Thursday Talk Series | Augustine Ojeh Seeks Clarity of Purpose


Let’s play a game. Not Squid Game guys (I haven’t watched the movie but a lot of you are very loud about it). This game is simple and nonfatal, please. I want you to read the sentence below, and as you do so count the number of Fs that you find.

Awesome. How many Fs did you find? 3, 4, 5, or 6? Click here to see the answer and find out whether you are smart or not. Did you get the right answer? 😁😏

Moving on. Today, I’ll be introducing Augustine Ojeh. Let me confess. I have reason to believe that he gets high from giving expression and meaning to the world around him with words. Having recently made his acquaintance, I have no informed impression of his person. However, I can tell you that I deduced he’s a craftsman who has a sizzling relationship with words by stalking his Instagram page. Yes, that’s right! I did that. I was curious you see, and best believe that now I want to know even more about him.😂 I’m aware that he’s an earnest coach – ready to teach and also learn. He’s a book-lover, has no pet that I know of, is a certified night owl, and is an amazing writer and editor.

Q. Can you introduce yourself and what you do?

A. Augustine Ojeh here. Somewhere deep down, I reaffirm myself to be a genius but, in reality, I’m just another nobody, scratching his way upwards and seeking clarity of purpose. In my quest for clarity, I read books. I wouldn’t say it’s been a lot of books but enough to heighten my curiosity and desire to teach. What better way to learn than to teach? So, I’m a writer, editor, and writing coach. I write about business growth, global and workplace sustainability, diversity (gender, racial, and cultural), economics, and a pinch of psychology (for the love of it). However, I’m a questioner of illogical religious doctrines and the credulity of its believers. Some (including clergymen) have called me an Atheist but I’ll excuse their assertions to their purportedly ill understandings of Atheism.

Augustine Ojeh at his favorite space that he calls Saturn
Augustine Ojeh

Q. Why do you do your job, and would you rather do something else?

A. I wouldn’t say that I have a job. Just as footballers never called playing soccer a job, writing has never been a job to me. At least, I’ve never seen it that way and probably never will. I’d do something else if it has a negative opportunity cost, like starting and building a business which I’m already doing (won’t say more than that). However, I doubt if any of that would stop me from writing.

Q. What’s your idea of real success and how can it be achieved?

A. The “real” seems weird. Success is never faked. And, in my opinion, there’s no rigid formula to achieving it. I have several ideas of success, depending on what area of my life is under the magnifying lenses. In marriage, parenting, career, mental development, and all others, the ideas of success change. The methods to achieving each also vary. In marriage and mental development, for instance, stern principles are important while in parenting and career, flexibility and amenability to change are virtues.

Q. What is your morning routine like?

A. a. Wake up by 9:00 AM. That alarm is annoying and the funny thing is that the 9 am alarm description reads, “OJEH, YOU’VE GOT 1,440 MINUTES TODAY. NOW, GET IN THE TOILET, YOU PISS OF SHIT!”

b. Sit on the toilet seat for 30 minutes (maybe drop some poops if there’s any coming. Eewww! But it does feel good.)

c. Bath right after.

d. Brew some coffee in the kitchen.

e. Read three important newsletters [from the New York Times (US), The Economist (UK), and Punch (NG)] while I wait for coffee.

f. Read and respond to emails.

g. Update my to-dos for the day.

Q. What two things do you think of the most each day and why?

A. I’m not sure there are any two particular things that I think about each day. However, my mind has been occupied by the book project that I’m working on recently. And why does that occupy my mind? Of course, you know. I think the second thing that fills my head is the business that I’m creating (but I won’t say more). It’s on my mind often because it should be. Nevertheless, I’ve got my family sitting pretty at the corner of my mind. They never leave there.

Q. How do you manage to deal with stress as you work?

A. I use the gym when the spirit leads but mostly in the evenings. I take long walks to clear my head also. And I play snooker as often as I can. It’s an opportunity to meet new faces and share a good laugh. It does help deal with the stress, no doubt. Chess also comes in handy when I’m a bit unhappy or frustrated.

Q. What do you feel is the difference between living and existing?

A. The difference is our perception of time. For those existing, time travels through them. So, they often sit pretty as time rides along. Living puts you in a race against time. It gives essence to time. It’s the reason 24 hours is too short for one day. If only it could be 28. Pfffft! But a jolly race against time without prizes to pick at random stops is a spokeless wheel.

