Uncategorized

Prostitution; A Way Out of Poverty

I was asked to give a 3 minute speech on the above topic at the literary and debate club in my hall. Here’s what I said

There are a few topics that could make my mother lose her appetite; pornography, homosexuality, prostitution. My mother represents the typical Nigerian or if I’m being ambitious, the typical African.
You see, the typical African is shielded by morals and values that seemingly keep us safe and sex in its entirety is one topic that we must protect ourselves from. “Don’t have sex if you’re not married”, “Don’t have sex on tape”, “Don’t have sex with the same gender” and even though statistically, sex sells, “dont you dare sell it”.

But ignoring prostitution as a legitimate source of livelihood can be compared to pinching your nose at the smell of a fart. You keep out the foul smell but at the same time, you keep out the oxygen.

Nigeria currently has 86.9 million people living in extreme poverty according to the world poverty clock and to fully understand that, imagine that all extremely poor people in nigeria were to form a new country. That new country, “The federal republic of extremely poor Nigerians” would still have more citizens than the United kingdom!

Thankfully, in 2018, the Borgen Project in line with the Sustainable development goal 1 highlighted 10 ways that countries can get out of poverty and one of them is to develop entrepreneurship.

Ladies and Gentlemen, a prostitute is an entrepreneur.

According to investopedia, an entrepreneur is an Individual who creates a business, bears the risks of the business and enjoys the rewards of the business. A prostitute creates a business out of selling sex, bears the risk of sexually transmitted infections and enjoys the monetary rewards of the business. In fact, pulse ng reported on the 13th of december, 2018 that an average female roadside prostitute in lagos earns 10 thousand naira every night which totals 200 thousand naira every month if she takes the weekends off.

So let’s rephrase. “Prostitution; a way out of poverty” is equal to “Entrepreneurship; a way out of poverty” and that makes sense!

Now here’s the part where we are cutting off the oxygen. Even though the BBC on the 14th of April, 2014 reported that the economy of the United Kingdom received a 3 billion Euro boost from prostitution alone and that Italy, through the legalisation of prostitution, improved her economy by 18 percent, it appears the Nigerian Government has developed quite a different equation for prostitution. They recognize that half the population live in extreme poverty. They recognize that prostitution can be a source of income. They recognize that every individual has autonomy over their body. But! Will arrest you if you have sex in exchange for money. So the equation is basically one plus one plus one is equal to photosynthesis. It makes no sense!

The Nigerian Government needs policies that enforces 3 things. One. To switch from using the word “prostitution” which connotes something vile and criminal, to “sex work” which recognizes that sex work is in fact work. Two, the legalisation of sex work. Three, the imposition of taxes on sex workers to improve the country’s revenue.

There are a few topics that could make me lose my appetite. Criminalization of sex work, discrimination of sex workers, poverty. I represent the average person sitting here today and if I’m being ambitious, I represent the future.

Xoxo

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Uncategorized

A Few Mistakes I’ve Made

The bright yellow stain on my formerly sparkly uniform was proof that I had fucked up.

I was 6 or 7 years old when our class teacher asked us to come with crayons and water colour for art class. You remember water colour? You had to wet the brush (with water or spit…the teacher didn’t really give a shit) before dabbing it on the dried cake of colour to paint anything. It was supposed to be a fun class and I was particularly excited for that day.

On the appointed day, I arrived early in school brandishing a pack of crayons and a palette of water colour. I was putting away my bag in the locker when I saw my friends; Emmanuella and Immaculata. Every school has those kids who are richer than the average kids and have nicer thing. Pink trolley school bags, flowery lunch boxes, nicer school shoes and even (excuse my pettiness) fresher skin. Yup, these twin girls who were also my friends were those kids in school. Somehow, when the teacher had asked us to come with Water colour, they had taken it a step further and came with “Poster colour”. You remember poster colour? Each colour came fluid in it’s own little bottle and it was the boogiest shit my 6 or 7 year old self had ever seen.

Anyway, I was staring at the wonder called poster colour and had just opened the bottle of yellow when the assembly bell rang. You remember Assembly Bell??the shrill godforsaken sound that reminded you that for the next 6 to 7 hours, you were under the mercy of teachers or whatever other demons were roaming the land. Yeah! That shit rang!And in true Anastasia fashion, I panicked! It was like being seen naked, you’re doing absolutely no wrong by being naked, but still… you panic. The bottle tilted and fresh yellow liquid paint spilled over my hands. The bell rang again and in true fashion, I did the dumbest thing!I dropped the whole kit, wiped my hands over my dress and raced to the assembly ground.

It was a monday and that meant inspection of every pupil’s uniform. Long story short, I didn’t pass the inspection and this earned me 3 hot strokes of cane on my skinny ass and a side eye from the teacher that screamed “You disgust me”. Okay Mr Phillips, you disgust me too.

Another mistake I remember making had my elder brother as a sweet accomplice. We were messing around in the kitchen and had decided to make Eba for lunch. There was Ogbono soup in the fridge and all we had to do was make the Eba. Fun fact, neither I nor my brother had ever made it before but you see I’m capricorn and I’d rather die than admit that I can’t do something as fickle as making Eba. So we began.

We boiled water in a kettle till the steam began to escape, then we drew out a very large bowl and a spatula. Next, we poured all the boiling water into the bowl ( it was a lot of water) and started scooping cups of dry yellow garri into the bowl. We had scooped at least 10 small cups of garri into the bowl before all the water was completely used up. I’ll save you the stress, the end result was harder than cement and neither I nor my brother had enough strength to turn the cementy mass into the soft eba we set out to make.

