On Denying God and Our Identities

I can't believe I am actually writing another post before the end of the year, but here we are. Haha. I think I will be staying away from end of the year reviews. I'm finding them increasingly narcissistic LOL, not to mention the year was just steady and normal; I'm incredibly thankful for that. The thing with those reviews is they make normal and the mundane seem depressing. My year was anything but depressing: very challenging, yet normal, predictable. The world, more generally was a different beast but yeah, my greatest achievement this year was surviving it. And that's all I will say about it. I might change my mind on this later, (and that will be okay too) but for now nope.

A picture of sunset because...why not? Plus the sun is definitely setting on the year (ha!)
Anyhoo, in the spirit of thinking about the year that ends tomorrow (yikes!) and the one that begins on Monday (yikes, again), I remembered the story of Peter denying Jesus. I remembered because I recently read it again. You know, Jesus predicting beforehand that Peter would deny him, and Peter being all sanctimonious, responded no dawg, we are ride or die. Except, that was not true. Peter denied Jesus three separate times. It made me ask how we often deny Jesus in our lives. How often do we hide that part or maybe some other parts of our lives, just to fit in or so people don't think of us as weird.

When it comes to identity, as I have often said on this blog, my most important one comes from my faith in God, and my privilege as a child of God. I don't even blast these enough. And several identities exist nowadays; and you and I know some people wear their identities like a badge, telling everyone who cares to listen that they are this or that or that or this; whether you care to listen or not. And they are unapologetic about it too. Frankly, denying God doesn't always look like what Peter did; it's usually not as blatant. Most times, it looks like submerging the part of your life that is Christian or whatever part of you that you seem to hide.

Since everything this week has been geared towards or framed as a New Year's thingy, I suggest that in the coming year we all find ways to be true to ourselves, whatever that means. A lot of times it means not caring too much about what others think or say about you. That thing can be very paralyzing: worrying too much about what others feel about you. Sometimes you have worn so many shells that the true you has become buried deep and can't be found. So in the new year, endeavor to not always be so desperate to fit in/for people to like you that you cower, or deem your light, or act differently. If this is unnecessarily abstract, allow me to give an example. Sometimes, I'm a little bit reluctant about wearing certain kinds of weaves/wigs. For one, I hate stuff that brings unnecessary attention to me since I genuinely hate being the center of attention. Not to mention, I was thinking twice about doing my loud and big, but fine braids. It's not that I was ashamed, I just was not in the mood to explain my hair to every curious tom, dick, and harry. When [non-black] people ask questions about how my hair changes so often or questions about specific style (forgetting that us black women are expressive with our hair); having to field all those questions (especially to several people) sometimes makes me uncomfortable. Instead of doing what I wanted anyway, I was ready to not do something I genuinely felt like doing because of some other people. Nah, we are leaving all that BS in 2017. Be yourself as much as you can without being obnoxious or ridiculous. There are many facets to us human beings; share your individuality; add color to the world; SHINE.


Love, and some glitz (for the new year),

I

Friday Reflections

1.) Refugee, strawberry-picker, Economist, U.N. Whistleblower, and now tech entrepreneur.

2.) Secrets of super siblings and families. I LOVED reading this old TIME's post on successful siblings. In a society obsessed with romantic love (which is typically the least durable love), it was great to see a little focus on siblings.

3.) Also, Gina Rodriguez is my new fave.

4.) Nigeria is headed for a serious demographic problem; and a serious public health and social crises if it doesn't evaluate the availability (or lack of) of contraceptives and birth control options.

5.) Unwanted pregnancies are not prevalent in Nigeria alone. I read somewhere (and I feel my mentors and teachers and senior colleagues knocking me for daring not to cite but sorry abeg) that teen pregnancy has reduced drastically. What is a more of a problem now is the rate of unwanted pregnancies among 20-29 year olds.

6.) It's not even far-fetched: I mean one look at your Instagram feed confirms number 5 above.

7.) Kim or Khloe Kardashian? Listen to Obama answer in this rapid-fire question series.

8.) Gosh, I miss Obama.  Don't we all?


Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas, people. It's amazing to be alive, hale, and hearty for another  Christmas. I remember last year's Christmas very vividly. Anyway, I woke up this morning thinking of those with heavy hearts and not in a good place. I think it was from seeing  people in Nigeria complain about the fuel scarcity and general hardship, and also from this Notbellarose's skit and this one. They were kinda supposed to be funny (she's a comedian) and they were, but they were also just sad. Which way Nigeria? So yeah, if you spent Christmas in an entirely terrible mood or with a heavy heart for whatever reason, please remember that Christ HAS (not will, not may) overcome and this too will pass. I'm certain of God's goodness and I know he never fails.



It felt like my first Christmas on social media (obviously not lol) but I just seemed to be in every one's living rooms and parties and stuff, and everyone just seemed to be having a good time, which is awesome!!




Meanwhile, for some reason the shade in me in increasing as this year ends. I'm praying it all goes away by 2018, because I can't handle all this sass all by myself.  Way too may shades to throw lmao. Just kidding (or not?). I'm sending good vibes and positivity down everyone's way. I think I did a terrible job with blogging this year, but honestly...there just wasn't time. It's the same old story: I was really busy. Or perhaps, it was poor management of my time? Let's just say blogging was not at the top of the priority list.

I'm thankful for all my pressies from family and friends, but most of all I'm thankful for the people in my life. Enough of the rambling, I hope you had a great Christmas. If you didn't, I hope things turn around for good in your life. And if this is my last post this year, have a great rest of the year, folks. Go into that new year, and slay!

Merry Christmas again, folks.

All my love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) The peace that comes from turning off notifications on your phone is underrated.

2.) I almost didn't post this,  because of the fear of being tagged a sourpuss or ruffling a few feathers, but I'm glad I did. We can and will unlearn certain things.

3.) Okay so, are you having end of the year blues? Read this.

4.) The right way to handle politics. Do you agree? Or must we be ruthless and dogged in our politics?

5.) These life-changing hacks for wrapping gifts, because duhhh, it's Christmas and you better have bought something for people you love.

6.) Selective empathy: why do some victims of tragedy garner more attention and support than others?

On Seasons and God's Perfect Timing

My last post was incredibly popular and brought very many new people to this blog. Welcome! I somewhat feel like a fraud now, because I'm usually not that riled up in what I put up here. However, I warned you here though LOL. Seriously, thanks for stopping by for whatever reason. Maybe you absolutely agreed with everything I wrote like the several people who messaged me. Or maybe you didn't, like some others who have taken a jab at me indirectly on social media (đŸ˜‚ ), that's fine too. I am more than open to discussions about it, and about patriarchy generally. There is a lot of unlearning that we all need to do because of how we have been socially conditioned, so let's keep the discussion going!



I promised to be Zen in a subsequent post, I meant it. Remember these playlists here and here? This post is somewhat similar, not because it is a playlist but because it was inspired by a song. The song is called Seasons and it's by Hillsong. This year is coming to an end and it's so easy to feel frustrated. Perhaps many of the things you had planned did not happen. It was supposed to be this year. You WROTE it down. You had FAITH powerful enough to move mountains. You were hardworking and tenacious. And most of all, you prayed. But the year was mediocre, it was just there...average. No highs, no lows, just flat. It's  understandable that you would be tempted to question God. Before I go on to how that song ministered to me, I want to express an unpopular opinion; which is, most of life is really just that: steady, with nothing earth-shattering happening. I think we need to learn to embrace the mundane.

though the winter is long even richer
the harvest it brings
though my waiting prolongs even greater
your promise for me like a seed
I believe that my season will come

More importantly, we need to understand seasons. It's like that song says, winter comes for us all. One of the greatest principles God laid in the foundations of the earth is that of time and seasons. There is summer, and then it goes and gives way for fall, and then fall introduces winter, which is usually hard on people. But eventually, and SURELY, winter would end and give way for spring. So maybe you are in winter now (like those of us in the U.S. literally are haha) and it feels like it's hard. You have to remember—trite as it may sound—that this season WILL pass. Spring has to happen and for that to happen, winter has to disappear. In fact nowadays, with *ahem* global warming and climate change, winter just glides right into summer. Whatever the case is, WINTER MUST SURELY END. What nature gives us with these actual weather seasons is the gift of patience, the song says. We can adopt this principle to fit our lives. Your season will come. Just wait.

