Monday, March 30, 2015

When your own blood hates you

Hey people, wasup? How was Saturday for you? I hope you all went out to vote your conscience, and stayed out of trouble? Anyway, I trust you guys. My readers are wise and intelligent, just like me, lol.

I was thinking about something recently. Remember in this post, when I mentioned that in Brazil, people were asked to order poems from poets, and we were supposed to ‘cook’ the poem on the spot for the customers?

Well, the story of my first customer really touched me. She wanted me to write a poem for her daughter. Through the translator, she told me that her daughter detests and hates her for no just cause. She believes she is suffering from karma, as a result from something she has done in her past life.

They have never been close, and she hasn’t liked her since she was a child. She said that since the girl was small, she has continually done things to intentionally hurt her.

She went ahead to say that her marriage with her husband didn’t work out, and her daughter blamed her the more for this. According to her, she and her daughter were both mean to each other in the past, but she doesn’t want that anymore.

She said her daughter is now in her early twenties or late teens (can’t remember which), but she wants to make peace with her. She wants me to write a poem to tell her daughter she loves her, and doesn’t want to fight anymore.

You could see on the woman’s face that she was really hurting. It was really moving. Since the daughter wasn’t there to tell her own part of the story, I had to rely on just the woman’s version to cook the poem. The poem was for the daughter. I really hope the daughter would like the poem sha because she sounds hard and mean, according to the mother’s story, and I had about 5 to 15 minutes to deliver. I am actually writing this post because a copy of the poem fell out of my laptop bag.

By the time the translator and I read it to her, she was just crying and hugging me. When it was all over, it was surprising to see that she was still hanging around. She came to meet me, and kept pecking me, speaking Portuguese, which I didn’t understand a word of, while I kept telling her ‘I don’t know what you are saying’, lol. She even went to search for me on facebook, added me, and sends me occasional messages which I have to use google translate to understand, lol.

So what do you think? How do you pursue a path of peace with someone who detests you, especially your own daughter – someone you brought to this world? I know there are so many people in this situation, and they constantly hurt from the fact that someone who they love so much hates them, like father hates son, son hates father, etc.

What do you do? That's all I am asking.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The freedom of Anonymous Bloggers

When I set up my blogger account, and started blogging, I never knew there was anything like anonymous blogging. It wasn’t until I became active in blogsville that I noticed some bloggers had no identity. By then, it was already too late for me.

I feel like anonymous bloggers are so fortunate. I like ranting and letting out through my blog, but the fact that I am not anonymous means there is a limit to what I can say. Everyone knows my blog, so I can’t afford to give people undue access into my personal life, just by reading my blog, a mistake I made a couple of years ago. I mean, I can meet a distant relation I have not seen or talked to in over 10 years saying, “there was this personal article you wrote two years ago, it really touched me.” Haa, wahala.

Being an open identity blogger means you have automatic monitoring spirits on your case. So you might need to go to MFM prayer city for monthly spiritual check. Exes, stalkers, enemies, frenemies, families, friends, and even your parents will be using your blog to keep tab on you.

That is how last week, I was frying egg. My mum saw me, and said “you have started eating egg?”
I looked at her with a bewildered face, saying “why won’t I eat egg? Isn’t egg healthy? I never stopped eating egg.”

Then she goes “Didn’t you write about how eggs were affecting you on your blog some time ago?”
“That’s because I overdosed on eggs, aargh!”

You see what I mean by monitoring spirits? A post of over two years ago! You can read it here.

This is the reason why I am baffled at anonymous bloggers like Naija Bachelor who are eager to come out of the closet. It’s as if they just want to give up all that freedom I envy for nothing. All they get is a month or so of blogsville hailing, and when the mystery fades and dusts settles, they might wish again that they were anonymous.

Note please. If you are anonymous, that doesn’t mean you should say all the nonsense in this world. There are so many anonymouses whose covers have been blown. I personally know a couple of anonymous bloggers because they considered me worthy enough to reveal themselves to me, in person. So we don’t want to read your escapades about how you regularly cheat on your wife or husband, or colourful details of how many married men you have slept with. That kind of thing usually comes back to bite in the butt. You can read more about that here.

As for those who call themselves semi-anonymous like Toinlicious and Cherrywine, una jus dey deceive yaselves. You are either anonymous or not. *ducks blows*

And lastly, for anonymous commenters who hide their identities just to spew insulting and hate comments on people’s blogs, well, if you are not a coward, why don’t you comment using your real identity. Remember that you will sow what you reap, even if you repent in blogsville church and become born again!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Frank Talk about Mother’s Day craze

Warning: You are likely going to stone my blog page after reading this article, thereby damaging your screen, causing you to hate me for the loss you used your hands to incur. So beware before going ahead to read.

