You Are Single, What Do You Do With Your Money?

Featured

SingleI needed to process a benefit for a colleague, the company in recognizing the difficult economic terrain had amended the rules to indicate that an employee could either get that particular benefit as immediate cash or deferred benefit. I reached out to him to confirm his preference and he gave the response 99% of Nigerians will give in the circumstances (myself included)- he would prefer cash. Because he and I had a friendly relationship, I teased him that why not defer it since it wasn’t a lot of money. He insisted it be paid out immediately, he went on to list a few pressing needs that money could sort and ended with: Shey me I don’t have responsibilities yet, and shey I have a sponsor!

This question/ assumption, alongside the- when are you getting married (or whatever variant of the question the interrogator chooses to use) are one of the most frequently asked questions I currently get. In the workplace, at social events, among friends; it’s like everyone not-single keeps asking this question. The ones not asking are thinking it and will ask it one day.

I find it particularly exhausting. Like everytime it comes up, I’m just tired. The reason for this tiredness is; for everyone who asks this question, I scream a mental not you too! Or another one bites the foolishness dust! And I sigh. Deeply!

I find it particularly sad (and irritating) that someone will believe that any sane person, in this Lagos (regardless of marital status) will choose to put his or herself through the torture of waking up at an ungodly hour everyday- every blessed work day, navigate Lagos traffic, endure shitty less than stellar bosses and work colleagues; because of fulfilment, or to keep busy! Doesn’t make a lick of sense. And calls into question your sense of judgement if you hold that opinion. Maybe if I worked in another city I could better understand the logic behind that question and belief, but because we (my interrogators and I) work in Lagos, I cannot understand it. No matter how much I try.

The logic is, because you are single you don’t have any responsibilities, abi? Single working-class folks are just piling up the money, no responsibilities. Yeah right! It’s even worse when you are female, guys are given a somewhat free pass- because its believed they probably have a girlfriend(s) whom they foot their bills (the belief that men foot their lady’s bill is just bullshit an empty belief. Where are the men who supposedly foot their women’s bills- or even like 50% of the bills (and I’m not referring to transactional relationships)? I haven’t met them and no one around me has! But that’s a rant for another day).

There’s also the ones that will come to borrow money from you and get upset when you decline. That one is just plain old bad behavior.  But then, you’re single; what do you do with your money? Why won’t you have money when I need to borrow it?

Let’s take a step back before I totally go off; while I agree the married person has more responsibilities in that the family is bigger (current nuclear and previous nuclear family), do we stop to think, just for a moment that; perhaps, just maybe the reason the single person is still single is because- current responsibilities will not allow for added responsibilities? Possible? That’s a thought though.

So, you ask the married person for his/her responsibilities- and they always without fail mention their parents and/or siblings in addition to their spouse and children. The question now is- did you just start caring for your parents and siblings when you got married? If no, then perhaps you shouldn’t be asking the single person what he/she does with his/her money. Shouldn’t the answer to that be very easily derived?

A thought does occur to me though, maybe I shouldn’t be looking at this lapse in memory as a single event but should look at it from the perspective that we Nigerians have very short memories and can believe the most outrageous things. All it takes for something to become authentic is for us to hear it being repeated often or repeated by someone we believe knows better (an influencer- off and on-line).   Even when someone is trying to rejig our memory and to remind us of past events that negate our current conclusions, or to logically point out another perspective, we adamantly refuse to reason because it is said or Lagbaja said so. Case in point- pre and during 2015 elections. Its 2018 and some of us have still not regained our reasoning.

Or perhaps I should situate this question (and other such) in terms of the fact that we are naturally nosy people who never mind our business. Maybe if I did, I won’t find it so sad or irritating. With us, if it isn’t this one thing it’s another, we are always all up in other people’s business at the detriment of ours. It’s a proven fact that Nigerians are very good at putting out fires in other people’s fields while our kitchen is on fire. And when someone points out that our kitchen is on fire, we deny with our last breath, even when the smoking kitchen is obvious for all to see; our kitchen isn’t on fire. Case closed. That’s our story. Or do you want to argue with the owner of the house about the state of his/her house?

Face_With_Rolling_Eyes_Emoji

 

To avoid being on the giving or receiving end of offense, we should all learn to mind our business. Might be difficult, particularly for those of us for which it will be like learning new skills in old age, but it must be done. It isn’t my business what I do with my pay- the company which pays me doesn’t ask me what I do with the money they pay me; and that’s because I have worked for the money. Same way you shouldn’t ask me why I am yet to marry or have a child, or get a masters, or go bungee diving, or have a plastic surgery for the heck of it. We should all pay attention to our businesses aka: Mind Your Business! It isn’t that difficult. Abi? How difficult can it be to mind your own business?

dreamstime_m_110897086-600x400-1-600x400

This article was initially published here on BellaNaija.

Photo credit: Dreamstime/BellaNaija

For Adults on Children’s Day

Featured

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.

0d98b6eba14d47c0742b594daeda8542

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.

Children 2

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

 

Your Colleagues are NOT your Friends

Featured

Or maybe they are!

Friendly colleagues

Most organizations are high pressured. The 8-5 thingy is long gone and has been replaced with 5-8 or 10pm (depends on office-home proximity) 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.

Also, there is the fact that the long hours we spend at work as against anywhere else necessitate the forming of a bond that transcends work. After-all, how and where are friendships formed- isn’t it often at places where people meet very often and find themselves to share similar ideals? Places like- schools- nursery to tertiary, places of worship, leisure and WORK.

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 friends which the friendship grew in the office space. friendships that transcend culture and sometimes age. i have friends whom 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

Conversation: The Price of a Car Ride?

Featured

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.

when-you-dont-want-the-conversation-to-end-so-what-6992580

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.

picture1

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?

