Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Importance Of Pages Like Humans Of New York

I have always followed the HONY page. I always look forward to reading Brandon's page whenever he travelled out of the US, like when he toured the Middle east and then a bit of Asia.

I know i am not alone in this. I would scroll through people's comments whenever i am done reading a story to see people's reaction. Mine is usually exhilaration, especially stories that directly resonate with me and i find that same exhilaration in other people's comments so why are these stories important to us?

What really draws people to the HONY page is Brandon’s ability to capture a story. Most times, what seem insignificant turns out to be truly significant once an image is placed behind it. It is one thing to read a fictional story or watch a movie on an issue; it is another thing to see a visual representation of someone whom has, in reality, experienced that particular issue.

What makes HONY so important? The Human Story. The power of the people. We may think people’s individual narratives are not important but truly they are. All our stories matter. As a writer, I have always struggled with finding a reason why people would read my work and it is the same as that of HONY. The human story, the human narrative is important.

So many times I have cried through the HONY page, it is not like there is anything I have not watched on TV before or heard stories about, but the fact that this time around, there is an image behind this story, a living breathing life…it changes everything. I scroll through comments on the HONY page and I see people’s comments, amidst the bitterness of this world, there is still a lot of compassion. People find themselves relating to other people’s stories and there is a sense of “I am not alone in this” or “Look, someone in the same situation as I made it, then so can i”, there is so much hope and emotion intertwined in the human story.

So many times, we have seen how a single image and a single narrative can turn one person’s life around, the power of the people is truly magnificent in this sense. Through Brandon, people have reached out and successfully helped other people. If this compassion exists still, then there is still hope for humanity. Then we are not entirely lost. I made a speech one time off the top of my head because I lost the sheet I wrote my actual speech on at the last minute. Most of it is a blur to me right now but I remember hearing myself saying, “There is a story inside each and everyone of us, we are all living stories and sharing our stories sail us through life.” I went home thinking about the words that came out of my mouth without me planting them in my head and I realized that it came from my heart. I truly believe in the power of one person’s story. I truly believe sharing our stories changes our lives in one way or another. I understand why shrinks always encourage people to share their stories.

HONY shows us the significance of a person. We live our lives oblivious to the joys and sufferings of others and we are supposed to be okay with that. To find fulfilment in life, we must allow ourselves to feel. Some of us put up these walls for ourselves, maybe with reason but there is no ordeal, big enough to steal away the compassion and love from a person’s heart. We have to always be able to extend a curtain of love like a Patronus (harry potter metaphor because...NERD) and cover the people we meet along our paths.

I plan on buying Brandon’s book simply because I want to read people’s lives and be filled with a feeling that I cannot yet describe. It is warm and filled with love and other sweetness. You must feel it to. If you have an open heart, you have to feel it too.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Immigrant Diaries (4): Allah In English

Last month your family walked
to europe
last month
the bombs went off in Paris.

now you pray in english
you don't say "subhanallah" when you trip
Mary sneezes in class
you quickly bite your tongue
so you don't say "yarhamakillah"
your father shaves his face
calls himself Mark instead of Musa
your sister packs you a p and j sandwich
it tastes like puke
in the cafeteria you lick your lips

your mother only shops in supermarkets
she refuses to go to the local bazaar
your uncles spread their sajjadah
in the garage
the athan calls
but you refuse to hear it
now you only read books by
Danielle Steele and JK Rowling
you hide your
Kahlil Gibran and Suheir Hammad
under your bed

your teacher says
A minute silence for the dead
and after exclaims
"curse those arabs"
you find some lightening cream in the store
(this accursed brown)
you think
you rub it at night everyday
but the sun has made a promise
on your skin
she simply will not
let up.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

The Cruelty Of The Streets of Twitter

Twitter is a very mean and unkind place. I am continually amazed at the severity of this. This is not the first of its kind and unfortunately, not the last.
A twitter user and blogger shared her story of gang rape, immediately, hell broke lose on twitter. You would think this is the time when human beings unite and show their humanity, instead, aggressiveness was all that was displayed.
I understood from all i have read today that the victim is an outspoken blogger in Nigeria, she has being known to be involved in multiple arguments on twitter but the way the public reacted, i was ashamed to be a part of this planet. Regardless of who this girl is and what other previous things she has said, whether you have ever agreed with her or not, the way some WOMEN reacted was pure vile.
Look, rape is rape. Let us be civil for once and not sugar coat it. Even if this lady's story turns out to be untrue (I doubt that though), this is the reality of so many girls in Nigeria. Too many women in Nigeria have lived this lady's story. Best believe this is not the first time something like this has been raised. The moment anyone involved in any sexual activity says No, whatever sexual activity that occurs afterwards is RAPE. Be it a friend, a boyfriend, a husband, without consent, any sexual activity that occurs is rape. We have being conditioned by a culture that we created to always question the victim in situations like this. Stop it!
This story has shown me that people are more comfortable with the story of a young girl hungry for marriage than the story of a rape victim. Too many people are saying "if she did not want it, why did she keep going back?". I understand that not everyone has talked to the people i have talked to and heard stories from victims of rape and domestic violence, from all the victims whom have had the courage to speak it, one thing is common. FEAR! It is the fear that keeps them going back, it is the fear that makes them stay. It is not something as easy as, "well, i do not like this shirt, i will not wear it again". Most of the victims tend to be people whom have being taken advantage of by people whom claimed to love them. Usually, it is the love and  the fear that keeps the victims. Our society is one of constant shaming hence, the silence.
I am very disappointed and sad today. Instead of showing compassion or restraint from commenting, one woman went on to say "she is too ugly to be raped", i swear i dropped my phone. I was shocked. There were comments along the line of:
"if she is wishing rape on herself, may it happen to her",
"she must have liked it if she stayed with him",
"she must have been into the drugs they were doing",
"why was she hanging out with men older than her",
"this is just attention seeking"

