Living. Bankole.

Bankole
Truthfully, 2017 was a blur. It wasn’t a bad year for me but I did go through it and I can say the only really memorable thing was going to Nigeria after 3 years.
Coming into 2018, I did not make any resolutions per se, just a list of things I’d like to get done and top of that list is living.
See I have an ongoing war with depression and I am trying my best to win as many battles by being more active.
This year I want to volunteer, go out more, network, create art (lol I know I am a slacker) and maybe even travel.
I really do not interact with my surroundings as much as I’d love to. I want to be more present in the moment instead of waiting for tomorrow or next month.
I am building the habit of getting it done as soon as I think about it.
I am hoping 2018 is also a good year for matters of the heart. I mean it is kind of off to a great start as of now. Hopefully if I write an end of year review, it’s something I write about in present tense.
I am hoping that whatever happens this year, I am present in the moment.
Here is to a year of living 🙂

Being Mary-Jane’s Best Year Yet

2018.

I’ve been staring at this screen blankly for the past 20 minutes asking myself what exactly I am hopeful for in 2018, initially I came up empty. I mean come on, it’s a Friday night, I’m supposed to be doing some stress relieving activity like reading a book or going to the party happening on campus tonight, so my brain is little bit at the point of its diminishing return. It’s been a hell of a week.

Finally finding some inspiration… I’m going to talk to 2018, I’m going to tell you, all the things I want you to bring for me this year, and I hope you’re listening ’cause like I’ve been telling myself and everybody kind enough to listen, you’ll be my best year yet!

For starters, 2018, you’ll be the year I’ll be called to the Nigerian Bar. Somehow, that 8 year old girl’s dream of being like the judge she saw in court on a school trip has metamorphosed into me being at the last stages of my education and I cannot be more excited. Throw in a first class, and 2018 you’ll have outdone yourself. I’m counting on you!

Secondly, 2018, I fell in love and that’s a big deal. Seeing as halfway through 2017, my love life was a disaster of epic proportions. How it happened I don’t know, but I’m glad I did, with a man that’s so adorable it seems clichè. He makes me laugh half the time and somehow does not enjoy football, go figure. So 2018, this time please do your job as my best year yet, and make this one stick, okay, I’m counting on you. I really am tired of kissing frogs.

2018, you’ll make it 5 years since daddy passed and it still seems like yesterday, I somehow still hear his voice, and I always wonder whether he’s looking down on us, proud of all the things we’ve achieved as a family since he’s been gone. Mum’s really strong, too strong sometimes, but I can see she misses you so much. She still hasn’t cleaned out your suits from the closet till now. 2018, please make sure she has the strength to still go about being awesome.

Lastly, 2018, I need to lose some weight, but I’m so lazy and there’s really never any time, I’m not making any excuses it’s just how it is, but I know, that’s still beside the fact, I’m at the heaviest I’ve ever been and I hate it, so please I need to find the time to do this.

I know you’ll have challenges just like every other year, but like I keep saying… irrespective of whatever might seem like a problem, I’ll triumph and you’ll end up being my best year yet.

xoxo.

Mary Jane

Obianuju’s Prayer

Still speaking into my year;

I’m grateful for much. A whole lot. I’m truly grateful. I’m grateful for new opportunities opening up like doors that never close to me and mine. Everyday. Every blessed day they show up. Disguised as problems sometimes, opportunities knock on our doors every day and for that I say thank you God.

Last year I got a job. Close to my house. And my ideas are coming back to me now. I feel like my ideas left me because I didn’t pay adequate attention to them and I need to do better. So this 2018, I plan to do so much better. Last year I did not do all the things I planned to. But I know this year is for streamlining the things I’ve done already. Revising them. Making them better. So help me Lord. And whenever I feel like I haven’t done enough, I’ll remind myself that last year I opened an ARM stock trade account, got halfway through my French language course on Duolingo, started 2 investment fund accounts and more. I fully intend to be very proud of myself by December 31st this year and with the One who makes ways where there seem to be none on my side, I know I will.

Speaking of Big Daddy, I hope to pray more. To have my audio Bible on whenever I’m about to sleep and to write down my prayers a whole lot more. I hope worshipping and praying to Him never becomes a chore for me because He is the only one who loves me me through thick and thin, for richer or poorer. Everything I can’t do, I ask God. I say Jesus, make a way for me and He does. Lord, let it NEVER be a chore for me to bless you. Let me never consider it a chore to worship you. Let me never take it for granted what You do for me.

This year, my sole purpose is to make me proud of myself. Big Daddy, please make a way.

