The ‘I Think I Might Be a Man’ series….1

You know how they say women are multi-taskers  and men are one-track minded?

Well, I’ve been a woman for over 3 decades and I still haven’t got the hang of this multi-task thing. I face one project and face it squarely;  when it’s done I move on to the next one. 

It has even caused problems between myself and some people with their unrealistic expectations. A Jack of all trades is…… (fill in the blanks).

#IthinkImightbeaman.

RED MEANS STOP; GREEN MEANS GO, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE!

A few millennia ago, I meant to start a series specifically targeted at educating our young men on woman matter. My altruism was however, misunderstood  (pause to don martyr cape), and I was accused of coming down on the menfolk too hard and sounding like a joyless headmaster.

Sooo today I shall go very easy and concentrate on giving them the expo to decoding women’s sign language.

A few days ago, a friend and I were brainstorming  {read, gossiping} and we came to the painful but necessary conclusion that men are colour blind. And I’m not just talking about the fact that indigo, violet and magenta are all purple to them.

{I cringe just thinking about this obvious heresy}.

We realised that most young’ins cannot tell the difference between red, amber and green. You can be morphing into the Incredible Hulk from all the green light you are shining and uncle will just be seeing amber. More than a few of us, I’m sure, have had an experience where we were practically throwing ourselves at a brother and 5 years and no show later, found ourselves having this conversation:

Uncle: shebi you know I used to like you that year.

You {incredulously}: you don’t say!

Uncle: I do indeed.

You: and you didn’t say anything because…..?

Uncle: Ah! You that was busy playing hard to get.

Chineke napukwa ekwensu ike tinye na dustbin!

Hard to get ke? Something that somebody nearly crossed the line from availability to prostitution all in the name of green light.

So it is to avoid such stories that touch, that I have graciously come up with a list of signs and what they stand for. You can thank me when you are giving the vote of thanks at your wedding.

#1. She Lols or Hahahas at ALL your jokes. My dear, I don’t care if you are a cross between Basketmouth, AY, Kevin Hart and Trevor Noah. NOBODY is that funny! This is a green light. Get up and move!

#2. She ‘misses’ three calls from you in a row and does not return any of them. Except she is dead or her phone was stolen, what she is likely saying is “miss me with that attention bruh.” This is a red light. Stop and make a U-turn.

#3. You miraculously run into each other more frequently than usual. It is very unlikely to be only coincidence; fate is getting some help and if it isn’t from you then it’s from her.  Did you ever casually mention that you go to such and such a place every weekend, and two weekends later she ‘happened’ to be in the area? If this happens more than once, you might want to take your foot off the brakes.

#4. You are always the one who initiates your conversations and you do practically all the talking. If you find yourself always saying, “it appears you are not the talking type,” that is more often than not a signal to abort mission. I repeat, abort mission. Every woman is the ‘talking type’ believe me. It just depends on who she is talking to.

These are just a few of the many {inexhaustible} signs, but if you are getting mixed signals and unsure of how to proceed, do contact me privately. It would be an honour and a pleasure to help you out of your quagmire and set you well on your way to the altar. Because as one of the newly inaugurated members of the Busybody Aunty Club, I have nothing else I’m using my life to do.

Sooooo…..with this few points of mine I hope I have you convinced that red means hit the brakes and green means step on it!

Thank you.

SPEED KILLS; TIMING IS EVERYTHING. 

It would appear that a lot of the young (and not so young ) men we have these days are….how do I put this delicately…….socially bereft. So whenever I encounter a young man who does something wildly inappropriate, I am tempted to pull him aside and tell him how counterproductive his actions really are, you know,  ‘in case of next time.’ Since I am unable to do this in real time, however, I’ ve decided that whenever inspiration hits I will take it upon myself to update our clueless young ‘uns one blog post at a time.

Inspiration number one inspired the title of today’s post. 😀

Dear Sir, 

I know you can’t help yourself. You ‘loved’ her the instant you clapped eyes on her. Her beauty/charm/figure has confused you all the way to your village market square and back. BUT!!! Please there’s a 10 to 1 chance that if you said this at your first meeting/chat you would be saying the wrong thing. You can never go wrong by pretending you just want to be friends at first (take a cue from Mr Wellington the sharp guy, that’s how you snag a hot chick).

Coming on strong is just a bad idea. It may work/have worked for some people,  but they are very likely the exception not the rule. You want her comfortable around you not retching whenever you open your mouth -or hit the send button. 

Trust me, there will be ample time and opportunity to display your lack of self control if and when she ‘agrees for you. ‘ In the meantime,  try and not disgrace your lineage by acting like a thirsty somebody. 

