Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Letter to my Future Lover...

Dear lover,
How are you today? 
I ask because it’s been 26minutes and 32seconds since I last heard from you. 
Are you okay? 
I think something must be badly wrong if you can survive that long without getting in touch with me. Is everything alright? I need to know. Is your lung picking up air okay?  And your heart is still pumping blood?

I try not to be too demanding but you do know I have done this love thing before and it didn’t work out the first time? 
So this Love 2.0 must work oh! 
And my requirements are really very simple. 
You may be forgiven for thinking heavy breathing preceding ‘I love you’ is part of what I need from you but no, it aint! 
Been there, done that and all that! 
This girl wants and needs to be taken care of ni. 

No, not in that funny manner that some men have of being coy about what it means to take care of a woman. I mean, full blown, 'Baby, what do you need? Here is some money to take care of whatever (hands over 500k) for the weekend type of way ni….'

And please miss me with that entire independent woman scene. 
Not me! 
Not ever!
'I don’t want to offend by offering money'.....please offend me! I am here for that! All that was relevant to me a whole other lifetime ago, now, its important to take care of me! 
My womanity needs the pampering to be okay, so pile it on.

My baby-girlness needs a getaway, preferably to the Maldives but any African getaway will do for starters. 
A few days away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life where we can just stare into each other’s eyes and sigh (still, no heavy breathing!) and exchange I love yous and intense kisses.

I am okay with gifts. For every reason and no reason.
They work, gadgets (I love them!), perfumes, books, items of clothing and jewelry, even food, preferably fed to me by you followed by loving kisses. 
Did I mention huge sums of cash also count as gifts? Oh I did?
I don't want to be stressed by asking you for stuff. That's tedious please! 

I should not have to ask for those things I want cos you should want to give me them. 
A brand new car, my rent, a trip to get some R & R…..all these things make your love more lovely.
Once I sigh, you should stop breathing for a bit, it shows me you care. 

And never commit the mortal sin of not noticing I am broke. Once two sighs follow each other, when you call to talk to me, send me money!

There are some very special days to make grand gestures, Christmas, Easter, my birthday, Valentine's Day, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and twice on Sunday!
All of those days work and can become special given the right gift.

I am sure by now, you are wondering what you get in return, abi?

Permit me to brag on myself for a half minute.
Er, on second thoughts, no! For your protection and peace of mind, there will be no stating what the lover gets in return today.
Maybe in another blogpost? 

But all I know is this, sweetheart, I should not have to ask you for pampering. If I do, its tedious and late already! Step up or step away!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

My World Peace View from 2011

I came across this article I wrote in 2011 for the Louisiana State University International Cultural Center's World Peace Day celebration at which I was asked to speak along with a few other young people including a few Americans as well as another young male Nigerian and another female African all of whom have become friends on my social space. This was during my Fulbright scholarship spent at the Radiology Service of the Veterinary School at LSU. It truly still IS my view on world peace even though I may be more aware of how flippant I made it sound then but the essentials are still very true. As I read, I thought to share so here goes-


WORLD PEACE

I was asked to speak about my feelings, expectations, hopes and advice for world peace.

Feelings- What is world peace? Can I make bold to say its no longer that unattainable dream that misfits use as an excuse for their inability to fit into mainstream society anymore? Its now a tangible attainable time in the near future when all men will forget their cavemen instincts and attempt to live in peace with their neighbors as individuals, peoples, or nations. Or at least that is what I feel about world peace.

For an inquisitive traveler of the world, I have been blessed with meeting people from all over the world and found that individuals are pretty decent until something threatens their sense of well-being, which may also be that of a loved one or a possession, if you don’t know what I mean, ask a wife whose husband bought a brand new car and is guarding it with all he has. ‘Hey honey’, she says and he’ll reply, ‘No, nothing’s wrong honey!’ Communication becomes warped is what I am saying! Just kidding!

