18 Jan

A World Away

I’m sitting with Ian, he’s driving. My ears are being held hostage by the radio. The song’s chorus goes; ”every time I think about you I touch myself”. Uncomfortable does not describe how I feel. Nothing does. So I do what I do best, I start to chat.

He studied Eastern European History. I don’t ask why, even though I really want to know why he chose to dedicate his future to the past of a group of people who thankfully have stolen the spotlight from Nigerians in the UK. He is Welsh, born of Welsh parents and raised on Welsh soil. I ask him what sort of career path he’ll be taking, he doesn’t know. Perhaps my question isn’t clear. So I rephrase. His answer remains unchanged.

I leave Ian in mid-sentence and mentally teleport myself to West Africa, where I arrive in the sitting room of an average Nigerian family. They’ve just finished dinner and father asks son to repeat what he just told him. Then he holds up his hand signalling to the son, to ‘hold that thought’… he calls mother  to come and hear what her son is saying. Then turns back to son;

”Oya, tell us again what you want to study at University, the university that I’ll be paying for. With my own money”.

The rest of the scene is a blur so I take my leave and return to the car, we’re nearly at our destination but there’s time to chat some more. He tells me he’ll be leaving his job in 15 days to travel to South America. I ask where- eager to add my tuppence worth. I have Brazilian roots and I’m buzzing with the newfound knowledge that my ancestors first arrived on Nigerian soil exactly 100 years before I was born. My dad is our genealogy tzar. I’m blessed.
He tells me he’ll be travelling everywhere. I probe deeper. When will he be back? Because in my world people come back when they travel- usually within two weeks, four weeks tops if you’ve gone to bury a relative who had a chieftaincy title and lived long. Any more than that they’ll consider you as having emigrated. His answer reminds me he’s not from my world; for he’ll be gone for a year, maybe even two.
He did the same thing two years ago, quit his job and went travelling. Again I ask where.

”Oh you know, the standard. India, USA, Turkey”.

Standard?

I shut the heyall up. He carries on humming to the song. I don’t make the comment that’s been slowly making its way down to my mouth from my head.

Yesterday I met another one. I needed to buy a mobile broadband dongle, she looked and sounded like she would rather be in bed. The 21-year-old proceeded to take my details.

Ms or Mrs?

Mrs.

She replied in her sleepy voice, ”oh! You’re sooo lucky!”

I decide she needs some advice. A slap upside the head. A wake up call. Kick up the backside. So I ask how long she’s worked for Carphone Warehouse. ”one year”, she manages to offer. As though an additional word would send her over the edge and into Alice’s wonderland, which is precisely where she doesn’t want to go- in my opinion she’s halfway there.

So what do you plan on doing? I’m sure you don’t want to work for Carphone Warehouse forever?

No, I want to travel. Afterwards I want to finish my final year of degree.

Oh that’s nice! Where are you off to?

Australia.

What’s your degree course in?

Criminal psychology.

Sounds exciting!

Everybody says that.

She drags out ‘everybody’ so much so that the poor thing is unwillingly turned into a seven syllable word. I pay for my dongle, and as I leave, I wish her well on her travels.
Oh it’s not for a while, I have to save first. I don’t even know when I’m going.

I start to tell her where the nearest Starbucks is, so she can grab a coffee. then I change my mind. It’s only 10am. I don’t need this. Besides they may not drink coffee in her world.

Joanne says I attract odd people. Like those gypsies. Did I share about the day they came to the office? And puked in the toilet? It was no small matter. Another day! Now you have to come back!

Thank you for reading!

01 Jan

Good enough!

My new year resolutions for 2014 can be distilled into one buzz word, authenticity.

Not that I have gone out of my way to be pretentious or fake, but after some reflection in the last few months of 2013, I realised and faced up to the fact that there have been times when I haven’t been entirely comfortable with who I am. I love myself to bits- I don’t want to be anyone else, I don’t wish I was Michelle Obama, but still I noticed that I have struggled to be myself in certain situations, especially when outside my comfort zone.

