Tingles From The Past

via Daily Prompt: Zing!

I tried it immediately after she said it would be the greatest experience of my life.

“I will do it with you,” she said with her dimpled mischievous smile.

Counting off her fingers, she outlined the procedure.

  1. We will sit on the fence for 30 minutes to an hour
  2. And then jump down to ground

And so it was after an hour of making up stories about ‘The mysterious catzilla, guardian of the dragon egg’, that I heard, “1,2, Jump!”.

Suddenly there was an explosion in my head and I could not tell if it was pain. pleasure or a combination of both.

It felt like a thousand needles were travelling from the sole of my feet to the line that is my spine and back again in rapid succession; all the way marking their trail with their sharp points.

We were both bent over, gasping, and trying to breathe through the pain. Then with the twinkle of a million stars in her eyes, she looked at me and broke out laughing in bits and pieces.

“Awesome isn’t it? So painfully delicious!”, she managed to say as she tried to get through the moment.

Only Sarah could convince me that freezing my legs out in the cold before jumping from a height was the greatest experience of my life. And we had many more “greater” ones after that before adulthood came calling.

Photo Credit Alex Holzknetch via Flickr

Skills

via Daily Prompt: Cheat

In life, we cheat.

When telling stories, when telling the “truth”, when “smiling”

Because a little editing never hurt nobody

And skill is a very useful tool.

 

 

In death, we cannot cheat.

Because how can you

when it is no longer in your hands

And at this point, skill amounts to nothing.

 

 

Featured Image via Flickr

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!

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

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

 

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.

 

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.

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

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

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