I woke up to an unusual discussion with a friend about Tobi Amusan’s (a Nigerian athlete who specializes in a 100-meter hurdle) world-breaking record yesterday and how that made every Nigerian proud.
Today, I ruminate about how life deals with us and vice versa. How we can be angry, frustrated, or even depressed when things seem not to work according to our plans. Just how we wish we could know what the next minute holds, maybe we won’t have to worry so much.
Just over a year ago, Tobi Amusan was denied her African record during the Olympic trials (if you remember that incident) at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos Nigeria. The World athletics only recognize electronic timing devices, but “Nigeria never fails to be Nigeria”- the electronic timer failed to display the time at the end of the race. Hence, there was no valid record of her race time, although she won, she was denied her African record. Can you imagine? Have you ever been in situations where you do all your best and end up not reaping (for the lack of right expression) the benefit or result of your hard work?
I have been in similar situations where I put in my best and sometimes it yields results; other times it’s like I put in my best for nothing. Tobi Amusan’s experience last year reminds me of the time when I put in my all for a particular admission and was sure I was getting it until I was told the department had a funding issue. It wasn’t about me not being good for them as we had discussed some of the things I would do once I got in, but the department just could not have me. (Can you keep a secret; this admission story is so painful that I have bottled it up for months and I run away from the thoughts. I cannot bear to process it).
· The onus is on you to believe in your abilities. Irrespective of acceptance or recognition. Know your worth and be true to it.
· Have a winning mindset. I always like to emphasize thinking of the good and worst outcomes. You want to win always, but failure or limitation isn’t always bad. It propels you to be better and learn.
· Keep pushing
· There’s no limit to what you can achieve. Tobi Amusan set two World records in a single day.
Gentle reminder: Becoming a champion at whatever we do isn’t overnight work, it comes with successes, failures, and setbacks that seem like the world is against us.
Ponder on the above but let’s talk about the tears that went along with the national anthem after Tobi Amusan received her medal. First, it was the first time many of us thought of and sang the national anthem in long while. Second, it was an emotional moment that brought tears to our eyes, literally and figuratively. What does this tell us, “We love our country, Nigeria.” We want nothing but the best for her.
Here I am thinking about trust, forgiveness, faith, and boundary-personal space. I know many people take time to allow others to earn their trust, but it’s the opposite for me.
Once my intuition does not tell me otherwise, I trust you first and figure things out however they play out. I’m guessing you’re shaking your heads right now, even feeling bad for me or wondering how gullible of me. I know right. It’s funny how I don’t even give up after being served my first hit. I give you more chances just because I think no one is perfect as we all are striving towards being and doing better (doing this is hard and painful).
For some of us, we don’t retreat when things get tough- we thrive and that’s how we build resilience. For some of us, we cut off, unfriend, or block instantly, and that in itself takes a special kind of skill set to do that (some of us don’t have that skill and courage if I may call it that).
You can forgive someone and yet not accept them back into your life. It’s simply no longer trusting them. I forgive you and I hold no grudge, but we must accept that the relationship or happening is just not understandable or acceptable by both parties. Thus, each person holds on to their belief and that is fine. That has a thing or two with personal healthy boundaries.
As a work in progress, there are times I lash out because of anger. One question is “how do you react when you are angry, when your trust is broken or when your personal boundary is disrespected?”
Roy Lewicki, a lead author of the study and professor emeritus of management and human resources at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business posits that “apologies really do work, but you should make sure you hit as many of the six key components as possible,” The six elements include:
· Expression of regret · Explanation of what went wrong · Acknowledgment of responsibility · Declaration of repentance · Offer of repair · Request forgiveness
Lewicki affirms that at least two of the elements must be presented by the offender for you to think about forgiving or more. In all, give yourself the right to consider yourself first, to consider how the situation affects your peace and mental health. As an act of generosity, forgive, but do not be disrespected.
Seated here looking through my snapshots and like an instant fall, what I never thought could be an inspiration became my muse. There I was in deep thought about life and all its happenings.
“I yearn for my space. It charges me up. Therein I can breathe and see the light”
– Tobi Oloyede
You know how sometimes you feel forgotten and invisible. You remember your vulnerable moments and it seems like you’re just not enough or doing the right things, that’s the kind of moment I’m talking about.
Still seated, lost in my space, there and then it came… I remembered, “El Roi” which means “the God who sees me.” Even the most watchful mother sleeps off on her child. Whatever your religion is, God sees you and all that’s yours, always remember that. I am not writing from a perfect stance, I forget this too, but here I am holding on to the affirmation that he sees me.
Words of Affirmation He sees me, He knows me He sees me, he hears me He sees my struggles, my hard work, my pain He sees my gratitude, He knows it all
When I woke up this morning, writing was not anywhere on my to-do list for the day, but here I am scribbling. I hope you find meaning beyond this superficial short piece. I hope it serves a purpose, I hope it passes a message.
“El Roi – the God who sees me.”
“You carry the message you’ve been seeking, but realization of it is found in healthy retrospection, not among the wilderness of chaotic noise.”
Before we dig in, are you a victim or survivor, or do you know anyone who might fall into one of the categories? I did a thing in 2020, I studied the resilience of some women in Southwest Nigeria who were survivors of Intimate Partner Violence/Domestic Violence. I say survivors because they moved from being victims to survivors and they preferred to be referred to as Survivors. Note, I am not suggesting that males do not experience abuse in the homes, workplaces, or in relationships, my focus at the time was on married women. One important question you might want to ask me is “why women or is it because you’re a woman? But you’re not even married.
To answer the question of Why?
Experiences and preconceptions shape us into the people we are now as I have found in my journey. Wendy Sharer states, “I can encourage new scholars to find topics via their lived experiences because those experiences help us to recognize what is significant, even if we are not able to articulate a rational, ‘neutral’ reason for that significance.” Growing up was not or does not only remain traumatic for me, but it also drives my interest in social research on family and relationships among others. My interest draws, not only from lived experiences, but also from general intellectual interests. I hope you understand my justification.
I know what most researchers might basically focus on is the effect the abuse has on individuals, but I took a step forward to investigate how they cope despite the stress they undergo in their relationships. It is noteworthy that the phenomenon of domestic violence goes beyond a private family issue to a critical social and psychological one.
At the time of the research, most of my participants had left the abusive marriages and had either moved on to another marriage, done better with their lives/careers, or remained single parents. Unfortunately, the dents that the abuse had on them remained for some even if it was not strong. They spoke about their experiences, it was traumatizing for me as a listener/researcher and retraumatizing for them as they share their stories. There were times we had to stop the interview for some participants so they could cry, yes let it out by crying.
Why am I writing all these? I am writing because when I hear stories of such abuse, I am pained, I am touched, and I always wished I could do more. Our upbringing as individuals, our decisions as individuals, our training as parents, our pieces of advice as friends, our government, our culture, our leaders (Church, Mosque, anywhere), our social constructs on family matters, relationships, parenthood, and so on play a significant role in what we see in our society today. For some people, a few of these combinations affect them, while for others all of these affect them.
I have heard “I stayed, or I am staying because of my children,” my dear if you die, the children will still live, and you would not want them going through life trying to live without you. If you are worried about what society will say, no doubt they will talk, but it will be temporal.
My take on what the victim might do
Believe in yourself because the abuser always wants you to feel unworthy or small about yourself.
Seek voices of encouragement-speak up, seek help
Set a boundary line- it won’t be easy trust me (boundaries are not an easy thing for some of us). You just might need to cut the abuser off to live your life.
For those who are not victims
Listen-I say this emphatically, listen to them, take them seriously
Act with wisdom
Be honest-not criticize
In all, respect their boundaries
I say my take because it is my suggestion, my opinion.
Here’s a link to My Research on IPV to read my previous research. It’s a long read but you can use the table of content to go to chapters you find interesting.
“It is not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.”
I have a lot I want to say and here is a warning before you dig into reading, I will be saying a lot in part. This is because the best way to put out my idea is through my podcast “Metamorphosis with Tobi” or on my blog.
Just because it is still Black history month, and we are really pushing for this thing called “Diversity.” I am certain I am not the only one thinking about the spread of the so-called Diversity, especially in February Black History Month. It makes me wonder if the diversity that these companies or schools display on social media is true. You see advertisements, posters, quotes, and all from companies, they use a black person or a person of color just to show diverse and inclusive they are in employing workers in their establishments. I am not oblivious to the reality that yes there are those who are diverse or striving genuinely to do it. I have heard personal stories of how during Black History month, a person of color’s picture will be put up but, such a person is treated otherwise. I know that there are those who are genuine and treat people of color justly, but this is for those who pretend.
Walker-DeVose et al. (2019), “Diversity is reviewed as inherently benefiting white students as ‘students of color are admitted so that they can help White students become more racially tolerant, liven up class dialog, and prepare white students for getting a job in a multicultural, global economy” (p.357). Okay, I am in shock. The educational sphere is not left out. Asides from the issue of being a person of color which naturally makes you a minority student, have you tried counting how many of your professors are people of color. I may be wrong, but I am aware that these things sometimes have little to do with departments. For instance, we may have more Asians in Chemistry or mostly white people in the criminal justice department.
