Category Archives: Life

My Lagos: A Love Story

I cannot remember the first time I came to Lagos but I can tell you for free that I was terrified! I had grown up watching those comedies about how Lagos was a hustling place and that if you didn’t shine your eyes, your own don finish. I had heard the word ‘JJC’ in one of those movies and I was determined not to be one; though I was one. Do you remember ‘Lagos Na Wa’ with Polypompom? Oh my gosh! *doubles over in laughter*

Its easy to be intimidated by the sprawling city. My first reaction was that everyone was in a hurry. To this day, I may be only one that walks leisurely around but I’ll have to admit that my steps have quickened and my paces longer. And I don’t like it. When people say, “you this Lagos geh”, I am always quick to respond “I’m not a Lagos girl, I’m a bini girl”. But then I wonder, ‘why can’t I stay more than one week in any other place without feeling this crazy need to be back in ‘my Lagos’. Yes, its my Lagos now.

Where else can you find conductors like the ones in my Lagos. I don’t drive in Lagos and when I was still a JJC (If you don’t know what this means, I have nothing to say to you), I loved to take cabs. Hmmmm. You know cabs are cheap in Benin and I thought it was the same in Lagos. When them tear me bill ehn, nobody advised me to start entering buses. And I have grown to love Lagos buses; there is absolutely nothing like them.

You will always know the CMS buses from the Obalende buses. CMS buses are a contraption of rickety motor parts held together by bolts and visible ropes and they always smell like fish, sweat and bad mouth odor. If you are not sitting near a window, you are finished. You always wonder if the mismatched parts will not come apart when the machine (for lack of a better word) is turned on. Obalende buses are tad cleaner and still look like they will get to their destination.  Some even have music. Let’s not talk about the BRT buses, I avoid them as much as I can. I’ve only boarded it twice in the 2 years since I relocated to Lagos and it terrified me. They drive off the road in traffic, on the bushy parts meant for pedestrians. How can a large, wobbly vehicle decide to do some James bond moves that will have the vehicle tilting dangerously like its about to fall on other vehicles? No way o. I’m just 29 and not ready to die. Even if I’m ready, certainly not by a nonsense BRT bus. God forbid!

Lagos may very well be the only place that people get on buses without having money to pay for the journey. That one still baffles me. And the funniest part is that when all hell breaks loose, their voices are the loudest and most strident. ‘You dey mad? Naim make you dey shout? Na wetin? Kilode! Ode niyen’. Then of course, those diehard conductors will never let the errant passenger go until either he comes up with the money or a Good Samaritan passenger does (which is always the case). So it stands to reason that if you have an interview or a crucial meeting, take extra money with you because you just may be paying someone else’s bus fare. That is the hustling spirit.

Then there is the case that happened to me so many times that I had no choice but to wise up. So on my way to Lekki Phase 1 (which is where I work) from Ajah (which is where I live), the bus fare on a sunny, traffic-less day is N150. I had given the conductor N200 Naira. We had gotten to Ikate and my change was not forthcoming though I had intermittently asked for it since I paid. “Conductor , may I have my change please”? He didn’t respond which was his exact response to my previous request. Everybody else kept quiet. I was beginning to wonder what the problem was. I could see that he had change and had given everybody else their’s so why was he giving me the silent treatment? By the time we got to the next bus stop, I had lost my temper and I exploded “My friend, will you give me my change? You dey crase for head abi you deaf? Give me my change now now as I dey look you so”. It was as if everyone woke up from their slumber as some asked him to give me my change. At that point he did while murmuring, “abeg take your change. Na because of N50 you dey shout? You no talk am small small” “No, you deaf since. Na you dey help me work my money abi? Idiot!”. Ehn! Bini girl like me; you want take me shine? If I hear.

The love between Lagos and I was definitely not at first sight. We had our bad times; those days where we were engaged in a supreme battle of wills and wits. But those days are long past. We’ve settled into a relationship based on genuine respect, fondness, our hyper nature and the fact that we have absolute faith that we were meant to be. The city still exasperates me but I’ve come to terms with the fact that we are like Husband and wife. We push and pull at each other but at night, we go to bed together and during tough times, we stand by each other’s side. Now, that true love.