Augustine Ojeh

Q. What was the last book you read and what can you say about it?

A. Perfectly Confident by Don A. Moore (Ph.D.). I think Professor Moore does have a lot to say about the dangers of blind optimism and unbacked confidence. I’d say the book is excellently written and laced with relatable research, accurate accounts of events, and exciting exercises to help you stay on track.

Q. Do you think we have a greater purpose or are we just waiting for our turn to die?

A. I think we are on a lap to create our heaven or hell. When this lap is over, we would return to the life that we created, clueless about how and when we created them. So, yes, we do have a purpose albeit its greatness is relative.

I wouldn’t say that I have a job. Just as footballers never called playing soccer a job, writing has never been a job to me. At least, I’ve never seen it that way and probably never will. I’d do something else if it has a negative opportunity cost, like starting and building a business which I’m already doing (won’t say more than that). However, I doubt if any of that would stop me from writing.

Augustine Ojeh on Thursday Talk Series

Q. What is that thing that you see as an obstacle that can stop you from having success?

A. Death.

Thank you very much for the interview, Augustine. I’m really glad to have met you and I look forward to all the amazing things you are set to do. For everyone still reading, thank you for being here. Wish you a spectacular Thursday.

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Do you know that pattern is one of the elements of composition in photography?

Take a peek😁🥰

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Morning Musings


Today, like most days I find myself awake even before the sun is up. The sky is inky black and I look out my window as if anticipating a lover. The hours before sunrise is one of my favorite times of the day. I like to wake up early in the morning so that I can spend time with myself.

I like to imagine that every morning is like a painter painting over an old canvas. I like to tell myself that I’ve gotten another day to love and be loved. I like to think about all the things I would like to do and the process I’ll have to follow to get there. Another chance to give meaning to my existence and going after the things that I want. I like to watch the window like I’m waiting for my lover to jump in and carry me off farfarfaraway.

When I hear someone say that they are not a morning person, I just cannot relate. For me, I just love to be up early, to breathe deeply, and listen to my heart thud in my chest in a quiet rhythm. Also, it makes sense to revisit yesterday with fresh eyes, accepting that the past is in the past – I’m in the present. Those things that hurt me before are all behind me, and I do not have to be shackled by them. Morning comes with its uncertainties yet I would rather run into the future than dwell in the past.

I hope today stays fresh and wonderful to you too.❤️ Have a wonderful day and a happy weekend.

Photo credit: Rigozo

I love city lights. I took this picture in the early hours of the morning after it rained.

How To Improve Your Skill As A Beginner Photographer

I mentioned taking photography seriously this year in my memoir, right? If you don’t know all about that check it out here. Well, it hasn’t been easy at all but I think I’ve come a long way and I have learned a lot. (It’s belated I know but we are still in August so Happy world photography day! and if you’d like to see how I celebrated it, click here)

I love to tell stories and well this is a story, sort of, where I tell you how far I have come as a beginner photographer and how I’ve improved my skills. I hope you find it helpful if you are interested in jumping into photography or just taking it as a hobby.

Here’s an update on what I’ve been up to

  • I finished a 6month photography internship (I started late last year and finished sometime around March).
  • I was retained and have since worked as an assistant photographer.
  • Joined an online photography class.

If you are a beginner photographer and want to improve your skills, you shouldn’t be thinking of what gear to buy or how to get 1000 likes on Instagram. I’ll share with you the basic thing you need to know to start as a beginner photographer.

Start from where you are

As a beginner photographer, start from where you are. When I first started photography I used my phone, Samsung Galaxy GT18552 and I remember this because I loved that smartphone. My selfie camera was a mess but the main/back camera worked quite fine. After the first introductory class which I had during my final year in school, I was ready to take pictures everywhere I went. I was like Dora the Explorer without the backpack and monkey. I’ve discovered something new and exciting, and I wanted everyone around me to be aware of it. You can use your phone and if you can afford a DSLR camera, then go for it. The most important thing is to start and then you can build up from there.

Teddy bear sitting on a bus’s dashboard photographed using my phone

Use YouTube

Youtube is a great resource to learn a lot about photography for free. Yes! You can’t always know everything. Me? I don’t know everything. What I know about Snapseed and editing when I first started with my phone, I learned from those wonderful people on YouTube. Today I still use it to learn about lighting, focus, camera body and settings, exposure triangle, composition, photoshop, lightroom, and so on. It’s amazing for a beginner. There’s knowledge for anyone interested in learning and improving their skills. Fantastic❤️

Gallery shot of Leisure Mall, Lagos.