Firstly, let me burst your bubble by saying yesterday, 16th March, 2015, was not Mother's Day. I'm really sorry to break the news this way, but truth is sometimes bitter. Yesterday was Mothering Sunday, celebrated by Catholics in UK and Ireland, not Mother's Day. Anyway, moving on...

I got home from church yesterday, and proceeded to the kitchen to fix a meal for myself. While dicing the carrots, my mother came to the kitchen and said jokingly. “You did not even wish me happy mother’s day.”

I said “Ehen.” In my mind, I was like “you too?” lol. So I said “okay oooo, happy mother’s day.”
I was surprised because I have never said happy mother’s day to my mum. Please, don’t stone me, I promise you, I don’t hate my mum. It’s just that we were not raised with the mother’s day consciousness in my family, thereby causing my surprise.

I am therefore going ahead to blame the whole thing on social media. Lol. Yes, while some people blame Goodluck Jonathan for everything, including the fact that they accidentally cut their thumb in the kitchen, I blame social media for everything.

Ever since social media blew up, during every mother’s day, everyone puts up DP about how their mothers are the best in the world. Mother’s day is now more celebrated than in the past, such that my non-mothers-day-celebrating mother has now bitten the bug.

Back to the conversation. My mother now goes

“Or didn’t you celebrate mother’s day in your church?”

I said “I don’t know, I was with the teenagers all through.” This was not exactly true because I entered the main church briefly, and they asked all women to stand up in church, and sang ‘sweet mother’ for them. Also, in teens church, they asked every female to stand up, and we clapped for them.

“You are even supposed to buy me a gift to celebrate mother’s day.” she continued.

“Really? But you don’t buy me gifts on children’s day.” I said. “Am, I not a child to you? All these mother’s day and all other days are just holidays.” I said, making no sense, but wanting to cover my inadequacies as an inconsiderate daughter.

“But you used to get holidays every children’s day.” she said.

I just looked at her, and said to myself, “see, you don’t get the message. Were you the one giving me the holidays? And really, I meant you don’t give me gifts every children’s day, so why the guilt trip?”

There are just some people who can never be sent on a guilt trip, no matter how hard you try, and I am one of them.

Now, contrary to what you might be thinking, I love my mum. She is really cool, lol. She is so cool that she freezes the sun (no one should steal my punchline, abeg). So let’s get that out of the way. She buys me things, I buy her things – well sometimes. I was just so surprised that the whole social media mother’s day thing got to her.

My mum reads my blog posts. I hope I don’t get into trouble when she reads this one. She might just send me packing, lol. The woman has really tried sha. Having a frank-talk writer, poet and spoken word artist as a daughter is really a burden no mother should bear, lol.

Now in Nigeria, we just like to follow trends blindly. Did you guys notice that last year, when mother’s day was celebrated twice, some people started getting confused, saying “didn’t we celebrate mother’s day few weeks ago?” Well, that is because different countries celebrate mother’s day on different days. Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, United Kingdom, and Nigeria celebrate it fourth Sunday in the lent seasons, and it is called Mothering Sunday. The real Mother’s day, is on 2nd Sunday in May, which more than 60% of the world’s countries, including United States. This is why most times, since we like do follow follow, we celebrate it twice in Nigeria. First we do it with the Catholics because of Social Media following, and then we later do it with the United States. (You can read more about Mothering Sunday and Mother's Day - Google is your friend). Readers are leaders of information and knowledge!

Fact: Do you know that the founder of mother’s day, Anna Jarvis, later in her life started protesting the celebration of mother’s day, becoming a major opponent because she felt it had been commercialised? In fact, she spent all her inheritance and the rest of her life fighting the celebration till she died.

Another thing, how come on mother’s day, everyone’s mother now becomes the best mother. Doesn’t that contradict the meaning of the word ‘best’, seeing that there can be only one ‘best’? Therefore, if everyone’s mother is best, it means no one’s mother is really the best.

Lastly I leave you with this meme I truly love, but did not create. Believe me, I didn’t write it. It goes something like

If everyone’s mother is the best, then who are the witches always flying at night, and doing bad things to other people?

I guess their kids are also out there telling us how their mum is the best mum in the world.

If you made it to the end of this post without breaking your screen, congratulations. But promise me you would not slap me when next you see me in person.