Expectations- I am Nigerian, (just in case you hadn’t heard!), and my expectations for world peace usually begin with demanding the best of the people who are in charge of my country, the President, senators and their bosses-I meant their wives…..if they are anything like me, I figure life will be ok, I am constantly trying to re-make and remold my husband to the point where he knows to answer, ‘yes dear’ and do as much as I wish. But seriously, the role of women in world peace cannot be overlooked. It is so significant that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize is shared by 3 great women……and the theme of this programme this year is ‘The decade of Women’. Ever heard of the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world? A woman who ignores her ability to make change happen may well just roll over and die, it is such a priviledge that we should be running around looking for people to guide through life.

My expectations don’t end there though cos I am such a citizen of the world and need to be able to strut my stuff whether I am in Ibadan, Alberta, Baton Rouge, Tripoli or on a beach in Melbourne. I don’t want limitations on my movement, speech or any other form of activity I MAY chose to engage in just because I look a certain way. I want to be assessed based on how my actions affect you not by how my person affects you and for this I am not naive enough to discountenance politics and legislation. This is why I think education and political savvy must not be limited to anyone. In Africa as in every other part of the world, the girl-child must and should be educated and every woman should use her clout to get things done, whether in her home, workplace, place of worship or recreationally.

Hopes- for world peace include that people will remember to treat others as they will want to be treated, whether they are George, Maria, Obama, Adenike, Handel or whatever they may be called. That governments will remember they are only governments because they have people to govern, so its not a priviledge but a call to service. I hope that heads of governments the world over will choose to relate based on equity and fairplay rather than the oppressive war cry that seems to be the norm. That people will remember that every priviledge carries a responsibility at which failing is not one of the options-to be called Daddy, you must be a Father, strong, caring, there!!, to be called Sister, you must show a heart of empathy and love!!

I hope that we all will choose motherhood and I am sure you are wondering if you heard me right, becos try as some of you might, you may not be able to see yourselves that way cos you just don’t have the right equipment! Well, I am not talking of physically, I am speaking of conceiving an idea, nurturing it till it feeds off your insides and takes on a life of its own, carrying it to term, and bearing and hunkering down to bring it forth with the attendant excruciating pain. Not stopping there though, for motherhood entails much more than giving birth, caring, nurturing and many times denying our self what we need to satisfy what our baby wants. I am hoping that many of us will conceive world peace in that kinda way and work, mostly on ourselves, not others now, till this baby becomes a phenomenon.

Advice- Mostly, I want to tell young people to stop believing the lies that generations have told them and create a new reality for themselves. Because I am not faithless, I want you to know that a foundation in faith is essential and sorry to disappoint, it’s not all about you, there is such a bigger picture but you are such a vital color in that picture, take your place for without you, the canvas would lack an essential ingredient to complete the BIG PICTURE; YOU!!!


World peace cometh!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

FeBooary's Girl Ramblings

February.

Or, as I prefer it to be spelt, FeBooary.

I love the month. Everything about it gladdens my heart. From the brevity to the celebrations it brings.

Yes, I was born in February and a host of special people too (the crappy ones don’t count!).

I used to think being born in February conferred some celebrity status but I have found not to all who were.
Still, I love February. Something about the month just feels exactly right!

You, know, like when you sit in your house semi-butt naked to savour a bowl of amala with gbegiri and ewedu with very many bite-sized animal obstacles of the right texture playing around and winking back at you. THAT is the feeling the month elicits in me. I could be broke or buoyant, means nothing really.

February has a flavour, all its own.

This one is no different.

I usually self-moderate and I do this more than normal in February.

Like I woke up with a need to go see my father’s grave and drove a 5hour round trip just to sit there and say, ‘hey Dad, blab la bla…….. and five minutes later, I was making the trip back. He didn’t answer but I felt his presence tangibly and what his arms around me should feel like and I am in a better place for making the trip.

I have thanked God a lot too in recent times.
For life, for great health in spite of all challenges, for the girls and their health and natures. As different as chalk and cheese, yet, they thrive.
With their very somehow Mom. I do what I can, I make their Dad do what he ought and I commit the rest to God cos He ultimately is their owner, Father and everything.

