Pay your share

A week after i arrived, my husband’s family decided everyone should meet in a restaurant. We all gathered at an Italian restaurant. I hate meeting people. I am very shy with people i do not know and as a result i often come across as quite stiff. This wasn’t any different. I knew my in-laws but there were spouses i hadn’t met. The gathering was a bit formal seeing as we all had to sit at a table. I totally felt like a fish out of water. We were a total of 4 couples in all. My husband parents included. I needn’t worry about being shy. The culture shock i soon experienced provided adequate distraction.

A member of the family announced a pregnancy. I had never attended a pregnancy announcement before. I had no idea such things even happened at all. In Nigeria, in most cases, we all just await a bulging tummy or sickness as proof of pregnancy. No one expects to be told. If you decide to tell or not, no one cares. So i was later to realize-from personal experience- that in this new society, people expect pregnancy should be announced. In fact, they take offence if they are not informed.

We finished eating and the bill was brought. I was shocked to see it passed round and a small math was done to figure out how much each person had to pay. I couldn’t believe my eyes as i saw all the men gathered round digging into their pockets to produce their share of the bill. Now, any Nigerian reading this would understand how much different this is from our culture back home where someone foots all the bill. I can only imagine a son-in-law in Nigeria going to a restaurant with his wife’s parents/siblings and then splitting the bill with his father-in-law. They all acted normally (even my father-in-law), brought forward their shares and paid the total and we left the restaurant.

Now many years later, i still struggle with splitting bills with people but i have become accustomed to this way of life. I even understand it. Why should one person have to bear the cost of a get together? Besides even back home i remember some people who never took a turn to pay for others. Takers. I just learn to switch when i am with my Nigerian friends and we take turns paying when we go out.

I’m leaving on a jet plane…

I took my first step on the flat escalator and slipped. Attracting the attention of other travelers in the crowded Murtala Muhammed airport. It brought a bit of smile to my lips. My first since I left my sweet mum crying. I am often clumsy and on occasion, socially awkward. I am cursed with my mum’s genes. I had made my peace with it over the years and as a result rather than get embarrassed,  I laugh at my own self when I make mistakes in public or fail to catch up quickly on some elegant social skill. A few minutes earlier, my mum and I had held each other and wept as if I was never going to be back. We had thoroughly embarrassed my brother who (bless him) had inherited both my father’s looks and ability to blend in anywhere he found himself. If he dined Chinese, he used chopsticks while I politely ask for a fork. My mum and I are quite different however.

I left Nigeria on November 8th. Prior to this, I had never been on a plane. I generally lack any adventurous spirit. I simply didn’t have the gene for it. I had visited just about 6 of the 36 states in my country. I loved home and familiar things. I rarely explored. Whenever I spent a night at my mum’s, I not only shared a room with her, I begged to share a bed. How I was going to go a month without seeing my brother and mum I still didn’t know yet.

Every one asked for money. The customs, the security…it was ‘sister, anything for us?’ everywhere I turned. The airport was also filled to the brim. I was almost wishing I had flown through Abuja. I had made this trip to the airport several times to see my husband off as he returned to Canada. Abuja was always calmer and less crowded. I was advised to split my luggage and before I could turn around, a lady handed me a Ghana-must-go bag for 1000 naira. My mum didn’t take it too well. Why was it 5 times the normal price, she accused the poor lady. I got through customs still crying and looking back to wave again and again to my crying mum and brother until I couldn’t see them anymore. She complained often that I was a bit clingy but I knew she would miss me. We were more like best friends/sisters.

I hadn’t seen my husband in the past 11 months. He had refused to make any more trips to Nigeria. The marriage was starting to tremble a bit. So I just had to go. We had been friends since I was 14 and dated from when I was 19. We loved each other deeply, our bodies spoke the same language…our love story was beautiful but the distance was taking a heavy toll.

I slipped on the ascending escalator despite carefully watching others get on. A kind professor from the university of Lagos steadied me and showed me how to get on the next one. I held the railings with both hands desperately. While waiting to board, I went to the washroom and saw some fellow passengers holding hands and praying loudly to arrive safely. I wondered if I should be scared of flying because they were still intensely praying when I finished. I asked the man beside me to show me how to buckle my seat belt and he did.

