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Black History Month, Descriptive, Emotion, Fiction, PenPractice, writing

A Good Death – Part 2

I never understood how deep the forest was until I began marching through it with my brothers and some of the other children from the tribe. We had left the morning after my father’s retelling. 

If only I knew that was the last time things were going to be normal. I would never have left. The prize was not worth the effort or the process it took to attain it. The Raga are monsters. 

In front of us, leading the fifty children of Ogun, was the Elder’s second wife. She was the acting shaman of our tribe, the priestess by which we prayed to our god, Ogun. She, along with her husband, told us what our god required from us each year and we would do our best to meet it. 

It was a surprise when she began the journey as our leader but soon enough, the surprise waned. Tearful goodbyes and last hugs with our parents were the only things in our minds as we navigated deeper into the forest. Soon enough, all we saw were trees and visions of trees. 

Over us, the sun went down and a full moon replaced it in the sky. The forest was bathed in the blue light of the moon and the shaman, Okoye, lit torches for the eldest of the children to carry. 

On my belt, I wore the knife my father had given me for my seventh name-day. It wasn’t the best-looking knife but the handle was covered with the fur of a bear father had killed and the blade had been carved from a black rock that fell from the sky, according to his account. 

The wooden handle was cut from the mahogany tree at the center of the village, an act that was only permitted by the shaman and no one else. 

“The tree is the gods and the gods keep it,” mother had explained. 

The knife was in my hand now as we walked deeper into the forest. All around me, my brothers and friends had their weapons in hand. Some were carrying bows and short knives, while others had machetes and warrior blades. Those were our elders. They were the ones who weren’t quite warriors yet but had begun their training. And Sogo was one of them. 

He locked eyes with me, his dark brown eyes catching the light of the torch in his hand and he smiled at me assuringly like he always did. He sheathed the blade back on his belt and ruffled my curled hair with his free hand. 

“Don’t worry, Jide. I will keep you all safe from whatever comes our way,” he whispered to me before gently pushing me on. 

His words settled my restlessness and I nodded and pushed forward with the rest of the children. We had no idea where we were going, except that we were to keep walking until the shaman determined that we had walked far enough. 

Still, we kept walking. Around us in the dark, animal noises filled the air and increased the tension in the group but the shaman didn’t stop. If I remember correctly, she even sped up as if trying to get to the destination in time. 

At a point, our slow creep through the forest had turned into a run and by the time she told us to slow down, we were panting for air and begging for water. We didn’t get any, save from the already emptying waterskins the eldest children carried. And yet, the shaman didn’t stop. And along the way, we lost ten from our group to exhaustion and thirst. 

We were lucky in this regard, my brothers and I because father had taken it upon himself to train us to go on for hours without rest or water. I still don’t believe it was because he expected this to happen but I was glad that the training kept us alive. Largely. 

Sometimes, Elder Okoye would allow us to rest, but only for a few hours before the journey started again. 

Day turned to night, which turned to day. And then the cycle continued. Hunger gnawed at us and thirst clawed at our throats but the shaman didn’t stop. She just kept moving like she was unaffected by what we were feeling. Perhaps she was. That is something I will never find out.

Regardless, Deji, my five-year-old brother, didn’t make it past the fourth day before he collapsed on the floor for good. 

It was on the seventh day that we finally got the chance to stop. 

By this time, blisters had formed underneath our feet and it was increasingly difficult to focus on moving. The shaman didn’t stop but she slowed down a bit and we took some rest from it. The sun had risen for the day and it bathed us with its warmth which felt oppressive in our thirsty state. 

And yet, there was something about it. Something strange. As thirsty, tired, and hungry as I was, I couldn’t help but feel like there was something wrong with the day. I wasn’t sure if it was the sun, or the way I felt, or how far the shaman appeared to be from the group. 

I mentioned it to Sogo and he frowned before hobbling forward faster to catch up to her and as if on cue, the shaman began to run. The rest of us tried to catch up with her, struggling as we increased our speed but by the time we went through the group of trees that she passed, we had lost her. 

And gained something different. 

As we passed through the trees, we burst out of the forest into a large clearing that seemed to stretch from end to end with no more trees in sight. The ground was different, hardened and yet, smooth and cool to the touch. Cautiously, we all exited the forest and stepped on the strange ground. 

