One thing I know for sure is that it takes a lot of self-will to look after ones self.   …Trust me!   This self-love business is actually no joke I tell you. Healthy eating, exercise, self-kindness and acceptance and so on.   They are all easier said than done.   Recently, I decided to be more intentional about the application of these concepts to my everyday life. I had been in this self-love game for the past 4 years.   Eating well… going on daily walks… accepting myself for who I am…and… being kinder to myself.   But right now, I just feel like it has become so boring. Like, I am used to it all. It has all become so predictable, so normal.   To prove to you that I am right, my scales have begun to stall. Like my weight has just simply frozen. It is not going up or down despite my efforts to take it down south. It’s like every cell in my body can feel the ubiquitous nature of this whole business.   On a positive note…   They do say that maintaining your current weight is an achievement in itself. But I say, that you only feel that achievement if that is your aim for yourself.   I have now officially decided to spice things up. Increase my workouts, eat better and hopefully moan a bit less about….stuff.   When I decided to implement them, my spirit was all fired up but I could feel every ounce of me protesting. I did not want to do the extra exercise, or make the smarter eating choices. I was literally shaking from being deprived of my cravings and angry about leaving my comfort zone.   But I can do this! I have got this!   I just have to stay strong. The end always justifies the means. I am an achiever. We all are. We are more than mere conquerors. Nothing good comes easily. No pain no gain. There will be light at the end of the tunnel. God is in control.   Loving ourselves is an act of loving God. Looking after us is an act of respect because our bodies are temples where the Holy Spirit dwells.   We only have one life and one body to live it in. We must do everything within our power to make the right choices to suit our physical bodies. No one would love you better than you will.   No one will love me better than I will… hmmm….     I should be my priority. The love I attract will depend a lot on the way I lovingly uphold myself. I am special in the eyes of God and so I believe that he will strengthen my desire to care better for my self because this is a good plan and his plan for me is of good and not of evil.   Do you know that..   He came into this world so that you can live your life more abundantly?   Looking after youbetter is a way of enabling the power of that abundance of Ife to simply be activated within you.   Praise the name of the Lord for grace and strength. We are weak because it is in our nature as mortal men to be weak… to be victims of our own whims and decisions. Therefore let us look to God for strength because through him we are able to do all things.   I know that God will exceed the expectations you have set in this and all areas of your life … Amen.   Just stay on track!   Thank you for reading.   Photo Credit: Pixabay

From size NO to size YES: The flesh is weak

Still on the Faux locks The dread worms had lasted 5 weeks but now they looked like hell. Normally, my hair frizzed for Lagos (That’s when I lived there). Since I moved continents from the tropics to this temperate region, it frizzed for Europe. When the nice lady made my dread worms she said to wait 6 weeks before the next appointment.   Luckily, I discovered the faux locks a few days ago. Why wait any longer? I thought. I secretly sent her a message to secure an appointment. Easy peezy right? Well, not with this woman. She asked me to send her pictures of the hair. I began looking for the brightest part of my living room to capture the hair. I needed her to see the frizz in the hair. Knowing her, she would not book the appointment if it was not ready to be re twisted. She was such a dread lock guru and from all my previous discussions and consultations with her, she was all about naturally nurturing the hair to reach it’s full potential. Yeah man!   Luckily, I was able to capture all the ugliness I needed to secure an appointment. It was to be 2 days later and I was so happy. I spent most of the evening contemplating on wether to ask her about the faux locks by text or in person. The thought that I could actually install the locks in 2 days was so exciting. Why wait? Was it not my money? My hair?   We were sitting in the living room watching a movie when I decided to send her a message We were sitting in the living room watching a movie when I decided to send her a message. You know how messages help cut out all the small talk? That’s exactly why I sent it instead of calling.   ME: “I have a question Susan, sorry to bother you. I want to ask about permanent faux locks ( at this point I was thinking that there must have been temporary faux locks and I did not want any misunderstanding. Meanwhile, the excitement was building up. I was sure she knew how to make them. She knew all things locks!) Do you know how to install them? How much do they cost?   I clicked send!   Phew, there was no going back now. The message was gone now. Although with this new improved what’s app, I could delete it. I didn’t. Instead I waited for her reply. I went to prepare dinner. As I did, I kept looking at my phone screen for updates.   No reply   I watched another movie   No reply.   I was feeling desperate for an answer but I did not want to send a reminder. You know that thing where you want a message to sound casual and not do or die? That was me.   Still no reply.   Maybe she was not home? Or perhaps she had left her phone at home and gone out without it. Or maybe she was attending to a client. She was a busy woman after all. I decided to stop checking and just carry on. If it was going to be, it would be.   Then BUZZZ!!!!   A message and it was from Susan.   My heart was pounding as I typed in my password to unlock my phone and hit the What’s app icon. Yay, It was going to be real? I hope it would not cost a fortune. Whichecver way, I would pay anything to cut out the faffle of waiting around for my dreadworms to grow, bulk up, and all the hoohaa.   SUSAN: “Yes, expensive plus the hair and I need a day. Approximately 165 depending on the length”.   So much for waiting for a reply. I did not get much from it. Although on a positive note, she was engaging with the idea and not attacking it. She needed a day and my appointment with her was in less that 12 hours. I did not mind waiting an extra day to get what I wanted really. 165? Was that the price or the number of strands she had to make? If it was the price for it then that was fine too. As long as I had it done in the end. I was glad that Susan was not giving me a sermon. At least in the end it would benefit her and she would make more money from it. But I needed more answers   ME: “I understand. Is it super duper expensive? Please tell me the length ranges and prices”.   SUSAN: Is this for you? Oh dear, my message sounded general. Of course it was for me.   ME: Yes, or is it too late? Now that I had done the dread worms? (Oh, I had not considered that. Anyway, she did say she could comb out my locks at the 4 week stage.)   SUSAN: Why do you want to rush the growth? Really, rushing the growth? I still wonder why people like to give unsolicited opinions. Why could I not just make my hair in the way I chose without being given advice. Who said I wanted to rush the growth? I understood that the hair needed time to grow but I did not want to wait with it. I could disguise it while I did. I did nor even have to explain myself to anyone. I am a grown woman. I could feel my temperature rising. I started taking deep breaths to calm down because I did not want my disgust to seep through my fingers into my next reply to her.   Breathe in, Breathe out, In….out……in…..out…. “Hey babe, you ok? You seem to be breathing very deeply”, John asked. Oh dear, I did not hear him walk in. Another adviser. The world seemed to be full of them. He leant towards me on the couch wearing his […]

