Saturday, May 20, 2006

Family: can't live with them, can't live without them

There are those who will consider the subject of this post weird. They will wonder why at a time of so much international news of importance this was all I could find to write about, but I can't help it. I have family in town for the weekend, my two favourite aunts (all 5 of my aunts are my favourites, well maybe that's stretching it 4 out of 5) and my 19 month old cousin. This should be a joyful time right? So why can I not get the tension out of my shoulders? What is it about the arrival of family that makes me want to justify every decision I have made in the last 3 years. Why do I constantly need to explain myself to them? How come they can make me feel like I am 6 years old as opposed to 26? Is that why I felt the need to move halfway across the world from them? I have as much self confidence as anyone I know, why does that all vanish when they appear?
Family reading this, don't take offence, I'm merely attempting to understand the machinations of my ever more bizarre brain! It's definitely not you...It's just me.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Monef's Top 10 Most Influential Bloggers 2006

After reading last week's edition of TIME magazine featuring the 100 most influential people: The People who shape our world, I decided to follow in their footsteps and create my own list of the people who have thus far shaped my naijablogging experience for better or worse. It will be quite interesting to do this again a year from now and see how much extended time in the blogsphere will have altered my perspective.

1. Jeremy: Naijablog - The Conduit
Naijablog for me and probably several other bloggers out there has had the biggest impact on my blogging experience so far. It led me down the path to the majority of blogs that I check on a daily basis. I am mostly fascinated by the fact that you never really know what sort of post you are going to find up, but I also love the philosophizing and heated debate that can almost always be found doing the rounds on Naijablog.

2. Nkem: African Shirts - The Educator
Nkem's blog has a profound impact on the way I view things. He can always be relied upon to provide the knowledge, but also shape the thinking. The writing is top notch, the perspective always original and the research absolutely staggering. Whenever he goes for long spells without posting, I get a little ratty!

3. Nneka: Confessions of the Mind - The Funny
I rely on Nneka to dish out the laughs. Her posts are always extremely refreshing, and she always manages to highlight the humour in almost any situation.

* Adaure came in a very close second for this spot especially because her ANTM wrap-ups constantly had me in stitches, but in the end Nneka won out overall.

4. Trae Days - The Drama
Trae can be relied upon to invariably bring the drama. In the short time that I have spent blogging there has been a fair amount of controversy surrounding Trae, this has more often than not led to several heated debates that have raged continually all over the blogsphere ensuring that there is barely a naijablogger out there who is not aware of him!

5.Dilichi: Thinking Out Loud - The Realness
Dilichi very often echoes my thoughts on her blog. Her posts very often resonate with me and encourage me to continue to share my experiences. She has a very no-nonsense approach and stands by her principles without necessarily coming across as unreasonable. Mad props.

6. Olawunmi: Silent Storms In An Ocean of One - The Heart
Olawumni's blogging reveals a tender and sensitive side not often seen in the blogsphere. His posts often invite you to read between the lines and explore the depth of emotion that led to their existence, and his skill with language only makes for more compelling reading.

7. Obifromsouthlondon: Soul On Ice - The Urban Guru
Obi's blogging provides such a varied and authentic experience that it is quite difficult to put into words. Its more than the music which is fabulous, you feel like you are genuinely on a trip, an experience to be savoured in it's entirety. That is no mean feat.

8. Chibs: Sugar is sweet, Pepper is peppery - The Beacon of Youth
Chibs was clearly born to write. Her narrative style is though thoroughly arresting, and webs woven with her words draw you in. I find myself wishing she would post more frequently, and that is always a good sign.

9. Toometoblog: A literary supplement to real life - The uber Nerd
This blog has me simultaneously mesmerised and amused. The rejoinders are almost as funny as the posts, and the observations are incredibly accurate and astute. Definitely one to watch out for in the future.

