but which actually you don’t have to do.

Always wished you could see the pyramids? Put it on your hole-in-the-bucket list. Now you don’t need to save up or plan a complicated journey. See how liberating it is! Always had a sense that you should learn a musical instrument? Let it go. Feel inadequate because you’re still renting instead of owning? Throw it on your hole-in-the-bucket list. And then get on with life. 

There’s much more now that God has called us to elsewhere.

desiringgod.com .  One of the reasons I mostly listen and read reformed Christians resources is because nowhere else will you find such words written. Watch most evangelicals and they would be screaming amens and hallelujahs about how this year you’re going to travel to France and how you will get that promotion and be the head of so and so place. You’ll never hear anyone tell you that some things do not need to be done in this life. And if you don’t get your dream life here, it is still not that bad a life if you have Jesus.

I was praying and was reminded that nothing I have is mine. My failures  included. God owns even that, so I don’t have to be anxious. Also, I have come to think less of my writing as something that needs to be read. There are many blogs I have stopped visiting, because I don’t want to read them just so they read mine back or something. I’m done with that. Also, there’s the idea that people who write frequently cannot have so many good ideas , because ideas need time to ferment and be good enough. That too is true, and I don’t read blogs that publish daily too unless they have multiple writers who write for them. That being said, I am no longer following those rules. As a writer, I write a lot now, because I can and I don’t expect that people will make concessions for me and read me very closely or with much interest. But this is of little importance to me because my first and most important audience has always been myself. Writing is therapy for me. Writing is a way I connect with myself and it is a gift. The less I think about what impressions people have out there, the more liberated I feel in my writing activity and if anyone finds my words useful, that is great.

Ps. I am also done dreaming of making it big as a writer. I write in the measure I have been given, to the glory of the Father. No pressure or please take this writing gift away from me.

The Hunting God

 The truth of the matter is that I believe God is the source of all my problems or most of them at least. I also know that if I were an atheist, or agnostic, I would never have been one to claim that I could be a morally upright person. Some people can say this, but I can’t because I am not that kind of person, and I think it’s funny just who I have turned out to be.

All thanks to God, I find myself thinking thoughts that are not mine and behaving in ways unlike my true self. Left to my resources, I don’t really care about anything good. At the heart of my person is an indifferent being, and I have done some soul searching ,so I know. I know just how often I want to repay someone back, just what spiteful word would suit an occasion, and similar schemes, but the generosity of God restrains this and pulls me back.

How many times have I told myself that I will grow up and be hard and be a true person of the world, with the personality that prevents people from pushing her over and calling her what? Is it a push over? A door mat. A door mat is not something anyone should want to be. There are still boundaries where you can state displeasure and be civil about it,but if you contrast this with one who vehemently seeks for his rights at all times and for treatment due to him or her, you will not find me on the queue. I have since lost my edginess and desires to fight, to claim what is mine, to be able to hold my own. I have become apologetic of faults other than my own. I am the person who feels sorry you offended me, and so I am sorry for all of us.

That’s how I feel constantly propelled to persist in something right even when I don’t understand why I should want this. It’s much easier to live without caring about all these things. Life becomes less of a machine which requires daily maintenance, but it’s already too late, because I have been bought. I am a worker, part of this machinery whose driving force is in no way inefficient and cannot be quenched.

C.S Lewis in ‘ a grief observed’ says that we will always hunger. We will never be satisfied. As a professing Christian hedonist, I say often that God is my satisfaction and I happen to put the full stop there, but that is not the complete story. The complete story is God is infinite. My hunger is infinite, so I will always be hungry, but I will never go hungry. I’d never really seen it this way before. I will always be hungry is what I am doomed for throughout eternity. My only joy is that this hunger will not be left tortured. a hunger and a filling in. Concurrent events.

