Friday, November 30, 2007

Is It Just Me?

For so long, I have stayed away from writing about this because I figured certain people might not take it the right way and it might strike some controversy, but now that I think about it, when has controversy ever been my enemy? Never! So I apologize, but I can no longer keep my peace. Seriously speaking, all things being equal, how much should an engagement ring cost?

Let me make my stand known. I, Vera Ezimora, do solemnly swear that I cannot and will not appreciate a cheap ring. I will take it, but I cannot appreciate it. Now, I do not expect him to rob a bank or remain in perpetual debt because he wants to buy my ring (unless he insists, of course), but common, cut me some slack.

This is the way I think about it: if you can finance an eight hundred dollar camera and a one thousand dollar computer, then why not a six thousand dollar ring? Seriously who says you have to pay everything at once? Likewise, I do not want my husband wearing a cheap ring either. I know men do not generally care too much for their bands, but I do.

I have been in perpetual disagreement with my friends, Funmi and Busola. Actually, Busola and I are on opposite ends; she does not care how much her ring costs while Funmi and I completely agree that the ring should cost a little something-something. Know what I mean? Funmi wants her ring to cost at least ten thousand dollars, but she will settle for nine (funny, I know). I, on the other hand, do not have a particular amount, but I do know the ring I want, and I know it is at least five thousand dollars. If it means anything to you, Uju is on our side.

I am glad that I have one Yoruba girl on our side because you know how we (Igbo girls) are famous for being famous gold diggers. Needless to say, any gold digger that will accept a five thousand dollar ring cannot be a true gold digger; she needs some lessons. That being said, I am removing myself from the list of gold diggers – just in case you have put me there.

I am not someone who is big on jewelry; in fact, my everyday life does not consist of me wearing any jewelry apart from my wrist watch. If you were to run into me on the street, you would probably think I am a member of one of those churches that do not believe in wearing jewelry. I need not mention any names. I only have time for jewelry when I am actually going somewhere – as in attending a function. And when I do attend those functions, the jewelries I wear do not put dents in my account. Can you believe that at my age I do not have one single real diamond? Do not be fooled by the sparkly things I wear; they are all fake, but I do not mind really…at least not yet. Of course, if you are considering buying me a real diamond, I would be foolish to say no. Speaking of things I do not have at my age, can you believe I have received flowers only twice? And both times, I got them from the same guy (an admirer). Do not let me bore you with my tales of woe.

But when it comes to my engagement ring, I refuse to compromise. I can wear my fake jewelries for a few hours and take them off, but my engagement ring stays on twenty-four-seven. I get to meet a lot of brides-to-be on a daily basis, and some of them do not even have to say they are engaged before you know it. The sparkle from their rings is enough to blind you. Sadly, the brides with the sparkling rings are hardly Nigerians. Or Africans. Only a handful have been descendants from the Motherland. For some other women, of course, you can hardly even notice they are engaged. When they tell me they are engaged, I have to dilate my eyes to two hundred percent to find the rings. Sometimes, I want to say something ignorant, like “Oh, is that your ring? I thought that was just glitter from your lotion!” The only reason I do not say it is because I am afraid of getting beaten up. You know I cannot fight.

I am not an inconsiderate person – at least not to my knowledge, so I do not expect a man who truly cannot even afford to make the monthly payments to buy me such a ring, so in such a case, I will most definitely compromise. But I will do it in hopes of a better tomorrow. In other words, I will do it in hopes that my ring will be upgraded in the nearest future. However, if he can afford it, but simply thinks it is a waste of money, then we are going to have a problem. Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well, right? If my fiancé (whom I do not have right now) gets me a ring I do not want, I will be crying during the proposal, but they would not be tears of joy. I bet you know what I will be crying for.

Am I asking for too much? I do not think I am. I am not asking that he buys me bracelets every month (although that will be good); I am not asking that he even goes to Jared every Valentine’s Day (although that will also be good); and I am most certainly not asking that my engagement ring be from Harry Winston (although the thought of it causes sweat beads of joy to form on my forehead). All I am asking for is my engagement ring – the one I want – the one with the visible diamond, set on platinum (not gold, thank you!). Will he not gloat and bask in the glory when other people praise him for my ring? Will his head not get swollen when other women tell me how lucky I am to have him? Have I asked for too much? Will I not wear this ring everyday for the rest of my life? Should I not be entitled to a ring that will not fade after a few months or years? Is it so bad for me to adore the ring my husband has so beautifully adorned on my finger? I know you know the answers to my questions.