Dreadlocs or Not? : Still on the faux Locs (7)

Faux Locks I had never heard of the term before. Of course Faux was not a new term to me. After all, I had faux fur tops and bedding, faux leather bags and throws. But that was all there was to the faux business in my life.   I lie though, Come to think of it. Faux means fake, pretend, unreal. So synthetic hair was faux, synthetic wigs were faux as well. But I cross my heart, that is the extent I can stretch my faux knowledge to.   It was one jobless evening when I was engaging in one of my harmless and favourite pass times (internet strolling) that I stumbled into the concept of faux locks. Not the wig locks but actual dread locks but the faux version!!!   Faux Locks? Come on girls? Could locks be fake as well? What happened to the journey with the hair? Self discovery? Learning to be patient and all that? Well faux locks would be rubbish and easily spotted. Surely their fauxness should make them less popular. Nothing like the real deal!   Well, my curiousity had been aroused. I needed to see these locks for myself. One app later, I was on youtube. Search bar, faux locks and Voila! There the locks were in all their glory. They were painstakingly installed and the process had been filmed in the usual youtube way. In less than a day, the ladies created these faux locks that blended in with the actual hair. It was amazing.   Then I remembered that every time I grew my hair previously I always used hair extensions. That way, I skipped the rigourous part that involved all this penance and patience and longsuffering self discovery. I just hid my short hair in the hair extensions which by the way was beautiful while it grew. The thought that it was also possible with faux locks was ecstatic.   I did not tell John about my discovery. No way! I did not want a Gemini cricket that would talk me out of my new found liberation from my dread worms. From what I was seeing on the internet, the faux locks cost a lot of money. I even looked on ebay and 5 strands cost about £10. That was excluding the cost of installation. Surely, my locktician could install those for me easily. Afterall, she would make more money from doing them. I thought that the part involving her would be fairly straightforward.   So this week, my mind was made up. Faux locks it was. Goodbye to talking to myself 100 times a day to boost my confidence. Who said starter locks were beautiful? Well maybe those who had the support of make up. Interestingly, people had been stopping me on the street to ask about where I made my hair. I had given my locktician’s phone number to them. John reassured me as usual that being asked for referrals should encourage me on my journey. It did if I am honest. It absolutely did   ….until I discovered the redeeming faux locks. I now feel liberated. I do not have to wait for the hair or “learn” to love it as it is. I can make it look exactly how I want it to look in a years time…right now! Who said we cannot cheat nature? Eh? Thank you for reading. Photo credit Pixabay If you missed out on other parts of the popular “Dreadlocs or Not” series, you can catch up here.    

Dread locs or Not? Faux Locs (6)

Some Positives   Did I just admit to myself that there have been some positives? Well, I guess it’s only fair to say so. Considering that I have   spent the past few days moaning about my hair.     Hmmmm…. Photo Credit: Pixabay. If you missed out on other parts of the popular “Dreadlocs or Not” series, you can catch up here.     Everyone has been so supportive. I have moaned about these dreadworms to anyone who has cared to listen. But I keep getting the same answer…. be patient. Let the locks do their thing they say. Everyone’s locks are different.   Even my dad, the King of impatience had something to say about my dreadworms   “Stop comparing yours with mine or others”   I get all that. I do not actually want another person’s dreads. Or am I?   Well I think not…but maybe a little.     Anyway, I am just fussing about how mine will turn out based on the info before me. I don’t want skinny locks but my sections are small. I don’t like the partitions but John says when the locks spring out it won’t matter cos I can style them anyhow I want. So yes, one good thing to come out from my locks has been a lot of love from everyone. I see them all trying to support me. They have helped me reach deep within myself into my shallow bowl of patience. I will say that their kind words have given me strength and reassurance. I feel that in their own way, they have given me more psychological strength and helped me unconsciously add to my bowl of patience. With each passing day despite my frustrations, I feel my bowl of patience grow deeper and stronger.       Another positive has been that since I had my dreadworms installed, I have not had to physically worry about making my hair. I have been more able to get on with life. My work has not suffered and I have been able to spend more time with my family. I have also saved a lot of money as a result.   What I did not bargain for was all the psychological noise that I have been experiencing. I look different, weird. I think that I have to get used to this new look first. When people look at me I keep feeling self conscious. But I don’t think that is to do with the stares. It’s to do with me. Every comment, sigh or glance just reinforces my inner insecurity. To successfully build my inner strength, I have to accept my new look first. I recognise that I will need time to adjust and so I have made plans to help me. I only open up my hair when I feel comfortable. I don’t rely on any validation from anyone.   That’s why I feel that these dreadworms are leading me towards a positive journey of self discovery.       My dreadworms have also made me crawl out of my shell. I have spoken more freely about my feelings than ever before. I feel more resilient because I have let myself use my ever-present support structures to build this resilience. Talking about my silliest feelings with my family and friends has also given them the chance to love me, to be kind to me and to support me. It’s very difficult when you tend to be the one who supports everyone. It has felt quite safe to be vulnerable around them for once!     So this week, my aim will be to focus on positives, love myself more, love my hair more, pray more and accept my dreadworms. I need to rest well, eat well, drink and sleep well. Basically, I have to create a good biological environment for my locks to thrive and do their thing as everyone keeps saying.     I counted John’s dreads and he has 83 locks. He counted mine back and I have 143 locks. I will no longer focus on the fact that 143 means the locks are way too small. But on the fact that it means that I will have very many locks to play with. They will be impressive. I have always had thick hair. I trust it to bulk up when it is ready.   My hair is like a baby. It’s just in its infancy. I can’t expect it to run right now, it has to sit, crawl, stand, wobble, walk, wobble again before it can run!     So lesson 1 on this journey, is Patience. The key to patience is a healthy distraction and that is what I will fill myself up with!   So catchya… as I head off to work!   To be continued   Thank you for reading. Photo credit Pixabay If you missed out on other parts of the popular “Dreadlocs or Not” series, you can catch up here.

