Meenah: Strength in numbers

Dear 2018,

What do you have in store for me? We really need to sit down and talk about these things because honestly, I don’t exactly want a 2017 kind of year.

2017 was that ‘almost there’ year. Did he tell you about it? Did he tell you how everything was looking beautiful for a while? Did he tell you that I somehow got to see three African places that are not Ife and Ibadan and even though I really just passed through Togo and Benin Republic, I chose to add them to Ghana as ‘the countries I’ve been in’? Don’t judge me. It’s too early to start that nonsense.

I wonder though, did 2017 tell you the story of how I almost loved but even that was ripped away because ‘genotype and we can’t afford to go down that road’? The good thing, though, is I did feel a little something finally. One whose after effect should last a while because really, not all of us would get to live happily ever after in love at the end of the day. Happily ever after is just some nonsense these writers have coined so we can still be hopeful.

These writers. Haha. I’m supposed to be one of ‘these writers’. But somehow between procrastination and the feeling of not being good enough, I’m still not quite there yet. Missed deadlines. Unfinished work. Unsubmittted pieces. These are only some of the blankets I wrapped myself in to hide one truth; I don’t think I’m good enough.

Oh and how could I not ask if 2017 gave you the gist of that last stunt it pulled two days before mum’s memorial? That hard, tiny little lump I felt in my breast that reminded me of what took mum. And my aunt. And my grandma. That tiny lump I still haven’t figured what to do about because what’s the use, really?

Listen to me 2018, if you have unwanted bad surprises lying in wait for me, you better fix up. These eyes have cried all they can and I doubt there’s still a tear left. And no matter what it is you plan to throw at me, be rest assured I will rise.

2018, you know what they say about collaborations? How they work to make achieving things easier? That’s what I’m throwing at you. I’m using the strength in numbers to fine tune you, sir.

I want to help my friends with their goals this year. It might not be much but even if it’s just collating these goals and constantly reminding them to push for them, then by all means I will. At least I’d know I’ve help someone do something useful with you, 2018. And maybe in helping them, I’d be helping myself achieve my own goals, however little.

2018, you will be the year of actual self-development, not pretend self-development. That means volunteering more, learning French, learning everything. Work might interfere. Cash flow might want to disrupt our plan but by the time you are packing your bags to leave I will be able to say more than ‘C’est le moment. Le moment du faire La fete’ I want to have read at least 80 books this year. The Read Club helped out with reading last year as well as meeting amazing people. So 2018, get ready for more with TRC.

When you rolled your bags in, Femi asked if I knew what I was going to do first quarter of this year. And then like he knew I’d say something silly, he added,“You will get another job. The kind that you deserve right?” That’s all the wake-up call I need. So yeah, we’re doing that too. Getting the job I deserve, which is really one of three things; a book editor job, a writing job that allows me more creative freedom and/or a radio gig.

So here’s the plan;

  • Find a job as an editorial assistant in a book publishing company and start from there.
  • Get training in radio presenting and voice over artistry and start looking for internships at least.
  • Continue recording audiobooks

Please, 2018, let’s write more. Let’s enter for these writing contests. It doesn’t really matter if we win right now. All that would matter is that we took the first step in submitting. We can battle winning later. Because I know we might drag each other behind a little, I’m engaging friends in this thing. Friends I’ll write with. Friends that will push me to write. Friends that will fight me if I don’t enter for contests. Oh and we’re creating a Medium account, sir.

I’m moving to a 10 dress-size whether you like it or not. I’m starting a weight loss challenge this month. Here’s how it works; interested people holla at me (for free of course), we start motivating each to lose the holiday weight (and some), we keep doing this at regular intervals throughout the year. United we get shredded.

And finally, 2018, I will go out more. With people. Without people. To parties. To exhibitions. To whatever. My social life is non-existent. We need to fix that. And we need to live a more YOLO life.

Ready to go on this journey with me? Hey, it’s not like either of us has got that much of a choice. We’re kicking it together.

Aminat

Yours,

Captain of her soul.

p.s. If you’re interested in figuring out this weight loss thing together, holla at me badaraaminat@gmail.com or @09_Eleven on twitter.