Be patient

Be patient with yourself. I am lucky to have people around who encourage me, and not because I am a pro or genius or anything close. With time I’ve come to realize that growth is a process. The child is the father of a man, is an expression by William Wordsworth which indicates that childhood traits and experiences impact the life of a man. So also as a beginner photographer, with years comes experience and improvement. I know so much more now than I ever did when I first started photography.

Three little bridesmaids

Believe in yourself

From phone photography to using a camera, it’s wonderful to see that I can chart a map from my early beginnings as a photographer to now. The journey has not always been easy like I said, sometimes excruciating. What stood out for me is how much believing in myself goes a long way. Not that getting support from people around me doesn’t count (it does), but I stand a better chance of accomplishing my best when I believe in myself. As a beginner photographer that’s like your super power.

Beach front with rocks photographed with a phone

Try new things

Don’t be scared to do shake things up. Move out of your comfort zone; pack your bags. You’ll find opportunities to explore your creativity as a photographer. Sure you may not take those images that will make people want to lick their screen as a beginner but you’ll learn a thing or two. Use the internet to find prompts or just walk around the house and look for something to shoot.

Street photography of a bustling street as the sunset

Keep Practicing

That’s the golden rule in my opinion. All the books, online classes, YouTube videos etcetera, won’t make a lot of sense if you don’t practice as a beginner photographer. I mean even the professionals do a lot of practice. Whether you are using a camera or a phone, don’t skip on practicing. It can be anywhere; on the bus, at a park, inside the house, at the mall, and so on.

Engagement shoot for couples

Have fun

What’s the point if you are feeling sad and awful all the time. You should be having fun even though as a beginner it won’t be easy. I know, I know, you are saying, ‘what if I miss the moment.’ Well, you missed it. Now focus on having fun, and keep an eye out for the next moment. Easy peasy😌😁. I’m still hoping from one place to the other looking for a niche, but I’m having a ton of fun and you should too.

My sister smiling and looking lovely

My biggest challenge so far

I find myself battling imposter syndrome often.

My greatest achievement

I’m able to celebrate small wins, no matter how insignificant it may seem. This has helped me come a long way.

Awesome Resources

Practice, Practice and Finding the Time For Photography

Get Better At Photography With Practice (Photo Tips, Tricks, and Your Questions Answered)

9 Photography Techniques That Every Beginner Should Practice

The Hype About Self Reflection and Why It Is Important


Disclaimer: Self reflection is a good thing and necessary to elevate our lives, it can also be challenging and requires discipline.

I know it’s hard to find out something different from the visual and mental representation that we already have of ourselves. From my experience, once you embark on self-reflection, you either feel like a million bucks or like roadkill. You know how it is with having a crush, you get to know them and eventually you get crushed because they don’t look so iconic to you anymore. Yeah, that’s how getting to know yourself better can feel, however, it’s not always the case.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”


What Is Self Reflection

Self reflection is one of the ways in which we can learn certain things about ourselves that would help us change and improve our lives. When we self reflect, we take off the blinders and this allows us to see ourselves for who we truly are. When we are honest with ourselves, we are able to process our thoughts, learn from past mistakes and successes, and it gives us a fighting chance as we tackle the future. Another thing is that we are able to acknowledge our feelings instead of hiding behind them and this is a great way to progress.

Is Self Reflection Good Or Bad?

Self reflection can go both ways like I said earlier. When done in a constructive manner it brings about positive changes but if haphazardly done and focused only the negative aspects, it could cause a person to spiral down.

The brain is a survival mechanism constantly alert to our needs. Simi Rayat mentioned that if the brain receives signal that we feel threatened or out of our comfort zone, it is possible for our mind to deploy hacks and shortcuts to manage such situations. This will cause the brain to tell us lies that can mess with our decisions, thinking and interpretations.

Note: It is also important to try to understand where other people’s opinion of you are coming from in other to shield against the ones that have no benefits to you.

Why Self Reflect?

#For Growth and Understanding

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection, which is the noblest; second by imitation, which is the easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”


Nobody that I know of has cracked the code 100% on how to elevate the way they see themselves, but a lot of positive changes can come through self reflection. This can go a long way to help you get clarity and find your purpose. It also inspires growth and a better understanding of who you are as a person. Always remember it is important that you don’t lose sight of who you are.

#Gets Rid of Insecurities

“Don’t become too preoccupied with what is happening around you, pay more attention to what is going on within you.”

Mary-Francis Winters

Perhaps you are in a low place and struggling with general anxiety, one of the best thing you can do for yourself is to self reflect. To fix a problem, it is important that you have to first know where it’s coming from and tackle it at the source unless it will persist.

