I’m back baby! and (you deserve an explanation)

Dear 365-ers,

I really owe you an explanation for my abrupt absence………….for 2 whole years. Hmm and indeed, there is a lot to be said but now I am back and cross my heart not to go missing again. As for your pending questions, the answers are simple:

where have I been? School! I started my degree in Law in the summer of 2017 and might I say, it took over my life. Errmm…..and  during the holidays? I fell out of love with reading and writing (a whole conversation deserving its own post) because I had to do at such a high intensity for school and so the idea of coming home to write did not appeal to me at all. Also, to be honest, my whole summer was spent going from one internship to another and there was really no time.

What has changed? Obviously, the fact that I am back because I missed you all and the ever supportive community of bloggers here (Hello Oluchi). They say absence makes the heart fonder, and it really does. In the time I have taken away from here, I have missed writing this and I am glad to be back.

What happens when you get tired of writing again? Before this, I always felt the pressure to tell just stories as that was all I thought I had to say. However, I must say I have grown to a point where I now understand that even being unable to tell a story is something worth discussing given it is a natural part of life to fall in and out of love with what we do. Lets just say, I have changed gears and have come into a new learning curve. This one is about learning not to quit even when the going gets tough. The best part is that now that this has been said, I have you 365-ers here to hold me accountable.

Before I go on to post my first post of this new, I have to declare my love for you readers and your support for my posts (imperfections and all). Yes, I know that we are a dot in the grand spectrum of the internet (some may even consider us too small to have a name like 365-ers) but I still owe you my appreciation. Thanks for reading, commenting, liking and supporting.

Yours truly,

Her..

Facades – Part 2: His..tory

I grew up in abject poverty. I mean abject poverty, my brain got me educated and that was my only savior.

My parents died when I was 9 in a car accident. I was sent to live with my blind maternal grandmother, Iye e. My mother was her only daughter and after her death, there was no one to take care of Iye e, plus she had the added burden of taking care of me, and so we took to begging on the streets. We lived in a shack in the Amukoko slums of Lagos with almost nothing and all the proceeds from our begging was dedicated to paying for my education. We ate anything edible, often times what we were gifted whilst begging and on days we did not receive anything edible, we ate whatever we picked in dustbins, plucked on trees or went to bed hungry.

At the end of my secondary education, I was awarded a two full scholarships to study economics one at the University of Ghana and the other in a University in the United Kingdom. I decided to stay closer to home by taking the one in Ghana. That summer before I left, I worked at a shop in the afternoon and hawked akara at night to make money to hire a help for Iye e whilst I was away. Iye e died when I was in my third year from a lung infection she never told me she had, for the fear of adding to my burden. From then on I became alone until I met Babatunde.

Whilst I was younger, I promised myself that my children will never have to suffer the same experiences that I did. In University, I sold male clothes part – time. One day, a trusted friend lured me into his house by promising to give me the amount he owed me and raped me. I did not want my son to ever have to pick food off the streets before he ate, neither did I want my daughter to be lured to rape before she could feed herself. I wanted them to have all the opportunities I never did, so don’t blame me for staying.

I attended Amukoko government school for my primary and secondary education while Tunde attended St. Saviours school, Ikoyi and Kings College respectively. He lived in a mansion in one of the most affluent neighborhoods, Ikoyi, and got a Peugeot as his first car at the age of 18, I inhabited a shack in Amukoko, an overpopulated and dangerous ghetto . His first job was as a manager at one of the leading professional services companies while mine was hawking akara(bean cake). His father was a Minister of Finance, or as it was known in those times a Finance secretary, while mine struggled to make ends meet doing menial jobs. Summary of the story is that he had a pedigree and I did not even have one, talkless of a bad one, so how did we meet?

I met Babatunde during my service year. Then, I worked in the same company that he did at that time. It was refreshing to find someone from a very wealthy background who was as ambitious to be a success on his own. I fell for him almost immediately, although I was a bit apprehensive about dating him considering he was 27 and I was 20, and we were from totally different backgrounds but he managed to convince me. He was my first boyfriend, and nine months into our relationship he proposed to me and I accepted. By the time I had turned 22, we were married and I was pregnant with our first child, Junior.

