For Adults on Children’s Day

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Children

Aunt Nikki* called out to me as I walked past her shop. I was hoping she won’t see me as I walked past, but alas I wasn’t so lucky. She spotted and called out to me.

I summoned up my trademark smile and turned to her. “Kaa Aunty.” (Good evening aunty) I greeted her.

“Chinma imelagi?” (Chinma how are you?) She asked in response.

“Adim mma. I lua le?” (I’m fine, are you back?) I asked her. I asked her referring to the trip I knew she had taken recently.

“Alua lem. Mommy gi a?” (I’m fine. How is your mom?) She responded and asked.

On and on the conversation went. When I finally continued my journey, a thought occurred to me: I had become my mother!

My mother is the strongest woman I’ve met, just by being, she challenges me to be better. Let’s not even get into her beauty; my sister and I have concluded our family’s beauty is one that gets better with age. That’s the only way to get through the ‘your mom is more beautiful than you’ comments. I love and admire my mom very much, so much that I love it when people say I’m just like her. But I don’t want to be ‘all of her’. There’s some of her character I would rather do without. Top of my mind is the ‘Nigerian’ greeting culture.

The greeting/ conversation with Aunt Nikki that just happened, was exactly how my mom would have greeted her. And if I were with my mom at the time (or maybe a few years earlier) I would have said a simple ‘good evening’ and walked ahead a few paces to wait for my mom and aunt Nikki to ask about everything and everyone while silently wondering why they couldn’t just say a quick good evening and walk away.

But here I am, replicating that same behavior I would love to not do. I imagine a lot of young adults are in my shoes, wondering how we got to replicate behavioral patterns we dislike. Some of us have come to realise that the world isn’t so black and white and issues aren’t so clear cut. The clarity of our childhood and youth has been eroded by this adult thingy and we are on our way to being our parents, guardians, teachers, mentors.

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I have used an example that’s easy, almost a non-issue, but when you really examine every other of your behaviors and mannerisms, you will find yourself replicating your parents or the people you associate with. In the good and the bad. That’s how issues like polygamy, domestic violence, lawlessness, drunkenness, etc. become family traditions. A child will do what he/she sees you do a hundred times befre he/she will do what you have asked him to do once. In the words of Dr. Gregory House of ‘House’ medical series: monkey see, monkey do!

Try as we can, we cannot run away from the influence of our formative years, which is why as parents we need to nurture our children with this consciousness. Knowing fully well that we are the bows from which our children as living arrows are sent forth.

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For our sakes as much as theirs, we need to do better. We need to be the future we hope to see. It’s not enough to want to do better, we need to actually do better. Ko ba le da! (so that it can be well).

 

Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults. – Abraham Lincoln.

Have a happy Children’s day!

*Not real name.

xoxo chinma

 

What’s in a name?

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A name is an identity, something for which you’re known, which you stand for.

So what’s my hang-up about names?

People have done battle because of a change of name, society attaches so much importance to a name; whatever it may be. Well, as it rightly should. So if I say my name is bla-bla-bla, it is my name. You have no right to change or refine it! Or misspell or mispronounce it.

Here’s the thing: I meet you or I write to you and I introduce myself as; Chinma. What that is saying is; please refer to me as Chinma. Please don’t go fishing, it’s not a time to ask: will that be Miss, Ms. or Mrs. Chinma? Like those irritating customer care agents. Neither do I expect you to reply me mispronouncing or misspelling my name, if you didn’t hear me clearly please seek clarification. Thank you very much.

It’s particularly irritating if it’s a written correspondence and I have written ‘Chinma’ or ‘Chidinma’ as the case may be, and then you reply or refer to me as ‘Chima or Chindinma’. Haba! I know us Nigerians struggle with names of people from other tribes or complicated names, but: the name is there, written in plain text, all you had to do was copy and paste. That’s not difficult nau, I haven’t asked you to spell my name, and it’s not a test, just get the spelling of my name.

You see us Nigerians are finicky about such things. For some, it’s the title: Chief, Dr., Professor, High Chief (definitely different from a mere ‘chief’), Mrs., etc. we all have our names and titles and are finicky about such things.

I think it stems from the fact that our names have meanings and importance; a letter added here or taken out there gives a name a totally different meaning. See the Chinma- Chima example: Chinma- Good God, Chima- God Knows. See why someone will have a problem with you misspelling or mispronouncing his/her name? Or it could be about Chidinma- God is good, Chimdinma- my God is good. In this case, just one letter differentiates the names and its wrong to think just because you don’t understand it that it’s the same. Seyi is not the same as Sayo. Pay attention to the details for that’s where the devil is lurking.

