Why you shouldn’t start or end your day with Instagram

“Let me just check Instagram before I sleep.” That’s what I said to myself yesterday night, and I regretted it. In fact, if not for God it would have ended in literal tears.

check instagram
Photo via Giphy

While scrolling, I stumbled on someone’s IG stories. She talked about people in their 30s being unable to have children because they got married “late”. Apparently, some women need medical intervention to get pregnant and the men have poor semen quality because of lifestyle choices etc.

I felt myself start to get anxious and I closed the app. But obviously the damage had been done. My mind started to race. Thoughts like “Does this mean I won’t be able to have kids?” “Which kind of trouble is this?” “Who told me to check Instagram?” filled my head. After a while, I asked myself a simple question: “What can you do about it now?” The answer calmed me. Nothing. There’s nothing I can do about not having kids right now. 

check instagram
Photo via Giphy

Am I willing to shack up with a random guy so I can procreate? No. Do I want to rush and marry someone I don’t like just to have kids? No. There’s nothing I can do right now except wait. I have no guarantees of what the future holds, but let me even get there first instead of trying to cross bridges that haven’t been built. 

READ MORE: Now that you’re all asleep, let me tell you everything that scares me about marriage and motherhood

That’s the problem with social media. It has a way of making molehills into mountains. It makes you feel a false urgency about things that are either out of your control or none of your business. Not to mention that Instagram now wants all of us to dance and organize 15-second fashion shows for engagement. Well done Mr. Algorithm. 

READ MORE: My parents have been married for 37 years, here’s the only lesson you need to learn from them

I’m not saying you should abandon social media, just make sure it’s not controlling your life. Don’t start your day with it. Don’t check Instagram as soon as you wake up. Do something productive first. Pray, meditate or read something inspiring. 

check instagram
Photo: Pexels/Nappy

And definitely don’t end your day with social media. Or else you could find yourself having nightmares about something that might never happen. That’s right, put down the phone and go to sleep. Good night.

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Now that you’re all asleep, let me tell you everything that scares me about marriage and motherhood

I’m writing this at a safe time so nobody can read it and report me to my mother. The woman is praying so hard for me to get married and I’m here on Delilah’s internet spreading contrary vibes. God forgive me. Anyway, let’s get into it. I’m scared of marriage and motherhood.

marriage and motherhood
Photo: RHOA via Giphy

I’m old enough to have seen quite a few of my contemporaries take the leap and while some of it is appealing to me (cue in guilt-free sex), some of it isn’t (calling somebody daddy wa).

Marriage feels like having people in your space forever and never being able to get rid of them. First it’s your husband and then the little human beings you decide to bring into the world. It feels like the final nail in the adulting coffin. 

marriage and motherhood
Photo: Aki and PawPaw via Giphy

When you’re single, you can still spread baby girl vibes but when you’re married, you have to be a grown up for real. There’s no escape. You can’t drink garri for breakfast or eat noodles for dinner. You have to take your folic acid and disinfect bottles. One stupid mistake and you could end up in the hospital with a sick child. Scary stuff.

READ MORE: My parents have been married for 37 years, here’s the only lesson you need to learn from them

Then can we talk about all the changes to your body. My butt is already huge, how will it look when I’m pregnant?! Jesus be a fence! And my cute little nose and my almost flat belly that I’ve been managing all this while. Will I have to tie wrappers and deal with being called “Mummy somebody”? People everywhere are already trying to call me Aunty Jola. I’m not an aunty, I’m just a sweet baby girl.

marriage and motherhood
Photo: RHOA via Giphy

I know I sound vain but nobody ever warns you about this stuff. It’s a big deal and it’s normal to be scared. Okay this was a whole article about me panicking about a future that is bound to happen. I will get married and I will have kids and I’ll love it.

Hopefully I can regain some semblance of normalcy in my life afterwards but seeing as I still stress my mum for grilled chicken at my grand old age, I should probably forget about it. Ah well, c’est la vie. 