In the same vein, if the sister is playing it cool and showing that her people brought her up well, do not begin to whine about how she’s not reciprocating your thirstiness (again take a cue from social media’s latest couple). If you’ve been panting around like a dog in heat, that would be your cue to tone things down a notch as well.

Let me explain why this is good advice.  Getting to know her first before showing yourself would help you know what she likes and doesn’t like and how to propel yourself into her heart and plant yourself there. Most girls, once they got comfortable with you, would happily give you all the expo sef, so all you’d really need do would be wait patiently. 

Patience is key my brethren.  Patience and more patience. Speed kills.

Sincerely, 

Auntie Nina.

APRIL IS TURNING OUT NOT QUITE AS I HOPED 

I have been feeling a little disconnected lately. 

At times I cannot help feeling that GOd has a little too much faith in me. There are some tests I not only see myself failing, but woefully for that matter. Yet somehow God thinks it’s a good idea to let me take them? How could I possibly pass? Or is the lesson in the failing? 

You know how we always say things like “if God is all I have then I have all I need?” Ever feel like we mean that figuratively, not literally.? I know how I often wish the Holy Spirit could just become flesh for a few hours and I could call her phone or chat her up on Whatsapp and lament about everything that’s been tormenting me. And she would say how she feels me and how only yesterday so and so happened and nearly ruined her entire week.  Or something like that. 

I don’t know but…..yeah so I’m basically wishing I was 21 again. The thing about this aging is that less and less people have your time like that anymore. Not that they don’t care, just that they have bigger issues like our current GDP and how their children might have to wear last year’s outfit this Christmas. So, bigger issues than the very annoying message somebody sent you two days ago or how you fell mugu for the ninety hundredth time. 

#sigh

So as I was saying, disconnected. Not that I don’t think He will hear me but I’m not even sure what to say; I seem to have been saying a lot of things  I don’t mean lately. Like yesterday, I lost something which I shouldn’t have had in the first place and after searching futilely for it, I broke down and promised God I’d return if I found it. The events of the next hour or so, proved that I’d had no intention (or will) of keeping that promise. So something else happened that forced my hand.

It is a disconnected relationship where actions have to speak because words can’t. 

#sighagain

I need sound advice.  Good, unbiased, very sensible advice. Very sensible.

Sensible Advice \sen(t)-se-bel ed’-vis\: advice from the mouth of a person who has sense in his brain. 

THE CALM AFTER THE STORM

  There have been a lot of times in the past year when I questioned certain actions (or a certain action, actually) of mine. Could I have made a mistake? Everyone around me never tired of pointing out how foolish that decision was.

This is why I cannot imagine life without guidance from the Holy Spirit. I look back on my pre-Spirit days and it saddens me to think how much trouble I could have spared myself had I known, many years ago, what (or Whom) I know now.

So was the decision a mistake? Definitely not. How do I know? Because whenever a wave of doubt swept over me, the Spirit of God would gently remind me how it was in fact He who had given me that instruction and how much peace had come upon my troubled spirit at the moment when said instruction came.

Do I have any regrets? Sadly, yes. I wish I had just obeyed and relaxed instead of trying to hustle out an alternative. I still believe it would have taken time for this blessing to manifest; but if I had relaxed from the beginning and trusted that my father could not possibly have given me such an instruction without making alternative plans, I could have spared myself the pain, heartache and disappointment ( not to mention insults) that inevitably came when my own plans failed.

Luckily, though, I have a Father who specialises in turning everything around for my good- including my mistakes. And already, so much good has come from a seemingly unfortunate situation.

What I look forward to the most is the manifestation of all the rest of the promises I received a year and a half ago. I remember the Holy Spirit saying, just three weeks ago, that if I had been allowed to wait this long then I should know that God was preparing  me for much more than what I was praying for. That was music to my ears.

Ephesians 3:20-21

If you do not have a relationship with the Lord, right now is the time to start. It makes no sense at all to go another day of your life without Him. Trust me.

ONCE UPON A TIME 

When Yours Truly was still a hopeful twenty-something and lived in Lagos, she happened to work somewhere on the mainland.

It may or may not have been her first day on the job, but all she remembers is that it was time to go home and she had developed palpitations at the thought of the commute ( this may or may not have contributed to her eventual relocation from the madness that was the once-upon-a-capital-city).

Anyways, she had just bade the gateman farewell when one of the ‘ogas’ of her workplace drove past…..and stopped.

Hallelujah! She thought to herself, God is ever so gracious.

