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Friendship isn't about whom you've known the'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?

Boring Update

Okay. I’m finally able to get to Pawpaw and Mango! It is Friday and I have quite a few random and totally unrelated thoughts simultaneously going through my mind.

The ache in my thighs reminds me how well I must have gotten into the grove with my exercise DVD this week.

The silence in my room is an indication that hubby is tired and is having an evening snooze. He was miffed over the last couple of days because Trevor, his colleague insisted on coming in to work despite his dripping nose and sneezy self. You see hubby is a bit of a germ freak. He  notices how many dandruff flakes Trevor has on his jacket. He notices that he sneezed and didn’t use a hand  sanitizer, then promptly touched the mouse with the same hand. Yesterday he mapped out an area of his desk as a no-go zone. I wish I could tell you more but you may start to look at me funny, like I look at hubby funny.

The noise coming from the sitting room tells me the boys are having fun on the x box, it is Friday and the weekend has started for them.

My desk with the piles of paper and the sticky notes on the wall shows how unbelievably busy and productive I have been this week. I love the desk. Part of my 2011 race to be focused, it’s working!

At the moment I am typing racking my brain as I have been tagged to blog about me. Plus of course it’s about time I wrote something decent, come to think of  it isn’t there meant to be a part 2 of the boarding house post?

I am looking forward to 10:30 as I’ll be chatting with my dear friend Shade, it’s been a while and I can’t wait to catch up. The time difference makes it hard to do so but today I had a much-needed nap and will be awake to chat with her.

It’s Kenny’s birthday today, Happy birthday Kenny you are a good sister!

My dear friend Lowbay is slowly falling in love and I think she has stopped fighting the feeling, yeah! We love D!

Lara has disappeared from facebook and we haven’t even spoken this year. Saturday can’t come fast enough!

I have 4 audible credits and can’t decide which 4 books to download

I am so glad for the grocery delivery service, I will not be stepping out until Sunday. It is icy out there. I am thankful to God for a warm home.

My baby nephew is the cutest thing e-verrrr!

I’m looking forward to a 3 or 4 night break, girls only in April.

I feel like eating banga soup.

Jk promised to teach me how to make afam soup, but she hasn’t.I must bother her this weekend.

The ring didn’t mean a thing song from RHOA keeps playing in my head. And I don’t like Kim!

Thank you for stopping by!

Boarding House Memories, 1

Alice was ill and the fever showed no signs of receding. Senior Funmi made an announcement for someone to go to the staff quarters to call Mrs Uzo, the house-mistress. Of course no one volunteered, who in their right mind would go to the staff quarters at 10pm on a path ridden with ghosts, bush babies and snakes? Why would anyone choose to meet madam kos-kos in the middle of the night? Alone? Plus of course in boarding house no junior ever volunteered. They were confined to a life of submission. Most juniors often wondered why senior Funmi and others like her never did anything for themselves.

There was one little girl who was always up for adventure. I think she did too much reading of stories of children in the woods, like the Famous Five. She was also keen to prove to everyone that she had guts.

So off T and IJ went to the staff quarters. They walked quickly and chatted quietly, knowing that in no time they would be back in their beds and hailed as the courageous ones who braved the elements and night prowlers for the sake of their sick friend. Before long they heard dogs barking. Heart in mouth T muffled to IJ that it was fine, she knew how to handle dogs. Afterall didn’t she have five dogs at home? Scooby, Scrappy, Snoopy, Lucky and Lulu?

As they approached Mr Offoh’s house, the sound of  the barking got louder a result of more participants joining in the canine chorus. T, the self-styled animal lover, the fearless, the brave started to sweat rather profusely. Meanwhile IJ had leaped unto the top of Mr Offoh’s blue Volkswagen, she didn’t even know she could fly! T promptly joined her where they both knew they’ll be spending the night. Two big black dogs stood guard to ensure the girls never made it down. The barking slowly died down. Then the prayers began. “Lord as you shut the mouth of David in the Lion’s den…shut the mouth of these dogs. They slowly climbed down from the car after deciding not to risk the possibility of their male classmates seeing them in their nighties and wrappers atop Mr Offoh’s car- not even Ms Hadiza’s, at least she was nice!  Considering the boy in 3B who liked IJ, and the one in 3D that T had a crush on- she was sure he liked her back- it was not worth the risk. Where would she hide her face? The other day he stared at her long and hard from the back of the class, she could feel it because every hair on the back of her neck stood still, even the tiny baby ones. Her palms became sweaty and her writing bore a striking resemblance to chicken scratches. There was the familiar churning going on in her stomach. It always started when her heart made the daily descent from its station in her chest to her stomach, triggered during assembly when she was fortunate to stand only a few kids away from him. Maybe that’s where the courage to leave the safety of Mr Offoh’s car came from. Or perhaps it was the thought of ‘failing’ at a task so great, that she would become just like everyone else,  and no longer be hailed as being brave. The reason did not really matter.  They gingerly walked on, one half step at a time and made it to Mrs Uzo’s house, where they encountered her own dogs- Concorde and Punch. Thankfully all the noise had awoken Mrs Uzo, who most likely slept with one ear open waiting for girls like these to come get her for one mishap or the other.

