The Love Series:3 Ways I Learnt About Love The Right Way

I was not that into him and I knew it.

It was a hot Sunday afternoon in Lagos, too hot. I knew without a doubt I wanted to end it; I had grown bored, and the distance wasn’t helping; I felt no ounce of remorse as I picked up my phone and dialled his number, in less than ten minutes, I told him; we were done; he didn’t beg; he said if that was what I wanted he was okay with it, and I felt a huge sigh of relief, the relationship had run its course. 

It was time for me to move on to new things, I had lost the “loving” feeling.

Now, I know that paragraph makes me come across as a savage but I’m not one;truth is I realized that I wanted to be single and be by myself. My attention was drifting, my tolerance was wearing thin, and everything seemed to get old, fast.   

You know in various ways there were a series of events that led me to this realization, for one, there was a lack of real connection, I don’t think we were compatible, and I lost interest.

Was I in love? No, I have never been.

I believe what I experience is being present, when it’s good and going great, I allow myself experience the emotions that go with relational attachments, the infatuation, and the euphoria.

But when it ends I’m left questioning the validity of my emotions, because I seem to move on quickly

But does it mean that when relationships end, they have to be rife with endless hours of sobbing, sadness and brooding for them to hold weight and meanings in our lives, I don’t think so. Must we always be in love with everyone we date, be it two minutes or two years.

Feelings, emotions and love are three very different things. We can have feelings, desires and longings for people, who will share portions of our lives but we will not love all or dare I say any of them.

In our modern society, we see romantic relationships as avenues for gaining experiences about what loving means; I beg to differ. They don’t all teach you about love, some don’t even teach you anything at all, dare I say, they can leave you feeling bitter, frustrated and confused. Sometimes they teach us about ourselves, other times we are just young and we want a boyfriend who knows? Sometimes we have these experiences as a rite of passage into adulthood.

My point is we musn’t always look for love in every relationship, it is impossible to find it. 

We socialize women, from an early age to think we must seek for meaning in romantic relationships, no matter how short lived the affair is or how ill-suited you are as partners. 

Real love takes time, connection, and the willingness to put in the work to achieve that, and sadly most of us don’t know how to, shoot I’m only truly understanding what it takes and I am 30.

I will wrap up this series this week with my last lesson over the weekend.

Love

Ndidi

The Love Series:3 Ways I Learnt About Love The Right Way

It was lust at first sight; he was tall dark, and intense in his pursuit, I made the initial move, but he was the aggressor, I attract very direct men. From the first date, there was a strong connection, we enjoyed each other’s company and there was an undeniable vibe between us. I grew attached quickly, looking back now I don’t think it was love, I was just overwhelmed by the attention, and I guess this was my first mistake.

 
Everything went so well in the first few weeks, we exchanged text messages incessantly, we went on clandestine dates; we spent hours talking about every and anything, and I felt I had found the one. He mentioned that he had told his mum about me; I was excited, but soon enough cracks in our blossoming relationship showed up.
 
At first it was the “vagueness” of what it was we were actually doing that made me unsettled. Where we friend with benefits, boo’d up or  companions,I had no clue, I was too busy enjoying the ride to stop and ask myself those questions.

One day, on the way to a wedding,i did.
He said “We are lovers”, “What we have is deeper than being defined as a boyfriend and girlfriend”.
Today I would roll my eyes and laugh at this answer but,I was just too happy to be with this man I had  idolized, that I didn’t care,”as long as we spent time together” I thought, that’s all that matters.

Next came the petty irritations, if I said the wrong thing he was mad, if he asked me to do a favor and I made a mistake he was furious, he complained that I vain, that I didn’t know how to talk to him, that I spent too much money on weaves,(I wonder what he would say now if he saw my collection of wigs lol).
I didn’t measure up, if we went out and I was quiet, he would be uncomfortable with my introversion, if I was jovial with his friends, he would deem me too flirtatious and we would have arguments about it, nothing I did was ever suitable for this man, and eventually I had enough and pushed back.
 
I became verbally abusive, if he started it I finished it a 1000 times over, I was mouthy and took it to some disrespectful places. I would not let any man talk to me like I didn’t have value.