Obianuj

Chychy: In Leaps and Bounds.

Behold, I will do a new thing
Shall ye not know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
– Isaiah 43:19

Chichi

2017. The year everything came together. When I wrote my review last year, I had no idea that the events that followed would be the stuff fairy tales are made of. If I had any inkling, I probably would have been more audacious in my faith. 

I knew I didn’t want to practice law. The stint I did during my NYSC confirmed it. I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do but I knew I didn’t want to stay at home for long after service. In fact, I was very specific. 3 weeks. Brethren, I shit you not when I say that a week after my POP, I got a call from a headhunter asking to meet with me. Apparently, someone recommended me to the company.  2 weeks later, I got my contract. A week after I made the move to Lagos.

This move is significant for me because not only did I move locations, I also made a career move. Moving from law to business operations and management was a little challenging and it took me 3 months to find my bearing but as 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, God’s grace is sufficient.

You know how when everything is going well, the devil starts to get mischievous? I’m guessing he was so upset at my review last year that he struck my mom with blindness in one eye. I have never been so scared in my life like I was the moment I heard the news. Urebekee was walking into walls and shit. However, the enemy came like a flood but trust our Lord to raise a standard against him. My mom sees now. Thanks to God because he created science.

2018. The year of development.

I had a lot of things I wanted to write as my hopes and dreams for this year. You know the usual stuff.  But then my friend, Chiedu, a great man, died. Everything changed the moment I heard the news. You see, Chiedu was a good one. He was a very decent man. He lived a life worthy of emulation. We quarreled a lot because he felt I was too reckless and I thought there was something wrong with him. He was (“was”. Sigh) a light to everyone who came across him and it intrigued me. He stood tall during his lifetime, literally and figuratively.

My 2018 is dedicated to Chiedu Jonathan Eze. Dogo, the lesson you tried to teach me during your lifetime, I’m finally learning it. I hope you’re proud of me.

2018. The year I do right by myself and the people around me.

2018. The year I do better in this career path I have chosen.

2018. The year I try to be a better elder sister to my siblings.

2018. The year I meet and make sister friends.

2018. The year I strategically position myself.

2018. The year I stop hoeing around and find one penis to call mine.

2018. The year I finally take care of myself.

2018. The year I manage my finances through savings and investment.

2018. The year I live my very best life.

Let’s raise a toast to 2018. May all our hopes and dreams come true/through.

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever
– Psalm 18:33

Being Intentional – Amina

She walks along a path unknown…imprinting… wondering where her next steps lead. Somehow there’s happiness amidst all the chaos. A calm residing right in the core of the storm.
She walks along a path untraced … making complex structures with that which is within…
She looks back at time long gone… not minding the ticking of the clocks… ignoring finished races… appreciating the small victories.
The sun rises, sets and rises again…. playing hide and seek with the moon. Everything is changing yet everything remains the same. She sees as seeds sprout surrounded by wilting roses…
Yet, all is calm and all is well.
—-
I don’t want to dwell too much on 2017. It was amazing in more ways than one and it also had it’s not so great moments.
All in all, God was trying to teach me something… some days I’m not even sure I’ve fully learned my lesson. Maybe a part of me is just afraid to let go, but somehow I’m taking things one step at a time and learning…
The build up to 2018 was all kinds of amazing!!!
This year for me is about being intentional.
Intentional about my mental health, intentional about my friends, intentional about my happiness, intentional about everything concerning my life … because really eyan le ku any fucking time!!! [Someone can die any fucking time]. I realise I’ve been waiting for the right time while time is just watching, slowly passing me by…
I’m taking the plunge this year… starting a lot of firsts and rekindling a lot of ‘used to be’.
I realise now there’s only so much of me I can give… and all some people do is take and take – this year, it ends. Mi o de le wa para mi. [I cannot come and kill myself]
I’m staying happy this year – I’m done worrying about things I can’t control.
Meena
—-
All is calm, all is well.
She smiles as she dances to the sun rays… a different spring in each step. She moves in perfect rhythm with the whistling leaves and the wind carries her words…to the place where dreams are born.

Demisola’s Important Things

Somehow, today is the 26th and I didn’t realize it. Where are you people that claim January is long? Turn on your location I want to have a few words with you. Literally forgot about my slot for this.

I WASN’T READYYYYYYYYY!

Somehow I didn’t get to write my usual end of the year review on Efe’s blog. I didn’t have the time. My mind was way too scattered to sit down, reflect, collate my thoughts and put pen to paper ( or finger to phone screen).