I find it difficult to reconcile the Tunde who fought his dad for his permission to marry me without having to go to finishing school in Switzerland, with this wife beater. At the time, I knew I was marrying one of the most eligible bachelors of Lagos but not once did he ever make me feel like I was any less than he or that I was disadvantaged because of my background. I remember him boasting of my brains to his friends, and even when they talked to him about marrying a girl with no pedigree, he ignored them. Through out the time we dated, he hardly ever got upset with me, and even when he did, not once did he hit me. And so I wondered for a long time what I did to change him?

The Wedding Fever Part 5 – The Introduction(a.k.a Mo Mi Mo E)

The mo mi mo e is the first stage of the 8-phase event known as the Nigerian wedding. It is the official ceremony to introduce the bride and groom’s families to each other.This event should be one of the smallest in a regular wedding ceremony but in my case its going to be just as big an event as anyother.

With the make up artist working on my face and the photographer taking the preparation photos, I am once again reeling inside of me that I am getting married to the man of my dreams, Dapo. My phone pings and its a text from Dayo. I open it and read, it goes

“We are outside – waiting under the sun as traditions demand we should.I have never been so happy to stand in the sun in my life. I cannot wait till the last of these ceremonies to have you as my wife, but if to get there I need to stand in fire I will. See you soon”

I reply saying I cannot wait to be his wife too and that I am trying to get ready and will see him soon. My face painting session is over and I head over to the closet to bring out my Iro and Buba and the aso oke. I look and reminisce over what a challenge it was to get our mothers to let Dapo and I wear the burnt orange and maroon fabric with gold gele as opposed to the purple and white or purple and gold they had picked for the bride and groom’s families. After the meeting, in which we all had with the wedding planner when they decided on the families colors, I had gone behind their back to pick my outfit with the wedding planner. They were furious at first but they got over it.

I am all set to go except that the veil has not been put over my gele. I take a second look at myself in the mirror and I am happy with what I see. My friends Tola, Sade and Bolanle are also dressed in their matching brides maids outfit  and we sit on the bed for the photographer to take a group picture. Just as we are about to take the picture, my mum comes into the room and she tells me its time for me to dance out. We file out of the room and head downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs,  my mum send her longest-serving maid to inform the master of ceremony and the musician of my intended arrival. Not long after, the MC announces our arrival and the musician starts to sing. Sade sets my veil down to cover my face and dance into the sitting room with my mum leading us in a single file.

I have reached the front and the moderator has asked Dapo to point at his bride from the file  of us. He walks out and reaches for me and I take his hand. The moderator then asks if I want to marry him and I answer as expected. We both kneel for our parents to pray for us and after that we take our seats as members of both families take turns introducing each other. They start with my family and then my father chiefs and then move over to Dapo’s family. Sitting in this room called the big sitting room rather than the throne room as it should be called, I think to myself ‘ I did not know it had this much room and could take this many people’. My father built this room to entertain his large number of guests compensating for not living in the actual palace.

The introduction is concluded and everyone heads to the banquet hall for the meals to be served as the musician plays loud, live fuji music with his band. As the meals are served I head to the smaller sitting room for some staged pictures with Dapo. Although I am not a huge fan of pictures because I never know what exactly to do in them, Dapo leads the way and gives me such ease. We took our photos candidly affectionate positions and all can say is I love them. With our mothers busy trying to make sure everyone is well fed and my friends helping them, I am able to sneak Dapo upstairs with me to go and change into a more comfortable outfit.

Dapo waits in the room whilst I get changed in my custom-made traditional lace dress. I try to do it as carefully as possible so as not to ruin my gele. I call Dapo to come in with me to help with my zipper which he does. For some strange reason we both look up at each other and smile in the mirror as he zips me up. I ask what he will like eat and make arrangement with my mum’s maid for it to be brought upstairs. Dapo and I are deep in out gist when my mum comes to announce that its time for us to come and greet the guests. So hand in hand we stroll downstairs and greet all the guests by going from one table to another. Once again I am glad I had taken off the beautiful Manolo’s I wore earlier(gifted to me by my husband to be two days after I showed him the material for our outfit) and traded them in for a pair of flat shoes.

Exhaustion is all my brain screams at me right now. I am glad that against our mothers demand that we make it a Sunday evening event. At least I have the whole day on Sunday to recuperate before work on Monday. I turn to look at Tunji who has kindly offered to drop me home because Dapo had to go off with his parents. “have you guys picked a date for the wedding” Tunji’s voice interrupts my reverie.

