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How To SUCCESFULLY Diet and Maintain A Slim Figure In An African Society

First of all, Africa is not a county; but across the continent, we do share some commonalities. We are not unaware of our differences like the many lanugages, traditions and accents we have. But, when speaking about the things we have in common, no one needs any translation.

It is for this reason I can boldly give advice on a continental level because we, the people, will get it.

In other parts of the world, losing weight and maintaining a slim figure is relatively easy. All you have to do is exercise regularly, eat clean (whatever this means) and drink lots of water.

I beg to differ that it is not this easy if you are on the African continent. Even if you are determined to do all of the above, there are some environmental factors that can work against you.

However I am here to tell you it can still be done succesfully with these few tips… But you must proceed at your own risk. And if you are “African” enough, I do not need explain these “helpful” tips too much.

So here it goes. To be a sucess at dieting and weight management, you must:

  • Uproot your mother from your life

You already know what will happen if you look slimmer than what is maternally acceptable. And there is no distance far enough that a care package with fattening food can not reach. So this is the first must, unless you are part of the 0.00000000000000001% of the population that has a mother who can not be bothered.

  • Do not visit your friends or relatives

You will be welcomed with food that cannot be refused without raising eyebrows or gathering looks of disapproval. The only thing that might work in your favor is the economic situation of your country. Is it on the ‘forget cultural expectations, let’s hide our food’ level? Then and only then are you in luck.

  • Do not visit anybody at all

Same reason as above basically, but you may be spared depending on the type of relationship or the nature of the visit.

  • Publicly claim you are a vegetarian and immediately get ostracised

Good luck!

  • Do not care about showing evidence of your new found success, if you have any.

It is unbecoming to remain as lean as you used to be when you were broke. However if you are yet to find any success, you may want to postpone that moment. You may also want to lean yourself out some more so that when the success comes, the weight you gain will balance the equation out and it is a win-win for everyone.

  • Marry a foreigner

This is so that the strange things you do like dieting, gyming, yoga, pilates and other hard to pronounce activities need no explanation.

Alright, I think I had too much fun with this but it was inspired by my mum. As per usual, she came home from a Saturday outing with an assortment of takeaways for me. It was a feast. And I wondered what would happen if I said no because I was on a rigid diet. The imaginary response in my head prompted this post but I know it is not far from the truth.

We all know in these parts, the fear of mom is the beginning of wisdom.

Have a joyful and laughter filled week!

The Daily Shoot #ds387 - Illustrate the word equality today with a photograph that shows your favorite interpretation.

Four-way stop at a four point intersection.  I played quite a bit with post-processing and might of overdone it, but I liked how the word stop popped off of this one.

Daily Prompt: Ghost

via Daily Prompt: Ghost

A four points intersection lies on the most popular highway of my town. And I did not know many travellers walked that way.

Right in the middle of the intersection I stood, lost in the sea of people, moving here and there. And I wondered what i was doing there. I also wondered why I had never noticed this world of pedestrians.

Then she tapped me, but it felt like a whisper in my ears and she said, “Welcome ghost, you are one of us now.”

 

Image via Flickr

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Joke: One Word, So Many Faces.

via Daily Prompt: Joke

Merriam-Webster’s definition

Joke :

  • something said or done to cause laughter
  • a brief story with a surprising  and funny end
  • someone or something not taken seriously

Real Life applications

Joke:

  • a back handed insult
  • a derogatory comment that wasn’t meant to get to the person it was intended for
  • recording someone naked without their consent and posting it online
  • an explanation for racist actions
  • an excuse for meaness
  • a reason for bullying

The Contained Life’s definition

Joke:

  • If every one involved is not genuinely laughing at the end of it, it cannot be a joke

 

 

Image vis Flickr

 

Copy (2) of fancy-alphabet-letters-8

W Is For Wisdom As It Is For Woman

The question was very simple and the already confused audience frowned in response. It was a miracle they didn’t storm out of the room yelling, “No! Stop! We give up!”