2017 was wild. Fast and wild. Everything just went gburu gburu and Dec 31st was like hello sis! Where did all my plans go? Balancing personal life, government work and 3 personal businesses while still attempting to live a baby girl life is not beans. I was constantly tired. Always overworked. Always busy. My mind was a yoyo. On something at one point, 2 seconds later it’s on something else I remember I’m supposed to have done. Exhausting. But nobody send me message ba? Na me dey form I can do all things.

Last year, I wrote about applying to different hospitals and not knowing what Job offers to take on. I swore I wasn’t going to stay back at UCH Ibadan being my alma mata. Did many many shakara. Threatened my friends and family I was going to National Hospital Abuja. Or Lagos. Or Ife. But guess where I ended up? U bloody CH. My senior colleagues heard I was coming and everyone wondered why on earth I’d turn down the other offers only to take UcH. I don’t know too. But I’m glad I did. Uch was an experience. One year that was looking like a mountain is ending in 4 weeks. And I survived! Unsecathed. No extensions, no queries. Had my bosses wrapped round my finger. As a baby Gyal!

My plans for 2018…. honestly didn’t set aside any new year resolutions because meh.

1. Business : I started a new business sometime last year and to be honest, this is the only thing on my mind like that like that for 2018. *insert Plug: @avril_jewelry offers a vast collection of specially crafted sterling silver, titanium and solid gold pieces with lifetime guarantee to satisfy everyone, irrespective of budget.

We also offer our customers the chance to design their own jewelry pieces. This is not limited to wedding jewelry alone. Seal a memory and gift a loved one a customized bracelet, necklace, earrings or even keychains*

Demisola

I put a lot of work into it and I’m honestly praying for some super saiyan exponential growth this new year. Please follow and help me grow it. And patronize too. Let my destiny change small.

2. Work : I’ll be done with my housejob in a little under 4 weeks. Am I excited? Yes. Am I afraid? Also yes. Because after housejob is real life fam. The infamous salary drought. And boy is that scary. I’m hoping to find my balls and relocate to another city. Leave my comfort zone and challenge myself. It’s a scary thought but nobody ever soared without getting off their butts and attempting to fly no?

3. Personal life : I’ve always been the shy, cautious type who does everything to avoid conflict. Just smile and massage necessary egos. Lately I’ve been doing and saying things with my chest. Full chest. Kill yourself. I intend to do more of that. I want to be more deliberate. Travel. Experience new things. Enjoy my life. Be a baby girl. Make decisions that make ME happy. Enough of being ‘nice’.

4. Career: I hope to take some professional exams these year. First being my primaries. I haven’t started preparing like someone who has sense and wants to pass but maybe when that massive debit alert enters after paying for the exam, my brain will reset small. I don’t want to worry though. Worry has never helped.

My post isn’t what I hoped it would be. Thought I’d have a lot more time to articulate my thoughts. But life took over. These however are the important things I’m looking to achieve this year. Let’s see how it goes in the mid year post (we are having that right?)

[Editor’s note: Indeed.]

Don’t forget to follow my business page! 😊😊😊😊😊

Discovering Motunrayo

Motunrayo Definition

Me when I saw this definition on Urban Dictionary: *carrying shoulders up*

Truly, I love everything about my full name. I always have, and I simply cannot think of a scenario where I don’t love my name as much as I do now.  The combination of all my names put together, the sheer exoticness, the way it rolls off my tongue. So beautiful. So different. So representative of the bearer.  Sometimes, I just sit, cross my legs, get comfortable and say my name. The full one. In all it’s glory.

Motunrayo – I have seen joy yet again.

This year is the year of coming into the fullness of my name. Joy. Everywhere. In everything. With everyone. When I cry, they will be tears of relief, of joy. Notice I said when. Because I will.  This is the year of tearing up my G card and burning the pieces.

Motunrayo: Lover.

This is the year of embracing all mushiness. What is a toughness? I am fully, completely, without-holding-anything-back letting myself love. I will relearn all the things I consciously forgot about loving, and learn new ones. Then I will start to apply each one, very slowly, very deliberately. Love is beautiful, and I intend to bask in it.

Motunrayo: Christian.

I’m dedicating my entire being to showing my heavenly father how much I love Him this year (and from here onwards forever). It will be in everything – my speech, my outfits, my worship, my friends, name it. I will consistently seek Him out every time, I will stay in His presence and just bask in the euphoria of the love we share, and then strive to love Him even better. Every day, better than the last.

Motunrayo: Daughter, Sister, Friend, Colleague.

All of these will receive 200% improvement. Deliberate, consistent actions. No flaring up, no overthinking, no anger, no malice. Just love. And peace and goodness and cheer, all ways, always.

