Book of the Month: Daughters Who Walk This Path By Yejide Kilanko

Hello and welcome to the book of this month!

I'm always so excited to talk about these and I hope y'all are just as excited. If you are, please let me know and/or share with others. It encourages me a great deal :-)  This month's own is a miracle on it's own because I almost lost my laptop and everything in it so praise God with me. 



Alright, let's dive in: the book of this month is by Yejide Kilanko called Daughters Who Walk this Path. 
Not that it was planned, but I realized that this year, most of the books have been by black women and I'm even more proud of that hehe. I hope I can keep this up so if you have any recommendations, feel free to put them in the comments below, okay? 

The book is a coming of age story of the main protagonist, Morayo. The book tells us how she went from a charming, carefree, and intelligent girl who grows up surrounded by a loving family and friends in Ibadan, Nigeria to one who is eclipsed into trauma, shame, and a cloud of oppressive silence. All of these occur because  the adults around her have completely let down, in my opinion. But one person stands out in her story and that's her cousin (aunt?) Aunty Morenike, who having walked the path before her was able to guide Morayo through navigating this path too

The author is a master storyteller and I an tell you for a fact that from the first pages, you hardly want to put down the book. A book that draws you in like so is certainly brilliant. This book is feminist, it's powerful, it's a masterpiece and I don't know why the book or the author is not more mainstream or maybe they are and I just don't know. There was something about the way she narrates the book that makes it so real, so visual, and you don't have to have lived in Ibadan to know the descriptions were apt. The characters are so relatable, especially Aunty Morenike. I loved, loved her. It's touching in so many ways.

I'll be honest, it's told in first person and so the earlier parts came across as a little too...juvenile. But as the story progresses, the storytelling starts to mature. All of these make sense in hindsight because as the pages turn, the protagonist grows older. 

My biggest peeve with this book is that it deals with too many issues. On the one hand, that's freaking amazing: to deal with such complex themes within the context of Nigeria. We are talking child abuse, shame, the mother-daughter dynamics, albinism, political violence, sex education...But on the other, it sometimes felt like the author was given a laundry list of themes to tackle and it was all about forcing every single one of them unto the pages of this otherwise fantastic book. But then again, these are topics often not discussed in Nigeria so it was refreshing to hear it said.  

But if you are African or at least Nigeria, the story is one that you're familiar with, especially as a woman. We know how the adults around often choose silence rather than the discomfort that occurs from truth telling. It's funny because one of the biggest events of this book, you could have seen a mile coming. And you keep hoping it doesn't happen but it does. And you are angry at the [redacted] because how could they let that happen to their [redacted]. Then you realize that's real life too. That's precisely how it occurs in real life.  Again, the particular thing that struck me is, this book does NOT pander to "the western gaze". That's what I loved the most about it.

It's a brilliant book so I hope you read it. When you do, please let me know what you think!

Love,

I

Are Men Too Emotional for Politics?

News broke recently that some republican congressman found AOC on the capitol steps, accosted her, yelled at her, and called her disgusting for saying poverty and unemployment are increasing crime in New York City during the pandemic. Any moron would know that this is in fact the truth, and not just in an American city like New York but even in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria. But no. He called her disgusting, crazy, dangerous...

"You are out of your freaking mind!" He yelled at her. She responded that he was being rude and left to go cast her vote on the floor.

According to The Hill, he was coming down the steps and she was ascending the steps when it all happened.

A few steps down, he called her a"fucking bitch". He called a seating Congresswoman a "fucking bitch". It's all too familiar and quite frankly, trite. Women know this language, we recognize this; men hurling insults at us in public to intimidate us.

In his ridiculous non apology, he said he could not apologize for his passion.  Instead of offering a genuine apology, he chose the cowardly way out: making excuses for his behavior.  I'm incredibly glad AOC did not let that ridiculous, pitiful apology slide.  He used his own wife and daughters as shields for poor behavior. The age-old "I have a daughter, wife" spiel that men like him never get tired of using. Because men like him have a hard time seeing a woman as a human being. They can only see women as daughters, wives, mothers. To give some perspective, AOC is two years younger than his youngest daughter. Two years. That's who he called a fucking bitch because they disagree on policy. Ladies and gentlemen, this man is what we call ÀGBÀYÀ where I come from.

When AOC said thankfully her father is not alive to see this man disparage her like so, it broke my heart. But then when she followed up with the fact that she was not raised to accept abuse from men, I screamed! Because, you BET she wasn't.

And then of course, the part that infuriated me the most in his ridiculous non apology was that he mentioned he could not apologize for loving his God. How in the beautiful name of God does harassing your colleague at work demonstrate your love for God? But that's not why we are here today.





The wildest part is that despite rubbish like this, women are the ones branded as too emotional for politics. Even though time and time again we see women calm, reasoned, logical, hard at work, and fiercely advocating for the people they serve. The countries that have successfully tackled the Covid-19 crisis have been almost predominantly led by  women. Women get the job done. Period. Yet one of the most pervasive myths out there is the stereotype that women are more emotional than men.