Ahead of us, was a structure, unlike anything we had seen before. It stood taller than most of the trees we had walked past in the forest but the more I stared at it, the more it reminded me of the mahogany tree back home. 

Looking at it filled me with an intense sense of dread that increased with each second. The entrance to the place was open but even in the light of the sun, it just looked like a black cloth had been placed across it. Like a shadow veil that we will have to cross. I blinked as I noticed a ripple in the shadow veil. 

Like someone else was present in our vicinity. I took a step forward without meaning to and tried to be sure that I saw someone beyond the door. 

A shout of celebration broke my gaze with the veil and I looked down to see a river bank separating the strange, smooth road from the building. 

At once, all the children rushed forward and I found myself running along, my mind suddenly filled with the thought of water on my lips and down my throat. Kunle and Seun had jumped in already and were swimming in it. Sogo was just behind me, along with a few other children as we raced towards the water. 

I was a step away from the water, already filled with playing children when I froze and looked up once more. 

Across the river, standing at the other side, was the shaman. We all stopped, even those in the water. The shaman looked down at them and shook her head in disappointment. Before we could do anything, all the children in the river disappeared under and they didn’t resurface. 

Slowly, to our horror and immediate understanding, the river changed from the bright blue it was, to a deepening red. In that instant, I had lost both of my brothers.

Black History Month, Descriptive, Emotion, Fiction, PenPractice, writing

A Good Death – Part 1

When I was young, still wet behind the ears as I ran around the mahogany tree that grew in the middle of the village, my father used to tell me stories about his days as a warrior of our tribe. Back then, it made little sense to me, the stories. His eyes would water and his mind would wander about his glory days and how he wished he died a good death. 

He was still a warrior during these retellings, though the grey in his hair contrasted against his ebony skin. It was a sign that he was growing in age. 

Each retelling of his ‘glory days’ began with his return from the hunt. Every week, my father and a few of the other tribesmen would come together and go out into the forest to hunt for the tribe. Sometimes, the hunt would take days and the whole tribe would worry, waiting with bated breath.

And yet, the mornings of their returns always coincided with the rising sun and they would enter the village, bathed in the golden light of the sun god, their skin rippling as if dripping with Sango’s blessing. I used to believe that spirits walked with them whenever they returned but such is the mind of a youngling. 

Still, the hunters would drop their kill at the center of the village, underneath the mahogany tree and our tribe’s shaman would come to separate it, with a portion reserved as a sacrifice for our gods. The elder would rest a hand on the hunters, whispering a prayer on them before dispersing them to their wives and loved ones. 

On those days, my father would rush back to my mother first, carrying her off the floor and showering her with kisses before taking her inside to discuss. To discuss. That was what my mother called it. I know better now. 

One day, after their ‘discussion’ was finished, my father sauntered out, sweat still dripping down his skin, and gathered us together. I was the third son of five children. All boys. We were the pride of my father and I could see that, even then when I knew of little. 

My father took a seat on a small stool, just outside our hut, and my brothers and I sat around him, eager to hear what new stories he had to tell us. My mother came then, as she always did, to hand him a bowl of some ripened fruit punch and he emptied the bowl into his mouth before speaking. 

“Have I ever told you this one story…” he began and we drew nearer almost subconsciously. 

“Have I ever told you this one story about the time I first faced the Raga Tribe? I have told you about the skirmishes of Ogun and how all these smaller tribes sought to fight us and encroach on our lands. Those fights were easy. Not challenging in any way. 

“So much so that even Ogun did not interfere or assist us. He let us fight on our own merits because he knew there was nothing the smaller tribes could do to hurt us. And he was right.”

My father’s hands went to the wooden beads linked around his neck and he fingered it gingerly. The beads were in different colors, ranging from red to dark blue that mirrored the endless sea. 

The manner in which he began, made it seem like our fight with the Raga was completed but I knew different. Even now, in the comfort of our new home, stories of fights with the Raga were common. Still, as children, we were never told about who the Raga tribe were and what they wanted. 

Now and then, a few warriors of the tribe would head out to assist another tribe in resisting the Raga’s invasion. We rarely saw the warriors return. 

They were our enemies and eventually, we would have to fight them when we became men. 

“But the Raga Tribe… There was something different about them,” he said solemnly. 

