Learning to breathe

Archive for the tag “humor”

For The Love of A Country

Our first Nehemiah Project Prayermob meet-up is Saturday this week and I am excited to say the least. When I finally worked up the courage to tell y’all about it, I honestly didn’t think that it would “blow”. I just wanted to make sure I obeyed that one thing He was calling me to do. Not all of us will be missionaries in the North, Uganda or even the Amazon jungle but all of us are called to radical living right where we are. So, right now for me, “radical” looks like praying for my country on the 15th of every month and getting as many people as I can in on it. I can’t tell you that about a million people followed us on Twitter or that NPPM has 2 million likes on Facebook. I’m not even here to talk about stats because they aren’t impressive by any standards. But I’m grateful for that one person that somehow got my phone number and called me for two days straight before I finally found my phone to ask how he could help with the movement. I’m grateful for that one guy that sent me mail offering to help design the logo for NPPM (haven’t heard from him in a while and I hope he’s alright). I’m grateful for the twenty-something comments and the handful of reblogs, the shares, the likes, views. I’m grateful for Twitter followers, retweets, shout-outs. I’m grateful for that one Facebook like because, really, the definition of success has changed for me. A dear friend of mine said, “Success is obedience in that one thing God has called you to do. That, in itself, is success. Forget the Stats.” (Paraphrased)

So I’m here again talking about NPPM so you know what to pray exactly on Saturday. If you started a mob in your neighbourhood and you’re unsure people will show up and you end up being the only one, just go on and pray anyway. You were obedient so you succeeded. And if it so happens that a bunch of guys show up in front of a supermarket (it’s a mob remember) close to your house to pray, go on and do what you came to do. Then if you’re like me and you’ve wondered what to pray for Nigeria in 10 whole minutes, I kinda came up with a loose plan for us to follow:

  • Pray for peace in the North
  • Pray for our leaders (GEJ and his cabinet, governors, etc) and finally
  • Pray for the citizens.
  • Pray each point for 3 minutes then take the last minute to engage and converse with the people that turned up, take a picture together if you can and tweet it at us or put it up on NPPM Facebook wall. with the hashtag #WePrayed or #Iprayed to encourage more people to join the movement then plan where you want the next meet-up to be. It doesn’t have to be the same place. When the last minute is up, disperse like the mob that you are! That was a compliment by the way.
    I’d love if you could spread the word to the ends of the earth and with as many people as you can. If you’ve ever wanted to do something meaningful and eternally significant for your country, this is it. Don’t let the thought that this mob thing is for “spiritual” people stop you from praying. Don’t let the thought that praying together won’t make a difference either. Praying together is way better than whining and doing absolutely nothing. I don’t care what church you attend or what church you don’t attend, come 15th of June put your disqualifications and differences away and just come out to pray for your country. If we don’t care to pray for Nigeria, who will? If you still want to help out with designing a logo for NPPM, do mail me zoe_akin@live.com I’d love to hear from you.

    Don’t forget to save the date June 15th!


    On Giving Twitter Up


    When I shut my Twitter account down on Tuesday, I remember thinking to myself: “My life is over”

    And it was for me. Sometimes it still feels like it is. It’s been five days now and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more disconnected from the rest of the world than I do now. However, guilt for spending hours just poring through my timeline no longer plagues me and feelings of irrelevance and inadequacy no longer torture me when I don’t get new mentions, retweets or favorites. Maybe it’s just the way I’m wired but I think if Twitterverse does not revolve around me then it should not exist…at least not to me. Now that right there is the thought train that sets me up for disappointment.

