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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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God of Broken Things by Wadza Mhute.

I was having a discussion with my friend about therapy for Christians. My friend is seeing a therapist for work-related trauma but she had doubts about the process because she is a Christian. She moved passed initial misgivings once she started seeing a therapist and realized the need to speak to someone about her issues. Then a day later another Christian friend casually mentioned advice her therapist gave.broken 2

The message I was receiving from these seemingly random discussions was the need for me to look inward. It seems, at least to me, that once one receives Christ then the need for personal reflection takes a back seat and we are sometimes mired in religiosity and fail to understand ourselves. As Christians we speak to God through prayer and He speaks to us in many ways including through His word. In our prayer time, however, do we ask God to show us ourselves? This oversight maybe the reason a person who has been saved for 20 years still drinks spiritual milk while a new Christian is already on solid food.

I am not advocating for therapy, that’s a personal decision, but I am pointing to the need for introspection. We must take a step back, look at our lives and question why we think and act the way we do. This requires an openness to honestly view ourselves the way God sees us, through His lens without justifications or excuses. When you give your life to Christ, you are made whole and old things pass away. The issue with some of us is that we hang on to those old things without realizing. How will you know you need God’s help in certain areas of your life if you don’t analyze your thoughts and actions?broken 1

Change comes from a broken spirit, when we truly give up our lives for Christ. Living on the fence as a Christian, especially in this increasingly dark world, is not an option. We need to shatter the facade of being alright when we are not. We need to move from pride to humility. We need to understand our need for God everyday, every minute in everything we do. That requires brokenness. Often we ask God for help but behind the scenes we are working to solve our own problems.

David – the man after God’s own heart – understood his need for God. His words in Psalms show a man who knew his human limitations. However when he committed adultery and then murder, the Lord sent Nathan to show David who he had become. David did not even recognize himself in the story that Nathan told him. His internal decline had been a process that eventually manifested physically.

Therefore introspection is not to be done once but continually. We can never be too spiritual to accept that we are not perfect and as surely as sin entered this world, we will not attain perfection, only Jesus earns that distinction. On this side of eternity we have work to do. God is patient and merciful, He is waiting for your broken and contrite heart.

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Written by Wadza Mhute for #Moving Forward With Yinka

 

 

 

 

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Echoes of 2015: “Keep On Moving, Don’t Stop”

In one word, how would you describe your encounter with the year 2015?

Beyond any doubt, this is certainly my year of “Go, Get it done now”.  Even as am writing this, my head is thrown back in an exaggerated falling motion, hands and eye lashes flapping joyously with a deep amorous laughter (like an excited toddler) While at the back of my head, I envisioned my favorite Trinidadian musician (Mighty Sparrow) playing my favorite soca version of ‘Dancing Queen” as I grooved to the rhythm and yell out…Yes!!

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American Cancer Society – Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk  Team: Greater Than Cancer. OCTOBER 2015

Are you wondering “what planet is she on exactly, with all these gestures of excitement? Eh, common, ‘it’s not even close to what you’re thinking, honestly… (Lol) “so-get-your-crummy-mind-out-of-the refrigerator and listen to what I’ve got to say! (smiles).

Wow! My heart is completely paraded with these un-explainable kind of feeling you get when you just finished scooping up your last spoon of ice cream, its still melting on your tongue, but because you just don’t want to quickly loose that sugar rush sensation, you drag the dissolving process. You smile as you close your eyes, allowing the powerful luscious sensation to play hide and seek in your mouth. Hmmm.

You mutter to yourself, ‘Wholly Guacamole!! ‘This is s-w-e-e-t! You are licking the escaped creamy patch with your tongue and just hoping everyday would be an-ice-cream day, Yeah, it feels good right? Exactly! That’s the cloud I am on.

So, I bet everyone DID something spectacular and different this 2015? Something crazy but excitingly abstract? Something out of the norm, yet breathtakingly unique? Something unusual but rewarding? Believe me, every one of us DID something peculiar compared to 2014. Whether Commendable, Confusing or Complicated. Something did happened that has shifted our mindset! It’s called the Go, Get it done dictum!

