Am I ready?

Am I Ready?

I have been dilemmatic lately, I am at a point where I want do a thing but I am unsure, I asked myself this question “am I ready? but, it only made me wonder further, do we ever really know when we are ready for a thing? For the next stage or chapter of our lives? A new job, a new relationship, marriage, child birth, publishing your book, starting your business, releasing your music… are we ever really ready?

The predominant thing we would do when we are grey and old is to reminisce about our past; the past of the future we are currently envisioning. It would be filled with regrets for the things we did and didn’t do, the steps we took, the opportunities we missed; if perhaps we could have done things better or more, or less or not at all. It would also be filled with satisfaction of the things that we did, the risks we took. Our experiences would age us through our joys and tragedies and we would realize that a lot of things we overthought didn’t even matter so much and hesitation can cost us so much.

I am positive that I am not the only one that feels this way when it is time to making decisions that can have life-changing effects.  We all at some point feel this way, we feel as though we are not ready and I very well understand that. Change is not easy. It is easier to stay in a place we know; situations we understand and are comfortable with, than it is to begin a new chapter of unchartered territory and not knowing what the future of the decision holds.

For instance, my writing has always been my escape, it has always been the answer to my questions, the peace to my storms and the silencer of my demons. So, I had resolved this year – yes, I still do not believe in New Year resolutions – but yes, I had resolved to write more, explore every part of myself and the things I feel; to spread my arms as far as I could and embrace the unknown; to do things I thought I couldn’t, to take more risks, and share my works for others to see.

For starters, I released my Spoken word poetry at the start of the year. There were challenges on the way of course. I didn’t have a studio, no producer, no editor, nothing. At some point, I thought of giving up and waiting until I had enough resources to get it done like a proper music release. But I didn’t, I wanted to do it, so I picked up my phone – iPhone voice memo app is a life-saver – I did my recording, I edited it, struggled with background music, because I needed the ones that weren’t licensable – trying not to get sued.

I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I did it. It didn’t get as much reach as I wanted, but I did it. I wanted to do it, so I did. I satisfied the urge in me to do it, and it gave me the urge to do more of it and even to do it better – I would be doing more and even improved Spoken poetry going forward.

In the end, I knew it wasn’t the decision I feared, but rather the outcome of the decision. Would I be brave enough to face whatever challenges this new chapter brought? I had failed to realize that the new chapter is in fact an empty page that waited for me to flip it over, and I alone could decide what will be written on it.

So, maybe knowing if we are ready for a new chapter in our lives, isn’t going to be shown to us by some handwriting on the wall. Maybe all we can done is to listen to the voice deep inside of us; to study the chapter we are currently in at the moment. For us to go forward, we must first find where we are at. And also knowing that our failure or success would only be determined by trying, trying everyday we wake to the morning sun.

Just know that there is no right answer to this question – “am I ready?”. Life is a series of paths and choices and whichever one you choose would come with its challenges and we will never really be ready. We just have to jump in and find rhythm with the tide.

So, if your mind keeps nudging you forward, listen to it and make new memories every day. For when you’re frail, those would be the pages that you flip through until your book is closed and placed on the shelf of life.

My Spoken word EP is available on Apple music, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer, YouTube Music and other platforms. Click here to listen

THE GROWTH POLICE

The Growth Police

“This you?” “Drag him!” “Ratio her!”

The “this you?” phrase is a popular Twitter slang that is used to humiliate a tweep into accountability. It is evidence used to call out tweeps who have made controversial tweets that contrasts with their past views/opinions – no matter how far back they held that opinion. Then they are “dragged” – publicly humiliated – and “ratioed”

This practice has become common place on social media platforms where people are quick to dredge up a person’s past shortcomings as a yardstick for who they are in the present.

On social media, it is unshakably believed that opinions are fixed and unchanging, for to do that, it meant being a hypocrite; there was nary a place for growth. It is invariably expected that people must hold to whatever views they have held in the past and deviating meant they were two-timing flip-floppers who spoke from two sides of their lips and were highly undependable.

I believe it is time to challenge this mentality. Short of being a criminally offensive opinion that is damaging or hurtful to a person, – and even subliminally, this can be reappraised, because humans are in in all ramification imperfect beings – people should be given the opportunity to change their stances. Changing their stance on a subject matter or their past behaviors doesn’t mean they are condemnable and have committed the ultimate sin.

There is a mountainous pressure people put on others expecting them to be as perfect as a picture and have everything about life & themselves figured out – something we also fall short of.

Before you point your finger, make sure your hands are cleanBob Marley

When we judge others and condemn them to damnation, we forget to judge ourselves first; to look within us to our own shortcomings. Rather we make excuses for our own actions and behaviors. It is indeed hard for humans to put themselves under the same microscope as they do others; often quick to justify our means by our ends.

You’re allowed to change your views. You’re allowed to grow. You don’t have to prove your growth to anyone but yourself. One thing that is constant is change.

I’m definitely not the same I was yesterday. I’ve unlearned and still unlearning some of the things I held as gospel.

Just recently I had to learn that feeling guilty about getting gifts without reciprocating was an unhealthy way to live. I had in fact being forgetting to appreciate gifts for I get stuck in my head trying to get a gift for them of the same or approximately same value, to show I wasn’t indebted to them, when it was simply a kind gesture I had to appreciate – I still struggle with this a bit.

