Tuesday, 8 July 2014


For some of us, the end of one year is a promise of something better and for some others, it presents the continuation of the same series of problems with no end in sight. Alright before I start waxing philosophical, our focus is relationships.
Every woman worth her salt knows that It's possible to love a guy so much that your breath stops every time you clap eyes on him;and every time he smiles at you, you get a little breathless. Well here are some of the things you could be doing which seem right but which in truth are pushing him that much further away:

1. Buying him expensive gifts
Yes it's very tempting to shower gifts on the man you love; I don't blame you, it's the mothering instinct in all of us but the result is, they make him feel indebted and in the long run, he starts to go out of his way to show you that he does not owe you a farthing. Are you seeing where I'm going with this? Men are perverse creatures: their egos often get in the way of a lot of things. He may know you mean well, but soon he will start to feel like a kept man, and unless he is a closet gigolo, you may be sure he will soon start to secretly resent you and your gifts because human nature being what it is, gratitude often starts to feel like a noose.

2. Changing to please a guy
One word; DON'T! Most men will try to tell you they prefer this or that in a woman and you can't really blame them because in the end, they are only human and everyone has preferences but changing yourself to please a guy is its own suicide. My point is, if being exactly yourself does not appeal to someone, then whatever you do will be very much like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole; you will end up bruised and miserable. If you don't suit him, trust me there is someone else out there who does, and vice versa. Of course if  he merely wants you to stop being a fishwife, then that's productive and you should really consider it because it's a bad habit he wants you to stop; but if he decides he wants to turn you into a timid, demure stepford wife, when you have the temperament of a true sanguine, then you might want to run for the hills!

3. Sex
Ah, a sensitive topic! Men by their very nature, will always try to have sex with you, but the truth is, whenever you give in to their incessant demands, they are disappointed on some level. Now don't get me wrong, this is not a condemnation for those who are not virgins, I am simply saying, keep it in your pants as much as possible! Studies have shown that sometimes the heightened anticipation that comes from not indulging in a more intimate relationship can strengthen the bond between a couple more than anything else. Oh and when there is a shiny diamond on your finger, you might want to keep it wrapped up much less.

4. Giving up your life for him.
I have never been too certain why some women believe that their lives start and end with a man. It's unfortunately very easy to bask in the aura of love and let the rest of live slide by;well don't! Having dreams and goals, pursuing them and achieving them make you a better, more satisfied and happier person and ultimately make you a better partner! So yes, by living your own life you are actually doing him a favour.

5. Being too available
Yes I know that if you had a nickel for every time you have heard this one, you would be as rich as Croesus; but have you stopped to think that if it wasn't true, you wouldn't hear so much of it? This is really a lot like number four above; you have to take care of every facet of your life rather than dump everything down a drain whilst you wait with bated breath for crumbs of attention from your lover If you love someone, it's natural to always want to see them and be with them. Well in truth, even if you are leg-shackled to a person, you don't always have to be available.Try as much as possible to keep busy and also have a healthy social and work life; in fact, it's good for your relationship if you aren't always on top of each other ____ no pun intended!

Sherina Okoye

Thursday, 27 March 2014


Most men worth their salt would do just about anything to keep from sharing their woman, but when she does cheat, the emotional anguish alone from trying to understand why, can be very devastating. For most men, it’s a thing of macho pride to be able to cheat and get away with it, but interestingly, when these same men are confronted with their own spouse or partner cheating, they have a completely different outlook. Well here are a few reasons women cheat:

1.      YOU CHEATED 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
Alright so two wrongs don’t make a right, but in the world of relationships, logic rarely has a leg to stand on coz it’s emotions galore. Yes, Casanova was a man, but that does not necessarily mean you have to prove your masculinity by chasing everything in skirts. Every time I hear the expression “It’s in a man’s nature to cheat,” I know for a fact that I’m talking to a boy. Cheating is the surest way to hurt your woman and drive her away; and while she may pick up the pieces and stitch her broken heart back together, she may never truly forgive you.  Even if she does forgive your cheating ass, you may be sure you have lost something you would never get back... her unconditional love.  I mean, it does put quite a strain on love when you have trust issues doesn’t it?

