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Today is world AIDS day but unlike breast cancer awareness nobody seems to be making a fuss. In fact apart from one or two people mentioning it, everyone else went about business as usual.
I heard about Paul Walker’s death today (No he didn’t die of AIDS). He was a talented actor and damn fine. May his soul rest in peace. I digress I am sorry but death is always such a shocking experience and the truth is that even though most of us have no clue about when we are going to die, the person living with AIDS feels like he or she is sitting on a ticking time bomb. This disease still doesn’t have a cure, not even a vaccine and yet you still hear people saying “Baby I prefer skin on skin!” (Hellooooooo? Like seriously?)
Contrary to delusional belief, there are more people living with HIV around you than you think and some of them are angry with the world, others are unaware that they have it or even living in denial. Most of them are not bad people, just unfortunate and for the self righteous lot who associate HIV with promiscuity, GOOGLE is your friend! There are other non-sexual ways of contacting HIV. Protect yourselves and the ones you love.
And if you are living with HIV, don’t lose hope. At this point how you caught the virus is immaterial. What’s important is that you remain healthy, happy and free to live your life without any social or moral prejudice. There’s always a reason to be thankful. Here are five things I would recommend because virus or not, life is too short to be wallowing in sorrow.
1. Take your drugs. They are easily accessible and relatively cost free.Even if you are believing God for your healing taking your drugs does not demean your faith in any way.
2. Get periodic medical check ups. HIV predisposes a person to a lot of other secondary infections. Don’t take anything for granted even cuts and bruises
3. Join a support group. There are more HIV support groups than you think. Find one online if you are too shy to attend one in your neighborhood. A burden feels lighter when shared. If there isn’t any, try to make friends with some of the other patients at your clinic.
4. Get busy. Get a job. Thankfully most companies are not allowed to discriminate against staff who have the disease and in your spare time do something that will make the world a better place. Volunteer at a charity organization or help out someone in need. It’s been proven that helping others makes you feel less helpless.
5. Don’t deliberately put someone else at risk. The person may deserve to share in your pain or the person may even be someone you are emotionally attached to whom you know cannot handle the truth but infecting someone else won’t make you whole or happier.
And for the rest of you who are HIV negative or don’t even know your status here are some facts
1. Get tested. Because you were negative last month doesn’t mean you will be negative forever. Every time you have unprotected sex you expose yourself to everyone your partner has ever had unprotected sex with
2. Check your lifestyle. You are not untouchable, be careful
3. Do not discriminate. You are not better than the people living with HIV, time and chance happens to us all and some of them may even outlive you.
4. Skin on skin is a bad idea, condoms don’t cost much and unless you are sure your partner is 100% faithful, protect yourself if not ABSTAIN
5. Be thankful. That you are alive. That you are in good health. That you have troubles you are able to bear.
Today is WORLD AIDS DAY but it’s also the start of the last month of the year, start this brand new month with a brand new lease on life, get tested! Let’s spread the love and not the virus and hopefully 2014 will bring with it a cure for the virus.
Peace and love.
RIP PAUL WALKER (you will be missed)
Ok November is gradually drawing to a close and I have to confess! Chutzpah fam I have sinned. I have fallen off the wagon and wallowed in the laps of procrastination. I have sunk to the depths of excuse-ville to ponder upon my inadequacies, blaming others but myself.
What am I on about…?
Nanowrimo2013! I had the badge, i started the journey but here I am with barely 10,000 words penned on paper. I have failed my challenge miserably and national writing month has become national empty words month! Alas my greater sin was taking time off from blogging. I am sure you all thought how noble and utterly incredible that Miz Chutzpah was finally gonna write a full novel in one month. 50, 000 magical words (and/or inclusive) but here I am, writing an apology instead as I shamefully face the blogosphere. Write I did not, read I did not ( my masters sadly tossed aside howbeit temporarily) but do I regret this one month spent lounging? Of course not (uhm I mean yes of course) but before I apologize allow me to formally tender my excuses.