Jesus is a man I think about many times. My first image is with Him sitting down and waiting for Peter to swim and the others with the net. I can see Him now. Jesus is sitting and they are about to eat the fish by the fire. Anytime I mention Jesus this way, I am moved to tears. I don’t know where the  attachment feeds itself off from. It could be as a result of prayers whose meanings I still have no interpretation for. But I miss Jesus in such moments as these. I think my greatest feeling of loss is that I don’t value Him as much as I should. My understanding and value is less than the size of a mustard seed, even less. Maybe something you can only see with a microscope and even then, I wonder if I have lived this life barely touching the hem of His garment. What am I doing with what should be my greater treasure. It saddens me now. It saddens me a lot.

God ruins my life exactly in this sense because what I think now is nothing I could with my power. I am not good, I am not good at all. I am living off someone else. Its borrowed everything. The wisdom, the life, the happiness. He makes me concerned when I want to be indifferent. He hides me when I want to be seen. He keeps me away from things I want so badly and I sulk. I think he is a monster or a sadist at least, but this is myself talking, and what goodness it speaks with! Not much. I’m thinking now of Him as my rope, the one I have to test as if it were my last hope in the event that I had to escape from a burning house. Will I really lean my weight on this rope? Do I trust God? Is God good at all. I know He is because of Jesus. I know that closer to Him is where I’ve always found the greatest comfort, and I know this is where I fight the greatest battle as well.

Tan tan ina…

Tan Tan ina. These words which did not belong to any language, words we spoke to each other as we played. Tan Tan ina. Ina? Ina mo, we said as we tried to pronounce new words. Enamour. If she said it, she meant it. Words don’t mean anything anymore in this place. The last time it meant something, Ali put a poster on the fence and later it was cut down with a pen knife, and that is how words stopped meaning anything. No one wanted to see anymore. Not us. Not Mustapha, not my father. Tan tan ina. Enamour.

 

See, the first rains came, sweet as a kettle on a stove. I liked the way the steam would fill the little room because we could not afford a bigger place. So with the rains, came indoor cooking, indoor boiling, indoor inhaling of steam. Even washing of clothes smelt better, and just to watch the soapy mixture with the washed out colors from cheaply dyed clothes flow into the gutter. The neighbors didn’t fancy it. They called it pollution. Tan Tan ina. Doesn’t your mother teach you better, dirty girl?

 

When I was five or six, I cannot remember, Edith told me her father was in prison. She said he was the king of the prisoners. I was in awe because even though I thought guns and knives and roses because I was already watching the 18 plus movies, it sounded fantastic. Did her father know Jackie Chan? I asked her. If he did, could he introduce us? Me? Tan Tan ina. Of course, she said. So I wore my yellow tights and yellow spaghetti top and I was like the sunflower. Hmm, this is what you are wearing at this age, what will you wear when you grow up?

 

I knew shame then. I know shame now. It’s never enough, you know. That I force my cheeks in, or that I try to smile so my face doesn’t sag. I look like a grave. A grave with an implanted mirror sticking out. Sticking out when jutting into my chins. Mustapha says that I should rub more powder, but tan tan ina, I’m still an ugly roach.

 

On my twelfth birthday, someone shat in our toilet and it was close to the living room. No one could believe the smell. No one could believe this was my party. What was I trying to do? Massive involuntary suicide? But you see it wasn’t planned. Ah, where are you people going to?

 

So one day, I sat down with my elbows on my knees and I cried. I said enamoured many times, tan tan ina. I wanted something quintessentially ethereal. For days, for many, many days. Its why I liked yam and palm oil. I liked it because I could smack my lips and pretend it was sweet. Yam was sugar. Yam was  fine fibrous cotton sugar. Even as I say it now, I know nothing like that exists. Tan, tan ina.

 

That’s how I started writing. One day. old book. After licking the edges and eating some pages of the old book, I began to write, first with my left hand and then with my right hand. All gibberish. One , two, three, four. Nothing  important at all, and yet I was fifteen. I had seen planes made from jik bottles. I had worn bleached clothes. My father was a tailor and I was here writing.

 

It does not matter anymore if people do not want to see me write or to see me at all. Here, I am most lonely and here I am completely found. The paradox of this situation is what makes its bitter sweet. Tan Tan ina. I am enamoured.