As the plane took off, I felt uncertainty creep into my mind. I was leaving life as I knew it. My birth home and country. Loyal friends, family…job prospects. Certainty. What waited at the other side? What would it be like? The only certainty was my husband. Nothing else. My ticket was a return for 6 months. So I told myself I would be back in 6 months. Little did I know I wasn’t to visit my country again for a long, long time.

The Planter and the seeds

Imagine yourself as a farmer who has seeds you are eager to plant. It shouldn’t take a genius to know that you will need fertile soil, water and sunlight. Seeds need warmth from the soil. What an awesome chemistry it can be between all these elements! With these ingredients working harmoniously, you should have a thriving plant in no time. Flourishing before your very eyes.

Now imagine if somehow, you made a mistake and instead, you planted you seeds in infertile soil, or maybe, by some serious lapse in judgement, you went for rocks. Yes, you decided to plant your seeds in rock! Who does that??!! Maybe your eyes tricked you, and you thought the rock was rich, fertile soil in which your seeds could thrive. Now you water your seeds, leave it exposed to sunlight but no sprouts show. You wait and wait but your plant doesn’t thrive. The farmer has made a poor choice and where there should have been bloom, there is gloom.

You are the farmer. Your seed is love. The person you plant your love in is your soil…or rock. For love to thrive, you must choose a fertile soil. If you choose a man in whom your seed can flourish and give rise to sprouts and maybe, even a tree someday, you will have the marriage/relationship people can only dream of. The beauty of your crops will hold people captivated. It is the beauty songs are sung about and poems are written about. You have love, you chose a man in whom your love can thrive and fate shines upon your union. Endless harvest awaits you. It truly is bliss.

If as a woman who has the capacity to love, you invest your love in a man who is like a rock, the heartbreak is endless. You will water and nourish your seeds,  with no sprouts to show for your effort. While others are harvesting, you will still be toiling…because you chose a rock. It is difficult to blame the rock, or the sun or the water. For it is after all what it is. A rock. Incapable of nourishing your love or rewarding your efforts. Rocks have been known to occasionally grow plants but it is a journey of patience. They just do not contain the nutrients seeds need to thrive. The seed, the sun and the water-all wasted just as love is wasted on some people.

So, if you are single, hopefully, you still have your seeds in your hands. Search for the right soil. The one who makes you reap double for all your labor of love. The one who is receptive in the way that you want and reciprocates the way you want. The right soil for your seeds.

If that boat has sailed already and you are one who has planted her seed in a rock, then be realistic about your expectations. While there is nothing wrong in being hopeful that your rock might one day give rise to sprouts, be prepared that your love may never quite be reciprocated in the way that you deserve. Make your peace with this painful fact.

Sister’s keeper

Most of the most hurtful things ever said to me in my life were by another woman. I have come to realize that this is true for many women. Maybe men are too busy or they simply don’t go for the jugular like we do. How supportive are we of other women? How loyal are we to each other? Why do we judge each other so harshly?

If you have children and are a stay at home mum, other women are the first to say you just stay at home everyday and make no income. If your work takes you away from your kids, then they snidely say they can’t imagine anything being more important than family. If you are married, the most ‘remarkable’ in-law stories you probably have in your archives are about encounters with the females in your husband’s family. How about betrayal by friends? The most painful ones are by girlfriends. If you are unlucky with love, it’s probably because you are not a good person. If you stay in a bad marriage, you are weak. If you leave, you are impatient. Whatever you do, you just can’t win in the law court of women.

Is it envy or lack of empathy? I do not know. Someone has infertility, why would you think it must be something she did? A friend’s husband cheats openly, why would you say she’s probably lacking in some way and that’s his reason? A married man wants to date you, why can’t you just tell him off and send him on his way? If a woman had her baby by C-section and you have pushed out 7 babies without a tear, then good for you! You both don’t get a crown after the arduous journey.

Learn to be a sister’s keeper. You have nothing to lose by building a fellow woman up and you also have nothing to gain by tearing her down. In every situation, try and put yourself in her shoes before you judge. Respect people who are making tough choices you can’t imagine making and do not trivialize their efforts. Everything isn’t a competition. If you spend your weekends cooking 10 different meals, that doesn’t make you better than the woman who would rather just stretch out her legs, order in some food and relax with her family. It’s your choice. I enjoy baking. Most of what I bake can be bought quickly off the shelves but I enjoy huffing and puffing away in the kitchen and watching my recipes come to life. Choice.