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Betrial

It’s hard to tell who has your back, from who has it long enough just to stab you in it…. – Nicole Richie

This morning, I asked this question via my BBM PM ” What to do when the one person who should have your back switches sides?” That was the question I woke up with. At the time of this writing, I have two answers already

You shrug and keep breathing. That’s a common thing in life” – Yomi Adegboye

Stand firm and believe in yourself the more.
If the person switched loyalty,the person was never a friend. Your friend stays especially at d worst moments
– Tope Aigba

Surviving a betrayal takes a lot of strength and discipline. Betrayal hits hard. You feel ashamed, humiliated, confused, discouraged, distanced, regretful, hurt, hateful–and you want the nightmare to end. A betrayal can shatter that trust and open the door to the possibility that things, in one’s small, intimate world may not be as they
appear.

We have to distrust each other. It is our only defense against betrayal – Tennessee Williams

But despite the pain, hurt and disappointment, you will need to pick yourself up and get over it. You are permitted to cry, be angry but don’t get sucked deep into such emotion. Get it out of you system.

Yes, it’s difficult to see that confidant turn his back on you. That your good friend is passing judgment before hearing your side of the story – a betrayal of disengagement; Of not caring; Of letting the connection go.

Is it possible to succeed without any act of betrayal? – Jean Renoir

You have to get over it and start developing confidence. You can not change what has happened but you do need to take responsibility for how you are handling the situation
now.

Nature never did betray the heart that loved her. – William Wordsworth

No matter how bitter and hurt you feel, do not humiliate the object of your betrayal. That is starting another ripple effect. I strongly suggest that you walk away, if you are unable to deal at all.

How your life unfolds from here on is dependent on how you choose to see yourself, how you choose to think.

You are responsible for how you are allowing yourself to be affected.

I am Olawale
I am a Reader.

Free is Valuable.

There is this general saying that”whatever you get free, you (may not) won’t value it”

I read something about Flamini few weeks back.

Now to people who are not familiar with football like Bankole and Mister Mo, Getting a player on a free transfer simply means that you didn’t pay a single kobo to get him, all you need do is to agree on his wages and the player become yours.

Since Arsenal signed Flamini on a free transfer, he has become the integral part of our team, his work rate has been one of our protective shield for our Center Back. We now concede less goals, his tackles have been timely and passes superb. He is sure a great asset to the team.

“Flamini had a job to do on Hamsik and he did it very well. We stopped them counter-attacking.” – Wenger

Now back to the the general assumption. Yes I don’t feel comfortable using the word ‘believe’ again. Because you are offering a freebie doesn’t mean that the receiver won’t appreciate it. The assumption that because it is free means that it’s of low value should be discarded.
“Free offers may not devalue products at all when they are paired with an expensive purchase.” Some of my finest designs are freebies. I value them so much that after giving it out, I wonder if I should have kept it and sold it to another client. Price is not necessarily a reflection of value.

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
– Mary Oliver

How many of us remember the #ChildNotBride design by @IamAyomiDotun Can you say that design has no value because it is free?

The value of a freebie is often perceived as higher than a typical cost.” – Prof. Ariely

Even when you’d lost everything you thought there was to lose, somebody came along and gave you something for free.” – Jenny Valentine

Our main focus should be on whether what we got for free is serving its purpose. If it does, it is then more valuable than what you spent money on and isn’t getting the job done. Value doesn’t means high price. The real value of a person or thing is his/her/its availability and benefits.

I am Olawale.
I am a Reader.

Be Angry

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die – Buddha

Everybody has to deal with anger from time to time. You will get angry by what you see, hear, even our own thoughts can create resentment within us. Even the most gentle of personalities can temporarily turn into a vindictive rascal, if pushed far enough. Have you ever made it through an entire day without getting angry at something or someone? Probably not-and that’s totally normal.

When you’re faced with a situation that makes you angry, do not let yourself explode. Ruminating on your anger isn’t actually helpful, it fuels your anger more and if its not checked, you might actually do something you do not like with it.

One person in five has ended a relationship because of the way the other person dealt with anger – Celia.