The list goes on. I do not like to get into discussions on twitter because i noticed how petty and silly twitter can turn even the brightest people but i could not keep in my disappointment. If this lady's story is true (which i know it is else the man involved would not have had to respond with threats of releasing her nude pictures), imagine all the trauma she had had to endure, imagine living in her shoes knowing there is not justice for you. Let's say the story is not true, imagine actual victims of said unfortunate circumstance reading people's reactions. Someone argues girls like to claim every sexual activity between her and an ex is rape and i say, if she did not consent to it then Yes, it is rape. You should search your conscience.  Imagine them having to read people saying "she is just a whore looking for attention"
"she must have being wearing revealing clothes"

Suddenly, the victim becomes the one to blame and the aggressor becomes a victim of "seduction" and "lies". Please let us be human, imagine your sister whom has never had the courage to tell anyone about her rape, reading your cold and unkind reaction. Imagine how isolated she will feel again. Imagine how much you have invalidated her suffering, telling her it is her fault.
Sexual assault is the worst thing that could happen to anyone. It is dehumanising and violating experience. The victim will forever be scared. Having to live with all that weight, all that anger, all that pain and loneliness is terrible. The least you as someone whom did not do anything to stop can do is to be kind about it. God, twitter is horrible i swear. Very horrible. People are mean, i cannot say this enough. If you do not have anything good to say, do not say anything at all. Muhammad SAW said, before you speak, as yourself if your silence is worth more than your words.
There is already too many things we cannot do anything about like Boko Haram, ISIS, Refugee Crisis etc the one thing we can do something about is what comes out of our mouths.

I have seen growing support though, i have seen kind words, a tweet stuck with me

"And some of you are there nodding head in agreement because "desperate to marry" makes more sense to you than serial rape. Na wa for you."
Well, let that sink in. ANIMALS!
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A List Of Really Great Books I Read In 2015

It is amazing...just yesterday i was texting people a Happy New Year text and today, it is November, almost 2016. A lot has happened...too much in fact. Amidst all the craziness of this world and the circumstances that are our lives, i have stumbled upon some great books this year. I do not remember a time when i read as much as i read this year. It is not like i had more free time this year, i was so busy with my masters thesis, writing for ezibota, updating this blog, working on some writing projects, work on and off and so many other little things yet, i still created time to read. This goes without saying that it is a major illusion when we tell ourselves that we do not have time for certain things. Yes you do, yes time does not stop for anyone but it is up to us to utilize the time we have and create times for things we want to do. Before this goes to another direction, i just wanted to share some of the most spectacular books i have read this year with anyone reading this. Some of the books that i will list were recommended to me, some i found on my own, some destiny threw my way. If a book is on this list, best believe it has had a profound impact on my life. You will find philosophy, poetry, biographies, novels etc. I hope you get  to read at least some of them within the coming year or even within the last few weeks of this year.

  1. Ecce Homo- Friederick Nietszche
  2. Words From A Wanderer- Alexandra Elle
  3. Love In My Language- Alexandra Elle
  4. The Remains Of The Day- Kazuo Ishiguro
  5. A Pale View Of Hills- Kazuo Ishiguro
  6. There Was A Country- Chinua Achebe
  7. Norwegian Wood- Haruki Murakami
  8. After The Quake-Haruki Murakami
  9. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running- Haruki Murakami
  10. The Prophet- Kahlil Gibran
  11. Eleven Minutes- Paulo Coelho
  12. Brida- Paulo Coelho
  13. The Winner Stands Alone- Paulo Coelho
  14. The Bastard Of Istanbul- Elif Shafak
  15. My Feudal Lord- Tehmina Durrani
  16. Callings: Finding And Following An Authentic Life- Gregg Levoy
  17. The Everything Store- Brad Stone
  18. Americanah- Chimamanda Adichie Ngozie
  19. If You Have To Cry, Go Outside and Other Things Your Mother Never Told You- Kelly Cutrone
  20. The Satanic Verses- Salman Rushdie
  21. David And Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and The Art Of Battling Giants- Malcolm Gladwell
  22. The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam

I really hope if not all, then a few of these books impact your life as much as they have impacted mine.
Bonne Annee/Mutlu Yillar/Happy New Year!!!!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Immigrant Diaries (3): Go Home

They say;
"go back to where you came from"
as we became bent
from carrying home
on our backs.
you think we want to be here?
you think we want to break the ocean
to hear you say our names?
noor sounds like darkness
from your mouth.
you ask if
i burn in the sun
you tell me slavery
was not such a "big deal"
do you still think
we want
to be
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Thursday, November 19, 2015

La Haine (The Hate)

I made this gif from my favorite movie titled La Haine meaning The Hate. It is french movie made in 1995. It is amazing, this movie was made in the 20th century and today, almost 2016 in the 21st Century, same people are still fighting the same wars.
Is the world not exhausted? From all this fighting? Has cowardice overpowered our courageous and natural will to end conflict and embrace peace? The over-exertion of power by the powerful has proven to be counter-intuitive in the face of defiance then why is it still so rampant?

World powers are exercising their power on weaker counterparts. Today, Israel, a giant in the middle-east do nothing but bully Palestine where the people only have rocks. Why not step out of the tankers and come out from behind their sniper rifles. If there must be a fight over something, why not fight the fight on equal grounds.,take it to the streets. Fight a fight with stones if that is the case, lets see who can pelt stones at better trajectories and win. Cowardice and arrogance has crippled the entire world and we have accepted that.
ISIS claim to be fighting "infidels" yet they attack and terrorise civilian people in Iraq and Syria. Why not take up the war with the Russians, fight according to your means, why not take the fight up with the American fighter jets, why not walk up to Assads mansion with all his security detail and fight the fight? Most of these whys cannot be answered because it is not truly a fight. A fight would be if all parties involved were capable of fighting and they were all fighting towards or over a common goal. What chance does a rock pelter stand against an armoured tank. It is truly not about land, or religion, or tribe, or race...All of these insurgences, mindless killing and fighting is truly about ARROGANCE, GREED AND POWER! Boko haram have killed more muslims than any tribal/religious clashes in Nigeria. These are people that are supposed to be fighting for Islam and muslims. If they are killing the same people they are fighting for, then what is their fight really about?
It is absolutely a power play between world powers whom have nothing to lose, the weaker parties, the poor people, they are the ones whom will always pay the price for the arrogance and greed of the powerful. They are all murderers, simply killing for the sake of killing, because there is a sort of gratification in their minds afterwards. It is very twisted. We live in a world where a group of people terrorises an entire region, forcing them to leave their homes, yet they arrive at our doors and we don't answer their knocks, we peep through the windows and we tell them to go back to their homes, knowing very well that sending them back is the same as signing their death certificates.
I do not think anyone is born with hate, hate is a product of our immediate circumstance, hate is the product of anger, hate does not dwell where love thrives. If we are all truly fighting for God, isn't God synonymous with love, isn't God synonymous with peace? If we distrupt the balance of the world by infesting it with hate, war and mindless killing, haven't when then strayed far away from God? Do we think we are still at Gods feet?
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Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Nigerian Civil Servant And The Public

The Nigerian civil servant is the most under-appreciated person in the working world.

I think this is the problem, because the civil-servant also feels under-appreciated, he/she also regards his/her job with little care. Have you ever being to an organisation run by the government(e.g public library, government hospital etc) and had someone who works there treat you so bad that you regret ever stepping out of the safety of your own home.
Why are these people so rude? My God. While working on publishing my book (Solitude which is available on Amazon, link above page), i went to the Kaduna public library to get my ISBN. On getting there i met the most distasteful woman ever, she was unnecessarily rude and unkind and for the life of me, i could not tell what i had done to offend this woman. I decided to be terribly kind to her, i greeted her, tried to crack jokes which she did not find remotely funny and offered to buy her something when i went to print my request letter which she declined with the roll of her eyes. But this is not the only case, have you ever gone to the Transport Authorities for your drivers licence in Nigeria and you happen to not know anyone there? You would hate the day you learned how to drive. No one wants to even listen to you talk-less of attend to you. I do not know why this case is so common with government bodies. I was at the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital in Kaduna for a medical report and i opened a file, paid and everything. I came back the next day and what do they tell me? My file was missing and i had to pay for another file? I understand it is a little sum of 200 naira but what if i was someone whom could not afford to spend 200 naira every time? I am sure there are people whom are not financially well off that come to the hospital, how does the hospital expect them to get any treatment?
The Nigerian public sector is in dire need of reform. There should be some form of civil servant training program that teaches potential civil servants about customer relations. This is not okay, have you ever been to a public hospital abroad? people want to help you even, why is Nigeria falling behind on something as simple as customer relations, besides, the moment you choose to work with/for the government, you have chosen a life of National service. You are obliged to treat the public with respect seeing as you are serving them and all. There are so many cases like this, i detest anything that requires i go to any public organisation for anything.
I do not understand if it is because these people hate their jobs, or they just don't care about the people that they serve, or they feel "the government does not pay me enough to care about all of this" but you are a civil servant, you work for the people, you must learn to be nice to the people you directly serve.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Immigrant diaries (2): Things we left in the water