Case in point the new blog issue. I wanted to start a new blog that would appeal to my clients, none of whom I live like or look nothing like. So I struggled with a blog name and content. The plan was to write as this personality that fit in with the quintessential Brit. A lady who lunches. I was to visit places and appreciate the sort of art I normally don’t care for, then write about it (in a genteel tone) as though it was normal for hubby and the boys to go to Lords Cricket Ground, while I had afternoon teas with the Windsors. Don’t get me wrong I do love the finer things in life and appreciate art and beauty, but your girl wanted to take it to another level so she could fit in.

After struggling for a while I pushed the  idea to the back of my mind. But the comments you kindly share on this blog, the email responses I get from friends and in conversation with my friends, I tend to get two main descriptive phrases that resonate deeply. One of them is being authentic.

I have come to the conclusion that the best personality I can portray is mine. I cannot successfully try to be someone else. The fear of not being accepted in a different social circle is gone, because God made me with a personality that cannot be replicated. So who I am is unique and beautiful as it is, I don’t need to alter me. This is not to say I won’t try to improve on areas that need improving on, I believe in education outside the classroom and life-long learning, and I will still go out to expose the boys to the epicurean lifestyle, but I will do so while remaining authentic. I love my name and totally love my skin colour and I’m comfortable in it.

I have also come to the conclusion that excellence can only be achieved when you’re being yourself. Because that’s what you were pre-wired to be. Imagine a car trying to be a boat? Or an apple hoping to taste like an orange? You get the picture!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful 2014, filled with the confidence to be you! Thank you so much for being in my life and sharing my journey with me!

I’d love to hear your buzz word for 2014.

PS:

On the blog note, I have decided to step out and create a separate page on the business blog, complete with my photograph and sharing my life and loves, the real one, not the imagined one, it’s a big step for me and I’m VERY excited!

11 Dec

Crazy, Ditzy, Cool

©Cinnamon Kitchen

Crazy

I owe The Wordsmythe an apology- and that’s putting it mildly. I stole her fiance. In the dream she was getting ready for her traditional wedding. There wasn’t going to be a white one, she was marrying  Chief Muyiwa, a semi- illiterate man. I don’t know how and where my obsession with illiterate old men came from to the point that I have now started to dream of stealing someone else’s own. Nkem, forgive me, I’m baffled myself. Anyway, in the dream I positioned myself for a hostile takeover of her husband-to-be but pulled back just in time. Needless to say her aunties were not pleased. I have no idea how I got from the village to Kent but I’m glad I did.

Today I’ll be explaining Apartheid to #4. That’ll be a challenge as I don’t want him looking strangely at our caucasian friends and questioning if they have any desire to rule over his family. He is likely to do that. The thing is he would start his sentence with ‘my mother said…”

Hubby, I have had to ban from grocery shopping. In a bid to cut down on my workload I shifted the weekly shopping responsibility to him. The man buys premium everything. I walked in to find a pack of Andrex-quilted-scented-premium-luxury-limited-edition tissues in the kitchen. I had one question. ‘Why?

However there are some things I won’t compromise on, like cotton buds. It has to be Johnson’s. Add cotton wool to the list too as the last one I bought appears to be polyester instead of cotton- completely useless at removing nail polish. It glides all over my fingernail as though the polish is the one trying to take the cotton wool off.

Talking about nail varnish, I am currently obsessed with glitter polish. I used one the other day and referred to it as glitter burgundy. My friend asked; ‘Is that burgundy? It was a simple question yet I spent the remaining part of the week staring at my nails  asking chanting; ‘burgundy or purple? burgundy or purple?

Ditzy

I was invited to the launch of BMW’s first electric car. It was a very posh event. Posh because of the canapes and ‘very’ because of their size. Seriously. The whole evening was spent trying to figure out how on earth the canapes were made. Even with tweezers it would have been quite a task to layer one itsy-bitsy shred of slow-roasted beef over a crouton piece of pastry drenched in half a drop of sauce. Every so often a waiter would show up with a teeny wooden platter and 8 pretty ones perfectly arranged for presumably 8 people. He would begin the spill; This is french Pain de mie with slow roasted pheasant and a single dried olive dipped briefly in a 200 year old rice vinegar, drizzled with  olive oil and a hint of mild Japanese black pepper’. By the time he finished I’d have popped two or 3 in my mouth. How some people were able to bite into them is beyond me. I didn’t want to appear any less dignified than I already did by also taking a photo with my blackberry, but they were the size of #4’s thumbnail. Then there was the small matter of the verbal faux pas. When a representative told me the staff each had a company BMW Toks of course forgot herself and asked if they had vacancies. Half jokingly, half serious. He looked at me quizzically, no doubt wondering why one who couldn’t drop £100k for a car was doing in their Park Lane, Mayfair showroom. We were looking at the i8 due out later this year. I noticed Helen take 2 steps away from me, denying that she even knew me. 

