Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I was waiting to hit my 600th post before doing this but i am so close. 595 posts.
I cannot believe i have done 595 posts. Of music, of women's issues, of my random ramblings, of Memes....
I have alway written and have kept a journal since i was 12. So when my dear friend Olawunmi pointed out his blog, i was so fascinated with the fact that one could share those thoughts with strangers anonymously. Aspects of your life or all the details of your life could be shared with the world. Connections could be made.
After following his blog for a few weeks, i decided to start one of my own. Started it on yahoo. It was good. Had trouble letting go a bit but slowly, i began to loosen up. Remember the mad hatter Delot? He was a frequent visitor to my blog and would have me in stitches with his words. Then London Buki and Diamond Hawk came on the scene and these 2 young women have become my friends in real life.
Again Olawunmi pointed out how user unfriendly this blog was and persuaded me to move to blogger and BettyBoopu was born.
I wrote about pain, fun, family, music, my passions, grievances while remaining relatively anonymous. Funny that. People know my name but i have been in the company of bloggers and they have never been able to link me to BettyBoopu. Wonderful.
This was a turning point for me. My family and really really close friends didnt know i blogged. So i was free to just express. Then a different family was born for me. Through this, several people came into my life that have made a difference: Daddy's Girl (who has become like a sister to me. Beautiful, smart and strong), Overwhelmed Naija Girl (who is my little baby and who makes me want to protect her all the time), Soul (who was a constant source of support for me), Jaycee (whose wisdom in the matters of God always came at the right time), 36 (interesting and fun to hang with), Snazzy (really and truly a genius), The Last King of Scotland (my music loving buddy), Noni Moss (who is really so amazing), Vicki (a sweet, sweet woman), Bella Naija (who is really one of the sweetest people i know), London Buki (who made me feel a lot older by actually coming to me for advice and listening to what i said), Diamond Hawk (so close but yet so far)...I could go on. These people sent me emails, called me, travelled with me and just enriched my life.
I was introduced to audacious women unafraid to speak about anything from sexuality to politics: Afrobabe, Catwalq. I was introduced to Nigerian entertainment from a different perspective: Laspapi, Jeremy's blog, Funmi Iyanda's blog....
Blogs came and went, the anonymous ones let the bile flow, wars were taken to the pages of blogs, slander, intrigue, sheer madness...All on blogger. And i have been here since 2006
However, the time has come for me to end this phase of my life. No dramatic reasons. Its just time. Now i will still crawl around leaving comments but BettyBoopu has done her time. Now and again, i expect i will backslide and put something up but it will few and far between indeed....
Its been great. Sheer pleasure to be able to share some of who i am here.
Hairdo I'm least likely to rock: Different colored weaves. What is the point of purples, blues and even blond weaves when it isnt halloween? Also Nigerian women can have very very bad weaves when the colors are sort of natural.
Habit I'm least likely to kick: Talking to myself. More people do this than you would believe. I say what's the harm. It helps me not make a fool of myself when i have the insane desire to just say something.
Car I'm least likely to drive: Toyota Corolla. I have the willies just thinking about it. Can i also add the VW Bug?
Fashion trend I'm least likely to try: Skinny jeans, leggings, oversized bug glasses, the boho look
Hobby I'm least likely to take up: Stamp Collecting (what is the point i ask you?)
TV show I'm least likely to appear on: Any...I dont do publicity (even though the world needs to know about the fabulousness that is moi. But i love my relative anonymity - did i tell you i dated an american football player once? Granted he played for just one season with Tennessee but still...Another story for another day)
Popular food I'm least likely to try: Hmm...I am pretty adventurous with food so here's what i am least likely to try again - Octopus, Turkish Delight, certain kinds of sushi, Isi Ewu, Amala, Tuwo Shinkafa, yellow gari (getting a little too long)
Disorder I'm least likely to develop: Bulimia, Anorexia (even though i have prayed to have anorexia to an extent...Not funny but still)
Of all the people I know, I am the least likely to: ask not to cry, ask not to worry, not bring a present, have unpainted toe nails, ask not to give, touch any living creature other than people, have cats as pets, touch cats, touch birds, wear skirts or dresses regularly (again too long)
As far as future ambition goes, I'm least likely to: go into politics, be in front of the camera (i am passionate about entertainment and art but behind the scenes), be a doctor (blood and nasty stuff wrong with people...ewwwwwwwww)
Later, when i had a few minutes to sit at my laptop. I pulled that thought up and began to actually take it in.