As water sipped in
Through the sides of the boat
Your conductor asks you
To dump everything you don't really need
What do you mean?
You ask, he says
"throw it all over board"
Your father throws away
The guilt of cheating
Your mother dumps out
The dissatisfaction of marriage
The woman opposite you
Spits out the pain of miscarriage
Your aunty flings away
The shame of sexual curiosity
You take of your shoes
You throw your shoes in the water
You begin to cry
To rid yourself of tears
There is too much in you
Too much sadness
You say, it will drown us
You cannot stop crying
You cry for the war
You cry for the children
You cry for homelessness
You cry for the word refugee
You stick your face away from the boat
If the water doesn't drown us
Honey, your tears would
Your mother says
You give it all to the water
The conductor paddles you all ashore
Through salt water and tears
There are is too much pain in the water
Once ashore
You don't look back
You pray to God to drown it all.
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Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Voice Of New Nigeria

Image Source: Igemcity

I am very very excited about this generation of young people. There is an ample amount of young people lately whom have wild ideas and i am very happy about that. As i had spent my summer working with children (whom i adore) i noticed a trend with young people, they have things to say. Unlike the generation of our parents, these new set of young adults/teenagers are very opinionated and if you don't agree with them, they are willing to sit and make you understand why they say what they say. I find that highly impressive.

I have very young sisters with such wild opinions. My 17 year old sister is the smartest teenager i know. It is fascinating really. I decided to write this today because i got very emotional over some issues, suddenly, i found myself reaching for words my sister had told me about coping, strategically planning and never letting my emotions get in the way of what i need to say. I never saw this day coming. We often say my sister talks out of her ass because she has absolutely no filter. As long as it is in her head, my sister will let it roll down to her tongue and voice box, this is what will take her places.
The youth of Nigeria proved that they will be heard through the last elections, they demanded a just electoral system and let the entire world know that they were in control of their destinies now, the nation heard them. They advocated and campaigned, eventually electing into power the president they believe had the best interest at heart for them and they have shown that if he fails them, they will remove him and elect someone else. This is a vocal generation. The young people don't want to be silent anymore and that terrifies the older generation. They are maximally utilising social media to get their message across.

Most parents feel threatened by the outspokenness of the new generation of the new Nigeria. They will do everything in their power to reenforce their control on the youth, they will throw threats, point accusing fingers and wag their tongues,they will claim to know more and most be obeyed because they are older but the beauty of it all is, it does not stop the youth. Nigeria is a country of entrepreneurs, young people are screaming on the top of their voices, "if the government will not provide jobs for us, we will provide jobs for ourselves", they are succeeding. What is even more beautiful is the way the women are rising up. Amina Muhammed of Gombe,Nigeria just recently showed Nigerian women whom have always being the ones left behind that they can be successful, that they can aspire to one day sit before the UN to voice their opinion and be heard. Women of Nigeria are waking up, Nigeria and it's religious and cultural beliefs are not enough to hold them down anymore. Today, northern women are reaching places, slowly but surely, they are climbing. There are doctors, lawyers, engineers, politicians, engineers,activists etc. I am a strong believer in the power of the people, i sincerely believe that when people push to achieve their dreams, even when the entire world is against them, then truly the universe will align in their favour.

This does not suddenly eliminate the problems that the Nigerian youth face. There is still widespread unemployment, child marriage is still an issue, religious and cultural stigma are still a problem but what these set of new Nigerians are saying is this, that they will persevere. I will use this sentence which has become more of a slogan since revolutions started rising around the world, "They tried to bury us but they did not know that we were seeds." I am proud to be a part of this New Nigeria, it is up to us to create the Nigeria we want our children to grow up in.
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Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Aftermath of War

Head shot 
Bleeds the forehead of a nation 
Whose mother is plunging fingers 
Into her belly wrenching out 
The womb of disaster 
A nation cries tears 
Of remembrance for the days 
When the sun shone 
And when it rained 
The rainbow curved across the sky 
Casting Gods smile 
On green grass 
And the children's ribs 
Were not corn ridges 
A nation sings 
Choruses of songs that called 
To patriots and fed them 
Like bones to a dog 
Watched them bleed 
As the moon rose 
Casting shadows 
On the ghosts of our sons 
Head shot 
A nation looks down at its chest 
It is stained red 
The color of survival 
The color of redemption 
The color of a second chance 
A nation wraps its daughters 
In a garment of promise 
Uses its hands to support 
Broken boys 
The memories of war 
We lived to forget 
A second chance 
A nation 
is reborn again. 

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Immigrant Diaries (1): At Sea

Salt water up to your chest
your mother
cries a house
cries dry land
cries a family
cries love.

