Posts Tagged ‘31days31writers’

The end of 2015. The end of the #31Days31Writers series.

I’m here. I’m still here. In April God delivered my family from a great evil, I was very ill at different times; on the 18th of October I was aboard a flight so turbulent I was walking ‘towards the light’ in my head, yet I’m here. I’m still here. God is merciful.

You know, if for some reason that’s all I could write, it would be more than enough. There’s more though.

My father was consecrated Bishop this year – was the first time ever I saw him cry. Like really cry. He fought tears at my sister’s wedding in 2010, maybe a few tears slipped through, but August 8th? Dang. I’m so proud of him and grateful to God for this lifting and fulfilment of prophecy that looked like we wouldn’t see it.

TechHer was born this year too, my pride and joy, and gift from God. From a ‘how do I plug this hole’ moment of frustration, to a community of women passionate/curious about technology in its hundreds, and growing too!

My sister passed an international exam this year, and I remember the joy, the tears, the celebration. So proud of you Mama na, we all are! You are a gem, and I love you, fiercely. Big hug to you and your amazing husband for housing me this year. My family is everything, and I’m grateful for them everyday.

What else? This was the year of leaning on, and getting leaned on. Brethren, pray for friends who can ‘cover your shame’, who are not just there when it’s time to ‘turn up’. More important, pray that you are the person the people you call friends can come to and find peace, quiet, a word of encouragement, action that leads to a solution, you get the point. Wunmi, my best friend, is a blessing; she’s my gift from God. Francesca saw through my bullshit one afternoon when I wouldn’t stop saying I was fine, yet I was crumbling under a feeling of inadequacy I can only trace to the pit of hell now that I think of it. My personal chekeleke!

Here’s a big hug to The Committee, friends who have become family in more ways than one. You guys rock!

This was the year I took a decision about my weight, and though I’m still on a journey to the numbers I want to see, I love where I am! I feel incredible too!

Also, I cut my hair! Not the ‘big chop’, big scrape, for simple reasons that included the unbearable heat, and me wanting to see what my head looked like! Love it, love it, love it! Looking forward to experimenting with it a lot in the New Year.

I hired staff this year, and I’m excited that 7 months on, I see growth that makes me proud. Thank you guys!the

What would I undo this year? Nothing. Maybe make more practical financial plans and not believe that people will fulfil their obligations (read as pay their bloody debts) so it doesn’t skew my programmes, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I learned a few things too:

  1. God loves me. Even in my most unfaithful, most unlovable moments, He loves me. And He shows it.
  2. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I heard that like a million times this year (SMH at everyone who told me :))
  3. Human beings are inherently selfish. A complete understanding of this (and I’m still learning) helped me get through the year.
  4. It’s ok to stop (shut down, turn off, whatever you want to call it) and breathe sometimes. I learned the importance of stopping to rest as my body (and mind) demanded it.
  5. Everyone needs a nephew! I cannot explain this, just go and ask your siblings to ‘bring’ you one! My nephew is my numero uno (next to God jor, walk away)
  6. Read! I didn’t read all I planned to, but I read this year, and I believe I’m better for it.
  7. It’s okay if things don’t work out, even after you’ve done everything you were supposed to do, prayed, worked hard, etc. It’s okay, really.

I had a good year. This was one of my busiest travel-wise, and each time a plane I was in took off, it landed. Not taking that for granted at all. I have this blog, and all you wonderful people who read and like and share and comment – thank you. To everyone who contributed to the #31Days31Writers series, you’re awesome! To those who said they’d send in an entry and didn’t/couldn’t, there’s next time.

Here’s to a big 2016, enlargement on every side (not my girth though, God no), advancement, and God’s great blessings.

Look at that beautiful head...

Look at that beautiful head…

Nigerian Blogger

Happy New Year folks! Mwah!

 

This particular person? I don’t remember how we met. Like I tried to search my brain this morning, no luck. But, she’s one of God’s greatest gifts to me. Francesca is the angel God sent from heaven to save me from myself, yank me out of self-pity, stress, fear, you name it. Fran is the person who will listen to me complaining about something and in the middle of my well-prepared speech will go, “but Chisco I reject this feeling of sadness in the mighty name of Jesus!” I either start laughing (I think it’s something with the way she pronounces ‘Jesus’ when she’s trying to shut me up), or I start crying because I’m overwhelmed. But she never leaves me there. She will sit with me (even if over the phone), and be quiet with me till I’m better, or till she decides she’s had enough then she’ll go back to bullying me!!

