Fiction

Grow Up

Nobody tells you how uncomfortable growing can be and how much you lose if you don’t evolve.

As you get older, what do you really want?
Over the past few months, I have been reviewing certain situations in my life and how they have been shaped.
My weekends for example are on two completely different extremes – I am either in another state or even country or I am laid up in bed watching Oga Sabinus videos with no plan at all.

I like the quiet, and the occasional dash to another city or country.
I like the feeling of warmth I get from directly interacting with my friends and loved ones. There was a time when I wanted to be liked by many. Now I crave being respected by those that matter and those I make room for in my heart.
Lately, I have been thinking about what I want now as an older man than when I was younger.
Some I would expand on, others I would just state the headline

Intentionality

I think I have written here many times that the word that truly drives me is impact. I live for impact.
I want to be impactful in all the spaces and areas of my life.
But how does that translate into my relationships?
When I was younger, I just wanted someone to listen when I spoke or when I shared. Now I want someone that listens and acts.
There has to be an intentional element of every aspect of relationships.
I have come to realize that it is not enough to just exist in our dynamics, we have to act.

There might have been a time where I just wanted a partner I could vent to. Now, I believe I want one that can act on my frustrations if needed and hold me accountable where appropriate.

Loyalty – with respect and reevaluation

Gone are the days of us staying friends because we used to go to Nigerian Student Association parties.
There requires more than that to loyalty – its the consistent trust, leaving space for growth, mistakes and all-round support of each other.
Not present? Biko shift.

Honesty and Practicality

I think it’s only right that as we grow and evolve, people are appreciate the value of honesty and communication between friends and family. Lately, I had an unexpected conversation about how I felt regarding a situation where someone hurt me. People have been calling for me to forgive and let it go but I never felt I had anything to let go of.
The conversation sparked more for me though – we spend so much energy trying to get the hurt/maligned/abused to let go of their pain.
Granted we all fall short but shouldn’t the feelings of the person hurt be protected?

I’ll use an analogy – imagine you go out of town for the weekend and you let your friend stay at your place.
You come back and find out they stole from you. Do you ever let them back in?
Oftentimes, someone hurts and steals from us but our closest friends simply ask us to leave the locks unchanged and let them back in.
No thanks.
I’m setting an alarm and a Ring system. Want to get close to me or mine again, text abeg.

Random Musings
Importance of Self Care

Over the last couple of weeks, I have spent a bit of time at the hospital. Routine checks but also following up on some concerns I had.
In that time, I realized that the value of sleep and rest should not be understated.
Many of us grind and work sooo hard for many months out of the year and sometimes look out for the big vacations we take once a year.
I don’t find that sustainable. We don’t sleep enough. I don’t sleep enough.
I am at the age now where I worry quite a bit about a few different things.
So where is the self-care?
It’s not only in the boba tea you get yourself every other week. Sorry Matcha gang!
It’s about listening to your body, and your heart, pouring into your cup in the ways you know that speak to you.
Getting enough sleep, putting sunscreen on your neck, ignoring negativity + gossip, drinking water and minding your business.
That and more is putting yourself in care.

Your Friends are Your Friends, their Friends are NOT your Friends

I love to watch how people act when relationships end. The split is actually interestingly comical. Everyone needs to go through it at least once, so you know how it goes.
Some people adore you when you are with their friends. Maybe by extension or because they really respect who you are.
But when the relationship or friendship ends, even in the most amicable ways, everyone picks sides.
And I find that fascinating because more parties are biased and they usually cap for their friends.
But if you loved your friend, you would tell them the truth.
Like if he took his eyes off the prize, tell him. Not just stop talking to her.
Sister, what if your friend was the reason the relationship ended? But now you subbing him instead of helping your own friend grow and be better?
It’s always hilarious to observe but such is life. Everybody ehn? Do better. Tainz!

Grow Up

If your default is confrontation with people all the time or feeling like you need to start shit to show how nonchalant you are, you are the one who actually needs a hug – it’s giving damaged and hurt on the inside. Do better.
Nuff said.

See you all next Wednesday. Please share this piece with your friends and family and on social media – Twitter, IG, Snapchat and so on.
Thanks!

The Wordsmith,
Master of Cliffhangers.

Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2022 #WhatTheHeckMan

#WhatTheHeckMan · #WordsofWednesday

Why Do You Cry So Much?

WordsOfWednesday

It’s been about 6months since I started my diet with changes that I hoped would help change my internal and external appearance.

I called my diet Green and Grown – I focused on eating things primarily green (leaves) and grown out of the ground (potatoes, vegetables, and such)
My target date to check in on my body and see how much progress I had made was 9/2/22 before my friend Renny’s wedding.