 

My favorite online things#2016

    Because we still dey press phone and because this year has been my most intense  literary year so far, I felt I should list some of those things that have shaped me most. In no particular order:

My Solid Joys devotional. When I downloaded the app a year ago or so, I thought I’d never read it, at least not consistently, but I have surprisingly been able to make this a good habit, and I think part of why I do read this consistently is because of the interface or the way it notifies or whatever.The Holy Spirit should take credit for this one. I haven’t been as consistent with reading desiringgod.com as I used to last year, but it’s still been my go to blog every week. I haven’t read the Christmas articles because I don’t like christmasy sermons.

My Bible. My bible has been read a bit differently this year, not as much as my devotionals,and more briskly too, something that will be seen as a bad thing for good Christians. My favorite book still remains that of Job.

The New Yorker. I have friends who read the NewYorker too and we all read it for different reasons. Because of my Journalist friend I have read mostly profiles of people, the most memorable being that of Zaha Hadid and Peter Thiel, the writer friends who make me read fiction and my humble self who goes mostly to read shouts and murmurs.


The literary hub.I have slowed down on this one for a while but I’ve found interesting pieces of information here. 

I like Granta Magazine for it’s usefulness in helping me to concentrate on things for longer periods of time and the stories are memorable anyway, so its been worth it.

The Paris Review, I never read the interviews to the end, but the stories, yep. Mostly have read short fiction here. 

  • I read brain pickings because of how similar most of the articles sound like the school of life(favorite vlog about life). There’s always some kind of appeal to the empathetic side of humans, with the comics and all that. I am an empathy freak as you can tell. Sympathy, kindness, understanding, all that. My kind of thing. 

I also like reading aeon articles once in a while especially on ethics because I find them liberating. Helps for when I want to step outside of my moral bubble and wear different pairs of lens to view the world. I never find myself the same after the exposure and I don’t regret it.

Chronicles of higher education.
Nabeel Quereshi’s  vlogs, which made me think about life and cancer and church support more critically.

OsitaTv, specifically articles written by Tochi Eze. She writes about relationships in a very engaging way. Her soul is in her work. I wanted to avoid the gender thing, but the fact that Tochi is a woman and very brilliant makes me like these articles even more.

IfeOluwa’s rambles. This one I like for many reasons. The writer is a clever,self sabotaging hermit whose writing of a grocery list, if he should ever write one for commercial purposes would make an interesting read ( he says something similar about other writer(s) he admires). Honestly, I think I’ve read and reread he’s written online.

dearlilyJune. I found this blog when it was freshly pressed sometime last year , I think or even earlier. I’m really impressed by how much she puts in to leaving such lovely letters to her little daughter. It’s pure dedication and I was inspired to do my Mr. Aweblue series which lasted for a short while.

Reading my friend Solomon’s letters with his theories about God and love.

4unanswered prayers .  This blog can tease your mind with it’s funny observations and for those other times too when there is interesting fiction and personal opinion to read.

Buzzfeed videos. I can watch them for hours sometimes, but not to worry, I don’t do this often. I also like watching Rt documentaries. Can’t leave out my relaxing Simon’s cat videos from this list either.

Raheem’s diaries that have unfortunately or fortunately been put under lock and key with only a few people to have access to. Apart from being the funniest person I know, he’s cerebral matter has little competition. Probably the only person dead or alive who teases me that much and can ask me wtf questions with so much audacity. Thanks to this turkey, I get transported to the 11th century when I should have been born, later  to the ghetto and then to Disneyland and back to cyberland. 

Livelytwist, because Timi is an awesome  curator of other people’s stories and a writer of hers as well. And because thanks to her, I now call myself a writer.

Sermon index for sermons by Zac Poonen and the Village church to listen to Matt Chandler.

Dance in the rain by Vaneetha Rendall. Because she taught me how to lament to God. Complaining is not the same as lamenting. Everyone has , even Jesus and don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong to cry out to God about your burdens.

Talking to Phucado about stuff.