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RCCG LSMC Total Woman Conference – April 2015

For me, I couldn’t have ended 2015 well without thanking God for all the beautiful spaces and platform of opportunities that were created for me! From the initiation and launching of the NGOs to the acceptance into doctoral school!

The powerful ministration at the Total Woman Conference, my wonderful superb sisters-united power team! The eye opener at the much awaited residency program in AZ! The long summer nights at the beach with family! The crab feast at the Inner harbor, the once in a lifetime impact and blessings received from Kenya during the QEG Summit!

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Queen Esther Generation Summit in Kenya. JUNE- JULY 2015

The joy of embracing new dreams and walking away from past distractions, standing tall to establish self in career! The “shut-the-front-door” kind of feelings you get when you decide to stand tall, no matter what! The mind-blowing and oh-so-humble experience of connecting with relevant links  in Nigeria, the magnitude of the support system.

OMG! My beautiful team members in Lagos still expanding, making headlines and treading on a just cause for humanity! PRICELESS.  Oh! What a night! @ Etim Inyang Crescent, V/Island with WAZOBIA Naija FM Spectacular midnight host of Love Clinic, Kbabalovedoctor. Awesome!

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WAZOBIA FM Lagos, Love Clinic Host, KBABALOVEDOCTOR. OCT 2015

 

60min tv

“My Life after Cancer” Interview with 60 Minutes TV, Lagos. Oct 2015.

Aha! The courageous families in whose

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Autism Awareness In Nigeria – Interview with TREK MAG. in Lagos. Sept 2015

presence, participation and position completed my GO GET IT DONE project in Nigeria. My first humanitarian award team, Thank you! For every support system unintentionally not mentioned. Thank you.Literally, this is for everyone who’s touched my heart in 2015, either paraded it, nursed it, comforted it, cared for it, scribbled on it or skipped it or even attempted to torture it! Thank you.

 

My Greater Than Cancer team in the US! Thank you for your support and your genuine love, for dragging yourselves out to walk with me that very cold Saturday morning in Oct! You guys rock and made a survivor feel so special to be alive. Love you all for real!

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Team: Greater Than Cancer, USA

I am grateful for new friendships defined, old ones restored and damaging ones put aside for remission. For all the projects left hanging but never forgotten, the best is yet to come.

Finally, let’s search our conscience in the remaining hours, ‘what walk awayhas 2015 done for you, lately? What is that beautiful memory you want to frame and adorn with praises? Or what’s that situation that looks like progress in the making but really behind closed doors, brings you to tears? What’s that addiction or craving you are still abhorring? What’s that one word you’ve been dreading to say? ‘Afraid of going into 2016? What’s that one brutal feeling of rejection, emptiness, hopelessness and depression you’d rather bury with 2015? Marital issues? Complicated relationships? Estranged Family members? Mr. Right still hiding? Health problems? Kids acting up? Conception not cooperating? Loved ones departure? ‘Got baggage? Got issues? ‘Got trust problem? ‘Got heart break? ‘Got love to give? Aha! ‘Got Christ? You do? ‘Then you already ‘Got this! 🙂

This is the best time to get up and get it done. Whatever it is that’s holding you back from your aspiration, ‘deal with it now. This is not even about making resolutions. This is more of a period of revelation.

I am hoping someone reading this will tap into that realm too. Set up inward realistic goals, and let your passion for success be your drive for the New Year. ‘Cos, that’s what am doing. Thank y’all for a rewarding 2015!  See you in a ‘Doing IT RIGHT 2016! by God’s grace.

Yours in HOPE as I share “Keep On Moving” by Soul II Soul.

Yinka.

 

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Comparison – by Kehinde Oguntunde

As I went about doing my kitchen chores, I couldn’t help listening to my children’s conversation.comp

“You do not color outside the line”, said the big sister to the little one.

“I know, but it’s my homework, not yours”, she responded.

“Mummy never likes it when we color outside the line, that’s why she likes my painting better”, big sister replied.

