Relationships

Two Become One Problems: Who Ate My Rice?!

If you think you’re the most selfless person that ever lived, I dare you to move into a house full of people and promise to be there for you when you realise just how selfish you really are. Don’t judge yourself too harshly though, communal living brings out the worst in us all. The manifestation of your selfishness will take different forms but today, we’ll be focusing on food.

A couple of days ago, I had a Facetime date with one of my girlfriends. At some point during the conversation, I noticed her opening up cupboard after cupboard, making a right racket. I almost died laughing when she confessed that she was looking for somewhere to hide a packet of biscuits from her husband! I couldn’t judge her though because heaven knows I have on occasion, rushed home from work to make sure I got to the leftovers in the fridge before my Yoruba boy. First come, first served!

Thanking you very much for your prayers, it will be well.

When you live with people, the contents of your fridge develop hands, legs, wings, propellers and all sorts of agents of transportation. But when you get married, it’s a whole new ball game. You see, when you live with strangers or even siblings, you can set boundaries. The boundary lines might be crossed by the brave amongst them but when you’re screaming at your sister for eating the bowl of rice you left in the fridge, you will feel justified. Try screaming at your husband when (and not if!) he eats the bowl of jollof rice you left in the fridge and if you don’t feel foolish as the words are flying out of your mouth, I envy you!

You see, the concept of two becoming one creates all kinds of problems in a home. It implies that what’s mine is yours and vice versa. There’s no more me, it’s now us. It means you cannot claim sole ownership of ANYTHING , especially things in the fridge, after all, OUR money paid for them. Never mind who journeyed to the supermarket, who stood sweating over the cooker and took the initiative to pack up the leftovers. All that one is for your pocket. Na who carry sense go market na him dey chop bellefull! In other words, you snooze you lose!

jollof

There are few things more painful in life than spending all day dreaming about the jollof rice in your fridge only to get home and find out it is no more. Such was my fate the other day. If not that shame would not have allowed me to cry, I would have wept for England. Alas, these are some of the problems that arise when two people are targeting one bowl of rice.

I have learnt my lesson.

I’m up and out of the house before my Yoruba boy gets out of bed so if there’s anything in the fridge I’m feeling particularly proprietal about, I get in there and take it to work with me. I will leave him to come up with his own strategy.

Every man for himself, God for us all!

xXx

Waila

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Before You Say I Do: Opposite Sex Friendships

Hello People!

I don’t know what’s going on with this blog so if you do, please let me know! These days I can’t be bothered to write and I don’t even have the time to. My every waking moment is accounted for so much so that sometimes I just rebel and do nothing. My mind has been temporarily taken over by all things wedding but I refuse to blog about my wedding planning process, not unless I’ve got something particularly interesting to share with you.

The other thing also on my mind these days is marriage…and you know marriage is not the same thing as a wedding right? Lol. Marriage is the equal parts terrifying and exciting bit that comes after the wedding. In the last year, I’ve read a number of books on marriage and relationships and have also attended two pre-marital courses. One at Jesus House (JH), my home church, and the other at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB).  I’ve consumed so much literature on the topic and listened to so many lectures, I feel ready to write my own ‘Making Marriage Work’ manual. Lol.

Given the zone I’m currently in, I thought I’d share a few of the interesting and sometimes controversial topics from the courses with you.

On the HTB course, a couple gave a talk about managing your other relationships once you’re married, particularly friendships with the opposite sex. I expected that. When I started dating the gentleman the dynamics of my relationships with my male friends changed, and understandably so. During the course of the talk, they mentioned that they had decided as a couple, that they weren’t allowed to hang out one on one with members of the opposite sex. That’s when it got interesting. I have no intention of conducting clandestine liaisons with other men (not unless they are Justin Gatlin or Mark Foster) but to ban myself from going to lunch with one of the guys in my team or an old friend from Uni?

They weren’t proposing that we all adopt the same rules, they were just giving an example of some of the rules they have in place to protect their relationship. While I completely understood the reasoning behind it, I don’t know that it’s a rule I want to impose. I have no problem with the gentleman having the odd catch up with a female friend. Odd being the key word. Once a week is not odd, once every quarter or thereabouts is. Lol.

