THROUGH OUR EYES

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."




Hello!

I hope this warms your heart like it did mine. I would love to tell you the author, but they might hit me when next I see them and I'm not in the business or running anymore (If you know, you know.)  As I read it, I looked myself in the eye and reminded my reflection to stay true to the truth that has defined her,  to never compromise , to exist unapologetically, and to say a big thank you to Jesus for the people who helped me along this journey, who often pulled me out of my self -created hole, affirmed the truth of my identity, and not the harsh words I spoke about myself. . What I also personally appreciate about the piece, is that I think certain aspects of it apply to different relationships you may have in your life now . Thus, I hope it will help you mourn, let go and embrace your alone - ness  in the way that it helped my friend. 

Side note from our beloved anonymous poet: Like Bolaji's video up there, you can send her a video to pass on to me that details your own reaction to my poetry. 
Disclaimer : Does not represent my views on whichever subjects you may pull from the piece. 

ENJOYYY. (You're not allowed to like their poetry more than mine by the way. I would never live it down) Jokes, jokes, all just jokes. 

...   ...  ...

I met a man once...
A king
who taught me poetry.
He didn’t teach me to read it or write it,
I didn’t learn it on purpose;
He taught me poetry in his manner of speaking,
his touching, his being.
Our love was a love so sweet that it rescued me,
offered me a lifeline when I was drowning.
In fact I had already made peace in my abyss of despair;
was so accustomed to it
I couldn’t tell that that was what it was...
Despair.
I had let it wrap me and hold me;
I clung to it the way he clung to me,
like I was precious and fragile,
worth more than any finery you could name,
like a tattered coat that was all he had to protect him from the cold.


I protected the despair the way he protected me.


Like his life depended on it, like I was the only treasure he had known, without expectation or condition, only that I would respect his heart and let it beat eternally.
My breathless pauses only bear witness to his magnificence.
His honesty humbled me.
His hugs embarrassed me,
but his love tugged at me,
showed me someone else when I looked in the mirror,
gave me the courage to see someone worth loving, worth keeping, worth living.


I loved him as much as I knew how to.
But amidst my despair I knew it wasn’t enough.
It was enough to keep him, but not enough to love him.
Having been loved so selflessly, I knew I had a ways to go
And as I healed slowly and answered his love,
I saw that I could not return it. Not honestly, not in the way he deserved, not yet.
He had allowed me to lean on him for too long.
I had relished in it, relied on it, stood firm in the strength of the words he spoke to me
The sweet sweet melody of it,
The knowledge of its certainty.
But one day I had to learn to walk
I needed to have the courage to find my feet without him.
To breathe apart from him.


Maybe one day when we’re both old and grey and carrying our canes
we will meet and our love might continue on another line of the beautiful poetry he taught me.
Then I will know that my heart is true.
Our anthology will be written exclusively for the theatre within our ribs
scribbled words and muffled sentences
echoes of the people we were and have become.
For such a time as this.
But until then,
My feet deserve a chance to learn their own rhythm
To move synchronously in tongues only they can hear.


So while my heart still occasionally answers to his poetry
Writes the words on its curves
And beats a little faster when a memory skips across the recesses of my mind
My feet will acclimate to a new tune;
A tune that inspires new words that tug at my heart ,
words that send love into the atmosphere like they were once spoken to my soul ,
words that imprint themselves on my fine lines and edifices,
words that rescue like the poetry I once knew.

Anonymous


Until next time,
Your loving big sis(LOL)
Omobolaji Ebubechukwu Olalere.

...




Hello!

I hope this warms your heart like it did mine. I would love to tell you the author, but they might hit me when next I see them and I'm not in the business or running anymore (If you know, you know.)  As I read it, I looked myself in the eye and reminded my reflection to stay true to the truth that has defined her,  to never compromise , to exist unapologetically, and to say a big thank you to Jesus for the people who helped me along this journey, who often pulled me out of my self -created hole, affirmed the truth of my identity, and not the harsh words I spoke about myself. . What I also personally appreciate about the piece, is that I think certain aspects of it apply to different relationships you may have in your life now . Thus, I hope it will help you mourn, let go and embrace your alone - ness  in the way that it helped my friend. 

