Thursday, 15 March 2018

BURNING EMBERS


Peter sat beside me on the Chaise lounge in his tastefully furnished living room, my head resting in the nook of his shoulder as he absently rubbed his fingers over collarbone. It made me remember why spending time with him, just the two of us, was one of my favorite moments.
All was quiet except for the soft rock music coming from the Cable radio station. I tilted slightly to the side and glimpsed at his eye lashes and I thought to myself, ‘oh how many women would kill to have their natural lashes so full and long’. His chest was bare as usual covered with a carpet of straight velvety hair. I could never understand why he always preferred being shirtless, despite the cool breeze from the fan and AC combined.
As I stared intently at the tiny specks of hair that lined all the way from his chest, downwards and disappeared into the band of his trousers, I had to swallow before I returned to his face. I half expected him to catch me ogling him but interestingly I realized that his mind had indeed traveled far.
While I got a slight sense of relief, I also found it quite weird because we never had such awkward silences. In fact, if there’s anything I know about this relationship “scratch that, let’s call it situationship” is the fact that we never lacked what to talk about. So even thought I felt something unsettling about the silence, I quickly dismissed it, just so grateful to have escaped the teasing that would have been sure to come.
I reassured myself in the fact that Peter was big into communication and so I felt fairly confident that he would sooner or later tell me what was on his mind. So I settled back into the sofa and began absent mindedly stroking the back of his hand.
A few minutes later, in an almost inaudible voice he asked “Tinuke, can we be friends?”. With eyes glued on the screen of my phone catching up on a certain celebrity fight that was ongoing on popular blogs, I answered with an amused smile on my face “friends? Aren’t we that already”? But as no response came, I turned to look at him and I noticed the seriousness in his eyes. “what I mean is” he said, “I want us to be good friends”. At that, I sidled closer to him and climbed onto his lap and began rubbing my palm across his cheek, just how I knew he liked it as I quipped, “Oh, you mean like girlfriend and boyfriend?”. But he stilled my wandering hands and gave me a puzzled look that made me immediately think “oh wait is he trying to dump me?”
Well ‘dump’ isn’t the best word to be used here because we weren’t technically in a relationship. We hung out, we made out a couple of times but we were never decisive as to what we were doing. “I haven’t been entirely honest with you T”, he said “and I will come to dislike myself if I continue being dishonest” he continued. I eyes stared intently at his misty eyes as he plowed on “I wasn’t truthful with you and even though I know you never quite asked, I hid it from you the fact that I was seeing someone else”
“W-what are you saying Peter, you are seeing who? Since when?” I stammered as I withdrew my hand from under his. At this point, I could feel the sound of my pounding heart in my ears, so much it seemed to be buzzing. Then he responded, “She and I have been dating on and off for 5 years, but we grew closer in the past 5 months and last week we found out we were expecting a child together and we intend to keep it and do it right.
I felt my body start to shake with anger so I got up, and ran a hand through my hair as I paced the cool tiled floor pondering on a response. I could feel the anger rushing in as I turned back to him and screamed, “And you just decided to tell me now? After all these weeks? What am I to you? A pastime?” All of a sudden it seemed like my throat was closing up and my breath was coming in short gasps, so I walked into the guest bathroom, shut the door and slid to the cold floor as the tears that had filled my eyes began to pour in torrents. I wept in silence until I heard him rise from the leather seat and walk towards me as his footsteps grew louder. He tapped at the door twice and called out “T, please open the door” but I refused to respond. Instead I got up and sat on the toilet bowl. My butt was freezing and I didn’t want to add pneumonia to the heart break.
I desperately wanted to turn the knob brush pass him and flee the uncomfortable situation, but at that same time I heard him lean heavily on the thin flush door that separated us. I immediately felt trapped because knowing the kind of resolute man he was, if I didn’t come out to talk to him, then I would have to stay inside the bathroom for ages. So I decided to get up on unsteady feet, reached for the door and unlocked it. As soon as the bolts released,