As far as managing opposite sex friendships is concerned, I think the key things are transparency, accountability and sensitivity. If you’re having that odd catch up with a female friend, tell me about it. Tell me where you’re going, when you’ll be home and make it by decent o’clock. Make the effort to introduce me to that friend and include me in some of the catch ups so I get to know her too and get comfortable with her. Invite her over. Over time, the idea is for his friends to become my friends and vice versa seeing as two are becoming one. If for any reason I’m uncomfortable with the friendship, take me seriously and curb the interactions.

What do you think? Are you okay with your man or woman having the odd coffee or lunch with a friend of the opposite sex?

xxx
Waila

The Trust Series: Daddy’s Little Girl

              

               He always knew the right things to say to turn my tears to laughter. He was the one I went to when I wanted to unburden my often burdened mind. He teased me, said I took life too seriously, and called me an old woman in a young girl’s body.  He taught me how to ride a bike and kick a football. It was him I clung to on my first day at school while my mother looked on helplessly. Daddy’s girl, that’s what she called me.

               Everyone thought I would grow out of but they were wrong. The older I grew, the more attached I became to him, and he to me. When mummy suggested I go to an all boarding high school, he was furious. I burst into tears, begging him not to send me away and he held me close and said he would never let anyone separate us.

               My friends didn’t understand why I loved my Daddy so much, they were happier when their fathers were out of the house. Only Daddy and I understood the bond we shared. Mummy is manic depressive. They say she couldn’t bear to look at me after I was born and the first time she touched me was when I turned one and daddy made her hold me to pose for a picture. Changing diapers, midnight feeds, rocking me to sleep…daddy did it all.

               When I was a little girl I would cry all the time, asking daddy why mummy didn’t love me and he would tell me that she did but because of her illness, didn’t know how to show it. He loved me so completely and showed me so much affection that he became enough for me. He became my world and I, his.

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               I had become used to silence in the house, save for daddy and I’s occasional giggles, so I found the loud arguments distressing. Overnight, mummy became a different person; confrontational where she was once cowardly, aggressive where she was once docile. Whenever I tried to talk to Daddy about it he would smile vacantly, give me a hug and tell me everything would be alright. He’d never given me reason to doubt him so I took his word for it. Weeks turned to months, still it carried on and still he assured me things would be fine. Many nights I cried myself to sleep, praying that the old mummy would return and things would be as they once were. Daddy’s smiles no longer reached his eyes and his clothes now hung from his once stocky frame.
               On the morning of my sixteenth birthday I woke up to find Daddy sitting at the foot of my bed. He smiled at me and I lunged into his arms. It was the first genuine smile I’d seen on his face in months. He carried me down to the breakfast room where I found a plate of pancakes, bacon and sausages waiting for me. He gave me an hour to eat and get myself ready to go out. I asked if mummy was coming too and he said she wasn’t. We went shopping for a new dress as he said we were going out to dinner that night. He took me to the salon to get my hair and nails done and then to an ice-cream bar for dessert. I begged him to tell me where we were going to dinner but he said it was a surprise.
               As soon as we got home, I rushed up to my room to get ready. I loved my new dress! It was a shimmery gold knee length fitted dress with a plunging neckline. Daddy let me have it because I promised to wear a camisole under it so I turned out my drawers looking for my black vest. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the dress was and all dressed up, I ran into mummy’s room to show it to her.
               “Mummy look what daddy bought me!”
She was lying in bed with her back to the door and didn’t turn around to look at me.
               “Mummy, see my new dress!”
She pulled the blanket over her head. My heart shattered, landing like shards of glass around my feet. Silently, I shut the door and made my way downstairs to meet Daddy. That was the mummy I knew, the mummy I’d prayed would return, but still, I couldn’t help but be hurt. As soon as he looked at me, he knew something was wrong. He held me and I broke down in tears. I told him what happened and his eyes glazed over. I’d never seen him look that way before. Dragging me up the stairs, he kicked her door open.
               “Look her dammit, look at her! I’m sick of this pity part you’ve been having the last sixteen years. Look at her!”
The new mummy returned and this time, the screaming reached unprecedented volumes and went on for hours. I tried in vain to calm them both down and when I couldn’t stand it anymore, returned to my room, crawled under my duvet and cried myself to sleep.
               As soon as I woke up the following morning, I went hunting for Daddy, I needed to check that he was okay. I walked into his room to find his bed made. That was unusual, I usually made his bed. There was an envelope sitting on his pillow and curious I inched closer to see what it was. It had my name on it. I recognised the hand writing, it was daddy’s. Tearing it open, I pulled out a single sheet of paper.