Side note from our beloved anonymous poet: Like Bolaji's video up there, you can send her a video to pass on to me that details your own reaction to my poetry. 
Disclaimer : Does not represent my views on whichever subjects you may pull from the piece. 

ENJOYYY. (You're not allowed to like their poetry more than mine by the way. I would never live it down) Jokes, jokes, all just jokes. 

...   ...  ...

I met a man once...
A king
who taught me poetry.
He didn’t teach me to read it or write it,
I didn’t learn it on purpose;
He taught me poetry in his manner of speaking,
his touching, his being.
Our love was a love so sweet that it rescued me,
offered me a lifeline when I was drowning.
In fact I had already made peace in my abyss of despair;
was so accustomed to it
I couldn’t tell that that was what it was...
Despair.
I had let it wrap me and hold me;
I clung to it the way he clung to me,
like I was precious and fragile,
worth more than any finery you could name,
like a tattered coat that was all he had to protect him from the cold.


I protected the despair the way he protected me.


Like his life depended on it, like I was the only treasure he had known, without expectation or condition, only that I would respect his heart and let it beat eternally.
My breathless pauses only bear witness to his magnificence.
His honesty humbled me.
His hugs embarrassed me,
but his love tugged at me,
showed me someone else when I looked in the mirror,
gave me the courage to see someone worth loving, worth keeping, worth living.


I loved him as much as I knew how to.
But amidst my despair I knew it wasn’t enough.
It was enough to keep him, but not enough to love him.
Having been loved so selflessly, I knew I had a ways to go
And as I healed slowly and answered his love,
I saw that I could not return it. Not honestly, not in the way he deserved, not yet.
He had allowed me to lean on him for too long.
I had relished in it, relied on it, stood firm in the strength of the words he spoke to me
The sweet sweet melody of it,
The knowledge of its certainty.
But one day I had to learn to walk
I needed to have the courage to find my feet without him.
To breathe apart from him.


Maybe one day when we’re both old and grey and carrying our canes
we will meet and our love might continue on another line of the beautiful poetry he taught me.
Then I will know that my heart is true.
Our anthology will be written exclusively for the theatre within our ribs
scribbled words and muffled sentences
echoes of the people we were and have become.
For such a time as this.
But until then,
My feet deserve a chance to learn their own rhythm
To move synchronously in tongues only they can hear.


So while my heart still occasionally answers to his poetry
Writes the words on its curves
And beats a little faster when a memory skips across the recesses of my mind
My feet will acclimate to a new tune;
A tune that inspires new words that tug at my heart ,
words that send love into the atmosphere like they were once spoken to my soul ,
words that imprint themselves on my fine lines and edifices,
words that rescue like the poetry I once knew.

Anonymous


Until next time,
Your loving big sis(LOL)
Omobolaji Ebubechukwu Olalere.
Good morning guys,

Breathe in (take a big gulp of air and hold it) Breathe out( exhale) . Remember, you've got this, and God has got you.
I don't know what life has taken you through today, this week or this year even. Don't forget to breathe.
Today, I'm teaching a short lesson in empathy. Stay tuned. <3

I recently wrote a short story and the reaction to it if I'm being 100%, was totally unprecedented. People were worried about me, worried about my family, praying for me, concerned about my influences, and so on. In some cases, the conversation even escalated to taking the story down. ( To summarise, it's a story that explores the mind of a child who is being sexually assaulted by someone who she has been taught to revere and to respect.) The reactions have me slightly worried, I admit. I know it's a lot to swallow, but is discomfort enough reason to ignore a story? To shelf it where no one can see it?

I don't think so.

It's a real story. It may not be mine, it may not be a story that I heard from a friend, but it is a real story.

Therefore, it matters.

I'm talking about it today because I think there are a lot of social issues  in the world that we sweep under the rug because they make us uncomfortable (me included) or we don't personally know the people affected. This is concerning to me because sometimes it means that we debate the difficulty of people's lives in an 'intellectual' way that denies people of their humanity; of their right to be hurt. We rationalise their pain and tell them 'it's not okay to be angry, or hurt or confused' because our disconnect is such that we don't consider how this actually affects a person. In some cases, we ignore the story altogether; we'd rather believe that it didn't happen at all. We do this to others because we've practiced it with ourselves. Unfortunately, ignoring a wound doesn't stop it's healing process(at least on the outside), it just means there will be infections.

