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Tag Archives: A girls’ life

Accepting the “Shift in our Atmosphere”

camp-5When something exciting and unexpected jumps at us during one of those cloudy days of our lives, how do we manage the emotion?

Have you ever questioned or struggled with certain circumstances that sometimes come to you suddenly as a pleasant surprise, a shocking revelation or a hurdle of nerve-racking challenges or indecision? A test or a leap of faith?

So, the moment my father’s powder blue Volkswagen Beetle drove off the visitor’s parking lot of Rima house (my hostel), I knew one thing was certain that day! I-was-doomed!

1-     Maybe Mr. & Mrs. Gansallo were not my real parents after all (I was probably adopted or kidnapped as a baby)  or

2-     Maybe my mother, being the tough Up Bendel’ woman she claimed she was, was just at her best to frustrate me and drive me to my early grave! While my father, all dressed up in his favorite Cuban shirt was too terrified of showing his emotion in public, and of course, didn’t want his wife to nag him all the way back to Lagos, reminding him of how much He had spoiled me rotten!  Phew!camp-4

I was just 11 years old, and my parents had just dropped me off in the deepest forest, concentration-camp-like boarding school, about 400 kilometers away from home!

Who does that? How did I get here? Why do I have to travel far away for secondary schooling? All the way…to FGGC, Sagamu! Ogun state. Whatever happened to schools down the road from my house?

OMG! They really hated me! I thought to myself as I cried myself to sleep that night on my upper bunk bed, Ohhh, so even my pet name “Atupa Parlor” (the glowing lantern in a room) didn’t mean anything to them again. I-have-been-robbed-emotionally!! 😦

In my solitude and grief, I found comfort in the company of about 50% of my old classmates from primary school who were also dropped off by their parents, who had also driven back to Lagos, smiling happily and about to enjoy all the luxuries we were missing here at the boarding school.

It took me days to adjust to the tons of rules passed down by Madame Chaudhry, my bulbous Indian house mistress, the early morning bells, the sluggish and sleepy-eyed tweens and teenagers in fancy oversized nighties or awkward red-checked house wear, the long walk to the massive dining hall where breakfast is usually consumed as fast as it takes to say the grace, the mandatory early morning assembly gathering as our beautiful flawless light-skinned British-accent VP (Mrs. Odusote) begins her ‘oh-not-again speech!

‘Girls! Girls!’ ‘Wake up to your future” or “Oh dear! Bad Girls,  My heart bleeds for you…blah bla bla!camp-6

That’s the moment I always remember my parents actually did something great for my future. Yeah, dropping me off in the middle of nowhere to emerge a doer amidst the craziness behind those tall walls overnight. Such transformation! From that fragile, tiny over-pampered girl into a grab-the-horn and move-it woman! – all by the grace of God.

Today, here I am eagerly packing and sending my 10-year-old son off to his school’s 5th grade science club camp, deep into the woods and pure lakes of Michigan. Aha!

Here I am feeling my heartbeat double and triple as I merge into the season of change that’s launching God’s plan for my desire, reflecting on my own younger days away from home, diving into the grace to start well and end well, leaving the past behind and summoning on courage to continue the journey, of my main purpose of leaving home!’ but even this kido isn’t moved or sober or afraid of change. He’s elated! Oh Vinny! 😦

And am here freaking out and remembering the day I had to push all of him, 9lb+  out of me that early morning in April at Pennsylvania Hospital!

“Mom, wake up to your future! I will be just fine!camp-1

That was all I needed to hear to bounce back to reality. My VP’s piercing words of advice “Wake up to your future” That was my lesson and the booster I needed afterwards that made me travel another 1,000 kilometers away from home to attend college and even further and further as destiny calls…

If you are reading this and feel a kind of disconnection to your dreams or passion or niche for life, honestly ask yourself…‘Am I waking up to my future? or ‘living it in my dreams?’

You see, because you know you want something! You deserve that GOAL! You crave that PATH! ’It breathes and oozes your name in every aspect, it speaks your language and has your DNA of perfectionist spread all over it! But you aren’t really prepared for the pomp and pageantry that could come with it. That was my own personal excuse for years..

camp-7The crowd cheers you on, you’re like a super star in your little corner, a small fry in a broken pan…a small fish in a big lake, the bill board has your image space vacant, its waiting for you.. ‘but what’s holding you back? Are you also afraid of taking that bold step into your assigned destiny? Are you afraid of Change? The journey? Transition issues?

The carving process called change knocks us into a deep slumber of uncertainties…maybe, well maybe it isn’t time yet! Or maybe I will wait and wait…till the baby boomers launch your ideas in their retirement plan!

How do you manage change or adjustment or transition? Do you look at it as an avenue to finally launch your life’s purpose or could it be that you are God’s brewing subject in the making all the while? So happens that, NOW is just the right time and right place! You just never saw it coming. Did ya?

Or, have you ever gone through a period of discouragement or disappointment? because you tried once and it failed? Perhaps you’re in one right now. Believe me, I’ve been right there with you. Trust me, I’ve hidden in the cave with Elijah, under the gourd plant with Jonah, and finally sneaked into the desert with Moses. #FearOfMovingForward

Our fear and discouragement of accepting a change comes when there is a gap between what we always expect and what we eventually experience, like when there is a gap between what we hoped would happen and what actually does happen. #GreatExpectations

Believe me, our blessings is hanging in the atmosphere. It’s the move or shift we ignore everyday.

garlicAre we aware that there are people God places in our path for an eternal purpose? The beauty salon or barber shop stylist you patronize needs to see God’s love in your smile.

That unplanned stop where you run into an old friend who needs encouragement is really an opportunity sent by God.

You get a text or email from an unwanted friend and ignore the burden of a lonely soul, Does she/he need to know that you care … so she can know God cares?

Where are we looking? Behind us? At things of the past that make us cringe in fear for the future we don’t know, are we still reveling in the glory of a past long gone? Let’s look for God in our circumstances … in the people we meet … in the unwelcome intrusion of a neighbor … in the infuriating behavior of a co-worker or the exasperating antics of a teenager.

camp-9‘Moving forward, onward or along is an acceptable shift for our atmosphere.

