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DEALING WITH LOSS AND GRIEF

Brokeness is a feeling i know too well.

I broke the day my mom got sick. I stayed broken as she fought for her life for what seemed to me like the longest 4 months ever.

I kept breaking as i stayed with her and watched her helpless in pain. It killed me. I died and i didnt know.

I was about 14 years old when my mom fell sick. She suffered from partial stroke that later deteriorated as a result of the barely existing health care service in Nigeria.

While i was on break from school, i stayed with her in the hospital. At night, my dad would come get me and we’ll go home together. I was responsible for taking care of her. Spoke to the doctors whenever they had information to pass across cause my dad would be at work. I became the “designated adult”. I cried by her bed side everyday cause i was still  a kid. I didn’t know how to not feel weak, vulnerable and powerless. My psyche was tremedously affected. My reasoning changed. I had to grow up and i had to do it fast. People started telling me things like “you’re now the mother to your brothers and the wife to your dad. Remember you’re the Ada of your family“. But i didn’t want to be any of those things. I wanted to be an oblivious child that did stupid things kids my age did. I didn’t want to worry about my sick mom or life without her. I didn’t want any of that. What i wanted mattered very little, it seemed.

Got back from school one hot afternoon after school re-opened, to see a ton of people i didn’t know in my house. My guess was that the folks from church gathered to pray for her quick recovery. The moment i heard the pastor say “God please grant Brother Okafor and the kids the grace to overcome loosing Sister Tochi” i went numb. Then, in a split second i was overwhelmed with a flush of emotions. I screamed so hard i thought i was going to damage my vocal cords.

Spent a good number of years hating God after she died. I hated what He stood for. I mean, how could He allow such a sweet, strong, spiritual and God-loving woman that meant the world to me to die. I thought. At the time, i had no idea that the Scriptures says the heavens of the heavens belong to God but the earth He has given to the children of men. I blamed God for something that was not His fault.

I stopped going to church because i didn’t see the need to. Mummy was dead. She used to hound my siblings and i to go to church when she was alive and healthy. She made sure i wore pretty, girly dresses with big earrings and high-heel shoes to match on Sundays because i was her “ada obodo oyibo” (first daughter from abroad lol). She was the pillar that held the Okafors’ together. She made things happen. She made my siblings and i feel safe and secure in this scary and uncertain world.

The church reminded me of her and quite frankly all i wanted was to forget. Forget the memory of her being sick and in so much pain. Forget the pain i constantly feel whenever i wake up to the reality of not having her around. I was incredibly close to her. We looked so much alike. People called us siblings cause she was still young and really pretty. We shared the same clothes, wore the same shoes, went alsmost everywhere togther. I was her “handbag”. It sucked loosing my “carrier”.

For about 3 years after loosing my mom i became a misotheist (misotheism “the hatred of God”). I avoided the church folks like a plague. Called them phonies and hypocrites, always telling me “it is well Ify“. It didn’t feel well. I didn’t feel well. I felt sick. I felt wounded in my soul. I felt betrayed.

I didn’t know that the trauma of literally watching my mum die built strongholds in my mind. I became extremely defensive. Kept to myself a lot. I stopped letting people in. I became aware of the frailty of human existence in a negative way. I started working in my dad’s business centre and assumed the role of my mom because bills had to be paid and i was no longer a “kid”. Life made certain of that.

However, in the midst of the hurt and pain, one very important thing i learnt was that the love of God runs deep. Real deep. He stuck with my “misotheist self”. Kept making His love visible to me until i finally saw it. All the time i spent walking in the opposite direction from Him was understood and forgiven.

I started finding solace in God. In the place of prayer. I began understanding even in my hurt, He was there. I stopped seeing God as the enemy. He wasn’t. I began seeing the Scriptures as His love letter to me. I got encouraged when i read it and said it out loud. The more i prayed and meditated, the more at peace i felt.

After about 4 years, I started going to church again. First out of curiosity. Then i started going joyfully. Got my siblings to join me. Through it all, He was there, yearning to give me rest. The rest i so desperately needed.

Nothing in life can prepare us for the death of a loved one. Death is so deeply personal and stunningly final, nothing can emotionally prepare us for its arrival. With every death, there is a loss. And with every loss, there will be grief. Today’s culture tells us to move past this process quickly. Take a few days, weeks perhaps, to grieve, but don’t stay there too long. Grieving can make those around us uncomfortable. Friends sometimes don’t know what to do with our pain. Loved ones struggle to find adequate words to comfort our aching wounds.

Yet grief, as painful a season as it is, is a necessary part of our healing. Grieving can be the most difficult time for people. It was for me. Trying to balance the feelings of pain and loss while going forward with your everyday life.

WHEN YOU GRIEVE:

Give yourself space and time, be honest with your emotions, try not to grieve alone to avoid doing something drastic and harmful to yourself.

Turn to God’s word for ease and comfort as you try to overcome grief. It took me years of struggling to come to this realization.

