Life,love and other four letter words

The House My Grandfather Built

22 Umunogo, Enugu
The door reminds me of the house my grandfather built
Both my parents are from Anambra State and they both grew up in Enugu. No they meet each other as kids so this is not a childhood love story. In a way it could be a childhood love story, it could be one of my childhood love stories on how I fell in love with Enugu .

In the house my grandfather built is where I spent a handful of my summers growing up. I didn't know how many flats where in one big building but I knew one or two families were from our hometown . In this house there was no Enid Blyton but Mabel Segun. I would read and after I was done I would pass it down to my cousin. Sometimes he could like to claim that he was the same age as me. I would remind him that he could only say this on this birthday and if he dared I would remind him the next day which was my birthday that he wasn't anymore. He would look at me and smile "nwanne m".

It is in this same house that my uncle would make us memorize Psalm 91 and recite it to him a week later, each person going into the room while others would wait outside the door hoping not to forget when it was their turn.
I remember pouring cold water on our heads in between memorizing because it felt too hot. My Aunty looked at us , laughed and shook her head with her facial expression a mixture of amusement and pity.

It is in this house that we would sneak out on Sunday mornings by 7:30 to attend a church service that started by 6. It was simple. Wake up, wash your face, change then escape. We would walk close to the walls of the house so as not to be seen by any relative who happened to look out the window. When returning by 8:30, we would decide on a topic that we 'had been taught' in Sunday School. It was better than the 9am Sunday school that finished by 3

In this same house, my Aunty would make us translate all our game songs from English to Igbo. "Na'asu Igbo, speak Igbo " . And in order to be sure, she would stand there and supervise us. Imagine jumping and translating 'Humpty dumpty, stop, every body stop' to Igbo. I remember telling my mother's younger sister that the Igbo the children next door spoke was funny. She laughed, "ha na'asu Awka, they're speaking the Awka dialect"

It is here that I would learn that roasted plantain isn't just a snack, it's a meal. Plantain with palm oil, ugba, with bits of fish and kpomo was a meal. And a good one. On some days it was abacha with fried fish and uziza. I remember one summer I went from a 48 to a 51. Sometimes my cousins and I would gather enough money to buy Pepsi and biscuits. There was some joy in dipping Coaster biscuits in a cup of Pepsi.

I visited Enugu again few months ago , after many years. The house had a new paint. The people who lived there most certainly didn't recognize me , I didn't spend enough time for them to be told "That is Oge, nwa Chinweoke ba'ni , our Chinweoke's daughter". My cousin tried to claim he was the same age as me and I gave him a side look and he smiled "nwanne m" . He has just a year left to get his engineering degree. Uncle Obiora still has the shop downstairs. The small red canopy that served as a Catholic Church opposite the house has been replaced by a wall .
My uncle has moved but brings his children back now and then.
My mother's younger sister has her own children and lives in Maryland. The other day on the phone she asked me "Can you still say Psalm 91 by heart?" . It was my turn to laugh.
I can't pronounce Igbo words in my mother's dialect neither do I know how many flats are in this big building.
I stood on the same balcony that we used to listen to catechism from, with my cousin beside me. Just like the generation before me, my children will stand on this balcony. They would translate their game songs from English to Igbo.
The door is still the same and I can't recite Psalm 91 by heart.


Travel Chronicles

I met a boy once.
His name was Alex.
Okay I didn't necessarily meet that boy named Alex , I sat two seats and an aisle away from a boy named Alex.