Rooted to the same circle of confusion is a deadly disease we take for granted, because it’s a safe prescription and a very cheap one to manage. ‘We are what we MOVE.’ – Yinka.

If you are meeting resistance in your hopes and dreams, then you’re most likely on the right track. Because the devil wouldn’t mess with you if you weren’t a menace to his plans and a valuable asset to God. #Goals

Today, I am hoping someone will wake up to their future plans by turning their dreams into reality. By turning uncertainty into sureness. Take the risk and make it happen, surprise your dreams by dragging it into the future.

I am hoping that someone will eventually let go of debilitating discouragement, procrastination, fear of change or just plain old-fashioned waiting on someone for a move first, and take hold of their next shift! Change is the only constant.

I know I just did by moving forward into my next assignment in life, and still in AWE of God’s goodness.

In my conversation with God and my daily journal, I’ve had to pinch myself back to reality saying “No human could have done this for me, But God did!  All because of His mercy and compassion, overlooking my craziness, errs and mishaps, He picked me out to be moved and used for his glory! and is still moving me forward”. #Praises

**Thanks again to everyone who made my transition easy! Wow! ‘am still beaming with love and affection for the book I received during the ‘love-filled see-you soon send off dinner’ ‘I appreciate it.

“It would be all so easy if you had a map to the Maze.

If the same old routines worked.

If they’d just stop moving “The Cheese.”

But things keep changing.

-Spencer Johnson, M.D.  “Who Moved My Cheese?

Yours in HOPE as I share Jason Nelson’s ‘Shifting The Atmosphere”

Yinka.

 

 

 

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Living in a Tabloid-Infested World (Marriages and Relationships)

new 5Until you have experienced monsters, mayhem and mind-blowing-murdering-brawl in your marriage, every talk about “happily-ever-after” is just a joke!

But things could get better or worse, Right?

Even if you are celebrating recovery from overcoming hurts, hang-ups and habits from a sour relationship’ every life coach or love expert might as well go-jump-into-the-lagoon-with their “pocket-sized-advice” #Talk-To-The-Hands! (eyes rolling in utter disgust!)

Or when you hear of another marital discord or relationship break up in the news or through your favorite social media news feed, do you panic in forbidden excitement of what could have happened?

Do you crave for more juicy and gory details of how it finally collapsed? ‘Especially when there’ve been so much signs and tales of the doom day in the making?

love me 1Do you get jaw-dropped-drooling when you see those fantastically orchestrated display of fake and formed affection between lovers on social media and get frustrated at their outward display of fronting or intimidated that your own lover isn’t calling you boo or bae or one of those petty silly names and not a show-off superlative lover or romantic like theirs? #InstagramShowOff   #FacebookFakePerception

Aww!! Don’t get mad. Be glad you’re not part of that staged game!

Could someone please remind me that courtship is the fantasy land we lavish on soulfully, blindly and recklessly while marriage is the real thing-lifetime do or die institution? Everyone is admitted based on their initial feelings, initial agenda or initial determination, not fully aware of the consequences and sacrifices to be made. You either pass, fail, repeat or retreat! The choice is yours! Let’s keep it real, marriage is a tough institution! Period!

Seems like we forget in a hurry that every real marriage or relationship has its own appointed season of doomed-roller-coaster turbulence and sometimes requires plenty of space and measurable pace to heal and grow? Even the best marriage counselor text-book coping strategy just won’t cut it? ‘Am talking about the “Oh, no you didn’t”, “That’s It, I can’t take this anymore! Am out of it” moments.  Phew!

love 2mEvery married-couple I know play their amateur scripted part at one point or the other during their life time together. No denial or finger-pointing here. Most of the time either to prove a point to the world…like “Trust me, I got this covered! “Hey, look at us, we are still happily in love or just managing whatever is left! Any witness? Lol!

Okay…Nice… I think we all like that we can wear a mask every now and then to fool the world! But for how long can we pretend and hide behind the facade? Living in oblivion, but behind closed doors facing the reality? Pretending that everything in our marriage is purrfect!! When, it isn’t? Allowing social media to help boost our hidden insecurities and keeping up appearances? Who are we trying to fool? #shoo!

You see; a typical sophisticated glamorous churchgoer looks on with disdain as the winsome “I-love-Jesus” bracelet worshipper next to her raises her hands and sings with reckless abandonment. But secretly, in her heart of hearts, I wonder if she longs for that same marital/relationship freedom? What if she muses before commonsense pushes the wonderings aside? Especially when she’s been played on emotionally or physically? And what’s the church doing about her state of mind? Knowingly and unknowingly?

One of the lessons I learned from my parents, who by the way are still married andlove me 2 together 53 years and counting after several decades of hilarious family drama was T-O-L-E-R-A-N-C-E!

I’ve had to ask my mother..

How do you do it, this woman? ‘Why are you still married, eh? Aha, me I can’t take such nonsense oh! (I would boast in my immature voice of a young adventurer with a deep sigh of disgust!)

“Ah, it gets better” (my mom would respond with a smile, one that reveals a survivor’s un-told story like one of Terry McMillian’s characters).

