#BEINGFEMALEINNIGERIA

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 23.59.43

I am a woman. I love being a woman. I have always enjoyed being a woman. I love the idea of carrying a life inside me. I love the womanly instincts that I bear. I love my curves. I love how vulnerable I can be. I would not trade being a woman for anything else in the world. However, in this crazy world we live in and the ignorance that is around us, being a woman can be a struggle.

When I was growing up, I used to watch a lot of Nigerian films and one thing I noticed was the constant domestic abuse. Men would hit women at will, for provoking them and it started to seem normal to me. I never saw my father hit my mother – Thank God – but I always just thought that it was something he could get away with, should he decide to do so. It’s such an ignorant way of thinking but from watching all this, I thought it was a norm.

I remember seeing in these films how men would want to sleep with women that want to move forward in their life. A lecturer would call a student into his office and threaten to fail her if she does not sleep with him. I am in uni now and I am just 19 and I cannot begin to imagine the horror of being told by a dirty old man that I have to sleep with him to move ahead. This same thing would happen in the workplace. Unfortunately, these scenarios don’t just happen in films, they happen in real life.

I am Nigerian and I love my motherland so much but I have to tell you that being a female there can be extremely difficult. I remember going to the market with my mother, my sister, my brother and my sister and I would be getting dragged and called at by men. I hate going to the market for that very reason. There is no peace of mind.

Fortunately, I have grown up and I have seen that domestic abuse is never okay. Touching women for your own amusement is not okay and threatening to hold a woman back if she doesn’t satisfy your desires is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard.

A hashtag was started earlier today on Twitter that brought to the light the struggles that Nigerian women face back home. I believe that this is a movement and I’ll post some of the tweets that was posted.

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 00.00.19

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 00.00.26

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 00.00.43

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 00.00.59

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 00.01.09

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 00.01.35

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 00.01.57

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 00.02.15

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 00.02.23

I am glad that light is being shed on this because we have grown up in this society that everyone believes that it is normal to be treated this way. It is not normal and I am glad that we are speaking out, FINALLY.

I AM BITTER…SO WHAT?

Source: Pintrest
Source: Pinterest

So, at the beginning of last year, I started to lose a friend of mine. She was very close to me and I considered her my soul sister. I had never clicked with anyone so much as I had with her when I first met her and I loved her – I still do. However, at the start of last year, we started to drift.

We talked less and less and less. In fact, I can count on my fingers how many times we spoke. I tried to reach out to her. I called, texted and in most cases, I would not get a reply from her. I went through something really tough last year and she heard about it through someone else, but she still did not reach out to me. I had to reach out to her myself to actually get her to speak to me about my situation and still, we did not get to talk about it as much as I would have hoped.

She told me she was also going through a hard time but how was I to know? I called all the time, I texted but when you don’t speak to me, how would I know that you are going through a tough time? I am not a psychic. Anyway, things got a bit worse. She did something that also hurt me a little bit but it wasn’t the action itself that hurt me. Rather, it was the way she went about it that hurt. Still, I wanted to maintain my friendship with her because she meant a lot to me.

When it seemed like we were walking through our issues, the cycle would begin again. It got to a point that I did not recognise who my friend was anymore. Now, we don’t speak and I am fine with that because all through last year, I kept on making excuses for her. I made excuses for her to anyone that asked. However, there are no more excuses to be made. I have gotten my closure and I know that I tried the hardest that I could. I know and those around me know.

I would be dishonest if I say that it still doesn’t bother me. It does. I am still a bit bitter about it. And I am okay with that because it just goes to show that she meant a lot to me and it will take time for me to let go of that. I am embracing the emotions that come with it. Sometimes, when we get hurt, we want to quickly skip to the good part where we do not hurt anymore but it does not work that way. Pain is like boot camp or like going to the gym. You have to feel the burn in order to look better and feel better. Pain helps us grow and I am slowly but surely getting to the point where I understand where we’re at and that people drift apart sometimes.

As for my ex-friend, I still believe she is a great person and I still have massive love for her. When you love someone, you always love them. So, I still have love for her and I wish her the very best. I battled a little bit in my mind about sharing this but this is my own truth. This is how I saw it from my perspective. I don’t know how she saw it from hers and I respect her own truth. The point is that I have learned from this and I am definitely growing.

