Like Curry and Thyme…

Hey guys!

How have you been? 

So I had an epiphany in the kitchen this evening, like I always do… I come from a large family, so we do a lot of cooking every weekend; my mum is in charge of the soups and I’m in charge of the stew. I’d been sick on and off this past few weeks and so while I was cooking today, I was quite tired and a bit distracted.

I honestly cannot count the pots of stew I have made in my life time, I can make stew in my sleep. So here I was this evening, drowsy, nursing a swollen eye and a throbbing head, standing over the cooker, making stew. 

I made a mental note of all the ingredients I would need and I thought I had it all, but as I turned off the heat, I realized that I had skipped curry and thyme. I was slightly alarmed because those ingredients are crucial to the way I like to make my stew. I had concluded in my head that I had botched the stew for this week, but boy! Was I wrong.

After a unanimous taste test by my brothers, the consensus was that the stew turned out to be amazing! Better than the last few they said. And here I was stressing out that I didn’t add curry and thyme.

Curry and thyme proved to be dispensable in my stew this week, and just like that, I figured that we can do without a lot of things that we think we need. It also reminded me of the time I went off social media for a while and I realized that I didn’t die! You see I used to be very attached to my phone and my social media accounts; but when I signed off for a while, my life went on! I actually had very deep, very meaningful conversations with my family and a few of my friends. I went out more often, and I took notice of the world I had been missing by burying my nose in my phone.

A lot of things we think we cannot function without, we often find ourselves doing just well without them. Toxic relationships, situationships, gadgets, you name it! When you try to do without them, you’ll be amazed how easy it will turn out to be, because just as my stew did just fine without curry and thyme, when you let go of some stuff, you will be just fine!…

Why?

 

Why?

Why is it so easy to make new friends but so hard to keep them?

Why do we always want the things we know we cannot have?

Why, oh! Why do all the wrong things feel just right sometimes?

Why does one drink turn to five?

Why do we hurt the people we say we love?

Why is easier to lie than to tell the truth?

Why be a coward when you know you can be brave?

Why do we bemoan our situations but seldom change them?

Why do we talk about people rather than help them?

Why is it easy to accentuate people and their flaws but hide ours?

Why do we never admit to being insecure?

Why do we love and act like we don’t?

Why? why? why???

Do you wonder like I do? If you know why, I would love to know…

-Adaugo 2017

On mangoes and cheating spouses…

I love fruits, I really do. My favorite fruit has to be grapes, especially when they are frozen. I can write an entire post about my love for grapes. Udara is a close second (I don’t know the English name for it.) The number three spot goes to…You guessed it!!! Mangoes. Particularly the sherri and German species.

I have bought my fruits from the same woman for as long as I can remember and I truly consider her a friend. When I saw her in February after years away from home, she gave me a bagful of fruits and we spent a good thirty minutes catching up; I digress. You’re probably wondering what mangoes have to do with cheating spouses, here goes:

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So unfortunately, Udara season is over *insert tears of anguish* but the silver lining is that after udara goes, mango resumes LOL so it’s almost a win win situation for me. This afternoon on my way from Church, I had my smile in place and I headed to my favourite fruit stall. After our usual banter, I looked at her wares but the mangoes weren’t calling my name. They didn’t look ripe and they weren’t just appealing. I was still rummaging around, trying to find some good ones when I looked at the stall next to hers and saw the most beautiful, perfectly yellow, succulent sherri mangoes. I was so torn. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by buying from her neighbour but I also wanted the ripe mangoes from the next stall.

I managed to stifle my longing for the luscious mangoes, bought a few unappealing mangoes from my friend and went on home. Let’s compare our spouses to those mangoes shall we? I recently watched a show where people who have cheated on their spouses were interviewed and they gave their reasons for cheating. Majority of them cheated because their partners weren’t as appealing as they used to be or because the magic simply wasn’t there anymore. Those excuses are lame mehn! If the magic is fading, make new magic, rekindle the flames or whatever! Stay with the wife/husband you promised to love till death did you both part!

I guess my point is if I could walk away from those delicious mangoes, you can walk away from temptation!

Everyone must choose one of two pains: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”-Jim Rohn

29 going on 60…

My birthday is always the one day of the year where I have no worries, the one day where there isn’t any cloud in the sky. It usually kicks off with the generic message that my bank sends me to tell me how much I mean to them blah blah blah, then the calls and the messages and the status updates and the everything. Some of the messages are well thought out and deeply personal and might even make me cry, others are impersonal and to the point, and somehow I already know that the next time I will speak to or hear from such people will be on their own birthday or next year on mine again. I usually don’t get any gifts (yes, shade to all my friends and family) but I honestly don’t mind because the heartfelt prayers and the love soothes my soul way more than material things would.

