Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Cost Of Keeping Quiet


I am a very private person. I in most cases mind my business, mind my space and mind my life.

So whenever anything untoward happens, there is often a waging war going on in my heart.

‘Do I let this go?’

‘Do I just mind my business?’

‘Am I creating a reputation as a trouble maker?’

‘Shouldn’t I just face my business/tasks/future?’

‘Am I doing this for fame?’

‘Do I get a kick from being contrarian?’

Ati bee bee lo (And such similar questions)

For every time, I have passionately complained on social media about social issues, I have done five times worse offline. I have blocked soldiers in vehicles taking ‘one way’, I have intervened in situations where women were bullied, I have written about personal medical experiences which ended in a lawsuit,  I have taken up things that I ordinarily had no business getting involved with because I just couldn’t bear to keep quiet.

After each episode, I say to myself, I am going to mind my business and not get involved in those things anymore and the next time, it happens, I still speak/act because my heart leaps to judge me and most importantly because there is a cost to keeping quiet.

  •        Terrible actions that have no consequences ruin a society. There is a cost when you allow that to continue without speaking


  •  I   I am Nigerian, I have no other nationality, I am killing opportunities to create a better future when I keep quiet.
  • -        There are millions who cannot speak out because of perceived social status, who else should speak out on their behalf.
  • -        Nonsense passed off as culture must stop. If you choose not to stop it, do NOT impose on another person.
  • -        Government passing off work designed by a citizen as its own without due credit or payment


At what point do we all begin to see that keeping quiet to social injustices is very expensive. At what point do we begin to say ENOUGH, the police is not a private force, its first responsibility is to ALL citizens (not just those who have money), when do we say ENOUGH, where is justice for the man that cannot pay for it? When do we say ENOUGH, to leaders who believe they are in a different class than the suffering population? When do we say ENOUGH to those who harm citizens by making them pay for free government programmes? When do we say ENOUGH to how we harm each other and are not truthful towards each other, how we conduct business with each other with the sole aim of defrauding?

Today's Nigeria is because men and women of yesteryears thought it expedient to keep quiet and mind their business.


We can’t afford the luxury of keeping quiet today for our children’s tomorrow.

Monday, 29 February 2016

The Thorns and My Beauty

I hated the thorns.

They were so prickly, so uncomfortable. They made me feel so unworthy.

I was not in control, they choked me with rules, choked me with pressure, they refused to choke me at my convenience.

Arrrrrggghhh, how I hated the thorns.

They made me cry, they bent my insides in shapes I never knew existed, they oppressed my thoughts and actions.

Till...I realized *gasping*

I just blossomed.

My flower just blossomed. Wait a minute, what was happening here?

Who was that confident flower, who had found her way?
Who was that flower that smelled so good?
Who was that flower that had found her voice and herself?
Who was that beautiful flower looking back at me in the mirror?

It was me. I had become the she that I admired.

The thorn was important to my growth. Some of the thorns were there to protect me and adapt to keep me from getting hurt.

The thorns protected the rose I have become. They were uncomfortable, downright annoying but they kept me safe and I can't help but be grateful for the thorns.

The thorns made me beautiful.


xxx
ilsa

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I am woman. I am evolving.

Today I am a bundle of insecurities and the next day I am a pillar of strength.
Truth is I find me frightening.
What I would do for that one and what I wouldn't do for that one and the offshoot emotions that ferment mysteries.
What I would give to be left alone with my thoughts for a whole day and have absolutely nothing to do except slap someone.
Ideas popping, reality ducking, sarcasm dripping, ignorance feigning.
I want to be liked and heck I don't want to be liked. I work hard at both.
Every stretch mark, a testament to something or one thing that needs urgent attention.
Every side eye, a knowing look that says "I know boo"
Tightened muscles in the quadrants of my face that say imma hunt you down if you don't take that foolishness from my face.
Yet I cry...betrayed by centuries of female hormones. Dang.
Calories, hair, cat eyes, bow legs, impatience, sometimes manicured nails, chunky thighs, ambition the size of the galaxy, energy for days...I find, I am growing.
I am woman. 
I am evolving. 
Finding a method to my madness.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Lucas Togan says Beating Your Wife: Authority or Cowardice?


The piece below is a man's journey to redemption.

I finally stopped beating my wife just last weekend. And I vowed never to touch her again. The reason for this paradigm shift is what I want to share in this article.

In the few years that I've been married, I have often come to the tipping point of giving my wife a thorough beating. I have often been tempted to end a heated dispute with a deafening slap. Sometimes I threaten her with physical abuse (Don't lie, you've been there too). In all these cases, I have only succeeded (or is it failed?) once in punching her arm. An incident that I deeply regret till today. I'm not sure if I felt sorry for hitting her or disgrace and disgust at myself for having stooped so low. 