Peter pushed open the door and I beheld those dark brown eyes misty and I had to resist the urge to run into his broad chest and sinewy long arms, where I had always felt safe.
I kept waiting for him to say it was all a joke, but deep down I knew it wasn’t because I had never seen him more serious. It was then he spoke softly “I will totally understand if you hate me, but I’m hoping you don’t. I can’t stand knowing you hate me. I value your friendship and I have come to care a lot about you”. For a brief moment, all I could dwell on was how ticklish it would feel if I only pressed my cheek against his broad chest. So instead of giving in to those instincts, I leaned all my weight on the door to prevent myself from swooning and pouring myself all over him begging him to take me back.
I forced myself to speak but words failed me. While seating on the bathroom floor, I had crafted the worst comebacks that hurt him as bad as he was hurting me, but staring at him like that, so vulnerable, every well crafted rejoinder disappeared. I swallowed what felt like a thousand times before I could find the words to croak out “Peter, I really can’t do this right now, please step out of the way so I can leave”. He reached out to touch my chin and I flinched and side stepped him, I saw him recoil his hands as though he had been burned and I thought to myself ‘that serves your right, heartbreaker!’ he stared at me through dark painful eyes for a few seconds and then he stepped aside just a little to let me pass through the crack between him and the door. I left him standing there while I picked up her purse and car keys from the centre table and left.
***
Here’s what you need to know, Peter and I’s meeting was very dramatic. We met at a yard party organized by mutual friends during the summer holidays. It was one of those who-is-who parties where everyone had a clique and gathered around in small circles, eating and having a good time. I loved those scenes because I have a trusted clique that always brought the fun everyday without fail. Janet,
Perpetua and Grace have been my friends since University and we had remained tight through the years. We were having a good time, chatting away, pointing at guys we knew and sharing jokes about who was dating who and who had just had a dramatic breakup.
Somehow I kept feeling like someone was boring a hole into my back, but whenever I turned around, I wouldn’t find anyone. At some point I began to feel that I must be hallucinating. Anyway, our friend who organized the party came over to ask if we were having a good time and I informed him that I wanted more chicken so he asked me to come with him to the grill so he could hook me up with some wings.
When we got the grill, I noticed a tall, dark and mysterious looking young man whom I had never seen standing right in front of me waiting to be served. His shoulders were so broad that I couldn’t even see the grill, so I thought it would be fun to make faces at his back mimicking his movements. I stood on tip toes, stuck out my tongue and spread out my wiry hands to appear as big as him and was hopping left and right. All of a sudden he turned back and looking at my ridiculous charade, his face broke out in a wry grin. Soon his pearly white teeth came out to play and he busted out laughing. I was mortified and turned to walk away with what little dignity I had only for him to wrap his long fingers around my wrist and pull me back.
He had gotten the last serving of the BBQ chicken and he was kind to offer me some which I graciously accepted because I might as well get some recompense after making a fool of myself, lol. We talked for a bit and he mentioned that he had been watching me with my friends for a while and was hoping for an opportunity to talk to me. Aha! I finally knew I wasn’t going crazy. He also mentioned he had just gotten back to Nigeria a few weeks before and immediately my fences went up as I quickly filed him under “I Just Got Back demon” and decided it wasn’t going to be me he’ll use to while away time. But then he told me he had actually returned to Nigeria with most of his belongings as he was hoping to settle here having gotten a contract to run trainings for a multinational firm. Immediately my antenna sprang up and I quickly placed him in the “prospect” file. We had an amazing time talking and then exchanged numbers and from then on, became inseparable.
****
Weeks have gone by since that day in December when he dashed all hopes of happily after with him but I still couldn’t bring myself to hate him. As I stare at the pre-wedding photo of him and his fiancĂ© showcased on a popular social blog, I realize that as hard as I have tried, there lingers a small torch still burning for him. But with any luck, time will quench whatever ember remains, even as I make an effort to stop torturing myself with thoughts of what could have been.

