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Friday, 18 November 2016

ZIP THE HECK UP! --by Nickz

Image source: http://lifehacks.stackexchange.com
Over the period, I have noticed many people tend to confide their life experiences in me. They naturally share stories of what they’re passing through. Sometimes, you hear the joy and jubilation in their tones, other times, you hear the bitterness and tears as they flow, and can’t help but wonder why some humans would make life unbearable for others. Knowing these about them helps in some way to clarify misconceptions as many ignorant outsiders may perceive the victim as the victimizer.
Today, I’ll share a true story of a nineteen year old girl I know. For the sake of anonymity, let’s call her Vivian. A year ago, Vivian finished her secondary education and ever since, has been staying at home, hoping to re-take the WASSCE for better results and gain university admission. Vivian has a mom and she lives with her. Her mom has two other young female kids—about 8 and 6—from her second marriage, as her first marriage which produced Vivian had failed. So, Vivian is a big sister, taking care of her step-sisters and trying to meet mom’s expectations. I’ll shade more light on the expectations but before that, let me say some things about Vivian or the things I know about her: she’s tall and light skinned, slender but not skinny, hard-working and to a good extent, respectful. I’d comfortably call her a good girl. Sometime ago, she told me she wants to leave home without her mother’s knowledge. I asked her what the matter was. She started sharing some of the battles she’s been going through in the hands of her mom. Her mom was always abusing and cursing her in spite all the efforts she’s been making to assist her in the house and take care of the younger ones. She said she couldn’t have rest of mind in the house because her mom was also comparing her to one of her neighbour’s child; a loose young girl who brings money and food items home from “runs”. She said Vivian had not brought anything good into the house but was always eating her food and hanging out with a broke boyfriend. This was not happening for a day or two months, but for a long while and it affected the teenage girl emotionally to the point that she actually executed her get away plan. It was on a Sunday when her mom and siblings left to church. She packed her bags and sneaked out to another state where she stayed with a relation on the low.
On realizing this, the mom made sure all the neighbours knew her daughter was a bad girl as she went about telling everyone that the child she’s been feeding and accommodating had the guts to flee from home. Some got the impression and said the young girl was foolish and disrespectful to do so. A concerned neighbour even suggested she made a report to the police.
To cut the long story short, after some months, Vivian later came back from the other state, down to her home state but was later hiding with her boyfriend. The mother was making investigations all along and when she found out, she ordered for the arrest of the guy (though he was shortly released) and for Vivian to be staying with one of her aunties within town.
Another case is that of a twenty year old female friend. Her dad had left the marriage without caring about how the kids fared and as if that wasn’t enough, she lost her mother who was their closest umbrella. Oftentimes, she’s full of bitterness and grief. She keeps asking why her father would be so heartless. Her job at a pharmacy is barely taking care of her transportation needs, not to mention feeding, taking care of her siblings and saving for her academic plans.
I also know another, twenty three years old, she hates the mention of her father because of the way he abandoned them right from childhood. He lives a rich and successful life but has not for once sent money for her fees in the university or provide any other financial care. She shed tears when she told me this and also said she initially was nursing revenge on him. Luckily for her, her mom’s new husband became the loving father she lacked for years.
Sometimes, I don’t blame young people for the unchaste path they later chose in life or the things they later do. They have to survive by any means available. This problem traces back to the micro-unit of the society: the family. Sometimes, I run out of condoling words and advice while listening to the storms people are forging through because of a mismanaged family. It would have made more sense if some men didn’t zip down and some women kept their legs closed. It hurts when a child comes into the world only to find life a miserable journey because the people that caused his/her arrival have refused to play their proper roles in the child’s life.
Dear potential parents and existing parents, you’re responsible for the child you bring into the world. Your responsibilities include loving and providing the basic needs of this child till the child is strong enough to be independent. I do not support divorce but even if that happens, transferring revenge or whatever punishment from your ex-spouse to your kids is insane. Bringing up a child is quite demanding and you can’t delve into it unreadily because of few minutes of pleasure.  Ladies, do humanity a favour by closing your legs and men, zip the heck up if you can't control the outcome. Stop making kids only to hate them or else one day pretty soon, you’ll sleep and don’t wake up again and kids will be giggling while peeing on your tombstone because you were full of sh*t while alive. Okay, that was mild. I mean to say you’ll wake up one day to find your genital replaced by an oak tree. Yes, an oak tree. Let the society worry about more uncontrollable situations like earthquakes and tsunamis and not about the menace from your irresponsibility.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

