Tattoos and piercings – are we right in condemning body modification?

According to healthline, a tattoo is a form of body art that is created when ink is inserted, using a needle, into the dermis layer of the skin. This changes the skin’s pigment and can be used to create almost any image imaginable.

Pemanent makeup is also a form of tattooing. This is when permanent ink is used to mimic the look of eyeliner, lipliner, eyebrow pencil, or other kinds of makeup.

Piercing is another popular form of body art. This is a type of body modification where a needle punctures a hole in the body. Jewelry is then inserted into this hole. Ears, noses, eyebrows, tongues, lips, navels, nipples, genitals, and other body parts can be pierced.

A little background:

The purpose of tattooing varied from culture to culture. The Greeks for example used it for communication among spies. Romans use them to mark criminals and slaves. Tahitian tattoos served as rites of passage, telling the history of the wearer’s life. Tattoos served as symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, amulets and talismans, protection, and so on.

According to some stats I found online, about 60% of people born after 1980 in the US have tattoos and/or piercings. Strange , isn’t it? Here in Africa, we’re trying to become civilized, hence giving children tribal tattoos as we used to is fast becoming a crime. While the civilizations we emulate are returning to what we’re leaving behind.

But I derail.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking of getting a tattoo, or are trying to talk someone out of getting one, or just plain curious. Might as well know the health risks involved.

Health risks.

Allergic reaction to tattoo dyes, skin infections such as staphylococcus or tuberculosis, development of inflamed tissue(granuloma) around the tattoo site, formation of keloids, blood borne diseases such as hepatitis B and C, HIV, burning or swelling at the tattoo site and interference with future MRI(Magnetic resonance Imaging) tests. Health risks of piercings include complications that may arise if the person has other medical conditions such as diabetes, allergies, skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis, or a weak immune system.

Okay, enough with the medical stuff. My initial response to seeing any tatted/pierced person was a mix of bewilderment and disgust. Like, why would someone hate the clarity of his skin so much that he would decide to draw a permanent image on it? Or love looking weird so much that he goes and lets someone punch holes in his body for jewelry?! It wasn’t until I saw a cancer survivor draw a tattoo over her chest where her breasts had had to be cut off, that I realised it might not be eccentricity that pushes everyone to go down this route.

Still…

Before you get that tattoo or piercing, think on it. Would you still want that tattoo on your body in the next 10, 15 years? Will that piercing make you progress in your chosen sphere of life without constantly having to fight to be taken seriously? If you’re in a professional field, are you ready to always have to find out first if they have a no-tattoos-or-piercings policy before applying to a new place of work? What exactly is the additional appeal you think you might have by piercing your nose or lip or eyebrow or having your arms or neck tattooed?

You might want to read this.

What I think.

If, after weighing the pros and the cons, you realize that that tattoo or piercing won’t help you progress at due speed in life, drop it like it’s hot. The truth is that most normal people wouldn’t want to be alone with a tatted or pierced person late at night. In all honesty, it’s not something that inspires trust. It would take an extremely liberal interview team to ignore a candidate’s tattoos/piercings and pick him/her above other applicants even if he or she were as qualified. Except of course, if you’re in a Muslim community where it’s not unusual for women to have nose piercings. Semi permanent henna tattoos are also quite common in such places, especially for special occasions. Young America may think otherwise, but tattoos and piercings do make you look irresponsible. People’s perception of those with such “body art” is “he probably does drugs as well” or “he surely moves with a crowd you don’t want to be around” or “she’s probably a slut”. It’s unlikely that someone’s first thought on seeing it is “he must have been in a bad place when he drew that one ” or “that lovely nose ring must be her best form of personal expression”. As with those with tattoos, according to a study I read, there was a strong association of piercing relative to alcohol and recreational drug use, jail time and lack of religious affiliation.

The fact is that most young people would pay a lot of money to get these things done, but still clamor for cheaper education and social amenities. Eventually in the future when they feel like they could do without it, they manage to save for painful and expensive removal processes which might not yield aesthetically pleasing results and may lead to yet more scarring. Something tells me that if these people were born with the tattoos, they would eagerly find find a way to remove them. The craze is simply a case of dissatisfaction plus enough spending money. Actually, scratch that. Even broke people will still find a way to do something to themselves.

I was once a kid, and I would have got lost a hundred times over before venturing to ask for help from someone with tattoos or piercings. They’re mostly scary to kids, and like I said, they do not inspire trust.

That said, not all tatted and pierced people are bad people. As a matter of fact many of them are quite great. The choice to draw on your body or punch holes in it is entirely up to you, but you have to prepare for people’s reactions to how you look, and try not to blame them. It’s not the norm after all, and never will be. People don’t take lightly to ideas or concepts that are different from what they believe in, or what is socially acceptable.

Now there are tattoos, and there are tattoos. A butterfly tattoo on the wrist may not be viewed with the same distaste as a long bible quote on the buttock area. An offensive image, no matter how small, will definitely put you on the “to avoid” list of a normal person. Earrings are generally accepted, but of course overdoing it by piercing a gazillion holes in your ear won’t likely win you normal people as close pals. I mean, I have two earring piercings in my right ear, and I have lost count of the number of times I’ve had to explain how the maternity nurse got the first one wrong and had to give me another piercing, less than 48 hours after after my birth.