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Day 30: Dami

Sigh… I’m usually a cheerful, happy go lucky person but this year to be honest, totally honest and not be my normal optimistic and cheery self has been, well, not exactly my favorite, putting it mildly.

I thank God for the miracle of life, small daily victories.
I broke my leg towards the end of last year and I didn’t think recovery would take this long. Well, at least, I’m no longer in a cast, no longer using crutches. I now walk with an elbow crutch. Like a walking stick with space for the elbow. I’m in constant pain and discomfort, I’m getting better every day. I hope by the time I write on Efe’s blog in December, I’ll be walking fully unaided.
I gained a whole lot of weight this year. Sitting at home, doing nothing but sleep, eat, laugh cry can really help in packing on the calories.
I got more than half way through to my savings goal, but in bouts of extreme unhappiness, I blasted it on a new phone, three new weaves and clothes.
I resumed work a few weeks back and every day that I go, I’m just miserable. Contrary to what my classmates know of me, I like my work. I don’t like that I can’t function like I used to and most of all, I hate the pity I get, the feeling of helplessness when I have to depend on people for a lot of things.
I picked up my guitar but Moyo is always distuning it and Tunrayo is forever struggling for it… *smile*
I’m still working on using my oven, sometime in the next one month, pictures will be posted everywhere.
My blog, sigh… I can still re-resurrect it.
My relationship with God is still blah… Sometimes, I hate Him, other times, I’m indifferent and other times, I’m just ashamed. Forgiveness for some of us is difficult to receive, but He makes all things beautiful in His time.
It’s not been all doom and gloom this year though. I have been angry, depressed, sad, intensely sad, but I’ve had rays of sunshine in my life.
My girls are the light of my life and as annoying as Moyo is, she’s my Orion. Motunrayo is just darling.
My husband and I get closer each day.
Visited my parents for a few weeks and that was awesome.
I started work again. Hopefully I should finish my house job in a few months.
I saw my best friend after almost two years of not seeing each other.
I bought a new phone and awesome weaves.
I challenged myself to do some really uncomfortable stuff and I came through. Really proud of myself.
I’m still scared of falling again, I’ve had some nasty panic attacks and one horrible health scare.
I hope to rediscover my joy this year, still got five months  to go. But most of all, I just want to walk again.
I’m grateful for life, because when there’s life, there’s hope.
God makes everything beautiful in His time.
Cheers to the rest of the year, may our latter days be better.
Dami

Day 30 : Lade

Where to start from?
Two days ago, I realised that I am actually in a very happy and good place in my life. I can’t explain it. One of the things I wanted for this year was to be happy and joyful, and I’m happy (ha ha) to tell you that I am. Yeah, I had my moments of sadness, but for the most part, I’m in a good place
School. School is going well. My results last semester were great. I’m thankful. I still haven’t decided on what electives I’m taking this semester. Trying to decide on what I like + where I think I’ll get the grades I need is not as easy as I thought.
God and Church. I started attending Covenant Christian Centre. I’ve been going consistently for almost 2 months now (except when I was at home on holiday). It feels good. I’ve also become more consistent with my Daily Devotionals on YouVersion. I pray a lot more. I’m getting back to that comfortable spot with God – the place where I can talk to him freely.
Projects. TEDxUnilag is happening on September 9th. I am excited about that. We do not have sponsors yet, but I am hopeful. I picked out a great team. The process of selecting the team members gave me an idea for a new project.
BookBarterNG. I am excited about the possibilities so far. I am working on a few events around it that will hopefully commence this year.
My friend Ejiro and I are working on a tutoring service. I’m excited about that.
There are a couple of other projects I have started work on. I’m not going to talk about them yet, but hopefully, they’ll start rolling out before the end of the year.
Relationships. I have the best set of people around me. I am really thankful for my friends. There’s nothing better than when you have a support system that you can tell anything without fear of judgement, or that your gist will be everywhere.
Shortly after I wrote my 30 Days of Hope post, my little-over-a-year relationship ended. I had literal chest pains for like 2 weeks. Now, I’m enjoying the single life (Like I have any other choice). In the meantime, I’m making new friends, meeting new people and building my network
Other things. I turn 20 this year. So almost officially no longer an adolescent.
I am still not where I’d like to be financially, but God dey.
Although, my eating habits are still poor and I refuse to give up cake and ice cream, I started working out again. Will renew my Unilag gym membership next month.
I was talking with my roommate the other day and we were talking about worrying about things even when we know that God has got us. We know that God loves us no matter what, so why are we afraid? And then I remembered this verse.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Romans 8:35
Lade