10. My last spot has to go to a set of pages that are no longer up, and thus have left a gaping hole in my blogging existence. Teju Cole's photography and tales of his recent trip to Nigeria proved to be a daily source of inspiration. The combination of beautiful B&W imagery and poetic lyricism gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling that I cannot forget, for that I am awarding those pages the "Gone but not Forgotten award".

That my friends concludes this year's list. Perhaps by next year this list will take me several days to complete due to the rich and varied blogging experience the year will have provided!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

On Naija mothers

Recently, the naija blogsphere has been abuzz with heated debate over the actions of the naijaman with comments flying back and forth about where various camps stand on his inherent behaviour. My involvement in the debate was prompted by the exchange between obifromsouthlondon and Soul and several other people gave their opinions and vice-versa. This whole issue had me thinking about the sacredness of mothers.

I know this subject is semi-taboo to some, but I just had to go there. As women, we know exactly what qualities we abhor in men. This is very easy to see, so why does all this go out of the window when it comes to raising the young men of tomorrow? If several Naija men are under fire for unacceptable behaviour, then I sincerely believe that their mothers should also be taken to task.

Let's be clear, I am in no way suggesting that fathers are not also responsible for the upbringing of their children, but I strongly feel that women are more sensitive to what qualities they desire in a man and as such, the onus is on them to ensure that their offspring reflect those.

BEWARE: Massive generalisation about to take place!

Naija mothers are quick to show their daughters how important it is to know how to sweep the floor and prepare ogbono. I would appreciate it if a little more of that time could be dedicated to teaching their sons how to address ladies.

Naija mothers are quick to tell their daughters how to act ladylike in order to snag a good man. I would appreciate if they spent more time teaching their sons how to be decent husbands.

Naija mothers are quick to talk about shameless girls and be glad that their daughters are not like that. I would appreciate if they spent more time rebuking their sons for their philandering ways.

Naija mothers are quick to adopt the philosophy 'boys will be boys'. I would appreciate it if they spent more time teaching their sons how to be men.

I don't think the phenomenon is exclusive to Naijamen and their mothers, I believe the issue in question has a much wider scope than I can cover in this post, but I chose Naija because that was what the previous debate focused on. It is important to note that for the most part, mysogynsts are not born..they are made. So when mothers are spending all their energy turning their daughters into ladies, it would be nice if they saved some for their sons. What is the point of raising all those ladies, if there are only beasts available for them to marry?

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Dream Job

Pilgrimagetoself threw down the gauntlet and I accepted the challenge, so here goes:

My dream job

My dream job is on my mind 24/7 but I am reluctant to reveal the inner workings of the machine for fear that others will infringe on my plans. The general idea is to form a public-private partnered economic development agency. My focus will be on the Niger-Delta region.

Everyone who knows me will agree that I don't do mornings, so I would like my day to start at 10am, but I'm quite happy to keep going because there is nothing like the fire generated by genuine passion for your work.

An organisation on the scale that I have in mind needs bases in all the major economic powerhouses, so I will have identical offices in Lagos, New York, London, Mumbai, Tokyo etc. You get the gist. Although having a fleet of helicopters and private jets plus numerous vehicles would make my life easier, as an international jetsetter my carbon footprint will be the size of Everest. That means that based on my principles and respect for our planet, I'll be riding the bullet train from Lagos to Abuja, and taking the tram from my house to the office.

My attire will be dictated by my schedule, so if I am having a meeting at the corporate headquarters in Asaba, then my tailored Armani suit will be in effect. However if I am heading up to Kano to visit the corn fields and check on our ethanol refinery plant then I will be more than happy to don jeans and a t-shirt.

My clients/customers will be the whole world and the rest of Nigeria, who are just dying to get their foot in the door in the Niger-Delta, that hotbed of economic prosperity.

My core tasks will vary vastly depending on the global economic climate, my mission will always be to keep the Niger-Delta region on the front page of the Economist as they continue to marvel at the health of the beating heart of Nigeria.