Why should ear piercing be seen as normal while piercing of other body parts is deemed abnormal? I think that since the wearing of earrings is a universally accepted way of life(for women), the piercing of the ear at birth has become one too, except for those whose religion forbids it.

Would I date or marry someone with tattoos and/or piercings? I’m 99% positive I wouldn’t.

Would I get a tattoo or piercing? No. Not even if I was offered money to get one.

Would I let my kid get one? Somebody better be kidding. Not as long as you’re under my care, you won’t.

Would I befriend one? Definitely. As long as there are no chances of my future kid suddenly wanting to punch holes in his/her body or getting stuff drawn all over.

In nutshell, it’s not up to anyone to judge others because of choices they have made Tattooed, pierced, scarified, one God made us all. The real issue is doing what you’ll regret later on in life. It might feel good to be seen as a cool dude right now, but if 10 years later you have a slight chance of regretting it, it would be wise to let that sleeping dog lie if you want to go far in life.

We all do things we desperately wish we could undo. Those regrets just become part of who we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it’s like chasing cloud – Libba Bray

Sincerely, Chibugo.

PS. Let me hear your opinions in the comments!

Temporary romantic partners: to have or not to have?

While the term dating has many meanings, the most common refers to a trial period in which two people explore whether to take the relationship further towards a more permanent relationship

I got that from Wikipedia.

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Now, the term “dating” is one of those terms that people seem to have different meanings for. I sensed this when I was told by a colleague, “Hey, you only live once.! This is your time to have fun! You’re so choosy at this dating thing. Seriously.”

Well, I’m sorry, but if dating means making out with every Tom, Dick and Harry I go to the movies with, then no thanks. *insert appropriate grimace*. I’m particular about those I let into my personal space.

Temporary romantic partners are people we date with no intention of settling down with them. Yep, situations like this exist. They’re even more commonplace than you could imagine.

I was shocked when I had a discussion with a friend and she mentioned the man she was dating. In my typical blunt way, I ask, “Do you see yourself spending your life with him?”

“No”. She says.

I am more shocked, if that’s even possible. “Why are you then dating him for Pete’s sake?” I’m perplexed. She’s pretty, not the kind that lacks male attention.

She gives me that “Don’t probe too much” look. I will not mention what she eventually tells me is her reason for being with him, but it does nothing to ease my perplexity.

It doesn’t help that most people who date in our Universities have no intention of ending up with the person they date. It has a name even. It’s called “school boyfriend or girlfriend”. It’s not supposed to be serious.  It seldom leads to marriage; as a matter of fact, of the many school boyfriend/girlfriend situationships I’ve seen, only one has ever led to the altar. Mind you, most of these relationships while they exist, bear every mark of “legally married”, while being everything but. Back in university, we actually had a “couple of the year” award. And no, the nominees and eventual winning couple weren’t married but they played their roles beautifully, playing husband and wife like their calling. That’s how normal it’s become.

Dating should be fun, shouldn’t it?

Of course. But that’s not all there is to it. Unless the world became full of selfish, pleasure seeking millenials while I was asleep. How do you explain dating a girl for years and knowing fully that you do not intend to marry her when you’re ready to settle down but want to have all the “fun” now in bed and out of it?

It’s different for the “modern” folks who believe that sex is like a meal you should eat whenever you feel like and move on. If both parties are aware that they’re being used by the other as a “fuck buddy” and they’re fine with it, then hey, whatever rocks their boat. Check out popular scenarios:

1. Girl and boy meet in uni, and decide to date exclusively. They become intimate by plan or by chance. One of them likes the fun and the ride, but knows he/she would never settle for current partner. Years down the line, one of them walks. Dumpee is shocked and wondering why. Dumper doesn’t give time for the dust to settle. Dumper’s next post on Facebook is a wedding picture.

2. Guy meets a pretty young girl and decides he wants her for his wife. She doesn’t love him but because he seems to hold the key to her family’s financial emancipation, she tells him that she has to finish school before they can take their relationship to the next level. He agrees and trains her through 4, 5, maybe 6 years of University. She has a plan all this time. As soon as she completes her program, she tells him she has no interest anymore(old news!) and takes a walk. *insert nollywood dramatic soundtrack*

3. Girl meets famous guy and falls hard. He has other girls but hey, he’s famous so she should be happy she even gets to be called the “main chick” and hang on bis arm at events. Eventually one of the “side chicks” bears him a kid and he has to let main chick go so as to do right by his child. Of course she goes. She must have known that with his roving eyes, their relationship was even less than temporary.

It all boils down to using people and loving things. We love what we can get from people: fame, financial security, perhaps even love(in some weird situations) , but we cruelly use the people themselves to get these things.

Ours is a generation of selfish and myopic cowards, pardon my French. Wanting everything but too lazy to get it the right way, and blaming everyone but ourselves when things go wrong.

