Day 31: Shirley

Yes… I know… How can there be a 31st day when it’s #30DaysOfHope? Well, you might as well read the final entry for this year’s edition of #30DaysOfHope project while you ruminate over that. All hail Shirlz…

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My hair has grown quite a bit. One thing they tell you about natural hair is that, as it grows its texture will change. This is because your follicles are responding to the improved care. Strands become thicker, smoother, healthier… The problem with this is, ever so often you’d find yourself with a totally new head of hair. BUT YOU HAD YOUR HAIR ALL FIGURED OUT! You had your routine down like clockwork, you figured out what products did what and all the quick fixes. Now, you would have to do that shit all over again

Apologies for the natural hair lesson but my point is, we think we have it all figured out then life happens and suddenly we have a whole new head of hair

“We were made in Gods own image therefore have the power of creation. We have the ability to speak things into existence”

I gave up making New Year Resolutions ages ago. It seemed pointless, mostly getting abandoned by mid February anyway. However, I have come to realise the importance of setting goals, not just thinking them but speaking them out loud into the universe. By declaring a thing out loud, we have made ourselves accountable, we owe it to ourselves. So in a bid to break the surface of complacency…

In 2014, I’d love to actually give a fuck! Somewhere along the line I got tired and I quit. I quit trying because I didn’t want to fail, I quit caring because I didn’t want to get hurt, I quit hoping because I didn’t want to be disappointed. It so easy to get by with minimal effort, except there’s a hollow feeling that echoes the call of buried dreams. Then there is that huge wall to keep out the bad stuff and intruders; people who think they get a vote. As these things go, it also keeps out the people who care about you, IN SPITE of you. This year, I want to nurture relationships – Be a better daughter, sister and friend. I found God last year and I really want to make this the most important relationship in my life. I want to build and not burn bridges, I want to forgive and be more tolerant of people’s flaws. It is impossible to be completely immune to pain, the trick is to stay in expectation of the good stuff; to hope

I spend a lot of time sitting in the dark. I believe darkness focuses the mind revealing the true nature of things (there are so many ways I find this to be true but that’s a whole other thing). Light is important too, revealing things hidden in the dark, things such as your reflection; it gives perspective. Finding Balance – The dark might be where I find my art but I do need to come out and play. I don’t have to change who I am to connect with people, compromise isn’t such a bad thing.

I will let myself be vulnerable. By now my trust issues are obvious I’m sure but a lot of it doesn’t stem from hurt. Growing up in an atypical household, the weird fat kid with dark jokes and nose always buried in a book, I grew a thick skin very quick. My mum, a single parent couldn’t afford to indulge our every whim and fantasy so I grew very practical too, I had to be strong. As great as being strong is, it also means you deny yourself a part of your humanity. It is ok to be sad sometimes. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to make mistakes. I will be less hard on myself. I will get over my fear of commitment.

“Where is the fun in forever?”

This has more to do with career than with relationships. I have “What if I commit and I get bored? What if it’s too late to walk away?” Plan Bs and Cs always takes something away from your focus, it’s not worth the time if it isn’t worth the risk basically. So I will write (hey, look I wrote for the first time in years), I will draw (for the heck of it), I will make the videos I feel like making and I will put it all out. I will share my art; the pieces of me I’ve so protective of, in the hopes that it will find root, yield fruit and feed the mind of someone in need.

It’s the last day of January and there has been no major event or breakthrough but that’s ok. I’m rediscovering things in the light that I am very familiar with in the dark. I’m learning to trust in God’s perfect will. When I decided to do this, the plan was to stay anonymous but that is just me hiding behind the wall again, isn’t it? So I threw out the well planned, well structured first draft and decided to go at this by feel. I’m not even going to read it a second time just so I don’t change my mind again

My name is Shirley and 2014 is the year I let myself heal.

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Dark 30: Frances

 

And here we are. Day 30. It’s interesting, and painful, how the “Dark” in the title does not relate only to the time of day the post is going up…

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I entered Jan 2013 with excitement. More hope than I had ever had in my life. You know that feeling you have right before something incredibly great happens to you? That mightily expectant feeling? Yes? Well, that’s how I started last year. From January 1st. And I infected everyone around me with that excitement. My whole family felt it too.