As a child I used to do the same and admittedly, I am still unlearning. I was often called a 'strong woman' and my peers meant that both physically and emotionally (at least I think so). In my first year of high school, I arm wrestled with 'THE STRONG BOYS' and I won and once you added that to the mix of all my other interactions, I was 'A VERY STRONG WOMAN'. I'm using caps for emphasis, so please don't run away. I'm not screaming, but yeah; it was what it was. At the time, I also thought it was cool to not feel pain in general, so if I got injured or I was hurt by someone, my manifesto was not to display pain because it would show the people who meant harm, exactly where to target. With time, I began to view people who did display hurt and pain as inferior in the sense that I thought they were just making a fuss; it couldn't possibly hurt that bad; they just wanted sympathy.

In retrospect, I see that I had taught myself to hide and while I am still learning everyday how to be vulnerable with myself at least, I see how a thought process that began with 'keeping myself strong' extended to my perception of others. I would tell them sorry, but I didn't really mean it and the lack of intention matters.  I see a lot of us do that now, more covertly and under the guise of 'sorries', 'it will be well' and sometimes even 'I'm praying for you'. None of the statements are without power or intention innately; it's that the people who said them were merely offering platitudes ; no action intended. We're okay with offering these half -hearted apologies too because we think the receivers will 'get over it', just as we have had to.

Well, I have news for you.

The fact that a system (or what people would call 'life') functions a certain way is not enough justification for it to continue. We cannot normalise infections as though there is no way to remove them and heal properly, both internally and externally.

We may not have the power to change every single issue in the world, but you can start helping by asking yourself how you contribute to them. Be intentional about what you say, consume, watch, read, think and how they each manifest in your treatment of others. Think about the ways you dehumanise, objectify and water down the existence of other living beings. And also think about the ways you don't do any of the aforementioned. Remember the ways you love yourself and others. Those are useful memories, to ground you in the knowledge that you're learning.

So, if there's someone you know who is hurt or hurting,( even if that person is you)  who has experienced a pain you do not understand, I encourage you to listen and not to dismiss the story because it's not yours or your sister's. Really sit and listen. Healthy Healing only happens when we create the space for each other to feel. So create that space for yourself today and extend it to someone tomorrow.  I promise it helps.

If you would like to read my short story, it's over here.

Until next time,
Please breathe.

Ebube

BREATHE

Good morning guys,

Breathe in (take a big gulp of air and hold it) Breathe out( exhale) . Remember, you've got this, and God has got you.
I don't know what life has taken you through today, this week or this year even. Don't forget to breathe.
Today, I'm teaching a short lesson in empathy. Stay tuned. <3

I recently wrote a short story and the reaction to it if I'm being 100%, was totally unprecedented. People were worried about me, worried about my family, praying for me, concerned about my influences, and so on. In some cases, the conversation even escalated to taking the story down. ( To summarise, it's a story that explores the mind of a child who is being sexually assaulted by someone who she has been taught to revere and to respect.) The reactions have me slightly worried, I admit. I know it's a lot to swallow, but is discomfort enough reason to ignore a story? To shelf it where no one can see it?

I don't think so.

It's a real story. It may not be mine, it may not be a story that I heard from a friend, but it is a real story.

Therefore, it matters.

I'm talking about it today because I think there are a lot of social issues  in the world that we sweep under the rug because they make us uncomfortable (me included) or we don't personally know the people affected. This is concerning to me because sometimes it means that we debate the difficulty of people's lives in an 'intellectual' way that denies people of their humanity; of their right to be hurt. We rationalise their pain and tell them 'it's not okay to be angry, or hurt or confused' because our disconnect is such that we don't consider how this actually affects a person. In some cases, we ignore the story altogether; we'd rather believe that it didn't happen at all. We do this to others because we've practiced it with ourselves. Unfortunately, ignoring a wound doesn't stop it's healing process(at least on the outside), it just means there will be infections.