Porter et al. (2020) research draws my attention, “Just being present on campus in full-time faculty positions does not mean Black women are welcomed with open arms into the academy, given the necessary support to progress through tenure and promotion, or paid equally for their labor” (p.678). On average, once you are not white, the struggle is real. Multiple jeopardies is a form of oppression that a black woman deals with all her life. Even in academia, her being, survival, visibility, and relevance are based on a narrow and sectional set of expectations from her white, male colleagues. Then, this brings me to the issue of citational politics.
It is interesting to know that citational politics is an issue in 2021. “Cite Black Women is a Black feminist intellectual project, praxis, and global movement to decolonize the practice of citation by redressing epistemic erasure of Black women from the literal and figurative bibliographies of the world” (Smith 2021, p.12). If we keep citing white, male authors or a particular set of people, it means that knowledge is drawn from a limited/divided set of experiences. Thus, higher education is in dire need of decolonization. You do it, I do it, we do it unintentionally.
Note, even the term “Person of Color” infuriates me because I wonder if being black indicates the color black, then white is what, not a color?
What do you think about slavery? If you think it has ended, then you are misled. Bryan Stevenson says, ‘slavery didn’t end in 1865, it just evolved.’ I am angry, and my anger is a response to injustice. My anger is not that of the whites’ “controlling image or stereotype” that is being used to naturally describe a black woman as an angry woman.
I think I just put my keyboard to rest here, all cannot be said in one post. I leave to write another day.
Porter, C. J., Moore, C. M., Boss, G. J., Davis, T. J., & Louis, D. A. (2020). To Be Black Women and Contingent Faculty: Four Scholarly Personal Narratives. Journal of Higher Education, 91(5), 674-697. https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2019.1700478
Walker-DeVose, D. C., Dawson, A., Schueths, A. M., Brimeyer, T., & Freeman, J. Y. (2018, November 30). Southern assumptions: Normalizing racialized structures at a university in the Deep South. Race, Ethnicity and Education. Retrieved February 21, 2022, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1206633
This post was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated.
Black history month gives you an opportunity to understand black history, what it used to be, what it means now, racism, slavery, and black achievement. To understand the present, it is vital that we engage ourselves with history. Importantly, this year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness. This theme focuses on the significance of Black Health and Wellness by giving credence to black scholars and how healthcare underserves the black community.
I must confess that in all my few years of study, this year, I really put my heart into studying the history of the black community. I must say, it is hard to be black and much harder to be a black woman. Hence, the justification for Black Feminism (a topic for another day). To have a slight grasp, you can read about the works of the like of Maria Miller Stewart, Sojourner Truth, Ida Wells Barnett, the Combahee River Collective among others.
Since 1976, Black History Month is celebrated each February in the United States. This time, February, is allocated to celebrating the accomplishments of African and African American descent. In the 1920s, it started as a week-long celebration and now has inspired several communities and events. We have communities, museums, government agencies, campuses and so on come together to acknowledge the contributions and impacts of African descents not only in the United State, but the world at large.
The Black History Month 2021 was themed, “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity” which examines Africans in diaspora, and the expansion of Black families across the United States.
The Man behind the “Black History Month”
As the son of former slaves, Carter G. Woodson grew up working in quarries and coal mines. He is regarded as the pioneer of the movement/vision as I would like to call it. He is the author of several books that focus on blacks and their contributions to the development of America.
According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, “Dr. Woodson often said that he hoped the time would come when Negro History Week would be unnecessary; when all Americans would willingly recognize the contributions of Black Americans as a legitimate and integral part of the history of this country.” We look forward to that time when we would see ourselves as One-humanity and do away with the discriminatory terms “whites/blacks and so on.”
Are you like me, wondering why the month of February and not any other month?
Woodson strategically chose the month of February and specifically the second week because of two important personnel whom he respected. To him, Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln greatly influenced the black American populace and their birthday were on the 14th and 12th of February respectively.
Even as we celebrate Black History month, I remain bothered with a few questions. Is Black History Month is still relevant? Is it still a medium for the anticipated change? Or has Black History Month become a time when the media put up their black materials and everyone around just want to show off or even just post something on social media?
There remains a chasm within the black community that needs to be closed not only for us to be able to think about how far we have come, but how farther we can go together.
“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” —Desmond Tutu
It is no news that Lagos is for the crazy at heart, just as a friend of mine sums it, it is a dramatic state in all areas. This book is a collection of twelve short stories about the unique form of madness that goes on in Lagos especially among men. It tells relatable stories about the hurdles women go through to find love in Lagos. It’s hard to find love in Lagos, if you do, it becomes harder to keep. It cannot be overemphasized that the men in Lagos are indeed mad, and Damilare Kuku just wittingly underscores it in this book. These relatable short stories range from situations about opportunists, cheats, married men, mummy’s boy, to narcissists.
No doubt, astonishment, and belly laugh from this book will leave you in stitches. I was both satisfied and hungry for more. Let me slightly introduce you to Damilare Kuku’s crazy world.
“Cuck-Up,” the first story is about a woman with a deadbeat husband who manipulates her into sleeping with another man for money and ends up gaslighting her and the twist is, he cheats on her with younger girls. At the end of this story, my stomach is filled with butterflies as she realizes her worth during the family meeting set for her because she told her husband she was going to cut off his penis. “One last thing—if Lukumon doesn’t move out of this house, I will cut off his penis and use it for money rituals.” Go, sis! Sense is coming your way.
In “The Gigolo from Isale-Eko,” the story of Ignatius, a chronic womanizer who goes to any extent all in the name of having a woman. He sets off quickly once his aim is achieved. He marries and unmarries as he pleases- let’s say he goes with the flow.
One of my favorites is the story titled “Ode-Pus Complex.” It is about a Yoruba lady, Yejide, and an Igbo guy, Uche. If you’re familiar with Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory in his book entitled The Interpretation of Dreams, you will have a clear understanding of what to find in this story. Uche is clearly a mummy’s boy, who finds it uneasy to break ties with “mummy.” For her so-called prized son, Uche, mummy sets standards and conditions that Yejide must meet in order to marry her son. This mummy’s boy thingy infuriates my stomach.
The themes to find in the pages of this book are spousal deceit, tribalism, gender, adultery, bisexuality, and class. Personally, some of the stories had an abrupt ending that left me puzzled. The sexual content was somewhat exhausting. Yet, the experiences of madness and the energy in this book are supreme.
Do not worry, I will not over-spill the tea. I just wanted you to have a taste of the book. There are several other stories in the book, but I must remind you that this is a relatable masterpiece. Lagos was, is, and remains a jungle not only for the brave at heart but mainly for the “mad” at heart.
If you are someone like me who does not like to read lengthy stories or are a slow reader, try this book and you will thank me later. You can get the book from Amazon or click here
Have you been in a situation where suddenly you realize that you were never what you thought you were? It could be in a romantic relationship, among friends, or just in a situation where you’re the plan B. You’re sought after only because the first option didn’t work out. Hear me, you can be the second option and be the best option, but if it makes you feel bad/less about yourself, then there is a problem. You are a priority, don’t forget that. You are valuable.
“Everyone has the ability to hurt. It’s the choice that matters.” ― Yvonne Woon, Dead Beautiful
As a master’s student, I was convinced that I wanted to research into the lives of women who had or are experiencing intimate partner violence or domestic violence. You may be wondering why such an area despite the numerous grey research areas available. I say boldly that my personal experiences and intellectual interests captivated me.
Having listened to victims’ stories, used them for my research by giving them a voice, I would think that would be it. One would think I have my thesis already and I can probably forget or move on like that was just a phase that could appear like it was never there. Remember, I mentioned personal experiences, it remains some sort of trauma that has stuck with me since I listened to their stories (this can be both secondary trauma and vicarious trauma).
Wondering why I am writing this, I recently noticed myself slightly changing. I may not be one that is super audible when it comes to issues of domestic violence, IPV, or child abuse, but it remains a painful and significant part of me. The idea that someone who claims to love you (or even a place you call home, which is supposed to be a haven but is not) is the same one who intentionally hurt you is hard to wrap one’s mind around.
As a young girl, I had seen many images of what IPV/domestic violence looks like. From images of battered and bruised individuals to stories that had been told. Trust me, my research interest is valid. Recently, I have become a somewhat angry person when people talk or take likely the issues of violence. To an extent that whenever I see movies with domestic violence/IPV scenes, I take it so seriously that anyone around me would question why I am so serious when it is just a movie. Personally, it goes beyond just a storyline, it is a form of literature, and it cannot be overemphasized that it is a reflection of humanity; our experiences and opinions.
