Author Archives: Bespectacled

7 Billion Shades of Normal

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You are not normal!

Her words echoed in my head. Not because it bothered me. On the contrary, I was glad I wasn’t considered the norm and I found it quite interesting that she thinks I’m an outlier. However, here’s what I don’t quite comprehend. How does the fact that someone refuses to doesn’t think or act like you/conform to your standards make them abnormal? What exactly is ‘normal’ anyway? Who decides how we are supposed to act and how we are supposed to feel? What about our individual uniqueness and circumstances that cause us to be a certain way?

Define Normal

I personally do not believe that the world is dichromic therefore I struggle to understand people who see the world in black and white. And so to blend in, they are forced to disguise their true colours by painting themselves in phony armours. Thick coats of ‘normal’. I am of the opinion that there is no clear cut and one cannot be either/or. I believe that people are like a vast spectrum of colours with distinct traits and if that’s the case, how does the fact that I’m an entirely different colour from you make me abnormal? Can you rightly say that because blue is your thing, yellow is an abnormal colour?

A lot of people have been through awkward phases in their lives where fitting in was their utmost priority. I remember being the kid at school who didn’t want to stand out or appear different in any way at all. So I made uncomfortable attempts to join the band wagon. I didn’t want to be the misunderstood one or the one people thought to have psychotic problems. Then I got older and realised how fitting in altered my identity and how much time I had wasted as a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I was no longer willing to miss out on the things I found thrilling or sacrifice who I was for the sake of acceptance. I’m not sure what the purpose of life is but I doubt it’s to be moulded or controlled by others that you shy away from your uniqueness.

I tried to be normal

Normal is subjective and we are all abnormal and beautiful people in our own right. Each and every one of us. When you realise this only then will you have the courage to stand in the storm and let the wind blow away your mask and the rain wash away the phony paint you have so carefully camouflaged yourself in. Then your true colours will shine for all to see. And rather than hide, rather than pretend to be who you are not for the sake of acceptance, you will stand tall and you will accept yourself and others will too. You know why? Because everyone likes beautiful things and there is nothing more beautiful than a person who stands proudly and firmly in his/her own truth.

perfectly normal life

So, here are a few of my so-called abnormalities (the subtle ones though, just so I don’t scare you away):

  • I don’t like phone calls. I detest having to put my phone to my ear especially for longer than I ought to. I don’t mind being on my BlackBerry and typing all day long but phone calls? Definitely not for me.
  • I either don’t get along well with women or I’m not very good at sustaining relationships with them. I’m not sure which is right. I don’t understand it myself and I wonder how that came to be especially since I spent 6 years of my life in an all-girl boarding school. But yeah… that’s just how my cookie crumbles and for this reason about 95% of my friends are male.
  • I’m a comfort dresser. I don’t understand why fashion should cause pain and I won’t wear anything that makes me uncomfortable. For the same reason, I don’t wear high heeled shoes. I don’t feel the need to walk on tiptoes everywhere I go. Well except it is absolutely necessary or I’m in an utterly good mood.
  • I love shoes. I like to buy lots of shoes, most of them I never get to wear and some of them I know (even at the point of purchase) that I will never wear. Then again, it’s way easier and less heart-breaking to shop for shoes than for clothes, isn’t it? Have you ever gone shoe shopping and realised that you’ve gone up 2 shoe sizes? My point exactly! With shoes you can’t be a 5 today and a 7 in 2 months. So yeah, I love shoes 🙂
  • I’m highly sensitive. I cry easily. I feel everything. If you’re hurting, I may be able to feel your pain physically. While it can be draining sometimes, I like that I’m that in touch with my sensitive side.
  • I don’t like numbers. I couldn’t tell you my own phone number off the top of my head. Whenever I get to a number when reading a book, be it a formula, date, whatever, I automatically skip to the next word. Amazingly, I’m not horrible at maths but that’s another thing I can’t explain.

There you go! We all have unusual characteristics. None of us came with a user manual. We are all finding our paths in this world and our individual definitions of ‘normal’ is a function of our society, upbringing, culture, race, gender, age, life experiences, level of exposure, lifestyles, status and more. I mean, can an you logically expect over  seven billion people in the world to conform to a specified standard? What’s normal to me may not necessarily be normal to you. We are all freaks of nature, abnormal in one way or another. And to me, that’s completely normal.

types of normal

What’s your story? Are you normal? Please leave your comment below.