Having fun with friends is a great way of building a solid support system, and by all means, experience all there is to experience. As long as it doesn’t end up with you having the body count of a public toilet, or a litany of broken relationships to spice up stories for your future grandkids. You don’t have to be your own Guinea pig. Learning from other people’s mistakes is usually the best way to gather experience without actually living the experiences.

The problem? We don’t stand for anything anymore, and so we fall for anything. If we weren’t such shallow minded pleasure seekers, we would “guard our hearts with all diligence”. Whatever then manages to get in, would be real.

The time to walk is before someone’s heart gets too emotionally invested

Be open and communicative! That way you know just where you’re headed in the relationship and you know when to stop the charade(if there is one)

Stop being a doormat and hoping your partner will change if you do this or that better. He/she probably won’t. Save yourself the hurt down the line and take a walk before you become too invested.

If you’re looking to “forever” and your significant other is looking to “live the moment”, you might just need to develop those leg muscles. Take a long walk.

I’m hardly qualified to speak on relationship matters, but these are truths that people are ignorant of in the search for love or anything that resembles it. The loveless world we live in makes people cling to unhealthy relationships that do far more harm than good.

Don’t cling to shit. It will only make you smelly. Don’t be shit either. You’ll only be flushed down.

Oh-so-sincerely, Chibugo.

 

The keke ride that woke me up

Right after the commercial motorcyclists “okada”, tricycles are next on my “avoid if  possible”  list. We all know how close to impossible this is, though, with the madness called Lagos. They are a necessity if  you don’t have a car. I jumped into one of those within the week as soon as I heard “fine girl, you dey go Express”? My bus rides are usually time for me to enter into myself. I’m usually deep in thought or as close to pressing my nose to the window to see the things speeding past me as possible. Some childhood habits just never die. Of course you can’t press your nose to the Windows of a “keke”  because there are simply no Windows!

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” I love you!” This was the first thing that hit me when my bum had hardly settled in my seat. Goofing around, are we? Two can play that game. I played dumb.

He said it again, louder this time. I caught his eye in the rearview mirror. Without missing a beat I replied “I love you too” and looked away, hoping he got the message. He grinned instead.

Gawd no! This one seemed to be one of those long winded, ever cheerful people and I was not in a talkative mood. That didn’t deter him. “Will you marry me?” he asked. Without wasting a second I said, “of course”. I had hoped to catch him unawares by not trying to act coy. It worked. He was a bit startled at my reply. Then he laughed gaily and launched into the story of his broken heart. Even as passengers piled in, he continued  his story, occasionally glancing at me in the mirror to be sure I was still listening.

“Are you an Edo girl?”

“No”

“Where are you from?”

“I’m Igbo”

“Oh, you Igbo girls. The girl I wanted to marry was Igbo you know”

“Hmmm”, I say. I’m thinking “TMI?” But my simple response seems like more than enough fuel to drive him on. I needn’t say more. He just keeps on.

“Her people said I couldn’t marry her. Her mother actually told me she liked me and that was why she was advising me not to waste my time and money on her daughter”

Silence.

” I really loved that girl. Her name was Florence. ” At this point he smiles in memory of this Florence girl. I find myself cracking a small smile. I can’t help it. He’s a smiler .

“Her mother explained that she has just two daughters and wanted them to marry close to home”

Silence.

“She told me she would get pregnant for me so that her parents would have no choice but to give her to me in marriage. It was painful but I had to let her go. I’m not that kind of man.”

All this time, the other passengers are listening, but don’t get the full gist. I tell him I’ve reached my stop. Handing him the currency note, I tell him, “You will find your real woman someday, don’t worry.”

The fact that this taciturn passenger finally managed a full sentence seems to have made his day. He flashes  me a winning smile.

“Thank you sweetheart”

Ooookay, too much familiarity already. A simple thank you would have sufficed but anyway, I’m off the vehicle. As I cross the road, I think to myself, “This would be good for the blog”. Unlike the one million other times I’ve said this in the last four months, I actually go through with it.

Sometimes people just want someone to listen to them. They don’t expect you to  solve their problem, but just to listen. You never know when or where you’ll be expected to play the shrink to someone. Whenever that is, remember :if you must be anything, be kind.

Yay. We’re back.

Where are you from? What language do you speak?

It’s been a minute. Being away from this beloved space for a whole month has made me realize how “busy” I’ve been recently. I’ve missed writing here, but for the love of all I hold dear, I can’t seem to find the creative strength to write a new piece. #writersblock. And so I have dusted this up from my drafts. It’s a post that should have come up sometime in August, but I never got round to it. Old but gold; to me anyway. Enjoy.

When I was about to begin secondary school, father made a rule at home: We were all to speak Igbo and nothing else. We took it for one of those rules that never lasted. It took one brain-resetting knock on the head from Father to an unlucky scapegoat for us to know that this rule had come to stay. Smh #Nigerianparents

In this day and age, one might ask, “what’s the need of learning a language that won’t pay my bills, probably has no value on the global scale, won’t help the situation of the country, won’t help me progress in my career, and probably will not add anything of value to me personally”? A good question, but one which I will not even attempt to answer. I will only try to appeal to your reasoning.