WHEN SHE SAYS "NO" --by Kreed

Image source: http://thequotesgarden.blogspot.com.ng

The first morning is always the hardest. Wishing you never woke, wishing the night never ended, wishing your life came with a huge eraser. You don't know what to look forward to. The hurt is one feeling I can't describe. It's like your mind just goes numb. You don't feel anything but then you feel like you've lost it all. The one prediction you'll never get, is when it all ends, like when do you finally slip out of this feeling?
           It feels like a merry-go-round. Like you keep cycling round, only to get back to the place you started. It is never all gloom, as there are few moments of happiness that overwhelms your heart but the moment you begin to feel like you're free, that's when you slip back in. Just like a patient with bi-polar disorder. The first day, is always the hardest.
All you want to do is sleep because it is the only remedy that seems to work. Only unfortunate thing is when you wake, it'll still be starring you in the face—the one memory you wish your brain never remembered. She said “no”. “Where do I go from here?” This one question always recurs in your head. 

There are many remedies but no specific remedy, as it's all relative to the individual—different strokes for different folks. But as I pen this, I'd probably say when it comes to this issue, I have a huge wealth of experience, unfortunately for me but not for you. To be honest, I’ve never gotten a positive response in most of my attempts but that's cool, shit happens. Okay, back to you. I know how you feel, like you're all messed up at the moment. Nothing seems to make sense. At this point, everything happening in your life seems to be negative even when it isn't. But don't fret, by the time you're done reading this, it'll feel like a mountain has been lifted from your heart. No this is not one of those promos where you'll be told to pay a certain sum of money after all the hype, and no it isn't a piece that will turn you to a Casanova or something (like seriously, it is the last thing this article will teach you). I've been there and it's not the best feeling in the world. However, I want you to take solace in one thing; you're alive. You have a beautiful future ahead, don't let this destroy that.

I'll just write certain tips that should help you out of your quagmire (I really hope it does).

1) Forgive: This is the most vital step. As a matter of fact, if you ignore the other steps, don't ignore this one. Holding onto something this hefty, will only weigh you down and no one else. Keep calm, re-access the situation and don't hold any grudge. Regardless of how she said it, just forgive and move on. 

2) Don't listen to blues: I know it is the only kind of song you'll desire to hear at this point but trust me, it isn't the kind of song you should listen to if you really want to get out of this depressive state. Don't download any of James Blunt's tracks, no. Not because he's gay but because you'll shed serious tears man. Try gospel praise...I'm not trying to sound churchy but that is just the kind of songs you should really indulge yourself with at this stage (and hopefully after this stage). You can try rap/hip-hop tracks too (for those who don't want to listen to gospel, the stubborn ones :-P). If you ask me though, I'd insist on gospel praise.

3) Work on yourself: Dude, remember when I said you were rejected not necessarily because you were bad? Well, every morning you wake up, lie to yourself! Look into the mirror and say, "I'm good, I can be better." You don't even need a heartbreak to practice this, it is something you should do every morning. Set goals and meet or exceed your targets. The truth is, few months from now, if she sees you at the same state you were when she turned you down, she'll probably say to herself, "Well, I made a pretty good decision to bounce him." Don't let this happen. If there is ever a time to push yourself in life, if there is ever an avenue that can be used to motivate or inspire a man, it is times like this. Don't waste this. This disappointment should be a blessing. It was a setback but this is the best time for you to make a comeback.

