DON’T BE AFRAID OF YOUR STOMACH

A few weeks ago, I got to spend a couple of days with my friends K and U. It was groove galore. K brought some chicken home and we cooked and chopped most of it that night.

Next day, we headed out to run some errands and took some chicken to “hol belle” until whenever we got to eat. We’d been out for about an hour when hunger begin catch U, so, she promptly brought out her chicken and selected a juicy drumstick. She was about to bite into it when K turned and said to her “Put it back, don’t be afraid of your stomach” We all laughed at the statement, and then K went on to remind U that she had some diet goals she was trying to reach. She concluded by saying something along the lines of “You need to get comfortable with hunger. Don’t put food in your mouth as soon as you get hungry, you need to learn to control what goes in and when. Don’t be afraid of your stomach”

U jejerly put her chicken back into her bag, but the statement has stuck with me since then because it applies to much more than food.

Are you afraid of your stomach? Your physical stomach? Your emotional stomach? Your financial stomach? Any kind of stomach?

Let me describe what I’m talking about…

Getting out of one relationship and jumping right into another because you cannot stand to be alone.

Doing anything to avoid uncomfortable emotions including avoiding people and places

Seeing something you want and refusing to sleep or eat until you get it

There are different types of hunger, and sometimes the best thing that can happen to you is staying hungry, because if you feed yourself every time you are hungry for something, how will you ever learn discipline?

I’ve thought about my ambition stomach now that I’m in a transition phase in my life. Gosh there are so many things I want and I want them right now! But God has His pause button on a lot of those things and even though the chafing stresses me out sometimes, I can see myself gaining clarity in the hunger. Ideas are changing and evolving, directions are changing and I am in a different direction now from where I was facing 2 months ago. E be like say the hunger nor really bad like that after all.

A few years ago after yet another disastrous relationship met its expected end, I decided to take a 1 year break from dating. Make I no lie, there were days when I was like “Na me start this thing, I get right to end am. Abeg e don do!” but I stuck to it. In that year, I learned so much about myself and why I kept making similar mistakes in all my relationships. That year of hunger has changed my approach to relationships forever.

Bottom line, you will not always get what you want when you want it, and that’s not a bad thing. Let me even go one step further, you should not always get what you want when you want it. That period of hunger is a great clarifier (is that a word?). As uncomfortable as it is, follow the hunger and see where it leads you. Get into that emotion, stay away from that person, don’t buy that thing you have to have…wait.

And the end of the period, you will not only know a little bit more about yourself, but you will have unlocked another level of mastery that is sure to be a blessing somewhere down the line. And when you finally get the thing you hunger for, you will have both a deeper level of appreciation and a sense of balance that stops it from being overwhelming.

Don’t be afraid of your stomach.

 

FRIENDSHIP IS…

S has been my friend for 9 years now. We’ve been friends through the days of starry eyed dreams to the days of work and grit of turning those dreams into life…we are good friends, and there is one thig she does that I have always hated…whenever we go to buy stuff – the supermarket, fuel, suya…she always sits in the car and lets me go and buy the things. Maybe it’s because she’s a celebrity, but me too I be celeb na!! It’s always gotten to me.

Anyway, this past week, S came by to visit; one of our rituals is to buy suya and have a chilled evening eating and drinking and catching up. So we park the car, go to the suya man and then S lets me know she is going back to the car (as usual) and asks if I want to come sit with her until the suya is ready. That isn’t the surprise…the surprise is that I said “No, I’ll wait here for the suya to be ready”. See I had a “Hollup” moment …like did I really say that? And mean it???

I realised that this thing that had been such an issue for me where my friend was concerned was no longer an issue. I honestly didn’t mind…this was the kind of person my friend was, and I accepted her for it. Maybe it had something to do with a few days before, when we’d gone to a mutual friend’s house and following a combo of eating and drinking the wrong thing, I found myself puking my heart, soul and left kidney out and S stayed there, rubbing my back, cleaning me up, making my excuses to our hosts and getting me home safely and then…NOT yabbing me to the ends of the world the day after. I think I realised even further in that minute how valuable a friendship I had.