The year did go well. Very well. We had loads of blessings and wonderful news. Seemed each member of my family had some exciting thing happen to them one time or the other. Mega changes and uplifment roundabout. We lived each day with thankfulness and joy. I just KNEW that my family was special in the eyes of God.

Then came the 30th of December, 2013. Exactly a month ago, my best friend in the whole wide world (Betty Kums Maidawa), died. Alone. We chatted less than 24 hours before she died. She told me she wasn’t feeling so well and I teased her as usual. Went to visit her the next day, and I was told she had died in the early morn. I really didn’t know…

I still don’t want to imagine what her last moments were. It hurts bad. They say it would probably hurt forever and I’ll never ‘get over’ it, but not as much and I’ll learnt to live with it. Can’t wait. She was more than a sister to me. That’s how I felt about her all along, but I never let her know. I wasn’t the kind to ever say or really show it. But she died.

I was shaken to my very bones. I had joined the league of people who have lost loved ones. I used to think that things like that didn’t happen to people like us. People who love God and have been blessed ALL our lives. But I lost my best friend. Perhaps we weren’t so special before God afterall?

Forgive me for how that sounds. I guess I lived “too comfortably” all this while. And that is why I took SO MUCH for granted. People. Myself. God. I did. And not even on purpose. I was just used to it, you see?

So anyway, I’ve learnt. Big lessons. First of, God will not be played with. He IS God. And by His Grace, I Will draw closer to Him. Me and my Family. It’s safest there. Anywhere else, gutter.

I will stop treating people anyhow. I will not take people for granted anymore. I will truly love people and treat them like so. I will make friends easily and keep in touch. I will truly love people. I will make the conscious effort to stop burning bridges and maintain old friendships. Because GOD(!), it hurts to lose people. And it might happen. (I will) Love them while (I’m) they’re/you’re here.

I will stop waiting. I find that I’ve become so used to waiting for people to do things for me. For things to happen around me. And so, I haven’t really gone to get anything. But not anymore. There is no ‘Godot’. That part of my life is also over. I will be a Getter. In major aspects of my life.

I will read more. I will write more. Virtually and physically. I do find pleasure in it. *hint hint all ye bloggers*

I WILL LIVE. And I will do it right. So help me God.

P.S. Betty Kums Maidawa wasn’t killed by diet pills/slimming tea.

Dusk 30: Oyin

I love Oyin. Ever vivacious and effervescent, She’s my tiny little sister.

Tiny.

Little.

See what I might not have done there? I’m innocent. Honest… :p

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Wiping sweat off my brow, the realization that I might be beginning this year feeling frustrated about the heat and crazy town called Lagos is not diminishing the good feeling that is enveloping me when I think of how much closer I’m getting to my goals as each day passes. My plans for this year are now a little carved in plasticine which to me, means that only the place my plans are placed on may change but my plans are steady taking appropriate form.

I think I was being pseudo-deep right now.

However, the mental ruler I’m using to measure how far I’m going tells me that I’m on the right track at the right pace. Even though, today feels like one of those days that I wish I was travelling round the world, seeing weird things.  Not that I’m bored. I’m just restless.

And Excited.

“Oh Lord… that You would bless me indeed, enlarge my territory…”  Has been my song for a while now and I haven’t been disappointed so far. With a beautiful new job, I’m fascinated and challenged everyday. I’m investing in who I am, and being the absolute best that I can be. It’s all about love and roots. I love my job… yes, I love it so it’s very perfect. I’m paying more attention to myself and that is paying off too.

Well, my hopes and dreams for this year are pretty simple.

I’m determined to finish my book this year. Well, God knows I’ve finished it like twice already but I don’t think they’ve been good enough so… I have to make sure that it ends exactly the way that it wants me. My closest friends think I’m too hard on myself, but I just expect so much more from me, so I intend to live up to my own expectations this year.

On that note, that means that I’m going to be the absolute best of myself EVERYDAY till its not so difficult to do. Being a creative person can make one easily distracted with all the ideas running through one’s head but I’m going to stick by my day to day expectations.

Roots. Another year that is about creating a strong foundation for whatever else I’m going to be has to begin RIGHT NOW!! Being more understanding, loving and forgiving people. Make an effort with my family because they are amazingly talented people who don’t judge. Do you know how difficult it is to fit in a family? My brothers are soooooo cool and I need to show them how much I’ll give for them.