I had to weigh myself for something else around August 2nd and I had already hit the target goal I was aiming for.
Altogether, I had lost ~49pounds.
I was shocked and I began crying – I think I always knew I was capable but I also just didn’t know I could.
But here I am doing the damn thing- someone asked me recently how I had been able to achieve most of my goals.
Truth?
This battle has been won in the kitchen and evidence made known at the gym.
Here’s how

Green and Grown

Shirataki Noodles, Grilled Chicken, Avocado and Rice

– I made sure I was overloaded on vegetables and things loaded in fiber (I swear by Shirataki noodles), they are low in calories and high in fiber.
My typical meal with them stays balanced – Shirataki noodles, a scoop of rice, grilled chicken thighs, half a plantain (y’all know I love my plantain) & avocado.

Outside of the meals, the biggest thing was the mentality change. I became super conscious about everything I ate – yes sometimes I get obsessed with counting calories but the truth is by checking EVERY SINGLE THING, I have been able to stay ahead of my diet.

Fell out of love with rice and pasta

Growing up in a Nigerian home, Sundays were meant for rice.
I fell in love with pasta when I came to America and frankly it is the only thing where portion control goes out of the window.
Over the last few months, I cut both out.
Completely.
I replaced them with other carbs and when I started eating them again, I would only eat them in very small quantities.
I quickly realized I really like both but I was not that deeply in love with them.
I got creative about supplementing them.
Truth be told, I won’t say cutting them out entirely has changed my diet or life – but helping redefine my relationship with both has helped.

Emotional eating

I realized I was an emotional eater. Emotional eating is not only eating when you are sad and stuffing your face, it could also mean not eating when you should. Typically when your mood is low.
For me, when I am sad, I opt for sleep.
It then means I may not eat for a long time.
By the time I decide to eat, it’s 11pm or midnight. Sometimes sef, mo ti ro eba ni 1am. Not cap.
I had to change and get on a strict schedule.
Now I have to eat or drink a smoothie by noon, lunch or brunch snack by 3pm-ish, and dinner before 7pm, 8pm at the latest.
It doesn’t matter how I am feeling, I just make sure I eat something and so far it has changed how I look at food.

Get Practical

The other day, I realized that I do something I thought was funny.
Before when I wanted to ensure I didn’t forget something while leaving the house, I would set a reminder on my phone.
The problem was sometimes, even with the reminders, I would still forget.
So I changed and I started doing something else. If wanted to make sure I took something out of the house with me, I would place it right in front of the door heading out of my home.
That way, I physically had to bypass it to leave.

I started doing this with my food – I changed the plates I eat with, I stopped buying certain ingredients into the house, and so on.
I don’t believe it’s enough to assume or want to do something, I believe you have to be physically practical about your goals.
Outline the workouts you want to do at the gym, and align on the timeline you want for certain things – all of those things will eventually help you arrive where you’d like to.

Random Musings of the Week

Adulting is HARD

I remember when all I cared about was running fast enough to use the bathroom and wash my hands before my cartoons would come back from commercials. Now I am thinking of love languages, genotypes, credit scores, savings, and more.
When did it all become so difficult?

Kindness is important

The only currency I want to be paid in is kindness and respect.
Too often we decline what we can do vs. what we should do. People don’t always deserve our kindness but we should give it regardless.

Stay Up, Stay Safe & Stay Strong.
I LOVE YOU!

Yours always,

The Wordsmith
Master of Cliffhangers

Please leave a comment below.

Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2022 #WhatTheHeckMan

#WhatTheHeckMan · #WordsofWednesday

Love Sucks

WordsOfWednesday

But it could all be so great?

Leave it…better

Why does “love” today make us harder?
In many situations, people come out of romantic relationships fully afraid of reentering new ones.
Think for a moment – have you ever genuinely left an ex better than you met them?
A better lover, more eager to love, more vulnerable, and in today’s word of the day – softer?

Those women that think they make every partner better, please exit left. This is not for you or your ego.
I’m not asking if you did a good job being a pseudo mom to a man-child or did a great job babying someone.
I’ve been thinking about how we sometimes treat relationships like a war zone and we are the aggressors.
We come in and pillage – we collect and collect on both fronts, then we leave and each person has to pick up the pieces and make sense of the ruins.

I’d love to think of relationships as paid internships (unpaid internships should be abolished).
You go in, you learn, express yourself, develop, and when the internship is over you get offered a full-time role.
Sometimes we decline the role but it doesn’t stop us from being excited to take another in another company or another team.
You should be leaving everyone you interact with better than you met them, in one or many ways.

Strive for better in your next interactions. Please note that better doesn’t mean going from 10% to 35% but it can be from 4%-4.2% and sometimes that is more than enough.

________

What is your threshold for joy?

Our trauma and pain often condition and asks us to know what our limits to pain are but never to identify what the max level of joy we can contain.
As you read this if you have been heartbroken before I bet you can easily pinpoint how much pain your heart has felt and how it never wants to experience that again.
BUT…can you convey the highest realms of joy that you have experienced and if your heart can expand just a bit more to experience more joy?
Many of us don’t know.