At that instant, I knew I had to interrupt their conversation before it escalated into something else. Truth be told, I have always loved neat and beautiful paintings (I was an excellent art student back in high school) and I (unconsciously/consciously) made my older daughter tow my footsteps.

The younger sister on the other hand, detests anything that deals with coloring. In a nutshell, I find myself comparing my kids with each other or perhaps comparing them with me. I’m sure most of us can relate to this.

But the truth is: COMPARISONS ARE DETESTABLE.

If you want to be a miserable mortal, then compare. You compare when you place someone beside someone else for the purpose of emphasizing the differences or showing the likenesses. This applies to places and things as well as people.comp 4

We can become so proficient at this activity that we sustain our addiction through an unconscious force of habit. Inadvertently, the wheels of our thinking slide over into the ruts of this detestable mindset. Comparison appears in at least two forms.

First: We compare ourselves with others. You can imagine the results already. It is either you are prompted to feel smug and proud because your strengths outweigh others weaknesses . . . or, more often, you begin to feel threatened, and inferior because you fail to measure up. Striving to emulate a self-imposed standard, you begin to slide from the pleasant level of achievement of the real you to the sinking sands of I don’t know who. This sometimes leads to extreme role-playing where you try every way to adapt and alter your portrait to fit into someone else’s frame.

In simpler terms, you’ve given away your real personality for a phony disguise. That’s detestable! Paul wrote about similar sentiments to a church that had become known for its comparison cliques:

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise”. (2 Cor. 10:12 NIV). The very next verse tells us, “Our goal is to measure up to God’s plan for us”. Not for someone else, but for you, personally. God’s great desire for us is that we fulfill His plan for us in our own lives. In His way—His timing.comp 3

Second: We compare others with others. This is worse than unfair; it’s senseless and often, cruel. Children suffer most from well-meaning adults who show off one child’s talents in front of another child in some misbegotten effort at motivation. This relates to the illustration above with my kids. That sort of comparison is toxic. It poisons a child’s self-image and smothers the very motivation the parent was seeking to arouse.

But children aren’t the only victims. We find ourselves comparing preachers and teachers; church philosophies and orders of service; soloists and song leaders; personalities and prayers; wives and mothers; families and friends; homes and cars; salaries and jobs; husbands and fathers; luxuries and limitations; pain and pleasure.

That’s detestable! Why not accept people and places and things exactly as they are? Isn’t that true maturity? Why not accept and adjust to differences as quickly and enthusiastically as God forgives our wrongs and stands behind our efforts to try, and try again? When love flows, acceptance grows.

Written by: Kehinde Oguntunde for #Moving Forward With Yinka

**About the writer**

Kehinde works as a Data Integrity Specialist. She is happily married to Sola. They both reside in Philadelphia and are blessed with 2 beautiful girls and an adorable boy! She enjoys working with children, reading, writing and of course singing with her husband.

 

 

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Dangerously living in a fool’s paradise.

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It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you are going outside to take a walk and enjoy the brush of the heat on your skin. You change your mind, head back inside. Suddenly, you remember that you forgot to take your cell phone with you. But, you want to spend quality time with yourself un-interrupted, like meditate as you stroll around the neighborhood. You don’t want to be reminded of that heart ache you’ve been trying to bury, or that disturbing message you’d received that got you twisted and confused.  The back lash from the grapevine!

Instead, you go back inside, grab a bottle of water and sacrificially bury your cell phone inside the kitchen closet and walk out of the door; chin up, chest out, feeling proud of your little courage. You are certainly on a roll! Phew!

Wait-a-minute! ’Congratulations! Awesome bravery…but, for how long?

I remember in 1995 when the song “Gangsta Paradise by Coolio was just coolio 3released. Every house party in Port Harcourt then played it like they dined and wined with Coolio himself! I didn’t understand the content of the lyrics much, but we all just hummed to the chorus and showed off our hot steps.