The truth is Nigerians are used to linear learning and I am a proud rambler. You need to just connect the dots when I am expressing my thoughts on an issue and God bless you if it is something I am passionate about. And unlucky for this audience, on that day, there was going to be no middle ground in my talk.

At this forum where the above mentioned audience was seated,  I was speaking about being a woman in a patriarchal society and the deal was to crack open very closed minds. I first argued with the philosophical side of things then I dove into the Christian side. This is a major crutch for people that do not want equality between women and men; so they twist religion to justify their stand and I was going to challenge that stand.

The first question was, “How many of you have heard preached in your church multiple times that wisdom in the bible was given female attributes, called a she and described as a woman?”

Not a single hand went up.

Then I followed up with, “How many of you have heard preached in your church, multiple times, that the ideal role of a woman is to submit to her husband?”

All hands went up including mine.

After which I asked why there is such an imbalance in teaching about what should be the makeup of a woman, especially when the bible takes time to talk about these things. I also wondered why the church doesn’t see how beneficial it is to use what the bible says about wisdom to encourage women to be wise. And it is more confusing, considering these are the group of people expected to uphold the moral fabric of the family.

It is indeed baffling not only because of the immense benefits of wisdom clearly written in the bible; it is akin to finding life.

Proverbs 8:35-36, “For whoever finds wisdom, finds life and obtains favor from the lord but he who sins against wisdom wrongs his own soul; all those who hate wisdom love death”.

These are pretty strong and set words for embracing wisdom so why doesn’t the church encourage it. And if we are doing things by the book, then why not encourage women to embrace the attributes that wisdom offers especially since wisdom is identified as female.

Another under-told story in the bible, is that of Huldah in 2 Chronicles 34. The good king Josiah had found a book lying neglected in the temple and who does he send it to with a delegation to be verified as the book of the law, the prophet Huldah, wife of Shallum (v. 22). She is basically the first bible verifier/interpreter.

I truly feel if it were up to some pastors, they would rewrite this chapter.

In their version, the story written would begin with Huldah being the good and submissive wife that she was, going to her husband first and consulting with him. She would ask his permission to speak of what she knew; like the good humble wife she was. And he would in turn say, “Go ahead wife, bring honor to my name”, then she would reply to the delegation saying, “with my husband’s permission, let me tell you what I know…”.

Honestly I got exhausted writing that out. This is what some pastors would love to preach but since the bible can’t be rewritten, it is all together an abandoned topic.

On a side note, Huldah’s husband’s occupation or rank in society wasn’t mentioned but it was noted that he was the grandson of the keeper of the temple robes. This makes me wonder a lot.

What the story of Huldah tells me however, is that in marriage there is a place for submission as there also is a place for independence. Submission probably has to do with the decision making for the family (I’m guessing since I am not married) which makes sense because every outfit should have a leader.

Independence has to do with making the most of the gifts, talents and abilities in you, since you alone are going to answer (and answer you must) for the use or misuse of it. Again, this is not something preached to women because in our society, right next to the fear of hell is the fear of giving women a voice.

The argument is when you give a woman a voice she becomes disrespectful, arrogant and forgets her place. Yep, the word ‘place’ has been used countless times to my hearing.  It is a miracle we do not have women walking about extremely dizzy from being bombared about not knowing their place; all because we have an opinion or want to contribute.

Still, nobody knows where this place is or what we are meant to do there. But one thing is clear; silence built the foundation and walls of this place.

This directly contradicts what I understand wisdom to be according to the book of Proverbs. Wisdom is everywhere calling out, raising her voice in invitation because of the life in her words. She instructs, corrects, rebukes, teaches and gives knowledge.

Even the virtous woman in Proverbs 31 (a darling favorite of Nigerian Pastors) is not a silent bystander, vs 26, “When she speaks her words are wise and she gives instruction with kindness.”