Kudos to everyone out there pushing for justice, recovery, and a sane society via help organizations, non-profits, government organizations, and so on who take walks and talks for this cause. It is with humility that I say this, “I hope you know that the scars and trauma from experiencing violence go beyond taking walks, wearing customized clothing, carrying placards or banners, or sharing even pamphlets. It is intense and immeasurable.” I hope that the next time you want to do any of those, that you deeply have a sense of understanding.
Then again I ask, “What do you know about people who have or are experiencing domestic violence or intimate partner violence or even child abuse?”…think about it.
Reviewof ‘Notes on Grief’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In many Western cultures, particularly Great Britain and in the United States, the grief memoir remains a sought-after genre due to its form of public morning and occasional self-therapy. Here, the bereaved is in search of meaning amid pain or hurt. The kind of pain that comes with the death of a parent, child, sibling, or a loved one. This pain no doubt leaves one bereft of meaning and turns one’s world upside down such that language itself becomes somewhat useless. How can words fulfil its responsibility of giving meaning, meaning to silence, meaning to a shapeless encounter. Emily Dickinson engulfs the effort of language’s attempt to give meaning in her words, “To attempt to speak of what has been, would be impossible. Abyss has no biographer.”
For over two decades, autobiographical writing, talk shows about deep life details, especially memoir of loss has emerged as a notable literary genre, breaking silence by giving voice to loss/grief in a broad and open-minded way. It is noteworthy that grief/loss memoirs are highly relational. Grief remains a reality or experience that tries to annihilate the expressive role of language and boundaries of time such that influential memoirs like Blake Morrison’s And When Did You Last See Your Father? Marion Coutts’s The Iceberg among others grappled with expounding answers to it. It cannot be said affirmatively that the dead is gone or the relationship with them is over. We have our times and experiences with them differently.
Upon losing her father, in her slim and agonized book, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes in a poetic form that mirrors her fractured self and produces a style of mourning that is both loving and haunting. Adichie launches into expounding her understanding of grief as brutal form of education. She describes, “you learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping for language.” To her, words become wanting such that the show of sympathy from her extended family and friends become counterproductive and somewhat annoying. When she is told that her father lived long (died at 88), she is slightly consoled, but she maintains that “Age is irrelevant in grief; at issue is not how old he was but how loved.” To say that the death of a person means being in a better place is rather presumptuous. “How would you know?” she asks.
In this book, she chastises herself as she recalls her previous ways of consoling grieving friends. She was reminded by a friend of the words she used in her book Half of a Yellow Sun “Grief was the celebration of love, those who could feel real grief were lucky to have loved.” Adichie finds her words “exquisitely painful.”
To understand her pain, Adichie uses her daughter demonstration:
“My four year old daughter says I scared her. She got down on her knees to demonstrate, her small clenched fist rising and falling, and her mimicry makes me see myself as I was: utterly unraveling, screaming and pounding the floor. The news is like a vicious uprooting.”
If you have lost a loved one at any point, you would understand Adichie’s guilt and anger. How she could have averted the illness, taken better care of him or just make it all never happen (the death). This happens while grieving, we keep blaming ourselves about things we could have done that we never did even though death is beyond our power.
To some degree, reflecting on her father’s life gave some form of comfort which is typical while grieving. As a writer, Adichie understands that words are not enough to explain one’s feelings as she writes: “You learn how much grief is about language, the failure of language and the grasping for language.”
Adichie holds that communal mourning is overwhelming (even though solace is feasible in community), but it remains a value in the Igbo society and in Africa. Individuals come visiting, retell stories and write things about the dead in a book. She becomes utterly annoyed and thinks, “Why are you coming into our house to write in that alien notebook? How dare you make this thing true?” For her these acts make it feel real that her father is dead as she prefers to remain in denial. The only word that made sense to Adichie is Ndo, meaning sorry in Igbo.
It is obvious that Adichie wants her dad back; she is saying goodbye, she is saying she is sorry and at the same time saying do not go. All these are possible because writing a grief memoir shows there is an end, just as Jacques Derrida puts it, when you write, you ask for forgiveness.
Literature remains a crucial aspect and plays a reflective role on culture and society as it indirectly offers a therapeutic path to readers. Emphasizing the sociocultural role of literature, Isabel Allende’s memoir addressed to the author’s daughter, Paula, Shapiro (1998) maintained:
Although most psychotherapists read literary works as a means of enriching our own emotional and intellectual lives, we are less likely to read such writing for lessons on how to conduct treatment, yet the work of creative writers, especially their personal narratives or memoirs, can offer extremely useful examples of life story vision and revision as a source of emotional healing. … The explosion of interest in memoirs suggests our own society’s loss of shared stories and the longing to communicate and learn from the insights we and others have gained through self-reflection. Every time I want to explore a new dimension of psychology, I turn to both “literatures,” that is, both the scientific and the literary, for the insights that will shape my understanding. (p. 93)
Notes on Grief remains a piece of art larger than its size, universal in its experience of loss of a loved one, and the struggle to grieve especially during a pandemic when physical meeting is limited.
Over time, I have been in situations where I had to let go without even letting the other party know where or how they hurt me. My life is no doubt one that is full of vicissitudes just as anyone’s. My downs have been deeper than most, but I always found my way back up. I have come to realize that surviving dissension with others or oneself is different from healing or finding peace. The process of surviving is not a loveable one, it is tough(I say that affirmatively). There are times I ask myself if being a survivor is worth it and this is because someone once said to me, “what’s the big deal in being a survivor? Life will surely end.” That question perfectly resonated with me. I sought for answers. Surviving is not a child’s play, it is serious work. Not everyone learns a lesson or two from their survival process; most people just go through it. Therefore, whatever the pain or experience you survive, there is always the phase of forgiveness. Yes, forgiveness. I am sure some are thinking what an easy task that is (just being sarcastic). However, without mincing words, forgiveness is a key to inner peace and growth. Think about that for a few seconds.
Essentially, forgiveness is explained as the act of exonerating an offender. How many times do I have to forgive an offender who repeatedly hurt me? (You may be asking yourself this question just as I am).
In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren explains that many people reluctantly show mercy not because they do not want to, but because they do not understand the difference between forgiveness and trust. I have learned that forgiving others on the one hand must be instant, whether or not a person deserves it.
Trust, on the other hand is futuristic (with future behavior) and it possibly takes time to be built or rebuilt. For Warren, “If someone hurts you repeatedly, you are commanded by God to forgive them instantly, but you are not expected to trust them immediately, and you are not expected to continue allowing them to hurt you.” (I honestly struggle with this, I give too many unnecessary chances )
It is noteworthy that Forgiveness isn’t condoning what the other person did or sweeping things under the rug. It is also not necessarily forgetting what happened (I am really guilty of this- I most likely will remember what you did vividly or even what you said word for word years later). Depending on the situation, forgiveness itself may require a time of healing.
Steps to Forgiveness 1. Accept the pain Until you acknowledge the pain, you cannot work through the hurt. You are free to cry, go through feelings of resentment as they affirm that something is wrong. Do not numb the emotion.
2. Deliberately reflect Take your time to think through the situation. You can keep a journal where you pour out your feelings or speak with a trusted individual (with emphasis on trust).
3. Put yourself in the offender’s shoes Think about times you have erred. How did the wrongdoing make you feel? This in particular helps me. It necessarily might not be helpful to you, but you could try it. If you were in the person’s shoes, what would you have done better.
4. Remember God’s forgiveness and reflect on that.
5.l Let go of the hurt.
6. Continue to forgive. I have come to realize forgiveness is a continuous process. Letting go can no doubt be a hectic task, but just one thing I love to talk about- intentionality. Be intentional and practice it. You can always come back with your testimonies.
It is noteworthy that the concept of forgiveness goes beyond any ethical or vague term. As opposed to being a moral concept, it is psychological. To truly forgive and continue life’s journey, it is important to understand the counterintuitive psychology of forgiveness-peace and freedom.
Take charge of your life, it starts from within you.
It is much easy for us to make changes to things that we see physically like our weight, shape, hair, face, among others, than to those things we feel or basically cannot touch. You might want to criticize that position, but we always have options to change things we see physically or things outside of us. Predominantly, when we think about change, it never comes naturally to think about starting from within, rather, we think about things around us/environment. We mostly hold the position that until things around us become different, only then can we feel better.
Without mincing words, that is the very perspective that debars us from taking the necessary steps or even making the needed changes to living a happy life. As opposed to blaming the world/environment around us, we can take actions by asking ourselves the pertinent questions; “Why do I keep doing the things I do?” “In what ways are my actions, thoughts, inactions perpetuating my life?” “How am I contributing to the world around me?” “Why do I keep doing the same things that leave me unhappy?”
I have come to the conclusion that life will continue to serve you similar situations until you retrospect and do something different from within. I know you are wondering what exactly it is I want to address regarding emotional independence. By emotional independence, I mean the ability to control your life as well as your stress levels under harsh or adverse circumstances.