He loves you not!

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images_editHe loves you, he loves you not. He loves you, he loves you not. You love him, HE LOVES YOU NOT! Ain’t that something. My girl Tracey done gone did it again! She never listens that one.

But is it just Tracey or have you ever found yourself in a pseudo relationship where you act like you are ‘the one’ but you know damn well that you really aren’t? You know those sort of situations where you find yourself doing things for ‘him’ that girlfriends do and at his convenience, he does ‘certain’ things for you that boyfriends do. Well, except you both know he is not your boyfriend. Yet you continue playing house and keep telling yourself it’s better than nothing and someday things will change.  But there’s no denying the fact that you know deep down within you that it probably will never happen. But that doesn’t stop you, does it?

Now your life revolves around him however, his words and actions clearly indicate that he has absolutely no intentions of being anything more than friends with benefits. And even when your head, sixth sense, intuition, instincts and everything remotely logical within you tell you to act within the limits of your boundaries, you don’t. Then tragedy strikes. The honeymoon is over. He made up with his girlfriend. Then comes the disastrous break-up! But it really isn’t a break-up, is it? Because he really isn’t your boyfriend. Is he?

So tell me, why are you so mad at him? Shouldn’t you be mad at you? After all, he didn’t ask for the spare keys to your house. Girl, you offered it to him. He didn’t ask to move in with you. You made him forget his stuff so many times that he had forgotten an entire wardrobe at yours. Plus you had thrown so many sleep over parties that he might as well just move in. Then you include his laundry to your laundry plan to justify the bill or is that just what you tell yourself? After all, you never really use up your ’70 items of clothing a month’ limit. You stock up your fridge with stuff you don’t eat, just in case you have visitors. Funny how these items end up being his favourite food stuff. Such coincidence!  When you go shopping, things like boxers and aftershaves end up in your trolley, because you never know when your brothers might decide to sleep over. How cute! Suddenly, you who used to detest football, now subscribe to the DSTV Premium bouquet because according to you, football is now your thing. Not like you can afford it o, but you pay for it anyway. And there had better be utter silence when his game or favourite show is on. He makes no contribution to your rent yet he has his side of your the bed which is strictly out of bounds to you. Your clothes better not be in his side of your the wardrobe and of course he has total dominion over the remote controls. So homeboy drives your car even more than you do and guess who fuels it? That’s right. You. Apparently that’s not bad enough because you let him sweet talk you into granting him access to your debit cards, talking about ‘baby, your money is my money’. Not forgetting how you go skinny dipping with him because suddenly you are now latex intolerant. Yeah… keep telling yourself that!

After all said and done, in no way does any of this commit him to you. And just because you are the one crying doesn’t make you the victim. But you are too scared to let go because some other girl already has him some other girl might get him. You probably should have listened when he consistently told you that he’s still with her, however, he just needs some space to clear his head. Shoot! Was that space you?

I understand it’s not entirely your fault. He was like an addiction, right? Your guilty pleasure and for some reason you just couldn’t shake him off, could you? Even more pathetic is the fact that all this you did for a less than average guy doing less than average guy things like sagging his trousers, walking with swagger staggering and grabbing his crotch when he walks. Living off you and thinking with his d**k. One of those men who act like boys but for some reason, we still call men.

So what’s the deal with you? Is this you settling? Have you refused to live up to your potential? Or are you just a less than average chic doing less than average chic things? Competing with alcohol, weed, clubs, football, video games and other women. A million things to lose and not a single thing to gain.

Yeah I know. When he hit it, he wrote his name on it. And when he put his head in it, you put your soul to it. So yeah, I appreciate your story and I’m with you. I’m not even trying to rub it in your face or anything like that. But baby, suck it up! You are not his mother. And hell no! Your money IS NOT his money. Are you kidding me??!!! If the boy wants a free car and catered accommodation, redirect him to his momma! Get your act together sweetie and let this be the last time you give your all to a guy who has no love for you.

Brother, Thou Art Loosed!

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So I got quite a number of reactions to my last post. Hmmmm… some guys didn’t think it was funny o. Some thought it was a premeditated hit below the belt. Jor o! I didn’t set out to offend anybody.