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Maybe it’s falling apart so you can build something better

Change is constant, but we as people don’t like it very much. We settle into the familiar and when things don’t go according to plan, we panic. In 2020, I watched helplessly as my well-laid-out plans fell apart. 

fell apart
Photo: Pexels/Markus Winkler

Before then, I’d been sure about everything. I was sure about my career, my church, my decision to stay in Nigeria. Everything was as I intended it to be. So when things began to unravel, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I ran from pillar to post grasping at straws and trying to put everything back in its rightful place. It didn’t work.

Then I gave up trying. And in the silence, it occurred to me that everything was falling apart for a reason. I’d been praying for growth and for the chance to live a richer life. I expected my answers to come in a beautiful package that looked exactly as I wanted it to. Instead, they came disguised as chaos. 

READ MORE: How I got arrested for giving someone my number in church

Sometimes to build a new life, you need to tear apart the old one. A high rise cannot rest on the same foundation that carried a bungalow. New wine cannot be poured into old wineskins. My old life fell apart so that I could have the chance to start afresh and build something better.

fell apart
Photo: Unsplash/Fabian Moller

If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that a lot of my old life was based on what other people told me was right. I built to appease the culture and conform to public opinion. Now that all that has disappeared, I can finally build a life that makes me happy and puts my interests at the centre of it all.

So I’m asking you to look at what’s falling apart in your life and see it as a new beginning. Let it unravel so that you can have a blank page and write a new story. And don’t forget to make yourself the star of this new story. You’ve earned it. 

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A person can look at you like hot Agege bread and still not want to be with you

Romantic relationships can be simple; if a guy likes you, you’ll know. If he doesn’t, you’ll be confused. But they can also be very complicated. So complicated, that it’s dangerous to internalize how somebody treats you, because it’s more likely to be about them than it is about you. 

Photo: Cakes By Gbolahan

I’ve had a man tell me that I’m one of a kind and I knew he meant it. He looked at me like I fell from heaven. Like I was a double chocolate Oreo milkshake. And it wasn’t a sexual thing. I know when a man wants to hook up and when he genuinely likes me. This man looked at me with something akin to awe, and yet he didn’t choose me. He understood how phenomenal I was but it wasn’t enough to make him want to be with me.

READ MORE: 5 Common Lies Women Believe About Men And Love

So I thought I did something wrong. I worried for weeks. Maybe I came on too strong. Maybe I intimidated him with all my talk about Bugattis. Maybe it’s because I’m celibate. My friend has graciously told me that I’m too hot to expect a man to wait for me. Maybe she’s right. 

Photo: OWN via Giphy

The maybes continued until recently. Recently I met another guy who looked at me like hot Agege bread. He told me that my smile was bright enough to make the sun jealous. And that he could listen to me talk all day. He said he couldn’t stop staring at my picture because I was too beautiful for words. 

Yet, the one who can listen to me talk all day never calls me. And right now as I put these words to paper, he has me waiting by my phone for a response to a message he probably read three hours ago. 

Photo: Unsplash/ Chad Madden

So now I know that it’s not me. These men are in agreement that I am an angel walking on earth, but still I’m not what they want. There’s nothing wrong with me, I’m just not what they want. Everybody says Pringles is amazing, but I can’t stand it. No matter how great it is, it’s just not what I want. 

READ MORE: Why women in their 30s lower their standards for love

So I’m done with the maybes. There’s no point. I’m done making assumptions about why people act the way they do. All I know is that I’m awesome but I will not be everybody’s cup of tea. And that’s fine by me. 

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Why women in their 30s lower their standards for love

There’s a running joke I’ve heard that when a woman is in her 20s, she wants a tall, dark and handsome man. However, when she hits 30, she’ll settle for any man at all.

In Nigeria, some men go further by telling girls that if they don’t accept them, they’ll end up on the floor of a church begging God for a husband. I find this joke very distasteful but I won’t even go there today.

lower standards for love
Photo: RHOA via Giphy

Today, I’d like to address this belief that women lower their standards for love when they’re in their 30s. I’m in my 30s, and I know other women who either got married at that age, or are still single. So I can tell you categorically that we don’t lower our standards for love. What happens is that we realize what truly matters in a relationship and we go for that instead.