Changing unamiable behaviors and perceptions and accepting ourselves enable us to find the needed strength to create that inner calm that we require. Emotional independence, therefore, can be referred to as the RESILIENCE that sprouts from within to face whatever situation or circumstance. It is building your sense of self without having to depend on others’ perception of you, who you should be, what you should do, and how you should be it or do it. (This is important because as individuals we mostly think about how others should be and not them being who they are. For instance, a child that keeps complaining of a father who never treats him/her rightly. How about you think that the father is a being on his own and the best he can be is what he is. Note, I am not applauding irresponsibility, but emphasizing letting people just be themselves)
I know that talk is cheap, it is easier said, easier read, easier written than done, but intentional practice goes a long way. Change is constant, yet it is a hectic step to take. How do I become emotionally independent (a few steps, you can add yours as you go)
Practice mindfulness (Pay attention to things)
Take responsibility for your self (Stop blaming others)
Understand your values and goals
Know that your choices make up who you are
Be intentional about knowing yourself through every form of relationship (Family, romantic relationships, friendships and all).
What really makes your day beautiful? What exactly do you think about when you go to bed at night? Do you smile looking back at something you encountered during the day? It just might be something so small, and in there lies beauty.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter. Things ranging from your use of words, tone, hospitality, passing compliments, reactions to an irate situation, to just how you check up on others. Little things fill up the space in our hearts. #littlethings #life #makeithappen #isaidwhatisaid #refreshwithtobi
Here’s a poem in two parts, written about 2 years ago.
It is funny how the so-called silhouette challenge reminded me of my then unfinished poem.
The Silhouette of Regret (Part 1 above) is a piece on the description of Akande’s past- mistakes and regrets. He lives with them even though he tries to play the denial game.
The Akande’s Peace (Part 2 below) is the hope he clinges on regarding his past. Despite his beliefs, he come to find something that is greater than his past.
Undoubtedly for some people, there are things in the past that remain untold. There are things or mistakes that still bite you till date and you could find that solace that’s above the experiences. Take your time to heal and give room for better days ahead. Be Intentional!!!
I warmly welcome everyone into this fresh start/New year. Interestingly, it is just another day/month just as every other. Beyond the euphoria, nothing is different, nothing changes. It’s a mere social construction- another day (January 1st) on the calendar. You’re free to be excited just as I am.
If you do follow my podcast (Metamorphosis with Tobi), you will be aware of our last episode for the year 2020 titled “Gratitude 2020” where we did listen to different individuals’ gratitude statements for the year. Still in that light, our first post on here will focus on Gratitude. Based on all the happenings in 2020, I can certainly say that the one constant thing to be grateful for is Life. For me, that remains the only constant thing and the motivating spirit for the year 2021.
I would like you to pause and think for a few seconds about what Gratitude is in your own perspective (I am watching). For me, Gratitude is both an affirmation and acknowledgment of any kind or good act that you receive. It is a feeling that erupts from within you and most importantly, it a conscious Choice.
Marelisa Fabrega, the author of How to Live Your Best Life – The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List maintains that “it means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given.” Psychological and behavioral research show that gratitude plays an important role on our mental health. Without doubt, being grateful/the act of thanksgiving make people more happy-it leaves you in a happy state and this invariably plays on your mental health. It improves interpersonal relationships. In their research, Wood et al. conclude that “gratitude is related to a variety of clinically relevant phenomena, including psychopathology (particularly depression), adaptive personality characteristics, positive social relationships, and physical health (particularly stress and sleep). ”(1) In addition, Dr. Emmons a gratitude researcher showed in one of his studies that people who exhibit gratitude are predisposed to being more creative, resilient (bounce back more from harsh experiences and adversity) and enjoy better social relationships. For him, “to say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”(2)
How then do I remain constantly grateful this year and really make gratitude a personal journey?
Gratitude journal: Keeping a gratitude journal can serve as a daily remembrance of benefits, goodness, and all.
Visual reminder: It is noteworthy that forgetfulness and lack of awareness are two factors that limit our show of gratitude. Therefore, having things to visually remind you will do.
Bad Situations: Always remember the bad and ugly situations as they strengthen your consciousness of the beautiful ones. For instance, when you remember how difficult life used to be, you would come to better understand the benefits you now enjoy.
Practice and be Intentional about showing gratitude via different creative means. You could drop a note of thanks randomly and just appreciate people for their impact on your life. Conclusion Once you become intentional about being grateful even for the small things, you will notice that you begin to find joy and happiness easily. The little things you used to take for granted will have meaning to you. There is a popular Yoruba saying translated into English “when a child is grateful for yesterday’s kindness, he is open to receive yet another.” I agree with that, but I would advise to live beyond being grateful in order to receive more, but because gratitude has now become a lifestyle for you. You will unconsciously become one to always see beauty even in ugly situation.
Pledge: I choose today to live a life full of Gratitude-I am gratitude personified.
This menace should be attended to because women, especially through their resiliency and hidden strength, can positively affect the growth and development of the nation and the world at large. They are homemakers, custodians of social, cultural, political, and inherent values of the society, and sustainable change is best achieved through them. Without the involvement of women, community development, cooperation and effective participation is impossible. With regards to these, women deserve better and favorable treatment, but the reverse is usually the case in Nigeria. Intimate partner violence affects the physical, social, and psychological wellbeing of the abused women and even that of their children. With regards to personal experiences while growing up in the Southwestern part of Nigeria, undoubtedly, this calls for intervention.
In the course of undertaking this research, I interviewed a couple of survivors as they preferred to be called survivors as opposed to victims. Most agreed that they were and are angry. Derrick Silove et al. “maintain that mental health professionals have documented the occurrence of explosive forms of anger amongst survivors of gross human rights violations, including those exposed to sexual abuse and intimate partner violence.” ) They further posit that exposure to gross human rights violations provokes feelings of extreme rage, particularly when victims are incapable of resisting. Frustrations in the post-conflict environment (lack of effective justice, socio-economic deprivations) may compound feelings of anger, with environmental triggers precipitating episodes of overt rage. The emotion of anger has no doubt received growing attention in the general field of mental health with extant studies focusing both on clinic and population samples. In the field of traumatic stress, a focus on anger has been somewhat overshadowed by the emphasis given to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), particularly because that category incorporates symptoms of irritability and anger. There is evidence, however, that anger may be distinguished from other symptoms of PTSD in following a more protracted course.
Without doubt, trauma affects the wellbeing of an individual, irrespective of the type and level of the overwhelming incident. Women who have previously experienced some form of trauma such as physical or sexual abuse live with a mental illness. Intimate partner violence causes adverse effects on the psychological and emotional state of survivors such as anxiety, panic attacks, substance abuse, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Dominick LaCapra, a researcher in trauma studies, refers to trauma as “a disruptive experience that disarticulates the self and creates a hole in existence.” Survivors become weakened and are propelled into a state of confusion, thereby causing them to feel disorganized.
Intimate partner violence targeted against women undoubtedly leads to gendered trauma that affects women’s economic, cultural, political, and social rights. The patriarchal and oppressive social structures of the Nigerian society result in gender trauma. Anastasia Gage and Nicholas Thomas affirm that “gender ideology that supports husband dominance and wife beating can undermine women’s structural gains and jeopardize their health and contributions to economic development.” In Nigeria, women are beaten and physically abused by their spouses on a regular basis and these attacks leave them physically and mentally disfigured.
On gender trauma in African women, Sylvia Tamale notes that it is pertinent to move from occurrences of gendered trauma to equality as inequality hinders women’s growth in the society and as such, they are traumatized. Researchers posit that there are different types of intimate partner violence, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse among others. Cathy Humphreys and Ravi Thiara admit that there is a relationship between the mental health of domestic violence survivors and their experience of traumatic events such that it becomes so crucial that they experience anxiety, depression, emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among others. Jacqueline Golding’s study presents the mean prevalence of mental health problems among abused women to be 47.6% in 18 studies of depression, 17.9% in 13 studies of suicidality, 63.8% in 11 studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 18.5% in 10 studies of alcohol abuse, and 8.9% in four studies of drug abuse. Jacqueline Campbell admits that “women in developing countries also report mental-health problems from abuse, with 70% of cases of emotional distress in Nicaragua attributed to intimate partner violence, and depression and anxiety reported in battered women in Pakistan.” Obviously, the adverse effects of intimate partner violence across cultures cannot be overemphasized.
Though this research is still in progress, it is important to note that if we truly seek an end to intimate partner violence, it is required of us to firmly understand the experiences of survivors and their needs for improvement. When we decide to look away from a social justice phenomenon such as this, we allow injustice to thrive. The anger to fight against violence remains a positive powerful energy for change. Again, I am angry yet unapologetic because I seek strength and liberation.
Silove, Derrick & Brooks, Robert & Bateman-Steel, Catherine & Steel, Zachary & Hewage, Kalhari & Rodger, James & Soosay, Ian. (2009). Explosive anger as a response to human rights violations in post-conflict Timor-Leste. Social science & medicine (1982). 69. 670-7. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.06.030.