“I Love You Darling, I’m Sorry.”

               It didn’t make sense at first. Why would he leave me a note? I looked around the room, confused and it was then I noticed the open doors revealing his empty wardrobe. I looked up and the suitcases that once lay gathering dust at the top of his wardrobe were gone. I pulled open the drawers of his bedside table where he kept important documents, empty. I raced down the stairs, out of the house and into the garage where he parked his car. It too was empty. I stood in shock as reality sank in. He was gone.

Let’s Talk About…TRUST

Trust: The firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing -free online dictionary

Some things come naturally to me but trusting my fellow man, isn’t one of them. Like many, I have seen too often, displays of the the desperate wickedness that lies in the heart of man and it terrifies me no end. It’s one of the things I’m working on changing though because to live life unable or unwilling to trust people is to live life crawling on your belly, afraid your feet will fail you.

You know me, I like to think I’m a hard nut to crack but truth be told , my unwillingness to dole out certificates of trust is an unwitting admission of my vulnerability. After all, I should have no qualms trusting if I’m really that unaffected by people’s opinions and actions, no? 

This being human thing sucks eh?! *wink*

I know you’re waiting for my sob story but I’ll spare you, this isn’t reality TV and there’s no million pound prize awaiting me post public therapy.

Alright alright, relax those twitching ears. I’ll share some stories with you and yours too if you’re willing to write them up and email them to me. Let’s have group therapy, it’ll be fun!

By the by, have you decoded the message behind all this waffle? Well done Sherlock, you’re right; it’s time for a new series! *whoop whoop*

We’ll be exploring all things trust; the lack, the loss, the restoration, the beauty.

If you’ve got any stories you’d like to share, I’d love to read and publish them! Please email them to wailacaan@gmail.com and as always, you can remain anonymous if you’d prefer. Your identity is safe with me.

Hopefully at the end of this new series we would have exorcised some of our demons and freed ourselves of some of the baggage we carry around.

Stay tuned!

xXx

Waila

REQUIESCAT IN PACE (RIP)

Death, a rude reminder of man’s mortality. 

It sucks but die, we must.

I lost someone, it knocked me for six.

We had our issues, the source of my grief.

Life is short.

Too short not to be open and honest with the people around us.

Too short not to iron out disputes, settle misunderstandings.

To short not to paint our visions, live out our dreams.

Too short to sit around twiddling our thumbs.

Too short to live in the past, neglecting the present.

Too short to live each day in fear and despair.

Too short not to laugh and enjoy living.

Too short to lose faith, give up on giving.

Too short not to embrace the things that matter most.

Too short to turn your back on blood; your flesh, your bone.

Life is short.

What do you die leaving?

What memories, for the hearts, here still beating?

Sleep in peace, we’re no longer at war.

I’ll remember you, without your scabbard and sword.

It’s His Birthday, MARRY HIM!!!

My friend CrawCraw is one of those people who try as you may, you cannot hate. Guys think she’s a breath of fresh air, girls want to hang out with her and parents wish they gave birth to her.  Every parent bar my mother, The General, that is. The General’s heart overflows with gratitude to God that CrawCraw isn’t her daughter. If she were, she wouldn’t be able to marry her off to my brother G, I mean, that would be incestuous.

CrawCraw and The General get on like a house on fire. She is the only friend I have who calls The General every now and again to check up on her. I would be worried but I know I’m irreplaceable. I may have my issues but it’s not easy to discard a child who even a blind man can tell is yours. That is the only thing I have over CrawCraw and the reason my inheritance remains safe.

 The General is no fool, pikin wey resemble goat no be goat, na pikin. She knows CrawCraw can never be her biological daughter so she is willing to settle for daughter-in-law and has launched a campaign to get CrawCraw and G to the altar.