Remember those high school games where you liked a girl and still made her feel as though she wasn’t very special because in some twisted way treating her badly was supposed to keep her hooked? Well here’s an advice: high school was a movie! In real life, women want romance, flowers and nauseatingly intimate messages. She may deny it, but a woman always loves to know that she is your priority; her and no one else. Every woman wants to know that her man thinks she’s all that and I assure you if you do that, she would place the world at your feet. So if you are the type to dangle her on a thread of uncertainty whilst seemingly keeping a co-worker in your breast pocket and your friendly secretary in your back-pocket, you may be sure that you will lose her to someone else. You may think to impress your hommies with how macho you are and how much you don’t need her. In truth though, while you think ignoring her is cool, someone else doesn’t and he will be right behind you to make sure she knows that.

Okay if the thought of beating a hapless woman blue and black doesn’t make you a little queasy, then the jury is still out on your sanity. Not to belabour the point though, if you are in the habit of yelling at your significant other, you may be sure that someone else would be waiting in the wings to pamper her and dry her tears every time you make her cry. This is not idle talk mind, I did a survey right here in the office and 8 out of every 10 woman admitted that every single time they had a terrible row with their husband or partner, that very day, some other guy stepped out of the blue and indicated interest. Weird but true. Probably the unconscious damsel in distress vibes, huh? Food for thought!

Newsflash; men aren’t the only attention-hogs. In fact, women, more than men, thrive on it. Do you remember watching your dad and that annoying little sister whom everyone knew was his favourite? What was it that made her daddy’s little girl with a vast preference for daddy over mummy who after-all, carried her for nine months? Attention. If your woman has to practically beg for yours, you are doing something very wrong.  In fact, most women resort to harmless flirting with other guys to get the attention of the one person they love because they hope that if you think you have a rival for her affections, you would pay more attention. Unfortunately for both of you, flirting may lead to something more, and whose fault would that be when it comes down to it?

No, men are not the only ones who like to hold onto their youth as long as possible. Unfortunately, when you have been in a relationship for a while, most people tend to think it’s okay to drift into passive romance. Well that’s one of the most common reasons women cheat; to feel that vibe again. Please tell me you already know that as much as men love to chase, WOMEN LOVE TO BE CHASED!!! So here’s a clue; don’t toss dating outta the window just cause you have been married for ten years. Even if you have to grit your teeth when the check comes, take her out to dinner now and then.

Of course some women may cheat because like their cheating male counterparts, they merely have the morals of alley-cats but more often than not, a decent woman may fall off her pedestal if you push her hard enough. So now you know what to avoid.

Sunday, 23 February 2014


I think at this point we all know that a destructive relationship is one where the other person does everything from kill your favourite pet to make you lie to the people you love to protect him/her; whatever your definition, it's not a walk in the park!
Now the truth about destructive relationships is that they give new meaning to the expression; “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. I mean you may intend with all your heart to come out of them but more often than not, you need a little help on the how to.
So just in case you have battling with how to kick that person to the curb without doing irreparable damage to your already vulnerable heart in the process, here are a few clues:

1.  Acknowledge you have a problem and end it in your mind.
As with most addictions, the first step is the acknowledgement and then the decision to stop. Yes I can almost see you cringe at the word ‘addiction’ but in truth, a destructive relationship is about as addictive as they come because even though you know it’s bad for you, you find it hard to stop. So whether you think of it as habit, addiction or just situation, the key to the best part of the rest of your life is simply to decide firmly in your mind that it’s over and even go the extra mile of telling yourself why it can no longer work. Yes, you can’t possibly go wrong with an honest-to-goodness list, unless of course they see it before you have fully gotten your mind made up and firm; in which case they would simply tear down your less-than-effective barricades and force their way deeper into your heart.