Anyway, talking about reactions, a certain person, didn’t think a simple comment on my post would suffice. Not at all. Instead, homeboy took matters into his own hands and responded with an epistle.

So here’s introducing my very first guest blogger

…*drum rolls*…

Please welcome the comical @Sirkastiq from The Sarcastic Center.

Oh… and please don’t forget to leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you think.

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Life is a bitch.

A bitch is a female dog.

Life is a female dog.

I wonder why life is considered female and why it has been correlated to a dog. However, I shall not brood on these matters, at least not today. This Lord’s day, I shall deal with a more pressing matter. A matter that has plagued the male race for eons. A problem that has (somehow) evaded any sort of solution. Today is however the day of salvation. Brethren! Our moment of emancipation is here! Slap your neighbor a hi-5 and say “NEIGHBOUR!” say NEIGHBOUR, DO YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF THE FRIENDZONE? Good stuff. Now take a seat.

So, I read the post by ‘the bespectacled one’ on how we (guys) can’t accept the “just a friend” tag and I was very annoyed. After much thought, I went ahead and did some research on how my niggas can escape from this devilish zone. Alright, guys, enjoy and thank me later.

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DISCLAIMER: Before your sorry asses start pointing fingers and throwing stones at me, may I state at this point that this post is a result of carefully conducted “research”. The content emanates from the findings of other ‘scientists’ and this here serves as the confluence of their results. I know that awon omo jati jati are looking for the next plagiarist to impale and it shan’t be me.

Now we shall proceed.

Like all cases, it is necessary that we dig deep to unravel the mysterious history of the friend zone. Before that however, for the unlearned in our midst (i wonder what you’re finding here by the way), I shall give a definition or two of the friend zone. According to Wikipedia, the “friend zone” refers to a platonic relationship where one person wishes to enter into a romantic relationship while the other does not. It is generally considered to be an undesirable situation by the lovelorn person. In simple parlance, quoting the revered Mother Theresa, “The Friend zone is that shitty place where the girl you like, for some unknown dumb reason sees you as a brother rather than the guy that should be giving her a good shag on the regular”.

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Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dig deeper into the annals of history and find out who started this menace that we all have faced at one point or the other. Let me take you way back to 1994 where it all started. Yes 1994, on that sit-com we all love; “Friends”. That’s where the friend zone was born. Remember Ross and Rachel? The buggers. Suffice it to say that the originator of this God-forbid zone is Ross. *minute of silence please*

friendzone-ross-friends

Thus, a monster was created!

Are you in the friend zone? Has that girl repeatedly told you “I want a guy just like you”? Are you tired of being the one she asks to go with her to the loo when she wants to pee? Are you tired of the way she tells you about all the boys that hit on her? DO YOU WANT EMANCIPATION FROM THIS SLAVERY? If your answers to these questions were “yes”, welcome to your liberation center for the time of your deliverance is NOW! Turn to your neighbor and… Ok. Let’s move on…

Before we proceed though, it shall be unsafe to assume that some of you even understand the zone you’re in. How are you sure she likes you at all sef? Let’s make some things clear and set things straight. Now, these don’t necessarily mean she’s so much into you but at least, it’s a good sign that things could proceed out of the friend zone.

  1. She’s laughing at your jokes even when they aren’t funny. However, just don’t confuse a “get me out of here giggle for “OMG!!! You’re slaying me!”
  2. She tells you to take a sip of her drink. This kinda means “I am comfortable with you on a more intimate level” OR she thinks there’s some poison in the drink… so yeah…
  3. She asks you if you have a girlfriend or pries for the information. When a woman is around a guy she is attracted to, she will ask if he has a girlfriend, she might not hit the nail on the head but she will find a way around it.
  4. She calls you a player. Strange right? You would think that when she says this, she’s not interested. LIE! This is one of the counter-intuitive things that ladies do. We’ve been in the game long enough to know. When she says this, PLEASE do NOT try to defend yourself and say you aren’t a player. Go on with the conversation, smile and say something like “Wow! Is it that obvious?” For her to say this, it means two things – one, she’s comfortable enough with you to make such an ‘accusation’ and two, she perceives you as the kinda guy that talks to a LOT of women. Winning!