I can only say my point of view, and invite you to chime in. My belief is that when the gazillion languages in the world were created, there was a purpose for it. Language is an intrinsic part  of every culture, and you cannot claim to be a member of a culture when you have no interest in the language.

I find it weird when I see children of people who live abroad speaking Yoruba and Igbo and Hausa fluently, while homegrown children cannot make a complete sentence in their language. The worst part, I have noticed, is that 80% of these “team no native language” children do not even speak English correctly. Shame. It’s a different thing if you have decided to renounce your heritage, after all, there are tons of people in the UK and the US who try everything possible to rid themselves of everything that identifies them as  Nigerian. I have nothing to say about this lot; I’m not proud of the fact but I’m sure they have their reasons.

Say, we’re in a gathering of young people from different parts of the world, and it gets to the social part where we get to introduce ourselves and tell a bit about where we come from. Jean easily introduces himself as French and can speak his language to prove it, Juanita is Spanish and very proud of the fact, easily speaks her native language , Bill is the only native Englishman, but knows a sprinkling of German, Lee is Chinese, and speaks nothing but his native language at home. Last but not the least, comes Obi, who speaks nothing but English. He says he is Nigerian, he answers an Igbo name, has Nigerian parents, but has nothing else that links him to his native land. Okay, maybe I painted that scenario but, now you see what “rootlessness” can mean.

What irks me to no end, is the fact that some parents deliberately prevent their children from learning their native language. Why, in heaven’s name? I remember someone telling me with a proud smirk “I don’t speak Igbo, you know”. I don’t know if she expected me to start jumping for joy. Ngwanu, clap for yasef! 👏👏 There is a pride of association when you belong to  a certain tribe or group of people, because regardless of the ills they are known for, there must be something good about them. My Igbo brothers are known worldwide for being very money smart, even if it means doing illegal stuff. There is almost always an Igbo name when criminals are being listed abroad for crimes like drug peddling. That’s still not enough to blind my eyes to the awesomeness of being an Igboman, knowing my history and culture, and having good background to drive positive change for the future. I remember reading what Adichie wrote on tribe and language (paraphrased) :

I am Nigerian because a white man created Nigeria and gave me that identity. I am black because the white man constructed black to be as different as possible from his white. But I was Igbo before the white man came”.

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We have absolutely no reason to feel that our language is inferior to any other language in any way, be it Yoruba, Igbo,  Hausa, or any other Nigerian language. True, maybe the Igbo tribe is made up of little more than 30 million people as against the rest of the billions of other people in the world, but that should be more reason we would want to put the language on the map more boldly. Pride of identity, isn’t it? I am speaking for my own language, in this instance, but I’m aware that this is not an exclusive ill. What we lack is a sense of identity. I get it. Nigeria is plagued by so many problems and no one would want to be associated with such failure when away from home. But, really, when all is said and done, it’s also not cool, losing your identity in a world where people are trying hard to hold on to the shreds of theirs. Your mother tongue is a treasure that should be preserved. According to fountain magazine,

Mother tongue is one of the most powerful tools used to preserve and convey culture and cultural ties. Children who are unaware of their culture, their language and their history will lose confidence in themselves, the family, society and the nation to which they belong and will have no other option than seeking an alternate identity. A child will associate himself with the language and culture he knows best…. Parents should find ways to help their children maintain and improve their mother language without neglecting to give affirmative messages and keeping positive attitudes about other cultures. We must not also forget that we live in a multicultural society and we should teach our children to learn about other cultures and respect them as well.

Note that being fluent in our language and knowledgeable about our culture and history should not in any way affect the value of other cultures in our eyes. I, personally, have a great respect for the richness of the Yoruba traditions, and the pride with which they display them locally and globally. I am not even as fluent as I would like to be in Igbo; a couple weeks ago an elderly client of mine whom I’d come to respect a lot told me a proverb and it took me a few minutes to unscramble it. Made me appreciate the language more, I tell you. One new proverb added to my repertoire.

I also discovered that many parents are quite clueless. I mean, if you grew up never having travelled to your hometown, knowing only bits and pieces of your mother tongue, and being ignorant about the tradition of your own people, it goes without saying, that your children will be even more clueless. At the liaison office of my state here in Lagos some weeks back, I witnessed a complicated situation. A young man(very handsome if I might add)  needed his state of origin certificate, but did  not know the town he came from. I was dumbfounded, to say the least. Even after doing some research and almost trying to trace his ancestry😁, we were stuck. He was raised by a single mother, and over the phone she was almost as clueless as he was. Eventually, after like a hundred phone calls, a relative hundred times removed, arrived and helped to rectify the situation. I was pproud of one thing though. Despite never having been home, he could manageably speak his language. It’s never too late to learn, anyway. First of all, I believe the stereotypes have to be dispelled.

1. Speaking your native language fluently does not in any way make you less sophisticated. I actually find my native language, Igbo, very sexy. Ignore the weirdness, it’s just me. Doesn’t mean I find the phonological interference funny when I hear people speak Igbotic English. Contradictory, no. There’s a balance somewhere in between.

