boat

On Getting out of the Boat

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.

 

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist 

 

Yesterday I read that Yogi Berra passed away at the age of 90. He was an American Baseball legend who played in 14 World Series and was on the winning team 10 of these times. Yogi Berra had passed his prime, even by the time my parents were grown. So how do I know Yogi?

Yogi was famous for Yogisms, his quotes, among them the famous “it ain’t over till it’s over”. Yogi’s best quote as far as I’m concerned is “When you get to a fork in the road, take it”. For someone like me who “supposedly” shies away from having to make important decisions, taking a fork in the road is always good idea. I spend half the time contemplating and still don’t make a decision based on logic. Half the time, we usually have a fair idea where we should be at a certain point in our lives. Some people are even blessed with a clear view of which paths to take and have the courage to do what they should. For the rest of us, there’s just enough light for the step you’re on. Then there’s intuition and gut-feeling, understanding times and seasons and relying on the still small Voice telling you which way to go.

When we’ve dealt with direction, we still face fear. Maybe we’ve made too many wrong decisions and are not sure we can live through the consequences of another wrong turn. Or maybe we’ve just gotten too comfortable with the status quo and would rather not trouble the water (As an aside,  isn’t the blessing always in stepping first into the troubled pool? Selah). If it ain’t broke, we don’t fix.

What I do know is that everything that can go wrong can also go incredibly right and you don’t know if you don’t try. You’ll never cross the ocean if you’re afraid to lose sight of the shore. And maybe the beauty is in the journey. Because it’s on the journey we become masters- we learn patience, tolerance, how to deal with uncertainty and more importantly Trust. You’ll learn to ruthlessly trust the One who holds everything together.

 

You’ll never walk on water if you don’t step out of the boat.

 

” I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not be afraid I will help you.’ “

Live

/’liv/

Posted in September 2015

‘Cause when the day comes
And I’ve counted all my sins
How many I’ll see, I want to be able to say
That I did more, more than pray

I did more than just spend my money
Just writing letters, than just going out marching
I did more than talking, saying the right thing
Wearing the right thing, time for an uprising

Corinne Bailey Rae, Love’s on its way

 

A few days ago, I had to write an obituary. I also had to write a biography for my late aunt who was and is one of the kindest souls I’ve met. The biography part was a disaster by the way, seeing as a few pages could not really capture her person. I also left out vital information, so to speak, even though I’d like to blame this on pressure and grief.

But I didn’t forget her very essence. She was a professional and an example in her field. She was never complaining (and this threw me off balance). She was steadfast. She was also graceful, kind and cheerful. Always smiling, she left a bit of sparkle everywhere she went. She was a listener, she was our rock, our mother and the executive arm of the family. She knew how to hold it together, and would reach out no matter what anyone did wrong. She was the most understanding 56 year old woman I know, and the most tech- savvy too. She was so beautiful and very stylish.

Again that still doesn’t cover everything.

In any case, I set out to write my own obituary and biography so no one has to struggle with the details when I die. The reason? Life is fleeting! Everyday since she passed away, I’ve asked myself what people would write or say about me when I die, eventually.

I haven’t finished, and obviously can’t, someone else will have to finish it. But when the time comes, I know that the mistakes and struggles will not matter. No lousy ex-boyfriend will get a mention (Not all of them are lousy). My life won’t necessarily be defined by whether I had kids at 30 or whether I got enough likes on a filtered selfie. My biography will not be defined by the things I owned or the clothes I wore, not by the high and mighty people I know. I don’t think anyone would want to read of the nights I was bawling out or the days that were so uneventful that I didn’t even know the days’ dates.

I think that what will matter is whether I lived out my purpose. Whose life did I touch? How is/was my life an example? Who did my life inspire? Who will my death inspire? Did I do what I came here for? Then again, what do I know?

In the event that the tiny mundane details of my life matter, I intend to live a little more; you know just so there’s more to write. Like how I will finally get my eyebrows right and just maybe I’ll do a Vlog soon. There are already more than enough pictures

Maybe I’ll do a Single Girls’ Guide to surviving in Lagos? Or maybe I’ll just share my life more on this blog. Maybe I’ll take the posts down as quickly as I put them up.

I know that my epitaph should read “A planting of the Lord, for the display of His splendor, a rose that grew through concrete”. That will be apt, morbidly too. Because when you bury something, it’s really like planting.

