Thursday, December 10

...Before You Dive in

I as responding to an email yesterday when I noted that the sender’s surname had changed.

I was going to remark on the fact after typing my official reply, and to ask if she had just gotten married but I stopped myself because, first, we are not friends have never met in person, and only began to correspond on behalf of our bosses recently. Secondly, why on earth would I assume that because her surname changed she got married? That is such a typical way to think. She could have gotten divorced or widowed and only reverted to her maiden name. A lot of thinking but I don’t think that thinking this way is a bad thing!

And right on the heel of that thought came another that I noted sometime this year: every season we have Mother’s day, Father’s day etc. and we celebrate mothers and fathers as special people, and we pray for them and generally just….yes, go on and on. But stop for a second. Has it ever occurred to us that the mere mention of a father or a mother brings pain to some people? That they are catapulted into a period in their lives they would rather sooner forget? We truly just never think about it that way. I say this because I honestly cannot recall being anywhere where on mother or father’s day we remember the other side, or people. Hopefully we would learn to have (and share) a balanced view of life, of topics, subjects etc. And in this case, learn to commiserate with people who have had traumatic childhoods, and those who are estranged from or lost their parents. I look forward to holding hands with those who need succor and support, even as I celebrate with those who don't. I would like a community that identifies with both sides, where each can sit on the same bench, saying to one  or the another, "I got you". 

I hope we learn to look beyond the surface, and find the strength to stop ourselves when we want to dive in, and end up putting our foot in our mouths.

Be free oh 

Link: please read Emily Freeman's book, "Simply Tuesday"
Photo Courtesy Google images.

Wednesday, November 18

The Race is Not to the Swift!

I don’t know if you are like me but I relish watching movies over and over. So, in watching the movie Rocky yet again, I learned yet another valuable (click here) lesson from my favourite; Part 2.

Quick recap: Apollo Creed, portrayed by Carl Weathers (who found and fought Rocky - Sylvester Stallone - to prove a point in part 1) insisted on a rematch because of criticisms from fans, and the fact that he won on a split decision (when 2 of 3 judges rule in favour of one fighter while the third judge rules in favour of the other) – something that had never happened to the world champion before. And so the rematch began, with Rocky giving as much as he got. It quickly became apparent to Apollo that Rocky was not going to 'go down' and that this fight may not go as he expected. Finally in round 15, after fighting hard and dirty,  the force of the last punch that Rocky gave Apollo also propelled him onto the floor of ring even as Apollo went down. And so both began to struggle to stand as the referee began to count…Apollo made a very good head start only to crumble at last moment while Rocky rose unsteadily to his feet and across the ring.

This time around, this is not about Rocky and Apollo. But about us and how we handle our apollos. We are quietly minding our business, but then the challenges show up to disrupt our world. We grapple daily with so many things we can’t even talk about; at home, at work, things we want but can’t have, things we believe we deserve but are denied us, discontent that we can’t articulate, failing businesses. How about being heartbroken because the world seem to be falling apart? The list goes on and on. And being  pummeled on all sides, all we really want to do is curl up in defeat and die. But we are meant to hold on because ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel’ The determination of a Rocky can help us push up and out of any ‘Apollotic’ pit we may find ourselves. Rocky is described (by one of the commentators at the fight) as a ‘man of limited mental capacity’ compared to Apollo And that right there is the point that needed to be made: that ‘the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong.’

Another lesson for me is that no matter how much people hurt us we should take it in our stride, forgive, walk away, and be the bigger person (that is painful to say because it is not easy to do). Rocky actually thanked Apollo for fighting him. If he hadn't sought Rocky out, the latter would have remained a nobody, an unknown.

Life is hard. It is a fact. But the picture of Rocky and Apollo falling in that ring is etched in my memory; a reminder that no matter how long and hard the fight, when we are both down and before the count of 10, I plan to be the only one standing. Its a mind thing.

 Be free oh. 

Monday, September 14

No Glasses on, I Suppose?

