The Struggle

It’s around 2am. Everyone else in the house is asleep and the air is consumed with the eerie buzz of silence, apart from the distant hammering of the train through the local station. I want to sleep but I just can’t. Thoughts keep zooming back and forth in this over-active brain of mine. I can imagine it looks somewhat like a grotty minefield, wrought with chemical explosions and lightning spark connections.

Normally my thoughts are bizarre and far-fetched; like me single-handedly fighting my way through a crowd of blood-crazed criminals; jumping, swinging, rolling, slashing, slicing open every obstacle in my path,- all whilst adorned in a kinky leather cat suit and painstakingly perfect makeup to match. Thinking has always been an outlet for me. A means of escapism that leaves me void of all responsibility and insecurities. In my head I’m unstoppable; a sassy, sexy, super-human with wits and looks incomparable, but lately these thoughts have taken on more of a serious tone. My rampant fantasy has been invaded by stark reality. Why? Because I am getting older.

The more I reflect on my life and the years gone by, the quicker I come to the crucial and unmistakable conclusion that I’ve changed. I don’t walk with that youthful vigor like I used to and carry that same twinkle in my eye; a subtle manifestation of that rising star within. I used to laugh with a wicked hearty laugh that screamed ‘look at me! I’m so carefree’, but instead I feel like my inner-being has been suppressed; choked into a weaker and less magnificent form. I want to stop this inevitable transformation but unfortunately for me I just can’t. It’s something beyond my control. A momentous and supernatural force governed by the omniscient hands of God. Time.

Oh Time! When I was a child, we played together; concocted plans of how this life of mine would pan out. By now I was supposed to be 3 years into the career of my dreams, with the man of my dreams, planning the marriage of my dreams. What happened to that? Why did you suddenly decide that our plans weren’t good enough and that you would throw a medley of other things into the mix? Do you know that you have left me feeling so unfulfilled? So lost in negative thoughts that sometimes I feel like I’m losing myself, and becoming the sardonic person that sees life in a dimmer and less flattening light.

Disappointment. That’s one emotion I have been feeling a lot of lately. Not just because my hopes and dreams are yet to manifest into something concrete and real; I am yet to become the successful woman who I have always aspired to be.  But because by now I always believed that I would be somebody, but not just for me….. for my family. The people who have supported and inspired me thus far. The people who I yearn to see reap from my successes and celebrate jubilantly with me. When I finished University, fresh-faced and beaming with a degree in hand, I had the whole world ahead of me. I wasn’t the doctor that every Nigerian parent wants their child to be, but I had chosen my field, worked diligently at it, and came out the other side with an achievement that anybody would be proud of. I was naive then; genuinely believing that with ease I would get a high paying job that would magically propel me up the career ladder, and expose me to inconceivable opportunities. Well let’s just say that things haven’t been so easy, -actually that would be an understatement. My life has become a never-ending mystery, sporadically changing when I least expect.

They say life is not a bed of roses. Ha! -In fact I find that it consists predominantly of sharp and itchy thorns, with a few sweet and pretty roses that bring intermittent relief. It’s just one big obstacle course; a survival of the fittest. Question is, have you been gymning lately? Building up that health and fitness to steer you around the wobbly bits and have you vaulting over hurdles. For me, I could say I’m getting there. Have so many ways that I can better myself but lord knows I’m working on it.

Sometimes I feel stranded, like I am on a rotting rafter, floating in the middle of nowhere whilst my peers cut through the water around me, dashing off to lands of greener pastures. I’m still lost, searching for the job that pushes me to realize my true potential and the relationship that gives me complete and utter fulfillment. But until I find that I am calling on my God, and surrounding myself with a supportive framework of family and friends that keep me going when my engine’s running dry. As my mum always says ‘there’s a season for everything’, so if you find yourself in a similar situation, like nothing is going right. Be encouraged and know that you are not alone.

Share your comments and experiences below. Help someone else get through that patchy and dry season.

New year- No expectations

It’s raining outside; unsteady drops spraying my window pane as I write this. It’s calming in an eery sort of way. Diverts my attention from my orchestra of worries to something beyond me, outside my control, unleashed from the heavens. I remember when I was in Nigeria, I used to dance in the rain. The rain was my friend and I was a spirit child. Dipping in and out of the drops, body licked and thrown by the forces. It was invigorating, cleansing, something I was born to do. I let my tongue hang out and accepted the salty presents, offered by the sky. They tasted of the morning dew that settled on the tips of the restless grass, and the soil that my toes loved to squeeze and release till I couldn’t tell where my body ended and the earth began. Each drop was a different flavour, a story of its journey through the earth. I felt wicked tip-toeing back into the house, my wrapper and shirt clinging tightly to reveal the outline of my perky bosom, and hips rounded from pounded yam and every other delicacy I could savour before my return home. God spoke to me through his messengers the wind and the rain, and now lying here my fingertips brushing against the keys, something in my spirit tells me he is trying to again.