Lol. I love her. Few females I really love (or love at all), and she’s one of them. Everyone needs a friend like her. Someone who you can be silly with, who accepts you the way you are (and loves you intensely), who prays for/with you, who is real. That’s it, Onomarie (and I can never say this name right) is real.

2015 was the year I learned not to be afraid. Pause.

That’s not entirely true. Let me rephrase that.

2015 was the year I learnt to face my fears, confront AND overcome them.

You see, I’d often viewed “facing fear” as something soft or abstract – not overly ground-shifting or life-altering. The loss of a job maybe, a bad breakup, or an uncomfortable confrontation; you know, difficult things, but not really life and death.

Well. Let’s just say life happened.

I lost my father on the 2nd of January 2015, and in many ways it is still a shock, almost unbelievable actually. That swift, sudden, brutal and absolutely painful event shattered every single thing in my life. I hated God, life, my immediate family, my late father (God rest his soul), and everybody else I came in contact with. I was seething with this volcanic-like rage; just bitter, angry, lost, grieving and waiting to erupt. I wanted to colour the world black, because that is how my soul felt – dark and odious. Like Job said in the Bible, “the thing I feared most had come upon me.”

But fear (and grief) are heavy burdens to carry; they poison everything they come in contact with. So I had to make a (hard) decision – to keep moving, or to let my grief (and fear) consume me. My father may have died, but I was still living. I owed it to his memory, and more importantly, to myself, to live wholesomely and completely. As long as I had breath in my lungs, dreams in my heart, and yearning in my spirit, I would keep living, and by God, I would keep moving forward.

So I reset myself – my soul, my mind, and my spirit – not an easy task to do by the way. I cried when I had to, (still do that sometimes). I learned to share my grief, my questions, my angst, my concerns, with my friends and burden-helpers, those who upheld me like pillars, people who fought tirelessly to move me out of the funk. Those who gave me tough love by saying “Okay, that’s enough, no more now.” Those who sent messages of hope, encouragement and humour, those who stood in the gap for me, who prayed, sent me food, or just sat with me.

It’s been an incredible year really. I lost my father, but I gained an incredible perspective on life. I learned that family is less and less those who bear the same surname with you, but much more about those who share your grief and your triumphs. I learned that putting someone you love in the ground, is one of the worst things that can happen to you, but maybe also the most important, because you value more, those you have with you. I’ve learned to be less patient with time-wasters; people who take and take from you – your time, your energy, your resources, your emotions, – without giving back. I’ve learned to immerse myself fully in life, to laugh, to learn, to travel, to love, by God, to live!! I’ve learned to live this life honestly, completely, fully, but also intentionally. Never before, have I been this desperate to accomplish God’s call and purpose for my life. Never before have I cared less about “haters” or “enemies” what are those? Only distractions. Only pesky scarecrows in my rich field of wheat and barley.

I have learned that fear is there to be overcome; you must not let it rule you. Fear is not of God, it’s from the devil. I have learned to look fear in the eye and say “ehen, you’ve hit me with your best shot, now fuck off!.” I have learned to stand. Oh! to stand and keep standing. I have learned to stand victoriously. I have learned focus and the beauty of rising up from ashes.

I have learned that my scars are my greatest assets; that instead of reminding me of the past and filling me with regret, that they point me towards the future, towards the woman I am meant to be, towards the woman I am becoming. I have learned love – that it is ABSOLUTELY about giving – anything less than that, is jive. I have found God again, anew, different, deeper. I am listening for Him more, involving Him with everything – from the mundane to the important. Oh! And I am still fighting fear, daily – in my work, in my mind, in my spirit, but I am winning, because I am of God’s I CANNOT lose.

I don’t know exactly what 2016 has in store for me, but I imagine that it will be a year of achieving big goals and dreams. I’m standing ready. As the Yoruba proverb goes: “there is nothing coming from the sky that the earth cannot handle.” That is me, standing ready, standing prepared, because the earth is mine and the fullness thereof. Bring it on 2016!

My gorgeous friend...

My gorgeous friend…

I love you chekeleke. My sister-girl!

I’ve got family on the blog today! Whoop!!

Ejike is one of my older cousins, married to a really lovely lady, and they have two children with the best names (he didn’t share so I won’t… we don’t want you people to copy our names biko)!