Day 30: Stanley

“We used to fight for building blocks. Now we fight for blocks with buildings…”
-Jay Z (D’Evils, 1996)

I failed Digital Marketing. 42%. It was a surprise to me and everyone else who heard about it in my class.

The day after the result came out, I found out my brother had been arrested after he had not come home for 2 days. I spent the next week going to Ikoyi Prison and Tinubu Magistrate Court, and I was exposed to the decay and deeply ingrained corruption in our prison and court system.

I think failing Digital Marketing was God’s way of humbling me. I had become too confident in my abilities. Plus, in retrospect, there were certain things I didn’t do right.

I submitted my Integrated Communications assessment early this month – results are out in September – and I’ll give Digital Marketing another go from August. There is an option to take Customer Experience instead (Digital Marketing is an elective module), and I have a feeling it will be easier, but I have never been known to do easy.

The journey to becoming a Chartered Marketer still has some ways to go.

Instead of starting one company, I am going to be a part of starting two, with the first being the mother of the second, and the other companies we will create. All potential directors finally met and agreed on next steps. I am excited by the possibilities of what we can achieve.

I am currently at about 17% of my investment goal for 2016. Too poor. Recently, I have started doing some financial planning. I have never been a spendthrift, but I have never really created a budget for daily expenses like food, transportation, etc. It’s mostly been: earn income, save, pay tithe (it’s been better this year, but still not consistent) and spend the rest until the next income comes. I rarely plan for large expenses. I just expect to make the payment with a bulk sum when income comes in or just borrow against my savings. It’s a habit I’m working on changing.

Barows 21 isn’t where I need it to be. The campaign launched earlier this year didn’t achieve the set objectives. This is largely because I did everything on my own, in terms of implementation. I want to make a big decision about the business by the last quarter of the year.

A Thousand 1000 now has 145 donors. That number is nowhere near the 1,000 donor objective we set. But after worrying that we might not achieve the objective and that would mean we failed, I experienced a moment of clarity – we can’t fail. No matter what happens by December 2016, with 145 people coming together to support our IDPs and ensuring 100% transparency, we have already succeeded.

My 9 – 5 has been one of highs and lows. With just about 6 months in, I am thinking about moving again. If I do move soon, it will be my 5th job in less than 2 years.‎ Remember, I quit the last one after 6 months. Sometimes, I am angry with myself because I know happiness starts and resides within me. What am I searching for then?

Still looking forward to my first trip out of Lagos this year. Travelled to Ibadan a couple of times at the beginning of the year, but that was for market research, so it doesn’t count. Once I can start using my leave days, I am heading out of town.

It hasn’t been a perfect year, but it has been better than a lot of years I have had as an adult. I am not homeless like I was between 2011 and 2013, I am slowly getting my finances together, and looking forward to great things.

It’s all the Lord’s doing.

Stanley

Day 30: Stanley

“We used to fight for building blocks. Now we fight for blocks with buildings…”
– Jay Z (D’Evils, 1996)

I failed Digital Marketing. 42%. It was a surprise to me and everyone else who heard about it in my class.

The day after the result came out, I found out my brother had been arrested after he had not come home for 2 days. I spent the next week going to Ikoyi Prison and Tinubu Magistrate Court, and I was exposed to the decay and deeply ingrained corruption in our prison and court system.

I think failing Digital Marketing was God’s way of humbling me. I had become too confident in my abilities. Plus, in retrospect, there were certain things I didn’t do right.

I submitted my Integrated Communications assessment early this month – results are out in September – and I’ll give Digital Marketing another go from August. There is an option to take Customer Experience instead (Digital Marketing is an elective module), and I have a feeling it will be easier, but I have never been known to do easy.