2. Speaking only English or whatever predominant world language, without knowing your own native language, is not a sign of being knowledgeable. You actually get better at other languages when you have a good grip of your own language.

That said, how do we ensure that we don’t raise a bereft generation Z?

1. Making your native language a language of love, rather than a language of strife. I remember that as kids, mother spoke Igbo to us mostly when she was mad at us and wanted to scold us. It made us respond with fear, rather than interest. But after years of travel and meeting people back east who spoke nothing but Igbo to us, we saw it as a way of life. I dream in Igbo and I think in Igbo frequently. Father also had a habit of telling us Igbo folklore, featuring “mbe”, the tortoise, and his cunning ways, and other animals like “agu” the tiger, “odum” the Lion, “enwe” the monkey, and “Enyi” the elephant. Good times😍

2. That brings me to the second point: travelling to your hometown as frequently as possible. I probably learnt more Igbo proverbs eavesdropping on my father’s conversations with his fellow kindred men than I learnt in Igbo class. Following mother to the local markets in the village also helped us learn many colloquial terms we would never have come across on our own.

3. Reading to them in your native language. In the year that father made the law about speaking only Igbo, we began a daily rotation of the Igbo Bible at morning devotion. After stumbling for months over the words, we became much more fluent in reading Igbo than most of our peers. Go dad!

4. In the case that you also do not know the language, learn with them! It’s never too late.

I realize that this article is about as inadequate to exhaust a topic as sensitive as this one, as taking a basket to the stream can be, and so I invite your contributions. I’d love to hear from you.

Nke nwere isi, enweghi okpu; nke nwere okpu, enweghi isi.  An Igbo proverb which means: The one who has a head, has no cap, and the one who has a cap, has no head. –  Author: probably one of my ancestors. 😉 

Sincerely, Chibugo.

Monday Humor : Designer ko, designer ni!

How una dey?  It’s been a while we had a good laugh in here. Lets get right to it.

I was at a gathering of some sort and since we were few in number, we mingled and talked to each other. As usual, to avoid too much talk, I was a watcher. I watched people evaluate themselves to determine who was in the same class as them, so as to know whom to talk to and whom to avoid. I don’t know how people just assume your financial status from how you look. I’ve had friends in my uni days who would scrape the last five thousand Naira they had just to look “among” in any party or get together. Kontinu.

So as the people assessed themselves, I assessed them from my corner. The girls were the most open about it. You walk across the room, and they would evaluate you from head to toe. I could almost see the calculations going on in their heads. The price and quality of your “human” hair, the kind of make up you have on, how you speak, the designer brand of your clothes or shoes or handbag… There’s that thing about public gatherings where there are many females that makes me very uncomfortable.

So I overheard two lovely ladies having a discussion while a third sat close by. It began on a note like “Oh I love your handbag! Where did you get it?”, in a fake accent that almost made me choke on my drink. It moved down to the dress one of them had on. The other one fawned over it so much that I had to look too. It looked shapeless to me😕, but then, what do I know about fashion? When the wearer of the dress finally left, the two of them got down to the real business of dissecting what she wore, bit by bit. They finally got to the dress. The other one said with spite: “I was just watching her tell the lie. My ears couldn’t believe it until she said it the third time. Mogbe! Why people too dey lie naa? I dey there for Yaba early morning market, the day wey she pick that dress for okirika! If not for the fact that she almost fought with another lady because of that dress, I wouldn’t have known her. But because of that fight, I recognize her, and I recognize that dress. Nonsensical nonsense!”

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You know when you want to laugh so bad that you have to leave for fear of giving yourself away? 😂😂😂 I had to immediately change positions, using my movement to cover my laughter. Don’t blame me joor. Lagos girls will not kill somebody with forming.

I hope you had a good laugh at the expense of our dear Lagos girls. Biko how much is fuel in your area? Our country is becoming a place where only the rich can survive oh. I can’t think of one thing that hasn’t increased in price this period… Meanwhile don’t let your blood pressure get too high. Its not worth it. Cool off with these two posts here and here. They’re from the earlier days on this blog and if they don’t lighten your mood, I don’t know what will.

If you have any funny stories that aren’t too embarrassing to you, which you’d like to share, send them in an email to bugovidase@gmail.com. Have a productive week!

Three lessons you could learn from basketballer Stephen Curry

You don’t need to know basketball to know Stephen Curry. He’s that popular. Lets learn a bit about his background. Born on March 14 1988 into the home of NBA player Wardell Curry, young Steph began playing as soon as he could but his father seeing his many weaknesses, groomed him to be a better player. This was not enough though, because he had the “disadvantage” of being slighter than most athletes in his game. As a matter of fact he was often overlooked in selection because of this when he was younger . This however spurred him on to perfect the skills that have earned him the name “baby faced assassin” today. So, three years ago, he wasn’t even an all star; four years ago he had chronic ankle problems that threatened his career and kept everyone on edge. How did he then go from that to being NBA’s most valuable player of 2015? Here are some lessons I have gathered from Stephen Curry’s journey, which I think everyone could learn a thing or two from

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Be the best version of yourself ;every single day! @stephencurry30 on Instagram