Over the holidays, CrawCraw was being her usual self entertaining MamaGuy (my nan), my uncle, aunt and The General. MamaGuy asked my aunt ( in Urhobo) who CrawCraw is and she told her. The General, hearing her response, saw a golden opportunity and piped up.

“Waila’s friend? She is G’s wife! CrawCraw you will marry G, won’t you?!”

CrawCraw’s eyes flew open like a window in a hurricane and she won’t admit it but I tell you, those eyes lit up! That was when I clutched the wall for support. Suddenly I started remembering random moments; G’s frequent inquiries about CrawCraw’s welfare, CrawCraw frequent inquiries about G’s welfare, G teasing CrawCraw, CrawCraw pretending she can do without G’s attention. It all made sense!

At first it seemed like a crazy idea but after giving it a second thought, I can see it working. If CrawCraw marries G, I won’t have to worry about getting along with my sister-in-law. CrawCraw is very family orientated so I will be able to spend G’s money without his wife pulling a face like rotten okra. My nieces and nephews would have a decent chance of having hair and there would be someone to teach them that walking around with skin like cracked leather is not a good look…not even on cows.  

G turns 30 today and is by Nigerian standards, a prime candidate for marriage. He comes from a good home, has a good job, is Christian and a credible future candidate for the Nigerian Presidential seat. He is also a British citizen so Downing Street is a plausible alternative, albeit with slimmer financial prospects. Plus let’s not kid ourselves, that red kpali is hella attractive!

So Mina, WILL YOU MARRY HIM?!?!?! It’s his birthday, go on, say yes!

G, you can thank me later.

xxx

Waila

The Abortion Series: The Birthday Girl’s Story

               I love birthdays and when I woke up on the morning of my 19th birthday, I thought it was the best day ever; lots of calls, messages and prayers in the normal African tradition. I decided to miss my A ‘level Physics class, after all, it was my birthday. My boyfriend came over laden with gifts, cards; the works. He planned to take me out so I was really excited. I started to get ready and we got carried away. We had been together for about 4 months and had never slept together. We did everything else but were very careful but that day (my birthday) things got out of hand. He coaxed, loved and cajoled till we were having sex. It was over very quickly and as soon as we were done the reality of what had happened hit me and I knew it, I just knew I was going to be pregnant. Exactly eleven days later I missed my period and it all began.
               I waited a few more days and lo and behold my period still hadn’t come so I bought a pregnancy test kit from boots. I bought 2 actually, just in case one was wrong. I got home, peed on the stick and watched a pink line gradually surface. My heart sank. I tried again, same result. I started panicking. I called my boyfriend and told him. He asked if I was sure, I said yes. He told me to come over. I bought more pee sticks and made my way over, all the while, shaking. It was another physics day so I was happy to skip school, don’t really know why I bothered with the subject, I’d never liked it.
               When I got to his place, we talked quietly in his bedroom (he lived with relatives). I peed on another stick and brought the result to him. Clear as day, I was pregnant. We couldn’t get married, still too young. He was Christian and I, Muslim and both our parents would have killed us. I remember thinking about people who had died from septic abortions but I thought “surely that won’t happen in the UK?!”
               We agreed to have an abortion.
I went to my GP and told him I was pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. He was angry. He’d been my GP from birth, knew my whole family and even advised me on becoming a medical doctor and what subjects to do at A ‘level. He wasn’t happy and managed to make me think the NHS would say no. I was terrified! No one could find out. I got morning sickness and couldn’t eat anything. I thanked God my mum was out of town at the time because she would have known. Well, the letter came through and the NHS said yes.
               It was morning, the day, the day had come. I was really nervous and thought I’d be sick. They didn’t let him come in with me. The procedure was explained, I filled some forms, signed and was wheeled into the theatre. I remember telling the anesthetist to make sure I wasn’t carrying twins because I’d heard a story about someone aborting one child while a second, undiscovered child lived. He smiled, nodded and asked me to count backwards from 10. I woke up a little while later and realised I was back in the ward. It was all over…or so I thought.
               On the outside I was fine but inside of me, the grief was only just beginning. I couldn’t tell anyone, friend or foe. Every time I saw a pregnant woman, I wondered. Every time I saw a single mother I thought her a much better person than I for having the courage to have her child. For years after, I couldn’t have conversations about abortions, couldn’t bring myself to utter the word. It took a few years before I was able to cry and when I did, I cried for hours.
               I have since become a Christian and I’m grateful that God forgives. Forgiving myself however, was the harder bit. I finally got there about 8 years after the event but, till now, I still ask myself ‘what if?’ and ‘how old?’ amongst other things. At the time it was normal to have an abortion but no one told me about the guilt afterwards. I really wish someone had schooled me right.