You know how we mostly struggle to embrace or accept 'the new,' or the fact that something is (dares to be) different? How we stubbornly refuse to accept change even if it is the natural progression in a situation? And the way we struggle, one would think it were life-threatening. 

‘No glasses on, I suppose?’ This was the response a dear friend sent me after I completely mutilated the English language in a text I sent to him. I had been doing that - writing bad grammar in text messages - for a while then. Thank God for the retract function on BBM!

But what is responsible for this? Two things, I believed: I got new reading glasses, and I changed my phone. To a touch screen. And I just could not deal with the touch-y thing! So I blamed the phone for the bad grammar. I did not think to blame my impatience to hit the ‘send’ button without editing but, that was because it is the entire text that gets mangled! That cannot be a coincidence. I also did not consider the fact that I may not be seeing the tiny characters as clearly as I should. And, I conveniently forgot that my eyesight isn't exactly 20/20; I had used reading glasses briefly last year (a fact I hid from most people), but I lost them and I moved on. 

I realized that there was problem when some time last year a document I used to  effortlessly read suddenly seemed unreadable. So, I went back to the ophthalmologist who (of course) recommended glasses again. But because I was in self-denial, all I did with my glasses was read that particularly troublesome document. It never occurred to me to have them on when I used my phone, or read anything else, I just squinted away instead. It therefore came as a shock to be asked why I didn't have my glasses on while I was texting. That brought me up short and I thought in wonder, this is a new season in my life. Here is change: I am aging, my eyesight is proof! Omg! 

So I woke up to the realization that this is now a part of my life that I must embrace. Although I still struggle, not wanting to have them on to read everything so that I don't get used to them, I have come to terms with the fact that this is a necessary development that I should (must) accept. And so I did; with grace and aplomb (the fact that they do look cool and snazzy is not lost on me though). And I have come to appreciate how easy they are on my eyes. Needless to say, texting is better…all I need is a bit more patience not to hit the ‘send’ button too fast. 

I wonder what sort of season you should (ought to) be coming to terms with. I wonder what 'glasses' you should have on that you shy away from...we should learn to simplify life, it being so short... 

Be free oh.

Thursday, September 3

Do You Have a 'Denis?'

I sat down to my evening meal yesterday and was about to dig in when my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and it was ‘Denis’. He always calls. I rolled my eyes and ignored the call, then dug into my meal, forgetting about him. For the moment.

But who is this ‘Denis?’ He is a young man that worked as a Man Friday (for want of a better description) at one of the places I used to live, and ever since we moved out, (about 6 years now) Denis, would call from time to time, like clockwork. I mostly ignore his calls, but when I do take it, his narration is always the same: he is only calling to say ‘hello’ and while at it, he would apologize for waiting that long to call, then go on to ask about my family by name and…call ends. Always the same. 

But while I ate, I kept thinking about him and something struck me for the first time: DENIS NEVER ASKS ME FOR ANYTHING. He only calls to check up on me. So why is it I never take his call? Why would such an innocent call irritate me? Have I become so independent, so ‘un-needy’ and so insular that being checked up on is unwelcome? I felt terrible thinking about it. Our life is full of a mix of people. God must have put them there to give us some balance. If we are expending ourselves in some areas, perhaps this ‘Denis’ is a reminder that that you are loved, and thought without added pressure? After all, we do need a support system, some of which come in form of a Denis, (along with with so many like him, the Bogas, the Saturdays, the Fridays, the Iks, the Solomons), These are part of my own community. 

Needless to say, I called Denis back, and the conversation this time was very different. I responded very warmly, and I believe he would have been pleased, that is, if he even noticed that I was a tad cold on previous calls! 

Do you have a 'Denis?' I hope that your disposition towards him (or her) would change from today, and that you would make peace by being the one to call them up for once.

Food for thought: What do people think when your name show up on their phone? I wonder if their faces light up in pleasure, or if they grimace, hiss and roll their eyes? I would feel terrible if I thought that was the reaction my caller id gets. 

