The name is Bond…

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My boyfriend always watched his back. And I don’t blame him because more often than not, I was perched right there behind him. Not in a conspicuous location though. I would dress up in pitch black, tucked out of sight, blending perfectly into the night.

I must declare at this point that I had absolutely no intention of becoming a stalker, but I had trusted one too many men and had gotten disappointed one too many times that before I knew it I found myself playing detective, wearing gloves, cracking codes, hacking computers, and snooping around his flat. Reminiscing all the lies and heart breaks from my past, I just didn’t want to go back there again.

It so happens that I put my all into every relationship so excuse me if I refuse to love anyone wholeheartedly, without getting the same measure back.

So, homeboy said he had to go pick up his mail from his old flat. That’s fine because I was four cars behind him on the motorway. Picture me crouched down in my car parked across the road from his old apartment complex thinking “these sunglasses came in handy for the mission I’m on today”. Why did it take him so long to get out? I know it doesn’t take anyone that amount of time to pick up a mail. Oh! Playboy thinks he’s sleek, huh? Well, he was in for a rude shock because I had every intention of catching him pants down with the postwoman. I was almost disappointed when he walked out alone with nothing but envelopes in hand (I could swear he hid her in his back pocket).

My insecurities and paranoia had ignited in me a burning desire to always be in the know, had me desperately in love with the fear of the unknown. Got me wondering who he was with when he was not with me. Second guessing everything he said and every location he claimed to be at. Talking about “Let me call you back baby, I’m driving”. Yeah right! I knew he wasn’t driving because I had spoken to his flat mate earlier who told me he was in his bedroom at the time. Ok, so maybe he really was driving. The question is, what exactly was he driving?

I have got to tell you, snooping is hard work and I was never really sure why I tortured myself with its belittling activities. It didn’t make me feel any better. It is a self-feeding obsession, the more you look the more you find. The more you find the more you obsess. The more you obsess the more you hurt. A never-ending cycle of grief. But I couldn’t stop. Once I look, I need to see more.

I let the voices in my head take over sometimes but over time I came to realize that at the end of the day, it will all come out in the wash. Sometimes the need to have total control over a situation is realizing you have absolutely no control at all, and if you don’t, it’s ok. Don’t go wasting your energy on anxiety. So the next time you get the urge to do a garbage can search, remember that when you go out of your way looking for dirt, you will in due course find it.

Snooping keeps you wallowing in pain, keeps you from enjoying the moment and prevents you from learning from all your past mistakes. So guys, let’s quit playing detective for a minute and embrace the joy in the moment.

I wrote the manual on snooping. I’d hand it over to you but then again… what’s the point?

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I woke up fat!

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How did this happen? It really does seem like yesterday when I used to rock size 8 dresses.

I’m not built to fit a fashion model’s size and Iimages (1) can’t recall a time in my life when I had a flat tummy. However, once upon a time in the not so distant past, I didn’t have to worry about sucking my tummy in to the extent that I could easily suffocate myself.

This morning I woke up in a good mood. I had a good night. The previous day, I had met up with my brother for lunch and it didn’t end up in a fight. Conversations with Ems ended on a good note, his sarcasms did not get to me. I brainstormed with Dame and Fene to come up with ideas for my new blog. Despite the fact that I was unable to cross out more important tasks on my to-do list, it was a pretty good day and I went to bed happy.

Even before I swung my legs out of bed, I became acutely aware of a gelatinous mass of fat on my tummy. A body part which has never been a source of pride to me, nonetheless has never been this flabby. Maybe the decline of my physique actually happened over time but I truly did not experience it that way. All I know is that this morning, I woke up fat!

Standing right in front of my full length mirror, I wondered if things had crept into my stomach at night. You never know these days.

It seemed like I was a normal weight one day, a little bit overweight the next and then suddenly I woke up fat. I don’t remember when I gained inches on my waist, tummy and thighs that I no longer fit into my favorite clothes. I was too busy eating…. Too busy burying myself in work and food trying to escape reality. I’m very good at that.

Stress triggers in me a desire to buy and eat every possible pleasurable food; I’d be overwhelmed with emotion and to escape it, I would whip up batches of Shoprite bread, sausage rolls and donuts to sedate me. Afterwards, the fullness, sickness, guilt and shame overshadows whatever it was that was stressing me out before. It’s somewhat distressing and comforting all at once.