Don’t hold back the tears. You might be going through something similar. Probably you’re still trying to deal with loosing a loved one or a dear friend. The truth is it’s going to be really hard. You will cry. A lot. But be conscious of the love and grace of God.

Don’t try to figure it out all by yourself. The Psalmist in Psalm 34:18 says that God is close to those with broken hearts and He saves people whom their spirits have been crushed. Psalm 147:3 says that He heals the brokenheareted and binds up thier wounds. Many of us have soul wounds. We need Him to bind us up and restore us.

Take it all in

When grieving, it is important to feel your feelings. Feel the rage. Feel the anguish. Feel the hurt. But when you’re done being in your feelings, remember what’s important; God has a plan to heal and restore you. You don’t have to stay broken.

English poet and hymnodist, William Cowper, described grief itself as medicine. Grief cleanses the anguish from our souls and sets us back up on the path of life. Grieving is the process God uses to bring us to a place of wholeness. I know it might not feel that way, just give it time. Grieving is a necessary part of our journey. Healing. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense but let’s be “stupid” enough to trust Him.

Have you ever or are you currently dealing with grief? What has it been like for you ?

‘Till my next post…stay beYOUtiful 😚😚

I Choose You

God, You created free will and the ability to think independently. Why then do you ask me to give up my will, my intellect, my life to You? Don’t get me wrong, Lord. I choose you. In fact, I choose you to the detriment of my social standing with others. But it’s hard choosing You sometimes.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to just create me to only want to do Your will? That way, I’m guaranteed to give up myself for You; I mean, I wouldn’t have a choice in the matter. No choice means no temptation to choose otherwise.

Why tease me with choice ?!

“You can do whatever you want, but I want you to surrender your free will to Me. Be a sheep. Be a fool for me. Give me everything. Give me you!”

He spoke right to my heart;

It is such a beautiful thing when you choose to be Mine. When you choose not to do things your way, all the way.

I gave you a choice because I want you to come to the decision yourself. Choose Me dear one. Choose to love Me.

How thrilled I get when I see you choosing Me despite yourself. You could choose to be like your unbelieving friends and colleagues who mock Me, but you choose to fear and reverence Me.

You could choose to continue in that relationship that doesn’t glorify Me, you could choose to continue in sexual immorality, because the world says it’s okay; but you chose Me Instead. You chose to believe My Word, not your feelings.

You could choose to be like your lukewarm relatives, who take My kingdom lightly. You could choose to not be a laborer in My vineyard. You chose to work for and walk with Me; to work for Your Father.

I can see your love for Me with every tv show you choose not to watch; every relationship you choose to let go of for My sake. I can see your love in every sacrifice you make for Me.

I’m glad you place value on your relationship Me; that I worth more to you than loosing face before your friends and followers on social media.

There’s a price to be paid, a cross to be carried. The price is death. You’ve got die !

You’ve got to choose to die !

Choose to die everyday. Die with every choice you make for My sake; every choice your flesh kicks against. Every choice the world condemns.

Choose Me.

I choose you.

I would choose you a billion times again, My child 💖

WAIT !!!

God, with all due respect to You as Creator of all things created, You sure know how to waste my time. Apparently You see time differently and that’s not good for me.


Psalm 90:4 says a thousand years are like a second before You. Na wa o!
I guess that explains why You take so long to answer me when I pray.

This sucks, profoundly !


I mean, I don’t have forever to wait on You for answers. Making me wait when You know I need those answers and directions is not very loving .

I tried to do the ‘Christian thing‘. I’ve waited long enough; I even fasted a little and spoke in tongues too. It’s ridiculous at this point.


If You’re so in love with me, why do I have to beg, cry and wait for prolonged periods of time to know the will You designed for me (without my asking, If I might add🤷).


I’m frustrated with just waiting around and hoping You’ll show up. You probably have better things to do; angels to command and whatnot.

You may not understand, because You don’t have to wait, but waiting on You in this day and age is comical, with the average attention span being about 8 seconds(thanks to technology); I mean, how can I not zone out ?

Might I suggest a “Heaven Hotline” headed by Angel Gabriel (he’s good with information dissemination), where I can just forward all my complaints and prayer requests and have any of Your innumerable angels function as responsive customer support. That way, the ‘unnecesssry’ waiting period would be cut out.


Just like David in Psalm 13:1-2, I ask, “How long will you forget me and act like I don’t exist? How long will you allow me be overcome by problems and complexities of life? ”

Then He answered.


Be still !


Just like the sky is far from the earth so are My thoughts and ways far above yours.


Be patient; allow My Holy Spirit teach you.
Just like David in Psalm 13:5-6, you should trust and have confidence in Me.
Learn to go quiet before Me and wait.


Remember Deuteronomy 31:6. I will not forsake you.

You ask why I take so long ?
My child, I am always right on time. I am not bound by time as you are. I am not slow to fulfilling My promises. 2Peter 3:8-9.

You say I don’t speak to you ? I speak all the time. I speak to your spirit; your conscience. I speak through My Word; through My Holy Spirit. My voice is still. The noice of the world tunes Me out in your heart. If you are deliberate about hearing Me, you will.