As a child I used to do the same and admittedly, I am still unlearning. I was often called a 'strong woman' and my peers meant that both physically and emotionally (at least I think so). In my first year of high school, I arm wrestled with 'THE STRONG BOYS' and I won and once you added that to the mix of all my other interactions, I was 'A VERY STRONG WOMAN'. I'm using caps for emphasis, so please don't run away. I'm not screaming, but yeah; it was what it was. At the time, I also thought it was cool to not feel pain in general, so if I got injured or I was hurt by someone, my manifesto was not to display pain because it would show the people who meant harm, exactly where to target. With time, I began to view people who did display hurt and pain as inferior in the sense that I thought they were just making a fuss; it couldn't possibly hurt that bad; they just wanted sympathy.

In retrospect, I see that I had taught myself to hide and while I am still learning everyday how to be vulnerable with myself at least, I see how a thought process that began with 'keeping myself strong' extended to my perception of others. I would tell them sorry, but I didn't really mean it and the lack of intention matters.  I see a lot of us do that now, more covertly and under the guise of 'sorries', 'it will be well' and sometimes even 'I'm praying for you'. None of the statements are without power or intention innately; it's that the people who said them were merely offering platitudes ; no action intended. We're okay with offering these half -hearted apologies too because we think the receivers will 'get over it', just as we have had to.

Well, I have news for you.

The fact that a system (or what people would call 'life') functions a certain way is not enough justification for it to continue. We cannot normalise infections as though there is no way to remove them and heal properly, both internally and externally.

We may not have the power to change every single issue in the world, but you can start helping by asking yourself how you contribute to them. Be intentional about what you say, consume, watch, read, think and how they each manifest in your treatment of others. Think about the ways you dehumanise, objectify and water down the existence of other living beings. And also think about the ways you don't do any of the aforementioned. Remember the ways you love yourself and others. Those are useful memories, to ground you in the knowledge that you're learning.

So, if there's someone you know who is hurt or hurting,( even if that person is you)  who has experienced a pain you do not understand, I encourage you to listen and not to dismiss the story because it's not yours or your sister's. Really sit and listen. Healthy Healing only happens when we create the space for each other to feel. So create that space for yourself today and extend it to someone tomorrow.  I promise it helps.

If you would like to read my short story, it's over here.

Until next time,
Please breathe.

Ebube




Hello!
I'll get right into it because we all know I'm reputed to go on and on :) I've accepted it with grace. I've spoken about this more times than I care to count, but the truth is that it's always relevant because we're always learning how to love people. 
The first thing about love that changed my life really is that it is a decision. You constantly have to hold yourself accountable to love people. Why? You might ask. The simple reason is that loving people is difficult. The more complex answer though is that the people we love inevitably disappoint us sometimes and that's normal and typically unintentional. We change, and our expectations change and our feelings change and while it's at your discretion of course to make new friends and love new people, sometimes it's not the relationship that needs to change, but rather conversations need to be had. A wise man, (Dharius Daniels) once said that many relationships don't live through certain seasons because the people did not adjust to accommodate each other during it. 

An example I often like to give is when someone loses a loved one. I've never lost a loved one myself, so I wont pretend to understand the depth of grief that one may experience during this. However, I can and will speak as a friend. Now, grief manifests in different ways. Some people get really angry, really sad, withdraw, etc. Moreover, the three things I mentioned are not mutually exclusive. Grieving people tend to experience all three at different stages if not at the same time. In my experience, that means that the person needs space and other times they need affection. It all varies, but the point is that their needs change and thus, my role as a friend inevitably changes. This of course is also something that I don't mind doing because the foundation of this relationship is love. I know that I am loved by this person and I have no doubt that were it I who was in this situation, my friend would not hesitate to do same. The principle here though is that people change and not all changes equate to dissolution of a relationship. Sometimes, we all just need some understanding. 

