Dilemma of a naija girl…that doesn’t want to bleach.

How do I start? Okay, here goes.

I am in my early twenties and I’ve never really had a body cream. Wait, let me explain. Up until my second or third year at University, I used Pears or Venus moisturizing lotion. Those last few years were the worst years of my acne episode, and so I had to stop. Inasmuch as my body looked nice, my face was a tropical rainforest. I still have not-so-fond memories of my brother calling my face “paradise of pimples”. It was that bad. If I say it didn’t affect my self esteem, I’d be a devilish liar. And so I was cream-less for a while, using the occasional Vaseline in dry weather. I fared no better.

By the end of my third year, a pharmacist talked me into using an antibacterial/antifungal cream to get rid of them, together with oral antibiotics. All was fine for a while and I actually had close to clear skin until I woke up one morning and wondered when I had become so light skinned. My face is naturally darker than the rest of my body, but at that point, I had people calling me “oyibo”. I threw the cream out. I can’t go and resemble Michael Jackson on top pimples mata. Back to square one.

Till I graduated, I probably never used any thing on my face, and my pimples flourished. Whenever I saw any lotion that didn’t have the words “lightening” or “brightening” on them, they were usually too oily and made me “aunty pimples” again.  Before I began NYSC, another pharmacist suggested a cream containing hydroquinone to me, saying that it would lighten me a bit, but it would help with the acne and spots. On the edge of desperation, I accepted.

Omo, when I got to camp, the Benue sun showed me that “khaki nor be leather”. I was tanned to a deep brown and always got this tight feeling around my eyes whenever I came out of the sunlight. I read on the body of the lotion that while using it I would have to avoid sunlight. Like, what the heck? Could this mean I would soon have sunburn? Whaaaaat!

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No one told me to run.

When I began NYSC a friend suggested a lotion to me. It was one of the “toning” ones, but since she used it, and she looked the same as she had always been, I decided I would give it a try. It contained “natural plant extracts” and as a biochemist I know those are really good for skin. I used it all through the harsh Benue harmattan. And stopped during the wet season as it was breaking me out, again. The remnant is still lying in my wardrobe now.

To cut the long story short, when you have stayed so long without lotion as I have for months now, you will feel the need for moisture that won’t break you out. I’m not feeling my facial skin at all bruh. And the stores? They all stock the same damn things. Take a look here: IMG_20160520_141833

85% of the creams promise to take you from Lupita to Beyonce in a week. Now, I’m a scientist and I can tell you that that is downright scary. All the lotions that don’t lighten contain ingredients that break me out like mineral oil/petrolatum, cocoa butter, etc. What’s a girl to do? On a certain BBM channel I saw an ad for a range of products that promised to clear your skin really fast and make your skin really fresh. I was interested oh. When I looked at the before and after photos, I was shocked! Imagine Genevieve suddenly looking like Tonto Dikeh? That was what I saw. That wasn’t the surprising part. I saw comments where people were asking for how they could contact the seller to get the “half caste cream”. I literally died and rose again. Why does everyone want to be fair? What is the benefit? Can somebody explain to me?

This is the statement they always use to qualify the lightening: “sister, the cream will bring out your true colour”. He. He. He. I resemble mugu abi? When did we have many colours to choose from? True colour ko, true colour ni. I dislike the idea of being part of the bandwagon called “Lagos girls” who get a shade or two lighter every year, but how long will somebori keep neglecting her face kwanu? Person pikin cannot even go out sans makeup without summoning the angels of confidence to accompany her. Someone once asked me if I was so broke I couldn’t afford a decent face cream. #sideeye. Does this mean that in the whole of Lagos, there is no face lotion that will improve your oily skin without either breaking you out or lightening you?

A very high number of people are having this same problem and don’t know what to do.

I’m tired. Help.

 

What Traits Are You Willing To Overlook In A Partner?

Hello. It’s been aeons. Creating content for a blog on a regular basis, I have realized, is not compatible with working a full time job. I have been kept on my toes by my “real” job in the past few weeks and frankly, there were times I even forgot I had a blog, let alone think up something to post. Couple this with malaria, and….. I hope I’m forgiven.

This post was inspired by a discussion Mother had had with one of my uncles. He had had it with his wife’s loud and uncouth behaviour and Mother a while before then, had noticed traces of frustration in his demeanour, which he couldn’t hide anymore. He didn’t even know when, in a moment of heightened annoyance he blurted “I don’t even understand this woman anymore. Why can’t she just behave civilized for once”? Living in bitterness and resentment, he is. Let’s hear a bit of their history.

