Nothing Can Robb Me of My Beauty

Ha-llo people of the Internets. How are you today? Are you doing fine? Yes? Thank God. Oh how am I doing? How am I doing? Oh I’m doing great except for the part that I BURNT MA FACE!

*Clears throat*

Let’s start from the top. I had the flu yeah? And man, that virus was from the aliens because I had NEvER experienced a flu that traumatic in my life! Okay, maybe I have. But still.

I had tried everything, I’m telling you. Ibuprofen, lemon and honey, lidocaine, drinking lots of fluids, scotch bonnet peppers, everything.

So I decided to try something else. There’s this camphor-based substance that dropped from the heavens and arrived in Nigeria and it has been a national heirloom ever since. Brothers and sistren, it is called ROBB.

But ROBB ti dagba o (Robb has grown)! Now there’s a new one! This one is also called Robb, but it is spiced with the bitterness of your enemies. This stuff is STRONG. And it’s easy to mix them up so I took the strong one instead of the normal one.

Now back to my story, I added the Robb to boiling water and was inhaling the vapors and mmmm, I experienced relief immediately. Glory to God. However, it cooled down after a while and (this when the unfortunate part began) I put it in the microwave.

For too long.

I took it out of the microwave.

I was inhaling it and then…

SPLAKKAKKAIIBOOOOOOMMMMMMM KAI all over the kitchen and onto my face.

You know how kids do that volcano science project in school? The one with baking powder and vinegar? Yeah, this one is more traumatizing. Robb + hot water + microwave. Do that instead, kids. You’ll graduate with distinction immediately.

Fast forward to now, my face is darker in some places due to the burnt skin but some parts of it are flaking off! Yay! (Okay fine I’ve been picking at it. I’m weird. Sorry).

Thing is, I had the opportunity to use my exquisite and beautiful L’Oreal True Match Foundation but I was like ‘Let’s just try going au naturel for a bit. Let’s just see what happens’.

And yall, NOTHING HAPPENED. Children didn’t point to me and cry. Dogs didn’t bark at me and try to bite me. In fact, some people even smiled at me (you know those random people that just smile like dat). It felt great! Nobody noticed anything! It was all good fam!

And then.

At the end of the day, one of my friends finally asked ‘What happened to your face?’

It was at that point that I knew I had been surrounded by liars all this time.

ATI “WHAT HAPPENED TO MA FACE?” Kai. My other friend, *Wanda, is just so glorious. You could tell she was trying so hard not to freak out.

Anyway sha, I’m definitely wearing make-up tomorrow. And not because of this, but because I’m going to watch Black Panther tomorrow and I cannot enter Wakanda looking less than my best because I mean, I just can’t. If it was something like ‘Shape of Water’, eh hen. That one, I wouldn’t even comb my hair for.

But for realz, this short little experience has reminded me of the meaning of beauty. Sometimes we want to feel beautiful. You know why? We want to be seen. We want to be seen as remarkable. It’s nice when you walk down the road and someone goes ‘Oh who’s that?’ And I don’t just mean when it comes to the opposite sex. I think sometimes it’s nice to be noticed, but not for ‘flaws’. Nobody wants to walk down the road and then have somebody do a double take on them because of their ‘ugliness’.

So this hot water incident taught me about how I see people. So many times we only see one side of people. So we tend to hope that people will think we’re pretty because we’re hoping that the one side people see of us is something they can appreciate.

[Oooooh child. Das a deep one. Das a deep one.]

But deepness aside, there’s still scalded skin on ma face y’alls. But there’s nothing I can do about it. And it’s not that bad AT ALL. Like, I’m just being straight dramatic here.

The point is, yes I would like to feel beautiful but guess what?
I am. *Attempts to pout sexily*
But no, my skin is not as smooth or unburnt as it was before. But it’s just like a natural tattoo you know? With hot water instead of ink. And besides, it will heal. God created ingenious restorative mechanisms in the skin.

Life happens. And so do many other things in this world.
I don’t want to be so focused on the one side people see of me that I forget to see other people – wholly – and to see everything else there is to see under this great blue sky.

There is beauty in me and there is beauty in the world.
And I will enjoy them both.