The perks of my job will be numerous as I will be courted by Heads of State, Presidents and Kings the world over in efforts to secure my business, however they will be baffled to learn that in my organisation, it doesn't matter how much you try to ply me with gifts and priviledges....the contract will always be awarded to the best man for the job. Environmental blasphemy will not be tolerated.

My success will actually prove immeasurable as the changes in the region will of course give way to a knock on effect all over the country. In addition to economic prosperity, Nigeria will know a period of ethnic cohesion like never before, and even if I walk out not a penny richer...this my friends is reward enough for me.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

New York City is like.....

an errant boyfriend. Before I began my relationship with him, I was so in love. I would think about the brief flings we had previously enjoyed and know with certainty that we were perfect for each other. When I finally took the plunge and made the commitment to him, I felt that deep satisfaction that only comes from having attained something you have struggled long and hard to achieve.

We have now been together for almost 3 years. In that space of time, I have come to understand that my boyfriend is less than perfect. He is so beautiful to look at, but when you delve deeper you can't help but notice the ugliness that pervades his heart. He constantly makes promises that he cannot deliver on and exasperates me beyond belief, but just when I am about to give up on him, he goes and reminds me of why I fell in love with him in the first place.

Very often, he has a hard time keeping me fulfilled and I am forced to cheat on him with Lagos, Boston, Miami and my long time partner in crime - London. My boyfriend and I have several issues, but as soon as anyone attempts to bad-mouth him, I immediately jump to his defense. It is the classic love-hate relationship, but these days I think we are leaning more towards a better understanding of each other. I had an epiphany and realised that the reason we were having such a hard time was because I was constantly comparing him to London, my ex-boyfriend. Of course he didn't like that, It made him insanely jealous and sparked many a fight. Since then however, we have had long heart to heart discussions. I have learned to be more sensitive to his feelings, and he has realised that he has to be more understanding of my needs.

It looks like NYC and I will make it through the tempest after all.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Letter to My Younger Self

I noticed loads of people have been getting in on this letter to younger self lark as advocated by Oprah. After reading Adaure's letter, I've decided to also hop on that bandwagon.

Dear wee Efe,

I just thought I'd drop in on you to see how you are doing and give you the benefit of having navigated the rocky terrain that lies ahead. There is no clarity like that provided by hindsight, so listen up...This is important.

I know you feel slightly out of sync with the rest of the world, but don't worry most people do too they just hide it better than you. This isn't a bad thing, your ability to recognise that you are unique and embrace it is what will later set you apart from the masses. Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of your life, because every moment is precious and as ridiculous as it seems, you will not be able to hold on to this period in your life forever. I know you think that being so young is tedious, but trust me adulthood is not all it is cracked up to be..Except for the shoes.

Ignore all the people who tease you about being skinny, it isn't important and besides in a few years they will all be asking you for advice on how to lose weight. You have this tendency to believe that everyone has good in them, and this is a beautiful thing. It will very often lead to heartache, but don't let this frighten you. Through all that pain will come some of the most beautiful moments in your life and you cannot receive them if you aren't open to new things.

Pay more attention to the world around you. You spend so much time daydreaming with your head in the clouds that you often miss the little nuances that herald major changes in your world. I can't prevent the major changes, but I can assure you that you are stronger than you know and you have an uncanny ability to effect change. As our friend Peter Parker would say "with great power comes great responsibility" and to that end, you have to use your abilities for good. If you simply bury your head in the sand and hope it all passes you will end up living with regrets, and trust me, there is nothing worse.

Your middle-child syndrome will eventually go away, and you will stop feeling so invisible. Contrary to the opinion of that those nasty girls in school, you are not ugly..matter of fact you are beautiful. Mum wasn't just saying that to make you feel better. But the thing is, you will come to understand that all of that is irrelevant, and that you have already been armed with everything you need to succeed in life and become a fully evolved well-rounded human being. Believe it or not, down the road you will become fearless and the only person who can hold you back is yourself.

Keep living, learning and loving....the best is yet to come.


Not so wee Efe