2  Get a real friend and talk to the person about it
Whoever said ‘a problem shared is a problem half-solved’ certainly knew what they were talking about. As bad as your situation may seem, there must be that one friend somewhere who would listen to you and encourage you without judging and without so much as an ‘I told you so.’ This is one of those times when you need a good friend; someone to remind you that you are special, desirable, and wonderful and that you are not going to end up a lonely old person with cats for company just because you decided to end this abusive relationship. Get someone who will convince you that you deserve better and that they are going to stand by you until you get out of this mess you have made of your life. Of course, if you are one of the unlucky few who have no such friends, you can still end it, you just need to draw on every ounce of your personal strength; and then some!

3.     Plan what you will say.
 This is one of those times when spontaneity may not be your friend because while you are twiddling your thumbs and running it through your mind trying to think of a good reason they can’t argue with, they will burst into tears, or give you ‘the look’ and all your good intentions will go flying out of the window as you fall back into their arms right back where you started. Of course you know that with every failed attempt you make, the harder it becomes to break free and the more manipulative they will become.

4. Avoid emotion.
It may make sense to cry to show them that this isn’t an easy decision you took but you will only be hurting yourself because any emotion you display at this time will be used against you in the battle for your freedom. And no, you are not being Mirandized! Look at it this way; assume you burst into tears and tell them how wonderful they are, how crushed you are by your decision, and how hard it is to leave them; what do you think their natural reaction would be? He/she would say, “Then don’t leave me” or in some extreme case, even go so far as to threaten suicide and then like a good prison warden, your partner would close off that escape route and tighten the leash even more.

5.  Mode of delivery.
Most things about a relationship are better done in person and otherwise may seem tacky but where you are in genuine fear for your life because you partner is likely to resort to physical abuse, you may have to join countless of faceless others in writing the infamous ‘Dear John’ letter. In the alternative, if you just have to face them down, then you could simply arrange to meet and discuss in a very public place and even take a friend along with you for good measure. Oh and by the way, if you live with this person then the last thing you want is a shouting match while you are lugging trolleys in both hands so be sure to have gotten your things the hell out of Dodge (literally) before you pop the... well, decision.

6.   Don’t look back.
Memories can be very tricky. Let’s face it, as horrible as they were to you, your significant other certainly had their redeeming qualities. There must have been something absolutely charming about them and it could be everything from their smile to how they tease you to how they pamper you. But when you do make up your mind to use the nearest exit, actually do use the nearest exit and don’t look back for one last tender gaze! Yes and at this point, it would definitely be a good idea to lose their number (yes even though the digits are branded into your brain) and if possible, get a new number of your own.

I hope this works for you and hey, if you try all these, they will definitely work; so see you on the other side of your freedom and feel free to share on your social media coz you never know who might be out there needing to hear someone say it can be done!

Sunday, 16 February 2014


I once watched a man kick his wife's stomach from here to Sunday because his dinner had gone cold; and get this, she was four months pregnant at the time! Talk about a destructive relationship huh? Of course she lost the baby, a lot of blood, and her ability to ever have kids again. Long story short, the twerp subsequently divorced her and went for another woman who was 'fertile' conveniently forgetting that he was the reason his first wife could no longer have kids. Happily, the second woman bore four children while married to him and it turned out none of them were his. Karma rocks!!! :)

The problem with destructive relationships is that the clues are not always so obvious. Of course physical abuse is such an obvious sign that it virtually elicits a duh so it really does not count. The thing you have to understand about destructive relationships is that most times, the very things you think are sweet and romantic are actually the signs you should have been looking out for in the first place. Here are a few:

1. They always want you all to themselves.
Yes when a partner always wants to get you alone 24/7 and never share your attention with anyone at all, it's tempting to be flattered and very easy to get swept up in it and assume that they are possessive because they are crazy about you and can't bear to share you; most times, you would be right. But in the end, you are isolated from everyone; family and friends drop away and soon, that partner becomes the center of your universe and, you are virtually at their mercy because you become socially awkward and completely dependent on them for fun and conversation. It's underhanded, manipulative and very effective because hey, no man is really an island.

2. They make you work for their attention.
There can be no possible excuse for this one. If you are in a relationship where you have to work for crumbs of attention, you might want to get out as fast as you can because you are headed down a dangerous path otherwise. Take a look at the statistics, most people who commit or attempt suicide do that because of unrequited love. Now if you have to keep chasing after someone you are in a relationship with, chances are you end up feeling frustrated, your self-esteem suffers, and just when you are trying to catch your breath from all that running around after them,you realize that you have decided to settle for how badly they treat you; or worse, you become convinced that you don't deserve better.