We decided to get rid of our failure because God forbids my mother ever finds out I wasted her food. So we tied the rock hard eba into a nylon and did the unthinkable!!! We opened a window of our 3rd floor apartment and simply dropped the stash. Like you only see in the movies, it landed on a body part (based on reports, head) of the old woman who lived on the ground floor. She screamed.

First she screamed, then she started crying, then she started shouting and she wrapped it up with heavy curses. My brother and I kept silent the whole time even though a small crowd had gathered downstairs to investigate. The woman said that whoever was responsible would never be happy in life. Sometimes I think she’s right. Sometimes I drink beer and forget I ever had a childhood.

Another mistake I’ve made is falling in love. Yeah, the name of this blog is a scam; turns out I’m no different from anybody else. I fell in love and the love gripped my heart so hard, it left it cracked. I was 19 years old when I met the man of my dreams (laughs in nightmares) and I was convinced that someday i was going to marry him in a beautiful backless lace dress that would leave twitter buzzing for days. Two months into the relationship, he told me that he cared more about *insert pretty smart young lady* than he cared about me. You know what I did??I went ahead and dated him for 12 more months! I must admit, it’s exhausting playing “Fizbo the clown” without a costume.

After 14 months, our sweet sweet love came to an end and just like everyone says after a relationship…I hope he’s doing okay. You see I don’t believe that a broken heart ever heals completely (I’ve been wrong about a lot of things in life but who’s counting) and sometimes when the stress and loneliness kicks in, I’m reminded that I still bear the cracks on my heart. Other days, I put too much pepper in my indomie and nothing else matters.

Here’s the part where I become a basic chick ; I AM NOT MY MISTAKES. And I know you know this already but let’s have this conversation one more time. I am not that girl who thinks it’s okay to wipe her dirty hands on her dress or drop 2kg worth of badly prepared eba from the third floor or even the girl who willingly stays where she’s not wanted. But in those moments, I was driven by emotions (Panic, fear and love) and I’m learning that my emotions are valid. This has been a terrifying learning experience because the idea that it’s okay for me to feel angry, sad or anxious and act based on these feelings blows my mind.

This knowledge is important for three reasons. One, it makes it easier for us to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we have made. Two, it makes it easier to forgive others. Three, it makes us less afraid of making mistakes.

We feel and sometimes, we act based on these feelings. Most times, the results are undesirable and fucks shit up for us and the people around us. It sucks and I definitely do not encourage mistakes but perhaps knowing that by virtue of being humans(who feel), we’re bound to make mistakes makes it a tad better to deal with. No? Okay.

Leave a comment

Xoxo

Uncategorized

A Tribute To My Late Night Walks.

In those moments, it doesn’t matter how often my feet touch the ground or if they do at all. It’s a communion with the universe, a dance with the darkness, an intercourse with the moon.

The one where I walked with a stranger…

I walked past him in the middle of the night. I heard him call out to me but I had earphones in my ears, so I pretended not to have heard. Fat chance! He walked up to me still, a big smile on his face

“Hi, I’m Paul”

“I’m Anastasia” I said, pretending to be startled.

“I saw you walk past and you look really beautiful. Do you mind if I walk with you”

“But you don’t even know where I’m going” I protested

“Does it matter?” he asked with a mischievous grin

We walked the walk and talked the most part of it. He was a graduate of a school in the north here for a visit. He was leaving the next day and insisted that it was fate that made us meet….

Talking to Paul was fun. At the end of the walk, we exchanged numbers and resolved to keep in touch

The next day, Paul called. He had lost his sister that day to a road traffic accident and just wanted to let me know. I sent my condolences to him and my prayers to God.

…………………………………………………….

The one where we touched the wall

It was his ritual.

Was it weird? Yes!

Was I down for it? Also yes!

It was our second time taking a walk and we were less nervous being around each other. We walked the path and joked about our exes.

There was a special wall he insisted we touch and I obliged. Sometimes I like to feel adventurous…spoiler alert, I’m not. Sometimes I like to imagine that touching the wall that day created a “butterfly effect” or somehow made the world a better place. Sometimes I think like a sheep and I know it.

The wall marked the boundary between the hospital environment and the outside world. There was a security post which usually had 2 night guards. Tonight, there was only one guard and he lay asleep on the floor close to the wall which made our mission more risky. We began to tiptoe, trying hard not to make a sound. He whispered something funny…a little laugh escaped my lips. Dammit! My hand flew to my mouth, drowning out any sound.

Slowly and steadily, we reached the wall, touched it and made our retreat.

“How do you feel?” he asked with his eyes fixed intently on mine.

“Great” I said with a shy smile.

I felt warm inside.

We got to a T-shirt junction and I wanted to tell him that it was goodluck to kiss at a T-Junction.

I didn’t.

We haven’t spoken in a long time.

…………………………………………………….

The one where it was darker than usual

“If you forget to invite me to your wedding, I’ll kill you”

“Deal” he’d said with a straight face.

This one felt good. It felt really good. We set off at 1am and didn’t get back till 3am.

All the lights in the hospital were off and it was darker than usual.

I pointed out my favorite trees to him and he told me about how he met his girlfriend.

By 3am, we were back in the hostel. In front of my block, he bent over and hugged me with his cologne lingering on my dress.

“Have a goodnight” he said

I did.

……………………………………………………

The one where I met a doctor

“You’re really hot and I want to be your friend” he’d said

It was really cold and I wasn’t looking for any new friends.

He’d stopped his car by the road and came down to have a chat with me. He was a doctor there in the hospital and he asked that we go get a drink at a bar close-by. I wasn’t down for a drink or even a conversation so I made excuses to continue my walk.

