Self-love: noun meaning regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.

We often perceive this word to be synonymous with selfishness or even narcissism. However, this isn’t what I believe it means entirely. I believe the most unhappy people we come across in life are highly lacking in self-love. They are often emotionally unstable as they lack this important anchor.

The truth is, you can not give or radiate something you do not have. It is important for every individual to have some measure of self-love. If you have no regard for your own well-being, how can you truly care for others? If you do not love yourself, how can you expect others to? If when you look at yourself, all you see are your flaws, what then do you expect others to see? If you do not place a high value on yourself, how do you expect others to?

Sometimes when relationships end, you hear an aggrieved party saying how much sacrifices they made for the other at the expense of their own comfort. I think therein lies the problem. While we will all need to make sacrifices for people we care about from  time-time, I think the best relationships thrive when people meet in the middle somehow. This is what I think someone who has self-love realizes. They give and take. You are very unlikely to tolerate being maltreated if you love yourself.

When we meet new people, we often subconsciously size them up and have a mental summary of the person based on the cues we get. If you are a person lacking in self-love, you are very likely to be treated poorly because people know they can get away with it. So, sometimes it might be surprising to hear that an abusive ex- has remarried but isn’t abusing the new spouse.

So, dearest sisters, let us learn to love ourselves, look beyond your flaws. Treat yourself right. Appreciate yourself. It makes it easier for others to love you too.

Remember, we are all wonderfully and uniquely made. Have a self-loving weekend!




Decadence: n, meaning moral degeneration or decay.

I just watched a musical video and I must ask a question that nags me often. Why do we as women allow ourselves to be seen as a collection of body parts? People have risen to fame singing about our sexual body parts…made a fortune from explicitly describing our bodies why we dance and display them barely covered. Why do we present ourselves in this manner?

I doubt that when God created us so beautifully he intended for us to be commodities. A lot of movies show bare breasted women. So much so it has become the norm. Sex sells. I am sure that’s what most people reading are thinking. But if that’s the only reason, then there should be more movies showing the male genitals as well. There should be more music videos showing naked/near-naked men as well. We rarely see that. Why is there a mismatch? Why do we sell out so easily? Why is less price placed on our nudity? Why aren’t more men ‘twerking’ or jiggling body parts (Magic Mike proved they can) in videos? Talk about gender equality.

I pondered and came up with possible explanations. One of them is that women have been considered sex objects from time immemorial. It was their job to entertain men by dancing seductively amongst other things. When you look at it from that angle, it may seem like progress that they can now at least ask for payment for doing so. Hmmn. We have made a lot of progress advocating for gender equality and liberating women. We have come a long way but maybe this belief that we are forms of entertainment is a timeless one.

Another of my ideas is that maybe we believe it is a form of power and relish being able to captivate men by wielding it. A whole industry seems to have sprung forth from this power. The truth is, while I might flinch when I see certain things, the females jiggling away are getting paid. That is their profession. There is a huge market for what they are selling. The more skin they bare, the better the video seems to do.

Another idea is that maybe this decadence itself is as a result of our new found liberation. Women have more freedom today than ever before. We can do anything we want and hold our heads up high. We have broken barriers, penetrated professions that used to be forbidden to us. We now own our bodies and minds like never before. So I guess if we want to clothe or bare our skins, we can very well do so now. It’s totally up to us!!!

Whatever angle we look at it from, this one is totally on us. We can’t blame men for this unfortunately. Not today. Most of these girls are not being forced. In most episodes of Jerry Springer’s show, a girl gets up at some point during the show and voluntarily bares her chest while viewers cheer her on. I haven’t seen any guy take his pants off just for fun.

Anyway, maybe I am just a little too old school. Why shouldn’t a gorgeous body be flaunted…and maybe pay some bills in the process??? Bare as you dare is the new school.

Hmmn. Have a lovely week everyone!!!

‘Multiplying’ with caution (pt 2)

Moving on to the topic of erecting your ‘road block’. If you do decide to start using contraception, view it as a you would a restaurant menu. You may get lucky and like your first choice, but if you don’t, there is a wide array of options to sample as you search for the one best suited to your body and situation.

NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING(safe period)-99% effective if used correctly.This method aims to help women achieve contraception by simply knowing what times of the month to avoid sex. Acts by using body signs and symptoms like: daily body temperature which must be measured at the same time everyday with a special kind of thermometer. A temperature spike of 3 days in a row is watched out for. This spike takes place right after ovulation. Cervical mucus secretions which is wetter, clearer and slippery right before ovulation. Advantages -this is a method for women with regular menstrual cycles. It has no side effects and is acceptable to most cultures and faiths.Disadvantages-it takes 3-6 cycles to learn properly. Requires days of abstinence. Failure rates are quite high as certain factors-stress, travel or illness- may alter the menstrual cycle. Also often used incorrectly. If you absolutely do not want to get pregnant, this method isn’t for you.

