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Back breaking clarity!

Back breaking clarity!

Two days ago, I was standing by the open boot of my car in a pair of cute heels, chatting away while absent mindedly lifting and arranging the boxes for the office Christmas party which was the next day. Just then, my village people struck! I twisted my back to an angle so I could lift and push an unruly box to the other side of the trunk when I felt the worst pain of my life and I howled like Tom getting a classic whooping.

I tried to stand up straight and the right part of my back hurt, I saw stars like literally. I walked painfully to the driver’s side and lowered myself gingerly into my seat, taking deep breaths while the sweat which had suddenly appeared threatened to blind me as it gushed down from my forehead in waves.

‘It’s probably a muscle strain or a sprain, take some painkillers and you’ll be fine’.

I nodded feebly as I put the car in reverse and started my homeward bound, very agonizing journey. You know how potholes can be vaguely annoying but quickly ignored when driving? Haa! Try driving with a bad back! It was bad enough that jolts of pain were shooting down my right leg and up my right arm as I stepped on the accelerator or turned the steering wheel to the right but those potholes had me screaming ‘Father Lord’. The pain was blinding and by the time I got home I was almost in tears.

I abandoned the baby girl life, kicked off my heels, managed to drag my handbag out of the car and limped to my bedroom. I have heard stories about lying flat on the floor when you have back pain but the thought of contorting my body enough to lower me to the floor filled me with palpable fear, I picked the bed and lay very still. Soon the pain passed and the sweating reduced and as my breathing became more regular, I picked up my phone with ‘kangaroo hands’ cos maami was afraid to stretch lest the pain returned. I actually thought I was getting better till I felt the insane urge to pee and tried to gingerly get up only to be rudely reminded that my body was not werking oh! I only had two options, pee in the bed or get to that loo no matter what!

Damn! I started thinking about the recent episodes of ‘Bob hearts Abishola’ and how Bob’s energetic mum had been dealing with being bedridden, started thinking about the story of ‘Sinbad and the old man of the sea’ and how Mr B would just be carrying me on his head everywhere! Then I thought about all the differently abled heroes I knew, the men and women who had learned to live their best lives regardless of their circumstances and a new respect for them rose within me. I thought of the zanku I hadn’t learned to dance yet and how I wanted to try the kizomba dance.

I thought about how I used to sway them hips and how I’d been reduced to walking like one of the old women in ‘Tales by moonlight’. I looked around furtively for something classy that I could use as a stick! I thought about how at 35, my baby girl life was being threatened into early retirement. Then finally I thought about my collection of heels!

‘No sweet Jesus, I cannot be subjected to wearing flats for the rest of my life please.’

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m crazy about shoes. I could already count at least four people who’d gladly come and share my heels assets with aplomb! Someone in University used to call me ‘height + heels’. Lol! Well some of us wanna touch the sky.

Sigh…I snapped out of my reverie, me that cannot even touch the edge of the bed in my current situation. Chei!

I made it to the loo and I could almost hear the furniture cheering me on as I took each pained step. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep all night and I couldn’t even toss and turn oh, just laid there like a log of wood, praying that cockroach would not choose tonight of all nights to climb me. Only had paracetamol at home and that didn’t even scratch the surface.

The next day, some dude who needed a favor at work woke me up with his calls, when I sent him a message that I was ill and my colleague would sort it out, he just replied ‘ok’. I rolled my eyes at the sms, what happened to ‘sorry’ and ‘get well soon’ and ‘take care’. World people! Anyway an alarmed colleague suggested I do an Xray and scared the living daylights out of me with her worst case scenarios. She wanted me to get to work immediately. Did I mention I work in another state? There was no way I was gonna brave at least a hundred potholes just to go get an Xray so I called the Orthopedic surgeon at work and described in great detail my symptoms, the location etc. He promised to send me a prescription and that I could do the Xray later.

That’s how yours truly was placed on several strong meds, one of which made me feel woozy from time to time. Ordered for some food, meds, company (my girl G) via my phone and even had that awkward moment where I was waving to the girl who brought the food, she was standing at the gate and I was trying to get her attention when some strange man in my neighbor’s house started waving back at me frantically. He was embarrassed and I was embarrassed, it would have been funny if I wasn’t in pain and wasn’t already dreaming of the rice, dodo and gizzard sauce I ordered.

