Monday, January 31, 2011

Bits and Pieces from here and there...

This is a rather random piece, with bits and pieces from all over...

# Lesson Learnt:
No matter how strong/hard you are, a broken heart must be given due time to heal. It should not be ignored, wished away, plastered over, prayed and fasted away, etc. Attempting to do so is like putting band-aid on an untreated sore. Sure, it will look pretty and put-together on the outside, but the wound festers within. 

# It is the 21st century but some people do not have the basic freedom to worship. The Bible is still a banned book in many places. Shame to those of us who have all the freedom and allow our bibles to collect dust on our shelves. Yes, I said us. I am guilty of this from time to time.

# Since my dreams of learning how to sew and become a closet fashion designer have been put on hold, I unleashed my creative juices on crocheting. Here is my first project *read the first project fit to be shown in public* 

# There is this issue that has been on my mind a lot this week. Your insight will be much appreciated.

Preamble: If you claim to love someone, you should either be able to accept them, with whatever religion they ascribe to, or leave them be. It is that same religion that helped mold them into the man or woman you met and fell in love with. 

Question: With Muslims believing 'Islam is the only true faith...' and Christians believing 'Jesus is the way, the truth and the life...', how do I promise to live with my spouse who I love and want the best for, accepting to never try and convert him/her? How do I say I love them, knowing(or at least, believing) the path they follow will not lead them to Heaven, Paradise, or whatever I believe man's ultimate destination should be?

(PS: I will not even attempt to extend this to friendship, that can of worms will be too big to contain)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Missing you (The poem that got me into trouble)

I did not intend to write about you
But I picked up my pen, looked at the paper
And thoughts of you flew unbidden from my mind
Streaming down my right hand,
into the pen and onto this sheet

I wasn't even thinking about you when I began writing this
But once I started, memories of you, of us,
came flooding out of the innermost recesses of my mind
Where I had stored them to ensure
That they were never lost to me

These memories came jumping at me,
flooring me with emotions I had long forgotten
- or so I thought. I remember all the smiles
you put on my face and how being with you
Is like nothing else I've experienced on earth

I would have argued my memory wasn't photographic
But these pictures, of your chiselled jaw,
of your dark, honeyed lips, high definition and not photo-shopped
are telling me otherwise as I wonder where this poem is going
and whether it is going anywhere at all

I picked my pen cos there were thoughts
demanding to be put into words, demanding to be let out
I did not know what they had to say
but they insisted  on being heard
And now, laid bare for all to see, especially you...

Is my heart's longing to beat next to yours
Is my mind's wish for more such memories
Is my emotions desire to come out of hiding
Is my body saying so many things
I don't know which one to put down

To say I miss you mocks what I feel
I close my eyes, take a deep breath and smell you
My breath slows down, I calm down and can feel you
Holding my hand, letting me know you are right beside me
That miles and miles of sand and water don't matter

That I don't need to sit here and wonder
That I'm only mirroring how you feel
That you miss me too, and one day at a time is fine for now
That no matter what the future holds for us,
Today, I love you and you love me too... and it's enough

for now... Je t'aime.

Monday, January 24, 2011

An insiders view on Eating Disorders (Bulimia, to be specific)...

*Eating disorders break my heart. It is more common than we think. A 'friend' shared her story with us at a meeting and I was as shocked and surprised as the next person* I had her recapture her story...

‘HELLo, I’M cESCA and I’m bulimic’. I paused and looked across the room, waiting for the words to sink in. Most gazes I met were looking expectantly at me, waiting for the punchline to the joke I HAD to be telling. I don’t blame them. At UK size 20, an eating disorder was the last thing one would think of when one saw me.

I smiled and turned sideways so they could better appreciate my girth, and, if I’m to be honest, make my pronouncement even more profound. ‘I can see many of you are shockprised’ I started “You’re probably wondering what the punchline is, convinced this has got to be a joke. No, it is not a joke. I AM bulimic and yes, I’m still fat”

I get this reaction all the time. Many people assume to have an eating disorder, you have to be thin as a rail. It is a common misconception. Anorexia, by definition, ‘forces’ you to be thin. But the binge and purge cycle associated with bulimia has varying results. In my limited experience, the thin bulimics usually have a percentage of anorexia attached or have both throwing up and excessive exercise as their purge.

