Wednesday, January 6, 2016
I titled it 'Nothing is about Nothing' from a discussion with two friends about life and the things we think we deserve, earn and should have. My friend and I were discussing yet another woman we know who just got engaged. The holiday season was ripe with engagements, which is quite blissful, if you make sure not to focus on the nakedness of your own ring finger.
My friend commented that "even XYZ" found someone, na wa o. And I had to explain to her that "nothing is about nothing" meaning that there isn't a plan or a way of ensuring you get certain things in life. It is only by the Grace of God.
When I say nothing is about nothing, this includes, the fact that, finding a husband is not about being attractive, we know many (subjectively, anyway) unattractive women who are married and many beautiful women who remain unmarried well into their thirties and even forties. Its not about being mentally stable, this addresses the notion that, well, if she's attractive and remains unmarried, she must be crazy or have baggage or be a "independent woman dont need no man" type. In fact, people typically assume that that is the case.
Its certainly not about having too many degrees, I mean, Michelle Obama... and many women I know who have Doctorates in hard sciences, actual Doctors, Harvard Law degrees are married, and some who stopped at high school diplomas and some credits at the local community college are also married. And some of both groups are single and ready to mingle (lol!).
It sure isnt about being sexually active. I know people with low to non existent body counts and some who have been very expressive and active users of their sexual liberation who are... you guessed it... married.
Though I do have to say, there are times when I see a girl who.... works at McDonalds and didnt read a book other than facebook since high school and is married and I see the guy to whom she is married, I am unimpressed and certainly dont wish for what she has.
Back to my point, getting married isnt about anythign, there is no formula. Neither is having children, getting into Harvard Law School or anything else. It truly is the grace of God that anything good happens. SO, TAKE Heart, my friends, pray, and disabuse yourself from the idea that you don't have XYZ because you aren't XYZ.
(Well except to get into Harvard Law School with a 147 LSAT score, that IS the reason you didnt get into Harvard Law School).
N.B. I recognize that getting married or having kids isnt the ultimate goal/desire of everyone, my statements here are more directed towards those who wish to be married, have kids, or attain anything else I discussed above.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
This TAXI driver in Istanbul just PISSED me off. My friend gave him a 50 (TL) bill and he did the FASTEST SWITCH I've ever seen in my life, and had a 5 in his hand and said "I said 40TL not 5" and I was like, UMMM. WE GAVE YOU A 50. AFTER like 20 seconds he finally said, OH No. My mistake. And then gave us the 10 change. What a criminal! !!! THIS MAN, tried to play me. He let the American accent fool him. He doesn't know I'm a CHEAP Nigerian broke student. Anyway, thus is life
Monday, November 3, 2014
Calling this picture: The little things. Maybe it's because I'm trying to jet all over the world this fall. Okay, Western Europe. Since I'm not gonna be HOME HOME till January, my concept of home is a bit recalculated. I'm usually a slight Starbucks snob, you know, Death to Chain businesses, Support Local et al. But now, even this Tea (not coffee) drinker goes to Starbucks in all different countries and smiles because for now, A cup of earl grey full leaf tea with a splash of nutmeg and vanilla and a disturbing amount of sugar at Starbucks = Home
Monday, October 27, 2014
I'm spending a semester in London, and while it will seem strange that I don't discuss London or studying much, please forgive me, I am on a once in a lifetime adventure across Europe during my free time, so feel free to follow me. Please don't tell my parents.
Arrival: Four friends and I got into London on Sept 3rd and left on Sept 4th for Rome via Ryan airlines. Problem No. 1. I forgot my printed boarding pass at home and has to pay Ryan Air £15 to print a new one. Lil basterds. That hurt. And I had to scarf down one of my small packs of applesauce at security because apparently its a liquid. (Blame that on security not Ryan air)
Rome: What an interesting city and first stop in our journey. Saw the major sites: Coliseum, Ancient roman city. Got some Ahhhhmazing pizza.
General thoughts of the Italian people of Rome: They're a little closed off. Not out of their way nice to tourists. I felt the language barrier there.
