Date Archives 2015

24

For a while now, I’ve felt like life is over taking me and my dreams. I feel really old and under-achieved. I have a friend that keeps reminding me that ‘’I am in my prime’’ so with this in mind I made a list of 24 things to do in 2016. I am sure my list will make you laugh at some points and give you a picture of what goes on in my mind but most importantly I want it to challenge you to keep living and to chase after your dreams no matter the date on your birth certificate. So here goes;
1)      Fall hopeless in love with Abidoye Oreoluwa, because let’s face it, she is awesome.
2)      Climb a mountain.
3)      Read a new book every week. I know I read more than 52 books by the end of every year but a book can run into different weeks and some weeks pass by without a single book. So one book every week will help build discipline
4)      Feed a monkey; I know it is weird but it is something I have always wanted to do.
5)      Visit three new states in Nigeria and not states located in western Nigeria.
6)      Invest in coloured pens, pencils and no impulse buying of fancy notebooks.
7)      Read more History books to build an appreciation for the journey taken to arrive at where we are today.
8)      Go for a concert; one with a proper band and good musicians
9)      Visit museums and art galleries.
10)   See many stage plays and spoken word shows.
11)   Accept hugs and give hugs and stop thinking about body fluids.
12)   Read less of medical research journals because they only increase my paranoia.
13)   Tell people how important they are to me and write letters to people randomly.
14)   Disappear less into myself, learn to be in a place- body, soul and spirit and really experience the moments, places and people.
15)   Allow myself to miss people.
16)   Think more and worry less.
17)   Dance in the rain; I always end up with a cold after this but it is totally worth it.
18)   Have a sing along day with my sister and disturb the house with my horrible voice and her really good one.
19)   Go on holiday with my brother and sister.
20)   Make a photo documentary.
21)   Take longer walks with my mum and have more conversations with my dad.
22)   Write more and be more diligent with my blog.
23)   Visit Ghana.
24)   Don’t be afraid of love. 

The End Where I Begin

It was 11:50pm on the 8th of July 2015. I needed time to reflect and be grateful. I switched off the phone I was sure many people would call me on and left the other on.
I lay down thinking over one of the many life-changing events of the year. A major heart desire to live alone had come to be.
It was interesting having my own space. I enjoyed the process of decorating my apartment, buying new art pieces for the walls, having a photography wall, colour coordinating my kitchen utensils- that bit was really tricky, finding purple bottom pans was next to impossible.
On the other hand, realistically, it wasn’t fun and excitement at every turn. The constant hassle of planning meals, keeping the apartment clean and all the other stuff was a bit daunting but, this didn’t damper the overall experience.
Mid reflection, my phone rang. It was my friend Ifeoluwa.
‘’Ore mi’’ Ife said when I answered,
‘’Bawo Ni’’ she continued, she didn’t give me the opportunity to respond, very typical of her.
‘’Our ICAN result is out” she said. There was a slight pause before she added “I didn’t pass, have you checked yours?”
I shook my head, forgetting to speak; I had quickly plunged into a journey of fear to a dark place.
‘’Are you there?’’ those words brought me back.
‘’I haven’t seen mine, I will check now’’ I hurriedly said.
‘’Okay!! Check and let me know’’ with that, the call ended.

I turned my phone on with shaking hands, and watched it come to life. It vibrated, indicating messages coming in. I opened the one that read ‘’ICAN PROFESSIONAL,” it read in block letters ‘’YOU FAILED’’. My heart dropped and my eyes misted. It was 12:02am July 9th, 2015 my 23rd birthday.








Echoes of Love

July 10th2009, this is the first time I remember my father hugging me. It was the day of my graduation from Trinity  International College Ofada, Ogun state. My father dropped my mum and siblings off at the event and went to secure my admission into Babcock University.
I waited till the last minute to inform anyone about the deadline for the admission. I was holding out a fast dying touch and keeping my fingers crossed that my father would let me pick up the scholarship offer and travel to school in America.
I arrived at school a few days to the graduation. We had a number of activities leading up to the actual ceremony. We had ‘’leavers night’’, an event organised by our juniors for us. I wore a black and white dress and I didn’t smile in any of my photographs because I didn’t know how to.
I called my dad from school that first night a little worried and still holding out my touch for my scholarship. My classmates were talking about moving on, the school they applied to and got in, what A-level they were going to start in September, but I couldn’t contribute to the conversation.
In order to join the conversation I called my father, and told him about the deadline. I expected him to shout at me and I waited to hear the disappointment in his voice instead he spoke softly and reassured me that all will be well.
The next day was the graduation lecture and my 17th birthday. I wore a pink blouse with ruffles and a back pinafore with huge buttons over the blouse. I didn’t feel pretty. The boil-like looking pimples on my face and next to no self-love didn’t help matters. In my head that day everyone was better dressed than me.
I paid very little attention to the lecture as I was counting the number of people who remembered and wished me happy birthday. In the moment when they did, my joy meter shot-up, but just for the moment, because immediately my heart wondered back to all the people that didn’t. I had no clue how to accept the love offered to me let alone kindness.
That night we had a “cocktail” dinner with the administration of the school, students leaders(prefects) and teachers. It was a cultural themed dinner so I wore a short full skirt  and a sleeveless blouse made out of purple and gold Ankara with my younger brother’s gold cap to complete the outfit. One of the two photos I love from this point in my life was taken that night. It is a photograph of me and my brother. I am all smiles, he is holding me and I am holding on to him and he just whispered happy birthday to me. He did that all day long, whispering lovely things to me at intervals.
One thing I do regret is not having a photograph with my whole family to remember the next day with. I cried a lot during the graduation ceremony because I was unsure of my future and because all of who I was at the time was wrapped up in my classmates acceptance of me and who would accept me. I thought to myself when I tell them I am attending Babcock University and not jetting off to some foreign place and making lofty plans of reunions. My already dimming torch died that morning when my father told me he was going to secure my admission and I will start the process of enrollment the following Monday. That day my tears were easily explained by hiding under the guise that I was going to miss my classmates.   
There are many things I wish I could tell 17 year old Fola but, if the opportunity ever presented itself, I will choose only to send her this photograph. It was taken over a year ago at my graduation from Babcock University. In the photograph I am in the middle, dressed in my cap and gown, high heeled shoes I can barely walk in, my sister and mother standing to my right side dressed in iro and buba made out of blue lace material and my brother and father are standing to my left dressed in Agbada made out the same blue lace material wearing matching red caps. We are all smiles, standing close to each other, radiating love, the same love I doubted I could ever feel.