I can be a control freak. Wanting everything to be done in the way i want, how i want it and when i want it. I understand now that it is my way of drawing lines. Setting the rules on how close a person can be and how close they can get. I can also be very effusive. If i have stuff on my mind, i just let it rip. It can be disconcerting to the other person and sometimes i want to bite my tongue but i am at a point in my life where my daily mantra is NO REGRETS. So i would rather get it off my chest than be tortured.
Anyway, lately, i have become a juggler of sorts. Superwoman at work, dutiful supportive daughter and sister at home, backbone and comfort for 3 friends that suffered very heavy losses last week: the death of a father, the death of premature twins and the death of a fiance, constant smiles and miss walk on eggshells for the men in my life etc. And in all these situations, i have been playing miss control it all. When to talk, when to call, when to get gifts, when to stop by, when to send text messages, when to smile, what to say...on and on.
The thought that flashed through my head was simple really: calm down and relax.
As i was busy doodling on my piece of paper (which is what i do when i am thinking), i got a call. A friend out of the blue said he had this overwhelming need to talk to me, to see if i was okay. So he asked what was going on and i let it rip. And he laughed and said 'You need to relax and let go'. Weird right or maybe not. He said, you cant control everything and things will not always be on your terms.
I know that. I am sure we all know stuff but it really only sinks in when someone else says it. Anyway, immediately he said that and we talked some more about specifics and i got off the phone, I felt like a weight was lifted off me. Unbelievable. Freedom. Its like i stopped obsessing. The daily phone calls and text messages that i felt obligated to make and send, i didnt feel the need to anymore. Especially since my friend also made another comment that hit home: you cannot make people feel for you what you feel for them. You cannot force them to respond the way you want.
Unreal. Suddenly all the things that i thought i should be doing to show that i care for all these people didnt make a lick of sense. Especially because i removed myself from it all (its important to do this), sort of floated outside my body and looked at the situations objectively. And i realise, i have done my best. I cannot do more or be more.
I was going to say something about the effusive part but distractions abound.
Anyway, i feel so free. I cannot control everything. I cant force things to happen. Cant force people to react to people the way you want. So why stress? Someone once said to me or was it to someone else? I dont remember but the words said were - Dont sweat the small stuff. All stuff is small stuff.....
Monday, March 10, 2008
And i dont want to leave your side
We have to get up to start our day
But we cant seem to move
You woke me up at 4am
With sweet kisses down the arch of my back
I noticed the Ac was not on
So why did it feel so cool?
You whispered in my ear
'Baby, do you want some water?'
I whispered back 'No'
You got up to get some water for yourself
And i watched you move
My eyes had re-adjusted to the darkness
And i could make you out
I wouldnt have needed the light anyway
Because every inch of you i know
I smiled to myself as i watched you take a sip of water
My heart filled with so much love
Filled with awe that you are all mine
That i am the one that gets to share your nights
The one that you call your heart
On your way back to me
You open the blinds and the windows
The room is filled with the blue flash of lightening
I hear the rumbling of thunder
The sound of rain
This is not a light drizzle
This is a major storm
And i smile
I love the rain
It distracts me
Making me useless as i stare dreamily into space or out of a window
It rains and i think of you
You walk back towards our bed
And get under the covers with me
My body with a mind of its own
Curls itself around you
Unable to get close enough
Your body adjusts to meet mine
And i smile
Surely, nothing can feel better than this
You kiss me
A deep, soul searching, toe tingling kiss
That has me moaning
You whisper 'i wish we didnt have to go to work'
I nod and pull your head back to mine
No words are spoken as our bodies speak
We tell each other the things that we cannot find the words to say
In the most intimate way
We re-affirm our love for one another
Moans and screams
Sweat drenched bodies
In a primal dance
To the music of thunder and pouring rain
Tender kisses and lots of 'I love you's'
Some tickling and giggling
I make fun of you ugly feet
You tickle me with them
You say something about my hair and medusa
And i say 'you love my hair'
Silence as we fall asleep
Wrapped in each others arms
Content and secure
The alarm goes off at 6
I contemplate flinging it across the room
I make a move to turn it off
And your arms tighten around me in your sleep
I stop moving
And i settle back down to the warmth of your arms
Where i belong
I smile to myself
One day wont be the end of the world
When we wake, we wake
Call in sick
Spend the whole day at home
In our pyjamas
Or nothing at all
Its Monday morning
I dont want to leave you side
Alright. Another Inspired post. This time blame it on the rain (oooh..Milli Vanilli song). I love the rain. I am at my most unproductive when it rains. I smile foolishly all the time. Stare into space or out of the window. The darker it gets, the better. I love the smell of rain on the earth. I love the fact that rain is life and fertility. I love being by myself when it rains. At home - reading something, or watching something, wearing my socks and buried underneath my duvet. When it rains, i open my blinds so i can see the lightening and watch the rain fall. Honestly though, rain just makes me want to hold and be held. It evokes love and contentment for me. I have tried to understand where my love for rain comes from and i cant figure it out.