Friendship is acceptance. Friendship is service. Friendship is my friend P who, knowing how much of a problem I have with boundaries, always asks if she can come over/sleep over/hang out…even though the answer will always be yes. She knows I need to be the one to open my doors, and so she knocks, even though the door is always open to her. My friend D reminds me of how awesome I am when I forget…she got even more upset about my not winning the ELOY awards than I myself did (that is a blogpost on its own). D always looks for ways to give me gifts; usually things that I love but will never bring out money to buy.

I said once on my show that in friendship, we should look for reciprocity, not replication. This means that I will not expect my friends to do exactly as I would do, but I will expect them to do their best. The verse “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you” is often reinterpreted to “Do unto others what you would do to/for them” – it’s not the same thing. My friends and I are not clones of one another, and our ways of valuing our relationship will manifest differently. So when P asked me this week to bring my laptop to her house so that she could copy a song, I huffed, puffed and then, just as I was about to blow my house down, I carried the laptop to her house and we copied the songs she wanted. This same P will make a whole pot of afang soup and hide my portion in the freezer, unapologetically saying no to anyone that asks her for it.

Friendship is giving. It is serving. It is not imposing conditions on another. It is accepting someone as they are, and being the best you can be for them…even if the best you can be is entertaining the quirk that makes your friend sit in the car with her sunglasses on while you’re staring at the fuel pump with a beady eye.

Friendship knows that no matter how weird this weirdo is, they will stand for you, fight for you or cry with you. They will come to you with no more than a message.

I am grateful that my friends show me the best definitions of friendship. I am grateful that I have friends who have as much pleasure in being friends to me as they enjoy me being friends to them

NOT GOOD ENOUGH

A little while ago, my stylist sent me an outfit – it was totally gorgeous, I absolutely loved it. The next morning, she called me and in the middle of my effusive thanks for such a great job, her subdued voice broke in; the designer of the outfit had called her in a fit of anger to complain about her giving the dress to me – The designer didn’t want me wearing her dress, I was not a celebrity, she didn’t know me and she only wanted celebs wearing her clothes. My stylist apologised and I apologised back to her for the embarrassment that dulled an otherwise beautiful job.

Did it hurt me…damn right it did. No one wants to feel like they are not good enough for anything. But that’s life isn’t it? The whole experience taught me 3 vital lessons sha:

  1. People are entitled to their choices, whether we like them or not. No matter how much it wants to pain me that said designer would not let anyone below a certain (privately ascertained) celeb status wear her clothes, it was her choice and entitlement and I cannot condemn her for it
  2. Remember the good. I have a number of designers who have been excited to have me wear their clothes. Will I now forget all those wonderful ones because of the one who doesn’t think me worthy? I remember someone complaining once that celebs will ignore millions of positive comments to clap back for the 1 person who gives a negative. It’s human nature I know, and so abeg, I will choose my focus deliberately
  3. Finally, no matter what else people may be to you, remember that they are still people. I work in an industry that treats people like resources – you meet someone and immediately factor out how they can be useful to you. I remember meeting someone who sharply asked for my number. Eager to make a new friend, I gave it to her. Then I started to notice that every time she called, no matter how randomly the conversation started, it would always circle back to my office and opportunities available. After the 4th time, I stopped being so available. A few weeks later, I met someone who could potentially be influential to my career, immediately I started planning ways to build the relationship. Na him Holy Spirit just tap me for shoulder come give me side eye, and I realised I was about to do the same thing I had gotten irritated at another for doing. Bottom line sha, people are people – not resources, not platforms, not networks…they are people first.

In conclusion, I am not upset anymore about the designer. I will just carry the lessons I have learned and go my way.

Have a fantastic day my people

CAN YOU DO THIS?

Someone hurts you and you get on your knees at 12 midnight and give God a very specific list of retributions to hand to the person that dared to touch His anointed

Then Vengeance is mine begins to play on a loop in your spirit and so the next time you are wronged, you “leave the person to God”, still confident that their hair will fall out/landlord will evict them/boss will sack them.