Today is the 1st January.  The beginning of great things to come. This year will be one of prosperity they said, the year that everything will fall into place. We held hands at the 12pm countdown, and this prayer was prayed over a  group of strangers-of different shades, from different backgrounds but joined by a mutual friend, and a need to shed the weight and disappointment of last year by drinking and gyrating into the next. As I held the hand of the girl next to me, I felt her grip tighten, her eyes behind large circular glasses had shrunken to tight slits, flickering sporadically as she prayed hard. I hunched my shoulders and closed my eyes but my mind was astray, sucked into a pool thoughts of how I was in exactly the same position last year; frenzied and praying earnestly for a change in fortune. My mouth felt dry. I wanted to withdraw my hands, throw them up in the air and let rip the laughter brewing in my belly. It was an angry laughter that swirled violently, making me sway back and forth from my heels to my toes.

I still feel that nauseating flutter in my belly but it’s branched out now, like a weed knotting itself in my shoulders. It tugs on me regularly; a festering bitterness that I can’t be rid of. Why? Because 2015 was meant to be my year of good fortune. The year I would meet me my mysterious dark-haired prince with long eloquent fingers to cradle my chin as he smothered me with wicked kisses, dark eyes that would melt like butter in my mouth whenever he looked at me, and a heart that would seek and protect mine earnestly till death do us part. Now 2016 has come and I find myself rolling my eyes at impassioned prophesies of prosperity, progress and blah blah blah.

Rather than calling on God and expecting him to whirl his hands together in a blaze of blinding fire and conjure my hearts desires, I think I’m going to decide to not expect anything. To let life pave my path.

Ce qui sera sera. Whatever will be will be.

2016 you will be what you want to be! as for me I will be a spirit child, untamed and care-free.  I wish you all the best of luck in your strivings for prosperity. As for me you’ll find me hiding in the shadows, the crater of the moon, or maybe the rays of sunlight that dance around your room.  

Amazing

I am not perfect. Far from it. When you prayed for your Eve, I bet you didn’t expect that she would be like me. Kind of lazy, and Stubborn as a piece of meat that just won’t go down despite your relentless chewing. Sometimes I fight with you. For no good reason but to massage that ego of mine. That ego that yearns to dominate, laughs at the ludicrous concept of submissiveness, and rolls it’s eyes at the demand of an apology.

I’m difficult. I know. They’ve all told me that before. Right before they throw that last pitying look and wash their hands of me for the last time.

But not you. You’ve stayed. Endured. Encouraged. Thank you for loving me for me. For not dwelling on my flaws and pinpointing imperfections. For reminding me every day that I’m amazing, beautiful, incomparable. Today you held me, brushed my tears away with those soft warm lips and pressed your cheek against mine. “Even diamonds go through a process before they shine” you breathed, and then squeezed me, so tight. I didn’t want you to let go. I never want you to let go. You stun me with your generosity. The Christ-likeness in your mere humanity.  I love you. So grateful for you. So blessed by you.

You’re amazing. Man of mine you’re amazing. And every day I thank God for sending you my way.

Don’t get it twisted

This phrase tends to fight its way past my lips whenever a guy winds me up to the point of no return, saying something that has my eyes rolling and neck gyrating manically like a possessed voodoo Queen. I feel like this has been happening way too often. Not because this is my typical dramatic reaction to every dubious statement that’s thrown my way, but because lately I have been drowning in so much crap, this being the verbal trash spewing forth from the lips of that otherworldly species known as men. I find myself regularly dousing my face in splashes of cold water, as if confirmation that the crap I had just heard was real. I mean, did he really just say that to me? And is this really what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? A lifetime of biting my tongue as he says and does the most unreasonable of things?

Sitting at the café, watching the passers-by swarm around us, I decided that I had agreed to this date for 2 reasons:

1) To size up this handsome guy sitting across from me. He was casually rocking some pastel-coloured chinos and a salmon V-neck. Good dress sense, check, plus he seemed attentive. His chocolate brown eyes steadfastly remained on mine throughout the conversation. They didn’t even stray when that petite Jamaican chick with the disproportionately large ass swaggered past, though I noticed she swayed significantly slower to give him a good eye full. Keep it moving hoe! But definitely big check

2) To reveal to him a little bit about myself. Just enough for him to get a good idea of our compatibility but holding back just enough to leave him with that tinge of curiosity; that yearning to run home and scan the web for the destination of our next hook up.