Worry lines deepened on his face and for an instant, I stopped seeing my father, the warrior. Instead, I saw my father, the man. His face hardened as he stared into the distance, the scar on his right cheek catching the sun’s glint. He flared his nostrils as if taking in a lasting breath before taking time to look at each of us in turn. 

I remember frowning then, unsure of why my father was acting unlike himself. In his retellings, there was usually a smile plastered on his face as he told his stories. Sometimes, he would get on his feet and show us the attack he used to win a fight, or how he positioned himself to catch his enemy by surprise but this time, he just sighed and continued. 

“It was before you were born…” he said, nodding at my younger brother before pointing at me, “…and it was just after your first year.”

“We got word that some of our former enemies, the Fishing tribe to the south, had met an untimely end. Word of a stronger tribe moving along the coast in search of a new home. The Elder called a council and assembled the warriors together to tell us what we must do.” 

He dropped the bowl to the floor, close to his feet and I glanced down to see my mother, sitting next to him, refilling his bowl. She flashed me a sad smile and I frowned. 

“The elder said we must be ready to defend our tribe if the time comes. Which went without saying. But there was a tremble to his voice. Something was bothering him. Still, we answered that we will do what we must and he dismissed us.

“A week after that meeting, the eastern tribe… our Enemies, the Hanaya, were destroyed by this mysterious invader and it was then we understood that our time to fight was fast approaching. I was a warrior captain now so I made my men practice even as I laid traps in the village in preparation for the mysterious invaders.”

He paused and drank from the newly filled bowl before handing it back to my mother and gracing her with a smile. She smiled back at him in appreciation, the little indent in her cheek deepening. 

“It was in the middle of my trap-laying that the elder called me and told me that we must attack the Hanaya village after sunset. I questioned the decision, finding no reason for why we had to be the aggressors until the elder told me what his scouts had seen.”

“What had they seen, Papa?” my eldest brother asked. 

My father looked at him and leaned forward a little even as his voice went quieter. 

“Monsters,” he replied. 

We all flinched and he chuckled as if expecting our reaction. Still, he leaned in further as he began to describe them. 

“The scouts saw monsters who stood on two feet as we did, but their skin had no color,” he explained. 

“No color?!” my younger brother exclaimed.

“Not a drop. The monsters had pale skin, like goat’s milk. Their eyes shone with blue gems and the hair on their head was yellow, like a lasting sickness refusing to leave. The scouts said that they carried an unknown weapon in their hands, one that spat fire and hot metal.”

“A weapon that spits fire and metal? How did you beat them, Papa?” My elder brother asked. 

My father looked at him and then at the rest of us. His face became grim as he took the bowl from his mother and emptied it into his mouth. 

“We didn’t. Not in a straight fight. Like the elder suggested, I gathered a group of warriors and set out to do what must be done to stop their spread. At night, under the cover of the shadows, we made our way down to the Raga. We thought as they will be sleeping, we will just take them before they wake up. We were mistaken,” he explained. 

“From the top of the hill, we could see the lights in the village, glowing like numerous fireflies in the distance. I should have turned back then. I knew in my heart that it was the right decision but I took it to be fear. So, we went down.”

My brothers and I drew in closer, our minds completely captured by the story. I glanced at my mother to see her grab my father by the leg and he looked at her, a flash of sadness crossing his features. 

“You see, in the short time they stayed at the Hanaya tribe, they had built tall slim houses that stood as tall as trees in the forest. We were unaware the Raga had seen us before we even saw them,” he said, leaning closer to us and dropping his voice a little. 

“We had lost before we even knew it. I lost the warriors with me that day. The men that I called ‘brothers’. I watched as their lives all got snuffed out like fire torches.” 

The silence at that moment was oppressive. On normal days, when my father would retell his war stories, my brothers and I would be joking with him by now, laughing as he played out how he won against his enemies. We didn’t do that this time. 

My father sat back straight and took another bowl of fruit punch from my mother and emptied it, before whispering a word of thanks to her. She smiled at him before refilling it, though she didn’t hand it over to him yet. 

“None of you have asked me why they are called the Raga tribe,” he said in a solemn voice. 

No one spoke for a moment. Then, I asked the question. 

“Why are they called the Raga tribe?”

My father fixed his gaze on me intently as if he was looking into me. 