Then one day you’re praying and when you get to where you’re handing your list of People Who Need The Lord’s Vengeance, Abba whispers ever so sweetly “What if I don’t want to punish them?”

You look up suspiciously, God and this His sense of humor sef, but He repeats…no, I don’t want to punish them. And you realise that Dude has flipped the script on you again.

Question: If all things work for your good, are bad things really bad? And if they aren’t, should you be asking God to judge anyone?

(Yeah I needed some time to think about it as well)

Imagine this  – you have a boss whose only source of joy is making you cry and so you undergo months of verbal abuse. One day, you are so depressed you start leafing through your journal and then come across a business plan you drew some years ago. You realise, hold up, I can make this work. And so the abuse becomes the fuel that pushes you into becoming the first person to produce freeze dried, fully organic baby food. Do you still think God should punish that boss?

Sometimes things that happen to you aren’t for you but for the other person. So if someone hurts you and God uses that hurt to heal a part of that person, has God been fair? Should you still expect punishment for them?

Our natural perspective is “God, fight my battles for me and defeat my enemies”, except, this world is full of hurting, broken people who hurt other people. It’s a jump to go from “God, deal with this person who made me cry”, to “God, may this pain that they caused me be the path to their healing”. It’s a big, difficult jump.

You realise that God loves ERRBODY! Including the lover who broke your heart, the co-worker who got you fired, the parent who never seemed to see the good in you…He loves them all, He has a plan for them all, and He wants healing for them all.

This is why the concept of closure can be problematic; because it is dependent on a balancing of accounts according to your perspective. And sometimes that may never happen.

You may never get that moment when the person, in true Nollywood style, comes crashing to their knees before you, wailing their remorse with great salty tears and snot puring from their swollen noses, while you, totally vindicated, gaze upon them with a saintly smirk and utter the words you have stored for ages “I forgive you”

If you never get that moment, has justice been served?

Can you look up and say “God, this situation broke me, but I get that there are things that I don’t see in it, so even though I never get the vindication I deserve, I know and trust You enough to know that justice will be served. Perhaps not the justice where one is vindicated and another punished, but the judgement that nonetheless speaks of balance and yes,grace. Even if it means that I never see this person “punished”, You are still fair and You are still good and YOU ARE STILL RIGHT

It takes stepping out of yourself and into God’s perspective. It takes giant withdrawals of grace from the Heavenly account. It takes giving up our opinion of what is fair and trusting a plan that you might never understand.

It’s not easy, but it is worth it

 

 

 

THE VOICE TOOK ME BACK IN TIME

I didn’t get to watch The Voice yesterday when it aired live. I was busy hanging out with some friends and having a blast being an absolute nuisance. So, I started my day today with that, and gosh…it was such an emotional experience for me.

Now some of you might know that I was in a reality show in 2010 – The Debaters. That show wasn’t the easiest of shows for me: I kept running into trouble with the judges because instead of being oratorical in my approach, I was conversational. The one time I decided to be passionate (the episode to raise awareness of autism), I was rebuked for not being empathetic.

(I’m still very upset about that episode by the way. I worked out an achievable plan, created a tagline, everything, and those people didn’t even throw me small face. Choi)

Anyway, I went along, worked hard, spent weeks fighting my own feelings of insecurity, tried to balance friendship with the fact that my housemates were also my rivals etc etc. By the last but 1 episode, I was in the lead (that episode was my absolute best), I was sure I was going to win. The morning of the finals though, we had a short interview panel – total curveball, none of us knew it was coming. I was so pumped for my debate that I hopelessly flubbed the panel, I think I even burst into tears sef.

I ended up coming 4th.

I was bitterly disappointed and more than a little resentful that I didn’t win. Then one day, after He probably got tired of my relentless whining, Abba said “If you needed a victory to achieve what I took you into the house for, you would have won”. In other words, His plan for me didn’t depend on victory to be fulfilled. I didn’t see it, I barely agreed with it, but I decided to try my hand at hope. 3 years later, I got the call from my now CEO that showed what God’s plan had been all along, and that plan is still unfolding.