1. It was my weight’s fault. I have lost 4 kg in the past month and I won’t lie tryna be creative when hunger is thwacking your innards is quite impossible. I have looked at Chinese restaurants so lustfully of late that my ever faithful ugwu and chicken breast threatened to kick me to the curb. I have skipped till my bossoms begged for respite and drank water like I lived in a desert so you would agree with me that 4kg is a mean number, 10 would be far nicer and of course now you can understand why I could not write those words
2. It was GEJ’s fault! What? Don’t roll your eyes at me, everyone loves blaming the government for everything so why should I be different (might I add that PDP is to blame too!)
3. It was ASUU’s fault. If they hadn’t gone on strike my neighbors wouldn’t be home drinking and blasting music to the wee hours of the night making me unable to write down two remotely connected sentences! Please send our kids back to school biko!
4. It was my boss’s fault. In an ideal world I should have been given a full month off work to express my inner creativity as I poured out my passion on paper but since I have to work 8am to 6pm every day that leaves me with just enough energy to creatively go to bed!
5. Blame marriage. I had to cook, clean, color and then do some more cooking so really if the words couldn’t jolly well write themselves I wasn’t gonna add that to my list of wifely duties.
Truthfully my excuses are endless…and I would cheekily rant and rave about how justified I was if you had the time to listen but the truth is if something is important to you, you will accomplish it. NO EXCUSES! Before y’all bury me, take a moment to consider all the things you have failed to do and all the flighty excuses you thought every one else was buying. The truth is most excuses are lame and letting our family, our friends and our boss’s down is not even as bad as letting ourselves down yet we do it so often. As the year comes to a close it’s time to take stock of your life. Look at those things you have been putting off since January and the excuses for not doing them which by now must have worn really thin. You can do it! Don’t wait till January first to start making cliché new year resolutions, just decide today is the day.
I used to be so afraid of driving and kept procrastinating actually learning to drive but this month I registered at a driving school and now I can’t wait to be auditioned for the fast and the furious. Maybe I should add a ferrari to my wish list? Dear Santa….ahem, to be continued.
Chutzpah fam, do something incredible this year! End the year with a bang.
ps: sorry for being AWOL and not writing my 50k words. Kisses.
Hey chutzpah fam, I recently joined the nanowrimo 2013 challenge (http://www.nanowrimo.org). November is national writing month and my challenge is to write 50, 000 words in 30 days. That’s a whole novel phew! So fingers crossed, I’m closing my eyes and jumping in. Wish me luck, even for a chatterbox like me that’s a whole lot of words. If I can finish it then I’ll definitely finish black laughter and it’s all for the money! (Pinky swear). The only problem is my blog posts will be even more erratic and infrequent this month than they usually are. Please bear with me. I promise to make it up to you in December. Call it an early Christmas pressie! Thanks for hanging in there and for reading my blog.
Love you to the moon and back!
Anita aka Miz Chutzpah!
Everybody loves a cute, cuddly baby. Most people would not consider a marriage complete without children. Many times a lot of pressure is put on new couples to procreate especially in this part of the world. Couples who choose not to in the first one to two years of marriage are considered odd even if the reasons for not bearing children are because they cannot yet afford the added expenses. Then there are those whose parents and in-laws begin to dream of grand children from the day the couple says “I do” and call periodically to ask “How far?” Their omugwo bags already packed! All in all, when the baby making process is delayed even for a year it makes the couple a little agitated and sometimes they lose focus of what’s important, they forget the love they share, the vows they took and the magic that made them choose to be together till death.
