Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blogfest: Lessons from the A - Z Challenge

If you do blog rounds as often as some people *side eye, then you probably would have noticed there’s a blog fest going on. It’s called the A – Z challenge. If you join in the fest, you’re expected to put up posts using the alphabets of the English language in chronological order. When you’re done, you’d have put up 26 posts... impressive huh? Yes, and it’s all for the month of April.

Thumbs up to Myne Whitman and Great 9ja Man. They’ve been consistent thus far – a round of applause for them please... *Oya, you two, take a bow and pose for the cameras!

Okay, Okay, enough of the paparazzi...

While trying to keep up with them as they take this challenge, I wonder if they realise it’s also a test and if they complete it within the time frame, they would have proven to us how consistent and dedicated to a cause they can be.

In life, it’s usually not the achievements that come with prices and plaques that bring the greatest fulfilment, but the ones that impact the lives of others and bring joys that cannot be fully described by mere spoken words.

For some reason also, I’ve patiently waited for some letters, namely, Q and X. Not because there aren’t words starting with them but because they have reduced frequency of usage.

Thus far, while I await the post with X, I’ve been impressed by Q.

The lesson in this for me is that, in life, some characters would be passive; this is not enough reason to underestimate their value. By characters, I mean people, skills/abilities and talents.

There would be that one classmate/colleague/neighbour that isn’t exactly the most eloquent or outspoken in the group. Slow down, be patient and find out what makes them special, you’ll never know what you can learn. While at it, discretion is needed so you do not end up befriending the neighbourhood psycho or even infringing on the person’s private space.

Finally, if you look within yourself, there’s that talent, an innate ability you carry around untapped. It might just be the link to that big breakthrough you’ve been praying for and in the end you’ll find out it’s been in you all along.

ü  I wonder what’s going on with ROC NAIJA. I know he stopped blogging a long time ago but he still did his blog rounds until recently. I miss his comments.
ü  I miss QMONEY too, I guess taking care of a baby is a full time job.
ü  For a compilation of pidgin proverbs, if you haven’t already, please visit NAIJAMUM.
ü  I found out Sugarkingg moved his hilarious self from to Check out his beats too, music production has gone from hobby to business for him.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fighting Fairly: Hold that tongue!

*Special thanks for all the comments on the last post, especially for Naijamum's addition to the list.

I noticed early in life that I had a way with words. It must be because of all those new words my dad made me write and learn from NTA news and Concord newspaper. It was in my junior secondary school days that I learnt that every gift or skill acquired can have its negative side if not carefully/properly used.
I had ‘tongue-lashed’ this friend of mine for allowing someone copy her in a test because that’s what good friends do – they tell each other the truth! Well, it just happened that the truth is resisted if not told with wisdom. We never spoke to each other until I took my mum’s advice and apologised in SSS 2. Going forward, I tried to be careful with my ‘bluntness’ but yet again fell short.
This time around, I picked a fight with her because she was ‘dating’ a junior. In my opinion, it was improper conduct and unbecoming of a school prefect... pray tell, who made me judge? Till this day, I still see her action as wrong; however, my reaction wasn’t any better.
Fast forward, 3rd year at the Uni.
Lovely Miss Bee introduces me to Mr A, a new member of our study group. Mr A and I develop this chemistry (nothing relating to love) and become almost inseparable. Miss Bee being the hyperactive person she is would drift back and forth, in and out of many groups – she was that jovial.

Weeks to the semester exams I receive a text from her, officially ‘unfriending’ me. As a rule, I never let anything get in the way when I’m trying to achieve a goal hence I wait till after exams to address the issue. Within the one month it took to complete the exams, herself and Mr A had exchanged countless texts... enmity was brewing, and sadly, I was caught in the middle.
Miss Bee claimed she was ending her friendship with me because Mr A had ‘stolen’ me from her and since she didn’t want me to feel like I had to make a choice, she was going to let him have me! Truth is, I wouldn’t have been bothered if not for the harsh words she used in describing Mr A.
It’s been over 6 years and although I’m still in touch with them both, things are exactly not the same. Last year, Miss Bee apologised for all the hateful things she said and asked if I could help put in a word with Mr A to forget the past. Although I’ve tried to, I totally understand Mr A’s standpoint of ‘yes, she’s forgiven but we cannot go back to how we were before’!
If I didn’t know better, I’ll say to him, activate your church mind and let it go, but honestly, I can’t. I have put myself in his shoes and I’ve concluded that friendship with someone who once called me a beast, threatened to kill me and hurt my family will take the Holy Spirit’s intervention.
In all these, I have learnt one very important lesson. In our daily interactions with family and friends, we are bound to offend/annoy each other, whether on purpose or just because of the peculiarities of our personality. When we do, depending on which side of the divide we are at the time (the offended or the offender) it is important to stop in our tracks and think of what our actions/reactions/inactions may lead to.
Fighting fairly is a skill we all must learn to acquire as we deal with our colleagues, family and friends. I now know that although the work and traffic induced stress in Lagos can get one angry without notice, it is no fault of the person who’s getting the brunt of your caustic tongue.
Words, either nice ones or hateful/haughty ones, stay in the mind of the one who hears them long after the speaker has forgotten. Personally, I’ve tested the silence first, speech later therapy, and it has worked thus far, saving me from regrets and earning me admiration especially at work. If like me you enjoy airing your views then it may be very difficult at first but with every chance you get to walk away, you become better at it.
In the end, relationships have been shattered past repairs and countries have gone to war not because the issues could not be resolved, but because of the impact of the words carelessly said to each other. Let’s put this little member of our body (tongue) in check before it sets the world on fire.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Shopping List

After my last relationship broke up, I decided I was no longer interested in ‘testing’ the market. My next relationship must be purposeful and worth the time. While the soul searching was on-going, I realised I didn’t have a full picture of what I was looking for. Don’t get me wrong, I knew quite well that for instance I needed someone with good looks who could deliver on TLC. I said to myself, he must be ‘God fearing’, treat women well blah blah blah.
I thought I knew everything I was looking for; however, I discovered with each day either by observing couples around me or with the guys I was meeting, that I really wanted a little more... make that a lot more!
Hence, I decided it was time to start treating this search for Mr. Right like shopping! I therefore made a list of MUST HAVEs and CANT STANDs.