Silence and submission is what as women we are encouraged to embrace as our lives motto but this is not God’s standard for us. He also wants us to be wise, kind, full of knowledge, gracious, loving and a host of other things. Most importantly he wants us, male or female to make the most of the gifts he has give us.

Light is meant to be on a lampstand and shine for the world not hidden under a bushel; it has no function in that manner… under the bushel – Matthew 5:14-16

This is my understanding of who I am meant to be as a Christian woman and I am sticking to it .

 

You may also want to read my long post on How to survive a patriarchal society as a woman and get the picture of the other side of things.

 

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3LineTales – Childhood

Photo credit: Imma Ibáñez

The back of the house is my spot after school, sitting on the floor, staring upwards beneath the canopy of my little tree.

My little tree is the spot of my delicous imaginations, plucking of its fruit, filling my mouth with eyes closed.

With eyes closed is how I sit on a spot in my seat, listening for the closing bell, transporting my mind to my spot beneath the cherry tree.

 

This is my three line submission to Sonya’s week 27 challenge of three line tales, to participate click Here.

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Sanity Rattlers aka Pet Peeves

Why is it that you can be having a great day, a really the-sun-rose-up-and-personally-smiled-at-me glorious day; then that one thing happens and casts a dark shadow over the day. And no matter how brief, it just puts a blight on the day.

In that brief dark moment, you feel as if you are just a toe nail away from losing your mind. It may not make sense to anyone why this thing makes you (a known cat lover) want to grab the nearest kitten and pull all its hair out; because it doesn’t even make sense to you.

But here we are and life must be lived and pet peeves must be had. So I am going to share some of mine because I want to hear some of yours.

Let’s do this…

1} People that cannot sit properly and systematically in a Keke Napep (a rickshaw):

Rickshaw Illustration

Mr Green, Mr Blue and Mr Purple in the backseat of a Keke.

Disclaimer about illustration: This is my first ever attempt trying out Microsoft Paint and it may be my last. 

Let me translate briefly what the people in the keke are saying.

Mr Green: I will lean back because it makes sense to keep my shoulders away from Mt Blue.

Mr Blue: I will lean forward for the same reason as Mr Green.

Mr Purple: I will lean back for the same reason as Mr Blue and also because it is impossible for my shoulder from this distance to be anywhere near Mr Green.

See! It is a win-win all round.

So tell me why there is always that genius in a Keke who can’t make up their mind and lean forward or backward. Instead what they do is place themselves in whatever position the person next to them is in; and if the person alternates, they immediately follow their direction. And God bless your fragile heart if you are like me and sometimes find yourself sitting in between two of these geniuses.

Amateurish personality assessment verdict: These kinds of people do not make great team players because they are forever lost as to their place on the team.

2) People that hum loudly to a song they are clearly hearing for the first time or a song they clearly do not know the lyrics to:

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Blending in while standing out.

Seriously, who are you try to deceive. And just how are you meant to get away with that deception when your very attempt at deception sells you out. Why not just do like normal people do when they hear a song they like; which is move to the rhythm of the song with their heads or bodies.

Amateurish personality assessment verdict: Do not put these people on the front lines of anything. They feel they can outsmart everyone without doing the necessary homework.

3) People who steal your words or ideas and repeat them verbatim to others as though it is their original thought, right.in.front.of.you.

How do you know it is your own thoughts and ideas? Well, because you had the same conversation with them the day before and they had no thought or idea about the issue. They even asked you what you thought about the issue. And it is those same exact words that are being repeated to another person while you watch them take credit for it.

As someone who likes to share knowledge and learn from others, I know how it can feel when something resonates with you. It almost feels like yours but you know that before you heard or read it, you had not thought or spoken it out loud. Maybe it was buried in your subconscious, but face it, it never got let out till someone else said or wrote it.

Now to take all the credit and be shameless about it right in front of the person you heard it from, that just shakes my core and makes me think never to trust you with important things.