So I ask again, is it just me? Surely, there has to be someone else (apart from Funmi and Uju) who believes that an engagement ring should cost a pretty penny. Of course, it is what the ring represents that truly counts, so why not make it count for a lot? The weight of my big diamond is enough to remind me that I belong to someone. But if I am forced to wear a light weight ring, I cannot be blamed for forgetting that I am engaged (or married). And you know what will happen when I forget.

Diamonds are forever. Heavy diamonds are forever and ever and ever…and then some!

You're welcome to reach me...

Monday, October 22, 2007

This Is Not A Love Story. Or Is It?

If at the end of this piece you conclude that this is a love story, I will not mind at all. But I did not set out to make it such. I just figured I owed it to this special someone to say a few things about this special someone.

The special someone is none other than my one and only Busola Osun. I mentioned her a little in a piece I wrote about girlfriends last year, but this time, I am dedicating this entire piece to her. Yes, I have that much to say about her.

You see, Busola has been my best friend for the longest time. I am not writing this piece because I woke up on the right side of the bed today; neither have I fallen hopelessly in love with her. And in case you are wondering, I am not high on any kind of drug either – at least none that I know of. Rather, I am writing this because in a little while (October 27th 2007), I will be handing her over to her new best friend, her husband. It saddens me to know that I will no longer be her best friend, but rather her best girlfriend. But such is life. We must grow, and we must move on.

As her maid of honor, I will be making a speech on that blessed day. The problem is that I do not know how I can possibly give a sincere speech without crying my eyeballs out. I am a person who has more guts in the written word; when I write, you cannot hear my voice or see my face, so I can write exactly what I feel. It is different when I have to stand in front of her and hundreds of other people to give my heartfelt speech. It is because of this reason that I have decided to write this down here.

Busola, you should know that as I write this paragraph, I cannot help but cry. I am so glad you are not here to witness it. Please do not call me to make fun of me either. Well, who am I kidding? I know you will do so as soon as you finish reading. Before you go off to your husband’s house, I just want you to know that you are the best friend a girl could ever ask for. You have been there for me every step of the way. We have had our rough times, but your presence in my life has made a significant difference. Even though you are only going to be an hour away from me, it feels like you are leaving me. I know I constantly joke about moving in with you, but half the time, I wish I could. The problem is that the walls in American houses are thin.

I will no longer be able to drop by your house without calling ahead. I will no longer be able to sleep on your bed with you (alright people, get your mind out of the gutter, please!), and I will no longer be able to call your phone unceasingly at three in the morning for no reason. I guess I could look forward to your daughter being born and named after me. I know I joke about it all the time, but underneath those jokes lie the truth. You know me well enough to know that I mask my feelings with humor. Most times, I really do find things funny, but sometimes I just use my humor to mask my actual feelings.

I am on the phone with you right now, and you are seriously bugging. I wish you would just get off the phone and let me work on this. I wish you would get off the phone and let me cry all I need to cry; you are hindering my tears from falling down. I am really only half-listening to everything you are saying. And your chewing is seriously messing up my flow. Good, you are off the phone now.

Back to what I was saying…I know this is a weird way to convey my feelings. Perhaps, I might be sending the wrong message to a few people, but I guess I just realized just how much I will miss you. And just how much I love you, of course. Tomorrow, I will be at your house to help you move your things, and I hope to God that I keep my emotions in check. I really would not like to cry, but you know how fast my tears flow.

I wish you all the best in your marriage. You know what we have both prayed for, and I know your fiancé is a wonderful man. I am glad you found him, and I trust he will take very good care of you. If there is any kind of blessing a girl owes her best friend, then you should know that you have it all; I give it all to you. Your joy is my joy; I know you know that. And when you hurt, I hurt, which is why I always cry with you when you have a problem. Of course, it is pitiable that you usually end up consoling me over your own problem, but it is all part of the love, right?