This is like a person saying; this is who I am and you (respondee) are saying; this is who you are! Like seriously? Who are you to change my name? Who are you to decide not to use my title or whatever?

There’s also this thing about special names for certain people based on relationship. If I’m walking on the street and I hear my name it’s Lagos, I won’t turn. Lol, I already have an idea of what kind of relationship I have with the caller or where we’ve met by what he/ she calls me. So that provides clarity. Caveat: If you are present at that meeting, it’s not a call to start calling me honey bun or sweet cheeks because you heard my dear aunty call me that! No, stay in your own lane with regards to what you call me.

There’s also the thing about given names vs preferred names. Say; mama and papa decide to name their child; baby boy, and the child grows and decides to be known as; wizchild. Lol. The rule I will follow for this is; call the person what he has insisted he should be called i.e. what he has introduced himself as. QED.

This name thingy, it can be as e get o, people take serious offence to being called something they will not prefer or not being called what they prefer. It can be the difference between getting a lucrative contract and not getting it. It can be the difference between getting a job and not getting it. Front office and customer facing staff kind-off understand it, hence their asking us; will that be Miss or Mrs.? But…. I think the rule you should follow is: refer to the person as the person has introduced himself. Imagine sending me a request mail referring to me as Chindinma!!! You have successfully pissed me off already nau, case closed.

To avoid this, I will suggest the use of the ma and sir rule. Trust me you can get away with that any day or time. Just politely refer to the person as ma and sir. Uber gets this one, their drivers are trained to ma and sir their passengers to death.

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So, in conclusion; what’s the big deal about a name one might ask? I would say it’s about the fact that it is a differentiating nomenclature. Differentiates A from B, it tells of a story. Mine says my parents looked at me and thought how good God is. Yours might testify that your parents looked at you and felt joy unspeakable or prophesied goodness into your life. Whatever the case may be, it is your name and no one has a right to change it.

For all of you who specialize in misspelling and mispronouncing names; God is watching you. For those who have had or constantly have their names destroyed; I feel your pain, share your story.

Till next week, wishing you love and light!

xoxo chinma

We should all have filters!

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rose colored glasses

My friend Eka* is the go to person when you need honest, no bullshit advice. She serves it hot. However, as time went on we began to notice Eka’s honesty was bothering on brutality/ fault finding. We quickly crowned her the ‘chairperson- fault finders association’. However, as the days rolled into years, we found her ‘frank speaking’ to be a little too…. I don’t know: too frank, tinged with bitterness, I don’t know.

Eka termed it: us being allergic to the truth, she believed we were ‘beginning to do bad things’ which we knew couldn’t hold up under the light! Lol.

I don’t think so, matter of fact; I have this sneaky suspicion Eka is kinda seeing the word through (what’s the opposite of rose colored glasses?) muddy glasses and sees everything as muddy. My thoughts, but in the spirit of this article; I won’t be the one to tell Eka. And if you’re my friend and are reading this and think you are Eka; maybe, maybe not, sha call me.

These days I’m so scared of stepping on people’s toes, I’m literarily working on egg shells and if you know me you’ll know ‘I’m as clumsy as I am elegant. Like one minute I’m balancing a stack of fine china in my left hand, and the next I’m shattering well-arranged on a stack china’- that was just a figure of speech and if you can’t understand it; I can’t help you. Or, sorry; I can and will interpret when I can speak it in plain English.

The point to this whole song and dance is; people are on edge and we should all have filters. I should have completed this article yesterday, perhaps with it fresh in my mind I would have a ‘zen-ful’ evening.

I lost it yesterday evening; like a lot of people have been doing. You see ehn, I’m just as human as the rest of us. Matter of fact, I’m the first to claim our humanity- like I wear it like a badge so no-one ever expects me to perform miracles. Mi le se ju ara mi! So, as I was saying; I totally sincerely regret loosing it last night, but the actions of the other person; like ki lo de? Why is it so impossible difficult for older ones to listen to the younger ones, even when you have been proven right time and time again (that I believe should be a conversation for another day)?

Anyways, back to this article; as we go about our daily activities, we all need filters.

