Tuesday, February 28

One Year: I did it!

The most incredible thing just dawned on me; and that is that I had been blogging for a year. More, that I have 80 posts! 80! How and where?? I really must love talking! *big grin*
But, come o: one year and 80 blogs…and more than 4,000 page views?? I will pretend the other 330 pageviews were viewed by my humble self! Mehhn, I guess I should thank my followers and everyone else who is a faithful reader of my muse…bravely and gamely reading whether it made sense or not….you make my day. A friend once wrote that ‘it gets lonely up there on the internet’ (is that an irony? rolling eyes). Anyway, I consider it a great honour to have you  always visiting here.

Now, it occurred to me that I wanted to go back and read the stuff that I have written, to review and judge myself; if the reasons why I blogged still exists…I would say yes, they do, but as one of my very obstinate friend always says, me, Zouzou, you are not free, and you still dont allow people to be free! Hmmmm...one example she gave me: when my sisters try to include me in their hair business, I go…’please, do you think I am bald for no reason? spare me such discussions…’ my Obstinate Friend thinks I should let them be free to do whatever, including have such discussion with me! See me see trouble oh. #Confused. Na she sabi sha! I no hold them!

Also, I always ponder, is being free the same as being bold?? For instance my nails: (my hands: no one touches them in the name of any yeye manicure, neither do I paint them because it makes me feel uncomfortable) so, if go for the sharpest blue cutex on my nails, would that be termed being free or being bold, or both?…I sense a thin line there, and this is just one of the very simple examples.  Also, I believe I still hold tightly to some of my (even if I do say so) nontraditional beliefs, does that mean I am not free? I think, it means I am even more free…ok, enough with the musing aloud! However, one thing I have always prayed this blog be is true, and free of pretence.

So, I went through digging into my posts…a pleasure ride, and I resisted tweaking here and there. Mais,I re-discovered the ones I enjoyed writing: Looool!!!, Describe Your corner, (because I never thought of myself as being a poet!), Yay! He is Speaking, Salt  and In Pain…I really, really enjoyed writing those, amongst many others...I mean, 80 posts. I marvel at me.

Yesterday, I came across 3 of my diaries from way back in the 1990s…unbelievable memories (good and bad) assaulted me. In fact, when I flipped open one of the diaries, what hit me was ‘Dimas died’  (that’s my brother) ouch!! Like a fist struck my chest, I actually reared back!
I had have always thought I didn’t have the discipline to keep a diary or journal, but I did then! The diaries combined with messages Rev. George Adegboye preached as well as how my day was going and my feelings…it was incredible that dates I had forgotten leaped at me, and worse, I recorded quite a number of painful events…I saw so many ‘I am brokes’…lol….and ‘fixed my hair’…how strange and ironic…and I can even put a date to those times when I walked to and fro Church or school..I wasn’t sure if I was happy I found those diaries, but I learned to be grateful because I have come such a long way …there were the good memories too…the strength I have today is as a result of those experiences. Oh well.
Amazingly, I found one in which all the sermons I wrote were in French! Lol.

Well, I guess I should celebrate one year of blogging , right? Hmmm….hmmmm….hmmmnn!
Well, in the spirit of doing things differently (not that I am running away from giving freebies, if only I have a clue!), I really ought to sit up and find ways of making this blog better, bigger, brighter, and attract wider readers…abi, what say ye??
BUT, is anyone even thinking that another way is to celebrate me?? You know? Me. I talked for one year! I deserve the kudos, that I stuck to it alone...*Big Grin*

Be free oh
PS/ did I ever tell the reason why I have this tag line??

Tuesday, February 21

The Fear

We are going back to that article by Thomas J. Barrack Jr ‘Harness your Amygdala.’

In checking for a simple description/definition of the word Amygdala, this is what I came across: ‘The (almond shaped) brain structure which appears to be at the very centre of most of the brain events associated with fear’. Barrack in his article, explains that the more information is absorbed from different sources such as sound, sight, touch, scent etc, our brain redirects our body’s function to adapt to this new environment…and that fear, being one of the strongest of our emotions, elicits a chemical change in the body, but that our never-ending quest is (I say, should be) knowing when to go with our emotions and be fearful, and when to check fear at the gate and rely on reason…but I go with ‘check fear at the gate’ and not let it follow you anywhere! He, of course, was speaking from the point of view of an investor making decisions in the face of….