Funny Things: We climbed the Basicilica something Paul maybe..... It was near the Vatican, so we.... Actually I don't know what we thought, so we climbed like 300 stairs. Thought my heart might explode but we made it to the too and SURE glad we did. Because if we hadn't, we wouldn't have seen how beautiful it was up there.
Near the Vatican area we had some AMAZING food at a restaurant. The name was Renovation or something of that sort, it was really close to the Vatican and the basicilica.
Ohhhh what sweet sweet joy Florence was. The people were so much nicer, friendly and.... Spoke lots of English. We also ran into many american touristy types and study abroad folks.
On our first grocery trip, I actually was recognized by a girl I'd started following on Instagram because she'd been featured on @Travelnoire. It was kinda cool to get recognized especially because it was my teal blue glasses she actually recognized.
Walked around a lot.
Interesting experience: I ordered a spritzer or something. This drink basically looked a fanta colored sprite. And tasted..... Like Bad cough medicine. It was awful and I guess the waitress didn't understand that I hated it because when i said I didn't want it, she took it but it still was on my bill. Yea, anyway. Florence was amazing. On our last night, a friend from back home told us to check out a Gelato place that he said was the best in Florence. It was a mile from where we were and I THOUGHT we should have gone because, well.... who knows when next I'll be in Florence. Anyway, we didn't go. That's kinda what happens when you
travel with people. Free will is diminished a little bit. Oh well. I'm over it... I think.
Pisa: We took a day trip to Pisa and it was such a GROSS rainy day, so we had to buy umbrellas and take pictures while trying not to ruin our cameras and phones. Had to see the leaning tower of Pisa, or like the Simpsons refer to it, the Leaning Tower of Pizza. Yummmmm.
Dumb idea of the day: The information we read online made it ambiguous about whether we could actually return to Florence with the same ticket we used to get to Pisa. Cuz there wasn't any barrier to stop you really from getting on a train without a ticket. Our wager was quite the fail because amidst my sleep, an inspector came, we smiled and showed her our ticket and she looked at us, like.. OH NO, wrong one. And we acted....confused. Lol, that's what's happens when you have four law students deciding to enjoy the ambiguity
of the rule. Soooo she made us pay the fair there. Which isn't the biggest of deals, cuz it was actually €2 cheaper than we'd have paid if we'd bought a new one to Florence. Anyway, it all worked out, we saved money and got to play the stereotypical idiot tourists.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I heard about the 200 girls being kidnapped in Nigeria quickly after it happened. And I remember feeling like, Here we go again. Not the OUTRAGE or Shock as the world started to feel two weeks after when it actually started becoming International News.
Because in so many ways I am a typical Nigerian.
I asked my daddy in March 2012 when I visited Lagos after being gone for 9 years a question that only someone who has lived abroad thinks to ask. The question was a result of a conversation about the roads leading up to my parents house, and why they were so awful In fact, I said, they are not roads, they are just....paths. Paths that anything other than an all terrain car struggles to get up and down everyday.
I asked my dad what the government of Nigeria does for its citizens. Electricity is outsourced to individuals by people buying generators. Security....provide your own. He had no answer, because it is precisely on point. The government of Nigeria does very little for the people of Nigeria.
To my initial question, why nobody in Nigeria cares?
It is because we have a culture of Zero reliance on the government. The unfortunate reality is that by being leaders of the country, its leaders are well taken care of from Oil payments and whatever other sources they receive money through. I am not sure if we have a tax system that works, so most of our revenue are from our natural resources. Many Nigerians who have never left Nigeria do not actually understand what it means to have a good working government. Nigerian pray in emergencies and pay their own way to the basics. Therefore those who cannot afford to pay their way, pray and do not even think to ask the government. This poses a chicken and egg story. Do Nigerian not ask their goverment because they know it is made up of people who will not do anything about it, Or is the Nigerian government lacksadaical because they know no one cares and no one will hold them responsible. Either way the Chibok girls kidnapping is making this all look differently.
I mean, think about it. A few peopl, some of whom I follow, started the Hashtag and people started wondering and asking question,and nect the First Lady of the U.S.A. is speaking out about it, and the UK and the US. are sending help. This is a critical lesson that sometimes the voice of a few can raise a sleeping giant.