Salt water up to your throat
your mother
cries peace
cries a home
cries a god
cries survival

Salt water up to your chin
your mother
cries anger
cries rage
cries war
cries revenge

Salt water up to your eyes
your mother
cries forgiveness
cries a country
cries defeat
cries surrender

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

...Your Father

Your father pushes his cart
every night to the street opposite 5
stands by the corner and stirs white rice
he says he makes the best chickpeas
and with shredded chicken
it is the best
your fathers teeth is blackened with tea
you tease him about it
he says it is wisdom
your mother says it is poverty
rich peoples teeth don't blacken with tea

Your father pushes his cart every night
sells rice by the corner
he comes home smelling like spices
and to you
it is the best fragrance in the world

Your father died 5 years ago
you boil the rice just right,
simmer the chickpeas and
shredded chicken the right way
you tell your kids it is the best
some nights,
you sprinkle spices in his room
and lie in his bed,
it still smells like perfection to you.

You now drive a nice car
and have a house
you tell your kids to drink their tea with milk
you remember,
poverty blackens the teeth.
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Homecoming As A Woman

I came to Nigeria a week ago hoping with all the hope that i could muster up in my heart that home would feel like home. That i would walk into the house where i barely grew up in and feel a sense of was all in my head, the moment i came home, i realised i had made a big mistake.
The thing with living abroad is this, it changes you, completely, especially if you have lived in a place with a lot of different people from different places whom hold different ideas. Over the course of my time abroad, i am very proud with the collection of friends i have kept close to my heart, i befriended people i never knew i could befriend, had life changing conversations and all of that eventually makes up who you are.  The horrible thing about that is this, you go home expecting home to have evolved as you have evolved but home stays the same, home smells the same, home looks the same but home does not feel like home anymore, home feels like a transit, not a destination. Back home, everyone assumes you are the same person as the person whom left. I came home "re-birthed".
I found something peculiar to people i spoke to back home, i could not have a conversation with anyone, as a writer, i love to talk, i love to hear peoples opinion and most especially, i love to be listened to, to voice my opinions and have them challenged. On coming "home" i found out that nobody wanted to listen to me, everyone just wanted to tell me what they think i should think and say, i found myself blocked, i could not have a conversation with one person, not even my parents. It is one of the things that breaks my heart the most, i thought coming home would make me feel good, make me forget all my troubles but i found no solace. I dread waking up knowing there is not one person that i could have an honest conversation with, someone i didn't have to pretend with.
Another thing that eats away at my toes is something i had known my entire life, something i was made to resent. I grew up the least girly girl around, i resented being a woman, for me, it felt like being a woman was stifling and i wanted to be free, i knew my society did not let women to be free so i chose to resent myself (i have since learned to love and appreciate myself tho) and change myself. I met an old friend today whom came to visit my friend at home, after sitting for a while he asked "It must be very boring being a girl, what do you girls do apart from sitting at home?". He was right, being a girl in Northern Nigeria is a curse on a girl like me who wants to have conversations like existentialism and travel the world, it was painfully boring, it is okay for a male child to go out and come home at late hours but for a girl, it is and outrageous calamity. Nobody wants a child whom questions these things, everyone thinks a girl like that is nothing but trouble.
Everyone wants to take care of a girl, nobody assumes a girl can handle herself. My father told me that as long as i am an unmarried single woman, i will answer to him and even when i get married, i will answer to my husband. In my mind i wondered whom my brother would have to answer to, all i heard was "you would never be your own person here, you would never be a full person here, always second class, always below someone" all of my dreams just came crashing down on me, i knew i had made a mistake coming home. I would never be the person i want to be.
Maybe homecoming after living abroad where freedom was abundant and a person did not need to answer to anyone would be different if i were a boy, coming home to a father asking him "what do you want to do now that you are back son?" not an anxious mother saying "Now that you are done with school, it's time for you to find a husband." would probably be exciting but then...i wouldn't know that, maybe then, home would feel like home, home would not be a scary concept that reeks of tears and pain. For me home is supposed to be a place where i would go to bed knowing that i would wake up in the morning with people around me whom want me to do what i want to do as long as i am happy, this is how i would define home, a place where i could be myself, where my opinion is valid, where i am not surrounded by people whom think they know me but don't really know me and they do not make an effort to know me.
Being a woman is hard in a place where nobody respects women, a place where everyone wants to tell a woman what she should do and reply her "whys?" with disdain and cold "because i said so." This is just my homecoming tho, i am just one woman.
I would like to know more about peoples homecoming after living abroad, how did you find home? was home the same as the idea of home you had built in your mind? was home a place with a foreseeable future for you? I  would really like to know.
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Whispers At Night

Image Source
At night you have dreams
of kneeling in prayer
to a God whom
have closed your heart to
like old friends
whom occasionally
what was,
your lips whisper
holy names
don't open your eyes
behind your eyelids
there is an image
of a holy place
a holy heart
you don't say her name
but she
is on your
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blackness (1):The subtlety of the Race Issue