About Jemimah-Nikky Jates
Jemimah-Nikky Jates is a Public and Media Relations Consultant- specializing in Strategic Communications and Reputation Management. She is an aspiring broadcaster and presenter of the radio programme “Abuja Social Mixx”. She writes short stories and feature articles and runs a Human interest Blog.

Blog site : http:// jemimah-nikky.blogspot.com
‎Contact her via email: jtjemimah98@yahoo.com
Twitter/Instagram: @nikkyjates @abujasociamixx


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

YOUR PVC, YOUR POWER TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR DESTINY

All Rise... Distinguished Citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Oh how exhilarating it will be to be recognized for who we are and what roles we play in Nigeria's polity!

As a child growing up at the onset of the political dispensation as we have it today, I remember my mother was an election officer. Being a School Teacher, she was assigned to one of the polling units in Wuse District, Abuja. It was from her tiny wooden desk and table where she perched that she dutifully marked the thumbs of voters to signify that they had casted their votes in the secret ballot box hidden behind a curtain.

I knew this for sure because at about midday, I was sent over by my aunt with food in a flask to trek a few 100 meters to serve my mother her lunch. Half walking and jogging in the scorching sun, flask bouncing encased in the polythene bag, I hurried on my way. I remember being amazed by the large crowd huddled around the shade provided by a big Gmelina tree, under which her royal majesty, my mother and her colleagues sat.

The crowd was civil, calm and patient, though I could tell most were hungry because their eyes ogled when they saw my mother open her flask to dig in. Yet, they waited to perform their civic duties.

That was the year 1999, and I remember a few of the presidential candidates vividly. There was talk about Chief Olu Falae being the preferred candidate for a large section of the Yoruba nation, while Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (who later won as substantive  Head of State), was the choice of the core North and other parts of Nigeria. The latter gained such popularity mostly because of his famed fight against Abacha's authoritarian government and as a result his being thrown into jail, from where he after his acquittal, ran for office.

All through the years and elections that followed, one thing remained a constant; Nigerians always demanded that their rights be upheld. They demanded to be given equal opportunities to operate their businesses, to go to school, to aspire for political positions, to receive the right wages for work done, to have access to equity and justice and the right to freely choose who to elect into office without coercion, whether through force, bribes or empty manifestos and promises.

But as the elections for 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 swung in, I found two things to be true. Half of the population of voters were more interested in the handouts of rice, wrappers, umbrellas, brooms, a paltry sum of N2,000 and face caps to sway their votes than they were about actually exercising their duties. The other half were more interested in sitting back at their houses unperturbed, watching the events unfold via the Media.

I remember in 2007, the crowd that gathered beneath the trees in the green area that surrounded my street. There was a horde of voters lining up to receive gifts from campaign organizers to vote certain people into office. What amazed me was that on the day of election, less than half of that crowd showed up to cast their votes. And those who did, consistently bragged about their choice because they received a bigger gift from the party than the other contesting parties- how sad.

Permit me to paraphrase from a speech given by USA's former First Lady Michelle Obama in the follow up of the 2016 presidential campaigns “As I have said before, the presidency [Power] doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are. And the same thing is true of a Presidential [National Assembly, Governorship, State Assembly] campaign. So, if a candidate is erratic and threatening, if a candidate traffics in prejudice, fears and lies on the trail, if a candidate has no clear plans to implement their goals, if they disrespect their fellow citizens, including folks who make extraordinary sacrifices for our country – let me tell you, that is who they are. That is the kind of president [Leader] they will be. Trust me”.

I absolutely believe her, and so must everyone. After all, haven't we in this nation been consistently blindsided with past campaign promises that do not hold water? Or of deafening silences or ill-timed and insensitive comments that rouse tensions instead of douse them?

Do you realize that without we the voters, the whole process of Democracy is null and void? We are left with no other option than to get involved or at the very least throw our collective weight behind those who are brave enough to stand up for equity and justice, youth and female inclusiveness! If not for any altruistic reason, then to put an end to the hopelessness, poverty, unemployment, brazen killings, strike actions and the likes.

I have registered to vote. I wield my power come 2019. Do you?

for information on the continuous voter registration and the Registration Area Centres Nation Wide.

#QuiteFranklyOurMumuDonDo
#OnwardNigeia
#Youth
#We'reTakingOver2019

I endorse #NotTooYoungToRun

Friday, 17 November 2017

Non-DIVA ATTITUDE


At some point (and by that I mean at every given opportunity) in your life I am sure irrespective of your sex, you’ve heard that women are a basket full of issues. Top among on the list being 1.) They absolutely hate each other and 2.) They make absolutely cruel and demanding bosses.