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So on March 17th, I turned 29. It wasn’t a cloud free day but I didn’t mind. My sister dragged me out for drinks and I got to see my niece so it was a day very well spent. But the thing about birthdays is that they have a way of waking you up! On every birthday since I turned 20, there is always one part of the day where it suddenly hits me that this is a whole new year, one step closer to the grave, one year further away from youth. I end up thinking of the things I have achieved and even more about the things I have not achieved and usually I come to terms with my life as it is but this year was different.

29 is a very awkward age for me, it feels like I am standing on the precipice of something that I don’t quite know. A year away from 30, the last year that I can officially say that I am in my late twenties and this year, the birthday reflections did not wait to hit me at a random time of day; they hit me as soon as I opened my eyes. All I could think about was all that I haven’t done. The husband I haven’t married, the babies I haven’t had, the places I haven’t seen, the feelings I haven’t felt, the book I haven’t written, the car I haven’t driven, It went on and on and on. Typically, the tears came and they came hot and fast and rolled down my cheeks in rapid succession. Ordinarily I would have let them. I would have cried myself into puffy eyes and a blocked nose and a raging headache but this time, this time was different. I got up, cleaned my eyes and played my favorite playlist. I did my makeup, treated myself to a special breakfast, went for a job interview, saw my dearest friends,  rocked my niece to sleep, and went out for drinks and I must say that it was a beautiful, somewhat cry free day.

Whats the point of this post you ask? The point is that I have grown up some. I have finally learned to consciously count my blessings and not my sorrows, to be grateful for what I do have, rather that pinning for what I have lost or I am yet to have. I Finally learned to ditch the tears because listen the eyes are the first to age; and my eyes are my best feature sooooo I better catch up on my carrots and cucumbers and glasses of water rather than crying and always rubbing at my eyes. Plus I already have eye bags, why enlarge them further?

I am only 29, but sometimes I feel like I am 60 and that is my fault, because really what is stopping me from being happy go lucky? Life is for the living, and you are only as old as you want to be. Last year, I shared 28 lessons I learned from turning 28 but this year I have just one; find some time to find yourself. Don’t be like me, so caught up in other people that you forget yourself, we only have one life, and there are no dress rehearsals or do overs. Choose yourself, it’s time!.

“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”
Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

We ain’t never gettin’ older!…” The Chainsmokers

Hello From The Other Side!…

Hello from the other side, literally! I am sitting in my old room, on my old bed writing this heartfelt post. A lot has happened since the last time I was here. The most monumental of them being that I moved back home for now; well, not really, I live in Nigeria once again. *mentally inserts “for now”* it took a lot to move my life around, to pack three years of my life into three suitcases but I did it! Amidst all the conflicting opinions and all the emotions and everything, I can sincerely say that I am glad to be home, there truly isn’t any place like home and all the minor inconveniences seem like a small price to pay.

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February 21st 4:35 pm, my flight touched down in Lagos. I had been staring at the window as soon as I was able to see the trees and houses gradually start to appear, and as they grew from tiny specs to fully formed images, it was all I could do not to cry. I promptly forgot all the tediousness that came with twelve straight hours of flying, the TERRIBLE food and three slices of fruit that Delta Airline served us, LOL. I forgot my snoring, drooling seatmate who by the way wasn’t so bad when he wasn’t snoring like a freight truck. I peeled myself away from the window, hastily removed my socks and my jacket, stashed my book, my scarf and my passport in my hand bag and mentally prepared myself for landing. Boom! We landed and as is the norm on almost every Nigerian flight, there was hearty applause for the pilot in gratitude for the smooth landing and loud sighs of relief, followed by copious choruses of “thank you Jesus”. I was oblivious to all of that, I only had one mission, get my suitcase and head to immigration, oh! And pee, as I hadn’t peed in fourteen hours and then some. (Don’t ask why)

Ah! the blast of humid, hot air that greets you as soon as you get off the aircraft, never disappoints. Nor does the instant itching and sense of mild disgust at the state of the airport, but all that though was tempered with the thought that in a few short hours my niece would be in my arms and the delicious eforiro and white rice my sister made for me specially would be in my belle. So who cared if the airport was as hot as hell? Or that the stench from the nearby toilets made my eyes water? Of that it took forever to find my luggage? Or that my mum was late to pick me up? All was forgotten as soon as I walked into my sister’s home and I saw my niece! Dear Lord is she gorgeous??? Shes the cutest little thing and I still cannot believe my tiny sister made a chunky baby like her, God is awesome! Really.