Apparently, until much later when I sat down to watch the movie it featured in: “Dangerous Minds” Starring Michelle Pfeiffer as retired U.S. Marine Lou Anne Johnson, who took up a teaching position at Carlmont High School in Belmont, California, in 1989, where most of her students were African-American and Latino teenagers from East Palo Alto, a poverty-stricken, racially segregated, economically deprived city at the opposite end of the school district., the film was released to a mixture of mostly negative critical reception, but became a surprise box office success in the summer of 1995, leading to the creation of a short-lived television series.

At the end of the year, the teacher announces to the class that she will not continue teaching at the school, which prompts an unbridled display of emotion from the students who refuse to let her leave. Overwhelmed, she decides to stay. Hmm!  Yeah…’stay back with the same students who had wickedly crawled up her skin into misery! Who does that?

So, our life is filled with twisters – indecisions, contemplating over lifelong struggles, overcrowded schedules, impossiblecoolio 2 demands from friends and families, unrealistic expectations, emotional bankruptcy, and physical exhaustion. During those turbulent times, how did you handle it?

Growing up, I would run and hide under my blanket or just bury myself in a good book and block the world out until the storm passes over! But now, my blanket is consciously pulled off by my 3 wonderful children reminding me that  (1) Homework needs to be reviewed (2) Dinner needs to be served! (3) Mom! life goes onjust step out of that blanket and get-it-together!

So, I have come to two realizations; first, there will always be another storm and second, what I must do is learn how to prepare for storms before they hit or deal with the storm and move forward!

As we approach the end of the year, let’s think back to the past months and review the reasons why we have been stagnant, stuck or suppressed? any reasons why we just need to bury some hatchets and start afresh?  Have we embraced solitude after a storm?

‘Are we sincerely seeking God’s face for direction? how about how brave Michelle Pfeiffer was in the movie as she dealt with challenges that made her stronger and daring even at the face of death? Or Coolio’s heart rendering concerns on how we live our lives in false declaration?  ‘are we still in tune with personal goals to do better? Are we addicted to social praise? Craving for recognition or acceptance by a confused world itself?

Why do we still always end up hurting each other, with our bashful words and resentful attitude? Even as we portray such magnitude of holiness, while our personal mirror sees us as Pharisees? ‘Aren’t we still living in that hooded paradise? Hopefully, by the time we begin the countdown, our hearts will take us to places our emotions dare to thread; so that our mind, body and soul will be renewed for 2016.

Yours in HOPE as I share one of my favorite Coolio’s music/Dangerous Minds soundtrack: “Gangsta Paradise”

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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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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Awakening the stolen dream.

 Do you remember how fulfilled and excited you felt the last time you worked very hard on a given project? The success story and fantastic feedback has your talented fingerprints scribbled all over! People are amazed and surprised at the wonders of this enigma. Wow!  Nice Job!  Who did this?  How?girl 2

Oh! look at you! grinning with smiles of accomplishment.

But not for long. So you decided to brand your creativity, by stamping your image to it, the same astonished world starts to stammer and stutter, there’s fidgeting and uneasiness. Everything begins to go wrong from nowhere. Suddenly, your title shifts to “weird” or “proud” or “non-efficient or not-so-good”.

As criticism sets in, self-awareness seeks comfort in pity-party. Why? ‘Is it because it’s your swag? But, that’s what makes you stand out in the crowd of plenty! Your own God-given capability. It cannot be stolen, knocked down or reproduced. Its your WOW factor!

While some label it Destiny, others says it’s a blessing to be destined for greatness without being tortured by negative people. And because the world cannot handle your achievement, you begin to wonder-out-loud…”Where-did-I-go-wrong? Hmm.

You peep through the portals of your heart and discover that traces of pretentious doubt and cowardly low self-esteem were actually planning on visiting you soon! So you sit alone in the dark cold room and ask yourself, is it your fault? ‘that God has so blessed you with such gifting that others can’t contain the volume? Should I fall through the cracks based on a critical point of view? Or should I just keep heading towards my goal in life, pushing aside any storm? What to do?

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to climb up to the top of the playground swing bar and spin around and around until I was silly-dizzy, and then fall to the ground with a giggly heart. It was thrilling, childish and fun.