As it turned out, oga was even going her way! So she arranged herself comfortably in the front seat and inhaled the sweet smell of air-conditioning on a Lagos afternoon. Somehow, the journey did not end in front of her close, as she had expected, but at a Big Fish restaurant somewhere close to home.

But since no human being with intact faculties can say no to point-and-kill, she did not mind at all. After a lively conversation and an even livelier dinner, the evening ended in front of her close; but so did oga’s propriety.

Oga (while his hand was stealthily making its way towards the thigh of Yours Truly): So what are your plans this weekend?

Yours Truly (cheerfully pretending like she could not see where that was going): It’s going to be very busy. Apart from being on call, I have two months’ worth of laundry to do and a church programme to attend.

Oga: So you won’t have time to go and see even one movie with me?

Yours Truly: Ah no o, SIR ( heavily emphasised). This una work no gree person see road to flex.

Oga: Hmmmm. We’ll talk about this later sha, let me not keep you (after hand had made several unsuccessful attempts to snake up Yours Truly’s thigh).

After imagining that she’d escaped lewd oga’s attention – at least for one night – Yours Truly climbed into bed a couple of hours later and beheld a BlackBerry message on her, well, BlackBerry.

Oga: Still stuck in traffic at mile 2 o. Can you imagine!

Yours Truly: Wow! Eyya. It is well. What happened? 

Oga: I don’t know. I’ve been in one spot for over an hour. I’m so sad.

Yours Truly (in Yours Truly’s head): *how is this one now my konsai? I want to sleep mbok*

Oga: Tell me something sweet.

O dikwa egwu!

Yours Truly: Jesus loves you.

End of conversation….. and harassment.

GET TO KNOW ME QUESTION TAG.

I am supposed to tag other people after answering this but truthfully, I cannot be bothered. Please tag yasef if you feel so inspired. Thanks.

  1. Are you named after anyone?                                             Nope! An original is what I am.

2. When was the last time you cried?                              Hmmmm…. lemme see. Okay! About 8 months ago – someone said some seriously hurtful things to me.

3. Do you have kids?                                                                  In real life – not yet. In my dreams, like eleven. Or nineteen. The number usually varies with my mood.

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?!                                                                                  Borofcos Hian! How is this even a question?

5. Do you use sarcasm a lot?                                                 Sarcasm is the palm oil with which silly questions are eaten.

6. What is the first thing you usually notice about people?       The way they dress, I believe.

7. What is your eye color?                                                        A sexy shade of brown.

  8. Scary movie or happy endings?                                             Happy endings all the damn time mehnn. Although…..my idea of a happy ending sometimes differs from that of the general public.

9. Favorite smells?
The smell of cake in the oven. Cake is my biggest weakness ever.

10. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?           I have often found myself on other continents.

11. Do you have any special talents?
Are there any of my talents that aren’t special? That is the question.

12. Where were you born?                                                                In the cold and quiet city of Jos.

13. What are your hobbies?                                                        I love to read and write. And stalk people on social media.

14. Do you have any pets?                                                         Nope 

15. Do you have any siblings?                                                      Two

What do you want to be when you grow up?                                    I am already grown up, uncle. And I am what I’ve always wanted to be.

17. Who was your first best friend?
Renee.

18. How tall are you?                                                                           I am only beht 5 feet, 7 inches.

19. Funniest moment throughout school?                              School of nearly a decade ago? My dear, I cannot remember biko.

20. How many countries have you visited?                        Excluding my home country, three. Four if you count the two-hour stopover at Addis Ababa one year like that.

21. What was your favorite/worst subject in High School?
My favourite was a tie between English and Maths. For my worst I’d have to say Chemistry. Strange that I went on to become a doctor.

22. What is your Favorite drink?                                                         I really am not much of a drinker of anything -including water. 

23. Animal? Perfume?                                                                          Kittens; Rebelle by Rihanna, for now.

24. What would you (have you) name your children?                         I’m planning to cross that bridge only when I get there.

25. What Sports do you play/Have you played?                       Riding a bicycle? Does that count?

26. Who are some of your favorite YouTubers?                        Hian! Biko olee nke n’aza You Tubers again? I originally thought I saw yam tubers and was wondering…

27. How many Girlfriends/Boyfriends have you had?               I jump and pass….

28. Favorite memory from childhood?                                         Ice-cream at Chicken George; Friday afternoon shopping at Modern Bookshop. Them plenty.

29. How would you describe your fashion sense?              Cultivated.

30. What phone do you have? (iOS v Android?)
Android babyyyy…..all the way.

31.Tell us one of your bad habits!
I have this thing where I refuse to answer questions that have the potential to reduce my bride price.

