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

Happy New Month, Welcome to April 

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images (4)It’s the beginning of the 2nd quarter! The first quarter was a blast, or was it? Lol!

Personally, I felt like it dragged. But….. We’re happy to see it go. And this month is Easter!!!!

So, as we begin the 2nd quarter; I  wish us all God’s grace and blessings. May this month be all that we wish it is.

Have a great month y’all, wishing you Joy always.

xoxo chinma

We should all have filters!

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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

Product Review: Nature’s Gentle Touch Relaxer

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You all know I’m team #processednaturalhair, right? So recently, I’ve been feeling like something had gone wrong with my preferred relaxer brand, or maybe it was just ‘product adaptation’1, but it wasn’t as effective as it used to be.

I passively considered changing, but the question was; to which one? Relaxer isn’t something I pay premium attention to and I wasn’t about to go on a trial spree with my hair. Then I came across a Nature’s Gentle Touch ad, can’t remember exactly if it was an Instagram ad or one of the online store ads. Anyways, I researched on it, read it’s an herbal blend and all….. I decided to try it.

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My hair is the original comb breaking koko hair. Fast growing, almost unmanageable. I put it to the Nature’s Gentle Touch by Recare test, no, it was the other way round; I tested the product on my hair and I can honestly give it a positive review.

The relaxer comes in regular and super blend, I used the super formula; hooked up by my cousin CJ, applied by my regular stylist. CJ tried to get me to go to Nature Gentle Touch’s salon in VI and I was like; just to relax my hair? Lol.

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In the pack is the crème relaxer, an activator, shampoo, protein rich conditioner and leave in conditioner (in order of usage). Oh and not forgetting the pair of gloves and usage instructions.

So, James2 scooped some relaxer into a mixing bowl and activated it according to instructions. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures from the application process, not even pictures immediately after. The relaxer was applied to new growth (you all know we rarely follow the timing instructions and only wash off when it begins to burn). We used only the enclosed products for washing, conditioning and leave-in conditioning. The only different product used was original organic shea butter, which is all the hair crème I use. The hair was straightened and I was low-key impressed but held back from giving it full praise.

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Four days later and my straightened hair still looked good, I decided to review the product. This is a rare occurrence (last time it happened was in the first few applications with the previous relaxer). And typically by this time I should have had to plug in my flat iron, but no, this held through. Today is its fifth day and I can honestly give Nature’s Gentle Touch thumbs up and will gladly recommend.

You all, go try it out and let me know what you think.

1Product adaptation is whereby you are adapted to a particular product such that it looses its efficacy. Happens very often with skincare products.

2My hairstylist

Your Colleagues are NOT your Friends

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Or maybe they are!

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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

Happy New Month!

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Its the third month of the year already, how are we doing with the New Year resolutions? (I shouldn’t have reminded you about that, right?)

Anyways, how are you doing? The Christian Lenten season begins today, I wish my Christian brethren a healthy 40 days and may all our prayers be answered. Amen.

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Have a great month, enjoy March, keep slaying, keep winning!

XOXO

Chinma Eke 

Product Review: Hegai & Esther Foundation

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I can’t remember exactly how I got to know about Hegai and Esther foundation, I think it was through Instagram and so I did my research and what I saw and heard online; I liked and I visited their studio and got one. It’s manufactured and distributed by a Nigerian company #buyNaijatogrowtheNaira, I think I saw somewhere its Paraben free, plus it has SPF 20; all these were enough to get me to try I out.

The next morning I happily got out my foundation to tryout. It had taken a lot of self-control not to wipe off the makeup of the day before and tryout my new foundation. I kind off felt I should wait till the foundation is finished before writing this review so you get the benefit of the long haul use.

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Price

The foundation retails for N4,500 (what I bought directly from Hegai and Esther), which puts it in the affordable range.