His father is one of my favorite uncles and is super close to my dad, and I have very fond memories of hanging out at their house in the village when we were much younger. Not just my siblings and I, all the cousins! I remember bathing behind a massive metal tank in their compound (don’t judge, we were kids) with my female cousins, and all of us trooping out on Christmas Day to visit extended family to ‘tax them’, eat, play, and then move on. Most times we’d end up back at their house for dinner (which we would funnily end up eating outside, gisting as loudly as children can be), bathing (girls first, then the boys), then trooping to another uncle’s (or not) to sleep.

Memories I hope we can recreate with our own children. Dunno how yet, but I know it’s possible, even if it’s summer holidays or something like that. 

Maybe one of the next time I run the series I will feature only Agwuegbo’s, maybe call it ‘One day one Agwuegbo’, or An Agwuegbo a day’, I don’t know but I’m loving the idea already! And there’s enough of us to really pull this off!

Here’s my cousin Ejike everyone!

I’m Ejike Agwuegbo, Ibo descent, raised in Lagos. I’m married to an amazing wife and have 2 lovely children as part of the marriage benefits. I am a Fish Farmer by profession.

As the year 2015 winds down, one philosophy that keeps me going is “No man should measure his success by comparing with another man but by comparison with where he’s coming from”.

I am grateful for my immediate and extended family. The year has brought unimaginable joy into my home. In October we welcomed our son into world without complications. My 3 years old daughter is excelling in her studies. My amazing wife who has been my rock in all circumstances waxed stronger all through the year churning out different business ideas. Most importantly, we didn’t spend our resources in the hospital. Those who know me will testify that I’ve got the best siblings in the world and they made 2015 rock.

Having left the banking industry after 6 years of service to set up my Fish Farm in 2014, I must say the journey hasn’t been easy (as is the case with most start-ups) but in 2015 we achieved some expansion, modified our processes and have recorded greater returns.

I’m grateful for my close circle of friends who I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world. While the world is on a melt down, there’s virtually no month that goes by without something to celebrate.

Things I wish to undo;

Reneging on my vow to draw closer to God and His Word. Sunday sermons are just not enough.

As 2016 draws closer, I ask for the grace to help more people in need than I did this year and believe that more business ideas will be actualized.

Thank you Chioma for this opportunity to express myself.

 

Big bro!

Big bro!

Whoop! You’re welcome AGK, thank you for honoring my blog! Here’s to bigger successes in 2016 and many more reasons to celebrate!

PS: I have to come eat fish at yours soonest!

Fola (@LitaofLagos) is one of my favourite people online, and late last year we had the good fortune of meeting and working together on a project for Heinrich Boll, the first Book Sprint in Nigeria. Basically we were holed up in a house/hotel somewhere in Maitama, and in seven days went from nothing, to a full book, printed! It was a most amazing experience, and a privilege for me to share time, space, and energy with the wonderful people I worked with on that project.

Fola is lovely, loads of fun, and very REAL. Yep, she’s one of those people I know who are without airs, and what you see is literally what you get! I’m more than thankful she got the all-clear, and I hope you enjoy her entry!

My name is Fola Lawal, and friends call me Lita. I live in Doha by day and Lagos at night. I work as a Senior Project Analyst at my Qatar organization; I also run a personal business as a social media brand-integration marketer and manager for companies and individuals, helping to design effective social media campaigns. Also, I manage a book-publishing business while also developing ideas for, and encouraging my social media folks in, saving the world—one tweet at a time.

2015 started slowly note for me, but picked up pace gradually. I had to decide, with my partner (who, on the other hand, was resigning from the corporate legal sector), whether to go back into paid employment after my few months as a full-time entrepreneur. Eventually, I was able to secure a paying job that still allowed me time to focus on my businesses.

But I was to have a more worrisome time in the course of the year. During a routine medical checkup, my doctor advised me to go for an immediate mammogram as she could feel lumps in both my breasts. Although the scan results were reassuring, my experience during that scary period improved my attitude to, and outlook on, life.

I spent a part of 2015 sulking at how my world didn’t seem to appreciate my merits; and fuming at the challenges that prevented my plans from materializing. I was also faced with the challenges of settling into a new work environment and, sometimes all of these piled on hard on my psyche—but the Egba woman in me stayed relentless.

And so, I’m grateful.

I’m grateful for my partner, Ayo: who is always there through thick and thin, to share battles and celebrate wins.

I’m grateful for my family: because I couldn’t have had a better support system.

I’m grateful for my friends: all of whom came through when I least expected.

What did I learn in 2015?