[*Not real name]

Crying Husbands and Beauty



*Slaps thigh 3 times*


IN FACT EHN? If I just step (h)into dat church building, and I don’t hear at least sniffling (AT LEAST), I will just say “OYA! Agayn! We are starting from d top! Babes, please pay attention this time. I’m not wearing Spanx under this dress for you to be having dry cheeks”. And then I’ll walk right back out of that church, the organist will play ‘Here comes the bride again’ and then my husband will cry.  Beautiful right?

Okay let me explain.

Today, YouTube randomly decided to bring me a video titled ‘The Most Breathtaking Bridal Entrance Ever. Groom Cries When He Sees His Bride’. (Come and see marketing o) Anyway, I sha clicked on it and next thing I know I’m transported into this vortex of angelic melodies, gorgeous architecture, a hyped up crowd, a regal bride and a crying groom! And brrruuuh, that man cried o. Wow. I said: that. Man. Cried. It was as if he was competing with Victoria Falls. And then his best man was tryna be strong for him and errthing, like *deep voice* “This is your day man! Look at your bride. Come on, don’t cry!” And it was at that point that I simply melted into a puddle. *Plop*.

Once I resurrected from my puddle, I started prophesying into my life (+ snapping my fingers to make sure the prophesy sticks) and I said “My future husband must cry! My future husband must cry!’

And so that is what we are going to talk about today: crying husbands.

(Well, not exactly)

Continue reading “Crying Husbands and Beauty”

Unpacking With Patience

(Old Blog Entry)

Wah, when I tell you I am the most SOCIALLY AWKWARD individual…

So basically I went to some dinner thing. It wasn’t like a ‘Oooh ah shiny shiny’ kind of dinner. In fact I even thought it was just going to be like a communal event where food is laid out, people that like to make friends will be grouped in their cute little circles, and then you can quickly pick something fast fast and then proceed back to your room to melt in your own solitude. That was my hope.

But instead I get there and it’s all nicely decorated with a long table and candles and people sitting together and stuff.


Anyway I was already down there so my options were either to awkwardly moonwalk out of the room or suck in my bums and pretend to enjoy these little blobs of humanity.

Thankfully there was ONE other girl I knew there so I just ran to her like shade in a hot desert. And you know the best part? She had already made friends with the other people on the table. Yay.

But lemme just say I feel I really tried though. I really did. I separated my lips, allowed words to come out and actually tried to insert myself in conversations. I tried. This chick was doing great with her new friends though.

“Where do you come from?” they ask.

“Ivory Coast.” she replied.

“DIDIER DROGBA!” they all shout out. “Oh DIDIER! DIDIER DROGBA!” *Excited man voices*

At one point someone asked me where I was from. So I was like ‘Ait this is my chance. I can do this. I’m going to join the conversation’. I got really geared up, I inhaled deeply and I basically said something like “I’m Nigerian. We have footballers too haha”



The response I got

No one laughed. Not even smiled. It was QUIET. The computer of my life just showed an error message. The telephone of my reality said “I’m sorry. You could not be connected at this time”. The loony tunes of society sang out ‘Womp womp wooooooommmmppp”

I just smiled o.

I just smiled li’ dat.

Me, I just wanted to eat my bread and tea in peace o. That was my own. (It was a European dinner thing so, yeah, they offered us bread and tea for dinner. I mean ‘hot chocolate’ sorry, not ‘tea’)


(Now play Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Breakaway’ in the background for maximum enjoyment)

See, it takes a lot of strength and courage it takes to unpack your heart and lay it down in a sea of unfamiliarity.

Unpacking your heart to me means stripping off the walls of fake smiles and isolationism and choosing to submerge yourself in the lives of those around you. It’s not necessarily hard, it’s just not my default – unless I really click with someone. There’s definitely a film of awkwardness that embalms the skin on my heart and sometimes I just don’t feel like I have the strength to muster up the agency and just say ‘Hi’.

There’s this assumption that people who move a lot become experts at relationships but the truth is, sometimes it can be draining to unpack your heart to new people all the time. Pack, unpack. Pack, unpack. Packunpackpackunpackpackunpack…! I thank God so much for the exposure and the people I’ve been blessed with over the years. But I think what I’m learning is that there’s no shame in being emotionally tired. It’s okay to give yourself time to recuperate.