Uncle John(not real name), at the age of 36, is still searching for a wife. He is light brown in complexion, a secondary school certificate holder, soft spoken and about 5ft 6″ or 5ft7″. He decides to tell his mother back in the east to find him a good Christian girl who is from a good family and who must be at least 5ft 9″ or 5ft10″. His emphasis on the height of the girl is not missed because his height is one of his insecurities (a phenotypic trait which he doesn’t want to pass on to his progeny)and so they begin their hunt for the perfect wife for John. In a couple of months they succeed and introduce John to his betrothed, Aunty Jane. Aunty Jane(not real name either, duh) is ebony black, 22 years old, a secondary school certificate holder, 6ft plus, slim as a model and from a good Christian home: The perfect match, or so we thought.

Fast forward 12 years into their marriage. Uncle John is still as trim and handsome as ever, albeit with a few white strands in his hair. He is still soft spoken, and with his increase in age he stands with a quiet dignity even more pronounced than before. Here lies the problem: Aunty Jane is a complete antithesis of him. She is loud, i.e, she enters a room with her mouth first, she is now probably three times his size after having 4 kids for him, and while he is as composed as a statue, she is as disorganized as anyone can be. They both had their schooling in rural areas, but her absolute lack of modern manners is glaringly evident in her carriage, even after 12 years of big city life.

You know what my response was when Mother confided her worry about their marriage to me?

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No, I wasn’t being deliberately mean. I mean, I was a kid when they got married, but I can still remember clearly how smitten he was by her glowing skin, her slim body and her height; her height was probably enough to blind him to her other err, flaws. She is as loud now as she was then. She is as disorganized now as she was then. What gives, people?

Here’s my theory. He was so obsessed about a particular quality, that he was blind to the presence of flaws big enough to make his obsession wane quickly over time. I don’t know if I made much sense just now. What I mean is, he placed undue emphasis and interest in a particular trait, without giving room for other behavioural traits that would make it work with his kind of personality. Now don’t get me wrong, we’re all allowed to have criteria in choosing our [future] spouses, but apart from the physical, many things should be considered.

As an example, lets say Me, Chibugo. Physically I do not like men with too much facial hair, and on a good day I am just unable to fancy a guy whom I am taller than. On the other hand, I value good conversation, confidence, intelligence and a broad worldview, similar values (practicing Christian, book lover, etc), and last but definitely at the top of the list, a good sense of humor. These, for me, will trump facial hair or shortness, any day. Dear Uncle should have thought in a similar line before accepting his betrothed. So what if his kids turn out the same height as him? His peace of mind first, methinks.

The thing about physical features I have discovered is that, the rate at which they fade will astonish you. I have been told by different people(married) that “inasmuch as aesthetics matter, the bond of marriage is largely dependent on a similar value system. If he is as handsome as Ramsey Nouah and she is as beautiful as Genevieve Nnaji or as endowed as Amber Rose, when the strength of a marriage is tested, none of these will hold up. Show me a couple who can agree together on most things and I’ll show you a happy family”. There is a 14 year difference between them but right now they could pass for age mates, since she does not pay as much attention to her physical fitness/appearance as he does. This may have been a very minor issue if they could actually hold a conversation for a reasonable period of time without one person zoning out. I wondered how all this could have slipped his notice at the beginning! He was glad that he would not have short children and she was pretty much eager to become a wife. It’s a trend around here, you know, being a Mrs. Somebody. The part that is most painful to him is probably the fact that his kids have inherited her loud and disorganised behaviour, except one.

I am not married but common sense is not that expensive. Never overlook the important for the unimportant. You may end up as frustrated as Dear Uncle John. Even as marriage is between two imperfect people, let yours be a compromise based on a joint action of your head and your heart. Would you be able to bear that person’s bad habits in the long run? If you’re still in a relationship, great! But have you asked yourself whether you would like to spend the rest of your life with this woman because frankly you believe she is your lost rib or will you say yes if he were to propose tomorrow? The things you have decided to overlook/tolerate, are they greater in magnitude and importance than the things you admire about him/her? If your answer is yes, I believe you have some questions to ask yourself, boo. So, tell me: what can you tolerate, and what is an absolute no-no for you? For the married, how do you deal with your partner’s bad habits? Any advice for us still single? I definitely do not know it all, so please feel free to leave your comments, educate me!

