I saw you yesterday. I was so sure of it, I walked up to this guy I spotted on my way to church, and just stood there staring at him for like 10 seconds. Then sensing how uncomfortable he was getting, I smiled and said “HI, I’m so sorry, you look a lot like a very good friend of mine”. It’s funny right, because I have never seen you before, but yet I feel like I have. I really can’t wait to see you, but till then I guess I will keep making random guys uncomfortable… LOL

I had read this message over and again, and yet it cracked my ribs every single time. She was plainly hilarious and had a way with words you couldn’t fault it. Who would believe that one wrong text message would result in a wonderful friendship… not sure if I dared to call it more.
I had travelled to owerri to visit my girlfriend who was at her place of posting for the national youth service, and was greeted with the sight of another guy strutting round the apartment naked, while she was in the bathroom. As against my usually cool self, a lot of drama went down and in the end I left with a bloodied nose and the satisfaction of putting a guy on his back, possibly with a couple of broken ribs.

The feeling of satisfaction was short-lived however, as shame overwhelmed me the minute I got back to Abuja. I felt terrible, scolding myself for behaving in such an unruly manner. I should have just walked out in silence; I should have kept my calm, my pride… all these thoughts swirled around in my head as I searched my luggage for my phone. Her countless missed calls had left my battery almost flat, but I didn’t care for that - I simply did her a text message and tapped the send icon….

I woke up after a rather long nap, still feeling I had been drugged. My mind and head were in conflict as to what had just happened. I sought my phone, where I had plugged it in before dozing off, for closure. The closure I got was a rather different one, as I tapped on the 1 new message notification on my phone; "While I found this rather insightful, I think you might need to double-check your numbers and send this text again. All the best". I sat there laughing; first a chuckle and then hard and loud. I scanned the number and couldn’t believe all I had missed was the last digit.

I called the number back, hoping to apologize for having to burden whoever it was with such unwarranted message, but there was no response. I sent a message instead and I got a reply. Eight months down the line, we had kept the chats, but had never for once spoken or seen each other. I had come to learn that she was a female - of course it would be weird if she turned out to be a man. I called her “tangerine”, because as opposed to simply telling me her name she had said; “my name is ebbed in the name of the fruit tangerine”, so tangerine it was for me.

We chatted about most things, anything, and everything… and for me it had become a lifestyle. I would love to think she was equally hooked on me, because she has been consistent, even when work keeps me away – her messages always bring me back. Now all we could chat about was how we needed to see, it was eight long months and I didn’t know how long I could bear it anymore. Of course I call myself crazy, but I was good with crazy, or what could possibly be more crazy than seeing another man stark naked in your girl’s apartment. The most important thing was that I was loving this particular crazy.

I remember the last time I asked her again to send me a picture of herself, all I got was; “would it be that if I was pretty, then I should assume that this “thing” we have is based on that I was easy on the eyes… or would it be that if I was less than pretty, then I should assume that this “thing” we have was only because you are probably bored where you are”. My head told me to run, but my heart wouldn’t let me… I wasn’t the mushy type, but this girl had done a number on me and I needed to see this to the end – wherever that was.

Turns out she stayed in Lagos, and I was on a flight to meet with her – “stupid me” I chuckled to myself. The flight was shorter than usual, or perhaps it was just me… I headed straight to the Ikeja city mall; she or whoever got there first would be at a table in front of KFC. I was to hold “First Sight“ a Daniel steel novel and she would simply be wearing a colorful beaded bracelet, which she had sent a picture of. All the planning was entirely her idea and even though I would have preferred holding anything else besides a novel, she had politely insisted.

I knew I was early, but I had planned it so. I wanted to be the first to get there; I wanted to be there to draw out a chair for her, to be able to get a chance to recite the welcoming note I had so aptly prepared. So at exactly 5:45pm, I found a comfortable seat, settled in and waited. I had been engrossed in the novel I had with me, when for no just cause I looked up. I had no idea why I had looked up, or why it had been at that particular moment, but I didn’t have the time to ponder for long… I spotted her. She was dressed in a soft flowing, flowery-patterned dress… “Flower girl” I thought. I watched her elegantly maneuvering her way through the arrangement of chairs and tables and steadily gliding towards me.

My throat constricted as I thought “so this is what they meant by love at first sight”. Fair, slightly above the average height, not the tiniest of waist but one that sat well on her, with other parts filling out in the right places. She had a pleasant smile, darting me one as she walked past me and settled in a couple of seats across of me. I cleared my throat loudly, attracting a couple of stares, and then tried to put myself together. “This was it,” I told myself glancing at my watch. It was 6:05pm; she was relatively on time and sure knew how to make an entrance. I got up from my seat and walked over to where she was, all the while wondering if she hadn’t noticed the Danielle steel novel I had been conspicuously holding.
When I got to her table, all I could do was stare and think “darn! she was beautiful”.

