Musings of a mildly neurotic chic

Africa Calls For Me

Posted on April 13, 2015

This post was originally published on VeryLoudYouth.org.

I was not born in Nigeria. But, I lived there for all my adolescent years, and I spent a good part of that time trying to leave. What I do not get now is why.

It is common for many African children, and children in other post-colonial countries, to view life in the West as supreme. My friends and I dreamed of living like the Caucasians on television, and at times, we would see that Americans who looked like us could live in luxury.

We also heard, however, that many Americans who looked like us were poor. I recall an aunt (who had never been outside Nigeria) commenting on the lifestyles of a people she did not know. She categorized these people based on their color and on second-hand news gleaned from the media. Her story was distinctive: these people were lazy, and we were not.

In hindsight, such debilitating stories — supported by an attempt to escape stereotypes — help impair our identity as black people. My five year-old corrects me every time I use the term ‘black’ to describe him. “I am brown mommy,” he coos. I smile. But, I wonder how long his innocence will last. I wonder how long he will consider his skin color just that — a color. Not a people. Not a label. Not a culture. Just color.

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Please look a little deeper

Posted on December 2, 2013

Picture: Rodney Boles.

                                                                       Picture: Rodney Boles.

Please, look a little deeper.

Listen a little longer.

Things sometimes are not what they seem.

Feel what it’s like, the pounding of her heart.

Hear what it says, the voices in his head.

Please, dig a little deeper.

Think  a little harder.

Judge a little less.


Dedicated to:
the young boys and girls I mentor.
the bullied, misunderstood, closed off.
The story of my life.

Intimately Africa

Posted on May 21, 2013

I ran into this 11 minute video (on a friend’s blog on tumblr) that took me through several stages of my childhood – growing up – in Nigeria. I left Nigeria when I was 16, and I am pretty sure I’d never seen two people kiss in real life.


I have long questioned the lack of passion or true love in many African marriages. In my view, traditional African marriages were intended to provide stability for the man; support for the woman; and children for the community.


In as much as the current generation has shown interest in more gratifying behaviors, the overall concept of love is often misunderstood, and a public “showing of love” is widely unacceptable.

In the video, Zina Saro-Wiwa explores this and other concepts of love through an African perspective in Eaten by the Heart.

As always, please leave your thoughts.

10 Ways To Ward Off Idiots

Posted on May 15, 2013

My first kiss chased me for almost a half mile around the streets in our neighborhood; the second wrote an entire ballad in my honor two Valentine’s in a row; and a third beat up three Idiots who couldn’t keep my name out their mouths. But somewhere between number four and six, things changed. The boys quit chasing…

The Problem.

Boys quit chasing ‘cos society, and all those other chics fail point out their idiotic behaviors. Let me tell you, it is easy. More girls should do it — put the idiots in their place already!


10 ways to get idiots iff your back

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Amen.”

The Solution.

It is not selfish to love you.

“I give myself sometimes admirable advice, but I am incapable of taking it.” ―    Mary Wortley Montagu.

Go figure.

The Plan.

Dear Faithful Runner,
How often I have had exactly those sentiments, and still, I am confused. I have concluded, however, that:

  1. I must quit enabling stupidity. For example, letting idiots win, who have no business winning.
  2. Chivalry is not dead. She is merely missing, and needs to find her way home.
  3. And there’s plenty o’ fish in the sea. Yes, it’s true!

The best thing a girl can learn is how not to need a boy.

Sincerely,
Nifti.

xoxo

Amaka’s traditional wedding ceremony

Posted on March 14, 2013

The bride was stunning and

 With my sister at her traditional marriage ceremony. Anambra, Nigeria.

With my sister at her traditional marriage ceremony. Anambra, Nigeria.

The Groom was all smiles.

Dance. Dance. Dance!

Dance. Dance. Dance!

Mama got lots of hugs

Yes, I matched my mom’s colors.

Everyone gawked.

:)

🙂

It was all about the bride and her man.

And did I mention: he was all smiles.

 

Apologies: I promised these pictures months ago. And at the same time, started other projects. I apologize for my lack of consistency with Nifti’s Book, and hope my friends will continue to support the blog until I  can return fully. Now, I am working with @VeryLoudYouth. 

Please Help

Posted on December 16, 2012

What my heart knows

my eyes cannot see.

Where my eyes go

my heart cannot lead.

And my feet cannot get me there yet.

What is it about human nature that causes us to want specifically those things we cannot have?…

I am away in Nigeria planing my sister’s upcoming traditional marriage. Please bear with me until I am back stateside, reading, liking, and blogging again. In the meantime, I would love to discuss the above stated issue and read your thoughts.