Today is day 3 and I’m feeling almost good as new, I still can’t twist in certain angles though. I may even be able to attend Shiloh before it ends and who knows, be rocking heels by Christmas. Of course it helped a whole lot that Mr B returned from his trip and I could overexaggerate my pain and have him fawn over me abit! Don’t judge, nothing makes a princess all better like some pampering.

This incident gave me a whole new perspective about life and health. So many people have had their lives changed in an instant by a sudden illness or a dismal diagnosis or an unprecedented action and without forewarning or a backup plan. It’s tough, sometimes they have to be strong for their families even though all they want to do is fall apart. If you’ve ever been there or are currently in this situation I pray for strength for you, I pray for comfort and I pray for the will power to adapt, survive and thrive. Sending love and light your way…❤

If you have never been in this situation, don’t take your life or health for granted. Live your best life, have savings, investments and an insurance- nothing is too small and it’s never too late to start and be mindful of your health and activities. No one had ever warned me not to ‘lift and twist’ but after my back had issues I went online and bam! There it was all over the place! Warnings and more warnings and the degrees of injuries that could result from lifting and twisting. I think I was lucky, to be honest, it could have been much worse.

As Christmas draws nigh, please live life intentionally! Is your Christmas tree up yet? Mine is still in storage, Santa had better know I’m on bedrest, he should just nicely park the Lamborghini I asked for in front of my house and put the keys under the footmat. Daalu!

Have a great day Chutzpah fam,

Xoxo

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2019 in Memoirs

 

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Where is your tribe?

Where is your tribe?

When I was in primary school, I wanted a team of friends like the popular Chinese movie ‘Seven lucky kids’. If you don’t remember it, call me aunty, I insist!

But my friends never wanted to be a tribe. One of them even pushed K, causing her to break her arm because instead of understanding that I would love all of them equally, my friend F, saw K as her replacement and didn’t take kindly to it.

In secondary school, I wanted a group of friends like the Spice girls but my friend M was quite possessive, well according to reports by the other potential members of the Spice girl group, my other friend A was not keen on letting other people past her three is a crowd philosophy.

In University, I thought a miniature sex and the city group of friends would be amazing but again there was a problem. Two of my closest friends could not see eye to eye on anything. So even though I have quite a number of SATC-like pics, the dramatic undercurrent sizzled from time to time.

I have always had lots of friends, and I love each one especially but my friends rarely got along and it made me wonder why for the longest time. I was the girl that each friend would tell a secret to and warn not to tell the other girls because they were my friends and not hers even though she tolerated their audio friendship and sometimes was actually quite into it.

It was draining but a part of me liked the attention. I felt like a rich Alhaji whose (four or more) wives couldn’t get along even though I had promised to love all of them equally. I wasn’t the perfect friend, I still royally suck at keeping in touch but when you are my friend I will bend over backwards for you if I have to, regardless of distance or time apart. I don’t joke with loyalty or friendship. It wasn’t until I read Tim Lahaye’s book that I realised that I was acting like a true sanguine (let’s ignore the choleric part of my ‘SANchol’ personality assessment for now).

The world tries to peddle three narratives where female friendships are concerned.

1. Women can’t be friends. We are too competitive, too back stabbing, too *insert other derogatory terms*.

This is absolute bullocks. If you are a woman and you believe this, you are either hanging with the wrong crowd or you need to check yourself- you just may be the problem! One bad experience is not enough to disqualify the entire female race.

2. The fakest sort of friendships are the tribes! Despite the travel together, attend events together, coordinate clothing and 4 way phone conversations, the women actually hate each other and gossip about each other and there’s always the queen bee, the underdog, the famzer and the Judas in the entourage!

Naaah fam, leave the movies out of real life. A meaningful friendship can exist amongst several women. There just needs to be shared interests, mutual trust, boundaries, honest communication, kindness, love and forgiveness and many women have tribes that actually work!

3. Three is a crowd. Women can only be friends in pairs. Once there’s a third person, two would always be closer and there would be backbiting, hurt feelings and somebody always feeling left out.