1. Never be regular; exceed your former self: Stephen had his fair share of rejections, especially at the beginning when he was younger. That drove him to look to creative means to work around his lightweight and stature. But that’s one of the things that are great about Steph: his work ethic. He is full of talent, but hear this: he’s always in court long before training begins, and by the time others get in, he would have worked up a sweat and would be ready for whatever. After the session, he would remain behind and wouldn’t leave until he had scored five free throws in a row. If he scored four and missed the fifth, it didn’t qualify. It had to be five in a row. Even in this time of great fame, he spends much of his off season time honing his skills so that he’s in excellent form. Now that’s what I call commitment to improvement. Having a disadvantage turned into a blessing can only come from commitment to making it so. He is in the same league now as much bigger and heavier guys like LeBron James (250 pounds, 6 ft 8, and Kevin Durant, 240 pounds, 6 ft 9 ; both great champions in their own right. On a good day, Stephen weighs 185 pounds and his height is at 6 ft 3. Therefore he knows that every throw matters, every dribble, every back pass, every single move has to be honed to perfection so that he’s a lithe monster on the court.

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Like the saying goes “the only room that is never full, is the room for improvement”.

2. When success comes, do not forget what drove you at the beginning: Stephen has always been outspoken about his faith, and used to write 4:13 on his sneakers when he played in his college team. (Philipians 4:13 –  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me). When he got a deal with Under Armour who makes his shoes now, he had it printed on it. After every winning shot, he often beats his chest and points to heaven, as a reminder that he’s playing for God. He’s 28, but is married to his college sweetheart, Ayesha Curry, whom he met in church years ago, and they have two daughters. How does he do it? You may ask. His value system. I don’t know the details of how he balances pro basketball with a family, but he’s doing it, and doing great at it! He has an example in his father Dell, who played pro basketball for 16 seasons but was blessed with a family that stayed together. He says he wasn’t afraid to take the plunge! That’s what faith and a good family will do for you. I believe it would be the same even if he wasn’t famous. Do not forget what drove you at the beginning.

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3. Give back to society: Stephen has been involved with the UN’s nothing but nets campaign, which they use as a platform to provide aid to countries still battling with malaria. Stephen pledged that for every three pointer he makes, he would donate three nets to the cause. He is involved in many other charities. We could learn from this, since here in Nigeria, it seems to be the unspoken rule to succeed alone. You can read more about Stephen Curry here, here, and Here.

I hope this inspires you to go beyond the discouragements and obstacles. Number one lesson is probably the most important advice us young people need today. Here’s to the success of the dreams we’re working hard at. May we all succeed.

Monday Humor: I Did A Bad Thing And I’m Not Remorseful!

 

You see this job of mine, it requires a lot of moving around. I am constantly prospecting and so I never stay in one place. Imagine someone like me, who is content to just sit indoors and read for days, becoming such a “crayfish” on the daily!

I don’t have a car. That means I spend half of my working hours jumping from bus to keke, bus to Okada (motorbike) or bus to bus. Sometimes I get fed up and just trek if I’m familiar with the environment. Don’t be surprised if you one day see me walking down your road like a soldier on the way to battle, with my earphones on(probably listening to hiphop or rap) and my steps very long. Hehe. I’m just saying.

So, like I was saying before I deviated, I am paid to waka waka on a daily basis. Its much more than that but let me not bore you with details. I have learnt how to deal with all kinds of people on the street. To be honest, the streets are strict, man. You need a sixth and seventh sense to outsmart the people you will meet there. A notorious breed are the drivers and conductors. These guys are the kings of the streets! Without them, the vast majority of carless Lagosians would be left helpless. They know this, and they are quick to remind anyone of it. Some days, one could be lucky not to come across anyone of them that would wear your nerves down to the last thread. But lets be real. If you go a day using Lagos public transport, and you are not shoved, insulted or at the very least, treated shoddily by them (especially the conductors! 😤) then you better offer sacrifices to amadioha when you get home. I kid, I kid.

That was how I entered this danfo  bus oh. Omo, it seems the conductor’s wife beat him up that morning because he was in such a sour mood. When I wanted to enter, he insulted me for being too slow. When I entered, he insulted the guy beside me for giving him a 500 naira note for a trip of 100 naira. When I was to get down, he insulted me and my ancestors for not remembering to yell out my bus stop because I was “pressing phone”. I alighted, feeling too tired to care. There was no traffic but my buttocks were tired of the hard wooden bus seats. Then I realized something. I was still holding my 100 naira note and the bus had sped off!

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The conductor had insulted away his payment! I would have felt bad on a different day but that day, I was happy. Kai! You can’t imagine how happy I was. I immediately hailed the FanMilk guy on his bicycle and bought my SuperYogo tetrapak. (Yo, If you grew up in Lagos and you don’t know Superyogo, tell your parents to go and buy you a real childhood). I felt no remorse whatsoever. In fact, that was the best tasting yogurt I had had in a veeeeeery long time.

Nonsense and ingredients!