As I stated earlier, I am writing this because I know I will not be able to say all the things I have stated here during my speech without crying. And considering the fact that you are paying the make-up artist to do our make-up on that day, I do not think you would appreciate me ruining my make-up. Maybe if I picture your fiancé running around in a mini pink coat and hot pants, it will help me keep my emotions in check. But then again, that might not be such a good idea as it might end up making me laugh uncontrollably. I will not be bold enough to tell your guests why I am laughing hysterically when I should be giving a speech. Besides, your father might finally carry out his threat and have me placed in a psychiatric unit.

Busola, you should know that I have nothing but good thoughts for you and of you. You should know that as long as I live, I will remain your sister. I look forward to attending your children’s wedding and reminiscing on our lives together. If God shines on us enough, our children just might marry each other! Perhaps, I could betroth my future daughter to your future son. By His Grace, sixty years from now, you and I will still be doing the same things together; the only difference is that we will be going at a much slower pace in order not to dislocate our joints. Sixty years from now, I am guessing you will not be able to jump up at every scene in a Nigerian movie. Hopefully, you will also be too tired and sleepy to talk through the entire movie. The most important thing is that you are there. With me.

I cannot wait to tell our children about our history. There is a certain kind of familiarity that comes with time. You and I already have that familiarity; that explains why we can communicate without saying much. But imagine what it would be like sixty years from now! I cannot even begin to fathom the beauty of such a friendship. I have always been there to lend a shoulder to you when you need it; things will not change now. They really will never change. You will always be my sister from another mother.

As you become Mrs. Somebody, please do not forget who you are and where you came from. I trust you will love your husband the way God wants a wife to love her husband. I trust you will love him with everything you have. I trust you will make him your King, next to God. Do not forget He is your other half. Do not forget you were made from him. Do not forget he is your Adam. Keep him happy always. Give him reasons to constantly thank God for having you. I know you are more than capable of doing your part, so never neglect it.

Olubusola Osun, you are beautiful both inside and out. I still think you are the craziest girl I have ever met, and I still think you have a low IQ, but you are still very beautiful. In case you are wondering, I still think he is only marrying you because of your low IQ. And yes, of course, I still do solemnly believe that a few screws are missing from your head. Either that, or your mother dropped you on your head. Honestly, I think both happened. That is the only plausible reason for your craziness.

So my lovely, beautiful, crazy, mentally-challenged best friend, this is my way of saying I love you, and I miss you already. This is my way of saying good luck with your marriage. And lastly, this is my way of saying ‘I love you dearly, but I am too chicken and emotional to say it in front of hundreds of guests without crying and looking like a big baby.’ Finally, I know you hate this word, but may I just say you are the bomb diggity!

In my head, this is not a love story. Or is it?

Saturday, October 20th 20007
1:57 AM

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So When Are You Getting Married?

It seems like just yesterday January fourteenth rolled around the corner and I had to turn plus one, but now we are almost at the end of September. In four months time, I will be confronted with turning plus one again. God does not give me the option of getting older without turning plus one. I want to get older; I want to be more mature; I want to be wiser; I want to get the experience one only gets by spending more time on earth, but I do not necessarily want my age to go higher – at least not at the rate that it goes. Perhaps, I will feel better if it took eighteen months to turn plus one instead of twelve months.