There is a question we were not really taught to answer – what if it actually goes right?
What if I experience tremendous joy? Peace? Love?
The natural instinct is to prepare for the worst but what happens if we strive for the best?

I challenge US to think about our threshold for joy. What if, just what if it all works out?
What if we find peace in the things and space we occupy?
I want to learn how much happier I can get and most importantly, I want to allow myself to experience it without fear, guilt or trepidation.

_________

I have too many emotional tabs open right now

I think we all do but I wanted to acknowledge that.

Thank you for reading another WordsOfWednesday. I appreciate you all being here.
Please leave me a comment below – they truly make everything better and I hope you have a great rest of the week. See you soon and till then, stay up!

Stay Up, Stay Safe & Stay Strong.
I LOVE YOU!

Yours always,

The Wordsmith
Master of Cliffhangers

Please leave a comment below.

Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2022 #WhatTheHeckMan

#WordsofWednesday

“You’re Not My Person”

I’d love to read your thoughts and comments, please leave me a note and let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

How many times do you choose yourself?

This written piece has not yet been edited for grammar and spelling.

Its 11:25pm and I just got in from my big “brothers” wedding. I haven’t even taken my agbada off.
I heated up some food from the wedding and it’s sitting on the bed but I quickly wanted to write this and get my thoughts down.

I really like myself.

Not all the time and frankly, not even most times but I like me I’m becoming.
This week, I prioritized rest.
Today, I forgave myself without the long process of self-degradation and punishment.
I like me.
I like that I’m fallible. I’m coming to terms with it more and more.
Growing up and chasing perfection, I realized that it was impossible to beat myself up more than anyone else could.
I would truly berate myself for some of my actions – yes, because I wanted to hold myself to high standard but again, to what end?
I am more good than bad, as a matter of fact, I’m overwhelming better than I’m not.
So why do I define myself by my scars and not the beauty I am irrespective of them?

I’m also realizing that I appreciate people that love with grace. We all have our lines we draw in the sand and honestly, people are bound to cross them. We are human.
But with the people you love, as long as it is not intentional, I hope you love them with grace even when they may hurt you.
Chastise in love, hold boundaries with grace and find a way to stay true to your internal values.

———

A few months ago, I wrote about going on a trip with my friends and expecting them to call out that I had lost weight.
It didn’t exactly happen but this weekend, everyone could not stop talking about it.
It was an encouraging and firm reminder that when I’m dying in the gym, I’m not crazy and the results are showing.

There are some facts about life: the sun rising, gravity, taxes but the most important one is that Sanmi in a suit?
Chef’s kiss.
I looked soooo goodt this weekend.

The kicker, was I forgot my belt at home. So instead of buying another one, I had to roll up my pants all weekend because the clothes I made two months ago are now too small. Omo. 😩
I was in sifiaaaa pains last week when I took in my suit to get tailored – tailoring $60. Suit that I bought on sale for $69.99.
Problem.

I’ve switched from my green and grown diet a bit – more protein (chicken) and Shirataki noodles are my newfound love.
It’s been great, exciting, and above all – healthy.
I am liking the way I look but am excited for what’s to come.
———-

A few weeks ago, I was at the gym when I noticed a woman helping a young man on the soccer field.
She was holding his hand and talking him around the field – they were chasing a soccer ball.
It took me a few minutes to realize he was blind.
Admittedly, my first thoughts were “wow, he’s so strong to still love the game of football despite his condition” but quickly that changed.
A recent training I had at work helped influence my mind – his situation was not meant to elicit pity from me first.

How many times have people told you “it could have been worse” or “someone out there has it worse than you”?
https://www.ted.com/talks/stella_young_i_m_not_your_inspiration_thank_you_very_much#t-180612
This video changed my perspective on so much – someone’s pain does not need to be your inspiration.
In my mind, it doesn’t come from a place of genuine kindness to see someone in pain and your first thought is “wow, at least I’m better off than they are”
There are biases that always find a way to sneak into our minds. I’m calling out one of mine that I’ve been working on, hopefully, you can too.

———

A little over a week ago, I was returning from the gym and racing to catch a work meeting.
There was a guy trying to turn his car around as I rushed to find a parking spot.
He was blocking me and he was moving soooo slowly!
I was soooo frustrated.
So I honked at him to move out of the way. He moved slowly.
I was cussing under my breath as I went to find parking and as I drove past him, I noticed he had a flat tire on the side of the car that I couldn’t see before.
I felt so small.
I was like “damn, see your whole life outside”
I didn’t find parking there, so I had to drive back around and past him.
As I got close to him, I said – “hey, I am sorry I honked at you. I did not now you had a flat tire”
He smiled and said “yeah, I appreciate that”
I asked if he had someone to help him with changing the tire, he said he had the tools and he would do it himself.
I drove off and I went to park.