Have you forgotten what Isaiah 64:4 says? I ALWAYS show up for those who wait for Me.


Isaiah 26:3 still holds true today; I give peace to those that wait on Me. Those whose hearts and intellects are yielded to Me. Will you let your guard down and trust me with reckless abandon?

You trivialize things you don’t earnestly and desperately seek after.

Relatable Sis


I am a hiding God; to find Me, you’ve got to be real patient, because in patience, you learn submission and in submission, your flesh dies.
I promise to show Myself to you.
Take My Word for it !

My track record is impeccable.
Look at Abraham, observe Job, study David. Let these men inspire you to wait on Me.


Turn away from your clock when you’re before Me. Let My presence overwhelm you.

You can not add to nor subtract from Me. Perfection is never less than that.

If I could offer up My only begotten Son to set you free from the curse of sin and death, is there really anything I wouldn’t do for you? Have some faith child !

My love for you should never be in contention. It is too real to be denied.


Labour to enter into My rest. All your running and labouring outside of Me will only tire you out. It’s futile. John 15:4.


Trust that I listen and that I make no mistakes.

I will answer in due time. I will show you great and mighty things. I will reveal Myself to you.

I am God Almighty. The Alpha and Omega. I am that I am.

Proverbs 3:5-6


Then I responded;

Dad, help me.

MY FREE-FORM LOCS JOURNEY

It was a fine, sunny afternoon, I was starring intently into my mirror, my hair already starting to knot because it had been a while I ran a comb through it; I thought, in that very moment, ‘you’re quarantined at home, why not channel your inner J Cole? What’s the worst that could happen, asides looking like a homeless thug ?’

And so began my freeform locs journey, borne purely out of circumstance😁.

I didn’t want to get a haircut during the lockdown and combing my hair was torturous, so I allowed my hair run wild.

The last haircut I got was in July. My hair started knotting early August. If my math is right, then It’s been over 2 months since I started my locs journey.

I dare say, dreads are liberating. I still miss how I look with little to no hair. Less stress.  Less thought put into my hair and less grooming required. Bliss, right ?

What kind of locs do I have ?

My locs are a tad tinier than I expected it to be. I still love it

So I decided to keep free-form/freedom locs. Freeform locs are basically dreadlocks that grow organically with little to no manipulation. You just allow your hair to knot how it chooses and go with the flow. You don’t have to manually retwist your roots or apply products to help it knot. That was what I did. I decided I was going to allow my hair to be and grow how it wants to.

My ideal length. Not so short and not long

My eclectic nature only comes into play when it comes to my hair, I’m not as expressive and ‘out there’ in other areas of my life. Weird, I know.

Pros of Free-form locs

1. Very cost effective. You only need to invest in normal haircare products like shampoos and deep conditioners. Stuff like that. You don’t have to go to a salon to start your locs. All you need do is allow your hair be and not comb it. Simple😁. Not to mention, no more unnecessary and costly trips to the salon.

2. It’s the most natural kind of dreads to keep. You don’t need to articfically loc your hair or put in extentions.

3. These dreadlocks are all about freedom and acceptance—accepting your hair in its completely natural state and texture

4. Many believe freeform dreads provide cultural significance and spiritual advantages🤷. Since the process involves growing your hair without manipulation or force, these rules go against most global beauty standards.

5. Best of all, freeform dreads allow you to practically roll out of bed without styling before you head out the door. Yes – that means the messier, the better! Music to my ears 😍

Cons

1. It’s not as “pretty looking” as semi-freeform or dread extentions.

2. Doesn’t always give the “neat” look.

I decided to not grow dreads all over my head. I still fade the sides of my hair. So technically I’m semi bald. Yay me😁.

Peaked your interest ?  I bet you want to see what it locs like (see what I did there ?🙃🙃 Of course you did). 

It took a couple of weeks for my hair to lock

PS: I forgot to start documenting the process early enough, so as Apostle Peter would say, what I have, I give to you.

 

Took this photo last month. I don’t have any haircare/washday routine yet. For now, I wash my hair with black soap and apply a hair cream after drying my hair with a towel

What are your thoughts on dreadlocks ? Love? Loathe? Indifferent?

I’d love for us to connect on Facebook  @Okafor Gift Ifunanya. Instagram @Therelatablesis_ . Twitter @SisRelatable.

Sending lots of love and light your way. God bless you 🙏

I DON’T TRUST GOD COMPLETELY

I was alone with my thoughts and it dawned on me.

I don’t trust God completely.

I don’t trust that the answer comes swiftly.

I don’t trust praying to Him will always make me feel better.

So I try my hardest to make myself feel better.

I don’t trust Him to always make a way, so I make one myself.

I don’t trust God completely;

That’s why I struggle with believing even after I pray. I don’t trust that He sees my hurt and feels my pain.

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com

I struggle to believe It is well.

I don’t trust God completely;

That’s why I don’t lay hands on the sick. I don’t trust that He will use me.