There was a lot of back and forth,we would fight then reconcile, then fight, it was tiring. It slowly devolved from a budding romance to an unhealthy cocktail of one part friendship, two parts lovers and three parts confidants who couldn’t stand each other,sometimes.
 
We both knew it would not work, he wanted a woman he could control and conform; he had his ideal, and I was not it,but I wouldn’t let up,I was in love with an idea of a man that wasn’t reality, I had gotten attached to a fantasy, the looks, his career, the money, I was in love with all that not with the actual person.
 
If I am honest,he became a symbol fulfilling my need to be with someone who looked like a catch; I guess in a lot of ways; he was a catch, but he was a man and just like anyone else had his own flaws too,it was obvious,we weren’t compatible.

This situationship taught me that, love and emotional attachment are two different things. 

There was love there I won’t lie, but I was more so emotionally attached than anything else.
 
Emotional attachment is self-centered, it is all about you and how the person fills a void;it stems from a place of lack,the object of your obsession,because a source to fill your need.

I got addicted to the initial attention because it was so persistent; I was probably struggling with some esteem issues, so the relationship was a way of saying to myself that if I can bag a guy like this, then maybe I’m not as bad as I think I am, he was my crutch.
 
I didn’t really see and accept him for who he was; I saw him for who I wanted him to be, what I wanted him to represent and that is not love.

Sure, he was an asshole in a lot of ways, but looking back now, I feel this was a man who was just looking for a woman who catered to his ego; I don’t think that’s a bad thing each to their own, but I didn’t really see that and to be honest my oversight caused me to act,in ways that pushed us apart,as I was just so focused on the symbol of the man, that I didn’t see him.
 
Approaching romantic relationships from with this mindset is a very dangerous thing, what exactly do you want from this person? Love, fulfillment, a good time, good sex, financial security, you need to always be honest with yourself first even if you don’t like the answer.
 
I also learnt quickly that passion, great conversation and chemistry does not always equal compatibility and is not always a recipe for a successful relationship.
 
Trust me, I really don’t even enjoy writing this but it is what I have discovered to be the truth, I mean if you overlook these, then where really is the fun?
 
Sure, it is a great way to start, but from experience it is really not enough, it could mean you guys would probably be great friends (if sexual attraction isn’t an issue, that’s another blog for another day lol). What we had, was not lacking in that but it wasn’t enough.

We didn’t take the time to know and understand each other well enough; I also don’t think there was mutual respect and admiration for each other and that comes from taking things slow and really getting know the person, so you can learn to appreciate them and their qualities.
 
So it fizzled out naturally, we spoke off and on just as friends for two years, he always tried to get back into just “hanging out” as men usually do, but frankly as soon as I realized this wasn’t going anywhere I moved on, we are no longer in touch, no bad blood or anything, but in life some experiences are just there to teach you then you move on, at least that’s how I see it.
 
Love that “lasts” is really not too hard to find but sometimes you have to slow things down,take as much time as possible there is no rush, be willing to see the person for who they are  and understand nobody will come and fix your problems and make you feel good about yourself, that is your job alone.
 
The second lesson coming soon.
 
Love
 
Ndidi
  

The Love Series: 3 Ways I Learnt About Love The Right Way.

It will be valentine’s day in a few days, and I may spend it alone, I will sit at home and have my glass of Moscato (yes please), but might skip out on the chocolate, I’m on a diet. 

I know many single women, experience anxiety on this day, chances are you will have a serious case of FOMO.

So prepare yourself, fake illness, avoid social media or take on some extra load of work on that day so you are too busy to imagine, the fun other people are having, go ahead, I won’t judge.


 Last year, as I sat on the couch minding my business, my flat mate walked in, and asked me what I was doing for valentine’s day, I looked up perplexed at the question (homegirl knew I was single with no prospects in sight LOL); smiling, I said nothing.

We then,engaged in our usual 30 minutes’ conversation about men, lack of men, relationships, the usual, I don’t like to engage too much in these kinds of conversations, because I sometimes find they stem from a place of a perceived lack of contentment, with being single, and that is fine,but sometimes it gets tiring.

Anyway, with valentine’s day coming up, it got me reminiscing about my love life or lack thereof,the other day someone mentioned that I appeared to be a romantic at heart, I chuckled, they had no clue. 