Not true. If this was true then tribes wouldn’t exist. No friendship is perfect, if you want it to work, you need to put in the work!

Here are three actual facts about friendship among women:

1. It’s okay for there to be closer circles of friends within a big tribe.

It’s okay for two people to be closer to each other than everyone else but still be amazing friends to every one in the tribe. Remember that the larger a friendship circle is, the more complex the mashup of personalities, perceptions and opinions. This is mostly a good thing but it isn’t unexpected that friends with similar mindsets within the tribe or some other similarity would gravitate towards each other. Accept it, fighting it causes negative energy and discord within a tribe.

2. It’s necessary to know and set the rules of engagement for any friendship.

If you don’t like something, say it from the onset and reiterate it from time to time. If the person values you, they will act right and if they don’t, don’t be sentimental about moving. Passive aggression is the bedrock of beef. Don’t morph into a frenemy because your friend keeps jabbing at your wound albeit unconsciously. Also, be sensitive. Some people struggle with envy and on the other end of the spectrum, some people struggle with low self esteem which makes them continually boast about their achievements and material gains to cover up for secret inadequacies. Now imagine the disaster of a friendship if two women from either ends of this spectrum become BFFs? Our instincts do not go to sleep when picking friends, we just choose not to listen to them.

3. Fights, cat fights, cold wars and separations will happen.

Many women bear scars from previous friendships but here are two things you should know. The first is that this is not a reason to give up on female friendships. It’s just a mandate to be intentional about future friendships and test the waters before going all in. I actually pray about friendships before taking them to the next level because I’m a ‘stick with you through thick and thin’ kinda girl.

The second thing is to allow a small window in your heart for forgiveness. Remember that many times, discord is not entirely one person’s fault. If the person has matured and genuinely asks for forgiveness and wants another chance at the friendship, it could be because they miss the perks, access to your life or control (run from them) or because they have genuinely matured and miss the friendship (pause, reflect and maybe give it another go). I have this three strikes rule for friendship. After the third ‘how could she hurt me like this?’, I walk away. It feels like I have given the friendship my all and there is nothing left to give. This kind of walking away brings the sort of peace that evades you when you are keeping malice. There’s a finality to this one, closure as they say. I have only had to get to this final bus stop with two friends in my entire life and man, it wasn’t easy but the overwhelming peace I got after walking away was my assurance that it was the right thing to do.

My oldest friendship is 23 years old.

How old is your oldest (genuine, we are still in each other’s lives on a regular basis) friendship?

Back to tribes.

For centuries, tribes have been responsible for setting norms, coordinating behaviour patterns, setting standards for social interaction and defending individual members. If your tribe is successful, motivated, driven it would certainly rub off on you. If your friends live a phoney lifestyle or have questionable morals, that’s you babe, you can’t run away from that reputation. It’s a label by association so choose your labels wisely!

So where is my tribe?

I have several right now and I’m fully committed to all of them. It just occured to me that with the world being so mixed now (I’m half Auchi, half Isoko, 1/8th Hausa (one great grandmother), Bini by marriage, 1/2 Ibo (Ibusa- mother in law) and Yoruba by birth), I certainly can belong to more than one tribe! 😊

You can too.

When you have genuine friends, labels don’t matter. When you learn to keep the secrets told to you in confidence and learn to treat others as you would want to be treated, female friendships become easier, less complicated, less draining and of course, every grown woman knows how to spot bullsh*t a mile away, so you end up with less toxic friends and less frenemies because frankly, nobody gat time for that!

To have a friend, you’ve gotta be a friend

Have a great day Chutzpah fam,

Identify your tribe this Christmas and hold them close! ❤

Every woman needs a woman or women in her circle. Don’t joke with your support system!

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2019 in Relationships

 

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Accountability Isn’t Chocolate

Accountability Isn’t Chocolate

I have struggled with inordinate affections for chocolate for some time now. Chocolate isn’t good for me. I could write a long list of the reasons why but time and time again I’d smell its tantalizing scent and gaze upon its well chiselled angles and I’d lose my will and resolve.

It got really bad and I had to tell one of my friends about it. Babe out of love still allowed me indulge a little bit yet she’d give her fair share of warnings to fulfil all righteousness.