I don’t trust God completely;

That’s why I don’t ask for big things in the place of prayer. I can’t deal with being disappointed. I don’t trust that my expectation won’t be cut short.

I don’t trust God completely;

That’s why I struggle to read the Bible. Sometimes His promises seem like they are for every other believer, but me.

I don’t trust God completely;

That’s why I’m more fixated and emotionally invested in my physical environment than I am with His Word. I don’t trust that every single thing is working for my good.

I don’t trust God completely. I don’t think He’s given me enough reasons to trust Him completely.

See, I trust Him, just not completely.

I trust Him enough to stay a lukewarm christian and go to church sometimes. I trust Him enough to have some hope that things might get better. Maybe.

I trust He hears me sometimes. And maybe if He’s in a good mood or I’ve been a good enough Christian, He’ll throw a blessing or two my way. 

I trust God, just not completely.

What happens when we come into direct confrontation with the question; how much do we actually trust God ? If we are sincere, what would be our answer ?
I think most of us can say it’s easy to trust God when everything in our life makes sense.


What about when life is flipped upside down and we loose people, and our brains are filled with tension of life.

A life filled with tension is something I’m painfully aware of. Sometimes, I don’t trust that there is a bigger picture, a reason for anything.


But, it’s in these times; times of despair, deep hurt, desolution, we see our frailty and God’s strength, when we decide to put our eyes on Him and not on ourselves. It’s not going to be easy. Fighting your senses and your apparent reality, to see with the eyes of faith, is by no stretch of the imagination easy.


There will be times when we wonder why God allowed for us to be put in situations where we can’t trust ourselves and Him. Situations where we seem so helpless and disadvantaged. Sometimes, He would seem quiet and it would hurt. It would hurt a lot.

Growth is an uncomfortable process and pain is a necessary investment for progress.

Tough pill to swallow. I find it lodged in my throat sometimes.


God knows why He placed us where we are. Sometimes we just have to, despite no hope, like Abraham, trust Him even in the midst of depression, sickness, sadness, pain, hurt.

Trust that He cares. He sees.


Maybe you’re in a similar situation where trusting Him completely seems hard, remember that God is big; bigger than your doubts, fears and circumstances. Cause yourself to remember how consistent He has been. Be encouraged by His character.

Remember Jeremiah 29:11

Remember He is with you.

Remember James 1:6-8.

Remember He is beyond trustworthy and He loves you deeply ❤️.

Ask Him to forgive your unbelief and to help you trust Him completely.

It’s so easy to believe and hold on to what we see in the three-dimensional realm, over the Word of God. It’s human.

Whenever you feel your trust in Him is slipping, ask Him for the grace and strength to hold on; to hold onto Him; onto Him promises, even with blistered hands and battered hope; to not let go; to trust Him completely.

You are not alone 💞

THE REVOLUTION WAS TWEETED

Source: Twitter

For 60yrs, Nigeria had been dependently Independent. But on 8th October, 2020, she gained her Independence. An independence that was taken by the youth.

The #EndSARS movement is a movement that dates back to 2017 but was reinvented in 2020 with protests that erupted all over the country after a video emerged of police officers thought to be members of the SARS unit, killing an unarmed young man and driving off in his car, went viral on Twitter.

The officers in this unit took it upon themselves to redefine their job description. They resorted to killing, molesting and extorting money from young Nigerians.

Young men with dreads, tatoos, iPhones and nice cars became the new face of “armed robbers”. They became the target of SARS operatives. People had to hide their iPhones when they went out. Driving around with your nice car became an unnerving experience because if you’re unlucky, you’ll get pulled over by our men in arms, charged with cyber crime and made to render your stolen property and illegally gotten money to them.

Source: Twitter

This is Nigeria, where human rights violation is just one of those things; where officers employed to protect us, kill us like our lives don’t matter.

This is Nigeria where staying alive was a game of chance.

This is Nigeria where freedom of expression was a henious crime, worthy of capital punishment.

While the youth suffered from extrajudicial killings, those at the corridors of power were too busy looting and hiding covid 19 palliatives to give to their friends and loved ones.

This revolution that has begun in Nigeria, started out as rants on Twitter with the hastag #EndSARS. Soon enough it began trending on Twitter and even caught the attention of mainstream media. It became more than just a hastag. It became a revolution. A conscious awakening was ignited; change wasn’t asked for, change was demanded ! We knew this now.

As the peaceful protests intensified, the govt tried to silence the voice of the people. But the will of the people waxed stronger. We brought the nation to standstill. We demanded they pay attention. They had no choice.

Despite threats and acts of violence perpetuated against peaceful protesters, despite being told not to have a voice, not to speak up, the self-acclaimed #sorosókègeneration (loosely translated as generation that speaks up) defied our elders. We knew age doesn’t always equate wisdom. We refused to keep quiet and look the other way while our brothers and sisters were gunned down for sport by trigger-happy, gun wielding hoodlums, disguised as SARS officers. We decided enough is enough.