That said, changing your opinion is not a sin nor does it mean you are a bad person. On the contrary, this is a sign of intellectual strength; being able to introspect, reassess, compare and contrast with the advent of new information; your position, shows you are in fact high in cognition.

If for instance, you have listened to someone else’s point of view and then recognized the value that lies in their own opinion, reevaluating your stance on whatever the subject matter may be doesn’t make one a hypocrite.

When we as a society reject change, or place an embargo against modification, unlearning and relearning of the self, we inhibit growth, and stop progress. The inability to change, progress, or grow simply results in stasis and torpidity.

Although that isn’t to say that one mustn’t watch the words one throws at others. If your opinion, view or action is one that can damage a person or their identity, and then later you hide under the guise of growth/change to cover up your mess, take heed to refrain from doing so. Use your words wisely, think before you act. You the speaker may forget but the recipient would always remember how your opinion/action made them feel.

Are you self sabotaging your relationships?

Are you self-sabotaging your relationships?
Why do you do it?

“We sabotage the great things in our lives because deep down we don’t feel worthy of having the great things.” – Taressa Riazzi

Have you ever met someone new and everything is just going so great and easy; then suddenly, you start to pull away or push them away and try to ruin it with a bad attitude and it just seems like you cannot help yourself? This may not even be done consciously because it has become an ingrained modus operandi for you and anything that remotely brings you happiness – in this case, in form of another human. Not because you stopped liking them, but rather because you are happy and that scares the bejesus out of you.

This behavior is called ‘self-sabotaging’. This is when you consciously or unconsciously do things or create stumbling blocks that prevent you from achieving your wants. This can apply not just to your relationships but even in everyday life, like your career, weight loss journeys, personal milestones et al. You become unable to establish any form of stability and can’t seem to stay on one job, one relationship or weight for long by making excuses as to why it didn’t work out; invariably lowering your self confidence and worth in the process.

As human beings, when we sense ourselves being enveloped into a vulnerable situation, we back out because the mind analyses that vulnerability translates into a danger to itself and tries to protect itself from the potential pain by closing up. The fear of being vulnerable makes us isolate ourselves, stay away from intimacy, while struggling to embrace our authentic self.

This behavior can stem from unsolved traumas from childhood or previous relationships that have developed into:

  1. Abandonment issues
  2. Anxiety
  3. Self-esteem issues
  4. Fear
  5. Insecurities
  6. Paranoia.

In terms of previous relationships, a lot of people have never experienced what it is like to be absolutely loved for who they are; to meet genuinely good lovers with true intentions, and are used to questioning themselves and self-worth. Hence, the sabotage.

If you tend to always do things to your partner or potential partner in a bid to provoke a reaction from them or argue just for the sake of arguing. This is because negative outcome of relationships is what you truly understand and your mind is familiar with.

Slowly but surely, this becomes a cycle. You connect with a person, become interested in them, get flashback form a previous trauma from the past or based on a loathing of the self; become overwhelmed by the unfamiliar feeling of happiness; panic and begin self-sabotaging by communicating poorly, lying, cheating, talking down on yourself and your partner, nit-picking on every flaw; until they are forced to leave or you kick them out of your life; and then rinse and repeat.

HOW CAN THIS CYCLE BE BROKEN TO STOP YOURSELF FROM SELF-SABOTAGING?

  1. Accept: Accept that vulnerability is a part of being human and for you make any progress in life, you must go through the process of letting down your fences and stepping out of your comfort zone. It is ok to be afraid. It is as much an emotion as happiness or love or sadness. Accept that insecurity is present in every one of us. Recognize them and work with them instead of trying to shut them out.
  2. Be Introspective: Open yourself to what you feel by being aware of these feelings and when you feel them. These include your thoughts too and what easily triggers you to want to disengage when you feel the fear that makes you panic. Instead of trying to be perfect, try to be you and live life as it comes. Focus on creating memories and recognizing the value they bring into your life.
  3. Talk to your partner: Talking to your partner about what you feel and how you feel can go a long way towards helping you become more secure and affirmed about their position in your life. Communicating how you feel helps reduce the tension and leads to seeking better ways and on the long run, a positive resulting outlook towards your relationship.

In the end, our attachment style is often how we tend to handle our relationships; understanding this, can better help you understand how you relate to others.

One thing we must understand is that, when we protect ourselves from pain or being hurt, we also simultaneously prevent ourselves from accessing good things and good people in life. And as much this is true, we must also know when it is time to walk away. In the process of not trying to sabotaging, do not hold onto toxic or irredeemable relationships. Life they say, is all about balance.

SEXUAL LIBERATION – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SEXUALLY FREE?

sexual liberation
SEXUAL LIBERATION

The advent of the sexual liberation revolution and the resulting invention of contraceptives and Sex protection gears has promoted the prerogative of women and men to sleep with whomever they please without the “risk” of an unwanted pregnancy while also juggling careers. And has freed men from having to get into committed relationships before engaging in sexual intercourse; devoid of any responsibility, emotional or otherwise.

Over the course of years since the 1960s revolution movement, the stigma against pre-marital sex had significantly reduced and both men and women have become more careless in their sexual explorations. But does this freedom come at a price? and What does it mean to be sexually free?

Let us start by defining what liberation truly means.

WHAT IS LIBERATION?