If you have knowledge you think can be beneficial to another woman, share. If you have a job opportunity that might change someone’s life, please reach out. If you have gone through fertility treatments and was successful, please share your experience with other females. If you are a friend, be a loyal and honest one. If you are a mother-in-law, do not belittle your son’s wife. If we learn to stick up for one another, we can really make a lot of difference in our lives. When a sister succeeds, be happy for her. If she is in a difficult situation, pray for and with her.

Do not live your life tending to what people will say. You can never satisfy everyone. Pray daily for wisdom and always send out positive energy to others in case you get some of it back. Be your sister’s keeper.



Broken road

I had a midday ultrasound at one of the biggest hospitals in the city. It was at least an hour away from where I lived so I always took a book to read on the long ride. I didn’t really like that I had to travel so far but I was 10 weeks pregnant and my obstetrician had decided I needed a high risk antenatal program because of my ‘bad obstetric history’ and this was the closest to where I lived. I was anxious but hopeful. I was required to have serial ultrasound scans, hormone measurements and insert progesterone into my body. I hated the progesterone but I did it anyway. I read my book and listened to music on the ipod, completely oblivious to the heartbreak that awaited me at the hospital.

A few hours later…’Sweet heart, we are so sorry. We can’t hear any heart beat today’.It was July 10th. I was lying spread eagled on an ultrasound bed staring with complete disbelief and lack of comprehension as the doctor and the sonographer both explained. I had done everything I was asked to. I had even accepted a copy of one of the previous scans at 8 weeks just after the smiling sonographer had suggested we could put it in the baby’s album. I gave up my coffee once they said I should cut down on caffeine. Anything not to lose this one.

I withdraw when I am in  pain. So for days, the tears didn’t come. I had been booked for an evacuation 3 days later. I walked around like a ghost. My husband’s birthday was in 2 days time and this completely ruined it. Flash back to 6 months before. I had finally joined my husband after 3 years of ‘love across the ocean’. We were finally living together as a couple should and it was simply beautiful but I still missed my mum and my brother and was very lonely. I had just my husband and his family. No friend or family of my own.

The night before the evacuation, I broke. I didn’t just cry. I howled and howled like an injured dog throughout the night. My husband couldn’t get me to stop. Where was my God? How could he let this happen to me again? I still had a room filled with baby things from my stillbirth son. What was wrong with my body? Why couldn’t I bring a baby out alive? Did God see me? Did he hear me? Would I ever be a mum? I wanted my mummy so bad. I would call her just to cry out my heart. I hurt everywhere. My breasts hurt. My heart hurt.

So the poking and probing started. The doctors had tons of tests for me to do to find out what could be responsible for the losses. I wanted to know too. It was endless but at the end, they found nothing wrong. All tests came out normal. I received the news with mixed feelings because if they couldn’t find what was broken, how could they fix it?

3 months later, I was pregnant again and God decided it was his own time to fix me. He made it beautiful and perfect in his own way and at his own time. He made me a mum. My sad stories are now scars and no more wounds. No more clouds.

The sweet is a little sweeter because we have tasted the bitter. So don’t give up. Try again. It just might be right this time!



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!



Wait it out

I am a very romantic person. I LOVE love. Its just one of the most beautiful experiences in life. My husband and I have a truly beautiful love story. We have simply been fortunate to share the kind of love and passion that we have. Even after all these years, he still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. However, the truth is, we once faltered.

When we dated, we were just two young people in love and focused solely on each other. Our worlds revolved around each other. I can hardly remember any serious quarrel we ever had. After we got married, somewhere along the line, we slipped and stopped being each other’s priority. We had some challenging times and we listened to voices outside our home and blemished our story. We got advice-solicited and unsolicited. The truth is, other voices can be very distracting whether their intentions are good or bad. In fact, without knowing it, you might start to view your partner through people’s eyes.

While we had simply thrived on making each other happy and enjoyed watching the other person’s eyes glow whenever we gave a gift, it suddenly became a lot of work. There were birthdays and anniversaries my husband failed to acknowledge. We forgot to just stare in each other’s eyes like we used to. I just couldn’t understand the change. It was heartbreaking.