Internet children wey no get respect 😇

The lazy Nigerian youths as our president fondly calls us😁, took initiative, funded the peaceful protests. Provided legal and medical support for proteters. Helplines were created to deal with protest-related emergencies. Well meaning Nigerians lent their voices and resources to the cause.

source: Twitter

20th October, 2020 is a day that will forever live in infamy. On that day, peaceful protesters were shot at and killed by Nigerian soldiers. They were killed for speaking against police brutality. They were killed because they wanted to live freely in their motherland. They were killed because they dared to demand for justice.

We became advocates of change

Word on the street is there’s a new Nigeria. A Nigeria were leaders are held accountable.

A new Nigeria were leaders that refuse to soro sókè will be dragged mercilessly all over the social media street.

Source: Twitter

A new Nigeria where the youths reclaim their voice. A new Nigeria were youths and citizens in general stop being apathetic towards governance and eletions.

A new Nigeria were we come en mass to vote. A new Nigeria where we don’t just stay at home and say “Let thy will be done Oh Lord”

I think what I’m most excited about is the fact that this protest united us as one people with one voice. It didn’t matter if you were Muslim or Christian. There was no tribal undertone. It was just a collective of people who decided to take back their country from an inept govt.

Source: Twitter

To our fallen heroes who lost their lives in the struggle to bring an end to police brutality, may your souls find rest.

I’m hopeful that when the glory comes, it will be ours !

I was verbally harassed by a guy who tried to hit on me!

Hey guys! So it’s been a while I blogged. My apologies.

Yesterday was the first time in a long time that I felt rage. So here I am, blogging away my feelings of rage and taking deep breaths in between.

Don’t harass people verbally or physically. Just. Don’t.

Let me take y’all back mehn… like I do so well. Forgive the J Cole reference, I couldn’t help myself. 😁😁

So, I’ve  been hit on a couple of times in the past by this guy. Apparently his ego was bruised from  rejection, however polite, and sought retribution in the form of harassment. The next time I saw him was at a small convenience store I patronize. In the most entitled tone ever , he goes “can’t you greet or you don’t see me sitting here?“. Quite frankly, I was taken aback by that statement.  I was able to collect my thoughts  after a  few seconds and I replied, in my most sarcastic tone yet, “good evening sir!” I turned back to the attendant and proceeded to pay for my items. He kept  going on  about how I lacked manners and how I don’t ever greet him. I chose to ignore him because I knew those comments were coming from a place of pettiness and bitterness.

Yesterday, I went to the same place to get some things and just as I got there he showed up, probably charged from our last encounter and  ready to be more aggressive and demeaning. When he saw that I was obviously ignoring the fact that he was there, he turned to me and asked “so is it that I’m a small boy that you can’t greet me?”.

I didnt respond.

He then reached for my headphones, pulled it out of my phone and tugged at my shirt.

That was when i broke my silence.

I felt violated.

I felt rage.

I tried to control my temper.  I knew that any altercation or aggravation would only be to my detriment because he was ready to beat me up in the event I misspoke.

I looked straight at him and asked “what is your problem?” then he said “you don’t have home training; you lack manners; you cannot greet”. Still looking straight at him , I asked again “what exactly is your problem?” looking back at me defiantly, he retorted , “your parents didn’t teach you home training” I replied “what exactly is your problem”. For some reason, that was all I could say. I was afraid of being punched or slapped. He then turned away from me to his friend who was sitting across from him, who seemed really  uncomfortable with everything happening but didn’t say a word ( you know,  because of the guy code that forces a man to keep silent when his friend takes advantage of a woman. Yeah. That guy code😊). He looked at the guy and goes “she’s not even beautiful. If she were, then I would understand her  shakara (playing hard to get)”. “She’s ugly and still lacks manners”. I  asked him “so why stress yourself over an ugly girl?”. “Why force a conversation with me?”. ” What is your problem?”. The owner of the store then came out and called out to the guy, trying to get him to stop talking.

My walk back home was painful. I felt weak and taken advantage of. I wanted to give him a punch in the throat. The incident reminded me of the time I was in make up school and was constantly harassed on my way to and from the school. Random men would try to grab me, hold my hand, latch unto my bag, and even stroke my hair, while calling me baby. I had to start taking  a bike instead of walking, to avoid having to fend them off constantly.

When i got home, I  filled my dad  and brother in on the drama that I starred in a couple of minutes ago.

My brother confronted him almost immediately because he knew him. He tried denying ever harassing me, saying that he was only trying to correct me.

Shout out to my baby brother 💕

It’s a norm for some guys to curse a lady out when their advances are not reciprocated. Their tiny egos get hurt, so in turn, they try to make her out to be a mannerless, disrespectful and rude person . It’s crazy how guys do this and feel it’s okay. How you can try to verbally and physically harass women just because you have a bruised ego is beyond me.

I don’t have to say hi to you. I am not obligated to like you because you like me. I don’t have to say yes to you because you asked me out. I also don’t have to have a reason . I mean, God as powerful as He is,  gives each and every one a choice; freedom to decide what to do and what not to do.