Ok, now that we have established that she might like you, let’s get you out of the friend zone shall we? You have no idea how much of a favor I’m doing you with this post. Ok then. Let me graphically attempt to help you understand the height of your problem

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Shey now you see that it’s not BEANS!

Now the GOLDEN RULE: NEVER EVER EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS DIRECTLY. Don’t tell her you want to be more than friends. No! No!! No!!! I know you’ve wallowed in the pits of the friend zone for longer than you bargained for but this is a major bitch ass move to make. In fact, it ruins everything. So here’s what you do.

  1. You don’t need her. Shut up! I know you do but don’t make it so obvious. Don’t be available always. Don’t pick her call before it rings, heck! Don’t give her a special ringtone or save her name as ‘Angel’. Please don’t do that!!! The trick is to focus on yourself, be engulfed in projects, hobbies etc. This gives you a legitimate excuse to blow her off sometimes and “make it up to her” later. In this make up time, give her the time of her life and then, disappear again. Just ensure that you aren’t at her beck and call. I know she has you on BBM, when she sends you a message, don’t read it, just END CHAT. It won’t show as ‘R’ but as ‘D’. You can then tell her later that you were busy or something like that.

    friend_zone

    Encourage yourself… oya, continue..

  2. You find her attractive BUT she has competition. When you are with her, make sure you obviously notice other girls and comment on their beauty. If you can’t tell whether they just walked out of photoshop, comment on something like their legs “damn, baby got legs for daysss!” Anything to make her a bit jealous, please don’t ga’an compliment someone who isn’t all that o! This should be done in moderation sha. When she says something like “na wa 4 you, you’re just an ashawo” This is a good time to say “relax babe, they still ain’t got nothing on you”. DO NOT STARE in her eyes after saying this, just move right on… like a bawse.
  3. You have high standards: Talk about the things you desire in a woman and use them to qualify her. Don’t wait for her to start telling you her preferences o. Put her on the back foot. Yes brag a bit. Tell her you could hook up with any girl but you’re yet to find the one with *insert your preferences here*. She will most likely tell you what she likes as well, which makes for good conversation as you can pick up some points. PLEASE DO NOT SAY “like me shey?” This statement disgusts them more than the love letters they get in their Facebook inbox.
  4. You are a sexual being. Yes. Talk about sex. Here’s how. You can talk of the things you would love to experiment, the positions you like/know etc… While talking about this, watch her reaction carefully, if she seems uncomfortable, this is a major RED FLAG. You should stop. If she giggles shyly, BINGO! Go on for a bit and tell her “it’s not fair, I’m giving you all my info and you aren’t saying anything. Oya talk jor”. Make the mood as light as possible. WARNING: Don’t talk about sex too much before you look like a perv. Moderation is the key.pic 6
  5. Break the touch barrier. Now this is quite risky. It requires lots of tact. The problem is that most of us Nigerian guys don’t pay attention. There are certain moods and scenarios that play out but because we are so myopic, we miss them. Touch is a very sensual thing and can change your status from ‘Mr. Friend Zone’ to ‘Mr. Boy Friend’ if applied right. Some of you think that kissing is the next step when with a girl, nah you idiots. Have you held her hand? I’m not talking of while you’re crossing Ikorodu road o. I’m talking of when you’re sitting and having a casual conversation, comment on her jewelry (maybe a bracelet), take her hand in yours and fondle a bit. PLEASE A BIT O! Not for like 10 minutes, what are you a palm reader? If she instinctively pulls her hand back, don’t grab it or hold tighter, just let it go, the mood isn’t right. Touching someone communicates you find them attractive and you are confident. If your friend is however used to cuddling with you and stuff and you have been scarce like I said earlier, the cuddles will become more special and less routine. The less she sees you, the more meaning it will have. This is why you must make sure you don’t portray yourself as needy. Sometimes, when the cuddle is getting cozy, suddenly remember that you have some business to attend to and leave (Please NEVER say you have to go see some people or other friends. It has to be strictly business not pleasure).