Good Ol’ Google gives several definitions of a Diva of which I will take two. One defines a diva as “a self-important person who is temperamental and difficult to please (typically used of a woman)”. The second one defines the term as “a bitchy woman that must have her way exactly, or no way at all. Often rude and belittles people, believes that everyone is beneath her and thinks that she is so much more loved than what she really is. She is selfish, spoiled and overly dramatic”.

I am not writing to analyze women who are textbook cases of these qualities stated above, but to cheer on those who are anything but! Because you see, to not do so would mean that ladies who ought to be a celebrated as Proverbs 31 women will instead be badmouthed as divas.

The earlier definitions are what a Diva shouldn’t be. So let’s go ahead and define who a diva should be. To me a diva is a principles woman.

·         She has good grooming
·         She is Poised, with no hair out of place
·         Her words are seasoned with salt
·         She is kind to other women
·         She comports herself with decorum
·         She is purposeful and focused in her chosen career or field
·         She holds a crowd spell bound in rapt attention
·         She commands respect
·         She is one who doesn’t beat traffic rules
·         And finally, one who gives way to other people- especially other women at a busy road

I am delighted to say I had the privilege to meet one of those women, albeit briefly. My friends and I were heading out to a function and we got to this really busy road at the heart of town and there was just no way to get through. Many cars sped past, staring straight ahead and wouldn’t budge nor let us slide through.

In fact, those who dared to look our way only did so condescendingly. And then came this Diva who without a fuss slowed to a halt, flashed her light at us and gave us access through. Now that singular act showed me that there was indeed some hope of saving the woman to woman friendship dynamics.

I agree that typically one incident cannot change the world’s perception about how women treat one another, but one act can cause a rippling effect until there’s a change that can be felt the world over. I intend to do better, do you?


Let’s Make a Difference One Woman at a Time





Photo credit
brookeobie.com

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A WANDERER FINDS HER WAY BACK HOME



Boy! Has it been so long since I picked up my pen from the basket of love to write you this love letter... Lol! I am full of jokes, if I do say so myself.

But really though, it has been over a year since I last published a blog. I must say, I am quite embarrassed to admit that I have left my first love to suffer, while I have been busy chasing other interests. But as the saying goes, the first step to repentance is acceptance, and so, I accept that I have been less than faithful to my dutiful followers who saw the writer in me when I didn’t and who put up with my musings and comical posts. I am sorry if I do not say “I love You” often, because I really do.

As some of you may know, I have been busy trying to be a matchmaker and I have had a few successes under my belt, so yaasss, I am super proud of myself.

The Professional Singles Meet Platform was born out of a desire to see busy, single professionals -young and old alike- married according to God’s desire. This has kept me busy, physically, intellectually and even spiritually, (because people on my platform must network and connect for a worthwhile relationship by fire and by force, LOL!). Afterall, the holy Bible says, ‘the weapons of our warfare are not carnal’, so therefore some mighty Rabababa eh must take place.

Well, now that we are all caught up, be it quite briefly, I will like for you all to take a peep at the platform’s site and social media accounts to see the work I and my team have done and to encourage and drop suggestions where you can.

Thanks and God bless…

Yours (un) faithful blogger,

Jemimah-Nikky Jates


Facebook: Professional Singles Meet

Instagram: Singlesmeetng

Thursday, 29 September 2016

YOUR LAST GOOD DAY


There are several stages to grief we are told
Roused out of sleep with the news ‘Alhe is dead fa’
Oh no, that cannot be true, I thought
You had just dropped me a line a few days ago
You were going to inspire me to keep fit, nope, that couldn’t be

I hurriedly made my way to your house
Whether it was to confirm or dispel it I wouldn’t know
‘Baby, Alhe ta rige ki (she has beat you to death)
That was the first thing your mother said to me
It wasn't strange for her to say that for we competed fiercely as kids
Whether at the game of mortal combat or hula hoop

I sat outside, beside the swing set
It looks eerily like the one we both played on as kids
On it today sat swinging a little 4 year old girl dressed in pale pink
It could easily have been you
With an urge so strong I wanted to ask her to get down
Could she not see that I was mourning?
Instead I sent a weak smile in her direction
As her chirpy voice rang out in squeals of excitement
Those were always your exact reactions
You loved to swing so high till your head went past the poll
While you would scream with glee
You were always such a burst of sunshine