 Writing History, Writing Trauma (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2014): 41.
I am angry, yet unapologetic about it. We tend to think of anger as an abominable, negative emotion, but research finds that anger is not bereft of positive sides. My anger is a motivating force in the form of positive energy geared towards fighting against all forms of intimate partner violence. Domestic violence is a global phenomenon that is manifested in all strata of the society, cutting across religious, political, racial, economic, and cultural spectrums. It is noteworthy that domestic violence is an umbrella term with which intimate partner violence (IPV) is a part. Scholars such as Collins Nwabunike and Eric Tenkorang maintain that most Nigerian women have experienced domestic violence irrespective of the ethnic group and the part of the country in which they reside. However, the Southwest region is the focus of this post, it does not mean that is the only region where intimate partner violence is rampant as it is realizable in other regions of the country and the world at large. Violence in the family comprises social, mental, and psychological problems with adverse consequences for survivors. It leads to changes in the social and psychological functioning of the survivors. My anger is mainly for the imposition and the infringement of the human rights of women (this is not to say that men themselves are not victims, but violence against women is more rampant and that it the focus of this post). If you feel uncomfortable with the denial and subjugation that women are forced to undergo, therefore my anger (energy) and yours can be used to tackle violence against women in all forms.
As in most other African countries, Nigeria is one with high prevalence of this phenomenon and the abused women are culturally expected to be totally submissive to their husbands. This norm has brainwashed women to the extent that they accept and justify the abuse perpetrated on them by their spouses. Nwabunike and Tenkorang give an example of the Tiv tribe of Nigeria who are of the belief that wife battering is an indication of love, and the women have been fraternized to accept and support it. This shows how women are violated by their spouses and are left to endure it. Violence in the family comprises social, mental, and psychological problems with adverse consequences for survivors. It leads to changes in the social and psychological functioning of the survivors.
The imposition and the infringement of their human rights raises the question of how female survivors in Nigeria cope with such adversity and the effects of gendered trauma. Most researchers find that female Nigerian survivors of abuse are strong despite the harsh conditions in which they find themselves. I argue primarily that they exemplify different coping mechanisms to uphold and recreate their lives through resilience. Also, that their resilience is not just a means of being quiet due to non-disclosure, but hidden strength. Importantly, they do not only depict hidden strength, but also develop agency and empower themselves irrespective of the structures (gender, class, customs etc.) that limit them.
The menace of domestic violence with a focus on intimate partner violence is a global problem that occurs not only in Nigeria, which is a developing country, but also in developed countries. It is strengthened by a culture which allows women to be subordinate in the family, thereby giving ultimate power to men. It is a widespread issue that shows little or no sign of alleviation and the forms in which it takes include physical, sexual, emotional, and mental. The Nigerian Government is beginning to investigate it, but the situation seems unattended to because of the patriarchal structure of the society which leaves these women at the receiving end. A vivid example is the recent case of one Mr. Pius Angbo (a Channels TV reporter) who was called out by his wife (Ifeanyi Angbo) over a long history of battering in their six years of marriage. In sum, the Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State intervenes and reconciles the couple. What I see at play or questions that arise are that “Did or will he be convicted for his crimes? “Will the wife/husband be made to see a therapist?” among others.
Allan Johnson affirms that a patriarchal society is one that bestows privileges and power to men, thereby allowing for male domination. This, therefore, creates inequality between men and women. Men tend to fill top positions across all institutions ranging from political, social, and religious settings. Nigerian female survivors of intimate partner violence are encouraged to accept their fate as it is taken as a normal phenomenon as the society stigmatizes any woman who attempts divorce or separation. Catherine Oluyemo and Tolulope Ola also assert that patriarchy allows for the subjugation and subservience of women and as such, leads to the infringement of their rights. Interestingly, survivors are expected to strive on in the abusive relationship like nothing wrong ever happened or is happening. This affirms how the societal inequality has eaten deep into the family which naturally should serve as a haven. Generally, the family is known to be the basic unit of the society with a strong tie, but it is disheartening that violence erupts from it. Patricia Hill Collins maintains that “one dimension of family as a privileged exemplar of intersectionality lies in how it reconciles the contradictory relationship between equality. . . the traditional family ideally projects a model of equality.” She argues that family units serve as an instrument for the violation of women. The intersectionality that arises from the family unit leaves one questioning the idea of family as a setting where love erupts, and security abounds. Research suggests that the issue of women being violated and subjugated in society is an outcome of a longstanding belief and a global idea that men are superior to women. Therefore, I argue that gender inequality is the basis for all forms of violence against women in the society.
[To be continued…]
Silove, Derrick & Brooks, Robert & Bateman-Steel, Catherine & Steel, Zachary & Hewage, Kalhari & Rodger, James & Soosay, Ian. (2009). Explosive anger as a response to human rights violations in post-conflict Timor-Leste. Social science & medicine (1982). 69. 670-7. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.06.030.
In this appealing and perceptive book, Eviatar Zerubavel explains how the words we use and do not use reinforce dominant cultural norms. For instance, when we mark “the best female basketball player,” “Black Entertainment Television network,” and “family man,” but leave their counterparts unmarked, we thereby assume them to be ordinary by default. What we mark or leave unmarked is not a matter of personal opinions rather; we base these decisions on our socially constructed, norms, traditions, and social conventions.
The things we assume and take for granted differ across social institutions and cultures in society. Zerubavel shows how marking certain practices, identities, and ideas help certain groups maintain cultural dominance, including—the power to control what others take for granted. The most potent form of marking is known as labeling, which establishes a semiotic asymmetry between the “marked” and the “unmarked.” For example, bridges marked as “Pedestrian Bridges” signal a difference from regular bridges that no one marks as “Motorable Bridges.” In Nigeria, one may find a label for “children’s church” and no label marking “adult’s church.” These obvious distinctions are taken for granted and therefore go unquestioned. They also vary according to culture. For instance, a Nigerian coming to America may not be able to tell whether smoking is permitted anywhere unless signs are indicating whether or not it is prohibited. Zerubavel explains situational variability, as the things we assume by default and take for granted vary not only cross-culturally, but also sub-culturally. A vivid example is how the most revered day of the week for Christians is Sunday and for Muslims is Friday.
When we bring our assumptions to the surface, the results can be both funny and sad. A classic example is Hofstadter’s (2001) riddle about a fatal car accident in which the driver dies immediately on the spot, and his son is rushed to a nearby hospital, after that seeing him, a startled surgeon exclaims: “I cannot operate on this boy – he is my son.” The most straightforward answer would be that the surgeon must be the boy’s mother. I tried this riddle with some friends on different occasions, but it was difficult for them to decipher as eight of ten never thought of the surgeon as a female. Their failure to think of the surgeon as a woman exposes how we take things for granted and how we assume “surgeon” naturally implies a man. Language plays a major role in the process of othering such that whenever we define something, we also indicate what it is not. For instance, when we create compounds words like African American or Religious Democrat, it implies that the person is not a typical American or Democrat respectively and it results in the passive construction of the normative case.
Zerubavel concludes with a fascinating chapter, “Language and Cultural Change.” It is conventional wisdom that language has its roots in culture; we learn to and mark things according to our speech community. In the case of giving consent between opposite sexes in the American Sexual ethics, there has been a great shift as silence used to be a tacit “Yes” but recently if the woman does not give an explicit “Yes,” then it means a “No” which is outright denial. The change, in other words, includes a significant assumption reversal about the meaning of silence. He examines the faults of our language and challenges our understanding of social life. Taken for Granted is a fascinating guide on how language sustains and aggravates social inequalities. Zerubavel’s broad-minded analysis has the power to shift the readers’ worldviews.
However, his research is detailed, but his google based results vary according to location. For example, his illustration with Google search on the terms non-Western and non-Eastern with 3,020,000 and 19,900 respectively. With regards to location, these google search results vary predominantly. Nevertheless, these are little points as Taken for Granted requires us to acknowledge our biases and how we communicate them — whether we understand the implication of what we are saying or not.
An important takeaway from this book is that language itself can betray us. It could trick us into revealing things about others without using words. This is because not only do the words we use carry power, the unused words themselves are sometimes more powerful.
References Eviatar Zerubavel. Taken for Granted: The Remarkable Power of the Unremarkable, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018. 160 pp. $19.95 cloth. ISBN: 9780691177366.
Hofstadter, Douglas R. (2001).” Changes in Default Words and Images Engendered by the Rising Consciousness”. Pp. 112-113 in Jodi O’Brien and Peter E. Kollock (eds.), The Production of Reality: Essays and Readings on Social Interaction, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.