My wife is a very strong woman and you'd have to really be in control to convince her on many  issues. Let's just say she has her own voice and refuses to be silenced for no good reason. This attribute is very rare in my society for ladies. I was brought up in a society that promotes male superiority over the woman. I belong to a religion that relegates the female folk on all possible fronts to background responsibilities. I enjoy the privilege of knowing that I can get away with almost anything I do to my wife in this society. Even her folks would accommodate many of my excesses should I choose to subject her to such. So little wonder that I feel so much venom when she does not succumb to my whims and wishes as often as I want her to.

However, being the type of person that self scrutinizes often, I decided to investigate the root of my disposition by asking these questions: 

1. The rage I feel when my wife challenges me on certain issues - is it nature or was I nurtured to feel that rage? If my younger brother or friend (emphasis on younger male), who's taller, bigger and obviously stronger than me, were to challenge me on same issues will I feel the same rage? If I do, will it be to same extent? Will I be as condescending in my reproach of fellow males as I am of my wife?

2. If I married Ronda Rousey, the MMA champion, will I feel the same rage as I do towards the woman I married? - knowing that Ronda will kick my ass will calm me down considerably I'm sure.

3. What if I ended up with a soldier wife who's well trained in all combat situations and can physically defend herself? Will I ever raise my hands on her or ever think of striking her?

The answer to the questions above is quite obvious. Evidently my position of authority will be greatly hampered should I find myself in any of these situations. That begs the question - can wife battery be justified in any guise? I think every man who has thought about beating his wife is guilty of wife battery because only a coward man hits or thinks of hitting a woman (especially one that can't defend herself physically). This warped ideology in itself is the problem with my society - the misrepresentation of cowardice for authority.

In southwest Nigeria, women are taught absolute submission from the tender age of 5. It is almost as if marriage is a trophy to be achieved in this lifetime and making that marriage work is her ultimate goal in life. Men on the other hand, are prepped with endless doses of superiority complex pills right from boyhood to the extent that they assume this demi-god mentality and inevitably often act with impunity towards the wife.

It is this superiority complex that I seek to address here. I am a firm believer in spanking or flogging children as a form of reproach. I was often spanked and I turned out pretty fine. But spanking an adult? Naaaa! Not done. Should never be done. The thing about beating a woman is that you are announcing that she is a child. If she is truly a child then you the man should be charged with pedophilia for marrying a minor. She is not a minor. That she is your wife already confirms her adulthood because only adults concede to marriage. If you have ever as much as thought of hitting a woman, you are guilty of wife battery because it all starts in the mind. Only a question of time before it is made manifest. Men should think of women as adults and that may just help a bit.

I would like to make clear here that most movements that advocate against domestic violence are getting their tactics wrong. The fight should be taken to the root of the problem - society and religion. We the people must stop feeding men with these superiority mentality and must start to encourage the females to self identify early in life. When a woman understands herself and loves herself she can better identify a life partner that she naturally connects with. She should not be a servant wife but a partner wife who understands that she has rights just as the man. 

I have since stopped "beating" my wife and realized that loving her gets her to do the things I want faster and better than before. I am happier and healthier. Above all these I am finally free of the many thoughts of battery because each time it crosses my mind I think of her as Ronda...lol.  

(CAVEAT: A woman that hits a man and gets an as whooping is guilty of beating an adult and self defence on the part of the man is a good excuse.)

*This piece was written with permission of the couple involved*

SPARK!  Let's change it.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Naked and Ashamed

Everything.

My fears, My pain, My joy, My exuberance, Everything. I revealed all that I was. I showed him the nakedness of my heart.

He had listened, he had held me in his arms when I cried, he had protected me when I felt the world was against me, he had given me the environment I would flourish. An environment where I mattered, an environment where my mental health came first.

For the first time in my life, I was naked and not ashamed.

It was easy to tell him every single detail of everyday and have him laugh in ways that tickled my heart. It was perfect. There were misunderstandings but they never lasted the dawn from dusk.

What could go wrong?

Life!

The little things, the little decisions, the little irritation, the little minutes that one could spend listening but used instead in chasing the next thrill. It was life. It was the restless soul.

Suddenly, my fears became weapons. My pain was used to torment me. My restlessness became a curse. Suddenly I was naked and ashamed.

Everything.

Everything I said, everything I did was used to ridicule me.

Life had happened.

Life had separated.

Now naked, now ashamed, I wrap myself in clothes, remember that I am woman, lift up my head, wear the most gorgeous shoes and remind myself that life happens and I MUST NOT stop living.

************

I have not written in a while, was involved with too many things. But I write now, my imagination has returned and is tilting towards Gear One.

Gros Bisous

Monday, 20 October 2014

While you wait...

I have been married for almost 3 years and I have no children. I do not rejoice in this nor do I expect that you to feel sorry for me. It is what it is.
 