Have a great week.....
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
The ground breaking Vagina Monologues enters its 10th year and a massive 2 day celebration is planned:
April 11-12, 2008: Join Salma Hayek, Oprah Winfrey, Faith Hill, Jane Fonda, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Hudson, Glenn Close, Julia Stiles, Ali Larter, Sally Field, Marisa Tomei, Calpernia Addams, Rosario Dawson, Kerry Washington, and musicians Common, Eve, and Charmaine Neville on Friday and Saturday, April 11 – 12, 2008 for V-Day’s mega two-day anniversary celebration in New Orleans at the New Orleans Arena and Louisiana Superdome - V TO THE TENTH. Doors 6:30PM. Showtime 7:30PM.
For those of us in Nigeria who want to be part of this experience, the Nigerianized version of the Monologues kick off tomorrow in Abuja and then next week and the week after will be dedicated to Lagos.
I saw excerpts of the Vagina Monologues in New York a few years ago and it was a freeing experience. To sit there and have respected women use the word Vagina over and over again took some getting used to but by the time i was done, i felt proud to be WOMAN and was even more determined to make a difference in the lives of women - starting with my own.
I do not know what the new script that has been written by 4 talented Nigerians will say but i imagine since it will be relatable...I imagine passionate words on women's issues from abuse to battered self esteem. I have heard there will be music and dance. I forsee an emotional, enlightening and revealing experience and i truly hope that there will be more men in the audience than there were last year - i didnt attend last year's shows but my friends were appalled at the fact that the people that needed to hear this message and see this were the men largely responsible for a lot of the atrocities against women worldwide - and they were largely absent.
3 bloggers are part of this year's experience - Overwhelmed Naija Babe (part of the writing team), Laspapi (directing) and Funmi Iyanda (a member of the cast) and that in itself is pretty exciting. More details about the shows can be found on Laspapi's and Funmi Iyanda's blogs....
From a female point of view, from the point of view of someone passionate about women's issues i urge us all to make time in our busy schedules to see it.
Here's to many more beautiful V-Days, here's to the beauty of womanhood, here's to women finding their voices, here's to the good men that support and empower their women and here's to a blazingly bright future for our girls......
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Monday, March 03, 2008
After being absent from the gym for the past 1 month and pretty much getting sloppy with my eating habits, i figured it was time to get back on the wagon.
Hauled myself to the gym yesterday.
My trainer saw me and i saw his eyes light up. Now that should have been a warning right there. But me being me, i guessed he was simply happy to see me because of the tips i usually give.
He shook my hand and i bounced towards the treadmill. He said no. Said i had to shake it up a bit. Okay then. No problem.
Did some stretches in front of the mirror where i spent a lot of time staring at my backside for no other reason than to see what it looked like from the back.
Easy enough. The stretching actually felt good since i have been taut as a tight rope for the past few weeks.
Then he hands me free weights. Bicep curls, squats, tricep kick backs and other stuff that i cant name.
Hmm, he asked me if i felt the burn. Yup i felt it.
Crunches and ab work with him holding my feet and stuff. At this point, i was not smiling very much anymore. I was just concentrating on breathing and not embarrasing myself in the full gym.
Up we got. More stretches. Some water and breathing.
Then he takes me over to the elliptical trainer. Cool. I love this. Well not love exactly but like.
I start to move. He says stop. Adjusts the settings. I position my ipod properly in my ear. And off i go. Not bad. Very easy actually. I am wondering why my trainer is staring at me. Leaning against the mirror staring at me. I ignore him. And start to go. Easy. Then it starts to get hard. I look at the settings and realise he has me me on interval. The resistance increases and its like i am hiking up a hill. Nothing i cant handle though.
By minute 15, my thighs are burning and the trainer is watching me intently. I refuse to bow to the unspoken pressure of asking if i can step down or if he can take it down a notch. I keep going. Holding on hard to the handle bars and closing my eyes.
Kanye West's Hey Mama is playing but i am not humming along. I keep my eyes closed and push myself on.
30 minutes are over and i step off.
We do some stretches and then its off to the weight machine. I work on my thighs and my back.
More stretches and then the exercise ball comes out. At this point, i am drenched in sweat. My cute exercise ensemble is drenched and i feel nasty. My ponytail is limp and i feel a hot mess.
We do crunches on the exercise ball. I spend a lot of time with my eyes closed, concentrating on using my stomach muscles - my core to balance. Its a blur at this point.