And so, my idea of primary school breaks became swinging and hanging on to the bar of the swing set at the school playground with my adorable childhood best-friend, Virginia Wilcox (now Mrs. LeBouf) She was my main dream maker, cheerleader and also my competitor. We will do cart wheels on the hard terrazzo floors! Twirl around and somersault on the cobalt blue wall to wall carpeted auditorium during Mrs. Benson’s music class, as the other students hiss, applaud or watch in dis-belief!girl 1

What a joke! Such silly boyish girls!

With our tightly knotted woolen emerald green dangling ribbons, we didn’t care if our short green school uniform would become dusty or torn from the constant mounting of the swing bars; we didn’t care if the boys were actually peeping to see our oversized mommy-made PE (physical education) shorts.

We just loved to express our athletic talent, especially as the other prim and proper girls, with perfectly pressed silky hair pulled back in assorted rayon ribbon pass by with looks of disdain and disgust! Rolling their eyes in unison.

Virginia and I. Two best friends with so much in common, two tiny mischievous  primary school girls, one in scattered box braids and the other threaded hair, nicely packed up with that very annoying silky black thread! But, we couldn’t have cared less, we weren’t bothered that we were not playing “Miss Mary-Mark” or ‘Mother May I” In our own way or world, we were just genuinely happy and content with ourselves. We were pace-setters, trend-setters and annoyingly so darn confident in our tiny selves!

Eventually we both attended the same secondary school and then same University, and after graduation, we both drifted away apart slowly and totally surrendered to life’s new extension of a real world roller coaster. A much serious one to swing on! But we never gave up on our quest to be all we can.

Today, ask yourself; How do I fight back?  whether you are criticized poorly or ignored intentionally because of that powerful element in you. Believe me, life will surely throw one or two storms of self-doubt  and distraction your way once you begin to rise. The plan is to make you feel less worthy or discouraged about your vision. Don’t fall for it!what they say

Whether you have been hurt, jilted, abandoned, used or called weird names even after you have so proved your self-worth with true sincerity; Be Encouraged! it is just a mere distraction building you up for tomorrow. It is time to wake up from that deep slumber and face the dream breakers or dream killers in your life with one thing; Fight them back with that same creative zeal or crazy passion and be hungry for more success! No matter what people think about your value, You need to know your own worth first! and be grateful to God for choosing you above all others, but don’t be patronized.

Yours in HOPE as I share Rachel Platten’s ‘Fight Song’.

Yinka.

 

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Having ‘The Sex TALK’ with Teenagers. How do we encourage their words to come out?

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Have you ever been given a very short notice to quickly make a decision for someone? What about if you are asked to select a group of people by their age status, and told to pick out the ones you’ll most likely be at ease with? Who would you pick?

Now separate them by their body language (uneasiness, eyes rolling, fidgeting, gum popping, eyes twitching, mouth pouting or lips slightly parted in an unconscious bewilderment!). Ask this compromising question: “Tell me what you know about Sex?” and watch the drama unfold. Aha!

In which of these group would you rather be? The been-there, done-that evergreen with wisdom group? The Midlife crisis solicitors, still hanging on to “should-have-been” and “would-have been? The show-and-tell group still drowning in their emotional rollercoaster lifestyle? The ripe and ready to-be plucked on a pedestal? Or the “buy-one-get-one free hormonal-fired-up tween/teenagers! Whose constant mood swings and blasting emotional rage of self-discovery is now their weapon against the world? Who would you choose to have a real dialogue with?

My choice: The Tween/Teenagers. Awesome sauce!.

Adolescence is the teenage years between 13 and 19 and can be considered the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood. However, the physical and psychological changes that occur in adolescence can start earlier, during the preteen or “tween” years (ages 9 through 12). Adolescence can be a time of both disorientation and discovery. The transitional period can bring up issues of independence and self-identity; many adolescents and their peers face tough choices regarding schoolwork, sexuality, drugs, alcohol, and their social life. Peer groups, romantic interests and external appearance tend to naturally increase in importance for some time during a teen’s journey toward adulthood.

