Day 27: Oyinkan

I’ve always struggled with these…making resolutions, writing down goals? Not my cup of tea; I didn’t think I could handle that kind of pressure, that vulnerability that comes with failure; I was vulnerable enough as it was. However, I did have them in my head, which was fine right?

2016 for me could be best described as a paradox. One minute, I’m “living my life like it’s golden” (and there were some pretty golden moments) and the next? I didn’t think I could “adult”.

On the one hand, I became more aware of myself, my strengths and weaknesses, and my finances. My quiet time with God although not as strong as it should be yet, was way better than it was in 2015 (nearly lost my faith then), worked on a number of projects (personally and otherwise) that turned out pretty great; on the other hand, I stopped doing the things I loved to do, I’d make plans and then cancel at the last minute just because…, keeping in touch with friends and even family was hard; I blamed it on good ol’ fatigue from working long hours (which was not entirely a fib) but in reality? I just couldn’t be bothered. My life was full and yet…

Towards the end of year however, I repented of my somewhat ungrateful heart.

2017 feels like a brand new canvass just waiting for me to work on (Picasso style) and I hope to do just that in the following ways-

Personal Development

I want to soak in as much knowledge as I can. I hope to take one or two professional courses; started some online classes earlier in 2016 but I got lazy plus my laptop packed up (scratch that, it was more laziness than anything else). Call me old school but I’d rather attend physical classes than sit in front of a screen (plus Instagram and the rest will not let someone be great). Fortunately I work with a company that provides access to such trainings, the alternative, is to take advantage of the discounts available to corps members (which I’m not…yet).

I’m also looking forward to attending a couple of events this year because I find there’s this energy  in the space of like-minded individuals looking to learn.

There are two projects I’m excited to be working on and can’t wait to see grow.

I will strive to be persistent, to learn from my mistakes, and listen more. (Proverbs 3:13: Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding)

Overcoming Vehophobia

The struggle no be today. I’m not quite sure if it’s the thought of driving itself or driving on Lagos roads (which is quite traumatic if you ask me) that bothers me but I’ve stubbornly refused to learn how. Let’s change that shall we? (II Timothy 1:7-For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.)

Travel

Before life took over, I’d planned to travel to at least half the states in the country; I think I stopped at state number 8 and even then, I didn’t really get the chance to explore much, it was more work travel than anything. There are quite a number of opportunities to visit a couple of places, hopefully I will take Nike’s advice and Just Do It. (Exodus 13:21-The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.)

Personal Finance Management

I think 2016 was the year I became really serious about my finances (because recession maybe?). Mind you, I do not consider myself a spendthrift but then again so many things I want. I do know that I’ve begun to take account of every penny I spend, save and invest. All I need to work on now is CONSISTENCY especially when a pair of shoes or an outfit I’ve been lusting after is on sale. (Proverbs 21:20-There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.)

Volunteer More

I work with this super amazing organization called Slum2School. Again, before my dear friend, Life took over; every other weekday or weekend was spent ‘serving’. I miss that…a lot. I intend to pick up where I left off and not just with Slum2School but also get involved with whatever outreach or project that’s focused on psycho-social or socio-economic support.(Proverbs 3:27-Withhold not good from them to whom it is due when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.)

Focus on my Relationships

I don’t mean to brag but my support system is 100. The goal is to create as many moments and memories as I possibly can with the people in my life, to let go of things I’ve no control over & to build meaningful & lasting relationships. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-Wherefore comfort yourselves together and edify one another even as also ye do.)

Worry Less

Who worry epp? (Philippians 4:6-7-Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus)

The plan really is to get through the year with a tinge of pizazz, a truckload of prayers and a lot of humor. Let’s go 2017!

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Day 26: Motunrayo

Motunrayo.jpg

*nods sagely*

So what I’m doing basically this year is filling myself up so completely that I overflow with goodness.

I’m first of all emptying myself of all the toxicity and anger and second guessing and bitterness and dissatisfaction and sadness.

And I’m filling up with:

WORK

Ecclesiastes 9 v10:

‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might….’

Keeping busy keeps me sane. So whatever my hands find to do. Whatever my mind can conceive, I will bring to life with my hands. I have already volunteered for two projects this year, and it’s only the first month. And I am looking for more to take on. If you have any project and you need help on your team, reach me please. My email address is mayoakwe@gmail.com.

LOVE

1st Corinthians 13:1

‘If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not []love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]…’

I actually have so much love to give its stunning. I will no longer hold back from loving purely. Every human who comes in contact with me will experience a large chunk of it.  E go be like party pack. You get some love, they get some love, everybody gets some love!

POSITIVITY

Proverbs 17:22

‘A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones’

No more negatives. All that zero to hundred stuff my mind does has to be put in check this year.