What Exactly? I would ask with a cynical look. The pattern of sex? Adaptation or Tolerance? Fatal attraction or physical distraction? Which one precisely? Or its okay to be bombarded by fly-by knights? Dis-tasteful attackers?

new 2Of all the hardest lessons I learned in my own marriage was struggling with accepting the fact that…’I can’t fully change my husband! whatever the illusions I’ve created of “the perfect man” was just a fantasy. #AintNoKnightInShinningArmour

I had to learn that only God can touch his heart and change him, in His time, for His purpose, only. No matter how much we get to wish for a little bit of this or a little bit of that in that partner…we still have what we have, the issue at hand is..’. Learning to let it work out for our good while we strive to be all we can for ourselves…living life with a purpose to fulfil destiny by being valuable to self, as the transformation emerges. And leaving the rest to God.  #DiscoverPassionInSelfWorth

No feminist value here, just common sense survival kit from my 23 years of knowing Kevin, my husband. We’d learned to invest in ourselves-together, pursuing our passion together and not consumed by all the faults and flaws from our past, learning to detach from the triggers of the demons along the way…

new 3So, here I am this month celebrating my 19th-year wedding anniversary and content with my life. Oh-My-Word!! It hasn’t been a smooth sailing 19 years of our married-lives together, but an eye-opening, challenging and educative 23 years of unconditional friendship! And we are still learning and growing and dealing with the hurdles together which makes us appreciate our differences.

Years of waiting for conception and several miscarriages and frequent hospital admission and cries of babies and diagnosis and surgery and build up tension and family impact and losses and gains! has made me more appreciative of all the things our past has taught us! Good or bad…at the end of the drama that comes, we are still together!

Today, if you are reading this and either Married, Single, Divorced, Separated or just confused about being alone or with someone, especially with how cruel and intimidating social media has portrayed perfect-picture-marriages that wake up in glamour and go to bed in dirt and depression, flashing make-belief images of their lives together, only for the tabloid to pick up their bitter crumbs….The world is watching!

Let’s ask ourselves, is there a smile on our face that stirs others to want to join in and experience those moments of sudden glory or grief? Is there a scowl on our brows that make others turn away because the “mandated religious life” of keeping up appearance is too hard? Too boring? Too restricted? Do our hidden scars of inadequacy, insecurity and overbearing feelings in our marriages still keep us rooted behind that door? Are you a “prized trophy” in your relationship or is your marriage a staged one?new 1

Today, it’s not about counting wrong doings, hurts, dwelling on missed opportunities of what could have, should have or would have been or even how many times extra marital-cum-extra-curriculum-activities have played their parts in our lives, and how we’ve allowed it.

For me, it’s more of the lessons I am able to take away from it, understanding why and how ‘Big Hurts Have Opened the Door to freedom…

Doors which a lot of married people today are so afraid of going through, so afraid of approaching it. Either to save face, fulfil family/personal obligation, they hang inside, suffer inside, survive inside, pretend inside, and develop multiple personalities, all because of deprivation of self-worth behind that door.

But for how long?

I am hoping someone reading this will dig deep into their main purpose of the union and discover each other, for each other without limits!  I am still here because I believe I am God’s work in progress. What about you? #Goals   #DealWithIt

Issues of Undeveloped Emotions, Unresolved Conflict and Unmet Needs will need to be dealt with and forgotten before bruised hearts and damaged egos become cold hearts, and after a while with no help, turns into hardened hearts that wander in lonesome misery and commitment trap, the new title for the 20th century marriage and a sex crazed culture we live in. Discover what lights up your Fire, either in your marriage or relationship or discover your self worth and light it up! #JustBelieve  #NotImpossible!

PS: I’m wishing a Happy 5th Wedding Anniversary today, to the most amazing and genuine couple ever! (You know who you are, Love you much Y & M!). 

Yours in HOPE as I share Pink’s “Just Like Fire”.

Yinka.

 

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Approaching the Elephant in our room.

DSC_0919Here I am trying to breastfeed my 2 month-old-baby, MY GOODNESS!! She’s making such a fuss! It seems like she’s having difficulty latching on or even not sure how to work my nipples! I smiled and said to myself, “Oh, it’s my third baby, so I should be a pro at this” (inward consolation thing). Phew!

I’m admiring this beautiful full curly black-haired baby, her tiny cheek so soft and round like one drenched with precious memories of the sweetness of a baker’s delight; A sugar-covered-jelly donut! Her little black eyes twitched as the bright morning reflection of sunray brushes over her face.

Ah! My post-cancer baby! So squishy and velvety, radiating the most enchanting features of love and beauty.

But there was a problem.

I wasn’t getting enough direct eye contact from her.

Is it that those around me didn’t recognize it or had decided to ignore it? Am I the only one seeing the mighty footprints? Or was I getting paranoid for no darn reason! After all, that’s what I do 5 days a week for other families.

My heart skipped a beat! And when it finally found its way back to my body, it broke into a million pieces when she wouldn’t trace my finger across her face! I quickly went shopping in my brain and bargained for all the best nursery rhymes I could find. Fetched all the Early Intervention child developmental milestones books I could read! As a therapist for child-development myself, it was harder for me to accept the intruding delay that could be, but so much easier for me to bring in all the best child developmental services in Delaware county into my room.ele 1

Even though it was my own child needing early childhood intervention, my commitment was stronger than that of Lady Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. #GOT

So, Elephant in the room is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth of chaos that is going unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to talk about, discuss or address.ele 3

In the real world where you and I live, it is regarded as our state of mind! It is that nicely swept problem that forcefully resides with us; based on dis-approval, denial and dis-illusion.

But, in the make-believe world we feign, it is an abode for that hush-hush marital insecurity issue, it is that heavy feeling of pain and anguish when one is being used and betrayed, it is that status-quo inadequacy, it is that child still wondering if the term ‘bastard’ is a middle name! It is that sexuality problem never discussed and still un-resolved/that beautiful young lady wondering if true love really still exists after a horrid heart break!

It is that delayed passage of breakthrough or diabolical hunger and quest to make it big and fast in life! It is that infertility no-go area discussion! The nights of free-flowing tears on the loss of a baby or pregnancy, those complicated medical results, un-resolved family drama, carried on from generation to generation! All those frightening controversial issues which is so obvious to everyone who knows about the situation, but which is deliberately ignored because to do otherwise would cause great embarrassment, or trigger arguments or is simply a taboo. What’s the fear? That we could be judged? that the issue ought to be discussed openly, or it can simply be an acknowledgment that the issue is there and not going to go away by itself!