Letters 04 ( Her Version of Events 1)

Dear Friend,
Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I am living by one of my many policies. This is a new one, so I will share with you what it is.
I believe I need to start enjoying every moment of my life and not trying too hard to document it; I document later and let my memories help me relive those moments when I write.
So I went on my first holiday without my family. it is one of the numerous things on my list and just because I really needed a change of environment. I didn’t go with any expectations, just the need to be away from home and explore by myself; so I booked a hotel for a month, packed up my car and left.
My heart hadn’t fluttered in so long that I had gradually started forgetting what it felt like to worry about whether or not the person noticed you enough to match your fluttering heart with theirs. Permit me to steal a line from John Green’s book- The Fault in Our Stars ‘’Falling in love with you is like falling asleep, it starts gradually then all at once’’
That is how I felt. I didn’t notice when it started. It literally hit me one morning like cold coming through an open window and it was over whelming. It took a few days to adjust to my fluttering heart. This is because I had become too accustomed to my single life that the thought of the change felt like the introduction of a virus into my perfectly running system. It wasn’t a welcomed change and I felt missing from my own life.
I love walking and I hadn’t gone on a walk in so long so I decided to walk around the compound of the hotel every morning, earphones in place, and enjoy the view and the cold that morning provides, but there he was on my third morning out, there he was intruding my personal time. What makes walks wonderful is the solitude it provides, but without prancing or taking calculated paces, I walked faster.
I turned back to make sure I had lost him but there he was, fast-walking to catch up.
I realised one thing that made the process easy for me to embrace; I was fighting a lost battle, the sooner I accept this simple fact the easier the process will be.
He caught up with me and I found out a few things. He had been watching me in the mornings from his room window.(Uhh…)the criminal minds part of my brain immediately screamed stalker but my legs wouldn’t run in the opposite direction. I strangely found this faltering, my whole body seemed to be working by itself and not listening to the commands that my brain was sending out.
I started talking about seeing him at breakfast and wondering why he spent the whole time on his laptop, ignoring the rest of the world. My mouth seemed to do this on its own accord.
We walked around the compound two times before deciding to seat at one of the benches and keep talking. I found out we had very few things in common but that didn’t bother me. I was just happy for the conversation. Around noon we walked back to the hotel reception and went our separate ways. This was the 10th day of my holiday.
The morning ritual continued to the 20th day of my holiday. My walks didn’t feel the same without him and I wasn’t feeling missing in my own life anymore, I embraced the process and enjoyed every moment.
On the 21st day, I waited for him and he didn’t show. My walk was miserable and unlike other days, the biting morning cold affected me.
On the 22nd day I dragged myself out of bed and I was still alone, me and the cold.
On the 23rd, the last day of my holiday, I was packed and ready to go. Driving before the sun is up is way better and I couldn’t wait to be away from the hotel and lick my wounds at my next destination. A part of me still hoped that he would be waiting, but he wasn’t.
I asked myself this, “In this age and time, why I didn’t collect a phone number, pin, anything?” I guess it is my fault, my loss.
My eyes blurred and as I blinked, the tears fell without control. I packed and cried.
Then I looked in for the lesson learned. It was good to know that I could still connect with another individual and my heart could still flutter. If nothing, I am grateful for a reminder that I am human with emotions.