We’ve had some big changes on the business side. Very exciting indeed. Now I go to the website and spend about 5 mins smiling in sheer admiration. And another 5 wishing I had spent that time working instead. I’ll be writing a book on our business experiences. Crazy customers featuring will include the one that told me he wasn’t excited about the pregnancy since his wife had STDs.

Cool

I have been invited to speak at a major event at the NEC in Birmingham. This is huge. So understandably I spent the first 2 weeks waiting for the email to tell me they were sorry- it was sent to me in error. Consequently I haven’t prepared yet. And mild panic is starting to set in.

On that note I’ll stop for now. What have you been up to?  I’ve missed you!

27 Aug

Midnight Post

Beautiful and crazy in a good way. That’s how I was described last week. This week so far I have heard Petite– that’s a first. The beautiful and crazy definition is also a first.  I’ve had my fair share of adjectives used to describe me, each time I get a new one I search to find Toks in it, (or it in Toks)

The crazy part I can’t argue with, I have an imaginary husband-to-be, Chief Bello. I remind hubby I’ll leave him for Chief whenever he gets on my nerves. Please note that chief Bello exists only in my mind, but he does exist.

He is twice thrice my age, pot-bellied and semi-illiterate. He also has 3 wives and I’ll be the fourth. His educated wife to show-off to the rest of the villagers. On a good day I remind hubby that I dumped John Legend for him- yes, I have a healthy crush on John Legend. And Denzel Washington. And I kind of like Lionel Richie, my favourite song is Three times a lady.

Petite. I was skinny as a child and consequently gathered some unsavoury nicknames. Now I’ve got some meat on me and I am sooo happy! I unashamedly stare at  shop mirrors when I walk past- just to make sure it’s all still there. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that I’m arrogant, or that I suffer from of kryptonic levels of self-esteem, wrong, but forgiven. So I refuse to agree with the petite part- even if it has any truth to it.

I love music. Music transports me into a world I can’t physically get to, but can arrive at in every other way. The downside of this is that once I start listening to songs that have a nostalgic effect on me, I could go on for hours. So I understand my dearest friend Iluobe’s pain when she lost hundreds of tracks some years back. I can only hope she is completely healed.

My favourite meal remains Rice, Fried Plantains and Stew. I think it’s a waste to have tasty stew and perfectly cooked rice without fried plantains. However I’m on a mission to improve my meal choices, swapping good, tasty foods for crap, so-called ‘acquired taste’ ones. I can’t quite fathom people who have cold green salads for lunch on a winter’s day. But they have said I will eventually acquire the taste. Let’s see.

I had a happy childhood which included growing up with pets- dogs and cats usually, but once had a monkey, an anteater and a crocodile. See explanation here. I want my children’s experiences to be even better- if that were possible. Unfortunately I’ve grown into an irritatingly protective mother and want to shield them from the pain of losing a beloved pet. It happened to me way too often as a child. Then again I’m torn between protecting them from pain, and  preparing them for pain, as life will dish out its fair share.

The only reason I’m blogging at 00:36 hrs is to avoid tackling work that’s staring at me menacingly from the other nine tabs opened on either side of this page. And I’m avoiding work because I refuse to accept that the Bank Holiday is over, so we’re err… trying to stretch it. It also explains the rather lame title (and content) of this post.

I hope you had a lovely long weekend.

Do come back, I promise I’ll have a more substantial post next time!

16 Aug

One Woman, Several Lives

Courtesy of my sister-friend Tiwana, I have been delivered from my involuntary blogging hiatus. And I feel sorry for you because this is going to be one looooong post!

I do get asked often a question that I feel should be reserved for the real superwomen; ”how do you do it?” By ‘‘it’‘ specifically they mean running my business, a household of 5 guys, blogging, hosting the occasional brunch- and by occasional we mean up to once a year- and living this seemingly fabulous life. I always have two answers, depending on how desperate they are for an encouragement or the naked truth.