See, this thing is getting longer than I planned o. Basically sha, STOP BEING NEEDY. You really just need to relax, I know you like the girl die but your being around all the time isn’t making it better for you. For those of you who go on twitter and stalk the girl, Retweet her every tweet, LOL even when she’s not cracking jokes and run to her defense when she’s been ‘attacked’ online, nigga you need a chill pill. That shit don’t get you promoted, matter of fact it takes away cool points if you ever had any. Anyway, you know what they say “when you think your situation is bad, there’s someone who has it worse”. There are some in the “mugu zone” but that’s gist for another day. And for the ladies wondering why this is tailored to just guys, it’s simple: There is no “friend zone” for ladies. I’m serious. But if you think I’m lying, offer that guy your you-know-what and see whether he will dull. If he does, well, to every rule there’s an exception, BUT on this rule, it’s clear, he’s not straight.

I’ve said a lot BUT if my pointers don’t help, there’s a major short cut that you can take to help you jump out of the friend zone.

WARNING: This should only be used when all else fails, this short cut may not land you in the “relationship zone” but might promote you to the “friends with benefit” zone. It’s better atink?

The shortcut? ALCOHOL! You both get stone drunk and then do the do. Erm…see picture for further elucidation.

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Peace out!

I’m just not that into you…

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First and foremost, I better confess that I have nothing especially noteworthy to say today. Alright then. Now that that’s out of the way… I’ll just quickly rant about the weird “why can’t we just be friends” conversations that have recurred a bit more often than not these past few days.

Caution Alert

Oh dear…. is it just me or does anyone else want to scream out loud to a certain person “Dude, don’t you get it? I said I just want to be friends! Good old platonic, no strings attached friends… nothing more!”

But they don’t get it, do they? That nothing they say or do can change your mind and regardless of how many times they ask the question, “what do you want from me?”, the answer will always remain, “I just want to be friends” and perhaps in addition to that “I also wish you’d accept that fact and be my friend with no hidden agenda or walk away if you can’t withstand the heartache of being just friends yet always wanting more”. In fact, to be completely honest with you, I’m totally uninterested in being your friend but since you are hell bent on lurking around, out of the goodness of my heart, I will offer some of my attention.

Lets Just be Friends

Sucks right? Yeah… I know… I’ve been there too.

Only a few things are more uncomfortable than hanging out with someone who keeps trying to “take things to the next level”. Especially after making it crystal clear that romance is not on the menu. However, if you insist on hanging around and listening to me rant about my ex-boyfriend and next-boyfriend drama, well… here’s some popcorn!

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So I hung out with him a couple of times, I’m courteous to him, I even go out of my way to be nice to him sometimes. However, I don’t want to cross the line. I just want to be friends. That doesn’t make me a bitch. I’m just a very nice girl who probably likes him but for some reason, it just doesn’t feel right.

Its complicated

My homeboy just doesn’t get it. I have engraved the writings on the wall a couple of times, with high hopes that he’ll get the message and act accordingly. Guys usually get pissed off by that, don’t they? Talking about, “I took you to the movies. We dined at Oriental Hotel. I paid for everything! I even bought you a spa treat. And now you call me ‘buddy’ like I’m just another friend?” Eeeerrrmm… ok, now I’m confused. Aren’t you just another friend? And what else am I supposed to call you? Daddy? What if I told you that being nice to a girl doesn’t obligate her to be romantically interested in you?

Call me brother

Now here’s the deal. I know he likes me. I know he thinks our outings were dates. I know they weren’t dates. I also know that they will never metamorphose into dates. But because I’m such a sweet and sensitive creature, I acted dumb. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, bruise his ego or make him feel rejected. So I chose to hang out with him even when I didn’t see him “that way”. Yeah, I’m selfless like that.

When a woman has a close friend

Sometimes he dramatically made it obvious that he wanted to be more than friends. Then I’d pretend to be clueless and act like all the while, I thought all he wanted was to be just friends too. Gosh! You coulda fooled me!

lets be more than friends

I know… it’s a bit hard to explain. But in my defense, it really wasn’t my intention to be manipulative and I wasn’t in it for free drinks – obviously, I can buy my own drinks. I do this because this is what nice girls do. We don’t go around breaking hearts. It all seemed to be a nicer way of handling things rather than telling him bluntly “No, I don’t want to go out with you. No, I am not attracted to you. And no, I don’t think you are cute”. I know better than going around hurting people’s feelings. Like Mum would say, if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing. Since I’m not one to be mute, I came up with “hey, it’s just a friendly drink, right? Ok. Let’s do it”. This way, I can avoid being the devil’s advocate who rejected him before “getting to know him better”. Mum raised me better than that. So l went out with him, had a good laugh, and when he insisted on doing it again, Yes, I was his guest. That doesn’t mean I lead him on, does it? No. It simply means I have way too much respect for him as a person to want to hurt his ego like that.