I can’t remember how we got back to the hostel that night, I vaguely recall Mrs Uzo driving us back. I have since forgiven senior Funmi, but still get a kick from using her name when I talk about seniors. I am still good friends with IJ, she is one of the blessings in my life. I don’t have any dogs currently, I can barely get the boys to keep their rooms spotless. The guy I had a crush on? Remains the first guy I ever had a crush on, but not the last. I have also stopped showing off. Sometimes the old me shows up and wants her voice to be heard above others. Sometimes she struggles to listen during conversations and wants to do all the talking. If you have recently ended up as my sounding board when you wanted to be heard,I apologize. Please be patient, God is still working on me.

Thank you for reading. Do come back for the next part!

My Heart Skips a Beat

I don’t get on the trains or tubes a lot. As a matter of fact this year I’ve only been on it twice. Once on our trip to the Natural History Museumremember the post? And recently when we went to watch Sister Act. I think there was a time- yes Easter time as well on another outing.

Anyhoo, the last time I was on the train I noticed a pattern had been evolving. Whenever the ticket inspectors came around, my heart would skip a beat. There was no reason for this to happen as I always had a ticket.  After some digging, I realised that the reason I panicked was as a result of past journeys made when I didn’t have a ticket. This was as far back as when there were no ticket barriers and you could just walk right through and the ticket inspectors would wish you a pleasant rest of the day. I can’t believe I still suffer the effects of those years gone by. How much longer? I have to tell myself  that it is absolutely fine Toks, you bought a ticket, remember?

My heart skips a beat when a cop car is behind me. I start to wonder if my break lights are working correctly. What if I get pulled over because they suspected the threads on my tires are not 3mm deep? I mean do they really do that? I can’t afford any more points on my licence because I currently have 6 I think. Maybe the first 3 have expired. I trace that problem to the period I was driving without a licence. I remember how it all started too. I used to drive down to the stop on Finchley Road to catch my coach to Hatfield. One day I missed it, so I chased and overtook the coach to the next stop. Then I thought, hey I know the way, why not?

My heart skips a beat when I get a call from Nigeria. Can’t trace the root of that one except that in all the ethnic books I read, when someone comes all the way from ‘home’ it is to break bad news in person.

My heart skips a beat when  one of my boys give a blood curdling yell. I instantly think A&E, broken bones or worse.

My heart skips a beat when a friend says to me “we need to talk” I fear I have done something to offend them. These days I don’t get too bothered about that. I have over a hundred contacts on Facebook, never mind that I haven’t spoken to more than half of them in ages. I may just be able to live without you- just kidding! Seriously I hate being the cause of annoyance to people. I love to be a source of joy.

When hubby says “we need to talk” my heart skips a beat.  I immediately rehearse my lines on why the bank balance has shrunk to zero. But then he only does that to tell me that he loves me. Then my heart skips a beat again.

What’s in a name?

Plenty if you ask me. Hubby and I labored and prayed real hard for our sons’ names. We wanted them to have cool names. I think names have an effect on how you get on in life. It also determines who your friends will be. I went to Primary (elementary) school with a girl called Pinky. I don’t know if that was her real or nickname, but she was popular and a lot had to do with her name. I remember how everyone was happy to say her name without hesitation. My older brother was popular in primary school because he had the same first name as a well loved football star- and of course he has a great personality too. (He reads my blogs so I have to be careful).

My full name is Tokunbo (which is really an abbreviation of the full-full name). In the part of town I grew up it was uncommon. I wouldn’t say it was liked or not, it was just… uncommon. In some cases I had to say it twice for people to  succesfully pronounce it nearly accurately. My surname on the other hand was pretty cool, however it was always spelt wrongly and confused with Ferrari- which happens to be my other car. Amen.  So in no time people took to calling me Ferrari, Perreira, Perempe, Ferara and even Fregene. What was funny was how those “in the know”  would confidently correct others who called me Ferrari or another name from the  melange. Their correction? “It’s not Ferrari, that’s a car! Her name is Ferira”. Wrong again.