Dreadlocs or Not? Some Positives (5)

No way!   I feel absolutely disillusioned with my hair   This was meant to be a good idea. I lock my hair and live happily ever after. But that’s just not the case   Ok for starters, the lady locked my hair in sections that are not box like. The sections look like hand fans at the back and rectangles in front. I cannot understand why the sections in front differ from the ones at the back.   I hate that they are uneven. That’s the whole reason why I did not make the hair myself !   I kept telling her that the locks were small. She insisted that they will expand as the hair began to form the locks.   Then finally…   After drying the hair, she began snipping off the ends of my hair with a pair of scissors.   No warning…no notice…..   Just snip snip snippety snip!   What she did not realise was that with each snip, she tore at my heart.   I was in so much shock that I could not even react.  She did not even offer me an explanation about why she had chosen to cut my hair. Instead she said she could have cut it shorter but would leave the length as it was…   Seriously?   This woman had assumed power over me. She was controlling how long or short my hair would be. Opon reflection now, I realise that she may not have meant it that way but it did not stop me feeling that way. If she had communicated with me beforehand, I am sure I would not have felt so helpless. She probably thought she was helping… exercising her expertise over me. She was probably doing right by my hair but the fact that her decisions about my hair were hers and not arrived at in partnership with me heightened my anxiety. I felt like I was losing control over something as important to me as my hair.   It was my own hair….It sat on my head and would determine my appearance. I do not customarily add any make up on my face to enhance my appearance.   Can you imagine why my hair was so important to me? Reducing the length of it was an absolute no-no. The dry wintery weather had reduced my hair length already so I definitely did not want to add any deliberate snips to the length… at least not without any warning.   Any error with my hair meant that I risked looking absolutely stupid!   She did not even appear to listen to anything I was saying and it was really sad.   So here I am this morning, grieving my hair, horrible sections and petrified by the fact that the locks will be potentially thin dread worms.   Now that’s sad.  It just makes me feel so unlucky. Why do I always have to pass through emotional troughs just to gain new experiences?   That’s why I like to stick with things I know. Things with preset and certain pathways and outcomes are my forte. My anxiety is now heightened because I have absolutely no idea how this would go.   So this past week, I have spent more time in bed.   I keep staring at the mirror and fiddling with the hair.   Stupid sections.   Stupidly skinny dreadworms.    I just wished that I could actually remain in bed till the hair grew long or bulked up. This dreadlock business was turning out to be a very bad move. I could find absolutely no happiness. My self esteem and morale had nose dived.  I had the hair tied in a scarf to work. I could not even bear to let anyone else see the hair in case they reinforced my fears.   “Hey the hair is so beautiful”, said John, my ray of sunshine   “Well I don’t like it”, I said trying to stop us from having yet another session about my hair.   “What’s up with the dread worms today? He asked.   “The sections are horrible, they are skinny, she cut my hair…..   “I don’t know why you are saying all this”, he said cutting me   short.   “The hair is fine just leave it alone!” he snapped and I fell silent and withdrew back into my thoughts.   That’s it! I can’t even have a moan. I just feel stuck with this hair.   Why can’t I just remove it?   Well that will be £55 gone for starters. But worse than that, my hair has been cut short. I am not sure at this point which would depress me more. Unravelling the dreadworms and beholding my new short hair or persevering with these stupid locks. I would also feel like a failure if I gave up on the hair after only a week. I needed to see this through at least till the 6-week mark that the stylist set me. Who knows, I might feel differently by then.even though I seriously doubt it.   As for the world, they have no clue how I feel inside. There is nothing worse than someone I am paying my hard earned money to making my hair in the way they think is best not in the way I want. It just makes me feel bullied. Then, when I try to say how I feel, people around me make me feel like a complaint minister.   So what do I do? Just suck it up. But do I really have to?   “Babe, come on let me take you out”, John said cutting through my thoughts like a knife.   “Stop thinking about this hair. I am so sorry if I sounded harsh but this hair really suits you. I wish you could see what I see”, he said.   With that I smiled at least week one was over.   To be continued.   Photo Credit Pixabay Thank you for reading. If you missed out on other parts of the popular “Dreadlocs or Not” series, you can catch up here.    