 

Till then, I’ll just live.

Jesus feels us

On Why We Stand

Originally posted in September 2015

 

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”- Eph 6:13

 

We stand, even though our hearts are breaking, because God is good and everything that He does is good. And even though we may not see it, He means everything for good.

We stand because we know that if God be for us, no one can be against us. Because we know that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Because we know that all things work together for good for them that love God and are called according to His purpose.

We stand because we know that it is for times as this that we are men and women of faith. We know that our Redeemer lives and He will take His stand on the earth. And after this body has decayed, yet in our flesh we will see God.

We stand because we know that nothing can separate us from God’s love, NOTHING. And because we know that in all of these things, we are more than conquerors. We stand because we know that earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. Because we know that there is a hereafter and our hope shall not be cut short.

We stand because the God of Jacob is our ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. We are still, because we know that our God is sovereign, He will be exalted in all the earth.

We stand because we know that we have the Holy Spirit with us, to comfort us. Because we know that Jesus felt what we are feeling, didn’t He also weep for Lazarus before He raised him? We stand because You will not abandon us to the realm of the dead. We stand because we know that this is a process- the mortal body must put on immortality and Death is swallowed up in victory. Because we know that our light affliction works for us more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.

We stand because You O Lord are unquestionable. Shall the potsherd ask the potter what He has made? We know that You will wipe away every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or sorrow or pain, for the old older of things has passed away.

“Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for Jehovah hath comforted His people, and will have compassion upon his afflicted”.

3010

On Being the Same Ol’ Gee

“If people refuse to look at you in a new light and they can only see you for what you were, only see you for the mistakes you’ve made, if they don’t realize that you are not your mistakes, then they have to go.”

– Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth and Being Free

 

Do you know how stretch marks come about?

 

Stretch marks are these seemingly unsightly marks or veins that appear on the skin. They usually come about after weight gain or even a sudden weight loss. When you gain weight suddenly, your skin stretches to accommodate the extra weight. It’s why women have them after child birth and why teenagers always have them. The skin gets overstretched and is unable to keep up with collagen production. So the skin stretches, a painful process that causes itching and leaves scars.

 

But stretch marks aren’t entirely bad, they mean different things to different people. For some mothers, it’s a badge of honour, and a small price to pay for the blessing of being a mom. For some, it’s the prize of their weight loss. And for other people like me, it means that you finally now have booty, free of charge!

 

You didn’t go through all of this not to be able to tell your stories.

 

I’m listening to Jhene Aiko’s “Spotless Mind” and the very first line says “Change is inevitablle”. Strangely, as constant as that is (that being change), that’s usually the most difficult thing for us.

 

We’re always too eager to show the ones who have known us for so long that nothing has changed and that we’re still the same old people we were. But we also want to grow. And growth is hard – all the stretching and adjusting to fit your new size. Growth is a result of learning from all our failures and misadventures. Growth is leap of faith after leap of faith, or maybe just blind trust that lands you outside God’s will but still smack dab in the middle in His love.

 

I’ve written in the past about how painful the becoming has been for me. Sometimes, I imagine what it must be like to be God and have to deal with my tantrums and worrying, or the days He literally has to drag me crying and kicking to the next phase. There have been the days when I knew for sure that I was losing my mind, and other times when I wished that I could just hibernate for a while and sleep through my storms. But that didn’t happen, and  I didn’t die. And I grew!

 

I am still a Work-In- Progress. I find it incredibly amazing that God held me through this all. I didn’t just survive, I grew. And I didn’t go through all of this so I could be the same old Gee. I didn’t go through all of this so I could fit in your little box, and I definitely didn’t go through all of this so I could play small. All these scars, are not for nothing. Understandably, not everyone will understand the growing pains and the new person that I have become.  And that’s okay.

 

Because not everyone belongs in this new phase I’m in. If you only see me for who I was then maybe you should remain in the previous phase of my life.

I’m not the same ol’ Gee.

 

Kanye Glastonbury

On Being the Greatest Alive

“I am the stone that the builders refused. I am the visual, the inspiration that made lady sing the blues. I am the spark that makes your idea bright, the same spark that lights the dark so that you can know your left from your right. I am the ballot in your box, the bullet in your gun… The story that just begun, the promise of what’s to come. And I’mma remain a soldier till the war is won”.