Aren’t some of the things we go through today similar to an Elephant in a room that’s impossible to overlook? like seriously!! ‘Hello…’Am still here!ele 5

Issues that involve social taboo, discussion of race, religion, gender equality or even suicide. Should the people who might have spoken up decide that it is probably best avoided?

I don’t think so. How else would the elephant make an exit? Or am I wrong?

Could it be because our infirmity has now become our identity or because our crisis now defines who we are and forms the familiar guidelines of our life?

With the entrance of an elephant in their room, some people use their weaknesses to get the attention they crave or to keep from assuming any responsibility in their own lives, but not with a huge animal like an elephant starring you in the face day in day out!

What about our own situation that’s so glaring, yet we cover it up with nicely packaged-fragrance, expensive line of make-up with ambiguous price tags to suck in the scars or marks? Or that sensual erotic 6-pack image that attracts only what the eyes can see as the soul bleeds and begs to run far away from its misery!

Isn’t that a cover up for obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about?ele 4

Our helplessness can be our most powerful offering – Only if we are willing to be honest and transparent. Admitting the obvious. Sometimes it is a lot easier to just stay in the room and wait than to struggle toward the light without acceptance.

Can you see yourself in this room, with an invisible elephant? Have you been trapped or paralyzed by the pain of loss or rejection or the weight of an intruder in your personal space? Are you taking care of a child with special needs and feeling overwhelmed? Have friends betrayed you and left you lying by a pool of crushed hopes and dreams?

God sees your helplessness. He knows your heart and hears your desperate cry. Stand up today to that intruder in your room, and let God direct your path.

Yours in HOPE as I share ‘Am I Wrong’ by Nico & Vinz.

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

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Ready or Not, Here I come… ‘Should I drop the MIC?

ready 1

ready 7Have you ever approached a new birth year (birthday) with some kind of mixed feelings about some beautiful or bitter experiences you’ve carried through to-date?

Does your birthday celebrate your progress or make fun of your weakness? When you finally decide to mentally flip through the events of yester years, do you either marvel or sigh at the thought of certain happenings?

I-D-O-N-T-B-E-L-I-E-V-E-I-T! ‘Kind-of-feeling?

I know I do. Often, I wished I was still that innocent 10-year-old birthday girl adorned in my Peter Pan collar blue and white polka-dot sun dress dancing away to the rhythm of Evelyn King’s 1982 ‘Love Come Down! With not-a-single-care-about-tomorrow or even aware of whatever love was coming down! Until I was asked to take the MIC! ‘And then…

So, I just finished celebrating my 44th birthday (say “Whaaaaat!”)… Yeah ’All-of-me-is-organically 44 years and still growing! (Lol). ‘And am loving it! Fate has been feeding me with un-avoidable memories as a special delicacy, one forbidden to chew. Don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, or more of a déjà vu kind of feeling.

Could it be my medication or hormonal changes? or the so-so-busy schedule I have entwined my life in? whatever it is, I am so ready to take it on and move forward with new hopes. Even as am not so close by to my childhood home and missing all the bells and horns I would have received for another celebration, thank goodness for true and genuine friendship ever-present!

ready 2I am so thankful for silly little things like…singing off tune  with my 4-year-old daughter in the shower, wet toothbrushes serving as our pretend-mic!, OR discussing puberty tolerance with my sprouting oh so-grown tween! (Phew! Teenage dramatic years here-we-come!) OR trying to understand the sudden mother-son bond with my dimpled-face middle child-son! OR playing star war’s Dart Vader with my adorable Autistic students or just being silly and child-like!

Those moments. Priceless and Irreplaceable.

The days of… Am I ready for another treatment? Another blood work? Another scan? Another therapy? Another celebration? It was as if I always just needed a reason to celebrate life to remind myself that I was still living!  But really? Why not? Who wouldn’t? Why not celebrate life when we have it? When our tomorrow is not given.

Today, it doesn’t matter anymore if comedians invented the mic drop, they have arguably played a larger role in popularizing it than their hip-hop counterparts. Like when the character steals the microphone from the emcee, screams into it, holds it out, and drops it to the floor. Isn’t that how our life’s journey is? We pick us, start-up then drop it off…out of?…ready 3

Nowadays, the unknown stretches before us and all we can see are the mistakes we have made and the opportunities we have missed.

Fear has brought us to our knees and we are more desperate than we have ever been in our life.

If you made it to the next birthday each year, be more thankful. Are you ready or not for what’s next? Not really. Still wondering why the MIC should be dropped? Maybe we all need to refocus and adjust our perspective. Don’t you think so?

Life is never going to be perfect this side of town. Never! If you are waiting for every problem to be solved, every circumstance to be just right, every issue to be resolved, you are in for a long wait. Set aside your comfort. Forfeit your convenience and embrace change.

The movie 8 Mile (2002) brought an explosion in interest in rap battles and free-styling, but Rabbit never drops the mic: When he finishes his climactic freestyle and prepares to walk off the stage, he just passes the mic back to his opponent. Are you ready for that? I know I am. So help me God with my personal baton.

Yours in HOPE as I share The Fugee’s “Ready or not”.

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

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“What’s in this ‘TOTAL WOMAN CONFERENCE for me? I’m just a YOUNG ADULT! (If love is a game, would I still want to play? #TWC 2

What’s UP my YOUNG, SMART and DYNAMIC ladies? Have you been wondering why there’s so much HYPE about the upcoming Total Woman Conference? How do you manage the  blank space in your life? Do you know that there could be something tangible in this upcoming conference for you? I honestly believe so!taylor 2

taylor 3Oh Sure! It’s like, totally flashing the hashtag #goals on social media while at the same time, Mary J Blige’s “No More Drama” blasts on the radio. Did you smile to yourself and quickly tweet about it? Or you remember Taylor Swift’s lyrics and you chuckled to yourself, Like’ yeah right! – But still went ahead anyway, and tweet about it! ‘Sweet! I know I would…

Aha! That’s exactly what you should be expecting at the upcoming conference…’because that and some more relevant topics tailored to your “Circumstances“Drama” and “Situation” would be discussed and resolved at this conference. But with who?taylor 4

So, because everyone’s needs are different, everyone’s desire and perspective about life, love, and relationship transcends what they know…we all still need to be enlightened.