So I sat two seats and an aisle away from a boy named Alex on a flight from Los Angeles to Paris. No I don't go on fancy vacations because I can't afford it, Paris was a stop over. I know his name is Alex because I heard him introduce himself to the lady who sat next to him. Alex wore glasses and had a stripped cardigan on which matched his socks. Both stripped but different colours. Alex had light brown hair with streaks of blonde. And also a beautiful smile. He was super nice to the old lady who sat beside him. Not technically beside beside because there was an empty chair between them. From the conversation, Alex talked about how beautiful Tahiti had been when he visited. I just listened and stole glances when I could because the lady besides me wasn't much of a conversationalist. I mean I smiled and said hi but didn't get a response. I met Alex's glance twice or thrice, I can't really remember. I'm sure he won't remember the girl in a grey cardigan with blue twists. And there's a greater possibility that he was just looking over my head or pass me.
We would never find out.
So I took got off that plane with my hand luggage and an unrealistic funny short story on how I fell in love on a 12 hours flight. I would tell this story to my friend while at the airport and almost miss my flight back to Lagos.

Months later I would be reminded of Alex when I sat next to a girl at the airport in Ethiopia waiting on our connecting flight. No I don't go on fancy vacations because I can't afford it, Ethiopia was a stop over too. She had a 3b/c afro which I thought was beautiful and I couldn't stop admiring her piercings. We shared a smile and confusion on whether the next flight boarding was ours or not. While sitting there , I noticed she had a bag of things, looked like souvenirs to me from where she had visited.
I would stand next to this same girl at LAX waiting to pick up our luggage. While I waited for my two boxes which of course one was filled with food stuffs ( a Nigerian that travels without food stuffs is that a Nigerian?) , she picked up her over sized camp bag and left. I stared at the fully grown tree tattooed on her ankle, silently wishing her good luck with whatever growth she had or wanted in life.
I should have asked her for her name.

I am grateful for French air hostesses who mispronounce your surname but escort you to board your almost missed flight.
I am grateful for different stop overs that make me feel like a seasoned traveller even though I have only two stamps from two different countries on my passport.
I am grateful for friends that keep you company with the aid of airport WiFi.
I should start collecting souvenirs , even from stop overs.
I should have taken a picture of that beautiful sunrise I saw from an airport window.
I should tell strangers that they are beautiful.
I should ask for names.
So I am grateful for Alex and the girl with the tree tattoo on her ankle.
It feels good to write again.

– for Alex and the girl with the tree tattoo on her ankle.

Rants 101

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend about a brick that hit me early that morning. Yes a brick from nowhere did hit me. I was making a lil salad mix for work because I had the urge to eat healthy ( unless Big Treat stops making those Sponge Cakes I’m never going to survive a diet)

Yes that was the brick.

Yes I doubt myself a lot. I think about things going wrong and not the way I plan. I use to be 17 going 18 and worried about how I haven’t achieved anything. Now I’m 19 going 20 and still worried that I had no clue about life and living on my own.

This is me I’m too far from perfect. I haven’t even started the journey

I hardly leave my house so please don’t make plans with me. If you have and the response was positive I’m sorry you bought a lie because I will flee .I forget to eat sometimes but when I remember I take my time to eat like a fool

No my skin isn’t flawless. I’ve got a palm tree plantation on my face. We produce wonderful dirty oil.

Yes my nose has got Jackson 5 nostrils. I’ll like to think I’ve got hot sauce in my bag swagggg

When I see something I want I don’t own it. Because we have this thing we do in my society, it’s called conform I think.

Yes I like to read about serial killers. I find books about crime, FBI agents and serial killers really exciting.

No I don’t ever get relationships right because I’m not #Goals , I don’t know how to ‘fight ¬†for what you love’ . I ain’t doing that shit, nahhhh fam ūüėí. ¬†Anyone who leaves gives me a little ‘constructive criticism’

“You’re too uptight”

“You’re not exciting”

“You’re not sensitive”

“Do you feel at all”

“You’re not romantic”

“I don’t know what it is with you, is it pride or what”

I remember telling my friend that I’m probably going to be that friend who has been single since like forever but continues to serve face in every goddamn group picture (does were the exact words). When I’m on a high, I’m on a high high but when I’m on a low I could go lower than rock bottom. I cry myself to sleep and end the day. I cry myself to start a day. During a class, church service, mid way during a conversation or when you wake up in morning; these emotions can hit you anytime. But I would not come over and sit and tell you how much I’m hurting over a box of tissues.