This year, my relationship is my focus. (Oh well, when isn’t it?) I’m just going to keep my eyes up on God because I’ve learnt a lot being with Him for this long and there’s still so much to be learnt, so I’m not going to be stubborn and believe that I know everything. Lol.

There’s a lot to plan and say I’m going to do but I’m not great with making long term plans and sticking to them. I’m a simple girl with simple tastes. They might seem eccentric but who cares?

And yeah… I’m on a #1000FriendsAYear plan which simply means that I’m going to be spending a lot of time with a whole lot of people this year and its simply because… God uses people to teach us lessons and how else would you learn if you aren’t around them?

Finally, I’m all about relationships this year because I totally believe that LOVE makes the world go round and God shows himself mightily through people. So I’m going to take that route. I’m hopeful that it’ll take me where I eventually want to be.

Thank you Tokunbo for making sure that I did this. You are an amazing man and I thank God that I met you. Love :*

Day 30: Chidinma

We’re almost at the end of #30DaysOfHope. Almost. Welcome Chidinma…
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I used to like writing. Baring my mind and ranting to no one but my virtual self.
I lost that gift… the words stopped coming.
Today seems different.
*****
I am 30 days into the year and already there’s been one death scare and one real loss- my grandfather.
A man I have mentally wished to see for two years now.
They said he slept and never woke up.
Since I have promised to forgive myself a little more this year, i am trying not to beat myself about failing to visit him.
I succeed a little each hour. It is hard though.
Work is still the same – staid and sedate. Even though I want a change, I really have no decided where to go next.
That is what irks the most. To be at this stage without plans B, C and D.
It almost scares me.
Anyway for the first time since forever, I did not make unrealistic resolutions mainly because I have never kept those self made promises.
I always start with so much vigor, so much anxiety,  so much hope. The ginger never makes it pass the end of January. Never!
I decided to break it this year.
No fairy tale promises. No yoyo targets.
In 2014, I will take every day as it comes believing in miracles, grace and unmerited favor.
I may take up singing again or swimming. I may do that ‘backpack through Europe’ thing that has been bothering me.
I will get a flat (holla if you have any ideas of rates/agents et al in Lagos).
I may meet a new friend that I will retain no matter how much I try to push him/her away.
I may fall in love and be a happy bunny like most of the people around me.
I will be a better person… must be a better person. I honestly have no choice here.
I will come back here to tick off what i have accomplished one-at-a-time by December, 2014.
In short I will play again, I will try to love again, I will sing again, I will write again and try all of these again if I fail.
You know why?
Because again is practice and practice is continuous improvement.

Improvement may not make me perfect, but it is somewhere close to perfection. Somewhere close to where

 have to be.
In 2014, I will not give up on life.

Dark 29: Olo

Olo has warned me that I must not do a short intro for her so I’m just going to ramble here for a bit until I think this intro is long enough to satisfy her and not land me in any trouble of any sort… Okay, I think this should do ^_^

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Dear Daddy,

Hi. It’s your girl again. Here to write out my hopes for 2014. You already know them, at least the ones that have occurred to me up to this time. You also know that I’m not one to make plans for a whole year. What’s the point when you are so good at replacing them with yours? I actually don’t mind when you do that, by the way. Yours are always better and you spoil me so much that you usually grant my wishes anyway, but Toks challenged us to write our hopes down. So, here I am, doing something unusual. Drumroll, please.

I want you. I want you more than anything in the world. I love you deeply and I know you love me too. On that day at the beginning of the year when my plane had to make an emergency landing and I wasn’t sure if I’d live, I remember telling you I wasn’t ready to come home. That I hadn’t done anything for you and it would be a waste of a life to die with all of that potential. I remember, too, how I had not prayed that morning. I had not been spending time with you during the weeks leading up to 2014 anyway so it was becoming somewhat of a stupid trend. S-T-U-P-I-D! Because you deserve way more than I was giving. Admittedly I was in a different location, out of my usual routine, but you were there too. No excuses, Baba. And when I prayed for you to land that plane safely, I did not feel condemnation, but love. Your girl had kind of pushed you to the background for weeks, but when you had the chance to ‘flex your muscle’ and condemn me, you chose love. I was surrounded by it, and I knew the plane would land safely. I knew, and it did. So God, I want to go crazy for you. Not just because of that episode but because it’s time. The harvest is truly plenty and the labourers are truly few. The few labourers need to step up. So this is me publicly asking you to sign me up. I know it’ll take work and move me out of my comfort zone, but you’re worth it. I love you enough not to mind, but you know this.