4) Hang Out with Friends: Bro, it's the best way to forget it all temporarily: hanging out with friends. Like somehow, time skips and you'd be so distracted you won't remember a thing. The downside however, is when you're alone again. If you're strong enough, you'll go through the night with no emotional issues but if you're not, errrmmmm...don't live your friends till you're strong enough.

5) Call her or not?: How did she say it? If she was rude, then don't call her like ever, if she wasn't...then don't call her for a week or 2 and when you do, please don't cry. Sound happy, even if you're not. Not that you're trying to show off that you'll be fine without them(which is a truth) but because it kind of disconcerts some girls, when they know that there is someone who is having a downtime because of their actions. It is not easy for them too. They can't possibly accept everyone who asks them out. It was unfortunate you were rejected but that doesn't necessarily mean you're not good enough. Put yourself in their shoes too. Regardless of the situation, just forgive and move on.

6) Smile: Regardless of the situation you find yourself in life, always smile. It has everything to do with positivism.

          In the end, I just want you to feel better about yourself. The whole aim of this piece is just to let you know that it has happened to others before you and they survived and they’re currently doing better than they were before, so don’t feel like it is the end of the world. I know it feels like your world has crashed around you but trust me, it hasn’t. It might seem like the end of the road but just know it is the start of another journey. At the end of the day, a closed door doesn’t mean a locked one, a lost opportunity doesn’t mean an end to opportunities. As a matter of fact, you’re a lot stronger than you were before now, which is a good thing. 
Every disappointment always leads to a blessing. Pick yourself up and dust yourself. I don't know how difficult it is for you, I don't know if you're even contemplating suicide (I have a rope, if you’re that foolish). I don't know how many NOs you've heard so far. It hardly matters, you’re alive and that means there is hope and above all else you still have a purpose to fulfil for GOD. I’m not going to say you'll get a yes soon. I don't know when but I'm confident you're few steps, or even less, away. Trust me you will and you won't regret this journey. I want you to get up from that bed, I want you to turn off that sad song, you've had enough and it's time to continue moving. Just be you and love will find you eventually (i.e if life was a fairy tale or a Disney movie)…Okay, I’m serious.
          Also, when you get out of this dilemma (Yes, you will), you will come across a brother who is facing the same challenge. Don’t forget to share this or if you have better remedies, help him with it. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016


(Image source: www.informationng.com)

Genevieve felt like she was starstruck; she almost missed a note. Thoughts were powerful. She had just remembered him the night before as her mother advised her and now, here he was in their church. He was still the Femi she knew; dark and very handsome, except that a very pretty lady walked beside him with a toddler in her arms. Her heart twitched at the memories of what they shared. Femi could’ve been hers but he was from a low background back then. Now she had found a new life in Calvary. She wouldn’t let any woman come between them.
The service kept unfolding with more surprises as she spotted Calvary’s secretary among the first timers who walked towards the seat reserved for them. This wasn’t good. It only meant that the wretched lady was somewhere around the corner. She had to find a way to Calvary’s life permanently. She would make it happen or die trying.
“We welcome you all in Jesus’ name. This is the Grace Arena and we like to celebrate our first timers. Please wait after service for a brief talk with the pastor. Thank you.” The secretary announced but that wasn’t all. “Beloved of God, Grace Arena will be celebrating her 20 Years Anniversary!” On announcing, the church broke out in a number of jubilation sounds; some shouted out loud, some screamed, others clapped happily and some blew their whistles.
“Let somebody shout Hallelujah!” Pastor Calvary mounted the pulpit. The crowd responded immediately with a thunderous Hallelujah.  “Brethren, the Lord has been good to us in this church, He has been faithful.” He then paused as he saw yet another vision. This one startled him a bit.                                                                                                                            Genevieve and Yetunde were rowing a boat and a quarrel ensued. Genevieve immediately pushed Yetunde out of the boat and she fell into the river. Just then, his eyes glided to the area where first timers stayed but she wasn’t there. Something was wrong.