It would have been simple if my parents had named me a cool name like Alero. That’s my number one name. I love the way it is spelled- easy, love the sound of it and the fact that it begins with the first letter of the alphabet means an Alero has a higher chance of being the smartest kid in class. Seriously, a survey was conducted and the results suggested kids whose names begin with “A” tend to excel. Perhaps it’s because they were usually called first in the register. My first son is proof, so I’m sticking with that theory. I vowed to name my daughter Alero, even if it meant Hubby and I coming to blows about it. Alas, it was not to be, I don’t have a daughter.

Another name mom could have named me is Tolu. It sounds so cool, I mean literally cool like ice cream. To-lu. When pronounced properly it even sounds melodious. I am blessed to have a good friend called Tolu. And no, you didn’t become my friend because of your name. You are just a sweetheart and I love you!

Yet another name I would have been proud to be called is Buki. Short and sweet. Easy to spell and pronounce. When pronounced properly it suggests there is nothing more; “my name is Buki and that’s it”.  Again I am blessed to have another darling of a friend called Buki.  And since you probably never knew I loved your name, here’s proof that I love you for who you are.

There’s more, like Joke, another short and sweet name. It sounds cheerful and happy, just like my dear friend Joke. Always ready for a chat, always so encouraging. Love you Joke.

I’ll stop now, because this was meant to be a post about names and not friends, sparked by am email I received from another dear friend Bayo. Now I have never wished to have your name, because you’re a dude lol! But it is a lovely name and I’m glad we’re friends, hopefully we’ll see soon.

My post on Friendship will be looooooong. I’ll warn you before hand because you’ll need a snack and a drink. That’s when I’ll tell you all about Lara, and Shade and Iluobe (longest standing friend- 33 years and counting) Nneka and Tola and Abi and Bola and Yejide and Suzy and Funke and Ifeayinwa and Andrea and Kennie and Foluke and Bimbo and Tiwana and Tinuke and Mubo and Josh and Alex and Funmi and Folake and Tony  and Tina…..Yes I really am that blessed.

Why did I do that?

You may have heard the story of the woman who was asked by her daughter why she always trimmed both ends of her joint of ham before she cooked it. Her response was, ” Well, my mother always cooked it that way,  we’ll ask her why”. Grandma’s answer was the same, her mother always cooked it that way too. Luckily great-grandma was still around so they asked her why. Her reason? She didn’t have a pot big enough to cook a whole joint so she had to reduce the size.

A long time ago my cousin told me she didn’t sleep with pillows. That was the weirdest, coolest thing I ever heard. So I started to leave my pillows on the floor, suffering greatly before common sense prevailed.

Another time I noticed a friend wore her wristwatch on her right wrist. Of course by the next day Toks was doing the same.

These days I ask myself why I do the things I do. Sometimes I ask just before, at other times it’s a little too late, but I ask anyhow.  Why did I snap so loudly at my son when he was acting up? Was it to promptly correct him or was it to show the other moms that “I don’t take nonsense”?

Why did I accept that friend’s request on Facebook when I don’t care a hoot about them? Was it because  they are friends with the others in my connection/circle or was it because I’d like to rekindle a relationship with them?

Why did I agree to the hairstyle  my stylist suggested? Was it because I didn’t want to say no or because I was willing to try something different?

Why did I ask for that lady’s phone number at church? I know I won’t be calling her anytime soon!

Dear Jesus, I thank you for making me the beautiful woman I am. Help me to accept my imperfections as tools to make me more like you. I love you Jesus and I thank you for making me love me too!

Why My Rice is Never Soft

Today’s dinner was Jollof Rice, Turkey, Fried plantains, Coleslaw/Potato salad and a glass of coke. I tend to cook my rice just done, not soft. I like the grains separated and chewy, not sticky and …whatever the word is- you know what I mean. I wasn’t raised on chewy rice. On the contrary mum’s rice is quite nice and soft.
It all started in boarding house when Toyin and I went with Mariam to visit her mum. Mariam’s mum made this yummy jollof rice with carrots, all separated. Each grain of rice was coated in its own sauce, same as the carrot pieces. So if you’ve ever eaten at my home and wondered if I simply couldn’t cook plain old rice, be rest assured, I can. It all started years ago when I visited Mariam’s mum…

What turning 30 did for me…

That was 6 short years ago, the effects of which I still enjoy today. My chat with dear friend F (happy 30th!) brought this to the forefront of my mind. I have always loved the end of the year. Mum used to get my brothers and I together to pray into the new year. At the time dad was a socialist- referred to in a newspaper article I read as a child as the marxist, military doctor. So church was out of the question for him, he found it funny when on mum’s insistence we’d invite him to church 3 times a year- easter, christmas and new year’s eve. Anyway mum’s annual new year’s eve prayer amongst many others would be “Lord God, please let 1986 (or whatever year we were in) go with all its bad luck. Let all the bad things that happened this year NEVA, NEVA repeat itself again, AMEN!!!” Amidst the new year’s festivities, riding our bikes, climbing trees etc, she’d shout at us if we were being over exhuberant or naughty and say “IN THE NEW YEAR??? You’re already being naughty??” So the start of the year has always held a major significance for me. I have always seen it as a clean new slate, old things have passed away, all things have become new and don’t stain the new with old, bad habits.