On the other hand, men throw tantrums, they post unhinged tweets, they declare wars when they are in terrible moods, they lack basic empathy, they are erratic, people still never declare them emotionally unfit to hold elected and leadership positions.

Several months ago when this country had to sit through the testimonies of Dr. Christine Ford and Bret Kavanaugh. One person, who suffered through an unfortunate event that has haunted her almost all her life, was measured, calm, focused, respectful. The other, about to be sworn in as a supreme court justice yelled, cried, spat, berated people, screamed about loving his daddy and of course, beer, and was generally a whole mess.

We continue to let these gender stereotypes permeate our society and people use all kinds of language to rearrange their prejudices. People argue that men are the more calm and capable leaders. Take a moment to take in this most recent story I narrated above about AOC. Imagine a woman being so irritated with her coworker that she accosts him on the steps, yells at him, and then curses at him. Ask yourself what would that woman be called? It would definitely not be passionate.

This is why I always say language matters. What we say and how we say it matters, from when boys and girls are little. The languages we use for girls that force them to be timid are not the same for men that cause them to assume an inherent superiority.

I want to say that being emotional is not the problem. In the words of Amanda Seales, emotion is the language of our soul. It's that we label men's emotions different from women's. This type of double standard must stop at every level but especially at our highest offices.

In her now famous response, AOC said she has tossed men out of bars while waiting tables for this same behavior. The same thing a seating U.S. representative did. She said she has encountered this type of harassment riding the subway. And the fact that such behavior is condoned and normalized is what breaks my heart. Republicans have continually bullied, harassed, dehumanized and tried to silence AOC. It only demonstrates how afraid they are. So we must let them know that there are many more where she came from. That us, young, gifted, smart  black and brown women [ACROSS THE WORLD] will not keep silent. Where our mothers may have tolerated all manners of abuse, where society has continually uplifted powerful men who brag about abusing women only to turn around to remind us they have daughters and wives, we are different. We will bring the fire. We will destroy the culture of the old white boys club. So they and all their stupid emotions better be afraid. We are the true daughters of our fathers. Of our mothers. We are here to stay.

I love love how AOC said by refusing to apologize he has given other men the permission to do to his daughters. Her speech was powerful in many ways and also the best reminder of why we need more women in politics. The cadence, the delivery, the substance, no man could ever. NONE.

Finally, men, you can have daughters, wives, granddaughters, you can call on God from now till eternity and still be deeply misogynistic, and still accost women, and still call women "fucking bitch" without any remorse. You can be all of these things; you can be a tongue lashing, firebrand christian, and when given the opportunity to apologize for your mistakes, squander it while using your daughters, wife, passion as shields. I mean, what a coward!

"Having a wife does not make you a decent man. Treating people with decency and respect makes you a decent man. And when a decent man messes up as we are all bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize, not to save face, not to win a vote, he apologizes genuinely to acknowledge and repair the harm done. So that we can all move on." - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

SHAME on you, Mr. Yoho. Shame on you, for using your wife, daughters, and the name of God as a shield for terrible behavior. Àgbàyà oshi!


And so to answer the question, are men too emotional for politics? It appears so.

Love,

I

Redefining Dreams, Goals, and What Success Means to You

I listen to Dave Ramsey a lot [on YouTube]. I have to caveat that with I don't agree with everything he says, but I quite enjoy his shows and I learn a lot about living financially conservatively from him.  Someone recently called in about her husband who has a $700k debt (!!!!) they have been ploughing through for a while. To be clear, this was not debt that was used for the family; it was just his personal debt that I think he used for his business or something. Still, together they have been on a debt journey for about 7 years. In fact, they have paid it down to 60k (an incredible feat). So why was she calling? Well, she was still angry.  I would be too. But she wan't angry for reasons you might think. She resents him because her dream was always to be a stay at home mom but because of her husband's terrible decisions, she wasn't able to. She had to work because they were so deep in debt, they needed to both be working to solve the crisis. She is exhausted mentally and emotionally and is about ready to give up on the marriage. Completely confused, Dave confirmed again "You said you already paid this down from SEVEN HUNDRED thousand to sixty?"

"Yes," She said

"So what's the problem?"

"I guess I have run out of gas," she said, breaking into tears.

Again, I would be furious. In fact, as soon the call began, I was like yappp divorce his stupid behind.
But pump the breaks. Let's be fair here. This man did not do ANY of this in secret. She knew about it. When they doubled down on working hard to pay back the debt, he did not refuse. He joined in. He is as committed to financial freedom as she is. Yet she is angry.  So understandably, Ramsey and his cohost (Dr. John) were obviously perplexed. And so was I till I realized the problem

Resentment.

Oh?