What happens though when it's not like that? When the people we try to love do not love us, or respect us or show any semblance of affection? What do we do? I admit, I really struggle with this one sometimes, but ultimately I am resolved that the best use of my energy is to love. I am resolved because I want to attract loving people, and I can only do that by building the right patterns of behaviour that make me attractive to other loving people. I hope that makes sense, but I have learnt that I need to embody what I desire to attract. Of course, life isn't that simple and sometimes we attract the right people and then some...but loving people like to be loved too; therefore I'm teaching myself to be a loving person, no matter the circumstance, or provocation. That doesn't mean become a punching bag, but I shall delve into that some other time. There's a lot to unpack and I hope I got you thinking today. 



Till next time, 
Bolaji. 

The Love Diaries - Episode 2





Hello!
I'll get right into it because we all know I'm reputed to go on and on :) I've accepted it with grace. I've spoken about this more times than I care to count, but the truth is that it's always relevant because we're always learning how to love people. 
The first thing about love that changed my life really is that it is a decision. You constantly have to hold yourself accountable to love people. Why? You might ask. The simple reason is that loving people is difficult. The more complex answer though is that the people we love inevitably disappoint us sometimes and that's normal and typically unintentional. We change, and our expectations change and our feelings change and while it's at your discretion of course to make new friends and love new people, sometimes it's not the relationship that needs to change, but rather conversations need to be had. A wise man, (Dharius Daniels) once said that many relationships don't live through certain seasons because the people did not adjust to accommodate each other during it. 

An example I often like to give is when someone loses a loved one. I've never lost a loved one myself, so I wont pretend to understand the depth of grief that one may experience during this. However, I can and will speak as a friend. Now, grief manifests in different ways. Some people get really angry, really sad, withdraw, etc. Moreover, the three things I mentioned are not mutually exclusive. Grieving people tend to experience all three at different stages if not at the same time. In my experience, that means that the person needs space and other times they need affection. It all varies, but the point is that their needs change and thus, my role as a friend inevitably changes. This of course is also something that I don't mind doing because the foundation of this relationship is love. I know that I am loved by this person and I have no doubt that were it I who was in this situation, my friend would not hesitate to do same. The principle here though is that people change and not all changes equate to dissolution of a relationship. Sometimes, we all just need some understanding. 

What happens though when it's not like that? When the people we try to love do not love us, or respect us or show any semblance of affection? What do we do? I admit, I really struggle with this one sometimes, but ultimately I am resolved that the best use of my energy is to love. I am resolved because I want to attract loving people, and I can only do that by building the right patterns of behaviour that make me attractive to other loving people. I hope that makes sense, but I have learnt that I need to embody what I desire to attract. Of course, life isn't that simple and sometimes we attract the right people and then some...but loving people like to be loved too; therefore I'm teaching myself to be a loving person, no matter the circumstance, or provocation. That doesn't mean become a punching bag, but I shall delve into that some other time. There's a lot to unpack and I hope I got you thinking today. 



Till next time, 
Bolaji. 

Hello everyone,
My heart is so heavy and perhaps some of you can relate and maybe some cannot. 2020 has been a trying year. It has pushed all my buttons, yanked at them actually, looked me in the face and then dared me to react. My heart is constantly flickering between hope and fear, worry and excitement...It's all just been a lot. I think it's in light of this, that this post seems so necessary because we're human and we feel things. I can certainly speak for myself in saying that I feel deeply and the words I've come across in discourse with others and as an instagram spy who just across both give me hope and dishearten me.
With that said, what does self -care mean to me?
Self -care means the intentional decision taken by oneself to honour their temple (their body). It isn't self -preservation or shying away from the conversations, actions, that are needed for holistic development. It is also not self -serving and to the detriment of others around them. For me, it is a decision to grow because you acknowledge the significance and value of your growth on your community. I digress, but I do think that we don't think enough about the assets we are to our communities. And please don't get me wrong, I'm not implying that you should spend your time in people -bondage, making all your decisions around who is pleased with you and who isn't. What I do believe however, is the intrinsic value of community. It's powerful and the intent is not to hurt but to grow together.
Therefore, self - care in my immediate context for instance means that I sleep well. My official reason is that I'm not a nice person when I haven't slept well (which is true), but beyond that, I'm just not a very good student, friend, classmate, sister, daughter, etc. when I haven't had enough sleep. Even though I do think that I have value without the recognition of the various roles I play in my life, I am aware that sleep plays a large role in ensuring that I am my best self for me. So, I make sure I get 6 hours of sleep, at least. Ideally it's 8 -9 hours (fight me LOL), but 6 hours is the threshold. Anything less, and I'm kind of a monster. I'm much more prone to arguments, to getting easily angry, and so on and so forth.