With that said, happy mother’s day Mothering Sunday to all the beautiful mothers and mothers to be out there. And that’s excluding the witches. *Ducks jazz*

Monday, March 9, 2015

So this still happens on roads

I was going to vigil last Friday night. I decided to follow someone because I had a busy weekend ahead, and I wasn’t sure I was going to get fuel, due to the current fuel scarcity. So I just wised up, and started saving my fuel. Funny enough, I later walked past the filling station, and there was no queue.

Anyway, so I left my house by 8.30 pm to walk all the way to my friend’s house, so we could go for the vigil together. I hate bus and bikes and I like to walk, so even though it was a very long walk, I decided to trek. I am a very fast walker and it took me 30 minutes to walk, so it would take a normal healthy person one hour to make the journey by trekking.

Anyway, after the first 10 minutes, some guy steps up to me. I had earphones on, listening to switchfoot, so I didn’t notice his presence. It was not until he got close to me that it occurred to me that this guy was trying to get my attention.

Seeing that it is a small world, and I am a nice girl, I removed my earphones to listen to what he was trying to say to me, in case he was trying to tell me that he recognised me from somewhere.

“Yes?” I started.

“Hi, I just want to talk to you and get to know you.” He said.

I put the earphones back on.

End of conversation.

I kept walk, ignoring the guy. I told myself he would soon leave me and turn back, seeing that the journey was still very long for me. I kept saying to myself “so guys still approach girls on the road in this day and age of modern technology.” I thought all the first timer toasting had graduated to facebook, twitter, whatsapp, etc. I was really shocked. I mean, I can’t remember when last I have made a journey by trekking since I started working from home a couple of years ago. And the time I tried it now, this happens.

Anyway, the guy didn’t do what I thought he would do. He just kept following me. Sometime, I would think he isn’t there, and 5 seconds later, he is right by my side. I wondered what kind of wahala this is. It wasn’t like I was spectacularly dressed. I was wearing a normal loose-fitting top and baggy harem dropcrotch pants. I tied a black scarf, flat sandals, and slung an old messenger bad in a diagonal fashion. That is to say, I was looking very ordinary! Yet this guy kept following.

After a while, I became irritated. I removed my earphones, and asked him to stop following me. All he could say was.

“I just want to get to know you. I can see you are walking very fast. You must be in a hurry.”

I put the earphones back on.

End of conversation.

And so, this guy kept following me. He walked with me through major roads and minor roads. I increased my pace, crossed the roads, passed through expressways, passed through dark corners, yet he never relented.

One time, he brushed my shoulder with his. I screamed “what’s all these?”

“Sorry, sorry, I just want to know you.” He said.

I put the earphones back on.

End of conversation.

Finally and gratefully, I got the gate of my friend’s street, which was manned by security guards. I spoke to the guards and mentioned who I wanted to see. The guy finally left me and walked away.
Maybe he thought I was approaching my house, and reporting him to the security guards. Or maybe he thought he had made headway by finally knowing my street, so he could hang around from time to time to look for me, lol. As for me, I was happy to be finally rid of the unwelcome companion.

I know I look far younger than my age, but I thought all these things happened in those days when I was 14 to 18 years old. I can’t imagine that guys still waste their time and sweat following ladies on the road. That is joblessness of the highest order, and oh so outdated.

Monday, March 2, 2015

“My name is Atilola, and I am not a thief!”

I believe this is going to be my most honest and vulnerable article ever. It is raw, no-holds-barred, and I will be mentioning names, real names of everyone involved.

It happened when I was in JSS3, I was 10 years old. It was on a Saturday morning in boarding school, Lagos State Model College, Badore. I think it was after our morning cleanups, when we were supposed to be rushing out of the hostel immediately after inspection, to go for breakfast, and then, afternoon prep. I rushed to the box room to change from my white wear to cheque, or maybe to the pick something from my box, which I did not lock. On entering there, I saw Onyinye Ilechukwu rush out, which meant she also went to quickly take something from or put something in her box. Upon locating my box, I encountered a big problem.

 It was locked!

It was my box alright, but it was locked with someone else’s padlock. I wondered why someone would lock my box. Whatever I wanted to pick was really valuable to me, and I felt since it was my box, I had the right to jack the padlock and throw it away. But it wasn’t those black padlocks you could simply jack. It was those side-shifting coloured ones. Anyway, I didn’t give up as the prefects were announcing “5 minutes more, 4 minutes more…”

Someone (I can’t remember who) came to the box room to get something from her own box, and saw me jacking the padlock. I said to the person “Can you imagine? Someone locked my box.” We discussed a bit, she left, and I continued try to jack. Seeing the futility of the situation, I left the hostel like that, as they were going to lock me in.