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This is a non-fictional account of  The Birthday Girl’s experience. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. That you and others would trust me with your stories is incredibly humbling. You are whole my friend; mind, body, soul and spirit.

This is the penultimate story in the series. There’s one more (fictional) to come so please stay tuned!

xxx

Waila

The Abortion Series: Mr Anonymous’ Story

The day started like any other; morning came, met me lazing around and left. Late afternoon met me fed and doing the dishes. Just as I finished, my phone rang. Spotting the callers ID, I groaned. I hadn’t spoken to her in a month and after our last conversation had hoped I’d never again have to. I answered the call and looking back, wish amongst other things, that day had turned out differently.
      “Hey. What’s up?”
      “I’m pregnant and I think it’s yours.”
In one seemingly eternal minute, my mind went back to the first and only night we’d spent together. Our relationship had officially ended two weeks before. She was supposedly a virgin and I hadn’t planned to sleep with her but in 30seconds of madness, I planted life in her.
      I remembered the last time I’d spoken to her. She’d called the day before worried because she’d missed her period and didn’t know what to do. She called that day to say it wasn’t what she’d thought; it was only an infection. I remember freaking out and falling ill, my sickness induced by the thought that I too was infected.
      I remembered why the relationship ended. She’d wanted to get married and I hadn’t, not to her. All the time we were together, I suspected her of cheating. I lied, told her I never wanted to get married and she vowed to change my mind.
      All this I remembered in a minute.
I asked her what next. She said she didn’t know. I told her I wouldn’t support an abortion, she said she wasn’t considering it. 9 months passed, months of arguments, unwavering looks of disappointment from parents and family, months of external pressures on me to marry her. I stuck to my guns, I couldn’t marry her. If the relationship didn’t work out, then marriage most definitely wouldn’t. Marrying the man that got you pregnant for want of a ‘better’ option or marrying a woman for responsibility sake, is erroneous at best. Those months were extremely difficult for me…but considerably more so for her.
      At times I considered encouraging her to terminate the pregnancy but in the end, decided to let God make that decision for us. This may sound crazy but miscarriages happen, people give birth to stillborn children, babies die every day. If the baby wasn’t meant to be, it wouldn’t be. I couldn’t shake the thought that if we had an abortion, we might never again have the chance to be parents. Ever. Being pregnant and unmarried was one mistake. I didn’t want to make another by having an abortion.
      I am single, she is now married and has a daughter in addition to the son we share. A recurring ‘issue’ in my relationships is my son. It’s a massive consideration for any woman looking to spend the rest of her life with me. I’ll be honest, it has crossed my mind how much less complicated my life would be if I’d encouraged her to abort. Yet, however I think about it, it would have been the wrong thing to do.
      I have friends who regret making that decision. They see little kids and can’t escape the question, “what if?” Funny thing is, the same thing happens to me. I see little kids and ask myself, “what if?” For all the regrets I have, the decision to have my son isn’t one of them, for when life presents itself at its most hopeless, hearing him say “I love you daddy” always, always brightens my day.

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This is a factual account of Mr Anonymous’ experience and I’d like to thank him for sharing his story with us. Thanks buddy!

xxx

Waila

The Abortion Series: Adiva’s Story

When you’ve been with someone over 4 years, you probably would have talked about love, marriage and having babies. My boyfriend and I had gone down this path. Sex wasn’t something we frowned upon though we are Catholics that go to church every Sunday, pray the rosary and try to live a sin free life. He always said that our only sin was sex and maybe God understands.