I am not a child, and I do not wish to go back to my childhood; however, I am really just a kid at heart. The thought of being married excites me; the thought of having a man to call my own fascinates me; the thought of having children that come out of me thrills me, but even more than all that, the thought of leaving my parents terrifies me. Yes, I want to start a family of my own, but I still want to live with my mommy. Who will rub my back when I am feeling down? Who will rub my feet? Who will play with my hair? The probability that my husband will do all these is not very high – unless my husband happens to not be Nigerian which is highly unlikely. I am tempted to get into all the reasons why my mother might be a more romantic husband, but I will save that for another day.
The older I become, the more often I hear that question that no girl ever wants to hear (especially if she does not know the answer to it), “so when are you getting married?” My best friend is getting married in a month’s time, and I have stopped telling people about it because it always leads them to ask me the question I do not want to hear. I do not know when I will be getting married. I do not know how I will be proposed to. I do not know where or when I will be proposed to. But most importantly, I do not know to whom I will be getting married. But no one asks me who I will be getting married to; everyone is concerned about when.
Things have gotten so bad that my own father gave my number to his friend who has a son. My father told me all the supposed good things about his friend’s son – he is in the military (is that supposed to be a good thing? I hear the military guys are all whores); he flies planes for the military (Oh great! In addition to possibly being hit by a stray bullet, he also runs the risk of dying in a plane crash); he is Igbo (so what? I hear they do not make them like they used to anymore. But then again, were they ever really that good?); he is in med school (how nice! I can look forward to my potential husband spending all his time in the hospital. And let us not forget the student loans), but my father failed to tell me if his friend’s son was single and looking. I guess all that mattered was the relationship between my father and his father.
I concluded that the guy would have to be really desperate to actually call me. I mean, what would he say when he calls me? “Hi, my name is ---, and I got your number from my father who got it from your father who said we should mingle and see where this might lead to.” Yeah, there goes the introduction I have been waiting for all my life. I did not expect him to call; he never did call, and my mind forgot the issue. But then months later, my father asked me if he had called, and that was when I remembered him. I am ashamed to admit this, but a part of me was sad. Why did he not call?? He should have at least called to hear my voice. He should have at least considered the possibility of God working in mysterious ways. Yes, indeed, I am pathetic, I know. So that was how my relationship with the flying military man in med school ended before it got a chance to start.
Like I stated earlier, my best friend is getting married in a month’s time; another close friend of mine is getting married this Saturday (September 29th 2007), and yet another friend is getting married in November. Everyone has been asking the same question, and I am sick and tired of saying I do not know. Besides, saying I do not know only prompts the one asking to ask another unanswerable question, “Why now?” What the heck?! I can go ahead and explain to anyone who cares to hear that I have an idea of what I want my wedding gown to look like; I know the exact engagement and wedding ring I want; I know where I want to do my traditional marriage; I know what I want the ceremony to be like; I know what I want the white wedding to look like; I know what kind of marriage I want to share with my husband, and I even have an idea of the songs we will play that day, the names of our children, and how many I want to look like me (I want at least one boy and one girl to look like me)!
In fact, I also know that I want five children (including a set of twins). I am so sure of my twins that I have secretly started calling myself Mama Ejima or Mama Ibeji. Yes, I have claimed it already. All I need now is the ‘who’, but no one is asking me that. I guess all that matters is that I know when I will be getting married. Finding the ‘who’ should not be too difficult seeing as I have thousands of men knocking my door down and asking my parents for permission to pluck the ripe flower in their garden. Yeah, right!
My friend Uche (who will probably kill me when she sees her name in this article) has been single for the longest time. She has been so single that I have started wondering if she has died and just does not know it. Perhaps, she is a ghost and I am the only one who can see her. Why else would able-bodied men keep passing her by and not asking her if she is at least in the market. But that all recently changed. Uche went on a date on Friday (September 21st), and he was an able-bodied young man. Not only did Uche go on a date, but she also has another guy begging for her attention. Uche is still single to my knowledge, but the difference is that she now has potential boyfriends. Suddenly, Uche’s new wave of ‘manfullness’ has given her the confidence to have pity on me. She said she will help me out of my predicament. I did not even know I had a predicament!
How am I supposed to tell people when I will be getting married if I do not even have a man to propose? Or am I supposed to propose to myself and marry myself? That would actually not be such a terrible idea since I consider myself the best partner anyone can ever dream of, but I cannot afford the ring I want. Besides, I kind of need a man to have the five children that I plan on having, and going to a sperm bank is out of the question. Another perk of getting married is the tax breaks that married couples get. Who does not want or need a tax break? I know I do. Oh well, I guess I would just have to wait for my darling to show up. I have to say it is taking him a mighty long time to get here, but with all the humidity and global warming occurring, transportation must have slowed down. That is my story, and I am sticking to it.
Of course, if I could have a meeting with God, I would suggest He creates a Custom-Made Spouse program – a program in which people – men and women alike – can create their partner just as they want him or her. But I know this is merely a fantasy that will never come to pass. But if for any reason God decides to create such a program, I will not mind being the first to utilize it. Heaven knows I am in dire need of it. Until then however, I will just have to wait for my darling like every other woman out there.
So when am I getting married? Beats me. But if you find out, do let me know, please.

