Friday Reflections

1.) 200 women who will change the way you see the world. I can't wait to lay my hands on the book.

2.) If I buy all the books on my Amazon wish-list, I probably won't be able to afford my rent :-( I want them allllllllll

3.) I HATE public transit and transportation systems. Like, literally ALL of them.

4.) I also HATE speaking to customer care representatives; it is incredibly exhausting and time wasting.

5.) Ignorance. I've been thinking about that concept a lot.

6.) Anyway, how was thanksgiving?

7.) For all my traveling wahala, mine was good so it was worth it.

8.) I just have to figure out how to go back to real life.

9.) Meanwhile I drank more wine yesterday than the entire year combined. AND I need more right now.

On Thanksgiving

Someone mentioned that social media is filled with people tensioning others; that "there is a lot of brokenness debts, failings and troubled minds behind loads of those beautiful photos. Don't let anyone's beautiful cosmetic reality make you feel like your real life is ugly."

I disagree.

Of course, those things all exist. But there is also a lot of beauty, joy, happiness behind many pictures as well. The amount of joy depicted in some of these pictures mirrors the reality of those in the pictures. Not everyone is putting up a facade. The truth is, you have to find your joy even if people are seemingly (or definitely) better than you. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy. Because people WILL always be better than you. I don't care how great you are. I recently found out about Steph Curry's best-friend, Bryant Barr. They were both players in college, and neither of them was expected to become a superstar athlete. But Curry defied the odds and became...well, Steph Curry. Barr on the other hand went to Corporate America, and made his own way. He shared a story of Curry once stopping by his office and finding Barr's cubicle at work so fascinating, he (Curry) asked for a photo of him (Curry) to be taken while pretending to be on a call. Curry had never done such a thing; work in an office for someone. Imagine that being your life: never having hunted for a job, or have an annoying supervisor, or talk to annoying clients over the phone. People therefore, find it incredibly hard to believe the Barr isn't jealous or envious of Curry. Whereas Barr insists if you really knew him, you would know how content and secure he is in himself; so much that he and Curry enjoy a great friendship and there is NO envy. Their wives are best-friends; they are godfathers to each other's kids; they were best-men at each other's weddings. Contentment will give you peace unlimited. It will help you understand that  individual paths and purpose differ just like day and night. It will help you understand that God's will is the best choice ultimately. It will help you face your own journey and mind your own business.

That's where I am currently. I can't speak for tomorrow. Today though; this season, I am incredibly content. This thanksgiving, I challenge you to be content, to find peace. Like I put on my insta stories (which I've been using more than usual haha), what I am most thankful to God for is replacing my fears with immense joy and great power. I'm thankful for MANY things, but those top the list this year. Does it matter that life isn't perfect? Maybe. Does it matter someone is exponentially better than you? So what? Find peace anyway. Find joy anyway. God gives these things in great amount.

Anyway, that's where I am this thanksgiving. Incredibly thankful. I hope you are too.



Friday Reflections

1.) When anxiety attacks.

2.) The best birthday gift ever hahaha

3.) Can you imagine being over 6ft tall, black, burly and then thinking of nowhere else to shoplift, but CHINA, where...wait for it, you stand out like neon pink in a pale room. Stupidity at its highest order.

4.) I mean, imagine being so stupid, the president had to call to bail your behind. And I know their parents TAUGHT them better. They are just a bunch of entitled, spoilt, ungrateful brats. Yes, I'm irritated.

5.) Sigh Gabby Douglas just made a huge mistake; attributing rape to immodest dressing. Ugh. The thing with patriarchy is that we are so socially conditioned to accept it, even when it hurts us, we don't recognize. The victim in this case was assaulted by her doctor during her medical exam. So it had nothing to do with how she dressed!

6.) Rape has NOTHING to do with how the victim is dressed. Absolutely nothing. Stop policing what women wear!