Dreadlocs or Not? All gone a bit…wrong! (4)

The Dread worms   Yeah so yesterday night I finally did it! I locked my hair!     But since I woke up today, I have been prettified….   These are not dreadlocks?!?!  They look like worms coming out of my skull.   Dread worms!   Is it me or am I missing something?   These dreadlocks look as skinny as the ones I hear people call sister locks..come on!   I told the lady that I wanted fat locks. Why do I have these as my end product?   Sometimes I wonder why I let my brain talk me into deviating from things I know.   You might argue that it is a necessary part of growing up but it still sucks!   I hear it takes time for the locks to bulk up.   Sadly, when John got his own locks, he had extensions in them so they looked fat and healthy.   These my own locks look hungry and malnourished.   Ok maybe that’s a bit harsh because they are shiny and somehow lovely.   But what if these worms don’t bulk up? I know that I am just fussing but I can’t help myself.   I can’t even express these fears because I had been going on an on about wanting dreadlocks ever since.   This is literally day 1 of my dreadlocks journey and I am not coping well at all.   Sincerely, I feel like washing them off. Perhaps the fact that these locks are temporary is a bad thing.   I keep feeling like I can abandon ship like nowish and maybe that’s not helping me confront this new reality.   “Sweetheart, these are dreadworms”, I blurted out  to John. I finally said it out loud. It felt good to admit it to someone else   instead of just bottling it up.   “Hahahahahha…like literally, you describe things so aptly”, he was looking at my hair as he spoke and could not stop laughing.   Then I think he looked at my face because he stopped laughing abruptly.   “It’s not funny. You were not supposed to agree with me silly?!” I said   “Sorry boo, they just looked like worms and to call them dread worms was just perfect”, he said again trying not to laugh.   I pouted my lips.   “I don’t think you can even relate with the way I am feeling right now”, I said angrily.   “Seriously?”, he said pretending to be amazed as he pulled at his glorious back length locks.   “You know I am the Rasta man!” he said mockingly.   “Sharrap!”,  I said sarcastically, “says the man who masked his short locks with long extensions!”, I sniped.   “Yeah, fair enough, but you remember my hair was short”, he replied, pretending to sulk.   “But did you not come home with a sample lock after the initial appointment, even that one was fatter than this”, I said in   frustration.   “That’s true, he said, but don’t forget that he used the crotchet method. It was permanent right from day one”, he added.   That was very true. Now I began wondering why I had allowed the locktician lady talk me into the twisting method.   She had said, it would give me time to see how I felt because it was temporary.  I could wash it off if it wasn’t for me. That   sounded like a good idea at the time. However, she did not warn me that the output would differ from the locks I was used to   seeing people wear on the street!   She did say I needed to be patient and “let the hair do its thing”. What thing.? This hair stood no chance. These worms!   “See if it’s any consolation, I remember this lady in my office some years ago”, he said cupping my face into his arms and   cutting through my thoughts. “She appeared one day with dreadworms”, he said smiling   “You should so trademark this your terminology”, he digressed beginning to giggle.   “Leave me John”, I said pulling away and laughing.   This guy was just too funny. Trademark? Who says that?   “See…. that made you smile”, he said “that’s my beautiful girl”.   “So wetin happen to the dreadworms colleague”, I asked   “Ehen, so she can to work with the dread….”worms” I said cutting in, “continue the gist jare!”, I said still laughing.   It looked different … and skinny. That was like 3 years ago. You know when I worked with Cooper and Holistic Associates?” I   nodded in agreement.   “Well, I ran into her last year and her locks were as big as mine and very long… intact they were beautiful?   “Really?” I asked   “Yeah” , he said smiling.   “I hope you are not just saying that to console me?” I asked   “When have I ever deceived you?” he asked   “Well…. don’t get me started” I replied smiling.   “You know what I mean boo, be serious”, he said.   “For real, her hair is long and glorious. I think you just need to give this hair time, it’s just day one. Patience is one of your   strongest virtues”, he said   With that we burst into laughter. We both knew there was absolutely no truth in that. I hated waiting…even for the bus.   But somehow, what he said made me happy. Someone with my kind of skinny locks later got huge one. Cool!   I hoped my OH was not deceiving me because, if he was, he had won.   To be continued   Photo credit Pixabay   Thank you for reading. If you missed out on other parts of the popular “Dreadlocs or Not” series, you can catch up here.

Dreadlocs or Not? The Dreadworms (3)

Finding a locktician  My OH was aware that I had come up with a new life saving plan for my hair. I was going to lock it! Yay! He really welcomed the idea. He had worn his locks for the past 8years and was quite keen to have a partner in crime. I always thought he was a boring guy with it though. He only either spread the locks on his shoulders or he packed it in a bun. Anyway, he decided to help look for a suitable person to lock my hair. One day he came home and handed me a card “Sweetheart, I don find who go help you do this your hair”. Well, he ran into a lady at the fuel station. she was handing out her complimentary cards to people. A locktician she was… “Make sure say you call am to book the appointment o!”, he warned because he knew that I was the queen of procrastination. “Yeah, yeah”,  I replied collecting the card from him. Sister locks specialist…. it read. Hmmm… which one is this again? Sister what? Please… please… I beg! I wanted dread locks not sister or brother locks. The tomboy in me hated the sister locks straight away.  “I bet it would be too subtle and girly girly”, I said “Look at this begger who has a choice”, John said. “Stupid girl! Don’t talk yourself out of calling her now!”,  he added mockingly We laughed and I tucked the card away somewhere. 3 days later passed… “Have you made the appointment?”  “Erm…no …”, I said, “I have been too busy”. “Seriously? Too busy to make a call?” he asked looking surprised. “Ok let me call her now”, I retorted feeling irritated. Talk about pest! To be continued Photo credit Pixabay. Thank you for reading. If you missed out on other parts of the popular “Dreadlocs or Not” series, you can catch up here.