Happy Easter dear friends. As Jesus rose, that is how every good thing that had died in your life will start to rise now now now. Kiakia, ozigbo ozigbo! No be play o. Believe Jesus, and believe me. 😁. Ngwa, my nsala soup haff done. Eees time toh go. Till my next post, Have a stupendously  splendid week ahead! Kizzez!

Sincerely, Chibugo

My pipu, have you heard of the Woman and her Ink writing challenge by Access bank? I entered for it and I need you all to vote for me. Every time you share my article on social media, you earn me points. Epp my ministry by sharing my article on your social media platforms. Head over to the website and read it. There are a lot of articles on there. Its really amazing. Knock yourself out! You can read mine and vote here!  Tainkiu!

RAPE: No One Deserves It!

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A couple days back, as I walked down the road, I happened upon a man staring intently in one direction. Naturally, I was curious and looked to find out what had interested him so much to warrant such a stare. I turned and saw the focus of his attention: A very voluptuous woman was walking down the road and his eyes moved with the rhythm of her swaying waist. I didn’t understand it. They were literally fixed on her swinging buttocks, with no shame or self consciousness whatsoever. Amazing, I thought. I passed by him and shook my head. After I walked a few metres, I felt the urge to turn around and see where his attention would be this time. Lo and behold, his eyes were trained on my backside!!! I was astonished! Now, know this: by African standards, I have a flat backside. FLAT. What could he be looking at?

I had initially thought his gaze was fixed on the other woman because of her enormous backside, but I realized that there was something more to it: No matter whose backside it was, he would give it the same treatment! Brethren, he literally undressed me with his eyes and I am sure many other female passers by would be on the receiving end of that stare. It made me think, really, about this rampant phenomenon called rape, and what leads to it. When I was younger and didn’t fully understand what rape meant, each time I heard of rape, I would usually think that it was probably because the female put herself in a provocative position and that made her get such a treatment.

I came to understand some things more clearly. A rapist will rape no matter what. There is something that makes a man cheat on his wife, no matter how loyal and physically attractive she is. That same thing makes a man rape a woman, regardless of age. This is the same thing that makes a brother defile his sister: Lack of self control. Only animals should have to be qualified under this group. No doubt, looking isn’t the same as actually doing, but a lot of the time, it leads to it.

There is a wrong notion down here that inappropriate dressing qualifies one for rape. A very stupid misconception. How indecent is a woman covered with clothes from head to toe with a hijab on her head? How indecent is a 6 year old child? How indecent is a 92 year old woman? These and many more similar cases have been recorded, and very few actually speak out for fear of stigmatization. The problem is very fundamental. We are a society that raise women with the mindset that they are something inferior, and on the other hand, raise boys to be kings of their worlds. You would be surprised at the huge number of girls/boys who have been molested by trusted family members or friends.The reality of it all will shock you.
Let me rant a bit. From birth, girls are told to conform to certain standards or else they become unmarriageable. Sit and close your legs! Don’t you know you’re a girl?/ Don’t study political science or law! Don’t you know you’re a girl?/ Don’t argue too knowledgeably! Don’t you know you’re a girl? Just smile and agree with him! You shouldn’t try to prove too smart.(Y’all gon have to kill me dead on this one) /Don’t buy that car! Its too expensive! Don’t you know you’re a girl? No man wants to marry a girl who is too successful!/ Your husband cheated on you? Serially? Ahn ahn! What did you do? (Imagine that!) Were you not giving it to him regularly? You were? What about his food? hmmm, well you just have to endure and pray to God to change his heart (Yeah, God doesn’t fight our battles for us. Wait a bit more till said husband awards you an STD for your prayerful efforts). The list goes on and on. Being a woman becomes a thing of shame. A thing that only has honour when you are able to answer Mrs Somebody(And don’t even think it ends there, Mrs Somebody. Have you had a son yet?). On the other hand, the boys are trained to possess the world. To rule. To govern. To take. Well, somebody shoot me! This is where the problem lies! They keep taking and taking! I know I’m kinda all over the place in this article but this is a rant and I’m pretty much typing as the spirit leads. While we train our girls to fit into the “good wives” category, why don’t we also teach our boys that their job is to protect and not harm the female species? Why do we not teach our sons to be good husbands too? To be good and decent men basically?

The long and short of what I am rambling on and on about, is that, one:we have a duty to protect the next generation from this high spate of sexual abuse cases by teaching them right. Two: in any true case of rape, the victim should never be blamed. Three: even a prostitute does not deserve to be raped. There is no justification whatsoever, for the act of rape. The fact is, rape is about power, not necessarily sex.  A rapist is a criminal, period. The act is usually well thought out and planned before it is done. It is hardly ever on a whim. The mere thought of anyone having to force me into doing the do is enough to make me contemplate suicide. Honestly, what are your thoughts about this?

While you ponder on whether this post is about rape or gender equality, let me leave you with these:

A woman is human. She is not better, wiser, stronger, more intelligent, more creative, or more responsible than a man. Likewise, she is never less. Equality is a given. A woman is human. – Vera Nazarian

Rape is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with groups who deal with rape is that they try to educate women about how to defend themselves. What really needs to be done is teaching men not to rape. Go to the source and start there. – Kurt Cobain

Bear with me. I have been recently pelted left, right and centre with tear inducing stories of rape that I have come here to let off some steam. Do your bit, people. Let’s kick against rape.