In the South-Western part (Yorubaland) of Nigeria, there are various types of names. According to Oyeronke Ouewunmi, customarily, Yoruba names were not gender-specific and as such, males and females bore the same names. But now, names themselves are beginning to describe gender. Although there are different categories of Oríkì such as Oríkì Orile (family/lineage praise poetry), Oríkì ilu (town/community praise poetry), Oríkì of Dieties (which supply information on deities’ preferences, characteristics, taboos, and exploits) among others. Today we are focusing on Oríkì soki. Oríkì soki is gender-specific even though they do not align with the logic of the practices of naming in Yoruba. These are among the names that are given to an individual during the eight-day naming ceremony in most but not all parts of Yorubaland. These names are informed by a number of factors such as circumstances of birth, position of the child in the line of siblings, and the level of success/wealth of the family at the time of the child’s birth.
Oríkì is known as praise poetry or panegyric. The Oríkì soki is a kind of name used in a unique manner and always has its meaning visibly embedded in it. It is a kind of name that is used as an endearment or to placate an individual when hurt. It is noteworthy that with the Yoruba culture is the Oríkì (praise poetry). Every tribe and every household has its own Oríkì soki just as each individual has his or her own Oríkì. Each name is given to individuals for symbolic reasons.
Enjoy the glossary of poetic names below (Here is a short version of the list of names available)
• Abeke –One that is begged to be care for or pampered. • Akanke – One who is especially cherished or pampered. • Àlàké – One that circumstances had to be overcome to take care of her. • Ayinke – One meant to praise and pet. • Àbèbí – One given birth to after a lot of persuasions (probably a difficult birth). • Amope – One whose knowledge is complete. • Àbèní – One we begged to have i.e. a child that was begged for to have or born (from God or, more often traditionally, the gods). • Ànìké – One born to be pampered. • Abegbe – A child that we begged to carry. • Adubi – One we struggled to birth. Usually, given to a baby born via breech birth. • Àshàké/Asake – One picked or selected to be pampered or cherished. • Ajoke – One who is jointly cherished or jointly beloved or meaning meant to be taken care of by all. • Adunni/Aduni – It could mean a joy to have or one we struggled to have. • Asabi –It means one selected for birth. • Apeke – One called or born to be cared for or pampered. The name is usually followed by soothing words and songs. • Àdùké – One that people will fight over the privilege to care for her and pamper her. • Ayoka –One who causes joy.
• Akanbi – It means one that is consciously or deliberately born. • Alabi – It means one born to the white cloth (of Ọbàtálá). • Ayinla – A child meant to be praised, feted, and disciplined. • Àjàní – Yoruba Oriki name meaning a child we fought for to have. It is a name given to a son that is valued and cherished because of the victory fought and overcame to have him. • Adisa – The literal meaning of this Oriki is one bundled up and spread to dry. • Ajadi – The end of a conflict. • Akanni – One that is special to have. • Alani – One we survived to have. • Ayinde – One who arrives when praised. • Adigun – The perfectionist. • Àkànde Àgàn – Yoruba Oriki name meaning favourite of the prince. • Ajala – One who has fought and survived. • Akande – One who purposefully came. • Alade – One who survives to arrive. • Àjàgbé – One we fought to carry. • Akangbe – One consciously or deliberately carried. • Akanmu – One who is personally chosen. • Atanda – One created to shine brightness. • Àkànní – Yoruba Oriki name meaning “met only once to have this child.” It is also a Yoruba Oriki given to a first male child. • Àkànjí – One whose touch gives life. • Ariyo – One with whom we rejoice at his sight
Your culture to an extent explains your identity. Irrespective of your tribe, embrace your cultural heritage. Since culture is not static, strive to improve them.
Your words have meaning, your names carry power-Tobi Oloyede
The list is inexhaustible, feel free to add yours.
Source: Oyewumi, Oyeronke, “To Gender or Not to Gender: Making Sense of Oriki Soki in the Yoruba Naming System (April 12, 2013).” https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343229 Accessed March 21, 2020.
It is no news that children would always want to behave like children and as such they anger their parents. Although that is not our focus for today. We are walking through thoughts on parents.
It is noteworthy that my writings spring out of personal experiences and the experiences of people close to me. This is not to point at anyone, but to emphasize the seriousness of our engagements here (my writings, your readings, questions, and comments). So, let’s get back in line before we lose it(😂)
Sometimes parents hurt their children such that the pain/hurt negatively affects their relationship with their children.
When the child begins to react to the hurt/pain, we blame them. We conclude that they are somewhat bad children who are unappreciative of parental efforts. We fail to realize that these children may have repressed memories that play out later in life. Psychoanalysis explains that there are certain traumatic experiences that our conscious minds cannot retain, therefore, they are buried and tucked away in our unconscious. These are therefore memories that have been pushed down into the unconscious without your control and are hidden in your mind and pops up later in your journey of life.
One important question remains, is it possible to forget terrible experiences such as being sexually abused? being brutally beaten? Among others The answer is Yes (depending on the circumstances) This is due to the existing relationship between childhood trauma and amnesia which could give room for repressed memories.
On a lighter note, I just love what the Bible says in Ephesians 6:1-4:
“After three verses dedicated to how children should obey parents, one verse is given specifically for fathers. As the head of the household, the father is charged with ultimate responsibility for the way the children are raised. In practice, this instruction is meant for both parents, and would have been understood that way by Paul’s readers. Fathers are commanded not to agitate or irritate their children. The Greek word is parorgizete, which implies exasperation or frustration. In practice, this means avoiding unfair and cruel behavior, or blatant favoritism. Godly fathers are not to push their children toward anger. Anger can sometimes be a healthy emotion yet can often lead to sin (Ephesians 4:26). Instead, fathers (parents) are given a positive command to “bring them up.” In other words, Christians are expected to be highly involved in raising their own children. Two areas are mentioned. First, Paul includes discipline. Discipline involved learning self–control and the ability to restrain from personal desires in order to do what is right. Second, Paul adds the “instruction of the Lord.” We should be involved in teaching our children about God’s ways through both education and example.” (https://www.bibleref.com/Ephesians/6/Ephesians-6-4.html. Accessed July 15, 2020.)
It is also noteworthy that your parents do not hate/dislike you, it is just their supposed right way of training you. No one is blaming you for your traumatic responses. Healing is a process; the onus is on you to heal on your own pace.
Yes, healing from childhood trauma is not impossible. It is only difficult.
Childhood trauma ranges from physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, loss of a caregiver, emotional neglect, to natural disasters.
Ways to heal from childhood Trauma
1. Distance yourself from toxic people.
2. Seek help from professionals
3. Learn self-regulation and stress-reduction techniques.
4. Allow yourself to get close to people.
The above are only a few of the different ways to heal.
NB: The above is a response to my wanting to engage with my beautiful readers. Please feel free to post your comments, ask questions, like, and share. I look forward to more insightful interactions. Remember that for Tobi Oloyede, the pen is always mightier and with her pen she speaks louder.
The beauty of nature is so real that sometimes I pinch myself to understanding it. Its effects transcend our outer world to our inner-oh! What such awe it breeds.
Sometimes I ask myself ‘what is it that makes nature both powerful and beautiful?’ Ralph Waldo Emerson notes that ‘the simple perception of natural forms is a delight.’ When I think of the beauty entrenched in nature, I instantly think of the burgeoning of flowers, the rising of the sun, the high standing mountains, the luminance of the moon. . .
Interestingly, I do not appreciate these beauties because of their functionalities, but rather their modes of formation. Behold with me the beauty that calls out to us.
Nature is beautiful, beauty is value- Tobi Oloyede
Your feelings are yours and yours alone. I like to call them idiosyncratic. There are so many of us who like to blame others for our problems or even some of us who like to think that we are responsible for every problem in the world. As empathetic or sympathetic as that may seem depending on whichever one you fall into, it is never in your line of duty to take responsibility for another’s feeling or even make others take responsibility for yours (narcissism). This is where setting boundaries come to play. I do not mean physical fences, but rather invisible ones like the air we breathe.
No doubt, setting boundaries for some of us is a demanding task, but they remain essential for our safety and well-being. A licensed marriage and family therapist, Jenn Kennedy maintains that “boundaries are limits that give a sense of agency (control) over one’s physical space, body, and feelings.” Remember, even the most jovial person has limits, and this is none other than boundaries (you push a thing or a person to an extent that when it gets to the walls, it reacts-limit).
Setting boundaries is about taking charge and there is nothing you cannot put within boundaries:
Thoughts and emotions
Time (among other)
It is noteworthy that emotional space touches on everything. For instance, if you do not set physical space boundaries or boundaries for your possessions, when misused or disrespected by others, you keep quiet and fight the battle with your feelings. You become angry emotionally. Sometimes we tend to attach with people such that any little misunderstanding costs you your inner peace. Also, having emotional space is not always about others, it is about you as this is the space you create for yourself in order to step back and first reflect, then realign your actions and thoughts. The emotional space thingy is difficult, if you are good at it kudos, if not, you can be. It helps check your actions, inactions, and words.
In setting your boundaries you must:
Know your rights
Know your values
Understand what your instinct tells you
There is also the place of confidence in setting boundaries and you do this confidently by:
Safeguarding your space
Learning to say no (can be difficult though especially to people pleasers)
Being assertive, not aggressive. Know how, where, and when to use the “I” pronoun.