Comments are generously welcome.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This

No, I am not talking about love (though that would be good), or money (even better), or fame and wealth (oh, best), but what I am actually talking about is what none of you will see coming. I’m talking about the greatest feeling ever…I’m talking about having the power to get rid of your frustration. I’m talking about having the physical and mental ability to expose a portal from which your burden and frustration can be let out. To be more specific, I am talking about shitting. Yeap, that’s what I’m talking about.

What is it about shitting that has you feeling like a new person at the end of it? You go into a room (also known as the bathroom or the toilet), sit on a commode, expose this bizarre portal (also known as your anus) and before you know it, some slices, or tubers, or pieces (whatever you decide to call them) come sliding out. You sit there and just push and push and have all kinds of grimaces on your face; so much that if one did not know what you were actually doing, he or she would think you’re having an orgasm.

Bathroom time for me is a very sacred time. I go in there, relax and let all my troubles unwind (physically and mentally). I even have magazines to entertain myself while I’m in there handling my business. Most times, I do not read the magazines though, so I take a novel in there with me, and I also take any other thing I may need while I’m having my private spa.

I’m talking about things like the cordless phone, cell phone, earpiece, etc. I have recently upgraded to also taking my laptop in (with cords and all); after all, I do have to check my mails…right? If we are in the winter, I might take a cup of hot cappuccino. But when the brutal heat of summer rolls around, I might take a popsicle or two to cool me off while I’m working out (you know it’s a workout trying to squeeze the slices out, right?). Oh, and let’s not forget my lip gloss. One’s lips can get awfully chapped after working out for a long time.

There is something so fascinating about one’s own shit that you never feel like it stinks. In fact, you think it is the best smelling shit ever (if there is such a thing). I mean, I can talk, eat and do any thing at all while I’m shitting, and I will relish every breath I take of my shit, but when it is someone else’s shit, I would not even dare go close to that place because it stinks! My shit smells so good that I do not even feel the need to spray an air freshener when I’m done. If anything, I will go back a few minutes later just to get one last sniff before it completely dissipates. Oh, the joy I feel!

The smart people (also known as scientists) who came up with the theory of matter coming in three states (solid, liquid and gas) are very smart people indeed! Think of it; shit is solid, urine is liquid, and fart is gas. Brilliant! I find it very astounding that you can get rid of your excess luggage in three different states. I am yet to decide which one is my favorite one; they all seem to do miracles to my comfort level.

I do not know what kind of people you have in your life, but I think I have the weirdest people in mine. Whenever my father farts (which he does very often and quite loudly too), he demands that we hail him…and even clap for him. Every time he farts, we have to say, “Ogbuefi!” And then he answers. My mother on the other hand feels the need to describe to me in details, the fine points of her shit. It might have been long, maybe watery, or just plain ol’ hard. Till date, the only air freshener that has been mildly able to tackle the foul odor of my mother’s shit is Febreeze. As for my father’s shit, I do not think it can ever be tackled. It is one of those things we leave up to God, and hope that He will not let us down.

My friend, Funmi learnt the bitter lesson of one-flush-per-shit after she foolishly filled her toilet with long, hard shit. Can you guess what happened? Yeap, the toilet got clogged up by shit. Do not ask me who had to plunge it; she might not want that information disclosed, although I am tempted to do so. But imagine what the person had to go through; I mean, seriously, how cruel was that? Needless to say, she has never repeated such a careless mistake.

Now, what is it that makes shit so personal and private? Nobody ever wants to shit in someone’s house…unless it’s a very close friend or family, of course. What would you do if you are in the house of a new romantic interest and the urge suddenly comes? I’ll tell you what I do when I’m in a house where I do not wish the stench of my shit (however pleasant) to be smelt. I try to cover the whole commode with my butt and thighs, so that the stench does not escape, and then as soon as the shit enters the water, I flush, and wait for the next arrival. Brilliant, huh? Of course, I do not guarantee that this will work on your shit; stenches of shit do come in different flavors, you know?

The feeling of releasing a fart is absolutely phenomenal! There is an ah moment that comes after one is released into the world. It is a feeling of liberation! It feels so great to release one of your own naturally-made tear gas into the world to do some mass damage to some bad, bad people. It is quite unfortunate we cannot see it because I would love to see it dissipate and sleekly go up people’s noses. The vile looks on their faces would give me all the joy I need.