Amateurish personality assessment verdict: These are the potential murderers who haven’t found the right motive yet.

4) This happened a couple of days ago and I don’t know if it qualifies as a pet peeve but it did annoy me.

In church, the girl sitting next to me kept running commentary on everything going on from the singing to the pastor’s message. And to make matters worse, she kept poking me in the ribs with her elbow so I can acknowledge her comments and spontaneous laughter.

I almost lost my mind.

Usually I am a good sport  when a stranger pulls me into a conversation. I feel it is a symptom of loneliness, plus I can distinguish between a lousy talkative person and someone interested in good conversation; so I usually indulge them.

But this Sunday, it felt like I was being dragged by my hair and with the constant elbowing… it was too much. Unfortunately, there was nowhere to run to.

Amateurish personality assessment verdict: *I haven’t decided yet.

Bottom line, the things that get me may seem ridiculous to you and vice versa. I have no logical explanation for my annoyances and I am sure neither does any one else.

Even the name pet peeves is comical if you really look at it. I just believe this phenomena is in every one of us to make us a little weird. And in my opinion, life is more interesting and colorful when it is  little weird.

So what rattles your cages?

 

 

Some images via flickr

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Why Chatting Is Difficult For Some People

Social media and a lot of apps seem like they are meant to connect us with one another. But if you take a moment and shut down your screen, you will see that they are really meant to feed a need in us. And this is the need to be validated and entertained. This does not take away from their usefulness by the way. It is just a silent extra feature.

When that need is taken out of the equation. then real life has to be faced. And facing reality is not a natural skill given to us all from the moment we were born. Constantly facing reality head-on is an acquired skill that comes with finding courage and daily practice.

Unfortunately, a lot of people do not know when it is time to put down the social media technique of posting something that incites responses/likes; and pick up the technique of having real interractions.

Well, the above is usually my short answer to the baffling question, ” Is it so hard chat?”

N.B or P.S (depending on your origins): In these parts, chat ot chatting means the use of Whatsapp or BBM(blackberry messeanger) to have a conversation… forgive me if you already knew this.

But apart from that being my main reason for peoples laziness at carrying conversations(due to the afore-mentioned social media trap); I have other theories, these are:

  1. They want a different relationship from the one you currently have with them. It could be that you are aquintances and they want to be really good friends. But are either scared to explore what it means to be your friend or are again just social media lazy. How else would you explain someone writing  ‘Hi!’ and you replying with a ‘Hi back at ya’ and then it takes them three days before they reply with an annoying  ‘Hello’.
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Miscommunication at its best.

2. A proper relationship is what they really want. For females, if the guy is not making any move, they try to stay within the line of sight. Hence the daily ‘Hi’s’.

Here, we haven’t evolved to brazenly asking a guy out. And in this case however, I think it is also this singular focus of getting the guy to make a move on the girl’s part that it becomes so paralysing to try to do anything else.

For the guys, they do not yet have the courage or focus(not-sure-I-actually-want-to-be -in-a-relationship-with-her syndrome) to make the move. So they keep it consistent with the ‘Hi’s’ and the ‘Sups’ untill that great day.

I am not sure it occurs to either of them to try to have a conversation in the meantime; which might just be a faster way to get to their final destination. It is either this, or the social media trap mentality or plain laziness at making the effort to engage another person.

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I’ve put my heart out, now you decipher.

3. You may unknowingly be in a cold war with the other party. This has happened to me a lot. As a scatterbrain with the unknowing ability to offend and fail at uknown(at least to me) expectations, peoples toes sometimes get stepped on.

The senario usually goes like this, a person starts a chart with you, followed by monosyllibic answers to your questions/statements then followed by the silent treatment.

N.B or P.S: The proper Whatsapp silent treatment goes something like this: You send a message and it has been instantly read, as indicated by Whatsapp. But the reply comes 10 hours later and the next reply another  15 hours after the first. And nope, their phone didn’t die as Whatapp gives you an update of the last time they checked in, which is every half hour.