I got back to the hostel at about 4 or 5 pm, when suddenly people started shouting my name. I was confused. I was not like a superstar. Suddenly, someone dragged me, placed my box, which was now opened on my head. They were saying things like “Thief, Ole, etc.” they paraded me round all the female hostels, pushing me, singing thieves songs popular in boarding school.

There were fingers pointing, sneering jeering, staring, laughing booing, sniggering and snickering. The more I tried to explain that I had not stolen anything, the more they hit and pushed me around. My life was over. Things like this happen to other people, real thieves, not me.

They took me to Mrs Hamzat, the house mistress. I told her I didn’t steal anything. They had found Onyinye Ilechukwu’s ribena and other provisions in my box, locked. The girl who had seen me jacking my box (if only I could remember her name) had told everyone that she saw me jacking someone’s box, and I was trying to steal. I explained the whole thing to the house mistress, who did not believe me. I wondered why no one asked Onyinye how her padlock got to my own box. Would I jack her box, and then use her padlock to lock mine?

That night, Senior Kofo Allison, who was in SSS3, and had repeated a class, and largely seen as an olodo, always trying to feel cool with herself as one of the happening seniors, called me. She started acting like she was on my side. She first of all said I should confess, tell her the truth. I stuck to my story. She said things like I would be disgraced, etc. She said if I said I did it, she would make it go away, it would die down, etc. She did not allow me leave, basically bullied/cajoled me into writing a statement that I stole the items.

I had joined the choir about a month earlier. The next morning, in the dining hall, the choir mistress, who was also the food prefect, Senior Kemi Ogunbiyi came to my table, and whispered to me that I should stand on the table, so they could announce me as a thief in front of the whole school, as was the tradition. It was one thing for me to be labelled a thief in the girls’ hostels, but in front of the whole school? For a crime I didn’t commit? I started begging her saying “Senior Kemi please, senior Kemi please.” She kept insisting that I should stand up. The boys at the table were confused, but were more interested in eating up their food. I just kept begging, as the tears streamed down my face. My life would be over. After a while, she looked at me, and let me be. Needless to say, I was expelled from the choir. Mrs Hamzat (armed with the statement Kofo Allison bullied me to write) said I should bring my mum with me when I was resuming the next term.

Till today, no one ever asked me for my side of the story. I had been publicly labelled thief, so thief, I must be. I explained what really happened to my friends, that Onyinye (whose parents were always bringing her nice provisions) in a haste got to the box room, unlocked her box, but unzipped mine instead, threw her provisions in my own box, locked it, and rushed out. Or how else did her provisions and padlock end up in my box. So yes, I experienced jungle justice, only that I wasn't set on fire.

That Christmas holiday, I carried the heavy weight around. About few days to resumption, I told my mum everything, knowing I couldn’t return to school otherwise. I left out the fact that I had a written confession to the crime.

My mum did not even flinch as I told her about the incident. She just asked one thing. “Did you do it?” to which I responded “No.”

We went back to school the next term, and my mum went to see Mrs Hamzat. I told Mrs Hamzat I did not do it, and she said I was lying. She brought the statement out, and showed my mum. I was heartbroken. I’m sure my mum was confused. Anyway, my mum paid for seven times of all the items I allegedly stole, according to the rules of the school.

The reason I feel my mum believed me is because she never punished me. My mum is one of the strictest parents Nigerian families could ever have. She would beat your life out for every sin committed, and the one you would commit in future. In this case, she never punished me, and has never mentioned the event till date. I actually think she has forgotten about the incident.

When I finished JSS3, I left the school for another school, a day school this time. I never wanted to leave, but my parents basically uprooted me, lol. Ironically, I really liked that school, and I was just about to start my senior years, which was supposed to be the fun years of boarding school.

I saw Onyinye Ilechukwu twice after then. She was a year behind me, and had also left to a day school. For two consecutive years, we met at cowbell mathematics competition, where schools picked their best 2 math students in the senior and junior categories to write the test. She represented her school, and I represented mine. On both occasions, we stayed to talk like real old friends, but I don’t know if she remembered the incident.

Sometime in SSS3, when my mum was out of the country, after school, I took a bus all the way to Lagos State Model College Badore. This time, I was 14 years old, and I had one goal in mind. I looked for Mrs Hamzat, and asked her if she remembered the incident over three years ago. She seemed to remember a bit. Then I started.

“Excuse me ma, I did not steal those items. Senior Kofo Allison forced me to write that statement.”
This time, she was more receptive to me, maybe because I had come a long way to clear my name. She said I should not worry, that it was not a problem.

I asked her to find my statement and tear it up because I don’t want someone coming out in future to publicly declare me a thief because of a crime I did not commit. She said all the records and statements of student crimes had been destroyed, so I shouldn’t bother my head. She asked me to put it all behind, and live my life. She seemed earnest enough, so I believed her, and thanked her.