  • I learned that, in Nigeria, hard work is not enough to strategically position me for success.
  • I learned that what will be sometimes, will never be.
  • I learned to be unapologetically ME, that no matter how much I try to please others, people are wired to see what they want to see.
  • I learned that some people, trips, lies, books, or parties aren’t just worth their stress value.
  • And I learned that the key to material success is selfishness.

And what will I do in 2016?

  • Sleep less.
  • Love more.
  • Worry less.
  • Communicate better.
My baby girl!

My baby girl!

Yes o! I’m totally with you on communicating better, it’s something I have to learn; very necessary! Here’s to living the baby girl life in 2016!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yay!!! I’ve got Chuka on today! Whoop! Chuka is special, not because his first name takes half of my father’s first name, not because he’s super cute (cough), but because he’s intelligent, and kind, and caring. And married o, before anyone gets any ideas!

Ah ha. As I was saying, Chuka’s a lawyer, and I remember meeting him on a trip to Lagos in 2013; was it 2013 or 2014 Chuka while I was in a meeting with Chude and Debola in one restaurant somewhere in/on Victoria Island. Don’t think we spoke for more than 15 minutes, but we’ve been friends since then, and I’m thankful he’s graced my blog today.

I agree with the words on friendship, and had to take some difficult bites of those this year myself; thankful however because really, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And wiser.

Rise… Fall… Dominate… Repeat

Lessons for the lucky, are words from the wise and experienced, who were not so lucky. 2015 was an interesting year for me and perhaps I use the word “interesting” loosely but it certainly was. The thrills were unending and the lessons came in torrents (lol…pun unintended).

It started like dawn, with the sun peaking out from beneath the veil of darkness that had earmarked the end of my 2014. It was beautiful and held promise. Looking back at my year, I dare say, it was a good year.

My biggest lesson was most definitely valuing second chances. No other element breathes life into anything than the chance to actually live again and for me, I learned real quick, the importance of starting over. Almost always looks like the longest thing ever, and sometimes it can be the least desirable option. However, through a year that had it’s annoying turns with trust tossed in the year and hard questions asked, I learnt to value the importance of second chances.

Winding down the year, and getting in on the final lap, what I’m most grateful for? Friends. I’ve never been one to have close friends and not so close friends. The dichotomy is tiring. You’re either a friend….or you’re not. There can never be a middle ground with something as incredibly important as friendship.

Through a rather strange storm, I found that sifting through the chaff of acquaintances was incredibly simple and while disappointing, it is something that I’m unendingly grateful for. I found that sacrifice was something I had taken for granted and realised that the act of true friendship must not only be unforgotten but must be repaid without consideration of measure. Friendship is rare and one must sail seas to ensure that a warm connection with a friend so true is salvaged and protected at all times.

Many a time, in my lifetime… I’ve been asked about what I would undo if I had the chance. The answer was “absolutely nothing”…until quite recently. The one thing I’d like to change is something that can never be undone. Death will be a part of us as keenly as life and I have no desire to dwell on what is beyond my control (regardless of how ecclesiastical I consider myself…lol).

So, there it is. I actually enjoyed writing this. Now the arduous task of avoiding the gaps of food poisoning while making Christmas lunch for my family awaits me.

Merry Christmas

Chukwukaelo Ajuluchukwu
Nigerian
Lekki Phase 1

image1

 

Merry Christmas to you my dear, and to your Mrs; shame I missed the turn up on the 26th! Here’s to a fabulous 2016, stripped of every form of bullshit. 

Every now and then you meet someone (even if virtually) who is such an encourager they act like they’re not on this same earth with all the attendant issues. That’s Eloho. From the first time she popped up on my timeline (I don’t know how) I’ve never seen her say an unkind word or anything that doesn’t uplift a spirit.

And she loves Jesus. Icing on the cake, or maybe the cake itself!

It’s so magical though, the way she is. And I’m sure you’ll love her entry as much as I did! She’s super special, and that’s why she’s up today, Christmas Day! Merry Christmas to you, and you, and you!

My name is Eloho, I am a financial analyst in Lagos, Nigeria and when I’m not doing that, I love to sing, read and just live life one day at a time experiencing God’s ‘stupendous grace.’ I also love kids, and love to see people happy and walking in purpose.

