What It Means To Get Your Shit Together

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One look at the young successful athletes, actors, CEOs and media personalities who splash our social media pages and all you can think is, they have their shit together. It seems their life was predestined and predefined. Someone must have snuck a lifemap into their palms at birth that wasn’t given to the rest of us. I mean, it’s one success story to another; one achievement to another.
Society recognizes status, beauty, power, money and when you don’t have these- at least a combination of two, it seems your life sucks. Even money buys love.
It is expected that a certain age or time in your life you are supposed to have certain things. You fret when you don’t have them. At 30, a female’s chances of finding love is significantly lower and narrower, or so society thinks, plus it doesn’t help that the biological clock is ticking loudly.
Coincidentally, at a time when it seems you don’t have everything going for you that’s when all around you people are happy. They have the particular thing(s) that you don’t have.

I don’t have my shit together
I will be 24 by Dec and I don’t have my shit together. Harry Styles is my age mate and he already has a successful career. I am older than Kendall Jenner, but she is already a super model and has established herself in her career. Not me.
I am in school and I am broke most of the time (I am graduating this year though). I don’t have the money to do all the things I want and to travel to all the places I want to go. Most of my friends are graduates already while some are married with kids. I don’t even have a boyfriend; never even dated anyone long enough.
I was told my strong willed personality and no-nonsense attitude has it made it nearly impossible for me to grasp love. Apparently I am supposed to laugh at everything a guy says to impress him and make myself look datable.
I once worked in a boring accounts office. It was torture. The job was neither exciting nor interesting and my boss took every little opportunity to pop in and give me more ledgers while staring at my boobs. I left after three months and decided to take the more the interesting route of entrepreneurship.
I am not the kind of entrepreneur you are thinking. I have not made millions instead I have debtors. But I like what am doing. I buy shoes, customize them and resell them. I am scared too, I do not want to bow to the pressures of a safe job and be miserable. I do not know what the future holds. I still succumb to procrastination, laziness and intimidation.

Who has their shit together?
People look up to my mum. She’s bold, she’s in charge, and she knows where she’s going and what she has to do. She’s confidant too. But they didn’t know her before now.
It took my mum 38years to be who she is now. She was a people pleaser, laid-back, quiet and with very little confidence. She rarely made decisions on her own. Her life revolved round my dad (he was who she is now) and us- her kids.
My mum lost her dad in Oct, 2008 and then my father followed in Jan 2009. Suddenly a widow, with no male figure in her life and no work experience, my mum became both a father and a mother.
My mother is the strongest person I know, not allowing personal calamities to break her. Instead, she became tougher and stronger. She took charge of her life and got a job (even when she was scared she couldn’t do it). She is the last daughter but she holds everyone in her family together.
To others it looks like she has her shit together but she doesn’t. She carries a pain no one understands but she has learnt to live vicariously. She has taken charge of her life and no longer allow people talk down at her.
Maybe you know someone who has their shit together. Can you walk in their shoes?

You can get your shit together?
Yes you can. You can learn to live your life your way. Take charge of your life. Our lives and paths are different. Stop the comparison and the constant need to get things that you don’t need just to match up. Live by your values and be happy. Do the things that make you happy.file000332351567