I am putting a brake on the self-judgement. My BFF who knows me well, will usually call sometime during my day to ask me to cheer up cos she knows I would have been so hyper beforehand and when burnout sets in, I get miserable and think up every single one of the goals I had that I am yet to attain and berate myself but I seem to have outgrown both the high and low. Fingers crossed.

I do wish this were the big 5-0 sha. Maybe becos of the ‘word’ that I received in prayer. I rarely get that so it was a distinct pleasure to receive the word and now, I can’t wait! I trust it will all be according to His word, cos it’s gonna be lit! I know whom I believe!

My HRN, this person who sometimes appears to be a figment of my imagination.  This man, such a rejoicing of my heart. Not perfect, yet, exactly that. I am daily aware of how much I desire and able to articulate cos of how brilliant being with you is.

You know how something happens and you can’t wait to tell this person cos he will say something that will make you laugh and then you do say it and he says something that makes what you thought pale in comparison? But how is someone so very serious and so very playful at the same time? I am shamelessly exhibitionistic while he is intensely private and the balance we strike makes life easy for us both.

Work has been truly tasking and frustrating in parts and exhilarating and so rewarding too! I would be content with a digital x-ray machine, a multi-transducer ultrasound machine and a Radiographer.

Those would send my joy to truly skyrocketing levels but, Nigeria…..the one infection I am unable to rid my heart of.  She daily finds me stuff to pray or agonize over. Sigh.

My parents were both born in FeBooary and thankfully did not make their transition in that month. Random fact.

I didn’t forget Valentine’s, I am just choosing to ignore it. The celebration will not be televised. It is rated intense and not for public consumption.

Angel Jamiu is here covering face. He/She is busy advising me to tone things down. Abeg, who needs a spare angel. I’m tired of Angels with Attitudes. He/She regularly overdoes things, you know, always so extra for which I am usually thankful cos I am anything but ordinary. Still, one would like to be extraordinary in peace.

I realize I am rambling again and it’s all cos of the liberties I have had to take to keep this going.
Anyway, you sha get my drift?

Life is good. And about to get even better.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Planning

I like to plan. Not that it makes me a necessarily great planner, but does that stop me planning?!

I can plan! I can plan to plan sef. Shey you sha get my drift? I can plan for Africa! Which is why I am trying to help y’all. You know how they say those who fail to plan, plan to fail? I don’t want you to fail in 2018. 

So, plan, come, let me teach you how to plan. It really does not matter what you earn, just know that planning can save your life. I am still learning but my willingness to take care of what I can aids me when what I can’t take care of happens.

So, you are an adult. I mean 18+. Plan to take charge of your life in 2018. Accept responsibility for yourself. Don’t go around blaming anyone for anything that happens to you. You will find it easier to solve your problems and will see many people look at you with a new appreciation for this singular reason. Kindly note that it does not preclude you from asking for help when you reach the end of your strength. Just know that it is important that you step up to life first.

Budget for your life. Plan to pay rent, even if you live at home (whether you are over 50 and live in your father’s BQ or you are in your thirties and still have the same room you were born in), the idea is that you act responsibly and put the money aside. Time will tell whether you will use it for rent or it will be a welcome layby for a rainy day. If you live by yourself, include expenses of living by yourself ( power, water, waste management, security) all of which can add up to a tidy sum. Not planning ahead for these expenses can put a strain on your monthly life. Especially if you earn a regular sum every month. For those who don’t, my advice is to pay as many months’ worth when you earn more so that when you earn less, you are not stressed.

Decide what level of well-being you desire and aim for it. For the young, target activities that will keep you fit and active. For the middle-aged, aggressively schedule exercise and medical check-ups. It may sound like one is tempting fate but most ailments are best handled if detected early so it is wise to go and get tested and taken care of than wait to try and recover from anything. For the old, pace yourself, slow down, do less, and enjoy watching others take up your slack. Nurture someone to do what you used to and derive the enjoyment from watching them do it with the same measure of fascination you used to and counsel them to do it better.