I remember asking a friend who got divorced what she would’ve done differently, and she told me she would have chosen kindness over looks and money. I’ve been with good looking men who were terrible for my mental health. I’ve dated a man who was rich but didn’t treat me as a priority. I’ve liked men who speak in tongues but are just horrible people. 

READ MORE: 5 Common Lies Women Believe About Men And Love

So I’ve come to realize that going around with a shopping list of what a perfect partner should look like is a recipe for disaster. I don’t care for tall, dark and handsome men who act like the sun rises and sets on their behinds. I ghosted a man who drives a Porsche and lives in Banana Island because he was condescending. 

lower standards for love
Photo: RHOA via Giphy

I’m a grown woman and with God’s help, I’m building a rich and satisfying life for myself. Any man who wants to take this journey with me has to improve my life or else what are we even doing together? Looks are great but since he isn’t Idris Elba, he better have sense to go with that six pack. Money is good but by the grace of God, I’m well able to make my own. 

So can he inspire and stimulate me intellectually? Can he challenge me to grow into the best version of myself? Can he be the wind beneath my wings and still be my anchor? Can we drop all expectations of culture and build a life without limits? Can he be kind to me and be respectful no matter what? Will he refrain from doing anything to jeopardize my purpose? This is who I want my partner to be because this is who I intend to be for him. 

I listened to a speech by Michelle Obama where she said picking a partner should be like selecting a member of a sports team. You want to have Shaq, Kobe and Lebron on your team because the plan is to win. I came to this world to win so I’m choosing a winner to be on my team. That’s what dating in your 30s should look like. 

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Are you an independent woman, or do you just have abandonment issues?

I used to be the driver of the independent woman train. I did everything myself and hated asking for help. I was very proud of my independence and never missed a chance to announce that all I needed in this life of sin was me, myself and I. That changed in 2020. 

independent woman
Photo: Pexels/Markus Winkler

In 2019, I made the decision to move to Abuja. I got an opportunity to work with some people but the details were sketchy and there was no real contract. I knew my family and friends would try to discourage me so I lied like a Yoruba demon till I lost track of which lie I told to who. I was going to Abuja whether they liked it or not.

I can say now that moving to Abuja was a big mistake. I had one trouble after another until I decided to move back home. Turns out my mum knew something was off but because I didn’t really consult her, she let me be. Apparently she had a series of terrifying dreams about my relocation. A close friend of mine was so scared that she and her husband held a prayer meeting for me. 

READ MORE: How I got arrested for giving someone my number in church

Before I left Abuja, I had a conversation with my pastor and mid-sentence he asked me a question that is still ringing in my head. He said “Jola why are you so independent?” He wasn’t criticizing me, but it also wasn’t a compliment. What he was really asking was why I took such major decisions without seeking advice. That question made me realize that I had a problem. My independent woman cover was simply a way of hiding my abandonment issues.

independent woman
Photo: NBC/Brooklyn99

I dug deeper and discovered the exact moment I made the decision to never rely on anyone again. I had just finished Law School and gone through my worst breakup. I felt so alone and my future seemed so uncertain. I didn’t think anyone could understand what I was going through. Instead of dealing with my pain in a healthy way, I decided that I would never put myself in a position to be abandoned again. I became my own saviour, and it worked for a while but not anymore.

In 2020, I saw my independence for what it really was, a trauma response. If I never asked anyone for help, it could never be denied me. If I never relied on anyone, I could never be abandoned again. I was taking those major decisions on my own because I thought I was alone and that I didn’t really matter to anyone. It’s amazing what you’ll find hiding beneath the surface if you ask the right questions and do the work.

Obviously, I’m not knocking independence. Everybody should have a healthy dose of self-reliance. However, you might want to take a good look at your actions and make sure they’re coming from a healthy place. Are you really independent, or are you just afraid that you’ll never get the help you need? 

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My life would be so much easier if I could just like the people who like me

I’ve had my head in the clouds since I was a child. My mum still can’t get over my expensive taste and prissy behaviour. The other day I caught her eyeballing me when I slathered my hands with sanitizer because a vendor opened a packet for me with his teeth. So gross.

