Tuesday, November 6, 2012


They said he couldn't run a campaign on a slogan as flimsy as "hope." They said the only change we needed was change that would come when he exited the White House. They riduculed him and said all sorts of vile things about him. They mocked his wife and her physique. Her arms were brawny and needed to be hidden, her posterior was too big and thus she was unhealthy. Thankfully, they left his children out of the charade. They mocked his policies and derided his logic. But tonight, after a long drawn out battle, President Barack Hussein Obama, the incumbent won the presidential election and next year will be named the President of the United States for the second time. Hope. Change. Yes we can. Obama2012.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Growing Up, Moving On

I mused over the title for this blog post in February. Actually it was sometime in the fall of last year that I got the idea to write a post about how life had changed and was changing. 
At the close of last year, I was half way done with law school. By the end of this year, I will be a semester away from getting my law degree. It’s almost coincidental that I wanted to write this post last fall because today is the first day of fall, which happens to be my favorite of all the seasons. Since last fall, life has changed in many ways I could never have imagined.
My little sister Walrus, left for college last fall and today happens to be her 19th birthday. My sister got married and had a baby, thus I became an aunt for the second time and also godmother to my niece. My sisters both graduated from business school, and my brother moved to Chicago, after years of telling us he was moving. He applied for a job and his dream of living in Chicago and landing a dream job came to pass. But before my sisters graduated from business school and before I became a godmother and before my brother moved to Chicago, my cousin passed away on January 30th.
I still remember sitting on my couch when I got the phone call. I had so many questions and at the time there were very few answers. She died during childbirth. The baby died as well. Death is one thing that is common to all, for we all must some day die. It’s inevitable. At the end of the day, death is the great equalizer. However, when someone so young dies, especially in circumstances when the outcome could have been different the loss is hard to bear. I think about my cousin every day.  She was the closest cousin when I was growing up. We spent long, hot summers together. Talking about cute boys, gossiping about nosy neighbors and church folk. I remember being huddled in the room on Sunday afternoons listening to the radio and having a good time as our Sunday lunch digested slowly.
My cousin’s passing made me understand death in the most elementary way. Death meant my cousin was never, ever, ever coming back. I had to take on the mind of a five year old to really understand. “Look Harriet, I told myself, she’s never coming back. Not ever.” Her time on the earth was spent, it was done, it was over. Over. I hate to belabor the point but I had to talk to my inner five year old because I had to understand this painful experience in the simplest way possible. Death means the person is never coming back.
The experience made me more aware of life and I had so many emotions at the time. I was afraid, I was angry, and most of all I was very sad. I was sad I would never see her again on earth, but mostly I felt so bad for my aunt. I knew she’d be severely crushed because that was her oldest child, her best friend. I was angry because childbirth should not be a death sentence. But in a country rife with inequalities and inadequate healthcare facilities, childbirth is faced with trepidation. Unfortunately, Nigeria still proudly ranks high among countries with the highest maternal mortality rates and not much is being done to remedy the problem.
There’s a lot of guilt that comes with loss. The guilt that comes as a result of being powerless to help and the guilt that comes from forging ahead and leaving the dead in their resting place. My cousin was dead and I had my life to live. And I did live. The summer that followed was filled with a lot of great moments. The birth of my niece, endless fun in Atlanta; the Jazz Festival, the Red Bull Soap Box race, traipsing around museums, graduations, parties and travel. The summer brought trips to Charleston, Philadelphia {for July fourth that was surprisingly packaged with an impromptu concert by Common, Queen Latifah, Jazzy Jeff and Lauryn Hill. The best part about the concert was that it came with no price tag and Ms. Hill was on her meds. She did a full set, she was properly adorned and she sang her heart out}, the Jersey Shore, and Washington D.C. I went on two solo road trips totaling over eighteen hours and I bought my first pair of tennis shoes since my sophomore year of college. In the end, I had to live for it was my only option.
But growing up meant that I was becoming an adult. Several times over the summer I thought about those times when as a child I talked about growing up with friends and siblings and here I was, a grown up. Then, being an adult meant not having to follow the rules, staying up late into the night watching the television. One thing we were not told was that being an adult was hard. It was not all fun and games all the time and there was no school that taught you to be an adult. Nonetheless, I learned quickly that adulthood meant a lot of responsibility and many challenges. And finally I realized that challenges are the birthplace of opportunity.
Opportunity can be given and sometimes with some ingenuity and a lot of struggle it can be created. Lately, I have become a fan of the latter. Adulthood has taught me that some times doors close more than they open up and when those doors are open, there are many adults waiting to walk through them. But when I make my own door, it only follows that naturally I should have first dibs at walking through them. This truth is not revelatory in any sense, it seems like common knowledge but sometimes what is common is not always readily known. Thus in this regards, I have my amazingly insightful and very wise boyfriend to thank. For always telling me to stop waiting on doors to open and to go about building doors. After all, isn’t that what adulthood is all about? Or rather shouldn’t that be the point of growing up? For in building my own doors I make opportunities for others with hopes that one day, they too will build their own doors if I choose to close mine.
This Aha Moment of sorts was given wings just yesterday as I sat as part of the audience at an independent TED talk at my school. The theme was “re:Think.” Simple, yet profound. As speaker after speaker took the stage, they challenged the audience to rethink concepts and ideologies they had. Rethink home, rethink community, rethink design, rethink______________. Maybe even rethink opportunity. Importantly, rethink God and let him out of the box and who knows what might be. Adulthood sure is hard, but then it provides for a fresh start to rethink and recreate concepts foreign to the mind of a child and truly build a world that is indeed ours.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Reading List

Books are a huge part of my life. At any given point, I usually have my head buried in the pages of a book or two. I have been stuck in the pages of several books for a while, not quite finishing any. I read as much as I do because reading makes me a better writer. However, I have not been an engaged reader for a while. Life happens. Thus, I have not written in a long time. I plan to return to reading more actively and to finish all books I have both in my closet and on my Kindle. So here goes a list of books I have been reading lately;
1. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time, Jeffrey D. Sachs
2. Zen and the Art of Happiness, Chris Prentiss
3. Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home, Kim Sunée
4. The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, Gary Chapman
5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
6. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
7. Open City: A Novel, Teju Cole
8. Something Blue, Emily Griffin

Thursday, June 28, 2012


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you;
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies
Or being hated don't give way to hating
And yet don't look too good, or talk too wise;

If you can dream and not make dreams your master;
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after you are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor living friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distant run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And which is more, you'll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling

Sunday, January 1, 2012