My lovely aunt, whose name I will not mention in order to spare her the shame, is always talking about the special shit she shits. It is the one where you take off your pants/skirt and underwear completely because you need the space to spread your legs apart. And while shitting, you have to put both hands on your head. I guess you must be going through an Oh-thank-you-Lord-for-this-miracle phase. Did I mention she has her eyes closed and her mouth open? Go figure!

It goes without saying that I have never said shit so many times in one write-up. It is even more interesting that I do not mean it in a bad way. Now that I think about it, how did shit even become a bad word? This is something that I have to investigate; I do not know how constructive this research will be, of course, but I will find out once I am done – if my interest in said research lasts long enough. Somehow, I doubt it.

As I end this baby, I can think of only one person who finds shit and all its components to be rather interesting. Do you?

Comments are generously welcome

Sunday, August 05, 2007

When I Became A Woman

The older I get, the more I realize just how much I have to learn. But this article is not about mental maturity; this is about physical maturity, if you will call it that.

When I was in elementary and secondary school in Nigeria, I always thought I was grown and sexy. In fact, I could have sworn I was grown and sexy. The boys in my school always liked me; I was not that light-skinned, but they called me ‘yellow paw-paw’, and the young men on my street assumed my name was ‘Chi Chi’ because in their limited minds, only Igbo girls were light-skinned. It flattered me then, but I now realize it was ignorance on their part and mine. When I was in JSS2, my French teacher told me he thought I was a little Chinese; apparently, I have ‘Chinese eyes’. To be politically correct, this would be called ‘Asian eyes’. I thought he was crazy for thinking I was a little Chinese, but when I came to the States, a few people said I had ‘slanted eyes’, and therefore hinted a little bit of Asian blood. Well, I have asked my mother, and she is quite sure that neither she nor my father has any Asian blood in them. Furthermore, she is also very sure that my father is my actual father.

So I was pretty much at the top of the ‘grown and sexy’ list even though I was only about 10, and I put myself at the top of that list. No need to discuss that I had no clue what sexy meant; if I did, I could have sworn it was a dirty word. Everything was great. Life was great. I was sexy. Life was sexy. I remember how I always used to wear a ‘shimmy’ under everything I wore. Thinking back on it now, I do not know why every woman in Nigeria felt the need to do so. But I have to say that I wore the heck out of them. I had the ‘long shimmy’, the ‘half shimmy’ (otherwise known as under skirts), and the ‘singlet (also known as vests)’. My favorite was my white mini long shimmy; it stopped right above my knees. Every time I came back from school, I would take my school uniform off and walk around in the shimmy.

My God, I was on fire! I was so hot that you could have fried a crispy chicken on me, and still had to use a fire extinguisher. Yes, I was that hot – or so I thought. Everything was going great. Every day, I would put on my blue school uniform, sparkling white socks (which were now looking blue because I soaked them in ‘blue’ the previous night. Remember ‘blue’?), and shining brown sandals (which my aunt sent from America, so you know that even increased my hotness level), and I would match out the door feeling too hot for my own good. Sure, I had to trek to my friend’s house to catch a ride, but I was still hot. As far as I was concerned, that only gave me ten extra minutes to show a few extra people just how hot I was.

I thought I had it all until things suddenly changed. Without notice, I became the bottom of the food chain. What happened, you wonder? I’ll tell you what happened. My friends started growing peanut-sized lumps on their chests and I did not! Do you know how humiliating that was? Night after night, I cried and begged God for breasts. I told him to give me a little, just a little bit! I had absolutely no breast at all; I did not even have enough to qualify for a training bra! My friends complained that their ‘lumps’ hurt and itched, so I too started pretending that my invisible lumps hurt and itched. I would kneel beside my bed, praying and crying to God for breasts. I made all sorts of promises, if only He would give me lumps! I would never lie again. I would never insult my class mate. I would never cheat in a test. I would never use markers to draw on Ngozi, the house help’s face while she slept. I even fasted for lumps!
Just when my lumps started showing and I thought I was back at the top of the list, something else knocked me off. One day, my best friend, Uchenna came to school feeling down. All day, she had her head on her desk, not really talking to anyone. Finally, she revealed the reason for her downcast attitude.