Photo: LHHATL via Giphy

Anyway, my taste has also extended to my relationships. It’s not that I need to be with a rich man. It’s just that wealthy men have a certain level of exposure that frees them from the insecurities of the average man. They don’t expect me to hand-wash clothes or pound yam to prove that I’m wife material. They’re also usually better looking because money is the best skincare product. Amen somebody.

Some of my more famous crushes include Omarion, Usher, Shemar Moore, Banky W, Usman Dantata and Paddy Adenuga. I remember my cousin asking me one day where I expected to meet these kinds of men. She had her own ridiculous crushes too but she grew up quickly and settled for someone within her league. Jolaoluwa on the other hand is still dreaming about billionaires and Bugattis.

Monjolaoluwa
Photo: Bugatti

There are men who like me, good men. Well not all of them are good, let me not be dramatic. I know people say you should love the ones who love you and I get that. But it’s easier said than done. They are good men but that doesn’t mean they’re good for me. I’m afraid that if I settle for one of them, it won’t be enough. I’m afraid that one day I’ll wake up and feel like I made a big mistake. I’m afraid of being married to one person and wanting someone else. 

READ MORE: My parents have been married for 37 years, here’s the only lesson you need to learn from them

So here I am, liking people who don’t know I exist. Meanwhile, somebody is crying and begging me to say yes. This life is really a pot of beans. Maybe I’ll follow my cousin’s advice and check out Jewish dating sites. She said and I quote “Don’t wait endlessly in Nigeria my love, no man will marry you there with all you have.” I wonder what it is she thinks I have. 

Photo: Aki and PawPaw via Giphy

In case you were expecting a moral lesson, there’s none in this story. You just read the diary of a rambling Yoruba girl who wishes she could just like the guy who likes her so everybody can get their happy ending. I hope you were entertained. 

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A beginner’s guide to blocking people on social media and loving it

My brother sent me a video recently and in it was a guy announcing that nobody is above blocking. It was a funny video, made even funnier by the actor’s decision to film beside  a refuse dump. When I was done laughing, I gave some thought to how much easier my life has become since I started blocking people. 

Some people think blocking is immature and that’s okay. Show me the queue for collecting the immaturity award and I’ll join it with pride. My peace of mind is non-negotiable and if I need to eject people out of my life to protect it, I shall do so without remorse. 

Anyway, this post isn’t about me. It’s for those of you who desire to understand the art of blocking and how to use it to set yourselves free. Who should you block? When should you block them? How shall the blocking be effected? Read on to find out.

Who to block

The first person I blocked on social media was someone who criticized my work and basically asked me “who do you think you are to tell people what to do?” Constructive feedback is great, but after she made that comment, I couldn’t get her voice out of my head. 

blocking on social media
Photo: SpongeBob SquarePants via Giphy

Whenever I wanted to write or create a video, I’d hear her mocking me and get anxious about how she’d react when she saw my post. Then I’d adjust whatever I was doing so there’d be less for her to criticize. The problem with this was that she tampered with my creative freedom. 

Also, the joker could run her mouth but she never created anything. Plus she wasn’t God so what gave her the right to block my creativity? I knew it was time to block her. It didn’t feel good at first but eventually I stopped hearing her voice in my head and I knew I’d done the right thing.

So who should you block? Anyone who wants to play God over your life. Anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself. Anyone who poisons your atmosphere and makes you afraid to step out boldly. Oh and also worthy of blocking are people who ghost you and still have the audacity to check your stories and status. Block them abeg. Such nonsense on these streets. 

When to block

I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, but you can’t exactly call someone and say “I want to block you o, what do you think?” So this should obviously be a personal decision. If you decide that a person’s words or actions are detrimental to your well-being, it’s time for them to be blocked. If the person can’t be trusted with access to your personal space, block away. 

blocking on social media
Photo: via Giphy

You can mute people or hide your posts from them. You can also unfollow them and remove them as your followers. I block people when I want to keep them from having access to me. I don’t want to see them, hear them or smell them. It’s not that I hate them or can’t forgive them. I’ve just decided that the burden of relating with them is too heavy for me to bear. So I hand them over to Jesus and he gives me rest. It takes a while for me to get to this point but the blockee usually deserves it. 