“It was such a glorious service Sir, we had a nice time.” Eddie spoke with relief. She was quite happy her fears hadn’t come to life. She remembered seeing Femi here the last time they attended the program but she had carefully looked around, there was no sign of the devil. For now, Yetunde was safe. “So where is your cousin?” He was bothered by the vision he had. Something wasn’t right. He had to go on a fast for deeper revelations. “She’s a bit ill, she couldn’t make it and she regrets deeply.” Eddie responded. “I see, okay. Just hang around, I’d love to see her so I’ll drive you two back home.” He smiled at his little friend.
Genevieve stared at them with so much cruelty. If she wasn’t careful, Calvary was going to slip through her fingers, just like Femi. She wondered where he was. Such a coincidence, the world was really a small place. She turned around to find him, her heart pounded harder in her chest. Was she making a mistake by searching for Femi? What did she hope to find? Her head told her to stay back but her legs carried her faster. She spotted Calvary speaking to Pastor Ogbonna, she ignored them and went on.
“Gene...” she heard the voice—deep male baritone that was so familiar and the memories flooded back again. “Femi,” she called and it sounded almost like a whisper she turned to face him and was happy at what she could find; this time, he was alone.  She stared into his dark eyes that always called to her. They were still so broody and seductive. He looked different now, not like the school boy he was, he was perfect and responsible; almost like her Calvary but he lacked that charisma. Still, she liked him this way. “It’s been ages.” She smiled shyly, avoiding his eyes but he wouldn’t avoid hers. He stared into them devotedly, her big brown eyes ever so beautiful. He remembered her vividly, one of his youthful ecstasies but she was a woman now and he was married. His mind drifted to the past where they unleashed their passions upon themselves. He almost kissed her hand but someone was around.
Ife cleared her throat. “Am I missing something?” She eyed the chorister viciously. This one was definitely a man-thief. “Ife darling, meet Genevieve an old friend back in the day.” Ife had nothing to say to the lady. She hissed and walked away. “I’m sorry about that Gene. Here’s my card, call me.” Unknown to them, they had created a scene and raised eyebrows. Genevieve looked at the card and smiled but her smiled faded as she saw the child in Calvary’s arms. “Yetunde,” she cursed.
They were approaching her. “Angel, you know Eddie my secretary…” she nodded quickly. “I want to drop them off and speak to her cousin as well. She’s very ill. I’ll see you in the evening fellowship.” He squeezed her arms and walked away. Genevieve had never felt so humiliated. She pulled herself together then something else dropped into her thoughts. The little girl that Calvary carried had a strong resemblance to Femi’s baby. That was odd.

She stared at his complimentary card once more. He had made it big, very big indeed.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016


Image source: printerest.com

Today wasn't supposed to end like this. My week wasn't supposed to end like this. It's always been like this since the start of the year. This year has been about taking a step forward and two backward. "Think positive Taye, Think positive. The day is not over, you still have eight hours, everything is possible." Tears began streaming down my eyes, I've been positive for so long, yet, it seems my situation has been ordained by fate. It seems God was just up there, watching all of this befall me. Already 50k in debt, been on half salary since last year, not been paid the last two months, no food at home and I'm down to my last 1k.