Trying to slut shame, belittle, demean and physically assault a lady for not responding favorably to your request is one of the most cowardly acts ever. Period. Women are usually at the receiving end of verbal and physical Harassment

Any guy who does this or supports people who do this is a joke. A laughable one.

I know there are lots of ladies out there who have experienced this at least once. It breaks my heart to know that this is an actual reality that women, especially, face on a daily basis; being harassed by men who just don’t get it. Men who can’t take no for an answer.

In a country like Nigeria where the justice system only serves those who can afford bribe, it’s hard to speak up about harassment and abuse. Reporting perpetrators to the police does very little. Most times, it’s the woman who’s made out to be the cause of the harassment; maybe if she dresses better or greets men then she wouldn’t be harassed.

Oh, the misogyny.

It’s endemic in our culture. The average guy sees harassment as nothing more than just aggressive toasting. Sickening. 

The average Nigerian man  says nothing when his friend harasses a girl especially when it’s just verbal harassment; sticking up for her would mean you’re sleeping with her. Berating women in this country is no big deal. I have seen it play out time and again. I mean, cat calling is practically institutionalised.

No means no. Take your “L” and leave

I’ve had quite a substantial amount of character development within the last year and for that I am grateful to God. I’m so glad that I am way better than I was before;  that I can look past certain things;  that I didn’t curse him out, even though he deserved it and chose instead to walk away , which I believe was the best decision that I could have made at that point. More than anything, I’m grateful that the whole thing didn’t escalate. I’m sure he would have wanted that. I kept my cool the best I could.

I had to pray to God for the grace to forgive him and move past the whole thing. I didn’t want to harbour any resentment or ill will against him. My flesh really wanted to though.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever been verbally or physically harassed before and how you handled it.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please like share and follow my blog. Merçi !😙😙

Till my next post…stay beYOUtiful

WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO SUFFER FROM BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER

Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.

Tyrion Lanister- Game of thrones

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by obsessive thinking about a flaw on a specific part of your face or body that is often imagined or, if present, exaggerated in your mind and hardly noticeable to anyone else.

According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder includes:

– Being extremely preoccupied with a perceived flaw in appearance that to others can’t be seen or appears minor

– Strong belief that you have a defect in your appearance that makes you ugly or deformed

– Belief that others take special notice of your appearance in a negative way or mock you

– Engaging in behaviors aimed at fixing or hiding the perceived flaw that are difficult to resist or control, such as frequently checking the mirror, grooming or skin picking

– Attempting to hide perceived flaws with styling, makeup or clothes

– Constantly comparing your appearance with others

– Frequently seeking reassurance about your appearance from others

– Avoiding social situations

My earliest memory of when i began strugglling with body dysmorphia was in high school. A couple of my friends were talking about a senior in school, and then one of my friends said to me “she actually looks just like you. She’s got a very big forehead like you” I was flabbergasted. I had never thought of myself as a big forehead kinda gal.

I went home fixated on how my forehead looked. I became troubled by my massive ‘five head’. I looked at my forehead every chance I got, for several hours each day. I couldn’t help it. The thought of my forehead being huge consumed me. It looked so disproportionate to my face. I would take pictures of my face and cry because all I saw was my disproportionate forehead sticking out like a sore thumb.

I couldn’t part my hair in the middle anymore because it ‘made my huge forehead obvious’. I could only wear weaves in a side part or a fringe. When I looked at old pictures of myself, all I could see was my ridiculously huge head. I felt so ugly. I felt undeserving of love and compliments. I sought validation in guys I got involved with. “I guess I’m not that ugly if he likes me” was my consolation.

I remember always praying not to have breakouts on my forehead to make it less conspicuous. I had a terrible self image. One time I had really bad breakout on my forehead. In a desperate bid to clear them up, it got really blistered and the injuries didn’t heal until after a couple weeks.

There were days I would cry and look at myself in the mirror for hours on end. I would tilt my head back and say “I look like a bald guy“. I would spiral into a state of self loathing whenever people made jabs at my forehead. Those comments went straight to my head.

The image of myself I saw each time I looked in the mirror was exaggerated and distorted.

I tried plucking my eyebrow hairs to make my arch higher because I saw in a video “how to reduce your big forehead”, arching your eyebrows really high creates the illusion of a smaller forehead. I ended up making a mess of my eyebrows and feeling worse. When I couldn’t create the ‘illusion’ of a smaller forehead, I joined a ‘five head support group’ onlline to make myself feel better about myself. I kid you not.

Even after getting into college I still struggled with low self image and body dysmorphia and when people took jabs at me for having a big forehead in school, I would go home, look into the mirror and cry my eyes out, just hating myself. I wished I looked like someone else. Someone pretty. Someone with a proportionate forehead.

