Archive for the ‘DAY 2 DAY’ Category

2015-08-21 11.04.12Have you seen this before? Or maybe I should start with, what’s your attitude to beggars, destitute, and people in difficult places?

It’s manifold for me, and I’ll try to explain. First off, there’s the anger that arises from the ‘yet we have a government and there’s a stark difference between the rich and poor, and inequality, etc.’ part of me.

There’s also the ‘why is this person with this ailment/this old/this young on the streets begging’ part, because I wonder where their families are, etc.

There’s the outrage when I see a young person with two hands, two legs, speaking (English or whatever language), doing nothing but begging. It really annoys me. Why? Blue, white, pink, or even orange collared, there must be something… I broke off on that sentence because sometimes I’m not really sure. Truth is there are no jobs readily available anywhere, but even more in Nigeria. And things like electricity, access to seed funding, etc. mean that entrepreneurs don’t really have it easy, except your daddy is a billionaire. I agree. I still however believe there must be something someone can do. I don’t know, what do you think?

While you’re thinking, here’s what happened to me a few days ago. I had one of the longest days, planning an event. Was running to and fro with my staff buying stuff, getting things ready. And then in the market we see a young man pushing an elderly man in a wheelchair, brandishing hospital papers that were barely legible. I did try to read it from the car but I couldn’t. I noticed a little child in their company though, carrying a walking stick taller than him. I gave them a little token, and we moved on.

After I dropped off my staff, I had to stop to get a new SIM, and to switch between two networks. When I came out of the store, a young man walked up to me, begging. To be honest I thought he wanted to rob me and I was already doing a quick recap of the boxing techniques I picked up recently. Then I figured he was begging and I just shook my head, got into my car, and drove off.

About two minutes from where I left, a very young boy came up to clean my windscreen, and I said no. Normally the next thing they do is beg for money, but this one just walked off really quickly to the next car. And immediately I asked myself a few questions, including what a child that young was doing on the streets past 8pm in the name of hustling.

And then I desperately wanted to give him the groundnuts I’d bought, and a bit of money. Problem, how to get his attention cos he wasn’t looking my way, didn’t turn when I honked, and there was gridlock traffic so I couldn’t move. I finally got to him, and gave him both. His smile (big, wide, pure, with his stained teeth), made me tear up. From my side mirror I watched him look in the wrap I gave him, then start shouting.

Paranoid me, I couldn’t make out what he was saying so I started panicking, especially since I saw a bigger boy running towards him. But that one got to him, and my little friend gave him some of the groundnuts and both of them started eating. And then I started crying.

And then I drove off.

I don’t know… I just don’t know…

Good people of the Fairy GodSister’s blog!

How many times do you feel like everything isn’t working? Like maybe business isn’t going great, deals aren’t coming in, your relationship isn’t worthy to be used as an example talk less of as a goal, and you’re spits away from quitting?

There are days like that, and it’s okay to feel that way (I guess). What I don’t think we should do, is dwell in the feelings of self-pity, sadness, discontent, whatever. Why?

Because (and I know we shouldn’t start sentences with ‘because’) we have it better than most! There is so much suffering in the world (all you need to do is open your eyes and look around you), but we are not them. Whatever it is we are going through, there are folk who are not only passing through worse, but have no hope of stuff getting better anytime soon (or ever).

I did some thinking recently, and these were the tweets those thoughts produced…Screenshot 2015-08-15 16.20.36

I was traveling between Abuja and Asaba – one of the four or six times I’ve been this year (gist about that will come later) – and I went by road. The car made a comfort stop at an eatery in Lokoja and I needed to wee. So I went to the bathroom and the lady there would always let me use a toilet she otherwise left locked up. So, I would always tip her.

On this trip though, she wasn’t there but the other lady looked at the way I scrunched my nose at the open ones and asked me to come use that locked one. I used it, and left. When I bought stuff we were going to eat in the car, I felt a strong urge to go and give her my change. So I went back, gave her N150 (less than £1 and $1 these days), and her knees hit the floor so fast with the thank yous gushing I gave her an extra N200 (total now just over a pound and a dollar) and literally disappeared.Screenshot 2015-08-15 16.20.51

No jokes. No jobs, and homeboy needed a job desperately. So he now works as a driver. After graduating from university, with a good grade.