Letters 03

Dear Friend,
There are a number of things I do behind closed doors; they are like rituals and traditions that are scared to me. In the spirit of new beginnings and learning to live out of my comfort zone I will share a few with you.
Whenever I start a new book, after the first few chapters I fall in love with certain characters and I skip to the end many times to find out if they die. So I am mental and emotionally prepared for their death. Reading a number of Nickolas Sparks’ books is responsible for this.
The next one is still on books; I rewrite endings of books I don’t like. I will explain. When I read a book and the end it too dramatic for me or doesn’t follow the trend I hoped for, I write another ending sometimes just in my head other times when I am inspired I pen my alternate endings on paper. This helps me sleep better at night.
Another is that I write myself in and out of situations, I have a crush on a boy, I write a sappy poem about it and when I am ready to move on I write a goodbye poem. For me writing what is going on in my life solidifies it, makes it real in my own universe. So I document all moments so they are remembered and never forgotten. (This I do also for the benefit of my children and grandchildren, so by reading my journals, can share in the weird but beautiful things I have lived through) 
I write in pencils or coloured pen; like pink, yellow, purple, hardly black or blue. Pencils? Well because you can erase. Just like history, it is what we make of it. How we twist or choose to remember certain moments. Writing in pencils gives me that power to erase lines that once existed into oblivion. 
Coloured pens because I like colour in my life, everything looks very bleak sometimes and it feels like all the beauty in the world is faded, using my coloured pens in my own little way brings back colour into the world, I add extra strips here and there.
I have a deep love for music, it helps me unlock emotions I didn’t know I had, let alone allow to shine or even give room to grow. I would love to create music but I can’t. My vocal chords seem to have a mind of their own and wouldn’t corporate with my dreams. I appreciate from the side-lines and I let it become the sound track of my life. For many events I have a song that perfectly explains that moment and when I relive those moments I have the song playing in the background. I can say my memories are moving pictures with their own live band playing in the background.  
I think a lot about heaven. I have a list of bible characters I want to meet and I have questions I want to ask them. Top on my list, after I have greeted God, said my special thank you to Jesus and thank the Holy Spirit for guidance of course, will be Brother Paul. I’d like to tell him that his letters helped me find my place in the body of Christ and I have so many questions to ask him.
The last thing I am going to share with you is the fact that I have a never ending conversation with myself. I get tired of it sometimes but never bored of it.
If you feel up to it, I will gladly welcome your own letter on the things you do behind closed doors.
                                                                                            Your, Friend Ore   

Letters 02

Dear Friend, 
I have been thinking a lot about uncertainty. I know it is something we all try not to think about, we try not to let it bother us, but it is there, lurking in the background. A constant reminder of how unsure we are of the life we live. One thing I have learnt is constant are those beautiful moments. Moments that are mind blowing… Some of them we capture in a photo, a video or even a recording. Like an old photo of my mum and her elder brothers, they are all really young in the photo. My mum couldn’t be more than 4 years old in the photo, but she has her mischievous smile on and her brothers are standing behind her like her protector; almost as though they would guard her with their lives. They are all so happy. That moment is perfect because it celebrates the innocence of childhood and the joy of the moment. Or the tape recording my grandpa made of my younger sister crying. Oh she cried a lot when we were younger and now that she is taller than the rest of us we have that to hold over her head and laugh about. It is a little debris of a place long forgotten. I must have been 8 or 9 in this other photograph. It was taken in the church compound. It captures perfectly my relationship with my younger brother. We are standing side by side and holding ourselves tightly, we are not smiling yet you can tell we are happy…peaceful. That’s just how we are. We communicate, not in many words, but in the static of the words unsaid between us. We have each other’s backs and we hold on tight to each other. There is this photo of my dad and I and this was taken when I was a baby. I was so tiny. My dad carried me in one of his palms, half concentrating on me and looking at the camera man all at the same time. You can see the love and joy in his eyes, the eagerness of a new father, the uncertainty hidden because of the joy that overshadows it. When everything seems bleak, I look back on these captured moments and relive their beauty. It gives me hope that no matter the uncertainty of life, beautiful moments will always occur. Armed with this, I face uncertainty… 

Through the eyes of Carrie Bradshaw

In my years of playing dress up as a child
I understood that what you wore can help define you
But in this store I realized that you might even be able to change who you are
Maybe you could walk in here one person
A kid from Agege and walk out as Lisa Folawiyo
Or the next day you could walk out as 
Scarlett J.
The choice is all yours
Staring at the mannequins
I wanted to be them
They wanted to be me I presumed
At least I get to walk out the door either way
Clothes in hand
A life to live
But in that moment we were one
We both chose to be Rita Dominic
Cos I would have it no other way
In a place filled with clothes I might never get to see
Rita Dominic would be the best alter ego
Or her fashion stylist
It was euphoria just thinking about it
I found a sequin buba blouse
It was staring at me with immense sadness
I stared back in awe
We were both lost in opposite worlds
She wanting to be loved
Me wanting to be shiny
It was a typical tale of the grass is greener on the other side
We exchanged glances again
And we both knew
I had to be Rita Dominic if only for an hour
Cos we both knew the only place I could afford these clothes was inside the mirror
And I was willing to take my chances
But then there was a problem
There was nothing suitable to pair with the blouse
And it hits me
The eternal struggle to find the one
Is it a myth
Is it real
As I struggle with the answer
I find the most perfect pants ever
Yes it is    
Do the math
I walk out the store feeling 100 years wiser
Confused girl with sweaty palms.
By Onomesan Oyo