we lie because you can't handle the truth

After hanging out with a guy who I realize I’m not in the least attracted to, I usually stop contacting him and hope he takes a hint. For some guys, this takes a while. For some special ones, it takes longer. Sometimes you may have to throw in a few ‘harsh words’. Sadly though, even at that, some very special ones never get it! And I mean NEVER!! When he contacts me, I give a polite simple and monosyllabic response. But surprisingly, I’ve come to find that not a lot of guys understand that if I keep telling you I’m busy for weeks on end, chances are I’m just not that into you! Yes, I try to be cryptic. Yes, I act indifferent and I try not to act desperate sometimes, but I won’t keep avoiding you if I really like you, would I? Take a hint mehn!

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Bottom line… If you want to be friends, let’s be friends. If you find yourself nursing feelings, express yourself. If your feelings don’t get reciprocated, don’t get mad. And please if you decide to stick around, don’t do so keeping faith that someday I’d change my mind.  I probably won’t.

friend zone better than nothing

You’ve been friend zoned ‘buddy’. And it’s is not a test of patience. It’s not a challenge. It’s not a waiting game. I know when I want to be more than friends. You’ll know too. It usually doesn’t take too much convincing. And if that’s the case, I assure you, the word “buddy” wont be common place.

Rewriting my story…

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StoryMy life is made up of stories. Powerful stories I tell myself… about myself. I tell myself that I’m scared of going out and being amongst a crowd of people. I’m too shy to meet and approach people. I can’t afford to travel the world. I’m too busy to go to church. I’m too tired to exercise. I’m afraid of commitment. I’m addicted to food…. And so I fabricate a bigger story around these smaller ones. A story that is only true until it isn’t.

One of the most important lessons I have learned about life lately is: Everything I tell myself about myself is only true for as long as I let it be true.

I’ve got to tell you, hunting for graduate jobs in England did crazy things to my psyche and self-confidence. Things I can’t exactly put in words. Simply put… it brought me down to my knees! After a couple of unsuccessful applications and interviews, I resigned myself to fate and told myself perhaps I wasn’t good enough to fulfill my dream of securing a job in a multinational oil and gas company. That became true because every action I took, everything I said and thought with regards to job hunting made it true. But it was only true until it wasn’t!

I tell myself that I can’t change my diet because I don’t have enough will power to restrain from certain foods. I tell myself that I lack the discipline essential to lose weight. How else do I explain paying for a full year gym membership and never attending? And then I say to myself, accept yourself, this is how you are. Well, guess what? That became my reality. Indiscipline and indetermination.

So here’s the deal. I have decided to spend some time trying to identify the silly self-limiting stories I tell myself that restrain me from becoming who I want to be and doing the things I want to do. After which I hope to re-write them by participating in activities which will enable me put an end to my old story and make my new story a reality.

Take public gatherings for example. I constantly tell myself how introverted I am and how much I suck at socializing, approaching and meeting new people. So in the past week, I made an effort to attend two different events – none of which I was forced to attend. Well… I didn’t go about chatting up everyone in the room and I definitely wasn’t the life of the party but to me, it was a brave step in the right direction. My old story is that I’m terrible at social gatherings however, I want my new story to be that I’m comfortable being in public, meeting and talking to new people. There’s no need being this pretty if I’m going to lock myself in doors all day, right? J

But seriously though, is there anything more uncomfortable for a person who is completely petrified of public gatherings to be in the midst of a lot of unfamiliar people? Probably not, and that’s the whole point. I want my new story to be true so I need to fake it till I make it by doing the things someone living that story would do and hopefully over time, the combination of persistently telling myself this new story and acting like it is true will eventually make it a reality.

If you don’t like your story, rewrite it. I’m broke. I have no friends. I have no marketable skills. I have no experience. I have no opportunities. I have bad luck. The odds are against me. My enemies have found me. I’m not good with people. People don’t like me. I’m single. I’m never going to find love. I’m black. I’m a disadvantaged green passport holder. I’m a single mum. I have no fancy education. My life is hard. If only someone would help me so I can get out of this and do better…. This doesn’t have to be your story. However, it will remain true for as long as you let it be true.