Here are 5 strange but true things women have done to force a stork to land on their doorstep with their very own bundle of joy:
1. Juju-baby: Under the mango tree Mama Calabar chants slowly as she crushes the herbs together her next customer awaits. She inserts the herbs into the woman’s secret place and forces her to drink the bitter concoction. She deftly massages the woman’s abdomen commenting from time to time “Ah your womb dey hot oh and e no dey the correct position”. She guarantees a pregnancy in 3 months for a fee that she points out is quite affordable and asks for your preference just as money changes hands. “Na boy or na girl you want? Abi na triplets?”. And every once in a while the stork lands and news of Mama Calabar’s j-babies is spread about!
2. Chemical conception: Clomid, Evening Primrose Oil, Fertility Pills…you name it, she’s chewed it! Injections, insertions and pills upon pills, over the counter and under it too, a mad scientist she becomes, combining poisons and antidotes, searching for the secret formula that makes babies appear… her body, her very own guinea pig…sigh…
3. Phantom pregancy: She wants it so bad her mind just lets her have it. Full breasts -oh so sore, potruding belly and the more than welcome nausea. All the signs she anticipated, finally she is a member of the club but her belly doesn’t look like any of the others, it doesn’t kick like it should, just a churning every once in a while and those infuriating doctors are being so negative they and their faulty equipment. But alas, there’s a thin line between faith and phantom…
4. Baby Factory Home Delivery: “Have a baby for me, baby, be a millionaire…” Transactions, Theft or Deception, one way or the other she’s gonna have a baby, someone else’s baby but it’s all the same innit? Why bother your head about the teenage girl who would most certainly have abandoned her child? She has been relieved of her burden and you paid good money for it too. Where’s the crime?
5. Deliverance: Your grandmother’s cousin’s aunty keeps eating all your unborn children, die by fire, by fire by fireeeeee!!! Prayer becomes a non-stop incantation beseeching the sovereign Lord to have mercy upon you and destroy the enemies whose power your fear has profoundly magnified.
Sometimes when the Lord says hold on my child, He isn’t busy, forgetful or partial. Everybody has a different destiny, we run a different race from the next guy. Your marriage won’t be perfect after that child is born, life won’t be complete because you have procreated. I feel the need to write this because so many women and men are under intense pressure and are falling apart because they can’t have kids. I know women who have been chased out of their matrimonial homes and others who are sadly living a lie, knowing their marriage is only a sham and their husbands have gone out to have kids with strange women. Here are 5 more facts you should ponder on before you throw in the towel.
1. Infertility in a marriage could be attributed to the man, the woman, both parties or neither of them all in equal proportions. I have had scenarios at work where a female patient came in to do tests totally distraught because she couldn’t have kids and her husband was maltreating her and after doing the tests we find out she’s fine and that the husband is sterile. What happens next? Don’t maltreat your partner, you promised to love and protect each other and it wasn’t on the condition that she have kids. Imagine how you would feel if the tables were turned?
2. God’s time is truly the best time. This isn’t cliche, neither is it a catch phrase. When you do have that baby in your arms, you’ll look back and realise the baby couldn’t have come at a better time, trust me! And while you are waiting, enjoy your marriage! Have sex in every corner of the house as loudly as you dare, go on exciting vacations. Imagine you and your husband are still dating and have all the fun in the world before the kids come.
3. Get Tested. Many couples sit at home trying all sorts of methods to conceive without actually finding out what the problem is. Getting a diagnosis means you can look at treatment options which makes you a step closer to resolving the problem and it doesn’t take away from your faith it only directs your prayers to a more specific problem.
4. Sponsor a child. Adoption is not as common as it should be in these parts of the world. Partly because of the administrative bottlenecks and also because tradition largely hasn’t embraced the principle of adoption but it doesn’t mean your hands are tied. Nothing brings baby dust like helping children. You could visit an orphanage from time to time or help out a poor family around you who can’t provide adequately for their kids or sponsor a child anywhere around the world via Compassion International http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm
5. Get a support group. So many couples suffer alone in silence till it tears them apart. Find other couples who don’t have kids and support each other. Many times it helps when you know you are not the only one passing through this phase.