Eating well, and exercise of course follow after this. I exercise for instance just because it makes me feel good about my body. The body aches after make me feel like I've done something and my mental state is just so much better once I do. It's a fantastic way for me to release pent -up anger, sexual frustration, etc, etc. #Thespiritoflustcanneverprevail
I also really really like food, so I've surrendered myself to a lifetime of hardcore workouts because we tryna keep it healthy over here.


Another way that has gathered attention lately in light of the happenings in the world is avoiding social  media, or rather rationing your daily intake. For me, this was a no -brainer. I don't like stress and my Instagram was making me stressed. And even while I was off the gram, I was engaging in the discourse around racism, keeping ourselves safe from the virus and checking in with my loved ones. I understood that I personally am not my best self when I consume that daily every waking second. Why? Because I was becoming consumed by hatred, which as far as I'm concerned doesn't help me and doesn't help the people around me. For others, who consider themselves social media activists though, it might be difference. Sometimes, it seems like we don't have a choice. In that context, rationing the amount of social media might be a better option, and reflecting on how the posts you've seen make you feel. Check in with yourself and be honest about the real impact of what you're consuming. People often think that vulnerability and checking in with yourself are too much of a hassle and compare it sometimes to bricks tumbling down as though they are unraveling. The truth is, they're right. But I'd much rather the unsteady bricks fell off and were rebuilt with strong ones, than the inevitable crumbling when there's too much internal or external pressure.

It's also important to note that when you treat yourself better, you're better able to make rational decisions because your mind is healthy. For me, this is also important because I want to be well aware of the decisions I'm making, the friends I'm adopting, the community I am intentionally building. Being your best self makes you attractive to other people being their best selves. Isn't it lovely to know that commitment and discipline love community? On the flip side, when my mind is not at its best, I'm more susceptible to deadweight relationships, looking for attention anywhere it can be found, emotional crutches, and just mean people in general. Commit to yourself. It pays off.

This is quickly becoming an essay, so I'll stop here, but I think above all other things that are necessary during this time, I think we owe it to ourselves to be honest. Treat yourself right. Cultivate a habit of listening to your body, its smells, its strength, its feelings and learn to treat it accordingly. Try meditation, exercise, wholefoods, the whole shebang and treat your temple like the beautiful masterpiece it is. You owe it to yourself first, but in doing so, you're unwittingly a blessing to everyone else around you.

Till next time,
I love you still.


Bolaji.

Self - Care in 2020


Hello everyone,
My heart is so heavy and perhaps some of you can relate and maybe some cannot. 2020 has been a trying year. It has pushed all my buttons, yanked at them actually, looked me in the face and then dared me to react. My heart is constantly flickering between hope and fear, worry and excitement...It's all just been a lot. I think it's in light of this, that this post seems so necessary because we're human and we feel things. I can certainly speak for myself in saying that I feel deeply and the words I've come across in discourse with others and as an instagram spy who just across both give me hope and dishearten me.
With that said, what does self -care mean to me?
Self -care means the intentional decision taken by oneself to honour their temple (their body). It isn't self -preservation or shying away from the conversations, actions, that are needed for holistic development. It is also not self -serving and to the detriment of others around them. For me, it is a decision to grow because you acknowledge the significance and value of your growth on your community. I digress, but I do think that we don't think enough about the assets we are to our communities. And please don't get me wrong, I'm not implying that you should spend your time in people -bondage, making all your decisions around who is pleased with you and who isn't. What I do believe however, is the intrinsic value of community. It's powerful and the intent is not to hurt but to grow together.
Therefore, self - care in my immediate context for instance means that I sleep well. My official reason is that I'm not a nice person when I haven't slept well (which is true), but beyond that, I'm just not a very good student, friend, classmate, sister, daughter, etc. when I haven't had enough sleep. Even though I do think that I have value without the recognition of the various roles I play in my life, I am aware that sleep plays a large role in ensuring that I am my best self for me. So, I make sure I get 6 hours of sleep, at least. Ideally it's 8 -9 hours (fight me LOL), but 6 hours is the threshold. Anything less, and I'm kind of a monster. I'm much more prone to arguments, to getting easily angry, and so on and so forth.