In this situations, I have learnt to get straight to the point by stating I sense a coldness and then I ask if anything is wrong. The real story usually comes out.

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Erm, am I suppose to read your thoughts from the back of your head?

4. Fear of rejection or being misunderstood. I personally think this fear is heightened when you aren’t standing face to face with the individual. Some have argued that most people are emboldened when behind their phone or computer screens. These people are interesting to chat with but when met in person turn out to be boring and unable to carry an actual conversation. I feel those people may not be interested in having a real friendship or relationship in the first place, so they assume a persona that makes the virtual relationship interesting.

Someone genuinely interested in the first two senarios mentioned above will have the normal fear and anxiety of not knowing if they are acceptable or not. I have felt more anxious sending texts and not knowing what the reply might be than having one on one conversations in a related senario.

Words are the most functional tools I find, not because I am a writer but because it is the clearest mode of expression.

Actions are more powerful than words, true, but also more easily misunderstood, ignored or taken for granted. When you write something clearly, unless the individual reading it does not want to engage(which is a clear reply in itself) , it is hard for anyone to claim you meant something else. And people will try to do so, if your words make them feel a certain type of way, All of this is meant to indicate how they want to relate with you (especially when you are being clear).

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Clarity. Saving lives since forever.

These are my own theories, for why some people find it hard to be engaging in a chat. I have been asked more times than I care to state why I am engaging and entertaining while chatting or in a conversation. And after my many confused, “Isn’t everyone?” and “I don’t believe you. All humans must be naturally good at chatting, we have words!!!”. I decided to analyse a few chats and put my theories out.

Honestly, I just didn’t want to chalk it down to laziness, confused entitlements and emoji’s. Life is more complicated than all that put together.

Why do you think people find it hard to chat?

 

 

 

Images via Flickr

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Dear God, Can Nigerians Be Judged Differently When We Get To Heaven?

Heavenly Father,

I can boldly say I speak for all Nigerians when I say we can’t wait to get to heaven. Especially those of us that know Revelations 21:23, it promises that “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp”. And THIS is our ultimate dream; 24/7 electricity.

And speaking of light, isn’t it a miracle that we are considered, according to statistics to be some of the happiest people on earth? The fact that this constant darkness hasn’t filled our hearts with true darkness speaks a lot about the Nigerian spirit doesn’t it?

It is also another great miracle that depression and mental illness is not on a mega high in this country. People here do try their best against all the odds, alas genuine hard work pays minimally. And it is a bad look when thieves and corrupt people have the appearance of reaping all the rewards for little or no work. Harder still is it to convince young impressionable people that that is not the way to go.

We do need to focus and look to our better role models. Unfortunately the noisier “role models” are the wannabe celebrites who are determined to publicise their success with ‘stuff’. Most of which is a gross exaggeration of what they actually own. This is becoming the new normal of legitimate success.

But wannabe celebrities are not who I am presenting to you today; just good old us, regular Nigerians.

First of all, I think when we get to heaven, we should be seperated from the rest of the nations for two reasons.

Number one, if there is a way to hide or disappear, we will find it. I know there is no hiding from you, just saying it might be quite irritating dealing with people who feel so smart that I am sure they believe they can outsmart you. I am just glad there is a word in your good book to qualify people who seem wise in their own eyes; and that word is foolish. And hopefully one day soon, before we leave this earth, we will gain true wisdom.

Two, we will just delay the line unnecessarily; queueing without some abusive authority to keep us in order does not work with us. And you are a God of love. And then there is the issue of excessive begging, multiple justifications or manouvers to either jump the line or avoid the judgement at hand. I am not sure anyone would have the patience for that annoyance.

(A heavy pause and some sighs later…)

I believe I am looking at this all wrong, mainly through my own eyes as I know you are patient, merciful and full of grace.