What did I learn? Let’s say I learned a whole lot. Let’s go

  • I learned that God IS!!! He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Like a pancake, seems like God turned me over just as I turned light brown to give me this assurance.
  • I learned that what we know will be tested and we had better be ready. 2015 tested my faith, my resolve and trust in God deeper than the most recent years. But I learned that God’s grace is sufficient, He doesn’t allow more than we can bear.
  • I learned about perspective and timing. It’s a new day at midnight, you know. But the only reason I can celebrate the new day is because I have knowledge and a clock. It’s the same thing with life. My attitude and response to the darkness is a function of my perspective.
  • I learned from my 6-year-old cousin, that ‘nice is different than good…’ Doing what is right and good doesn’t always feel nice but it is the proper thing to do. I’m still learning not to let the fact that the right decision might hurt someone stop me from going ahead to make it.
  • I learned that wisdom is greater than weapons of war. Not every time fight, sometimes just apply wisdom.
  • I learned that ‘Peace is a radar’, far above anything. It is the compass for my life’s journey. Constantly in my face is the image of boiling water and the lack of a reflection therein. Peace is all I need for clarity and if anything ceases to bring me peace, it has to go.
  • I learned that when we think we are infallible in a certain area, we set ourselves up to fail because we are least prepared in that area. Let Him who thinks He stands take heed lest he fall became very literal for me.
  • I learned that we cannot by an act of the flesh bring the promise to pass. Desperation and listening to people may make us feel as though waiting on God is not enough. But I learned by my own Sarah type experience to ‘lean in.’
  • I learned to appreciate the small moments. I lost a friend, Hammed Ajiboye this year. I miss him and wish I made some more time for him.

These lessons didn’t come easy. But I’m grateful that as painful as the experiences that birthed them might have been, I AM better.

Adjusts mic to an appropriate height at the award podium, smiles and pulls out a tiny sheet of paper.

  • I am most grateful for my stupendous wealth in family and my friends. I could go on and on here. God brought amazing people into my life as well. I was NEVER alone.
  • I’m grateful for favor. God continues to surround me with favor everywhere I go.
  • I am most grateful for revelation and clarity. Slowly and steadily, I am gaining a better understanding of what I am here for.
  • I am grateful for ‘discontentment’ and how it’s pushing me out of my ‘comfort zone.’
  • Grateful for my journey so far. Not the script I would have written but it has strengthened me and left me in awe of God’s sovereignty.
  • I’m grateful for service and the opportunity to give back. I derived so much joy from a lot of those moments.

To what I would do differently if I could? I would be a little easier on myself. Gosh, I was quite hard on myself for the mistakes I made but now I have resolved to fail forward and trust that everything is working out for good.

I would also imagine some more. Think I got jaded at some point and just existed. But no, God is able to do far more than I can ask or IMAGINE. So it is time to imagine wildly and boldly and LIVE again.

31 days of gratitude

She’s such a gorgeous soul! I can’t wait to meet you, has to happen in 2016! Merry Christmas @Eloxie (That’s her on Twitter, I say follow her, you’ll be glad she did!)

Awwww, I really like Tony! I remember meeting him at church once (House on The Rock The Refuge), but I don’t remember if that was the first time we met or if we’d met before. I also know he called me on my birthday this year, whoop! And he has a brother in the Army, who is on the frontlines of this fight against Boko Haram. Kai, I don’t know if I would be able to sleep at night ever if my brother was in the Army… then if he was in the Army and actually fighting! My poor heart. I’m just grateful his brother is fine, and ask that we all keep him in our prayers please?

Tony’s entry is lovely, really lovely, and then it’s so powerful, like punchline after punchline! It resonates with me in a lot of ways and encourages me in a lot of ways, and I know it will do just that for you too.

My name is Tony Atambi. I’m Nigerian (proudly so). I’m a lawyer who currently lives and works in Abuja; also a Christian gentleman.

As with every other person, at the beginning of the year 2015, I was all pumped up and ready to go. Felt like new vistas had been opened up to me and I was just going to cruise through. You know that feeling I speak about.

Errrm…Let’s just say as the year went on, motivation waned far too many times, I felt like I was stuck in a rut far too many times, not knowing with the slightest precision what to do next with my life. And so there were quite a number of times where, as a result of the worry arising from life not being in motion, I slid into depression.

Flowing from the above is the first major lesson I learnt in 2015;

  • Motion doesn’t equate progress. If you have ever tied motion (being up and about for up and about sake) with progress, you might wanna discard that thought. It is not valid. Being busy is simply what it is – Busy. Busy doesn’t necessarily mean progress. The guy trying to empty the Atlantic Ocean is busy but he will never make any progress.

On closer examination of my thoughts, I realized that I just wanted to be busy, regardless of whether it was productive or not. It pays sometimes to take a break and ask if you’re just running around or getting productive.