30 minutes into our conversation and I was pleased. The hot chocolate danced in my belly, spurring a warming sensation that sprouted up and out, culminating in a pleasant tingle at the tips of my fingers. I looked at them, wondering if this was a sign from God, spurring me on to touch the hands of my fated husband? Ok, maybe a bit far-fetched, but that pleasant feeling had me feeling mighty daring so I decided to go with it. 45 minutes into the conversation, I am gazing into his eyes, my fingers snugly intertwined between his and my mind deeply engrossed in our conversation.  I am mesmerized by his intellect. The way his words slid of his tongue so effortlessly, giving me a glimpse into his limitless knowledge. Hidden between the facts were a few hopeful statements where he talked about settling down and starting a family. I had to look away; the intensity of his gaze as he said those things made my cheeks flushed. I didn’t want to hint that at that exact moment in time I was feeling exactly what he was feeling; that we potentially could be a match made in heaven.

Oh how that heaven swiftly turned to hell when I decided to ask him a few questions. Find out if this man and I were really meant to be. His responses hit me like the blow from a heavy weight boxer. I found my head reeling. And this dear ladies and gentleman is when I decided to generously untwist the twisted notions that this poor male had in is head about relationships:

  1. Sex before marriage is compulsory: Personally I think this is completely at the discretion of the individual. Each to their own. The only thing I don’t agree with is when the man believes that because you are in a relationship he is entitled to your goods. I recently talked to a guy that described girls that decide to remain celibate in their relationship as selfish, because they force their men into celibacy. What kind of twisted world are we living in that women do not have the right to keep themselves?
  2. Being your girlfriend/wife is interchangeable with your house maid: Even if you do ask me the question ‘can you cook?’ and I confirm that yes I can. It does in no way mean that I will now become your personal chef. Yes, every now and then if I have the time I will cook you meals. Not because I have to but because I love you and want to take care of you. But long gone are the days where men are the sole providers in the house hold, so if I am lugging my ass out of bed every morning and going to work to provide for our family too, then I suggest that you purchase a cook book and a masculine vacuum cleaner because I will not be the only one to cook and clean up in this hizzouse!
  3. Just because your past girls have put up with it that I will: Too many times I have been told in that whiny and somewhat condescending tone ‘well my ex-girlfriend never had a problem with it’. Please, if you miss your relationship with your ex so much  go and find her and resume your dysfunctional relationship because I don’t have time for little boys that are always referring to their past. I am a growing woman so I have got to keep it moving forwards, not backwards thanks. Too many guys are used to behaving foolishly (e.g. not following through with promises, sexual promiscuity, being disrespectful etc.) and not suffering the repercussions because females in their past have kissed their asses, and failed to flag up serious flaws that need addressing. So when a no-nonsense woman comes into the picture they start cowering and complaining. Make up your mind: Do you want a woman that adores you but isn’t afraid to flag up your flaws to sculpt you into the amazing man she knows you can be? Or do you want a chick that Is going to bark ‘yes’ robotically in response to everything you say, whilst secretly thinking you’re a complete and utter douchebag? Choose.
  4. Marriage is not a 2 way decision: Guys are getting too cocky. I guess they can smell the pungent odour of women ripe for marriage in the air so they use it as leverage in relationships, holding it above a woman’s head like teasing a dog desperate for a treat.  The man that I marry needs to realise that I said yes when he donned that ring on my finger because I want to marry him and because he wants to marry me. It is a mutual agreement. In no way is it a privilege for a man to agree to marry a woman. In fact a woman enhances and upgrades a man’s life so really he should be seeing her acceptance to marry him as a blessing. Please recognise that I will continue to live life with our without your last name thanks.
  5. That you can buy my love: ‘I would take her out shopping’; that was the response I received from one of my male friends when I asked him what he would do if he really messed up with his woman. Why are men so confused? This might work on some women but men need to realise that most women of this day and age can pay their own way, so buying them this or that won’t better your situation. Try writing her a poem, taking her to a sentimental destination or even making a gift yourself, something to reignite feelings of your love. Maybe then maybe will she be able to give you her whole heart.
  6. That all women are players, juggling a million men at one time:  Don’t get me wrong. If we are not in a relationship then in no way am I obligated to cut off all other guys and commit to you completely. But if we are courting, I like you, and am blatantly investing a lot of time to get to know you, why assume that every time my phone vibrates it’s from another guy? I have been asked so many times now by my potential suitor ‘oh so that other guy is calling you again right?’ that it is now laughable. He doesn’t believe that it is any of my numerous girlfriends, who grossly outnumber my male friends by like 10:1, so I just go with it. Let him believe what he wants to believe. Personally I think guys like the idea because they want to know that the chick they are courting isn’t desperate and has other options, so if it does work out they feel it hasn’t been forced but developed completely organically. She chose him.