That’s why I was completely okay just eating my bread and tea that night. There was this annoying little high-pitched voice at the back of my head saying ‘Talk louder! Speak more! Try harder!’ If I really wanted to, I think I would have had a great conversation. But at the time, I just wanted to be present, listen and eat. Honestly. And that’s part of recuperating.

Some people move to a new place and within fifteen minutes they’ve become fluent in the local dialect, been elected as captain of the football team, and  begun working with the city council to implement housing reforms. I think I’ve believed that was the kind of person I was supposed to be. I’ve always had a gnawing voice in the back of mind saying ‘Say something. Do something. Contribute something.’ But now I think I want to invest time in listening, learning, being present and taking small steps.

We all unpack at different rates. Be compassionate with yourself no matter how long it takes to feel settled. And as you do, you’ll find many others who are unpacking too; and you will see that the beauty of flowering is not just the prettiness of the petals but the burgeoning of the blossom.

Unpack with patience.

Errand Blessing

You know, in the Nigerian Parent School, there is a course called Errand-Sending. And if you don’t pass that course, you will not be allowed to graduate. My wonderful parents not only passed that course; they passed with distinction, published papers, and were elected as the Chaircouple of the National Errand Sending Society.

I know this, because they use me to practice and perfect their craft.

This morning, I was alone in my room, chilling as a good young person, embalmed in my self-seclusion, trying to read a book. After a while, I decided to spring out, taste the shared air of other humans and proceed yonder unto the arena of society. (By this I mean to say that I went downstairs).

And ONCE I GOT DOWNSTAIRS you guys, my mother said to me ‘Oh good morning. Can you make me a cup of tea?’


Like…what? (Obviously I said this in my head because I have sense)

Wait, so, um… let me ask a small question. Does the sight of one’s child act as a trigger, which when activated, releases a neurotransmitter that lights up the tea-desiring part of our brains? That’s my question, really. I was just confused cuz I was upstairs all this time but only when I come down is when……sigh.

Anyway sha, I, like a rookie, allowed myself to think that was the end of the Errand-Sending Session for today. Oh what a foolish thought. I had dishes to wash, tomatoes to blend, iyan to cook, groceries to buy, books to publish, rhinos to save, cancers to cure, bills to pass and evil to destroy.

All before 2pm.

After that I tried to go back to my book but it had disappeared. Like, I’m telling you, this thing had legit been kidnapped by fairies. While looking up and down for this book, my mother’s voice rang out again. ‘Sooto can you bring me that pass me that thing over there?’ At this point I was like ‘Nah, nah, nah. Nah I’m done’. *Dramatic voice* I’M LEAVING THIS HOUSE! But alas, I relented. I looked for it and guess what else I found? My book! I found my book!

So I just wanna encourage you guys today: *Oluwashodo preacher voice* Sometimes in this life, we feel like we have lost something very dear to us. And we say to ourselves, ‘Ah! (H)am I (h)ever going to gerrit back?’ But lemme tell yew sometin: sometimes, ehn? If you want to find your blessing, you need to be a what? You need to be a blessing! Stop tinking about when God is going to blex you, and start tinking about how you can be a blexzing to your neighbour right now. Now say ‘Neighbor!’ (You say ‘neighbour’) ‘How can I bless you?’.

In this 2018, with all our goals and resolutions about what we want to achieve, let us not forget an essential part of what a good year is made of: lez be a blexzing to somebothy.


Four Problems with Being the ‘Fixer’ Friend

Me and Fixer are friends. We are talking.

Me: “My nephew just failed his final university exams. I don’t get it. He’s always had a 3.6 GPA. The Faculty Dean says he…”

Fixer: “Oh my gosh, he failed?! His final exams? Oh my gosh, okay don’t freak out. My uncle is a partner at a law firm, I’m sure he can help him get a job.”

What do you think of that response? Anyway, next week Fixer and I meet up again.

Me: “I just came back from the hospital. It doesn’t look good. They think my grandmother might have canc..”