Answer #1, the encouraging one.

My alarm goes off at 4am, if I’m really lazy I snooze till 4:30. I have my quiet time and exercise for 30 minutes. All of this happens in my clean and spacious kitchen, it would have been made spotless the night before as the boys are quite good staying on top of their chores, bless them.  Then I get ready, shower, hair make-up and all. They get themselves up and ready for school, I get the younger ones up, sorted and fed for the peaceful drive to school. We go over timetables or spelling during the drive, or I tell them a story with a moral at the end.

I return home for my healthy breakfast, tidy up breakfast things- just #2 and #3’s as #1 and #2 would have done theirs before they left for school. Grab my laptop and head off to work where I meet a load of orders that arrived overnight, some thank you emails from delighted customers and enquiries for new orders. I go through my work in bliss, then leave at 2pm to go prepare dinner. The school run starts at 3pm and by 4pm everyone except hubby is back home.  The boys have lunch and at 4:30pm it is homework time. They don’t need to be told.  They play from 5:30 to 6pm when hubby arrives, and we have dinner at 6:15pm. I incorporate quizzes and chit chat during mealtimes. After dinner they do their chores, clean their teeth and go to bed. At that point having watched some TV or chatted on the phone for about 40 mins, I work for an hour and go to bed, I usually read a book before I nod off.

Answer #2: Flip all I’ve said the other way round and insert yelling after the word boys. Every time.

So my laptop died on me. Actually it was a bit unwell. The experience of being separated from it showed me how alarmingly attached I can be to an inanimate object. I took it to the repair shop where I met Akhtar* name changed for protection, mine and his. Before he looked at it he made the sign of the cross and a silent prayer. You’ll understand my confusion- if Muslims had a look, a smell and a sound, this was it. I asked why he did that and his response was so God could help him find the source of the problem. I proceeded to remind him that he was  Muslim- then rephrased just before the words tumbled out;

Me: ‘Are you a Christian?’

A: ‘Yes, I converted’

Me: ( getting all excited) why?

He lowered his voice: ‘ever since I found out that Mohammed was a paedophile, its not good’.

Me: Both feigning and actually being surprised at the same time- really? I didn’t know that.

A: Yes God told him in a dream to look after an 8-year-old girl, why couldn’t he be a dad or friend? Why did he have to marry her? It’s not good. I’ll call you when your laptop is ready.

I leave deep in thought, pondering on my new-found knowledge that there are actually Muslims who convert for other reasons besides being preached to.

I received an invite to the launch of Polo in the Park, being held at an exclusive venue, champagne, blah blah blah. The invite added: Please RSVP to confirm as spaces are limited. Instead of replying via email like anyone else would do, Toks chose to call the guy- Chris – with an excessive amount of confidence. Here’s how our convo went;

Hi this is Toks from blah blah, I am calling in response to the invitation to the launch, I would like to attend. We’ll need 2 spaces.

Chris: Who is this?

Toks from blah. (whose company you recently requested the pleasure of- abi  were you drunk when you sent the invite?)

Chris: Oh I see. It err.. isn’t lunch, it’s champagne and strawberries.

Toks (confidence crumbling):  I know it’s not lunch as in to eat, but the launch of Polo in the park, right?

Chris: ohhh Lau-nch!

Clearly I need elocution classes. Excuse me for being raised in Nigeria and not enunciating the way you do. E kpele. ndo. Sorry

I went back for my laptop, and my new friend told me he was stressed due to poor business performance. I suggested networking events attended by nearby businesses, since he supplies a service that small businesses need. He dismissed it as irrelevant to his current need. Then I suggested going to award events which are again attended by small businesses so he could be directly in front of them.

His response? (squinting and pointing to a building across the road)

You see that restaurant over there, don’t go there. I bought chicken yesterday but it was bloody expensive. Not good

Yes my life in actual fact is more often like answer #2. A mish-mash of crazy, unrelated events which somehow manages to reconstruct itself and fool everyone into thinking that I have it all together.

I need my bed!

Thank you for reading, kindly leave a comment- it helps to boost my ego confidence.

16 May

War in the Audition Room

So child #3, the sweet, chatty one was invited to audition for a role in The Bodyguard, the musical. Today marked the third time I’ve been in a high-pressure environment with boys and their mums.