Remember that in His time, He makes all things beautiful. Trust Him to do the best for you whether it means making you the best mother on the planet or the most fabulous god-mother in the universe! Never lose your joy or sleep over something not within your control, life is too short! There are women who died during childbirth and left a kid behind without a mother. You are alive and kicking and I daresay your significant other would choose you alive and with him over ten children any day!
Sleep well chutzpah fam and lots of baby dust on all of you…xxx
Many women are in abusive relationships behind closed doors and suffer in silence because they are afraid or have too much to lose if they walk away. If you are one of these women then this is for you. I know sometimes a man may threaten to take your kids or kill you if you leave him. You may even be stuck in the mud because you care too deeply about him to leave or care too much about the financial security or social standing that comes with being this person’s partner but self-preservation is key and many times abuse has escalated to manslaughter with the woman being the victim. Even if he doesn’t kill you, what happens to your self-respect, your peace of mind and your health? The scars he leaves are not always concealed with some makeup and clothing, many of them are emotional and linger far longer than the painful memories which you hasten to erase. I know, you know the best thing to do is leave him, to run away as fast as you can and never look back but sometimes it’s not as easy as it looks and I can understand that. Sometimes there’s no escape and I get that. But all hope is not lost. Here are 7 things that will help you survive an abusive relationship and I do hope at least one of them is able to give you hope and more importantly a plan!
1. Financial Freedom: In my line of work, I have met dozens of abused women and it’s sad that most of these women were old timers. It wasn’t their first time in a hospital but when I asked why they still stayed, they’d hang their heads and say they had no means of taking care of themselves or their kids if they left. If you are in an abusive relationship, you need to plan an escape and realistically we know you ain’t going anywhere if you don’t have any money so how do you get some if you are a housewife with no sustenable income? 3 things:
Save a little of any money that enters your hand. Cut down the grocery shopping or any shopping you do. Even if you save a little at a time, as the little pile increases so will your hope for freedom and if there is nothing to save cos some men give no allowances for you to hide some money away then sell something valuable that you possess. The opportunity cost isn’t hard to deduce after all your grand mother’s necklace is of no use to you if you are dead! And if you have nothing of value, find someone who can give you a loan or just spare some cash. You never know how helpful people can be till you ask.
2. Admit & Confide: This is perhaps one of the hardest things to do but you need to admit to yourself that you deserve better than this and actually see your relationship for what it really is. You need to stop feeling sorry for your man (he isn’t the one getting pulverised is he?) or defending his actions and most of all you need to work up the nerve to confide in someone. It could be a member of the family, a good friend or colleague or just someone you trust and most importantly I’d suggest it was someone who could give some practical help and not just sympathize.
3. Fight Back: Men who abuse women are essentially cowards. You need to learn to fight back. You could learn boxing or karate which teach techniques that can help you overpower someone who is physically stronger than you or attend a self-defence class where you can learn about the sensitive points on a man’s body that have maximum impact when hit and if all else fails, a kick to the balls may stall him enough for you to escape his angry fists but I must warn you that there’s a thin line between subduing and aggravating him and if you choose to fight back your technique has to be good enough to scare the hell out of him or else he’ll come after you like an infuriated beast.
4. Dig up Dirt: Everybody has secrets, find one about him that compels him to behave. You could warn him that if he ever hits you again, you would expose his secret and makesure the evidence is somewhere beyond his reach and in the hands of someone who will make it public if she suddenly stops hearing from you (lest he murder you). Blackmail in any form is underhanded and not to be encouraged but this is a desperate situation and I am sure we can make an exception.
5. Gather Evidence: Most wife beaters keep a calm, cool exterior far removed from their actual personality and many times when news of his abuse becomes public, it’s easy for him to deny it or just blame the woman for pushing him too far which is why you need evidence. This is the era of smart phones and other electronic devices and if you can hide a cam to make a sex video surely you can hide one to make an abuse video. Women who have lived with abusive men will tell you that they know just when he is going to hit them or what would surely trigger the abuse so rather than cowering in fear waiting for your man to come home and beat you up because you bashed the car, set a video camera in place. Being forced to watch a video of him hitting you along with the rest of the world might just be the cure he needs (YouTube is your friend!)