Product packaging

It came neatly packaged and sealed, came in a glass bottle with a pump. Which gave me my first cause for concern. I had to pump a few times before the product came out. They might want to look into this cos people like myself who like to get every bit of my product will not like this. By the third application I had to screw open the cover and from then on I had to open the bottle to be able to get the product out. Which I imagine is unsanitary and opening and closing daily meant getting air into the foundation, but the product stayed through to its consistency to the end (till when I couldn’t get any product anymore).

Application

The product adds promise full coverage but it’s more of a good medium; not a problem for me. It glided on smoothly and the shade I got- Carrot was a perfect fit. Could be worn with or without primer and still stay on for the full day. Black Opal Duluxe finishing powder in Neutral Light gives it the perfect finish (I love this shade).

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Me, one of the times I applied it.

Pros:

  • Good consistency
  • Slightly matte finish
  • Long wear
  • SPF 20

Cons:

  • Faulty dispensing pump

My verdict: 4.5– I would have given a perfect 5 but for the issue with the pump.

Will I buy again? Most likely, but I would love for them to fix the pump first.

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Travel Diaries: Warri

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Every year, I promise myself I will give my adventurous side room to soar, and well……… I rarely do. So, this year; it wasn’t a conscious thought, the opportunity just came up earlier in the year and I took it, with both hands, and was on my way to…. Warri!

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Best shot I could get of Efurun round about

I’m sure a few of you will think? What? Like of all places in Nigeria. Yeah, well, I had a primary reason for visiting the ‘city’, seeing the sights was just by the way. Besides, with the way the Waffi citizens are always going, I expected it to be……..

I don’t know, maybe I’m just not impressionable (I had a similar reaction to Ibadan), but I had fun, good company, got to see a bit of the city and to listen to the lyrical language of the people.

So, here are the five things I found out about Warri:

  1. Waffi people can talk! Goodness gracious! Male, female, don’t get them started. You see all those skits we see where someone talks a thousand words a second; it’s pure Warri.

On a fifteen minute ride from Ughelli to Warri, I don’t think the cab driver kept quiet for a moment. It was from one topic to the other. It doesn’t matter if they are speaking pidgin or Urhobo, it all sounds so lyrical; like I could listen to them all day.

 

  1. I love their blue keke! Lol, I must sound so soppy, but I do. It’s been over a year since I’ve left Lagos and it was nice seeing transport vehicles that aren’t yellow.20170128_162035

 

  1. Warri ain’t got nothing on Obalende or Oshodi! My friend disagrees with me, but I think so sha!

We had the discussion when I repeatedly got out my phone to take pictures out on the road. He kept telling me to be careful as Warri boys can snatch my phone off my hands. Ofcourse I didn’t believe him. Or maybe I did because looking at my camera roll, I realise I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have loved to. But I did return with my phone though, lol.

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I think I just made this guy a star, lol.

 

  1. There are no tourist attractions in Warri! Or so I’ve been told. Their only tourist attraction is Delta mall, or more popularly known as Shoprite! Lol! I couldn’t believe it, and thought it was because my escort was also a newbie jjc like me, so I asked a colleague who grew up in and frequently returns to Warri, and he said the same thing; Shoprite! Yes and Effurun round about; which are side by side!

Oh yes, there’s the Golden Tulip and Silverbird Galleria, which were still all the same to me; like I don’t know maybe I was expecting to see an oil well or something sha! I sha didn’t want to see all of the same places that look same as the ones here in Lag.

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  1. I saw quite a lot of something called coco garri, I think it’s like cassava flakes or by-product of garri processing. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of it and this is the only one I can find on google, but I did see a lot of it.cassava-flakes-warri

I didn’t get to eat starch and Banga soup (not like I wanted to), but I finally got to see The Wise men, which is only fitting because I think it’s set in Warri, or should be. The characters are Niger-Deltan and locations mentioned are in Warri. The movie, beyond the funnies has a strong message of not going with the crowd and not being swayed by peer pressure.

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I had a good trip sha; PTI, Warri Township stadium, etc. The road trip from Lagos- Warri-Ughelli- Lagos was cool, the company was great. And to he who made the trip possible; next up is the abroad!

XOXO

Chinma Eke