Liberation according to Oxford Languages simply means “freedom from limits on thought or behavior” it means the act or process of freeing someone or something from another’s control.

Going by that definition, Sexual liberation can then be defined as the state of being free from sexual mores or inhibitions that are considered restrictive to our thoughts and behaviors on our sexuality. That is to correctly say then that; Sexual liberation is much more a psychological and behavioral objective than it is physical.

That would also mean that being promiscuous doesn’t automatically mean you are sexually liberated. You can very well have the freedom to sleep with whomever you and still be mentally enslaved to sexuality.

And in the same vein, Sexual liberation can very well be keeping yourself away from sex until you are ready –given that it is based on determining your thoughts and behaviorism towards the act on your own terms. Correct?

People say now, that true happiness is in having multiple partners, while people who chose to stay away from sexual engagements – virgins, celibates-– are looked at as weird and spoilsports. Which in my opinion is an infringement on their choice as being called a tramp for being more expressive in your sexuality, is an infringement on your choice.

Being sexually liberated shouldn’t just be about spreading your sexual tentacles and sowing your oats wherever and whenever you please.

Being sexually liberated is understanding that sex should not have a hold on you. It shouldn’t shackle you. You can choose to not do it regardless of what the public thinks, it doesn’t make you less liberated than them.

And as “promiscuous” individuals want to be accepted as sexually explorative they should also be willing to accept those who chose to abstain. They shouldn’t look down on them as “missing out” or “un-woke” or “killing the mood” or “less fun at parties”.

As you made the choice to coitally engage with whomever you please, they also made the choice to abstain and that choice should also be respected.

A good number of people—both men and women, although leaning more toward women, have let the societal idea of sexual liberation influence them in such a way that it only serves to tighten their bondages further

Sexual liberation is being able to say no when you do not want it and being able to say yes when you do.

THE PRICE OF SEXUAL LIBERATION

Sex is a lot more complicated than we think. It brings with it a high level of responsibility. You cannot divorce sex from its psychological, emotional, socio-economic outcomes. There is no such thing as casual sex because it always has its implication. Modern sex is dangerous emotionally, psychologically, with its endless possibility of unwanted pregnancies and transmittable diseases –with more consequences for women than for men.

According to a Reproductive Health survey Published: 29 November 2018, almost one-fifth (18.8%) of adolescents get pregnant in Africa. Likewise, the World Health Organization has estimated that every year in Africa there are 3.5 million cases of syphilis, 15 million cases of the chlamydial disease, 16 million cases of gonorrhea, and 30 million cases of trichomoniasis.

In a survey by the Washington Post45 percent of the 6 million pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended. Every year, millions of women, married and unmarried, young and not so young, are getting an outcome — pregnancy — that they didn’t plan on or desire from exploring their sexuality. Thereby bringing children they are unable to cater properly for into the world, resulting in more and more dysfunctional humans.

Despite the availability of the pill and protective gears, the rate of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases; rather than reduce, has inevitably increased and still is on the rise. This has made many a woman become ‘baby mamas’, committing abortions –with some dying from the procedure and some destroying their wombs– and men becoming unwanted fathers.

In a 2020 survey by the Guttmacher Institute, the annual number of abortions in Sub-Saharan Africa almost doubled between 1995–1999 and 2015–2019, from 4.3 million to 8.0 million, bagging the highest rate of abortion-related deaths in the world, at 185 maternal deaths per 100,000 abortions.

How is this then a liberation?

The expectation of the sexual revolution was that perhaps the more sex people had, the happier they’d become but that doesn’t seem to be the case. It has only served to increase the rate of social, mental, and health problems. Increase in addiction, isolation, depression, increased aggression, distorted beliefs, and perceptions about relationships and sexuality.

Another adverse effect of the propagated form of sexual liberation is the deterioration of marriages; as partners are more disinclined to fidelity and less disinclined to infidelity –terming it freedom of sexuality– but people are lonely. Fundamentally, people want their own special persons.

Sexual liberation has drastically increased acceptance of sex outside of traditional heterosexual, monogamous relationships (primarily marriage), thereby increasing the rate of infidelity and consequentially; divorce rate. The psychological and emotional traumas resulting from uncommitted sexual relationships have steadily increased the levels of anxiety, low self-esteem, suicidal tendencies, divorce, and family breakdown in society.

The message of the 1960s sexual revolution was, “If something excites you then that’s just who you are. That’s your ‘normal.’ And this has increased the rate of pedophilia as they believe “that is just who they are”. If you say “everyone should be able to express their sexuality in whichever form and with whomever”, that also gives leave to those who desire children to explore their sexuality. If we try to say that is wrong, doesn’t that mean we are shackling them and withholding their “sexual freedom”?

Sexual Freedom is knowing the responsibility that coming with engaging and also not engaging in sexual activity and choosing to stay the same and take on that responsibility—-not try to shelve it on others when you cannot take it. People want to be able to have sexual dalliances without taking up the consequences alongside –the height of illusion. 

Sexual Freedom is making a choice regardless of what society thinks and taking on the consequences that come with the choice.

The reason for the 1960 movement against inhibiting the sexuality of women was to allow women to make their own chooses without being termed derogatory names. but it would seem the result of these choices are starting to backfire more on the women

The results of the sexual revolution should be more than enough to arouse a counter-revolution. In today’s world, the media would rather promote a sexual freedom agenda than promote the traditional family, traditional marriage, and sex reserved for marriage making it seem impossible and unrealistic to abstain until it is done under the confines of a union.