I was fortunate to have gotten a lift from this stranger. I wasn’t the only passenger in the vehicle, the man also picked up another person at a bus stop. He seemed nice, probably the only good that has happened in months. Had been under the rain searching for a cab but when I couldn't find, I decided to trek, out of frustration. That's when he drove by and offered me a lift. At least I could save that transport for tonight's food. Just last month, I had boasted I wasn't going to request for loans from anyone but I was about to chew my words. It was like every time I said I won't, I did and when I said I would, I didn't. Life was happening to me at the moment and I couldn't seem to stem the tide. They said life is an empire of choices but every single decision I've made has seemed to be the wrong one. "Exercise patience, it'll come." But I was getting old with every passing second and patience is one attribute time didn't have. Everything was just going wrong at the same time. Too many setbacks for one and some nights all I could do was just break down and cry. These days I had nothing to look forward to. I woke up these days not wanting to get up. I had lost every passion for the things I loved. I wasn't even productive anymore. My life was going downhill at the moment. I feel like a man in a battle field, waving a white flag but still getting shot at. 


I’m the first born and the only boy in my family. Dad passed away six years ago and it’s been a rough ride since then. I’ve been searching for a job ever since I finished my service but I’ve been unsuccessful in all my attempts. I just feel ashamed that I can’t take care of siblings as much as I have desired to. Though my mother says I shouldn’t feel this way that everything will fall in place at the appointed time. My mother is the nicest person you can have in your life but when is the appointed time? I’m not getting any younger, neither is she. She’s been our pillar all these years and all I want to do is lift this burden she bears by herself. What if she passes away, what happens? I’m 26 years and I can’t even afford my own rent and I still stay in my parents’ home. I can’t assist my sisters in school. Sometimes I just question the essence of even having university education. Wasn’t building my capacity so I can have financial independence, the essence of school? Now look at me, still wearing a worn out shoe and a faded shirt and trousers. If my entire tuition fee had been invested in a profitable business, I wouldn’t be moving around looking for a job. Mother slapped me the last time I told her this *chuckles*.

The other passenger in this car stared at me after I chuckled. I was not in the mood for pleasantries. I was too engulfed in my thoughts to start a conversation right now. Few minutes ago, I was at the bus stop waiting for the rain to subside, when this man drove by and asked where I was headed, I told him and fortunately for me, he was heading the same direction. This free ride was the only good thing happening to me today. I wish I could say the same thing about being alive but I don’t even know if I want to be alive anymore. I was just rejected at one of the firms I applied to last month. Yesterday was the same thing and it’s been that way all through this year. I cried my eyes out while I was at the bus stop waiting for the rain to subside. I don’t know how long I can continue like this. I’m tired of praying and I don’t even know if God exists anymore.


How did I get here? How did it all happen? How did it turnaround? These are some of the questions that ring in my head almost on a daily basis. Like how did a guy who had literally given up on life, get such a massive turnaround in his life? There were nights when I just got on my knees and cried, rather than pray. They were nights when I questioned His very existence. There were nights when I’d rather sleep than stay awake. Then they were those days when I was completely broke. I’ve lost count the number of nights I slept hungry, I’ve lost counts the number of times I had to cover long distances on foot.

Today I picked up two passengers who brought back these memories. I had found the first just walking under the rain, obviously frustrated and the second was at a deserted bus stop, under the rain as well. Both were dripping enough water to form an ocean…lol. Both were obviously at that point I was in life a few years ago—the beginning. Both had been quiet throughout this journey, obviously wallowing in their thoughts. Both were obviously at their make or break point. I have always been a keen believer of providence rather than coincidence and I had no intent of parting ways with them, without impacting positively in their lives. I had no intent of letting them cross the break-point, rather than the make-point. They were at the dicey stage of their lives and any wrong choice would obviously breed more frustrating results.  

They were so many events that often brought tears to my eyes every time I reminisced. That was then, that was in the beginning. Everything changed however, when I chose to see things in a different perspective. Things changed when I altered my attitude towards every setback I encountered. Things changed when I chose to embrace my challenge, rather than complain about them. Things changed when I stopped being anxious about tomorrow, when I stopped dwelling in the past, when I focused  all my energy on the present and trusted that GOD had set things in pleasant places for me already. You see, GOD didn’t hate me when He led me to every obstacle I encountered; rather, He was building me up for the enormous tasks that I would encounter later in life. Looking back now, I have fully acknowledged that I would be a massive flop today if I had continued to avoid those challenges. In the beginning, it felt like I was running through a maze with a blindfold. But along the way, I saw my destination clearly. Along the way, I realized I had been the one steering my wheel rather than Him. Trust GOD.