Dreadlocs or not? Finding a loctician (2)

Trust me, I had said no for too long. I was too scared to enter an adventure where there was no way out. Let’s say I am the kind of girl who likes to enjoy all the options and not have to choose. If I had known that being grown up was all about making decisions, I would have stayed young.  Choices? I hated them. Why do we have to choose? Why can’t we have everything? While choices gave people freedom, they constricted my ability to have everything available. How could one ever choose one thing over the other? Every option had pros and cons. Why could people not just have all the options so that they could enjoy the pros and not have to worry about the cons. So what has this got to do with my day Yes in the dreadlocks journey? Well, Let’s just say… it was a choice I had to make. Choosing to have my hair locked means that I would be choosing to have one hair style. I would be “choosing” long streaks of hair on my head instead of having the varied options and versatility I enjoy with my fro.  See what I mean? With my Afro, I do not  have to choose one look  I can Weave it, Plait it, Pack it in a bun Add some extensions or simply wear it as it is….as an Afro! With the dreadlocks, I will lose these options. However, that said, I find myself feeling frustrated most times. I have no time to make my hair as often as I need to. Now in my second year at university, I find myself prioritising my studies over my hair, as you would expect. To be fair, with student life on full gear. I was combing away the glory from my hair. I literally went from long hair to short hair because I was combing it so often in less than a month. I was not happy with my hair at all. I even contemplated chopping off the hair for the sake of peace. Until… I reconsidered my decision about the wearing  dreadlocks. Since I was willing to snip off the hair for the sake of convenience, this seemed like a more viable option. I heard that all I needed was a locktician say every 6-8 weeks to relock and absolutely nothing apart from oil my hair in between. I heard that locking my hair will allow the hair grow as nature intended I would miss my Afro though, but I heard that with time when the dreadlocks had grown, I style it in different ways.  So it would not even be monotonous after all. That was right up my street. Trust me. I think this was a seriously good idea. But how on earth would I lock my hair. Who would do it for me?    To be continued. Photo credit Pixabay Thank you for reading. If you missed out on other parts of the popular “Dreadlocs or Not” series, you can catch up here.

Dreadlocs or Not? A leap into the unknown (1)

My dear boy, All I can really say is that I miss you like crazy…. Since you left me there has been a wide hole that nothing has been able to fill. This is our first summer without you. It is so quiet that the silence of your absence in our lives is deafening. I knew you were a big character when you were here in my life and I am thankful to God that I never wasted any moment we shared. I have found myself wishing for many things but maybe she is right. I met her, I told her all my feelings. She was neutral and her neutrality gave me a safety net to express my innermost and darkest pains. Many deep rooted feelings that clutched at my heart and filled it with grief. After I spoke with her, I felt lighter and the grief seemed to have vamoosed… It was a feeling of relief, weightlessness. No longer did I bear the weight of the grief that I dragged around. I grew wings after I met her. I believed I could fly. So I began testing the wings I grew as a result of my encounter with her. No sooner had I planned and begun executing my first flight than I realised that my moves seemed to revolve back around my loss. She drew my attention to it when we met again. “Are you sure that you are not now filling the void with all these plans?”, she asked to my irritation. “NO!!!!”, I screamed. How could she even possibly feel that. It just felt like she was rubbishing the progress I felt that I was making. “You are moving too fast, you are too decisive, perhaps you need to think things through a little bit more before you commit to it”, her scrawny voice said. “OMG now she is sounding like my mother”, I thought. Sometimes I wonder why she cannot just be happy for me. Why all these irritating comments. She was becoming so negative to occupy the position I placed her in my life. I sat in silence and considered her words. Was she right? Could there be any sense in her words? She was after all on my side. You know since I was a child, I always did everything very fast. I never took too much time to make decisions or reach conclusions. The only thing that ever moved slowly in my life was pregnancy. It was the only thing I could not rush or create shortcuts for. But perhaps decisions that had to be taken post- grief needed like she said to be considered carefully. It is always a bad idea to make decisions when under stress. Grief is a very stressful time. My question today though is: How long is long enough? Will this ever be over? Will life ever be the same? The good news is that with my faith I know that I serve a good God who makes everything ok in the end. When I got home, I shook off scary whispers. I did not want anything to hold me back. For the first time in ages, I felt like I could move on. It has been so hard these past few weeks since Otito my angelboy passed away but when I woke up I thought that it was finally time to confront the big question “what next?”. What was I going to do with the rest of my life. Before becoming a parent carer, I had dreams of becoming a manager one day. A manager of businesses, people, data and all that. Bagging a degree in Economics from a prestigious university gave me a good start. Within a few years, I was climbing up the ladder. Life was good. It’s fair to say that I was living the dream. Well all that changed when I moved to England. The career dream stalled a bit-the perks of relocation. In no time, I settled nicely into a humble role at the bottom of the organisational ladder in the company that I joined (to be fair bottom sounds a bit harsh, make that the start of the ladder). Happy days… a quick maternity break and hey presto! My luck changed forever. I did not plan to have a sick child but it happened anyway. Not long afterwards I assumed the role as parent carer to my bundle of joy. I did find the obvious fact that I needed to dedicate all my time to this role very challenging for a long time. It demanded a bit more than just caring for any other child. In the end when my psychology had taken enough battering, I threw in the towel and embraced my new destiny. It was a role that I began to learn to love and enjoy. I poured my heart and soul into making everything right for my boy. I did my best to juggle his care with making our family work despite stresses. I even found some stability within the chaos. Sincerely there were times when I longed for the good old life. I even tried to venture back at different times but that too was logistically impossible. My boy was too special for any mainstream child minder to accept him for more than an hour. That’s how I saw it and as you can imagine no employer would have me for just an hour. I too could not bear the thought of putting him in danger by allowing any untrained person close to his complex health needs. In no time it was astadavista baby  to any job! As soon as he passed away I felt lost. Anyone would have thought that I would have smiled at the prospect of finally being able to go back to work. Well, that would have been the case if it was not death that had brought my previous role (as carer) to an end. Days turned into weeks, and still I did […]

So what’s next?

