You trudge into a gathering of Nigerians (so either a church or a party*), trailing behind your Mama-popular mother.
Suddenly, she looks to the right and wonders aloud, "Is that not Bola Eleko?" Before you know what is happening, she has changed direction and you are rapidly approaching a table of strangers. You get to the table and then begin your own wondering, "Who at this table qualifies as Uncle/Aunty? Do I just curtsy for everyone? Or should I just form omo America and say hi to everyone?"
When we were 12, every woman who was old enough to wear a full face of makeup and carry her own purse was Aunty. And every guy who was old enough to have broad shoulders and facial hair was Uncle.
A decade later, the rules are not so simple anymore. Now that we are now agbalagba*** ourselves, who qualifies as Aunty and Uncle to us?
The people we've been calling Aunty and Uncle since we were 12 don't count. They've been grandfathered in.
But how about the cousins that you are meeting for the first time? Or that family friend who you've only spoken to once?
Some people use age difference as a guideline, but how-in-the-heck am I supposed to know your age if we met 5 minutes ago? The whole thing is just wahala.
If you have thoughts, please drop 'em below. I'd like to know
* If you know, you know. You know?
**agbalagba - Yoruba word for adult
She took a deep breath, one hand on her chest and the other gripping the steering wheel tightly.
It’s okay, Tola. It’s just a date.
It was her first date this year, which wasn’t bad considering it was only January 14th. But it was also her first date since 2018.
When she woke up on January 1st 2020, Tola knew something had to change. She couldn’t keep waiting for Mr. Right to walk up to her when she was getting coffee at Starbucks. For all she knew, Mr. Right didn’t drink coffee.
So Tola had picked up her phone and dialed Mummy’s Nigerian number.
You were right. I need your help to find someone, she admitted, her words laced with shame and frustration.
Tola intentionally made the call using Whatsapp Voice call - she couldn’t bear to see the I-told-you-so look on Mummy’s face. It hadn’t mattered. Mummy said it. Multiple times.
Then, two days later, like the answer to a prayer, a tall glass of handsome chocolate had walked up to her in Starbucks and asked for her number. She had been tempted to ask if he was sure.
But she didn’t. Instead, she took his phone and typed her number.
I’ll call you, he promised with a wide smile and twinkling eyes.
And he had.
So here she was, on January 14th 2020, a 35-year-old woman terrified to go into Applebee’s.
I know it's been said a million times, but here it is again for the million-and-oneth (million-and-first?!) time:
Don't live your life to please people. Don't make your life choices based on "what would people say."
First of all, it is not worth it. Second of all, it is not even possible.
People don't know what they want. Today, they think it is cool that you are the first person of color to marry into British royalty. Tomorrow, they think you are an upstart "black woman" who is trying to rise above her station and steal their beloved prince away.
People have unreasonable expectations. They are fickle. How they feel about you is not based on what you do, it is based on how they feel.
So, Duchess Meghan , if you ever read this, I hope you are happy. I hope you are thriving. I hope you are proud of who you have become.
I hope you are all God created you to be.
Picture sourced: https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2020/01/prince-harry-meghan-markle-canadian-holiday-photo
My name is Ronke.
I wonder if my Nigerian name would be so hard to pronounce if it was European.
If my five-lettered Nigerian name were a name like Konoplyanka or Vrsaljko or Przemysław, I wonder if that would make it easier for my fellow Americans to pronounce it correctly.
Maybe they would take on the necessary accent to pronounce my name correctly. Even if that means pronouncing 'j' as a 'y' or something. Maybe they would do anything. Anything to make sure that my name sounded the same way it does in the language it comes from.
Maybe they wouldn't pause every time they had to read my name as if it was a complex mathematics equation that defied solution.
Maybe they would roll the 'r' and accentuate the 'e,' so that it actually sounds like the name I was given at my christening.
Maybe I wouldn't have to listen for every variation of my name to make sure I don't miss my turn to go up for a class presentation, or heaven forbid, my diploma at graduation.
Maybe my family in the audience at my graduation would not have to listen more intently than others so they don't miss when the announcer inadvertently mumbles and fumbles through my name.
Maybe they wouldn't give me a silly nickname that makes every one, but me, laugh.
Maybe they would actually try.
Maybe I wouldn't have to produce an English name so it is easier on them.
Maybe I wouldn't have to learn to respond to an English name outside and a Nigerian name inside.
Maybe I wouldn't have to smile and say "it's okay" when they can't pronounce a five-letter-word.
Maybe I wouldn't have to smile politely to ease their discomfort.
Maybe they would actually try.
Say my name. Say my freakin' name.
Don't be afraid to let go and just let God.
I assure you, the earth will not fall off its axis because you decided to rest in the LORD.
He's got the earth, and you, safely cradled in His Hands. Isaiah 49:15, 40:12
Just because something makes sense doesn't make it true.
A cheating boyfriend could claim that the perfume you smell on him is his co-worker's. That doesn't mean he is not cheating.
Do you know one of the explanations for "why things fall" that was proposed before Newton? Aristotle explained that objects fall to the ground because objects are always striving to return to their original home. That is why plastic, glass, metal, etc. all fall to the earth. Fire, on the other hand, rises because it is returning to the sun.
Doesn't that make intuitive sense?
But is it true, though?
Just because evolution and natural selection make sense does not mean God did not create the world in 7 days as the Bible says.
Though I am not necessarily a fan of this word, I believe it is appropriate in this case: Stay woke.
The best kind of lies are those that sound like the truth.
Abeg, stay woke.
As much as new year resolutions have become a cliche, we still make them. We still set goals and make plans for the new year and there is nothing wrong with that.
Here's what there is something wrong with: waiting for someone else to validate your goals.
You don't need it.
For instance, if you set a plan to own a house by the end of the year, you don't need someone to tell you it is not practical since you are not making a steady income.
You don't need it.
But the reality is that we want it. In fact, as humans, we crave validation and approval.
But the truth is that we don't always get it. We don't always have people in our lives who prioritize our interests. Even if they do, they are human and have their own ish to deal with.
Instead: pray, set your goals, pray some more, make your plans, do your best, and leave the rest to God.
Don't wait for someone else to say they like what you are doing or that you are doing good.
Plis dear, find your validation in God.7
I thought someone might need to hear this.
This might seem a bit heavy since we are only 3 days into the year, but if you have been on social media...then, you know.
- The fires in Australia.
- The attack on Iran.
- The possibility of WWIII
Y'all, we got this. Satan is just frontin'
A valley just means that there is a higher place nearby.