  • I learnt that my fears are not necessarily valid. In fact, I dare say fears are not valid. The fact that you fear something doesn’t confer it with the capacity to happen. There is no truth about fear. You fear what may or could happen. Yet it is never certain. So I find that sometimes, the things we fear are things we should really confront.

I’m immediately reminded of my brother who is fighting the insurgents in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. I used to be so afraid for his life, especially when we are inundated daily with stories of soldiers who are either missing or dead. But I realized that each time I call him, he’s always available to take my calls. So the fact that I feared that something could happen to him doesn’t mean it did happen. Discard your fears. They are not valid.

Plus, nobody became a great success because they feared, anyway.

  • Most importantly, I learnt to be thankful to The One who has the master plan and to trust in that master plan. I’m a firm believer in the plan that God has for our lives. I didn’t see clearly, everything He has planned out. But this year, I took my trust in God a notch higher.

There are an array of things I’m grateful for. But here are a few.

  • Peace of mind. The outgoing year brought along a few storms but in the midst of it all, I had the peace that could only have come from a supernatural place. God, actually. And so even when it seemed like the world was going to come crashing down on me, peace flooded my heart like a river.
  • I’m grateful for the beauty of falling in love (yeah, this is my emotional side) and being loved in return. 2015 brought along to me, a certain amazing lady and Lord knows, I’m in love. Baby, if you can see this, you know I love you to tiny little bits.
  • I’m grateful for second chances to start again. God has given me far too many of them. I wouldn’t give me that much grace if I was God. LOL.
  • I’m grateful for the grace to always speak a word in season that blesses someone. Every now and then, I put out tweets that serve to minister to and encourage people. I get very positive feedback all the time. In my little corner, God has used me to bring His word to people. He takes all the glory.

One thing I’d undo in 2015 is stalling the execution of a few plans. But hey…2016 is right around the corner and I hope to reach for higher accomplishments. We can now clink glasses and drink to an even more amazing 2016!

tony atambi

What a gentleman! Unfortunately ladies, this one here’s taken! Here’s to an amazing 2016 Tony, please invite us to eat jollof rice next year o, God bless you!

Excited about the entry for today, it’s one of my favorite people on this planet, my own Boo Boo Kitty, Nana! Nana is that kind of friend who will love you fiercely and not let you self-combust, who will stand in your corner at her own expense, even to her own detriment! She’s gorgeous (inside and out), and I’m grateful for the gift of her friendship.

That said, this my friend is a little mad. Sigh. As in, hold her or she’s going to put all of us in a pot and set it to boil kinda mad. But we love her, today, tomorrow, everyday!

Hi! I’m Nana, resident in Abuja, and I’m a lawyer (amongst other things I do).

This may just be a good time to talk about my 2015.

2015 started with me happily waving my mum off at the airport to go home to her husband…okay, I love my mum to bits but when you are the only daughter in an Igbo family you know how it is.

So I had told myself that in 2015, I’ll be much more secluded and less nicer to people but you know how New Year resolutions go; I ruined it all by going to church.

I have lived alone all my adult life and I can count how many times I went to Church. I was not an atheist, I was born Christian but I always had this different simplistic ideology about how life should work and it was okay for me but I wanted more so off to Church I went of my own accord and diligently too.

I moved houses around April. I fell deep into depression, I didn’t want to stay alone and so I went to live with my Aunt for a month. It was funny because I always appeared all put together, smiling and going through the motions but I had all these pent up emotions waiting to spill.

Some random day, I walked into the Pastor’s office and spilled a quarter of what was bothering me. I half expected the religious boobooyaya but I didn’t get that so I spilled some more and it felt good.

Sometimes I tell myself that my 2015 began in July. In a sort of way, it did. I had my much-anticipated graduation, went on the holiday of a lifetime with long road trips. At this point, I have to state that I am a horrible companion on trips; I had a modus, which was to drift off in the middle of the gist and pretend to be awake enough not to snore during my sleep and yell “exactly!” when jarred awake. It worked sometimes.

I was not prepared for 2015. I still don’t think I am ready for a year that has 11 days left in it. I will remember 2015 as the year I realised the power of friendship (No kidding, my friends are rubies). I’ve tried to drown so many times and each time I have gotten the pull and the push.

I fell in love in 2015. I was really kidding with #SeizeTheBae2015. Really kidding! I had sexual plans for 2015 and none of it fell within monogamy. Planned a celibate part of the year and a raunchy part to end the 2015 with. With the list of cities I was going to have sex in.

Each time a plan came up, I wonder whose prayers it was (suspecting my mother though) it kept getting knocked off and that was how it happened, unplanned.