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To put it in context, N500 is less than $3 and under £2. That is ‘plenty money’ to some. Are we just bit more appreciative of our circumstances?

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Ahhh, this was a crazy day I will never forget. How do you get to the point where you attempt to strangle your 11 month old baby to death because there’s no money to feed her? https://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/bringbackourgirls-my-account-of-the-abuja-protests-30-04-2014/

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Are we in agreement? Are we a bit more grateful? Things will get better, I promise you; just keep working at it. But till they do, let’s be grateful for where we are, what we have, and what we’ve been delivered from.

Love, light, and God’s great blessings!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, sons and daughters of God!

How have you been o!

I saw Eziaha’s tweet early this morning, where she literally said, ‘go and write Chioma’. I hear you Sister! How’s KingDaveed? Please hurry up and have a girl so my son will marry her biko (you have to be extra calculative and sharp in the spirit to catch that)!

Brethren, what have you been up to? How’s work, your family, your loved ones, your enemies? All doing well I hope, especially your enemies, so they can see the feast God has laid out for you, and watch you chomp it down! I was having a conversation with a close friend this morning and it led me to pray, “may we never become collateral damage/may we never get caught in the middle”. Somebody say Amen!

For instance, a person is standing somewhere, two others start fighting or a robbery takes place or a car careens off the road, all three affect the innocent bystander, sometimes fatally, or with life-changing injuries. Not our portion. No accidental or wilful damage around us in Jesus name!

Talk about trusting God to order our steps out of trouble and into great things. Not a joke o!

Moving on, quick update.

Attachment-1

This Saturday!

The story behind this consecration will be told later, muuuuuuuch later. For now, all I can say is a big thank you to God for making it happen, for the lifting, the promotion, and the attendant grace and wisdom to function in the new office.

This is what I’ve been immersed in the last few weeks, working with the most brilliant senior committee ever to ensure that the day is glorious, everything goes well, and the name of the Lord is magnified above any other person or thing.

Can I also say that whatever has held down your own lifting will either leave it, or will leave; either way, your lifting is closer than you think! Amen!

So, fingers crossed I can write up one more post before the day, otherwise, y’all are going to wait till this wave passes!

Light, love, and God’s great blessings!

FGS!

I am an associate member of the Royal Commonwealth Society, have been for just under a year now. It is such an honor and a privilege to belong/be inducted into/volunteer with/ be called to be part of these prestigious organizations and I keep praying that I live up to the expectations my membership of these bodies bring.

So, I was informed by the headquarters that there was a commemorative lecture organized by the Nigerian arm of the Society (interesting because I didn’t know there was one) and I said I would attend.

Incidentally it was to hold on my birthday so I hoped it would be worth my while. The event slated for 10.30am eventually started an hour later but my minor upset was wiped away with the rendition of the national anthem. I don’t know about you but there is such a joy/deep-seated pride I feel whenever I hear/sing the national anthem. Is it the same for you? Sometimes it leaves me teary-eyed, other times I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have been born Nigerian (warts and all), and then I get teary-eyed again. Lol. My prayer everyday for this country is that our dark nights turn into truly sunny mornings. In Jesus name, amen.

Back to the event, I won’t speak about the parts of the events before the keynote address/lecture because Momma said to shush if it won’t be nice. Can I just say though that we really need to agree on the age for youth in this country? I don’t see how people who can casually have drinks with my dad and uncles are classed as youth or leaders of youth.

The theme of the event was ‘Democracy and good governance’ and the rest of this post is dedicated to snippets from the guest lecture delivered by first chaplain to the State House, Rev. Prof. Amb. Yusufu Ameh Obaje.

Fun fact about the former chaplain: the entire time he served under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he refused a salary the entire time he was there.

Fun fact 2: He wants to be governor of Kogi; matter of fact it is a calling from God for him.

*Nigeria has left the practice of democracy and has been practicing a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich for a while now.