Other methods can be permanent(irreversible) i.e sterilisation or temporary(reversible).

CONDOMS-98% effective. These act by simply creating a physical barrier between the sperm and the egg. Advantage– it prevents STIs and has no medical side effects. Disadvantage– some people may be allergic to latex. May split or tear if not used properly.

THE HORMONALS are the remaining group and mostly act by using the hormones(oestrogen, progesterone or both) to thicken the cervical mucus, hence making it difficult for sperm to penetrate the womb and reach an egg, or by thinning the lining of the womb, or in the case of the implants, stop the release of egg from the ovary.

1-Combined oral contraceptives(the pill) >99% effective. Contains oestrogen and progesterone. Advantages-makes bleeding regular, lighter and less painful. Reduces risk of cancers of the ovaries, womb and colon. Reduces fibroids and cysts. Disadvantages-can increase blood pressure. Does not protect against STIs. Must be used daily. Can be made less effective by use of some other medications e.g antibiotics.

2- Progestogen-only pill >99% effective. Advantages– safe for use while breastfeeding. good for women who can’t use the combined pill. Disadvantages-may cause irregular period. daily use. may cause ovarian cysts.

3- Intrauterine devices-(Copper or Mirena) >99% effective. Stops the sperm and egg from surviving in the womb or tube. Advantages-lasts 5-10years. Can be used in breastfeeding women. Fertility returns almost immediately. Disadvantages– no protection against STIs. May cause ectopic pregnancy. Mirena causes less vaginal bleeding(may stop completely). Copper can cause pain and bleeding.

4 Implant->99% effective. Small tube inserted under the arm. Advantages-lasts 3years. Safe for breastfeeding. Fertility returns after removal. May decrease heavy/painful periods. Disadvantages– disrupts periods. May lessen sex drive. Mood changes.

5-Injections->99% effective. Commonest is the depo provera. Lasts 12 weeks. Advantages-safe for breastfeeding. May decrease heavy/painful periods. Disadvantages– there may be a year delay of return to fertility. No protection against STIs. May cause weight gain and bone thinning.

6-Contraceptive patch->99% effective. Each patch lasts for a week, you change the patch weekly for 3 weeks and have a week off without a patch. Advantage-easy to use. Makes periods lighter, regular and less painful. Disadvantages-may cause skin irritation, itching and soreness. No protection against STIs. Can cause bleeding between periods.

STERILISATION– This is a permanent and surgical method of contraception for both sexes. Men can undergo vasectomy and women can undergo tubal ligation. Advantages-it is >99% effective. does not affect hormones or sex drive. Disadvantages– offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases(STIs). It is difficult to reverse.

Less common methods not covered in this discussion include vaginal ring, diaphragm, female condoms and caps. Also not discussed is emergency contraceptive methods.

A more detailed conversation on your chosen method will probably be given by your healthcare provider. This is a guide to help you choose and not a substitute for their advice.

I personally had to sample some of these before finding what suits me while some women I know chose one and got it right away. What works for someone else might not suit you. Just listen to your body.

Good luck as you find your way to planned parenthood!

(pls check for further reading)

‘Multiplying’ with caution (pt 1 )

Contraception: noun- deliberate prevention of conception or pregnancy.

I personally love babies. Their smell, the look in their eyes, the love they somehow draw from the depths of you and the blind, shameless trust they display in us as their parents. I wish I could have a dozen of them…my own little village. This is however an unreasonable desire. With this trust and blessing comes a great responsibility. You have been entrusted to care and provide the best for them. YOU and no one else.

A little arithmetic is needed in this multiplication business. Depending on what your dreams are for your children, you can make a fairly reliable projection- based on your income- of how many kids you can provide for. This plan can be revisited if your financial status improves.

In the past, it was quite common practice to have as many kids as you are blessed with the intention of raising them on the generosity of friends and family members. Things are rapidly changing. These days it is rare to find people willing to take in nephews, nieces and cousins. Rather than have their intentions misinterpreted, they would rather hire a domestic staff if they need one. I also think it is quite unfair for a couple to deliberately have just two kids and then be expected to raise 4 other kids for family members. They shouldn’t be judged for not giving up their vacations abroad because you are behind on children’s school fees. I want to believe all parents intend to provide the best for kids. The definition of this best is relative however and people should be able to buy/do whatever they want for their kids without being worried about what others will say or think as long as they can afford it.

It’s called family planning for a reason. There is no rigid figure for all. For you, 6 kids might be ideal, for someone else it might be 2. I also think besides finances, affection should be put into consideration as well. How far can you stretch your love as well. Every child should be loved and made to feel special. I don’t know how easy that can be with many kids. You don’t want a child who feels like he’s been lost in the mix somehow. Some parents are able to bond with each child despite having 7 kids while some hardly have enough attention for one child. It’s all about meeting their emotional and financial needs as they deserve.