An Open Letter To Americans From Nigeria

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Dear Americans,
I am not an American and I have never lived in America but that has not stopped me from following the presidential elections. The most powerful country in the world was about to get a new leader; it was in my face everyday. It doesn’t matter, I know I am never going to vote but I made my choice, I chose Hillary.
I know about Trump’s rants, his aspirations to make America great again whilst grabbing asses. I know his campaign was loaded with bigotry, sexual assault scandals and racist comments. He threatened to build a wall to prevent immigrants from crossing the US-Mexico border.
What do I say to the blacks especially the black immigrants living in America whom he had promised to do away with? What about the Muslims, how do I console you? What about your girls, how can you feel protected under the leadership of a man who says ‘to grab them by their pussy. You can do anything’
I feel your fears and despair. Twitter, Facebook, Medium and other social sites bear your outrage. Trump somehow has assailed to the highest position – the 1st citizen of a nation full of pride and eager for a brighter future. We in these parts looked up to you. America is the epitome of things we hoped for.
Do you know the joy we felt when a black man for the first time in history was made president? We congratulated each other like we were Americans. On Nov. 8th 2016, we looked forward to history rewriting itself. To welcome the first female president of America. An icon. A pointer for other women to follow, to be inspired. If Hillary main rival had been someone else I would have shut my mouth. It’s the people’s choice after all. But Donald Trump? Given that there has been massive protests and outrage at his success, I wonder, who then voted for him?

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Americans, I know you look down on us Africans. Blacks. Monkeys. You may or may not be correct in your assessment of us. Despite 20 something years of democracy we have very little to show for it. We still battle little things like good roads and electricity, lol. But in this matter I have a little advice and I want you to take it, why, because I have experience. I have been living under the rule of a bigot since last May 2015 and can’t help but compare the America elections to the one conducted in Nigeria last year.
In 2011 things were finally looking up for us. We voted in the first President from the South-South geopolitical region- a small but relevant region. It was a beacon of hope. Hope that not only the Hausas and Yorubas had right or access to the highest political position in the nation.
Then in 2015 President Jonathan lost to Buhari. Buhari is our version of your Trump, minus the sexual scandals. How could Jonathan have lost? He was the people’s choice. What the hell happened? Whether your Trump live up to expectation is yet to be seen, but ours is worse than we expected. The recession in Nigeria now according to stats is the biggest in 26years. But we pull through.

Let me tell you how we’ve survived. This is a time for you all to stand together as one nation. Leave the segregation, the racism, the religious differences because deep down we all humans with needs and fears. Think of your kids, Your parents, your brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors. Do not allow hate to stand in the way. This is not about Hillary or Trump. In the end it’s about you. As @Alexa Carlin wrote in  A letter to the American people about this election, change begins with you. Do your part to create the America you want to live in.
I am on your side too.

Shortia December
Nigeria

You Too Can Perform Miracles

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When I was in secondary school, I had a friend who didn’t take medications for any ailment whatsoever because it was against her faith. She belonged to a religious denomination that forbidded any form of medical treatment. They preached against taking of drugs citing Exo. 23:25, Deut. 7:15. Rather, all sick persons were to go to the altar and pray, waiting for a special miracle of healing. I was told even the women were delivered of their babies in church (I think they should have just called God to operate out the baby. Why call a midwife?).
Like the people who belonged to this sect, there are so many other persons who lounge around in life waiting for a miracle. They are like the man at the pool of Bethesda who kept waiting for someone to push him into the pool. When that didn’t happen he indulged in self pity and self condemnation.
These people appear to be busy with their lives. To others it seems they have a life; they are in schools, offices, churches and they even hold positions of authority. This is all a faux. In their minds of mind they want something better or different but they are not going to get it for themselves. And they are not lazy either. They hang around waiting for someone/something or a divine intervention to whisk them out of their current status. It could be in the form of a rich husband/wife, a job offer, a divine manifestation of some sorts etc. What ever it is, their lives is kept hanging until something (divine/miraculous) happens. A miracle.
You can find them in churches praying against their enemies and beckoning on God’s favor forgetting that God has given us the power to do anything we want. To turn our lives around. You have the ability to change your mindset, Your destiny, Your attitude and you can make your life what you want it to be.
God’s greatest miracle to us is the gift of knowledge and the ability to choose. By giving us the freewill to think and make decisions for ourselves, man can create anything he wants. You can choose to create miracles.
Look around you, the world swims in the sea of miracles. The Internet, great inventions and innovations shows we can create our own miracles. Humans push the limits and boundaries of impossiblities everyday. Things deemed impossible before is accessible now to even kids. Humans can fly. Humans can last long under water. A single button can teleport one across the world. Re-engineering and artificial intelligence has made it possible for amputees and quadriplegics to effectively and comfortably go about their daily activities with the aid of prosthesis most of which allow brain signals to be sent to the prosthetic. Humans can even change their gender.