Image Source: 101 Hd wallpapers

To be honest, i never saw myself as black until i moved away from Africa. I had grown up in a predominantly black society in that the issue of my skin color was never even an issue at all.
I first knew what it meant to be black when i walked into a lecture hall and the entire row i had sat in was empty. None of the white kids in my class sat next to me for the entire semester. On having a conversation with my mother about school, i told her what had happened to me all semester and i had not made a single friend. My very african mother said "you are there to study anyway, you don't need friends. More time for you to study." we laughed it off both of us knowing very well that what she had said was only a feeble attempt to boost my morale.
One day, my father and older sister came to visit and as we walked down Eminonu, a lady looked at us, yelled "negro" and spat on the ground. I was stunned. My father laughed it off and told me she did not know what she was doing. We Africans tend to laugh off racism towards us at first because we do not know how to respond to it, we are not African-American, we do not wear the scars of slavery on our skin. Racism to us was such a foreign concept, we had no notion of it, we did not assume it could affect us, coming from where we were coming from and we were never thought how to respond to it.
A few years later i fell in love with a non-black/non-african boy whom only held my hand when we were alone. He never introduced me to his friends as the girl he was seeing and he made sure we were not seen together in public locations. I once asked him if my skin color was an issue and he resulted to being upset at the fact that i would say something like that (of course he had black friends), he told me "he was just not a fan of pda". I found pictures of him holding his new white girlfriends hand on instagram (the most public location) and hanging out with his friends. I am not saying he was racist, i am just saying that race was always a subtle issue for us, like the elephant in the room that nobody wanted to acknowledge.
Race is never an issue until we realise that it is because it always is. Even when we choose to not talk about it, even when we pretend that the store owner is not following just i and my very white friend at the store, even when we pretend that people don't stare and wonder if i am a hooker when i meet my white male friends for breakfast. The issue of race in a society that is afraid to mention race is the biggest issue of all.
Race will always be an issue as long as we keep pretending that it is not an issue, the sooner we face up to it and accept that slavery should not have happened at all and racism is dumb, the sooner we begin to fix what is broken.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Book Review: Corridors Of My Mind

This is for my Poetry lovers.

It is a scary thing to feel a writers emotions so deeply. Reading Corridors Of My mind was a roller coaster of emotions for me. It is an elegant collection of passionate love,pain, joy, calm, healing.It is almost a progression from pain to relief. I am glad i read this book. This breathtaking collection will have you clenching your fist against your heart out of raw emotions. Beautifully written. There is a poem for everyone, whatever you are going through, Angel has expressed it for you. I guarantee there is relief in her words. A stunning read. One of my favourites are Chapter 57: The Apocalypse, Chapter 115: He Calls.

Have a good read
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Two lovers
Hungry for touch
Desperate for that
Skin on skin intimacy
The merging of wet lips
They traced the lines
On each others body
Like unclaimed territories
Deciphering the map
That led to passion.
See, two lovers
Numbed by the pain
Craved for that
Skin on skin connection
Each one blinded
By pleasure points
Tracing kisses
In a cold winter night.

Two lovers
Tongues heavy with words
Untold stories
Held on to hearts
That beat against skin.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2015


So i haven't written here in a while...mainly because i have had too much going on with me. To be honest, i just have not being feeling very up to writing. I am super stressed with my masters thesis but hopefully in a couple weeks, i would have graduated and i will have more time to post on here.
Another reason why i haven't written here in also because i am one of the writers at Ezibota (click here to check it out). I am writing on there with a team of really cool writers. I am thinking of coming up with a post schedule, at least once a week? i don't know....i have being quite indecisive and just plain confused/lost lately. Anyway, whatever happens in the next few weeks, i will post about it.

PS: I am kind of thinking of making this blog solely about the poetry and maybe other things i find interesting once in a while? Again, indecisive...we will see what happens in the next few weeks.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015


The song of resistance rose from the throats of men
Whose hands are breaking the chains
Of suppression of rights
The sound of the wisdom of the old
And the roar of the energy of the young
Filled the sky
Rising and falling
To the beat of the hearts of men
Anchored like chains hands locked in
Men marched across the bridge of oppression
Stomping feet to break free of bonds of segregation
The song of resistance has being song
The rib of oppression has been broken
Men have walked the road to liberation
There is no barricade
On the road to freedom.
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Book Review(3): Norwegian Wood-Haruki Murakami

First of all, i felt like i held my breath all through reading this book. I sort of binge read it all in a day and when i was through i had to sit a bit to catch my breath. It literally left me breathless, i am still reeling from the after-effects.

Norwegian wood was such a journey for me, it was a severely depressing book i have to say but i think that is the most attractive thing about it (apart from the fact that it is set in my favorite country in the world. TOKYO-JAPAN). It found a way to creep under my skin and make my eyes widen in amazement with each twist. Thing is, i am not a big fan of translated books because i strongly believe the writers words get lost in translation but this book, it was so good that to be honest, i can't imagine it any better in any other language. It used language and words that chilled the reader. You can't help but get emotionally involved with the characters, it's like Murakami is calling out to the reader and the characters are screaming "see me, feel me" and feel/see i did.
It is a bit of a sad love story and there is so much to learn from this book, i picked up so new interests from it and learned several things about classical music. Haruki Murakami is amazing, this is his first book that i have read and i am goin to read After the Quake next which i think is a collection of short stories. I expect to be blown away just as Norwegian Wood rocked my boat.