It was a humbling lesson for me that morning.
Many times we rush to judge people and we do not know what their flat tire is.
We do not know what they are carrying and nursing.
I felt soooo small but I also felt strong in coming back to apologize.
None of us is beyond correction and if anything, I was proud that I found a way to say sorry.
Be kind(er) today in every space you occupy. Do not be the extra needle in someone’s already flat tire.

Stay Up, Stay Safe & Stay Strong.
I LOVE YOU!

Yours always,

The Wordsmith
Master of Cliffhangers

Please leave a comment below.

Please comment, retweet and share. Thank you for your continued support.
You are highly appreciated.

WordsOfWednesday

© 2022 #WhatTheHeckMan

#WordsofWednesday

I need Igbo and Shayo!

#WordsOfWednesday

Put the shayo in my hand.

It’s 5:42pm and I need to head to choir practice soon. I am looking at items on aisle E2 at Target and listening to worship songs through my AirPods.
I’m on the brink.
The next song, the next beat, the next string may break me.
I turn to head to another aisle and it happens.
Tears.
Yup.
I drop to my knees and I begin sobbing.
It’s been as if my chest has been tight for weeks. Something – I don’t know the thing – has been heavy on my spirit.
Actually, it’s a lie. I know at least one of the things.
But back to me on the floor in Target.
This is the culmination of weeks and months of holding it in. Being strong.
And finally, right next to the dish soap, I broke.

Describe what peace of mind looks like to you?
Take a moment and think about it. No, stop reading and just think about it.
When was the last time you felt peace?
Not your house/home being freshly cleaned and quiet with a candle lit.
That’s peaceful. Not peace.
The peace part is inside you.
It’s intangible but when it’s present, it fills up the whole room and some can’t see it.
But they can feel it.

This particular edition of WordsOfWednesday is a dump.
Its a few of my thoughts from many months.
So yes, they may be all over the place but I hope they connect with some of you.

I was at the Maverick City and Kirk Franklin show last Friday and many times I cried.
Before they started, I wrote out a list of prayer points and I hoped God would speak to me.
As I write this portion, I feel like I will cry again at any moment.
But here we are.
Writing brings me peace. I just want the one that stays.
It’s been many months of fleeting emotions. On various trips, I forget my worries.
I detach but I have found that if you don’t spend time finding the peace that stays, you’ll never have for too long.
I used to have it in church, now two weeks in a row I watched the service from home and rolled my eyes.
I used to find it in friends but I feel like many have forgotten what it feels like to truly be there.

Brake light

Sometime last year, someone old me that one of my brake lights was out. I have some work that I need to do on my car, so basically I ignored fixing the light.
But I realized that I was always afraid to drive at night.
If a police car came up behind me, I would drive and hope I didn’t have to step on my brakes.
This happened for months, almost a full year.
Then one day while getting my oil changed, I asked the guy if he could help me change my lights. I already had the bulbs in the car the whole time.
A few minutes later it was done and I was driving off at peace.

It got me thinking about how many times, we are the architects of our own heartache.
Many times we just need to take a few minutes/hours/days to focus on fixing that one thing but we choose to put it off and it hurts.
That healing, that letting go of pain, that closing a chapter – we put it off for so long and it hurts us even more.
Don’t be like me, fix your light.

Clean on the inside, clean on the outside

A few weeks ago, my friend’s father celebrated his 70th birthday.
I was privileged to sing at the event.
When it came to giving speeches about him, everyone basically said similar things. The biggest one was that he was the same man inside the home as he was outside.
Like they literally meant, the version the world see is who he is to the core.
For me, it was humbling in many ways.
Most especially because I knew I had to aspire for that.

Are you the same when the lights are off or you’re in a different crew?
Will people say your core values never waver?
It really got me thinking and it’s something I want to strive for.

Know Thyself

Who are you? Like truly!
Forget all the stuff you do for people and outward things – when you are sitting in your car – alone and reflecting, who are you?

Personally, I am a beautiful and flawed soul.
I am kind, thoughtful, patient (to those I like and some people), generous (with time and resources), introspective, highly irritable, stubborn, sometimes stoic and so.
I know myself – to a certain degree.

The challenge here remains, that sometimes we put ourselves in situations that force us to question who we really are.
Nothing should be making you doubt your true self and if you are in spaces that do that, you need to leave.

For me, the times that I have felt like I didn’t know myself were the times when I went searching for acceptance over being true to myself. Most of the times I have clashed with people, a part of it is rooted in the fact that I know myself and regardless of their opinions, I wouldn’t budge on my core self.

I heard a short sermon at a worship session today (more on that later) and the word simply said

“God has already loved you the way you are. He has chosen and accepted you. We just spend our whole lives trying to come to that realization even though it was settled long ago”.
It struck me. The sadness I feel right now is rooted in the fact that I wanted to be accepted by certain people but upon true evaluation, they added nothing to my life. So why continue to feel less than for people or spaces that don’t leave me with more?

