I smile when you smile.

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I love food and I can act funny sometimes when it comes to food. I can share anything with you or give you anything but sometimes, I find it hard to share food (I know its wrong and am trying to be a better person *wink*). Why am I telling you this? Well, let me say it is important for you to know to understand the context of this story.

So, because of my love for food, I decided to buy myself breakfast. I happily went to a mallam’s kiosk to buy breakfast of bread, fried egg and tea but the service I got from the mallam was annoying. I ask him how much fried egg would cost with half a loaf of bread and he looks at me like am supposed to know and begins to shout in a language I do not understand. So I collected the food and without saying a thank you, stormed off towards my work place. Well, I was still going to enjoy my meal…its food. Lol.

On my way back to work, with the hot nylon of food in my hand, I happened to sight a woman by the roadside. This is not the first time though. Every day, on my way to work, I always see this woman along the road seated under a tree. She was a very tall lady. There is this particular way she does her things…with grace. It was quite amusing to me. The way she meticulously guards herself with sacks of dried leaves and heaped “ghana must go bags” or the way she gracefully roams the streets, hands crossed, staring at the floor as if to find something there. I always see her. Every day. They told me she was “crazy” but I like to think not…probably “away with the fairies” for the time.

Well, this time I saw her, something crossed my mind.
A day before, I was at my friends place when I secretly read an article she wrote about lending a helping hand to people (she still doesn’t know). She wrote something that got me thinking “help others help ourselves”. Erm…what does that mean?

On this particular day, I decided to do the one thing my friend wrote about that I did not particularly understand – Help others help myself. But, I don’t know why my eyes and heart betrayed me and looked at the nylon in my hands. Hold up! You want me to give her my food? But…but…I can give her some money. I would quickly go into the office and get the money to give her…or maybe on my way home, I would stop by and give her the money (but I know myself well enough, I would forget).

Hmmm…so I decided to just get on with it. I knew what I was supposed to do. Give the beautiful lady my food (Yeah, I also forgot to mention she was beautiful too). With mixed emotions, being afraid, happy and sad at the same time (remember what I said earlier), I walked back towards her spot. I began to worry and different scenarios came to my mind. What would happen? Would she create a scene when I approach her? Would she scream, claw at me? My mind went too far. It began to picture the gory images I see on the TV screen. I was actually scared, literally shaking. So I just whispered a prayer to God “Dear Father, this woman is your child, please help her” and then, I added “Lord, please let her accept this meal peacefully and not create a scene. Please do not let her not waste this food. I pray she would be so hungry that she has no option than to eat this meal”. (Yeah…I just I had to add that).

So with shaky legs and sweaty palms, I walked towards the woman usual spot. And then I walked past where she was seated and walked back again, past her, and back again (I did that twice, am sure the traders on the roadside and the woman thought I might have gone awol).

The woman just stared at me like I was crazy and continued reading her book out loud. Erm…pause. She could read?! Interesting. I finally stopped in front of her, cleared my throat and greeted her. She looked at me and rolled her eyes as if to say “Oooo, this people have come again to disturb me. What do you want? Why can’t they just leave me alone?”
She turned away and continued her reading out loud. So I smiled and said “Good morning Ma, I brought you something”. That got her quite. She looked at me for a long time and said “No, thank you”. I wanted to walk away before the gory images in my mind becomes a reality. But then again, my feet betrayed me. I looked at her, my heart racing and said “Ma, I bought bread, egg and tea for you. Please have it”. She looked at me again and said thank you.
This time around, I forced my feet to walk away but it turned back. I dropped the food beside her and prayed to God that she eats the meal so my money would not be a waste. Let me also add that minus the fact that I am still learning how to share, I also squeezed out of my transport fare to buy that breakfast. I now understand why my aunt always flogged me silly when I came back home from school with my lunch box completely not empty. She would say, with a slap on my head and pulling my ears “After waking up early to prepare your food before the school bus arrives, you think you can waste my time and energy?”

I headed back to the office and turned back to look at the woman…and the nylon beside her. It was still there, where I had left it. Untouched. I was feeling so sad. Mission not accomplished! I was about to enter the gate when my head betrayed me and turned back again.

But this time around, as I turned to look at this fairy woman, I did not see the nylon again. Rather, I saw a woman so engrossed in the contents of the nylon…smiling to herself.