7.) That being said, as a society we have to learn t forgive. We can't just banish and sanction people forever for every mistake they make. In this case, it was clearly stupid. But in some other cases, we banish people for thinking differently than us!!

8.) Be careful so that in your bid to liberate people, you don't further imprison them.

On Comparison Being The Thief of Joy

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria. Earthquakes. Tornadoes. Nuclear powers threatening each other like kids on a playground. Jesus needs to take the wheels

I wrote that intro two months ago in September. And things are probably worse now. Let me re-write one for this season:

A revolution against sexual assault in all of America (yay!). Prevalent gun violence. And a tax bill that threatens to ruin scientific pursuit as we know it. YES, if Jesus doesn't take the wheels, we are doomed ha. May God help us!

Okay so moving on. I want to write about comparison. I have had this draft for a while, but this week, and in different capacities, it was something that kept coming up. That phrase 'comparison is the thief of joy' is NOT a lie. It is incredibly true. I feel like the world is currently set up for us to compete. It starts from childhood: parents compare their kids to other kids. Some of us went to schools that literally pit us against each other by giving us positions at the end of each academic term—1st , 2nd, 3rd etc. When you are doing exceptionally well, like I was in primary school, it feeds your ego. However, when you step off that high horse and proceed to a secondary school like mine, and you have to compete with the best people, it crushes your ego and self esteem. I think that position thing is incredibly stupid, by the way.  Social media is structured for comparison too. It is probably the hallmark. Don't even get me started on social media as a tool for comparison.

So yes, we are set up to compete and compare ourselves to others. It's really toxic. Sometime ago, there was a story out of Lagos, of this primary school child that poisoned his/her classmate because the classmate consistently came first, while the perpetrator consistently followed behind as second. They were like in primary four or something ridiculous. And she/he regularly poisoned him for months or so, till the victim fell ill. That is brutal.

See, there are two possible outcomes from comparing yourself to someone else. First, you probably realize you fall short in the comparison, when you find them better than you are. You then become enveloped with envy, jealousy, and bitterness. Your self-esteem suffers because you start feeling incredibly insecure. The next thing is you're stressing yourself because you chose to compare yourself with someone on a different journey than you. This kind of stress can not only spur you into hatred, it can make you make irrational decisions that harm you in the long run. The final straw on the camel's back that convinced me to make this comparison post public, was listening to a message by TD Jakes tonight. The title literally had nothing to do with comparison, so when  I heard him mention comparison, I was like whoa. Yup, this is NOT a coincidence. He said you will never have peace if you keep comparing yourself to others. Instead deal with the cards God gave YOU or you'll be perpetually miserable.

A second outcome is pride. Perhaps you actually are better than that person. But so what? Pride is intoxicating as hell. And it comes right before a fall, and it is just as, if not more foolish. The Bible has lots of warnings against pride and boasting. It feeds your ego unnecessarily; it breeds self-conceit and self-righteousness. The Bible warns STERNLY against comparison. Don't even compare your spirituality: as in, "I'm a better Christian than lagbaja". No. And some of you don't say it outrightly, you imply it. You boast of your spirituality or how you can pray the devil back to hell; how you spend one million hours in His presence; how you are able to discern His voice. Okay, it makes you feel better about yourself for a little while, but what happens after? Misery.  See, God understands that he gave differently to different people.

So you see neither outcome benefits you.

Not to mention, comparison just pushes you. It pushes you so much, you find yourself basically living your life for others; doing things for the wrong reasons.

"It is better to be a great sergeant, than to be a poor general." -TD Jakes

Don't go about doing something you are average at because it feeds your ego, thereby neglecting what you are excellent at because I gats be better than lagbaja. Don't kill yourself. Respect your lane. So I am making a conscious decision to really, really face my lane; to not compare myself to other people. You should too.



Book of the Month: The Underground Railroad

Let's just pretend like I didn't just abruptly stop this book of the month thing for a while, shall we?