Sincerely, Chibugo.

She, The girl

She, the girl, has lived in Lagos all her life, and hawked almost everything hawkable. At 16, she has seen much more than the average Lagos teenager. But unlike the average hawker, she speaks correct English and carries herself like the Queen of England in her raggedy clothes, because mother and father tell her she is so. She is that girl that comes first place in class every term against all odds. With some months in secondary school to go, her parents have to make a hard choice between sending their first daughter to the University and letting her work with her Senior school certificate for some more years and save up so that the strain will be a little more bearable. University training is a different ball game, you know.

They dabble in this trade, and then that trade, to make ends meet. Three meals a day are quite the luxury. Five mouths to feed don’t make it any easier. Clothes have to be mended regularly, shoes repaired, and hair cropped. Everything is stripped down to the barest basics.  But one things is constant.: everyone must go to school. This, they all agree on. No one has the time for frivolities: even the 8 year old baby of the home knows how every kobo comes in. She, the girl, is constantly growing and filling her clothes too fast. One day, she puts her daily secret savings together and she discovers that she has 500 naira. She decides she might as well buy a blouse and a skirt from the used clothes market. Mother may be mad for a while but she would eventually get over it, after all, she tries to make good sales everyday and makes good grades at school too.

At the market, she picks up the clothes,  pangs of guilt tearing at her insides. The money could have made a pot of soup for the family. But her clothes are now so tight and the stares from the boys are getting embarrassing. She tightens her resolve and pays the money to the seller whose cries of “okirika select and pay! Hundred hundred naira!” threaten to turn her deaf.

Home now, she is determined to keep the clothes a secret from mother for as long as possible. She folds them and puts them away, but in a moment of curiosity while memorizing some mathematical formula, goes back to look at her pretty but faded clothes and admire them a second time. Putting on the blouse, which seems newer, she detects a bulge in the pocket she didn’t know was there before. She hastily picks out the contents of the pockets to continue her game of dress up, but she looks at the papers she removed from the pockets again and discovers that it is some kind of foreign currency. She chuckles and turns it over. Dollars. The laughter stops. There is no way she can keep this from mother. Her stomach tightens in dread at having to confess to shopping by herself and having to explain the source of the notes.

Mother returns from the market. Slow day for sales, she says. The girl quietly tells mother everything and raises her head when she hears no response. Mother says, “bring the clothes and the money”. She does so with trepidation. Mother hastily unfolds the money, completely ignoring the clothes. Two hundred dollar bills , two twenties and a five stare at them. How it got there, no one may ever know. They stare at this foreign money in amazement. It is just three notes, but they are thinking the same thing: by this fortunate stroke of destiny, she, the girl, just got the chance to go to school.

What you take for granted is somebody’s greatest wish –  Unknown.

Sincerely, Chibugo

Monday Humor : Pepper soup!

The witches from my village said there would be no Monday Humor post today, but Jesus said no. Here we are finally. It’s been a very hectic day at work for me, I apologize for the late post. Thank God for mobile devices, as I’m actually typing on the go. So whether you’re on the way home from work, class, or already relaxed at home, here’s one for you.

Kembu my big sister got married a couple years ago and during their honeymoon months, her and her husband made it a point of duty to try out all the restaurants in their new neighborhood. Turns out there was this pepper soup joint that they had been hearing about from friends for a long time. So they decided to hang out there one night.

Kembu made her order and her hubby decided to listen to the band first before making his order. After a few spoons of the soup, she complained. “these people want to kill somebody with pepper oh!  Haba”! Her eyes were already beginning to water and her nose was running freely. To which her hubby absently replied,” you just don’t know how to eat peppersoup. You’re not supposed to be taking a sweet drink with it. Stop complaining joor”. Kembu looked at him and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Just negodu this guy saying she doesn’t know how to eat peppersoup! She who qualifies as a master peppersoup eater! Chai!

In full retaliation gear now, she asked him sweetly, “won’t you make your order dear?”, and he did. It only took one spoon to remove his entire attention from the band.  He was sputtering all over the place. “Blood of Jesus!”  He yelled, looking around and rubbing his head in shock as his mouth hung open. “Kembu, is this what you’ve been eating all this time? Are you human at all”? Seeing her expressionless face, he directed his anger elsewhere. His eyes were already tearing up and his nose was running. After just one spoon. Chai! Their peppery dinner was left untouched as they left the restaurant in a haste.

In the car, he continued his tirade at the management of the place. As they reversed and got into the main road, he realized how silent Kembu was. He looked over at her, and in the dark interior of the car, all he could see were her eyes sparkling with suppressed mirth. She maintained a straight face and replied drily: “You just don’t know how to eat pepper. Stop complaining joor”. He shook his head, remembering that he used the same sentence few minutes ago. It was his turn to be confused as to whether to laugh or cry.

Revenge is sweet 😀

As any wife or husband knows, it(marriage) requires a whole lot of love and an unflappable sense of humor. – Kristine Solomon.