“What genre of music are you listening to?” he asked, spotting the blue light of my headset

“Indie rock” I replied.

The confusion on his face made my night.

……………………………………………………..

The one where I walked alone

This was a night when I sought pain. I wished for a car to hit me, or a stone to trip me… Anything to cause me physical pain. Let’s face it, it’s easier to tell people you’re sad because you sprained your ankle, than to explain to them that you have no reason for crying. The psychiatrist explained this to me once, but I don’t remember what he called it.

To my surprise, that night was perfect. The cars avoided me, the wind dried my tears and the trees even cooed a soft tune as if singing to the beat of my feet. By the time I arrived back in the hostel, I was numb and tired. Nothing mattered. I just needed to sleep.

It sucks to admit to myself that sometimes, life can just as simple as taking a walk. It ends where it began. Nature birthed us and when we die, nature shall receive us. Sometimes we’re alone, sometimes we’re not and these different people we meet spur different emotions in us.

No, there is no lesson to be learnt from touching a wall, conversing with a stranger, looking at trees in the middle of the night, etcetera and honestly, I have no justification for writing this post. But my mum always told me “When you have a story, tell it”.

I’m wrapping up this post while listening to ‘Walk me home’ by p!nk and even though I don’t know when my walk(s) in life would end, I hope I never stop telling stories about the incredible humans I’ve met along the way.

Xoxo

PS: Can we skip over the part where I’ve been away for 3 months? I broke my own heart and needed time to heal.

insecurities, lifestyle

My Biggest Insecurity

This post is long overdue!

My biggest insecurity is my hair and if I wasn’t so insecure about it, you would have read this post a long time ago.

In primary school I was a star student and by star student, I mean I aced all my tests and exams without even trying. My parents never paid for extra lessons and I had exactly the textbooks I needed, nothing more; still, I managed to come top of my class year after year. I soon became popular as one of the top students of the school and naturally teachers paid a little more interest in me. As a result of this interest, one unremarkable day, after handing out our test scripts on which I had scored the highest mark, the class teacher had said to me in front of the classroom

“God made up for your looks by giving you that brain”.

I was 7 years old.

I like to say that I grew up a normal child because it seems like the reasonable thing to say. I like to assume that everyone has had their insecurity and challenges throughout their lives that they’ve constantly had to deal with. Therefore, I grew up a normal child and I had my fare share of challenges.

Since I could identity myself in the mirror, I’ve been painfully aware of the fact that my hair didn’t look like everybody else’s. Most parts of my head bore normal healthy hair, but the front….. is bald in a really really weird way. It’s like someone took my head and carved out another hair line behind my original line such that when you look at my hair, all you see is a distinct hairless line across the front that shines. So there’s a little hair, a bald line, then lots of hair. You’re probably making a face. It’s fine. I make faces at my hair too.

When I got to junior secondary school, “What happened to your front hair?” became the most common statement people made to me. They couldn’t understand why a young girl would have the hair of an old woman and I don’t blame them. I didn’t understand it either. As was becoming the norm, I became popular in this new school. Partially because I was known as the intelligent student who read the news at the assembly every monday and partially because I was friends with the most beautiful girl in the school; Isabel. Isabel and I were both in the dance club and partook in all choreographies (is this a word?) together. The senior boys all fought to date her and her flow of love letters was unending. As you can guess, I was the ugly best friend. Don’t get me wrong, I owned that position with my chest. I gave her advice on boys and sometimes helped with school work. Everything was dandy. Until one day, when a classmate whom I’d never really spoken to, came to tell me that another classmate (a girl) had said to him about me

“Why is she friends with Isabel? Does she not know that Isabel is beautiful? With her hair that looks like rat ate it”

I was 11 years old.

For the first time in my life, I cried myself to a headache. Getting paracetamol from the sick bay was extremely embarrassing because when the nurse asked why I’d been crying, I broke down into a fresh stream of tears.

Perhaps the weirdest part of my “partially bald” hair story is that I come from a good hair family. My mother used to come visit me when I was in boarding house and she was known as the lady with the golden hair. Yes. Her hair was literally golden. My sister cuts her hair whenever she pleases because in a few months,it always grows back into a full head of hair. Even my brothers and father walk around sporting full heads of hair and matching beard. So what went wrong?

After Junior secondary school, I transferred to a boarding house and I was getting used to the stares and questions. I told people the truth; which was that nothing happened to my hair. I was born normal and started to grow abnormal hair. I don’t even know what my face would look like with a full head of hair because I’ve never had one. My answers satisfied them and they got used to me. Soon enough, I gained popularity for winning essay competitions and leading my school to the debate championship in Abuja; just like that, I became the headgirl. The most self-conscious, insecure, reserved girl suddenly became in charge of controlling other students! It was hilarious! On an unrelated note, the school re-branded all its uniforms and we went from wearing normal berets to wearing a sailors cap (the kind that runs from the front of your head to the back). I sucked at everything “head-girly” and the juniors were never eager to follow my orders because let’s be real, I was scared of them! One Saturday, the school called me to be present at the commissioning of the new computer library and while we waited for the representative from the ministry, Mrs Akin, the house mistress of “ogun house” adjusted my sailors cap and said

“Our special head girl. We had to make a special cap for everyone just to cover your front hair”

I was 15 years old.

I got to the university and something weird happened. I began to see myself as beautiful and so did everyone else. It was the strangest thing ever. I looked into the mirror one day and said “wow! I’m beautiful”. I didn’t know what to blame it on. Puberty? Hormones? My curves? My beautiful teeth? My smile? My walk? I don’t know! And I still don’t know what changed. I was still insecure about my hair and immediately I removed a weave, I installed another one immediately in the salon. People rarely ever saw me with my natural hair. Many people haven’t.