6. The 3rd Party: Most men will not abuse a woman if there’s someone else present so it would be a good idea to invite your mother in law or a relation to stay with you. You could hint that you don’t want the person letting your husband know it was your idea but that you would really appreciate the company. It would also be a good idea to pick a respected relative or one from his side of the family.
7. Pray Until Something Happens (P.U.S.H): God does answer prayers and while you are at it, go for some counselling sessions. These are surprisingly helpful and some men might even agree to come along. The Bible says that a gentle answer turneth away wrath. Avoid getting into arguments anyway you can. Sometimes to see the change we desire, the change must begin with us.
I know many women would rather suffer in silence than leave their marriages and yes there are others who saw the signs before they got married but hoped he would change. If you do choose to stay, remember that your life, health and happiness are a priority. There is no shame in seeking refuge!
Have a great day Chutzpah fam!
Disney, Love songs and Romantic comedies not to mention all those romance novels have played a huge role in conditioning our minds and infecting our hearts with less than realistic love notions and like die hard Arsenal fans many of us have clung to our ideas of happily ever after well into our thirties taking each failed relationship in our stride, eyes fixed on the elusive Mr Right but perhaps it is time we went back to the drawing board.
Here are 10 myths that really ought to be on the shelves along with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
1. Love at First Sight: Because you didn’t feel a spark the first time he said hello or get butterflies on your first date doesn’t mean he can’t be the one. Attraction is important no doubt but sometimes getting to really know a person may surprisingly be the spark you need to light up your world.
2. Men Love a Damsel in Distress: Yes men like their women to be feminine and to make them feel needed but there’s a thin line between needed and ‘needy’!!! If you don’t have a job, qualifications or even dreams of your own and feel the need to rely on your man for EVERYTHING he’s gonna get drained and weary of you soon enough even if you are sexy and wild between the sheets. Forget the Disney cartoons, he doesn’t want a sleeping babe and a kiss doesn’t solve everything.
3. Sex Strengthens a Relationship: No it doesn’t. Many times it takes the place of emotional intimacy, kicks good conversation to the curb, pulls the wool over your eyes where your partner’s flaws are concerned, makes you more territorial since you are giving your all in quote and keeps you longer than necessary in a relationship doomed to failure.
4. All Men Cheat: No they don’t. Most men do however, but going into a relationship with that mentality gives your man the excuse to misbehave since you don’t believe he is capable of staying faithful without the checks and balances you have put in place. Expecting so little from your man eliminates the opportunities he has to impress you not to mention pushing him to misbehave cos like my friend T once said, “She already expects me to cheat so whether I do or I don’t, I am the villain, I might as well…”
5. Happily Ever After: Many people look at love as something that should work out beautifully without much effort once the two people are finally together. We are in love with the slogan ‘…and they lived happily ever after’. Nobody imagines that after Cinderella spent the entire cartoon trying to unite with her handsome prince in spite of the challenges, she’d have anything less than true love’s perfection once she became his queen. Once a relationship falls short of a happy ever after, many of us tend to start looking out, we begin to doubt the authenticity of the relationship but girl, relationships are hard work! At some point in the relationship love becomes a choice not a feeling, sometimes the choice to love your man after seeing his worst side can be difficult but he is going through it too and choosing to love you. If you think it’s gonna be rosy all the way then I’d suggest you curl up in bed with a Harlequin Romance novel and forget real life men not to mention marrying one for better or worse. The fact that your relationship isn’t perfect is evidence that it is real.