“No we have not set a date yet but we are thinking sometime early in September. At least we still have 6 months to plan the wedding”I reply

“ok oo, just let me know when you have settled on a date and after you pick the aso ebi”he said and from there we started discussing work until he dropped me off at home.

 

 Glossary

Mo mi mo e – the introduction ceremony

Iro and Buba – a Nigerian tradtional outfit consisting of a top and a wrapper

Aso Oke – a type of Nigerian fabric made with woven thread

gele – Head gear

Tola (Adetola) – a Nigerian name that means wealth is equal to the crown

Sade (Afolasade) – a Nigerian name that means we use wealth as our crown

Bolanle (Abolanle) – a Nigerian name that means I meat wealth in my home

Fuji – A genre of Nigerian music meaning High life music

Aso ebi – A uniform outfit worn at Nigerian ceremonies.

Oladapo (Dapo) – A Nigerian Name that means- a mix of wealth

Tunji (Babatunji) – A Nigerian name that means – Father has returned

SIX COMMANDMENTS of SUITS(MEN).

Disclaimer – before some of us start reading this and critiquing my fashion sense, I am no fashion guru, this is only my opinion written for your entertainment, so turn off your inner critic.

One thing I love about going into a new year, is that it gives the illusion that you can start afresh- be a part of something new, like a redemption. So, as we go into this New Year, I have decided that I will give some of my brothers out there a chance to redeem their dress sense.

I am no saint neither have I perfected art of formal attire, so trust me when I say this does not come from place of self-righteousness – TBH, I have also made some mistakes. But the beauty of making mistakes is the ability to correct them, so let’s dive in.

  1. Pattern on pattern – My guys, bobos and sweethearts, why-o- why do you wear a patterned tie with a patterned shirt (the fact that they are the same color is not a silent permission for you to pair them!). Why-o-why were you wearing a heavily patterned shirt with a pin striped suit – my guy you look like a walking circus.
  1. No socks sucks – Ken (can in a Ghanaian accent) you please explain to me why you’re a two or three piece suit without socks – unacceptable (note – it’s still unacceptable if you’re wearing only the suit pants and a shirt). Ok, I understand if you do this when you’re wearing a pair of jeans or chinos with a blazer and you decide you against socks. But plix (please) have mercy on the sisters and brother out there who still fancy a suit rocked APPROPRIATELY!
  1. The office pants – There is no excuse under the sun for a guy to wear chinos or those cream velvet looking and denim feeling trousers to work when the dress code says formal attire only(except on casual Friday). I don’t even want to dwell too long on this subject, just STOPPET!
  1. The shades effect – so today you leave your house feeling cool with yourself, you paired brown Feragamo belt(inherited from brother Tunde) and brown Gucci brogue shoes(you finally just collected it from the shop after you’ve been paying for it over the last 20 months) with Woro Taiwo made dark blue suit, over starched white shirt(laundered at Baba Ima dry cleaners) and your TM Lewin Tie, cufflinks and pocket square set – you think you have arrived, but from a sister to a brother, you did not arrive, you only returned. The feragamo belt and Gucci shoes are more than 10 shades of brown apart and so you end up looking like a JJC- brothers watch out!
  1. Buckled belts – After a certain age (preferably 15) over the top buckled belts are an unpardonable fashion crime. I think it’s your choice to wear it, but abeg don’t bring it to the suit. THOU SHALL NOT WEAR AN OVER THE TOP BUCKLED BELY WITH A SUIT – sorry uncle, we know you can afford it. It does not make you look wealthy, instead it only looks TACKY
  1. THE LAST COMMANDMENT – WHEN IN DOUBT STICK TO PLAIN SHIRTS(PREFERRABLY WHITE), SIMPLE TIES AND POCKET SQUARES, BLACK SOCKS, SUITS THAT DON’T NEED BELTS(if worse comes worse wear a black belt) AND DARK SUIT COLOURS.

Glossary

JJC(jolly just come) – newbie

TBH- to be honest

Abeg – please

bobos(plural bobo) – Nigerian slang meaning ‘guy’

STOPPET – Stop it

Ken – can (in a Ghanaian accent)

Plix – please

Tunde (Babatunde)- Nigerian name which means ‘father has come back again’

Baba Ima (Baba Emmanuel) – Emmanuel’s Father.

Thank you for reading. please feel free to remind me of some horrible formal wear DONTS I may have missed out.