#Improves Your Relationships

“Before I ask you to sit with me,

I must be able to sit with myself,

Before I ask you to accept my pain,

I have to accept the pain myself,

Before I ask you to love me,

I have to be madly in love with myself.”


Many times we are the problem in our relationships and we are not aware of it, because how we see ourselves can be skewed and misinterpreted. We are only able to take the necessary steps towards self improvement when we become aware of our faults and flaws. Self reflection leads to self awareness, which leads to better relationships with our families, friends and colleagues.

#Promotes Self Acceptance

“Time spent in self reflection is never wasted, it is an intimate date with yourself.”

Paul TP Wong

When we are able to process our emotions and thoughts, we feel a greater connection to ourselves. It opens up our mind to several possibilities to explore those ideas that we have and channel them in a positive way. For example there are times I would repeat to myself, “I’m beautiful; I’m important; I’m not pathetic,” and so on. This happens a lot when I have intrusive thoughts that target my self confidence – pretty nasty stuff – and the only way for me is to channel positive energy to tackle them. I’m aware it makes all the difference to my physical and my mental health.

Start Reflecting

Ask yourself questions, especially the hard ones – you know those ones that makes you cringe or causes your chest to tighten . Be sure to reflect on your experiences; introspection is important and can help you track the things that you did, felt and thought at certain moments. You are going through your memories like a movie reel without editing parts of it. Don’t forget to take it easy on yourself, things that are not going right can be fixed with discipline and TLC (Tender, Love and Care).

I’m off to go do some self reflection (mehn things are about to get bloody up in here), wish me all the best.

Photo Credit: Rigozo

Articles on Self Reflection

Self Reflection 101: What is Self – Reflection? Why is Reflection Important? And How to Reflect?

Why Self-Reflection is Vital to Your Relationship

87 Self-Reflction Questions for Introspection

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Thursday Talk Series | Ugo Lives Life To The Fullest

Some days my mind takes the initiative to shut down so that I can catch a break. Here’s the thing, for a moment I will forget everything, regardless of where I am or what I’m currently doing. This wool-gathering seems to happen to me on days when I’m idle or mostly stressed out. I’ve heard people say things about absentmindedness but in my own opinion I feel that if I do not let my mind wander once in a while then I cannot really appreciate being present. It’s like that saying “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

Alright, we have Ugochukwu today and well I’m pumped. I feel that Ugo does a marvelous job of understanding what she wants out of life in this period. She makes it seem like it would make all the difference if we are not so bothered about the end because we have spent all of our existence just enjoying being here and present as much as we can. Only good vibes and awesome energy! She’s also not shy to admit to feeling less confident occasionally. Still, she’ll show up and try all she can to love and encourage herself and keep the faith. In the same way, she infuses love and light into the people around her. That’s Gogo for you. Let’s get into it.

Q. Can you introduce yourself and what you do?

A. Hi, My name is Ugochukwu Eluchie. I am also known as Ugo or Gogo. What do I do? I exist. I am living my life and trying to do so to the fullest.

Ugochukwu Eluchie

Q. Why do you do your job, and would you rather do something else?

A. Should I be honest? I do my job because that’s really what I am good at for now. I would rather not do anything but live, without the pressure of working to earn a living.

Q. What’s your idea of real success and how can it be achieved?

A. My idea of success evolves as I take steps in life. I think real success for me is enjoying my life. Not pretending to but enjoying it, liking it, and finding satisfaction in what I have per time. The only way this can be achieved is by being content. Contentment is the key to living out this version of success.

Q. What do you appreciate about yourself and what would you like to change?

A. I appreciate my vulnerability. I will always tell the people I know who care for me how I feel. I am quite honest about my feelings, most of the time. The only thing I would like to change is how my emotions sometimes make me feel defeated but then again I have support from the Spirit of God who helps me when my emotions rage.

Q. Do you think we have a greater purpose or are we just waiting for our turn to die?

A. I think we all have one purpose, to live lives that honor the one who made us. Our purpose permeates through our careers, schools, friendships, families, marriages, and so on. The purpose to live for God is our great purpose, there is nothing greater or lesser. It’s just that. I mean we are also waiting for our turn to die but we do so as we live out our purpose.

Q. What kind of people do you allow into your circle?

A. I allow good people, kind people, caring people, and loving people.

Q. What two things do you think of the most each day?

A. I think of when I die if my friends will use my best selfie for my obituary and I think of the abroad, my real home.

Q. What’s your favorite social media platform? Why?

A. My favorite social media platform is Tumblr and it is because nobody I know is there. The pressure is off and I get to read people’s thoughts about the most random things.