What goals can I set to live properly within my means?

Please help.
Nifti.

Me, & my Sis. She's mastered patience and thrifty living... But since I don't listen to her much, I need your help ;)

Me, & my Sis. She’s mastered patience and thrifty living… But since I don’t listen to her much, I need your help😉

Gratitude Is

Posted on November 22, 2012

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.

                                                                                                                           ~Henry Ward Beecher

Thanksgiving in the U.S. means different things for different people. For me it is to cherish tomorrow, despite yesterday.

Give thanks everyday.

Nifti.

Nifti’s Back

Posted on November 5, 2012

she dreamed a sweet dream. where she stood beside her beloved. the image of everlasting peaceful love filled her soul…

– in these times? good luck finding Mr. Right.

Disclaimer:
I only speak of the lessons life teach.
I am not jaded. At least, not yet.

My Story

I was a scrawny little girl in grade 5 when a boy picked on me because I was the easiest girl to bully. I remember he grabbed at me, and pulled my dress up. I punched back. When the teacher stood us in front of the class and gave us each seven whacks of her whip, I cried like a baby. [I only had to hold out my palm. The unfortunate boy however, was struck on his backside; and I learnt a valuable lesson]:

Do let boys take responsibility.

I remember my first kiss chased me for almost a mile around the streets in our neighborhood.

These days, the boys are just too lazy.

Take the man who meets me once and texts – instead of calling – to ask me out; or calls after 10 pm as if my job is to wait up for him. And the man who talks about marriage after one week of knowing me; or the man who calls once a week to ask why I haven’t called him. Worse yet is the foolish man who expects to be invited into my home because he’s counted 3 dates… in 3 months!

Sigh.
Is chivalry truly dead?

Lola’s Story

Lola is this girl I know who lost herself for years to Mr. Potential and irresponsible Mr. Bullshit. – While she fell in-love, they enjoyed the benefits of loving her back. Her unbalanced relationships eventually took its toll, and one day – instead of whining – Lola sat down to write her rules:

Yes please! the ex, the mistake you made last week, the junk you put up last year– give it away; if it cost too much, sell it.

Back to my story

I’ve said that boys begin the dating game long before girls realize it is a game, and that the goal is to win – so I try to win too.

But I should have learnt another important lesson that day in grade 5:

Do not fight boys. –

Just let go.

Keep loving you.

Wait for Mr. Right,

and let him win.


This is me
PS: Life’s lessons are learned when our hearts heal.
xoxo,
Nifti.

Another Prayer

Posted on August 30, 2012

i  think of Misty Eyes.

and the song she sang.

a tear in Her heart.

still.

where? did that smile go.

why? does this heart ache.

is Fear in its place?

Her prayer remains:

“… i am your child.

the road is far

and i am fearful.

please lord,

keep me strong.”

 

                                                                                     Taken from FaceBook/VeryloudYouth

Watching my little one play… I must be strong.”

Misty Eyes

Posted on August 23, 2012

Photo Credit: Maggie Duncan*

Sweet misty eyed angel.

Drop the swords that make you blind. Leave the walls that tell you wrong. Hear these words for you today.

leave fear. in its place.

Climb the hills that hold your fate. Crush the tales that clip your wings. Soar forever in His light. See this image of your might.   Tell your heart to guide the storm.

and may my song, dry your eyes….

 

As always, please leave all thoughts.
This prayer: inspired by Madison Woods’ Photo Prompt for #FridayFictioneers. Submitted by Maggie Duncan.
*Thanks Maggie for a beautiful photo. 

How Lola got her grove back.

Posted on August 1, 2012

Hello friends. I’ve being experiencing a lot of writer’s block lately, and since I can’t write anything worthwhile for NiftTalks, I decided to do a little blog grooming:

I added this page, then I thought about some of my favorite things; so bloggers Boomie Bol and Coco Ginger found their way on the page.

 

Speaking of favorites; Lola is this girl I know who whined about life being “too much”. One day, Lola decided to read a book instead. When that was done, she realized she could do much more, so Lola wrote a book.  Soon, Lola was too busy selling her book that she wasn’t whining much. And do you know? No one whined about that.

 

I plan to write more about Lola when my creative block goes away. In the mean time (and if you didn’t feel like reading anyway), below is a video I’ve been waiting to share in Nifti’s Book. It is colorful with a wonderful message; if you listen.