Yes to sappy love stories.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Song Of The Birds

You with your calloused feet
You walk around here like you run shit
Haven't you heard
That the crown of men has been broken
That the birds have taken flight
And sung the songs of freedom
You with your calloused feet
You raise your chest high
Competing with the skies
Did you not see
The height of the birds
How they glide
Above man day and night
With pompous wings
And angry talons
Oh men, they sing
We have risen
From the dust of your land
To be crowned the kings of your skies
Men with calloused feet
Go home tonight
To your weeping younglings
The days of kings are over today
The evening has brought with it
The winds of the seas
Sweeping across your vast ground
And we have crowned them
Rulers of your land
The trees have spoken
And asked for liberation
Their roots have been unplugged
The earth bidding them adieu
Tonight we trample
Your words of oppression
With songs of freedom
Oh you men, with your calloused feet
Its redemption day.
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Thursday, February 26, 2015


*drum-roll as i am about to get into trouble for this article*

Ladies, ask your mothers today, "Do you think the best i can do in this life is marriage? Do you think i can be anything more than a wife?". Sit on the answer, i do not want to know.

I told my sister i was going to write an article about this once again and she goes "more like rant". That's true, i am here to rant and talk true stuff.
Anyway, as i have completed my under graduate and post graduate studies, i am surrounded by the supposed next step "so when are you getting married Shaheedah." This question still baffles me, like...calm the hell down tiger, i just finished my thesis, i can barely wrap my head around finishing University, i can barely decide what to do with my fresh new paper smelling certificates, what is all this marriage talk.

I feel so chocked up in this mess, i can't breathe. It's like every one seems to assume, once you finish University the next step automatically becomes marriage. Is there a chance that i might want my next step to be to go to let's say India and build wells for underprivileged communities? We spend our whole lives being told what to do, how to do it, we spend our baby years forced into an educational system that has no regard for our psychological and emotional health, then we are forced into secondary education, where we are forced to choose a career path (as a woman, you can choose anything, it is at the back of everyones mind that there is a 50% chance of you ending up with that degree at the bottom of a drawer) before we could get over getting our first period and then we are rushed off to University, where we discover that every single thing we have learned in the previous ages of our lives were absolute crap. Here we begin the journey of re-learning, re-discovering, re-birth. Within these four years you learn to unlearn things you have learned for the past 16 years of your life and picking up new stuff, new ideas, new discoveries and just as it begins to get exciting, this new found freedom to be who you are and what you want, it is nipped  at the bud by your mothers phone call telling you there is a boy she wants you to talk to. (Can you here the sound of the plane going down?? *whvweeeeeeeeeeeee*)

If you are a Nigerian like me, chances are you went to a boarding secondary school. Went to junior secondary school at a tender age of 10/11, made your way up and graduated at 16/17, spent most of your teenage years away from a family setting in a large building with hundreds of other students. This does not only make you a tad-bit more independent but it also makes the whole living within four walls with a "family" a bit strange and suffocating. Then at 18 you are shipped off to (well again if you are Nigerian chances are you went overseas for your University education) a University, a new setting, new people, much much more diversity, living in probably a dormitory again or an apartment with other people, whilst the whole idea of living in a home with a family is still strange and suffocating. By the time you are 22/23 you have graduated from University, immediately you are asked to find a suitor. For those of you who do not know, a suitor is someone whom you are subtly forced to choose much like your future ambition in high school, you are expected to not necessarily love this person, as long as you are woman enough to cook for him and take care of his house for the rest of your life, it's all fine. At 23 you are another mans wife, first your fathers daughter then your husbands wife, all this while you have never known what it is like to be your own person.

All i am saying is this, marriage is honestly a beautiful thing, to be able to share your life intimately with another person for the rest of your life, have kids (shivers), raise a family, those are all beautiful aspirations. The only qualm here is the fact that most of us are made to believe that  the best we can do is marriage. Every single aspect of our lives are subconsciously being controlled by someone, either by parents, teachers or even society. And we are thought Freedom like anyone even knows one thing about it. So now you are married, is everyone happy? Is your mother who kept on nagging about you getting married happy? Is that annoying aunt happy? Has she ever come over to help you cook for the husband she so happily set you up with? Has anyone ever asked you if you wanted to do anything else with your life? Like God forbid be an entrepreneur? Travel? Become a business tycoon? No? Well welcome to reality baby girl.
Just give me some air, let me breathe, let me find my bearing pls before we storm into the whole marriage thing.