Fixer: “I REBUKE THAT RIGHT NOW! Cancer must BOW to Jesus! Oya come, come, come. Pastor Ugochukwo has just released a new line of fresh anointing oil, it even comes from organic olives. Let us go and get it now!”

Are you seeing the trend? Okay the next time:

Me: “I think my boyfriend might be cheating on me. I was going through…”

Fixer: “What?! GIIIIIRRRRRLLL LEAVE HIM! DUMP THAT LYING BUM! HE DON’T DESERVE YOU! Honestly the moment I met him I just knew, I just knew there was something about him.”

It’s usually more nuanced than this but what I’m trying to point out is the automatic impulse to spring up and fix everything without listening to the problem. Fixers are not people who always provide bad solutions, sometimes their solutions are correct and their hearts are usually in the right place. However, sometimes people just want to talk to you because you’re a friend not because you have all the answers.

Here are four issues with the ‘fixer’ mentality:

  1. We may be offering solutions that nobody was asking for.

People don’t always need some verbal panacea, some profound platitude, or even powerful preaching. Yes, a problem shared may be a problem half-solved but sometimes the solution does not include instructions or information. The solution may just be communication, venting out emotions, thinking through the situation by speaking out. Sometimes you need to just be there to listen. Be present but be quiet.

  1. We are desperate to feel more in control.

There is a vicarious pain that comes when the people we love are hurting. And when we feel pain that affects us emotionally without affecting us directly, it can bring about a sense of powerlessness. And so becoming a ‘fixer’ becomes this reflex response where we’re throwing out all the solutions we can think of in an attempt to break through the limitations that life has caged us in.

I think it takes a lot of bravery to share in people’s pain knowing full well that you can’t control the pain, you can’t fix it.

Be comforted in this: you don’t always need to.

  1. We may be trivializing pain.

Getting some fresh air doesn’t always cure depression. Working harder doesn’t always result in a promotion. Being non-confrontational doesn’t always prevent police brutality. Simple answers don’t always fix complex problems.

reg-quoteWhen we are self-centred, we believe that the magnitude of our problems easily overshadow those of everyone else’s. We think our problems are valid, meaningful, worth listening to. But other people’s problems are self-inflicted, simple, easy to cure. So we end up offering common-sense solutions that everybody else has already offered, implying that people’s real-life struggles are just minor problems that we would have sorted out a long time ago if we were in their shoes.

Sometimes people do exaggerate their problems and you will need to interrupt their pity party to dish out the truth. But saying ‘Your problems are not important’ is not as effective as listening for a while and then reminding them ‘You are too important for this to be this big of a problem’

  1. We may be labelling people.

People going through a hard time are still people. They have stories and hobbies and journeys and idiosyncrasies and a million things that make them special and unique and worth it. Sometimes when we’re so focused on fixing a problem, we only zoom in on that aspect of a person’s life.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for fixers. There are some people that I would go to if I just wanted help with sorting something out, but I wouldn’t go to them if I just wanted to talk. My closest friends are those who can tell when to just listen and when to get up and help, those who know that they don’t need to fix things to be needed.

Review of SGIT’s Season 3 Finale (WARNING: Contains spoilers)

(Don’t read if you haven’t watched Skinny Girl In Transit’s Season 3 Finale. Watch it and come back)

Me from beginning to mid-episode:
I am so frustrated.
I am actually so frustrated. Why is Tiwa trying to put stress in my life? She is LI-TE-RA-LLY the most annoying protagonist of ANY show I have watched in my entire life. Why is she so annoying? I mean I understand the concept of playing hard to get, but she is playing ‘IMPOSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE LEVEL 100’. Ah ah! Iss enough! This boy likes you! He likes you now! Ki lon se yin?* Ah, he’s rich, he’s ‘andsome, he can sing (not sure about that last note but nevertheless), he’s in touch with his emotions, he GOTS GAME! Ati** ‘When I met you, I was in a rough patch. But you gave me reason to smile, you made me believe in love again’ COME ON! COME ON SOMEBOTHY! BARRRRRRRSSS fo’ days though. Yeesh. The bobo even used the girl from Adekunle Gold’s Orente music video as a prop to impress you. Ah ah, do you want him to go and kill before you stop doing shakara for him?