Chocolate was giving me drama and yet like a parasite I couldn’t shake it off. One day I looked at myself in the mirror and I couldn’t recognize the person on the other side. She had become needy, jumpy, desperate for a sweet treat, tolerating rubbish just for a moment of sweet sublime. I didn’t like her. I didn’t admire her.

Chocolate definitely didn’t deserve such human adoration or reliance so I got myself a confessor. I picked carefully this time. Found a no nonsense health junky who thought chocolate was the devil! He was brutal, blunt and bold. He spelt it out to me in plain English, sucked out the romance and left me with a toothache. I couldn’t fault him because deep down I knew he was telling the truth. I decided to do better, no candy could hold me down. I started my 12 steps out of chocolate addiction. I was determined. Baby steps I said. I saw remarkable improvements in a short time. Alas it made me cocky.

I began to look disrespectfully at the miniature chocolate bars, eyeing them with disdain. Wondering how I ever let them get the best of me. I was wiser, smarter, too amazing for such filth. I pitied the lesser humans who hadn’t been able to shake off chocolate. I imagined my life free of all encumberances and couldn’t wait to be pronounced fully cured…

I bought some chocolate the other day. Naah don’t worry, I’m good. It was for my niece. I chuckled at a chocolate commercial, naah don’t worry I’m good, the commercial was really good. Last night I dreamed of chocolate. Naah don’t worry, it was a lingering memory but today I saw a really nice pic of a chocolate bar. The one that makes you want to prance into a candy store and I put it up for the world to see and gbam!, into my life with much aplomb came my two accountability partners. We are watching you they said. I blushed with embarrassment and tried to make jest of it. Naah don’t worry I’m fine. The joke was lost on them. Not a smile, their shoulders still stiff. You promised you wouldn’t embrace the darkness again they said. I remembered my promise. I didn’t want to embrace the dark, richness that often turned sour in my mouth but then I saw where I was, standing very close to the precipice. I was on the edge and I didn’t even know it. The familiar had crept up on me and almost entrapped my emotions the same way it had before. I hadn’t slain my dragons, I had merely chained them and they had somehow lured me beyond the safety of the chains and into their den. I needed the reminder, I desperately needed the wake up call. I wasn’t cured, I was in remission from an addiction that still lurked in the shadows. I looked at my friends with tears in my eyes, my accountability partners. Not all heroes wear capes…#grateful

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2019 in Inspirational

 

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Sisterhood of the traveling bras

It’s been a hectic 12 hours and I finally got comfy 3 hours ago. Well not too comfy because the chairs are hard and I am stuck for another couple of hours at the Dubai airport enroute my final destination.

I always wear jeans and a comfy top with a jacket for long trips, guess it’s the sensible attire for travellers. However this trip, I wore a strapless bra I had bought on my last trip to DC and the bra was giving me all shades of drama. By the tenth hour I felt like my bra and I had gotten into a fight and she was winning.

I was cranky, uncomfortable, held at ransom by a beige push up and almost believing I was gonna suffocate so I did the only logical thing. I stepped into the bathroom, removed the offending piece of underwear, heaved a sigh of relief and walked out a free woman. Bra safely tucked into my handbag.

It was 4am in the morning so I was gonna pretend I didn’t see the middle aged white lady gasp when I stretched out my hands to wash them and my chest peeked out from the straight confines of the side of my jacket- bulbous, bouncy and unashamed. Perhaps a nipple winked at her but who cares it was 4am like I said and the breasts still had two layers of clothing between them and the world so I shrugged and smirked and walked out of the bathroom- a renegade was born!

Now what made this experience epic? I began to take notice of lots of women in my ermm predicament. If you are an avid people watcher like I am, you’ll be surprised at the number of braless women at an airport. You can’t blame them, sometimes wearing a bra for a very long flight can be akin to wearing stilletoes and trekking! Awful and unnecessary besides no ones knows you there except for your travel companions and immigration!!!

So here are 3 life nuggets to glean from the sisterhood of the travelling bras:

1. The little things matter- many times we plan for the big events but it may be the little ones that get us in a pickle. Pay attention to details.

2. If you can fix the problem, fix it! Caring more about how you are perceived rather than what makes you happy and able to live a full, free life is no way to live.