3. They receive; you give.
Yes I understand the absolute joy that sweeps over you when you give your heart-throb a gift and watch his/her face light up. But when you are always the one doing the giving, materially, emotionally and otherwise, you might want to reconsider that relationship. Of course if you choose to continue along that path, you will give until you have nothing else left. Now for some of us, nothing about always being the giver suggests a destructive relationship but in truth, these are hoops you unwittingly jump through in the name of love and the fact is the more hoops you jump through, the more they place in front of you just for the fun of it.

4. They point out your flaws and make fun of you.
Frankly I think it's a no-brainer. Why would someone who professes to love you want to make you feel anything but good about yourself? Don't get me wrong, in healthy relationships, you may poke gentle fun at each other and tease the socks off each other; that's great and hilarious. But if say you are sensitive about your weight and your significant other baldly informs you in front of a roomful of people that your ass is the size of two pigs in a sack, I don't think you need me to tell you to get the hell outta Dodge!

5. They guilt or manipulate you into doing something you had rather not.
 Like I said, not every destructive relationship comes with the obvious signs coz not every devil wears a horn and carries a pitchfork! A spouse may appear weak, vulnerable and weepy but in truth, they are playing you like a fiddle. You may decide to end the relationship and they turn on the waterworks; you may say you don't have money for a big vacation and they sulk and pout and list every time they made sacrifices for your ungrateful hide; you may decide you want your mother to come for Thanksgiving and they issue an ultimatum: "It's me or your mum! Choose!"

An abusive partner may generally use threats, intimidation, blame games, act like you are crazy or paranoid, and do all of the above and even more, but unfortunately, most times, the problem is not knowing you are in a destructive relationship, but knowing how to get out of it.

Feel free to look out for our next post on how to get out of a destructive relationship with your sanity and body parts intact! :)