This year, everything is bright and beautiful. Everything is awesome and going well. No matter the circumstances, I will only see goodness. In people, in situations, in life.

GOD

John 14:26 

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

The last part of last year was an amazing revelation for me: The Holy Spirit is my friend. He literally came through for me EVERY TIME. Even on the most mundane, ridiculous issues. He came through as a friend, a teacher and a helper. I want me more of that this year.

FAMILY

Psalm 103:17

‘But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children’

This is the year that I will spoil my family. With all of me and all of my resources. This is the year I will do way better with picking up calls and replying texts (even the annoying BC messages). This is the year I stop saying I’m broke and actually just spend on my folks.

Last year, I registered and prepared for and sat an examination in 3 weeks that other people did in 6 months. Aspa, Motunrayo, the queen of playing herself. When I see the results and I pass, I’m dressing up in a fancy dress and taking myself out to a fancy dinner in a fancy restaurant. If all goes well, I should write another one this year.

Happy 2017 everyone!! May you never have a better last year!!

Day 26: Demisola

So… January. Everyone seems to think this month is crawling. Not here. Not at all. I can’t keep up! It’s the 26th and I’m honestly wondering where all the time went.

Started the year (as usual) full of hope and all the excitement in the world. First month has passed and urm…. Time still dey sha.

I got my first set of testimonies already. Applied for a job at NHA late last year. I’d honestly concluded I just went to Abuja for excursion because really, who is my father in this Nigeria that National Hospital would offer me a job? Like play, text message came in at 12:30am a few days ago. Great yeah? Yeah…. On to the next struggle. Deciding where I want to live/work for the next year. I’m having sleepless nights trying to decide which HJ appointment to take up. From having nothing to being spoilt for choice. Big Poppa likes to show off. My cup doth runneth over

Business has been good. If 2016 is anything to go by, 2017 ith going to be Lith! I’m hoping the good streak doesn’t decide to turn round and dump me.

Having extra sources of money is a good thing. Very good thing. Now I have to learn how to put all that into good use. Proper investments and financial wisdom. Wisdom because I hardly ever (some price tags still humble my destiny so I guess we are still good) pause before spending these days. ‘I can afford it’. My thinking has changed in a short while and I’m afraid it’ll get into my head and ruin it all. I don’t even know how to describe what’s happening. I don’t know. I don’t even know if this paragraph should be here. So yeah, Financial Wisdom.

My friend Vivian asked me and our other sister Bae to conduct an exercise earlier in the year. She also has it up on her blog at thealaroro.com. You should check it out. I’ve not done mine yet so I might as well do some of it now.

Ademisola Ikeoluwa Omotola Oyeladun Ajibike Elizabeth Balogun.

I am a daughter, sister, lover, friend, photographer, employer. These are the roles I currently play in my life.

Employee, Helper, Christian. These are the roles I hope to play this year.

Christian. This part has haunted me since forever. It’s getting stronger. I NEED to fix it.

Helper. Help someone random at least once a month. January done. This year will be the year of paying it forward. God help me.

Employee. Well on the way. Who I’ll be working for, j don’t know yet. Haven’t made a decision. But I know God’s got me… As usual.

I hope to be a better lover this year. Listen more. Help more. Understand better. Do Alakori less. Love like Corinthians described.

Friendship. Be better. Listen more. Be there. Be really there.

My family somehow believes they’re losing me. I should spend more time with them. Talk more. Accept all that love they offer instead of forming independence all the damn time.

I’ll get in trouble if I keep typing this. The side eye I’m receiving from lover man now is on a milli. Cuddle-while-watching-a-movie time shouldn’t be cut into.

I hope to take 2017 slow. 2016 was a tornado. Fun, but tornado still. I want to calm down and enjoy moments this year.

Okay. Side eye has won.

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Day 25: Dare

Hope

The nature of light is both wave and particle.

***

Sometimes I’m not sure what is to be done. (Most times.) The world spins at an alarming rate. Inside palm, in words and eyes and skin and heart. (The core is a holiness you can’t permit.) Attempt to sever before it consumes you. (rot.) There are tiny eggs under your skin, they look like pimples.

The world spins at an alarming rate. (ner.vous.wreck.age.) You are so convinced that it will pass before you can get your chance to shine, to glow, to bask in joy.

It is moving so; precious seconds are spent checking for predator and prey. Hours are spent surfing 1s and 0s of pale bliss and assuming shapes of doom. Months are spent charting the growth of hair in odd crevices and savoring musk. Years are for counting down to the big black when we measure the weight of growth & pray to reap love. (The same love that has birthed us a galaxy of words. The love between your breath and mine.) Decades are for counting silver strand on skull like rare wheat. Your life is what you say it will be and one root of your being is hope.

***

The internet is a nervous system. Become a neuron of something pure. Truth has a billion shapes and you may hold it in your blood till last breath.

