Life In An Album I: Spice Girl's Wannabe

“Why do you like the Spice Girls so much?”  I turned and looked at my father, who was driving our family’s gray Peugeot station wagon. Ever since we had moved to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, evening drives with him were one of my favorite things to do. Abuja was still a relatively new city at the time, with vast expanses of undeveloped land and mostly traffic-free streets. Sometimes we drove to the rich Minister’s Hill neighborhood, populated by top government officials, to take turns picking out our favorite mansions. Other times, we drove to a busy street not too far from our home, to buy little treats from street hawkers like fresh sugar canes and roasted corn. The hills that surround the entire city—visible even through the thick dust and fog of the harmattan season—always gave me a sense of calm. I don’t remember where we were going that day, but I remember studying my father’s face to see if he was still upset with me. You see, it was 1997, I was ten years old, and the Spice Girls were always getting me in trouble.

My Troubles With God V

Jesus walked the earth during an era when women had little to no rights, and were at the very bottom of society’s hierarchy. Yet, Jesus consistently defied the status quo when it came to women. In his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, theologian Walter Wink notes that Jesus violated the cultural norms of His time in every single encounter with women recorded in the four Gospels. Let’s unpack some of these encounters…

As Told By Downton Abbey: A Brief History Of Women’s Rights

Downton Abbey was a mini women’s history course for me. Throughout the series, I was fascinated by how far women have come, but also reminded of how far we have to go. While I am sad to see the show end, I am grateful for every one-line zinger it gave me, and for every scene that took me to school. From birth control to fashion, here are 7 times Downton Abbey had me taking notes about women’s rights:

The term “dark night of the soul” comes from a poem written by 16th century Roman Catholic Saint, John of the Cross. In contemporary culture, the term has come to mean a spiritual crisis and/or a profound absence of light and hope. During the two years following my father’s death, I went through the motions of Christianity—attending church, mouthing amen to prayers and reading my Bible—but there was much confusion, cynicism and disillusionment within. My soul was living through its darkest night.   

Thirteen years ago today, my mother knocked on my bedroom door around midnight, and I told her to come in. For some reason though, my door was stuck, and my uncle had to break down the door before my mother could come in. As soon as my mother sat on my bed, I knew what she was going to say. I knew that my father had passed away, after a two-year battle with brain cancer.

Fairness had always mattered to me as a child. I was about 9 or 10 when I drafted a constitution and submitted it to my parents, because I felt we could use more justice in our household. Once, to convince my parents about something, I recruited my younger sister to help me make placards and stage a peaceful protest in our living room. I was the child that constantly asked “why” about everything. I needed rationale, long before I knew what the word meant. This is why so much of what I saw (and didn’t see) written about women in the Torah troubled me. Little of it seemed reasonable or fair.

5 Lessons Serena Williams Has Taught Me About Friendship

While reading the Sports Illustrated’s feature article on Williams though, it was not her approach to sportsmanship that caught my eye, but her approach to friendship. In particular, her relationship with Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, struck a nerve. Without further ado, here are 5 lessons about friendship I gleaned from Serena Williams’s Sports Illustrated feature:

Memoirs Of A Naijamerican Bride VI: I Am Not Just My Mrs.

In the months leading up to my wedding, I got a lot of varied advice. One of things someone told me: “Once you get married, you need to put your dreams on hold and focus on your husband and your children. When your children are grown up, you can focus on your career aspirations again.”  Another thing I have heard: “Being a wife and a mother are a woman’s highest calling.” There are so many problematic notions in these statements that unpacking them all would take a much higher word count than this blog permits. But let’s unpack a few.

YouTube videos are my background noise of choice when I am getting dressed, cooking, cleaning, and dare I admit —procrastinating. I’ve learned make-up techniques, how to cook new dishes, workout routines, and even how to fix electronics from YouTube University. But mostly, I simply get a good laugh. If you barely have the time or attention span to watch a full TV show or a movie, or simply just need a bite-sized dose of escapism, here are 5 of my favorite YouTubers (in no particular order):

Memoirs of a Naijamerican Bride V: I Contain Multitudes: On Identity & Traditions

When a Nigerian asks another Nigerian “Where are you from?”— A very specific answer is sought. In Nigeria, a person is from the state and tribe his/her father is from, which turns on the state and tribe his/her father’s father is from, and so on and so forth. This is in contrast to some Western cultures like America, where a person can be  “from” a variety of places, including where the person was born, has lived the longest, has a valid driver’s license, owns property, etc.

Is Linda Ikeji A Good Role Model?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you’re not Nigerian, you’ve probably heard about Linda Ikeji’s mansion. In the event that you fall under any of the aforementioned categories, I’ll bring you up to speed:  Linda Ikeji, a Nigerian self-proclaimed gossip blogger, recently bought a mansion reportedly worth ₦600 million. Her mansion is located in Lagos’ exclusive Banana Island, where her neighbors include Forbes listed billionaires like Mike Adenuga and Sayyu Dantata. When pictures of the mansion were released, ‘Nigerian Twitter’ was ablaze with comments declaring Linda Ikeji an inspiration for Nigerian women and youth. But is Linda Ikeji really a good role model? 

Memoirs of a Naijamerican Bride IV: A Prayer For Badly Behaved Women

On my wedding day, I was making a public statement about private feelings, and it was important to me to be able to show up at least once in my element. Coming to my reception as me, allowed me to enjoy my reception as me. I was sparkly and sweaty. I jumped and danced and laughed. My make-up bled and my curls fled. I probably broke all the rules of well-behaved brides, and I had a heck of a time doing it. In fact, when I reflect on my life, some of my happiest moments have been the times when I was bold enough to enter and leave situations as myself. In a world that constantly prescribes who and how a woman should be, being ones self can be an act of activism.

Memoirs of a Naijamerican Bride III: A Doubt Stained Love Story (Or: How I Dealt With Premarital Anxiety)

What if we shined light on the cracks more often? What if our descriptions of our journeys are the maps that those behind us desperately need? And no, I am not suggesting that we gather all our dirty laundry and air them in the market place. But as discretion guides us, can we at least put our clean laundry out in the sun? Can we acknowledge that the clean clothing we dress our tales in, once had dirt that came out in a rinse?