So, I ask, is this true freedom? Where we see being sexually conservative as being un-woke and

Our values are individually defined and subjective as opposed to being defined based on universal, transcendent principles and the consequential impact on society at large. Is this true freedom?

“No man who is a slave to his flesh is truly free”

CHRONICLES OF A LAGOS COMMUTER 5 – The unforgettable experience…

The energies of Lagos life- creative, malevolent, ambiguous- converge at the bus stops
Teju Cole
A LAGOS COMMUTER

When my alarm beeped at 4:30 am, I groaned, immediately snoozed for an extra 30 mins of shut-eye. Going to work on Saturdays has always been such a thorn in my hide because I would much rather prefer to be at the beach or at home curled up with a new book. But alas, I am all lucked out.

When it was 5:20 and I couldn’t snooze again or as a Lagos commuter, I was bound to get stuck in Lagos traffic and thereby, get to the office late. I groggily stood up performed my morning rituals. I had come all to way to the island to spend some time with my best friend since we hardly had time to see each other often anymore –that is what life and responsibilities would do to any friendship. In the process of getting ready, I had gotten upset over a little altercation that would become infinitesimal and inconsequential in the coming minutes.

I got to the bus stop waiting for a bus going my route; the sky was still quite dark out with only a light shade of bluish hue overcast, chasing the nightcrawlers back into their corners like bats shying away from the approach of daylight.

As I stood waiting, my eye caught on a movement of people across the road. They seemed to be in a dispute but I couldn’t see them clearly in the dim lights of passing cars, they were but dark moving shapes. All of a sudden, a figure stepped forward away from them and edged sluggishly towards the main road, like a deer towards a headlight. The on-coming car swerved and missed him as did other cars coming behind it. I stared perplexed at what was happening, then from my peripheral vision, I saw the other figures gesturing and saying something to him but I couldn’t pick up on the words from across the road – later when I could think it through, I was inclined to believe they were urging him on into something sinister–

The young man; I could see him a little better as the day had begun brightening, shuffled forward once more, and began walking forward despite the coming cars. I could see his chest heaving as he was unclad to the waist, I wondered what could be wrong because it was evident, he was sobbing. The people who had been communicating with him suddenly withdrew into the shadows. He managed to safely cross to the middle of the road and my heart calmed a bit that he was ok, he only had to cross one more lane, so I looked away to see if a bus was coming that I could board –unbeknown to me, my heart calmed too soon.

The scene that ensued was something I never want to experience ever again. As my head swiveled back to check if he had crossed, I watched paralyzed in horror as he stepped dejectedly onto the road and a small compact bus; popularly called “korope” in Lagos, slammed hard into him, throwing him up a little and smacking him hard against the tarred road. I screamed in fear and clutched myself in trepidation. The “korope” seeing what he had done, immediately fled the scene. I watched his legs spasm as I forgot back tears from my eyes and tried to stop the shakes going through my body.

I began to clamor to the people around to help him that he was still breathing but before anyone could move forward to help him, a huge truck charging at high speed, climbed right on him, crushing him and extinguishing the last breath in him, and instantly zoomed off. I could have sworn I heard the crunch of his brain and bones as the fore and hind tires crushed them.

I expelled strings of profanities while also calling unto God in the same sentence which I am sure would have made Him wince, as I wrapped my arms tighter around myself watching his head bashed in, blood seeping out into the stones on the road and his body unmoving less than 20 feet from me. Before long people began gathering and some tried dragging the battered body off the road to avoid other cars crushing it further. I immediately found a bus and hurriedly got in with my heart thumping rapidly, as the scene kept playing in my head and I was reliving it mentally like a disc on repeat. All thoughts of me being upset with my best friend gone from my head.

I thought about the thoughts that could have been running through his mind in those final moments. I thought about the sobs that shook his body as he hunched forward.  I thought about the reluctance in his body language; did it signify that he was forced to do it by the people on the other side –who suddenly disappeared into thin air immediately he was hit. I thought about his family; if he had any. I thought about life after death; was that the end of him? Or would his soul be in limbo? Would he cease to exist in the universe or become one with it? Was he going into the place of fire and brimstone? Or the place with pearly white gates?

Despite all these thoughts, there was one lingering thought; this was going to haunt me for weeks to come.

The Lagos Commuter

The role of money in relationships

The role of money in relationships?

Does money really make or mar a relationship?

Should relationships be built on the foundation of monetary values?

Why is money important?

I am going to work my way from one question to the other, starting at the bottom.

Why is money important?

Now there are two conflicting ways humans view money; one, that it is everything in the world and the most important thing, thereby placing utmost value in it and envying those who have it in abundance. Two, that it is evil, corrupt, dirty and value shouldn’t be placed on it but rather on frugality and simplicity.

These are big misconceptions – to say money is not important or that it is sole purpose of being alive. It may not be the most important but it is very important. There is no denying the fact that it is needed to stay alive. Almost everything we do is a bid to make money and to live the kind of lives we have envisioned for ourselves. It is a symbol of value acquired, a value that is realized when the tender is exchanged for a want or need.

Money gives a sense of power because it takes you where you want to go by opening doors in your path. Although it may not be able to buy happiness or other abstracts like air but It can temporarily accord some modicum of purchasing power for said abstracts to the holder. Even a thing you get for “free” is directly or indirectly being paid for by someone. That is why it is important.