At the start of the year, I had the flu (or so I thought). Like most people, I didn’t go to my GP. I self medicated.  By Valentine’s Day, I knew there was definitely something wrong. We spent our Valentine’s Day in a walk in centre in Bolton. The first thing the GP asked me was “when last did you have your period?” My heart sank. I knew I was pregnant. At this point, my boyfriend was visibly shaken, probably worse than I was because immediately I thought I was pregnant, I had already made up my mind that I wasn’t keeping it.

Flash back to 2 years ago. I had this abortion conversation with my friends and swore with every living cell in my body that I’d never do it. “Over my dead body!” I said… but look how quickly I made the decision once I was in the situation. The GP ran the necessary tests and yes, I was pregnant. Everything else she said was a blur. My boyfriend kept consoling me. He said we’d have the baby and get married later. I was 24, he was 25. We were probably at the right age. Was it the right time? The right circumstance (pregnant before marriage)?  No. I knew my mom would kill me. I quietly rang my GP and made the appointment.

On the appointed date, I woke up early, my boyfriend and I said a prayer, he rang a taxi and we went to the clinic. It was the worst day of my life. They didn’t let my boyfriend in. I was alone. He had to sit in the waiting area for the next 5-6hrs. I filled out paperwork concurring that I was in the right state of mind to kill my unborn baby and had a scan to show that the unborn baby was growing healthily.  The nurse took a sample of my blood and kept asking if I was sure I wanted to do it. I had to see a therapist who explained the series of emotions I might go through after the abortion. I got stripped down to my panties and then they gave me a hospital dress and wheeled me into the theatre. This was the first time I cried. I swear I wasn’t emotional; I was just numb so I don’t understand where the tears came from. I kept asking if I could see my boyfriend, they said no. I prayed again, told God I was sorry but needed him to understand.

Once I was in the theatre, the doctors smiled and told me to stop crying. They’d seen my type so many times. At this point, I was being injected with anaesthetics. I was saying the Hail Mary…and woke up 15mins later in a recovery room, my clothes next to the bed along with a note explaining I might be dizzy but to put on my clothes when I felt ok. A nurse came in later and gave me a glass of orange juice and some biscuits. I dressed up as fast as I could and made my way down to the waiting room. He was there, waiting. He called a taxi, we went back home and both cried for the next hour. We had nothing to say so we cried. He promised to be with me forever, which I know is true but it can never erase what happened. Right now, we live with the guilt that we’ve done something so terrible.   

Apart from the sinful aspect, it is a very scary process. I was shaken and there was nobody to hold my hand or whatever. I kept wondering “what if I die, what will I tell God? Will he forgive me? Can I still go to heaven?”

The whole thing messes with your mind.

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This a non-fictional account of Adiva’s (real name withheld) experience and I would like to thank her for having the courage to share her story with me and the rest of the world. I am beyond honoured my friend.

If you have an experience you would like to share, please email your story to me @ wailacaan@gmail.com and be assured that your identity will be withheld.

xxx

Waila

The Abortion Series

Abortion.

When I was younger and less God conscious, my stance on this was categorical. If I ever found myself pregnant and unmarried, I would quietly pay the doctor a visit and end the matter there and then. I wouldn’t tell anyone so as not to give them the opportunity to try and convince me otherwise…or judge me. No one would know about it, not even the father of the child. Life would carry on and I might feel a little bad initially but I’d get over it.

Now that I’m older, I realise it’s not that simple…mentally, emotionally and physically.

Now that I’m more God conscious, I better understand the spiritual gravity of the action.

Fundamentally, I am anti-abortion but I understand why it’s an option for many.  There are many reasons why people choose to have abortions, some seemingly frivolous and others, arguably justifiable. Nowadays, I’d like to think that if I was ever faced with the option, it wouldn’t be an option but every now and again I stumble on a scenario that makes me question my stance.  I can only pray that if I ever have to make a choice, God helping me, I’ll do right by Him and by association, me.

I’ve been thinking about this incessantly for the last 48hours and have decided to do another series. The first story is in the pipeline and I aim to publish it tomorrow *fingers crossed.* How many stories will make up the series? Will it be a collection of shorts or a sustained piece?  You’ll find out when I do!

Stay tuned!!!

xxx

Waila