Obstacles to good governance include:

  1. Spiritual blindness: there can’t be good governance if the leaders do not pay sincere attention to their spirituality, denying them any cognizance of the relationship between God and man, and man and man.
  2. The tripartite evil of wickedness, poverty, and ignorance. The former chaplain told the story of some young men he saw in 1982 in Ilorin, Kwara state breaking the pavement because their money fell inside. How much? What is this sum that will make you destroy infrastructure provided by the government for your use/enjoyment? N50.

He also talked about this evil we perpetuate when we drive – someone is driving slowly (most likely on the speed lane) and then when you try to overtake them and they can see an oncoming vehicle, they start to speed. Has it happened to you before? Have you done it to someone before?

  1. Misplaced priorities. Nigeria has no national ideology or strategic objective. What is that one thing that makes us inspired, makes us dream, or makes us do the things we do, not for self, but for the development of our country? Nothing.

In 1946, the North, West, and the East merged with the ideologies that political power, education, and material wealth (respectively) was the key to power/domination/all things. How many coups and elections after, the three zones still think the same way, and so we are where we are.

The professor, who has over 50 publications to his name also talked about the five things humans originally have/had no control over – gender, place of birth, ethnicity, complexion, and religion. Why then discriminate and fight with the next man over things you had no control over at birth?

Of course advancements in science can tweak two on this list… lol.

He rounded up with a bit of talk about what good governance looks/feels like, saying that the fear of God at the center of leadership gives it all the weight/responsibility it should carry.

Corruption first takes root and is bred in the mind before it manifests as viament, theft, misappropriation, etc. If a leader is strong in mind, it will be next to impossible to get him to soil his hands.

He ended by saying religion and politics are two sides of the same coin; religion being the spirit of politics, while politics is the body of religion; and that regardless of how we try, we cannot separate the two.

I really enjoyed listening to the Professor, especially since he chided the organizers for making noise outside the hall and then they would make the same mistakes the crop of rulers we have now are making/have made because they couldn’t suspend their discussions to listen to a lecture they organized! Choi!

Anyway, that was my morning. I left immediately he was done, and the rest of my birthday story is here.

Welcome to November! Whoop! Like play, like play, we’ve come to my favorite part of each year, Christmas! Whoop! Even though technically we’re still like 40 days from it, I’m still excited!

Anyway, a bit about the last week of October and the things I got up to –this last week was super interesting, with lots of mixed feelings/emotions. Start from Monday, and of course I had meetings to attend, and general business to take care of. Met up with my mentor/principal, and spent the evening at an event with him and a few others. Good fun, even though I wished it ended at least 30 minutes earlier than it did.

Tuesday I did quite a bit of reading, prepping for classes I would teach on Wednesday and Thursday. See, I’d been invited by Gatefield Learning to facilitate at training for Nonprofits. Of course it had to do with social media, would I have been teaching them aeronautics or neurology? Ha ha ha. Great things in the offing with Gatefield, and I’m looking forward to a consolidation of that working relationship.

On the first day I taught the basics and history of social media, auditing the social media for their organizations and personal vs corporate communication via social. And on the second day, I took the class through a bit about mobilization via digital, focusing on ingredients for a successful campaign.

So, Wednesday morning, bright and early, JT and I pushed off to the venue of the training, and after standing (and talking) for two hours, I had a bit of lunch, watched a bit of Scandal (more like I binged on 3 episodes at once), and then I went home. I can testify to being marvelously helped, and I was on a high, ready for day two!

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Second day my class started at noon so I didn’t have to run out of my house early in the day but if you know me well, you’ll know I still ran. Lol. Got there, delivered my presentation, and had to leave immediately cos I had other things to do. On the way I chatted with a lady, fresh from university and she told me she was always scared of networking, the thought of meeting new people always terrified her cos she was scared of getting snubbed. It was nice to encourage her and tell her of the benefits these meetings offer.

Then, I went off to a 3pm meeting that didn’t start at 3pm because the person wanted to ‘quickly dash somewhere’. Meeting eventually started at 3.45pm, good thing was it was super fruitful. Couldn’t be more pleased.

Dropped a colleague off about 6.27pm, and then I was battling within myself whether to take JT to be bathed and primed, or to buy Indian takeout for dinner with the fam. Somehow the car wash won over the Indian and I went to give JT a good bath at one of my favorite shops in Wuse 2. Did I mention that for some reason, JT who would go from 0-80 in seconds was having trouble picking speed? I felt like it was God getting me to go slower so I didn’t bother.