“Is there something I might help you with?”

Startled out of my thoughts, I managed a smile and started to introduce myself when I noticed all at the same time that I wasn’t holding the novel which was to be my identification card, so to say… and she wasn’t wearing “the” bracelet. In that instance my heart sank, I saw the genuine blank and confused look on her face, forced a smile, and apologized for my mistake while returning to my seat.

I had only half-turned when I saw her…

She was seated with her back straight, legs crossed, eyes fixed on the novel I had left open on my table, hands neatly clasped on her laps and the beautiful bracelet sitting gently on her wrist. I paused and gave her a slow look all over again. She wasn’t ugly, but she wasn’t what you would call beautiful… at least not at first sight. She had thick dark hair cut stylishly low; she wore no make-up except for a light shade of red lip stick. She was decked in a comfortable pair of blue jeans, a purple polo shirt and a matching pair of purple sandals… her feet were pretty.

I could either stand there all evening or approach her, I thought to myself. A part of me though wanted to turn my back on her and face “flower girl” - the pretty lady I had first mistaken her for. But this was the woman I had waited eight months and flown from Abuja to see, the woman that just a few hours ago I couldn’t contain my excitement at the very thought of seeing her, the woman whose funny, quirky messages now filled my phone’s inbox… I took the first step forward.

Sensing my approach, she looked up and smiled… I stood right in front of her smiling back. “Hi, my name is Tunji Taiwo, thank you for coming… I suppose you might be hungry, shall we get something to eat”. She paused a while as if in thought and said, “I was asked to wear this bracelet and give you this, if you were kind and polite enough”. Taken aback and dumbfounded I collected the envelope from her outstretched hand and read the note inside…

I’m Sorry…
Originally I had planned to say “sorry” for my reaction at your place, but sitting here on my bed, I realize I’m sorry you wanted more than I could give, I’m sorry I don’t know what went wrong, I’m sorry you probably don’t know what you want, I’m sorry I left you unhurt.. No, I didn’t mean that. I’m just sorry it had to end like this.

This was the text message I had intended for my ex-girlfriend sent to the wrong number, which was now the genesis of all these. Smiling and shaking my head, I looked up to ask who had given her the note, when I saw her again … the “Flower girl”. She hugged the lady that had been seated in front of me, said thank you and took the bracelet from her. Then with a wide and mischievous grin she turned to me and said “Hi, my name is Oluwapamilerin, shall we start again?” “Erin” I muttered over and over again, as the “tangerine” clue, now made sense. I got up from my seat, took her hand in a handshake and looking into her eyes, I saw a warmth that was a reflection of what my heart was feeling.


Impacting your world...

Just yesterday night I was watching CNN Heroes and I saw so many young people with great potential of their own who have so few opportunities to explore or express it. Still, they bravely persist in striving to make their mark on the world, even in contexts of deprivation and conflict.
In the course of our lives we have the opportunity to meet and possibly interact with people who’ve made measurable impact in the world, including well-known experts, authors, researchers, journalists, scientists, innovators, business geniuses, and entrepreneurs. Yet among these world influencers are also everyday people who have found a special niche in which they’ve contributed at the highest level. It’s critical to note that people who’ve made a real difference aren’t all privileged, advantaged or “special” people. Many have come from disadvantaged families, and crushing circumstances, but have found ways to pick themselves up and rise above their circumstances (and their genes) to transform their own lives and those around them.

In the field of psychology in the past there was always a heated argument of Nature vs Nurture, and which one superseded the other in influencing an individual’s life. Today however, there is a general consensus that though both have a significant influence, nurture still holds the upper hand. This in essence says that every individual has the capacity to be who they want to be and they can reach whatever heights they want.

There is a movie (Lucy), about scientists trying to prove that human beings can actually access 100 percent of their brain… and its surreal because it re-defines the word “limitless” for you and opens your eyes to just the possibilities that lie in the truth of such proposition.

At the moment I am working on a paper exploring graduate unemployment and exploring ways of enhancing employability through critical thinking and realistic decision making skills. Amongst the various factors that have been identified as responsible for graduate unemployment, there is a general consensus whenever the issue of education comes up. Its no more news that there is a great difference, between the requirements of the world of work and the information we get in school. The baseline however is the admission that the world is no longer as we know it (or at least, as our parents knew it). It’s no longer a linear world where you go to school, graduate and almost immediately is picked up by a firm, you work for thirty or so years with the conviction of some sort of settlement at the end. Then it made sense to work really hard for a long time because you were guaranteed of some source of income later, but in our world today, it’s about working smart, its about standing out, being extraordinary, making an impact.

