To Be…or to strive.

As you probably know if you are part of my digital community, I ended 2018 and began 2019 back in The Continent. My non-black American friends sometimes look confused when we, the diaspora, say The Continent. I guess that’s a black diaspora thing. So, to clarify Africa is The Continent/The Motherland.

I was part of the Magic and Melanin trip led by my friend Dossé-Via. And it was every bit as magical as I hoped.

Nigerians tend to be the “white people” of the Continent and we tend to assume ourselves and our collective way of being as default for Africans. I mean we are the largest economy in the continent and the largest movie industry so makes sense, but I’ve been cautiously wanting to get out of that head space and experience parts of the continent where my identity is not a default. Just to be clear, even in Nigeria, I belong to 2 minority cultures (Ibibio and Annang) so my identity has never felt really central, but there is something to your country as a default that I still felt the need to break to out of. Its why when this opportunity to travel around West Africa sans Nigeria on a trip led by another black African identified woman, I jumped on it as quick as I could.

It has been hard to summarize what those weeks in the Motherland did for my soul and its been even harder to wrap the experience up, place a bow on it, and put it away mentally. It was a vacation, but it wasn’t. It was more like a reminder. It was equal parts centering, grounding, and disrupting in ways I look forward to unraveling more of over the next few months.

I created new community with some amazing black women who I was privileged to experience that time with, and got to be part of the Accra nightlife scene with the most risqué outfits I own. I reconnected to the Ocean. The Atlantic feels different from the Pacific. I taught Yoga and reconnected with the joy of doing embodied and body based work.

And most importantly, for the first time in a really long time I didn’t really have to work hard for my peace.

I think it was important for me to experience ease and to finally internalize that feeling ease doesn’t diminish the celebration. I’ve always celebrated myself for doing hard things. I’ve always been celebrated for doing hard things. Accomplishing things others wouldn’t dream of. Creating things to solve problems others don’t want to touch with a ten foot pole and I think my internalization of that as a way to be has showed up in the opportunities I pursue and the ones I gloss over.

As I unwind, untangle, and keep processing what the trip meant to me, especially that parts where I channeled all my energy the first few days in the New Year into being a beach bum, chasing frivolous things, and only doing exactly what I wanted to be doing, it is changing things about the way I see myself in the world. I am choosing to allow myself to just be. And in a society that is increasingly rewarding of constant busy-ness as a measure of worth, that feels revolutionary enough.

2018

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

Zora Neale Hurston.

2018 in all her glory was the answer to the question I’ve always had at the back of my mind; how powerful am I?

I sat in my best friends car on New Years Day – a routine we’ve had for the past 4 years. Typically I go over to her house, we do resolutions, she cooks, I linger in the kitchen being minimally helpful. We eat. I talk. She listens. I listen, she talks. We go over our goals; mine reflective of my maximalist tendencies, hers reflective of her more minimalist approach to life. This time it was a little different, we decided to go get Thai food instead. There were no long lists of resolutions. We talked, caught up, listened, laughed. Then she took me home. 

We sat in her car as she pulled into my drive way,

It was cold out and yet we lingered in the cold almost as if we knew for sure this year would be an ending in a lot of ways. As we lingered we talked about our dreams. I had just returned from California a couple of months prior and was contemplating a more permanent move. She was ready to start a family. We talked about the possibility of both. A little hopeful, but not too hopeful. We’ve both known disappointment. We laughed. We always laugh together. We prayed. We always pray together. I told her I was really angry at God but that me and God would be fine. We bared our souls to each other, exactly as we were in that moment. We hugged each other and our intentions and prayers and all the unspoken things were out in the world.

That was day 1 of 2018.

As I sit here on day 351 of 2018  at my new home in California, looking at pictures of my best friends newborn, getting ready to change up my New Years routine this year and spend it teaching yoga in West Africa, a decade-long dream finally realized,  I’m in awe of how much can actually happen in a year.

I could go on and on about the mechanics of how this year actually happened but the truth is that I don’t really recall much of the mechanics. As I look at it from the broad strokes of the year, I realize it took me on a daily journey that I was fully present for and I’m only now unpacking all of the changes. For those that have followed on social media, you know all about my commitment to easeful transitions as I moved to California, changed career trajectories, became more focused on being fully present in my own life and decided to take risks.  I feel drastically different from the girl I was at the beginning of the year and I’m grateful for all those that have been a part of that journey.


I became a lover of poetry this year.
Crisply written words that expressed all the feelings in an accessible way became a life force this year.

I chose my family this year.

I chose myself this year.

I grew more into my body and soul this year.

I found the courage to quit an abusive work space this year.

I got the job of my dreams this year

I leaned very deeply into ease as a way of being this year.

I transitioned into my mid-twenties this year

I owned my desires this year

I expanded my community this year

I left Facebook for good this year

I celebrated my girlhood this year

I became a woman this year

I became intimate with uncertainty

she did not break me.

I learnt boundaries after heartbreak

it did not kill me.

I gave acceptance to all my imperfections

and became whole.

All of these showed me my own power, the capacity to dream things in my inner world and change my external world to fit into the world I’ve been dreaming up. They showed me that even at my most fragile, there is always a glimmer of that inner fortitude that I can cling to if I get quiet and gentle with myself.