I hate slave movies; slave T.V. shows; slave books even. I don't like them; which is why I refuse to watch movies based on slavery, even those that have won all the awards. I think they are really horrible, and while I appreciate the need to tell these stories and remind people of America's horrible past, I'm also uncomfortable with the fact that the black movies that win the awards are specifically those that depict black folks as subservient. The ones that depict us a defiant; as math nerds; as extraordinary, are snubbed.

So the book, "The Underground Railroad" was not really my first choice in the list of books for my book club for that particular month--September. Yes, I'm only just getting to write about it.  But my first choice, Hilary Clinton's What Happened was removed from the list. So I went with this and I don't regret the decision. I think it's necessary for this society we live in to see the atrocities black people were exposed to. I include excerpts from the book at various points in this post to give you an idea of the monstrosity I'm talking about.

It's written by Colson Whitehead and is an alternative history novel that tells the story of two slaves in the 1800s as they make their way to freedom from a Georgia plantation through the Underground Railroad. In real life, the Underground Railroad was a series of safe houses and a network of secret routes that black slaves used to escape to into free states.  In the book, the underground railroad was actually a subway system.

The book focuses on Cora, a black slave, but devotes single chapters to other characters like Cora's grandmother; Caesar, who was also on the run with Cora; and a slave-catcher, Ridgeway. We are first met with Ajarry, Cora's grandmother, who was snatched from West Africa and dragged across the ocean on a slave ship.The book proceeds to tell us about Cora who has been excommunicated on the plantation, after her mother ran away and abandoned her. Later, Caesar approached Cora with the idea to run away from the plantation; an idea she wasn't first welcomed to. Eventually, she had no choice but accept Caesar's proposal, given the situation on the plantation with the slave owners. So the bulk of the book is about their long journey to freedom. They also had to question their own morality on the way, after being faced with a series of hard choices that depended on their survival.

"Lucy and Titania never spoke, the former because she chose not to and the latter because her tongue had been hacked out by a previous owner." (p.47)

I think it's a great book. I also think it's traumatizing and very infuriating that people in that century, some ancestors of white folks, were that inhumane. While reading, I often had to pause for a while just to catch my breath, and be thankful for my freedom. In the book, we also see how black women were being sterilized and black men were used as experiments to track the spread of syphilis. To say this book demonstrated the horrific and monstrous actions during the slave era would be an understatement. The humiliation, the fear, the sexual and physical abuse. It was a lot.

"...they gathered on the front lawn. Randall's visitors sipped spiced rum as Big Anthony was doused with oil and roasted. The witnesses were spared his screams, as his manhood had been cut off on the first day, stuffed in his mouth, and sewn in. The stocks smoked, charred, and burned, the figures in the wood twisting in the flames as if alive." (p. 63) 

But even then, we see some white people, who stood on the right side of history, by helping the slaves escape into freedom, even if it meant risking their lives and their families. We also see bravery and courage in Cora, who risked her life for the ultimate prize of freedom.  I wonder, if Cora had known the horror that was ahead, would she still have embarked on that journey?

The truth is, the book was painful to read. But perhaps it will help people further understand the anger in the African-American community. The fact that centuries after, black people are still being oppressed and racism is still pervasive is unfortunate. Perhaps, people will understand that although slavery ended a while ago, the legacy was still passed on from generation to generation.
You know, sometimes, people say:

African-Americans complain too much

Or express similar sentiments.  It actually sounds like Well, better be grateful for the opportunities you're given; As though they are still visitors, when the truth is their ancestors built this land. Not to mention the generational privileges they missed out out. People often forget that even if it's just knowledge your parents were able to pass on to you; or if it's that one house that has been passed from generation to generation; it's still some sort of privilege. Up till very recently, blacks did not have the same access to loans, mortgages etc. that whites did. These are inherited traumas that still affect lives of black people. And this is just scratching the surfacing. There are way more, but first things first is acknowledgement.