I would proudly say I fallen in love. Possibility.

I would proudly say I’ve suffered heart break *puts hand on forehand and sighs dramatically*

In case I forgot to mention *clears throat* I am the queen of drama ūüĎłūüŹĺ. You have never come across a drama queen more dramatic than I am. I actually feel Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland is my cartoon spirit animal

Just today I have had someone give me a lecture about knowing what ‘type of husband ‘ I want. Just mins ago another person dropped a wedding card on my desk. Every morning during devotion my mother ‘commits’ my future husband into the hands of ¬†God. Even though I did mention to her one time that I’m not sure I was going to get married.

All I can say at this point in my life is I’m learning to accept myself as who I am. Accepting myself as someone who doesn’t have this puzzle figured out. This time I’m not giving myself a time frame to figure it out or to heal. I’m learning not to hurry myself so that I don’t trip. I’m learning that forgiveness, genuine forgiveness does a lot to your soul and ¬†surprisingly gives you this peace that is unexplainable sometimes.

I’m learning to reveal my truth but guard me.

Not to lie about what I feel not even to myself. Not to force things, let them come naturally. I haven’t gotten all figured out.I still doubt me. But I’m learning

Young, Famous and Alone in Paris

The other day I was talking to some of my friends about the dreams they once had. Some till had it, others Plan B. Then a friend asked me “You still have your dream of going to Paris?” And I said I didn’t know, what will I do in Paris. And we laughed. I can dream big. I could dream for half of the world honey
When I was 9 I was going to write books, like that was what I wanted to do with my life. I remember my cousin telling me “You can’t just be a writer. I’m going to be a doctor and I can write books. Any body can write books”, then I decided I had to look for something real to go with writing. At 12 I would be scouted one fine day and be famous, grace cat walks in Paris, New York. I was going to be like the newer version of Kimora. I really did consider plastic surgery, like a nose job and probably a lighter skin tone. That was until I saw how nose jobs were done on Dr 90210 then the plan changed. By 13 I was going to be one of the best things that ever had to Hip Pop, I was going to be on a song with Nicki Minaj and almost get a Grammy off that shit * Drake voice*. When I look at the ‘verses’ I wrote at 13, I can’t help but laugh. I watched music channels all day, never missed an episode of 106 & Park. I bought albums of my favourite rappers ( okay only Nicki, Drake and Eminem, the rest I downloaded one or two songs). I remember almost crying that my mum should get me a Nicki tape and she looked at me and was laughing. I had Pink Friday playing every time we were in the car, still I grew up. 14 came along and my modelling ‘career’ still hadn’t taken off so I decided if I can’t model the cloths, I could design them. The designer dream lasted for a very long time. I was going to have a villa in Italy, inherit a small island, own a private jet. At some point, I toyed with the idea of being an OAP with BEAT FM, I would own a magazine, I would have a nail polish line maybe make up, be a stylist, be a motivational speaker, work for United Nations, designing jewelry did cross my mind at some point. Even a tour of Europe. At some point I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. It’s so funny now when I think about these things. Like my mind was everywhere. If this doesn’t happen maybe this will.
These dreams kept me going some how, to me life hadn’t lost it’s spark entirely. When things weren’t going very well, I would just retire back to ‘polishing’ my dreams to perfection. They were too good to happen. I knew it, but that didn’t stop me. I dream so big, I scare myself sometimes. But I am happy most of those dreams didn’t happen if not I would have lost lots of things. Lots of things that Paris can’t replace. I probably won’t have the memories I have. I won’t be able to go to the movies with my friends like people do, I won’t be there when my friends need some to talk to because I would be at some fashion show or be having some recording session.I won’t be there at my god-daughter’s baptism. I won’t be there to tell my little cousins to come down from the chair or to give me back my phone. Christmas might be spent in a hotel room consoling myself with a big diamond and not with my family (cousins, aunties, uncles,mother’s cousins, relatives of relatives) where half the day is spent cooking, the other half eating.
Some people don’t understand when you voice out certain dreams. Normally they would laugh, in front of you and behind you. And I’m like okay you had a good laugh now, I’m happy I was of good use now can we drop it. Noooooo, some people like to cover their lack of ambition by laughing at others, but anything that lets them sleep at night. It is hard to hold on to something really close when you desperately want to share it with someone, the hurtful part is when the one person you expect to listen and sigh with you throws their head back and laughs. Its painful but you put up a good front, you also laugh at your own dreams and start to doubt yourself in private. And no matter how well you guys get along, things will never be the same anymore. Its funny when you no longer have those dreams, then you can laugh about them. But when you really believe in them, someone making fun of you isn’t so fun. I have had people laugh at my dreams, had people talk me out of my dreams, had people tell me flat “you would never get there” “it won’t last” “you wish”, but a girl has to live.
So maybe Paris didn’t happen, but I still dream just that this time it’s a little teeny bitty closer to reality.¬† A clothing line isn’t so bad. I could still have a short term career as an OAP, a late night show perhaps. I have come to the conclusion that I’m probably not what Hip Pop wants and I’m at peace with it. Sometimes I’m still not sure what I want any more, or what to dream about. But I still want to be a motivational speaker, some things are just inbuilt. If or not United Nations wants me I’m fine. I’m still going to write, side career or not. And instead of Paris,maybe Italy could happen.
I’ll be young, not famous and definitely not alone in Italy.