Q. Can you share how what you do is relevant in society?

A. Lol I said to exist, so in other words, my existence is relevant to society as I get to shine the light of God and all he has placed inside me in the society I live in.

I think we all have one purpose, to live lives that honour the one who made us. Our purpose permeates through our careers, schools, friendships, families, marriages…. The purpose to live for God is our great purpose, there is nothing greater or lesser.”

Ugochukwu Eluchie on Thursday Talk Series

Q. If you could, what’s the one thing you’d change about the world in this generation?

A. I will change nothing. Every generation is unique and I think we are living out our uniqueness and God understands that uniqueness. Hence he is meeting people in this generation and drawing them to himself. Moses and Joshua were two remarkable leaders but they led two different generations and that was their call. The world will come to know the love of God if we live intentional and purposeful lives. I won’t change anything, I will only encourage people to live lives that men may see God in them.

Thank you very much Ugo for the interview, it has been a pleasure and I do hope you get to live your life to the fullest. It has been fun people, have a super-duper (only good vibes) Thursday. See ya!

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On Waking Dreams #2


In my waking dreams
Reality is sullied
The world is chaos and order
Time flows backward
And nothing is everything

But what is this?
Where did the time go?
My memories of this place are empty
Beseiged by fantasies
I'm lost

Winter has come
Gone is the trace of the sun,
Still, I remember
The feel of warmth on my skin
And the taste of it

I lie awake in bed
My mind whirling like a desert storm
I see with my inner eyes
Nothing is hidden from me
I am master of my dreams

Cloak of Despair


I’m amazed by the volume of sadness I carry, and convinced it will one day spill from my pores for everyone to see. Many times when I’m alone, I travel back in time to the moment life lost its meaning, and it felt like I couldn’t continue. My despair covers me like a tarp; it follows me everywhere. How do I move on when it refuses to let go?

I lie down with my eyes closed; sleep has long fled my bed. My heart sits dead in my chest, hands wrap around my belly, and my legs wrestle with the sheet. I cry out in my sleep, my dreams are filled with ephemeral forms that twirl and dance. They mock me whenever my fingers pass through them, a reminder that I can’t have what I desire. I’m wandering in the corridors of the past and the exit eludes me.

What amount of grieving is required when loss cannot be quantified? If all the variables are right and nothing else can replace it, like a hollow, you are left with a hole in your chest. We are told to move on, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and that grieving isn’t forever. But I’m trapped. I’m a bruise with no band aid, my loss is a parasite that feeds off my existence. Living has become for me a dirge to all the things that ever mattered.

I cannot scrub my mind clean, and condition my heart to forget the stabbing pains. My anguish is made from the finest threads. Things can never be as it was before.

People try to give me guidance. They tell me of their loss as if we are comparing notes. They say, “We understand how you feel. You are not alone.” How peculiar is this show of camaraderie we display when tragedy strikes? We shake hands as we introduce ourselves in the fellowship of pain_ ‘Hi! I’m new. Nice to meet you; Hey! Welcome back; You mean that one sitting morose in the corner? He’s a veteran, poor guy!

Living has become for me a dirge to all the things that ever mattered.

I hurt, but the wound festers unseen. Some people wear smiles to hide their pain. It says, ‘I feel dreadful of course, but if I let it show you’d be uncomfortable around me. Let’s play pretend until I’m okay.’ How about me? I don’t want to get over it. I won’t pretend to be okay so that other people would not be offended that I’m broken.

I guess this is when I’m supposed to tell you that I eventually met someone, they said all the right things, and I had the courage to rip to shreds my sheet of sorrow. I found a way out and now I’m better. Bless you! However, I’ve only just pinned my badge of grief, and I’m a long stretch from the release that comes with time and healing. I’m aware that each passing day chips away the pain, still I also bear the risk of plunging into despair when my memories are triggered by sight, sound, smell or touch. I carry my cloak of despair everywhere I go; this is only the beginning.

Photo Credit: Pexels

A Penny For Your Truth


The truth scares the bejesus out of most people and that is why it is problematic to accept. I’ve learnt it the hard way. You can’t really know everything about a person. It’s not only because they may lie, pretend, hide or omit certain things. It could be that it’s on a need-to-know-basis, like in spy movies; sometimes you just can’t see it. You are looking at them but you’re not seeing them for who they really are. I usually don’t arrive at the heart of things all philosophical like Yoda but yeah, that’s how it is tonight as I go through everything that has happened.