To make an impact, you no doubt cause a change, which means each and every one of us has to be a change agent. What exactly is a change agent?... in this context, it’s anyone who is able to influence circumstances for a more productive output. If we consider the many characteristics of a change agent, besides being socially responsible, an active learner, we see that a change agent is entrepreneurial. A couple of years back, entrepreneurship to me was like social strata, where certain privileges were for a certain class. But today, entrepreneurship for me is a matter of relevance. I always tell people that when I was younger I thought my greatest fear was the fear of death, but as I grew older I found that it really was the fear of being irrelevant. It’s scary for me to think of a moment of ever being totally obsolete, irrelevant to my environment, my community or the world at large.
I believe that problem of unemployment amongst other things is hinged on many of us being round pegs in square holes. We are not where we are meant to be, and truth be told many don’t even know where that is. Wanting relevance isn’t necessarily in the context of trying to prove a point, it’s basically about an avenue for self expression. People who impact the world understand the importance of finding purpose and meaning and pursuing it tirelessly...that is what keeps you relevant.

Needless to say that it’s high time for us as youths to find our place, because even when we observe our government/leaders and the bickering and narrow-minded arguments taking place, we realize that it’s up to you and I to start charting our courses as individuals and for our Nation. And as Christians we need to move with the bold confidence that grace gives us to walk in uncertainty, fearless and unafraid of rejection. When we fear making mistakes, we become timid and limit ourselves from living abundantly. We let analysis permeate our decision as we lead quiet, desperate, anti-faith lives.

However to impact our world we need to understand certain things;
We need to continually improve ourselves: People who impact the world for the better know that they are not perfect. They understand how their knowledge isn’t “complete” – there are always gaps, biases, limitations and prejudices, and new places to go with their expertise.
We need to interact: Those with huge positive influence understand the power of relationships, connection, and engaging with the world openly. They’re not afraid to get “out there” – connecting with others, sharing their knowledge and talents, offering their authentic and often contrarian viewpoints and opinions

We need to be open to criticisms: The most powerful positive influencers don’t need or want to be “right” – they want to grow and be more effective.
We need to allow ourselves to be mentored and be willing to mentor: They are happy to help and support others, and have an overflow of positive energy that enriches the lives of everyone they work with and connect with. These positive influencers want others to grow.

We need to be keep in perspective: Positive influencers don’t take short cuts or go for the quick buck or easy answer. They don’t view some arbitrary goal or outcome as a destination, because they believe there is no end – it’s all in the journey. It’s about what they’re learning, experiencing, and building that helps others, and for that, there is no defined end point

Lastly if we want to impact our world, we must realize that “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” —Neil Gaiman…. Adnd without a doubt GOD!


Ramblings... or Not II

Today I realized that you can be in the midst of a crowd, yet be alone...

Today I realized that the heart can stop feeling, even while beating...

Today I realized that one thing more scarier than fear, is emptiness...

Today I realized that there aren't just two sides to life, too many curves we don't see...

Today I realized that without the willpower, a frog will remain the same even if it kisses a Queen...

Today I realized that people never change, only circumstances do...

Today I realized that we only see what we want to, most times not what we are supposed to...

Today I realized that life is so short, we have no clue...

Today I realized that as long as we are alive, there's a risk for everyone...


Ramblings... or Not!

Today I realized that you can feel the same kind of pain twice and even over and over, without a clue how to stop it...

Today I realized that choosing the one we love is not as important as being chosen by the one who loves us…

Today I realized that love isn’t really what we think it is, it is pain, sacrifice and hard work…

Today I realized that when people are in so much pain, death loses its fangs before their eyes…

Today I realized that depression isn’t a sign of weakness, it could happen to even the strongest of men…

Today I realized that therein between black and white, lies the grey line….

Today I realized that the most part of our lives are shaped and defined in those grey lines…

Today I realized that finding happiness isn’t a big deal, staying happy is the real battle…

Today I realized that there is no such thing as one person or thing being finer than the other, it is only a product of our malleable minds…

Today I realized that daylights are easier than nights…the nights are when the secrets, nightmares, monsters, and regrets catch up with you…


Dotted Lines...

It’s not just a ‘like’
And it’s more than a psyche
My heart goes on a hike
Every time you look in my eyes

It’s more than a frown
But not enough for a crown
My pain runs deep and down
Sometimes I think I might drown

Damn sure it’s more than a tear
I bet it’s more than a fear
I don’t know if you can tell
But it’s more than I can spell

It’s more than just the monies
And sure not about the hunnies
It’s a whole world of mysteries
Nothing is ever as it seems