“They are called Raga because when we faced them that day, we walked into a line of the monsters awaiting us with their metal weapons. And as soon as they saw us, there was a loud sound from their weapons. Their name is how I remembered the weapon sound.”

He stood up from the stool and crossed his arms as he regarded the five of us. For a moment, I saw a glint in his eyes that looked like tears but I thought I was seeing things. He extended his hand towards my mother without looking at her and she handed the bowl to him.

My father took a sip from the bowl this time around before handing it to my eldest brother, an act he had never done before. 

“Drink. Today, you all become men,” he said. 

My eldest brother, Sogo, looked at my father for a moment before drinking from the bowl, after which he passed it to Kunle and then to me. I drank it, feeling the heat in my throat as the taste of the fruit punch mixed with my senses. I could see why my father loved it. I could also see how much I didn’t. 

After my youngest brother had drunk his share, my mother took the bowl from him even as my father commanded us to rise to our feet. He kept his gaze on us throughout and it’s only now that I think I understand what might have been going through his mind. 

Perhaps he was trying to sear our faces in his mind so that he wouldn’t forget. Perhaps. 

Anxiety, Emotion, Fiction, Love, Pain, PenPractice, Poem, thoughts

Lie To Me

“He loves us…
Can’t you see it?

Him professing his every love for us
Without even trying to make us official
Because we’re already official,
Can’t you see it?

All the midnight trysts,
Hotel visits,
And subtle holidays,
The nicknames, fake names and
Fake appointments.

Why else would he try so much,
If we don’t mean so much to his enjoyment?

He called us his ever after,
Always after,
Everything else in his life
So that he can spend time with us.

If that’s not love,
Then what is?”

“It’s alright…

We’re alright.

I mean, we’re not happy
But we’re not sad,
We’re just ‘there’ dealing with issues,
Not so different from anyone else, right?

It’s not a big deal,
Not even a deal at all,
Just human with human emotions
And dark thoughts filling the ether

Other than which,
We are pretty standard
So no use talking about it
With someone else
Or even yourself in the mirror.

It’s alright…”

“So what?
She broke up with us,
So what?

She doesn’t deserve us,
If anything, she’s lost us.
Lost access to the magnificence that is us,
The sheer brilliance that we offer.

I mean, sure, we might not ‘love’ again
But what is love anyway?
What good did it do us?

Its a useless emotion.
A weak feeling professed by idiots
And we’re better off without it.

I mean, sure,
some Hearts might be broken along the way
But as long as we get our fun
What business is it to us?

We don’t need her.
We have us.

We are alright… right?”

Coping System, Emotion, PenPractice, Poem, thoughts

Surface Ripples

There’s a certain taste to it
A spice thats too much for any rational palate
The kind of seasoning that ruins a dish.

Its grief.

There’s nothing quite like it
Corrosive poison cycling through your heart
The kind of stuff that silently kills

You’re grieving

And nothing anyone says captures it
The sheer monstrosity of drowning in pain
Sinking below the surface of ‘alright’
Thrashing,
Struggling,
Gasping for relief
So a hand stretches to the dwindling light
As hope whimpers its final breaths



Then a hand breaks the surface
And grabs yours.

Thoughts

A Return To Form

I told myself, at the beginning of this post, that I’ll try to make this a short one.

Or course, it’s all in my head, so maybe it wouldn’t be as I think it should. In any case, it’s been months/years since I did a write up so it’s only proper that I do the needful…

First off, Happy New Year and all that wonderful stuff. I have been missing for the better part of the lockdown for hobby and mental health related reasons. I had nothing to write (specifically), and I was working on some gaming related work on the side which is turning out well, to be honest.

Nonetheless, as someone trying to carve out a space as a writer, being away for so long is a detriment to the long term plan so it is only apt that I do the needful.

Speaking of which, here are some announcements for your eyes.

1. Book two of the Heirarchy is in the works. I had a plan for it to have been published by my birthday but I failed.

2. I’m working on something else on the side. I can’t talk much about it because it’s existence is under contest rules so please bear with me.

3. I have half a mind to return to my newsletters but I’m planning on how to better implement it for the future.

4. My fourth book is in the edits and I’m hoping to approach a publisher for that so wish me luck.

And thats really it. I have something in my mind to discuss but that will be in a different post that goes up either later tonight or tomorrow.

In any case, I’d like to say I’m back.

Hope the year has been kind to you and yours.