So here it is: my lazy-day post. Except it took a lot of work putting this together. Between the links, and the cropping, and videos…  ‘writer’s block’ please go away. Nifti needs her groove back too😛

 

Enjoy…

 


She Heard It Through The Grapevine

Posted on July 20, 2012

Photo Copyright: Madison Woods

She heard it through the grapevine,

She was Coward, she was Proud. She was that Easy Chic. She was Ignorant, Foolish, or Gullible, some said. She was Heartbreaker… Meat lover…   She was Incomplete.  She heard it through the grapevine, she was thoughtless. She was Crazy. She was Lazy too.

She heard through the grapevine, she was Sad, she was Hungry; she might have been Smart. She was Paranoid, she was Weak. She was Mischief and Meek.

It was Classless. It was Sad.

It was definitely not Smart. He said, She said.

This. Through a grapevine. That never knew her name.

[word count: 100]

 

Inspired by Madison Woods photo prompt for 100 word fiction, Go #FridayFictioneers.

I Wanna Be

Posted on July 18, 2012

Sitting quietly doing nothing. Spring comes and the grass grows by itself. ~ Zen.

I am the master of worry. I care what strangers think, and how coworkers feel. I plan every detail in my life long before the event is even  possible – I plan to marry at 30, and finish my PhD at 32.  I plan to have three kids. I complain that things don’t go as planned, and get angry when Mama responds, “Be grateful.” But, I did not plan our latest vacation. Mama and Sis did. And they failed to tell me there was no plan. I realize now that I’ve lived my entire life fretting over things that have been out of my control. I have missed out on so much because I have plans (that can’t always work out).

We entered St. Vincent and The Grenadines with no idea what we’d do. I felt knots, “Where are we going to stay? How much is this going to cost? Would we be comfortable?!” So far, we’ve seen all the towns on mainland (St. Vincent). We’ve seen several of the islands of the Grenadines. We managed to get a free boat ride to go snorkeling on a couple of the islands in the Tobago Cays. We stayed in a beautiful home overlooking the beach in Union Island for free! We got invited to a private beach party where we ate the most amazing  foods. We’ve seen the volcanic mountains and black sands of Chateaubelair. Gosh!…

 I wanna be

A rock star, a movie star, an astronaut.
I wanna be billionaire, an island, a village.
I wanna be a valley, a mountain, a gully.
I'll eat. I'll love. I'll live.

I'll do all the things I've said.
I'll chase dreams that never end.
Sail seas, climb rocks, eat grass.
Cry when I want.

Scream if I please. Give because I can.

Smile. I just will.

I wanna be free, so [freagin'] bad.

Every picture taken with my Apple tablet.
I got carried away.
 
Related posts

Scarlet

Posted on June 28, 2012

  Photo Credit: Madison Woods

 

She is the spirit of the night. A glimmer of delight. A luscious mirage. With poison in her roots, she walks with pride. Her steps echo, pebbles on a raft adrift. Waves of color and sound. Soothing. Like berries. The promise of ecstasy.

The scarlet lady beckons. Her locks play with the wind. Crimson lips pursed in thought. Her smile captured, dance through time. Her drums play in unison. A rhyme to release.

Song of ages, he moves to the beat.

“Tell me Scarlet; is my lover in your arms tonight?”

Inspired by Madison Woods‘ Photo prompt for 100 word fiction – Go #FridayFictioneers.
As always, leave your thoughts.

My First Blog Post

Posted on June 19, 2012

1.  It never got a like.  2. It was 703 words longer.  3. It was trying to say what it now says in 39.  4. It was titled, “Life’s got other people who love it too”.  5. It is now titled appropriately.  6. It boasted the same picture.  7. It did not acknowledge photo credits.  8. It still doesn’t acknowledge photo credits because Nifti can’t remember where she found the picture…

I deserve to have the things I want. Many times I fail.

– ‘cos no matter how much I love life; she just doesn’t love me back.

Or is it that she’s got several people who love her too?

Love Invades

Posted on June 17, 2012


Copyright Jamar Simien. [Artist retains all copyrights. Please do not replicate image without permission]

 

When love invades

We break free from misery that leaves us weak, deprived and wanting, waiting…. We break free
from anger, delivered from heartache, undying hunger.

A soul revived. A being restored.

… life redeemed. We are free; When love invades, hearts rejoice. When love prevails, pride absconds. Patience returns. And we are free.

 

 

This excerpt is dedicated to ‘Okan mi’ – My Heart.
Happy Father’s Day darling.

UP

Posted on June 8, 2012

Image: Roxann Phillips

Mama once said, “Look up, darling.”

“Why?”