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A miracle is whatever you want it to be. A special event/someone doesn’t have to define you. To my friend who doesn’t take medications, I reminded her that it was God himself who endorsed drugs by creating herbs like Aloe Vera, Hyssop, Mint, etc. for all manner of ailments and beings (Gen. 1:29, Rev. 22:2, S of S 4:12, Ezekiel 47:12) which were used in the Bible. Those herbs form a major part of the processed drugs we take today. Systems and practices changes. If we are going to lie at the altar waiting for a special touch, should we also wear coats of skin since it was the first garment God made for Adam and Eve, Gen. 3:21?
Don’t limit yourself to religious/physical boundaries. Go out there and create a miracle.

Movie Review: Keeping My Man

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Starring: Ramsey Naouh Jr, Monalisa Chinda, Rukky Sanda, Alex Ekubo, Ini Edo

Written, produced and directed by: Rukky Sanda

Why do we watch movies with these titles that clearly indicates trouble in blissful paradise? Is it the A-list cast? Or is it the ‘this one would be different’ mindset? Certainly, Keeping My Man was different, but how different?

ACTING

The acting for such a cast was below average. Let’s start with the obvious oldest in the group. Ramsey was out of place in the group and he acted the same way. His lines were short, snappy and over used. He obviously couldn’t interact with his much younger supposedly ‘best friends’ in a best friend way because am sure he’s wondering, like me why he was pit up as buddies with guys he’s much older than.

His wife Zion (Rukky Sanda) was terrible. Her character was motherly and boring, not friend-like at all. All you hear is “Come on Maye, come on Tara, lets’s fix our marriages’ ‘We are here to fix our marriages’. Don’t they have any real girl-time?

Ini Edo was hilarious. Her acting was above average. She did things people would remember, even if by then they’ve forgotten the name of the movie.

Her husband Alex was snappish and always nagging. He acts well most times, falls below par then tries to pick up again. His reverting to his native language to make snide remarks wasn’t refreshing nor memorable.

Monalisa, a seasoned actor went along with her role. Her character borders on being paranoid and edgy. She refuses to have sex with her husband even going to great lengths (weird, according to Zion) to avoid sex and yet when he comes home late, she’s angry. When she finally agrees to sleep with him, she leaves him halfway in anger. I just don’t get her. Thank God am not the only one. She doesn’t understand herself either. Although at first, I was worried she’ll look much older than her husband but it wasn’t that noticeable.

Her husband, Okoye acted the frustrated, desperate husband. He really tried to fit into his husband role.

PLOT

This movie has flaws impeding its actual entertainment and enjoyment. First is the plot. The story/plot of the movie is somewhat tacky. Where the plot picks up, bad acting, sound and other discrepancies disrupts its flow. I think the writer (also producer, director and actor) just wanted to the movie to get to the end where the ‘real’ suspense or irony lay. Else, why make Ramsey uncomfortable?

Zion dominated her friends by being the perfect wife who knew just how to keep her man and so did Ramsey, but for different reasons.

Ramsey dominated the guys by being their father figure/role model not friends as we were led to believe. Else, in the scene where Okoye was looking for a chick to have sex with, and Ramsey admonished him saying he was going home to his wife, why didn’t his ‘friends’ call him up on the fact that he was a liar and pretender? That’s what any group of friends would do, especially since they were alone. Wouldn’t that have been the perfect opportunity to give us an insight into Ramsey’s double life? But Sanda just wanted the big surprise to come when she wanted, without thought to minor holes in the plot like this.