Even as at then, I knew that in future, I would become well-known in some circles, and I didn’t want this kind of thing coming to stain me.

The sad part is that since I was publicly disgraced in front of all the girls (it was not a small school) there are some people with sharp memories like mine, who would forever remember, statement or no statement.

If in future, any one should come with some false allegations against me, then I would willingly direct them to this post where I stated that…

“My name is Atilola Moronfolu, and I am not a thief!”

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Stupidity and Foolishness of Social Media

I’m finding it really hard to understand the nonsense going on around social media now, especially Instagram, as many people complain. The nudity, endless pouting, pushing out of hips, look-at-the-ground pose, like you are looking for a lost coin, endless pictures of oneself on the internet is just appalling. I don’t have an Instagram account, so thankfully I have been spared from all these, but I hear endless complaints about this every day.

Some people might ask me why I am beefing. Is it them that sent me message not to like dressing up and taking pictures, not to know how to take a selfie. I am sorry o, I am not beefing. I am only saying I don’t understand, so if you are one of these people or you know them, please seat me down, and explain to me.

Why are people getting so narcissistic? Are they using it to oppress people? Are they using it to validate themselves? Or are they using it to seek validation from people? Why can’t we validate ourselves in the middle of our rooms? Why do we need social media to validate ourselves?

Gone are the days when the in-thing was to post graduation pictures from Stanford, imperial college, Harvard, and the likes to earn admiration of people.

Now the trend is wear fine cloth, suck stomach in, push non-existent hips out, turn face sideways/look to the ground, pout, snap 100 pics, choose the finest one (or the only fine one), edit it a bit, and post. Why, why, why?

I once had one guy who claimed to like me, disturbing me with talks of how he must marry me. I went to his facebook page to find a little more about him, cos we were not really close in unilag days. I followed his IG app on his facebook page, and saw the kinds of pictures he was liking. They were all Nigerian girls, but my jaw dropped. I was DISGUSTED. Girls with heavily endowed booty and boobs will wear the tightest things, and then turn the backside to the camera. “Why do you want the whole world to see your backside?” Please, someone should explain. And then this guy will enter comments like “nice arse” and the girls will reply “thanks.” "Someone wake me up, I have fainted." I felt like puking. I thanked God then that I didn’t have an IG account.

Anyway, since this guy threatened me that he will marry me, I just jejely reported myself to my pastor saying “If I should ever bring a guy called xxx to you as a fiancĂ©e, never ever let me go through with the wedding.” Yes, I did that. I don’t joke with accountability. When guys like that threaten that they must get a girl, there’s no extent they won’t go to, including forming MFM stunts that they’ve repented.

I know a chronic womaniser on facebook who has children from multiple women. Till now, he does not take care of his kids or bear their financial burden. Anyway, he finally gets married to a woman who was not any of his baby mamas. His wife puts up a picture of her and hubby, and someone (most likely from the woman’s family, since I know everyone in the man’s family) puts up a comment saying “I just love this family.” I told my sister about it, and we were like “ehn ehn, so this is how people see pictures on the internet, and will be envying, not knowing what they are envying.” This is how people deceive people on the internet.

Now as for the celebrities flaunting wealth on the internet, as in raw cash and latest cars, I think that is the height of immaturity. I don’t know if because many of them just made such amount of money for the first time, or because they want to oppress their rivals. I honestly don’t know the reason, but it is completely crap. I read that some of them said they do it because they want to inspire others to work hard and be wealthy like them. Imagine! Someone that has not organised a seminar to help the creative industry in Nigeria or the world, or given a single music scholarship out is talking about inspiring. Issorait.

If you are one of the people oppressed by any of the categories mentioned or not mentioned in this post, well, let me tell you that respite has come. There is no need to feel bad or be oppressed, because 99% of the time, everything is a LIE!

Anyway, whether it is the nudity on Instagram, the endless selfies and pouting and posing on Instagram, the lies about how our lives are perfect on facebook, flaunting of cash, cars, and champagne, we must all agree that there’s a menace, and we can no longer shut our eyes, pretending that it is not happening.

I am not sure there’s anything we can do about it than to keep talking about it till the guilty parties know that it is not okay to flaunt boobs, cash, latest clothes, and all sorts on social media. That way, maybe the menace will reduce, and it won’t be cool anymore. Or maybe I am just indulging in wishful thinking because I am not sure I see it getting better.

I just pity the next generation, to whom all these things might seem normal. Sometimes, I am just glad I will be dying in the next 60 to 70 years, because I am not sure how much more of this nonsense I can take without saying “Can somebody just kill me now?”