Here’s a great opportunity to sit down with Michelle Ayala-Rivera; International Motivational Speaker and Author, whose passion is inspiring young adults and at-risk youths to excel in life and achieve their full potential.

taylor 5Topics like: Addressing issues of peer pressure/influence, purity, singleness. Comparing and trying to live life up to the standards of what you” see on social media/trying to live like the Joneses (the “perfect” people we see online”), struggling with false aspiration lifestyle? How to discover you” and live life accordingly.

Need more information? Visit www.totalwomanconference.com  to be plugged into the movement that will Heal, Enlighten, Liberate and Position you for a better tomorrow!

Yours in HOPE,

Yinka.

***WATCH OUT for #TWC 3 – “When Senior Girls meet” OLDER ADULTs 55  (#Ripe, #Resourceful and #Ready).

 

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As we count down the days to the TOTAL WOMAN CONFERENCE: Here are snippets of topics to expect!

#TWC 1 – Let’s Get It On – Bedroom Talks!

 Hello Ladies!

Aha! It is exactly 12 days to the much anticipated women only retreat! “FRAGRANCE 216 – TOTAL WOMAN CONFERENCE”spring 3

Hooray!! Can you feel my excitement?? I’m catching the whiff of spring with its alluring effusion of an assortment of fragrances… (Hyacinths, Daffodils and Tulips – my favorite!) spring 1

I am even more awakened by the thoughts of the blessings and enlightenment that am expecting from the speakers… ’What about you?

Oh! Do you know there’s going to be real life sex talk? (Giggles) and “Girl Power talk by Renowned, motivational speaker Terri Matthews on “Common on Sister, Let’s Be Real!

Oh yeah! And other topics like…”Let’s talk about our sexual lives” “Why we are not getting it on? The frigidity, fear, pain, tiredness, loss of interest, Erectile Dysfunction, Premature Ejaculation. Yes! I said it all.Because this is for real!shutterstock_34411321

‘Like SERIOUSLY? “Is this a Christian retreat? Oh yes. It is. And it’s time for us to deal with real issues that affect our fulfilment or that make us vulnerable. Why do we shy away from discussing our intimate desires and pretend there’s no problem with our sex life? It affects a healthy relationship and turns intimacy into a war room of deprivation or lost ego when sexual needs are not met. It’s time to learn more about the solution.

Sign up now at:  www.totalwomanconference.com  to be plugged into the movement that will Heal, Enlighten, Liberate and Position you for a better tomorrow!

Yours in HOPE,

Yinka.

***WATCH OUT for #TWC 2 “What’s in this movement for me, I’m just a YOUNG ADULT! (Love’s Game, ‘Want to Play?)

 

 

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Are we comfortably numb in our denial? ‘Time to speak up on ABUSE!

Connecting with “The Total Woman Movement” – A Refuge of Comfort in Brokenness.

I once attended a sorority party about 2000 miles away from my college in 1992. Our Destination: University of Calabar! Excitement mode activated! Trust me, I had carefully packed away my popular orange halter-neck dress, with matching brown lace up mules, and my hairstyle? Aha! I’d travelled all the way to Onne villa (outside Port Harcourt) just to patronize the best hair braider in the whole of Rivers state! Phew! Such youthful exuberance! Silly painful vanity!abuse 7

Halfway through the journey, I began to feel feverish and tired! Oh no! It can’t be happening to me… I was aching all over, ah!  It must be M-a-l-a-r-i-a! Oh great! How can this be happening to me? I had so prepared for this day! This wasn’t in the plan!

My temperature was spiking, this fever has no respect for my opinion! In fact, ‘it has come to stay like a desperate housewife! My travelling team was terrified! “How can it be (I was getting helpless).

Anyway, without much ado, as if that fever was a red flag, the party was cancelled due to serious vigilante watch as opposing rival confraternities were in the midst of a serious war. We all spent the night off campus, in a rented hostel.abuse 3

Six other girls and I shared 2 adjacent rooms. It was a night I will never forget. Amongst being confined inside our rooms, noises of gunshots blasting throughout the night, as we became more frightened we looked to each other for support.

In the middle of nowhere, we became each other’s trusted companion, well, we had no choice but to wait and see what the morning brings forth.abuse 4

The fear and helplessness we felt that night brought back horrific memories of abusive pasts, stories of years of abusive upbringing, relationships and stolen childhood. Storylines that 7 beautiful, intelligent and oh-so-cool girls have never dared to talk about!

Tales that have been buried for years with those clicking fancy bangles, baggy Pepe jeans, colorful trendy t-shirts, shining pink lip gloss and fake make-believe smiles! oh boy! Did we vent!

“Ah, I was molested by my neighbor when I was 10!“I couldn’t tell anyone”

I was raped by my uncle when I was 12, I’d wanted to commit suicide”

“ I was never touched, but told constantly that I was ugly and a weakling”  

“ My mother’s boyfriend was very aggressive, he would beat me up and rape me, I couldn’t tell anyone, I was too frightened

I was betrayed by a senior in school, she raped me, I can’t trust anyone anymore”

 “I watched my father beat up my mother for years”He told us he loved us, but couldn’t stop hurting us” “His anger was uncontrollable”

I was raped inside my house” “I was ganged raped and molested at a party on campus” 

and on and on and on…we all talked into the early hours of the next day…sleep eluding our consciousness…and we were never the same after that day…forsaking the beauty that material things have managed to conceal, our hearts were on fire!abuse 6

Party forgotten and ignored, we had released everything no one had ever inquired of us… or the story our culture forbids by acceptance or utterance! we released the dark secrets that harbors lingering pain! ‘the substance of our current day frustrations and rejections…’stories we could not confess to priests during penance…or even during deliverance…’stories that family traditions sweeps under the carpet as generation to come wallow in confusion…’these were stories hidden in misery and denial…but, we had to travel all the way out of town, be confided into a hostel with bullets flying outside our windows….just for those stories to surface. We all had closure after confiding and crying out about it and promised to seek help after. The burden is now shared, not to be chastised or reprimanded, but to begin healing and moving forward.