“It came yesterday.” She said to me.

Confused, I asked, “What came?”

“My menses. And I’m having cramps.” She whispered. I neither know why she whispered or why we called it ‘menses’. Today, I will gladly tell anyone and everyone about my monthly visitor, Ms. Flow.

“Cramps?” I asked her. I had no idea what cramps were. Uchenna, on the other hand, knew everything because she had two older sisters while I had none.

I am ashamed to say this, but I was green with envy. I knew that almost all of my class mates had been getting their ‘menses’, but it did not hit home until my own best friend started seeing hers, and mine was no where to be found. I asked her what the pain felt like, but she could not really describe it. She just wanted it to stop. That night, I was back on my knees, praying, crying, begging, and promising to keep all the promises I failed to keep earlier. Did I mention I was fourteen by this time? I fasted some more too. Everyday, I eagerly ran to the bathroom and pulled my underwear down, hoping for at least one spot of blood. I even bought a pack of Simple Sanitary Pads. Remember Simple? It came in a bright yellow pack. I only wanted it because my favorite aunt who was now married and living in America used to use it when she lived with us – although I had no clue that it was for blood.

Can you imagine how betrayed I felt by God when I found out that my friend, Isabella whom I was fourteen whole months older than not only had much bigger breasts, but also had her ‘menses’? Isabella, on the other hand used Always pads, which I experimented with a few times – even though I had no ‘leakage’. I prayed for my ‘menses’ and everything that came with it. Yes, I also prayed for the cramps. Without my ‘menses’, I did not feel complete; I did not feel like a woman. It did not help that I was round and had low cut hair – not that I’m no longer round, but my hair is long now.

I was fifteen when one day…voila! A drop of red appeared. I was so excited that I could have had a seizure. So off I went to put on a Simple sanitary pad. As soon as I put it on, I sat on the porch outside my house, feeling accomplished and complete. I had done it all. I was now officially a WOMAN. I sat down confidently with one leg crossed over the other, chin held up high, and there was no stopping me now. I waited a few hours to go and change the pad; I was sure it would be full and almost pouring out by then, but to my greatest surprise, there was nothing! I cried. And cried. And cried some more. The next day came, and there was still nothing. Where did my drop go? My mother explained to me that it was not ‘regular’ yet. Ms. Flow disappeared until I was sixteen when she reappeared and has continued to do so every twenty-four days.

These were the big stumbling blocks I faced in becoming a woman. The little stumbling block was being teased for having too little hair. I am not a hairy person, so if I shave my underarms, the amount of hair that will be there after a month would probably be as long as the one a regular person has kept for only a week. I used to think it was a problem. Now, I am grateful for it. But once upon a time, I begged God to give me more hair. And do not get me started on begging for pimples. That is a story for another day.

After all has been said and done, I now realize that Ms. Flow did not make me a woman. She only made me fertile. Everyday, I realize that the day before, I knew less, and as I grow, I continue to learn. I am a woman today – I think. But tomorrow, I will be more woman than I am today. Needless to say, I no longer beg, pray, or cry, or fast for lumps, hair, pimples, and Ms. Flow. But I especially do not ask for any shape or form of cramps. Been there. Done that. Do not ever want to go back there.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Blogging - The New Ebe Ano

If you have not heard, then hear it now: blogging is the new ebe ano. It is where we are o! For all those looking for a life partner, forget about what your mother, Aunty Buki, Uncle Paul, and Cousin Ngozi told you. Back in the day, you may have found your life partner in Church, at a wedding, or wherever else you have been directed to, but today, it is on the internet. No, no, not just any site on the internet, but in the world of blogging.

Blogging is such a big deal today that it has its own world; it’s called Blogville. The thing is just like AIDS: easy to catch, impossible to get rid of. It is spreading faster than wild fire in Winter. I did not find out about Blogville until the end of 2005. Before I discovered it, my Oyibo friend (who was aware of my writing) asked if I had a blog. Blog??? I had no clue what she was talking about. But then an online friend of mine directed me to her blog, and that was it o! I caught the virus too. I have been a loyal member since December of 2005.