RAINFOREST WARD It is a time in my life that I can never forget. I first walked through those doors 4 years ago when my son Otito was born. He had gone straight into coma and our world was shattered. A simple birth has turned into a nightmare. At a time when we were trying to make sense of the diagnosis, we walked into the loving and welcoming arms on rainforest ward. It’s a ward unlike any other at GOSH because I have been through many wards along the way with my boy unfortunately. There is a personal touch to the care you get on Rainforest ward. The culture and atmosphere is exemplary. The staff there are a team. There is a feeling of peaceful coexistence and healthy rivalry. Not the usual cut throat competition that is quite common in some female dominated professions. In the last year, it became my son’s home- our second home. He was looked after and loved on Rainforest ward. I often wondered if he would ever adjust to life at home after being spoiled by the nurses who loved him to bits. Now and especially at this time, I look at those doors behind me with fondness. Although he never made it back home, he was at home there. When he was there, he was less of a patient and through the year that was to be his last and in their care, we saw more of the happy little boy that he deserved to be. That gives me peace. The interesting thing about hospital life is the unintentional intertwining and inter-mingling with so many people. You learn to get along with them and adjust to all their qualms. In the end, a peaceful coexistence ensues. I remember good times and sad times in equal measure. I resist the urge to sway towards being stuck in the sad times. Instead, I deliberately swing the bias towards the happy times. Otito brought these wonderful people into my life. Had I not birthed him and nursed him through the roller coaster years, I would have remained oblivious to the reality of the wonderful team existing behind those doors. For this I am thankful. When Otito passed away, I saw all the pain and I watched the tears flow through their eyes and I felt very lucky to have them all in my life. Sharing the pain with these team of love made it easier to bear. No epistle can convey how tough the last year has been. However, in the company of the staff on the ward, I felt like they witnessed my struggle and no explanation was required. Therefore I could just get on with trying to make sense of what had unfolded. Rainforest ward was our ward. I made and formed new friendships with many parents that I can never forget. You see, there is one privilege of having a tumultuous life as I have had. You begin to see that many things are overrated. “Friendship” is one of those. Sadly, many long formed relationships fizzle to a trickle. Phone calls reduce to faded chat lines until they become history. This is usually not intentional but it happens anyway. Having a sick child can take you into a different league. You begin to have less common interests with old friends until you drift apart. Old friends cannot identify with your new reality. Trying to get their attention may keep you spinning until you are saddled with so much emotional baggage at a time when you need less stress. I had a friend once think that I was lying when I said my son was sick- again. My supposed friend in not so many words said “Like seriously, how can someone be so unwell?” before ending the statement with the usual “bless him”. On the other hand, I also experienced the helplessness from friends who would have loved to help but did not know how or were too far away. I made new friends on rainforest ward. When I did, the gap was filled. I did not mean to make them but they happened because they could feel my pain. We were in the boat together. Somehow they got it! It was a comforting relationship. We all were united in the struggle and pain we felt for our children. We were fighters and pulled one another along the way. We shared tips and tricks depending on what we had learnt. I am sitting on my sofa now missing them all. Somehow like before, I know that no matter how I try, life will happen again and the calls will fade because we are now in different worlds. We will begin to have less things in common. My day will probably begin to have different events. I may start to feel insensitive when I call to moan about my new challenges and you may start to call less because you do not want to disturb me with your Parent Caring challenges. But it doesn’t have to be that way because no matter what happens, I will always get it. If you have walked this path, you are never the same. It changes your life positively if you let it. You become more sensitive to things you never could have thought you would even notice. One of the mums gave me a life time membership of the Parent carers club. Like an invisible alumni. It was comforting because it really feels strange being “normal” again. I feel like a bit of a cheat- being relieved of my duties so suddenly! For the first time yesterday, I experienced something weird. Before I tell you what it is, I will take you down my lane of memory to help you understand why it felt wierd…. In 2012 when I watched the London 2012 opening ceremony, pregnant, I saw a display by “Drs and nurses at Great Ormond street hospital” and thought -Awwww, bless. God help “those” people. After that, […]

Rainforest Ward…Otito’s final home. (A thank you letter to all the teams that made his last year special)

If the evil one knew that killing Jesus will bring redemption he would have turned him into Methuselah and stopped his crucifixion. There is always light at the end of the tunnel. There is no mountain we cannot climb if we can only believe. Remember if you can…you can. No one has power over us except it comes from above. God is a good God and there is no evil to be found in him. His thoughts towards us are of good and never of evil. Therefore we have to put all our trust in him no matter the situation. Sometimes things go wrong but at other times they will go well. Life is like a bed of roses. Very beautiful to behold but also filled with prickly thorns. We must never claim monopoly of ill occurrences. They happen to every one- only some are visible to all while others are not so obvious. If we are better disposed, the blows life deals us will be cushioned by our inner fortitude. It is deep rooted in us but sometimes we are not aware of our strengths. Some events occur in our lives that help us access them those strengths. There is no proper certification without an exam. For those of us who are Christians, how can you really know you have faith if it is not tested? The bible called Abraham God’s friend after he abandoned himself to God’s will by sacrificing his son. He who the Lord loves he chastises. So we see Job being tried and tempted to the end because he loved God and God bragged about it. Do you love God? Can God be sure that you will continue to trust that he loves and cares for you even when things seem horrible? The trials we face in life unlock our inner strengths- but only if we let them. Remember the glass is with “half-full or half-empty” depending on how you see it. There is no right or wrong answer. As long as your answer does not draw you down and make you sad- choose it. Whichever one you choose, the quantity of water in the glass remains unaltered. I am a firm believer in God’s strength and God’s grace. I have complete confidence in his God’s divine plan. So I made a deliberate and conscious decision to make today about praising God and celebrating Fred’s life. I cannot change what has happened but I can change how I view it. I can change how I let it affect me. That gives me control. One good thing about being in control about things that happen in your life is that it helps you feel stronger. So you too may be out there feeling down – please rise up today and move on. Feeling down will not lead you anywhere but raising up your head will help you start to find the light at the end of the tunnel. Fred bore his pains gallantly. His passing is now “my pain” but in time it will not be so painful. I choose to see his passing as a way that gave him peace.God’s glory and beauty surrounded him. He inspired me as his mum with his strength -God’s strength. So joy has come in the morning. Joyful trust that this is the Lords doing. Nothing happens in this world without God allowing it to happen. No one can surprise God. I remember when Pontius Pilate got angry with Jesus for not answering his numerous questions. He said ” do you know I have power to put you in jail and release you?” Do you remember what Jesus said? I will remind you today. He said “you have no power over me except the one that comes from above”. This was a man whose life and death had been “foretold” before time began. How could any man claim power over him. God has written down all that is happening and all that will happen in your life before you were born. So let us have trust in God. I know I do try not to make my posts about my faith because I acknowledge that my followers cut across all walks of life. However at times like this… of great pain, it is impossible for me to make sense of it without holding firmly to my faith. Only the joy of the Lord can be my strength at this time. Praises to God in my native tongue: Ebubedike, okwusi ogwu. He speaks and the earth trembles. The beginning and the end I bow in submission to you o lord. I thank God for the privilege of being Fred’s mother. Praise the Lord ! Ije awele nwa’m oma (safe journey my good son), ujor atuzina i (do not be afraid) Otitodilichineke bi na enigwe (Glory be to God who lives in heaven). Igweeeeee💪💪💪💪 Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay

Death at my door : Giving God all the glory for Otito’s life…

God is good. He gave us “Otito” and he was a beautiful pearl that brightened up our lives. He was always on loan to us and so we looked after him completely. Now God has requested him back because he was too precious in his sight to overlook. He suffered so… death became the key to set him free from it all. It hurts but he is now at peace. His peace will be my peace in the end. My heart bleeds. Not because of pain but because of a different type of joy. A joyful trust that this bitter pill is good for me because my God allowed it to be. I trust his decision completely because his ways and thoughts are not like mine. If anything his thoughts for me are of good and never of evil. This blow dealt to me feels horrible but nothing happens in my life without God’s ordination. Therefore I decree today that it is the Lord’s doing it is marvellous in my sight and I will continue to praise him through the pain. It is hard now but I know it will get easier. Otito was strong amidst his adversity and so I draw from it and remain strong. Although he suffered endlessly, through it all, he managed to remain happy and filled the hospital ward that was his final home with his laughter and music. He will be greatly missed by us all especially his older brother Mark and all his friends- the devoted staff at GOSH who were devoted to him. Otito was their boy too. They loved and cared for him like their own. He was admitted Feb 2016 and remained an inpatient until he passed away on Tue 21 Feb 2017…. He will always be remembered for his singing, humming, dinosaur stumping around the ward and enjoying endless nursery rhymes with his iPad on Rainforest ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Children’s Charity He brought us all together for a reason and please let his passing not separate us. This changes nothing and although I have been relieved of my duties as a Parent carer, I shall not rest until I spread the word about the world I was privileged to be part of these past few years. This will be Otito’s legacy…… Thank you Photo credit: Pixabay If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other topics we have discussed in this series. Photo credit: Pixabay

Goodbye Otito…

long road
I was jolted back to reality this morning by the screams emanating from the bed beside me. I felt a bit dazed as I collected my thoughts and remembered why I was lying on this bed …yet again. Every effort had gone into the construction of this bed. However, no matter what it looked like, it did not stop it being the narrow, hard and uncomfortable bed that it was. Well, I couldn’t really complain as this room had come to be my home for a few weeks now and counting. That ear-splitting sound was the cry of a little boy one who to my knowledge was born three years earlier. He was unwell from birth with literally one thing after the other going wrong with one system or another in his body. Doctors had painstakingly spent hours, days, weeks and at times months trying on end to keep him stable and comfortable. He was fed food orally and after a while nasally via a tube. A naso-gastric tube was stuck to his face because there was no other way of securing it on his anatomy. While very uncomfortable to insert, it also looked like a signboard on his person that greeted people with the fact about his feeding abnormality. His body kept rejecting it and he was constantly sick with it. His body just seemed to reject every attempt by the doctors to keep it thriving nutritionally. After a while a tube inserted directly into his stomach seemed like the only option left. However, like with the earlier device used, his body seemed to be rejecting this latest high-tech medical device inserted in his stomach to feed him. He was supposed to have a better quality of life with it. In fact, the main consolation had been that having the device will offer faster and more precise feeding. It was even supposed to be more concealed and give him some privacy in terms of his feeding arrangements. The arrival of the tube in the stomach couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. It initially was hitch free. It delivered on every promise. All went well for months and everyone was excited. He was happy and stable. Hospital days seemed well and truly over. However recently, a host of problems gradually started creeping in. The happy boy slowly became constantly upset and crippled with pain. He was constantly arching his back or curling up like a ball. It was definitely coming from his stomach. So once more like every other device before this one, his body did not want it any more. Every attempt to make his body cope with the pain failed. No home remedy could provide comfort. In no time, he was back on the hospital bed and this time it seemed like he was in for the long haul. As I lay there, deep in thought, I was helpless and could do nothing to reduce his pain and constant suffering. I just muttered my prayers and mantras hoping for strength to carry on looking after him as I had done since he was born. I was one of the constant things in his life so I had to stand rock solid to allow the strength in me flow somehow into him amidst his hard painful life. “it’s okay baby’’, I muttered as I approached his bed to comfort him hoping this episode of pain will pass from him as quickly as it had taken hold. His tiny nails dug into my skin as he gripped me tightly and looked up to me with eyes that said ‘save me from this pain’. I just carried on rocking him, singing to him as I had always done and reassuring him that all will be well.’ Don’t worry’, I said,’ hold on tight and it will pass’. ……………………………………………. I squeezed him close and planted a kiss on his forehead. ‘shhhhh…..shhhhhhhh….’ I whispered. Suddenly, his grip loosened. His cries lessened to a shriek and he gestured for me to put him back in his bed. As I lay him down, he wriggled, tossed and turned until he found a comfortable position to keep himself. He stayed glued to that spot for fear that any sudden movements might trigger another bout of pain. Despite his suffering, as I looked down at him, I still felt hopeful. I reaffirmed within myself the belief that although he was suffering, I could not bear anything happening to him. He was my boy. Yes! I had one like him before but fate erected a permanent wall between us and we were separated for ever. Like Fred, he had been afflicted with the same disease but sadly, managed to survive for less than a week. Nothing could be done to save him. He was too feeble to survive. At times, I couldn’t really tell if walking away in death was a better fate. Fred only seemed to spend every breathing moment struggling for dear life. Since birth, Fred had been unwell. From the moment I held him I knew something was not right – mother’s instinct. We tried to balance normal family life with the new hospital life we acquired with his birth. We found a pattern that worked for us. However, this did not eliminate the strain on us as a family. At times the cracks could be seen through our perpetual exhaustion, tiredness and stress levels. We soldiered on daily, determined to make it work. Karl and I took turns looking after each child. He was rock solid and as supportive as they come. He had been there through it all with me. It was hard having a child with complex health needs. Psychologically it was draining. If we had a wand we would have spared Fred all the suffering and pain. We did not seem to be without a chore related to him. His medications, feeds and care had to be done by the clock to buy him some ‘well days’. We seized every opportunity to take the […]