I drive into the car wash and the attendant motioned frantically for me to get out of the car. I grabbed my laptop (sigh) and jumped out. Apparently, JT was smoking and my royal majesty didn’t notice!

According to them, I was a few minutes from a ‘knocked engine’ or even worse because the temperature dial of the car was hitting the red notes! My dear, the realization of how bad things could have gone pissed me off and made me super grateful at the same time.

After I gave the car dealer an earful, I rang Ace who dispatched a driver to rescue my now shaking self. Where would we be without friends who give life to being literally ‘a call away’?

Anyway, so the next day they fixed whatever upset JT and made her overheat and all of that unpleasantness. And I still grabbed my Indian that night.

I’m just super grateful for the mercies of God that kept me safe and directed my wheels to the car wash over the Indian restaurant (considering that I love food). So grateful.

 

*Written in November 2014

About 13 years ago, I was playing with Momma’s luscious locks (my mother has gorgeous hair), and I noticed isolated strands of grey. Guess what? I started crying. Quietly at first, but because all mothers have eyes at the back of their heads, she asked why I was crying. Of course I immediately became louder.

But why was I crying? I didn’t want my mother to get old. *smile*

She comforted me, we cuddled, and then she told me everything I already knew – everyone gets old, white hairs are a sign of increasing grace and wisdom, and all those other nice things. All I could see however was my mother getting old and leaving me. And I was terrified to the heavens!

My mom’s a PhD holder, defended her thesis at the ripe age of 61, and I couldn’t be prouder of this unending miracle God gave to us.

However, this song is not about her. It’s about me, and the white hair I now have!

Hian!

So I looked in the mirror yesterday morning after my shower, admiring the beauty that God took his time to mold, and while I was trying to decide what next I want to do with my hair (been through the #TeamNatural, #TeamLocks, and all the other ‘team’ phases) and there it was. Right in the middle of my head, this long, silver strand. Shock, curiosity, awe, fear; I felt them all at once.

“I have white hair”, I tweeted, like I was trying to confirm that to myself.

Here are some of the responses I got.

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I’m turning 29 in a few short weeks (whoop) so obviously the white hair is waaaaaaaaay before it’s time but I’d be lying if I said seeing it didn’t make me stop and think for a minute, ask myself a few questions I will now share with you.

  • What am I doing with my life?
  • Am I happy?
  • Is God proud of me?
  • Am I on the way to where I want to be?

Yeah, that’s it, didn’t want to overthink one strand of hair biko. I’m happy with the answers to those questions, and there’s a fresh resolve to cater to the ones I wasn’t that happy with.

So, what next? Maybe dye a few more strands white?

*wink

 

 

On the 14th of January I attended a parley between 36 young people and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), organized by the Abuja Hub of the Global Shapers Community. The event, which doubled up as the launch of the AMANA Initiative and the Abuja Dialogue Series, was hosted by the U.S. Embassy Abuja. The Commissioner of Police (CP) for the FCT, Wilson Inalegwu, came through with the force PRO, and some other members of his team.

The Cultural Affairs Officer at the Embassy, Bob Kerr, received us, and soon after the introductions were done, the question and answer session began. I made note of things that really stood out for me, and I’ve reproduced that below.

Q: What’s the relationship between the NPF and young people in Abuja?

A: Quite cordial except when they get involved in unwholesome behavior. Apprehension and arrests are never pleasurable events.

On the elections, the CP said the NPF was more than ready to ensure people across the country could go out and cast their votes without fear or concern for their safety. He said we would have noticed, “Already, motorized, static and mobile policing has been increased around the country”.

He also talked about the collaborative nature of the work between all the security agencies, giving an example with the relocation of Internally Displaced Persons  (IDPs) affected by the insurgency in the North East to camps in Abuja. He said the Department of State Security (DSS), military, police, civil defence, etc. worked together to register people so that fleeing combatants and terrorists wouldn’t be able to infiltrate the camps.

The Commissioner admonished young people to eschew (and I hate to sound like I’m writing for a Nigerian newspaper) political thuggery, drugs, and bad behavior.