When I turned 30, the same held true for me. I’m an April girl so it was a 2nd opportunity for a new start. I decided to take stock of my life. I’m an adult now, I told myself even though I’d been for all of 9 years- 7 in my parents eyes as I became an adult only when I got married. I looked back at my life and noted the things I loved about me, from my handwriting through my hair to my personality. My handwriting isn’t all that by the way but it is mine- it’s always been with me and I love it! I love my life. I love my friends, I love my family. I absolutely love my childhood and every memory I have. I of course noted the things I wasn’t so fond of. There were a few of them. I tend to procrastinate. I am not confrontational. In fact when I turned 30 I realised I could be quite a pushover- not very attractive. So I made a decision to turn things around. I started saying “no”. Like being in church and the pastor tells you to “write this down” or “underline that scripture”. Half the time I don’t want to because I want to underline what speaks to ME at the time I read it in my quiet time, also I hardly ever go back to read the notes I’ve taken. Then I end up with a stack of notebooks cluttering my bedroom, and feeling guilty if I attempt to throw them away. God showed me that I was free. Free to make my own decisions based on the wisdom He gave me and not based on the opinions of man- not even a man of the cloth.
I have always been an avid reader but at 30 I started to read with purpose. I read books that will bless me and not simply to have another gist for my girlfriends at our next buzz session.

At 36 I still say “no”. I say it gently but firmly. I make decisions based on how it blesses me and mine and the persons involved, not simply to fulfil the status-quo. I get tested everyday. At the hairdresser’s 2 days ago I fought the urge to hold a conversation with my stylist when all I really wanted to do was catch up on my reading. It still feels akward sometimes, the need to make conversations that end up being peppered with pregnant pauses.

I pray I don’t stop being the sweet girl I was while growing up. Cynicism sometimes tries to usurp that sweetness but I have Christ in me.

Dear Lord, I thank you for creating me, just as I am. I love the work you are currently doing in me, making me more like you daily. And Lord I pray where I have lost that gentleness as a result of life simply happening, replace it with your fragrant presence. Lord I also pray that my life will immensely bless all those I come into contact with, in Jesus name Amen

Thanks as always for reading!

Longer Days & Shorter Nights

I try to avoid posting while working but I had to get this off my chest. I had a customer looking to buy a bed. That always makes me happy so of course I am pleased. Then she emailed to say she’ll buy it if I could give her a discount. We have some discounts floating around some sites so I give her a code. Doesn’t she call me back to ask for free delivery because other companies offer that too? About now I was ready to offer her the bed for free and ask the delivery man to smash her head with it once he got there.

The flip side is though if you don’t ask you wont get. And that’s what the bible says, ask and you will receive. So irritated as I am I do admire this lady who couldn’t care less that she might have come across as cheap, and why should she? It’s not like we know each other or I pay her rent. I’ve taken a leaf from her book today and will be sure to ask for a discount even when one is already being offered. The worst that will happen is an irritated call handler on the other end wishing the delivery man would smash my head.

I’ve been going through a lot of asking today- I haven’t been asking (that much), its the boys. Mom can I have a biscuit? Mom can we watch a movie? Mom where are we going today? Mom where are we going tomorrow?
I know they love me so I’ll ignore warning signs that those boys are out to get me. All my plans to let them stay up as late as possible so they get up late the next morning have backfired on me, big time. They stay up late and wake up early so its truly longer days and shorter nights in our home, bless them.

Funny Hubby

He really makes me laugh- without trying.  He sings songs with total confidence, the words are all wrong but he’s certain he’s right. Talking about songs, he sings random songs by obscure 70’s bands we’ve never heard about.  He actually likes rock and pop.

He warned me never to blog about him, I asked what the name of my blog was, he’s reply- banana and orange milkshake. He wasn’t joking so I guess its safe to write all I want to about him, he he!

He gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. I’m quite the opposite, a recovering cynic.  He’s a thinker, I’m a talker- I do think too!

He’s certainly God’s blessing to me…