Anyway, the book of this month is poignant, it's necessary, it's worth every minute.



Friday Reflections

1.) My fashion nationalism.

2.) Grey's Anatomy had it's 300th episode yesterday, and it was incredibly great. I love that it incorporated what makes Grey's Grey's. It was beautiful. And of course, tears inducing.

3.) Grey's Anatomy is truly my happy place. I have watched most of 299 of those 300 at least twice!

4.) Shonda on the 300th episode. So emosh...

5.) Winter is here!

6.) So someone legit equated pedophilia to VIRGIN Mary and Joseph. You guys, American politicians are exhausting.

7.) I think, for me, the most infuriating is how people really believe them when they call themselves "Christians". Religion is nothing but a weapon of oppression for many Republicans. Family values my foot.

8.) Gentle reminder that Jesus is a calm in the storm.

9.) I'm super thankful for peace. Can't quite explain it...but peace.

10.) I was reading old blogposts on this blog. I really have grown. And that's another beauty of blogging; when I see an old post, I am able to tell where I was in life and my emotional wellbeing at the time of writing.

11.) I truly am thankful

On Resetting The Clock

This post was due on Sunday, but I forgot to post it. I wasn't even too buy, I just forgot.

That being said, everyone knows daylight savings ended on Sunday, November 5th in the U.S., at least for those of us on the eastern standard time, and some on pacific standard time too. So what's daylight savings; for my Nigerian or non-American friends, or just my friends who aren't conversant with it. It's pretty much advancing the time on the clock sometime in March or beginning of spring, so that evening daylight lasts longer. This means in November, close to winter, we fall back. When the clock struck 1:59am, instead of moving to 2:00am, it became 1:00am again. It's the perfect natural experiment (yes putting my researcher hat on). Not to mention, we gain an entire hour. The cost of this of course is stepping out of work by 5:30pm and everywhere is already dark. That's never fun for anyone. I also imagine depression peaks during these periods not just because of the holidays, but because of the early nights. But don't quote me on that, please.

Okay so, since daylight savings ended last year [of course my devices automatically adjusted. Even the cable box fixes itself] I have not reset my wristwatch. I thought of it as an experiment. Lol yes research hat on. I wanted to see how fast (or so) a year could be. So for most the past year, my wrist watch (the one I wear most often) was an hour behind. For clarity, between November 2016 and March 2017, my watch was correct. The rest of the time, it wasn't.

Let me just say a year is LONG. It doesn't just fly by. A year is actually a very long time. It's funny because the usual thing to say is, "this year flew by so fast" etc. In reality, or the truth is it did not. A year is a long, long time. We also like to say, "life is short". Again, in reality life is actually long. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is about 78 years old. Think about that for a second, SEVENTY years is a helluva long time. I say all this to say, make the most of it. Really, it's that simple. If it sounds cliche, it's because it's the truth. Start that thing now; start a habit now; start it now; and watch the ripple effects in a year. I think about where I was last year the last time I changed this watch, and God, I'm so much better. I don't mean in the sense people usually would; I mean I'm more confident in my abilities; I have put in more work; and to some extent feel a greater sense of peace. Also sometimes when progress is gradual, we rarely acknowledge it. We only get hyped about sudden jumps; huge changes. But life is actually a cumulation of small and incremental progress. One example I can think of is my learning of French language: and this is the WORST possible example ever, because even I know that's the one thing I slacked off on the most. Still, I'm a much better French speaker than I was last year. You want to lose weight? Start right now. You want to write a book? Or get better at a skill; give some minutes every day for the next year to that thing you want to see a difference in, and see if there won't be change.

Reset the clock, and start all over again.



Friday Reflections

1.) I always believed Meredith and Cristina's friendship was the most special TV relationship ever...well, Grace and Frankie's comes pretty close.

2.) I also believe Lily Tomlin might be the funniest person on earth

3.) Emotional labor and gender inequality: women are fed up.