For me, throwing up is not about losing weight. I have given up on my body responding to my wishes. I throw up to feel in control. I throw up to show that if I really wanted to, I could slim down. I throw up to tell my body that it can crave things and make me eat; but it can’t force me to keep the food down. I throw up for the attention and concern I get in the bathroom…

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wisdom of Experience

I was recently asked by an inquiring young mind, as she watched her parents renew their vows on their silver jubilee. 'Sister Oye, do you think I'll be able to find a man as handsome and awesome as Daddy?' I smiled and whispered words that exposed my age and experience. 

'Sweetheart', I said, giving her a hug. 'Finding a great guy should be the least of your worries at seventeen. In fact, it's child's play compared to how to keep him once you find him. For now, I want you to promise me something. Focus your energy on becoming a woman as awesome as mommy. Learn all you can about how she kept Daddy around for all these years. In doing so, you will not only learn how to keep him once you find him, You will recognize him as soon as he arrives...'

Monday, January 17, 2011

What your grades really mean???

##From a course outline I chanced upon on the internet...

The purpose of grades is to provide a signal of your aptitude and potential to yourself, the department, the university, future employers,and others.

Here is what I believe those signals should indicate for a graduate-level course:
A - Thorough understanding of the material, and demonstrated ability to apply the concepts to problems beyond the scope of the course.
B - Good understanding of the material but unclear whether the student would be able to extend the concepts beyond the course.
C - Failed to achieve of the objectives noted above.
D - A lot worse than C.
F - Forgot to withdraw from the class 

 SMH! Na pass mark bi A dat o...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On Friendship and Breakups...

DISCLAIMER: This is one of those posts inspired by many things. Do not read too much into it.

It’s kind of strange I’m writing this, because just a few weeks ago, I was thinking of how some breakups should be celebrated with champagne because the relationships were toxic and both parties are better off, if not now, in the long run.

I overheard a conversation today that made me think down another road and the usual ensuing spiral of thoughts, memories, flashbacks and experiences, whether first- or third-hand, birthed this post.

I am writing this as a personal letter and being female, the significant other will be a guy; please feel free to replace the pronouns and references to suit your ear and/situation when reading to yourself


Dear Friend,

When I tell you about a breakup, I am not asking for a co-signature on how horrible a guy he was and how I am so much better off without him. Whether it was for a decade or a month, for some period in my life, he meant the world to me. If he was a jerk, I probably know by the time I’m telling you and I know you mean well, but your repeating that to me doesn’t help me much.

I loved him, or at least believed I did. I deemed him worthy of my time and affections. Whilst you were busy with your work and own relationship, chasing your dreams and doing you, he listened to all my fears, hopes, dreams and aspirations. He made me smile. He tolerated my nonsense. He held me when I was afraid and told me I could go through whatever it was that had me scared.

I’m crying now because I’m hurting and fine, you could say he’s the reason for my tears. But I remember many times I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants, thanks to him. I remember many smiles he put on this tear streaked face. And I remember many times he was the one who wiped away, instead of caused these tears.

Please refrain from ‘I told you so’ and ‘I knew this would happen’ Can we talk about those when I don’t have tears streaming down my cheeks? Right now, I just need my friend to listen, hold my hand and share my pain.

When I’m done crying and your goofy, cheering-up antics succeed in molding my lips into an upward arc, then, we can talk. When you can tease me about my tears without causing another geyser of hot, scalding tears to burst forth, then we can do the postmortem. 
What do we talk about? Forget him, let’s start with me. Ask me what made him worth a try in the first place. My reasons and motives for dating him are a good place to start. Most at times, with the right questions and probing, if it was truly so, you won’t have to tell me ‘I told you so’ I’ll tell you, you told me so. And whilst it may feel good for me to ‘give you your stone’ as termed in local parlance, do not dwell there.

