Posts tagged writing

Mistakes and perspective

Hello. Happy independence day celebration to Nigerians.
Today, I’ll be sharing on mistakes and ways to retrace our steps and learn from them.
I’ll share using instances of mistakes I’ve made over this past weekend and useful tips you could all use, if faced with similar situations.
1. Understand that sometimes, our emotions face court room trials. 
I have written a blog post on vulnerability for several months now which I haven’t uploaded on the blog yet. In retrospect, I feel it could as well have been a sanctimonious post. I thought I was Open, honest and vulnerable because I perceived myself to be so based on certain criteria and also, people’s observation. I went ahead and wrote the post confidently while offering useful points.

Honesty
? that’s true.

Openness
? that’s very debatable among the people who know me intimately.

Vulnerability
? …uh. we have a problem here.
On Saturday morning, I had to expose something I considered quite intimate which got me emotional at a gathering and I guess I wasn’t very pleased with the outcome of the meeting after that. I was a bit hurt. During the day, I looked at the word of God and cried and prayed and looked at the scriptures again, then I slept. I discussed with my sister on the phone later that night.
Today, I wonder what made that incident upset my day terribly. It was my vulnerability on the stand and I took ill emotionally.
If you’re faced with a similar situation, you must recognize that there is a tendency for you to blow the facts of the incident out of proportion because it’s personal to you. If you asked other people, they wouldn’t percieve it as strongly as you do. So, calm your emotions down. Court trials aren’t even as bad as they appear to the lay man.
2. Get what lesson God teaching you and stick to it. Over the next few days or hours, you may want to over-rationalize the issue again. Don’t do that. Stick to what God has told you instead. If you over-rationalize, you tend to justify your own weaknesses too and blame the other party. In case you haven’t realized, the blame game helps no one.
Also, it’s always a wasted experience when you “suffered” so much and you’re still unable to decipher the lesson behind it all.
3. Stick to your plans. Did you schedule plans for the day? Try to stick to them. Your schedule doesn’t have to be overturned if it isn’t a major matter you’re dealing with. You could breathe in and out, literally, then proceed with your responsibilities.
A deviation from your scheduled plans would probably cause more anxiety over the load of work you have to achieve by the next day or cause some other damage.
Trust God for the strength to carry on.
4. Speak to someone who often understands you. I mentioned that I called my sister at night and we spoke. She encouraged me.
I know we all sometimes insist, especially when we’re emotionally spent, that no one truly understands us. No one may understand everything about you but someone understands certain aspects of your life. Why don’t you speak to someone you trust, who would reassure you. This should be done wisely. Don’t speak with someone who will slander the offenders in their quest to ‘help’ you.
5. Don’t downplay what you have/ who you are (because of that error)
I did some reading during the weekend. Mostly blogs- I read new blogs, caught up on old blogs too. I enjoyed doing so. Everyone inspired me richly. It however, didn’t occur to me that I have some people getting inspired by my blog too and that they’re waiting for updates. There was an update I planned to, but failed to make on Friday.
A friend of mine called and asked about my blog. She set me thinking.This post is up to remedy that. I have a good blog,  I will remember that.
These lessons are pretty General yet selective. Like I stated earlier though, they’re simply lessons I drew out from my mistakes over the weekend.
Anytime you’re faced with mistakes you’ve made, rather than berate yourself, look out for lessons.
Don’t get stuck in self loathing by realizing all the wrong things you did without realizing what you can do to improve on them next time. Sharing those tips with others around you is also productive. Enough self loathing people. It’s mind over matter. Perspective matters!
Let us hear from you. What lessons have you learnt from your mistakes of late? We could benefit from them so share with us below.

Write-A-Day

The problem


There is such a thing as literary depression.
I have refused to Google search this. I do not care to produce researched facts at the moment. I could do that later- present facts and figures.
Right now, I say from experience that there is such a thing as literary depression. As content creation anxiety.
There is such a thing as reading too much good work on the internet and telling yourself to shut up.
Just how many literary voices have to exist before the world starts to scream?! Just how many writers and bloggers must the world endure before it breaks?! It won’t break? Oh, you’re sure?
Help
What can help? I’m no certified blog consultant, I needn’t remind you. However, you must always return to the reason why you began blogging in the first place – why you began writing too.
You must also starve yourself of unnecessary reading. If you must, starve yourself of all reading for a while. Just write based on your current literary sense. Just write.
I’m going on a personal challenge and you’re invited to join me any time you diagnose yourself of the above named illness. I’ve never gone on any write-a-day challenge, but there is a first time for everything. Network at home is poor but I will write a day. I hope to blog a day but I can’t tell if publishing will work due to the network.
This is impulsive. But when you’re drowning, I believe everything you do to save yourself is always impulsive.