Be proactive about your relationships. You know that friend who always waits till you say something before unloading a truckload of gist on you? Don’t be that friend. Stay in touch with family and friends. A text, a short note, e-mail, or a call. I wonder why voicemails are not popular here in Nigeria? They would save us so many calls. And don’t be tempted to just forward a WhatsApp message. Don’t! If like me you feel overwhelmed when you open a message and it continues beyond the screen and I have to scroll and scroll, all you will get is an eye roll. I won’t read it and may never open whatever you send to me again. And if you send any message that requires me to forward to remain alive, happy or demonstrate my love for someone, all that does is make me question your sanity. Don’t!

Plan to achieve something. It does not have to be big, just done by you. When you plan, ensure that you have different goals per time. Aim for an overall goal and then the little tiny pieces that will add up to that whole also. I call mine, short, mid and long term goals. I write about them regularly and I read them when I am feeling like I am not doing anything with my life. It steadies me. Sometimes, I read them and feel really dumb and other times, I read them and wonder who wrote them but I am very self-deprecating so never mind. Not a great example but hey, you get what I mean.

Plan your self-improvement. The thing you struggled with this year, that you think is the singular reason you did not do as much as you desired this year, plan to beat it next year. Search out a strategy and do weekly, monthly check-ups to see how you are doing. You can share with a trusted friend so they hold you accountable. And stay true to the best version of you that you desire.

Plan your entertainment. Reading, partying, holidays and treats. Plan it oh! I am one who loves to read but did very little this year cos my scheduled reading-for-entertainment time was taken up by other things. It is one of the things I am taking back in 2018. I will read for my enjoyment and no one will stop me. And of course I will travel, money permitting. I have found a solution to vacations that are difficult to achieve due to lack of time or money. Staycations where where I am becomes my holiday destination and I find fun stuff to do and daycation where I take a day off and pamper myself into holiday mode. But I am still holding out for a Maldives holiday when my HRN has the time. I need him along to capture the great moments on camera now!

Plan your spiritual time. I cannot dwell too much on this because as a people we already spend too much time here. I would advise, try for quality this year instead of quantity. Search the scriptures for yourself and spend quality time meditating and having conversations with your Creator. Take deep introspective walks into your mind and aim for zen more and more. Then ensure that you can show your faith through your actions more than your words and affect the world with what you have found as you learnt for yourself.

I over plan so don’t worry too much if this seems extreme to you. Just do as little or as much as you desire. That is part of what you must plan to do more of in the New Year. Read all these blogs and do only what appeals to you!

Now, go and live! There are still quite a few days before 2017 is over! Use them well!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

I am most thankful that I don’t have anyone in my life that I need to pretend to care about when I don’t. And vice versa. 2017 did that for me. 

Cleared out any doubts about those I care about and those who care for me. I am weightless in that care department. Those I care about know it and those who care about me are clear to see.

And I remain thankful for BigG. The G.O.D Himself. He awes me daily in How relationship rawks when you are attuned to Him.

I am very thankful for His spirit and how seemingly inconsequential decisions taken on a whim turn out to be divinely orchestrated and arranged for my benefit.

I am thankful for my aloneness. The quality of it is all shades of awesome and it is highly gratifying.

I thank God for the girls. Their personality daily amuses me and makes me feel so good inside. I ask God’s blessings on them as always.

I thank God for HRN. He likes to argue about being HRS but we both know which he is. Nuff said.

I thank God for my workshop.  Such a grand opportunity. I do not take it for granted at any time. And daily, I learn.

I thank God for too many things:

Life, healing and health. 

The wonderful humans in my life who daily uphold and validate me. 

The kindness I come across every single day without fail.

The great people within my very tiny circle. How that circle stays round, I will never be able to understand. They must be very nice people cos me…….. (er, nothing).

My real live friends who know diasefs and my online people who daily prove that friendship is not necessarily a contact sport.

