All posts filed under: Love. Life.

Lessons on Loving, Lessons in Living.

Story of a Bleeding Heart

Kosidinma, my friend’s son passed away last week. His mother, Ehimemen wrote this for him. Words cannot express the pain I feel at your demise. You entered my life and made me feel like finally I had a purpose. A purpose that was mine only. Suddenly I knew I owed someone, I knew I owed you a responsibility to raise you as God wants. You gave me sleepless nights but it was all worth it because the look and satisfaction you gave after each feeding was priceless.  We had a connection which no one understood. Whenever I heard you cry, even when I knew you were having your bath, I jumped out of bed to watch just to make sure your crying was not for something that could have been avoided.  When people came to congratulate me, I was proud of the child I had begotten and created; bright, tall, independent and a whole lot more. I looked forward to your growing up because I felt you were going to be the next Albert Einstein… …

The Woman You Married

Look. Look at her, the woman you married. Look at her dozing as she nurses your child, make-up still on her face, one shoe off. Look at her doing the last of the dishes in the evening, still in her work clothes. Look at her as she patiently spoons rice into your toddler’s mouth, barely flinching as the child spills yet another cupful of water on the floor. Look at her. Look at her “adulting”. Trying to adult. Trying to be her mother, and her aunts, and her grandmothers. Trying to do it all, like she’s seen them do it all. Wear lace, walk in heels, attend weddings, go to the market, manage the domestic staff, do the last load of laundry. Can you tell we’re actually just little girls playing dress-up in our mothers’ lives? Look at her, smiling gamely as the baby places hands sticky with drool on her face. Look at her teaching your daughter to lace her shoes. Look at her, sighing with disgust at the fact that her jeans no longer …

Pregnancy Diary: Part 3 (Giving Birth)

Sooo…you might have noticed that it’s been awfully quiet around here for a while. I literally just found the time to open WordPress…and to breathe…and to take a proper shower…and to think…because, would you believe it, I am now a mother! A couple of weeks ago, a little human being whipped and nae-naed his way out of me. He did whip and nae-nae, I have video footage to prove it! I will be keeping that to show his friends when he’s a teenager and starts to annoy me. This was my perfect, ideal birth plan. At the 39-week mark, with my husband and aunt in attendance, go into labour. Manage the pains of first stage labour with activities like sitting on my exercise ball, long walks, baking, reading a book, taking a warm shower etc. After my water breaks, proceed to the hospital with my packed bag containing my music player, framed pictures of calming scenery, energy drinks and cookies for my nurses. At the hospital, chat with my nurses. Brave the pain. Dance a …

My Pregnancy Diary: Part 2

Thank you to everyone who responded to my call for feedback in my last post! It was very helpful and I will definitely be taking your ideas onboard. The winners of the giveaway are Ife, Sumbo and Nikki *rings bell* Congratulations! I’ll contact you directly on how to get your prizes. For everyone else, don’t worry. I have more giveaways planned this year! Now on to today’s post. Announcing our Baby I must be honest. Kae and I discussed whether going public with our pregnancy would be a good thing. The typical thing is to keep it private. Understandably. On one hand, there’s the superstition associated with sharing good news. Some believe it attracts envy, jealousy, ill-feelings, “bad bele” and in some cases, voodoo against the unborn child. Some others just want to enjoy these precious moments with only family members and close friends. And besides, being private about it means no awkward explanations are needed if there’s a miscarriage, a still-birth or other complications. Then there’s aesthetics. There are women who don’t think they look good …

My Pregnancy Diary: Part 1

“Well, madam. I’m pleased to inform you that you’re pregnant.” I face the doctor, stunned. It is such a cliche moment. The day before, I nearly cut myself with a knife because my hands were trembling so hard. I thought I had a fever (or Lou Gehrig’s). The thought of pregnancy might’ve crossed my mind but I dismissed it because…Nollywood. Nollywood taught me that the first sign of pregnancy was puking your guts out, and I wasn’t puking my guts out. And a part of me didn’t think I could get pregnant without fertility drugs. Call me pessimistic but I know so many women struggling to have babies that I was starting to accept that as the new normal. “You’re married, aren’t you?” The doctor asks me quizzically. My reaction isn’t what he’s expecting, I guess. Lol. I smile. “I am. Thank you, doctor.” “You’re welcome. So come back in 4 weeks, and we’ll see if this pregnancy is viable.” In other words, we’ll see if you haven’t miscarried. So brutal, really. There are a …

My Big Fat Nigerian Wedding: Five Favorite Moments

On November 29th, I would’ve been married “traditionally” for one year. Looking back now, I realize I never blogged about the whole experience of planning a “typical” Nigerian wedding. So in honour of this anniversary, I want to share my five favorite moments from the event we dubbed “The Carnival”. The first time K saw me in all my regal Esan splendour/glory: Lol! Esan women love their coral beads. I’m not often vain but even I recognize that I must have looked a sight. I wore almost 8 lbs worth of coral jewelry. I felt like royalty, like an Edo warrior princess. I didn’t want to take off that outfit. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments and I loved it. The entrance dance: I think I only vaguely appreciated the fact that it was my traditional wedding when I woke up that morning. I had a sense that I was a participant, and nothing more. I was dispelled of that notion the moment K and I danced in. There was this roar of appreciation and …