Blog, WinterABC2020, writing

I Missed My Ninth Day, I think…

I don’t know where to begin from. I have been absent from blogging for six days now. Usually, I’d say I’ve been absent for ‘reasons’ but the truth is simpler;

  1. I couldn’t write
  2. I couldn’t focus on any of the topics with the way the world was going
  3. Some of the topics don’t quite match up with the blog/website

To be honest, I did consider writing quite a few times within the last few days but I’d open the blog and stare at the blank page, debating whether or not I stay on topic or deviate and speak on what’s happening outside in the world. Never reached a decision so I just didn’t write.

Still, I’m here… Well, here now.

And now, I have to decide whether or not I take on Topic #9 or Topic #14.

Or maybe both.

Both Is Good The Road To El Dorado GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
If you haven’t watched ‘Road to El Dorado’, you’re missing on some goodies.

Let’s begin with 9. Depending on when this goes live, #14 or #15 will be next.

Four of The Accounts I Follow and Why I Respect Them

  1. @ImAdeAkins

Consistency tweeting is something I respect and I hold in high regard. This is a trend in the accounts I follow. AdeAkins is someone I’ve known for a while and I’ve watched him excel. His podcasts are excellent and informative, his cocktail mixes are fun (especially with the namings) and he doesn’t just tweet for tweeting sake.

There’s something pure about using your voice to discuss important issues, be it Mental Health, Finances or Black Lives Matter.

2. @SincerelyOghosa

YouTuber / Influencer / Vlogger / Black Girl Magic. From the moment I followed her on Twitter and Instagram, I’ve been glad I did. Not only is she a fun youtuber to watch, she’s also focused and intentional in uplifting small black businesses. She’s fun to talk to and honest in her experiences either it be in Dating or Travelling.

3. @WilliamAdoasi

Founder of Vitae London. A black owned premium watch company. Having spoken to him a few times, I can easily say I love this dude. He’s active in helping communities, he speaks out on injustice whenever he can and he’s just an all-round amazing guy.

4. @Gaemechanger / @Gabz_Amadi

I put these two together because of the podcast they run. Also, because of the conversations we have on twitter about Christianity, belief and life, really. They are hilarious but truthful. They don’t shy away from odd or heavy topics but instead, express a willingness to understand and explore the topic from a biblical and life perspective. And that’s something I really like.

I believe that’s about it for the ninth topic. I think I like it this way. Short and concise.

On slightly unrelated topics;

  • For those interested in this particular hobby – I retrofitted my old YouTube channel into a gaming channel and I’ve begun putting some videos up. Heck, my voice is even recorded on it so you can hear me speak if you’re curious.
  • One of my books is free for download for subscribers to my newsletters 😀 – So Download, have a read and please leave a review!
  • Lastly, #BlackLivesMatter. The world is going through the motions but please be good to people around you. Please.
Blog, WinterABC2020, writing

Numero Seven – The Short One

Today’s topic is less about me and more about some of the blogs that I’ve been fortunate to see, read and enjoy. Blogs from people who are more or less, my people. My kin. Both in skin colour and in virtue.

As such, this is going to be a relatively short post.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to;

Doctor Kanayo

  • So I’ve enjoy reading her posts, most of which is superb not only in writing but in the message that is being passed across.
  • She writes about her faith, her job and life in general which is always a plus to read especially when its coming from a Psychology teacher. So please, give it a read.

Igbocurls

  • I have known the author of this blog for a long, long time and while the aim of the blog does not particularly apply to me, I believe it would have some application to anyone who is interested in learning, understanding and maintaining their natural hair.

Those are the two I have off the top of my head. As I haven’t been blogging and reading blogs as I used to years ago, I have fallen off in keeping up to date with bloggers in general, especially bloggers from my country.

However, that can easily change now, I believe. If you’re Nigerian and you’re a blogger, share your link in the comments. I would LOVE to take a look at your blog and follow you.

Better yet though, if you blog either consistently or every now and then, please do the same. It’s always an informative exercise to be able to see and experience things from other people’s viewpoint 🙂

Blog, WinterABC2020, writing

Six of 22. #WinterABC2020

Today’s post is late, mostly because I’ve spent the better half of it being busy with my other projects up to the point that I almost forgot I was due for another post.

“What other projects?” You ask with a coy smile.