Thing is, this entire show was meant to be a modern day fairy tale with a slightly feminist Lagos twist. Sooooooooo when Prince Charming comes along, CAN’T YOU GRAB YOUR BLESSIN’ AND CARRY GO?! Ah I’m stressed. I was literally (I kid you not) massaging my temples throughout this episode. ‘Twas not easy, dealing with all d suspension and frostration but I soldiered through…

Me at the end of the episode:
*Clears throat* Well. Well then…

But later: after I have properly digested the episode:
Oh. Wait, maybe this was the whole point. Maybe the screenwriters wanted to frustrate me. They wanted to bring out how frustrating our own insecurities are. We are all Tiwa at times; faced with an amazing opportunity in front of us but not being honest enough with ourselves to just admit that we want it because we cannot believe that this company or this man or this publisher could actually want us back. And for all we know, our insecurities could be frustrating everyone around us. Wow. Das deep. Goooood job Ndani TV. Good job.

In case you don’t actually know what SGIT is, in which case, fam, you’re behind though: click here.
For another beautiful and short story about body image issues and love by one of my favorite authors Chibundu Onuzo, click here


*Ki lon se yin: What’s doing you?
**Ati: A word used in Southern and Eastern Africa when you’re about to quote someone, especially in a mocking way.

Cupcakes and the Muslim Ban

In light of the recent #MuslimBan, an unusual thought popped to mind:

I need to sit down with a Donald Trump supporter (especially one who supports the recent developments) and just have a real talk discussion with them. Like, we could have tea and little cupcakes with sprinkles and we could just taaaaalk. Like, just talk. Just talk to me hey? We would talk about the life experiences that shaped us and the core worldviews that define our mental map of society. And I would get them to help me understand, just understand, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!

*Clears throat* Excuse me. I wouldn’t exactly say it that way. I want my cupcake sprinkles staying in place. But in all seriousness, this whole Donald Trump wahala made me think that I wasn’t listening enough. I was too busy laughing at Donald Trump at the start, too busy condemning Donald Trump supporters in the middle, too busy holding my head in my hands on election night to properly process this entire episode. It’s like history just whacked me in the face the way an African mother backhands your head when you’re not paying attention.

What I find lacking in too many political discussions is…an actual discussion. Instead there are egos and insults and defensiveness and fake facts and real facts and the questioning of the importance of such facts. Maybe if we all understood each other better and stopped castigating people for asking questions, the world would be a better place. *Fluffy angel halo floats in*

At the same time we must that these discussions are a symptom of privilege. We could discuss theoretically whether there is a potential conflict of interest in Donald Trump’s exclusion of countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE on his naughty list considering his business interests in these countries and the fact that many Islamic terrorists have been citizens of these countries. We could discuss theoretically whether Islamophobia fuels terrorism considering the fact that Daesh uses anti-Islam remarks as propaganda for recruiting new terrorists. We could discuss theoretically whether the Muslim ban being issued on the same day as Holocaust Remembrance Day is a chilling coincidence or shameful patterns in history.

And then when we’re done, we could wipe the cupcake crumbs off our faces and get off our comfortable tushies to go back to our comfortable families and continue our comfortable lives. We wouldn’t have to deal with the pain, betrayal, and confusion that the young genius and recent MIT scholarship recipient Mahmoud Hassan currently has to grapple with after life basically told him ‟You’re super smart. But you’re Muslim”. We wouldn’t have to deal with the anger of the Yazidi refugee in Iraq who finally (fiiiinally!) got the opportunity to fly to the States this weekend but instead had months of preparation signed off in a few seconds because her Iraqi citizenship deemed her threat. We wouldn’t have to deal with the indignation that Mo Farrah is currently experiencing with the voice of institutionalized Islamophobia whispering in his ear ‟You may be knighted by the Queen, you may have won the UK two gold medals, but you’re always just going to be a little Somali boy”.

We wouldn’t have to deal with any of that.

We would be eating cake.

