Flawed…and owning it

P:S: This is not one of those sugar coated narratives about accepting yourself the way you are.

That said, I woke up yesterday and did a census of the acne on my face, I was heartbroken. 

I have enjoyed relatively good skin since I crossed my teens, so when I began to get painful cystic pimples along my jawline, I blamed it on my enemies. 

Their last attack was on my waistline, that pouch sent me running, feet touching back of head kind of running, to my core routine. 

The acne took over, everywhere apart from my forehead. I decided to try make up, my sister got me some foundation and concealer. I enjoyed the coverage and glow, but I didn’t like what was underneath when I washed it off at night. Besides, it was extra stress for an erstwhile lipgloss wearing girl.

I have answered every question there is as to finding the cause of the breakout. 

-They are not period induced

-I am not on contraceptives of any sort

-I am not pregnant

-I am not stressed out (this is not to say I shall refuse if my Boss looks at my face and says, go home for two weeks)

-I have not changed soaps, still my good old baby soap (was convenient, can’t be buying different packets of soap)

-Body Lotion? N/A

-I didn’t change diet. If anything, I started ensuring I didn’t skip meals, I increased my water intake by a lot, began to exercise on the steady. I wouldn’t expect this to reward me negatively.

Kabiyesi smiled at me last night when I whined 

“But you are still beautiful, very”

I hissed. 

This man that when I was pregnant, with stretchmarks dancing thick black atilogwu all over my hips and back side, told me I was beautiful. 

This man that looked at my face half swollen after a dental visit, told me I was beautiful.

This man who when malaria dug my collarbones badly, told me I was beautiful.

This is not bad o, just reiterating that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and he always sees beautiful. This should be good abi? No, if I agree like that, where would my womanity be na?

But you see, when I woke up this morning, I decided it was time to stop fretting over these pimples. I pulled my hair into a bun, so my face was entirely on it’s own without something to hide. I slapped on my red lipgloss and hit the road.

After all, a watched pot never boils. 

So I am owning this phase till it is tired and lets go of me.I shall wash my face as I was directed. I pledge to myself, that I shall not spend money on any acne treatments. I pledge to not bother my friends anymore asking for what could help. I pledge to stop the google searches.I pledge to not lower my gaze when it feels like anyone is staring at me longer.

The one last thing I need help with, Mrs. MJ said to me

“Acha, keep your hands off your face!”

So help me God.

Achalugo

After notes: I met these guys with an amazing vision for their new website ‘The musty corner’. Very interesting writes on there. I am pleased to announce that they house a column for me ‘Ekwé…rhythms of a golden pen’ one extra place to read from Achalugo. Ekwe is an igbo musical instrument, the sounds attract you to listen. You can read my first post –How I lost my top four reading spots

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I learnt to knot a tie!

I’m excited.

I learnt to knot a tie. It’s probably a silly reason to be excited, but I am.

A few nights ago, Kabiyesi struggled with knotting his tie in preparation for work the next day. 

“Acha, don’t tell me I can’t knot my tie again”

I looked up from wiping my mascara smudged cheeks.

“Apparently, you have”

He rolled his eyes

“You can’t even help somebody, see how unconcerned you are”

I laughed (sarcastically)

“Yep, like you’ve helped me tie Gele 99 times”

End of discussion.

Two minutes later…

I had a swift change of heart, because Coldstone icecream pocket money and tinz. How can I bang a door I would want to walk through sometime?

I went back

“Oya come let’s watch a tutorial on Youtube”

He refused. He says most youtube tutorials talk an unneccesary 70% and do the actual thing 30%. I know this from watching hair styling and make up tutorials.

I took the pain to find a relatively straight to the point tie knotting one, set the phone,  got separate ties and we started.

It was a reminder for him, but a whole new learning for me. For instance, did you know most ties come with a manufacturer’s indicator for where the tie should cross? 

I was also glad to find time with him, in this busy schedules we find ourselves living, every us time counts.

A huge thank you to everyone who shares their knowledge with others, especially the ones we can easily access at the tip of our fingers. 

Share a know-how you have, with someone today. It doesn’t have to be something big, you’d be surprised at the little little things that may matter.  A candle loses nothing lighting another.

Be a magnet towards opportunites to learn anything, anything at all. Don’t tell yourself it is irrelevant, you never know where you would need them.

Like me? Let me see which children party compere will embarass me with knotting a tie again!

Okay, jokes apart, you gerrit?

Achalugo

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On neglect, loss and redemption

I love body art.

I have a past of qualifying my love for body art, explaining that my love for tattoos and piercings were limited to their reasonability. I still do not understand some tattoos, nor some multi-positioned body piercings.

I stopped.
I stopped when I realised that body art was no different from artworks. Some people would never be at an art exhibition, some would attend to admire and never purchase(me and tattoos), and some would buy some small but treasured frames -me, and my two ear piercings.

I always wanted a nose piercing, and an extra ear piercing, I got the latter years ago and it taught me a few lessons yesterday.

It was friday, I like fridays. They are the days I can switch off my corporate look and don on a native attire, or rarely, jeans.