Eating well, and exercise of course follow after this. I exercise for instance just because it makes me feel good about my body. The body aches after make me feel like I've done something and my mental state is just so much better once I do. It's a fantastic way for me to release pent -up anger, sexual frustration, etc, etc. #Thespiritoflustcanneverprevail
I also really really like food, so I've surrendered myself to a lifetime of hardcore workouts because we tryna keep it healthy over here.


Another way that has gathered attention lately in light of the happenings in the world is avoiding social  media, or rather rationing your daily intake. For me, this was a no -brainer. I don't like stress and my Instagram was making me stressed. And even while I was off the gram, I was engaging in the discourse around racism, keeping ourselves safe from the virus and checking in with my loved ones. I understood that I personally am not my best self when I consume that daily every waking second. Why? Because I was becoming consumed by hatred, which as far as I'm concerned doesn't help me and doesn't help the people around me. For others, who consider themselves social media activists though, it might be difference. Sometimes, it seems like we don't have a choice. In that context, rationing the amount of social media might be a better option, and reflecting on how the posts you've seen make you feel. Check in with yourself and be honest about the real impact of what you're consuming. People often think that vulnerability and checking in with yourself are too much of a hassle and compare it sometimes to bricks tumbling down as though they are unraveling. The truth is, they're right. But I'd much rather the unsteady bricks fell off and were rebuilt with strong ones, than the inevitable crumbling when there's too much internal or external pressure.

It's also important to note that when you treat yourself better, you're better able to make rational decisions because your mind is healthy. For me, this is also important because I want to be well aware of the decisions I'm making, the friends I'm adopting, the community I am intentionally building. Being your best self makes you attractive to other people being their best selves. Isn't it lovely to know that commitment and discipline love community? On the flip side, when my mind is not at its best, I'm more susceptible to deadweight relationships, looking for attention anywhere it can be found, emotional crutches, and just mean people in general. Commit to yourself. It pays off.

This is quickly becoming an essay, so I'll stop here, but I think above all other things that are necessary during this time, I think we owe it to ourselves to be honest. Treat yourself right. Cultivate a habit of listening to your body, its smells, its strength, its feelings and learn to treat it accordingly. Try meditation, exercise, wholefoods, the whole shebang and treat your temple like the beautiful masterpiece it is. You owe it to yourself first, but in doing so, you're unwittingly a blessing to everyone else around you.

Till next time,
I love you still.


Bolaji.

                                           Sending some poetry your way. Much love!


I am African in a way that doesn’t demand attention…yet
That doesn’t call you to order…yet
I was born here and I’m proud to be part of the place I call here- home
It’s my journey from bottled up rage to self- discovery 

As an African, I constantly question who I am and what my responsibilities entail
Do I define them or is my blackness  the coat of disprivilege I’m forced to wear
Who am I really? outside of their perception of me?

I don’t like to be the victim in the story,
But the oppressor is not a position I would favor either
My story is forever tainted by their insecurity and consequent domination

However, no matter how history unfolded,

I’m proud because we fought back
But still, I’m sure you can understand that I don’t appreciate being the victim in the story.

If blackness is defined by you who are white,
I find it difficult to subscribe to a label tha2t is defined by your oppression
That identity is premised on the privilege you intended to establish and for that reason, I rebel against it subliminally.

You get to call me impoverished, dis privileged, dirty, uncivilized, backwards, and now, colonization is a badge I wear on my chest.
And that gets to be the yoke I carry around and call my identity?
Nah.