Motunrayo: Helper, Giver.

Stepping in and helping. Without being asked, even when the person might not know they need help. Giving of myself, my resources, my time. The Relief Team will do more, reach more people, serve in larger capacities, the Lord being my helper.

Motunrayo: Writer

I used to write, a long time ago. Lots of erotica and some death LOL. I stopped (I don’t remember why anymore) I’ll start again this year, and actually share stuff, whether I think they’re good or not. If you people don’t think they’re good that’s your personal problem -_-

Motunrayo. Driver. Fashionista.

This is the year my first driving license expires. Brethren, I have used that license for EVERYTHING I CAN POSSIBLY USE IT FOR EXCEPT ACTUALLY DRIVING. I am almost ashamed of myself. Almost, because Lagos is full of mad drivers and I can still turn my nose up and call them mad because I no dey follow dem drag road yet. Anyway, for sure, I will renew my license. But will I use it for the intended purpose? YES with a nice car! *giggle*

This is the year also of Contact lenses. The days of A-badass-MakeupArtist-Just-Beat-My-face-But-You-Cant-See-Because-i-Have-My-Glasses-on are over! Everybody must see the wonder that was done!

Then you see this makeup kini? I must learn it by force. The most I’ve spent on makeup in my life is N1,500. This year I will just ask how much is needed for a proper makeup purse, and do the investment. Then I will buy more stuff. Upgrade my wardrobe. Slay Queen Status activated. We move.

Motunrayo: Winner.

Setting goals and smashing them. Business, school, money, certifications, volunteering, work.

I’m doing and excelling at all this year. Not one will be left out. If He did it before (in me), He can (and will) do it again. Again, deliberate efforts. No more oscillating between going hard and going with the flow. No more waiting till I feel like. I get up and go. And when I go, I will keep going. When I tire, I will pause, take some time, then keep going. This year, Motunrayo is a winner. A conscious, consistent one.

So far I have been: Motunrayo – Woman. Christian. Lover. Daughter. Employee. Friend. Sister. Volunteer.

This year, In addition to all I already am, I will be

Motunrayo – Student, Employer, Businesswoman, Helper, Girlfriend Of The Year. (I especially like that last part, can you tell? Hehe)

Oi! 2018, are you ready for me?

Ifeanyi: It’s Impossible Until It’s Done

My name is Ifeanyi – In my language, it literally means “a difficult thing”. Like an actual impossible thing. That might account for why I am so difficult – or more like difficult to understand or describe. Ineffable. When my mother gets mad or my sister is trying to be cheeky, they say the entire sentence –

Onweifeanyichukwu – Is there anything impossible for God?

My name literally translates as a bible verse. I wish I remembered that more often. Especially when life hits me with those curve balls it likes to throw. It is the 24th day of the year and I have already been faced with difficulty achieving what I set out to do this year.

Live Life Out Loud – Or better put, Live Your Life, Abeg.

I work as a writer on television – and this year, I am finally taking the plunge and directing my own material – I think it has been on my list for the last two years. Well, this is the year. I love my job as a writer and I appreciate being able to do what I love on the platform I have been given. Not everyone can say they are doing what they love and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have stories I write seen in at least 40 countries across Africa.

For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37

But this year, I plan to go a step higher – my first plan is to get my project, The Origin Of Love off the ground. It can best be described as a wobbly, mish mash of a higgi hagga, tweedlydumdum, bubbly sort of interview talk show where we go around talking to Nigerian (and maybe some day, generally African) couples still in love after 20 years or more. Their secrets, their ideas, their love stories. You know how there is a constant debate that the generation before us are in loveless marriages? Or women are still in many marriages just because of the children? The plan is to speak bluntly with some of these couples and maybe uncover some truth.

I have already gone through some trauma getting it off the ground. I have cried and been faced with crippling fear. But the idea this year is to do. So next year, when I am writing this, I will hopefully talking about yet another season.

Fifs

‘With God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26b)

The idea is to follow that with a short film or two and maybe squeeze in a web series. I plan to exercise my creative muscle as much as I can. I am done seeing others living life while I remain trapped in a bubble of fear and indecision – this will require exercising the muscle that helps me believe in myself and my talent a little harder. Fingers crossed. 

All other stuff – like getting my weight in order – plus, loving my body as hard as I can – which involves dressing to celebrate my love for my body, exercising so I get my happy hormones in, learning to play my guitar, maybe finally learning to ride the bike I’ve had parked in my room for over a year ( it was on my list last year), staying man free (long story) while being deliriously happy – and all the other things that mean I am truly living my life out loud

“I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

Onweifeanyichukwu?