Shopping list v world order


Hiii.
Before I tender a formal apology for my absence, I’ll let you know that I think you’re more dignified than to recieve a quick apology. Not the commonly seen “I’m sorry I’ve been away, thanks for being faithful… Life happens…” sort of apology before the post begins in earnest. I believe you deserve a whole post dedicated to apologizing for my unfaithfulness.
😐
Life really did happen. Remember my post trigger words? I spoke of some trigger blogs which help me gain my writing mojo. I’m not the only one who does this neither am I the only one who watches Chimamanda on YouTube once in a while before writing a story (Tope Owolabi of eclectictope.com confessed same in this interview. Oh the joy). Yeah, the signs that I had to put up a new post were glaring.
One of my oldies who had stopped blogging for some months came back, rebranded. I’ve been following Afoma’s blog since back in the days. The old posts of life and living etc have resonated with me even to the modern day photography posts etc. She’s back. Check her out here.
I also read Kacheetee’s blog and she had some posts about blogging. Certain posts on blogging myths etc.  What really helped the most was this post on quotes.
Turns out the first quote is the deal. In an earlier post, she mentioned how blogging is a whole lot more than writing, which is super true. How blogging is demanding, whereas most people think it’s not. They think it’s randomly done, casually done but if you have a blog with a vision, it’s definitely not casual.
Two of the quotes there also speak to me because I understand a great blog is a combination of well written posts not one great post.

“Doing well with blogging is not about writing one key post. It is about performing day after day and helping a few people at a time”
” 99.9 percent of bloggers are not awesome on Day 1. Their awesomeness is the accumulation of the value they create over time – Darren Roswe”

Now, to the first quote I called the real deal, here it goes:

“a blog is merely a tool that let’s you do anything, from changing the world to sharing your shopping list “

Non bloggers may miss out the relief in that quote but it is a relief. It’s a break from the mini-anxiety that sometimes grips your chest.
It’s an affirmation that there are days I could write my shopping list as a blog post, and it would be cool. A blog is a tool. Tool. Tool. I can change the world with it (oh the revolution!) and I can relax my mind with it. It’s a tool that let’s me do anything.
Well there.
A tool. I use it.
So, in as much as this post in its entirety is an apology, it’s also the practicality of what I just learnt: that my blog is a tool(to be used) for my expression. 
Last of all, this post is an encouragement to all bloggers. Keep at it, even when you find it hard to keep at it, because you have a million responsibilities following you upandan* or because you lost a blog post which you worked on tirelessly and efficiently (as are examples for my three weeks silence). I want you to understand then, that there are other bloggers like you going through the same thing.
Remember your blog is a tool. *Use* it. Change the world with a post today. Write out a weird food recipe tommorow, rant about your day the next time, change the world with the next post.
 I give you the license:)

Don’t focus on having a great blog, focus on producing a blog that is great for your readers – Brian Clark

And I remain Debby,
Love, peace, shopping lists and world revolution
*upandan: slang to mean being everywhere. Literally “up and down”
Oh ye bloggers, get in here and share your experiences. What do you think? Non-bloggers, air your view.

If wishes were horses

“Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go to write it down, and either you over dramatize it, or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to.” Sylvia Plath

Helloooo there beautiful people. Hope you’ve been well. I should get to a non-fiction post soon enough. Let you know what has been up with me.
In other pressing matters, I saw the above quote yesterday. Sylvia Plath couldn’t have said it better. It’s so true about written words both fiction and non-fiction. In any case I decided to share this flash fiction I wrote a few weeks back. That quote prompted me to.
See this story you’re about to read, has some elements of reality in it. Fiction, I have always accepted is therapeutic. It takes a little of us.
What had she gained? Instead her seams were ruffled inside her. She didn’t understand. She couldn’t possibly get it. And the question Uju had asked ” a boy or a girl?”
Aanu knew in that moment that she shouldn’t have told her. There ought to have been a tearing inside of Uju if she got it, the type of tearing that happened inside Aanu the night she found out.
Aanu wished she had kept quiet and nursed the grief in her. It was always best after all not to expose yourself to outsiders. What had compelled her mouth to tell Uju she still didn’t know. What she had hoped to achieve evaded her. She felt like paper; flat and raw.
After Uju heard Toni had a baby, and put the picture on Instagram, Uju’s question was “why did she put it on IG?”
For Aanu that wasn’t meant to be the question. She felt exposed and mocked.  Toni was a part of her.  Opening up to someone who didn’t get it hurt.
She rubbed her palms together in hopes to get rid of the dark gap inside her.
They had dreamt together, herself and Toni. They had hushed conversations till early mornings. They washed socks for each other when that was all they had to wash and the other had much laundry to do. She had exchanged the Friday fish she didn’t like for Toni’ Sunday plantain which Toni considered too soft.
They had snuck to read each other’s diary. And knowing they couldn’t always keep their diary far away from human reach,  they sometimes interwove untrue stories along with the truth. They created a life they wanted by sprinkling their current lives with condiments. Lives more luscious with the boys who stayed around them. So when they snuck and read each others diary they read rich and enviable entries.
Life had happened to them all after graduation. Dispersed them, changed them .
The first time Aanu saw Toni after graduation, Toni had come to unilag to see her aunt who worked there. When they met and their bodies pressed together, Toni had not opened her heart, only her arms. Anu felt a sort of bereavement, and inadequacy. She had opened her heart and her arms without receiving same.
Consequently, they distanced themselves. Whenever she went down her Facebook feed, she would see Toni’s recent photo upload, stare at it then continue scrolling like she had never seen it. Now she wished she had liked it. Wished she had commented. When she had kept in touch. Wished. Wished. Wished.
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I am Security-concious