Every day of my life, God makes this truth more and more evident to me – we might all be in the same space, but we are not in the same place, we do not have the same destinations and we definitely do not have the same journey.

My friend DJ Switch on the other hand went for X Factor Nigeria. Week after week, she put out her best effort, she wasn’t always the best singer, but guess what, she won that competition, the only edition  so far. E be like say God create that platform make my girl just show herself.

I watched Brenda perform week after week. There were arguments “Brenda dey sing” “No jor, she dey perform, she no fit sing like the others” and so on. Watching the finale, I smiled as I remembered my “not-victory” I understood that for her, God’s path to her future does not require her victory. The girl go still blow – she is an AMAZING performer. I watched Viveeyan grow stronger every episode, watched her final episode and was blown away by the accomplished musician who held me enthralled by Wrecking ball. I watched Nonso strip away all the extras and present music in its purest form, I watched Patrick and Dewe, stories of grace and the kind of favour that makes men stand for you when you have been counted out.  I watched Arese, who throughout the show has marched determinedly to her own tune, picking the more eclectic songs, standing firm even when it didn’t seem like it should work. I saw her take the mic and sing “Hallelujah”, sing like everything so far had been just for that one moment, and I was reduced to tears. All in the same space, not in the same place.

I’ve been in a place of transition in the past year, I’ve written about it a few times (I no really dey sure of the exact post, abeg make una just help me find am), and it made me smile that today, in the month of the third anniversary of my joining EbonyLife TV, God reminded me of where it all started.

Do you know that the benefits of the Debaters came after for me? The confidence, the public assurance, the ability to hold my own, the patience to dig deep in research? All happened much much later.After the show had ended.

Guys, I am learning that we cannot use the expected end as an indicator of what our expected end should be. For everything we encounter, there is a need to seek and understand God’s personal purpose for us. And where He chooses not to share, we must trust nonetheless that there is a purpose. When you understand that, disappointment is minimised, faith is established, because we know that His thoughts for us will come to pass.

To anyone in a place of wondering and waiting – asking God why what is happening for others hasn’t happened for you, asking if you’ve failed because your outcomes are different, wondering what you’re doing wrong that you are not getting the same results as others…take a deep breath, exhale the anxiety, take hold of peace.

You will not always see the end from the beginning, everyone’s definition of victory might not be the victory appointed for you, success might not come via that promotion or that new opportunity. Trust however that there is always a plan, trust His thoughts towards you. It doesn’t matter how many people are in the same space as you.

I will not say “maintain your lane” because it assumes that you all are headed in the same direction.

I will say – find your map…and then, step by step, trusting in your Way maker, trusting in your journey, trusting in your destination, grab hold of faith and make your way.

 

 

IT WAS A SET UP!

Guys! It was a set up o!!! Abba set me up WELL! I couldn’t even wait till next Sunday to gist you people this gist.

Hmmm, so I called our housekeeper today as promised. When she answered, I asked her in tones of controlled indignation what happened to my toilet. Her answer? “Nothing Ma”. So I told her it wasn’t flushing and below was her reply

She hasn’t pushed the flush button on my toilet since it went bad because of all the trouble it took to fix, so she uses a bucket from my shower. On Saturday, she noticed water was running into the bowl again, so she turned off the water and left it. Didn’t call me because she didn’t have credit.

Brethren, as she was speaking I was just sinking lower and lower in my chair until I was almost under it. HAAAAAY!!! See, when I came back and it wasn’t flushing, I lifted the tank cover myself, in other words, I was the one that made the bits fall out, in other other words, NA ME USE MY OWN HAND SPOIL MY TOILET!!!

HAAAAYYYY! I needed to sit in a corner and just think about my life.

So I’m just here right, relating this whole gist to Abba, and then He does one of those “You missed something” coughs. Now last week, almost the exact same thing happened to me, i.e. someone accused me of something I had not even gone near doing. I was hurt, angry and had written the person’s name in my black book in permanent marker.