But as Nigerians, we do a lot of wrong. And so therefore we are now regretably the world’s poster child for scammers and scamming. How did we get here?

Some of us may have have taken your word too literally when you said time and chance is given to all. So whenever an opportunity strikes, we take it. This doesn’t excuse us by the way, we just need to get to the point where one of our values isn’t taking advantage of every situation for our benefit.

There are so many churches in Nigeria but redefining our values does not seem to be a popular topic coming from the pulpit. I guess it is not commercial enough. Or maybe  if pastors could find a way to place corruption and stealing, on the same sin level as fornication and adultery, we may just make some headway.

However I am extremely glad that every man is going to answer for themselves before You. A lot of us really do try to minimise our poor personal choices and not cave in to the burdens and temptations that come our way because of our bad governments.

My final thought is, how can we on a large scale work with your bountiful wisdom, grace. love and mercy and transform Nigeria into a great nation?

And is it possible for your voice to be louder than the still small whisper? Just on the off off chance that the millions of roaring generator noises might be interfering with our hearing. I know, I know, I am just reaching…

You are always an awesome God.

Your hopeful daughter,

Ulan.

 

Featured Image, Seperation of concerns, Falk Lademann Via Flickr

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Embracing The Dark: On Loving My Skin.

Poetry is not my strongest suit. But, like most things that pique my interest, I gave it at least one or two attempts, just to know I can. However, not all things get that one attempt no matter how much I am burning with curiosity.

Sometimes what ends up happening is a dance around the interest. This is like when we were kids and played ‘Ring a Ring o’ Roses’; we went round and round then crumpled down to the ground.So in that same way, one of the things I danced around but never did, was bleach my skin. And we will get to that before this post is over.

Let’s  start from the end of the discovery and it begins with an attempt at poetry. I wrote a poem to capture my moment of clarity titled ‘Embracing The Dark’. And it goes like this…

Heart racing, Palpitations
Twitching eyes,  Shaky hands
Ah! A new day has begun
Morning has come…

 

Yesterday, I was reminded once again
That progress moves faster in the light
I mean for the light
Or is it to the light

 

I always get confuse
And I try to rationalize
This is what leads me to my pathos
This is what leads me to my pawn broker
And our constant trade in unused jars
Of lightening cream

 

Throwing out and then replacing
And throwing out some more
And then replacing… some more

 

I stare at the jar on the table
and it snares back at me
beckoning, gleaming with a vague promise
I still do not understand
And another new day I resist the urge
Today will not find me slipping
Today will not find me dipping

 

Now I am good, I am dressed
I am ready to go
Opportunities abound, my goals are clear
Reality slaps me once more not to forget
Not to forget my mantra
It makes me believe in myself
For my children
And their children’s children
That is what this is really about

 

My mind clears it throat
let’s begin it says

 

Black is beautiful, I must not despair
Black is beautiful, Love without unnecessary compromise will find me
Black is beautiful, Black is my identity….

Let’s go…

 

Please don’t judge the quality of the poem, it was written six years ago and I probably broke a hundred rules of poetry. But hey…  I have learnt when inspiration strikes, you must run with it or lose it forever; so I took the chance.

 

But now we must go back to the beginning, where it all started.

In childhood being the darkest of my sisters. my mum decided to honor this fact by constantly referring to me as “the black one”. This wasn’t a problem while growing within the confines of my house, drenched in so much love that my ‘title’ was a special bond between me and my mum. But once I started school, black came with the understanding that it meant ugly and sometimes unwanted, outcast, unsuitable and a plethora of other things that really does not necessitate journeying to my Primary and Secondary school memories.

Thankfully, I’ve realize that there is a  confusingly merciless and unthinking part of our culture that gives people a pass to say whatever comes to their head; without fully weighing the consequences. One part of our culture I can’t stand.

Anway, what changed or helped?