In response to a question about the time it takes the police to show up when they are called, the police boss said community policing meant it was everyone’s responsibility to secure their areas, and be vigilant. Why? Simple reason is because the police cannot be everywhere at the same time. There are less than 16, 000 officers covering Abuja (morning/working population of about 4.5 million people, reducing in the night-time when people have returned to their homes within and outside the territory). For the entire country, there’s about 387, 000.

What else? Yes, on killings of civilians vs. killings of police officers, the CP said, “the NPF does not condone extra-judicial killings. It is their duty to apprehend, link the accused with the crime, and charge them to court, or let them go. They are only allowed and empowered by law to defend themselves to the full extent.” He also talked about various checks and balances in place to curb excesses and urged us to use the available helplines, Human Rights Desks within the police stations, and the Public Relations Officers to air our grievances.

One of the questions thrown at the Police Commissioner was about the welfare packages of force men who died while carrying out their duties. He said their families would receive N100, 000 towards burial costs, a minimum of five hundred thousand naira minimum insurance, and death gratuity. He also mentioned schemes like Police Officers Wives Association (POWA), and the Police Reward scheme that cater to the family of deceased officers. He acknowledged it wasn’t enough but said like other things that needed fixing, this was being reviewed.

Out of the tons of questions he had to cater to, the commissioner mentioned that they were in talks with Microsoft to develop an app that using geo-tagging, would enable residents reach the police in an emergency, pinpointing their exact location and therefore reducing reaction time. Nice! Amen to development, even though I remember saying he didn’t need to go all the way to Microsoft. Nigeria has more than enough developers to deliver on that!

Finally, the CP shared the helpline numbers for the police (08061581938, 08028940883, 08032003913) pending when they sort out their short code numbers. Store them, and even though the general hope/idea is you don’t have an emergency, there’s nothing as comforting as knowing you have the police close by if you do!

PS: Originally written for and posted on the Global Shapers Website.

First off, no it’s not yet 2015 where I am, still got like 3 hours to go…so start the party without me! Can I just digress real quick and say I can imagine God is having an absolute laugh with these time zones? I think it is genius (of course it is, God is behind it) even though it is one of the hardest things for me to work through!

Anyway, let’s talk about 2014, wrap it up real quick. 2014 was super interesting for me, like really, really interesting. I remember that at the end of December 2013, I was just relieved the year was over and nothing else could go wrong. The things my eyes saw, dang – I’m sure I was the definition of pain, patience, long-suffering, and endurance. I lost people really close to me to death, accidents, etc., and I remember one day I was at the point King David was in the Bible where it said “he cried till he had no more power to weep”. Like I was so cried out, I couldn’t be paid to produce a tear!

Not saying there wasn’t any joy in the year o, of course there was. Just that balanced on a scale, the unhappy easily outweighed the happy (same way everything this current government can claim it has achieved falls flat on its face when it is mirrored against the insurgency/insecurity plaguing the country). People, events, family, friends made 2013 special, there were bright spots in 2013 but it was a difficult year. It was.

Blessed  be God however who causes us to forget the sorrows of the former years, whose love and mercy cancels out our transgressions and qualifies us of things we otherwise wouldn’t be deserving of in a million years. Yup! That’s the God I serve!

In January I felt such a strength within, felt like I knew exactly what I wanted to do with myself – the heights I wanted to attain, the circles I wanted to roll in, and generally, I projected what I wanted to be writing about now. That inner strength carried me through the entire year.

“From your lips to God”s ears” was more than a saying for me this year – I saw/handled things I didn’t even think I was ready for. Like, at some point I was cancelling/rescheduling holidays because I had to accommodate new work! I woke up one day in April and looked at my calendar, and it made me smile. A big, toothy, cheshire-cat type smile…little did I know God hadn’t even scratched the surface of things He had lined up for me!

From addressing 60+ people from three continents at The Hague, to that speaking engagement at the House of Lords, to starting a teaching career (social media of course) both professionally and to youths at church, to working with a team to write a book in 5 days, it didn’t stop. On, and on, and on. God used people to open up fresh opportunities, to push me, force me to be/do better, to push myself, to keep at it. Dr Titi Banjoko, Justina Mutuale, Emilia Asim-Ita, Jacque Onalo, and all the others, God bless you!