It is my prayer that this sleeping giant of Nigerian men and women, to demand the government take action, can stay! I pray that Nigerians will be challenged to demand more from all leaders because here is the deal, you can pay for your power, roads, and all, but at some point, you NEED your federal government to do certain things for you and when they fail, there Must be consequeces for a top level official whether punishment or removal.
This post was written... Months ago. But just posted on Oct 27, 2014. The delay was not for any other reason other than I forgot. It is just as it was written in April no edits.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
"I pondered about the transformation that must have occured in me in the last 18months since I last visited Lagos, because now the primary question I got from people was along the lines of 'Where is your husband?' as though they'd seen pictures of a wedding that never happened, their questions a constant reminder of my singlesness. " As I would say to my American friends "a sistah cant even get a second date and they want her to bring a husband? EHarmony tho?"
Re: My weight
"A frequent part of the teeter tottering of my American and Naija self is the constant comment about my weight. One woman who I had not seen in at least 15 years said as soon as she saw me, "WOW, Ayomide, you are a carbon copy of your mother. Ah, you are fat oh!," as the words of a woman stating a fact like, "Your hair is long." But she also said I need to lose weight. A number of other people also casually mentioned my weight and needing to "slim down," even a boy that was interested in beginning a relationship with me.
I had to re and re and reremind myself that when a Nigerian says "You're fat" it lacks the venom of the same words out of the mouth of an American. Ugh, Such is the life of one who considers herself American and Nigerian.
Re: Online Shopping.
I am about to purchase a pair of shoes while sitting in my law school class. This shoe will arrive at my door in a few days. I cannot help the contrast to Nigeria where this entire idea would be foreign to most people. Think about it, 1. You'd need to have a trustworthy internet and Electricity Connection in the classroom.
2. You'd have to have a readily accepted bank card of some sort. (they have some, just not as widely accepted/used)
3. Mail System: Would have to have a dependable mail system with things like roads and addresses that can be reached without stopping to ask several people, a Mail Box where one could deposit your items without fear it would be stolen.
We're getting there though. Websites like Jumia.com are heading to a great spot in the economy. But, who knows when it will become the norm.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Random Lines from the book I love:
"The exaggerated gratitude that comes with immigrant security"
“Dear American Non-Black, if an American Black person is telling you about an experience about being black, please do not eagerly bring up examples from your own life. Don’t say ‘It’s just like when I ...’ You have suffered. Everyone in the world has suffered. But you have not suffered precisely because you are an American Black. Don’t be quick to find alternative explanations for what happened. Don’t say, ‘Oh, it’s not really race, it’s class. Oh, it’s not race, it’s gender. Oh, it’s not race, it’s the cookie monster.’ You see, American Blacks actually don’t WANT it to be race. They would rather not have racist shit happen ...”
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Fast forward to my scheduled jury date.
For those who have never gotten called, the way it works is,
Day 1: Jury Panel. The attorneys for both sides (prosecutor for the state, in criminal proceedings) ask the panel of (in my case 70 people) a number of questions with the goal of flushing out bias that potential jurors have about the case in question. The goal is to remove people with obvious biases and assemble the least biased 12/13 members of the panel and make them jurors. For example: IF there is a case involving a drug possession violation, the prosecutor probably wants to remove all parties who have drug convictions themselves, anyone whose family was ruined forever when his/her father/mother went to prison for just a teeny tiny amount of cocaine. Then the lawyers pick off certain people from their comments and of those left, they pick the first 13 (12 jurors 1 alternate). (Side Note, the closer to the front you are, the greater the chances that you'll end up on the jury.)
The way they try to flush out these biases is through a series of questions that jury panel members are to answer correctly. The case I was impaneled for involved a Felony Family Assault Violence case which means the accused has been convicted of a similar crime in the past. And through the conversation with the prosecutor, so many things were revealed. As you can imagine, a group of 70 members of the Travis County public have different experiences with Family Violence. Some involved personally, some more distant. One lady shared that her aunt was killed by her abusive partner, another witnessed his mother get assaulted growing up, another spoke to her work experience seeing the cycle of violence and "if he did it before, he probably did it again", another questioned the requirement of physical pain or injury in the definition of the crime, wondering if a pulled hair should carry the same punishment as a cracked rib.