Again, know thyself. Know what makes you tick. What your flaws and strengths are. Your vices.
Your limits and boundaries.
And then hold them.
Evolve but don’t “change” – stay true to you because in your life, you are your only constant.

Thanks for reading!
Leave me a comment below with your thoughts.

#WhatTheHeckMan · #WordsofWednesday · African Stories · Bloggers · Drama

Am I the drama?

In this life have sense, money, and shame.

Words of Wednesday

Some friendships are only for a season,
Sometimes they come in during your harvest
Others during your drought
Some are the shoulder to lean on
Some need your shoulder
A few are like mortgage contracts
Thirty-year fixed
Others are shorter than a Netflix show
When some end
It’s like an Iroko falls in the forest
While others end with a soft block and unblock
Then you change your Netflix password
And forget they ever existed

The fear of loneliness is what makes it hard for some of us to audit our friendships because the truth is after some of those reviews, you’ll realize you were already alone.
That you had grown apart while standing next to each other.
Amazing to see that the pandemic of the last two years has brought many closer and some others completely dropped out of the picture.
When was the last time you audited your friendships? Auditing also means reviewing your own performance and input in that space – are you worthy to still be called their friend?

Over the last few days, I have been thinking about the concept of “shelf life” and the spaces we occupy. Think of it like this – remember that vase your mom or dad had on the shelf. All your childhood, it was just there, in some African or Latino homes, it may even have been the place they hid emergency monies or keys.
Notice how it was there for years and despite not moving much, it always served a purpose?
Those are your riders, they may change color, grow old but they are there and impactful.
Others are like the flowers in the vase – pretty for a while but ultimately, they “die and fade” and you hardly remember them beyond the short excitement they provided in the time they were there.

Auditing my friendships over the last few weeks, the following random thoughts jumped out to me

Don’t Stagnate,

Stagnation is scary. Not really the stagnation of you life but truly looking at the core of a man or woman.
Money doesn’t buy swag.
Houses and cars don’t hide insecurities.
And truth be told, sometimes the wealth you acquire to cover the manhole of inadequacies, only makes those flaws more glaring and sad when they rear their heads.
I realized quickly that I am very afraid of seeing my friends stagnant, emotionally to be precise.
How are you still having the same types of fights or outbursts as you did when you were 21? Where is your evolution?
Do not be stagnant. You may have more money in the bank, and more rings on your hands but has the child in you grown? Found peace?
Start within.

Am I the drama?

If you are the one constant when drama arises in a group, maybe, just maybe you should stay closer to your therapist and be more diligent in your self-improvement work. The tweet above sums it up.
At some point for your friendships and relationships to blossom, you need to find a way to self-reflect and introspect. Are you the drama?
Are you the one people need to tiptoe around?
Have you gotten those mood swings in check? Do you drift in and out of being present?
Are you still unable to see the group but only yourself?
Hmmm.

When did we become our parents?

I noticed a few months ago that I was the person that would be wronged by someone and not really feel the need to defend myself. Happened a lot.
People would say or do things that were false and I would always rely on “God knows best and my truth is mine”
I recently realized where that came from. A few years ago, there was someone in my church that was going around telling lies about my dad – the Pastor.
It was causing so much pain to me because all I wanted to do was defend him but he always told me to let it go.
For months, it raged on till the person left the church and went to another church. Still smearing his name.

A few months later, I came back home late in the evening, it must have been around 11pm. When I pulled up, there were cars I recognized around the house.
Walking in, I noticed a group of people in the second living room. They did not see me, nor did I want them to but I did peek in.
Guess what I saw?
That same woman and her husband were on their knees begging my dad.
She apologized for lying against him and such.
And my dad in typical fashion, he forgave. My mother was furious!
But my dad has always been big on forgiveness. And so am I, the only difference is that I am not one to forget, you will not do it to me twice.
IT just got me thinking, when did I become my dad?
I am super particular like him, I dress serious like him, and I emotionally approach things and conflict like him. Damn, I truly am that man’s son.
Sorry, Maury.

Are you like your parents or guardians in any way? And when did you realize that you had become like them?
Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Fiction

Convenient Christian 4

It’s been a minute
Since we spoke
I love how you always call
Voicemail
Redial
No fail
I love knowing you are there
All around me
But not around me
I may not call
Till my next interview
Not even before the recruiter screen
Let’s talk after the final stage
So you can work your consistent magic
Get me the best package
Fully remote
With unlimited PTO
So I can now tweet that I’m a tech bae
Tithe into your household
No way

Nobody can check me
Ignoring calls for offerings into your storehouse
Because it comes through a messenger I don’t rate
But so do my bills
Xfinity, T-mobile, and Student Loans are never late
And as you directed I do to Caesar
I give
Building fund
Who go belief
Every day between Bakare and Oyedepo
I lose
Faith in the doctrine
Their behavior is like a slap in the face
Religion no longer makes me feel like a Winner
I stand in the Chapel annoyed
But not like Jesus
Me
More rage
At a younger age
Oh Lord, why did I ever come of age?