32. What would you consider the most important quality in a partner.

He would have to be a Jesus lover too. I have no desire to be hitched to anyone that would be following Jesus to drag my attention. I no get power.

33. Public proposal or private dinner?

Just inbox me the question and then transfer the ring money to my bank account. I am too old for fanfare.

34. Rich or romantic?

Will he die if he is both, abeg? Why do I have to choose?

35. Best thing that happened to you this year?

I fell in love afresh (and not what you are thinking).

AND THEN I SAW HER

She was beautiful.

There’s really no other way to describe it. She was so beautiful it hurt to stare. Her smile seemed to light up the entire room and it was so readily available. She smiled at everything.

“Brothers and sisters,” our cell leader announced, interrupting my reverie just in time for me to clamp my jaws shut and disappoint the fly that was stealthily making its way in the direction of my mouth.

 “We have a new member in the house. Please welcome sister T.”

After fellowship everyone rallied around to greet her. I pretended to be engrossed with something in my manual but all the while watching from the corners of my eyes for when the crowd would thin out. When I deemed the coast to be clear I made my way towards her.

She saw me approach and rewarded me with another 100 megawatt smile.

“Hi.” I said and swallowed loudly before I could stop myself. “I’m Brother J.”

“Good evening  J,” she answered.  “It’s great to meet you.” She extended her right hand and as I took it I thought I saw her eyes flicker to my left hand. For the first time, I cursed the piece of jewellery that branded it’s fourth finger.

********************************

For five full years, I waited.

Five years might not seem like a long time now, but at the time it ranked right up there with eternity.

At twenty seven, I had a master’s degree and a really good job with a multinational company. Nice house, nice car, and the next natural thing was to add a nice wife to the mix. Everyone in the world thought so too.

I never missed the sound of anticipation in my mother’s voice whenever I rang her and she answered the phone.

“Jboy, how now. Any good news?”

My mother was never one for beating about the bush.

“Na wa o, mummy. I cannot call to just greet you again?”

The call never lasted beyond a couple of minutes after that and I always heard it even though she never verbalised it:

What are you calling for when you have no good news for somebody. What will I do with your greeting?

It is not as if there were no women. There were loads of them traipsing in and out of my life, my office, my home. More than I cared for, actually. There were the church girls, the career women, the club girls even.But I knew what I wanted and none of them was it.

I wanted a girl who loved the Lord as much as I did. One for whom God was not an option but the very essence of life. I wanted an ambitious woman too. To the rest of the world I had arrived but in my heart I knew I’d only just started. I had such big dreams and I wanted someone who would help me birth them.

Too many girls thought that marrying a man of means meant they could sit down and cross their legs and become oriaku but I wanted none of that.

I wanted a woman who could hold her own, intellectually, financially, the whole works. And this might make me sound vain but I wanted her beautiful as well. Smoking hot! I wanted to be the envy of every man in the room whenever I walked in with her.

I did not think I was asking too much. Everything I wanted, I believed I also was so it did not seem like a tall order. At first.

But one year became two and three and then four. Pressure was mounting both from within and without: family and friends had abandoned subtlety and had begun asking pointed questions and quite frankly, I was tired of holding body. There was just too much temptation prancing around.

In my fifth year of waiting, praying and believing, I met my wife. I had just bought a house and moved out of my old neighbourhood and consequently I switched to a branch of my church that was closer my new home.

My first Sunday I asked to join the department I had served with at my old church and I was told to wait to see the HOD. As it turned out he had not been in church that day so his assistant came to have a chat with me.

She was very pleasant, soft spoken and a bit shy. We talked for a bit and she gave me a form to fill. I did not really think about her again after I left, until we ran into each other at midweek service.

I was not particularly attracted to her initially until I began to notice she was interested in me. She was alright except that she just didn’t fit with my idea of what my wife would be like. For one she hardly ever spoke unless she needed to and chatting with her used to be quite arduous.

But as days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, our friendship grew and I began to see her in a new light. I prayed about her and did not hear anything from God to discourage me so I decided to take her along to visit my mother one day: 

I was dropping her off one evening after our departmental meeting and on our way, I acted like I needed to drop off something at my mother’s and asked if she would mind my doing so before taking her home. She didn’t.

…….to be continued…..

IT IS RATHER AMUSING….

The way Christians (especially from my part of the world) react to challenges. Two of such reactions are quite popular and hit pretty close to home.