Fear is an emotion we detest and despise, yet seem mostly powerless to resist! Sometimes, it even seem safe to take refuge in it, if that makes sense! And sometimes, when life is actually rosy, we fear because there suddenly seem to be nothing to be afraid of, check out our man Job in the Bible….he just couldn’t imagine life without problems, and tried his best to cover his bases, when there was no reason to. What did he say of himself when calamity eventually came? ‘What I feared most has come upon me.’

Have you ever dreamed you are being chased, and try as you can, you are unable to make your limbs move as fast as they should, have you ever also dreamed where only the dry-mouthed fear actually lent speed to your feet and you flew…it is incredible what this emotion can do to us if we let it. It is not the strength of the emotion, it is that we give in to it! We have the power of choice to decide exactly what we want and when we want it. We are not robots.  Our daily lives need not be subject to perpetual heart palpitation, imagining the things that will happen simply because of some choices we have or have not made! I read somewhere that most of those things we fear never happens. In fact, quoting Stevie Wonder in one of his songs (Tomorrow Robbins Will Sing) ‘today is the tomorrow you were so worried about.’

Giving in to fear makes it a master who calls the shots; dictating every aspect of your life, what you eat, when you eat it, if you sleep, how you wake, what to wear, whether to go out or not, what meetings to attend, whether to travel…every single aspect…and having befriended, having had such an intimate time with it recently, I have come out feeling that it is not doing me any good and have severed that cord….it is not a clean-cut process, it is a (sometimes) slow but a steady one, and  I am determined not to live according to its dictates. I take back control of my life.

I wrote the following (‘My Notes’ on Face Book) during one of those nights when I thought I would die from fear; it was such an incredible feeling I sometimes felt hands reached into my chest to pull out my heart. Kilode?!

Terror. Emotion strong in itself
Gripping, banding, binding
Tight fist grasping my heart
My throat clamped shut
In its terrible grip I am frozen
Unable to think, blood running cold
Struggling to surface from the dark abyss
Bright metallic taste in my mouth
Hands flailing
Heart beating frantically to summon the Word
Words to dispel and disband!
Then, from afar it came...
'Fear not, I will be with you...'
Out I came, gasping as it were, for breath
Into light, into freedom, into life
Soul singing 'I am free!'

There are more assurances to not fear than there are things to fear!

Free yourself, free yourself!

Be free oh.

Friday, February 10

In Pain..?

I do not know why this is coming right now…because this gist isn’t due for another (I hope not too long) time, and in full details sef! But…

As we all know this year, (at least in Nigeria) started off on a very terrible note.
At a point, I felt that what was happening in the country was a reflection of the war/struggle going on in my personal experiences. Bomb explosions, killing rampage, oil subsidy removal etc etc…they happened, are happening in my own life, only in a different way. But the one that took me a long time to identify with was the ‘OccupyNigeria’ movement…strategic and instructive, but I missed its insignificance in my own situation.

I tried to search through the last few years of my life to see if I have ever had any experience that totally stomped me, and made me feel like God had changed location, that made me feel He doesn’t care, because it seem like He is not listening to me now…and I couldn’t find any, not because my life has been perfect, far from the truth,  my life has been one constant drama after the other, this present situation is just on a different scale. It has me thoroughly overwhelmed, confused, and so troubled. I have lost sleep (literally), lost appetite, cried as I walked, worked or drove, disillusioned, sick, actually came awake after a short sleep one day and could not move, went on to puke for hours, alone, have been diagnosed with ulcer, all because it seemed to me that God just isn’t there! Where is He?? I have been in situations in the past  where I thought He had no business, and I mean that apart from His sovereignty that permits Him to act out of character sometimes, He had no business getting me out of it because I walked into it with eyes wide open! So, where is He now, when my mistake is honest? Why are things going from bad to worse?? I thought I never ever had to be reminded of some experiences in my life anymore? Why is this happening?? Ok, I have apologized and repented of bad judgment, why can’t I get out of this already?! Questions and more questions. Tears. Pain.

But hang on! He is right here. He is not sleeping, He is not deaf, He does care. I may not get what I need physically but I lie if I tell you that God is not with me: on twitter, on Face Book, at meetings, in everything I read , in every song, in form of my very incredible Wall of Fame (friends). He hasn’t left me without some measure of comfort and favour! He has not. I have come out of insomnia, now I eat (except I chose not to), fear is gradually releasing its horrible hold on me. My heart palpitations have stopped. I am gaining boldness enough to say, ‘oh well, I am in His hands, He knows what He is doing.’ And then I go to sleep or to eat. In fact, my problem these days is that I do not wake up if my alarm isn’t set! Problem still there, but I sleep, in trust. #Isleep!!!!