The women bully the young girls
Forget your curves that dress must hide them
You don’t want to tempt the boys
Those ones do no wrong
They flaunt freely like gun slinging soldiers
Unhappy church women forcing marriage down the throats of young people
We know their husbands cheat
Their RN wives will never admit defeat
On the offense
Jesus is a mighty God
Another testimony
It’s my 10th anniversary with my husband this month
But it’s his 60th rent payment for mistress this month
Direct deposit
All the church does is gossip
Settle down, settle
Join the train of unhappy souls
In the place where we save lost souls

So here I sit
Disillusioned
Disconnected
Despite knowing my relationship should be with you
Not the establishment
But I need the establishment
Because within you, I am not established
Yet
Why does the church that made me love you in Bible Tales
Now make me draw my sword to protect myself from it’s absurd tales

I stay in the place of worship
Not because I hear thy voice
But because that choir hits the notes and every chord
They have the best YouTube reputation
Far and above
Nothing beats sprinkling a little legwork into my praise and worship
It’s for the kids they say
It helps us stay hip
But further lost I feel
The church no longer feels like home
When I close my eyes to pray
All I see is her on her knees
No pray
Taking deep breaths
It ain’t about faith
That wasn’t her name
This is about me and you
Honest and true
I love you
I do
But do I know you

Every day I find more ways your “word” divides people
Or those you called discriminate against your blessed people
I’m torn
I was sure that growing up
Would mean more of you
But the more they “tell me of you”
I see less of you in them
And then less of me
Because who I was before was rooted in you
Now he feels like a distant past
Long in the rearview
So here is me pouring my heart out
I hope you hear me
I’ll try to pick up when you call
Or call you back at my earliest convenience
Or when next I need you
I hope that’s still cool

I told my mom last week that I felt “tired” of my church.
Something changed – the love went out the door
It was sudden, abrupt and then just gone. I used to be the person that couldn’t wait for Sunday. Praise and worship lifted me up, even when I wasn’t singing.
I just loved being there.
It usually meant my whole day but I loved giving my time.
I am not sure what happened and I think it may just be my church because I don’t feel this when I go to others but I lost the spark.

Not just for going to church but for speaking to God – period.
It felt hard because I know I need him and he has done soooo much for me(please tell me you sang Tim Godfrey’s Nara here”
I struggle to hear him in my private bible readings but I noticed that I would always hear him in song.
In private moments of worship and praise – he would speak and I would hear.
So I know all hope is not lost, maybe I need to change my church or something in my life but I wanted to share this post with you.
It’s vulnerable, it’s not cute, it’s not Big Daddy Adewus but it is one of the layers that defines me.
I believe my faith and my upbringing in Christ has influenced a lot of the man I am.

Last week, I was trying to record a video for my IG after my workout and this song came on Oba to nja Funmi by Gbenga Akinfenwa.
I have heard it before and many times but that day, the words struck.
Despite my faithlessness and unfaithfulness, God keeps fighting for me. And he has never left me to wishes of those that do not have my best intentions at heart.
I felt vulnerable and embarrassed and I almost decided the video would never see the light of day but I see all of you that interact with the “realer” side of me. 
I know there are people the song may speak to or this caption may speak to.
So here it goes.

I hope you are happy, at peace and loved within yourself.
If any of those elements is missing and even if it is not, here is my heart to you and a hug from me to you.
I pray God keeps fighting for you and I.
Please check out my blog for my Convenient Christian series and enjoy Part 4.
It is as real as it gets.
Till next time.

Stay up!

#WhatTheHeckMan · #WordsofWednesday

Letters from Lekki ✨

Phase 1

Written on January 2nd, 2022

It’s been a tradition for many years that on my visits to Lagos, I get incredibly inspired to create new content. Whether that is writing or pictures or even business ideas, something always pops up.
The struggle always comes around taking the time to actually write or share the content created – something I hope to improve on in 2022.

But last night, I slept early. In my hotel room alone, after missing dinner plans, I ordered in some Afang (not a fan) and Eba. Because I need to watch something while I eat, I watched Zootopia.
Don’t question me! I love my kid/animation movies.
Shortly after, I knocked out and I woke up about an hour ago. 6:56am.
I have plans today that I am very excited for but for now, I wanted to put down a few thoughts swirling in my head.
2022 is young but it already promises so much, so here are a few thoughts.

Execute, Now.

If you are like me, there are certain things that have been on your resolutions list for a few years.
You keep watching it and moving it from year to year like a depreciating asset on your balance sheet.
Look, life is hard. Mr Eazi lied.
But one thing I have always lived by is that regret is much worse than failure.
Think about the things you regret, not saying “I love you” to someone or seeing your favorite actor and not asking for a picture.
Those linger longer and cut deeper than the time you burnt a recipe you tried for the first time or when you got a low mark on a test.
The key here is that you tried. Me, in certain areas of my life, I am never afraid to try but in others, I hesitate.