It was the weekend I went with my friends, China and Kay, to see a play that my cousin Tari produced down at the theatre. Everybody loves the man, he’s the local super star. I managed to swipe free tickets from him – promoted him to favorite cousin extraordinaire. The play was going so well and I was chugging down drinks like no man’s business. Until I had to go, real bad. That kind of thing ever happened to you, when the show gets to the interesting part and you’re keen on savoring every bit of it but your bladder gets other ideas? I made funny noises and got out of my seat faster than you could say plantain chips.
As I was about to get down to business in one of the stalls I heard voices coming into the restroom. Ah! There’s no privacy in public. I tried to tune them out by focusing on the scruffs on my boots.

“Hey! Hey! Cut that out and listen” one of the voices piped loudly. The voice was husky, as if the owner smoked a pack a day. You know the fear that grips you when it feels like you’ve unknowingly wandered into a horror movie set? That was how I felt.
“Did you see the crowd out there? I told you Tari’s a good-for-nothing swine but he’s the reason why the company is doing so well. He may act like he’s got his shit together but that idiot deserves to have nails shoved into his eyes” Husky mouths off.

I really am in a horror movie. Tari? My cousin? Someone turned on the tap. I couldn’t hear much of what was said until it was turned off.

“Only thing his worthless ass is good for is wiping the floor” another voice said. The voice was different, squeaky like old bed springs. Squeaky sniffed as she talked “He tried to feel me up the other day while I was sorting out the costumes. Said he could get me to play the lead female. I’ve heard the other girls talking. They say a lot. I turned him down. I guess that’s why he dropped me before opening night” She said it slowly and the words fell heavy and cold.

How many Taris were in the play? I was reeling. I wanted to go out there and tell them to shut up. My Tari? No! Husky and Squeaky kept using colorful words to describe him. It was awful. They left and I wanted to follow but I still had my business to take care of. My momma said to me one time, “The truth is a wild card, when it steps into the building it can get real ugly.” This was after she gave me a major ass whopping for playing in the rain, even though I wasn’t supposed to and it made me sick with the flu for days. Tough love? I’m stubborn. That’s my truth, at least the one I’m aware of, which is why I still hop about in the rain. I refused to believe what I heard about him. Skies! It was really hard to deal with. It still is. You know trust is a fragile thing. If you go stomping on it be prepared to watch it shatter into a billion pieces. Try putting it back together. Good luck! You’ll need it.

Tonight I sprawl on a thin mattress up on the roof and absently swat the mosquitoes that feast on me like I’m jollof rice on a Sunday. My safe space. You can find me up here every other night looking the epitome of relaxed and without a care in the world. When it comes down to it, out here in the open, I’m reminded that I’m part of the phenomenon that is this colossal universe – though a tiny speck I may be – and that is freaking awesome and creepy at the same time. It’s creepy because a whole lot of things out there can influence the outcome of events, and I would be forced to react to this outcome. In fact not reacting is a reaction. And it works the other way around. Do you get what I’m saying? We are all inevitably woven into the fabric of the world, locked in a children’s game of tag. So it turned out that Husky and Squeaky left me with a bag of snakes to deal with and ever since I’ve been stuck on that night searching for answers.

The clouds hide the moon for a bit and I look as the lights that scatter all over town shine intensely. I imagine what most folks will be up to right now and it’s funny what I come up with. Maybe truths and what makes them true is easy. It could be that Tari is nothing like what I heard them say that unfortunate night, he probably puts up an act because of the line of work he is in. Also consider that earth is Midgard and I can prove it if I find Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge.
If I say the the truth can only be explained with things that can be seen but not felt, I should be ready to face the controversies as they twerk forward in their numbers. A lot of folks will want to know where sixth sense and instinct comes to play because there are people out there who have this awareness. I on the other hand did not get any misogynistic bastard vibes from my cousin, and I’ve never seen him be anything but polite and charming.

I’ve known the bloke my whole life. Again there’s only so much you know about the people in your life. I know China to be shy and reserved but that’s because she’s been dealing with her step sister’s nonsense for so long she’s become non confrontational. Tries to fix everything. My girl is the nicest person I know but when she brings down the thunder, you’ll quake in your pants. Kay – Kayode is just crazy. You’ll understand what I’m saying if you spend a few minutes with him. He’s a nerd through and through, with a mouth that gets him in trouble all the time. He also raps. Weird I know. We love to read, it’s our first love. We also cry whenever we watch the Titanic, especially Kay. If you ask me I’ll say I know all there is to know about my friends. They are my ride or die. But lately I’ve let myself get distracted by all the things I don’t know about them. It is not cool.