The long road – Part 2

long road
It had been another hectic day on the hospital ward. I arrived with my son the previous day. It was meant to be a test at our local hospital to understand why his tummy was hurting so much. But with Fred, nothing was ever straightforward. I had dropped Mark at school that morning and noticed that Fred looked a bit off colour. I decided not to get him ready for nursery. Luckily, he was not bound by law to go every day. To be honest, I let him start nursery at an early age in order to give me some respite amongst many other reasons. Fred was not the easiest child to care for. He was born with a rare disease that left him having more hospital visits and admissions than you could count on your fingers. He went to a specialist school. By now, every single person who cared for him, or had any dealings with him knew all the warning signs to look out for before his health deteriorated. Everyone had my details on standby and I must confess, I had been called out one too many times and it had got to the point where nearly every other phone call on my cell was ‘Fred’ related. On this occasion, I decided to avoid doomsday by just keeping him in and letting him rest. However, as the day progressed, he seemed to be getting worse. By the time I took him in to our local hospital, it was decided that he had to be transferred to specialist hospital in the city. That was never good news. Apart from the meaning that Fred was more unwell than we thought, it also meant, we all had to travel regularly. That in itself was not a problem but for a family with another son in primary school, a dad working out of town, it always took its toll on me psychologically. All I could see was the road ahead. So all through my journey in the ambulance, these thoughts kept flooding my mind. Each blare from the siren offered me no respite from the throbbing ache that was developing in my head. I had to get him settled into the city hospital which was an hour drive from home. I hoped to get back in time to collect my boy Mark from school. I looked at my watch and panicked. It was nearly the time for his school to close for the day. I called Mark’s school and advised them of the situation. The lady was very understanding and promised to hold him for an extra hour after school closure. I immediately sent an email to Karl hoping he would see the message early. Poor guy! Surely my message was bound to worry him. I hated sending him such alarming mails. Unfortunately, I had no other choice as I could not be in two places at once. I received a beep on my phone. Karl wrote “Honey try not to worry, I will sort Mark out, I am leaving the office now”. That was just the kind of message I needed. Wow! The odds of getting such a prompt response from Karl were very slim as he worked in a very busy bank as an executive financial analyst. I felt a bit settled and looked across the ambulance towards my sedated son who looked so peaceful as he slept. I took a cue from him and did the same. I had no idea how the rest of the day was going to unfold. I felt the tap on my shoulder and was jolted back to reality with the words “Wake up, we are there now”. I am sure that I must have slept for an hour. ……………………………………………………… I was so worried about Karl’s work. Day and night I constantly worried. He on the other hand always seemed unperturbed. We had a Christian upbringing and had learnt never to doubt the constant care that God has for us as his children. However, the past few years had taught me how to be more realistic than faithful. We seemed to have been through more upheavals than a tsunami. While I still had faith, my love for God seemed to visit “specsavers” regularly and so it saw very clearly. One thing was for sure, things were going to keep happening to everyone good, bad, faithful or faithless. I also believed strongly that God had no time to descend his throne to do something that was well within our power to achieve. Karl and Mark came to the hospital the next morning to see us. My husband had tactfully taken the day off work. Tactless because, as far as I was concerned, he needed more than a mere call to this Jimmy Furnace of a boss to do that. I just hope this “Furnace” of a man was not going to get Karl burnt one day in that office of theirs. “I hope you sent an email to your boss” I asked, “before taking the day off”, I added. “You worry too much”, he retorted sharply in a tone that meant, “can’t you trust that I have sorted it?” I was glad to see them both. God knows I needed a cuddle after the kind of night I had been through with my son. I had been given more news by the doctors that seemed worse than all gloomy news one had become accustomed to on the telly these days. The doctors and nurses came with all shapes and sizes of instrument to get all kinds of samples from my son. Blood, stool, urine and I thought they would have made him “spit” a sample if they could. It was all so overwhelming. He lay there helpless with tubes, wires, drips and anything they had to offer him. “Hey mom” Mark said “do they have toys here?” I just giggled because my poor boy was still a child after all. He could not really understand the […]

The long road – Part 1