For those not in the know; filters in this case or as used in this article refers to the picture filters used on photography apps. Filters can be used to enhance or edit a picture, blot out or cover the defects we will love to hide. We need these filters to be able to blot out, cover, ignore defect; so we can see the beauty in everyone and everything. As against ‘fault finding’ like Eka.

Filter is what will have you saying; ‘not today devil’ in the face of provocation and avoiding that provocation. Filters will get you to a place of zen, everything looking all peachy; seeing lemons as a call for lemonade and overripe banana as a chance to bake banana bread! Lol!

Why should we have filters? Because you and I are on edge, our reality today is that to survive in Nigeria is HARD! People are struggling with a lot and you don’t know what just might tip the other person over. The economy is in the gutters and nothing spreads despair like lack of money. Wait a minute, the economy is also DEPRESSED! So you can understand why I’m on here asking you all to spread love and light, right? Because you just might not know who is close to the doing something stupid, I’m sure we don’t want anybody’s actions weighing on your conscience.

Here’s what I advise:

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  1. Remember the old saying: ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything’? Revamp it. Learn to hold your tongue if you don’t have anything positive to say. This might be a tad difficult if your opinion is sought and saying something nice will be falsehood. This is where you need to apply the next rule:
  2. Speak with tact: diplomacy. You know that art of speaking where you can ask someone to go to hell and they will reply: ‘with all pleasure’? Learn it. It is profitable.
  3. Count to a hundred, or at least twenty. Sha do some mental calculation before you respond. Not easy to do, yes, but learn it. Lest someone’s foolish action weigh on your conscience.

And if you feel what’s against you is mre than what’s for you? Please read Mountains or Miracles

  1. Finally; it’s never that bad! So long as the person hasn’t killed someone, it isn’t ever that bad. Think this, do not take anything to heart, share love and light wherever you go, and may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding keep your heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God. Amen.

xoxo chinma

*Not real name.

Images credit: google.com

Mountains or Miracles

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What do you see?

Suicide hotlines

Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Whenever I think of that those words I always put on my analysis hat, like what are my options were I in that position:

  • The devil: death- physical and spiritual
  • The deep blue sea: I could thread water to safety for as long as my strength can carry me, I could be rescued, or I could drown; and die physically. But with the hope of life everlasting.

It’s never that bad.

It really truly isn’t ever that bad!

I had a whole different post ready and in my drafts, but this came to me and I just had to type up and share. The recent reports of suicide is alarming. I’m just going to stay in my neck of the woods and talk about Nigeria’s recent suicide crisis. We never used to be like this. We used to be so resilient. Remember the jokes about how if you pushed a Nigerian to the wall he/she will break the wall down and keep going, surviving, thriving. Recently it appears as though everything has gone south and a lot of us are taking the suicide route. The despair and hopelessness I see in people is alarming. People are sad, and solace, through joy can only be found in God (I don’t care what anyone thinks).

A lot of people are weighed down with the cares of the world and with the feeling that no one knows what you’ve been through or are going through. Truth is; everyone has their own pain, no one lives on easy street.

There’s always hope!

We need to move beyond seeing the mountains and seeing the miracles. Take each victory and mining it for all its worth.

Where have we gone wrong?

I think part of the problem is our judgmental attitude as Nigerians (my opinion). Every one of us are ‘Judge Judy’ prototypes and card carrying members of ‘The Fault Finders Association’. We are always seeking for where to lay blame or a fault to highlight. I’ve heard people share their burden and find themselves being blamed for something or the other.

Mistakes, Chinma Eke

We have such a terrible culture of shaming and judging the victims that people are wary of opening up. There’s no shame in being depressed, in every mental illness; it’s an ailment such as malaria and typhoid. There’s also not shame in having made bad decisions; financial, marital, career, etc. There’s no shame in having done something bad. Truth is, as much as we like to think we grow older and wiser; we still and will still make mistakes.

PSA:

Dearest Nigerians, it’s not all the time find fault, or proffer solution. Sometimes, just listen. Half the time a solution comes to the ‘sharer’ by just voicing the thoughts. I think Nigerians generally have a problem with listening in silence but….. that’s a topic for another day.

Another reason I think could be responsible for this is the fact that we have few licensed mental health practitioners. And please this does not read: motivational speaker, life coach, religious leader or community elder. The available ones are few and far between. Psychologist and Psychiatrist are not glamorous professions! I remember when in school and even currently, people do not understand what Psychology or Psychiatry is all about. They read Psychiatry to mean; Mad people’s doctor and Psychology to mean: mind reader, and they are like: ‘why should anyone spend school time studying how to read minds’. The more enlightened will think: counselor, and think: anyone can be a counselor. Yes some people are naturally gifted in counselling, but hello?? Are you licensed?