I reached for my preferred tiny earrings for my second piercing and tried to pass it through, I met resistance. I dropped them and reached for another pair, same thing. In horror I drew close to the mirror and realised the piercing had begun a closing process.

I began to ponder, how many things have we lost because we neglected them? Friendships? Assets? Skills? Knowledge? Talent? Body fitness?

A very deceitful thing we tell ourselves, is that because we know something, or have the ability to do something, we always will. We take practice for granted.

While that is bad, the next process taught me something else. We may be lucky enough to hit this realization at a redeemable point.

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Instagram: @ba_ahdae

I got my piercing at a body art shop, I was weakened at the thought of going to get it redone. I knew of some people who pierced with earrings and swore it didnt hurt. I convinced myself that well, the spot already had a pierced memory. I picked the earrings, clenched my teeth and passed it through each of the lobes. It hurt, slightly.

Yet, that was a needless pain.

Practice and care always trumps a refresher class, loss, repurchasing option, etc as the after effect may be.

It’s a cycle, with the pencil in your hands. You choose the direction the arrow goes, avoid the loss, and if it does occur, do not be afraid, clench your teeth and try again.

You get it?

Achalugo

Afternotes: You may enjoy my recent fiction, inspired by tailoring, friendship, loyalty and memories of the old Tejuosho market on BellaNaija titled “Mama Bene”

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The aftermath of mills and boons vs reality

“Acha, those romance novels lied to us o”

My friend said to me, days ago. Then today, I found a colleague immersed in a novel, smiling dreamily. I snatched the book from her and took a shot.

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A page from the book

When I clocked my teens, I had classmates passing around mills and boons novel, it was hip back then. One person’s novel could have a long queue waiting to read it, some got impatient and we had cases of missing novels.

I read a bit, but in all honesty, not very much. I didn’t have the energy to play hide and seek at home with my mom, who had a very close marking on the kind of books I read. Also, I was called oke library* at home, because on many afternoons, my mother would comb the nooks and crannies of my school, ask all my guardians and school mothers and none would have seen me. I would saunter out of the library later, floating on cloud nine from the well crafted words of Chinua Achebe, Elechi Amadi, Mabel, and dearest Buchi Emecheta. I doubt there is a work of african fiction in the library of Queens College that I didn’t read.

I digressed.

But you see, african fiction probably saved me from the heartbreaks of expectations which these romance novels built.

Sometimes, you would travel and return and no, there won’t be one hot sexy half naked husband waiting to kiss you at the door and take off your clothes ever so slowly and gently, moving from your neck, to breasts, to navel, to… Sometimes, there would be a man who will open the door and scream

“Ope o!* ehen, TheBoss, 100watts, Container, come and jump on your mommy, she has come back”

And send you right back into your routine of diaper sniffing and changing, homework perusing, fingernails grooming, etc.

This flower business.

It is not bad and absolutely romantic in everyway, but there will be evenings of superior romance, if that man comes in with Ugu or Nchuanwu* when you are fretting over a pot of soup and realise you bought too little, and that is all that would matter.

I’m switching back to love making, that’s the crux of this, I just used that Ugu to pretend small.

What are your love making goals?

There are couples who this thing have become mere routine to, some women feel like stress relievers to their spouses. People who are expected to part their legs for two minutes without any consideration for their own satisfaction.

This is a far cry from what some of them have read in these books, those handsome strong stallions of a prince, who exude unrivalled expertise at using their mouths, fingers and waists to wreck pleasurable havoc on these women, in some novels, ten times a day.

It becomes unsurprising to find a disconnect between wants, needs, satisfaction and reality.

I read a lovely book years back, with more sex scenes than a story. One thing I took away from the book, was that it was possible to reach orgasm together. Years after, after an internal struggle to, I realised that the writer was simply exploring her ability to craft romance, sex and fiction and I had unconsciously taken some bit of it and kept for reality. The day(s) it happened, it had been amazing, but most importantly,  absolutely without a conscious effort to.

Sometimes, everyone is truly tired and it’s alright to hold hands and sleep. Sometimes, one person is tired or sleepy and gets up in understanding for the other, and sometimes you keep your needs aside and simply love the company. Sometimes, you both tear the sheets apart and raise the roof.  

These things are not a one way street, and the curves are part of the journey, the need to balance those dreamy eyed imaginations with the realities of married living.

Yours,
Achalugo

*oke library – literally, library rat
*ope o- a shout of relief that is masked as thanksgiving, but whoever can decode, knows
*ugu, nchuanwu- Pumpkin leaves, Scent leaves

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On study breaks and mental perambulations

Because my mind is roaming.

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I wonder why bats come out only at night. I think to write a bat story, but I have not done fiction this year.

I wonder if my paper tomorrow will be like the one I had today, where you study twenty chapters and the five questions you should answer are from two chapters only. Is it allowed to sue examiners for torture?

Thoughts of lecturing stroll through my mind, I wonder what happened to that dream. I wanted to be a lecturer badly, there is a certain joy I enjoy from sharing knowledge. But then, who doesn’t know there is a box with about 37 more things I want(ed) to be.