And I thought, Lord, why not wake her up
So we can share this reminisce?
But silence met my request
Then the flood of tears I had been holding back began a downward torrent
Oh, this pain. Why must you demand to be felt?
It was an ordinary day
You have plied that road countless times
But that was your last day, never to return home
Indeed, there's no way of knowing
That your last good day is indeed
Your Last Good Day
At the time, it is just another good day

But I have one reassurance
Heaven is all the more joyous with you there
Your beautiful soul was so rare…
And because of it, my childhood was memorable

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

WHO’S WEARING THE PANTS IN RELATIONSHIPS THESE DAYS?




As with most widely publicized celebrity weddings, a popular socialite got hitched a while back, and everybody had an opinion about her choice of husband. Many thought since it was apparent that she earned a lot, the guy was probably with her only because of her money or at the very least it was an added incentive for him being with her. Others thought he didn’t seem like a guy who would care about such things like an account statement that rang like a phone number. 

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, one wonders if it’s true that many guys care too much about how much their prospective woman earns or owns when making their decision as to whether or not to date her or to marry her.

It is not farfetched to say that many women are excelling above their male peers today, whether it is academically, intellectually, professionally or in other wise. There has been a massive outcry for the girl child/woman to develop themselves and vast opportunities are being provided to ensure that happens. It is little wonder that you find female students topping the best 5% in their respective courses. This then goes to translate to their getting great job opportunities and earning quite high pays.

With this new position comes the elevated lifestyle. She pays her rent, buys her own car, purchases a piece of land, and develops it. Now when a woman can do all these for herself, this then begs the question, doesn’t this qualify her to also decide to step up to a guy and ask him out? Does her doing so make her a pariah of sorts? Does that effrontery calls for her degrading? Shouldn’t that make her respected instead for growing a pair*?

I carried out a little recon on my own and I asked a guy this question the other day while we were having a discussion and I must say I was impressed by his take on this. Since he sees himself as a quintessential and social 21st century man, he believes and advocates for equality between men and women and so he thought it was admirable that a woman thinks so highly of herself that she can shirk all the trappings of acceptable woman behavior and approach a guy. To him, he feels it requires a lot of courage to ask anybody out. Being a guy, he can identify with the hours and days of preparation it takes a guy to study a girl he likes, come up with suitable drop lines, and then the courage to approach her. So to him, he gives any woman the thumbs up who can go through that preparations and still risk being let down. 

I asked another guy whom I thought a great liberal what he thought of this, but to my surprise he didn’t share the other’s sentiment. To him, he claims being very traditional at heart when it comes to men-women relationships and believes it should only be the man who has to do all the work at the onset. To woo, to flatter, to buy presents etc. He thinks if any woman is brazen enough to step up to him that would only intimidate him instead of gaining his admiration. In his words “I would totally become suspicious. I would think she has other ulterior motives and designs on me. Like there’s certainly way more than meets the eyes.” 

Even though I expected more from him, would I say I was disappointed to hear that? Not exactly. Because in reality, can we honestly blame him? Many of us grew up in societies where a man is in charge. And even if a girl fancies a guy, she would rather die in silence that to approach him. I am of the opinion that whatever’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander, hence it doesn’t matter who makes the first move. But I know many young women who would rather watch idly by as the object of their desire is carted away by someone else just because they cannot bring themselves to speak up.

Here’s something curious though, have you noticed that the next question guys ask women these days after what her name is, is “what do you do?”. In fact, one time my friend was at this barbecue party where they all sat around this long table and the guy who happened to be next to her didn’t even bother to ask her name but jumped straight to “so, what do you do?”. She straight-faced told him she was a prostitute and then sarcastically asked him what he’d do now armed with that information. He quietly skulked away.

You see, guys these days want to know what you do to judge if you’re worthy of their time right? They throw around words like ‘‘I don’t want any woman who is a liability, who is unable to lend me financial support when the chips are down’’, ‘‘I can’t date any girl who can’t return the favour and get me nice presents at Valentine or my birthday’’ etc. And yet when a lady who holds her own approaches him, asks what he does, gauges his status side by side hers, she comes off as creepy. Lol. Am i the only one reading the irony in this?