It’s not very responsible to continue having children despite being in a bad financial condition. I understand and respect that some religions and cultures are against contraception for different reasons. To each, his own. I feel this is an issue worth giving some thought for all women. I also believe the time to give it a thought is before and not after an unplanned pregnancy. It’s your body, take charge. Contraception is cheaper, safer, and definitely more reasonable than having an abortion too!

Most health care centers have facilities for contraception but I will discuss the various methods in the next part. When to begin? If you are single, sexually active but not ready to be a parent yet, the time to begin is as soon as possible. If your intention is for child spacing, then you should ideally start within 6 weeks after you’ve had a baby as your next ovulation can be very unpredictable. If you are open to having another baby anytime, then of course this doesn’t apply to you.

Rumor has it…(pt 1)

Gossip: noun-a person who habitually talks about the private details of other people’s lives. verb-to engage in casual/unconstrained conversations or reports about other people typically involving details which are unconfirmed as true.

While almost everyone engages in this distasteful habit from time-time, I believe this is actually predominantly an affliction of females. It seems to be like a ‘delicacy’ served wherever there is a cluster of females.

This affliction is worse than an addiction. Addicts recognize and try to resist their habits. Gossips do neither. Why then do people gossip? Here are a few of my hypotheses:

I believe that some people gossip to deflect attention from their personal situation. They focus instead on what’s right or wrong with other people’s lives. However momentary, it helps them forget their own problems. It is fun for them to sit down together and analyze other people’s lives or actions while theirs take a break. Talk about using paracetamol for someone else’s headaches.

Some people just like to know what’s going on in everybody’s lives. They thrive on having the latest information on everyone’s lives…they just seem to know everything. As if they have an invisible satellite monitoring everyone’s activities. Talk about talent wasted. These are people who would have done well as private investigators.

I often believe that people addicted to gossiping either have a void in their lives and they gossip out of boredom, or they are just really ‘committed’ to this habit in which case they create time out of their busy schedules to keep up.

It’s also a little hard to believe that anyone would spend so much time researching/talking about someone that neither fascinates nor intrigues them.

Certain groups of people seem to just always gossip. It’s like an addiction ring in which members are bound by their common love of hearsays. It’s the premise on which their friendship is built and they are enablers. Without the stories, the friendship would wither and die.

I believe gossiping should be avoided as much as possible. Tattletales often get into trouble because they say things they shouldn’t have and they lose the trust of people as a result. They are frequently caught in the web of who-said-what and who-didn’t-say-what. I also doubt that a genuinely nice person would talk about others behind their backs all the time.

To sum up, gossiping is an ugly trait which we mostly just pick up and stick with. You can simply decide to do less of it for a start. I don’t think talking about other people’s lives detracts from your problems (if you have any), or adds to your life (if it’s already perfect). Except if you get paid for it, I doubt there’s anything to gain.

Have a gossip-free weekend!!!

Who do you haggle with?

Haggle (verb)-meaning to dispute/bargain persistently, especially over the cost of something.

In Nigeria, haggling is an art you are taught and expected to have mastered especially if you are female (again as preparation for the ultimate career of your life- ‘wifehood’).

While I agree that this is a good skill to have, I feel over time we should learn to reconsider what the purpose is, and how fair it is. Why should we be taught to haggle with the orphan child whose stepmom forces to hawk under the scorching sun before he gets fed? Why haggle with the woman hawking bananas with a 10 kg baby tied to her back? Why haggle with the yam seller by the roadside who shares a tiny room with 5 children and has an absentee husband? When we look at them all we see is a seller trying to cheat us. There’s more to them than that.

The aim of haggling is to conserve money..or rather create better value for money spent. So why won’t we haggle with our pastors and imams over donations? Why won’t we haggle with Shoprite that sells a tube of toothpaste for almost twice the amount it is on the streets? Why won’t we haggle at Sweet sensation or the other franchises we patronize? Their rice is twice the cost of the cafeteria’s. I know you are probably thinking that will be ridiculous! Why should it be? These are people who are rich and we eagerly make them richer…taking pictures with pride when we patronize them as proof that we were there.

So is the aim of haggling then truly to create more value for money?

Please, next time you see someone selling by the street or hawking, try to resist the call by pride to live up to the name of master haggler especially if you are quite comfortable. Do it as charity. Bargain if you must, but do not  cut her profit off completely. Spare an extra minute to look at what she’s wearing, how many children are surrounding her and you might get a glimpse beneath the surface. She could have been just as pretty or smart as you. She just happened to be born/raised in a different environment. She’s probably just as hard-working and deserving but fate did it’s thing and she’s where she is.

Next time you drive up to a woman/child hustling, do not see a person trying to cheat you of your hard-earned cash. See instead, someone just trying to survive. An opportunity to help. To me, they are more deserving than a lot of people we give to. Don’t make them an object of pity…just empathize and cut them some slack.

Have a ‘less haggle’ week!!

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