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24, Her Version of Events, letters,

8th July 2015

Dear Oreoluwa
You are about to get a text from ICAN that would make you feel like your world is crumbling and someone is twisting your insides. I need you to know that this isn’t the end of the world and your insides are fine.
I know your birthday is tomorrow and you want to stay in bed and wallow in self-pity. Please don’t plan a trip to the dam, Mo will take the best photos of you and Tofu would surprise you with a cake for the first time since your fifth birthday.
Cut your hair, it is long overdue don’t worry it would grow, take longer walks, have longer conversations with Aunty Kemi and Mr Mayor they have an arsenal of knowledge you would need in the coming months. Stop running to Lagos every weekend, you would miss Ilorin so much when you leave and not have the opportunity to visit.
Your holiday to Ibadan would be life changing, your inspiration for life would be renewed and you will meet and accidentally fall for someone, don’t think too much of it, just go with it. This experience would make you very happy, sad and angry, all at the same time. You can choose to avoid this all together by not having a conversation about the Civil War. This is totally up to you.
You will have another episode of depression and thoughts about dying, talk to someone about it; it isn’t bad to ask for help. Mama is trying, cut her some slack open your mouth let her know what is going on, let her know how you are feeling. Communication will make a lot of things easier to deal with in the coming months.
Don’t be Afraid; fear would keep you from a lot of adventures, go to places on the spur of the moment; the things you worry about currently wouldn’t matter in a few months.
Lastly google ‘’Bethel Music’’ and ‘’Shima Yam’’ you would thank me later
24, life lessons,

Ringing Words

This is not a poem, I gave up poetry a long time ago. This is a jungle of words playing in my head like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.
So I find myself accidentally falling again, how I get myself in these situations is beyond me, my emotions seem to be a separate entity from my brain, existing and doing what they please when it suits them.  
So it is safe to say it suits them to fall again.

Every smile, I register
Every accidental brush of the hand doesn’t go unnoticed
Every time our eyes meet, I never want to look away

Before you start smiling uncontrollably as you read this, it is not a love whatever you choose to call it and I am not in love
Or maybe I am.
We would have to ask my emotions what they have decided.

Easter was a miserable time,
I should have been celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus
But I spent all my time looking at my phone hoping it would ring or I would get a text
And I died a little when I got a text from everyone but ‘’Deep Brown Eyes and Budding Mustache’’
By Easter Monday, I had shouted at my sister, wasn’t talking to my mum and watched football with my father.
I was ready to get back to work, who invented public holidays???
Some sick psycho determine to punish me with a lot of free time.

I was far too gone falling
I was in this place of uncertainty that I hate
A place where my happiness is wrapped in the well being of another
In pointless conversations
In holding hands
In stupid inside jokes and nicknames

I am going to override my emotions,
It isn’t even a body part.
My brain is much stronger I conclude.

To apologize, I drag my sister out for ice cream,
There is ‘’Deep Brown Eyes and Budding Mustache’’
Cozy with a girl, sharing a cup of ‘’coldstone’’
I drag my sister to another shop
Bribe her with another gift
She is trying on her dresses when I start to cry
We have agreed to blame stupid emotions

24, life lessons,

Pretty Cute or Beautiful

The gold framed mirror in my bathroom reminds me of the mirror in Snow White. Here am I standing right in front of it and doing what the Evil Queen did in the enchanting story, “mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest in the land?” My question is different though, it is;
“Am I beautiful enough, mirror?”

On good days I find an answer, I say to myself; ‘yes I am beautiful’, on bad days I just keep looking at my reflection in the mirror searching for a beautiful feature on my face.
I remember when my face started breaking out, I was in Primary 4 when the first pimple appeared then the next one and soon I had a face full of these pesky tiny boil like things on my face. I made the mistake of pinching them off and that has left me with tiny dark scars. 

Maami noticed I was disturbed by the pimples, she said to me ‘’you look pretty this phase would pass’’

Fast-forward to my first year in secondary school. My English teacher gave an assignment to differentiate between pretty, cute and beautiful, the boys decided to make the assignment practical by classifying the girls into the various categories. The girls got wind of it and put a stop to it.
One Tuesday evening the girls sat in a circle and decided to pick up where the boys left off; ‘power to the women’ you would think. We went round the circle labelling ourselves and when it got to my turn one of the girls said that she couldn’t call me pretty, cute or beautiful that the pimples on my face made it hard for her to determine where I fit.

I was deflated.
That holiday I asked Maami what she thought of me. If I was pretty, cute or beautiful. She said I was her prefect daughter made for greatness that I didn’t have to worry about that.
In my second year, the head of the English department called me and asked how many times I wash my face that I should do it more often that it would help with the pimples.

By my third year, I hated going out with my mum. All the women had some cure to suggest. I was taking blood purifiers, vitamin supplements and using very expensive special soaps and oils on my face. The drugs I hated, the oils and soaps smelt really nice. 
One Friday evening, I had just taken out my hair used one band on it so it could have the appearance of an afro, this look was easy for me, my hair is natural. I looked at myself again in the hostel mirror I decided I looked pretty. I walked into my room to drop my combs and my roommate said to me if she had such pimples on her face she wouldn’t go out. ”I will sit at home till it all cleared.” she finished.
In my fourth year, I made the executive decision to stop taking all the drugs and using the soaps and oils; I really didn’t care anymore.
A boy had a crush on me and wrote me a note. I didn’t believe in the words he wrote because when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see those things.
At some point in all these I lost my smile.

One Friday evening in my fifth year,  I just worked on my afro look and I was walking towards my classmates who were seated in a group talking loudly; one of them shouted ”Ore you look pretty” my smile broadened when I got close up she added ”I think you look pretty only from afar” 
By my sixth and final year in secondary school, the pimples where gradually fading and in its place where tiny black scares.

I didn’t have the first idea about makeup let alone brown power. So I went through university with many people trying to convince me of its importance and why I needed to wear it.
I cared less about it. I was on a journey of self-discovery and acceptance and I had come to love and accept myself. I was no longer crying about horrible comments and suggestions that didn’t come off the right way.
After university I bought my first compact brown powder and I told myself it was never going to become an everyday affair and I was going to use it moderately.
The band wagon of why foundation cream is important and lining my eyes would make my eyes pop and my teeth shine soon followed.
I wasn’t buying it. I am happy with whom I am and my life choices, I have scaled many hurdles to get to this point of self-acceptance and self-love and I wasn’t going to be talked into doing anything I am not comfortable with.

We are planning my friend’s wedding, at one of our meetings I told them I would only wear makeup I feel comfortable with and I wanted to look and feel like myself at the wedding. The bride keeps telling me she is worried about my face. 

Constantly talking about this gave room to my old demons and I began to question myself and ask if I am pretty, beautiful or cute.
I went home after our meeting agitated and went straight to the gold frame mirror in my bathroom, I forgot to lock the bathroom door, Maami noticed I was talking to the mirror and leaned on the door frame, I turned and asked her if I am pretty, beautiful or cute and she smiled and hugged me.

Since that night I stopped asking the gold frame mirror any questions, I just wake up in the morning and tell myself that I would be the most beautiful version of myself for that day. On a few occasions it includes road rage and having a one woman music party.


    Photo Credit: Tidola Photography



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.