I am proud enough to want to see replicas of myself and stroll the pavement with mini-me's. A girl that will have a face that is a mix of mine and my husband's fine face, his eyes, his hairline, my hair and definitely my nose (his nose won't do, I consider it big) but she is yet to come.
 
Many friends that got married after me, have had their babies, I rejoice with them, two of such babies are the firstborns in my heart, that is how much I love them and their yumminess.
 
And in our society, everyone is asking questions, people give me the side eye, some that love me ask out-rightly, some others try very hard not to mention it or have conversations that have to do with children. I can hear some church folk ''think-clap their hands in the yahoo way or snap fingers'' that ''she must be paying for some sin'' and some other people just want to run their mouths. Some friends hide their pregnancies and refuse to tell me about it for reasons best known to them. Again, some of my friends talk to me about their children and I am excited that they honour me with those conversations. But it is what it is.
 
But now what?
 
Having a child is very important. It is what guarantees the continuity of the human race and specifically the continuity of your values and heritage.
 
But while I wait...
 
...I will be the best woman I can be. I will panel beat myself into the kind of woman that I can be proud of.
 
...I will get moving on every dream I ever had, I will learn, start businesses, go back to school, become the noble woman I know I can be.
 
...I will extend my circle of influence, I will do everything in my power to make my nation and the world better for when my mini-me gets here.
 
...I will learn patience, longsuffering and kindness
 
...I will NOT worry. Nope. It won't change anything. I believe in God and in the bible. There is His promise and it is my Faith.
 
...I will be a support to every woman who is feeling despondent because she hasn't carried her child or hasn't gotten married.
 
Whatever you do, you MUST remember that time will pass ''months, years'' and if you spend it crying and hiding instead of fulfilling purpose, you will give account of wasted years to your maker.

I am by no means saying, substitute your desire with activity, I am saying please understand that my journey is different from yours, our paths may cross now and then but our journeys are different. Rejoice that you have children, Rejoice that you don't. Rejoice that you are married. Rejoice that you are not. EVERYTHING will work together. Get up NOW!! Get moving on your dreams and purpose. Don't waste the years...while you wait.
 
Gros Bisous.
 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

What men think of Nigerian women!

I logged on to my Facebook page the other day and strolled through my timeline to see what was new. I came across this Dude's post and I paused to read his comments (I always stop to read the comments under his posts). The post was ''Nigeria women are...''

I laughed so hard it was impossible to breathe. How did we get such a reputation? In between my fits of laughter, I saw myself reflected in some of the comments.

I obtained the permission of the Dude that put up the post and I have removed the names of those who made the comments.
 
Read. Laugh. Self-reflect. We are definitely a group of amazing women.

***************************

Nigerian Women Are...
 
''Capable of making a hiss last for an hour''
 
''Troublesome''       

''Some of them are impeccable crocodile tears manufacturing units''
 
''Love that Church life''
 
''Only vacation, where they can shop''

''Can speak 10 universal languages with their eyes''
 
''Always have their man's back''
 
''''They pack more heat and laser power in their eyes than superman! You berra come correct at a parry or they can look you up and down and erase you..
 
''Will force a man to watch NollyWood movies''
 
'' Only humans, I would rather have physically assault me than the abuse that comes from their mouth''

'' Are the reason why the airlines have STRICT limits on luggage weights and hand luggages!''

'' Are saving and planning for life after their husband's death''

'' Naija women are the only women in the world that will jump out of a car to beat Mopol that is disrespecting you''

 
''Could be the best thing God created and also be your worst nightmare''
 
''Will out eat their man''

'' They will build a six flat building in Lekki while the hubby is still paying their nursing school student loan

 
''...are sarcasm machines''
 
''...are the reason Nigerian men scam people''
 
''Know how to use the same mouth they use to curse a man out to also sweet talk him when they want to ask for something
 
'' Got their own version of ''sidechicks'' but they call them toasters''
 
''Queens of Awoof''
 
''Notorious for reminding you how successful your mates are''
 
''Cheap Dates''
 
'' Love 18 or 22 Carat Italian Gold''
 
''Can cause World War 3 with her mouth''

''Naija women will borrow money from their daddy to help you pay your rent.... Loyalty

 
''Can talk you to death and then back to life''
 
'' Can drive from New York to Florida by mouth''
 
'' Girdles Best friend''
 
''Don't really care much for candy and chocolate but love fried meat''
 
''Are strong women. And many Nigerian men cannot handle them that is why they marry Non-Nigerian women''
 
'' Will never leave you as long as you pay the bills''
 
''So gangsta that they will hold out on sex with their husbands for 3 years and you will never know by the way she cooks for him everyday''
 
'' The best mothers on earth but they ask your friends too many questions''

In totality, I don't think the world would be interesting without the Nigerian woman. She is beautiful and talented, even with her eyes.

Gros Bisous.