Til Death Do Us Part; Or One Of Us Gets Bored

” I want a lot of things in my man but if there are few things that make a difference, it should be time to me, its the most important thing. My nigga MUST have my time. I want a man who can woo me often, a man who appreciates me, the one who makes me proud coz I like being envied, Lool. A man who makes me feel lucky, A good charmer who can make me laugh. A good listener and a man I can depend on…”
Don’t we all want that? I was talking with a good friend when she started to type and that was what I saw. At first I was like “I’m typing all these things?” Then I told myself “I gotta save this. Use it.” We all know relationships end in two ways; marriage or break up. If yours got to marriage , Congratulations!!! If it didn’t, better luck next time. For a very weird reason I decided to ask to my friends what their take on relationships are, what they thought about relationships

“I think having a relationship is beautiful, uno being happy, in love & not being able to go a single day without speaking to or seeing you bf/gf”¬†¬†“If there’s¬†no¬†trust¬†then¬†it’s¬†shit”¬†¬†¬†“Well¬†relationships¬†are¬†nice.¬†I’ll¬†like¬†to¬†be¬†in¬†an¬†honest¬†one. Just¬†the¬†two¬†of¬†us¬†enjoying¬†each¬†other’s¬†company.¬†Its¬†usually¬†nice¬†to¬†know¬†someone¬†understands¬†you”
“I love it. But I’m a long term person. And the boy has to be responsible”
“Relationships are shit”
“I think relationships have to do with what you want not what the person wants. You have to be certain its what you want. And… you have to decide what your goal is”
“They’re nice with a good person, complicated thou. A good heart, wonderful¬† mind and not too hard to understand”
A whole lot goes into relationships. It’s not just someone who’s good looking, who you can go out with or take selfies with to show the whole world, changing your last name on social networks without a marriage certificate, someone to listen to ALL your problems; take your problems to God, for he cares for you.¬† Or the one that really annoys me changing statuses; “I wish he was here with me, you know who you are” ” My love, you know who you are”. ¬†He does not¬†know biko. Ahn ahn. Some want what they see on TV or read in Harlequin books so bad that they forget the major things. Just like a friend said, you have to have goals. It’s not business its a relationship, we remember. Can you imagine yourself with this person in 2/3 years? Or let’s see what happens.¬†To what lenght will you go to keep this person? Is it healthy for you? Oh yes you have to think about yourself . If after a long time of being together will one wrong overshadow all the good and you’ll call it quits? Yes? And you want to get married and stay married one day? Ji si ike, well done. Some girls ( yes we’re mostly the ones at fault in this area) don’t even say what they want. Then when he ‘breaks your heart’ you would call the PPC, Pity Party Congress. Emergency meeting. Did they carry you to his house? Did they carry you to his room? When you didn’t set boundaries how would he know.
Trust is another thing. I feel at the beginning there’s loads of trust, because its new the thrill of a possible long term relationship. But with time it starts to wear out then some get stuck in a relationship where the other person wants to know when you slept, who you saw today, why you didn’t return a message/call, where you went. And its tiring.. very. People need their space, plants need air, water, sunlight and space to grow. Just like a relationship would need trust, patience and space to grow.