My extended family who daily teach me to try to be better. I dey try.

I am thankful that I learnt that relying on someone shouldn’t hurt. If it does, it may not be cos of you. Maybe they are not worthy of your faith in them. And that may be why they could not step up. And that is okay.

I am thankful that I have never lacked any good thing. Not at any time.

Looking back, I see how all I have ever learned was leading me to here, now and I am so thankful for the hand that guides me and its seeing eye.

Here is the sum of my thankfulity.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Essential Conversations.

My Dad passed a few weeks ago and I miss him horribly.

I didn’t realize I would feel this way cos I figured he would live a very long time and we had all the time we would need to have essential conversations.

Because he was born on the 29th of February, I made jokes that he is just a teenager but I regret not spending more time talking with him. Reason being, he was such an intelligent man and he had ideas that were waaaay beyond his time. I remember thinking how he was very different from many fathers I knew and I hated that when I was little but as I grew older and became a parent, I realized how much of a good thing that was.

My earliest memory of him is being proud that he did not have that sticker that said ‘Suze’ on his car when I was a child. That sticker represented the sum of promiscuity to my young mind and I wanted nothing to do with it. I was very thankful that my dad did not have it on his vehicle.

Before he died, we had reached such equilibrium in relating that I was very grateful for. He hardly ever called me during the day unless it was very urgent and he always checked in on the first of the month which was when I sent him an allowance from my sister and I.

But I realize how many adults do not have essential conversations with their teenagers and how many adults do not have essential conversations with their aged parents. I feel robbed and I do not much like the feeling so I hope pointing this out will help others avoid this kind of feeling.

So, the essential conversations I wish I had with him are these:

Ask your parents where they would like to be buried and tell your children this information. It is better to be thought morbid and know than to flounder at deciding when the unthinkable happens.  Expand the conversation to include how they would prefer to be preserved. A number of people baulk at being preserved and would rather be buried immediately, I personally would prefer to be cremated but that is me. I am sufficiently aware of the organic nature of the human body to know it’s all just nitrogenous waste but some attach more than its housing value to it and that also is okay.

Ask who they would like to bless with whatever they have acquired. And this is tricky so as not to be seen as grabby. It may appear as being forward so there may be a very important requirement to this. Be self-sufficient when you ask so that your parent is not bewildered at your reasons for wanting to know. As a parent, let the child know what your wishes are about administering your estate or better still, write a will and let your child know who has it. I have written a will for many years on my laptop even though I have not notarized it and I have told my older daughter about it. It may sound morbid but even if it is not legal, it will serve as a guide for my child in any eventuality.

Ask about your parent’s child hood. I was very surprised to realize that I knew very little about my father’s childhood when he passed. It seemed like he was born as a Daddy and I didn’t like it. I even got his age wrong cos I only had one reference year, 1939 which turned out to have been the year his parents got married and not his birthday. It was my Uncle who then gave me the correct information stating that their parents got married in 1939, had a set of twins who passed away before my Dad was then born in 1943.


Tell your child your stories. Let them understand who you are by reason of your history. Spend time telling your stories. As Africans, we already have the culture of storytelling. We do not have to work so hard to do it. The major problem is if we do not cultivate intimacy with our children. It makes sharing inane details difficult. 

Tell them what will aid them in areas that you have struggled with. Even if you think they are doing great. Help them decide who they can be in light of who you are. 

As I prepare to send my Dad off, I am encouraged to speak of who he was. A classmate asked me to share my thoughts about him on my Class of 95 UI Vet Whatsapp group and I wrote this:

'My dad was a brilliant person who lived life on his own terms and we are more alike than I care to admit. He was an Accountant with the Federal Ministry of Establishments who decided to retire to farm. We lived on the (Lagos) Island till he decided he wanted to be a farmer, so we moved to Badagry when I was 9. He spent all that time till his death being a farmer but he is more well known as a youth educator. He was at one time the National Secretary of the Boys Brigade in Nigeria and helped to get troubled youth off the streets into churches doing one thing or the other. He organized camps and I remember once at the camp where a coup was staged and he was 'imprisoned'. I wept when they took him to the 'guardroom' blissfully unaware that it was for fun. It was after the Dimka coup so I was pretty scared. We have always had our differences but always knew we were very alike so we were very forgiving of each other's idiosyncrasies. He raised my sister and I to question everything and to respect only the deserving. He was faaaar beyond his time and he died like he lived, on his own terms. He was found with a cup of tea in front of him, sitting on his favourite chair in his room'.