One day, I was sitting in my friends room reading a novel and I overheard her roommate say to her “Igbo girls aren’t really beautiful”. Naturally I became defensive and said “Don’t say that. Igbo girls are extremely beautiful”. She looked at me and said

“But you’re igbo and you aren’t beautiful”

I was 17 years old.

I finally got the courage to tell you about my insecurity today because I just loosened a 2- week old braid and my scalp suffered severe damages. It cut, sorry, uprooted my damaged hair even more and when I looked in the mirror at that glowing line of baldness, I cried a little.

I didn’t know where to begin and I must admit I haven’t told you half the stuff on my mind tonight because I’m a bit disoriented . Would you understand if I told you I don’t go to hairdressers because I’m tired of getting advice on products that I’ve already used? Would you understand if I told you that my mother used to always ask me kindly, if I was cutting my hair myself with a blade because it was always looking worse? Would you understand if I told you that I’ve always been told to make “special hairstyles” that could “cover up my front hair”? Would you understand if I told you that I am the most confident woman I know until I take off my wig? Would you understand why something as fickle as hair could bother me so?

I’m 20 years old.

and still insecure ….

What’s your biggest insecurity? Please leave a comment!

xoxo

Uncategorized

In Memory Of… 

/in/

expressing a period of time during which an event happens or a situation remains the case.

I loved being a child. Didn’t you? In retrospect, it’s probably the most peaceful and satisfying my life has ever been. It’s not that my childhood was filled with glorious adventures and escapades but rather that I lived in the moment, not worrying about my future or past. I simply lived. 

Some people argue that childhood was a scam because we were shielded from the reality of the world we live in. We believed that a spider bite could turn us into superheroes,  we believed the moon was following our car at night and our biggest failure was wearing socks that didn’t match. Suddenly we grew older and realized that superheroes don’t exist, the moon doesn’t move an inch and people aren’t as happy as in the cartoons. 

But while some people see childhood as a facade of the harsh realities, I chose to see it as one last supper. Think of it this way; life was probably like

“There will come a time when you’d be responsible for your own life and when you’ll be faced with realities like death, hunger and so on. But before then, here’s one last opportunity to believe in zombies”.

And we were all like

“Gee thanks! You’re so thoughtful!”

Now that I’m grown(quite) and faced with harsh realities, all I’ve got left from my childhood, just like everyone else, are memories that mostly put a smile on my face. 

/memory/

Something remembered from the past. 

I remember Rachel.We were both about 11 years old when we met. She was beautiful, like a child. A small head and a small body to go with that. She had a voice like a Grammy nominated chipmunk and she was the lead singer in her church which was coincidentally located at the ground floor apartment of the building I lived in. We saw each other everyday; if it was not in school, it was in my compound as I walked past her church during their service or during the weekend when I walked all the way to her street to buy Akara and pap from Mama Amaka.  

We became friends, partially because of proximity and partially because we were intrigued by each other. I was tall, she was short. In my house we ate potatoes for breakfast, in her house, she ate puff puff and tea. Her mum let her visit and have visitors, my mum did not (or maybe I had no friends, I can’t recollect). We were complete opposites and yet so perfect. 

She dragged me a little out of my comfort zone and it was pretty awesome. For example, she coaxed me on my birthday ( December 29) to come out of the house to throw knockouts. She also convinced me one time to buy artificial nails which I never fixed. She even made us pluck that pinkish apple-like fruit from a roadside tree and eat to our fill( it’s delicious! Why don’t they sell it around? And what’s it called??)

But my favorite memory with Rachel was getting into trouble with my brother and my mother. 

Let me explain. 

We were both in JSS2 and used to walk back from school together; she would get home first,  while I continued down the road alone to my house.  School finished by 3.30 and I was typically expected at home no later than 4pm and most times I stuck to the schedule. 

It was a brilliant Monday afternoon and my brother who was home from the University expected me to be home at the usual time. But that day, I had taken the bull by its horns and followed Rachel home after much persuasion. She cooked noodles for me and we talked about everything from boys to mean teachers. Her elder sister who was just as friendly joined the conversation and it was one hell of an evening! 

By the time,  I picked up my bag to go, it was 6pm. I got home by a few minutes past 6 and after taking one look at my brother’s face,  I knew I had fucked up. 

Long story short, on failing to provide a reasonable answer to the question “Where have you been? “, my brother whooped me and reported the incident to my mother when she got back from work. When my mum asked me what I was doing for 2 hours, I panicked and said

“I stopped to admire the tree on the other street and I got carried away”. I know. I’m an idiot. 

Of course my mum thought I was possessed and for the next one week, drowned me in anointing oil and prayed to God to remove any spirit that was tying me to a tree. 

I told Rachel everything that happened and we had a good laugh about it. 

/of/

Expressing the relationship between a part and a whole. 

Memories are a part of our whole lives. Just as Rachel has and will always be a part of my life. 

After JSS3, my family moved out of that area and I haven’t seen Rachel in at least 7 years. 

We were not completely shut out of each others lives as we unfailingly wish each other a happy birthday on facebook every year with lots of emojis. 

It’s not that I was afraid of making new memories with Rachel but for what it’s worth, I already had the most sacred memories with her and just knowing that she was there,  on another side of the country was enough for me. 

Memories are truly a part of our lives and that’s what I love the most about being a child. Having so many great memories stored up in your head to put a smile on your face as you get through the tough adult times. Sure you make new memories as young adults but that helps you get through life as an old adult. Okay that’s nonsense! I love childhood because of the memories I created. Do you? 

PS: Rachel died in December 2018 following a road traffic accident. This post is dedicated to her sweet soul which I’m certain is resting in heavenly peace. 

Xoxo

Environment, lifestyle

3 Realistic Eco-friendly Lifestyle You Should Adopt 

I promise I won’t ask you to be vegetarian!! 

To be honest, I can’t look you straight in the eye and claim that I care about the environment.

Let me explain.

I don’t know how high the sea levels are rising or how much depletion of the ozone layer is occurring neither do I know about the sea animals that are going extinct. It’s hard to care about things you don’t know about. 

I can however, look you straight in the eye and say that I care about myself. 

Let me explain.

I have stopped pretending that the environment and I are mutually exclusive. Without the environment, there would be no me. So I may not care that the sea animals are dying but I care that one day, I’ll order fried fish at a restaurant and they’ll say 

“Sorry, the world has run out of fish”. 

And I’ll freak the fuck out! (because I like fried fish) 

The internet has a ton of ideas on how you can live an eco friendly lifestyle but I find a lot of them rather impossible to live up to. However,there are 3 little changes that I’ve adopted /plan to adopt to help save the environment and I think you should adopt them too. 

1. Stop Using Straws. 

Funny story

I was on the judging panel for a debate competition and we were served with bottled soda which came with straws. I reached out for the straw and began placing it inside my soda but changed my mind half way and dropped it back on the table. The young man beside me asked

“Why did you do that?”

I said “We use straws for less than 10 minutes and they take 200 years to degrade”. 

He laughed and said “Anastasia, regardless of whether or not you use that straw, the world is still coming to an end”. 

With that, he picked his straw, placed it in his bottle and took a long satisfying sip.  I felt like an underperforming clown. 

For the longest time, I never took soda without a straw because I was trying to protect my beautiful teeth. But I came across articles that detailed the damage this tiny plastic object could cause and I chose the environment over my teeth. But everytime I’ve had to explain to anyone why I don’t use straws, I end up feeling foolish because they hit me with the “one straw doesn’t change anything” narrative. I’m hoping you would be diferent. 

Straws are made from plastic. They are non biodegradable which means they never be broken down completely by microorganisms. They are however degradable, which means that they break down into really tiny particles; but this process takes at least 200 years. Straws are too fragile to be recycled and because they are light weight, they are most often blown into water bodies constituting about 13% of all waste recovered from the ocean. They end up releasing toxins into the water which could cause pollution (which could kill me)  and also choke water animals(remember the fish story?)

No one is emotionally attached to straws. It’s a luxury,  not a necessity so believe me when I say it’s easy to give up. Of course,  persons living with disabilities and person’s who are sick would need a straw. But do you,a strong healthy adult, really need a straw to take a bottle of coke? Do you? 

2. Re-use Plastic bags. 

Weird story. 

I made a draft for this blog post on Saturday and while I jotted down this point in my notebook, I made a mental promise to challenge myself. I told myself that I was going to take an old nylon or a tote bag when I go to get groceries at the store later that night. 

Spoiler alert 

I didn’t. 

I came back with 3 fresh nylons holding my groceries. I later realized that I forgot to buy a pack of spaghetti at the store and I was grateful for another opportunity to prove my worth to the universe. I made up my mind to take a nylon along with me when I go to the shop in my hostel to buy the spaghetti. 

Spoiler alert 

I didn’t! 

Point is, it’s hard and I’m painfully aware of this! 

Almost everyone I know has more nylon than they need(Usually all stashed in one big nylon),  yet we keep collecting more. 
Nylon has the same effect as straw on the water bodies . Unlike straws however, it is recyclable but this is Nigeria! So instead of using millions and millions of nylons everyday that bring us closer to running out of fish, we could ‘simply’ re-use old nylons. So help me God! 

3. Turn off the lights! 

And the fan! And the sockets! And the air conditioner! Turn off your electric appliances when they’re not in use. First of all, it makes your electric bill lighter, you’re welcome.

Secondly, Reducing the amount of electricity we consume consequently reduces the amount of electricity generated for our use and this reduces the fossil fuels that are combusted to produce electricity! It’s a short boring process you can read about here. But the summary is that, turning off your electrical appliances helps reduce air and land pollution. 

This is a challenge I recently took upon myself and trust me, turning off your bulb when you sleep or leave the room isn’t as hard as you might. Matter of fact,  it isn’t hard at all! Just do it! 

Just incase you want to hit me with the “One straw or light bulb doesn’t make a difference” narrative, I want to casually remind you of the butterfly effect that explains that big changes in the world especially the climate can be influenced by things as little as the flapping of a butterfly’s wings. 

First it’s just one straw less,  then it’s 10 straws less,  then it’s millions of straws less and then we never run out of fish! I think I’ve exceeded the number of times I’m allowed to say fish. Said it again! Sorry! 

Practice these 3 lifestyles for the environment. 

Or don’t. 

Practice them for you! 

So we can continue to breathe clean air,  eat freshly grown crops and order fried fish. Sorry! 

Byeeeeeeeee

Xoxo. 

Blogging, Life, Life lessons, lifestyle

Articles I Never Posted…. Until Now

Let me be real with you. Sometimes, I doubt myself! 

Even at things that I’m clearly good at such as writing and farting; sometimes I still think to myself “you’re doing this wrong”. 

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of writing but have been too scared to complete or post them. They usually start out as a brilliant topic with a captivating story but somewhere along the way,  I convince myself that the piece is not good enough to go live so I abandon them like grains at the bottom of a cereal box. 