Inasmuch as looks are important, I’m not overtly interested in drop dead gorgeous men; but the brother must be fine enough for me to want to be seen with him... don’t blame me, I just want to secure my children’s fate! His entire carriage must be endearing. He should be confident and well groomed. Good spoken English too... you can’t be throwing grenade at me or my friends!
When we’ve got the ‘front page’ sorted out, we’ll probably be hanging out more and then I’ll look out for the content which would include:
VERBAL INTIMACY – I have found out over time that communicating is important for me. He must be good at talking and listening. He has to like sharing his deepest emotional thoughts and desires. We can’t be having secrets and telling half truths; I want to have fun in my relationship and not be playing undercover cop. Besides, verbal intimacy is all that’s left when the body’s no longer hot and steamy sexy.
INTELLECTUAL/INDUSTRIOUS/ENERGY LEVEL – I like guys who are smart/bright and upwardly mobile; he has to be knowledgeable and be able to discuss important issues – the world doesn’t start and stop at Old Trafford or Emirates stadium. I am academic/career-oriented hence any man who thinks my pursuit of a PhD is a waste of time is a NO NO.
He also has to be industrious with an energy level that matches mine. For me nothing is too difficult to achieve, I therefore would find it difficult to cope with someone who’s sloppy, lazy or contented with simply ‘earning a living’.
FAMILY ORIENTED – if the reason we’re dating is for the possibility of spending our future together then alienating yourself from all semblance of family life would raise an alarm in my head. Simply put, he must be committed to marriage and family. IMHO, a guy who hates or treats his family badly would do same to you. I’ll expect that he treats his parents and siblings with respect and care.
SPIRITUALITY – I CANT date a guy who’s in a different religion or has different sets of spiritual commitments even within my religion. This is not about hating on any religion but I think life is a lot easier when you share similar beliefs. Before you begin to preach, my parents were from two extreme ends, one a devote Muslim, the other a mass serving catholic, so I know firsthand what I’m talking about, and I’ll rather just save myself all the hassles!
FINANCIAL INTEGRITY – in the long run, every girl looks to end up with someone who will be able to care for her material needs too. Before you scream independent woman, think about it; would you rather have him feeding off you... huh? I didn’t think so...

A man must be financially responsible. If he’s spending his entire salary on Arsenal kits/PS III console/throwing parties, you’d better watch out. If he’s too obsessed with making billions and thereby hinting blood money or fraud, you better put your shoes in your channel purse and slip out the back door!
VALUES/TRAITS – this may be an offshoot of spirituality but then it has a lot to do with upbringing too. You’ll score more points if you’re polite, patient and punctual. Add affectionate, sociable, a good sense of humour and emotional generosity to that list. While self confidence is a plus, I’d expect that he’s unassuming hence can accept criticism and admit it when he’s wrong.
EMOTIONAL HEALTH/ADDICTION – Do you know anyone who’s emotionally unhealthy? Ahh... you don’t want to meet any... trust me!
I once had a course mate who was also in my study group, for  some reason, everyone was always trying to avoid him, so I put on my Mother Theresa apron and tried being nice... big mistake!
To put it mildly, dude was an all time pessimist (was that mild? ... shrugs) he would worry unnecessarily about everything, from his grades to his girlfriend. He was also a chronic cynic and more often than not, he was depressed. Being friends with him was emotionally draining!
I’ve learnt my lesson so I try to stay away from people who are emotionally unhealthy. The tell-tale signs usually include workaholic syndrome, victim mentality, obsession, anger (especially those ones associated with yelling and object throwing). I think it’s wise to steer clear of people with addictions, be it alcohol, pornography, gambling, sex or drugs.

You can't change him, unless he's willing to.  BEWARE!!!

Over time, I have edited this list of mine and although I know that relationships are about compromises sometimes, these issues seem key to me. While they aren’t cast in stone, they remain my basic yardstick. I do believe that although I can teach a guy to prioritise his spending and be a lot more frugal, it’s up to him to want to learn and adjust. I definitely would not venture into trying to change a guy’s religious affiliations or doctrinal beliefs, hence, I’ll just ‘jump and pass’!
So there you have it people, let the missiles start flying!

Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm back!

Hi people,

Trust you’re all doing well.
Its being so long since I last came here... my sincere apologies.
Contrary to what you might be thinking... No, I didn’t give up blogging for lent!
I’ll tell you what happened...

Err... well, Life happened!
Special thanks to everyone who dropped a line while I was on this ‘French leave’.
Thanks to RemiRoy for the e-book and also not forgetting The Corner Shop, A-9ja-
Great, Omoba-Adeteju for the awards!

Ø  @Ladyguide: my Swedish Bitters, thank God for you and I

Ø  @Lhararom: thank you for ‘every every’

Off to do my blog rounds... and look for that shopping list... yes, the same one I was
supposed to serve you guys a month ago *covers face.
Be right back... Stay Tuned!