Well, I have a few things that I have on my plate that I’m simultaneously working on. That is, at the moment;
– I’m working on a few stories (which I release as a serial on Reddit). I want to get my current ones done so that I can work on my book’s sequel.
– I repurposed my YouTube channel for gaming and game related stuff, along with Twitch.
– I’m doing some game development work with a few friends.

“Isn’t that kind of a lot?”

Why, yes. Yes, it is. But I find that being busy helps my creativity in writing and with the lock-down keeping me largely at home and largely aimless (after 9-5 work), I decided to prioritise some projects.

But enough about that. Let’s talk about today’s topic!!!

Four Things I’ve Learnt on Social Media

Oh boy. Social media is something unique. Unlike anything that has come before it. Honestly, I still think back to the days before we even had the mental concepts for smartphones. And the difference between life before and life after smartphones is something unheard of. And it brings me to my first point;

1) Nobody knows how to use it.

Which closely translates to, ‘nobody truly understands what it is supposed to be for’. I mean, think about it. What is Social Media for?

Is it to keep up with friends? We’ve got their numbers for that.
Is it to keep up with the news? We’ve got the TV for that.
Celebrities? Celebrity magazines have dedicated stalkers for information.

So, what is its purpose?

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tiktok and the likes will give you vague explanations to their uses but at the end of the day, we all use them the same way.

As an outlet to our lives. Which brings me to my next point.

2) Everyone shares too much.

You probably understand what I mean by this. The common example would be the people who so happen to share a lot about their relationships on twitter or facebook, listing out details that should be private or rather, dealt with in private.

You have some people completely detail the faults of their parents or partners or friends for some support in their decision to cut them off. Don’t get me wrong. If your family, friends or loved ones are (a) abusive, (b) racists or (c) on the narcissistic end of things, it’s perfectly understandable to cut them off. I just don’t think it necessarily has to be public unless the situations demand it be so.

Quick PSA: If you’re in an abusive relationship, please leave. Don’t wait until they become better. Just go.

All in all, in this area of oversharing, once you dig deeper you eventually figure out that for most of the people over-sharing, they are doing it for lesson number three.

3) Clout-Chasing.

This is something I personally detest. When people start sharing their stories not because it is particularly important but because they want some ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’. It trivialises important issues into a game of internet points which I find to extremely wrong.

And clout chasing takes so many forms.

You have the people who share fake stories. You have the people who bully others. You have the ones who post ‘thirst traps’ but pretend like that wasn’t what the picture was for. You get those who expose their DMs every single time they get a private message because of the picture they want to paint. You have people who are always contrarian. You have people who will always agree.

You have stans.

You have fancams.

You have meme accounts who only exist to take a shot at anything and everything that breathes on social media.

You have accounts who pretend to be racist just because it’s the ‘cool thing to be edgy’ on the internet, only to then turn around and ‘apologise’ when they get exposed.

Most of the lives on social net want to achieve some sort of fame that they’ve attached to follower count, likes and retweets. And I can’t say I fully blame them. After all, the advent of social media opened the doors to celebrity status via the route of ‘Influencer’. Suddenly, the pedestal that we place a lot of our ‘hollywood’ heroes are now within reach.

All in all, all of this brings me to the last thing I have learnt on social media.

4) It is having a bad effect on some people

In this point, I will leave the following so that you can read it up at your own leisure but the main crux is this. Social media is having a negative effect on some people’s mental states because we are being inundated with snippets of very different lifestyles.

And while it doesn’t sound like this should be a problem, some people can’t help but constantly compare themselves with those they believe to be successful. So, consciously and sometimes subconsciously, they start to change how they look, act, talk and behave in order to paint a picture that has no truth to who they really are.

Social media has made a lot of people live false online lives. And that’s a problem.

You can read more by clicking on the picture.
Blog, thoughts, WinterABC2020, writing

And On The 5th Day, He Wrote Again! #WinterABC2020

So, I know it was obvious that nothing was written yesterday. To everyone here, new and old, I apologise. I wasn’t in the best head-space yesterday and the thought of crafting a biographical piece on me didn’t get me out of it. I had a title and everything but yeah… Thursday was a miss.

Nonetheless, I made a pledge for relative consistency and I’m going to continue my best at keeping to it. That said, I believe my actions yesterday lead relatively well into the topic for today.