Even as we discussed further the law, many questioned the ability to find a person not guilty if he/she did not testify for themselves. They simply couldnt understand how someone who didn't commit the offense for which they were being accused, would not stand up and speak for themselves to the jurors deciding their fate. The Prosecutor did a fine job of weeding out the person who had already made up their mind about the accused's guilt.
What was unjust about the whole thing is, While we're sitting there, we all would glance at the accused and back at the attorneys asking questions. It seemed to me like it was a foregone conclusion that this man was guilty of something. They say "Presumption of Innocence" but even for someone like me who hadn't had any personal experience with domestic violence, it was difficult to hear the story about another juror who's aunt was shot to death by her husband, and not think "YOU, YOU HORRIBLE PERSON, YOU'RE JUST LIKE HIM." I mean think about it, we're all sitting in the courtroom and our mental hands are pointing fingers at this man, and I truly think 10 minutes into these questions, No one on the jury panel could fathom that this defendant was an innocent guy on the street picked up for this awful offense.
I didn't feel the need to be the annoying smarty pant law student, so I sat quietly with a comforting thought that as Juror 63 of 70, it was HIGHLY unlikely that I would get picked for the jury, so I just took the opportunity to make my observations about our criminal justice system where Justice is rarely found. Its likely more so a "System for Criminals, and maybe sometimes Justice"
SO, I recently had an epiphany....or maybe just a light got brighter in my mind about who I am and what I want. Over the recent thanksgiving break I had a chance to be really introspective and consider a few things about this year so far for myself. The break lent itself to this because I stayed back in Austin to get some Exam prep done. (how that worked out is a different topic.)
I saw a tweet that said something along the lines of "At any given time most girls have about 3 guys they are consistently texting and they are most interested in the one who is least interested."
I feel like I have changed so much since law school started and not all in ways I like. I remember a conversation with my sister while i was an undergrad, about a guy, whatever new guy had my attention that season, and how I was no longer going to be associating with him because he was not as interested as I would want of someone requesting the privilege of my time. Maybe it was arrogant, maybe it was confidence who knows? I know I want to be pursued and so a guy who was waiting on me to act all the time would have to hit the road very quickly.
Fast forward to the last year and I feel like while I am much busier, I have begun to devalue my time. Which is INSANE because I am literally busier than I've ever been in my life. I think this may be linked to my confidence in myself which has taken a hit in the last year, more academically than anything else, but I think when you're used to being one of the smarter people in the room you have no idea how linked that is to other parts of your identity. Needless to say I have not achieved academic prowess in my recent endeavor and my general confidence must have taken a hit. (This is my current theory.) As a result of this shift/shrink in confidence, I think I have wasted more time on people (guys) who I don't think are interested in me, and some who I am not even really interested in. I also think some of this stems from my belief (which statistics seems to support) that women especially black women with higher education are less marriable, whether that stems from somethign within, a level of pride that many men cant deal with, or something without, in society that says a woman is either a career woman or a homemaker and not both. This also is a topic for a different post.
My point is, I figured I'd really like to meet my husband while in law school, get married sometime soon afterward and let that be a part factor in where I live and practice. This belief, I think has led me to be more open to people that maybe I should not be open to at all. Not saying I am desperate (ahem, the current term is thirst... such a gross word) but I guess I always thought I was single in undergrad because I was too picky or just felt like I had all the time in the world, and now that has magically changed. I somehow started to think if I would just try harder, take more rubbish, be less assertive, be less...me, I would have better luck.
WHICH OF COURSE IS INSANE. I am 23years old for goodness sakes, I have nothing but time. Time to invest in my relationship with the Lord, friends and family, school and career and so much more. I have time that I cannot begin to devalue, not just YET. So my epiphany is thus: VALUE YOUR WAITING TIME. Because by doing so, you give it away very carefully and not all willynilly to anyone who inquires of a few minutes. I realize I really truly would rather have a 30minute chat with a dear girlfriend and pour into her life than give away my valuable free time to a man who I have not EVEN decided that I am interested in, and needless to say, as is often typical of many guys my age these days, he himself has not given it much thought.
So, Say Goodbye to crazy unconfident 2013 Ayo.