We all get angry. But for some people this basic and powerful human emotion is difficult to manage. Dissecting your anger to take away its power away, it reduces it potency. You are allowed to feel anger, it just learning to control it that’s the hard part.

Have learned to take a step back when you are angry? The other person might call you coward, but stepping back might help resist the urge to talk or act. You know as well as I do that word utters in anger are always louder at times. While it’s important for you to express you feelings, refrain from uttering absolute statements that invalidate another’s thoughts or feelings and can spark anger in both of you. May I say that it might also be great to watching a sitcom, these are few of many things to do while you are angry.

When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred. “ – Thomas Jefferson

A conversation with yourself may keep you calm. There is something
about focusing on the gently flow of the breath in and out of your body that just has a soothing quality, that helps to bring you back into the now and clear
you mind.

You may have every right to be angry with someone, but you know that by getting angry with him you will only lose your precious peace of mind..” – Sri Chinmoy

Be ye angry, but learn when to Stop.

I am Olawale.
This is a friendly Reminder.

Image via prayingyouth

Naked, But Not Ashamed

RT @Anabagail: K “@iDOVA: Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.”

So I came across that tweet few days ago. I wanted to add “be very afraid” to it, but on the second thought, I decided to ignore it and scroll up to other tweets. But I kept remembering that particular tweet and I decided to have a chat with myself and ask around.

Vulnerability does not mean being weak
or submissive. To the contrary, it implies the courage to be yourself. It involves uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.
Most of us shy away from being vulnerable, but the truth is that, it’s part of development and forms part of our social relationships. Opportunities for vulnerability present themselves to us every day, the question is whether we will take them. We fear Vulnerability because we are scared of what people will find out about us and they may reject us. In order to be vulnerable, you have to be okay with all of you. That’s the thing about vulnerability that no one tells you about. Nobody likes to be misunderstood or taken for granted so we hide the real us. While self-sufficiency and autonomy can help us weather the storms of life, it can also rob us of true intimacy.

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

– Reinhold Niebuhr

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief… and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving

No one likes to feel like a fool and no one likes to be hurt. No one likes to be criticized or have their faults pointed out or used against them. With vulnerability, you experience true connection— true love for yourself—and you begin to attract people to you who are inspired by your openness. C.S Lewis wrote “ to love at all is to be vulnerable.” Let me rephrase that. To live at all is to be vulnerable. We must learn to trust ourselves. It takes courage.

I am Olawale
I am a Reader

Thank you Bode afeniforo for choosing the title.

The Half Full

what do you see

what do you see

“No matter what your dream is in life, no matter what your goal, keep your eyes upon the doughnut and not upon the hole.” – Emily Mortimer

The dictionary defines perspective as “the capacity to view things in their true relation or relative importance.”

Your perspective determines whether
you focus on what you have or what you
are missing. Many people have gone down the wrong path simply because they refused to see the other side of life. The world that offers you thorns, also adds beautiful roses to them. Sometimes what we think are important aren’t and what we place so much value on are of less importance. Like Mr Johnny Depp said ” Nowadays, people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing”

There are times that all we need is to change that channel and see the world in a new way. The moment we make up our mind that the way you see things makes a difference. We need to see ourselves as a cause not an effect. You don’t have to be a product or a victim of your circumstances. Stop thinking about what is happening to you and start thinking about what you can make happen. Too many people blow their problems way out of proportion, devoting precious mental energy to situations which do not carry “life or death” consequences.

Perspective is everything, isn’t it? This is such a creative, physical way to help us put our challenges into perspective!
When you look up into the sky at night, what do you see? Darkness or Stars? There is nothing like something is totally bad, because if we look deeper, we might just find a flicker of light. A small perspective can change anything. A deeper look at issues can give open the entire universe to you. Perspective suggests that you’ve considered your place in this world and that you appreciate “the big picture.” Some of the world’s deepest questions have actually already been answered.
Perspective helps us to know that circumstances do not create us, we create our circumstances. This not about positive confession or just a positive thinking, it’s a conscious and deliberate choice to see the other side of life.

“Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty.”

As you widen the lens of your perception, you’ll experience less tension, improve your attitude, develop keener insight into the meaning of your life, and most likely enjoy greater material success as well.

I am Olawale.