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Experience at the White House

So I went to the white house…

When my cousins first told me I could just walk up to the white house, I found it hard to believe. I mean, I have never heard of people just walking up to Aso Rock in Abuja. I might be wrong o, but I have never heard of it.

My uncle continually used the trip to white house to tease me, so when my cousin asked me if I wanted to go to the white house since we were going to drop a family friend at Howard University, I instantly said yes.
It was quite inconvenient because we had to leave our car somewhere, and take a train in the winter, and I had just recovered from a 2-day illness which I never told anyone about, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity.

So off we went to the white house, we took some pictures and left. I don’t think we spent more than 10 minutes there.

There were just two policemen in front of the house, gisting away, where we were taking pictures. That is all. There were a few other tourists taking pictures, and I was wondering aloud how the place will always be crowded during summer. How many security men, guns, and bomb detectors would we encounter just because we want to get to the front of Aso rock, even before the era of boko haram? But we know the country that is more secure. It’s really not about the gra gra or the showmanship.

In my mind, I was like so this is the white house, the one I always see on TV, in movies, the one and only famous white house. It looked so ordinary, just like a regular house in the neighbourhood, though peeping into the compound, you could see that it runs deeper inside. But from the front view, it was one of the smallest around, and not imposing at all.

As I walked away, I told myself that the next time I visit white house, I will be going inside, and it won't be as a tourist.

Anyway, so that’s all I have to say for now. I went to the white house, and even though it was a surreal experience, it wasn’t that much of a big deal. Very ordinary, no intimidation, no security men, just a regular house from the outside.

Dwight Eisenhower Building, just beside the white house

The White House

I tried to sneakily snap the police men, but I remembered what Nigerian policemen do to our phones when the see us do this, so I quickly kept my phone, after one crappy shot.

Trying to stay sane in the cold, while taking a selfie

Flag flying high

I was forming smile, while my brain was freezing up, lol

Monday, February 9, 2015

When I used to be Brilliant

All through primary school, I was the most brilliant in my class. As in seriously, I was really really brilliant, such that I didn’t know how brilliant I was, lol. And here are the two reasons.

Even though I was extremely brilliant, I never came first in class. The reason is I went to one of those primary schools that never gave class positions. I don’t know their reason, but they never did.

Secondly, as we might all know, there’s an unwritten rule that the most brilliant student always became class captain, and wrote down the names of noise makers. As for me, all through my years in primary school, I was never made class captain. Never! I was the chief noise maker, and as I progressed from class to class, all teachers nicknamed me parrot. My name was always (I mean ALWAYS) on the list of noise makers.

Sometimes, I even determined that “today, my name will not be on the list of noise makers.” And I will try my best to keep quiet, but one way or the other, I always ended up there, and got punished.

Every time it was period to vote or choose class captain, either by student election or teacher appointment, I eagerly waited to be named, after all, there’s an unwritten rule that the brilliant ones should lead, but time after time, my hopes were dashed.

I remember one time in primary 4, when they called all the brilliant ones out, and a miracle happened, I finally became the assistant class captain, having the second highest vote. I was so elated, but my position did not last more than a day or two because I made too much noise, but at least, I had the privilege to write down the names of noise makers for 2 days, and beat my fellow classmates with ruler if I saw their eye open during the period they are supposed to rest their heads on the desk, and sleep. Lol.

Another reason I wasn’t class captain, I suspect, was that I wasn’t one of the neatest. It was the days of rubber sandals, and my socks always found a way to get lost before the end of the term, and my rubber sandals would cut. Also, I had 2 uniforms, which I wore all through the week, and washed weekends. In my family, once you misplace your socks, and cut your sandals, you are on your own till the end of the term. My mum was mega strict, lol.

So picture this short girl on gorimapa (my mum used to skin my head with blade and comb), with dirty uniform, no socks, and tattered rubber sandals. To cap it all up, she is a talkative whose loud voice disturbs the whole class. Is that who you really want to be the class captain? The guy who was class captain most times was one guy, Feyisayo, from a rich home, handsome, and just a bit brilliant. Imagine, corruption have started from primary school, because people always said the reason he became class captain is because he’s from a rich home.

Anyway, back to the subject of brilliancy. I used to get between 98 and 100 over 100 in most subjects. I was so brilliant that my mum thought I was one genius from out of space. I mean, the gap I gave the person next to me couldn’t have been measured. I wasn’t even aware of how brilliant I was until sometime in senior secondary school, when I looked at my primary school report sheets. By the age of 8, I was already in secondary school, and out by the age of 14.