I ask us this year to just do it. Execute on it. You really won’t “fail” because you’ll be learning from each instance. Do it now, so you can look back months from now and see progress and learnings. Not regret for never starting.

Stop Breaking Your Own Heart

Stop waiting on that apology. Stop expecting that person to treat you better.
Stop overstating your importance in the lives of those around you.

Most of my heartbreak in recent times has been from over-extending my heart into areas where it had previously been scarred. For a long time, there was a person that I wanted our relationship to work so badly.
The biggest stumbling block, they are the friend that never apologizes first or sees they’re wrong unless they’re completely backed against the wall. Believe it or not, there were nights I would cry because I just wished they would do better.
The final nail in the coffin, they tried to gaslight me. This person said to me that they believed how I responded to them upset them and they couldn’t explain it. Plus they assumed some of my tweets were directed at them.
On said day, I was working and very busy. So obviously replying the message was not a priority.
Don’t get me wrong – I was fully aware that them not getting a prompt reply was a trigger for them but what happens when I am not even looking at my phone or focusing on that at all?
Or when MY own world is busy.
Anyways, the friendship fizzled out and I have no intentions of being the one to rekindle it because I am tired of breaking my own heart. IF all the time passes and they are not self-aware or reflective enough to realize where they messed up and own the situation, why should I keep hurting myself?

This year – say no to things or situations that keep traumatizing you and stop breaking your own heart.

You do not have a monopoly on someone else’s happiness

Less Ego, More Love – nothing related to Wizkid or Burna or Davido or Shatta “He needs a psych eval” Wale.
Oftentimes, we believe that because of what we experience with certain people, their future happiness should be tied to how they made us feel.
Sorry but that can’t work. Never.
A previous ting of mine got engaged recently and it was beautiful to see. Truth be told, I knew it would happen someday – aside from our relationship she was a good person.
But a part of me always felt slighted that she wasn’t this great version of herself while with me. Self-reflection will tell you that I probably had a part to play in that but I still felt a way.

In 2022 and beyond – please remember, you do not own people or have any influence on their short or long-term happiness. Focus on making you the greatest version of yourself and leave the rest for the universe to sort out.

Forgive yourself

If you are like me, you have been through quite a bit. It’s normal. We’ve seen things and felt things.
Been hurt, hurt people and seen ourselves evolve.
One thing about people is that we wear our trauma like tattoos gotten in dark alleys and reminders on our hearts like passport stamps but we fail to sit in our happy moments as if the showers of joy come with hailstones.

Much of the trauma and hurt you have faced have you cautious, closed-off, defensive, reclusive, overextending, overcompensating, unable to accept compliments or love, and so on. It’s normal and perfectly okay but this year, look into the mirror like Issa and forgive yourself.
For the parts, you played and for the things you did or said, then forgive yourself and move on.

You deserve light and fluffy love like perfect pancakes. You deserve smiles that light up the room.
You deserve the best YOU.

So go after that person in 2022 and truly be the best of you.
The world will be better for it.

#WhatTheHeckMan · #WordsofWednesday

Step Away!

Taken on April 4th, 2022

Lessons I’m learning on my weight loss journey

It’s barely 4pm and I just had my first meal of the day. Well if you count my smoothie, then I guess second. But my smoothie was three scoops of protein powder and half a cup of Almond milk.
I’m deep in the trenches.

It’s been 3weeks since I started my Green and Grown diet (basically eating only veggies and things growing out of the ground with chicken and turkey for protein).
It has been an interesting road so far.
And I figured I would share some updates on how things are going. So here are some of the lessons I have learned in my 21days of changing my diet and my life

Lesson 1:
Ignore the scale and the mirror for a while

You know how you, yes YOU will go to the gym once and the next morning you’re looking for the abs or the fatter ass?
Yeahhhh same concept.
I struggle a lot with this because on most days, I would wake up and check myself in the mirror. Mostly because I would always observe my body and make sure everything was still in place and still working.
You know 30+ vibes

But there have been many days where I look at myself and because I don’t see the full sculpted version I have been working on, I briefly get discouraged.
Thankfully I ultimately push through but I can’t help but notice that I struggle with it.
This past weekend, I was at a birthday dinner for one of my really good friends and someone hugged me – touching my torso, they said “oh wow, your work is really showing. I be seeing you go off on IG but you’re killing it”
The next day, I had another event and people again complimented my progress, despite the fact that I was wearing a sweater that hid most of my body.