Today I’m holding nothing back. 

First, I tried to tell you about Prisca 

In junior secondary school, I had a friend named Prisca. Prisca was older than the average JSS3 student. She was short, plump and liked to sag her school skirt because it made her butt shake. She liked me and that made me feel good because getting friends as an oily skinned, homely child with bad hair was tough. Prisca got temporary tattoos on her thighs every week and told me “they help me make money”. I never asked how. She owned a smart phone which contained porn and repeatedly told me to stop being so bookish. She was the one friend that my parents could never know I had. After junior secondary school,my family moved across the state so I had to change school and the only way to keep in touch was via phone calls and ‘facebook’. I loved this girl and the food she got me every break time for 2 years,  but when she handed me that piece of paper bearing her phone number while saying ‘call me as soon as you get a phone,  I knew that would be the last of her pimpled face and chirpy voice that I’d see or hear.

Then I tried to tell you about my fascination with groundnut 

When I was ten years old,  my elder brother convinced me that groundnut was made by roasting beans on medium heat. I was doubtful but he laid a strong argument by telling me that you could divide a bean seed into two equal halves just as you could divide a groundnut. He further explained that the brown things that the women roasted in the streets looked exactly like bean seeds, so it had to be the same thing. We set out to prepare this delicacy for ourselves and on a day when all the adults in the house were not around, we snuck into the kitchen and took out the frying pan. Then we grabbed handfuls of beans and tossed it in the pan which we placed on the stove. Seconds turned to minutes and the bean seeds turned to black seeds. Still no groundnut. Forget the Great Wall of China, this was the biggest wonder of the world to me. Why didn’t the beans turn to groundnuts? What did we do wrong? Was it because we couldn’t get dry sand? Was that part of the ingredients? This occupied my mind for months and everytime I held a piece of groundnut I would  wonder how it came to be. About 6 months later, I eventually got the courage to ask the woman who sold groundnuts on my street how she made them and she explained to me that groundnut seeds were completely different from bean seeds even though they had the same colour. It finally made sense!

Finally, I tried to answer a very important question “Is The World Getting Better?”

 I recently watched a speech given by Trevor Noah, who is also my best friend(Ha ha!! I’m kidding! Or am I?). The topic he spoke on was the question “is the world getting better?” He said that although majority of the people in the world believed that the world was getting worse, he believed that the world was getting better because we have access to information that make us think the world is getting worse. Confusing huh? Let me explain. We see horrible things in the news; deaths, poverty,  insecurity, terrorism and so on. These information make us believe that the world is getting worse but Trevor insists that having access to such information is proof that we world is getting better because the world has always been bad but now, at least we know it. 

I was so intrigued by his perspective that I decided to dig a little bit into the world statistics. I was extremely shocked to read that based on the figures, the world was actually becoming a better place! Poverty was reducing, healthcare was improving and majority of the world population had better access to education. So why did a lot of people believe that the world was going down the drain? I guess the media! For reporting mostly bad news… But isn’t that their job? To report bad things so we could avoid them in the future? Or maybe we’re to blame! For feeding off negative news and forming opinions based on them! I was so confused. 

So I took my confusion to a wise friend and she changed the entire narrative. She said “The world isn’t getting better because soon enough we won’t have a world to live in”. She opined that although the world was doing better at stuff like education, technology, poverty and so on,  we were constantly destroying our planet with things like; deforestation, poaching, non-renewable energy and non-biodegradable materials. I had to agree with her. 

I still live with my confusion. Is the world getting better? On one hand it is. On this other hand it’s not. Truthfully, I don’t know the answer to the question.

While creating a wordpress profile, I described myself with these words

I want to make the world a better place, one blog post at a time. 

Writing about Prisca, Groundnut or Trevor Noah and not publishing those posts defeats my goal. So even though, I’m not proud of incomplete stories and inconclusive arguments, I posted these today so that I could at least say I tried. Reading this post(or collection of posts) may or may not make you have a better day,  it may not contribute to world peace or gender equality but it has made me a better and happier person. Thanks for watching me try! Byeeeeeeeeee

Xoxo. 

Life, Life lessons

About Having A Bad Day

I asked my friend, Tim to tell me about one of his worst days ever and here’s what he said. 

He was in his last days of  junior secondary school and like every other kid, frequently broke the rules. This time around though, he was breaking a big rule; climbing/ playing around with the tree. 

Tim had a friend named Shola and Shola was pretty much Judas in a child’s body. As teenage boys whose idea of fun was dangerous fun and dangerous fun alone,  Tim, tied Shola up on the tree,  both of them giggling the whole time.. Tim then proceeded to pull Shola off the tree(i have no idea how this is supposed to be fun) and Shola landed quite heavily on the ground sustaining bruises here and there. 

It gets better. 

Shola began to cry relentlessly and threatened to report Tim to his parents(Tim’s parents) who also happened to be the proprietors of the school.  Tim begged and begged but Shola would have none of it  and ran straight to the staff room to tell on his “friend”.

Shola reported Tim to his dad and his dad got furious! 

“How dare you Tim!!” his dad yelled repeatedly. 

All that yelling resulted in some serious whooping on Tim’s bare ass… Bare body infact. He was made to lie on the floor for the rest of the day while his mates played on the field. 

Towards the end of the day, he was released; he wore his clothes, wiped his eyes and joined his classmates. 

It gets even better 

Immediate they saw him,  Tim’s classmates (except Shola) all ran towards him and began to comfort him telling him how wicked Shola was and how they all felt bad he had to get punished that way. 