I don’t know what 2016 may come with but I have decided to go against planning my life; I’m winging 2016.

To my friends, family and lover, I am grateful for the food, the gists, the time, the hugs, the encouragement, the love, the scolds, the truth and the companionship. I am 99% of an asshole and 1% human. Thanks for seeing just the human.

Me.

She didn't send a photo but I have like a million photos of the both of us!

She didn’t send a photo but I have like a million photos of the both of us! See her small teeth..

I love you Boo Boo! Thank you for bringing an unplugged honesty to my blog today! By the way silly, you’re more than 1% human jor, shaking my head! Here’s to a 2016 that’s full of love, joy, money (girrrrrrllll….), and fingers crossed, a different country! Yaass! 2016 here we come!

 

I remember the first time I met Timehin – ok maybe I don’t really remember because I’m not sure if it was this year or last year – but it was after one of Glory Edozien’s events. Glory has a dialogue series where women come together to talk about issues from finance to beauty to self-esteem, was such a joy to attend that one on beauty. Anyway so a few of us chatted for a bit when it was over, Wana Udobang, Francesca Uriri, Glory, Timehin, and I, and we went from reflecting on life in secondary school, to the pressures of being a woman today (size, marriage, accomplishments, etc.) and it was so much fun!

On the drive home (I remember we had such a laugh even though Fran kept ‘threatening me all over the place’) and Timehin said we were crazy. Good crazy of course (adjusts halo). I saw a tweet from her later, something about looking for friends in Lagos (took me a while to place it was the same person) and so I sent a DM and we’ve been ‘cool’ ever since!

Timehin is a brilliant writer. Full stop. Even though I don’t agree with her stand on some things sometimes (which is alright because we’re not Siamese twins), the brilliance with which she expresses her thoughts is not up for discussion. She’s very frank in this entry, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I don’t know if I’ve ever written one of these year-in-review things, or ever had any desire to. Time as we understand it, broken up into well-defined blocks, only gives me anxiety. The urge to compare myself to others, to look back at the vast expanses of ‘waste’ where I didn’t do things to advance me on whatever course I’ve chosen (or been thrust into), the desperate attempts to do better ‘next year’… Anxiety.

2015 was a strange year for me. I haven’t been an adult very long — I’m 24 — and 2012-14 were so full of almost back-to-back upheavals that the relative stability of this year felt unreal. I coasted into a new job and a new flat. My daughter started school. My boyfriend and I celebrated two years together. I employed live-in help. I was living like a ‘real’ adult, and the entire time I felt like an impostor in my own life; like I wasn’t doing enough, like I had been set so far back in previous years that I’d never ‘catch up’, like I was still a lost little girl hoping to be taken in hand by a kind person who knew the way. I worried all the time, and my mental and emotional health suffered.

I spent a lot of days in a black hole, and on one of them, it occurred to me that I must figure out a way to take things one day at a time. Weeks of waking up crushed by the weight of something that felt too much like failure forced me to go easier on myself. I learned that I don’t have a handle on things, and that’s okay. I’m winging it, groping in the dark for what feels right, hoping for the best. I’m grateful for the chance to be somewhat kind to myself.

I forget too often that nothing is permanent, and very little is as disastrous as I think it will be, and most importantly, that time does nothing but pass. I worry too much. I regret spending energy and time being afraid, instead of just taking the steps I knew I needed to take. I regret kicking myself when I was down, allowing other people’s misunderstanding of my inability to put one foot in front of the other to define me. I wish I had sat with my sadness more, instead of escaping it as quickly and for as long as I could. I apologise to myself.

I didn’t happen on any big answers this year. I eased into discoveries; that I have depression, that I’m actually quite funny, that no one will look after me better than me, that I am responsible for defining the boundaries of my life. I learned to let my daughter climb in bed with me and talk about all sorts first thing in the morning, even when I’m working, because she won’t be three forever. I learned I deserve to be looked at with awe and love; that the person in her eyes is indeed me, and I am as wonderful as she thinks me. I learned that it is okay to ask to be loved the way I know I need to, and it is okay to refuse anything less. In this moment, I am closer to my centre than ever before, and the feeling that I am getting to know my own self, and to love her wholly, is more wonderful than anything else. It is wonderful enough that I am perfectly content to give the process as much time as it needs.

My name is Timehin, I’m a Nigerian living in Lagos, and I’m a writer.

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Gorgeous girl! Of course you’re a writer! Here’s to greater progress on your journey in 2016, and happier, less unpleasant days! Mwah!