Some people go into relationships with good intentions. Really they do. Not all boys are dogs. Not all girls are hoes. I don’t say all boys are dogs because I know a lot that if with the right girl they would treat her with respect. Not all girls are hoes, I’m a girl and I’m not a hoe. Yes some people are just plain mean. They give up the trust and affection of a good person by doing really stupid things that won’t even last! It can be tiring but instead of telling the whole of twitterverse or updating¬†pms (¬†please some of us are tired of seeing your whole life not only in pictures but in¬†statuses ehn) talk to whoever is ‘breaking your heart’ ‘ doesn’t deserve you’ whoever¬†you’re ‘done with’.
 Give /giv/ verb, noun
hand/provide| sth to sb | ~sb sth to hand sth to sb so that they can look at it, use it or keep it for a time
(! slang) (Nig) what you gain from a relationship
Yes to some ‘na gives’ and its true in some cases. They want nothing deep. We are here – we are done that’s all. But some on the other hand ‘no be gives’, its real. So please lets not categorize all relationships with just one aim; gives. All no be gives this guy!
So to the ones in relationships THAT are working out we say carry on, I want to be like you when I grow up. The single sisters, your ‘XO’ ,your ‘Ceiling’ shall come. To the ones with cheating and lying partners, you deserve better we all agree.The ones who are ‘married’ without a badass rock on your finger… you know who you are.
Just saying

Are You Happy? Really… Are You?


“Are you happy?”
It’s very funny how when you’re asked that you take a moment to think about it. For some people, they don’t need to think about an answer. For some it’s a straight “yes” , some will come out straight and say “no”, for others it requires a little thinking. Or a lot of thinking.
You start to think about where you are in life and if that’s where you really want to be. You start to question decisions, choices you made. Were they the right ones? Were they what you really wanted? You start to hope that maybe you could still get a chance to be ‘happy’. You might give up hopes of ever being happy and live with not being happy. Then before you answer the question whether you’re happy or not.. you ask yourself. What makes me happy?
After a long period of doing something, it becomes a habit. Waking up early in the mornings to go to work. A job you don’t enjoy but your family has to survive. Studying a course you don’t enjoy but somebody has to take over when the parents can’t labour anymore. Bear a pain silently because you don’t want to be a burden. Fight personal demons because you don’t want to be seen as weak. Smiling when all you want to do is cry. Standing up straight when all you want to do is hide. You just ‘go with it’, like you don’t have a choice. Most times you don’t have a choice so all you can do to just go with it.
After a long period of being unhappy it just seems normal. You forget what happiness feels like. Or what really makes you happy. Then unhappiness feels like happiness. Then you’re always sad. With no thoughts or actions associated with it. After a while it becomes part of you, you just deal and hope to come to peace with it.
I ask myself that question, a lot. Sometimes it a straight “yes”, but most times I have to do a lot of thinking. One day I asked a friend if I seemed like the type that would be happy after everything. After the degrees, jobs, achievement, children… everything. I wasn’t surprised by his answer. We do things that deep within we know it doesn’t make us happy. No matter the plastic smiles, the lil white lies… We hope with time we would find happiness in these things but we never do. So it becomes a pursuit to find happiness where happiness doesn’t exist.
What is happiness? How will you know when you feel it? Are you sure its happiness? I know it sounds stupid to ask these questions but really …are you happy?