I believe in black excellence, black love, black lives,

But it’s difficult to ignore the history of that identity

The way you may profile me for my colour

Criminalise my locs

Condescendingly patronize me and my experience

Perpetuate a culture of ingraining inferiority complexes in a people whose only crime was to be blessed with skin that don’t crack

And then turn around and tell me, ‘I don’t see racism’

I must say selective blindness is a new affliction that I am yet to have the patience to find the cure for.

A festering sore, a thorn in my flesh, a dagger straight to the heart that constantly chips away at my desire to love.

If I could define my identity in an alternate universe where my people rallied together to fight our fight against the corruption and the west did not characterize all that is ‘good’ and ‘favorable’ in the world,
I wouldn’t be black.
I wouldn’t be colored either 
If you defined it, I don’t want it.
The rules of consent should definitely apply.

If my legacy forever relies on the goodwill of the people who felt burdened enough to
Come ‘down’ to Africa,

I’m afraid that history becomes a little untrustworthy because it is told only from your side of the story.

I must just ask, ‘Who decided the west? Or the north? Because last I checked the globe is a sphere. But maybe it’s just me.

Indeed of our many conflicts, we agree that my continent is beautiful. Even if all you’ve ever seen are giraffes, lions and palm trees.

But I don’t need your validation
Or representation in your magazines
To be aware of this particular truth
I will assume it is why you abused me
Because I was too beautiful
Too tantalizing, succulent, and desirable.
My thunder thighs and lush vegetation excited you
I distracted you and thus it must be my fault that you violated me.

I long for the days when I am free of you.

Omobolaji Olalere


Who Am I?


                                           Sending some poetry your way. Much love!


I am African in a way that doesn’t demand attention…yet
That doesn’t call you to order…yet
I was born here and I’m proud to be part of the place I call here- home
It’s my journey from bottled up rage to self- discovery 

As an African, I constantly question who I am and what my responsibilities entail
Do I define them or is my blackness  the coat of disprivilege I’m forced to wear
Who am I really? outside of their perception of me?

I don’t like to be the victim in the story,
But the oppressor is not a position I would favor either
My story is forever tainted by their insecurity and consequent domination

However, no matter how history unfolded,

I’m proud because we fought back
But still, I’m sure you can understand that I don’t appreciate being the victim in the story.

If blackness is defined by you who are white,
I find it difficult to subscribe to a label tha2t is defined by your oppression
That identity is premised on the privilege you intended to establish and for that reason, I rebel against it subliminally.

You get to call me impoverished, dis privileged, dirty, uncivilized, backwards, and now, colonization is a badge I wear on my chest.
And that gets to be the yoke I carry around and call my identity?
Nah.

I believe in black excellence, black love, black lives,

But it’s difficult to ignore the history of that identity

The way you may profile me for my colour

Criminalise my locs

Condescendingly patronize me and my experience

Perpetuate a culture of ingraining inferiority complexes in a people whose only crime was to be blessed with skin that don’t crack

And then turn around and tell me, ‘I don’t see racism’

I must say selective blindness is a new affliction that I am yet to have the patience to find the cure for.

A festering sore, a thorn in my flesh, a dagger straight to the heart that constantly chips away at my desire to love.

If I could define my identity in an alternate universe where my people rallied together to fight our fight against the corruption and the west did not characterize all that is ‘good’ and ‘favorable’ in the world,
I wouldn’t be black.
I wouldn’t be colored either 
If you defined it, I don’t want it.
The rules of consent should definitely apply.

If my legacy forever relies on the goodwill of the people who felt burdened enough to
Come ‘down’ to Africa,

I’m afraid that history becomes a little untrustworthy because it is told only from your side of the story.

I must just ask, ‘Who decided the west? Or the north? Because last I checked the globe is a sphere. But maybe it’s just me.

Indeed of our many conflicts, we agree that my continent is beautiful. Even if all you’ve ever seen are giraffes, lions and palm trees.

But I don’t need your validation
Or representation in your magazines
To be aware of this particular truth
I will assume it is why you abused me
Because I was too beautiful
Too tantalizing, succulent, and desirable.
My thunder thighs and lush vegetation excited you
I distracted you and thus it must be my fault that you violated me.

I long for the days when I am free of you.

Omobolaji Olalere


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