I kept struggling and looking for validation in all the wrong places until I got tired of being tired. I was fed up with struggling. With feeling ugly. I didn’t want to keep hiding behind wigs and weaves. I desperately wanted to believe what God said about me. I made a decision that I wasn’t going to listen to those thoughts in my mind. I chose to believe I was made in the image and likeness of God. I was sculpted to perfection just as it had pleased my heavenly father.

A scripture that resonnated within me was Psalm 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well”.

I decided to cut my hair because I wanted feel confident in how my forhead looked. I wanted to prove to myself that I could feel just as pretty without a wig or weave.

I published an article about on my experience since cutting my hair. You can read it Here.

Cutting off my hair forced me to appreciate my forehead. It brought my forehead front and center, something I was terrified of! The first few weeks I still wore wigs to school ocassionally. I was still obsessing over how I looked with no hair. I still got panic attacks whenever I thought of going out in public. Despite those feelings, I kept telling myself I looked great and I was beautiful. I gave myself a pep talk before leaving for school each morning. I still do, but not as often as before. I’m more acccepting of myself now.

If they want to give you a name, take it make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore.

Tyrion Lanister- Game of thrones

I still get the forehead jokes, but my response to those comments are way different. Now, I take it all in stride. Such comments don’t go straight to my head anymore. Thank GOD!

More people suffer from body dysmorphic disorder because of the pressure to look good on social media and the ‘body shaming’ culture that has grown in leaps and bounds. We have become so self-aborbed and self critical because we are made to focus on flaws that make us “unattractive” in an all so perfect world.

If you suffer from BDD, do not feel ashamed or disappointed in yourself. Remember you are” flawed ” on purpose. There’s no mistake to you. You are the way you were designed to be. Talk to God. Find out what He says about you and the beauty you possess; beauty far beyond physical endowments. Talk to a friend, your partner or a therapist; anyone you can feel safe sharing your feelings with. Disconnect from social media if you can. Most importantly, be kind and patient with yourself.

Your worth comes from whose you are, not who you are. And you are God’s special creation. Wonderfully and fearfully made.

Till my next post…stay beYOUtiful

CONSISTENCY IS A SUPER POWER

Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Show of hands, who else promises to start something and stick with it, only to fall behind after a couple of days?

Today, i thought about how far I’ve come, where i am currently and the mistakes I’ve made. I realised how much i lack consistency .

It’s exhausting

I usually enjoy taking up new ‘life changing’ habits, only to grow cold few days after. The first one week I’m on fire, maintaining my ‘streak’, then slowly i start to lapse, until eventually i feel utterly defeated. I’m not proud of it. But identifying a problem is half of the solution, right?

If i was consistent enough, i would probably have washboard abs, be fluent in German, and be skilled in Photoshop. These were all endeavours i committed to undertaking, at one time or the other.

This article isn’t all gloom. Recognising a problem is usually accompanied by an answer to that problem. I have been able to learn substantial lessons from my ‘failures’.

WHAT I PLAN ON DOING DIFFERENTLY

1. Be forgiving of myself

I usually beat myself up real bad after any seeming failure through negative talk. With condemnation comes guilt and guilt only causes me to repeat the same mistakes over and again. I have decided to be kind to myself. To understand that I, just like every other person , am striving for perfection. I’m choosing not to loose faith in myself. I can do ALL things, including getting washboard abs.😁😁

You are human, imperfect like the rest of us.

2. Set realistic goals

Whenever I want to do something new, like meditate or script for a month. I tell myself I’m going to meditate for an hour, script morning afternoon and night, and because I’m just starting out with this new habit, i soon fall short of my lofty goals.

By being consistent with your efforts, you will find that things will start to change in what will appear to be subtle ways because we are less likely to take notice of things when they no longer challenge us. 

Jenny Stanley-Matthews

Moving forward, I will set the bar a lot lower. Rather than meditating for an hour daily, any time from 5-20mins of meditation would be considered a success. That way, i would get the sense of achievement which would motivate me to keep going until it eventually becomes a habit.

3. Stop guilt-tripping

Guilt, I’ve realised, doesn’t serve me. Doesn’t serve anyone, really. Dwelling on guilt only depletes me. It makes me continue to relieve past wrongs.

I would try to, instead of feeling guilty, figure out the right thing to do to better the situation, and if doing the right thing is not an option, i would accept things as they are and move on, which is equally as powerful.

4. Isolate one goal

It’s burdensome to be consistent, especially at first, everything in you fights against it. It takes a lot of energy, a finite resource,  trying to do too much all at once only makes staying consistent more tasking. 

I’m the queen of multiply goals. I want to do everything, learn everything, start every new habit, which eventually leads me to burn out quickly.

The trick is to pick one goal to focus on at a time. I know this now. 

What’s your biggest issue? What’s your most damaging inconsistency? Start there. Work at it. Stabilize. Then move on to your next goal.

That being said, I am going to streamline my goals and focus on one at a time, rather than juggling multiple things and giving up on EVERYTHING !

5. Fight my emotions.

The brain is a taxing organ and uses a lot of energy to carry out tasks. Being faced with a challenge like consistency makes us feel even more mentally sluggish, which is why we sometimes feel mentally sluggish and/or lazy.