Ok…that was 24 years ago! I have lived past those stories, but currently still living amongst those who are unable to talk about their story…’Abuse stories or even use their experiences to help raise awareness and help someone going through it.

What’s your Abuse story? Broken dreams or failed relationship? Or what’s that Abusive storyline you played a part in? years ago, that is still lingering and haunting you presently? You know why it’s still trailing after you. But to get closure to it, someone else somewhere right now is going through the same ABUSE you encountered…and the circle is continual UNTIL you Seek help, Campaign against it! Create a platform for awareness!abuse 1

Let’s celebrate a season of closure and recovery…’like when a heavy burden has just been off-loaded from our shoulders. A sense of commitment and togetherness…like ‘Wow! I am not alone! I thought I was the only one!

Since that day, I have learned to respect and look at those ladies differently with respect and courage, for speaking up about their abusive past. And today, I am hoping our stories could save a life or two!  Or is it still happening?

So, if you are reading this, ask yourself…’Does my fragrance (that beautiful perfect-picture image, I carry with me effortlessly) have fragments (stains, shame, sorrow, abusive stories)? Am I really truthful to myself? Am I still hiding behind the veil of pretense and still hoping that one day I would wake up and say “It never happened”Ah! If you are reading this and have ever encountered any form of abuse (sexual, verbal, physical or emotional) – don’t let it define you. When we talk about some of our stories, it helps someone else going through it or someone who’s gone through it and still struggling with acceptance of the shame of the aftermath.abuse 5

Our fragrance did have fragments! And it was time to break it open, not to ridicule each other or laugh at each other but a time of total submission, after all, we were all skeptical we’ll make it out of that place, alive. But we did, and now, there’s a story to be told to help uplift someone going through something similar…our Alabaster Jar just got cracked, and the spill is totally healing and comforting, what do you think?

Are we even aware of the comfort in our brokenness? Do we know that refuge from our circumstances and contentment in the midst of mishaps is found in the center of our surrender. Or is it in our brokenness?

If that is true, then why are so many women still living lives with little or no joy based on their past? I’m afraid that we have bought the lies of the enemy (the abuser), allowing him/her to steal our joy. Discouragement, weariness, disillusionment, shattered dreams, and unrealized goals are some of his/her favorite weapons, but the truth is that the enemy can only use what we allow him/her to use, “Our destructive abused past”

It is time for us to reclaim surrendered ground. Do you sometimes think you are fighting the same old battles you have been fighting for so many years? I do. Clinging to familiar pain because we find our identity there. Consumed with our own agenda, while  our joy is buried under a mountain of self loathing.abuse 2

Today, there’s HOPE! There’s a better tomorrow and it can be brighter than the past, the abusive past! Join the movement that comforts the abused today. The Total Woman Movement. Come as you are (BROKEN) learn how to release your inner fragrance (STORY) and let the scents relieve your life’s dents. (HEALING).

For more information about this movement, please visit www.totalwomanmovement.com

Yours in HOPE as I share Gloria Estefan’s “Coming Out Of The Dark”

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Turning the waiting Game into a favored Date!

(Open letter of encouragement to my single and searching friends)

Erika absent-mindedly toyed and twirled with the tip of her champagne glass. Loosing count already of the numbers of weddings she’s had to dance in as the maid of honor! Or wake the bride up at 7am for facial or call up the video crew to come up for recording as the lucky bride, her childhood friend excitedly slip on her silver Manolo Blahnik pumps. Oh no! I can’t be jealous! She muttered under her breath as beads of perspiration and anxiety begins to swell up on her foreheadMAID OF HONOR.

Uncountable evil thoughts and imaginary demons of her past began to creep up the back of her neck, “Why not me? She’s quickly taken back by the deep Barry White-like voice of the bride’s younger brother; as he bumps into her, asking her for a dance.

‘Good-gracious-Lawd! ‘Why is he so cute but painfully too young for me? He’s 6 years younger! Maybe I shouldn’t care about the age thing? Or is that not robbing the cradle! What will people say? Geez! Do I sound desperate! Yeah, maybe I should, am in my late 30s and un-married! And drooling over a kindergartener! On and on, these thoughts kept strolling in and out of her head, until it was her turn to give the toast, she walked up to the center of the room, clutching her champagne glass like her life depended on it, tears falling freely drenching her perfectly made-up face, she opened her mouth, stammered and then it all happened…

Today…‘Can-we-talk-about-men? Maybe not about how adorable Spain’s Rafael Nadal looked at the last US Open, or about the outrageously offensive comment from Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, anti-woman lead. Or even that personal crush “yours truly” has on Bruno Mars! (Smiles).single 1

Let’s ignore the tabloids today and do real talk! and really If we are all being honest with ourselves, and I assure you, today I’m all about straight talk – which means that I have to confess that our mindset is one of the biggest obstacles to living as an uncluttered woman when it comes to dealing with the issues of men.

Even as I am still married 18 years and counting to the same guy I found with two left feet on the dance floor at Club Towers about 22 years ago! I must admit that every aspect of our relationship only gets better with age, tolerance and understanding (even sex). I know that I should depend solely on God for direction and strength, and I am thriving! Most of us would admit that this is the case. Whether we are married or single! We are all in the same boat, only difference is our sense of resistance.

Is it not hard enough that we have to sift through all that is thrown at us each day? We begin a flourishing relationship, we nurture it with all we have and pray it flourishes well enough for a blossoming ever after effect, but then disarray happens and it challenges all of us. I’m in the foxhole with you and readily admit that navigating this crazy world of handling loverelationship is complicated.