3. You are never alone in a situation. Once you take a leap of faith you’ll be more than pleased to know you didn’t jump alone. You just didn’t notice them earlier because you were operating on different wavelengths!

Have a great day Chutzpah fam,

xoxo

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2018 in Memoirs

 

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Indifference…

Indifference…

A powerful but understated emotion.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2018 in Inspirational

 

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The Little Finger Phenomenon

GOT-Littlefinger-betrays-Ned

Have you ever sensed that a person may not be all they seem to be? That behind the smile lies a lurking darkness that you can’t quite figure out?

Have you ever felt your instincts kick you in the guts every time a certain person assures you of their loyalty or friendship but you try hard to ignore the ill-feeling?

Have you ever felt like someone you trusted could stick a knife in your back if given the opportunity or would bring you down in a heartbeat if they had the chance?

Have you ever felt a persistent unease around a certain person, the kind of unease that only grows the moment you start divulging classified info or things too personal to share with someone who truly doesn’t have your back?

Don’t suppress the flight or fight emotion, the outcome could be deadly!

At one of my old workplaces there was a woman who was always hanging around me and her words and body language showed she was interested in a more meaningful friendship but I couldn’t shake off the niggling doubts I had deep down. We became acquaintances and as time went by I learned to block out the unease. One day she comes to report a close colleague to me and said a lot of horrible things about the person trying to get a response out of me. As I opened my mouth to speak I saw her hand working very deftly on her phone and my instincts start screaming ‘DANGER’. Of course, she wasn’t looking at me cos her eyes were fixated on whatever she was doing. I leaned over the table and saw her activating the voice recorder. She looked up suddenly and caught my eye and the guilt in her eyes finally cleared every doubt I had ever had. I asked her why on earth she would want to record one part of a private discussion without my consent especially about such a sensitive topic. I walked her out of my office and the charade ended that instant.

What if she had succeeded? She would have messed up my reputation and my friendship with the other colleague without roping she and her inciteful comments in. Sometimes we never actually realise the reason for the uneasiness with certain people. However, it’s safe to say that if your head keeps telling you to be careful and you don’t have a history of paranoia, you should take it seriously.

I call it the ‘Little Finger Phenomenon’. Little Finger in the Game of Thrones Series was my most hated villain because he seemed so helpful and charming and was able to gain the trust of unsuspecting people only to advance his selfish ambitions without caring who he hurt or who he ruined. He did get his comeuppance but at what cost?

Jealousy, ambition, competitiveness, hate, obsession and bitterness are some of the emotions that can trigger your instincts about another person. The negative energy is often hard to ignore by the subconscious mind. So people, today I am asking you to screw the dictates of polite society by not accommodating anyone who constantly makes you uneasy. Keep a more than respectful distance and let your words be few because ultimately you are better safe than sorry!

Have a good day Chutzpah fam,

xoxo

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2018 in Inspirational

 

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JFK Blues

I was recently selected for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders and this is exactly how I felt:

It made the opposition I received from men, women and even learned colleagues who were all standing on the table I was so vigorously trying to shake by speaking out against skin lightening practices totally worthwhile. #thefightcontinues #saynotobleaching

So I packed my bags ready for my dream trip to God’s own country. Eager to be moulded into greatness and to rub shoulders with the other fellows. #letsgothere

Had some hiccups in the days leading up to the trip but in Naija we know village people must always try themselves fortunately, God pass them!

So I would love to end the post here and say my trip to obodo oyinbo was uneventful but when you are making soup and Lagos traffic, faulty airplane, TSA, missed flight and spiritual cold are ingredients you know you are cooking up a storm so just grab a plate and let me continue…

Air peace got me to Lagos right on time. They give me the kind of assurance that aerocontractors had in its glory days. The kind that makes you wanna call them ‘your girl’.

Had a 10 hour wait till my next flight but had gotten an email to be at the airport 2 hours before checking in for some last minute instructions.

Called up my mama (you know I am a Lasgidi girl through and through) and she suggested we go somewhere outside the airport to chill for the 4 hours I had to kill.