I’m going to switch to Dumbledor. He said: “The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with caution” He also said, “One cannot have enough socks” so yeah, you should probably listen to him. Life is hard, if not we won’t need each other to get through all the crazy. Life is also good, I know because there is evidence of it all around me. I don’t get a lot of things; like how we say war brings peace or to love is to hurt or quantum physics. I do know that a lot of what we do is basic, not so complicated. In philosophy some have argued that truth is grounded in belief. I believe in God. I believe in karma – what goes around comes around, to bite you in the derrière. They are my truth because I believe.

Clearly, who you say you are and who people say you are defines you. But in the end you decide what you make of yourself. So when I pay more attention to myself, and choose for myself, and believe in the choices that I make, it will transform into my truth. Whatever ‘it’ may be. Others will eventually see this one way or another and come to their own conclusion. This is why I still have to figure Tari out. I love him but I can’t live with not knowing. The first step is to condition my heart and mind to be ready to face the truth, that is what I’m working on; which is the hardest part to deal with. The next step is to find the truth.

What’s your truth?

Photo Credit: Pinterest

To Be Perfect


“Hurry up! We are going to be late.” My father shouted.

My father is a war veteran and he hates slothfulness of any kind. As his daughter, he expects nothing less than perfection from me.

My lips curl in a lopsided grin as I view the mess of makeup and lotions that’s the top of my dressing table. The oval-shaped mirror in its antique frame shows the rest of my bedroom which looks like a beast did a thorough job ransacking most of it. I mean look at my bed, my wardrobe – what’s left of it is everywhere. I spy a shoe hanging off the lamp.

“How did that happen?” I wonder.

My books are resting on every available surface, and my walls are papered with pictures, post-it notes, and album arts. The only space untouched by this madness is my desk which I like to leave uncluttered.

I’m petrified at the thought of cleaning up the place for fear of what I’ll find in my graveyard of festering laundry. It’s funny that I draw a line at littering trash; I cannot stand it. My friends think I’m weird.

My father will pop a vein if he comes into my room, although I find it unlikely. I stopped everyone from entering without permission after my sixteenth birthday, even the cleaners. When you have things to hide it’s better to take measures to not get caught. I’ll get to cleaning as soon as I’m back from this trip; if I come back.

I hear my parents talking.

“What is she still doing?

O bu gini? What is it?

My dad yells, “Young lady you better not make me come up there. The flight is for 8:00 am you know this.”

“Stop shouting my love, remember you have to watch your blood pressure!” I hear my mother say.

Their voices float up easily to my room at the top of the stairs.

“Obim! My heart! This your daughter will be the death of me. How much more time will she spend grooming herself when the entire town can bear witness that it makes no difference. She’s the most beautiful girl as far as the eyes can see, this makeup of a thing is all nonsense, and if she doesn’t get her act together…”

I can’t stop myself from snorting as I listen. The conversation reeks like moldy cheese. It’s the same thing over and over again, although not so far from the truth.

I do spend an inordinate amount of time dressing up; talking to myself once again to join the society and act the part of a young socialite that has everything going for her – the envy of her peers; trying to convince myself that my pain is the anchor from which I derive strength.

I’m beautiful – I say this with the conviction of one who has spent her entire life hearing it everywhere she goes. I know the bit about God creating us all beautiful and ‘in his own image’, but that ship doesn’t sail in my house. My parents believe that they played the most important part, concluding that there is a combination of their genes and a bit of oomph did the job.

You should see how they show me off in public, after which they pat their back for having the wisdom to make me a lovely little thing. A story for another day.

I quickly cram my essentials – phone, notepad, current book, powder, lipstick, keychain, and wallet into my purse, and peer into the mirror for the last time. Long, thick lashes adorn brown round eyes, hooded from years of trying to hide; if the eyes are the windows to the soul, I have a ‘no peeking’ policy. My nose reclines with an arrogant air like a peer of the realm, so I’ve heard. The lips are prone to frowns than smiles and I practice smiling for a few seconds; it is less like a sneer if I throw my head back. I run my fingers through my black hair but they get stuck in my tight kinky curls that contrast my clear fair skin. I look closer hoping to see what everybody else sees and more importantly what they fail to see.

My parents wanted a male child for a long time in their childless marriage; instead, my sweet behind popped out the first time my mother carried a child to term. Notwithstanding they named me Nkiruka – tomorrow is greater than today. Ha! How obvious can they be that I wasn’t enough? Unfortunately, I am the only child my mother was able to carry to term.