Like a seed in the snow
I've been buried to grow
for your promise is loyal
from seed to sequoia

If you Google sequoia, you would see it's very big and it's roots spread out exponentially...but even that started from a teeny weeny seed buried. If it wasn't buried, it would never have grown. God's principle and promises are loyal to a fault: seeds [previously buried] can and normally become evident for the whole world to see.

i can see the promise
i can see the future
you're the God of seasons
i'm just in the winter
if all i know of harvests
is that it's worth my patience
then if You're not done working
God i'm not done waiting

Sometimes these seasons are set in stone, other times God is flexible and works according to other preordained plans. God takes his time, and where we only see a tiny portion, God has the whole view. And when it's time, you WILL know. So relax, and enjoy your current season as best as you can. Knowing God and from past experiences, it will be worth our wait. And seriously, if God is not done working, why should you be done waiting? Keep expecting. Be expectant.

for all i know of seasons
is that you take your time
you could have saved us in a second
instead You sent a child

I felt like I needed to put this out here for someone to be encouraged. But really also for myself.  [Y]Our season WILL come.

Love,

I

Why Skinny Girl In Transit’s Finale Was Problematic And Why We Should Do Better

I write this with awareness of a part of my history. I have a history of being known as somewhat of a sourpuss, because I tend to analyze and overthink everything, especially when I have time on my hands like I currently do (Yay for Christmas holiday!). I don't really know how to just observe something for fun. I have to nitpick and check for subtexts and underlying messages. It irritates many people. Case in point: Friday’s season finale of the web show, Skinny Girl in Transit (SGIT). Hmmph. Of course it was cheesy, fun, lighthearted, and yes it had us grinning from ear to ear. But after it was done, I had way too many problems with it. For a little bit of context, SGIT tells the story of Tiwa, a 30 year-old Nigerian OAP* trying to lose weight, whom we follow, through the ups and down of her dating life; her dramatic Yoruba mother; and her chirpy, but spoilt younger sister. It’s fun, and as with most shows these days with black female leads, she does a lot of self-sabotaging. But it’s fun. Last season, she met this Yoruba angel**, Mide. Mide is the quintessential beau. He is FINE—read, drop dead gorgeous—RICH (owns several corporations in Lagos), generous (hellooo!), and just all round cute. Everybody loves Mide. The problem is—and I started to notice this season—Mide is a little bit controlling. He is excessively jealous (he would randomly show up on her jogging route to surprise her and make sure she doesn't talk to boys) and has a little bit of passive aggression. But, Mide is cute. So we love him. We love their relationship. We oohh and awww every time they kiss.

Now something happened (I don’t want to say what happened for two reasons: first, so as not to spoil it for you should you decide to watch the show. Second, it does NOT matter what happened). Anyway, Tiwa had offended Mide, and he got very angry. So angry, he had been planning to propose and then decided not to. Now, here is where the problem comes. First of all, Mide was so angry, he told Tiwa to get off his car IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT on the streets of Lagos. Okay let’s just say that was in the heat of the moment.  How about this: he ignored her for weeks while she attempted to contact him. She went for weeks without eating and sleeping, she quit her job, and almost practically lost her mind because of this guy. Yet he didn’t deem it fit to talk to her or even acknowledge her existence. This narrative of women as helpless and lost without a man makes me uncomfortable. In the season finale, they made up (sorry for the spoiler!), but only after she got on her knees, wept at his doorstep like a homeless person, and almost practically proposed to him. CRINGE. I’m quite angry that even I found their reconciliation cute, because honestly the so-called Tiwa’s offense was grossly exaggerated. I don’t even care what she did, like I put on Instagram, Mide’s response (or lack of) was emotional abuse. Don’t date men who hold you to ransom emotionally. The signs of emotional abuse are always so glaring, and somehow we still always ignore/miss it. I know SGIT is all fun, so I don’t blame the writers or those involved; what’s worrisome is how much we overlooked it. What’s worrisome is that the domination of men is so prevalent, it is our normal.