PS: Friendly Reminder Series will be published every fortnight on this blog.

Let go and let God!

let go

I didn’t plan to write my first article this late into the year. Hell, it’s the second week of February. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been procrastinating about writing, but then what else is new. Y’all know I’m a lazy ass. And we like it that way right?*shines my white teeth*

It’s the season of love! Love is the greatest gift God has given us so Happy Valentine ’s Day beautiful people. Cheers to love!!! For the first time in a long while, I’m really and truly in a happy place, at peace with myself and at peace with the world. Nah, ex-boyfriends don’t apply. I have to have someone to be bitter about na. Come on! I’m not become such a good girl overnight. A measure of badness is required to be me. If not, the tattoo would have been an effort in futility.

Talking about places, I didn’t magically drop into this place. It involved a process and different phases. Sad to say, the phases were more painful than I care to remember. But mostly, the most important thing was my willingness to let things go. It involved a process of standing up, putting my affairs in order and walking out. I was reluctant about it, delayed it for as long as I could but eventually had to.

The thing about walking out is that we are usually scared of the unknown. What if the future is worse than where I am now? What if this is where I’m meant to be? What if all it takes is to try a little harder? What if things become worse if I leave? Won’t I be a quitter if I leave? What if I’m not strong enough? What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail in the next one as well?  What if no one supports me? What if this and what if that? I’ve been there and I’ve done all that. It didn’t work for me. It might work for you but somehow, things are never really very easy for me.

Last year was pretty tough. Infact I learnt the biggest lesson about letting go. I had to walk away from a life I had created for myself, a world I had built with sweat, blood and tears and leave everything I had ever known. The worst part of it all was the feeling of loneliness and failure. I felt like a big failure. I felt like I could do nothing right. I felt like I had achieved absolutely nothing. I felt like the only person in the world.

I felt like this though I stood up straight and proud in public and around people so nobody knew how I felt. I automatically smiled when people smiled at me but at night, I laid down and asked God why with tears streaming down my face. People saw a beautiful, friendly girl and all I saw was a bloody failure. From mountain of fire prayer sessions (That’s a story for another day) to being too mad at God to bother with church, I went through the whole phase but in the end, I could not deny the fact that I couldn’t go on that way.

Changes had to be made, albeit painful ones. So I boxed up everything I had known and loved, offered it up for sale, packed my bags, moved to another city and refused to even think about it. To hell with closure! What the heck is that anyway? I didn’t want to remember. I didn’t want to miss it. All questions were smartly deflected and friendships grew stale because I wasn’t willing to talk about anything concerning myself. I wanted to be left alone. Thank God for people who understood and gave me space while letting me know I had their support and love, no matter what. Above all, thank God for his grace. Grace is amazing, I tell you.

Now, its February, barely 3 months after I packed my bags feeling like a cowardly failure with my tails (I had like 3) tucked firmly between my legs in my combat shorts and I am experiencing a whole new life. Has it been easy? A piece of cake? No! It had its really bad moments. But that has not been the case for a while now. Its been really good! I’ve fallen in love (as usual), fallen out of love (as usual again), forced myself to come to terms with my bitter past, currently learning new things, experiencing a very different world, have new toasters (*tongue out to my ex-es* It can pain!), gained intimacy with my Creator and I’m not breaking stride. It is a whole new place, new feelings of contentment and happiness and I am soaking it all up. And guess what? I’m so glad I made the decision; I’m the happiest I’ve been in years.

Now what did I learn? Letting go is a brave act! Its not cowardly and its definitely not for the fainthearted. It takes tons of courage, bravery and faith. A wise person once said, ‘courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to go on inspite of it’. The ability to go on inspite of the fear, insecurity and doubt is the greatest courage of all. Stop trying to mend fences that just can’t be, stop trying to delude yourself into thinking you can’t exist without it. ‘For God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind’(2Tim 1:7). There’s nothing wrong with being afraid but remember He that is in you is far greater than whatever it is you are afraid of, even the unknown. I can’t apologise for sounding like those fiery preachers who take free rides inside commercial buses and pour spit all over you if you are unfortunate enough to sit close to them but all I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I haven’t seen. So be of good courage! Hold your head up high! Let go…and let God!