Tamara’s Uncharted Territories

So, 2017 was like a build up for me, a build up into an amazing 2018.

I finally lost weight!!!!*yay* (dancing all the Nigerian steps, hahahaha)
It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. A lot of people are now coming to me for weight loss advice. I can now see how it feels to have a flat tummy. I’m almost a size 10!!!! I need to do special thanksgiving set. In your face, fat.

I wrote the residency and passed.

I got engaged and did the family introduction. I still can’t believe I’m getting married in 3 weeks.

A whole lot of awesome stuff happened in 2017 to be honest and I’m grateful. So so grateful.

I also questioned a lot of the decisions I made in 2017. An average Nigerian medical graduate wants to leave Nigeria at all cost, yet here I was writing exams to continue the Nigerian hustle, planning to get married and settle in Nigeria.

Was I making the right decision? Shouldn’t I join my colleagues and start writing international exams? Should I be getting married? Is staying in Nigeria worth it?
All these questions and many more kept me awake and worried in 2017. But I kept /keep telling myself “I will flourish in this land”.

2018 My year of exploring uncharted territories.

That is what I’m calling 2018

First territory

Being someone’s wife is a scary ish to me to be honest but I’m going to trust God.
Na Jesus fit do am for this marriage thing o. I mean the ceremony is like 3 weeks away!!!!! Much more than the excitement is the nervousness and 1001 questions keep popping up in my head.
Jesus you have to take control.
Dazall.

Second territory

I need to go a country that is not Ghana this year oh Lord!!!
Let this dream of spending a week at least in the abroad that is not Ghana come to pass this year!!!
Let my international passport go international. Can I hear a loud Amen?

Third territory

I’m going to finish service this year and hopefully become employed and prayerfully start residency. I will be so happy to start residency this year.

I’m trusting in many other things but these 3 things are key this year.

Soon to be Dr. Mrs O.

Yve’s Purple Reign

I considered writing this early. I mean, I’m a forgetful person so it made sense to do it when I remembered! But then my affliction (aka overthinking) kicked in.

“What if you do it too early and something interesting happens? “You know how much you hate editing your own stuff” (love doing it for others). “What will happen if there is a BIG event?

I decided not to…and what do you know, life got in the way.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. 2017 was…interesting. You remember that Partner In Crime & Pleasure from last year? That came to a not so pleasurable end… le sigh. In my most gracious way, I thank him for the fun, for getting the creative juices flowing & life lesson I could have done without (nah he’s cool-ish. I’m one of those ‘friendly’ with the ex-type people). So 2017 wasn’t the best (not quite the ‘transcendent’ I hoped for), but the whole year got me learning a little bit more about myself and it wasn’t unpleasant.

As usual 2018, my hope for better and it’s looking up already (I mean, Black Panther anyone??)!

One of the things I’m absolutely determined to do is get my work/life balance better. It was appalling last year, spent way too much time in the office so I need to work better and smarter (plus the regular 9-5 or 10-6 in my case, can dry up the creative mind a little.

The deadline for the self-publishing is fast approaching and I am not ready but I am determined to be (Lawd help me!!). The plan is to do more things creative, just last week, I was asked to write a sex scene for someone’s book (oh yeah, I’m an erotica writer in case that’s never come up), which has me psyched! I’m also trying to submit a little screenplay for someone’s project later this year (they haven’t officially asked me to do it but I’m putting it out there), which is scary as f… hell!

I also do some work with some great people in a Women’s group I created, and determined to do a lot more with them. We already have a getaway trip planned, and I am hoping to do a lot more of that.

I want… no, need to travel more. I have not done anything decent in this area for years and I have all these plans in my head.  If only my holiday allowance (and bank balance) could keep up with my mind; as I type, new plan is to change this. The dreams of far out, exotic destinations will come true!

I have always prided myself as being able to roll with the punches and adjust in whatever situation I find myself in.  While that is a good skill, I’m also learning that it sometimes means that one gets comfortable in the situation due to this ‘adjustment’ and that can delay change. So in 2018, I will not just adjust, I will change and I will conquer…comfort zone be damned!! It will be a helluva ride, I do hope you join me 😊 The little ones in my life think I look like a superhero (these days my hair is purple, hence Purple Reign…see what I did there heh heh?), and I intend to prove that I am, dagnamit (at least in their eyes!)!

Yve

As usual, I wish you peace, love and vodka (I want to add a little something else but lemme keep it PG so I get to do this again next year 😉). Happy New Year folks!