A Grief Lived

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Winnie The Pooh. This is how it happened, Okha. November 12, 2014. I am chatting with Ozoz about a dessert table for the wedding. Discussing macarons, I think. And candy buffets. Then Daddy calls. And he calls me Osemhen. Not Ose. Osemhen. In a tone that makes me feel like I am about to be scolded. You know that tone. And he asks me where I am. And I am afraid. Because he already knows I am at work. I’m at work. I force cheer into my voice. We are both prevaricating. I have some bad news. I think I asked, what? And he says Okhafo is dead. I think I heard someone sob in the background. I stand from my chair. Suddenly the air in the office building isn’t enough and I need to get outside. I tried, Okha. I almost make it. But my legs crumple at the door. I cannot stand and I cannot push the door open. Our horror stares at …

There's a Formula To Falling In Love; Do This

I can see how this exercise could be a first step to falling in love. It’s definitely a 2nd or 3rd date activity, not a 1st date. The things you could easily love the other person for are quickly revealed. And it forces you to be vulnerable all at once. It’s all so very deliberate. So maybe it’s worth a shot.

Good People

I noticed when you joined the queue, you both wore suits and I wondered if you were married. I wondered where you worked. Idle thoughts, I was more concerned with getting a seat on the 7pm Aero flight to Lagos. It was the last flight out of Port Harcourt with free seats. My heart sank when, after almost 20 minutes on the queue, the Aero teller announced that the POS machine wasn’t working. I’d have to pay cash. I didn’t have any cash . I heard you mutter that you didn’t have any cash either. This was 5:20. I made my way to the ATM, to the queues that dragged. I was number 7 on one queue; fifteen minutes later, you joined the other queue. My GTB card did not work. 20 minutes on the ATM queue, and my card did not work. I stepped off the queue. You asked me what the problem was. I replied that I needed to transfer money to my First Bank card so I could use it. You got …

First Post of 2015

Today I smiled at my own reflection in the mirror. I was alone. This hasn’t happened in a long time, a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, I smile all the time, everyday. I smile at strangers, I smile at friends, I smile flicking through pictures on my phone. But it’s been a long time since I smiled, really smiled at my reflection in the mirror and meant it. I don’t even know what it means but it felt good. I’ve missed writing. I’ve been scared, though. Scared to write because it forces me to face my emotions. But yes, this is me facing my emotions. How are you? It’s Lent, one of my favorite seasons. I love Lenten hymns. I love saying the Stations of the Cross. I like the results that come from the typical Lenten observances. Simply trying to reduce my usual indulgences has a profound effect on my peace of mind and my productivity. I wonder why I don’t practice the same ascetism all year round. I have many things …

You Are Legend

I thought I knew what loss was when I wrote “Laughter & Champagne.” But this is worse. His room still smells of him. I never noticed till he was gone. But his room has a distinct smell. It is the scent of Icy-Hot, the smell of folic acid, a hint of Dettol Cool and Vaseline Aloe-Vera. This is what his room smells like. This is how to console a bereaved person. Visit…and sit in silence, saying nothing. Or saying a lot, distracting them. Bring food in Ziplocs and plastic bowls. So that we do not have to cook. Do the dishes that keep mounting up because “guests” persist in eating the food other people have brought to console the family. Sweep. This is how not to console a bereaved person. Hold them too tightly when they cry. We don’t cry because we want hugs. We cry so that the sadness does not implode in our chests. We cry because we miss our love, because we can’t imagine the rest of our lives without hearing their …

26.

I was going to do a proper blog post but my heart is too full. Instead, I’m sharing my favourite memories from the past year (as captured in various pictures). In chronological order… 🙂 That time a bunch of strangers in Lagos all agreed to hang out at Bogobiri and discuss politics, relationships and just chill. 🙂   That time he traveled from Lagos to PH just to surprise me on Valentine’s Day. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw him! That time a different set of friends decided to shoot our own “Happy in Port Harcourt” video, and it turned into a picnic with chocolate cake, popcorn, puff-puff and zobo 🙂 We will release that video…one day. That time he asked me to be his wife <3 🙂 That time we decided to take a family portrait just as I was stepping out of the shower with my freshly washed hair still dripping! I was worried but I think it turned out okay 😀 That time he brought me a birthday cake, and …