Typically the boys sit unperturbed,  playing with their phones or consoles- except mine of course, this is not a playing matter. I’m a novice but the other mums are not. They are busy shooting poisoned thoughts at each other, each one is sheathed with a thin smile. Behind the smile a debate with self rages;

He’s too tall for the role, didn’t his mother read the brief?

Nope, not cute enough, my son is cuter.

I bet he can’t act, see his buck teeth.

Hmm, this one looks confident, I wonder if he has been to stage school.

As if on cue, the internal debate s politely interrupted by the voice of the confident one’s mother. She says a bit too loudly;

‘Yes he’s been in 3 plays and a movie, and a couple of adverts’.

She speaks loudly because with each decibel her ego is heightened- so much so that she is now being quietly revered by the other mums. A hierarchy which previously did not exist is formed and she is at the top. In this game no one wishes anyone luck, why pretend?

The second time was in a less combative environment. This was when the selected few were called back for a second audition.

I engage in a tête a-tête  with a parent I meet in the waiting area and within 20 seconds I discover something about him I don’t like; he is a name dropper. But he must be dropping T-list celebrity names since I don’t recognise any of them. No, I don’t know the actor that plays golf with your father-in-law, or the newsreader that shares the carpool on the school run with you. I don’t know them and I don’t care to either. His next sentence infuriates me. I ask him to repeat the name of a stage school he just mentioned, he does- then quickly adds- ”you need to be able to sing and dance and act- all three excellently to even get in”. I nearly punch his already crooked nose but take a deep breath and count to 100 instead.

Today is the third time. They want an African or Afro-Caribbean boy. A dark-skinned boy. Like my son. They are very specific. We walk in and see one mixed-race boy. I feel my confidence rising. More children arrive, all mixed-race. The hierarchy is being formed and guess who’s at the top? More children arrive, all very light-skinned. No shaking. Then a couple of dark-skinned ones turn up. The battle lines are being drawn- but I shan’t be moved.

The assistant announces that she’ll start collecting our completed forms- which I forget to bring. She’ll also collect the passport photos. I of course forgot those too. I have 4 sons, a husband and a demanding business, in fact I’ll be silly not to forget them.

The woman next to me produces her completed form, photo and CV- for her dark-skinned 10 year old. Yes a resume. She apologizes for not stapling the form to the resume. I take the unanimous decision to dislike her. The hierarchy has been rearranged. I start to rehearse my non-commiseration speech to child #3 which will go like this;

Next time when your parents tell you to practise, I hope you will”

Shey you’ve learned your lesson now abi?

Whose fault is it that you were not picked? Mine? Did I tell you to watch looney tunes while you should have been practising your lines?

You’d better not cry or else…

Thank you for reading, do drop a line below!

Stop by my other blog, Inspireme, a blog for the faint-hearted

08 Apr

Growth

Disclaimer: While it may appear I’m trying to shove down an epistle of the last 3 months down your throats or minds as it were, this isn’t my intention.

Child #3 made £6.00 yesterday. He also got to sign autographs. I’ll explain.

We were invited to a photo shoot by The Voice newspaper for mothers day. It was to be a picture-led feature, lots of pictures and an interview. I’ll point out that I behaved in a dignified manner throughout.

Child #1 got some telling off from me because I insisted that he dressed formally, with a shirt and cardigan and chinos. No jeans, no T-shirts and certainly no hoodies. I got irritated with him as it was the umpteenth time (ok actually the 4th) I had addressed his dressing as it relates to race and stereotypes which he still doesn’t fully get- or rather he chooses not to understand.

Child #2 was elated. He has always considered himself a fashionista. This shoot to him had nothing to do with mothers day, (after all his mum knows he loves her) and everything to do with the catwalk. It was his moment. Finally his opportunity to become a model despite the fact that mummy said ‘over her dead body’ (whatever that meant).

Child #3 was as cheerful as ever. We were served chocolate drink with chilli pepper (no lie) and some moreish brownies. Child #3’s telling-off needless to say came down to; ‘stop stuffing your mouth!, ‘ come on! wipe those crumbs off your face‘. ‘you’ve had enough‘. ‘Anyone would think we were starving in our own home’.