Then i get up and do more stretches. Then he leads me to the treadmill.
As i walk towards the treadmill, my legs seem to not want to move. I use my mind to power my legs towards the machine.
I say nothing. I look at my trainer intently. Thinking to myself....idiot man. you want to kill me today because i did not come for one month. I will show you today. I am stubborn. You dont know me. I am just glad i didnt use my lips because they wouldnt have moved anyway.
I get on the treadmill. And this time i watch his finger as he presses the buttons. Hill race..and then the diagram shows red dots - some high, some low. Hmm.
We start. A gentle walk. I am sidelined at this point. Back to looking at the mirror in front of me thinking how awful i look and just watching the other people. All of a sudden, i hear a whirring sound. Incline. Okay now. Raise away. This man doesnt know anything
Incline. Not bad. Hard but not bad. Then the stupid 'f****g machine starts to go faster. So i am supposed to jog UP THE INCLINE. Meanwhile the deranged man is still looking at me. I manage and then after a short burst, the incline goes down and the pace slows. Easy walking now. I rip my earphones out of my ears. The things are irritating me. Just as i wordlessly hand my ipod to the man, i hear the whirring sound again. INCLINE.
Kai. Up i go, then its starts to speed up. Inside of me, i am crying. Kai. Oh my Lord, let me live to see another day. I am seeing stars. I feel nauseous. The incline isnt coming down as fast as before. This goes on for 45MINUTES.
Its over. I cannot move. I stand on the treadmill. He says i should come and do the cool down and stretches. I pretend to be adjusting my clothes and drink some water. The truth is, if i move at that very instant, i will just die. Like literally - my legs will give out and i will die. Death in the gym. People will ask who sent me.
With shaky legs, i get off. Now even the stretches hurt. Then he says one more thing before i go. He gives me a skipping rope. He says quick, fast - for 2 minutes. Then the final cool down.
If looks could kill, he would have been incinerated at that point. He is running his commentary on how well i have done and its good to push your body. All the while, i imagine grabbing a 25 pound dumbbell and crushing his skull. Or kicking him in the groin. Stupid man.
I grab the skipping rope. My legs dont even want to move. I uncurl the damn thing. Look around to make sure no one is around. Actually, i am stalling. Come on, lets go he says. I manage. Kai. I just want to burst into tears at this point. I want to beg for mercy. My body doesnt even know what to do with itself. My eyes are breathing, my nose is seeing and my own hands want to smack me for inflicting so much pain....
How i do it, i dont know. I dont even know if i did the full 2 minutes. All i remember is him saying well done. I remember stretching. Couldnt even reach down. I had to lie on the floor mat. While he pulled my legs. I stared at the ceiling in a daze. Then he said see you next week.
I silently and slowly got up. Picked up my ipod and car keys. And slowly walked out of the building into my car. Entered my car and sat there for a few minutes. Thinking about my life. Then i started my engine. Drove home gingerly. No sudden movements.
Walked into my house. My parents asked me how it went. I dont remember responding. I looked at the stairs. Contemplated all 20 stairs that take me upstairs. Sat at the foot of the stairs and stared into the distance. People passed me. I said nothing. After a few minutes, i got up and silently climbed the stairs. Went to my room.
Knowing i needed to take a shower. I removed my trainers and socks. Laid on the floor. And closed my eyes.
My mother woke me up. Asking why i was asleep on the floor. Didnt say a word. Managed to get into my shower. Managed to do that. Got out. It was about 8pm by this time. Managed to get into bed. Covered myself from head to toe with my duvet and closed my eyes.
My dad came to my room and asked me to come and have dinner. I pretended not to hear. He left eventually. I fell asleep.
I woke up this morning. My feet hit the ground and i had to sit on my bed. Pain. Like electric shock coursing through my body.
I slowly limbered to the shower. Got dressed. Walking gingerly and feeling pain. Putting on my jacket was torture. Sitting in my car. Intense pain that i turned my AC on the highest.
Got to work....sat in the parking lot as i got in way too early. Just stared into space thinking about the fact that my body hurt like a wrestler used me for practice. Got a text message. Responded. Taking breaths hurt.
Got into my office and have been sitting relatively still all day.
It is 4.56pm now and i have not eaten a thing. The thought of eating anything is nauseating. See how much work i have to go through to burn these damned calories. My throat hurts. If i chew anything and swallow it wont go down. Muscle pull of the gullet.
Why oh Why?