I have been single on every valentine’s, since as far back as I can remember, well for most of my adult life. I wonder if that’s sad or intriguing haha. 

Long lasting romantic love is something that has eluded me, I’ve had short-lived affairs, a few “talking to’’ but never any real deep bond or lasting connection. 

On one hand, I’ve never had to live with cheating or being scarred by any man, I’ve shed a few tears, had thoughts of what could have been, and berated myself for being naïve but i count it as experience in making me a better storyteller.

I realized it’s because I am emotionally independent, too much so, I don’t say this from a place of the  strong independent woman narrative (that’s not what I am about).

 I’ve never been someone who has always looked outside myself for happiness or fulfillment or at least I didn’t feel like I needed to, but I realize now that love is a gift because it gives you the opportunity to share your life with someone.

I thought about how I would approach my blog posts this month then I remembered the Ariana Grande song Thank You, Next, and the infamous line, one taught me love, one taught me patience and one taught me pain (the memes on social media were hilarious). 

 I will share my experiences about love, dating and the three lessons I have learnt about love . I’ve been on a one post a month tip lately just focusing on the quality and not the quantity of my content, but this month is special, and since it’s more personal, I will share a lot, so I will try keep the posts coming.

I hope you all enjoy

Love

Ndidi.

The Most Important Thing I Need This Year.

Who is excited about the New Year? I am still trying to get myself into work mode, my Christmas was quiet but I had a good time ish.

I’m ready to get back to business and give you guys’ great content. I honestly don’t have major New Year’s resolutions this year, but I have two things I would love to accomplish.

I thought about how I wanted to start this year out, and what message I wanted to pass across as my first post of the year.

We have before us 12 months and 365 days of unknown possibilities; we know some of those will be great, some will be average and some will be downright horrible, we may lose people we love or fall in love, we may get fired or land a job of a lifetime, we may go through depression or experience the happiest years of our lives.

Anytime I think of the New Year, I always remember what my mother says about how everybody prays joyfully into the New Year, but nobody really knows what the year will bring for them.

This is the year I am trying to live my life each day in a way that makes me productive, I don’t want to spend a bunch of weeks busy doing absolutely nothing.

I want what everybody wants, to be financially secure to take care of myself and have some savings in my bank account. I need protection against unforeseen circumstances, like health problems for instance, and Lord knows I need direction because I need to be sure that every day I am making the right choices that lead me towards my goals. I have made too many mistakes in the past, and sometimes life doesn’t give you second chances.

So this year I determined that I will no longer do things my way, I need help; I need to know what to do and how to do it. I need guidance, beyond what motivational speakers and self-help books can offer (trust me I read a lot last year), the reality is I need Jesus.

David declared in Palm 23, The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want, this is the level of faith I need to have in the power of God to guide and lead me so that there is no lack in my life in 2019. I am not just talking about having enough to pay my bills, I’m talking about finally getting traction in my career, and propelling my website forward.

I am talking about helping to give me wisdom so I may discover and walk in my purpose as a human being, I’m talking about being fulfilled emotionally, rich, abundant, full life.

So what exactly does a shepherd do?In our 21st century world I’m guessing a lot of us are so far removed from farming and agriculture that the representation of Christ here, might be difficult to relate to, I had to go look it up. I had this image in my head of someone who walks around with a big stick, directing sheep.

I was so wrong; I discovered my friends that Jesus wants to take care of you.

Sheep completely depend on the shepherd for everything. It is the shepherd’s responsibility to ensure the sheep are guarded against minor diseases; they are under his/her constant care; the shepherd watches out for dangerous predators, and they have to be alert against constant danger.

It is the shepherds’ responsibility every day to lead the sheep to forage in green pastures, the big stick I referred to (the rod) is used to lead the sheep in the direction the shepherd wants them to follow, the shepherd even assists the ewes during their lambing process, they require constant and undivided attention this is a role that requires dedication.

In John 10:14 Jesus goes on further to proclaim that he knows his sheep by their name, and when he calls out to them they hear his voice meaning, he has an intimate relationship with everyone; he knows us personally if we are his sheep to tailor make specific pathways for us to have abundant lives.