When I started blogging, I was oblivious to the fact that there were other bloggers around. I just wrote whenever I felt like it, and for the most part, I never got any comments because nobody knew about me (just like I did not know about them). But little by little, my wings began to really grow, and I started leaving comments on people’s blogs. By doing that, they returned the favor. Most bloggers have a “Blogs I Read” list, which is usually ridiculously long, and I used to wonder how they got that long. Well, now I know!

My list keeps getting longer and longer, and it is not easy keeping up oh! How can it be easy to read countless posts in a day AND leave comments sef? Of course, people will also leave comments on my own blog, which I had to reply. Chei! Every time I have to add another link to my ‘Blogs I Read’ column, I have sweat beads forming on my forehead, and a secret silent prayer that this latest blogger of mine does not update everyday. Chineke biko o!

I am so into the whole blogging thing that when a recent Naija Blogger Awards was conducted, I won the ‘Blogger I Most Want To Meet’ category. Me ke? This is serious oh. I am tempted to make a speech, but I will spare you the horror. So now, I have something else to add to my résumé. Well, meeting my fellow bloggers would be great, but I just have one question: who is paying for this meeting?

Let me tell you, there are allll sorts of people residing in Blogville. A lot of people choose to be anonymous because they want to disclose information that they would not be otherwise disclosing. I thought about being anonymous, but I could not handle the risk of being caught. How would I explain what I wrote? So I decided to be open; at least that way, I can foresee any incoming wahala. Some anonymous bloggers do get discovered (I have even discovered some myself), and after that, a lot of them choose to “come out of the closet”.

There are people who blog about their life, there are people who are there to inspire others – spiritually, that is. There are blogs about relationships, work, sexcapades, God, friends, fashion, entertainment, etc. You name it, they got it! If it is not in Blogville, then I can guarantee you cannot get it anywhere else. As for me, I blog about my life. I have a vow on my blog to tell the truth, and nothing but the whole truth, albeit, I do not promise to tell the whole story. Considering the fact that I have my actual name and last name on my blog, it is only fair that I save some information now. I should not be spreading all my dirty laundry outside, abi how you take see am?

Internet dating is out; blog-dating is in. Forget messengers too; nobody does them anymore. Now, all you have to do is sit in front of your computer screen, read all you care to read about a person, and believe what you want to believe. Whatever you choose to do after that is at your own risk. Whatever and whoever you are looking for, you’ve got them in Blogville.

There are all sorts of Nigerians; people that you may not have crossed path with in the real world. You’ll laugh, you might cry, you’ll get inspired, you’ll get nauseated, you’ll get turned on, you’ll broaden your thinking, you might narrow it too, you’ll get curious, you’ll be mystified, you’ll make new friends, you might make new enemies too, you’ll find old friends, and you’ll find friends you did not wish to ever find. You might find an ex-lover, or make a new one. You might ‘discover’ you’re homosexual, metro sexual, bisexual, bicurious, homophobic, a drag queen…or just good ol’ heterosexual.

You might ‘discover’ you’re bipolar, a nymphomaniac, a narcissist, an addict, an overeater, a sadist, a sociopath, a nudist, or you might just discover that that thing you do in the night when everyone has gone to bed is abnormal. Go figure. So if you’re still doing some soul searching, Blogville might just be the place for you. Think about the fact that you can do it anonymously; great huh?

So what have I discovered since I bought my house in Blogville? Nothing that I did not know already. I’m still heterosexual, I’m still sweet (if I do say so myself), I’m still not attracted to metro sexuals, I’m still a little bit of a clean freak, I’m still trying to experience romantic love in a romantic way, and I’m still trying to find my own corner in this big, bad world we live in today. I have however learnt to accept people for what they are; it does not mean I have to condone their lifestyle, but rather leave judgment up to God. Besides, let he who is without sin cast the first stone, right?

In case you’re wondering what it is that I blog about exactly, well then, I guess you will just have to find out on your own, wouldn’t you? My intention was to end this baby by mentioning a few blogs I love, but I realized there are just too many of them. So if you do take the time out to check out my blog (which I’m hoping you do), then do check out my ‘Blogs I Read’ column. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised!

Until next time, adios!

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for whatever happens between you and any blogger, and neither am I responsible for your possible addiction to Blogville.

E-mails/comments are generously encouraged