Now consider what's happening in real life with Kevin Hart. I don’t want to butt into married folks business because it’s really none of our business. But everyone knows Kevin Hart allegedly cheated on his PREGNANT wife. God, men really are scum (as they say on Twitter) LOL. Anyway, somehow she forgave him. Good for them. And I really had no opinion about the whole thing until I saw his most recent interview at the Breakfast Club and I wanted to puke. Guys, we need to do better at holding men accountable. When women do the slightest thing, we are supposed to grovel. When men do the worst thing, we are supposed to just ignore it. Hart kept insisting he wasn’t a perfect man. And to his credit, he took full responsibility for his actions, but kept insisting it was God’s punch in his gut to knock him back to reality. In his words, him cheating on his wife was a "blessing in disguise". [Insert gif of that white guy doing a double blink] As in, come again for big fudge?*** Gosh, men are so freaking entitled. The gall!! Jesus Christ. I couldn’t believe my ears. In the interview room of three men and one woman, ALL three men have at one point in the past cheated on their wives in what was a public cheating scandal. This idea that full grown men need to hurt and humiliate women they supposedly love, before they can actually grow up is nonsensical. I mean, I read the New York Times interview with Jay Z and I thought, aww this is so amazing and mature; you know, the way he handled questions of his cheating. I really admired it. In retrospect, that was a whole load of BS. That one was allegedly cheating on his wife while she dealt with miscarriages. Who are these people?? And how does this even work?! What sucks the most is, black women bear the brunt of this rubbish the most. Black women are ONLY ever described as strong after enduring the worst emotional and sometimes physical abuse from idiotic [and mostly] black men. This is why we need feminism. The awareness that comes with it implores you (at least me) to demand better, to require better, and never settle for less. The awareness reminds you it’s better to die old and rotten alone with 12 cats than be with a man with no respect for you. It helps you be comfortable all by yourself and never, ever settle. And if for any reason, you make the mistake of getting together with scum, feminism tells you there is a way out.  You don’t have to be stuck, there are literally more than 1 billion of them on earth; find another one. I told my siblings that dating, as a feminist, is way better than when I was ignorant and didn’t know any better. Because not only will I always hold you accountable, I flat out tell you what I expect from you. This has made me emotionally healthier.  My tolerance of BS is at an all time low. Thank you Jesus for waking me up, and for the wisdom to (try to) constantly see myself and my power as a strong, smart black woman, who rocks.

If this felt like a rant, it’s because it is a rant. We need to do better as a society. Demand better. Raise better sons. And make sure men are held accountable for their actions.

This is a hostile return after such a long break hahaha. Forgive me. I will be back to being Zen in subsequent posts ☺

Love,

I

*On air personality
** a  Nigerian colloquial used to describe a good guy. Coined as the opposite of another colloquial, Yoruba demon, which is…pretty self-explanatory.
***An Easter egg only fans of How I Met Your Mother can understand hahaha

Friday Reflections

1.) How can a party that stands with and for so many vile people proclaim itself as Christian?

2.) An actual rocket scientist. And she is a black woman. Yea, we ROCK.

3.) The new woke Christian.

4.) Luvvie says White women need to get their shit together. You know what? I agree with her.

5.) Some great essays from 2017

6.) Thank you black women in Alabama. You rock.

7.) Christmas break is hereeeeee!

8.) I really, desperately needed a break and now that I have one, I'm taking full advantage. 

Friday Reflections

1.) Some questions to ask your partner before marriage if you want to avoid divorce.

2.) The career advice to give a 25 year old

3.) How Dr. Eric Kandel, a neuroscientist and nobel laureate, spends his Sundays. I follow New York Times' Sunday Routine, and that's one of my favorites!

4.) Going with your guts.

5.) This unlikely friendship will probably make you smile.

6.) Billy Bush's story. I like that he acknowledged his fault in all of this. I also wonder why one party was rewarded with the highest office of the land, and the other  practically lost everything.

7.) "In a world that wants us to whisper, I choose to yell." -  Luvvie, dishing out truths