Sunday, 23 June 2013


I quivered a little with fright as the somewhat chubby black woman marched determinedly towards me. It was 1955 and in case you have not guessed, I was a chair in the Montgomery bus. Like my forebears, we disdained bus-seats that were reserved for the people some referred to as ‘blacks’ with disdain in their voices as though they had smelled something rotten. So you may well imagine my indignation, fright, and humiliation when the bus driver took the bus in for an upholstery over the weekend and ordered the men at the garage to reupholster just the nine seats in front of me, and switch me to the row behind the seat that had been behind me, because I was ‘somewhat worn and not as cushy as I used to be’.
The next day, I was naturally shame-faced and quiet all the way to the bus-station, and tried to pretend I could not hear the gloating of the other seats. I knew what would happen as soon as we got to the station: the seats in front of me would be occupied by the Whites, and I would get the Blacks no one wanted. So when I saw a black woman marching towards me, I quailed a little. Why did my mother and grandmother before her hate to be occupied by blacks? Did they have needles or sharp objects on their behinds that could hurt us? Well either way, I was going to find out now, I thought in exasperation as she gingerly lowered herself onto me.
I waited a beat, tensed in terror, aware of the other seats eyeing me with ill-concealed glee ¾ they would giggle aloud if they didn’t think it might scare the passengers. After a second, I realised the bus was already in motion and I had not felt any pain. In fact, if I closed my eyes, I couldn’t tell the difference!
Just as I was heaving a sigh of relief and settling in to a quiet, uneventful journey, a rough voice yelled from the front of the bus; “Hey, seat number 11, everyone on that seat vacate it please. This nice gentleman needs your seat”.
I looked up to see the gentleman; he was ‘white’ and rubbing his grimy hands together with satisfaction. At the sight, I recoiled. If there was one thing I could not abide, it wasn’t Black people, it wasn’t dirty people, it was people who looked like they might fart while sitting on me, and this man had the shifty look of one of such persons.
Then just as I had once more resigned myself to my fate, I noticed that the lady sitting on me, relaxed even more, refusing to budge. I had heard of stories like that, but I thought it was a myth. I tried to poke her a little to urge her to stand up, but that just seemed to make her more comfortable because she sort of wriggled deeper into my worn leather before announcing in a no-nonsense voice, “I am comfortable right here Driver, thank you”.
The driver, or what little of him I could see from my vantage point, turned so red I was afraid he was going to have a small stroke. Then with veins jutting out from his neck, he announced frigidly, in the coldest voice possible, “Ma├ím, perhaps you did not understand me?” He managed to make ‘ma’am’ sound like an insult.
The woman glared right back and her own voice this time, far surpassed his in frigidity, “I understood you very well my good man. But unless I mistake the matter, you want me to stand up so that my fellow human being may sit, for the mere reason that you believe that the colour of my skin makes me somehow inferior and therefore, unworthy to sit even though I came on this bus before him.”
The entire bus erupted in a cacophony of excited noise as people began to understand what was happening. The woman rotated her hips in a kind of weird dance that pushed her further still into my cushions and announced, “I will not give up my seat for this man! If he were ill or old or feeble, that would be a different thing, but he is healthy as a horse and only wants to take my seat because he thinks I don’t deserve to sit while he stands even though I got here first!”
These last words created even more commotion as even the other seats and passengers excitedly talked over each other. In about 15 minutes, when it was obvious that she wouldn’t give up her seat, she was arrested and taken away on charges of ‘violating the laws of segregation’ whatever that was.
I was sorry to see her go, because carrying her for those few minutes made me realise that the so-called blacks and whites were all just human beings with the same bodies, beliefs and ideologies. They may have different skin colour, but they all had the same red blood!
When I get home that night, I learnt from my mother that the woman’s name was Rosa Parks and that she was an ‘activist’, whatever that meant. The next week, I heard she had been convicted and then, she appealed against her conviction. Her actions gave birth to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the most effective non-violent revolutions. It in turn led to the repeal of that segregation law and now, people sit wherever.
That was years ago. Rosa Parks was one passenger I never forgot because she made herself popular and she made me popular too. Today, I live in a museum with all the other seats that were in the bus that day, but when people pass by, I am the one they take pictures of. The other chairs that smirked at me that day are green with envy today and I owe it to Rosa Parks.

Monday, 25 February 2013


Yesterday on my way to work, I saw two children fighting beside one of the large refuse dumps that often litter the streets in some neighborhoods and as I got closer, I realized that they were fighting over some stale, moldy bread they had picked from the trash and when one of them managed to tear off a huge chunk, he scurried away, shoving it into his mouth, maggots and all! (If that does not make you a little ill, you should probably speak to a therapist). These are the ‘hope of the future’, being killed off before that future, by hunger.
In Nigeria today, 80% of the population are said to be living well below the poverty line and that’s not to talk of the huge number who can barely eat a meal in two days. Sadly, this figure is still better than what we have in some African countries. Till date, I still have nightmares about a little girl I saw last year: Her eyes were sunken and her body shrivelled from hunger as she lay immobile on a dirty little makeshift cot on the floor. At first glance, we thought she was dead. The little girl had sticks for hands and was so weak from hunger that she had to be spoon-fed. After the 2012 Nigerian flood that displaced thousands of people, the rate of hunger in the country went from bad to ‘absolutely terrifying and off the charts’. Unfortunately, the little girl in question, with all her ribs standing out prominently, and her lips dry and cracked from hunger, was better looking than about 40 other children in the relief camp.
In 2012, Somali was hit with one of the worst droughts possible and yet at that particular period, elsewhere in Africa and other parts of the world, zillions of people were eating and throwing away leftovers. Hey, you probably threw away some food yourself.
Some may shrug and wonder why we are talking about world hunger when their own private, little world is falling apart because say, they had to wear the same shirt to work twice in a week. Well I am willing to bet that the little children who haven’t had anything to eat in 9 days are not thinking of going to school because food is a basic.
So how is this your problem? With every food you throw away, you contribute to decay and disease in the community and sadly those who fall easily ill from all the resultant methane emission are those who had nothing to eat in the first place. I hope the irony is not lost on you.
Now some have suggested that they want to help the fight against world hunger but because the fight is bigger than one man, they are not sure how to go about it. First off, that is no excuse because the Internet is a veritable mine of information for any serious person. Now also, the United Nation’s Environmental Programme is one of the numerous world organizations fighting hunger in the world and you can donate. Here’s an idea, convert the cost of the food you would ordinarily waste into monetary value and send to these organizations or simply just organize a buffet of sorts for the underfed in your environment. Yes, people, be a bit selfless every now and then and see if you don’t make a difference!