Tim couldn’t take it anymore. He burst into an embarrassing flood of tears and could only stop crying after a few hours. 

Tim describes this day as one of his worst days ever. 

Everyone has bad days. 

Even the people who never miss a day of posting glam instagram pictures, sometimes post from a bathtub surrounded by their own tears. 

Everyone has bad days. 

Days when the stars don’t align and the universe seems to be against you. 

I remember having a bad day too. In my case however,  nothing happened.

Yup! That was the problem. Nothing happened. 

It was a completely uneventful day, I couldn’t achieve anything I set out to achieve that day and at the end, I felt like a complete waste of space.

So if you tell me you had a bad day because something bad happened to you and if you tell me you had a bad day because nothing happened to you, I can relate to both and your feelings are very valid. 

There are a couple of things I could recommend for when you’re having a bad day. Some of them,  I’ve tried and others I have not. For example I find that reading poems makes my day a little better than it was. Experts also recommend calling an old friend or faking a smile. 

But let’s be real. 

There are bad days and there are bad days. And the bad days I’m writing about are those days where you even lack the conscious effort to make yourself feel better. Where a forced smile is too much of a burden and the idea of reading poetry makes you wanna puke. 

Here’s an unpopular advice…. Or maybe it’s popular, let’s pretend it isn’t 

Some days there’s absolutely nothing you can do but wait for the day to end and hope you have better luck the next day.

I know it doesn’t sound like a lot of good advice but it’s tested and trusted. 

The one thing that makes a bad day better is  having positive people around. People who say things like “Pele dear” or “If you need anything let me know”.

People who understand that you’re having a bad day and who don’t think you’re crazy when you say things like “I don’t know why I’m sad”.  When you have these people around, you can go to bed at the end of a terrible day, knowing that when you wake, there’s a world of positivity waiting out there for you. 

But sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you’re alone. Sometimes the people around don’t get you or are too busy with their own problems. Sometimes it’s just you and a horrible day. I get it. 

Because right now,  I’m having a terrible day and the one thing that’s keeping me going is the understanding that if I can survive today, I can survive a lot more days. 

So wait for the day to end. 

Go to bed. 

Get some sleep. 

You’re a survivor. 

You deserve it! 

Xoxo

Please subscribe and leave a comment. Tell me about your worst days and how you survived it!!

Life, Life lessons

A Slice Of Positivity 

Her skill with the knife was so slick, she could perform at a circus. 

You could call me frustrated. Why wouldn’t I be? A man had walked behind me for 5 solid minutes yelling “Rat Poison” at the top of his voice. It’s either he thought I was a rat killer by profession or I looked like I had a lot of rats at home so I would make a good customer for his “otapiapia”. I wasn’t smiling. 

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon and I’d made a quick trip to the market to get vegetables to make soup… I needed 500 Naira worth of Ugwu and waterleaf so I knew I had to get to the heart of the market. Freeing myself from the rat poison seller and finding my way to the center of the market,  a woman in a bright red tee-shirt standing in front of a tray called out to me “Fine girl come and buy Ugwu”…

There was something about her… 

I looked at her scanty tray and asked “Do you have up to 500 Naira?” she laughed and said “I get pass that one” pointing her finger to a small bag of vegetables behind her… I told her to cut up the vegetables and watched her get to work. Scratch that,  I watched her. 

Tee-shirt had a permanent smile on her face that revealed dimples. Her baby boy was strapped on her back with a faded wrapper. He appeared to be sleeping. The sun was hot and his scalp shone in reflection. She plucked the vegetables and began slicing them into thin slices while calling out to other passers-by. 

She glanced at me and asked how I was doing. I politely replied that I was fine wishing she would just leave me alone. She launched into a fascinating story of an elderly woman who had tried to steal some waterleaf from her that afternoon. She seemed very amused at her own story and laughed at intervals. She concluded her story with

“They say Wetin elders dey see, small pikin no dey see am. But the one wey she do, I see am”. By this time I was laughing along with her.

She continued chopping the vegetables,  greeting random people that passed by, calling out for more customers and cooing at her baby who had woken up in tears. I was starting to feel completely at ease around this woman and so was Pikachu. 

Yes, I call her Pikachu; the strange woman who also waited to buy vegetables. She wore a bright yellow dress and topped it with a badly tied gele. Her skin was charcoal black contrasting with her chalk white teeth. She was beautiful and reminded me of my favorite character in Pokemon, Pikachu. 

Pikachu got so comfortable just standing there that she began to eat anything she could lay her hands on. No kidding! First she had coconuts from a hawker, then she had plantain chips that appeared from her bag and when that was over, she yelled at the hawker across the road with a shrill voice 

Paw Paw!! Paw Paw!!”

Tee-shirt chopped.

Pikachu munched. 

I watched. 

The both began gisting  about the best way to cook edikaikong soup and Pikachu began helping Tee-shirt  with my vegetables , removing the rotten parts and hard branches. I watched on. 

Finally,  my vegetables were ready in two black nylons and I promptly paid Tee-shirt ,  sad to leave her warm presence. I heard Pikachu say 

“Oya cut 50 Naira own for me”

I was shocked to realize that Pikachu had spent about 20 minutes waiting around to buy vegetables worth 50 Naira when there were tons of other sellers with the exact same vegetable. 

I thought about it  as I went on to buy a bowl of garri and check out some second hand sneakers. 

By the time I left the market, I was smiling like a happy fool. 

I realized that both me and Pikachu were drawn to Tee-shirt because to us, she was a ray of sunshine,  a slice of positivity that called out cheerfully to passersby even under a hot sun with an underpaying job. 