Speaking of love, I need to improve my relationship with the brother. There is no animosity, just indifference. He lives just an hour away and there are phones and social media but we are letting life happen and not cherishing the gift of siblinghood. I know its breaking the parents’ hearts. I do love him but I’m not putting in any effort to show it. I definitely need to work on that this year.

In the spirit of working, the keyboard and guitar in my room need servicing. I’m probably the only one that has two instruments and can’t play either. I just need motivation. Please give me some this year. I promise to play for you (yes this is me trying to bribe you! :P). I also need to learn to sing from my belly or diaphragm or whatever those people say. Teach me, please, because the music game needs to be upped this year.

On the subject of motivation, there is absolutely none to go back to the gym. Zilch. I can almost hear the “boooooo!” coming from the fitfam camp, but, honestly, trudging through the snow to go to the gym at 6.45 a.m. is not appealing at all right now. That determination I had for those couple of months in 2013 seems to have died in 2013. Maybe because it wasn’t that cold then and there wasn’t this much snow outside. Meh! We’ll see. Maybe I’ll resume my love affair with the gym sometime this year. Maybe.

And I think it’d be nice to end this letter by confirming in writing the decision I have made to actually live. You know I’m a chronic saver. I LOVE to see money in my savings but that’s where it ends. I have no problem giving to others, but when it comes to giving to myself, that’s another ball game. I’m going to stop depriving myself of certain things and start living. I know I’ll be fine, after all it’s whatever vessel I present to you that you’ll fill. If I come to you with a bucket, you’ll fill a bucket, but if I come to you with a tank, you’ll fill a tank. I made a couple of big purchases in December, and I’m still fine. You provide. They don’t call you Jehovah Jireh for nothing. So this year, money and I are having a Master-Servant relationship. I will give without fear, to myself and to others, and money will serve me. I know you will fill the vessels I need to do this, because you are God, and because you can.

Oh, before I sign off, here’s a song that encapsulates my desire for 2014. Cheesy? Corny? It’s ok, you like cheese and corn. Plus songs are awesome, anyway.

Till Prayer Time.

With all my love,

Olo.

Dusk 29: Niro

This one is just an ashawo. Trying to set P on my blog. I’m sure none of the ladies here will fall for this tomfoolery. Abi? (¬_¬)…

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Good evening ladies,

I really don’t get to write stuff before I do them. And for some reason this pretty much looks like my boss asking me to write a year plan, and year plans we all know are tedious to make. So bear with me, this will be a little staggered.

That being said, my name is Niro and welcome to my 2014 mini year plan/to-do list.

First on this list is staying out of the hospital for as long as I can: that means, I’m praying against any form of accident (road, sea, air and otherwise) seeing that I will be travelling a lot this year.

Secondly, I would love to get a camera and improve my photography. I’ve successfully pushed this photography dream for way too long, and I feel this year is the year I should quit procrastinating and get to work at it.

(P.s to further motivate me, I’ve started taking random photos of places in Lagos. You can find them on my Instagram page: Instagram.com/djniro84)

Thirdly, this year I’d love to start a masters’ degree. This is funny though, considering the fact that I’ve not even started my application or gotten my transcripts (those ones can take you a month in this Nigeria). But then again, masters should kick off this year hopefully. *Fingers crossed*

I don’t know why this isn’t top of the list, but this year I want to leave NYSC Lagos with their troubles and general CDS meetings when my mates are leaving. I’m halfway through it already, and I don’t pray for an extension.

It would sound funny, but I want to gain more knowledge of how finance works and how to keep money for longer. Man cannot survive in this world by making money and spending, biko I want to learn how to save.

Last year I promised to build an app at the end of the year, I didn’t do it. Well to console myself, I did start it, but couldn’t complete it. But then this year that dream still stands, build an app that will solve a problem. So if there’s anyone out there or if you know someone who would love to put up with my laziness and build a map app, please send them my way or shoot me an email.