We are all individuals; we vary in our talents and temperaments, we cannot be sure that what worked for Ada will work for Michael, that is why it is important for us to seek guidance from the one who has promised that he is the good shepherd, he will lead us down the path of opportunities, places and activities suitable for us and will enrich our lives.

2019 is not the year we need to grope in the dark frustrated, we have assurance we will be led on a path that brings us fulfilment, this doesn’t mean however that life will be champagne and cupcakes, but we will fulfill our God given purpose.

This year I vowed not to write any resolutions, I tried hard but I wrote none specific goals, at least not yet. I have determined in my heart to seek God’s guidance above all things, I don’t want to trust alone in what I can project or what I can dream up; I want to depend on God completely to guide me down the right paths this year.

However, this doesn’t come just by wishing it. We need to develop intimacy with God, there has to be a personal relationship and familiarity built on a constant connection, how can we trust that God will he guide us down the right paths if we do not spend time with him and getting to know his character. I wouldn’t dare dream of starting a business venture with someone I met randomly at a party, I would take my time, studying their character, to know without a doubt they are trustworthy and reliable, that is how it is with God.

Likewise, I have to be obedient, this has to do with trusting that God knows what is best for me, even if I don’t understand what is going on. I can only accomplish true obedience if i have unwavering faith in God, which is built through prayer, spending time in his word and overcoming difficult challenges.

So guys I wish everyone an adventurous and fulfilling 2019 and beyond, let’s really trust and depend on God this year and watch him do great things.

The F word

Forgiveness

I have heard everybody from Bishop TD Jakes to Oprah say, that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, letting go of past harms and moving forward is beneficial for you, you let go of bitterness and allow yourself the opportunity to move ahead, unforgiveness can be like dead weight you lug around, it weighs you down, if you forgive you empty yourself from an unnecessary burden.

But grace can be tough, when the pain cuts deep, it can be almost impossible. I don’t know if I would regard myself a forgiving person, my approach when I notice someone has wronged me,if I consider their actions to be irredeemable and they are not remorseful is to avoid them. I may not go around seeking to plot my revenge or wallow in a cesspool of bitter emotions and animosity, but instead I will deal with being scorned the best way I understand how by erasing you from my life, it would be as if you never existed. It saves me the trouble of seeking to be the mature one by absolving and letting go, but I also don’t have to carry around the pain of what you did to hurt me. As a word of caution I don’t think this solution is healthy, so that is why I wrote this blog, to tackle forgiveness.

What is the best approach to go about this whole forgiveness business. As a Christian I am expected to be forgiving always (Matthew 18:21) I will be sincere, this not sit easily with me, why? Because It seems as if you are offering an individual, unbridled autonomy to continue being an asshole.But on the other end, what does clinging on to past pains and retaliating do for us, sure it feels good when you act out, but when the blood thirst for revenge quenches does it make us better?We still know deep down inside, we are hurting, vengeance doesn’t loose us from the anguish of having our feelings hurt. It is like placing a band aid on a deep cut from a knife.

Sometimes I wonder, is forgiveness always about being wronged or more about our own ego, there is no excuse for betrayal in marriage, stealing from a business partner, or sharing stories told you in confidence by a friend, but let’s be careful not to let the ego and pride, provoke us to create mountains out of mole holes in situations where a simple, it’s okay never mind, would have solved the problem.

Being offended is becoming common in our society and narcissism is at the root of having an a ruthless spirit. People won’t consistently be perfect, they will mess things up, irritate and will disappoint you in ways that will astound you, and indeed worse still you are just as capable yourself of doing the same actions to them, nobody is above being the wrong at any point in time (Matthew 18: 23-35).Lord knows I have done things that have made a few people angry. 

 Guard against being unforgiving , and save yourself from emotional stress by providing room for grace.

ndidi ndekwu

 I am still learning to temper my expectations on human behavior, I and other human beings are intrinsically selfish at the core,it is our nature and because of this we will often hurt other people willingly and unwillingly, we will fall short.

 Ideally, we should strive to provide for grace for everybody, that might not always be possible, it is  entirely up to you to decide to whom and how much you will give space for forgiveness;  as a general rule of thumb,you must be open enough to do this for everyone you meet.