And when I crashed in November, God healed me. I was exhausted, my body was screaming for rest. I remember waking up one day and having a mini panic attack because I felt overwhelmed. But God was there, and He healed me, showed me what/how to get through it. And I’m grateful.

My family? Rock solid. Love em to bits! My baby boy is advanced way beyond his age, speaks clearer than any two-year old I know/I’ve known. God is increasing all of us on every side. Momma finished her PhD this year (at 62, whoop); Grace and Progress Family Chapel was born this year too, and is doing great! God is building His church, and nothing can stand against it! I love, love, love you guys!

To Tokes, who knew that meetings in December 2013 would forge a bond so strong we now feel like we’ve known each other for years? Wunmi, bestie of life and destiny, whatever would I do without you? Our latest iyawo!! To Francesca, my personal support system and human chill pill, thank you for sharing your house and heart with me, for real talk, and for that Sunday in April you prayed for me when I literally fell apart. To my sister Adaora, thank you, thank you, thank you. Chief Sista, I just love you. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, I  do!

To every man of God whose word blessed my life, whether in person or online, God bless you. I never sat under a teaching that didn’t bless me, and for that I’m grateful. Very grateful.

For safe travels in 2014 (and it’s been my most mobile year), for provision, for protection, for healing, for direction; the fact that I’m alive is more than enough reason to bow down and worship.

Here’s to incredible things in 2015!

 

 

December 25th 2013 – one Christmas I will never, never, ever forget. For starters, it wasn’t exactly the ‘white Christmas’ I had planned because it rained rather than the romantic snow I was expecting.

Just as well that it didn’t snow though, because there wasn’t any romance to be had either. Due to circumstances beyond my control (also known as not in any way directly orchestrated by me, lol), I became single two days to Christmas. Not like my partner would have been with me on Christmas Day anyway.

Good thing was I had spent the greater part of the 23rd and the 24th cussing myself out for not going to Nigeria and spending the holidays with my family (not an orphan remember) but hey, we live, we love, we learn. So, by the 25th I was spent, and determined to have a day devoid of self-pity, regret, or any form of sadness.

So, what did I do on the day? I woke by 5am, spoke to a friend like 40 minutes after, and we must have talked for an hour or so (thank you so much). Then I watched ‘Eve’, a sitcom my niece introduced me to on YouTube before she left for Nigeria. Hilarious!

Then I downloaded a few songs (Solid Star’s ‘Oluchi’, Flavour’s ‘Ada Ada’, Labirinth’s ‘Express Yourself’, Maverick Sabre’s ‘I need’, and Dr Sid’s ‘Surulere’). And I worked up a sweat dancing to them. Whoop!

What else did I do? Yeah, I spoke to my sister, brother-in-law, and the highlight of my day? BooBoo telling me ‘eeeyah’ (the sound he makes when he gives one of his many, many hugs). Plus he kissed the phone when I said to ‘give aunty kiss kiss’, and I felt it from here! Warm fuzzies!

I spoke to my folks, chatted with my darling brother, watched a bit more of ‘Eve’ and then I must have dozed off. I woke up about noon, had some cereal, did my laundry (thank you Lord, lol), did quite a bit of writing and responding to emails, and then about 6.30pm I went downstairs again to have my Christmas dinner. I had beans, plantain, and turkey, and then I had a lovely chocolate cheesecake for dessert! Yum! #TeamFood

I watched episodes of Hustle, renewed my crush for Adrian Lester, finally caught up on recorded episodes of X Factor USA (is it me or does that show need a complete overhaul both in England and in the US), and after a bit more writing, my day was over.

I was changed and in bed by 12.10am. And I slept very well.

Thank you Jesus.

P:S – Written @5am on the 26th of December 2013. I wonder what Christmas next year will bring?

Sunday the 30th of November (exactly two weeks ago) was supposed to be my day of rest. Long story (which is found in the Chronicle from Ibadan) but let’s move on swiftly to today.

Just as we entered Lagos, we stopped at a traffic light and two young boys (on closer inspection I found out they were girls) came to clean the windscreen with this apparatus that looks like a cross between a selfie-stick and a mop.