The journey to becoming a Chartered Marketer still has some ways to go.

Instead of starting one company, I am going to be a part of starting two, with the first being the mother of the second, and the other companies we will create. All potential directors finally met and agreed on next steps. I am excited by the possibilities of what we can achieve.

I am currently at about 17% of my investment goal for 2016. Too poor. Recently, I have started doing some financial planning. I have never been a spendthrift, but I have never really created a budget for daily expenses like food, transportation, etc. It’s mostly been: earn income, save, pay tithe (it’s been better this year, but still not consistent) and spend the rest until the next income comes. I rarely plan for large expenses. I just expect to make the payment with a bulk sum when income comes in or just borrow against my savings. It’s a habit I’m working on changing.

Barows 21 isn’t where I need it to be. The campaign launched earlier this year didn’t achieve the set objectives. This is largely because I did everything on my own, in terms of implementation. I want to make a big decision about the business by the last quarter of the year.

A Thousand 1000 now has 145 donors. That number is nowhere near the 1,000 donor objective we set. But after worrying that we might not achieve the objective and that would mean we failed, I experienced a moment of clarity – we can’t fail. No matter what happens by December 2016, with 145 people coming together to support our IDPs and ensuring 100% transparency, we have already succeeded.

My 9 – 5 has been one of highs and lows. With just about 6 months in, I am thinking about moving again. If I do move soon, it will be my 5th job in less than 2 years.‎ Remember, I quit the last one after 6 months. Sometimes, I am angry with myself because I know happiness starts and resides within me. What am I searching for then?

Still looking forward to my first trip out of Lagos this year. Travelled to Ibadan a couple of times at the beginning of the year, but that was for market research, so it doesn’t count. Once I can start using my leave days, I am heading out of town.

It hasn’t been a perfect year, but it has been better than a lot of years I have had as an adult. I am not homeless like I was between 2011 and 2013, I am slowly getting my finances together, and looking forward to great things.

It’s all the Lord’s doing.

Stanley

Day 29: Fifi

What is it about time that makes you feel like you are not enough? What is it about keeping records that make you feel like all you have achieved is not enough?

My birthday was two days ago. Weeks leading towards my birthday, like every year before it (since I became an “adult”), I battled with depression.

Ambition is a dangerous thing. A little too much ambition? (there is no such thing though- it’s a myth) – is a recipe for an ungrateful life.

So I have simply refused to be ungrateful. I will not spend this post bitching and moaning about what I have not achieved. I am grateful that I have goals worth achieving.

So here is where I stand.

Learn to direct properly. I am grateful that I haven’t shot anything yet. Gives me room to learn so much more, and when I finally shoot (Please God, let it be this year), it will be so much more. By the way, fear is a liar.

Learn a new language. Se un poquito de espanol. I speak a little Spanish. Muy poquito. Only a little. And it is only what I have learned off the internet. And I am grateful. Ask me again when the year ends. By the way, fear is a liar.

Learn to ride my bike. Took my bike to the gym and tried to ride it. I fell. It hurt. Never rode again. I am grateful that I still have my bike and I am still open to learning. By the way, fear is a liar.

Get Fit, Eat healthier. Started going to the gym more. Lost weight. Put it back on. I am grateful that I could lose weight in the first place. There is hope for me yet.  By the way, junk food fear is a liar.

Buy a power bike. This has been postponed till further notice. Let me ride the powerless bike first. I am grateful for my sense of adventure. By the way, fear is a liar.

Travel. Ghana. Kenya. Thailand. I have gone NOWHERE. But I am grateful that this is because I have been too overloaded with work to think of traveling anywhere. I am grateful that I love my job crazily enough to pause. Time for traveling will come. By the way, fear is a liar.

Fall in love. I panicked for a while that it sort of happened earlier in the year. He reassured me that we were still just friends and I let it go. I am grateful for friendship. And if love does not come, I am still grateful for the fact that I am most happy with myself. And I still freeze with fear at the thought of giving up myself for another, in a matter of speaking. By the way, fear is a liar.