Ditch the excuses! What is your old story? What do you want your new story to be? Ascertain this and commit yourself to undertaking activities that will propel you from one to the other. It works. I know because I’ve done it before. It’s what I did when I decided to leave my comfort zone, move back to Nigeria and take on my new job. When I suppressed my phobia for public speaking and made my first presentation at work and when I decided to lose weight… well… the weight thing hasn’t exactly worked out yet but you get my drift, don’t you?

This is my project for the New Year. Dealing with each and every one of my self-restraining stories one at a time. Changing my life, rewriting my story, changing my habits– one step at a time.

Stories are powerful. They can steer your life in directions you don’t want to go. The voices in your head aren’t always right. Well, except they are telling you to leave a comment after reading this.

What stories are you telling yourself?

Carpe diem!

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If you were waiting for a sign this is itI have never been the adventurous type and I have to admit that social gatherings scare me. I should definitely go out more. If I weren’t such a lightweight, perhaps drink a little bit more. I know I should. I should go out and meet people and not just stay home on a Friday night, right? Pathetic me!

I wait to do everything. I am exceedingly good at procrastinating and finding excuses to wait, giving reasons to wait and just doing nothing… waiting. I more often than not never want to do anything NOW.

I wait to return calls from friends and family. I wait to call friends I miss. The ones I love the most and the ones I’ve loved the longest. The friends I have failed to keep in touch with, yet make attempts to stay in touch with me. Basically I suck at keeping up with people, and having the worst phone habit on the planet doesn’t help. I assume I will have plenty of time to do so, so I wait.

I wait to tell people how I really feel. I’ll just wait, maybe soon it will be safer to confess. Maybe he will feel the same someday and tell me. Maybe he already does and is planning to tell me or maybe he just isn’t sure how to. I’m not exactly the most approachable person, you know. Maybe he’ll take a hint. I’m sure he’s not daft. Besides the fact that I hate confrontation, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I know how rejection feels. Since I’m such a nice and sensitive person, I’ll just keep mum and hope they read the writing on the wall.

I wait to forgive people who hurt me. They should reach out first, after all it was not my fault. I’m not the one to blame. I’d never break the ice. Why do I have to take responsibility? So I wait.

I wait to apologize for the things I’ve done wrong. I’m way too stubborn and I let pride get in the way. Sometimes I’m too ashamed to admit my fault. She’ll think I’m weak and I definitely can’t have that.

And then it hit me that at this rate, I’ll probably spend the rest of my life making excuses. Holding off everything until a better time. Sometimes the time never comes. Just like I never got the chance to tell my best friend Eris that he was the reason I didn’t fall into depression while I was at university. I never told him how much it meant to me that he never forgot me on Valentine’s Day and I definitely never told him how much I love, admired and respected him and how much I appreciate all the things he did for me.

You know what they say, ‘had I known comes at last’. I cannot recall a time when in a person’s final moments, he or she said something like, I wish I waited longer. I wish I had put that off a bit more. I wish I stayed angry a bit longer. I wish I never forgave you. Please tell my mother I hate her.

That being said, the plan is to appreciate the ones I love NOW instead of letting life get in the way and letting myself get distracted with the numerous activities and worries of everyday life. I can be brave in expressing my thoughts and feelings. I do not have to over analyze things and talk myself out of being logical. Why not now when I have the chance?

Now is my chance to live and love. This moment is my only guaranteed opportunity to be thoughtful, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, supportive and appreciative of the people I hold dear.

Sometimes it’s terrifying. Sometimes it requires more humility than I am willing to spare. Especially as swallowing my pride doesn’t come easy to me. Sometimes I convince myself that it’s not a priority. But why build up reasons to regret?

So what have you been meaning to say? What have you been meaning to do? What are you waiting for?

–    Are you waiting for permission? I give you permission. Now give yourself permission and go!

–    Is money the problem? Ok… I can’t help you here. But where is your financial plan? Start one today. Right now.

–    Are you waiting to lose weight? Put the carbs down. Pick up some vegies. Exercise. Switch the coke for water. Drop the cigarettes. Stop hanging out with Andre, Moet, Jack and Johnny.