    Not many people know that my Twitter was shut down and those that do don’t see the sense in it. Heck, sometimes I don’t see the sense in it. I think a lot of things set the stage for this deactivating and shutting down business. First, the guilt for spending so much time online, then this post I read on Kelly Minter’s blog, then this post I read on Living Proof Ministries’ blog, then finally this post on The Verge. By the time you’ve read all those posts you’ll probably want to shut your Twitter down too, spend less time on it or like Paul Miller leave the internet. I’m not in any way saying that Twitter is a bad “place”. I’m saying that Twitter is pretty much a reflection of real life. Sometimes it’s distorted and sometimes it’s accurate. I’m saying that there are some people I have met in real life through Twitter that I wish I had never met and there are those that I wouldn’t trade meeting them for anything in this world. Or the next. I’m saying that Twitter gives people the chance to be what they never got to be in real life: popular, witty, “loved”, and adequate and gives them an illusion of security or a pedestal to showcase their insecurity. Twitter allows you to judge a book by its cover or by its bio. Twitter gives you shrinks, doctors, relationship experts, buddies for what looks like free. All you really have to do is give up your real life for it. Twitter says “Have entertainment and a fun virtual life in exchange for entertainment and fun real life”

    Maybe I have a serious case of lack of self-control here and I just don’t know how to balance real life with virtual life. Maybe I have more problems being present to the things that are happening around me in real life and I’m more alive to the things happening in my phone or my computer. I never want to miss a thing in Twitterville so that when I get with my real life friends we can talk about Twitter and ignore the things that are wrong with us in real life. More than half my conversations are punctuated with “Were you online when…” or “Did you see what Blah retweeted?” or “Why did you tweet this?” and I begin to address people by their Twitter handles instead of their first names. And my level of respect for you is directly proportional to the number of followers you have on Twitter or how many times your depth (or lack of it) gets retweeted into my timeline. And I’d rather have you mention me than have you call me or I’d rather mention you than call you. Looking at it objectively, most of my existence for the last, what, 6 months has been poured into knowing the latest Twitter gist instead of knowing what’s going on with my friends, tweeting to complete strangers about my father instead of calling him up and asking how life is with him, looking out for interesting or witty stuff just so I can tweet about it. It makes me wonder if any of it is really worth it.

    At this moment, I don’t know for sure that I want to delete my Twitter permanently…mostly because I’m scared that I will no longer be relevant than because I don’t want my followers to think that I’m dead. For now, I want to explore real life. I want to find a new coping mechanism, a new stress reliever, a new hobby. I like to try new stuff and maybe this is just a phase for me like Facebook was. But I want to bake cakes with my Aunt Tolu and know what’s going on in her life, I want Kiki to sniff my nail polish, like me and not bark at me so much, I want to have my mind in the room when my dad is talking to me, I want to be actively involved in conversations I have with Peju, Seun, Tobi, Seyi, Dunni, Femi and Dare, I want to experience the good stuff for myself no longer so I can tweet about it. Maybe some moments are meant to be treasured for me and me alone. And maybe some pictures are meant to be taken by me and for me alone not for some three hundred people that will never really know more about me than the fact that I talk too much, like red lipsticks and short boyish hair. Again I’m not saying that Twitter is a bad place and you should pack up, shut your Twitter down and follow me to the Promised Land. I’m saying: live-really live– your real life. Sammy says I might lose friends and contact with people that really care about me so if you’re one of them you can mail me zoe_akin@live.com. I’m not turning into a hermit. I still post journal entries twice a week, I still laugh till I start to cry and my tummy hurts, I’m still in coffee rehab, I still post stories, poems and random stuff here on Learning to Breathe, I still read people’s blog posts, I still work at Aphroden, I still meet up with a bunch of guys Thursday evenings for Bible study, I still swim and I still like Rihanna’s hair. Oh and sadly, I still use a Blackberry.

    Unfortunately, no one is paying me to stay off Twitter and blog about my new experiment (I would have liked that). I just want to explore this side of life so that if I ever decide to come back to Twitter, I can use it and not have it use me. In Jon Foreman’s words, I’m somewhere between who I am and who I could be, between how it is and how it should be.