The purpose of this exercise is not who has been proven right, but to help me on the process of becoming a better me. As a friend, you are helping me figure out where I may have gone wrong and we’re starting at the decision to date him, because the beginning is always a good place to start, not so you can gloat. If you find yourself enjoying making me squirm and saying ‘otwiala!’ please hand in your friendship card and exit. A friend shouldn’t enjoy seeing my distress and pain, self-inflicted, or no.

You can ask me what I liked most about being with him, why I stayed and shared whatever length of time of my life with him. What I didn’t like about him and why I stayed anyway.

Ask me what ended the relationship, and what I think ended it. They may be two different things. If you have any ideas of where I may have gone wrong, this is a good point to lovingly suggest it. Play the devil’s advocate. Remind me of things my pain, anger and hurt may be making me overlook or see wrongly. Use your friend’s privileges here. It might save us having this conversation again.

If he cheated or left me for another, were there any attitudes of mine that you think may have pushed him away and driven him into another’s arms? If he was violent, do I have a waspish tongue that makes even you glad you’re not my man? Did I make you wish you could shake some sense into me at times?

Now, I am not condoning unfaithfulness or violence of any sort or form. You know I hate both with a passion. But I’d rather you tell me to my face, rather than to Akosua, how you think I stopped dressing up and looking good and gained an unattractive twenty pounds once we started dating or got married. I’d rather you tell me, rather than Ama, how you hated how I talked down to my man in public.


Why are you my friend if you can’t tell me when I go wrong? Or in this case, where I went wrong? If you told me before and I didn’t listen, there’s no harm repeating it now. Even if I resent you and think you unsupportive, in my sober moments, I’ll be sure to consider the veracity of your statements.

You see, there are many people out there who will tell me what they think I need to hear, that he was no good, I’m better off without him, that he doesn’t know what a good thing he’s let go, etc., etc. Many of them will just be paying lip service and some will laugh at me and gloat once I’m out of earshot.

You can tell me those things too, when they are true, and when I need a morale booster. But dear friend, when I tell you about a break up, more important than a need for comfort and a reason to smile and move on, is a silent plea… to help me, to not only get out of the great pain and heartache, but to avoid it in future. A plea to help me learn any lessons there might be in the cloud of heartache, and hold me accountable to avoiding the same pitfalls in future.

When I tell you about a break up, it’s not just for chocolate and ice cream; nor phone calls and text messages enquiring how I’m holding up. It’s not only for encouraging scripture about how God comforts the broken hearted. It’s also for you to pray with me that God opens my heart and mind to learn the lessons therein.

Even when he was just a jerk, my choice of him, above all others, is something we should look into. Even if he had everyone fooled, your prayers are needed that I don’t meet another such nor attract only such. And if he was Mr. Wonderful and I drove him away, need I say more? Your work is cut out for you.

So you see, friend, when I tell you about a break up, pamper me some, let’s go through the dreary postmortem and vaccination against future attacks.

Only then, my friend, if he deserves it, can we make a sand sculpture or snow man of him and shoot it dead; Call him every bad name under the sun and make up some more; Open the champagne and let it rain; Celebrate a relationship from which we can be sure I emerged stronger, wiser and more prudent…

Cos no matter how ugly his nose or character is, I loved him, there was a reason. We broke up, there is a reason. And until I learn my lessons and heal, these reasons will keep coming back to haunt me… and you… because you’re my friend :) :) :)

Your Friend, Me

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Talk to me...

The importance of communication in any relationship cannot be overemphasized. From our relationships with God, to family, friends and lovers. C'est tres important.

No wonder Nigerian mothers ask their daughters 'Who are u talking to these days?' when fishing for news of a prospective son in law. Just as what you focus on becomes your reality, who you talk to most, captures the most of your attention and interest, and ceteris paribus, has your heart...

Letter from a Contract Worker 
by Antonio Jacinto 
from Angola, is 
one of my favorite African Poems. It highlights the helplessness the inability to communicate in a relationship can bring like nother. The despair in the end, says it all... Please enj
oy the p
oem thinking 
of h
ow happy they w
ould b
be if she actually heard all he had t
o say...

 wanted to write you a letter
my love,
a letter that would tell
of this desire
to see you
of this fear
of losing you
of this more than benevolence that I feel
of this indefinable ill that pursues me
of this yearning to which I live in total surrender ...