So what did my friend really mean when she said “Help others help ourselves”?
Well, here is what I think:

I am not okay if you are not okay
I cannot laugh except you are laughing
I cannot be happy except you are happy
And I would try my best, in the little way that I can
To light up your face
To put a smile on someones face
Everyday, I would try
Because I can only smile, when you smile.

Hey! Don’t you think the world would be a little bit better if each person can try, everyday, to put a smile on someones face? I am trying and I hope you would too. Go out there and make someone smile today.

Don’t forget to share your stories in the comment or send me a mail -ifeomakalu24@gmail.com Looking forward to hearing from you. Till next time…Adios!

To kill the fear…

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It’s been over two months now since I left the NYSC orientation camp and I just wanted to share with you some of my bittersweet experiences in camp…one of which was the “man o’ war” drill.
A cold Monday morning was the day my platoon was to start their drill. I was already excited…finally! I had patiently waited for this day for the past two weeks. I felt this was the climax of the whole orientation course. It starts with body exercise of jogging and shaking of the hands and legs. Then, we were shared into groups for the different drills. I looked forward to the last and final stage which was the rope climbing.
So, we started off, doing press up exercises, lifting heavily cemented buckets, jumping ropes, pole walking, wall climbing…and also, jumping them too. The drill went on until something very surprising happened.
For the drill, we are supposed to dress in our ajuwaya (khaki uniform). It was my turn to climb the wall and just as I was about to cross over the 10 feet high wall, I heard an embarrassing sound I dreaded the most. At that moment, I silently prayed it did not come from me. Well, turns out that my khaki tore…but that was not the worst part. It was the fact that my khaki tore in an area where it was not supposed to tear…embarassing!??
I turned and saw the faces of my platoon members; some were sincerely sorry for me (at least I could tell by the look on their faces) while others…wore a smug expression(I wanted to use my boots to kick them in the face).
Well, it was already done so why don’t I just give the camera a beautiful smile as the photographer said, “C’mon, look over here and say cheese”. And also, not to forget, we had to do the imbecile dance (do the tata…don’t have a clue what was being said). That’s just by the way.
I quickly went back to the hall to amend the torn khaki and rushed back for the drill…I had not done my most anticipated exercise which was the rope climbing.
Why was I so interested in that?
Well, I love things that exhilarates and excites me…you know, something that just keeps my pulse racing. So you see, climbing, walking and sliding on ropes over 15 feet high would give me just that!
I was scared at first, frightened to my bones but that made me more excited and “good to go”. LOL…my moral was extremely high. It was finally my turn to climb the rope and I trust that I was in good hands. I screamed all through that exercise, and just as I was about to do the next round (ladder climbing and walking on the rope), my hands were literally shaking. Our trainee said that for the next round, he was going to separate the guys from the girls as it was not compulsory for girls to do it but the guys would go first. And then, I overheard him tell his colleague that I ( the oyibo) would not be able to carry on with the drill because of the way I screamed while i was on the rope climbing phase. I felt he could also see my hands shaking. But c’mon, those ropes were not stable.They wobble as you climb!
I was sad. No, angry
Did I want to prove to him that I could actually do the exercise?
Hmm…nah. I wanted to prove to myself.
I was just angry that he underestimated me without giving me a chance. Well, I don’t blame him. It actually looked like if i tried climbing that rope, where next I would find myself would be in the hands of my Lord Savior. LOL.
But seriously, I really wanted to complete the whole drill. That’s the point of the whole thing. And, I won’t allow the embarrassment my ajuwaya uniform caused me to be in vain.
It got to my turn and the trainee asked me if I really wanted to . I looked at the rope and said yes. He laughed, revealinng his brownish yellow set of teeth and had to ask again in his thick hausa accent, “Oyibo, you sure say you go ‘pit’ do this one? No be by ‘porce’? Me I no want any nonsense here. I don talk my own”. I turned and smiled at him and told him that am good to go.
With sweaty palms and pulse racing, I climbed the ladder and with those same sweaty palms, I did the rope walk. My sweaty plams made the rope so slippery I felt I would loose my grip and fall. But, I walked the rope, screaming, again. “Don’t look down, don’t look down” I kept whispering to myself. I could hear my friends saying ” you are almost done, just a little more to go” (A ‘little more to go’ felt like centuries).
Finally, I was through and wanted to carry on with the next drill when the trainee asked me if I wanted to come down.
Well, I have come this far so why don’t I go ahead and complete it? But, I think I regret doing that because for few minutes, I could not walk well. This is how it works: I had to cross my legs over a thick thin rope and slide down the rope with one leg stretched out. My entire body was rested on my inner thighs which had to do the sliding…ouch!! That was quite painful.
But…I did it! I did it! I completed the exercise! All of them. A soldier walked up to me and gave me a high five. He said he could not believe I would be able to do all the exercises and that I surprised him. Well, I must say, I surprised myself too. Lol, oyibo ajebo like me (am only permitted to call myself that).
I was so overjoyed and extremely happy. Yaass girl! My heart was beating like a war drum and I was doing my victory dance when one tall lanky guy that resembled a walking corpse, walked up to me and said “Yellow paw paw, you too dey fear ooo. You just dey scream for us like say you wan die”. Say what?!
I really felt like knocking his yellow decayed tooth out of his mouth (don’t mind me, just joking?). But, not to spoil my moment, I ‘kpom kpi’ and smiled at him, revealing 32 set of shining white teeth!