There is progress – someone asked me recently after complimenting “how much weight have you lost?”
I honestly don’t know and I don’t want to know.
I have found that the scale has been one of the places where my joy had been stolen. So no I do not want to know.
I would rather continue working on myself till I see visible changes that I want like I sleep better, not be short of breath when I run upstairs or I can go longer – hehehe if you know what I mean.
So my lesson for you as well in this time, ignore the scale and the mirror – keep pushing and one day you will look up and love the way you look. I guarantee it – props to you if you got that Men’s Wearhouse reference!

Blurry but Happy!

Lesson 2:
Love on yourself more than you want others to

Positive talk – remind yourself that you are a work in progress and frankly you are doing the work.
For me, I decided that this year and this stretch would be when I change my body for the rest of my life and that means a lot to me. For who I Want to be – for my wife, my kids, my future.

I am trying to be kind to myself in any way possible because like I said, I am doing the work. I realized that my discipline is the biggest gain I can ever get – when it’s all said and done, it won’t be how many pounds lost, it will be how much I’ve proven to myself that I would never give up.
And that is love.
Never giving up on someone or something.

So spend time telling yourself you are awesome and you are great. Remind yourself that you will achieve all that you want to achieve.

Lesson 3:
Celebrate the small wins

Last week on one of those days that didn’t feel so great at the gym, I felt annoyed. I was starting to lose faith in the work I was putting in.
But from somewhere I got the nugget (oh how I miss those!) to focus on the small wins.
That for me looks like in the last 9 days I have typically eaten dinner before 6pm.
Some days are even closer to 4pm.

Yes.
I would eat a decent-sized meal (really small – sample picture below) and just drink water later at night when I get hungry.
There was a day last week when I REALLY wanted to drink Garri with Peppered Turkey but it was 10pm.
I almost gave in but I forced myself to say no. I drank some water, and some green tea and I went to bed.
The next morning, I had a smoothie for brunch and forgot about the night before.

I am cherishing my small wins. The compliments I have been getting from people about looking smaller and my face shrinking. Someone even told me my head was getting smaller. I NEVER knew that was possible.

I urge you to celebrate your small wins AND the big ones too.
What are you currently working on that you can point to as some small wins? Please share them in the comments.

I hope you have a fantastic rest of the week and as always, please share and comment.

Thank you!

Written 4/5/2022 after eating the last batch of beans and chicken for dinner before a call with the Nifty Nine.

#WordsofWednesday · Fiction

You’re Hearing Voices Again

#WordsOfWednesday

Thankfully, I have voices like yours that have cheered me into greatness. 🌹

I was standing in front of the ATM, I inserted the checks and it spat two back out.
I grumbled a bit and then I reentered them – this time around, they worked.
With a sly smile on my face, I emailed the receipt to myself and I headed out of the business/bank center.
It was one of those that doesn’t have any people – just the machines and virtual portals. I headed back to my car and before I started the car, I began to hear voices.

I know what you are thinking. What is wrong with this guy?
But it was the echoes of the songs I was playing before I went into the building. It was me singing “Ololade mi Asake” over and over in my head.
I turned on the car and the song had finished, it was now a new song but I could still hear those voices too.
We all hear those voices.

I remember one day when I was much younger, I ran upstairs to my mom and I was like “you called me?”
She frowned and said “no”
Then she added “don’t answer if you don’t see who is calling”
All my Africans or Black people in general reading this all rolled their eyes because here is a Nigerian mother telling you to be sure you see her before answering. WHERE THEY DO THAT AT????
Nope!
Mothers be wanting you to even answer while they thinking of calling you!

The whole reason I was depositing those checks is that I stopped listening to voices. The checks were some gifts given to me by members of a church I went to sing at recently.
Standing there – instead of appreciating some of the gifts that come from my gift, all I could think of was the voices that said I wasn’t good enough.
I have one friend in particular that would tell me not to sing whenever I would sing around them. So are the hundreds of people around the country that I sing, can’t they hear?
Do they not know good music?
That’s incredibly hard to believe.
The last time I sang, 4 separate people came up to me to tell me how much they loved my singing and how I carried myself.
Yet, before each time, I would hear my friend’s voice saying “no”

Truth is, we are all victims of it.
We drown out the voices of praise and amplify that of our doubters.
It is important to listen to the voices, especially the praise – you need the fuel. I am not saying doubters are always wrong, otherwise, too many people would be Soundcloud rappers. Sometimes those voices are the voice of reason and they force us to strive for better – for greatness.
So they are important in the room.
But they should not be so loud that it makes you want to stay out of the room.

There are also times that you are those voices you hear. You push yourself too hard.
You negative talk yourself. You put yourself down.
Stop it!
You are deserving of greatness, belief and the confidence of someone bound to do great things.
I am not a fan of those fake self-talk pages on IG (especially since IG is a hub for tons of negativity) but find your own source.
Pour the positive into your soul. Every chance you get.
Fill your room with enough loud voices – so the next time you are in front of a room ready to present or a church ready to sing or alone at the ATM, the only voices you hear would be of those cheering you on.

Till next time,

Stay Up!

Please COMMENT your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!