Should relationships be built on the foundation of monetary values?

A relationship built on money is more likely to crash faster than one built on true feelings. Because the moment the money ceases, the relationship is headed for doom. I wouldn’t say it is right or wrong to get into a relationship for the monetary advantage but it should be plainly stated from the onset, so both parties know what they are going into and they agree on the kind of union it would be.

Yes, money is very important, and building a relationship based on love may sound corny to most, but the truth is; it is the realest and purest thing ever when it is also supported with trust, sacrifice, commitment, and share values/goals.

Men, do not entice a woman you genuinely like into a relationship with money or things of monetary values, except you are ready for a transactional relationship with little or no emotions (there is no guarantee they will come to love you) and your value in that relationship will be solely based on what you can give. If unluckily she finds someone with more money, she is likely to drop you over for him. There are instances where relationships like this work -few and far between- but there will always be an imbalance.

Women, do not select based on money or what a man can give you. In such a relationship, you are more likely to be undervalued and seen as just an object. You might be fine with being undervalued, but remember; “he who pays the piper, dictates the tune”

SONY DSC

“A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart. –Jonathan Swift https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertberger/2014/04/30/top-100-money-quotes-of-all-time/?sh=6a0aef604998#:~:text=A%20wise%20person%20should%20have%20money%20in%20their%20head%2C%20but%20not%20in%20their%20heart.%20–Jonathan%20Swift

Does money really make or mar a relationship?

Love, trust, sacrifices, shared values etc. may be the bedrock of relationships/marriages but we mustn’t also forget the place of money. A couple can love each other very much but their relationship can be ruined over money disagreements.

We live in material world and for you to stay alive, you require some essentials like food, education, clothes etc. all these require a legal tender to acquire. So, its importance in relationships cannot be ruled out.

If you study most relationships and marriages, often times, their arguments are about money. When you can barely afford your daily bread, love and every other thing takes a back seat. It becomes tougher to live in harmony and peace.

Your partner starts to irritate you and you begin to lash out at them, either for not providing or as a man; for not being able to provide for the family. The tiniest issues will become full blown arguments and at some point, one or both partners will choose to walk away. Only in rare cases do we see partners stick it out and this takes lots of commitment and dedication from both ends to hold down the forte. So yes, it can indeed make or mar a relationship.

What is the role of money in relationships?

The same way money plays a crucial role in our individual lives, is the same it does to a couples’.

In some way, we all have relationships with money -what factors is if it is a healthy of unhealthy one- just the same way we have with our partners. There are several roles it therefore plays i.e.

  1. Sustaining livelihood; Relationships/Marriage involves paying a lot of bills; living expenses, health insurances, raising kids (if any), investments, and handling random financial emergencies. All these require money.
  2. It makes dating more luxurious and comfortable; When there is money in your relationship, it is easier to buy them the luxuries of life to show how much they mean to you. It’s easier to arrange surprises for their birthdays, order/ cook their favorite meals or fly extra miles to surprise them when they are out of town and so many other romantic gestures. They may seem frivolous, but sometimes, there is happiness in frivolities.
  3. Arguments would revolve less around money; Financial arguments are one of the biggest issues why relationships and marriages break up. “A hungry human is an angry human”, when there is little or no funds, partners are more likely to get easily triggered and fight over little things because of the underlying money factor.
  4. Independence; There is a confidence, freedom and peace that having money and being able to afford what a person needs without checking your pockets several times while doing permutations. It also makes it easier to leave a bad relationship. If you are financially dependent on your partner, without having your own source of income, it becomes extremely difficult to leave a bad relationship.
  5. It is easier to build your relationship based on other tenets; Your focus is more centered on other aspects of your lives and setting future goals become easier. Having money helps the atmosphere of love, by reducing pressure from both parties and increasing the quality of live

The role money plays in relationships therefore, cannot be over-emphasized. A lack or short supply of it can jeopardize relationships.

Before you get into any relationship, always make sure you are financially compatible with your partner. Consider their spending and saving habits. A compatible partner would multiply your success, the opposite would diminish it.

That been said, Financial security is of utmost importance in a relationship. And it should be a joint effort from both parties. Don’t watch him/her try to make it alone. Make money together!!!

CHRONICLES OF A LAGOS COMMUTER 3- GOD FORBID!

http://Mural painted by women in Zona 18, one of the most violent neighborhoods in Guatemala City. (Photo: Ryan Brown/UN Women)

Lagos, Nigeria.

You know how we always mumble “couldn’t be me” or “God forbid” when people tell their experiences about a certain incident; we believe that even when bad things are happening to other people, it couldn’t happen to us. This could be because we believe we are special or different from others in some unique type of way. Well, the story I am about to tell you is an incident that has happened to many and still happening to many in Lagos state and several other cities in Nigeria today.

It was almost 8pm I had just hastily shuffled off the last client for the day and quickly kicked off my heels, flexed my toes and slipped into my flip flops; dashing out of the office. The sky had darkened already and night life had begun. It was a public holiday so the streets were a little deserted. I stood at the bus stop waiting for a vehicle, clutching my bag firmly to my side.