Then, I think of orgasms.

It’s just my mind roaming, I tell you.

Orgasms is a nice place to end this roaming. I am tempted for a moment to stretch and set the process in motion to obtain one. But I know I shall not be answered.

It’s my fault.

The last time I left my books and went to pinch and tickle, the aftermath threw me into a deep sleep. I woke up dazed the following morning

“Did you still wake up to study?”

“Study? What books?”

Why do the sleeps from there go so deep?

Tomorrow is my last paper. I’m exhausted, mentally. I am glad, but I dread the files that have piled on my desk from my leave.
Can monday crawl here, ever so slowly, please?

My mind roams back to orgasms. There is a box of cottonbuds within arm’s reach. I reach for one.

Do you know, that the twisting and turning of that thing in your ear is another pleasurable wonder?

I’ll be fine with this one, even ear cleaning orgasm is orgasm.

1.40am, Lagos, Nigeria,
Achalugo

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There is nothing like fallen breasts

Pre warning: This post might be better suited for women who have breastfed

We coined a remix to some of Flavour’s lyrics back then, it translated to

“Breast that has fallen, has fallen. The one that is standing will still fall”

The key message, was that all our mammary glands would obey the laws of gravity at some point in our lives.

Breastfeeding is said to accelerate this process, so you see some young women declare

“I will never breastfeed”
“I want to keep my breasts standing”

As always, I shall not concern myself with the scientific investigation of these ligaments.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience, a beautiful thing right next to the wonder of birthing a child. As all beautiful things, it has had all manner of stones flung at it, yet I tell you, breastfeeding wins.

Just when you think the ridiculous arguments of where, why, when and how to breastfeed is over, some women are told that their breasts have fallen.

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Photo from @mommyneedsacoffee Instagram

Dictionary definition of fall: To move from a higher to a lower level, typically rapidly and without control.

So let’s apply it to our scenarios. A woman’s body enters puberty, and her breasts develop, but pretty much sit on her chest. After childbirth, these breasts move from mere physical attributes, to the food system of a newborn(s).

This move, is a fall?

I hope to continually tell women to love their post baby bodies and accept the changes that come. Something gotta give!

Also forcing your child to quit breastfeeding when they are not ready, singularly to salvage their ‘standing’ defeats the entire purpose. Same applies to men who force their wives to stop breastfeeding to protect their ‘property’.

The next time you look at a woman, and think that her breasts has fallen from breastfeeding, you need to appease the gods.

You, woman, are not your breasts.

These have been my thoughts,
Achalugo

Posted in mommy diaries, motivational, Pregnancy humour | Tagged | 7 Comments

The unbecoming of a buka addict

The day I began to ponder on the rumours surrounding bukas’, was the afternoon I tossed and turned on my bed in Moremi hostel, craving amala.

It was a torturous kind of crave, because I had only N1000 left, and it was midweek.

After an hour, I went to the school cab park

“Whitehouse…”

The cab to and fro, my amala and goat meat meal cost me exactly N1000.

I was back at school, beaming with smiles that made my newly broke status irrelevant. Nothing, I repeat, nothing mattered at that point.  A roomate teased me once, saying that they had buried jazz at the place, as well as wash and put, that there was no other reason why my reasoning went on vacation at the thought of buka amala.

What is a Buka?

A Buka is any housing where edible dreams and aspirations are met, it is a state of mind, it is an enabling environment for reckless consumptional experimentation. (C) Achalugo

So what is it with Buka food that brings the finest of us to our knees and strips us of all airs? Where igbo girls like me lose heir balance over amala, and yoruba guys swallow akpu and oha with glee. Do you like Buka food? Are you an addict as well? Nice to meet you! Only the initiates can understand.

I am on study leave and gladly so, seeing as my spirit hates routine, revolts against it even, yet I work a nine to five (often extending to six p.m)

What kept me going all the while? The Amala downstairs! They knew the combo

“I want Amala N200, gbegiri, ewedu and goatmeat”

If there was one of these out of stock, they knew it was no compromise affair.

E.g “Goat meat has finished? Don’t worry, no thank you, I don’t want shaki, I am not eating today”

It has been two weeks, I couldn’t bear any longer and sent for it.

I was disappointed.

The oil was a disaster, the goat meat? It was so uncooked I worried it would bleat through my fingers.

I remembered my last office lunch, same thing.

“We changed cook” they had apologised.

Brings me to the crux of the matter;

a. Sustaining a business
b. killing habits

Let these be a take home for us, we are all brands. How protective are we of the main ingredients that keep our businesses going, our relationships? Do we take people for granted? Serve raw meat and wait to see customers tomorrow?

On the flipside, do you have addictions you think you can’t do without? Unplug! Find the morals in my narration, while I get back to this Buka business.

I have gotten invitations to a place on the Island called Ghana high, then Iya Eba, and I intend to mark attendance.

Unbecoming? This is the spirit of a warrior, one buka gone bad shall not deter me.

The weekend is upon us,
Achalugo

Posted in Lagos Living, relationship matters | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments