Beautiful people, I have a confession to make.
The obvious is that I can’t speak Yoruba. Now, the occasional trendy pidgin phrases like “Ko le work” and “Naija no dey carry last” has slipped out of my mouth a few times, along with the basics like “Ekaaro” and “Omi” to name a few. But when I need to reply in Yoruba to the JJC (Johnny Just Come) who is wittily trying to test my Yoruba aptitude for baseless comparisons, I freeze up and the words get stuck in my throat. I mean, I can understand what they’re saying, for the most part, except that Ondo dialect that no one really understands except Ondonites, but to give an eloquent reply like a learned Nigerian is a challenge.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen friends or friends of friends getting married to supposed men of their dreams only to be abandoned after their husband’s permanent residency is established. Not only have I seen it, but I almost became a victim.
I was introduced to a Nigerian guy who was living in the UK with a student visa that was expiring. He had no desire to move back to Nigeria. We conversed over the phone for about 6 months until I decided it was time to meet in person. When I got to the UK, ladies, he was a different person. He told me he wanted to marry me and had already arranged for a court ceremony (which wasn’t possible, because neither of us were British citizens) without meeting my parents. I refused. That’s when the trouble started. He was hostile, verbally abusive and condescending. I had never been with a man where I feared my safety. As soon as, I got back to the States, I broke our courtship off, especially since another woman called me confessing that she was with him the entire time and he told her he was using me to get his papers. Ladies, that was a frightening and confusing time for me. But I’m sharing my story so that others won’t go down the same path. Through the ordeal, I learned a few lessons that I hope you learn to.
If you’re young Nigerian and fly without a man, chances are people are trying to introduce you to someone every other week. I’m I lying? I get it, marriage is an accomplishment to most and our parents and aunties want to brag about that too. They have our best interest in mind. But to a certain extent, you wonder whether they really know you when you meet some of these men. I’ve been there and trying to diplomatically escape from those situations are not easy. But I’ve learned a thing or two about human interaction that might be beneficial. However, it’s a process. Learning the art of politely rejecting people, so that they truly understand that you’re not interested (and not playing hard to get) is an art I’m still trying to master. Here are some common scenarios that may arise. It always helps to be prepared.
From threading to braids, Nigerian women aren’t afraid to experiment with their hair. We have been consistently adding attachments and weaves to adorn our beloved crowns. Gone are the days that a TWA (that’s Teeny Weeny Afro) meant you were on your way to boarding school or being punished for remotely enticing a boy with your hair just by letting the wind catch a strand. Now, a modern group of Nigerian Naturalistas are in the front of the hair class, giving us the inspiration to Big Chop and start over, proudly wearing our natural coils without shame. Here are a few noted Nigerians leading the way to help us embrace our beauty, naturally.
Beautiful people. When you work hard for something and you begin to see the fruition of your labor, it’s a good feeling. One of my goals for this year, was to expand my platform. I wanted to start contributing to other platforms to extend the knowledge and information I express here to others who may not already be in my network. I’ve done that by contributing to STYLVO, a lifestyle, beauty and fashion content platform for African millennials. What I didn’t perceive, so soon at least, was that my post would be featured on one of the highest rated Nigerian blogs, Bella Naija. This small victory is a testament to those that are working hard behind the scenes waiting for your work to be validated. I say, keep working, soon the seeds that you are sowing will yield bountiful fruit.
Here is the intro to my published post.
Vintage image of my mom in her 20’s
Growing up, I didn’t care too much about style, hair or anything super girly. My attitude was a nuisance to my very feminine mom. I would forget to put on my earrings, or chose to wear pants over a skirt, or preferred to wear baby powder over scented body sprays. One time, I remembered being so bored during one of my mom’s weekend shopping excursions at Bloomingdales, that I stood in the middle of the Eileen Fisher department and started dancing to the music piped through the intercom at my mother’s dismay just cajole her to leave. The only mission I accomplished was a sharp stare and a verbal warning of punishment when I got home.
Years later, I became that feminine woman. A woman inspired by my mom. I eventually worked at the same Bloomingdales as a Visual Merchandising Intern in the Marketing Department. It’s funny where life takes us; depending on the seeds that were sown. Watching my mom cultivate her signature style over the years gave me a blueprint for my own.