Well…

First of all, growing up, my head was always in the clouds dreaming up all kinds of wonderful alternate realities. This means most things registered but didn’t stay with me. And at the end of every school year, I noticed all shades, complexion wise in the top and bottom according to our exam result. Immediately dark meaning dumb (a word we use here to mean unintelligent) lost all truth plus it helped that I got a lot of double promotions and recommendations to skip grades.This gave all the evidence that I wasn’t even near dumb or unintelligent. So… victory number 1.

When the boys started coming by, they were in all shades. From really light skinned to deep dark skinned. I always joke that it seems like I had dated the United Nations, not in the number of people but in the variety. But In all honesty, two things really changed my view of relationships as it pertains to skin color.

The first is, whether white, black or mixed, it really didn’t take long for me to ‘forget’ what they looked like. Somehow, skin color and complexion gets pushed back into my sub-concious mind and the individuals character and personality comes to the fore front. It is really hard for me to explain this but when I realised that, I chose to believe it was the same for them as for me.

The second thing and person, whom I have to give a lot of thanks to is Halle Berry.

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And it was the moment in her life that she was treated so badly by a man. I was extremely unhappy about it because like most people I felt and still feel she is a beautiful person. But her moment came with clarity for me; and if this can be done to Halle Berry a world(media) proclamed standard of beauty, then if the guarantee for happiness in a relationship is solely based on looks, no one will be spared from bad times.

I have reached my destination of total acceptance of my skin complexion. But I would be lying if I say there aren’t days I do not wish for a lighter shade. This has to do with my hair texture which some people naturally associate with being mixed race. I really could do without a day of inquistion. You can read all about it Here to understand what I mean.

However if the many Ethnicity tags, Mixed girl tags and the numerous ‘Where am I from?’ tags floating in cyberspace are any indication; it is safe to assume that if you do not totally fit a stereotype, people are going to have questions and opinons. Just the way of the world.

Bottom line, I have learnt through actively seeking to love all I have been given that, having the most widely accepted or favored skin tone comes with ZERO guarantee for a happy, fullfiled and purposeful life.

If you are unhappy and miserable about your life then no matter the ‘passes’ the world gives you, you will remain unhappy and miserable about your life.

And the world’s standards do not have to be yours. End of story.

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Silly poetry sometimes carries a ton of meaning.

 

So do you feel having your type of skin tone has helped or encumbered the quality of your life? I would really love to have as many perspectives on this as I can, if you would please indulge me. Much thanks in advance

 

 

Images via Flickr

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Welcome Home, Perusa Menanie!

Why hast thou

Held talent above my head 

And let me see it. O my God? – Peter Potter

 

A story was told to me by an off-centered individual called Perusa Menanie. And yes, I asked if that is her real name. To which she replied first with silence, followed by an icy glare and what seemed like sixty painful knocks to the head, but was actually the echo of my instantly loud wrist watch counting down the minute in which I was to be pinned beneath her gaze. After which for my trouble and discomfort, I was rewarded with the most generous smile.

“Yes of course, it is my real name”

She said as she took a step forward and closed the gap between us. Then she whispered, “Now listen silently and do not interrupt this tale, as it holds the key to your good fortune in life. You must run when I am done and tell as many people as you can; your fortune will be multiplied according to their numbers.”

It was a whisper that caused me to immediately hold my breath so not even the sound of breathing would to interrupt her. I was scared.

Perusa certain of my commitment, took two steps backwards and dramatically rose to the tip of her toes like a ballerina. Or more like a Phoenix rising out of ashes and did a mini twirl.

“You see this gorgeous body wasn’t always this gorgeous… It was more super, enthralling and spectacular.”

All I saw was what looked like a stick figure dressed in rags but I wasn’t about to argue. I nodded appropriately, cast a head to toe admiring glance and would have added a wolfish whistle if not for my promise of silence.