This year I pray God gives me the grace to continue with all my personal projects; Made in Uniben, Kreek Entertainment, The Heavy Rotation Mixes, Kreek Tv, and Navr. Even though I know this isn’t supposed to be here, I’d love to write at least 30 blog posts on playbookutunu.wordpress.com

Also I want to maintain a healthy relationship with the siblings (all 17+ of them), my mothers and the girlfriend… And possibly get to see all of my new nephews and nieces at least twice before the year runs out.

Thank you Ola for letting me use your blog as a checklist and sharing my hopes with the wonderful ladies that stalk your blog.

Disclaimer: while we hope and believe that things work according to plan, we still believe that the big guy up there agrees with us and multiply our hopes far above our expectations.

#Believe

Day 29: Jibola

Jibola is a wizard with the words. I hadn’t read something from him for a long while before this so… you can imagine my delight when he indicated interest. Without further ado…

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I’m staring down this mug of Sidamo and I can see how today is going to go for me. I am no diviner. But I seem to have a preternatural sense for the patterns in the ether. I’m bleary eyed, and can’t afford to sleep. I know I’m going to need to plumb from the endless depths of energy the Universe has just to get through today (of all days.)

Don’t yawn yet. Stay with me.

So I should take a sip of this coffee, but I can’t. Not today. Caffeine and my body (when tired) are Chris Brown and Rihanna. It never ends well. I’m having this mini debate with myself then my phone lights up (no vibe, no sound).

“Hi bruh. Sorry I forgot to give you a heads up earlier. You’re up on #30DaysOfHope today. Can I get ur entry before 10am?”

Shit.

Wait, shit. Am I allowed to cuss here?

IDK. I’m in a reflective mood. I wonder at this situation and how it is a metaphor for my life. You see, I’d committed earlier in the year to doing it and totally forgot. It’s almost over and I haven’t written a word.

I put my coffee woes aside, and got right to it:

The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places, yes I have a goodly heritage.

(Yes, you might be shocked that Lucifer himself lifts a quote from the bible, nut then, doesn’t that fit the stereotype? Remember Matthew 4:6)

If you’ve been listening to public opinion, you’d be perplexed as to why anvils and pianos aren’t falling unto me in sensitive places. I honestly don’t know, myself. I just know I’m undeserving and I’m grateful nonetheless. I also know I wont jinx it by likening myself to King David.

This year is good to me, and I see myself doing more.

Write more. I’m writing more. I’m not writing 100 drafts and chucking them in the dustbin. Every little thing I write, I’m getting right at the first try. And I’m not hoarding or limiting myself anymore. I’m sharing it.

Give more. Somehow, I let cynicism take the place of a generous giving heart. I’m taking that back. Much has been given to me in every area of my life and I am not ungrateful.

Be more reachable. SHOCKER, I know. I realize that being able to be reached on my own terms has its perks. But it also does harm in alienating the people I love. So I’m returning all my missed calls, replying all my messages and taking up invitations to hang-out.

Lord! What is happening? I just felt the air rush out of the room! Hah!

I’ll care more about what the grapevine says about me. I mean like who am I to just ignore the whispers of people lacking the balls to step up to me and say shit. KIDDING. Lord, I need sleep. See now, I’ve started typing rubbish.

I’ll just end it with this. I don’t know who you are. I promise you I’m not collecting an offering after this.

I just feel the need to share of the bread of hope that was shared with me in the darkest of times. Hold on. I’m not asking you to be strong. Just hold on (we’re goween home). I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.

Really though. Hold on. I won’t promise you light at the end of the tunnel or blue skies and puff-puff. What I can promise you is that holding on will be worth it. Look, don’t listen to me because I’m that guy everybody says is Toxic (I can’t help myself, I need sleep!). But never give up hope.

Hope is that last juice in your blackberry that carries you to the next place you can charge your phone. Hope is the last N200 in your pocket to make soup with. It is the last cup of garri the night before Sallah and your neighbors show up in the morning with a feast.

Hope is also an Igbo girl (and a Kogi girl, and a Calabar girl) but you get the idea.

Peas, love and agbalumo!

Jibola (the only non-counterfeit one, duh)