My point- Kill the fear before it kills you!
Some people have allowed fear lead them on that they have become slaves to this illusion. I believe that every individual is facing or have faced a particular kind of fear. It may be fear of change, starting a new business, walking down the aisle (yeah, people are freaking scared of that), making that decision, taking that bold step; whatever it is, we have all faced something that brought that feeling to our minds.
There are many exeprieces I have faced in terms of dealing with fear but I find this a very challenging one . If I allowed the fear to make my decision, I knew I would be leaving with a heavy load of regret on my shoulders (I am definately not up for that kind of life). So you see, it was really a big deal to me because it made me know and believe that I can do anything once I put my mind to it and that’s the feeling you get once you conquer that fear.
And how do you do that? By taking the bold step to do it afraid. I heard this word first from the mouth of a woman I always admire- DO IT AFRAID!
Since I heard those words, I always try my best to do that every time I find my self being afraid to do something.
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? (I always ask myself that) Okay, let’s see…Death? Let me also add that a lot of people have died while doing the same exercise but I still did not allow the thought to overwhelm me, I went right on and said my last prayers. I was able to carry on with the exercise, not because I wasn’t scared (I mean, I actually felt I would loose my grip and fall head on) but because I carried on strongly despite the fear. Now, I feel like I can say to myself “I have lived through this, I can take the next thing that comes along”.
So, you wanna kill that fear, then you can start by making a list of everything that makes you afraid and then ask yourself what is the worst that could happen…rejection, humiliation, taking insults, you name it. Just take a deep breath and do it afraid! But sweetheart, refuse to allow the fear of what could happen make nothing happen!

Yeah, I think I have said enough so over to you guys, what  was your experience with that particular thing you were afraid to do and how were you able to face the fear? I would love to hear your stories so don’t forget to share them in the comments below or you can send me a mail- ifeomakalu24@gmail.com

 

 

The Amateur Writer

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I don’t think I can write but I love to think I can and if I waited till I felt like writing…well…
So I asked myself…what should I write about? And she said:
Write about life…and the loss of it
Write about what makes you happy…and what makes you furious
Write about feelings and emotions…and the mumbo jumbo of it all
Write about family, friends and loved ones
Write about what was, what is and what would be
Write about people; their uniqueness, their struggles, their foolishness…and complexities
Write about children and their lovely nature
Write about social injustice, politics and what not
Write about beauty…and the irony of it
Oh! Write about the beloved Father, the sacrifice of His son and the promise of the Comforter…which is already come
Write about love, faith, hope, Joy, peace, forgiveness…and truth
Write about you…for yourself and to yourself
Write about anything and everything
Don’t just sit and wait for that “perfect” time…it doesn’t exist
Make the words come alive and show them the world of words
Let them fall in love with it; let it fill their senses
Let them see it, feel it, taste it…touch it…at least try…
I laughed
I laughed at the nonsense
I laughed at the irony
Oh well! I dont think I can write.
But…I would have to try
Well, having said that,
Let me welcome you to my world of words!
I hope you share this world with me and be a part of it.
Have fun!