Sometimes we really are tired of being consistent and sticking to a new habit. I will do my best to push through by fighting my emotions through positive reinforcements and affirmations, so i don’t get stuck and frustrated.

What are some of the ways you stay consistent???

STOP THE ‘SELF-SABOTAGE’

When we read James 1:3 we see that when we ask God for wisdom, we ought to ask with trust in Him. This should also be applied to other things we go to God for, not just wisdom.

In fact, there are blessings attached to God’s children who put their trust in Him. He wants to be our first and only point of call. Jeremiah 17:7-8 is a very powerful scripture that has blessed me. God Himself tells us, in that scripture, the blessings that come upon those who trust in and rely on Him and Him alone.

The truth is, you either trust in Him or you don’t.

Remember the ill woman who followed Jesus through the crowd (Mark 5:24)?

She reached out her hand thinking,

“If I could just touch his robe I will be healed.”

She didn’t say, I think I’ll be healed.

Or I hope I’ll be healed.

Or He’s healed all these other people but I don’t know if he’ll actually heal me.

She knew if only she could touch his garment, she would be healed.

And she did it; pressing in with full faith in the power of Christ.

Jesus says, “Your faith has healed you.” and she was instantly freed from her suffering.

He didn’t touch her. He didn’t say some eloquent prayer. Really, He didn’t have to. It was her unwavering faith and the 100% confidence of her recovery in the power of Christ that activated her healing. 

The strange thing about faith and fear is, both require you to believe in something you can’t see.

When we tell ourselves i can’t do this or that, we limit ourselves. We limit our possibilities. Self-sabotage causes negative vibrations within our being, causing us to send out negative frequencies, thus attracting more gloom and defeat into our lives.

I know it’s easy to be carried away by the seeming limitations around us.  I used to always second-guess myself. I doubted what i read in the bible. I doubted the manifestation of God’s promises in my life. I am a lot more trusting of God, choosing to hope, against all hope, that all is well. Choosing not to observe lying vanities that cause me to sway from my faith. It’s not going to happen all at once. Sometimes you will still be faced with anxious and self-sabotaging thoughts. Remember the victory you already have in Christ ! Believe that to be your reality.

Let’s commit to refusing to be double-minded !

We either trust God is at work in our life or we don’t.

When you give your worries over to God, you do not pick them back up. You do not worry about it any more. He has you. Psalm 145:19 says “He grants the desires of those who fear Him. He hears their cries and rescues them”. That’s the kind of God we serve.

You make up your mind about what you are going to believe. Keep in mind, faith is not the belief that things will work out the way that we want them to, but that God will keep us no matter how things turn out.

Make a list of affirmations of what you will choose to believe today and hang it somewhere visible throughout your day.

The Mind-Body Connection

Our bodies are like an automobile that God provides for us to drive around earth. If we want them to perform to their maximum ability and be around for a long time then we need to choose to think in ways that will help them. It might not be easy, especially if you are a negative thinker/talker. But you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Glory to God !

The truth is that all of our thoughts, good or bad, have an effect on our physical body. Science has proven that positive, hopeful thoughts increase energy, whereas negative, hopeless ones drain energy. In fact, research shows that 75 to 98 percent of mental, physical, and behavioral illness comes from one’s thought life. The mind and body are definitely connected!

I am more self-aware of this truth than i have ever been my entire life. Listening to and reading works by authors like Napoleon Hill and Bob Proctor has really opened my eyes to the art of mindfulness and cosmic conciousness. Now, i am completely sold to the idea of the power of the mind and it’s connection to our mortal bodies.

Think about it for a second, when you are sick, the enemy likes to/tries to bombard your mind with negative thoughts like ‘this is never going to work out‘,  ‘you’re never going to get well’, ‘It’s just going to keep getting worse’. I’ve been learning to, through practices of mindfulness and studying God’s word, stop the wrong thoughts by filling it with the right thoughts from God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word that God speaks is alive and full of power.” Thinking and speaking His Word literally breathes life into our situation! Also, when we recite positive affirmations, our minds are reprogrammed to think in that light through auto-suggestion.

People act as they think

A couple of years ago my family was in a really bad place. My dad’s shop got demolished. We had no place to stay and my older brother was battling depression. Rather than feed into the negativity all around me, i chose to speak and act differently. I thanked God more than ever for opened doors i saw with my eyes of faith. I declared abundance for my family and I. Not long after, my brother got a job and was in a better mental space. My dad was able to relocate ! It is incredible how powerful our mind is and it is amazing how perception shapes our emotions.

I encourage you to focus on things that are positive and full of hope from God’s Word. Think, I am favoured. Lines are falling into pleasant places for me. All things work together for my good. All things are mine. I am rich in all things. God has a great plan for my life, and I am expecting great things for my future. Something good is going to happen to me today!

Remeber, for you to reprogram your mind, your belief structure and vocabulary has to change.

What you beleive yourself to be, you are.

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