Look, i am probably being overly pessimistic here so i will use a line from a fantastic documentary i watched (btw pls watch it, it is called HOME and it affects each and every one of us, just click here) "IT IS TOO LATE TO BE A PESSIMIST SHAHEEDAH", as my sister said "keep an open mind at least" some people have followed this exact path that i am condemning and found it appealing and awesome, great for them, i envy them in fact, i have seen it all, the good, the wonderful, the terrible, the comme ci-comme ca, i know people whom are completely happy and i know those whom are missing due to unhappiness. There are those of us who just want more out of life, who want to do more, to leave a mark, to be the reason someone says "because of her, i am here today" "because of her, i did not give up" "because of her, i have decided to follow my dreams", it is 100% okay not to be satisfied with the life that was handed to you on a broken plate, it is 100% okay to want more, to do more, to push yourself till you are panting out of breath from being awesome, as my Operating Systems professor said the first day of class "Mediocrity is not enough".
If anyone of you can assure the 20 year old undergraduate that she will still be able to achieve her dreams and see the world while being tied at the hip to another person, i will delete this article, write a 10 page apology to the matrimonial society and send you to your mothers again to apologise for asking that idiotic question at the beginning of this post, if not, i rest my case.

P.s: here is another link to the documentary Home, i strongly recommend it, this earth is our only home and we all owe it. As you can see i have a short attention span, i ended up derailing from the topic to bring you another topic which i will rant about very soon too.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Freedom Of Love

You would think love is such an obvious thing, to share your soul and body with a partner, to have real conversations, talk about fears and hopes. Love is not as complicated as we make it, it should come freely, like a flowing river, love does not require practice or skill, love boils from the depths of your soul and radiates through every pore on your skin, love does not suffocate. Love does not exhaust, love lets you breath, makes the air around you lighter, calmer, warmer. Love does not lie or cheat. Love is effortless. Love is cold morning breeze and gentle 3am silence, love is not compromises and flowers, love does not require chocolates and gifts to thrive, love blooms in empty deserts, in every heart. Love takes you places where rockets and submarines cannot go. Love frees you, love frees you, love FREEs you.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Love That Keeps On Taking

Even with my beating heart
Held bloody and hot
In his greedy hand
He still wanted more of me
Even with my last breath
Still warm against his face
He still needed me to give more

After i have
Stripped my self naked and bare
Peeled the skin back
From my skull to my feet
Folded it neatly
With fumbling bleeding skeletal fingers
And handed it over
He still wanted more
Needed more
I have given away
Every bit and piece of myself
Yet Still he demanded more.
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Friday, January 2, 2015

2015: Friendships


I am very excited because this is my first article in 2015, it has being a while since i wrote an article and i am excited. 2014 has being an amazing year for me. I figured out what i wanted to do with my life, found my career path, wrote a whole lot, published a book, re-designed my blog and so on. A roller coaster. This article is about friendships. I have never written an article about friendship so well, here it goes.

There is nothing more beautiful than having a friend who gets you. Who knows exactly how you feel without you having to tell that person. Some people come into our lives to make us realise all we have been missing, to make us find ourselves. We end up finding pieces of ourselves in the people we least expect, people whom we initially thought were nothing like us.
In the quest for making meaningful connections and having friendships that last, do not over think it. The people whom you strike an instant connection with will come into your life when you least expect it. Most of us are lucky to have people in our lives whom have been there from the beginning, whom have stuck with us through thick and thin. We must appreciate those people. Take time from your busy life to remind those people just how important they are to you. Most of us need a constant reminder of how important we are to other people. Be that friend whom expresses love and gratitude. Treat your friends how you would like them to treat you.
Choose your friends wisely. Realise that some people are there for the long run while others are there for the moment and that is ok, just do not make the mistake of thinking everyone will always stay. Not everyone stays, i learned that the hard way and i am still working on accepting that. People always leave.
Beware, there are people whom you think are your friends but they only come to you when they are in need, take note of those people, differentiate them from people who are always there for you. Understand that it is okay for some people to only contact you when they need something because we are all different, expecting everyone to be just like you is wrong. For your space and soul though, do not take those people as people you can always count on, know your real friends. Those who will text/call in the middle of the day, amidst the buzz of everyday life just to check up on you, those are your people. Hold on to them, appreciate them, let them know how kick-ass they are. Be an awesome friend. Awesome people attract awesome people.
It is completely okay not to have a lot of friends, heck it is the best thing, personally, i have a small group of people whom i can truly call my friends. They are the people whom have being there for me when no one was, whom have seen me at my worst and still cared about me. The smaller your circle of friends, the easier it is to distinguish the real people from the fake ones.
Not everyone will like you or accept you, flaws and all and that is okay. You will meet people who accept the good and bad in you, stick to those people, appreciate them. I have no problems with people who don't like because i know i have people who think the sun shines out my butt and i am okay with that.
Be kind to yourself. Surround yourself with people whose energy does not clash with your energy, you do not need negative energy around you. Science proves that opposites attract but with my friends, i can disprove that notion. If you heart is good and pure, you will attract like hearts just as much as evil attracts evil.
Love your friends. Tell them. Be there for them. Love the people who love you.


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