BOUNDARIES BREED RESPECT AND ALLOWS FOR SELF-LOVE.
Several years back, I was dejected and I blamed myself for being a woman. I thought life was unfair to me, but with an introspection into my core, I realized that I am more than I think of myself. Yes that I can achieve whatever irrespective of the social constructions.
That you are a woman is never a reason to accept anything, instead, work on yourself and change the narrative. Lo, I hear the sound of celebration around me They say it is International women’s day Yes, it is It is not to say that I am celebrated once in 365 days, rather, it is a memorable day for the movement of women’s rights. As we move towards creating an equal society, look beyond the issues of feminism and patriarchy and think about equality for all humanity. Celebrate achievements irrespective of gender or color.
The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me- Ayn Rand
You never know how strong you are until you stop to analyze how much you’ve been through. Everyone has that innate strength though it varies with individuals. Your ability to cope in adverse moments shows your level of resilience. #You never know how strong you are until you stop to analyze how much you’ve been through. Everyone has that innate strength though it varies with individuals. Your ability to cope in adverse moments shows your level of resilience. You are stronger than you think.
Someone once approached me and asked “why do you speak Yoruba (my mother language/tongue) that much?” I smiled and responded “It is a language that has been part of me ever since my inception and interestingly, I am more proficient in it.” So many of us like to shy away from our languages and embrace too much of the Western language (English or any language that is not your first or mother language). It is not wrong to do that, atleast I am writing this in English. Truth be told, wherever your language needs to be used, use it, speak it, be Proud of it.
The next question then is “why should I?” I am saying to you, your language is part of your identity. It is your culture, your identity. In promoting multilingualism, the onus is on you to promote linguistic and cultural diversity. Promoting your mother language/tongue prevents your language (culture) from going into extinction.
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart-Nelson Mandela
Today is International Mother Language Day (IMLD). Importantly, do not only strive to keep your mother language system alive, teach it and pass it on to generations to come. Sooner than later, You will be glad you did.
Ever since the beginning of the month of February, I had been perturbed about the deep-rooted connections of friendships. I do not mean acquaintances, but close friends. I may be one who is friendly and gets to make friends easily, yet I am one with a small circle-close friends. Recently, it dawned on me that (though not a recent discovery and phenomenon) the digital space that is supposed to connect us is rather leaving us lonely (oh yes, just incase you have not noticed). Interestingly, the social media is a beautiful world that is beneficial and enjoyable such that it breeds relationships. Truth be told, it only provides mere illusion (my opinion) as nothing, not even online communities can take the place of the real and in-person relationship. There’s just something unique and irreplaceable about the physical person to person connection.
Research affirms that it is important and sterling to have friends but not all friendships are explicitly good as it could be destructive, imbalanced, or exclusionary to mention a few. My curiosity took me back to Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics. Aristotle posits that “without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.” For him, true friendship is a virtue and one that allows for good in the world. Though I suggest some level of morality in friendship yet, the value we place in it makes it beautiful. Aristotle maintains that there are three kinds of friendship:
1)Friendships based on utility- Here, there is always something either or both parties gain.
2)Friendships based on pleasure- It is one that is premised on having pleasure or good time generally.
3)Friendships based on virtue- Both parties share similar or same values. Here, there is admiration (not comparison) and respect.
Aristotle holds that most young individuals keep friends for the sake of utility but unfortunately, they end up being disappointed. It is not to say that it is wrong to be hurt in friendship. In addition, he writes, “those who love because of utility love because of what is good for themselves, and those who love because of pleasure do so because of what is pleasant to themselves” but interestingly, what one finds pleasant or useful “is not permanent but is always changing; thus, when the reason for the friendship is done away, the friendship is dissolved.”
No doubt, the three types of friendship are important, only those premised on virtue-values are meaningful and long-lasting.
You may want to conclude that Aristotle’s schema is merely perceptive yet, it is utterly practical. Also, you may be questioning yourself about the category in which you fall into. It is okay to do that. Perhaps yours may be for utility or pleasure, there’s nothing wrong with that as there are times you need friendships for these specific reasons. Building friendships on virtue/values is not a one-night thing, it takes time to grow.
The only way to have a friend is to be one- Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am neither better than a bird with a broken wing
nor a snail with a broken shell
Damaged in all angles
I want to fly, I want to soar
Sometimes I feel free,
other times I am trapped
I cannot fly, so I stand
I make excuses, I try to hide my emotions
I am tired of my situation yet I cannot let it out
I hide it like there’s nothing wrong
It is much more than you think
When this happens,
please sit with me
Listen to my silence
Help me sail smoothly
One step at a time, so I can learn again to fly.
NB: Sometimes, we think we know so much about an individual such that we take their unreasonable behaviors or reactions for granted. Until we dig deeper, only then will we better comprehend what they go through in their lonely cubicle.
So many people hide their pain behind the visible facade of smiles. Help them heal, take time to be that willing heart, listening ear and a helping hand.
Anyone would think that being black in America will be inviting as there are African-Americans with whom the blacks share ancestry. As an African arriving in America, I presumed that I would enjoy the fort of shared ancestry. How misguided I was. My reception bemused me as the racist contempt I received was for the most part from African-Americans, an experience many Africans will attest to. There is no doubt that there is a huge schism in existence between Africans and African-Americans and this has resulted in deep resentment. This hurdle stems basically from historical misapprehensions fostered by the media. Surprisingly, many African-Americans on the one hand believe that Africans are unrefined and backward. On the other hand, African immigrants also believe that African-Americans are aggressive and indolent.Back in Nigeria, studying American literature in college (University) and being acquainted with the works of W.E.B. DuBois, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and the Harlem Renaissance, I did not learn what it feels like to be a black person in America. In Nigeria, racism only existed in books as what is obtainable is tribalism. Our identity has been and is still entrenched in ethnicity and not skin color. I had never thought about being referred to as black until I arrived American. All I had ever thought about back in Nigeria was “I am a Nigerian.” To ignore the schism between Africans and African-Americans is self-defeating and prejudiced. This phenomenon has made many African immigrants shattered as a people, visionless, and a people weak with regards to their agency. They either develop as individuals or form connections only with people of same ethnic groups. It is noteworthy that the two groups have different historical background experiences which has resulted in today’s reality. To African -Americans, racism remains the main cause of their socio-economic status. Another important thing to know is that both groups react to the situation differently. Undoubtedly, most African immigrants come to America for economic betterment. For them, they can take up any job in other for their sole reason for coming to be achieved. While many African-Americans continue to blame slavery for their lot. The time has come for everyone, irrespective of the group you fall into to rewrite and retell their stories. It is about time we took responsibility and be bonded as one black people, to love, trust, and respect each other beyond the existing divide. Then and only then can We Rise.
With obnoxious smell of blood, The stench grows stronger
Lost souls scattered round the lieu
No flies or vulture to feast when due
As I look around,
My heart drowns in despair
Hardly can I see
For my eyes are dazzled with fumes.
Can this war just end?
My eardrums ache from the pandemonium of gunfire
The thoughts and images of killings
Scare me to death
I seek an end to this battle
I try to keep hopes alive
This is nothing but a hamlet of death.
I have seen it all
I can no less regard others
I have been there
Now I am more prudent.
NOTE: War undoubtedly has with it, several destructive impacts. Over the years, research has it that the traumatic impacts of war allows for the manifestation of resilience. This does not go to say that war should be encouraged as its negative effects continues to supercede its positive effects.
“Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Shockingly, it’s only another day just as every other day. Beyond the euphoria, nothing is different, nothing changes. It’s a mere social construction- another day on the calendar. You’re free to be excited just as I am, but do not be deceived in any way.
You cannot continue in the same old ways and expect a different or new result. You need to make deep reflections to see how the techniques we’ve been applying to issues have been unyielding then, take a whole new approach. It is not to say that the past should be neglected, rather it should serve as some sort of foundational yardstick for the future.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard
Secondly, BE AWARE
Life/things do not just happen. Irrespective of whatever you believe in, there is some sort of supernatural underpinnings to every occurrence. Interestingly, you play a part in it. It is time you wake from your sleep and know that you have a vital role to play in whatever your wish is for the new year.
“The price of greatness is responsibility”
Whatever good and beautiful things you want from the year, it goes beyond lip sayings and your written resolutions. I am not a fan of making yearly resolutions, if it works for you, keep it up. It does not mean I don’t have goals for the year. Do whatever works best for you, your resolutions, your set goals and all. Just Act.
Remember, a real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.
In addition, BE YOU.
In the course of achieving your goals, be sure you are not comparing yourself to others as this kill silently. Go on your own pace even though you don’t want to be complacent. Just as different people go on the same bus, not everyone alights at the same bus stop. Regardless of your stop, be thankful for you.
I believe that one defines oneself by reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself. To cut yourself out of stone.