Thursday, February 28, 2008
He looked at his watch
It was time
He stood up and roared to his men ‘Make we dey go’
His gang of not so merry men put down their bottles of ogogoro and staggered to their feet
Eyes red from intoxication
They picked up the tools of their trade
Metal rods, sticks, burlap sacks and a lone locally crafted pistol
And headed out
He led his men out of the slums called home
Onto the street
Across the empty field that was used to kick a ball around
To while away the time
Marching with single minded purpose
He led his men
Across the road
And they got onto the median
And began to walk slowly down it
Heading to the middle of the 3rd mainland bridge
Traffic was at its prime
Cars at a stand still
No one going anywhere
Bumper to bumper the cars were
Drivers resigned to the fact that this would not end anytime soon
Some with their windows rolled down
Wiped their faces as the heat made sweat drip down their faces
Executives asleep in the back of their cushy cars
After a hard day at work
Their drivers sitting upright in their white shirts and ties
Some drivers oblivious to the traffic
Courtesy of the music they were singing to
Some oblivious because of the company they had
Some drivers seemed lost in thought
Contemplating life and obligations
Everyone headed home
His band of un-merry men slowed down right at the middle of the bridge
Jumped onto the road
And it began
Windows rapped on
‘Bring your phone’
‘Bring your bag’
‘Give me all your money’
‘Open your boot’
‘I go fire ya head here my friend’
‘Move it morrafoker’
Some of the men laughed as they assaulted the innocent
Some said nothing
He walked in between the lanes
Weaving between the cars
Keeping his eyes on his men
And on the opposite lane
And on the passengers in the cars
He heard a guttural scream behind him
He turned around
For he had warned his men
No un-necessary violence
Smash and grab
Scare and petrify
But hurt no-one
He walked slowly back to the cause of the noise
A Toyota Corolla
Driver’s door open
A woman struggling with one of his men
In a dark suit
And bare feet
‘Please my phone’
‘Don’t take my phone’
‘Take my car, take it all but not my phone’
He heard his man
The one that the woman had locked in her grip saying
‘I go wound this woman’
‘You dey craze’
He stopped and said
‘Madam, I suggest you leave him alone’
‘Please my phone’
He looked at the woman as she let his man go
He was used to people being intimidated by him
6 feet 3 inches of solid muscle
Every inch of him as dark as coal tar
And at this time of night
He knew that the only features people would be able to see
Were the white of his eyes and his teeth
His voice scared even his mother
This woman didn’t seem to notice him
So focused on her phone
Oblivious to the kicks and slaps
She had tears streaming down her face
He noticed that in addition to the tears
She was crying
No. She was weeping
Making gut wrenching sounds as she screamed ‘my phone’
‘Let me have her phone’
They stopped struggling – his man and the woman
He sneered at her
‘All this noise and wahala over an ordinary Nokia 2210’
‘You want to die over this phone’
All the while she stared at the phone in his hand
Saying over and over ‘please, please, please, please’
‘Get into your car now’
He said in a tone that brooked no argument
He turned to his man
Threw the phone in the burlap sack
And they walked away
He heard the woman scream again but did not turn round
His men hurried along
For the window of opportunity was closing
Traffic was beginning to move
For an inexplicable reason
He turned around
While cars had started to move slowly
The woman was sitting on the bridge
In her dark suit and bare feet
Her car door still open
He walked back to her
‘Madam, get up and enter your car’
She seemed not to hear him
‘Did anyone hurt you?’
She looked at him then
And the look of pain and agony on his face made him take a step back
Yet she said nothing
Just continued to cry
‘Madam you can buy another phone. Even a better one’
She whimpered and said something
He didn’t hear
She said words again
‘You have taken my life’
For some reason, he could not move
He just stared at her
She pulled herself up
Into a kneeling position
Held onto his knee and looked up at him
‘I got married 6 months ago
My husband died last month
All I have left of him are the text messages he sent to me on that phone
Not on the SIM card
But on that phone
Please give me my phone’
He looked at her
‘The reason I can still breathe is because of those messages
He pulled himself free from her grasp
Turned his back on her
And walked away
She was numb
Unable to move
Over 200 text messages
That the love of her life had sent to her
Since he died, she spent hours re-reading those messages
Oblivious to funeral arrangements
Friends, relatives, in-laws
She went to bed cradling her phone
And selecting the messages to put her to bed
Because those messages were for her
He talked to her even though he was gone with those messages
Everything she had of him
She looked up and it was the man
Holding a bag
‘Which one is your phone?’
Not stopping to think
She pointed at the phone at the top of the pile
He reached for it and handed it to her
He turned his back and walked away
*Inspired by my love for text messages, the movie P.S I love you, driving home on 3rd mainland bridge and the stories of these petty thieves which thankfully are not as common anymore*
Have a great weekend.