Most teenagers today would rather have a tete-a-tete talk about their sprouting awareness of life with a total stranger than take it home and be judged, scolded or reprimanded for even thinking about it! They have so much street-wise information stored up in their memory board and basically living it through a confused world as whether to believe it? Experiment with it? Ignore it? Pray through it? Be part of it? Be it? Or live in Denial?teen 6

So, how do we begin the sex talk with them? When do we start talking about it? Should we wait for them to get to school and consume every information thrown on their laps? Allow the stranger or “supposedly” trusted one to physically instruct and coach them emotionally by touching and tampering with their innocence and destinies? Carving unforgettable scars on them before we feel the cut? Should we embrace the societal perspective of how they should be groomed for this topic, or allow the school system to encourage safe sex policy by dishing out free sophisticated contraceptives like colored condoms for pregnancy/disease protection as opposed to teaching strategies for abstinence or avoidance?

When do we begin to understand that “the sex talk” should actually be a part of a regular ongoing casual talk they should first receive from home rather than being thrown out there to become exploitive scavengers in the hands of  desperate pirates! Or like when my mom is cooking and I have to stand by and watch and then from nowhere she just ask…” So, you know you have started your menstrual flow, so you can’t look at a man! ‘And remember the child of whom you are and be assertive! (Lol) seriously!!! …that was more of a threat than a warning or advice! Meaning once I visually glance at a man or say hello, I might be impregnated! Or why wasn’t I alarmed that as I will be going to an all-girls boarding school 10,000 kilometers away from home, that the rules also follows for being looked at or touched by the same gender! Hmmm.

It only gets better when we turn the mic around. We give them a voice too, we allow them to take the floor and be the one in charge of talking about their fears and feelings as opposed to when we keep hovering over them. Sometimes, especially when we’ve given all that do’s and don’ts –talk… we still need to hear them out. Let them know they still have a voice and every silly question or mistake they are afraid of asking is certainly the beginning of a better outlet for them to embrace the world ahead. By creating a platform for openness among these teenagers, as difficult as it seems to be, an alibi or trust-bond with them usually encourages openness and helps in confronting other issues. We might need to be sensitive to their minefield of biological, emotional, and psychological maturation.

Maybe you think back to your own teenage years and you cringe at the thoughts of some of your youthful exuberance or you smile when you remember all the silly pranks you played and easily got away with. But it doesn’t hit home harder until you meet one playing out your past role, or your own kids reach that stage that you begin to understand why so many family members had so much advice for your “puberty-acquired-self” or one particular relative is always all in your business! Especially when you reach that maturation age.  Anyone can teach the basic facts about reproduction in an hour or two (or they can be read in any of several reference books), but we are in the best position to put this information in the proper context and give it the right perspective over a period of years. There are no cut-and-dried formulas for carrying out this.teen 5

Gone are the days when we compare what we read in romantic novels and see in movies, where we see a parent all tensed and sweaty-palmed, stammers through a convoluted description of sex to a preadolescent child. Who already knows all of the details. But, why is there such tension when parents are about discussing sex with their kids anyway? Are we aware that many children learn about sex from everyone but their parents?

Uncontrollable school playground slangs and obscenity, a distorted description of intercourse from the tough kid up the street, or worst of all, a look at some pornographic material on cable TV or the Internet often provides a child’s first jarring glimpse of sex. Without an ethical context, sex education becomes little more than basic training in anatomy, physiology, infectious diseases and contraception. While seeing it as an act, in the proper context (sees Mom and Dad hugging and kissing) both expresses love and begins new life, retains his innocence. But a child who knows very little about sex can already have a corrupt mind-set if he has been exposed to it in a degrading, mocking or abusive context.know me

Today’s problem with our disconnection with teenagers lies in trying to control or manipulate them. When we aggressively challenge problematic behaviors, especially with certain kinds of kids, that will only increase their defiance and alienation, and when a mistake is made, we become the last to know about it!