So I gazed suspiciously upwards and asked “So You’re saying….?”

“So I’m saying it’s very easy to come to the wrong conclusion, especially if it’s something you’re lowkey already worried about, and perhaps you need to take the person that offended you out of your black book because girl you just accused someone else the exact same way”

And then He said “Gotcha!!!”

*takes a minute to side eye Heaven*

Guys Abba set me up o! Shebi I said I was looking for the lesson, toh…there’s my lesson.

I just can’t believe He did me this thing that He did me!

So yeah I’ve forgiven the person…almost…working on it…sigh…

Ok I’ve forgiven, I just need a minute for the vex to go but yeah…forgiven

*side eyes Heaven again*

 

 

THE ADVENTURES OF MENO AND HER LOO

I’m having a problem with my toilet, and no, toilet is not a metaphor for anything. I’m having a problem with my actual real life toilet.

Let me start this story from the beginning

Actually, first a prologue – I have a gorgeous bathroom, beautifully tiled, large, enough storage…it is perfect.

My perfect bathroom had a not so perfect toilet, the issue – I would flush and water would continue running into the bowl for hours. It was noisy, got on my nerves and wasted water.

So I called a technician and you know that ogbanje thing that happens where, you call someone to fix a problem and then the thing you have the issue with stays stubbornly well behaved. My toilet flushed and stopped with the precision of a soldier on parade.

The plumber looked at it, looked at me and left. 2 seconds later, the water started running again

The problem had subsided though, so instead of running for hours, the water would trickle for 5 minutes and stop. I was ok with it.

However, one day, a plumber was passing my our kitchen door and our housekeeper helpfully suggested that he check out the toilet. I wasn’t as concerned, but I was cooking and distracted, so I said ok. He came back 5 minutes later in a flush of excitement and declared that some part was broken. Suspicious, I went to discover that he had locked the water and somehow stopped the toilet from flushing.

The next day I came back from work to find out that the plumber had, by some previously unknown act of gross inefficiency, completely wrecked my toilet. It now would no longer even flush at all.

I dragged him upstairs and we both stood peering at the toilet. “It doesn’t flush” I told him. “Ah yes” he replied, “but e no dey run for inside bowl again”

I have a bright future ahead of me so I held myself back from drowning him in the (non running) toilet bowl and instructed him to come and repair what he had done. He promptly made himself scarce and only then was I told that he had never seen my type of toilet before and had no idea how to work it.

Friends and loved ones, this was the beginning of my woes and tribulations. I called the first plumber back and for weeks, he would come, try something, it wouldn’t work, he would vanish, I would call, he would assure, show up, try something…ad nauseum.

And then, one day the Holy Spirit whispered to him and gave him a solution and when I came back, (cue hallelujah chorus) I had a toilet that could flush. Guys, do you know what a big deal it is to push a button and have your toilet flush? If you have a flushing toilet please take a minute to give praise, I’ll wait

(One Minute Later)

My life went back to bliss and ease, until this evening, when I came home, tried to flush my toilet and realised that…it was not flushing.

As far as I can deduce, the housekeeper somehow wrecked it (I don’t even know how she could have at this point), called someone to fix it (there are free moving bits where free moving bits should not be), saw it had gotten worse and turned off the water (WHAT IS IT WITH THESE PEOPLE AND TURNING OFF THE WATER?????) and then took off for the weekend. It was too late when I discovered this, so I have to wait till tomorrow (ARGGGHHHH) and then call her to find out what the HECK happened.

I am so frustrated that I cried for 5 minutes before starting this post. Guys see…big issues don’t stress me – I hunker down and go into survival mode. Little issues sha…those glitches in perfectly working (water) systems…ah they pull the rug from under me and leave me without a plan.

I would like to end this by sharing a deep lesson the Lord has taught me from this experience, but alas, there is none. If you have an idea of what the Lord might be trying to tell me through this, please let me know, because I’m out of revelations.

I need you to pray for me though, I have a bright future and I really don’t want to wreck it by getting arrested for drowning a housekeeper in the toilet.