Posted in 19

I SAID I’D NEVER CUT MY HAIR…

34218d1c58cadd3fbb67846ac9b073d7
Source: Pinterest

This last weekend, i went to Brighton to celebrate the 21st birthday of one of my closest friends. It was a fun weekend and all of my closest friends from secondary school were around which made it a wonderful weekend. It’s amazing how we have grown. I met all of them at the start of secondary school in 2005 and then we were so young – 9/10/11 – and now we are becoming full grown women.

Anyway, while I was there, we were preparing to go for dinner on Sunday and one of my friends was helping me do some bantu knots on my hair to make it curly since I decided to go natural. As I was staring at the mirror while she was doing this, I thought back to about five years ago. Five years ago, I was so adamant about cutting my hair. I used to say that no matter how bad my hair became, I would never cut it. No one could have paid me then to cut my hair – well, if someone had offered me a good sum, maybe I might have considered Lol -. I was so sure that cutting my hair would not be a path I would ever take, let alone going natural.

Cut to three years later, I finally made a decision in the summer of 2013 to cut my hair. In fact, it had been something that I had been thinking about for almost a year before I was finally bold enough and got my mother’s blessings to do it. It is amazing how much a person can change in a few years and how decisions that you thought you would never take become a reality.

I have changed and grown so much as a person. These last two years have been the absolute worst of my entire life. The things I have been through, the decisions I have made, I never thought I would have to make them five years ago. I never thought I would ever be put in positions that I have been put in. I used to judge people that had to make some of the decisions I have made.  It has been hard. So hard. However, despite the fact that I wish some of the things I have gone through never happened, I’m appreciative of the fact that it was necessary for me to grow as a person. At the start of uni in 2013, I was so naïve. I was 17 and thought that as a good person, bad things would not happen to me. How stupid I was!

Now, I’m 19 and by God’s grace, I finish uni this December and I am not the same girl that walked into this place. I still make stupid decisions everyday because I am still growing. I have made great decisions, okay decisions and really really bad decisions that I have beat myself time and time again for making. However, its all part of growth and I really hope and pray that those decisions don’t define me and that I get a second chance to live life and enjoy it.

Posted in 19

A Letter To My Future Self

Source: Kimberly Yager
Source: Kimberly Yager

Dear Dolly,

10 years from now, you will be 29 years old and will be turning the big 3-0 in a few months. Wow, what a journey! These are the ten things that I hope that you would have achieved during this wonderful time in your life.

. I hope that you settle into a job that you love. A job that makes you happy and gives you a reason to wake up every morning. Passion is your driving force and I hope that you find something that makes you so passionate.

. I hope that you find a great love in your life. I hope that you meet someone that you love and loves you back in return. I hope that you get the love that you truly deserve and you meet someone who loves you, elevates you, accepts you for all that you are and makes you extremely happy.

. I hope that you learn to love yourself. I hope that you understand that your flaws make you who you are and that imperfection is beauty. I hope that you realise that you are totally beautiful inside and out and you learn to love the person that you are and realise that your mistakes don’t define you but have all been a part of your journey. I hope that you become a strong, confident woman who is well on her way to conquering the world.

. I hope that you learn to understand God. I hope that you get to a point where no one has to explain to you who God is because you will already know who He truly is in your heart. I hope you learn that He has always had your back from the start and has rooted for you and I hope that you become the woman that He always knew that you would be.

. Your mind changes a lot so I don’t know if you would be ready for children yet. However, as of right now, I believe that at 29, you would love to have had your first child. I hope that your baby is healthy and all you dreamed he/she will be. Remember the names we’ve picked out? Lol..Well, even if your mind has changed then..I hope you still consider the old ones and why we picked them in the first place.

. I really do hope that you have travelled to at least five new countries. You have always wanted to see Italy, Hawaii, Greece,Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica and I hope that by 29, you would have seen all these countries by then. A little ambitious? Maybe…but it is not something you cannot handle. See the world and enjoy its beauty because life is too short and there is so much out there to explore.

. Remember to always keep in touch with your friends. I believe that some of them will be married by then and have a bunch of gubbers, so make sure you snatch that godmother spot as quick as possible because you want them to learn about life from their Aunty Dolly.