How to block

Some people deserve to be blocked gracefully while some need to be blocked anyhow. Graceful blocking is when you only block someone on your main platform. Anyhow blocking is when you block the person on every possible means of communication, email included

I’ve only blocked two people anyhow in my entire life. One was a guy who was engaged but kept sending me “I miss you” messages in the middle of the night. When I told him to stop, he insinuated that I was the one who had a problem. So mo sha ni blocking, obviously. If you want to know about the second person, leave me a comment and I’ll give you the full gist. 

blocking on social media
Photo: via Giphy

Don’t be afraid to use the block button. The unfortunate thing about social media is that it makes people believe they have the right to control your life. People make comments about you like they gave birth to you or died for you on the cross of Calvary. The block button is how you remind them that they are not God. Use it sparingly, but make sure you enjoy the peace of mind it brings. 

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Trouble is a global cake, everybody’s gonna get a slice

When bad things happen to us, our first instinct is to ask why me? This is because our emotions try to tell us that everyone else has it easier. I know I sometimes look at people and think “I wonder how it feels to be that lucky.”

Photo: Unsplash/Caitlyn de Wild

In my seasons of discomfort, I tend to buy into the idea that my pain is unique. That nobody else in the world is quite as unfortunate. In reality however, we’re all going through something. Those who aren’t feeling any pain at this moment will eventually go through their own time of stretching. It’s part of the human experience, we can’t really avoid it.

Over the past year, with the pandemic and celebrities talking about their battles with depression, it’s become clear to me that we will all have to deal with challenges at one point or the other. Wealth doesn’t exempt us and neither does fame. In fact, those two factors seem to predispose people to a unique brand of trouble.

I’ve listened to stories of pain from people who are dealing with crushing loneliness and cried tears with couples who have lost children or are having trouble getting pregnant. I am buckling under the weight of my own troubles and those of the people that I love.

Photo: Unsplash/Fabian Moller

I generally try to be positive and say that tomorrow will be a better day. But this is not that kind of post. I don’t know if tomorrow will be better. I hope it will be, but right now I don’t even know how it could be.

This post is a “you’re not alone” kind of post. You weren’t specially selected for suffering. You haven’t done anything wrong. You’re just human and as the earth revolves, it brings us both pleasure and pain. It’s a package deal and we have no choice but to accept it. C’est la vie. 

I told my boss to get lost and other unconventional career lessons

I’m not a person who cusses. I believe that cussing shows a lack of creativity. I’m not judging, it’s just my opinion. However, a few years ago I told my supervisor at work to f**k off. I said it in public and I had no remorse. Obviously, I’m on the path of inner peace now, so I wouldn’t do it again. 

Photo: Pexels/Jonathan Meyer

The interesting thing about that encounter is that I didn’t get fired. In fact, my CEO was amused when he was told because he knew it was out of character for me. We had a meeting to discuss it and I could see he was trying hard not to laugh. I was gently told not to cuss my supervisor out again and the meeting was adjourned. 

Unfortunately, the supervisor in question was so petty that he made my life miserable until I eventually resigned. The lesson in all this? Obviously number one is don’t tell your boss to f**k off. You can stand up for yourself but be smart about it. Don’t give bullies ammunition to use against you. 

Number two is be so good at your job that you don’t lose it over small mistakes. In fact, be so hard to replace that even your big mistakes are forgiven. I stayed at the company two more years after my outburst and even when I was leaving, the CEO was sad to see me go. If you’re going to do a job, then you might as well be great at it. Again being good at your job is not an excuse to be rude. Please don’t tell your boss to f**k off. LOL.

Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

Finally, always find the time to network and build relationships while you’re working. Don’t bury your head in your duties and become a robot. Your next opportunity will probably come from someone you meet on the job. It might be because you’re good at what you do, but it will probably be because they like you

Don’t try to go it alone. Forget that crap about eagles flying alone so they can fly higher. You’re not an eagle, you’re a person and people aren’t meant to live in isolation. Improve your skills and value people. If you can do both these things well, you’re very likely to win.