On Being Jaded

  I remember thinking the conversation a bit dramatic. We were in first year, Jide and I, and it was one of those idle days where all we had to do was gist, waiting for one lecturer or the other. We used to have deep conversations, we still do. In almost ten years of our friendship, I can’t remember having a frivolous discussion with Jide. (Yes, we’re boring like that.) I can’t remember what the exact topic was but I remember Jide saying something like “I pray to never get jaded or used to mediocrity. It worries me, sometimes, I see a dead body lying on the road and feel nothing. I want to always feel something.” This was 2004. Before Boko Haram and its bombings. Before Aluu. Before Bellview and Sosoliso and Dana. Before violent elections that killed NYSC members. And I remember thinking, I’ll never be jaded either. It’s a resolution I fight to keep. Because it’s too easy, right? Too easy to get used to the statistics. The bad news pours in and …

How It Feels To Turn 25

I turned 25 on Sunday. It’s the silver age, I hear. Of quarter-life crises and self doubt/realization.  It’s the knowledge that I am older than my mother was when she had me. It’s the power that comes with approving of the choices I’ve made thus far. I have no regrets. I have been incredibly stupid, and shied away from looking myself in the mirror. I have been surprisingly clever and written well-worded letters of commendation to myself in my diary. I have been deliriously happy and in love with the world. I have plumbed previously unknown depths of grief and prayed to die. And yet, right now, I have no regrets. Through it all, I have written. In diaries, in notebooks scattered somewhere in my room, on this blog and on others’. And so it’s only fitting that I write on this occasion of turning 25. But what to say? I could reiterate everything I wrote when I turned 23, and it would all still be true. As would the words I wrote to 10 …

The Contentment Challenge

The best part of being an adult is earning proper money. You can’t convince me otherwise; when I compare my childhood to my adulthood, the key difference is that I can now buy myself a tin of Danish cookies as often as I like 🙂 And I can now buy myself a host of other things. Stuck as I am in this limbo where I earn money but don’t have corresponding responsibilities (no family yet), it’s an incredibly liberating feeling. I can literally buy myself anything I want. If it’s expensive, I just need to save up and it’s mine. Awesome. And unnerving. I consider myself a rational person, not given to frivolous purchases or impulse shopping. When I was younger, I learnt the importance of buying things on an as-needed basis. New books? Because I needed them for school. Handbag? Because I needed to carry my stuff around. New sweater? The old one had holes in it. Having a small allowance made this prioritization a must. But I’ve noticed things have changed. About a …

Vacation Chronicles: The Summary

I unpacked yesterday. Finally. A whole week after I returned. I unpacked my clothes, and my shoes. My trinkets and my creams. I unpacked memories. Early sunrises, late sunsets. Cold. Sushi. Solitude. Privacy. I unpacked. It felt weird going on a vacation alone, at first. A guy at Madame Tussaud’s asked me, “Haven’t you got any friends?” I gave him the easy answer, “No.” I didn’t tell him I had spent the previous week with some of my friends, including my best friend. I didn’t tell him that at the end of my sight-seeing, I would return home to the house in Camden where my cousins and grandparents were. No, I have no friends, I’m an alien in London and my time is my own. It was a very, very good feeling. I got lost many times. Thank God for Google Maps. I sprained my ankles, and had to wear Ace bandages on both before I could walk. I ate ravioli and hated it. I ate sushi and loved it. It was a spiritual retreat. …

Osemhen's Vacation Chronicles: Day 1

Hey! So I’m finally on vacation. It’s many firsts. My first vacation by myself, no family or anything. My first trip to Europe. My first trip to the UK. Honestly, I wasn’t excited about it till about an hour ago. I didn’t plan to vacation alone, for starters. But I’d already booked my ticket when I discovered I’d be going alone. Oh well. The trip was boring and sleep-filled. I arrived Manchester about 9 am and reported at the hotel I’d booked still sleepy. To my chagrin, the receptionist announced I couldn’t check-in till 2pm. Plenty English has been spoken but nothing for me. So I dropped my luggage with her and I’ve gone sight-seeing. As I type, I’m in Gatley. It’s cold (12 degrees C) but not half as bad as I imagined (n.b. I’m wearing 5 layers of clothing and I’m indoors :)) In my short walk, I’ve counted half a dozen barber shops. Hair cutting must be lucrative. I can’t find any bookshops yet, though. I’ve bought 2 coffees just so I …

2 Last Things and A Happy New Year

It’s been a tumultuous year. In a good way and in a bad way. Good in the sense that I was always busy, meaning that I was never bored. Bad in the sense that I rode many emotional highs and lows, and I was often too busy to blog. But I’m here now at 19.52. Typing this on my phone, hoping it looks just as good on a PC. I want to talk about two things. First is what I call the “obligation of good manners” to one’s family. I was sounding off with one of my friends the other day and he said something along the lines of “If I can’t be comfortable and be myself at home with my family, then where can I be?” It was a pertinent question. Home is where we relax, we chill, we let our hair down. It’s where we’re accepted for who we are. But too many times, it’s where many of us display behavior we wouldn’t be caught in in public. We’re brought up to not …