***

Sometimes, I’m not sure what is to be done. (But I know.) The world spins too fast to do what you know you could. Spins so fast you can’t hold what’s in your hands, or your head. Cranium is splitting open, lined with the flesh of strange petals, soon to bloom, to catch light and soar.

***

Hope is a verb.

Active resonance with that full sense of unlimited goodness ahead. (little vibrating stomach storm.) Do it. Let your entire soul do this. Let every pulse and breath shift through what you know about everything happening and do it. Ground it here now. Hope is like a machine, once you turn the key…don’t… you can’t switch it off because you get bored, or tired of how things are physically worse everyday and nothing is changing. Right now as you read, hope swims inside streams of your body too fine to catch. It is a pulsing jelly of light in a cap strewn with a hundred white eyes.

***

Nigeria was never meant to be, though, she is. Her seams are ripped and overflowing with blood, war, thirst, hunger, fear, disbelief. Somehow the peculiarity behind her creation, the forced unity of such disparate elements, means that she is a fertile birthplace for so much glory. Tap into that anger fire. The fact of her suffering and arrested development at the hands of her own, the contamination of her ancient riches by whiteness. It has been 50-something years and still she remains a kneeling bride being milked for power. We should know by now that she was never meant to be. Hope she remains, this cradle of rough diamonds.

***

(a trembling.)

2050-FUTURA: (despair.) imagine the human soul becoming external. (nuclear wipeout.) imagine new beings, new species, new emotions. (death of a silly capitalist-dominator civilization.) Imagine technology that is to our current tools what the laptop is to slate and stone. (spirit set free) Imagine your arms around someone you love in a world that is a cocoon and not a jagged matrix. (orgiastic dream, utopian flutter) lyrics to imagine.mp3. (ancient craving for heavenwomb sated.)

***

Hope a mind that has been snapped into new orbit may never find old orbit again. The world spins at an alarming rate. Teach it to spin at your speed. (softness is a form of hope too.) Tailor time into garments and flow in them. Cut your coat according to your size.

Tend to the wound of, even though we are one, all of us in our maddening beauty, we will never understand each other completely. (what kind of epic loneliness?) Use empathy. You know where it is. When you find it let it be. (can you even act Nigerian film?) Let others hope. There are too many ways, too many people.

***

Gratitude to the heavens beyond and all of their inhabitants, to Mother and old friend, to sisters and could-be-lovers, to yesterday, to tomorrow.

2017-ZEROTIME: I hope to grow. I hope to reduce the size of my head and to finally find the thing that scares my depression away. (laughing mouth under moon.) I hope to harness my anxiety and not let it eat me anymore. I hope to find new friends. I hope to write new tales. (roaming, healed) I hope to follow the wide burning of suns out in the infinite (what kind of epic loneliness?) I hope to embrace my shade. I hope to step off the precipice. I hope to begin to respect my voice, to begin to know how hallowed words are.

I hope, to be true.

***

(self-care is a form of hope too.)

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Day 25: Denike

I mostly freestyled 2016. It had its very low lows, and its high highs. I’m going to be really deliberate this year and try to do things with purpose. January was a great test run, and I hope it gets better from here. I wrote down my goals in my journal at the beginning of the year and I’m hoping that putting them here will count more as speaking them into existence and telling the Universe what I want. I know I have to work hard at my goals, but sometimes, words of affirmation can be magical. I like to believe that there are angels in the world that grant us the random wishes we have the courage to ask for. I’m treating this year as an open book that I’m going to fill with awesome things. This very moment, I feel overwhelmed. What’s going to happen if I don’t achieve all these things I’ve set out to? Yikes. I resolved to be positive. So I’m going to be.

I’m going to be deliberate this year.
I’m going to do the best I can to make every day the best it can be.

Career:
Pick up new skills and make my CV a little more colourful this year.
Put an hour of practise into learning to code and learning SEO.
Create a website and put up a writing portfolio. Make myself look more valid.
Double my income.
Add more value to the people and companies I work for and be the best employee I can be.
Network.
Fully set up my commissioned writing company. So if you need anything written, poems, love letters, vows, essays, get at me!
Make Bookbarter really awesome.

Creativity:
Write everyday no matter how afraid I am.
Do that poetry exhibition I’ve been meaning to do.
Publish something every month.
Journal everyday.
Send stories to literary publications.

Finances:
Save at least 70% of my income.
Look up investment opportunities and invest.
Be more diligent with my budgeting and spending.

Relationship:
Be a better sister.
Be a better listener and lover.
Consciously help my lover and friends be better people.
Forgive.
Love.
Give.

Fitness:
Exercise everyday.
Be able to run 5K at the end of the year.
Get rid of my huge tummy.