That’s when my village people started laughing in Isoko. The traffic from the International airport to the nearest eatery in Ajao estate was ‘unholy’ to say the least. We finally spotted one Mr Biggs after being in traffic for over an hour. I had already started doing the mental calculations about how much time I was allowed to eat, gist and then hit the road again so I’d not be the star actress in ‘stories that touch’ episode 78!

We got back to the airport in record time after my beloved mama had prayed over me, anointed me and kissed me all over intermittently giving stern instructions and nuggets of advice. I love me an African mom any day, any time! #bestkarmaforanytrip

Everything else was uneventful at least for a while. I had to look frantically for a place to charge my phone. Why oh why are all the ports at the airport broken? Naija I hail oh!

I boarded my Delta Airlines flight to JFK ready for my amazing journey and undeterred by the fact that I was sitting between two African mothers who needed this ‘daughter’ to show them the buttons, adjust this and that and answer all manner of questions. Guys my new name is Anita Fixit!

Then the absolute worst happened. It was like a dream…first the monitors went off, then the airplane became very hot and then the lights went off and only the emergency lights gave us any form of visibility. I put my hands on my head! If this was Arik air, I would just hiss and wait for the pilot’s announcement of a delayed flight due to technical difficulties (Yes, Arik has shown me pepper plenty times #sorrynotsorry) but this was an oyinbo airline for Okoro’s sake! I thought of a zillion things- the missing planes and plane crashes and the domino effect a delay in one flight would invariably cause.

Soon we were sweating and then panting and everyone had the same bewildered look on their faces. The air hostesses passed out cold paper towels and we got progress reports from time to time. I sent a message to la familia to ‘bẹrẹ gbadura‘. Hubby sent me a youtube link to this awesome song and my frayed nerves found some calm.

Ada- I Testify

In a couple more minutes we were on the move and I testify that it was smooth sailing all the way to NYC. Well apart from the time when the waitress asked if we wanted chicken and yam or beef and rice and I picked beef and rice and aunty beside me picked ‘anything’ only to start wailing when she saw the mutilated chicken sitting untop mashed yam swimming in a pastel colored gravy. At least my excuse for jollof rice was edible!

Got to JFK, breezed past immigration (All Glory To God), checked in my luggage for my next flight and got my boarding pass. Connected to free wifi and then went in search of some cake and hot chocolate. To better understand the events that unfolded afterwards I would like to add that I went to the departure area but some stern looking Fed told me it was too early to be there since my flight was in 8 hours and I should find something to do with myself till much closer to departure. (Who sent me to even ask question sef? Shey I could have just wakad jejerly to the departure lounge).

When it was about an hour and 15 minutes to departure I strolled like a boss to the departure area only to see the worst queue I had ever seen in my life. The queue had twists and turns and interceptions and people walking like the undead. I panicked! The oyinbos were in no hurry and I mentally willed them to go faster. When it was 20 minutes to departure I kept begging the TSA guys to let me jump the queue cos I was gonna miss my flight and they’d calmly say ‘ma’am we should be over and done with in a couple more minutes.’ I was gobsmacked!

I left the TSA 10 minutes to departure only to realise the actual distance to gate B51. I ran and jogged and searched frantically for a cart to assist me with the commute and then ran some more till my lungs felt like they would burst. Got to the boarding gate at the exact time of departure printed on my boarding pass and was about to breathlessly congratulate myself when the woman at the desk informed me that my flight had gone 10 minutes before.

The kind folks at Delta airline put me on the next available flight which was 8 hours later and I became an omonile at JFK! The sort of person who hadn’t showered in 24 hours and who was unimpressed with the facilities around and just wanted to get home! The hours flew by kindly enough. I got busy with a course I’d left pending for some weeks and covered good ground.

Finally it was time to head to Washington DC and I made sure I was first in line. I had been assured that my luggage that arrived 8 hours earlier would be waiting for me. In Naija, the luggage would have found a new home! The plane was really small and for some odd reason my feet were freezing cold like rock solid cold even though the rest of the airplane had ambient temperature. Had to wrap my pashmina around my feet.

Finally got to the place I would be calling home for 6 weeks and I was offered a roll that tasted like boiled unseasoned beans wrapped in a slice of bread- they called it a burrito!

To be continued…

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2018 in Uncategorized