If you are in support of UNEP’s fight against world hunger, like this on facebook or retweet on twitter. But if you are cool with world hunger, then move on without sharing.

Friday, 8 February 2013


Alright, alright, you can wipe that droopy look right off your face! So it’s Valentine’s; so you don’t have a date; so your significant other just dumped your ass two days to the Day; your life is NOT over, yes, despite how certain you are that it is.
Valentine’s Day is one of those ancient traditions that has been so trivialized that it has lost its meaning. Valentine’s has always been a season of letting people who are down on their luck, know that they are loved, by sharing food and stuff with them. Today, people join in a mad dash to secure a date for the holidays and not having a date can feel like a death sentence - trust me, I know!
Well if you have your priorities straight, then you should realize that the goal is not being a ‘happy couple’, the goal is: being a ‘happy you’. No one, no matter how perfect, defines you and you are infinitely responsible for your own happiness because no matter how much your partner tries to make you happy, you can only actually be happy if you decide to be.
So if you are single, you should be loving every minute of it because it means you are confident enough to lean on your own self; it means you get to be selfish and consider only yourself if you want to; it means you get to flirt outrageously with whoever you want; it means you can still get out of bed excited at the thought of meeting someone special and, it means get to hog the remote!
 So if this Valentine’s is meeting you single and unattached, here are some tips to help you have a blast:

1.    Get on a plane to Scotland!
Yep, that’s what I said. Apparently, the Scots have a tradition: on V-Day, you simply step out of your home and the first stranger you see is your Val! How cool is that?

 2.   Do something absolutely new and terrifying like say bungee jumping.
 No, I am not sending you off to go kill yourself, I am simply saying, get a rush of adrenaline in a safe manner of course.

 3.   Be a Scrooge:
Understand, Scrooge hates Christmas. You don’t have to hate Valentine’s but you could certainly do without having big fat hearts shoved in your face at every turn ’cause that’s just wrong! So, avoid, avoid, avoid, mushy Valentine’s scenes and parties; unless of course you have the fortitude of an ox and you know it won’t get to you.

 4.   Party hard!
Come on, everyone has friends that are unattached, and if you don’t you may need to have your head re-examined because dude, you need one of those. So gather your unattached friends and hold a Val’s Day party for them. It will be like visiting a Singles Bar, only better coz here, you know that inappropriate behaviour will be at a minimum since it’s friends all around.

5.   Go see a show!
Notice I didn’t say go see a movie huh? Go see some hard-core, unromantic, adrenaline-friendly concert. Go attend a comedy, or just sit at home with a bowl of popcorn and watch a re-run of Evil Dead.

6. Pamper yourself!
Yes now will be a good time to get in some spa treatment, facials, manicure and pedicure, and even just treat yourself to some good old chocolate and trigger happy hormones - but hey, no going overboard with the chocolates because you don't want to be carrying around an extra 20 pounds all through the year just because Valentine's came around sometime in February.

7. Help others!
It takes you outside yourself, outside your misery, and keeps you honest. Go play with kids in an orphanage, or visit a nursing home. You will feel better. The kids though; nothing fights the doldrums like the laughter of a happy child and right now, you could use some laughter huh?

8. Give yourself a Gift because you absolutely deserve it.

 Being single on Valentine’s Day is only sad if you buy into the faulty assumption that Valentine’s is only for people in a relationship. Besides, whether you are in a relationship or not, it is not a guarantee for happiness because hey, believe it or not, several people in relationships right now, wish they could be you: they have been desperately searching for the nearest exit!