The few times I open up myself to listen and counsel, it almost always ends with; ‘Chinma you are good at this, I feel better already, you should practice your discipline.’ I always remind the person that a first degree in Psychology does not a counselor make, in fact I need at least a Masters with PhD in view to be able to practice. What helps me and what people find most valuable is a lesson I actually learnt from my sister. She might not remember this conversation but years ago she had once unburdened herself to me and I responded in kind. She later told me that there are some times when the person just wants to be listened to and not joined in the pity party. I never forgot that lesson. It sunk in better than the classes my mom paid for. Added to the fact that I’m more of a listener than a speaker.

A problem shared is a problem solved/ halved?

Depends on who you share with, it can quickly become a problem compounded. I know for a lot of people it’s about not being able to see past their problems and getting to a neutral point where they can give good advice, for some others it’s also about not having the full picture of the situation. Which is why full disclosure is required to be able to be helped.

If someone happens to approach you for counselling, listen, pray with the person, encourage the person to get professional help (prayer and medical help are not mutually exclusive). Don’t counter with a ‘if I tell you my own problems you will feel sorry for me’. Listen and offer advice as your opinion, not as the gospel (except unless you are quoting the gospel purely and not giving it your own interpretation).  Help the person to see the miracles and opportunities that can arise from the situation no matter how bad. Don’t give advice you won’t take, if you are at a loss for what to say; don’t say anything, refer the person to someone else you think can help. A hug, a prayer, a reassuring ‘it is well’, will serve better than a judgement or ill advice.

I say to you who feels like the walls are closing in on you, get help. Your need, pain, feelings are valid. Get help, professional help! Yes, you are not the worst hit in whatever situation you find yourself, but get help. yes, no be your own bad pass, but get help! Keep seeking help until you find it. And when all else fails, look to God not man. I pray that your eyes be opened like the prophet’s servant in the Bible to see the angels who are for you and to recognize that they are more than they that are against you.

Most importantly, keep your head up!

xoxo chinma

Your Colleagues are NOT your Friends

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Or maybe they are!

Friendly colleagues

Most organizations are high pressured. The 8-5 thingy is long gone, and for organizations that are still compliant to this timeline, to resume for work at eight means you must have left your home by 7 at the earliest. And if you live in traffic filled Lagos and have to do the Island-Mainland commute, chances are you have to leave your home as early as 5am in some cases and you’re getting home by 8-9pm on a good traffic day. So if you factor in your commute time you see your job isn’t really an 8-5, more like a 4am to 10pm (preparation time included).

For some who are lucky to live in the same neighborhood as their colleagues, carpooling is an option. This in effect will mean you are with your colleagues from as early as 5:30am as the case may be until about 10pm. The argument is; since you spend most of your time at work and with your colleagues, why can’t you be friends with them? Valid question.

The thing however is, the work environment is very competitive and you can only be friends in every sense of the word if you don’t report to the same boss and there is never a reason to compare you both. Which in most organizations with cross functional teams is almost impossible.

I cannot totally rule out office friendships, being that the strength or otherwise of any friendship is dependent on the level of maturity of the parties involved. But the thing with the variety grown in the office is it’s subject to all the roforofo that goes with the office environment. Can you objectively assess your friend (if the relationship is across cadres), or if there’s just a spot to move up as there often is; will you let your friend get it or will your friendship be done in as a result of the competition to move up?

I have a friend which the friendship grew in the office space. Matter of fact a lot of our colleagues couldn’t get over how close the sisterhood grew to be. Not just were we within the same department, we were also from different cultures. We’re no longer colleagues but have remained friends. But some friendships haven’t been so successful. Take the story of Jane and Mary* who were colleagues, friends, and sisters. They both resumed for duty on the same day, their husbands knew each other, and everyone knew them as friends. Until their immediate supervisor resigned and their manager needed to make a decision on who will step into the vacant role. The manager chose to place them on a rotational probation; they took turns being supervisors. Before long, cracks appeared in their relationship. It was obvious a decision will be made one day and each of them wanted the decision to be in their favor. They began competing, each trying to outshine each other and when the decision was made in neither of their favor, the friendship had been ruined.