Ineffable Euphoria will hold in October, if I have anything to do with it. We will enter the slums, we will give out our food and produce baskets. The plan for a Food Bank, I believe will still come to pass. I am grateful that my mind has no limitations and fear again, is a liar.

7 months ago, I had plans. A lot of them did not happen the way I hoped, but there is time still; and still so much to be grateful for. I’m alive, I have an awesome job, I can tell people that I was part of the crew that brought RMD back to TV, (shameless plug- Watch Hush on DSTV 151 – 8 pm Weekdays, THANK YOU!). I have the opportunity to create, to bask in words – which for me is nothing short of bliss.

My status is changing, there’s no more decline. I’m on my way to better days.

Fifi

 

Dusk 28: Frances

On my face before God.
That’s what I have spent the better part of 2016 doing… on my face before God.
Frances
I didn’t think that it was going to be so hard, when I wrote in my 30 days of hope post that I was going to be praying in tongues for an hour each day in 2016, I imagined that I would do so just to build up stamina and grow spiritually.
But no.
My prayer time this year has consisted sometimes of me laughing in the Holy Ghost but also more of me crying from tears and pain in my heart.
 
Like where is the fulfillment of the promises for 2016 Lord?
 
Everything that has hurt me, I have poured out in prayer.
 
No, I didn’t get into LEAP Africa after I was interviewed.
Yes, some persons think that I currently am walking slowly, not catching up with my peers…
And I almost thought that God had forgotten me…
 
I poured it all out on my face before God.
 
2016 has been a gut wrenching, faith trying, hope against odds, choosing to trust that God knows what He is doing in my life kind of year.
7 Months gone…
And definitely not what I expected.
 
But then in a lot of ways I have also seen God come through for me in most amazing ways. It’s also been a year where I have wept the most as the reality of how much God loves me hit me.
 
Entering a taxi and having just 150naira in my purse and the next person suddenly pays for me…
Writing my NYSC book with no idea on how it would be printed and suddenly just getting “I felt led to sow into your ministry” from almost everywhere I turn.
 
Going to NYSC Camp to market my book and getting fresh ideas on writers seminars, etc.
 
Getting alerts that blow me away when I think of it all… on how God funds even the littlest things that He tells me to do.
 
No, I didn’t get into the job I interviewed for, I didn’t have a 9-5 income but oh, I have experienced God’s provision in ways that I cannot even start to write about.
I cried and still cry when I think about how much GRACE God has poured out on me.
 
Meeting a High Court judge who “something” just tells “support that young lady”.
 
Having ideas for more books upon books as I pray and then getting alerts to fund the books even without me asking…
 
So what can I say about the year so far?
 
Yes, some dreams have been realized.
My NYSC book was published! Yay!
No, some dreams still haven’t been realized, lots of God’s promises still not in physical manifestation yet…
 
But there have been wilderness seasons…
Dry seasons…
Stay at home, write on the blog, write and edit my books, then mop the floor, read your Bible, pray and stay on your face before God kind of season…
Wondering if God is still with me kind of season…
Wondering why my life is different from everyone else’s…
Why am I being pruned by God so?
 
Ah, but then He always reassures me.
I am not alone.
He is with me.
He hasn’t forgotten me.
He is with me.
 
And that is the reassurance I have for the remaining part of the year.
 
And at the end of December, I KNOW certainly, I will have even much more testimonies to share of God’s goodness and also of a deeper relationship He has brought me into with Him as a result of all 2016 has being…
 
And so here again, I share the words I left Church with yesterday…
 
“I am saying Lord, that I chose to believe (again).”
 
The wind of change is blowing in… and I chose to believe AGAIN.
 
And because I have seen so much birthed out of staying on my face before you, there will I continue to be…
On my face before you. 
It doesn’t matter if it’s just tears that flow as I pour out my heart…
All that matters is that on my face before you, all is made right and there I will stay.
There’s no where else to go.
 
And so cheers to everything you promised for 2016 being kicked into full gear 🙂
 
PS: I expect that birthday gift I asked for from you to come in ways that will blow my mind away 🙂 
Birthday is just a month away you know? But I am sure you already know 🙂
*Waiting*