Anyway, by now, you should figure out that there is no point to this article. I am just writing it to let you all know that in primary school, I was a genius, but I was never named first position, or made class captain. How sad?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Motivational Speakers or Motivational Fraudsters?

I am very angry with some set of fraudulent people out there. This post is strictly my opinion, so you don't have to agree with me. My paragraphs are not well structured, so please pardon me. I will be using the word Motivational Speaker and Life Coach interchangeably. In the context of this post, they mean the same thing.

I get put off when I see BCs or invitations to a seminar by one roadside ‘life coach’ or ‘motivational speaker’. They have risen, in pathetic numbers, from left, right, and centre. It is as if they said to themselves “Oh, wow. Look at Fela Durotoye. He’s a motivational speaker and a life coach. He gets paid billions to talk. He is so rich. I can talk too. I was the noise maker of my class, my name was always on the list of noise makers, but I have the added advantage of being brilliant. I will be the next Fela Durotoye.” And then, they print Business Cards – Atilola Moronfolu, Life Coach (Or motivational speaker – whichever sounds nicer with their names).

I don’t know what reaction to give when I see my friend, who I know is broke, cannot pay rent, doesn’t have a car, in short, hasn’t gone through any process, or really achieved anything for himself telling me to come for a conference because he is a Life coach. What in the world are you going to coach me about? How to run my business? Or how to get maximum output from my staff? If you were that knowledgeable, why hasn’t it worked for you? The same book you are reading all these theories from, I have access to them too. Are you really trying to coach me, or you are just desperate for that N2,500 gate fee?

Many people are guilty of this – fresh graduates, people looking for jobs, people looking for side gigs. They just feel life coach/motivational speaker is easy money because they can talk.

You don’t need to look too far to find them. They are everywhere. Their full time job is ‘life coach’ and ‘motivational speaker’. They do nothing else, they have no other job or business. They send endless broadcasts about one seminar or the other. They tell you about how they have one more solution or package for you. They sign you up for their newsletters, and bug your email with it weekly. They always have one special gift just for you, but you have to watch one video or the other to access it. They have fancy names. They organize twitter conversation all the time.

From what I understand, a coach is a counsellor. They look at where you are now, and where you desire to be at a certain period, and help you get there. They walk with you very closely. In developed countries, you even become certified to be a life coach. The word ‘life coach’ is not what we should be throwing around carelessly like “My name is Atilola, I am a life coach. This is my husband, he is a life coach. Did I tell you I am three months pregnant? And yeah, my baby will grow up to be a life coach too. Even the nanny that will raise him is a life coach.” just because we are looking for an easy source of income.

Now Fela Durotoye… let’s talk about that man a bit. The first time I heard him speak was years ago in University of Lagos. Even as at then, this man was a bundle of experiences. In summary, this guy worked, went through some things, learnt some lessons, made some sacrifices, saw some rewards, became a motivational speaker, and that’s putting it as simply as possible.

These motivational fraudsters have found a way to flip the coin. In the past people used to gather real life experiences first (mostly from working with several clients, as consultants) and then become teachers, speakers and coaches. But nowadays, people want to become speakers, teachers, and coaches first, and then maybe or maybe not gather life experience. Plainly putting it, they are doing it just for the money, and not because they have anything fantastic to teach or speak about. Maybe I should not blame them too much. It is the situation of the country right? We all want to fend for ourselves.

You want to teach me about purpose? Have you fulfilled purpose yourself? Life is not all about theories, so before you organise your seminars, make sure you have your practical real life experiences to back up the theoretical crap you are spewing. If the ‘seven laws of financial freedom’ or ‘five steps to living a happy life’ you want to sell to me are so magical, how come it has not performed any magic in your life? Why aren’t you so free yourself, why are you waiting for that gate fee you want to charge me?

If someone like Jumoke Adenowo invites me to a seminar, I wouldn’t think twice about going. She is a mother, a wife, a prophetess, a leading architect in Nigeria (designed federal ministry of Finance at the age of 23), featured on CNN, organizes the annual women’s prayer summit, the head of the ministry, Awesome Treasures Foundation, broke a long-term record when she graduated from OAU, and so much more this post wouldn’t be able to contain. When she stands on stage to talk, you keep quiet because you know for a fact that someone is talking. Now, this is someone who can be called a life coach, someone that will show you the valleys and mountains, not one fresh graduate or jobless youth looking for the easiest source of income.

Let’s stop the menace. First, everyone jumped on the bandwagon of cake-baking, then party-catering, events-planning, makeup artistry. Now it is the turn of ‘Life Coach’ and ‘Motivational Speaker’ to take the bandwagon hit.