    Photo credit: http://www.arts.vcu.edu

    Don’t “like” my post

    When I wake up with my mind brimming with ideas for a new story or poem, I hardly ever want to have to get to my laptop to type it out because, well, that would reduce the masterpiece in my mind to a mere article for your reading pleasure or displeasure. But I do it anyway because there’s no way else for you to see what I see in my head. It is not my intention to articulate my thoughts and put them up on the internet for all to see, and then have you “like” my post. No sir, I don’t want you to “like” my post at all.
    I want you to read my thoughts in five hundred and something words then tell me what you think about it. You don’t want to know what it takes out of me to sit down for an hour sometimes more to make my thoughts presentable to you then have you “like” my writing with a smirk on your face or disinterest in your eyes. I don’t want your consolation prize. I want you to read my post. I’m not asking you to like it. I’m not giving you license to hate it. I’m telling you to pick one of the two. There is no fence where my work is concerned. I broke down all the walls so there are just an open field with two groups of people, readers, whatever. Don’t waste five minutes of your life coming to this blog to like a post you didn’t even read till the end. I betcha you didn’t even check the title of this blog. But it’s fine. Just read this post till the end then memorise the title of this blog or something.
    I’m not asking you to go all literature-critic on me especially if you don’t know what that means or entails. Give me your honest opinion, is all I ask and cry for day and night.
    “Ibukun, this post was stupid and was a waste of my time” Fine.
    “I loved this post! The story was beautiful. Kept me guessing till the end. Love love love it!” Sweet.
    Just say something. Try to understand that you cannot take back the minutes you used to read the post so say something honest. Don’t tweet a thumbs-up at me, don’t IM a smile, don’t “like” my post even if you like it. Say you like it in the comment box- if you really do.
    The most difficult part of writing this post for me to accept is someone, somewhere on this planet, will still go ahead and “like” this post.

    So I got nominated for a Liebster

    So I got nominated for a Liebster award. I think I’ve already stressed enough how much I think “Liebster” sounds like exotic European food on Twitter so I won’t do any stressing on here. Y’all should know at this point that food is very very important to me. Like I actually have real-life feelings for food, I get sad when we break up and I watch sloppy movies and cry into my pillow and all that but I digress. I’m s’pose to answer a series of question that Ore (the giver of my award) asked so I can win the food I mean the award. It really hurts that there won’t be money attached to the award, or food even so I’m going to print out this picture and frame it so I can tell my future Dalmatians their mommy is smart and she won a Liebster. So here it goes…

    If you had all the money in the world but still had to have some kind of job, what would you choose to do?

    I’d write short stories and attempt poetry. Then I’d do small concerts (like 100 people max) where I get to sing my experiments to the audience without having stage fright because there are only 100 people in attendance. Then I’d want to model for a boot company. I like them cowboy boots a lot and I think it’s really unfair that the weather in Nigeria won’t let me buy them, much less wear them. So, yeah, I’d like to model for a boot company cos I love boots. I’d have 3 jobs (score!)

    What do you believe stands between you and complete happiness?

    Self, a lot of times. Self sabotages

    What small thing could you do to make someone’s day better?

    Give them one monster hug and refuse to let them go even when they pretend to be dying. It works every time.

    Is the Country you live in really the best for you?

    In all honesty, no. Maybe last year it was the best for me but these days half the time I’m biting my bottom lip wishing I could attend Living Proof Live in Texas, intern at Passion Church (in Texas) sit in Starbucks and write like Angie does (in Tennessee) make snowballs and play with friends in the snow, etc. You get the point.

    What life lesson did you learn the hard way?

    That some people won’t always love me back no matter how hard I try to make them

    Which activities make you lose track of time?

    Swimming, eating, sleeping (duh), blog hopping, tweeting, singing, writing

    What is important enough to go to war over?


    What is the most desirable trait another person can possess?

    An honest-to-God love for God
    Bonus: a ridiculously delightful sense of humour

    What is the simplest truth you can express in words?