–    Issues with your relationship? Pick up the phone. Request a meeting. Write a letter of all the things you need to say. Communication will set you free. It will be ok.

–    Is your energy level low? Take up dancing. Go swimming. Take a zumba class. Join a gym. Don’t just sit there. Move!

–    Is it your health? See a doctor. Get some help. Do a lifestyle overhaul.

–    Are you lonely? Find an event and ensure you attend. Volunteer. Go out. Meet people. It might be hard the first time but it gets easier, trust me.

After all said and done, it’s not like you have to take a trip to the moon or feed 5,000 people. But if you wanted to do that too… well… nothing is impossible. Go for it!

What are you waiting for?

Accept Yourself

Standard

imagesAlexis is one of the most confident people I know. Sometimes I wonder how she does it. She is smart and has a heart of gold. Her diction is perfect. She has lovely skin, bright eyes, lovely hair, a bust line to die for and one of the prettiest smiles I’ve ever seen. By my own standards, Alexis is beautiful.

Ironically, Alexis does not see herself this way. When she looks in the mirror, she sees pimples, flabby arms, a chubby belly, an oversized chest and an underachiever. It never seizes to amaze me how she can’t perceive herself the way I and a whole lot of other people perceive her. It really is a sad thing to have the world at your feet yet live your life completely oblivious of that fact and then spend the rest of your life searching for that which you already have.

I am not very different from Alexis. Like a lot of people I know, I have my moments of self-doubt and I let the media play an important role in the way I perceive myself. Peer pressure and pressure from the expectations of others do not make things better. I am expected to have a curvy body, big bum, tight abs, big breasts and lustrous spotless skin. At the end of the day, there is only so much Clinique and MAC products can do for me and no matter how hard I try or how many products I use, I will never be a Beyoncé.

I walk through the door and people expect me to be dressed in clothes I feel awkward in, shoes that hurt my feet and make up that clog my pores. When I don’t, I’m served with a full course of smirks, chuckles and indigestible remarks.

Look at her shoes. Why is she wearing flats with that outfit? Why doesn’t she wear high-heeled shoes? She’d look better in them. Why does she walk with a bounce in her stride? She should wear more fitted clothes. I can’t believe she went shopping and all she brought back were hoodies and sneakers. Don’t they sell dresses and skinny jeans in the shop? She should wear a bit more make up, you know, to conceal her freckles.

When did it become so “uncool” to be me and to accept myself for who I am? Why do I have to be drawn into the whirlpool of self-loathing and disappointments whenever I do not conform to the societal definition of beauty? Why do I have to put my self-value and the value of my possessions over the real essence of my individuality? Being the skinniest girl in the room with the most expensive clothes and sky-high heeled shoes does not make you beautiful neither do wearing 30inch long Peruvian weaves and having excessively bleached skin. Being beautiful is in loving and accepting yourself, loving the life you live and being a good and humane person. It is something you radiate from within and it goes way beyond physical adornments and fancy ornaments.

I and pretty much everyone I know have something we wish we could alter about ourselves. But if we are not careful, we could go overboard and turn these dislikes into self-loathing. It is not always easy to accept yourself when you constantly see or feel aspects of your personality or physical features that you abhor. But from experience, I’d say that rejecting yourself only makes things worse.

Consequently, I have come to accept the fact that I am me and I don’t have to be anyone else but me. I can only pretend to be someone else for so long anyway, so why bother. There is absolutely no one else out there who is exactly like me. I mean there are people out there who have some semblance to me but there is no one who adds up exactly like me and that in itself, is the most amazing realization. So why alter my individuality? I am authentic. I own all of me and I can engineer me therefore making all of me work together in my best interest. Yes, there are certain aspects of me I don’t like, others I do not understand and some I am not quite acquainted with. But as long as I love and accept me, I can courageously find solutions to these puzzles and ways to improve and discover more about me. I have the tools to survive, to improve myself, to build meaningful relationships, to be productive and to make sense of the world around me. I am beautiful and nobody can convince me otherwise.

I am most likely never going to be a skinny, hair done, nails done, body hugging clothes and stiletto wearing, light-skinned girl but I am me and I am okay with it.

Accept yourself. You are more beautiful than you think.