If you aspire to be a life coach, motivational speaker, purpose teacher, or whatever fancy words are being thrown out there, kudos to you. There is a proper way to go about it. Please and please get some real life experiences up your sleeve, so you can have something to actually speak to me about, before telling me you want to come to your seminar with a gate fee of N2000, N10,000, or N20,000, depending on how sophisticated your level of begging is.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Seven Days in Brazil - Day 7

Day 7 consisted of part of my 28 hour journey back to Nigeria.

I woke up, had breakfast, and jetted out to the airport. If not for a fellow festival-attendee who rode with me to the airport, I for don loss. This is because I didn't depart from the same airport I came through. Who books flight that way?

Since I don't take pictures of airports, we are going to leave out my experience at the three airports back, and just say goodbye the way I said goodbye to Brazil.

Rio de Janerio is a really beautiful city, and it is even more beautiful when seen in an aerial view. As I said in the previous post, it is a city inside the river, so check these pictures below out, as I sign out of this series.

If you missed any post series, click here, and have your eyes opened. I promise you will thank me, even if you have been to Brazil before.

A big thank you to everyone who followed my Brazilian experience, by reading this blog series. You are all darlings. *Muah*

As a  bonus, I have embedded the video of my first performance at the slam. I presented six times. The one below was the first one in the first round.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Seven Days in Brazil - Day 6

Day 6 was my final day of activity in Brazil. I was indoors throughout the morning. I decided that day would be my only opportunity to venture out on my own, and see parts of Rio de Janerio. With Flavia's description, I took the bull by the horns, and stepped out.

I walked to the main road, and took the subway to General Osorio. As I was descending down the subway, two men were walking ahead of me. Immediately they got underground, they quickly kissed each other. They then turned back, and saw me. I didn't know what to think of the whole thing, but it reeked of serious guilt.. It was the first time I had ever seen two men kiss in real life. I was really taken aback.

I bought my ticket, and waited for the train

Waiting for the train to arrive

Train finally gets here

The two gay men are somewhere in this picture, on
the train, but I won't point them out, lol.
Click below to follow me to the market square and the beach. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Seven Days in Brazil - Day 5 (Part 2)

I quickly rushed to the hotel, and did a little rehearsal for the semifinal. And so, we proceeded to the festival site.

Remember, I was currently holding the highest score among all contestants, of 89.9/90. Unfortunately, all scores were dropped, and I wasn't even aware of it.

Unfortunately, after this round of three performances, two people made it to the final, and I wasn't one of them. I was so shocked to find out that our previous scores were dropped, but I guess it was just part of life. My fun time in Brazil was just starting.

Don't go. Click below to have more fun with me.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Seven Days in Brazil - Day 5 (Part 1)

Happy new year guys. How's 2015 so far? Hope we are cementing concrete decisions in the ground so this year can turn out better than last?

Day 5 was my longest and most tasking day in Rio de Janerio. In fact, it was so long, that I have to split the post into two. Because I didn't go to the festival at all on Day 4, and chose to watch the Live stream, I did not realise our visit to the Favelas (Brazilian slums) had been slated for that morning. I just stepped down to the restaurant to have breakfast when I saw the bus, and people getting ready to go. I was really confused as to what to do. Breakfast was one of the best things for me in Brazil, and I didn't want to give it up, yet I knew visiting the Favelas was an experience I might never have the opportunity to have in my life.

One of the producers just aided me in packing a few croissants in saviette, and a pack of yoghurt, and moved me out of the restaurant. I basically dressed up in the bus, lol. By the time we were done, let's just say I would never have forgiven myself if I missed that experience. Then again, I would have been too ignorant to know what I had missed.

Before I go on, let me just give a summary of this. Brazil, Rio de Janerio, Sao Paulo, and many other towns is a class based society, and almost no middle class. There is a clear distinction between these classes, different culture, living conditions, etc. The poor live up the mountains, while the rich live in the valleys. These mountain communities are the Favelas. You can't just walk into the Favelas anyhow. To visit, you must go in groups, and consult with the community chiefs, and go with one of the locals. They have a very strong community, and if you venture there alone, you might be killed, kidnapped, etc. To keep them separate, and the two classes as distinct as can be, policemen are placed in the Favelas. You have like three policemen in about every street or so, and they are there 24-7-365. The house are always clustered, with no space in between.

Arriving at the teleferico stations

Roberta, my slam master, with one of the festival directors

The cable cars we entered. The mode of transport is
on cables suspended in the air, like electric cables

Waiting to enter the cable cars
 Don't go, click below to read more, and follow me to the Favelas
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