Finally, JUST LIVE.
Live, just live. Irrespective of the circumstance just breathe and live. The past is gone, make use of its lessons. The future is yet to come, prepare for it. The now is all you have, make it count, live in the now.
Neither dwell in the past nor be clouded by the worries of the future. Today is enough for success.
With the Omoyele Sowore’s case, a Nigerian activist, the publisher of US-based Sahara Reporters News site, and former presidential candidate whose detention and re-arrest alongside a few others leaves the country in a state of dire intervention, we cannot but question the viability of our human rights. The pervasive corruption and impunity among those with whom we have vested power to govern us, has allowed for a continuous menace of poverty and violation of human rights.
It is no news that the time is now for us to stand up not only for our rights, but the rights of others. We can daily fight for our rights in every little way, thereby promoting a global community. On the accounts of marginalization, stigmatization, and discrimination, the onus is on us (you and I) to defend the lives of others for them to enjoy their freedom to the core.
On a yearly basis, December 10 remains a day to observe the Human Rights Day across the globe as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Upholding your rights and those of others is not a day in a year activity, rather, it is an everyday process.
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
It is time to work together as humans who see beyond gender, cultural, and racial differences, to promote a universal socially just society. Interestingly, when the right of an individual is denied and you do nothing about it, be certain you could be the next victim.
Educate yourself, know your rights, stand for your rights.
Let your voice be heard, your voice is you, your voice is your future.
You can be heard, you should be heard, you must be heard.
Below is a list of some of our human rights. Better known now than never.
Right to Equality
Freedom from Discrimination
Right to Life, Liberty, Personal Security
Freedom from Slavery
Freedom from Torture and Degrading Treatment
Right to Recognition as a Person before the Law
Right to Equality before the Law
Right to Remedy by Competent Tribunal
Freedom from Arbitrary Arrest and Exile
Right to Fair Public Hearing
Right to be Considered Innocent until Proven Guilty
Freedom from Interference with Privacy, Family, Home and Correspondence
Right to Free Movement in and out of the Country
Right to Asylum in other Countries from Persecution
Right to a Nationality and the Freedom to Change It
Right to Marriage and Family
Right to Own Property
Freedom of Belief and Religion
Freedom of Opinion and Information
Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Right to Participate in Government and in Free Elections
Right to Social Security
Right to Desirable Work and to Join Trade Unions
Right to Rest and Leisure
Right to Adequate Living Standard
Right to Education
Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of Community
Right to a Social Order that Articulates this Document
Community Duties Essential to Free and Full Development
Freedom from State or Personal Interference in the above Rights
There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace. – Kofi Annan For the past […]
Today is GIVING TUESDAY, a global day to donate and empower individuals and organizations to make their communities and the world a better place. It is not limited to today, but an everyday activity. Interestingly, your giving is not limited to monetary values but also includes your ideas to make the world a better global community. Find a donating center around you, walk-in as an individual, family, or an organization…the world is counting on YOU, YES YOU.
The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Communities make the difference”.
WORLD AIDS DAY is a memorable day to ponder on those we’ve lost to HIV/AIDS and on the national progress being made as response to the menace. The commemoration of World AIDS Day, which will take place today 1 December 2019, serves as a significant opportunity to acknowledge the crucial roles that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the local, national, and international levels.
Communities include peer educators, webs of people living with or affected by HIV, counsellors, health workers, service providers, civil society organizations, grass-roots activists and non-governmental agencies.
World AIDS Day seeks to highlight the roles communities play at such a time as this where funding is reduced and there is a shrinked space for civil society and sustainable services and advocacy.
Strong advocacy on the part of communities is needed to ensure that human rights are protected and respected, that decision-makers become more accountable, and AIDS remains a political agenda .
It’s World AIDS Day, it is pertinent that we sustain the forward momentum of responses to HIV in our society by: Getting tested and getting into care– Know your status and take charge of your health Talking about HIV with those in your circle of influence. Spread the word, fight the stigma, save the lives of those you care about Provide your feedback
It is no news that one in five females experience violence
and this is deeply rooted in years of domination by men-patriarchy. It all
boils down to the cultural power play ingrained in our societal structures. Violence is a pattern of assaultive
and coercive behaviors, as well as sexual assault, physical injury,
psychological abuse, enforced social isolation, stalking, deprivation,
intimidation, and threat.
Why End Violence Against
a global phenomenon that is manifested in all strata of the society, cutting
across religious, political, racial, economic, and cultural spectrums.
Violence poses social, mental, and psychological
problems with adverse consequences for survivors. It leads to changes in the
social and psychological functioning of the survivors.
It is an imposition and infringement of human
It allows for gendered trauma. There is a relationship between the
mental health of violence survivors and their experience of traumatic events
such that it becomes so crucial that they experience anxiety, depression,
emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among others.
It is a phenomenon that can happen to anyone
close to you.
It remains an obstacle to peace, development,
equality, and just society.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
She said to me, when I first received the news that I was
HIV positive. I felt downcast, and I told myself it was the end of the world. All
I thought about was how I was going to survive with this new status. Sooner
than later, I accepted the challenge of possibly being rejected by my society. This
I did understand as their way of close-minded thinking. With regards to going
public, I considered the backlash my spouse, children, extended family, and
friends would go through but then, I had to make it known. This for me was a
means of being free from more shackles. A few months later, people began to stereotype me as an irresponsible wife
and a mother. I was labeled.
My notion of stigma is separation and disgrace. Stigma has
to do with stereotype, labeling, separation, loss of status, and
discrimination. When people are interested in keeping other people down, in, or
away, the resource that allows this to happen is stigma. Stigmatizers become
empowered to exploit, control, or exclude others. Interestingly, the most
effective ways of deploying stigma is mostly hidden or even misrecognized.
1. Direct person to
person discrimination: This occurs when an individual openly expresses
prejudicial attitudes to another. This is a blatant form of stigmatization.
discrimination: This is a form of institutional discrimination whereby
there are laws, policies, and so on that work against the stigmatized or the so-called
discrimination: Here, people bring expectations to the interaction. For
instance, you naturally assist a disabled person even without asking. This is a
form of stigmatization almost everyone does without knowing. There is no crime
in helping, but beneath the help is the known fact that the person is disabled
and would necessarily need help.
As a result of different social constructionism, individuals who feel and are
termed different from the norm, tend to internalize and recreate personal
stigma. Here, they are prepared for any form of stigma and discriminate
Stigma has eaten deep into the fabrics of our society such
that we wallow in it unconsciously hence, taken for granted. Though challenging
to tackle, whether you are a victim of stigmatization or you want to stand up
for someone, here are a few ways you could go about it:
Truth: Knowledge always trumps discrimination. Find out as much as you can
about the cause of the problem. Then, your judgments can be justifiable.
conscious of your Language: Our words carry power, and as individuals,
several meanings can be read to a word.
Be conscious of your Actions.
misconceptions: Know the truth and fight for it.
To build a just and sustainable community that looks beyond class,
race, ethnic, age differences, among others. You should be supportive of
others. Never look down on others. Be aware that people go through different
situations at different times and different factors may be the cause. Therefore,
decide never to be judgmental without the place of knowing. Love everyone for
who they are; we are unique beings.
Our society places more emphasis on self-esteem and this invariably allows for the problem of measuring oneself against another as opposed to paying attention to one’s inherent values. Your worth is your value as an individual. Acknowledging and following your intrinsic values helps to build your genuine self such that you are free and this in turn allows you to do away with pressure. Better interpersonal relationships are fostered as people understand that they can take you for your words, your actions and words align with your intentions.
I am a keen believer of being authentic. No doubt, there has been times that I leave out my core values and these times leave me unhappy. These were periods where I had to live someone else’s desires. These were times I had to try to impress someone but to no avail-it was ineffective.
Interestingly, trying to impress somebody else may seem perfect but it is surely for a short while. It never lasts because it is not real. Inauthenticity dissipates; only being true to who you are brings lasting happiness. We all have unique values. Below are a few questions I ask myself as I examine my progress:
Honesty. Am I true to myself and the people around me? Am I as transparent as I claim to be?
Beauty. Do I act beautifully? I do not mean physical beauty. Of what good is a pretty face with ugly intentions.
Love. Do I give enough love? Strikingly, there are levels of love but then, when I love, is it wholeheartedly?
Passion. Do I do the things I do because there is a driving force or do I do them for the sake of doing?
Happiness. Importantly, am I happy? “Until you understand where happiness comes from, you’ll keep chasing after it”
Our values are different but sometimes similar. Whatever they are, I encourage you to live in parity with them as they reveal the beautiful reality of who you are.
Hello everyone, I presume you all are doing great. I am Tobi Oloyede, a graduate of English and Literary Studies and a graduate student in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Gender and Diversity. Well, it’s my first time trying out a blog post and I hope I do not disappoint you. Straight to business, I look forward to bringing interesting and educative contents your way and to have memorable discussions with you. I am Super Excited.