Category: creative growth

To Unlearn: What I No Longer Believe to be True

unlearn <un·learn>

discard (something learned, especially a bad habit or false or outdated information) from one’s memory.
  1. College is the only or surest way to succeed in the modern world. We know no examples. Bill Gates. Oprah.
  2. Smart people always make good decisions. If you are smart, you cannot be wrong. Ever. Duh.
  3. No one will ever truly look out for you, with the exemption of your family. Family members – the ones you do not choose – are the only people you can trust. Surely, everyone is ultimately out to get you in the long run. If people leave, even when their appointed season in your life is over, that is the zenith of betrayal. Off with their heads! Every institution – even the most blessed, pure, and loving – has its limitations. That can’t possibly be ok.
  4. You cannot set boundaries with family. “I love you, mother… Thanks for calling the third time today… Yes, yeah… I’m on the look out for my future husband. Of course!…. Yes, a medical doctor, yes, medical… I have the criteria list seared into my mind… I’ll review the scroll right before I head out to work… Oh yeah… yeah, it’s morning here – kinda early….”
  5. Life is not meant to be enjoyed. What is happiness? Struggle is life. Struggle defines life. Despite the fact that you only get one chance at living, why would you actually enjoy any part of it? This is not a game. #struggleislife
  6. Men are on the fuckboy spectrum. Therefore, can they really ever be a partner and ally? Not one man is worth the time of day. They’re all such good men, and yet leave behind throngs of broken women in their wake. I mean, why expect respect and harmony in a relationship when all he really needs from you is a warm, cooked meal and a warmer body? I mean, really, #NotAllMen, amirite?
  7. True love eludes women who are decisive, inquisitive, and have at least one degree. The more degrees you attain, ladies, and the more you desire out of life and people, the worse off you are in the love department. Facks on facks. And you’re over 30?! We all know you tuck your degrees and diplomas and career under your pillow, bitter, lonely woman. I mean, can you even cook?
  8. The goal in life is perfection. Live up to everyone’s expectations at all times. This is the true measure of perfection. If no one complains about you, and you’re worn ragged as a result, who can fault you for being exactly what is expected? At this point, you’re perfect!
  9. People’s opinions of who you are and what you do matters immensely. Again, it’s amount molding yourself to the pleasure of others. You’re a humanitarian, after all. The only life you’re gifted cannot possibly be lived according to the terms of the personality gifted the body. Benevolence is cute, but my opinion of who you are and what you ought to be matters more than the love you ought to generously dole yourself.

2014 NPR Book Concierge

It’s been a slow blogging season for me. The holidays make me lazy. I’m awake all day and all night and then I sleep into the day later and later everyday. And I binge watch … anything and everything on Netflix. But this is also famously the season I get up on my reading grind, which is why I love NPR’s Book Concierge. This is when I make my year’s reading list, check it twice and try very hard to set feasible reading goals. I hope my public library has updated their catalog!

Happy reading!

Remember how I said January about planning and getting the ball rolling… well……..
This month marks the launching of a project churning in the creative incubator. Alongside a team of two other phenomenal women, I am thrilled, nay ecstatic, to launch Meraki, an online magazine aimed at bringing together creatives on continental Africa and the Diaspora!
Interestingly, the word meraki [may-rah-kee] (adj) is a Greek work often used to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be. I doubt there is an English word equivalent.
At any rate, the launch is taking place January 18th in the great city of New York. $30. Open bar. Can’t beat that. Tell a friend to tell a friend and see you there!

These blogging streets…

Yesterday, one of my tweets featured on The Root in an article titled “When You’re the Only Minority in the Room”.  Not knowing that this was part of Code Switch, NPR’s blog about race, I lent my two cents about what it was like growing up in international schools, where I was pretty much the only Black and/or African girl. 140 characters rarely does justice.

#iwastheonly Black and/or African girl in my class my entire schooling til 10th grade. I hated the shape of my nose until 10th grade
— udee, as you like it (@udeebee) August 7, 2013

While this is pretty awesome in itself, (remember how I said one day I’ll get paid for my opinions? It’s happening! …somewhat), it did bring up a larger issue: the power of voice, and the extent of reach.

As a writer, I have always grappled with how raw I would like to be in my writing.  Little else is as liberating as writing totally uninhibited, digging into the ugly and allowing the mess to spill over a page. Such writing exposes the writer to everything – personal purging, external praise, scrutiny, solidarity – including, the people who thought they knew you one way, read your work (tweets, Facebook posts, blog…) and then realised you are not at all the person they thought they knew.

I always admire bold writers. There is much courage present when people decide to share themselves at their most vulnerable and introspective. I still don’t think I’m that kind of writer, even though I desperately want to be. Fear of laying open to multiple eyes and opinions deter me.  People can be just as cruel as they are caring. So while I want to share, as in with the tweet, what it was like growing up a third culture child, as I believe it’s an important narrative, the fear of “Lawd, what will friends and family think?” gnaws.

It would be too easy and irresponsible to dismiss potential backlash.  And yet, women who truly make a difference do not shrug behind silence and over censorship.

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

I’m not sure why I never came across this piece in my English Literature days of high school, but someone on Twitter mentioned this the other day and I looked the poem up. It’s apt and appropriate for me at this time in my life, especially in the face of a recent job rejection email.  But I am relentless and uninterested in allowing rejection to deter me from moving forward and finding success in my budding career.

Allow this inspire you this Monday!

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
© Max Ehrmann 1927


Where I Be…


I’m taking my craft seriously: I’m carving out time to blog three times a week: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, each with a manageable 300 word length, as I don’t fundamentally believe personal blogs ought to contain posts that drag on forever, unless otherwise stated or inferred.  Most topics on personal blogs have been covered a million times on other forums anyway. By the 750th word, if your point has yet to be made, you should probably (a) re-take college English 101, or (b) just… stop.  But you already know my thoughts on this matter.  This isn’t about that.

This post is about the fact that I am contributing to another blog, officially …well, until the blog’s mastermind genius decides I really need to stop and hop off her space. At any rate, for now, once a week, I contribute some of my thoughts on foodie life in Abuja, Nigeria. I review restaurants I’ve been to and rate them.  I lived in Nigeria in 2011 for about a year and started The Foodie Chronicles on my old blog to capture my dining adventures.  Since the birth of this new space, I have yet to craft out how to re-introduce The Foodie Chronicles, since Atlanta does not quite share the uniqueness of dining out as in Abuja.  Nevertheless, the blog for which I now contribute, To Bee Honest, has provided a perfect home for these posts. Do check out the blog!  As time goes on, I hope to share my thoughts on what it means to be a young, female African living in the African Diaspora.  That ought to be a thrill!

And so begins the blogging journey, the earnest path to becoming a guest speaker at Blogging While Brown. I’m referencing the book Americanah. I’ll share my thoughts on that awesome book later!