Fortunately for us, God gave us the wisdom to realize we were losing each other. We worked our way back and learnt from our mistakes. We learnt that if it took just the two of us to fall in love, then maybe just the two of us could help us stay in love and work out any issues we have. We have learned, and are still learning to listen to just our own voices. We have also realized that we should never stop impressing each other. Being married doesn’t mean the conquest is over.

So if you are going through a rough patch in your relationship, sometimes, it’s a good idea to wait it out. I don’t know your unique situation and it would be unfair to judge you. All I know is, relationships, as with most things in life. are full of ups and downs. Recognize the ‘downs’ for what they are-phases. Of course this especially applies if things were once great between you too. It is also good to take stock and try to assess as realistically as possible, what you have going for you. Ask yourself what is good about your union. If you are getting abused, please this advice does not apply to your situation.

Also try to remember-especially if your marriage is new-that you are both trying to figure out your new roles. So give your spouse some stumbling room. I remember finding all the wedding day advice a little too much. It made me feel like I now had to look and act my role as a wife and look at my husband differently. I just wanted to be his beloved forever. Period. The branding which is associated with marriage can put you both under pressure to act a certain way and micro-examine your relationship.

Do not feel pressured to leave a good marriage because of a temporary phase. Tune out people’s voices. Take a critical look at yourself. Work on yourself. Be easy to love. Don’t have unrealistic expectations. Learn not to sweat the small stuff. Pray for the wisdom required to have a successful marriage. Do your part. Don’t stop learning about yourself or your partner. If it feels very far from how it did when you just met, don’t give up so soon. Talk it out…wait it out.

God bless our homes. Have a great weekend!


Why do we feel the need to drag children into the mess we create as parents?
If/when ugliness creeps in, why should children be made to choose sides?
Most marriages start out beautifully but unfortunately along the line, sometimes, ugliness creeps in . It can be gut-wrenching and often creates bitterness in one or both people involved and understandably so.
Strategies of ‘war’ have proven that the more allies you have, the better your odds of ‘winning’. This is where children come into play.
Children are innocent but often, parents-especially mothers-often use them as tools to wage war. I believe sometimes, they don’t do it deliberately. As they say, ‘hell hath no fury…’, so an angry woman oozes hurt and anger from her pores. Children, bless them, are naturally able to pick on mothers’ emotions and sometimes, even share these emotions. Most women also have a quite caustic tongue and lash out verbally when unhappy or angry. Children hear these words and get swayed.
On the other hand, there are women who also deliberately manipulate children. There are ugly stories they have in their archives which they dig out from time-time to let the children know how awful their father is. Considering how much time we spend with children and how much emotional control we have over them, this is an easily achievable feat for women.
I know it’s unfair to judge someone if you haven’t walked in their shoes. However, I believe, it’s very unfair to put children in such difficult position. Children are better served when they have a healthy relationship with both parents. Parents should encourage this except if the other parent is harmful to them. Bitterness and other negative sentiments should be suppressed. While it might be difficult to watch someone who was so unkind to you idolized by your children, you have to realize that there is a role in their lives your partner can play better than you can.
The truth is that if left alone, children are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for. In time if your partner is truly a terrible person, the children will eventually figure it out without your help anyway. They have a right to know and have a relationship with both parents and should be allowed to do so.
So whether you are splitting from your partner, genuinely trying to make it work or you know all hope is lost but you are keeping up appearances just so you don’t get labelled, please don’t use your children to fight your battles. Put their welfare and happiness before yours. They won’t be happier or better for it and you won’t too.
Bad husbands/partners don’t necessarily translate to bad fathers!  

Love on my mind…

Sweeter than honey is this love of ours, My heart flutters when you are near, When you look in my eyes, fireworks erupt in the fit of my belly. I sense you even before I see you. With you, I am fearless.

Warmer than a thick blanket on a cold winter night is your embrace my love, Joy is incomplete until I have shared it with you, Worries disappear when you are near. In your presence, I am comforted. With you, I know a reality that has eclipsed my fantasies.

Beautiful and unashamed is my adoration for you my love. Your hands are mine to hold. My heart speaks your name. The lines of your face are etched in my memory. When we are apart, I pine for you. For without you, I am incomplete.

Songs have been written and ballads sung about this affliction of mine. I was made for you, and you for me. In your arms, I am home. I am loved perfectly, in the way I want to be loved. Time stands still for us, and the rest of the world melts away.

God bless us.

(Written somewhere in S/Wales for my love on 24/12/2015)


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!!!

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