It was common occurrence for Lagosians to commute in private vehicles that doubled as commercial vehicles and I had also adapted to this system because it was faster and easier to ride than the yellow buses that spend hours searching for passengers. So, I didn’t think twice when a cab going towards my way, pulled up in front of me. I got in immediately without batting a lid – a mistake that would come back to haunt me for weeks and months to come.

As I got in and looked around the cab, noticing there were three men already in including the driver; one with the driver in the front and one behind with me. I didn’t think much of it because I had gotten used to getting into cabs with just men due to the early hours in the morning and the late hours at night I commuted.

As I sat there, I felt a little uneasy – usually I would pull out my phone to read tweets online- so I just looked out the windows instead.

The cab had barely driven up to ten minutes when suddenly, the driver wound up the windows and clicked the doors locked. Before I could react to that, the man beside me pulled me into a strangled hold immediately choking my neck. I struggled with him, while trying to grab the handle of the door. The man at the front (let’s call them Man A and Man B) began grabbing for my bag which I refused to unhand. He grew furious, stretched out his hand and began punching me in the face and other parts of my body while the other was strangling my neck.  My flailing arms grabbed onto the door handle but before I could open, Man B jumped over, twisted my arm behind me and began pummeling me in anger. All this happened in split seconds and I was losing air from being strangled. I knew I would pass out soon if I didn’t release the bag to them.

Man B stopped punching after I released the bag to him and immediately Man A stopped restricting my air flow, but still held unto my neck. He ransacked my bag, took out my phone, purse and every other valuable in it. He demanded my password to open my cell phone and also ATM password, but I was reluctant to do that. Man A seeing this pulled out a gun and pressed into my neck; threatening to shoot if I kept giving them a hard time. I felt a chill run down my spine and my mind grew numb expecting the trigger to get pulled.

In that moment, I felt a sense of calmness. I could feel myself withdrawing into a corner in my head and shutting out very emotion. No feelings, no thoughts just silence in my mind. Knowing I could die didn’t seem to register in my head; I was going into shock.

I monotonously gave them the passwords they requested. Man A or Man B -I wasn’t sure at this point, striped me of all the jewelries I had on and began to grope my breasts and derriere, slipping his hands in between my laps but I had phased out and just wanted to curl up and be left alone.

After what seemed like hours but was probably minutes, I could hear them talking about what to do with me. Then the driver swerved to the side and told them to push me out of the cab. Man B threw my bag at me, the metal handle stinging my forehead in the process, and immediately opened the door. Man A shoved me as hard as he could out of the cab and they sped off into the night.

I stumbled in the dark trying to guess where I was but I couldn’t. I could see cold eyes staring at me from corners, perhaps gauging and assessing a potential prey and knew I was in a dangerous place. I had to get out of there immediately or I was bound to lose my life that night.

I walked briskly forward, as I saw an old man walking towards me and I summoned courage to ask where I was. He was like an angel sent to my aid on this unforgettable night as he helped me find my way until I could find a way home.

Getting to my home at 1am in the middle of the night, I burst into tears and all the feelings and emotions I had repressed came flooding out. The aches and swellings on my body simultaneously making themselves known.

I had gone through a traumatic experience; many more would go through the same experience. I understood why what happened did, I understood that bad people exist, I also understood that the existence of bad people doesn’t deprive the world of the good men who helped me find my way home that night, but I just couldn’t reconcile it all.

That night, I wept for Nigeria, I wept for those who had had same experience, I wept for those who wouldn’t be so lucky – or unlucky – I knew I was going to battle the PTSD for a long time to come. I know as you read this, you are probably saying “God forbid this happens to me” and I sincerely do forbid it for you too.

Relationship Green Flags

Relationship Green Flags

It is in the human nature to often focus on the negatives of a thing more often than we focus on the positives or potential positives of a thing.

We talk about red flags in relationships almost every day and when we meet new people we begin to focus on those negatives or flaws that we term as “red flags”, instinctively expecting perfection of the person. Meanwhile, in most cases, these red flags we seem to abhor reside prominently in us, but we are often oblivious and lack self-awareness enough to discern this. Not a lot of people are conscious and healthy with insights into who they really are. But this is something we will discuss in another topic; today we will be looking at some green flags that we should look out for in new partners.

Firstly, what are Green Flags?

Green flags are general guidelines that help you assess how healthy your potential partner is. They let you know you’ve got a good thing going with whomever you are with. In today’s dating scene where authenticity is rare and a lot more people are damaged and have let themselves get overridden and blindsided by previous dating experiences, green flags are very important, if not more so than red flags.

I know for a fact that we all have different things that we would individually tag as green flags; however superficial and perhaps unrealistic some of them may be. But there are just some things that are very important that tells you the person you are with is most certainly a keeper.