The relationship between husband and wife should be one of closest friends – B. R. Ambedkar

Sincerely, Chibugo.

OLAJUMOKE ORISAGUNA COULD BE YOU!

 

From this….

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Olajumoke the bread seller walking into the shoot

To this….. 😀

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Olajumoke… Now the subject of a shoot!

Can you tell that I’m really excited putting up this post? It’s about 4 days late but the message behind it is never late.

I follow T. Y. Bello on Instagram and on Sunday she put up a series of posts about this grass to grace story of a young lady called Jumoke. Now, Tinie Tempah was in Lagos for a shoot, and ace photographer T. Y. Bello decided on a street themed shoot for him. While the shoot was going on, an Agege bread seller happened to walk by and even as she was trying to walk fast out of the scene of the shoot, T. Y. Bello urged her to be slower so she could capture the presence of the Agege bread seller. To her, she was simply adding some spice to the photo, trying her darnedest to capture the essence of “the real Lagos”; little did she know that she had just discovered a diamond in the midst of dirt.

Fast-forward to the publication of the shoot. Everyone kept asking: who is the model beside Tinie? Is she a Nigerian? Why isn’t she popular already.? She’s a natural! Boom! A star had been born. T. Y. Bello instigated a search on social media for this Agege bread seller who had photo-bombed her way into everyone’s heart, and of course, she was found. (The power of social media!)

Meanwhile, Jumoke our Agege bread seller had continued with her business of selling hot bread on the streets of Yaba. The day of the shoot was just another day with a weird occurrence. But alas! Going along and minding her business, she was one day presented with her own photo by someone(a customer, I presume) who had stumbled upon the picture on Facebook. Jumoke coincidentally happened to be wearing the very same dress she wore on the day of the shoot, and so she was easily spotted.

She was taken to the studio where T. Y. Bello’s intuition was confirmed. The girl was a natural model. Her short curly hair extensions were removed by top hairstylist Zuby to reveal a beautiful short afro, while she was given an amazing makeover by Internationally known makeup artist, Bimpe Onakoya.

Know this: Jumoke is a 27 year old mother of two, who left her sliding door-installer husband in Ire, Osun state with her five year old child due to hard times to come to Lagos with her 14-month old baby and try to make a living, hawking bread from a relative’s bakery.  Her dream is to be a hairstylist and to one day act in a Yoruba movie. She speaks little English but communicates fluently in Yoruba. Currently, as a result of the buzz she generated from the shoot, Jumoke is now close to starting an internship at Make me Salon and has been offered an additional internship at Sari’s signature, a famous Lebanese salon on the Island.

To pay Jumoke her first model fee from her first gig in front of the camera, she was paid exactly what a top Nigerian model would be paid. She’s been offered a modelling contract with the help of Godson Ukagbu from FEW Models. She has also had Pay Porte reach out to her to be a model on their next billboard campaign. A mentor of T. Y ‘s has offered to foot the bill for her accommodation, education, as well as her child’s, making it possible for her to be reunited to her husband and older child.

Just as T. Y. Bello concluded, it may seem accidental but it’s definitely divine. This event was definitely a miracle. You can follow her on Instagram @tybello to read the whole story and get its details.Screenshot_2016-02-11-18-45-05.png

Now, here are a few things I learned from this event:

1.You may have a dream but lack the resources to make it come through at the moment. This is no excuse to relax and become lazy, relying only on dreams. Jumoke knew she had to make a move to at least survive. That was why she came to Lagos. Survival is the key to staying alive long enough to sustain and achieve your dream. Do something! You never know, that next step you take might be your breakthrough.

2. Make a move to survive and sustain your dream but remain legit! Jumoke sold bread. How much does the average bread seller earn daily.? It can’t be more than what some of us pay for a bowl of coldstone ice cream. Yet she wasn’t tempted to dabble in less noble trades*if you get what I mean*.

3. Above all, be true to yourself. This particular lesson I learnt from Bello herself. That woman has been my role model for as long as I can remember and I’m glad it’s so. Remember her from her days in KUSH together with Lara George and the third lady whose name I can’t remember? Their song,”Come let’s live together” still packs a powerful message today.

Head on to Instagram to get the full gist. You’ll be glad you did.

This “Falantine” breeze is blowing hard oh. Hmm. See you in my next post… Really soon.

Kisses, hugs and kuli kuli,

Sincerely, Chibugo.