So these are just some points that I wanted to clarify for the guys out there who seem to harbour some deluded ideas of what relationships should be like. If your girl all of a sudden looks like she is having a seizure; her eyes rolling to the back of her head as her neck swivels uncontrollably then you best believe you must have got it twisted.

Social media stalker

Facebook-StalkingIs it just me or am I the only person that hasn’t ever felt the need to stalk my partner via social media when I’ve been in a relationship? How am I being told by several girlfriends that they check their mans Instagram on the regular, monitor his friends and posts on Facebook, and keep a tab on who likes his pictures. If some girl is liking too many pictures then it’s time to investigate this heffers page too. Oh and yeah, you can’t forget all of his friends twitter pages, just in case he’s doing some business with the boys that he hasn’t told you about.

Ermmmmm is this healthy? I feel like this kinda ish is enough to drive a woman to paranoia and beyond. Or am I missing out on something here??? Are you a social media stalker?

The Dilemma

So yesterday was my friend’s birthday. Whenever I see this cute little thing I can’t help but to be overwhelmed with fond memories of our school days. Us wobbling around on our stools in the science lab, struggling to stay awake as our teacher droned on and on about cells, plants and everything other thing in life that a 17 year old just doesn’t give a dilly-damn about! We had plans then. Plans of breaking out of that tiresome girl’s school and conquering the world! University was going to be our first stop. There we would party hard by night, sleep by day, and study in the frantic 5 hour period before exams. We always planned on meeting our significant others there; Mouth-wateringly handsome men that would bowl us over with their chivalry, good looks and infectious personalities. From there we would get amazing jobs. The sort of jobs where you would mix with nothing but the most elite graduates, be offered countless amazing international opportunities, and get paid so well that checking price tags would be a pointless thing of the past.

Oh youth- How I adore thee!! We were so happy, so hopeful, so lost in our limitless imaginations. Then reality dawned on us like a weighty fog- Creeping ever so slowly, till our hopes and dreams were stifled and choked. Completely suffocated. Now driving down this windy road with my beautiful buddy by my side, I couldn’t help but let slip that nagging question that built an air of contemplative silence, “What happened to us?”. She looked ahead through the crystal clear windscreen at the frenzied passers-by. Her eyes eerily still as if looking off into a far distance, probing through the years. After a few moments, as if waking from a trance, they flicked back to me as she answered “I guess things just got real”. That provoked a response, and from there we talked, and talked and talked until we reached the quirky African joint her birthday was to be held.

She talked about her boyfriend: A nice guy that had pursued her relentlessly because he knew in his mind that this woman was his Eve. Initially she was reluctant, since nursing a broken heart and a quarrelsome mind (let’s just say men in the past had not been so kind), but still he pursued, and with such a determined spirit that she couldn’t help but develop a subtle intrigue which continued to grow the more she got to know him. It turns out that this guy was one of the kindest and most selfless men that she had ever met, hence why they are now in a relationship. He didn’t fulfil her usual criteria for what she wanted in a partner, but there was something about him that she just couldn’t deny. He loved her, and he wasn’t afraid to show it. She knew that he wasn’t the wealthiest of men that could take her on 5* luxurious holidays and casually spray her with £50 notes, neither was he the most intellectual of men, engaging in furious stimulating debates that left her brain pulsating from an onslaught of knowledge, but she knew that he was hers. A loving and loyal man that would do anything just to make her happy. “I guess that’s good enough” she reasoned, although a subtle undertone in her quavering voice hinted some doubt “I am just being realistic”. Ideally every woman wants a man with a loving and loyal character, but to what extent is that enough?