Turn up!

Bisi’s on the blog today, and I’m so excited! Bisi has been my friend for a few years now (I remember we met at the service of songs for the late Remi Lagos in South Kensington), and I’m so proud of the man he’s become (is becoming), and grateful that he’s alive and doing very well. And that his celeb status is on the rise mahn, can’t wait to see what 2016 brings for him!

He was on the blog in 2013 (never mind he says 2014) and so when I asked again for this year and he sent in an entry less than 48 hours after I asked, I was like ‘turn up’!  Bisi is special, and I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

My name is Bisi, Bisi Alimi; yes I love that Bond appeal to the way I say my name, it carries some weight with it, and please if you have a name like mine, you don’t have to apologise for flaunting it.

I was born in Nigeria over 40 years ago, but I am now a British citizen. No, I don’t carry a Nigeria passport and I am not sorry for that. So I will say as a matter of fact, that I am a British national, born in Nigeria to Nigerian parents.

Last year when Chioma asked me to join the legion of people that have something to be grateful for, I really had to search my diary and look for things to blow my trumpet for. I will be honest, 2014 was a defining moment in my life, and it was also the year that prepared the way for amazing 2014.

So in 2015, I have a lot to be thankful for. It is not every time you look back at your life in 12 months and say; “damn, what a funky year this has been.”

I can’t list it all, but I mean, I don’t even know where to start. The year started with some amazing news, but most important events in my life in 2015 were; my campaign against Nigel Farage and UKIP (Farage is the leader of the right wing group in Britain, and UKIP is his political party). At least, my campaign against him as been listed as one of the reasons he lost his election to the British House of Commons.

Then there was the talk at the Australia Medical Association annual general conference. The hall was packed full and the audience was amazing. I won’t forget that event easily, doing the first Moth Mainstage in London at the Union Chapel to a packed audience and then getting invited to do it again in New York.

There was also the listing of my Tedx Talk as one of the most inspiring queer talk of all time.

The media coverage that followed my life in 2015 was beyond my expectation. I will say thanks to all Nigerian bloggers for thinking me a source for news, most importantly Linda Ikeji, Bella Naija and Ladun Blog. I mean, without you guys, my speaking fee won’t have gone up.

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Then I have to deal with listings after listings all over the world. I was listed in the UK Independent on Sunday Rainbow List as one of the most influential LGBT person in the UK and I was listed in number 19 out of 101. That for me was the biggest honour. I jumped from 80 to 19.

Then the G-List Society listed me as one of their 100 outstanding Black LGBT person for 2015, followed by True Africa naming me as one of their 100 True African for 2015. LGBTQ Nation nominated me as one of their “news maker for 2015”

I am also thankful to Ake Festival and Lola Shoneyin for inviting me to Nigeria to be part of the festival after almost 9 years since I left Nigeria. I met some badass amazing people and I can’t list them all here but you all know yourselves.

Finally, the icing on the cake for me was my engagement to the most amazing man in the world, my fiancé. Also meeting my in-laws in Australia as well as meeting my mum and bringing her to the UK.

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Honestly, there is nothing I will undo about this year. I have learnt a lot. I mean, who wants to bother about the bad press, the bad news and the negative energy? I have grown up and I really don’t pay attention to things that don’t add value to my life.

One major thing I am taking into 2016, thanks to 2015, is that, there is nothing like friends for life. Every friendship should have membership renewal. I learnt that this year. I learnt that, when it comes to friendship, it is more about you than the other person. I have seen true colours of many people I called friends this year, and OMG, they were very sad and pathetic pictures and I really don’t want to see those pictures (or the people) in 2016.

That said; my year wouldn’t be complete without saying thanks to the many people that made my 2015 whole. Funmi Iyanda; I know I talk about you every time, but people have no idea how much impact you have had on my life. To Akin Akintayo, thanks for those calming reassuring words and happy 50th birthday!

To Ayo Sogunro, thanks for being a good brother. My agency, Fresh Speakers; for being the best in the world. To all my fans (yes, me too I have fans now) for your messages of love and support, your tweets, Facebook messages and likes on Instagram. Thank you!

To every organisation I have worked for and with in 2015, thank you!

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To my husband to be, Anthony thanks for putting up with my bullshit, and for the cuddles many nights I question myself. I started my foundation this year and a lot of people have devoted their time and energy to it; mostly importantly, the board. Thank you!

This is to 2016.

Thank you for coming through with this Bisi, here’s to a brilliant 2016!