“… Look  at me.” Kneeling, she held my chin up and nuzzled my nose.

That smile, I’ll always remember.

She said;

“There is beauty everywhere,

In everything.

Remember this and

The sky is your limit.”

 

Story inspired by Madison Woods‘ photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers (6/8/2012).

Are you grounded?

Posted on May 8, 2012

Image by John Wilhelm is a Photoholic

 

 

Dear Nifti,

Whether the person in your life is abusive, insensitive, sarcastic, critical, or just plain doesn’t think; you cannot fall prey to the madness. Stop, take a deep breath,  consider your ways, and walk carefully. A calm collected (you) does not allow a fool to bring out the fool in you, because you have replaced the seeds of foolishness in your own heart with divine wisdom.

 

Signed,
Michelle Mckinney Hammond.

Home Sweet Home

Posted on May 5, 2012

People say a person does not know what they have until it is gone.

I was not born in Nigeria, but I lived there for most of my life, and I spent a good part of this time trying to leave; because western culture is portrayed as a lot more fun. Now I miss everything I was running from…

I miss the happy people…
I miss the extra time with nothing to do…
I miss the fresh air…
I miss family…
I miss my goofy friends…
I miss wearing weaves…

… Okay, maybe not – I had to shave my hair because I let my stylist use some kind of glue to hold the weave. Gosh, have I done some stupid things! I miss walking down the block and shouting “hello” into every window I pass. I miss the food. I miss being teased by friends. Most importantly, I miss the extensive support. Nigeria, West Africa. Home sweet home.

All pictures taken in 2008 (Ghana and Nigeria) with my Canon 10 megapixel camera.

My Future. My World.

Posted on May 2, 2012

 

I love me. Yes, I say this often.

People scoff—they hear it too many times.

“You’re full of yourself”, they scold.

“I love you too. I just love me more.”

What’s wrong with this?

The trials in my life require that I love me.

The echo of my past insists that I love me.

The seed of my womb needs me to love me.

The passions of my heart live because I love me.

My future… My world… Demand that I love me,

And that I love you too.

What’s wrong with this?

The Grand Lie-Opening

Posted on April 25, 2012

On August 24th, I followed in the footsteps of many bloggers, and challenged readers to find my lie. This challenge turned out to be a bit too much fun for me! The list you see is a compilation of somewhat odd events that have occurred throughout my existence and of course, one little fib.

 

 1.       I talk to 12 year-olds high on mushrooms and something blue every day.

This is unfortunately true. I work at a middle school, with high risk kids. It surprises me that they can afford half of the stuff they use.

 

2.      I’ve been mugged at gun point somewhere in ‘Mandiba Land’.

I was visiting a friend who was ‘studying abroad’ in Cape Town, South Africa. At about 6pm one day, we (against our better judgment) decided to take a short cut home and… well, the thieves made away with an old cell phone and a homemade purse.

 

3.      I was once kidnapped and hidden on a school bus.

The details of which will make for an awesome post.  I was 11 and my attacker was a perverted old man who happened to be a school bus driver.

 

4.      I owned a little piggy that wore a hat and lived in my backyard.

We never owned any animals growing up. I came up with little fib after some coworkers cracked some joke about a hat wearing Jewish bacon?

 

5.      I am called “my own”.

My birth name means My Own in English.

 

6.      I got lost in the smoke of 9/11.

I did. It was my first year in the States. I had gotten this new job on Wall Street, and I just happened to be lost when all the commotion started that morning. Then I got even more lost.

 

7.       I have skipped school to see a headless woman.

Yes. Her body was dumped by the train tracks behind the school grounds. This was the most gruesome killing, and the worst of all the dead bodies I’ve seen as a child.

Oh, The Joy of Lying

Posted on April 24, 2012

Because its how I roll, I am taking on the challenges of “this blogging thing”. Thanks to hilarious bloggers The Hobbler and Nukemm33, I am to admit to my readers that I am a liar, and demand that you call me out on a lie.

 

Guidelines:

Six stories on the list below are true.

One is not.

Which is it?

1 I talk to 12 year-olds high on mushrooms and something blue every day.
2 I’ve been mugged at gun point somewhere in ‘Mandiba Land’.
3 I was once kidnapped and hidden on a school bus.
4 I owned a little piggy that wore a hat and lived in my backyard.
5 I am called “my own”.
6 I got lost in the smoke of 9/11.
7 I have skipped school to see a headless woman.

Happy Hunting🙂

 

The secret is out in ‘The Grand Lie Opening’ of 4/25/2012

 

  

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