I don’t understand why Alex was always antagonistic towards his wife. Why was he so indifferent to her and her feelings? I understand that the scene where she played dress-ups and was carrying a mop is a little too much but leaving her cuffed to a bed till morning? He was just mean. And the sex? Let’s not even get started on that one. No love or affection. He huffs and puffs on an emotionally abused woman and congratulates himself.

The characters in this movie were frivolous and without depth. They just tend to sway and sway to the script’s whim- which wasn’t any good at all. No hardcore actions and decisions were taken and made. Something that would push the audience to sit and pay attention. Monalisa’s husband wouldn’t go through with adultery. Zion just seem to think that moping around for a few days and leaving her husband was the permanent solution (is there a part 2?). What happened to ‘let’s fix our marriages’? All the characters took the easy way out. And at the end everything worked out according to plan ‘to those who love God’

I rate this movie 2 out of 5.

 

Movie Review: Phone Swap

Starring: Wale Ojo , Nsi Etim Ikpe, Joke Silva, Lydia Forsan, Chika Okpala, Chika Chukwu, Ada Ameh

Writer: Kemi Adesoye

Director: Kunle Afoloyan

phone swap

Although I heard about this movie a couple of years ago, I watched it the other day.

Summary

A harsh i-no-send-rich man and an average tailor swap phones at the Lagos International Airport. Now, they have to help out each other as they not only ended up switching phones but also locations.

First, I want to commend the director, cast, crew and every other persons involved in this

movie. It was sweet. The sound, picture, locales, costumes, expressions, acting, in fact worked well to give this movie high credence.

Who says a simple cliché story was overrated. Phone Swap played out the way Continue reading here

Movie Review: Phone Swap

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Starring: Wale Ojo , Nsi Etim Ikpe, Joke Silva, Lydia Forsan, Chika Okpala, Chika Chukwu, Ada Ameh

Writer: Kemi Adesoye

Director: Kunle Afoloyan

phone swap

Although I heard about this movie a couple of years ago, I watched it the other day.

Summary

A harsh i-no-send-rich man and an average tailor swap phones at the Lagos International Airport. Now, they have to help out each other as they not only ended up switching phones but also locations.

First, I want to commend the director, cast, crew and every other persons involved in this movie. It was sweet. The sound, picture, locales, costumes, expressions, acting, in fact worked well to give this movie high credence.

Who says a simple cliché story was overrated. Phone Swap played out the way it was intended. Light hearted, simple humor. Although I can’t really say how Nsi missed going to Owerri and ended up in Abuja…

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Movie Review: Phone Swap

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Starring: Wale Ojo , Nsi Etim I , Joke Silva, Lydia Forsan, Chika Okpala, Chika Chukwu, Ada Ameh

Writer: Kemi Adesoye

Director: Kunle Afoloyan

phone swap

Although I heard about this movie a couple of years ago, I watched it the other day.

Summary

A harsh i-no-send-rich man and an average tailor swap phones at the Lagos International Airport. Now, they have to help out each other as they not only ended up switching phones but also locations.

First, I want to commend the director, cast, crew and every other persons involved in this movie. It was sweet. The sound, picture, locales, costumes, expressions, acting, in fact worked well to give this movie high credence.

Who says a simple cliché story was overrated. Phone Swap played out the way it was intended. Light hearted, simple humor. Although I can’t really say how Nsi missed going to Owerri and ended up in Abuja, but such minor discrepancies did not alter the overall good feel of the movie.

I loved so many things about this movie. First is the simple nature of the story.

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phone swap movies

Secondly, the director did a good job with the directing, sound, picture quality and the acting. Expressions and gestures were not exaggerated. Dialogues not stressed or over-played. The actions were pretty convincing- the fight scenes. The locations were real and pleasant. I like Wole Ojo harsh, autocratic nature, Nsi’s simple, humble yet-not-stupid-nor-a-pushover style and Joke frantic mother role. I loved seeing Chika Okpala in this movie. I also enjoyed Cynthia’s role and acting.