Child #4. The one called Josh. This one, my conversation with him boiled down to; ‘stand still‘, ‘smile‘, ‘look at the camera‘, ‘no MacDonald’s for you when we leave this place’. ‘‘That’s it, no x-box either’. ‘In fact you’ll be facing the wall once we step indoors‘.

Each threat to my boys was accompanied with my already big eyes widening and my mouth twisted in more ways than I could count. It was important to me that we were seen as refined, well-groomed folks. I don’t know how well it went down with Child #4’s answer to the question; ‘what makes a good mum?

His response; ”A good mum lets me watch TV”.

Child #3 made some money because he told his friends he was featured in the papers and they didn’t believe him. So the savvy business man-child that he is, made bets with his friends and promptly asked them to pay up once he produced the newspaper the following day. He hasn’t stopped smiling.  He decided to stretch the truth by telling them he would be starring in a movie. His classmates (who by now believed every word he said), proceeded to ask for his autograph. Which he gave.

He isn’t starring in a movie, but he did do an audition (another gist which I will share).

I got an email from a casting agency looking for 9-10 year old boys of colour for an upcoming movie, a biopic of a Motown singer. Like any other mother who wants their child to go far in life, I quickly suggested my son (with pride and confidence as the boy is talented- like all our children are). I have learned to GRAB opportunity with both hands when I see it. We were asked to send in a single recording of him singing. As far as hubby and I and even his god-mother is aware, the boy has an angelic voice, he can sing. I hasten to say but between you and me, when he did the recording, it wasn’t the same voice. Lets just say I became increasingly uneasy as we recorded song after song after song. I am yet to hear back from the agency. ‘Nuff said.

The children are on Easter break. I warned them from the start that it would be an ‘indoor break’. No going out for us as it’s just too cold and I’ve reached my quota for cold days in 2012/13.

Talking about cold, I organised a seminar. It was to be a relaxing brunch with about 6 to 10 friends at my house, and a speaker sharing some wisdom with us. But it grew out of my home and into a lovely hotel close to where I live. I got into event-planning mode and very excitedly had it all down to a T. I had room for 30 and sold all 30 spaces with a couple on the waiting list. On the morning of the event we awoke to heavy snow. I had just enough time to cancel and inform all the guests. The postponement and my ensuing reaction showed me how much I’ve evolved as I was not in the least bit disappointed. It had crossed my mind to pray for the snow to stop, but I felt the Lord telling me to use common sense instead. I am glad that I did. I’m glad that I did not fret or panic, I’m glad that I saw the weather as something outside my control and therefore not to be angry at, I am so glad I made a sensible decision without dilly-dallying. For you it may be the norm, but for Toks, trust me, it’s a sign of growth.

Thanks so much for keeping up with me, I’m working on growing in frequency of my blog posts!

I also blog at www.inspiremeinc.wordpress.com. A blog for the faint-hearted.

13 Jan

Quick Update on the Temperament Test

I had no idea what The Personality Test post would result in. I received results of the test from friends by phone, email or on facebook. Worse than that was the fact that I started psycho-analysing everyone I came across. Someone on facebook had posted a cute picture of her daughter and one of the commenters couldn’t simply say ‘aw, sweet‘ like everyone else did. She had to add; ”my daughter does that too, a lot!”. I immediately recognised it as typical sanguine behaviour. The need to steal any limelight that isn’t shining brightly on her. I had to resist the urge to comment after her; “madam, you have your own wall, go there to boast about your daughter!” And no, I don’t know her.

Suzy and I were holding a normal conversation and without realising I started to analyse the people she was talking about. ”She must be a melancholic”, said Toks. “She can’t help being moody”.

I forced, told  suggested to my staff to take the temperament test too. Now I realise that although she’s a sanguine like me, I’m the one who instigates all the chatting in the office. Not her.

Clearly I need help.

Justjoxy (aka Dynamite) also did the temperament test and found out she has painstakingly surrounded herself with fellow cholerics. Sanguines, Phlegs or Melancholics need not apply. That means I am really chuffed that she couldn’t resist having me, a mere sanguine as her friend!