I shall call the first, The Guilt Trip.     This one is born of the misguided impression that challenges occur because one has ‘sinned’. Some of us actually have a record of every single challenges we ever faced and the particular sin for which that was a punishment. A typical reaction to any difficult situation would be to plead with God to forgive any sins committed unknowingly.

There are just so many verses in the Bible that show how little anyone who thinks in that way actually knows God, but that discussion could easily become an entire post by itself.

I will however, point to the very obvious fact that this mindset suggests that if one is in ‘right standing’ (these terms are in quotes for a reason) with God then their lives would be challenge-free.

I cannot think of anything that is furthest from the truth. And since uncle satan is still the unopposed champion of the title “father of lies”, I will go out on a limb here and say that is a lie from hell.

The second group are a personal favourite and I call them The Devil’s Advocates.

These ones are convinced that trials are spiritual attacks and the remedy is usually deliverance/spiritual cleansing and midnight warfare aka negotiating terms and conditions of hostage release with the devil.

(These ones are clearly unfamiliar with the concept of not negotiating with terrorists).

For the longest time, I struggled with believing this because it just made the devil appear too powerful. More powerful than God. I never understood how “if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed,” and yet you were still somehow Satan’s to harass whenever the mood hit him.

It was one of the many things I grew up hearing but struggling to understand – until, of course, I realised it was yet another lie of the devil.

The thing is, a good number Christians ‘mis-react’ to challenges because they never did learn to think like God.

Where people say challenge, God says opportunity. Now if one was presented with an opportunity they would not think it was because they had done something wrong or that it was the devil’s handwork.

The problem if one does not recognise an opportunity is that they cannot take advantage of it, and then something which was meant to lead to a breakthrough ends as yet another setback.

There’s a story in the Bible which I believe illustrates this beautifully.

Joseph’s story.

So, basically daddy’s pet, future looking good but had these rather grandiose ideas which pissed his brothers off big time (it was bad enough that their father did not bother to hide the fact that he loved Joseph best, but for the boy to wake up one morning and start saying silly things like when he grew up his elder brothers would be bowing to him. See trouble o)!

One day brothers decided they’d had enough of his nonsense and sold him off. Setback abi? Well, God did not think so.

Imagine our people giving Joseph advice when he became a slave.

How could you say things like that to your seniors biko? It is simply not done. See now God is punishing you for your insolence.

Well, he did not do badly in Potiphar’s house and he began to rise and things started looking up. Ah maybe God had forgiven him finally. There was yet hope.

Then the boy found himself in prison! Our spiritual warriors would have gone into battle mode.

Pray Joseph, pray! This is household wickedness. It must be from your mother’s family. Remember your grandfather them were kuku idol worshippers. See how your mother died naa. After years of barrenness, God finally pitied her and just after two sons, when she would have started enjoying her marriage, they killed her.

Now they have come for you. See your life now, when it looks like you want to start rising they just do something to bring you down.

Am I the only one who keeps wondering who ‘they’ are? The average Nigerian Christian has more enemies than the entire nation of America.

And has anyone else noticed how there’s always something to justify that belief. If the person is doing well then of course there must be enemies because, haters. If they are not doing well nko? Well then what other evidence do you need? Is that not the handwork of enemies?

If you come from my part of the world you of course know that nothing has any natural causes.

Your headache is not because you have not been sleeping well due to the heat, mosquitoes and generator noise. It must be an attack! Shebi last night you even had one funny dream like that….

Your knee issues have nothing to do with your (ample) weight. That job you didn’t get? Definitely spiritual forces from your village, not that there were more qualified candidates than you at the interview.

But I digress.

So poor Joseph would probably have been subjected to 40 days’ dry fasting, night vigil and deliverance prayers. He would have spent night after night demanding that the devil release his destiny.

And the devil would have been thinking to himself  that if the kind destiny dey him hand you for still dey here? Abeg if somebody has seven billion destinies in his hands to destroy, will he be wasting time doing hide and seek with one person. Is it not point and kill and on to the next one?

I also find something interesting: when Joseph tried to hustle his way out, see how it didn’t work? Remember, when he asked the king’s cupbearer to put in a good word for him with the king? The guy left prison and totally forgot there was anybody called Joseph – until God decided it was time.

God is not in the business of sharing His glory.

Before tomorrow now somebody will say it was their sharpness and quick thinking that saved them from rotting in prison.

But at the end we see how every ‘setback’ only propelled him closer to his destiny.

The Bible tells us how to react whenever we encounter challenges (when, not if) and I think we would do well to pay heed- it’s author happens to know what He’s talking about.

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.