Like I said earlier, the office environment is one filled with intrigues, drama, competition, etc., and it’s easy to see how friendships will be lost in a bid to get ahead. The male folk tend to be able to manage this things better (guys don’t have wahala). Like someone said to me; ‘if I can’t make friends with my colleagues whom I spend the greater part of my day with, then I won’t have friends’. I agree totally, but with a caveat; remember, you are colleagues first before friends.

This article isn’t meant to scare you off friendly relations with your colleagues, for like every relationship; the work space relationship has its own challenges as well. It’s rather meant to remind you; Your colleagues are NOT your friends.

Have a great day.

xoxo chinma

*Not real name

Dear Women, #Beboldforchange

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It is said that ‘women are their own worst enemies’ and this is largely true. Behind the downfall of a woman is another woman. As we celebrate this year’s International Women’s day with the theme: Be Bold for Change, my question to you dear sister is: what change are you driving?

The IWD has identified the following ways in which we can #Beboldforchange:

  • I’ll challenge bias and inequality
  • I’ll campaign against violence
  • I’ll forge women’s advancement
  • I’ll celebrate women’s achievement
  • I’ll champion women’s education

Visit the IWD page to pledge to be Bold for change.

A lot of us might say all of the things on there are beyond my control. That may be so, but the things within your control, how have you changed the status?

  • Things like the way you treat your subordinates (female bosses are the most difficult to manage)
  • It’s also in the way you treat others less privileged than you
  • How about the way you treat your daughters and sisters-in-law (let’s not get started on the mother-daughter-in-law thingy)

If you really examined it, you will see that it’s not so difficult to stand for change. Like the hymn Jesus bids us shine by Susan Warner says;

Jesus bids us shine,

With a pure, clear light,

Like a little candle,

Burning in the night.

In this world is darkness,

So let us shine–

You in your small corner,

And I in mine.

We can shine, change our little or small world. Challenge gender bias, inequality, campaign against gender based violence; be a woman’s woman! Have the back of your sisters the way guys have each other’s back; so when we speak men will listen and not sneer at us.

As we join the conversations and narratives tomorrow in the pursuit of gender equality and fight against cultural biases that inhibit our growth and potential, let us remember that change begins with how we as women see, treat and fight for other women. Change does not just begin with us, it begins when we change!

xoxo chinma

Conversation: The Price of a Car Ride?

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Hello darlins, how have you been. 

I’ve been MIA a lot of times, I’m sure quite a lot of you have given up on me. E ma binu si mi, ejo!

So, you all know I write based n inspiration, well for a while lady inspiration has gone on a vacation such that I haven’t been able to finish the Breaking the Silence series. (I have faith though, one day I will finish it). 

Rather dear darling Lady inspiration has chosen to gift me with resurrected Random thoughts kind of like the Ms Psyche series of the past. Matter of fact I have a few of this articles in my draft. So I said to myself; I’m just going to post them. Apologies to all ye drama likers (myself inclusive), it’s just not coming, for now. 

So, here you go, I hope you like. Let me know what you think either way.

car-ride

We’ve often had to ride with someone; either by carpooling, ride sharing or good old fashioned asking for a ride. On these rides, I gather social norm and expectation is that the least you could do is to converse the driver and co-passengers and enliven the ride.

However, in my rebelling, anti- all things normal mode, I ask: is it compulsory? Must I gist with you because you offered me a ride?

I’m guilty of a lot of projecting, I imagine everyone is, I just am confident enough to say it. I project my thoughts, feelings, reactions to others and I judge that way. I ask myself: what will Chinma do? That helps me have an idea of what the other person will do. I also try to be fair and flexible, making allowances for individual differences and I wonder why others don’t? Like, you should understand when someone isn’t chatty and just let the person be. Don’t come with the amebo-masked-as-concern and be asking leading questions upandan like we’re in an interview session.

I work a busy schedule- 8am to 6pm at the very least, which demands me speaking with people, and moving around the office (or where I need to go), such that at the close of the day I am tired! Bone tired. So the journey to and fro work for me should be a restful one with me relaxing my brain and not having to keep up a conversation. Does that make me antisocial? I don’t think so. If you meet me in my chatty mood, when I’m with my peeps and there’s gist; you will say ‘this girl can talk! Does she ever keep quiet?’ but if you meet me when I don’t have anything to say, you will think ‘this girl is boring’. Lol! All these sides, are all me, the chatty and the moody (or silent). To be honest, more often than not I just want to be with my books, a movie and some music. The chatty side only comes out when I have gist. Most importantly I can’t get why a full grown adult cannot just not talk. Like keep quiet or allow silence sometimes, but that’s a rant an article for another day.