4.) The thing for me, with perseverance is that it's a double edged sword. On the one hand, you have to learn to realize when to STOP. On the other, you can't be too quick to give up. This author thinks so too.

5.) I remember telling my sister we don't need any more sophisticated technology on our phones; how about channeling all that genius to solve serious health issues. This is a welcomed development.

6.) Husband and wife share both sides of their love story

7.) "Human beings are inherently good judges of character, but we ignore that gift for our temporary and fleeting feelings" - Me

8.) Look, even I realize how cheesy it is to freaking quote yourself, but I said it while chatting with my siblings and it looks like a really good idea. So, don't judge me.

9.) Fingers crossed, and praying really hard for something. And I will come back here to testify in Jesus name.

10.) I have had some of these in draft for monthsss. Ugh life really does happen, but I'm back :)

On The Balance Between God's Grace and His Discpline

If you think God would strike a person down/hate a person for divorcing a spouse who was probably abusive, then we don't serve the same God.

If you think God allows any and everything in the name of "grace"; if you think freewill means we can do what we want and how we want as long as we "love", we probably don't serve the same God.

Yes it seems contradictory. The truth however is, just as the grace of God is sufficient and we DON'T need to work for it, so it is that those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. Now this is a hard part. No one wants to hear that. We, our generation in particular, is notoriously morally rebellious; so to be accountable to an unseen God is pretty much an abomination. But the truth is life is more than you and your feelings. Yes, they are valid a lot of times, but I'm pretty sure God never ever promised a life with  no struggles; I'm also pretty sure he never gave us a carte blanche to do what we like, you know as long as it makes us feel good or it's "our choice". Er no.

Rather he tells us to ENDURE our race and to not be bugged down by sin. This can be broken down into many spheres. But that verse in Hebrews 12 continues by stating that Jesus endured the shame and pain on the cross because joy awaited him. So should we strive to not get bugged down by life's struggles and the temptation to sin. Because a lot of times, a lot of things look like an expression of freedom; when you really are a slave to to that thing/vice you can't exist without. Of course, no one is perfect, and we do NOT work for grace. It's given freely.

"You mean to tell me it's beyond just 'loving'?" "I thought as long as we 'love' [read tolerate and enable all sorts] we'd be fine?" Yeah no. God disciplines those he loves. He does. As far as I know, any good parent disciplines their kids. I don't care how perfect you were as a child, at some point your parents must have disciplined you.  It doesn't mean they stopped loving you. It doesn't mean you had to do anything to secure that love. For most of us, our parents love us no matter what becomes of us. Indeed, most of us have been loved by our parents the moment we were conceived.  Yet, every once in a while we did things that went against the very principles and values they instilled in us. And we got punished for it. We endured the discipline, mostly because we had no choice haha. I think we can extend that to our relationship with God. I think we should strive to do right by God. We will probably sometimes fail at this, but try anyway. It's really tricky talking about God's discipline because it can get blurred with this picture some people paint of Him: as a vindictive being waiting for us to slip so He can be like "Gotcha!!!" and then strike us. No. The bible says he is SLOW to anger and abundant in compassion; lovingkindness; mercy.

So two things: one strive to do right by God. Second, fix your eyes on Jesus and don't give up too easily when you fail. Endure, endure, endure. God is NOT a bellhop whose main function is to be at our beck and call and give us what we want, when we want it. No. Hard times build your character, your strength, your endurance, your perseverance. Hard times here encapsulates everything: from living right, to career, to relationships, to work...anything you value, really. The Christian life involves hard work anddiligence...don't get it twisted.

It's an interesting balance between two extremes: God never hates you; it's the sin in you He hates. Yet because of the magnitude of his love for you, he'd rather you not do certain things. But hey, it still is your choice. Just know, every choice, EVERY one of our choices has consequences.



P.S: I think I'm backkkkk to blogging. I missed it and actually just need a creative outlet so I don't get stifled by other things I enjoy doing.