Let’s take a look at these 10 flags I have put together

  • It is you and them against the world, not you against them; I have come to realize a lot of people go into relationships these days with the mindset that they are in to compete with their partners. They scrutinize and pick up on everything, making the relationship a living hell and their partners start to resent them. Relationships should be both of you against the world not against each other. So, when you see a person who handles and sees being in a relationship with you as both of you complementing each other rather than competing against each other; know that you have struck gold!
  • Spiritual, intellectual and life-purpose compatibility; This is often overlooked by most people. Choosing a partner who is compatible with you, your goals, intellect and spiritually, is one of the best decisions you can ever make in your life. This has to be the greenest of all the flags! Put a ring on the finger and a watch on that wrist immediately! (Lol)
  • Communication; This is one of the most important skill anyone can have in life. Not just in relationships. Communication as I will always say; is the best way to transmit thoughts, ideas, opinions, facts and values. The place of quality communication plays a huge role in relationships. Finding a person who can talk about anything and everything and even when you may have opposing preceptive doesn’t descend into fitful bouts of arguments or malice keeping is a green flag not to be trifled with.
  • No blame shifting or condescension; This is a hard-to-come by attribute in most people these days. People are quick to shift/place blames and react condescendingly to situations than they are to review and criticize themselves. A person who admits and owns up to their actions shows maturity and emotional intelligence.
  • Teachablility; When you meet a potential partner and you can clearly see the teachableness in them. They understand the place of humility and know when to learn, un-learn and re-learn. “Being teachable is admitting you don’t know everything and allowing others to show or teach you. Humility demonstrates stronger character than ego and pride. Admitting you are learning doesn’t detract from who you are or your leadership authority, it demonstrates to others it’s safe to admit you don’t know something”. This is a very huge green flag in a person.
  • Is self-dependent; A person that is self-dependent is a strong willed and determined person. A person who is confident, creative, resourceful and know what they want. Now who wouldn’t want that? But of course, self-dependent or sufficiency isn’t as easy as it sounds. As humans, it is easier to lean on others than to depend on one’s self, which makes finding emotionally independent individuals a hard task. If your partner possesses even a modicum of this attribute, and has a stable life outside of you while still choosing you as a priority when wanting to do stuff, you most definitely won the lottery.
  • They are your biggest fan and also most constructive critic; A partner that is willing to support your goals, aspirations and dreams and on the other hand, can criticize when it is needed in a constructive and honest way. It shows they are invested in your growth and improvement. I know most people may not like the criticism part, but that tells a lot about you as a person and your unwillingness to grow.
  • You are instinctively at your most natural around them; When you do not have to put up a façade whenever you are around them and act the same way you would if you were alone. You do not have to go extra lengths to impress them or become inauthentic. This is possible when you realize they notice the little things about you and appreciate you for who you are -without judgements or trying to conform you to their own prototypes- you instinctively relax and go on to be your true self.
  • Being with them is easy and brings you peace; There is not buttressing to this point. Everyone wants peace of mind in life. Being with your partner should bring peace to you without strain. You will be willing to share every aspect of your life with them; either good or bad and giving yourself to them will come so easy.
  • Empathy and perceptiveness; This is one I take very strictly into awareness. A healthy partner will show signs of empathy to not just your feelings but also to the feelings of others. They are kind to people regardless of socioeconomic standing -especially people in the service industry. The ability to empathize with others and being aware of other people’s feelings are not skills that many people have and it is one to be treasured!

Having said all this, you must take into cognizance that this is a two-way street. For you to receive the kind of Love that you want, you must also be the kind of Love someone craves. Remember; healthy you equals healthy love.

“Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.” —  Gloria Steinem

https://quotefancy.com/gloria-steinem-quotes

WHAT GUARANTEES HAPPINESS ?

“Happiness is a journey not a destination, work like you don’t need money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one’s looking.” — Buddha

What guarantees happiness? Is it money? Is it helping the poor/needy? Is it love? Is it family? Is it self-care?

I recently stumbled on a site that talks about life hacks, I decided to click on an article that was dishing out the recipe on how to guarantee your happiness in life through the hacks they listed. And the way they listed it so simply, you’d think it was as easy as ABC, -which by the way, kindergarteners will beg to differ- you would think perhaps there was something wrong with you for not being able to follow these simple steps and automatically attain happiness. But the truth is; nothing guarantees happiness in life. In fact, nothing in life is guaranteed because nothing can last forever, everything loses its shine someday. Happiness is not an equation that you need to solve with a particular formula -or in the case the article, a recipe- to get an ultimate result.

Instead of seeking a formula for happiness, one must learn to accept unhappiness as part of life. As humans, we are wired to constantly crave things, we are insatiable and there is no end to seeking happiness, comfort or freedom. We are constantly in pursuit of happiness, everything we do, every action we take, is in a bid to attain the ultimate happiness that we can hold on to forever. But we will never really attain the height of happiness we seek because we will always keep craving more and more and more until the day we leave the Earth.

You know why? Let’s say for instance; at the point you are right now, you believe buying a new car is what will ultimately make you happy, immediately that becomes your utmost want. You begin working hard and putting all your resources towards acquiring that car, because there is a purpose fueling you. And finally, you are able to afford the car, and you feel the bubbling of your heart and you are content. Fast forward to some months later, you still love the car but the sheen it had in the beginning has begun to diminish. Now, you want more. Perhaps a bigger car with more specifications than the one you currently own.

On and on it goes, more and more wants. So, can we truly guarantee happiness? And if we can’t guarantee it, how then can we maintain the little bouts of happiness we get?

For you to enjoy happiness, you must embrace all the joys and sorrows that come your way. You must understand that unhappiness, suffering and pain are a part of human existence and this might seem pessimistic to you because you prefer to hold onto the positive aspect of life and turn a blind eye to the negative side of existence. But it is a truth you must be willing to accept. Life is a wheel of opposing concepts, everything exists in positives and negatives, light and darkness, masculine and feminine, etc.