Now, I KNOW a lot about resentment. Ooohhh chile. I know it all too well. You know what the problem is? She is angry at him because one of her greatest dreams—to  stay home, take care of her kids, and be a homemaker—could not be achieved because of him. Now it's too late because her youngest kid is 20 and is now in college.

Sigh.

The one thing Dr. John told her that I loved was, at the end of the day the decision to hang on to this resentment is her choice. But more than holding on to resentment, she has refused to let go of that particular dream.  I used to be like that too; I would have one dream, and do all but literally worship that dream. I would hold on to it as the almighty ideal. It's not my fault though, neither is it the fault of the woman above. We have been told in many ways to have a dream, visualize it, and hold on to that dream no matter what.  I know better now; I now know dreams come and go. TD Jakes once said what makes you feel like you have lost your life after some form of loss is that you have lost what you had in mind for your life. This means that you need a new vision for yourself. Things and plans fail, and it has to be okay.

"We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to welcome the life that is waiting for us." - Joshua Campbell.

When Hodgins, a character on one of my most favorite shows (Bones) had an accident and became paralyzed, he went into a deep depression and was angry at everyone. Bones confronted him about his anger which had turned into hatred and hostility. He told her it didn't matter if the whole world was supporting you, sometimes success can be just as hard to reach. Her reply to him changed my approach to many things. She said, then success must be redefined as that which can be accomplished.

Whether it is with a freaking global pandemic or loss or uncertainty or all of the above, we have to be willing to let go of some dreams, welcome new ones, and redefine what success means to us. The woman that called Dave Ramsey was literally crying and tired. So far be it from me to trivialize her concerns. But you know what though, what if she was a stay at home mom and completely DESPISED it? I hate to use cliches but we never know what God is saving us from by making some of our big dreams unattainable. Even if it would have been the best thing to happen to her, the fact is it is now a road not taken. And she can never know what would have come off it. This is why she must learn to let go of that sole dream if she is going to thrive in her new reality. Did her husband make a mistake? Absolutely. But it's time to draw a new vision. It's time to conceive a new dream. We are incredibly multifaceted and wonderfully complex. Yet, we fall for the trap that we have to be one and only one thing.

And don't get me wrong. It's not magic. You don't just turn a switch off and it's all gone. Sometimes you have to live with remnants of old dreams laying around your life. This woman has been working two jobs to pay down debt. She went from wanting to stay home to working two freaking jobs. Any sane person would be mad. She made a statement that drove it home for me:

"we are both working really hard to achieve his dream but mine never mattered"

So in her case as with most of us, it's a long, arduous, painful process.  One that has to begin with open communication, either with ourselves or with the people in our lives. After lots of disappointments from friends, I sat myself down for a one-on-one and I told me that if I couldn't give wholly and fully without expecting back then I would not give. Fin. I would do what I can for people, but set very low expectations of return. That way I could rid myself of the resentment that had been building up due to me giving and giving but never getting back. I don't even mean material things. I mean everything else. And now I'm at peace with myself, not angry with anybody, and doing the best that I can. It's the same with some dreams.

So what dreams, expectations, goals are you forcefully holding on to? Because life is too fleeting to think you have to only be one thing. In these especially troubling times, reevaluate, redefine success, dream new dreams, create new visions. Whatever you must do to not hold yourself to standards you unrealistically set eons ago because mommy and daddy thought you were good with math at age 5 so you had to be an engineer. Even though 30-year-old-you knows that your heart belongs to writing and drawing and creating? Ooohh I hit a nerve lol.

Seriously though, your dreams are not supposed to hold you hostage and terrorize you. Set yourself free today.

Love,

I

Friday Reflections

1.) We had none of these in June. Yikes. My bad.



2.) 74 things white people can do for racial justice.

3.) Tayari Jones, author of one of the best books of this decade,  An American Marriage, always believed she would never catch up.

4.) Chemical versus physical sunscreen: the actual science.

5.) Ladies and gentlemen, please wear sunscreen.

6.) I say this about my favorite shows but really, Madam Secretary was one of the best shows on TV. I don't know why it wasn't more mainstream. I recently watched the series finale and it was amazing.  It was such a good show. The pace. They storylines. Plus, it never tried to be anything it wasn't.

7.) The New York Times agrees with me.

8.) My favorite part was how Elizabeth McCord was portrayed: reasoned, calculated, but filled with incredible empathy. Oh and her marriage; she and Henry were the best couple ever Lol.

9.) Okay here's another review: "Madam Secretary was not perfect but it was hopeful."

10.) This is the best and most fun way you'll ever learn about investing whether during Covid or just more generally. The way she breaks down very complex terminology is a talent, for sure.

11.) Happy July 4th, people. Our celebration this year must be centered around the fact that a woman was peacefully in HER HOME and then she was shot dead by the police and they still have not been arrested or held accountable in any way. That is not true freedom. And if all of us aren't free, then none of us are.

12.)  So don't forget to continue to advocate for Breonna Taylor.

11.) That's it folks. Have a great weekend..