Here’s what am hoping someone who knows a teenager in need would do soon; accept that behind every problem behavior there is an emotional gap, an experience that is missing from a kid’s life. I am hoping that we can help them identify what’s missing and lead them back halfway home. Because unmet emotional needs stimulate disruptive behaviors and create gaps in maturity. For those gaps to close, it’s best to focus on providing new and enriching experiences that will satisfy those unmet needs.

Starting now, let’s create a clean platform that allows every teenager we come in contact with to feel free and discuss compromising issues like sex and reproduction, personal hygiene and living well, way before they even hear about it on the playground or at the school cafeteria! We need to talk more about controlling and moving ahead of peer pressure amongst our teenagers before they are overpowered by the flashy lifestyle of their environment!

We need to be their first response when dealing with emotional conflicts and sabotaging relationships! The best place for a child to learn about sexuality is at home from those who care most about them. We have to create a safe harbor for them to own their voice by allowing them to say what they want to say. Even if it seems ridiculous, we still need to allow their words of “I need help” “I feel helpless” “I am not popular or I feel bullied” “No one likes me” “I think I am in love” “I am not pretty enough” “Everyone’s doing it, why not me” “My family sucks”…all come out freely without the listener being judgmental or calculating, but interestingly inquisitive and amazed like the teenage girl hawking in the picture above!

Yours in HOPE as I share Sara Bareilles “BRAVE” ( say what you wanna say, let the words fall out ).

Yinka.

 

 

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‘Time to Control Our Enthusiasm…

enthuMotivation dies when hope becomes a slow-moving wagon… ‘Confidence hides its face around dull edges… ‘Anticipation rolls down the road of unknown…’Desire knocks on our doors of in-effectiveness! Where is our drive to move forward in life?

How do you manage your: Eagerness, Frenzy, Joy, Passion, Zeal, Craze, Glow, Keenness and the way I fondly address it with my kids….My Oomph! My energy for life! What Curbs Your Enthusiasm? ‘Your keen Interest? ‘Your Excitement and Passion for a Task?

Enthusiasm is the natural outgrowth of all your efforts toward success. What is important is that you now recognize that every appropriate move you make is building your enthusiasm as well.

Enthusiasm Changes Lives: it is the fuel that drives things forward, a way to control our mind. The same control can be used on our enthusiasm, so that it is continually fed into the cylinders of your mental engine, where it is ignited by the spark of our definite purpose and explodes, pushing the pistons of applied faith and personal initiative. Enthusiasm is power. With faith, it can transform adversity, failure, and temporary defeat into action.

Our mindset is Transmutation. It depends on the control of our thoughts, for they can just as easily be expressed negatively as positively. By controlling our enthusiasm, we can change any negative expressions and experiences into positive ones.

So, when your enthusiasm runs high, make a note of it in a notebook. Write down the circumstances that inspired you and the manifestations of that enthusiasm. Were you spurred to action? Did you solve a problem? Did you persuade someone of something? Also, keep a written copy of your definite major purpose and your plan for it inside your notebook. Then, whenever your enthusiasm is ebbing, pick up your valuable book. Not only will it remind you of the reason you should be enthusiastic, but it will also review for you the benefits of that enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a spiral, turning inward or outward, rising or falling. To give your enthusiasm a push in the right direction, refer to your notebook when the spiral is collapsing in on itself.

Wow! What power enthusiasm has! Especially when we are able to help others around us! What fulfillment and accomplishment we receive! That power is released to support definiteness of purpose and is constantly renewed by faith. It becomes an irresistible force for which temporary defeat and failure are no match. You can communicate that power to anyone who needs it. This is probably the greatest work you can do with your enthusiasm. Excite the imaginations of others; inspire their creative vision; help them connect with Infinite Intelligence.

I hope someone reading this will grasp their dreams and twist the world’s agenda to fit their passion and share their enthusiasm. It’s infectious. Boredom is a killer, but the world will buy joy gladly. But, because you’ve got IT! Why not encourage someone who doesn’t have what it takes to build-up hope today – share your gift of Positive Influence! Be someone’s ticket to success!

Yours in HOPE as I share one of my favorite Tracy Chapman’s songs.

Yinka.

 

 

 

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