I am learning to speak to my daughters more and be less introspective and I hope it will stand them in good stead when the time comes for them to say what their mother meant to them. 

Omo rere a gbeyin gbogbo wa o, amin.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Things My Father taught me…..

A week ago, I got a  call that shifted me sideways. I got a call that my father Mr Joel Sunday Adefolarin died. 

My relationship with him has always been beyond father-daughter and mostly in the way that is difficult to explain. I went and saw him and transported his body to be preserved. 

I had awoken that morning and tweeted about my emotional state unbeknownst to me, my spirit already knew what my body was unable to comprehend.

In the past week, I have stayed mostly awake. Not by choice cos I am exhausted but I have found sleep very elusive. To get three hours of sleep, I have had to down liquids I should stay far from and even then. My eyes are puffy like I have been crying but I haven’t.

I decided I would write. HRN has been fabulous calling my attention to how dejected I looked when he saw me and asking me to cheer up. In his characteristic jocular fashion, he helped me see that mourning was the wrong response and to try and see this in the light of a celebration of life. I agreed and hopefully have turned the corner.

I trust that following this piece, I will sleep soundly for a long time.

The things my father taught me.....
1. Hard work does not kill- when we first moved to the farm, my father had the idea to make it a family homestead and so we, his daughters did all the farm work. There are hardly any tasks done on a farm that I cannot undertake. As a teenager, I offloaded truckloads of 50kg bags of corn with my back, made fish meal from scratch, planted harvested and processed cassava into garri and fufu while being in charge of a pen of chickens that I had sole responsibility for, from day old to point of lay. If hard work could kill, I would have died before age 13.

2. The elements are there to serve you- rain, sun, they meant nothing to my father. Other than mutual respect, they did their thing while he did his, they went mostly unnoticed. If it was raining and you ran inside, my father would calmly ask if you had finished your task and if you pointed out the rain, he would ask if you are made of salt. Usually, you turned back and faced your task.

3.  Money is just a tool- he it was who taught me how money is just a tool and a very bad master. If he had, he spent. If he didn’t, he was fine. There was no money too large to give to something he believed in. If he felt you were unworthy, you could be dying and he would let you know the money he had was for so and so and it was his prerogative to spend it as he felt as its owner.

4.Write things down- after the debacle with the ex, I am not sure this is such a good thing but I learnt it from him. If he had half a thought, he would write it down while he thought about the other half. I write mostly everything down.

5. He believed people- you had to have serially exhibited bad behavior before he would believe you could do wrong. He believes in the goodness of every individual. I do too. He worked with young people and was able to get quite a number of young people off the streets into the Boys Brigade in the 70s because of this singular trait. He just didn’t believe there was a bad child. He believed influences could make a person miss their way but always had hope.

6.  He lived on his terms- some may see this as stubbornness or selfishness but I am not sure it’s anyone’s right to make that call. One thing you cannot say he refused to do was own his choices. He did. I dare not say more.

7. Forgiving One’s self for bad choices- he taught me this well. I have had to do same and I understand how it is very important to have the quality of life you need for yourself.

There are so many other things he taught me that I am not ready to share. Maybe I am not even aware of some of them as yet.

I am looking forward to celebrating him and grateful for the time and relationship we had.

Sun re o, Baba elediye 3.50, Pa Ade-Idowu, Baba Idowu, My Daddy Daddy. I am sure you have met up with Elizabeth Iyabo, Aunty mi Yinka and Adefolarin Junior.  
R.I.P.