Remember I had asked for help in naming my new blog? Now I request your help in naming my new personality. I thought about taking all the fine points of all four temperaments and creating an alter ego but I don’t know if that’ll work, I might forget which trait I’m trying to exhibit on a particular post. I have a habit or a rule of not using my real date of birth. Besides my passport, driver’s license and birth cert, I see no earthly reason why any organisation should have it. I’m talking about utility companies and the likes. When I opened a mobile phone account 2 years ago, I gave a fake date. Unfortunately that was before I decided to stick to one  fake date of birth. So when I was moving house and needed to verify my account, 3 dates later and I couldn’t remember my ‘D.O.B’. The customer service rep turned on me saying ‘you don’t know your own date of birth?’ I could have slapped her! If there’s a way I can present multiple personalities without coming across as having a personality disorder, please share.

Remember my wedding videographer I mentioned in the last post? Well I called him and he assures me he really still has my video- that should be DVD by now. We had a good chat and I want him to refer some business to me.  He wants me to add him as a friend on facebook. Trouble is I have already tattled about him on Pawpaw & Mango (note: previous post only!) and I shamelessly pedal the blog up and down on my facebook wall. Please send in your suggestions on how to get out of this pickle. It gets worse. I have become bolder and now accept friend requests from acquaintances especially if we can mutually benefit each other, or we have common interests. This means I can no longer write posts brazenly. They might conclude I need psychological assistance if I share some more on how I raise my boys. They might stalk me if they feel I’m writing about them.

I shared a post on InspireMe on how blessed I am. This week has been phenomenal as God revealed to me how blessed I was with very good friends. My friends are all dynamic in their own way and invest in me too. Just the knowledge alone gave me such joy. Now I really have to do that post on friendship I have bragged about for the last two years. I’ll do it. Next time.

Nothing more to report, have a blessed week!

26 Dec

The Personality Test

Storyteller. Just one of the words the personality test result chose to describe me with. It also said I was friendly, impulsive, boisterous, cheerfully optimistic,  confident, a lover of people and chronically late. In addition I have a habit of repeating stories- which means this is only the first in a non-consecutive series of blog posts that would tell you I’m a Sanguine. This is what I discovered after taking a test to identify my temperament following my last post on Frenemies. I like the word. I’m glad I’m not a phlegmatic- simply because it’s one of the four temperaments that gets its name from ‘phlegm’. It wouldn’t have been a problem if I turned out to be one because hubby is, and I love him just as he is. Okay even if it was a problem, what could have been done?

Back to me. Sanguine. We talk about ourselves quite a bit and love to be the centre of attention. The word, for some reason fills my mind with images of a chocolate-skinned, beautiful, young lady wearing a floaty yellow sun dress, a red hibiscus tucked into her  hair. She’s twirling around happily on a beach in Anguilla. The sun sets in the distance turning the horizon into a bloody-red backdrop. She is completely carefree and filled with pure joy. She is me.

For me, Sanguine evokes tropical associations. As tropical as a glass of fruit flavoured cocktail with an umbrella and a slice of lemon. Not the astringent type that goes straight to the head. The type that is sweet and tart and makes you feel good on the inside.

I suspect #3 and #4 are sanguines. I will not make them take the test as they are young and I don’t want to define and lock them in a box for life, but they are talkative to the nth degree! Yes that’s a trait of us sanguines we can talk. It’s really odd as I was very shy and quiet as a child. I read a lot. Storybooks mainly. I have lived life as a white upper-class school girl, I lived as a black slave woman in the 1800s  and as a fairy with magical powers- all through the soul of books, but I don’t remember talking a lot. Then again maybe I did, I can’t remember, who cares?

The test is by no means absolute. If it was, the results would have told you more. Like the fact that I am so proud and thankful for my brown skin. And I worry sometimes that my favourite lip gloss, Oh baby by MAC will eventually be discontinued. Or that I long for the day that I’ll be able to pull off my dream hairstyle, cropped afro and blonde. It would have told you that the year Kenny G’s Breathless was released featured one of my best summers ever. It was also the year I must have started falling in love as J and I spent a lot of time together.  It would have informed you that I am an eclectic and can swing effortlessly from one topic to another in a single sentence, without stopping for air. My friend Justjoxy will attest to that.

It has been good for me, taking the test. At least now I know why  I’m the only one who thinks my wedding videographer is telling the truth. That he still has my video and just hasn’t gotten down to editing it- after 16 years. We are gullible and easily fooled.

And now I remember to hold my tongue when my friends call me for a chat, when they need a listening ear. I know to hold my tongue because I have a natural disposition towards ‘one-upping’ other people’s stories. I know.