But even then, I still do need to talk to more Donald Trump supporters. I need to take all of this seriously. So if you’re a Donald Trump and Muslim ban supporter, wanna meet up sometime? I’ll start baking. What kind of frosting would you prefer? Isolated icing or unmoved meringue?


Popularity Is Not a Virtue

When I was around 11, my mother baked me a birthday cake to share with my friends at school.

Note: my friends.

Okay she didn’t use the word ‘friend’ specifically. She didn’t need to. It was a simple affair. On your birthday you take a cake to school and people eat it.

What I wasn’t aware of were the hounds of ravenous students that would come charging at me because of the sweet succulent cake flesh in my hands. And that wasn’t even the problem.

The problem was everybody (even those intimidating high school students) kept showering me with pretty glittery happy birthday shouts that I ended up giving them so much of my cake. By the time I was going back home I realized I hadn’t even given my big brother any cake.

That was very sad. But the hurt really hit home when I stepped out of the car the next morning and realized that I was no longer popular.

I was so confused. I was looking around thinking ‘Did I not give this same boy 4 by 6 inches of my cake yesterday? And yet he cannot even greet?’

No red carpet. No acknowledgement. In fact simple greeting they could not produce.

It was then that I realized people were celebrating my cake more than they were celebrating me. And this doesn’t just happen in school. Today, people try to acquire different forms of ‘cake’ to appease the masses as if true acceptance and unconditional love are unattainable.

Proverbs 18:24 says “A man of many companions may come to ruin but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. Having many companions does not make one successful, but one form of success is the ability to identify and appreciate a true friend.

Sometimes in our desperate plea to chase after the approval of those that don’t yet care about us, we disregard the love of those that do care.

The kids at school didn’t care about me. They cared about my cake! But come to think of it, I didn’t care about them either. I just cared about them caring about me! I didn’t care about their interests or their families or their lives. I just wanted them to like me.

They wanted my cake. I wanted their approval. It was a superficial transaction.

Now I aim to focus on love. I was called to love. Love makes me appreciate people, and love makes me appreciate the fact that I was called to not be everyone’s best friend because love does not require me to be your best friend before I appreciate you.

So don’t just give cake in return for other people’s approval. Give love regardless of approval. And if giving cake is your way of sharing love with others then go ahead.

Just make sure your awesome big brother gets a share.

And serve my piece with some vanilla ice cream on the side please. 😉

Why Wonbiliki Wobia is a Heart Balm in These Recession Times

Wonbiliki Wobia

/wʌn-bɪ-li-ki wo-bia/


Someone who is greedy, gluttonous, disgracefully desperate for unnecessary amounts of more.

A song by Gaisebaba.

I feel things very deeply sometimes.
And other times not at all.

Listening to “Wonbiliki Wobia” by one of my favorite artists Gaisebaba resuscitated my heart out of the necrotic apathy that the news had been infesting me with.

“Barrell of oil to start selling for $70 only”

“Lagos state government to start bulldozing homes and businesses”

“The Nigerian economy has officially entered recession”

“Bomb blast in Maiduguri kills eight”

After a while, we almost expect it these things. We think hope is a luxury.

During the election season, someone told me there was no option. Buhari was our saviour. “When Buhari comes to power, a lot of people are going to DIE! And that’s what we need.” she said

The system is failing us. Nigerians believed in this 1983 dictator that would come to topple the corrupt leaders, the entire corrupt system, instill the war on indiscipline again, return us to our former glory (#MakeNigeriaGreatAgain) and save our world.

Another friend said ‘Ah it is not Buhari or Jonathan o. It is only God that can save Nigeria’.

My face turned to: -______-. I believe in Jesus too but we can’t use faith as a substitute for engaging in the basic political discourse that we need to make informed choices as responsible citizens.

But now I get what she meant. She had lived through too many promises, too much politics, too many games. When people say “It’s only God that can save us” I don’t know if that’s an attempt to acquire some hope or an indication that they’ve given up hope.

I won’t lie to you and say that the song gave me hope. It didn’t. It gave me emotion.

Hope chooses to see a brighter future. Emotion refuses to keep your eyes closed.

And that’s a start.

(This post has not been sponsored by anyone. I  just love the song)

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