Chinma-Eke-Chinma-Ekes-blog.png

*Images credit: Google.com

Breaking the Silence: The Situationship

Featured

……….After taking the call, Adaeze’s mom called herself and her siblings and broke the news to them; their father was dead.

breaking-the-silence-series

Then the drama began, we all know in Igbo land an African man cannot die a natural death; someone has to be responsible for it.

His family came with the drama; they alleged his wife and children abandoned him and contributed to his death.

It didn’t matter that he had abandoned them as children and didn’t contribute a dime to their upkeep or education. He was their father and that meant they owed him the duty of care.

It didn’t matter that they were mourning the death of a father they never had, all of that didn’t matter; in Africa it rarely does.

It was in times like this Adaeze asked herself if all the pre-wedding fact finding actually makes sense. Because if with all the fact finding people still end up married into horrible families; what’s the point?

Then came the sympathy and the sympathisers, it felt awkward, almost hypocritical.

The period was a difficult one for all involved, the antics of the father’s people didn’t make it any easier. Mrs. Chukwuemeka had to relieve the pain of the separation all over again; accusations flew all over mainly centered on abandonment. Mr. Chukwuemeka’s people were having a field day.

Then came the story peddlers with their false story telling; they said Mrs. Chukwuemeka abandoned her husband because he lost his job and could no longer cater for his family.

In a world where history is written by the loudest voice there also is the belief in silence being golden. Why do we hush our children when they attempt to express themselves, why do we perpetuate the culture of repression with only a few speaking up, and them carrying the day eventually? It’s in every aspect of our culture, we glorify the silence of the multitude and praise or envy the outspoken few. Lol. Some of the most loved and hated celebrities come to mind.

**********

You know that feeling of being surrounded by people yet alone? Adaeze felt it deeply at this time.

Chike; her boyfriend (or so she thought) was the first person she called to share the news with. He didn’t answer his call at the time; no surprise there, Chike had an annoying phone habit; he was always on the phone but never with his phone when you needed to reach him. So she sent him a whatsapp message. He called hours later. Asked all the questions, said all the needed things and killed it with; “Let me see if I can come?”

That saddened Adaeze. It was a Saturday, what was he doing asides hanging with friends? Could he not see she needed him?

He sent a message later; he couldn’t make it!

Absence makes the heart fonder is a big lie! A more accurate maxim is; nature hates vacuum, or out of sight is out of mind! The next day she was on her way from church when he sent a message asking what time she would be home. She replied with an ‘I don’t know’ for at that point she was upset already. What was he coming to do; to comfort her? If her comfort was dependent on him she would probably be in perpetual mourning.

He called. She ignored the first call, he called back. She repeated the same thing her message said.

‘I’m trying to find time to come and you are being difficult. Just tell me when you will be home?’ He had said clearly exasperated.

Not wanting to get into an argument with him at the time, she ended the call.

He sent a message; ‘Don’t ever end the call on me again.’

Lol! She was done, and this time for good. How Chike could make this difficult time she was in about himself was beyond her. He was always doing that. She had known him for two years and in those two years he had never been there for her. Theirs was the classic situationship where he took all she could give but gave little or nothing.

Birthdays, other joyful moments; he always made excuses. Traffic, something came up, illness, all this were excuses he used to avoid being there for her. Whereas the reverse was the case with her. She was there for him when he sneezed, every event, occasion during their two years; if she knew about it, she would be there. And it wasn’t just her praising herself, he had also attested to it.

She remembered how they met, it was through a joint venture their companies had. In reality, she has been the one to chat him up. Maybe that was where the issue lay. It’s no secret most guys can’t handle being propositioned. Maybe that was why he had never valued her or their relationship. Theirs was a relationship that had never been defined. They weren’t even friends with benefits for they was nothing to benefit from it. They were more or less sexual partners or in a ‘situationship’ for lack of a better word. Well, whatever the case; she was done. Really truly done. For two years she couldn’t think of a 3 month stretch when they were together, but there were stretches that long where they were apart.

What she couldn’t understand was why he didn’t want to let her go. He had said to her severally that she annoyed him but every time she tried to break it off, he refused. This wasn’t the first time she had tried to end the relationship but he always refused. Well. She was done, he just didn’t know it yet.

*********

He came by 3 weeks later. He came with a mutual friend. She ignored him. Ain’t no time for rubbish. It was a Saturday and her family was home so that helped to mask her ignoring him. Adaeze didn’t care though! A week later he sent a message asking if her ignoring him when he came to her house was good. And I’m her mind she was like; ‘I hope this young man is ok’?

Like really he couldn’t see anything wrong with his actions? That must be done serious shit. She ignored the message. It was a whatsapp message so he will be able to tell it had been read but she wasn’t going to respond to it. 2 weeks later he sent another message that he was in the neighborhood and could he stop by?

‘Okay.’ She had responded.

If only he had left it at that. If only he hadn’t tried to push by asking if she will talk to him this time if he came to her house. For that was when she snapped!

Chinma-Eke-Chinma-Ekes-blog.png

 

Let’s Talk About This Thing Called Karma…

Featured

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

Altered Vows: All The Episodes

Altered Vows- Till Death….. | http://bit.ly/1qZl7NF

Altered Vows: All My Worldly Goods….. | http://bit.ly/1nFXZUi

Altered Vows: With My Body…. E1 http://bit.ly/1rDJelm

Altered Vows: With My Body….. E2 http://bit.ly/1kKsKVP

Altered Vows: With My Body…. E3 http://bit.ly/QHmox9

Altered Vows: A Chance For Redemption http://bit.ly/1jqlIrz

Altered Vows: A Chance For Redemption (Final Episode) http://bit.ly/1mugo55