I wanted to write you a letter
my love,
a letter of intimate secrets,
a letter of memories of you,
of you
of your lips red as henna
of your hair black as mud
of your eyes sweet as honey
of your breasts hard as wild orange
of your lynx gait
and of your caresses
such that I can find no better here ...
I wanted to write you a letter
my love,
that would recall the days in our haunts
our nights lost in the long grass
that would recall the shade falling on us from the plum
the moon filtering through the endless palm trees
that would recall the madness
of our passion
and the bitterness
of our separation ...

I wanted to write you a letter
my love,
that you would not read without sighing
that you would hide from from papa Bombo
that you would withhold from mama Kieza
that you would reread without the coldness
of forgetting
a letter to which in all Kilombo
no other would stand comparison ...

I wanted to write you a letter
my love
a letter that would be brought to you by the passing wind
a letter that the cashews and coffee trees
the hyenas and buffaloes
the alligators and grayling
could understand
so that if the wind should lose it on the way
the beasts and plants
with pity for our sharp suffering
from song go song
lament to lament
gabble to gabble
would bring you pure and hot
the burning words
the sorrowful words of the letter
I wanted to write to you my love ...

I wanted to write you a letter ...

But oh my love, I cannot understand
why it is, why it is, why it is, my dear
that you cannot read
and I - Oh the hopelessness! - cannot write!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daddy and I - Part III

Most people I know have horror stories about their stepmothers. Not I. I am not saying my step-mum was an angel or anything but she never gave me reason to lie awake at night plotting the cleanest way to get rid of her. It may have something to do with something my Dad said I did the first week she moved in that established the fact that we were on the same team.

My Dad tells me the first week my step-mum moved in, I scheduled a meeting with her and made her sign a crayon scribbled contract that said she wasn't going to leave or hurt papa like mama did. He said I told her I'd come get her if  I ever saw Papa sad. What can I say? Too many movies, I guess. But hey, it worked.

Auntie May (my step-mum) and I were a team. She had two children before marrying daddy and one of them, a girl only a year younger than me, came to live with us but I can confidently say I was and am her favourite daughter and I on the other hand, wouldn't trade her for all the tea in China, nor all the rubies in India. (Giving up the rubies will hurt a little more, though)

She taught me all the secret recipies she had used to capture Daddy and taught me the way to a man's heart was indeed through his stomach. of course, when I grew older, she explained that it was through his stomachs, both the upper stomach and the lower one ;).

When I got to University, She was prouder than a peacock who just won a beauty pageant. In my third year, and three children later (each with a different man), my biological mother called me. She cried crocodile tears and I was about to concede that she had changed when she dropped the bombshell - She wanted me to help her kick Auntie May out. She had seen the wrong in her ways and wanted Daddy back.

The nerve! I couldn't believe this woman. Fourteen years later! Needless to say, I told her what she needed to hear and I only refrained from saying more because of Ephesians 6:1-3. She called my younger sister who also gave her a piece of her mind.

on my wedding day, as dad went to his seat fighting tears after walking me down the aisle, I watched my step-mum pat his back with even bigger tears in her eyes. The pride and happiness on her face was almost blinding. And I looked to the back where my biological mother was sitting. Auntie May had invited her without my knowledge and begged me to let her stay because that alone would be punishment enough. Looking at my biological mother's pained expression, she couldn't have been more right.

As I looked back at Daddy and smiled at him, he mouthed 'I love you' and I turned to my groom and smiled. If he was half the father Daddy way, and I was half the woman my mother was (yes, I call Auntie May my mother because it takes more than an egg to be a mother), our children were going to be the luckiest kids on earth :) :) :)

And they lived happily ever after... Lol. How else was I going to end? The story is still being lived. :) :) :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Finding a good fit - of bras and love

Disclaimer: The more I learn about human relations, the more I realize I don't know. This is not a foolproof recipe for how to find and keep a perfect fit... Reader discretion is advised :)

''Finding ‘The one’, if any such exists, is kind of like shopping for a great pair of shoes. It’s really difficult. You have to go through a lot of ugly, cheap, cheesy ones to find a really great one. Finding the man of my dreams will be a great accessory''. Wait, don’t boo me yet, I’m just paraphrasing Megan from this season’s ‘The Bachelor’

Personally, I would liken it to finding a good bra. You really have to take your time and find as close to a perfect fit as possible. Otherwise, you will not get the requisite support, comfort and dependability required of a bra. A good bra has to be pretty enough so you can proudly show it off to other people when you have to (think medical examination, peeps ;) get your minds on track!). It also has to be in good condition so you’ll be proud to own up to it, should someone chance on it and wish to know the owner.