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So, I got thinking on why car rides cannot just be silent. Or we listen to the radio, music, endless options. The radio presents an opportunity for unplanned conversation. Just tune into a talk show, before you know it everyone in the car has joined in on the conversation. No brain work required. Then I heard some people consider this rude! I really truly threw up my hands in surrender at this point.

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I do some of my finest thinking in traffic and if I’m driving, I do not need you to keep me awake or conscious of the road. Thanks, I will do just fine. I was very surprised when a friend said he will not give a ride twice to anyone who doesn’t talk during the first ride. And I was like; bros kilode! It’s just a car ride! And it isn’t just him, I’ve heard people insist that sharing a ride and not chatting is rude. This summation has me wearing my rebellious hat again! I don’t require conversation when I’m driving, why should you require it of me when I’m a passenger in your car? It’s so annoying that some days I wish for the anonymity of public transport.

And that brings me to another point of confusion: the chatty taxi drivers! Like ahn ahn that’s the height of the whole thing! Don’t get me wrong; I have had one very good experience chatting with an Uber driver, but other than that, please let’s keep the ride as silent as possible. This is not because I don’t find the driver a worthy conversation partner, but because I like my peace and quiet during car rides. Thank you very much.  I once rode with a driver whom I noticed was sleepy; I calmly reached into my bag and offered him chewing gum. No long story, no chit chat to keep him awake; and he didn’t sleep again.

The funny thing is; I think this conversation-in-car thingy is like everything else we have come to accept as a norm. The belief that you have to make conversation during a car ride has been passed down from generation to generation such that it’s become the norm and we who do not find it necessary are the abnormal ones.

Maybe it’s because I’m a big believer in self-sufficiency and not depending on another (not being overly dependent that is), I just think the whole expected conversation being the price of a car ride or like it’s widely believed; contribution towards an enjoyable ride is a bit …… I don’t know; unfair, unrealistic, un-something….  

So, what do you think, is not keeping up conversation in a car ride sacrilegious as some think, or is it just ok. What are your preferences?

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*Images credit: Google.com

As The Year Ends……

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Every year since I started this blog, I write a ‘Motivational’ article which I publish on the last day of the year. This year, I would love for you all to read my epilogue here. That was me sharing a bit of what my 2016 was about.

I have a word for us all, it was a response I gave to Betty Irabor’s tweet sometime ago

chinma-eke-betty-irabor

This words are as true today as they were on the 1st of November. It is the year ending and not your life. And just as the age old saying goes; where there is life, there is hope. I wish us all a great 2017; our latter will always be greater than the last.

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Let’s Talk About This Thing Called Karma…

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Image result for karma

Karmathe spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). It’s that principle/ law that is invoked when something similar to what has been dished by a person befalls the person (usually of the horrible kind). It’s akin to the biblical principle of doing unto others as you want to be done to you.

So, say Mabel snatches Bisi’s husband; Kunle, the law of Karma dictates that Kunle will also be snatched from Mabel and she gets to feel Bisi’s pain. We’re all familiar with the way karma works and we are quick to invoke and cite it when this things occur. Cue Branjelina divorce and Wendy Williams’ ecstatic; you lose them how you get them!

However, there are somethings unclear to me about karma. Like; where does it begin and where will it end? The parties used by karma, how are they selected, are they unwilling tools or people who have their own share of karma coming up and are used to further the cause? Does karma always repay like for like or does retribution sometimes come in another form?

Let’s consider my questions:

Where does karma begin and where does it end? With Mabel and Bisi’s example above; did the trail of terrible happenstances begin with Mabel snatching Kunle or is Mabel a tool in the universe serving Bisi her own dose of karma? When the latter is the case and we cannot justify why a man will walk away from a woman as wonderful as Bisi; we blame it on bad judgement, we explain it away that good things happen to bad people or good old jazz. But if we can find even the slightest hint of Bisi having done same to another woman in the past we happily hi-five the universe! Karma is a bitch and it knows everyone’s address! Lol. So, if indeed the bad cycle began with Mabel, where will it end? If Mabel is able to lock down the man and he doesn’t get snatched do we conclude that karma has run its course or can the trail continue to the next generation or perhaps to people around her? If you ask me……..