In this moment of self-cognizance, I try to convince myself that tonight will be the night I pull out my trainers and track suit. But wait a minute… It’s Buhari’s birthday today and I have no intentions of missing out on his cake and small chops feast. Come to think about it, my iPod is broken, how am I supposed to jog without music? And my buddy Marian, left me and relocated to Abuja. It’s no fun jogging alone. Niyi has not been able to check out the new estate gym with me, I could use the treadmill and pool there. Plus Mrs. W told me that I’m not fat enough to get on the Cambridge weight loss plan… Oh… not to mention that eating happens to be some sort of exercise (don’t quote me) and the weight loss book I read said its easier for pear shaped women to lose weight. I might as well have one more donut.

In essence, if I don’t get back on the track tonight, you know why and I know who to blame. You see, in my world excuses are abundant and there is always someone to blame. So NO. Not today. I’ll start my weight loss journey tomorrow.

Weight loss is such a slow process. Every day I hopefully look for subtle changes in my body indicating that I am losing weight… I never find them.

I woke up fat. All of a sudden my clothes are too small. Who shrunk my clothes? Bloody laundry guy! He must have left them in the dryer too long. And why are there holes in the inner thighs of my stretch pants? Who knows… my first instinct is to buy some more clothes – bigger sizes though. Perhaps a different brand this time because obviously the other brands have smaller cuts. 8, 10, 12 everything is cut wrong. I’ll just stick with my comfy stretch pants now, that way I don’t have to worry about size.

I don’t remember noticing stretch marks blossom across my thighs and bum. I wondered why my face looked puffier in pictures… mutated, almost. It must be because I’m getting older. I’m not a teenager anymore you know.

I woke up fat. But now that I am awake and aware of the changes I need to make, one thing is perfectly clear, I cannot allow myself slide back into that oblivious slumber where reality is denied, ignored and avoided. I need to notice when my tummy starts to bulge and when my knee caps get so submerged in fat that they begin to hurt. I have to stay grounded in the reality and not let myself go into a fantasy world of bliss and pleasure by stuffing myself with donuts and plantain chips.

As long as I stay self-aware, not numb to my feelings, not blind to what is in front of me, noticing reality, I won’t let days or weeks or months go by again being disconnected from myself.

I woke up fat. But the most important thing is that I woke up and awake I shall strive to remain.

In loving memory of my Uncle, Aponi Kpiasi (June 25, 1953 – October 27, 2013).

My Green Grass Syndrome

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Grandma married very young, lived in the same place her whole life and had 6 children. She never had a career and never got a chance to go on a vacation. To me her life was hard, poor and devoid of any real opportunities or options. Very much unlike my life and the options available to me.

But you see, the problem with having options is that it makes me restless. I can’t seem to be satisfied with what I have and I’m always wondering about the next big thing. 

I think someone else is having a better time than me. I make myself miserable by constantly thinking about the unknown in an endless pursuit of happiness. 

I lie awake at night torturing myself over what I should do next, wondering if I’m missing out on something big. I feel I am wasting my life if I am not doing something more important, something more adventurous, something more successful or thrilling than I currently am. I always want more.

And that’s when I become depressed and spend all my time and energy focusing on what I don’t have rather than counting my blessings. 

So I start to move around to find what I like to call “my happy place”, jumping from one job or relationship to the next, never fully committing to anything. 

Once I’ve made that leap, once I’ve moved to where I thought the grass would be greener, I realize that it is no different. Then I start to wonder about the grass being greener elsewhere.

I have found that focusing on things I don’t have is a recipe for disaster and it only leads to a more miserable existence and causes me to forget what is most important and all the positive things happening right now.

I often forget that the whole point of happiness is peace of mind, acceptance and contentment. Basically, it’s being happy no matter where you are in the world, or what you are doing, or whom you are with. 

I wonder what life would have been like for grandma had she had the opportunities I have today. But I’m slowly coming to realize that grandma might have just been fine with her lifestyle. She might have just been happier than I am today. Her life was simple and perhaps there’s a clue to that. Maybe the simple life is where I can find peace. 

So I make an effort to embrace everything that comes along, go out and see the world and enjoy everything life has to offer. And whenever I feel myself losing focus and wondering about where I’ll be happy next, I pinch myself back to reality. Look at all I have achieved, it’s not half bad! Then I enjoy the moments that are happening now. 

Like Mum would say, happiness is not about where you go. It is not about being on an impossible mission to do everything, see everywhere and accomplish everything you ever dreamed of. Happiness is a state of mind which I can achieve by building a life around my current location, making new friends, settling into a routine, finding ways to enjoy the moment rather than dwelling on all the things that I could be doing elsewhere. 

When my green grass syndrome sets in, I try to assure myself that my grass is green enough! And even if the grass is actually greener on the other side, who said I like dark green?