I could never be Tee-shirt. I could never earn a living by standing under the sun and chopping vegetables with a smile on my face. I could never make a joke out of someone stealing from me. I could never be Tee-shirt. Although I’m learning to never say never. 

I’m not writing this to tell you to face your daily hustle or challenge with a smile. Heck no! To an extent,  I believe positivity can be overrated because sometimes the world expects you to bear your sorrow with a smile. So no! This is not about being positive.

This is an appreciation for a certain kind of people. The people who manage to radiate a special kind of sunshine. The chatty people who don’t take a hint and keep talking till you smile. The people who greet you even when they know you won’t answer. The salesmen who smile at you. Tee-shirt. 

Not all heroes wear capes and to the heroes who are a constant source of positivity

I appreciate you!

Xoxo

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Life, Life lessons, lifestyle, Uncategorized

Building Legos 

In the rare moment that I wasn’t looking for inspiration, inspiration found me. 

Sometimes, I don’t get enough air. And on the evening of new year’s eve,  I wasn’t getting enough air. So I stepped out of my house and found an abandoned table in the compound to perch on. The evening breeze was cool and a welcome relief from the hellish heat inside. To avoid looking idle, I brought out my phone and began watching stand up comedy videos of Trevor Noah. Soon, I was lost in his funny jokes and smart dimples. 

I was so busy laughing that I didn’t notice when a group of children gathered untop  another table next to mine. Something lightly scratched my arm and I paused my video to take a look. Then I saw them. 

There were 3 children and they appeared to be around 7 years old. The 4th was a teenager of about 14 who looked completely uninterested in their affairs but stayed with them as if to prevent them from hurting themselves. They had a bag of legos beside them and they appeared to be building something. 

One untop of another, untop of another. That’s how you do it. 

I smiled at them. 

They looked at me,  the way a person would look at a stone. 

I said hi

They kept on building 

I soon lost interest in their affairs and continued my rendezvous with Trevor. 10 minutes later, after Trevor had bowed off the stage, I unplugged my earphones and turned to give the children my full attention. 

Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. Or does it? 

They had built about 5 blocks of something. I say something because I have no idea what it was. It looked pretty cool, like an amateur architectural design. I picked up one block and took a picture, admiring the blend of colors. 

In 10 minutes, they had used up all their legos and formed about 8 pieces of the block pictured above. Now, they were just staring. I stared too. Not at them but at their pieces. I reached out to take yet another picture but one of them got really protective and snatched the block from me. 

Understanding that I had overstayed my welcome, I stood up to leave.

It was the best lesson I could take into the new year and if you haven’t figured out the lesson yet,  here it is. 

It’s not always about making a mighty ocean. Small pools of water can be just as beautiful

 

Very often,  we fall into the temptation of assuming that our lives should always lead up to one masterpiece. For example, a person’s masterpiece could be to be a doctor and live in a beautiful home with a wife and 3 children. This is a beautiful dream and there’s nothing wrong with working hard towards achieving this dream. But before building up that masterpiece, how about other pieces that could be just as beautiful… For example, learning skills such as learning to play the piano,  starting a small business, joining a charity etcetera. 

Every child wants to build a masterpiece. Even at the beach, they attempt to build the most beautiful sand castle anyone has ever seen. They attempt to build Legos into monsters or cars so they can squeal in sheer delight and show off to their friends. But let’s face it, masterpieces don’t happen overnight and you can’t have a masterpiece without a piece. 

I’m almost done studying my dream course which is physiotherapy and ideally my masterpiece involves being a world class physiotherapist. I get a lot of advice saying “just focus on your school work so you can graduate and start earning good money” but I refuse to take that advice. I refuse to just remain “focused on my masterpiece” and here’s why

1. Our masterpiece most times won’t provide us with all the knowledge and experience we wish to posess.

At the age of 14, I joined my secondary school debate club and started mastering the art of public speaking. It was a great experience and led me to become the best speaker at the national debate competition for all secondary schools held in Abuja. By 16, I gained admission into the University of Ibadan and joined the literary and debating society;  it’s been an intense journey where I’m still learning about the art of public speaking, conversations, interviews etcetera. Here’s one thing you should know; Physiotherapy would have never taught me that. 

2. “Other pieces”, sometimes help us realize what we really want out of life. 

Lily Singh is an Indian Canadian YouTube star. She studied psychology in the University and in her final year, she uploaded a video on YouTube to “try things out”. She eventually realized that that was what she wanted to do with her life. Fast forward to today,  she was named the highest paid Youtuber by Vogue magazine in 2016, currently has over 13 million subscribers on YouTube and is a UNICEF global ambassador. Point taken. 

3. Building “other pieces” build character that would be useful in handling our masterpiece. 

I don’t know how to explain this. But taking a cue from the little children,  if you can’t build a small block of Legos, there’s no way you can build a giant block. 

I recently started learning the Italian language and by recently I mean two years ago.. Its another “piece” that seems far off the physiotherapy profession but imagine there’s a ground breaking physiotherapy skill that is being developed and the only place to learn it is in the faraway country of Italy…. Far stretch? Okay. 

I passed by the table on my way out on the 2nd of January, 2019 and the little children were back at the table. This time they had broken down their little blocks. 

Sometimes our pieces fail and that’s okay

Once upon a time, I bought a sewing machine and was convinced I was going to be a successful tailor. I was wrong and that’s okay. 

They appeared to be building bigger blocks with the Legos. I couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out but I knew that whatever they built would be worth their time. 

As I passed by, I smiled at them.

They smiled back.

Xoxo.