Let’s move on to the parties in karma; how are they selected; are they unwilling tools in the hands of the universe or people who have their own share of karma coming up? If they are mere pawns in the game of life what happens to them afterwards? After they have been used to punish the deserving person do they then get punished? Because most likely they would have committed the sin offence for which the other person was punished. Let’s look at a character like Lucious Lyon (the original evil genius); when karma will come calling for Lucious, unless the vessel is a Lucious clone I think the person should get a medal of honor. Lol! Taking Lucious down should be a good deed, a fast-track to sainthood! Seriously, they should be no retribution for whoever brings him down, but the way I see it you cannot achieve that wearing white hats. You have to be as sneaky, or worse than he is to take him out. Hence my plea for freedom from karma for the vessel used in taking him down. Bringing Lucious down should actually be considered restitution for even the worst offender. I’m sure some of us will feel I’m obsessing over a fictional character so much but they are a lot of Lucious’ out there who continue to evade karma while everyone around him suffers, and like the saying goes; every day for the thief…….. When that day comes for people like Mr. Lyon, I hope karma stops there!

My final question on karma for this article is; does it always repay like with like. Similar payback for similar transgressions. Like if you steal, your karma is you will be stolen from, or will karma pay you back in more stringent measures? Who gets to decide? Is there a weighing scale or does karma serve as it pleases?

Oh, and here’s another question I have on karma; say a person has been a horrible person in the past and has a change of character; faith based or otherwise. How do you escape karma? Using Mabel and Bisi’s example above; let’s say in a few years, after a few children, Mabel changes; acknowledges her wrong, will an apology to Bisi and perhaps the whole world suffice to erase karma’s memory or what? How does she evade or assuage karma?

So let’s discuss. I would like some clarifications on this thing called Karma and how it acts. Is there a manual that can be studied so as to avoid it or is it an: you know it when you see it thingy?

PS: The Mabel-Bisi-Kunle illustration is to point out how karma acts in certain circumstances and is not about Kunle being a grown man who can or cannot be snatched. Let’s not get into that.

Chinma-Eke-Chinma-Ekes-blog.png

 

Karma Image Credit: Shutterstock

A chance at love

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Hey dearies, how have you all been?

I trust you’ve been good. I’ve missed you all, missed writing been battling with some serious writer’s block. but last night, my laptop loved me.

I wrote this short story and just edited this morning. I hope you like, I hope you really like and spare some thought for Bisi as she goes through this difficult time. 

a chance at love, chinma eke's blog

 

‘…. It’s not you, it’s me.’ With those words he shattered her world.

We’ve all heard those words, jokes and memes have been made of those words, but you can never understand those words; their impact until they are said to you. That five letter sentence. Perhaps in analysis it might be that it isn’t quite a correct sentence. But none of that matters when those words are said to you; all that matters at that moment; is that those words signify the end of a journey for you.

Bisi had known Akin for a while, perhaps known off is the correct terminology. They had mutual friends, acquaintances, etc. they were even friendly, said hi pleasantly whenever their paths crossed. So, when on that day they met at his cousins wedding; they said hi, Bisi introduced him to her friend; Funke whom she attended the wedding with and tried to match make them.

A few days later she followed up with Funke to find out if they had been any progress with Akin. Funke said they had spoken a few times but she doesn’t get the vibes Akin was interested. Bisi followed up with Akin, extoling Funke’s virtues to the highest heavens. She and Akin got talking, got to know each other better.

It was on one of such follow up sessions Akin asked her why she was trying to push him to another when she could have him for herself.

Bisi couldn’t believe it; as much as she liked Akin (well, what was there not to like?) there was this little thing of a six months age difference.  Being that they ran in the same circles; everyone had an idea of how old the other was. It was an age difference that didn’t matter in friendship but could matter in a relationship especially if things got serious.

Akin’s question got Bisi thinking. What she knew of him, she liked and would have been content with just being friends if this seed hadn’t been planted. Akin pushed and Bisi who would hitherto have sworn she could never date a younger man began to consider it. history and society was littered with couples where the woman was older.

It was just six months which happened to fall on different years, and Akin had a good head on his shoulders; better than his elders Bisi had had the misfortune of dating. She reminded him of her age, and he didn’t seem to mind (or so she thought). For looking back now, she couldn’t remember his response if any. Perhaps she had just taken his silence for consent.