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Hello to you today. These days i’m mostly drawn to watching YouTube videos ranging from messages to DIY to music videos to speeches and interviews. On the issue of DIY, lest I forget, I bought bicarbonate of soda yesterday, it was really cheap, #110 to help whiten my teeth. I need the perfect smile y’know. I’ve always considered using braces and the only person I’ve told, my elder sister has repeatedly said no, I shouldn’t use it. I could pursue it further but I recently read a person’s account and she said she had it on for two and a half years.  That’s quite a while guys😁. I always thought it was about a year. In any case,  mind me not, it is such an half-hearted attempt otherwise I would have done my research.  Today is a slow Saturday for me, I’m going out this evening for a program in commemoration of our youth anniversary in my church. In the meanwhile I thought I could Just paint a picture I nursed in my head in a few words. Come imagine with me.
I believe growing up in my world made me a slightly paranoid person. I sense every form of danger miles before it could happen. Truth is, I hate it. On days I am in the kitchen, and the electric bulb is switched on, I would feel uneasy about the kitchen window which faces the small unilluminated store at the back of the house. Anybody could hide in the store and be watching me. When I catch  myself with such feeling, I would berate myself and feel awashed with a sense of inadequacy. The store is made up of net, wood and iron pan. Rats die and stink in there, then mummy would call the gate man and ask him to clean up the place.
There are empty bottles of fruit wine and old newspapers and big coolers for Christmas time and old cabinets that are still too good to be thrown away. The store holds close to everything and on the day thieves attacked our neighbours about three years earlier, Adamu, our former gateman had run into the store and gotten a cutlass with which he made a gash in the back of a fleeing robber as he scaled the fence. Daddy found a reason to pay him off the following week. Even though he did well, we weren’t comfortable with having someone with such temdency of violence.
When the landlords association decided to do something about the security situation in our neighbourhood, they hired vigilantees and made rules such as if you were to drive later than 10pm on the street you will present an ID card.
Daddy had complained tirelessly less than a month later of how the vigilantees only drank beer at night and kept Fuji songs booming from the radio. It was a waste of the associations money and he said so at another meeting where the vigilantees demand for an increase was raised. That meeting had been in our own house.
When mummy had first learnt of the meeting she had said “ah no. Not here o. We are busy now. How are we even sure we will be around on that day?”
“since we moved here we’ve not hosted any of the meetings it’s either one wedding or burial every other Saturday. We have to host it” He said, his tone low, neither rising nor falling.
“so you have now told them yes?” Mummy asked
” hmnnn” Daddy grunted, face buried in a newspaper.
That Saturday morning, mummy was quiet, not shouting at my brother to bring down his blanket to air it or to clean up his room. The woman who came fortnightly to do laundry was at the backyard switching from singing from one Tope Alabi song to the other.
I stood in the stufy kitchen shifting from end to end as my mother moved in perceived dignity to pick something everywhere. My phone constantly buzzed with notification from social media but staying around my mum that day I felt the need to be solemn. Most times she would yell at me telling me to “put that phone down” in rapid Yoruba. Or she would say “I don’t see to this carrying the phone around hot oil” “ehn ehn ehn don’t put my phone beside water. Don’t treat it like your own”
Before the landlords came, daddy called me and my younger ones together to the sitting room.
“you see, when someone has visitors, you don’t become too relaxed” eyan o kii n darale . “you must be security conscious because you don’t know who is who. That’s not the time to leave both doors to the house open. The kitchen door should be shut because if everyone is in the living room, you can never tell who will turn around to pass the back door into the house and all the while no one will know” he instructed and instructed and instructed, most of them, things we already knew. Things he often told us. As he spoke, the aroma of egusi soup kept wafting from the kitchen and my phone would not stop buzzing. I really wanted to tell my dad it was okay.
With my growing impatience, I remembered I learnt Bisi my technical drawing set-square last time she asked. I had an assignment due for Monday, there was no way I would turn it in that morning. I sighed inwardly, my nerves grated.
“Tobi, are you hearing me?” dad asked cupping his right ear with his palm
” yes sir” I said.
“you are the eldest. You are the example. Don’t let me catch you with ear piece plugged in so that you don’t even know what is going on and if we need your attention we have to run around the house. Are you hearing me? ”
” yes sir”
By the time I got back to the kitchen, the jollof rice had started to burn and mummy was making the semovita.
 
Debby