There are so many things that compete for our attention and clutter our decision-making: our faith, emotions, materialism, negative thinking, busy schedules, doubts, laziness, self-reliance, self-esteem, family baggage, our past pains and failures, expectations, technology, work, our need to control things, our need to be accepted, finances, debt, stress, addictions, discontentment and then… relationships. Argh! And I’m just getting started! This list could go on forever. Anyone feeling me?

Does fear of the unknown keep us from taking a big leap of fate in choosing a partner? ‘are you still single and confused about your choice based on what the world projects HIM to be? Torn between giving a chance to someone you ‘kind of’ like but doesn’t have that ‘it’ factor you have always dreamt of!- If only! The lips were fuller! The skin was darker! The height was intact! If only he has 6 packs like Nadal! If only he could sing and be so romantic like Adam Levine! And the “if only” list goes on and on because we have so programmed our brain to only embrace that which is only portrayed in our fairy tale-mindset. Not until our biological clock begins to tick faster, attracts family concerns and un-solicited friendly advice. When will it be? With who? Phew!cook 1

Here’s the deal. We all have an idea of what we want in someone, especially when dating that we imagine will become a life time commitment, we still need to be careful what we wish for!  A lot of courtship now are more interested in acquiring the “Trophy image”. Isn’t that an exposure of the self-esteem issue? Picking and dictating and getting fanned in our ego? Maybe it’s a blessing you are taking your time rather than rushing into marriage because of desperate measures? To please who? Friends? The society? Family? Or break an ancestral curse of bondage? Shouldn’t the decision of a life time commitment between a couple be consecrated unto God only? And no other external factors?

Is there really a manual or instruction kept somewhere for finding the perfect guy? Is Mr. Right sold on store shelves on demand at a high cost, with no bargaining options? What’s going on ladies? What’s with the fuss? You abandoned the one that shows affection all because he doesn’t really fit into your to-get manual? You chase after the one that thinks about you only in mode-nudity? Would you rather rush in and marry the one you first fall in love with? Whose heart probably is still hooked onto a bunch of broken-hearted ladies, who’d probably cursed out his destiny for abandoning them like a bad habit?dont rush

Maybe all we really need to do is sincerely and genuinely love ourselves first! Our inner joy radiates and attracts people to us, even if we are dressed in our best outfit! More so, there is a sense of calmness and peace when we are at our best (genuine and sincere) as opposed to be being two-faced and pretentious all because we are seeking a partner. Won’t that veil eventually come off after a while? Especially when finally you become one?bsb pix

I am writing this to encourage and uplift someone who’s been on that “waiting list”. Someone who’s loved someone so deep it hurts that you are no more together or you were betrayed and abandoned. I am writing this to encourage someone who’s torn between deciding what to do next as that biological clock ticks away, I am encouraging someone single and searching to live life lovely…again! Do you! Love you! Discover you! Create fun for yourself! Join a local Zumba class and sweat out your girlish giggles at those sensual dance moves, travel more, attend seminars that enlightens, sign up for exotic cooking classes, volunteer at homeless shelters or join a book club. Get it together! Rather than sit on your couch, text your fans or post your latest heartbreak story on Facebook. Love yourself first.

Allow prince charming to discover you at your best leisure self-mode! It is okay to be agitated at the biological clock, it’s just doing its duty. You just need to prove it wrong that love comes better in your own time, God’s time! Sometimes when a dream is dead, it just needs to be prompted. Discover your true joy, bury yourself in it, and let the right guy come dig you out! Here’s how you can start, out of faith, write an imaginary letter to your “future husband” and paste on your refrigerator – trust me. It’s a positive reinforcement!

“Dear Future Husband, You are still in my prayers. When you are ready, according to God’s will, kindly press the bell once. I am not impatient or mad at you, for taking so long! I’m not afraid of commitment. I am also taking my time, learning new things and discovering myself. My inner beauty radiates daily with new strength from God. Meekly Yours, Your Future Wife”.

Yours in HOPE as I share Meghan Trainor’s Dear Future Husband.

Yinka.

 

 

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Set me free from my prison that I might praise your name: CANCER AWARENESS MONTH.

A young vibrant guy who conducted an interview with me on Cancer Awareness stepped back, arms bigger than cancerakimbo, with an exaggerated comical look and blotted out “No Way Ma! ah,’You are too young and fine to have cancer! How can? Oh please be serious! – Oh yes! I smiled back at him. “Forget the stage make up, the girlish attitude and the glamorous accessories you see, “Yeah! ‘This girl is a survivor” and for the next 5 minutes, everything became still and silent, we became deep in thoughts, hands clutched together like a praying mantis as he began praising God.20141018_104043

October is national breast cancer awareness month. It is one of those months that challenges me to sit up and be proactive in the campaign for raising awareness about the importance of early detection and treatment. Not necessarily because I am a cancer survivor, but more so, it is a season for me to reflect on the peaceful acceptance of finally stepping away from my confinement.

When we hear the word “PRISON or CONFINEMENT”, many times we get cold feet, we tremble and begin to panic. Our imagination begins to run wild and far, flashes of hardened looking incarcerated criminals in jumpsuits, locked up behind metal bars, dangling and clanging of handcuffs, organized and monitored scheduled visits with restrictions as prison security officers stand by with un-assuming looks tough enough to crush a wandering cockroach! But, that’s just the physical aspect of the lockup, and with time upon release or admonishment life goes on.

But really, our emotional state of mind (feelings) is actually one of the most dangerous and poisonous prison we have created for ourselves, without even knowing. It is our man-made confinement. An habitual lockup. A casual second skin jail. A renowned penitentiary that usually needs no administrative admittance. We casually stroll in and out of it without realizing it or knowing the damages it’s capable of. Hmmm.can 3

There are many emotions that cause us to slump and become crippled emotionally. Worry wears us down. Regret ruins our confidence. Hatred hardens our hearts. Unforgiveness stains our souls. Bitterness binds our hearts. Insecurity incapacitates our capabilities.