She thought it through; what were the implications of being with him? No more themed birthday parties; as much as we Nigerians attempt to form enlightenment you can’t have your birthday with your stated year and your husband have his the next year. She thought about the fact that they ran in the same circles and those in their circle knew each other’s age; were they going to be fodder for back talk and gossip? This also meant a future walking on shells. She couldn’t be too opinionated lest it be seen as she showing her age and treating him like a younger brother. Like this literarily meant she was going to have to be super extra submissive!

This also meant a lifetime of always being on her toes beauty and fashion wise. She would never be able to just chill and let nature take its course; like she couldn’t afford to let herself age naturally and she asked herself if she could keep up. Marriages with a much older husband still had husbands trading their wives in for a younger model not to think of one in which the wife was actually older.

However to Bisi, all this paled to the fact that she really liked Akin. Like really liked him, she wasn’t just needy because she wasn’t in a relationship at the time, she really liked him. She had gotten to know him and loved what she knew. Best of all, he didn’t mind (or so she thought), afterall he was the one coming for her.

Against her better judgement, against her sister’s advice she decided to give it a shot. Well; in hindsight, she had about three good months. Three months in which she fell deeper in love with Akin. She glowed, she raved about him, and everyone could tell she was in love. The pessimistic, non-emotional, commitment phobic Bisi actually saw a future with Akin. She told her friends, family and loved ones about him, wanted to show him off to the world, factored him into her plans; was willing to go the long haul; this was it, this was really it.

….. And then the end began.

Akin had always had a demanding job; she had one too so she could understand. It wasn’t the easiest task to get him on the phone; she had to call many times or leave a message and wait for him to get back to her. His reply time became more and more distant, he never initiated any call or contact anymore. She went through a really trying time and he wasn’t there for her, she even got more empathy from the random colleague and neighbor than from her boyfriend. Still she made excuses for him; he was busy. Little did she know that was the beginning of the end.

They limped along with her in ignorant bliss until he suddenly became incommunicado. She one day realised it appeared she was in a relationship with herself. She was literarily the one carrying the relationship and she asked herself; na so I like man reach? It wasn’t pride which stopped her from contacting him, neither was it self-respect. It was concern that if three months into a relationship she had to be the one doing all the running, what kind of future did that hold for them?

To test this she decided she won’t reach out to him, let him do a bit of the running. And just like that her fears were confirmed. She could see his prints on social media, he was ok, communicating with others, just not her. Four days on she broke and called him.

‘Are you ok, is there a problem?’ she asked.

He replied that he would call her back and they would talk as he couldn’t talk where he was.

He called her back four days later, late at night on her birthday. He forgot and had to be reminded by seeing the felicitations on her Facebook that evening.

Like every normal female she had raved about her birthday for weeks preceding that day, but her boyfriend forgot her birthday and had to be reminded on Facebook.

He apologised, but by then she already knew they were not ok. It was probably over. All she wanted was to know why.

He came to her office the next day with a cake, she joined him in his car and barely glanced at it as she mumbled a tense ‘thankyou’. She was very nervous, in the next moments she was going to hear the life changing verdict or reason if you please. But a verdict to her because it was obvious his mind was made up.

‘I know you’re angry with me.” Akin began. “I’ve been thinking, thinking a lot about us. About taking this relationship to the next level and I can’t get past this age thing. The fact that you’re older than me. Is it something we can get past or is it something that will become an issue later in life. If you notice I’ve been withdrawing for a while, I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. And well, what do you think about it?’ He asked.

While he spoke, Bisi felt like the bottom of her world had dropped away. This was her deepest fear confirmed. Regardless of the question, it was obvious he had thought it true and felt there was no way forward; hence his withdrawal. She couldn’t speak. She felt like screaming out in pain. She tried to get a grip on herself; she couldn’t afford to break down in tears, she had to go back to work.

‘I have a question.’ She tried to speak through the pain. ‘You knew our ages before we began. If this was going to be an issue why did you bother beginning?’ She asked when she could speak.

For the life of her she can’t remember if he replied or what he replied. She just knew she had to get away.

‘I have to go back to work.’ She mumbled, opening the car door she fled into her office premises.

He called her on her mobile. ‘You forgot your cake.’ He said.

‘Thrash it.’

“Sorry?’

‘Thrash it!’ She repeated. ‘Just like you’ve thrashed our relationship, thrash it.’ She ended the call. The tears were now falling freely as she made her way to the nearest restroom. She spent the next hour weeping her heart out. She wept for her lost love. She wept for a lost dream, she wept for she had dared to dream.

She wept, for age is nothing but a number was the biggest lie of all.

 

XOXO

Chinma Eke