A good bra has to make you feel good, and you also have to treat it right so it lasts for a long time, possibly, till it has no life in it anymore. A bra can make or unmake an outfit, especially when you know you’re a handful ;). Also, good bras are expensive and often require more care.

As we grow, we may outgrow our bras and change bra sizes. Motherhood, weight gain/loss, old age, etc. all have their influences on our bra sizes. Wear and tear also has its influence on the bra. No matter how wonderful a bra is, and how great it makes us feel and look, sometimes, we just have to let it go. Analogously, people seldom remain the same throughout the time we know them. Experiences and environment affect how they see and feel about things, and may even impact how they feel about you.

When bras stretch and tear, we throw them out. Herein lies the difference - people are not disposable and we cannot throw them out and buy a new, 'better fitting one' whenever it strikes our fancy. This is especially true if you've said 'I do' People have feelings where bras don't and with people, the stretching goes both ways. 

I guess with people, the wash and care instructions differ. We hardly, if ever, seek to find a forever bra. But in marriage, we hope to have found a forever fit. When life's experiences, events and environments change us, we may shrink, enlarge, or fray and the other may do same. I guess the trick is to choose in such a way that wear and tear can be contained because truth be told, you're going to have to choose how to handle the people you love on a case by case basis. And even when you find 'The one' you may have to tweak how you treat him/her on a day to day basis.

Just as we invest in a good bra and pray it lasts, I guess our best bet is to choose our partners diligently and pray it lasts. However, there is another twist. Whereas in the case of a bra, you are the only one who makes an effort to make it last, with people, it must be from both sides. Our partners are not the only ones who change. We change too and they must accommodate us, just as we accommodate them.

This is the spiral of thoughts my mind went on when I was watching the show. Now to go finish watching the show J J

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Behold He Comes...

I had two thought provoking dreams over the Christmas holidays. At first I thought they were due tovereating and decided not to write about them. But if you continue reading, you will find that this is a very strange theme for overeating dreams and perhaps, it's the decision not to write about them that was rather inspired by overeating and laziness :) 

I was just kidding about the overeating part. These dreams were too serious for such thoughts. I just felt they were memos God was sending me for me but now, I feel this was to share.

Now, we all do not know the exact time or date that Christ will come but that is really not the essential thing. The essential thing is to know where you will go WHEN He comes because He will come. Are you Christian? Do you believe Christ will come? Are you prepared? The lesson I learnt from the dream is that some 'Christians' will be surprised at the rapture. It's like we have made accepting Jesus Christ an insurance policy just in case it is true He will come. Do you really have unshakable faith in what you believe? If you do not wholeheartedly believe, pray for faith and strength to carry the faith through. Bottom line: There is no surface swimming with faith. It's either you believe or you don't.

The second dream was a reminder of Hebrews 12:1 New International Version (©1984)
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" 

All tooften, we play with the sin that entangles us and by so doing, coddle our 'sickness'. I dreamt of a mother with a baby who had a serpent entangled around his neck. The mother made a few attempts to fight off the serpent and then gave up, telling herself the serpent wasnt trying to hurt the son and so perhaps just wanted to play and carried the child with the serpent around his neck and played with the boy, carrying the serpent and the boy home. The serpent stood for the sins that so easily entangle us.

What serpent have you carried home because it seemed too harmless for you to spend all that time and effort fighting? Remember, a serpent will always be a serpent no matter how harmless it appears and there is no serpent too small or trivial to fight. It is after all, the little foxes that destroy the vine more easily and unnoticed.

Songs of Solomon 2:15 New International Version (©1984)
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom

God help us all not to miss the mark. Amen!