Without stroking any feminist embers (I hope), I wondered when young girls (or any females for that matter) had started this business, and my friend and I traced the trajectory of female existence on the streets and the possible unpleasant scenarios those kids were looking at. We asked ourselves (rhetoric of course) about their parents, and it reminded me of some tweets I’d seen the night before. A young Nigerian lady, internationally acclaimed designer had talked about not wanting to have kids because she was going to adopt. She said (and after seeing those girls I am even firmer in agreement) that there were not enough parents in the world for the children around; “why bring more in”, she asked.

The only problem though, was what people said each time she said that – what society thought of and interpreted her decision as. Think on it. What would people (fit in anyone here – friends, family, peers/colleagues – say if you took that decision)?

Photo credit: Events by Bani! This photo was in the thank you email they sent us! Love it!

Photo credit: Events by Bani! This photo was in the thank you email they sent us! Love it!

The society. People. Who defines right or wrong? Flip that a bit – who defines beauty, sets the standards for it? Who determines what is acceptable and what is weird? And how do these standards affect who we are (or try to be) and the things we do?

This was pretty much the thrust of the girl talk session organized by Glory Edozien and Wana Udobang, hopefully, first in a series. Below are a few things I took from what turned out to be a no-holds barred, straight up evening. I’m writing this way so I don’t make mistakes with attribution, and also to keep privacy. Yeah? Here goes.

  • There is real pressure on all women to look, smell, and carry ourselves in a certain way.
  • Everyone, I repeat EVERYONE has that one bit of their bodies/life that they don’t regard as perfect. From the skinny to the slender, the curvy to the chubby. Everyone.
  • Our society has placed such a premium on appearances to the detriment of mental capacity so bad that ‘pretty girls’ are unconsciously expected to be unintelligent. Ever heard, “I didn’t know you were this intelligent?” There you go!
  • Children today pay a lot more attention to their appearance (especially the females) and have a greater say/hand in what they end up wearing than we did in our time.
  • There is intense pressure for children in schools to be ‘seen’ and ’accepted’ as beautiful. That has led to insane (in my opinion) behaviors like dieting, experimentation with makeup, etc. amongst much younger children.
  • Parents must (of a necessity) affirm their children; let them know they are beautiful and are expected to be knowledgeable as well. In other words, it is acceptable to be both.
  • You are what you think/tell yourself you are. You will fall apart (literally) if you allow yourself be blown around by every wind of doctrine, especially as fashion/looks/our bodies are concerned.
  • Is your young child suddenly acting/wanting to look different? Before you rake/shout/bring the house down/spank them to infinity and beyond, ask what the reason for the change is.
  • It’s ok to want to have natural/permed/textured hair. Don’t allow yourself to get pressured into doing anything because it is popular at the moment.
  • Some people by genetics and no fault/action (or not) of theirs will be skinny. Others will be chubby. Some bits you can change

Bottom line? Do you. Be you. More importantly, be happy. Life is too short to be anything else. Funnily, in 2012 I wrote something revolving totally around beauty, perception, and being happy.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, there’s nothing like babes being honest with themselves, sharing real issues, and not putting up this facade that ends up giving people false hope and misleading them. And I met Uche! (@cherox) Nice to meet you babes! Finally!

It was even nicer to finally meet Wana Udobang (@Misswanawana) in person! I think she’s gorgeous, in a class of her own,  super talented, special, I could go on and on! Did I mention down to earth, and talented? Gosh…

And I met Glory Edozien (@MisGloryEdozien), who says she’s read/she reads my blog!! What are you saying!! Am I blessed or what! I was super pleased, grateful, and just chuffed to be in the presence of effortless brilliance.

Took some selfies afterwards with my main chic, @ZanyFran (wrote this for her birthday).

Selfie this, selfie that!

Selfie this, selfie that!

Thank God for the person who finally took a photo we liked!

Thank God for the person who finally took a photo we liked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we’d all gisted a bit, we headed to Bogobiri for a night of performances from people like Titilope Sonuga (from Gidi Up), Efe Azino, Femi, Wana (whoop), and a few others.

Truly incredible evening!!