6. My Man is The Strong Silent Type who doesn’t know how to express his feelings: We all know a guy or two who fit this description but beware, looking for cues because there are no words may leave you in a fool’s paradise. ‘He loves me but prefers to show it because talk is cheap’, ‘He doesn’t like talking about the future but I know he wants to marry me cos he shows it in so many ways’, ‘He doesn’t like confrontation, when I am upset he picks up his car keys and drives off somewhere for a few hours so he doesn’t say or do something he will regret’, ‘He hasn’t asked me out yet or referred to us as an exclusive couple but with all the action going on we are definitely dating, asking out isn’t his style’, ‘He doesn’t like PDA nobody needs to know our business…’ The examples are endless and should serve as pointers. Your strong, silent man could be avoiding commitment since not saying the words you are dying to hear means he isn’t making any promises and so therefore can’t be accused of breaking any. Also a man who runs from emotion may not be feeling any and just be with you for the ride or worse still he may be hiding something far worse. My patient Z came for treatment after one of the regular beatings her hubby dishes out. She refuses to leave him because of the kids plus she has no means of sustenance. I asked her if she hadn’t seen pointers to this particular behavior while dating and she said he always ran from confrontation during the relationship, always needed to cool off for a few days, she assumed he was just very sensitive. The rest is history. Anyway moving on, ironically we all know a man or woman who is painfully shy in public but has a bubbly personality behind closed doors with the people he or she loves and trusts. If your man still has too many unpenetrable walls around him one day he may gravitate to someone who can do a rent-a-ghost number on him.
7. The Tall, Dark and Handsome beau: Some people are late bloomers in every way- Looks, careers, finances etc. Now the funny thing is when they do arrive they usually do so with a bang! So before you dismiss that gangly young man whose clothes are threatening to swallow him or that guy in love with you who only earns 80k/month, dig deeper. Avoid the shoulda, woulda, couldas and most of all avoid the mythical Mr Obvious! The tall, dark, handsome, very sexy not to mention extremely rich and successful man cos if you are not seeing past these qualities, chances are you and a hundred other girls are seeing them and he being the sharp guy he is senses the incoming traffic from all over making him the proverbial rolling stone that gathers no moss! Many a girl has been rudely awakened after catching a glimpse of a carelessly tossed aside admirer now transformed into the man of their dreams just when it’s too late to reconcile. Be guided.
8. Picking a Fight is the only way to revitalize a boring relationship: Please put your inner diva on the shelf along with this myth. A good man doesn’t want a diva for a lover. Picking fights just to stir things up a bit and just so that you can have the big, mushy makeup is immature and wears the relationship thin in the long run. Instead of using negativity to boost your seemingly boring relationship, channel all the positive energy you can muster into reigniting the sparks and reminding him of all the many reasons you fell in love with each other.
9. Mini-Breakups are the ultimate wake up call: Don’t breakup if it isn’t over for good. Don’t breakup after every fight. Don’t breakup just so he can beg you to take him back. Don’t breakup to punish him! Grow up babe, there are other ways to handle a relationship issue than to cut off your nose just to spite your face. Tell him you need some time to think and then go incommunicado for a while if you must. Breaking up at every whim shows a lack of commitment to the relationship and like the boy who cried wolf, one day you may have run out of chances.
10. Packaging is Important: Agreed Cinderella may not have bagged the handsome prince if he had seen her in rags scrubbing the fireplace hence her godmother was needed to ‘package’ her right but this has totally spiralled out of control and women are not only packaging their looks like Cinderella did which to a degree is perfectly acceptable since men are visual creatures but have gone ballistic packaging their personalities, character, resume, flaws and kinks till the finished product is a far cry from who they really are. Technically this sort of packaging leads to a relationship founded on a pack of lies and then you wonder why he runs at the first sign of the real you. You can’t keep up the charade forever, be yourself, it’s the only role you can play perfectly.
Love is definitely a work in progress even for old timers and dispelling these worrisome myths is the first step to embracing the wholesome, lasting relationship you crave. Goodluck!