  • Listening to Jorja Smith.
  • Watching Lizzza talk rubbish.
  • I like watching makeup tutorials for fun.
  • Watching Ndani Tv
  • School of life vlogs.
  • Tedx talks
  • Watching dance choreographies
  • Looking for a job
  • Deleting my unwanted mails
  • Academia jokes
  • Blogs for introverts
  • Marxist memes
  • Classic art memes
  • Etcetera etcetera

When a man cannot hear “No”

For two days I remembered Ndani Tv and have just been clicking many times without really watching any of their videos on YouTube, but yesterday, someone popped up on my recommended to watch section and it was Mtv Shuga. I binged watched is what happened till morning. Mtv Shuga has great actors and I had my woah moment when I realized that Chris Attoh who is such a handsome and amazing actor is actually married to Damilola Adegbite! I remember watching these two on tinsel and thinking about the chemistry between them. So they are married and I didn’t know all this while, but yayyyy!!!

Mtv Shuga explores many themes, mostly collected around the topic of one’s sexual life and what could go wrong like HIV and Aids. I have decided to pick MTV Shuga 4 episode 5 where Sheila almost got raped by Leo. Leo is a very nice guy. I’m everyones fan in this series(My God, I love this show!) but just a short summary. 

Sheila is former runs girl who has turned responsible and Leo is a loyal man, a living man, a reasonable man. Sheila does not want to go all the way and straff anymore and wants to take her time, but she enjoys  being kissed, also feels there are other ways of getting intimate and she lets him go really far but just not into her.This time around however, Leo is a bit intoxicated, and Sheila’s ‘Leo stop‘ leaves him a bit frustrated ( they’ve not had sex as a couple yet) and he decides it’s okay to continue for a few more seconds until she gets frantic and begins to cry. Only then does he stop.

The burden of rape is gradually being shifted from the victim these days and put more on the rapist more, just as it should be. Every opinion that allows that the lady put herself in an unsafe situation because of what she wore or her level of consciousness and his, is being shut down and this is good. No one should be raped no matter what. Period. But I just really got to wonder about those who say marital rape is not a thing. I got scared, brethren because the line between making love to a wife who doesn’t feel like it, because of her reasons like tiredness or lack of desire and a man who tries to weaken her resolve and finally pushes on despite her reluctance is so very thin and especially when he does have legitimate claims to touch her, it can be hard to define. 

What about Mary and Nii?( played by handsome Chris Attoh. Can’t state this enough). Very bold Mary comes across as one who is sexually active because of her forward way with Nii, a man a decade plus older than her sixteen year old teenage self, but the truth is she is a virgin. I wonder about myself and how openly I might talk about sex and if a creep somewhere would think that because of this I have no problems being touched inappropriately or that I must be dying to have him in me. These are all common misconceptions men have about women;tagging what should be normal interest a women has in sex as an innate sluttiness. One lesson to learn from this is to still be careful about men who are just being nice to you, buying you gifts and inviting you to their bedrooms to change into those dresses. No one should be raped, but still there are signs and its better to not put yourself in situations.

I have been sexually assaulted. I only mentioned this to two people. To my ex boyfriend and to someone who I think has forgotten what I said. I have downplayed it many times because of the nature and because I was not raped( this is what we have to compare things to to even feel grateful. Sigh)It is still difficult for people to talk about sexual assault openly because how exactly do you mention that someone was touching your breasts or bum . How do you even do this when you are unaware when it occurs,like it happens to some people? There’s still a shameful feeling like you are dirty, something  more awareness should help to cure. The bottom line is every no is not an orange light for you to try harder. A no is a no is a no is a no and you should stop whenever you hear it. This is the gospel of consent.

I dislike it very much when men come to say that they too are being raped. Surely, no one has said otherwise, but when a woman talks about it, if at all you should mention your side of the story and interrupt hers, you should at least acknowledge her story, send your sympathy and make your own case , but most of these people just say it as if a woman’s story has accused them of something. It’s so callous to throw that line shamelessly. Tell your story is what it is and don’t interrupt someone’s else’s.