To my shame, because I cried for so long and  the answer stared me in the face but I couldn’t see it, I have only just come to the realization that all I had to do was speak the right words! Gbam. That’s it. O tan. Change my language and my perception, and really, just really, stop wearing God out with many prayers and move on to something else. He has assured me in every way possible that I am not alone in what I am feeling because even I know that this is one area where I need to be disciplined so I don’t kill myself by myself sometime in the future!

You may identify, in fact your situation may be worse, you may be shaking your head thinking, this girl does not understand where I stand…true, but we all think the grass is greener on the other side anyway, however, as I have no idea why I am writing this now, though I plan to sometime in the future when my deliverance is complete,  it is possible that you need this encouragement from me! Please know that God always shows up. I can swear to that…you can too, if only you can come out of self-pity..He’s shown up for you before. if only we can wait, if only I can wait…if only I can say to me: ‘just a little while…a little while longer!’ AH!! Yes, I also snicker when I read or hear some assurances. Sometimes (actually majority of the time) when He says a word to me, I automatically snort and snicker…’yeah right!’ before I come to myself and say ‘thank you!’

Deut 30: 11-14 was what He used to get me out of a tight mess so many years ago…it came back to me a few days ago…there is something there. You catch it too.

On a final note, a friend said to me just this morning when I kidded again,  ‘but Jesus walks beside us to brighten the journey.’ It’s true. We never feel like it, but don’t you think only a wicked father leaves his children comfortless? That would depend on which father you know sha o....

This is from a sister in intense pain; you don’t have to bear yours alone OOOHHHH.

Be Free oh.

Thursday, February 9

I was invited by a friend (I refuse to qualify this friendship, madam!!) and wrote on the most boring topic ever, I say boring cos mehn....this emotion has been so....it means almost nothing to people anymore.
LesT I re-post the entire thing here, please click here and enjoy...we welcome your comments, of course!
 :-)

Be free oh
 

Wednesday, February 8

The 'Now' Factor

These are not random thoughts.
I  hope it leaves you thinking.
And yes, my promised post on Fear will come....hang in there!

I read this morning (in that very faithful My Daily Bread Devotional! Lol), that if there were a contest, in this day and age, between the virtues 'best' and 'fast', 'fast', will definitely win...and that despite the 'fast' life, we are getting nowhere, fast! I thought, that was true, and I am sure you agree with me.
Everything in our lives have become about speed...fingers snapping, feet tapping…waiting is punishment, have you seen people on queues, doctors waiting room etc….uncomfortable because they have to wait...getting everything in the shortest possible time, every single thing from food, to relationships, to meetings, to music, to fashion etc is the only way these days....if it doesn’t  happen NOW, it is not worth waiting for! Our food come in packages we throw into the microwave, heat it in a few minutes and next thing, we are wolfing it down, standing right there in the kitchen. Our mothers in the village are appalled that we now serve soups bought from Supermarket freezers…how?! How many family eat together?? Actually everyone eats different foods at meal times so, is it any wonder some family values are almost non-existent?

Whatever happened to peace, quiet, tranquillity? No one can even remember or imagine the days when we sat quietly under trees (who sees trees anywhere these days??) having a drink, reading, gisting or just plain enjoying the breeze?
What has happened to our world? Where are we rushing to? No wonder we don’t even have time to trust God Himself anymore because, mehn!! He is sooooo slow!! We pray, oh we do o, but only as a tradition because no sooner are we out of the prayer mode than we are pursuing some other ways of sorting out our issues….gats have it right away, mehn.

Do you see the speed with which people get engaged and marry? It is now acceptable because people look at you strangely and  ask  what you are waiting for when you tell them your wedding is in a year...eyebrow raised in astonishment, they ask what in heaven you are going to do when a 'faster' somebody snatches him from right under your nose, abi na eye!

According to my devotional, God, is deliberately taking His time (I won’t say being slow, because obviously our understanding of that word is flawed, duh) to give us time to not die in the many unsavoury things we find ourselves doing!!! The 'slow' pace is for our own good....can we please learn some patience??
I am totally speaking to myself.

(Better) Be Free Oh.