 It doesn’t make you a doormat, and it doesn’t mean that individuals will have liberty to walk over your emotions, if it puts you in a position of being in total command of your reactions and emotions.

Despite any of their antics you stay the same when people realize you are  unperturbed it makes them feel shameful and embarrassed at their own behavior (Rom 12:19-21). Leave vengeance to the hands of God, he sees everything.

Some people might read this blog and say well what about individuals who have dealt with sexual abuse, domestic violence and other heinous crimes inflicted on them, what business do we have to tell them to give room for grace, and you are right I have none.

 In those cases not as easy as just placing your ego aside and hugging things out, their wounds cause scars that may take years to heal, for them I will be forthright and say lay all that resentment, bitterness and even shame at the feet of Jesus, asides from you only he sees where it pains and how best to fix it, we live in a fallen world where terrible events happen to us beyond our control, but as justified as it may seem emotionally, holding on to that pain does us more harm than good, it can never make us happy in the long run.

Forgiving may not always be easy, it takes a lot of maturity and spiritual growth for us to come to a place where we can truly let go of hurts, but it is a gift that is worth offering to yourself.

Fear

Fear is powerful because it can cripple you emotionally, physically and psychologically.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. -Nelson Mandela.

I can’t remember exactly when I developed a fear of dogs. To me they have always been menacing creatures, their crooked ferocious looking teeth and fierce barks have always made me uneasy.

I remember making visits to friend’s and family’s houses as a child, and we would be told the dogs needed to be locked up before we passed through the gates, I remember the beware of dog signs. Growing we never kept dogs as pets, we had one, he was a guard dog, only his caregivers and my parents went near him, I think he was only let out at night to keep the premises safe. I’ve never seen them as pets because of this, no matter how cute or harmless they appear, at the back of my mind, I  feel like in an instant they can turn on you and bite you.

Fear is something I have been reflecting on lately, not in a philosophical way but in a primal way, I also have a fear of driving, I am embarrassed to admit this as an adult. If I feel you drive too fast, I will not seat with you at the front seat of your car, and I will constantly tell you to slow down. This is a fear I have to conquer, for practical reasons, I am the only one of my four siblings who cannot drive, I always think the worse will happen, maybe I will end up in an accident, because I was too distracted, talking to the person beside me, while trying to concentrate on the oncoming traffic ahead of me.  I also think about other drivers too, how competent are they,  What if they have been drinking ? What if they are really bad at driving, I hate the idea of worrying about them and myself as well.  I remember once I was in a taxi in Abuja, and my driver was texting on the highway, no hands on the steering wheel, I nearly shit myself by the end of the ride, these are the kinds of things that worry me.

I used to fear being different and I still do, I can be reclusive, although personable in one on one situations, I’m a loner, I don’t really enjoy small talk, but I can tolerate it, if you are my friend, this gives me anxiety because I’m afraid people will interpret this as being haughty or people will mistake this as me being reticent, which is actually not the case, I just don’t like talking unless I have something to say. Sometimes I fear that my interests are too weird for a 30 year old woman, I like make up, fashion to some degree but I love intellectual pursuits more, my dad once told me that he was worried something was wrong with me because I loved horror films so much.

We all have fears, some primal and some based on our perception of ourselves and the  world.

Fear is powerful because it can cripple you emotionally, physically and psychologically. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing, it can serve a purpose, to protect us from real dangers, and it can also hinder us from moving forward in life.I don’t fear being different anymore, I know that God loves me, but I still fear dogs and driving and I NEED to conquer those. I don’t think it is healthy to hastily rationalize your fears away, for me, acknowledging them helps me to be honest with myself and reminds me that I am still human, but I think it is far more important to address them, even if it means taking baby steps.

I think fear usually has some deeper underlying cause, and everybody might not be ready to go there yet, I guess that is okay honestly, but don’t let fear rob you of the possibility of living a great life, I’ve always wanted to write, but I fear criticism, but I feel most alive when I express words on paper, I am determined to push through my fears, even if people don’t like it, even if I never sell books ( this is me showing bravado, please I want to sell books ha ha).

So I will try and make efforts to live my life as fearlessly as I possibly can and I hope you do too.

Xoxo.