Image source: bluemoonstudios.com
I gathered motivation, picked up a notebook and pen and was ready to write a beautiful story. The story existed in a ghostly and patchy form within the mind. A lot of neat construction had to be put in to unleash its captivating ability. “Start something, the rest will form and link up in the process.” That was my mind. I picked up the notebook and pen, getting ready to break out of inertia and flow.
It had been weeks I put down pen on paper for this purpose. There was no logical explanation to why the switch flipped down but the situation made me unhappy, knowing I have disappointed myself and the circle of audience. Holding the pen now felt a bit new, the page of the note starring back demandingly. Would “It was a cold Sunday evening...”make a good opener for the story? I contemplated the first word to put down. Writing with pen and paper was usually faster and more bonding for me than sitting over a PC to type a fresh idea, knowing video games could replace any moment of boredom.   I put down the first word. It felt odd. I crossed it off.

The neurons and cells in the brain were working harder, trying to construct an ideal opener. Then, unfortunately, the mind had its way and started to wander. I noticed some leaves of the note were dog-eared. I straightened them out one by one. My eyes dropped to the pen in my hand, it was sky blue and labeled Avanti. It also occurred to me there was an overgrown cuticle on my right index finger. Carefully, I placed the extended tiny strip between my incisors and bit it off, avoiding injury. Mission accomplished. There was a ceramic cup on my table containing pens, pencils and markers. The handle would look better if it faced left, I thought. I repositioned the cup and it was satisfying. The notebook was still blank. I spotted my small toy “high performance” convertible on the table. I picked it up and spun the wheels just for the pleasure of watching it spin. I then placed it on the open book and drifted around like Vin Diesel. I placed it back in front of the cup. Why was my table unorganized? Maybe, that was the cause of my distraction. I placed books and papers properly and leaned back on the seat. Table in order, now write.

Innocently, my gaze wandered to the most avoided object on the table: the mirror. I stared at my early morning reflection; the speck in my eyes, the blackness and dryness of my lips and my dreamy eyes. My lips usually had a touch of pink but they looked as black and thick as that of a Jamaican marijuana smoker.  I licked them so hard the pressure made colour return to it. My hair was not much grown, just curly and uncombed.  I could stay a week before paying the barber a visit. The neck of my white t-shirt had sagged, enough to reveal a pair of deep, skin-covered collar bones. Maybe it was a symbol of masculinity...or malnourishment. But I fed well. I guess genes were just being genes.
A ridiculous suspicion sneaked into my mind. What if mirrors lied? What if what we saw was not what was? What if my ears and nose weren’t actually this big? I counter-argued myself too. The last time I saw my reflection together with someone’s, the person’s reflection looked exactly like the person so my spark of discovery quenched, robbing my chance of being a hero or a genius.
With some effort, I looked away from the glass of distraction. The notebook was still blank, the Avanti pen still waiting to be used. I propped my chin with my left palm and rested my elbow on the table, channeling my attention to the note before me, ready to focus on the main mission. Like gentle smoke, something worse than wandering gaze crept in; stray thoughts—in form of memories. I reminiscing a bone friend I lost few months ago. I was remembering his face, his talking energy, his humors, his encouragements and visions; I was remembering his last days on the sick bed too. It wasn’t the first or the second time of such. It stung. It hurt. I shook it off and resurrected to the present. The reality of dawn being swallowed by faint sunlight was setting in. I lost the tranquility of the dim morning hours. Other activities had to be attended to. The page was still blank. There was no story, or rather, there was no inspiration. Closing the note, I rose to start my day. Some things could not be compelled, they had minds of theirs. However, this is still a story—the story of my unwritten story.