That is a topic we deliberated till our mouths grew dry, unquenchable by no number of drinks. Personally I feel like it isn’t. I don’t know if it is my upbringing or just my inbuilt persona, but I have never really been attracted to the typically sexy or handsome men that other women are drawn to, or the wealthy men with high-flying jobs and flashy cars, instead I seem to be attracted to geeks. Diamonds in the rough. The sort of men that have that understated beauty and mental dexterity that a superficial woman could never appreciate. Why? Only God knows. I guess you could liken it to what Olanna sees in Odenigbo in ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’. Yes he has great character, but there is also so much more to him. I don’t know if it’s just me but there’s something so sexy about an intellectual man. A man that inspires you and you can learn from, yet doesn’t father or patronise you. Instead he sees your pricelessness and admires your unique strengths. That is the sort of man that I am seeking. Not the ready-made millionaire, but the fresh intellectual with limitless potential, an unstoppable drive and a promising future. A man that excites and ignites a fire within me, always keeping me on my toes and moving forward. But am I being too unrealistic in my expectations? Should I just be content with the simple man that loves and treats me well?

Lately I have been questioning my expectations because I met an amazing guy. A true sweetheart. This man had an abundance of love of attention that he was all too willing to shower upon me. When I looked into his eyes I could just see him being an attentive and doting father, and an incomparable lover. The sort of man that any woman would be proud to call hers. But for some reason, whether right or wrong I just wasn’t drawn to him. I felt no magnetic force pulling us together. Yes we laughed, we joked, and we had fun. But fun is all it was and will ever be. And for that reason our encounter left me feeling a tad perturbed.

The women in my life have always encouraged me to want a man not for his looks, or money but for his flawless character. A man that would stand by me through thick and thin; even when it’s my time of the month and I am ranting and raving like a possessed mad woman, he still stays by my side, nodding and smiling patiently to appease his queen. Lord knows that to have such a man would be a blessing, but is it wrong that I want more?

In this time of unspeakable good-man-drought. I find myself feeling a tad selfish for wanting more. Choosing to be with a man just because he treats you well isn’t settling, is it? Or is it just being realistic? Supposing I found a man that had the traits that I seek, such as intellect, ambition and a heart of gold. Am I being realistic in thinking that we could ever live happily ever after?

Something that my friend said to me really got me thinking. She explained that she had just got back from a work-related outing, where she mixed with several of the senior executives of the organisation. She was surprised at how lewd and flirtatious several of the men were. Although they were dressed so smartly in crisp suits and designer-wear their actions on the contrary were animalistic and wanton. Their wedding bands in no way restricting their reckless behaviour. One could only wonder whether their wives were at home waiting for them; cooking, cleaning and blissfully unaware that their hard-working husbands were hard, and working on women outside of the workplace, or whether these wives were fully aware of their partner’s promiscuous ways but had grown hardened to the sad reality that having a successful man means having an unfaithful one.

As she described her experience I couldn’t help but wonder ‘what happened to these men?’ I am sure that for them to undertake such high-flying senior executive roles, they would have to possess some of the traits that I admire in a man such as intellect and ambition, but whether they ever possessed a good and loving character is questionable. Is it possible that they channelled so much of their energy into intellect and ambition, that it compromised their initially good character, resulting in these barbaric and adulterous ways? And if that is the case, maybe my friend is right, and it is more realistic to just decide upon a man with outstanding character, or is this settling?

I know we all have our preferences; maybe it is intellect, ambition, status or physical attractiveness, and although painful one thing we just have to accept is that life and people are ever-changing like the turning tide. And if we choose partners that possess these alluring characteristics then our eyes need to be open to the fact that they could easily change, plus there are consequences; an attractive physical partner is likely to have endless admirers, similarly to one of high social status, or with a flourishing career, therefore they are going to be exposed to people and situations that will test your relationship to its fullest. Every relationship experiences its temptations, but suppose that this is more likely for those certain people with countless alluring characteristics, then maybe the wisest or should I say the safest thing to do would be to choose the man with just the flawless character because at least you know that this is enduring and through the trying times he will make loving you his priority. But why play it safe? Love itself is a risk. What do you think?

Follow your dreams or your heart?

Every girl has that hope of meeting the guy of their dreams. But what happens when you meet that guy? -you’re in an amazing 2 year relationship with him that could potentially lead to marriage, but then something else comes up. You are offered the career opportunity of your dreams: working abroad in an exotic location, in a senior role, for one of the most recognised companies in the world. Would you be willing to sacrifice your relationship for it? or would you sacrifice your dreams for a chance to settle down with your partner?

Likewise, guys, if you were the boyfriend of a girl in that situation, would you be willing to move abroad with your potential Mrs? Would you try long distance? or would you call the relationship off altogether?