It has helped me become more forbearing towards a certain relative, I won’t judge her for bringing so much attention-deficient issues to the table again.

I won’t be forcing hubby to get super excited about a gift I bought him or a new piece of information I found. Those poor dears don’t get excited over much, they are not like us. They are a peaceful bunch. Bless.

This isn’t my end of year spill. Sanguines like to have the last word so I’ll be back with my 2012 thankful list! Amen.

Here’s where I did the temperament test, there are four main temperaments andeveryone falls into one, or sometimes two. What’s yours? Do share!

22 Dec

Frenemies

Friendship isn't about whom you've known the longest...it's about who came and never left your side

Friendship isn’t about whom you’ve known the longest…it’s about who came and never left your side

This post was inspired by Charisse, we don’t see often but whenever we do we really jam! Shout out to you my sis!

So Charisse shared a link on her Facebook wall with the title Frenemies. I read it. And of course while reading I did a mental check of my friends to see who- if any had morphed into a frienemy.

A few years  ago I discovered a friend had become a frenemy, actually in fairness to her she had always been that, its just that Toks was so accommodating and a tad bit naive to call a spade a spade. The final nail was hit when she passed a comment that was hurtful (like most of her previous ones) and constructed to cause harm. And it hit its mark. I wrote this poem signalling the end of our relationship as we both knew it.

A frenemy is a friend that has morphed into an enemy but still retains the same qualities that endeared you to her in the first place. There are two classes of frienemies. Intentional and unintentional, or types A and B. The intentional frienemy as her title suggests is determined to hurt, pull you down or step on you to get to the top. To you she’s a friend, to her you are a rung on the ladder she’s climbing to the top of her game. She will not pull you up if you are down, but is gifted at using ‘words of encouragement’ which suggest you’ll always be where you belong- at the bottom, while she sympathises with and is there for you. She is very insecure- though it may not be very obvious, so she has developed a unique way of gaining security. How does she do this?  She takes yours. She grabs your pride and dignity and dismembers them right before your very eyes. Words are her tool, either through salacious gossip or by embarrassing you with cutting remarks in front of others under the guise of humour or innocence.

An unintentional frenemy is less aggressive  You are also a rung on the ladder, but she has no intention of climbing over you. The trouble is you ain’t going nowhere. You are the rung she holds unto to keep you from going forward in life. Ever heard the saying ‘misery loves company? She, my dear is Ms Misery. She is negative, whiny, forever discouraged. Type B frenemy thrives on sharing her woes and like a vampire bat, she wants to suck your strength. She does love you but she’s a user. When she leaves your presence you can tell because you feel drained, tired and a dark cloud of  despair and hopelessness now looms over you. Did I mention she’s a user? She not only drains your emotional strength, but possibly takes from you without ever giving. She’s manipulative and would blackmail you emotionally for gain.

Perhaps a  sub-class of the unintentional frenemy will be the one that loves you, loves your company but not enough to see you excel in life. They want to be ahead of you, always. When opportunities for growth arise they’ll keep it from you. These types do not share vital information just in-case it causes you to become successful. In this relationship, you may not have been told but you are in a race. You see them as a friend, they see you as a rival.

So how do you deal with frenemies? Without a doubt type A needs to be cut off. No ifs, no buts. They’ll never change. Talking to them is pointless, are you God?

Type B requires wisdom. It’s up to you if you want to cut them off, but if you choose to keep them, the phrase Know thy enemy is your weapon of choice.  You need to set boundaries, both emotional and physical.  Do not let them get into your head, don’t buy their sob-stories. Refuse to be moved, refuse to be manipulated. Play your cards close. More tactics can be found in The Art of War by Sun Tsu. If like me you can’t be bothered to read that epic book solely for the purpose of finding out how to deal with a ‘friend’, just cut them off.

A friend is none of these things. A friend sticks by you regardless. She is there for you and helps you get to the top. She is truly happy for you when you succeed, even if things are not perfect for her. I am blessed to have some really good friends, they know who they are.

Finally after my lesson on frenemies, I decided to look deep into my heart to determine if I had inadvertently become one. That voyage led me to do a personality test and the results blew my mind.

Another post, another day.

What’s your take on frenemies? Do you have any in your life?