Welcome to “How To Take Breaks”. I’ll be your professor but call me Doc.

“How to take breaks? We all know how to do that!”

Take this as a reminder then. Taking breaks is something that everyone knows how to do and yet, still fail to do properly. If anything, there’s a slight negative connotation when you tell some people that you’re taking a break from something, either it be work, family or relationships.

Taking a break is not bad. I repeat, taking a break is NOT BAD. Sometimes, it is even crucial!

“How Sway!”

serious the four GIF by Diddy

There’s a phrase I used to hear in Nigeria and still here from time to time. It’s relatively simple, spoken in pidgin (broken English) but it solidifies the point I’m trying to make quite well. And it’s this;

Body no be firewood.”

In other words, there’s only so much you can take, physically, mentally, emotionally, figuratively, etc, before your body calls it quits and starts to shut down. And when your body starts to react to external and internal circumstances, you start to feel that.

For example, Stress.

Work stress sounds like something that should be encouraged: ergo, giving your continuous 100% at work, 9am-5pm, every single working day but it will eventually get to a point where your body will tell you to cut it out. And it will tell you fast.

This is what the NHS says Stress can do to you.

There is no justification to let the above happen just because you want to impress your boss, or your family or your partner. There is none.

YOUR HEALTH MATTERS – Physically, Mentally and Emotionally.

And, to be quite honest with you, you cannot give anyone the best of yourself if you’re not in the best place for yourself. Let me turn that into a quote for you to share around.

You cannot give your best if you’re not at your best.
– I. Ogunbase.

That is where having breaks come in. You can either have it as long breaks (a la Holidays or Sabbaticals) or short breaks, such as days off (even if its a half day). This is the physical aspects of it, the one that applies to work. The moment you start feeling the pressure on your mind and body and YOU KNOW that it’s putting you in a bad place, take a break.

The other ways of taking breaks are usually known;
– Watching a movie
– Playing a game
– Going out with friends
– etc etc

All the above help. I must stress, however, that taking breaks does not mean abusing it or becoming lazy as a result. Because that stops being a break and starts being an actual escape from responsibilities. This is a different topic but yeah. Don’t mistake taking breaks for being lazy. Don’t be lazy.

Breaks in relationships are more complicated and rightly so. Because taking a break means something in the relationship is not quite fitting properly. Now, in this day and age, when someone says they are taking a break, it automatically means they are breaking up with you.

When in truth, it should really mean ‘taking a break’. The break itself is supposed to a self-reflection of where the person is at with their partner, where they are planning to get to and the steps that they need to take.

And yes, it can lead to an actual break-up BUT it can also lead to a stronger reconciliation that helps both parties to grow and excel together. Both results are important in regards to your emotional state. Sometimes in life, self-introspection is needed and shouldn’t be missed.

All in all, try to take breaks whenever you feel like things are getting ‘too much’. If not for your sake, do it for your future. Do it for the best version of you.

Blog, WinterABC2020, writing

Third Time for Consistency #WinterABC2020

Hi All,

Hope you’re all having a nice wonderful afternoon amidst the fires of rebellion going on around the world. Touchy subject, I know… But I plan to touch on it eventually. Today, however, we will be addressing my favourite food of all time. One that makes my stomach happy and in return, makes me happy.

And yes, as a Nigerian, that sorta defaults to Jollof Rice.

Know the Differences Between Nigerian and Ghanaian Jollof Rice ...
Photo from Demand Africa

Now, I’m not going to go into the age-old battle of whose Jollof Rice is the best between Ghana and Nigeria (it is the latter) as I don’t think it’s useful to the conversation at the moment. As long as it is made well, I’m a sold customer.

Especially when it’s garnished with;
– Roasted Chicken
– Fried Plantain
– Salad or Coleslaw

I’m a sucker for the right combination. That said, I don’t believe I would be revealing the best combination on here. That information stays with my fiancee and my mother. Everyone else will have to do.

“What about this dish do you love?”

Honestly? Not sure. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the chance to try out different dishes over my life so far and while they are all excellent, something about Jollof Rice reminds me of home. In the metaphorical sense.

I would call it the ideal comfort food and I believe you all understand what I mean. The one dish in the world that no matter what mood you’re in, it puts you in the state that makes you feel like everything, every issue, every worry, every single thing you’re expressing would be alright.

That’s what makes the dish special to me.