Dear Lonely,
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† It’s been a while since we had our heart felt conversations. They were the things that kept me going. I miss them a lot. I have missed you. In this few months we have spent apart, lots of things have happened. To me and to you. I’m not really sure, is it that the change we craved for isn’t what we really needed? We used to wish that one day we would be somewhere where we would start afresh. Meet new¬† people, make new first impressions and see what life was like outside what we were used to. We left people we never wanted to leave behind… we lost people we never thought we would lose… we fought battles we never thought we would fight… we cried tears we never thought we would cry.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† You remember those days we would lay down and just dream? I do and I know you do. I miss those days. Then we would talk about how our day went, school, people we didn’t like, music, books we read.. life in general. We talked about the mistakes we made, the “if-I-had” but we never had regrets. People thought we were boring. We knew we were but we didn’t care. We would listen to radio shows; Douglas and Osi. Every night we would tune in and listen to people talk. We never had the courage to call .The days we didn’t feel like talking we would just listen to music. You always had beautiful taste in music, you still do. Our silence were the words we spoke.
¬†¬†¬†¬† At night, the dark was our hiding place. The one place we could¬† talk freely, shed all the tears we had been holding… express the emotions we didn’t know how to express around other people. If certain people knew how we felt about them, would things be different now? I guess we might never find out. The feelings we couldn’t express verbally we wrote down. I still have that notebook… I designed it myself remember?¬† Remember the future we had planned for ourselves? Didn’t we dream big. We always talked about, we were never shy to say them out loud. Now I can’t … I’m afraid people would laugh. I’m afraid they won’t understand and laugh at the dreams we had. Yes… yes they still judge. People always judge. It’s just sad that you aren’t here to hold my hand and let me to turn a deaf ear
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Sleep. Did we sleep at night? Not until our thoughts were done wandering and we felt asleep not listening to our minds. I still have trouble sleeping that’s why I’m writing you this letter by 4:01am. I already wrote two aritles before this. I wonder if writing you this letter would give me the peace of mind I crave. Mother said I should pray, she tells me that everytime we talk. She said God should be first above all things and that I shouldn’t forget that. Been a while since I had a deep convo with God. We all need God in our lives you would always say. He did see us through lots of things… lots of things people¬† would never imagine we went through.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Surrounded by people yet sometimes I feel lonely. Cool story yeah? I wonder if change causes you to look deeper or is it just me. Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was. Or was it just sudden that I couldn’t handle it well. Pity life doesn’t send memos before the unexpected happens. You know I had never been the type to ask for help. Even though I wanted someone to. Now I live a life where people expect you to say ” I need help” ” I need that” ” I need this”. Some things are hard to do when you’ve never been used to them. Baby steps… I know. What if I don’t want to take those steps; baby steps or big steps. Maybe I don’t want to change or should I? I would hate to lose the old me, the old me I had grown too comfortable with. Will change make me different in a way I don’t like or am I just afraid?
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I wish you were here. Sometimes I feel I’m around people who will never understand me no matter how hard they try . Though, there might be two or three people who might but I still want you here. Here with me when I’m lonely, when I cry, when I’m hurting, when nothing seems right. I’m afraid things will happen again. I don’t want to go back to that time, I can’t. I refuse to.. but what if it happens? I hate what I’m feeling right now, I don’t want to feel like this. Care free and happy; I miss that. Like that Passenger song…only know you’ve been high when you’ve feeling low.
      I talk to our friends sometimes. Not often as I want to. I miss them a lot.
I miss them, I miss her… I miss him.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I’ll be strong. For you, for them… for me. I know you would want that. I should try and sleep now. I’m smiling baby and its a big ass smile. I might be okay by the time I write my next letter… I might not be okay. Whether I am or not.. I’ll be fine.