. Call your siblings from time to time. Make sure that they are doing well and always be there for them when they need you to be.

. Make sure that you have taken your mum on a great vacation. She has her own house and her own car but you know the one thing she loves most is a wonderful vacation where she can relax. Take her on one to a country she has never been to before. Maybe one of the Caribbean Islands. I have no doubt in my mind that that will be the ultimate vacation. Call your dad all the time. I know you both disagree a lot but he is a good father so call him, visit him and send him a nice gift every now and then. He would love that.

. Above all, Adedolapo, I hope to God that you will be the happiest you have ever been. It’s not been easy. I know. Depression is always in the way. So, I really hope that you would have gotten over it by then and you would be healed in every aspect of your life.

You are great and you are loved.

Always remember that.

Love always,

19 year old, Dolly.

Posted in 19

Rape IS NEVER OKAY

but-no-means-no

So, I watched the new season of Orange is The New Black this weekend. I loved it as always and the new character, Stella Carlin played by Ruby Rose is probably one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life and I could not take my eyes off her. It is one of my favourite shows because it shows life from a woman’s perspective. It shows the different hardships that women have to go through and how far they are willing to go to survive and to protect those that they love.

I loved the different storylines but one stuck out to me and it broke my heart. The storyline of Pennsatuckey was one of sadness and my heart broke for her. I had never really understood her character but this season opened my eyes. From the moment she had started to see her period, her mum made her believe that sex was something she owed to a man. Her mum made her believe that it wasn’t necessarily something to enjoy and she should just let them have it. They will be ‘in and out’ and it will be over.

She carried this lesson to her youth and of course, she never saw sex as an enjoyable thing. She saw it as a means to get other things and so men would abuse her and she just saw it as the norm. Until she met a boy. A boy who changed her and made her see that sex is not something to hate. He actually showed her how to enjoy sex and how to derive pleasure from it and not just something that she needs to do to go through life. He eventually moved away and it was back to the ‘norm’ with her and men.

In this season, she became really friendly with one of the new guards. At first, it seemed like he really liked her and she liked him too. He did not demand anything from her and he always bought her donuts and ice-cream. There was a scene where she thought she had to give him a handjob so that she can get some ice-cream from him and he told her that he did not want anything from her. If she wanted anything, all she had to was ask. This made her like hm even more and then he decided to show his true nature. He raped her and she did not even scream but her face broke my heart.

Fortunately, she had a friend, Big Boo who she could talk to and Big boo made her understand that what he did was not right because prior to this, Pennsatuckey did not think he did anything wrong. She believed it was her fault; that she provoked him and in my heart, I said: “That does not give him any right.”

Big Boo wanted to exact revenge on him and they were both very close to doing so. They drugged him and wanted to stick a mop stick up his ass and i would admit, I was all for it. She still didn’t want to do it and Big Boo kept telling her to express her rage and then she said, :”I don’t have rage, I’m just sad.” and at this point, I shed a tear.

They never did anything to him and Pennsatuckey found a way to get out of doing van duty with him. However, they forgot that, if she couldn’t do it, they would put another girl with him. Another girl that he would possibly rape and he would continue doing so until someone speaks out.

I just..I cannot understand the reasoning of a man who thinks that raping a woman somehow makes him a man or makes him strong. I am here to tell any man who has this mentality that you are not strong. All you are, is a coward. This might have just been a show but this happens in real life everyday. Some man thinks it is okay to rape a woman and he would get away with it. It is NEVER okay. No matter the circumstance.

I just want to say that we, women have to stand up for ourselves. We have to support each other. Rape is a traumatising thing to go through and the worst part is, more often than not, it happens by people that are known to the victims. We need to speak out more against things like this. It cannot continue to happen amongst us.

To my dear women who have gone through this trauma, I want to say that I respect you because you have gone through this and survived. This doesn’t define you and you can always come back from this. Please speak to someone you trust about what you have gone through. Don’t suffer in silence. As women, our voice is important and that is why many are intimidated by us. We have a right to own our bodies and our sexualities. No one is allowed to take it from us. No one is allowed to make us do what we don’t want to do. Keep on being strong, beautiful women and May God continue to always be with us.