– Asheru,  Judoflip

 

I’m a Kanye stan fan. I say fan and not Stan because I don’t necessarily agree with everything that ‘Ye says or does. I loved Kanye from Graduation and College Dropout and I’d like to think that he’s one of the most gifted rappers, writers and producers. Down to earth, point-blank and full of indignation, what stole my heart most about Kanye was his ego.

I watched Kanye from being the first to admit that he was self-conscious and thinking that if he talked about Jesus, his CD wouldn’t sell to Kanye’s self-awareness that he’s a king and a wolf (beware Starks). Kanye has compared himself to Steve Jobs, Beethoven, Nelson Mandela, Picasso and even our Lord Jesus Christ. Kanye’s mind is like a Hermes factory, he jogs in Lanvin, he doesn’t think there’s a living celebrity with more weapons formed against him, and he will go down as the greatest voice of this generation. Oh and yeah, his greatest pain is not being able to watch himself perform live.

Kanye is also God’s vessel and is always bubbling with ideas, so much that he’s a superhero like Cyclops. Kanye is married to the most beautiful woman of all time, the top 10 of human existence who is undoubtedly greater than Michelle Obama. (I think Kim Kardashian is a lucky woman). Kanye is too busy writing history to read it. He is so credible and so influential and so relevant that he will change things. And he doesn’t apologise, he claims his apology to Taylor Swift was due to peer pressure.

June 27th 2015, Glastonbury Festival: Kanye stops his concert to declare to his audience “You are now watching the greatest living rockstar on the Planet”. In his own words, he may not be able to make the same statement, 10, 20 or 30 years from 2015, but in that moment, he was the greatest on earth.

That was HIS MOMENT.

Obviously I’m a little obsessed with Kanye.

But what will you do in your OWN moment?

Are you going to hide behind the celebrated virtues of modesty and pretend humility, or are you going to get on the stage and own it, knowing that you’re the greatest as long as you keep putting work out?

And it’s always YOUR moment.

Finally, in the words of Marianne Williamson,  “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Love and Light

xoxo

‘Gbemisola

Running

How to Run without Getting Tired

“They do what they do to shackle and hold us. So we gotta do what we gotta do to keep growing”

– One Day at a Time, Tupac Shakur (with the Outlawz and Eminem)

 

“Don’t Run”

I never ran as a child. I was grossly underweight. To put things in perspective, I weighed 22kg in JSS2. I was constantly dizzy from just following my mum to the market. I would squat while she was still haggling and touch her to whisper “mummy I can’t see again”. Then she would find me a stool and a soft drink hawker. There were no PET bottles then, so we’d buy 7-up and pour in a small nylon which I would then drink from. In secondary school, I always knew running was not for me from get-go. I figured I would fit in the March Past but I had Zero Precision. So I settled for the throws, except that I weighed too little for the shot put and the javelin always landed right in front of me. I didn’t try any sporting activity for a long time.

When I suddenly gained weight and grew two sizes larger in 2011, I knew I had to start running. I was a healthy size and now had the burden of keeping the weight in check. So one fine Saturday morning, I wore running shoes and slacks and threw on a tank top. Again, I didn’t last long. You see I now had cellulite. And the thing with cellulite is that the first few times you’re running it stings really badly, something to do with pores and capillaries and some other terms I don’t really understand. It felt like a thousand sand-flies, and then like werepe too. My thighs and legs were numb. I had to go back home and didn’t run again for a while. In the next few years, I would try to run again, maybe a total of six times and give up because of the numbness. The irony is that if I kept at it for say one week straight, I wouldn’t experience the stinging and numbness again.

 

How to run without getting tired?

Don’t run. If you don’t want to get tired, just don’t run. It’s a cause and effect thing. You can’t run and not get tired. All Sprinters and Marathon runners know this, and even though they train hard year in year out, there’s not one of them who wasn’t panting at the finish line.

And that’s how life is.

You’ll burn out from fear and anxiety and stumble because of rejection. But you keep gotta keep it moving.  And you will be breathless, and you will feel faint, and you will want to stop half-way, but you will get to finish line if you don’t stop. Just run.

Run from the things you don’t want. Run to the life that you want. Run for your Life.

Keep running!

Have a great week.

Love and Light

xoxo

thirst

On Thirst

Thirst

And by thirst I don’t mean what a random girl sees when she sees Tyson Beckford’s shirtless photo on Instagram. That’s the Urban Dictionary meaning, won’t cut it here.