So let’s assume a girl decides to wait for a random guy (probably even a loser) to come toast her, where is the guarantee that he would do right by her? And when he messes up she ends up beating herself up just cause she thought by his approaching her, it means she meant something to him but apparently she didn’t. Wouldn’t you rather feel better knowing that you chose a man for yourself and even if things do not work out at least you put yourself out there right? At least in this case, you have the right to be the designer of your own destiny. 

If men expect women to bring something to the table, to be smart, hardworking, and to be an achiever, then so what if she makes the first move? Shouldn’t they be willing to accept that in addition to her qualifications she is entitled to have a mind of her own and have the liberty to make her own choices? 

So guys, when a lady makes an honest move on you, before you feel emasculated or threatened by her guts, first assess yourself and see if you two level up hmm? And I bet if you believe you do, you will feel honored and not intimidated.




Photo credit: IG

Thursday, 30 June 2016

OF AFRICANS AND THEIR GAIT




I was a stubborn child growing up, but that goes without saying. And I remember as kids we would sneak up behind women as they walked and mimic their walking step, choreographing it with the tune “seventeen, eighteen , nineteen, zabadam”. And usually these mommies will chase us with canes and we will run away laughing, till our stomachs hurt. It was all mindless fun to us.

But then the other day, as I was walking past my friends, unbeknownst to me, I heard them burst into laughter. When I inquired about their jest, they told me I was walking like one of those mommies we used to jest as kids. It was funny to me also, because I had assumed I was strutting in such a way that would rival Naomi Campbell on the runway. But it turns out, I was just so much an African and no matter how much I try to do the catwalk, my ‘Africanness’ exudes even through my walking step. 

So I took out time to notice the form, pace and gait of people as they walk past.  I bet some found my staring creepy, but then again I couldn’t walk up to everyone and explain to them that I was only conducting a research. Now this is what I deduced. As girls, we walked with a spring in our steps, like a bouncy, leaping walk, mainly because we were wafer thin. But as we grew older and filled out our curves, our steps were altered a bit. No more jumpy walk like we did as kids, but we still walked with speed as much as our young bodies could carry. However, filling out more as women, the hips, the buttocks and breasts all culminate into holding us back as we walk. We lose the spring and jump to our steps and replace it with a slower, short paced walk that undeniably brings the wiggle to our steps.

Being Africans and bountifully endowed with these, I think it has contributed indubitably to our uniqueness. We lack the briskness of Europeans, Arabians and other ethnicities. And this gait of ours goes as far as inflecting how we behave, act, and our general behavior and attitude towards things and people. An African is unhurried in pace, hence when we walk someone who’s leaving a place to another place, we tarry long while we walk and catch up on some last moment gist before we part. Same applies to when you visit someone at their house, we linger over food, mainly because we want to hold meaningful conversations. We ask about each other’s welfare because we really care to know. And then we also lend our ears for as long as necessary to listen to them in their unhurriedly response, unburden their hearts. 

This distinguishes us as a race. We care enough to happily share our time with others even if only to listen to their babble. We aren’t too time conscious that we snuff out one’s flow just because we need to hurry somewhere. 

An upside of our unhurried gait also shows how we aren’t prone to panic attacks and the likes. We are conscious of our environment and very much in tune with it in that we anticipate occurrences and hence aren’t easily spooked. Though I have found we can only enjoy such solitude in the suburbs now seeing as the city has been taken over by the hurried chaotic speed of the western world.

As usual, a cause and effect relationship ensues, in that the longer we take strutting and wiggling before we get to where we ought to be, the more time we lose. Hence, why it is aptly tagged  ‘African Time’. 

I once read somewhere, that the speed in one’s walking step, determine the mental alertness and resourcefulness of one’s mind. For instance, have you ever taken note of the Chinese and how they walk so briskly? Maybe this contributes to how fit they appear and probably the improved quality of their thoughts which is quickly making them the greatest country in technological advancement.

But you see, we are an unhurried people, so much that our walking style says it all. This therefore is a bane to a large number of us, as we have the tendency of approaching life in much the same way. We easily let go of things that appear stressful, and in similar fashion, we move our focus and attention to other mundane things.



Photocredit: African tribal women alamy.com