Be Free Oh.

Friday, July 17

...and Zouzou Mused, Again!

You know that feeling of guilt you get when you have neglected to call someone (usually family, for me) for so long that it has sort of become ‘too late?’ Each time you attempt to rectify the situation, the feeling of guilt or the fear of blame gets in the way and then you leave it off, promising to do it another time? That is exactly how I have felt about coming back here.

But my wake up call was the title of Emily Freeman’s (Chatting at the Sky) recent post, 'When Your Soul Feels Held Hostage.' 

I have, in a way, been held hostage by the hustle. I allowed the issues of life to get in the way of my muse, or rather in the way of posting them, because no matter what, I do muse! Each time I think I have to post a blog, I go, 'oh no, I have left it too late. And even when I recall some of the things I had posted in the past, I feel even guiltier. However, as in the case of calls to family or friends, the solution is to just do it! Pick up the phone and make that call, ready to deal with the consequences. At least, more often than not, the relationship gets mended.

I must also confess that I was partly discouraged because none of my ‘frequent’ readers actually asked why I stopped writing! I kept hoping that someone would. It made me question what I was doing, it made me question all the comments I had received in the past, it made me question my own motive. But I got over that fast, because when I think back to the reason why I started to write in the first place, pleasing people was nowhere near top of the list. Pleasing me was. So back to that I go.

Something else I used to find pleasure in writing was the "I Wonder and I Ponder" piece that I used to post on Facebook when I was on there. That needs to be revived although I do wonder and ponder where to post that!

While I do not promise to post a blog daily, I am back. I have so much to write and share. Especially my part in the journey of #change in Nigeria. I voted! It was one of the most important things I have ever done in my life. It made me feel so fulfilled that I have a stake in the direction in which my country is headed. But, that is muse for another day.

May those things that gives you pleasure and makes you smile involuntarily come back to life. Don’t let the hustle hold your soul hostage... free oh. 

Wednesday, March 11

IWD: Who Are You Celebrating?

A few days ago I wrote a whole page on the International Women’s Day but left the draft to breathe for a while. By the time I came back to it, I knew I shouldn't post it because it was all wrong.

Sure I had written about The Woman. How not many of us are appreciated enough, if at all, about how, if we have never been celebrated for the things we do as women in our family, work place, community, group etc., perhaps it was time to be the one actually celebrating others without airs, without condescension, without sizing one another up because we do this sometimes. Woman to woman. Lets face it, we women don't like each other.

But then I thought that we shouldn't even concentrate on us us this time. I felt that the very people we should celebrate are those who have no idea what the ‘International Women’s Day’ is all about. I thought, how can we make their day? How can you and I let them know that their daily struggles, their challenges, their very life is appreciated? Our drivers’ wives, our security/gateman’s wife, the young ladies who clean and serve us in the office, our favourite customers in the market and shops, the stewards that clean our homes, our nannies – those women we (sometimes) never really seem to notice, lest think about.

What have we got that we can give? The things we can do ought not to cost us much; it should cost us something because sometimes a free gift is just that, free. Gives you nothing else in return, no feeling of ‘accomplishment’, pleasure or satisfaction. But the very least we can do, for those who don’t believe in ‘free gifts’, is give (that word again) a smile to let someone know that though they may seem to be in the background, their impact is felt through all they do. In fact, you may just say their name for once. You will be surprised at the reaction!

These are women who may never know that we are celebrating a day dedicated to our gender because they don’t read the papers, they don’t receive our BB broadcast messages, they don't receives emails, they are not online to read about offices and organizations that are giving kudos to women to celebrate their womanhood and achievements, what’s more, they are not invited to the conferences and summits that celebrates them.

This is the group of women to whom I dedicate this year's Women's Day celebration.  

I hope I have piqued your interest and steered your thoughts in the right (and new) direction.

I plan to do. I hope you do. I wish we would all do. Something.

Be free oh.

Card culled from 

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