Thirst is deeper. Thirst is an eager desire for something, a craving, a yearning – like being thirsty for knowledge, for God, for success.  Sometimes I wonder why thirst works within this context better than hunger. Truth is, we all can go days on days without food, but not water/liquid.

Thirst is what keeps you up night after night, trying to figure out better ways to do things. You can just love the status quo and go on with it because “that’s how it’s been done for years” or you can challenge the status quo and try to forge a new path.

Thirst is daring. It’s daring to do the things no one else will do. It’s daring to take the lead when everyone else is content with being led. It is stepping up and taking control. It means you’re never ready, because there’s no such thing as ready. Every day is a good day to start.

Thirst is intentional. It’s not an alignment of the stars in your favour. It’s launching out into the deep and creating your own luck. Thirst is just jumping, knowing the net will appear. And if it doesn’t you’ll still land on your feet. Or maybe you won’t. But you will stand on your feet and do it again.

Thirst is almost inevitably failure. Yogi Berra once said “When you get to a fork in the road, take it”. I know that sounds crazy. But the point is, you can’t turn back, so even if you don’t know which turn to go. So you’ll have to take one.

Thirst does not accept defeat. In the words of Antoine Dodson (please DO NOT JUDGE ME) “In our family we don’t run around crying or acting sad, we just dust our shoulders up and keep on moving”.

Stay thirsty.

Love and Light.

fear

On Healthy Fear

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

 

When I was eight, I fell ill, as I typically did at the time. At the time, Analgin Injection was king, so I was given a dose. A few minutes later, I wanted to go pee. I got off the couch, only to find that my legs had become rubbery. I tried it again. Same thing, I went straight down. My legs suddenly couldn’t bear my weight, which was probably only around 20kg then. My mom brought me a potty and then we hoped it would just be a few hours. But hours turned to days, and days into weeks. I don’t remember all of it but I know there was anointing oil and prayers of faith and mantles to be tied around my leg. My mum eventually resorted to carrying me on her back when we had to go out, and out meant hospital.

Down our street, there was a Medical Centre in a two-storey building. It was a small practice, owned by my an acquaintance of my dad. He lived on the first floor, while the clinic was on the second floor. The ground floor was residential as I remember it. The building was fairly decent. The paint was peeling but it was still more distinguished than the houses around it. The Doctor (we called him Dr. Jubilee because that was the name of his clinic) seemed well off, almost made me wish my dad was a Doctor and not a Pharmacist. You see, Dr. Jubilee was also a lover of dogs. His dogs were Alsatians, but we didn’t know what they were called then, so we called them Police Dogs. He must have had about three of them at the time. They lived on his balcony on the first floor.

One fine evening, my mum wanted a doctor’s opinion on my inability to walk. So she backed me and we walked down our street to the clinic. I had never been inside Dr. Jubilee’s compound before. I had only seen the dogs from the road and watched them, on my way from running errands. But that night I was face to face with my fears. I was on my mother’s back on the ground floor but was convinced that the three barking dogs would jump down from the balcony and tear me to shreds as I heard Police Dogs do. I kept begging my mum to turn back but she was convinced that they couldn’t come back. I thought she had lost her mind, so I took matters into my own hands. I jumped off her back!

Of course I fell, but I didn’t have the time to fail. So I got up and tried to determine which leg was better and could bear my weight. The left leg seemed fair, so I rested on it while I attempted to limp out. Mother was stunned as she watched the movie unfold. When she finally came to, she had a good laugh, asked me why I chose to punish her for weeks and then promptly gave me a new nickname – talantolo (one who limps). Let’s just say that I never saw Dr. Jubilee, there was no need. I went back to school about a week afterwards.

Fear is – a treacherous adversary. Fear can freeze you, and destroy you. But maybe fear is good too, the healthy kind of fear. Fear makes you want to conquer new ground and do great things. I don’t know if my story is a good illustration of the good that fear can bring. But the fear of fear is worse than the failure we are afraid of. Once we conquer our fears, we find that there’s really nothing on the other side. But you should never be afraid that you forget to live life and dance in the rain.

Maybe I’m just trying to tell you that no matter how hard I fall, I always get back up – I crumble, and I limp and then I walk. Then I fly away

Or maybe I just wanted to tell you my talan-tolo story.