    That grace is free and true love exists.

    What are you proudest of in your life?

    My faith

    So the deal is I have to nominate other people for the Liebster thing. Here’s my list:

    Okaima: because she’s a great short story writer and I look up to her and cos she has a ridiculously delightful sense of humour and cos she loves cake and Coke
    Efe: because he’s young enough to be funny, old enough to be wise and man enough to believe in God
    Tomi: because she gets to travel to exotic places and gets to twitpic tulips and I don’t (boo)
    Adora: because she’s got an artistic mind and she thinks black lipstick is crayyy
    Dami: because he made me look at the Creation story differently, more clearly
    Sammy: because he writes pretty well and isn’t afraid to ask questions
    Tokunbo: because he never has time to write on his personal blog
    This interesting (like, salad kind of interesting) collection of people gets to answer my questions *insert evil laugh here*

    What is most important to you right now?
    What is your love language?
    How do you feel about food?
    What’s the one quote you live by and who said it?
    What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
    What do you do when life gives you lemons?
    What/who is God to you?

    Till I have something remotely interesting to blog, later guys!

    Tchink and Eden (Chapter 5)

    “What are you?”

    She smiles as she hauls me out of the liquid “I was expecting a ‘who”?

    “What?” I am puzzled.

    “Who are you?’  Not ‘what are you?”

    What difference does it make? I say to myself.

    I see the stag on the other side of the foreign lake, resting. My heart is no longer beating hard and I take this to mean that I am no longer afraid. I must have left my wits at the bottom of this lake because if I had them about me I would spread my wings and fly far far away from these…things. Yet, there is something about the way this being is fashioned that compels me to stay and study her. I know it’s a ‘her’ because she sounds feminine. Aside from that there isn’t anything feminine about her in the lome sense of the word; she looks nothing like Yovec or Mama Tchaek. Something like a lot of gold colored yarn is sprouting from her head the way grass sprouts from the ground.

    Does she water her head, then?

    Her skin is not pale or even translucent but it glows and is the color of a baby lome’s nose when he is crying. Her eyes are endless depth of blue and they are half the size of my endless depths of black. Amazingly, it does not diminish their beauty; I could stare into her eyes for the rest of my life now that I have lost my wits. She is robed in white like a fresh born lome too.

    Why does she have robes on? Does she have something to hide? Or is she just a large, deformed baby lome?

    Suddenly, I feel naked and a shade of pink creeps into my cheeks when she turns and catches me staring at her.

    “I’m surprised you do not ask questions.” She says as she bends once again, reaching into the strange lake with her left hand.

    “My mother gives me firm knocks on me head when I ask visitors and strangers questions. She says I don’t mind me business”

    She laughs. Her laughter is deep and throaty…bubbling up from her insides.

    “Maybe you do ask a lot of questions then but I can handle your questions. Go on, ask.”

    She still has her left hand beneath the surface and she is still bent uncomfortably, facing the other direction, facing the stag.

    “Who are you? What is your name? Where are you from?”

    “My name is Lysa. You needn’t know where I am from; you wouldn’t understand.”

    “I dinna want to think that you think me to be simple.”

    “No, you’re not simple, Tchink. If you were simple, you wouldn’t be standing here right now.”

    My heart slammed against my chest.

    “How do you know my name?”

    “There are a lot of things that I know, Tchink. For example, I know that you should be meeting your friends at the meadow right now and I also know that you would love some fish.”

    She finally brings her hand out of the liquid and along with her hand, a big wriggly thing. It looks like an over fed slug with big eyes and mouth. She calls it fish and she says that I would like to have some of it but all I want to do is run to the meadow.

    “I would love to get back to my friends now.”

    She smiles again then nods her approval.

    “We have so much to talk about Tchink but you can go meet your friends now.”

    My heart swells with relief and sadness at the same time but I manage to spread my wings and fly.

    I will come back for my wits at a more opportune time.

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