It’s a testament to my father’s love for my mother that he didn’t take another wife. I breathe deeply and leave the room, it will be a while before I come back here again. I take my time going down the stairs. There’s this song playing in my head; it’s Louis Armstrong’s/ When you are smiling. I focus on it, let it wash over me and that elusive smile finally emerges. My friend Dele sent it to me a while back; he shares my love for jazz. What would become of me without music?

“I’m here” I announce as I enter the sitting room. My mother shoots lasers out of her eyes and snaps at me. When she’s really upset but trying not to show it she gets formal like a flight attendant.

“You are advised to put an end to this childish behavior of yours. Must you always upset your father and me at every given opportunity? You were given a two weeks’ notice for a reason. This is a joint family vacation with your father’s business partners, do I have to remind you how important it is that you do not embarrass us in any way?” She says in her best air hostess voice.

“I’m your bloody daughter and not some vermin you have to tolerate, ” I yell in my head.

Outside I stare blankly at them; two peas in a pod, always to be found draped on each other’s arms. Well, whenever I’m found in the picture, it’s always as an afterthought or a strategic move to show off my family’s wealth and beauty. As I look at their drawn faces I acknowledge that they too are not without flaws, even as I admit that imperfections are not excuses to cling to.

When I do irrational things or refuse change even as it crosses my path, I like to think it’s on me. I may move past my flaws or they may never go away, so what? Where does it leave me? I observe the two people that gave me life until I hold their gazes.

“I’m sorry. I’ve been going through a lot lately” I apologize.

I see that they expect more but I wait for them to say something.

“If that is all let us get going,” my father’s irritation was obvious.

My hands shake, but I continue “I won’t be coming with you; I need to take time to figure things out on my own. I’m not sure for how long I’ll be gone; I’ll keep an eye in touch. Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”

I turn to leave. Mother moves to stop me and I let her.

“Nkiruka, don’t do anything stupid,” she says sharply.

I was ten when we went to a party in the neighboring town with quite a several people from our town coming along. Our town council arranged buses to convey us but my parents and I went along in our car. The party was choked full with kids high on sugar, teenagers mingling and getting into mischiefs, adults juggling trying to have a good time with trying to stop the kids from trampling everything in sight. The music was loud, the food was plenty and I spent the entire day with everyone but my parents which sucked.

After trying but failing to get their attention, I ran off to sulk in one of the rides set to entertain the kids. I was always doing things like that when I was little – attention deprived as I was – me as my only companion.

After playing for some time I found a secluded spot and fell asleep from exhaustion; by the time I woke up the party was over and the place was shut down for the day. My throat turned raw crying and screaming for my parents to come to take me back home, “I’ll be good, I promise.” I thought they had left me behind on purpose. I found out later that they only noticed my absence the next morning; they had assumed I hitched a ride back with the rest of the town folks and slept over at a friend’s place the previous night. Did I mention I was ten? When nobody brought me home by noon my mother started to panic.

After a futile search all over town, someone suggested that they head back to the place where the party was held. I was dehydrated and scared to an inch of my life when they finally came back to pick me up. Because the authorities and press were involved my parents were furious at me for a long time. Till today I’m deathly afraid of being alone in the dark.

Always I’ve struggled to be the perfect daughter, the poster child for the perfect family. It started with churning out good grades and conducting myself with grace and poise. I was quite popular. When that wasn’t enough I became the poster child for a dysfunctional home; burning down my car in a drunken fit is my worst yet. I’ve despised the imperfections that come naturally to me, written on the tapestry of my being. It has taken me years to get to where I am right now; a place of acceptance.

Maybe things do not need to have structure, maybe chaos is order and broken does not necessarily equal useless, maybe nothing makes sense, maybe deep down I’m still a little kid craving attention. I think she realizes something in the way I lean away from her touch and her eyes shines as she steps aside. I have so much I want to say, so much to ask. What was I expecting? An apology? Do they care if I go or stay? Is there a way for us to work things out? Do they love me? Do I love them? I don’t know if now is the right time to go over everything.

I watch as my father turns to tattoo her, how they both reach for each other at the same time and I’ve never felt more alone than as I did at this moment. If I find love like theirs will this cycle repeat itself? I force my legs to move. I’m outside. My bags are already in the car. I’m leaving. The sadness still stays but already I feel a rightness swirling and replacing the hurt. I know a few things about myself but I want to learn more; to grow; to become. The time has come to change my perspective of my name – Nkiruka, tomorrow is greater than today – no more will I let my past define me. I’ll chase this truth like the day chases the night until at last, I live it always and forever.

I’m okay with not being perfect
‘Cause that’s perfect to me
– Anne Marie

Photo credit: Pinterest