She looked around and then plopped down on the hard ground as though it was a soft cushion. I winced at the thought of the pain that must be reverberating through her but she instead folded her legs in pleasure as her eyes invited me to join her on the floor. A glazed look comes upon her eyes the moment I sit down, like the type you see in movies when a flash back is about to happen.

Perusa’s story begins with:

“I was born on a magnificent 19th July. It was magnificent because my father said, the sun personally came out to shine and smile for me as it had been absent for days.Even though my mother always argued that it was a normal occurrence of the rainy season, but my father would not be dissuaded. My mother was just jealous of the role I came to play as the only woman in my father’s life… I think”, She said willing me to agree.

I could only shrug my shoulders.

She continued by telling me about her life growing up which was also magnificent. An era that lasted until the confusion on what to do with her life set in at the beginning of her university studies. Medicine her main course of study bored her to death but kept her father extremely happy; so she kept at it.

“Sometimes I would stay awake all night and wonder, asking myself all the relevant questions my secondary school’s Guidance and Counselor officer didn’t bother with when I was filling my JAMB forms. I always got no answers from within myself but from without, I got the smelly farts from cousin who came to visit and shared my room,” she said wistfully.

But this was all to change when James asked her out on a date. James, a total babe and fellow misfit in the Department of Medicine. She thought, in him was to be found an understanding soul mate but with time saw in his actions the truth that came with her friends warnings. James only wanted to use and dump her as proof that he was indeed one of the boys.

She finished her story by saying, “In the end, and in a sense,  I was the one who used him and dumped him. First of all, I got the most expensive free meal at the university’s prized spot where only the bold with heavy pockets enter. It was called ‘The Rest Room’, which in hindsight, if I had paused to consider its name, I would have never eaten there. But like most university students, I lived and did little thinking; after all, what’s in a name?”

At that point I thought to myself, what’s in a name indeed!

“Secondly, for the first time during my University stay, I realized that the social center was also used as an open air theater. As I ate my expensive but not so appetizing meal, a group of students appeared out of no where and start practicing for a play.  Their lack of self-consciousness and they way they embraced their new identities arrested me. James said something about how he had been admiring me for a while, I heard that and then I heard nothing else. Two hours passed like two minutes, and James was long gone, at what point I didn’t know and could care less. I knew I had finally found my place in life.”

The glazed look lifted from her eyes and I knew the story had come to an end. Perusa looked directly at me and said her final words.

“That is the secret to unlocking your fortune in life, Find the place where you belong. You have heard it all, now go and share it with as many people as you can find.”

With that, she got up and walked away with a flourish, her tattered gown sweeping behind her like a stately queen walking towards her throne amidst loyal subjects.

When I was sure she was out of sight, I walked to the nurses’ station and asked the nurse on duty who she was,

“That’s our newest patient, Gloria Idongesit. She was found wandering about the National Theater. Apparently she goes there often, screaming at everyone and saying she is the best actress in the world and should be cast in their plays. This is actually the best place for her to be, with the drama that goes on in here, she will have her fill of roles,” the nurse ended with a laugh.

I walked away from the nurse with a revelation.

The last couple of weeks my life had been filled with sadness and discontent. I felt lost, hated my job but did not know what else to do with my life. Once again, I complained to my best friend who finally snapped and yelled,

“Visit the psychiatric hospital and I bet you will stop feeling lost. Because then you will really know what it means to be lost.”

Now my eyes have cleared and I can see clearly. I realize that all I need to do  is to keep searching for my place till I find it. My present position might actually be right on course to where I am meant to be. I just need to keep seeking and not lose my mind in the process. Seems easy right? Well, one step at a time.

That day, as I walked towards the exit, I saw her standing in front of a window. She was staring at her features and rearranging them as though transforming into a character. I summoned all my courage, walked up to her and said…

“Welcome home Perusa Menanie! You may seem lost to the world but you have found a home… let’s hope it is temporary.”

 

Featured image via Flickr. Tom Green, The Loony Bin, town street, Armley.