You must understand that this is a constant journey and therefore, you need to find your happiness from within you. Through how you handle everything that comes your way, either good or otherwise. Learn to live in each moment and create memories in your unconscious, that is exactly where happiness lives. Enjoying the passing of life, in each moment you find yourself. We must stop thinking happiness is a thing that exists in the future, but rather see it is a thing that exists in each day that we can access in little doses in the pockets of our existence.

Children are the best role models on the journey through happiness; why? They embrace everything that comes at them, they don’t dwell on their unhappiness for too long and at the same time, they embrace every opportunity of happiness that comes their way. They live life and enjoy every moment. Embrace your inner child once more.

Learn not to put what makes you happy in fleeting things, people or material objects. This will only serve in making you miserable. Albert Einstein once said,

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” ― Albert Einstein
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is main-qimg-44bee6ceadb82e90442bc6837ef4cd69-c.jpg

The best chance you have at curating happiness for yourself is by finding things you are passionate about, things that inspire and motivate you. In doing that, every achievement and milestone crossed brings you joy

Yes, money, power and love can add to one’s life, but without something to do that motivate you or that bring contentment to you when you do it, they are impotent in creating/generating happiness. They are but fleetingly available and can only bring external joy. Think of this way; if money, love or power were the determinants of happiness, does that mean a person with all this is unhappy? If so, why then do the rich cry? Why are those who wield power often lonely? Why are some who claim to be in love constantly miserable?

The answer to these questions is simple; they are superficial and the joy they bring sometimes do not last long enough. Practice contentment also. Reveling in your accomplishments no matter how little, and in everything you have can bring contentment, so focusing on what you have is a great way to stay content.

Remember happiness is not in tomorrow/in the future, it is in today and it exists in the little things around and within us but we fail to notice because we too busy looking for it far into the future. So, be intentional and live like tomorrow may not exist -because it may not-

CHRONICLES OF A LAGOS COMMUTER

The Lagos Commuter

It had been a long day at work; my blazer had begun to feel quite itchy from been worn for so long. I was desperate for a long bath to wash off the stress of the day and couldn’t wait to get home. The bus I was in moved at a sluggish pace. I hated these Lagos yellow Vanagon buses; they are infamous for how they delayed passengers and took too much time searching for people to get on board not minding those already in the bus. My derriere had gone numb from sitting on the hard wooden chair for long. Shifting from one butt cheek to the other no longer helped and my eyes were starting to water from the smoke that filled the interior of the vehicle.

After what felt like an eternity, but was probably 15 minutes; the bus sputtered forward, engine groaning as more smoke accumulated, stinging my eyes further making me shut them while mumbling obscenities at the driver and his conductor who kept screaming “ikorodu eni kan… (One more person for ikorodu)” and a passenger responded sarcastically “sé fé gbé eni ye si wa lori ni?” (Do you want to put the person our heads?). Finally, the vehicle pulled out to the highway, and we were on our way, much to my relief.

As always, the traffic congestion for which the City of Excellence is known for, had already begun. Slowly but surely, we moved along.

I rested my head against the glass staring out the window lost in my thoughts. As we closed in on an intersection, my attention was drawn to cars that had begun diverting into the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane in a bid to escape the traffic. Some passengers began clamoring for the driver to also swerve into the BRT lane so we can also get ahead of other cars. The driver turned deaf ears to their chattering and kept on the same slow-moving lane we had been on for the past 30 minutes. Flicking my wrist, I stared at the watch and knew the bath time I had scheduled just reduced to a brisk shower time -if I could still keep my eyes open- I sighed and stared out once more and watched as a man walked to cross the road into the BRT lane unto the other side. He didn’t seem to be aware of his surrounding and walked briskly. As he stepped onto the lane, a BRT bus sped down the lane at a fast rate and everything began to move slowly yet very fast before my eyes. I knew the man didn’t see the bus, I tried to call to him in my head but I knew it would be too late. As I watched I saw a yellow vanagon – that had entered the BRT lane due to the traffic -from the corner of my eye speeding from the opposite direction, smoke rising behind it.

As the bus closed in on the man, the headlight flashed on his face and I could see his expression as he came to the realization that his life was at stake in that moment. In those split seconds; the BRT driver tried to stop the impact, stumping on his brakes, as the tires screeched and skidded on the tarred road, but at the speed he was driving, it was impossible. I watched as the bus rammed into the man hard, flinging him about ten feet forward, his head hitting the floor hard and blood pooling instantly. In the same instant a speeding motorcycle who had just sped out from behind the BRT to over-take went crashing into the speeding vanagan that was coming from the opposite direction. The impact sent the motorcycle and its rider careening under the tires of the bus, crushing the rider’s leg in the process.

The Lagos Commuter

I sat and watched in horror trying to process what happened as people rushed towards the scene of the accidents. The screaming rider was promptly pulled out from under the bus and I could see the crushed leg had been torn apart; his knee was only connected to the rest of his leg by a silver of flesh. I gulped and looked away towards the other man hit by a bus and wondered if he would survive the head crash as my bus pulled away from the spot. I stared until It was too dark to see anything but shadows of people milling around the scene.

As I sat shivering from what I had just seen, all thought of my previous lethargy forgotten, all I wanted to know was if the man who hit his head on the road made it or not and how the cycler would probably never ride again.

I knew I would be having nightmares in the next weeks to come from what I had just witnessed.

The Lagos Commuter.