Thirdly, I love the use of native dialects. All the leads and sub-leads reverted to/spoke their native language (Yoruba, Igbo or Ghanaian) at one point or another. Although my mum complained it was a contemporary movie and so wasn’t needed, for me, I thought it was it had a certain beauty to it. The use of native tongue in this movie is just as it is in real life; for expressions, remarks, clarity, emphasis and snide/side remarks. Nollywood has made it such a way that is seen that only village people (whatever that means. We all come from villages) or those from humble backgrounds speak their native language fluently. And so it is depicted in Nollywood that only poor people speak their native language. The high and mighty like Joke Silva and Wale Ojo speak only Queen’s English. Clearly, Kunle and the writer disagreed and I agree with them. I wish more movies like this that portray the good and reasonable side of Nigeria were churned out more.

Lastly I loved the locales and costumes. The locations were realistic and for once I admired a rural location in a movie. And about the costumes, Nsi’s clothes matched her profession as a designer who knows what fits. She may not have all the money in the world but she knows style.

Kunle Afoyalan has done a good job, taking out time and effort to produce and direct an entertaining movie like this. I rate this movie 4 out of 5. The one missing star is just because we know nothing is perfect and there’s room for improvement.

Trivia

  • The person selling recharge cards is actually the director of the movie.
  • Joke Silva is about 5 years older than Wale Ojo, yet she is portrayed as his mother.

Also read

Movie Review: Mrs Somebody

Movie Review: Weekend Getaway

Telling The Story on Paper

Where I come from we love stories. In the old times, children sat in the market square in circles and listen to an old person, an aunt, a grandmother, or mother etc tell them stories usually folklores and myths. In recent times, parents read to their children to lure them to sleep. And because now there is such a thing called reading, stories have to be on paper and the media. And when these kids grow up, the circle continues.

Around us every day are stories to be milled round in the name of rumor, gossips or plain facts and information to be shared from one person to another.

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One of the ancient means of storytelling is through the mouth. Our forefathers didn’t have television or the internet to watch ‘Tales By Moonlight’ or ‘Tom & Jerry’. Stories were passed round through word of mouth. Today, our means/methods of communication has changed drastically and stories are needed more on paper or visually (which still goes through a script). Word of mouth means of communication has not been totally eradicated, in fact it is very much in vogue. But it can’t be trusted as it can be altered at will and is not complete as there’s a limit to the amount of information one person one person can remember. People who have a story to tell today have to tell it on paper (and this includes posts on the internet as they are forms of passing across written materials). And as many have discovered, it is not easy telling a story on paper. It is so much easier in the head, and when you have to recount it verbally. But write?

In some parts of the world writers are not valued. Infact like teachers, their reward is supposed to be in heaven. It’s rare in Nigeria to see someone who actually wants to be a writer and goes to the university to study courses relating to writing. That is because the growing child’s mind is conditioned to go into professions that are seemingly popular and brings money. Engineering, Law, Medicine, Accountancy, you name it. And every year fewer persons excel at being known writers.

One of the first things to consider while writing a story is the target audience. Who is reading? Will they understand my language and style?

Secondly, make sure you know your language’s rules, structure and general semantics. For e.g, I write in English and I try to follow all the rules of English Language so my readers can understand and relate to the story.

Thirdly, let the story flow. Remember, you have a story to tell and it must be told. Not in any other person’s way but your way. Don’t be too conscious of the story, and don’t try to edit if your story is flowing. If you have writer’s block, take a small break, but don’t ever leave your story for long before you go back to it.

Fourthly, edit your work. You can give it to a professional for professional criticism. Don’t be scared, it will only help you become a better writer. You should get an editor.

Lastly, publish your work. Telling a story on paper has its benefits and for every good work done, you might be reaping your fruits faster than you can imagine.