This year I want to live and love fiercely. I want to always pick myself up after falling. I want to push myself, think more, be more, do more. I have so much to give and I’m going to do so much. I’m going to believe in myself. I’m not going to let anything get me down. I’m going to feel fully. I’m going to defeat procrastination, manage my time well, and stop being lazy. I’m going to shine!

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Day 24: Meiko

NO LONGER WILL I BE STIFLED

immeiko

 This will be a messy, largely unedited string of thoughts that I almost convinced myself not to send. So please bear with me.

•••

Wednesday, August 2nd 1989 I was born.

I had barely arrived earth-side when the chains began tightening around me.

Chains of parental hopes and dreams for their baby. Chains of religious rules and regulations. Chains of socio-cultural expectations. All kinds of chains that have held me bound all these years.

Oh but I did rattle those chains. I rebelled fiercely against every rule. I battled for my freedom.

Why do I have to study to be what you want me to be?

You say there is liberty in our faith, but why do I have to adhere to all these rules that make me feel like there’s a noose around my neck? Keep your stupid faith!

Why the bloody hell can’t I express myself the way I want to?

For years and years I have felt stifled. My voice suppressed, unable to access my ability to think and feel and do things the way my soul knows.

I find it hilarious that the same person who wanted freedom so bad, decided to get further entangled when the opportunity came to have it. Because if I’m being very real with myself and with you guys, having a family is another set of chains. There are days I seriously doubt my sanity. Why didn’t I just cut loose and run for the hills like I always thought I would? Socio-cultural conditioning? Guess I couldn’t break that chain no matter how I tried.

But there’s no denying what I feel deep down in my soul. I love this plot twist. I love my blessings. I mean have you seen my babies? I’m infinitely grateful for them because through them I have discovered sides of myself I never knew were there. But why the hell do I still feel strangled sometimes? Will this yearning to do more and be more ever go away?

2016 was a turning point. My year of breaking free. I stepped out of my comfort zone like never before. I took on new challenges that I would have previously shied away from. But that was just one step. I still have a long way to go…

In 2017 I have just one hope. To no longer feel stifled.

No longer will I be stifled by norms that society and culture have dictated. How I’m to perform as a wife. What kind of mother I must be. What opportunities I can or cannot take. Screw all that! I’ll define my own terms. Adapting and re-adapting as I go.

No longer will I be stifled by the faith I was born into. I’m taking steps to discover my own. To connect, to worship and to serve in a way that my spirit agrees with.

No longer will I be stifled by my environment for I am a bird that needs to fly. I will not have my wings clipped. I will see new places, be immersed in diverse cultures and my family will be with me every step of the way. We will experience it together and build fond memories.

No longer will my creativity be stifled. My voice will be heard. My words will be read. My art must be seen. The kid with her pencil and notebook will emerge from behind the feelings of inadequacy where she’s been hiding.

My mind will no longer be censored by years of conditioning and self-imposed limitations.
My body will once again regain full strength.
My soul will be free to express her truth.

I will no longer be stifled.

Day 24: Nimi

I am thankful to Ola for giving me the opportunity to have done this the past few years (do I say this every year? Well get used to it, Ola).

It’s nice to look back at my post on the same date last year and remember where my head was at. I remember being on my way out and seeing the reminder email, writing the post on the train and trying not to be a downer.

So much can happen in a year.

First, that genuine belly laugh I wanted came and came in full force. I am so grateful to the people I have around me for giving me this gift, for helping me get my mojo back. My Partner In Crime & Pleasure was responsible for a lot of that, as well as the debauchery (not all of the debauchery but we don’t tell him that 😉). For 2017, all I ask is for more of it.

My second hope was to get back to sharpening my creative senses. While I didn’t do as much as I wanted to, I definitely did better than 2015, progress was definitely made. I hope for this to be even better in 2017. The plan is to be ready to self-publish by February 2018 at the latest (ok, now I’ve put this out there in the universe, fear don catch me!!)

The third was my friend. In this regard I have always been lucky for the amazing folks I have. I was good with socialising this year but I really could be better.  Not sure what all these folks ate in 2015 (well we do know!) but my circle was blessed with a lot of little people in 2016 so there are many reasons to celebrate this year, and celebrate we will!

My hope for 2017 is for things to keep getting better. It has already started off pretty damn great with a promotion I had my eye on for some time finally coming to fruition (I can’t even lie, I bloody well deserved it!). I can say I am happy even when the random tears threaten to fall. I am even trying not to be my usual realist self (some say I fall more on the pessimist side) and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

All in all 2016 was great, and I hope for thing to be even better in 2017..…if 2016 was a year of progress for me, I’d like 2017 to be transcendent. Is that asking too much?

Happy New Year folks!! As always I wish you all peace, love and vodka, with a slice of naughty on the side ;)’

nimi