Not knowing what our God-given purpose is or suppressing our enthusiasm or pessimism is a form of imprisonment. It is not only when we are locked up or detained physically. Being blessed with a story and not using it wisely for its purpose, is an emotional confinement. Not creating or maintaining a desired platform is a jail term. Our conscience becomes the court of law that requires no physical judge.

Are you crippled emotionally today? Do words from your past tell you “not good enough,” Procrastination and inadequacy were my two close companions. I didn’t like these two lurking shadows, but they followed me everywhere I went. Stalkers, that’s what they were. They stalked me, yelling taunts and accusations that no one heard but me. The more I listened to them, the more emotionally crippled I became. Until I re-branded my passion by turning my pain into someone’s gain. walk instead

Are we aware that there is a message for us all during our time of confinement? To be able to declare God’s goodness in our lives. That we are indeed a living testimony irrespective of our past, our shame or our dirt!

As you are reading this today, Ask yourself, what is my prison? Is there something in my life that is crippling my spirit? Pain? Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Resentment? Guilt? Sorrow? Worry? Regret? Comparison? If so, let’s cut it loose with the saber of praise, cast it off, and throw it away. God calls us sheep; and sheep are not pack animals. We are not meant to carry such burdens with these scrawny legs of ours. If we try, we will only bend under the pressure we were never meant to bear.woman

Get out of your confinement and join me this weekend, as we prepare for the annual MAKING STRIDES FOR CANCER AWARENESS 4k WALK ON Saturday, October 17TH @ 7:30AM, right in front of the PLEASE TOUCH MUSEUM, MEMORIAL HALL, in PHILADELPHIA PA. No more slumping in self-doubt or hunching in half-hearted conviction. But rather LET’S stand up to the full stature of a confident being, equipped by God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and enveloped in Christ.

Yours in HOPE as I share Mary Mary ” Shackles”.

Yinka.

“Set me free from my prison that I might praise your name’ (Psalm 142:7a NIV).

 

 

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Branding our optimism: Standing up straight and tall. PART ONE.

When I was a teenager, my mother used to threaten me whenever I hunched over at the dining table. “If you don’t sit up and finish up your food,’ she’d say, ‘I’m going to have to buy you a therapeutic back brace from Bola Chemist.” Honestly, I don’t even know if Bola Chemist make or sell back braces back then, but it sounded like a pretty good threat to me. Just the thought of passing through St Nicholas hospital or General Hospital all next door to Bola Chemist gave me nightmares! So I decided to cultivate a habit of always sitting up straight even when my mother’s prying eyes are not following me. And it worked out well, even until now as I’ve had to deal with some of life’s deep slumping experiences. And still ongoing.lag 3

So, I recently just returned from one of the greatest and fulfilling trips of my life! I was very blessed for encountering such beautiful and dedicated people back in Nigeria who deeply shared my passion for creating and making success stories happen. Not because the society requests it for status quo or cheap publicity, but because their love for humanity and community service is genuine.

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Talking about CANCER AWARENESS.

I’d learnt that carrying a banner to display a passion is not the same as connecting one-on-one with real life people, dealing with real life issues. Sometimes, creating a platform of awareness for our passion or a desired cause goes beyond media or social network. Connecting with the soul-carrier is deeper.

For the great opportunity given to me by Samson @TREK magazine who met with me at my parent’s house on the Island for the one-on-one interview on AUTISM AWARENESS IN NIGERIA and my proposal on establishing a support group/Autism school in Lagos. I am very grateful! For connecting me with various NGOs and Healthcare Administrators in Lagos. Thank you.

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ON AIR with KBABALOVEDOCTOR of WAZOBIA 95.1 FM, Lagos.

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With K Baba, Host of WAZOBIA FM’S “Love Clinic”

My midnight ON AIR radio show host connector! Ogunleke Kayode Clement aka. KBABA THE LOVE DOCTOR of  WAZOBIA 95.1 FM on Etim Inyang Street, V/Island. DR. Love! I hail! I salute! I am so thrilled and still excited about our ON AIR show. Thanks for giving me the platform to discuss more on #Moving Forward With Yinka! For giving me the opportunity to be your special guest on ‘Love Issues – relationships and marriage segments. Thanks for allowing me to be part of the panel for taking on calls from concerned and confused callers who needed help pertaining their love lives! Thanks for embracing my optimism on CANCER AWARENESS in Nigeria and allowing me to talk ON AIR to numerous wa 6listeners all over the world about my own personal journey as a 5year-cancer survivor. Oops! (Thanks for bringing out the best Pidgin English in me! Lol). You are truly appreciated. God bless you plenty my broda! – “As u don do for me dis good so! Na only better go dey come ya way o! (Lol).

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Autism Awareness Interview with Olori 60 Minutes TV in Lagos.

Special thanks to my team at 60 Minutes TV, Lagos! Olori 60 minutes! My PA and favorite niece! My personal graphics and studio manager, LeeGrapher! And everyone at 60 minutes TV. For the interview on Autism Awareness and support group in Nigeria, for connecting me with all the different families dealing with the challenges that come with caring for a special needs child in Nigeria. For every family who showed up and have embracedlag 4 the need for Autism awareness, and were more interested in finding a common ground for intervention! Because of you all, my journey to Lagos was successful! I pray that God continues to strengthen you all, emotionally and physically.

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FGGC Sagamu class of 1990 reunion @ Lekki.

A girly-shout out to my Almer Mater, Federal Government Girls College Sagamu class of ’90, for organizing a reunion luncheon at Lekki on OCT 1st! Love you all great shagamites! So good to see/hear from you all. Special thanks to Oby Ejekam-Ekekwe for creating what’s App Class of 1990 “P” Girls chat room! Babes, even after 25 years! You all still look smashing in your 40s! God’s hands’ is surely on us.

So, if you are reading this, ask yourself, what does it take to stand up straight and tall in your life? What is it that hinders my growth? Am I failing to thrive? Do I know my purpose for life? How can I package my idealism or confidence? Talk to me! Hmmm…

To be continued next week…

Yours in HOPE

Yinka.

 

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