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So I am back home my people, and its almost like I never left. And all the preferential treatments I had been enjoying such as specially made meals, running the generator all night and making my brothers run all my errands are officially over because my “IJGB Status”- (I Just Got Back) has since expired and its back to jumping buses and fanning myself to sleep. Wouldn’t trade it for the intense loneliness in America though, never!

God knows I missed you guys but I am back now, for real! It was my birthday a few weeks ago and I just might do a post on that later.

“it don’t matter where we go, we always find our way back home…”- Andy Grammer

“Nothing is better than going home to family and eating good food and relaxing.”- Irina Shayk

 

Tell Me…

If you are a writer, there is nothing as daunting as a blinking cursor. Nothing as taunting as that little black line, blinking away daring you to write but you have no words so you just sit there and stare, stare at it until you slam your laptop close in frustration. There is nothing as frustrating as reaching for your phone because you thought you heard a beep only to find that it was a phantom beep; no one sent you a message, no one is calling.  Your mind is playing tricks on you because you want your phone to beep, you want a call or text or something! nothing as painful as scrolling through your timeline, seeing your friends celebrating milestones, and achieving great things. There is nothing quite like sucking it up, repressing that surge of envy and typing them a congratulatory message…

“So and so asked me out and I don’t want to date any of them, I don’t have the time to date because I am trying to…” it’s painful to hear because you cannot relate but you smile anyway. The only man that has spoken to you in months is the doorman at your apartment, asking you if you had a good day and telling you that you have mail. Tell me what is worse than seeing your plans unravel, adjusting and resizing your dreams because they just won’t work out like you hope they would. Does it get lonelier that screaming in the shower and standing there till the hot water runs out and you are forced to get out of the tub?

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A lonely street…photo Credit: Me

What bigger lie is there than “I am fine”? Even when everything inside of you aches, when uncertainty and doubts and insecurities have pitched tents in your head, but you smile anyway because it is easier to say “I’m fine” than to try and explain why you cry yourself to sleep every night. What hurts more when your friends fail to support you and be there for you when you need them the most? Or when you stop confiding in them altogether because your problems are starting to sound depressing even to you? So the bottle of henney you stashed away in your room becomes your best friend and you spend hours and hours on social media because it feels good to watch funny videos and to read about other people’s misfortune for a change…

Your social media presence is quite strong, your posts and pictures are carefully selected, and well picked out and the likes are pouring in by the numbers. But then you make the mistake of  giving  yourself the false belief that if people don’t like you in real life, at least they like your pictures and status updates. Tell me what is more ignorant than saying “Oh, He/She is fine, I saw their status update and pictures the other day” don’t you know that people are not all they seem to post? We often lie to ourselves, especially we Africans that everything is alright, that all is well. Nobody takes mental health seriously and if you say you want to see a shrink or seek psychiatric help, you are instantly labelled crazy.

This probably wasn’t a happy post to read was it? But it’s real, and if we tell ourselves the truth, we have all found ourselves in one or more of the aforementioned situations. Lend a listening ear, a hug, your time or whatever it is you can if you sense that the people you love might need it. Do something!

This is real, I am one to talk; I should know.

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

You say you’re ‘depressed’ – all I see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.”― David Mitchell

 

Dear Late Bloomer…

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Dear late bloomer,

Other flowers might seem pretty and charming and quick to bloom…

Their leaves dazzling to the eyes, their scents delightful to smell,

People pass over you to pick their shiny petals,

And gift them to each other as a symbol of love and hope…

But in the midst of the shinny and bright, the colorful and dainty,

There lies you. Sturdy and a little hidden, tendrils barely reaching out.

Never given a second thought, never picked or fawned over.

Often bent in order to reach the lovelier ones,

But fret not late bloomer, fret not..

For the Master knows just what He’s doing.

Be patient and allow yourself to grow, to be pruned, to flourish…

Because in due time, Just when the time is right,

You will bloom!

And Oh! You will be shinier and more colorful than any flower that ever was and ever will be.

And because God took His time with you, those that skipped you will flee back…

Lines will form just for you, for your beauty and resilience will be echoed around the world.

So Dear late bloomer,

Fret not…grow and bloom at your own pace,

‘Cos soon, you will be the belle of the ball.

And I know this because I am just like you…

 -Adaugo 2016