My Birthday Dance and Musings: Already Loving my 40s!

I am grateful for four amazing decades on planet earth. I am eagerly looking forward to new challenges and more20150816_141924 resised ftb jpg amazing experiences in the coming years!

I am especially looking forward to starting a new job as a union organiser with one of the largest trade unions in UK. I missed being a full time trade unionist and I am so looking forward to working with union activists and organising workers again!

I started working for the labour movement in my early twenties and with the responsibility of fighting for workers’ rights came many opportunities to see the world from different angles. The views can be very depressing especially when it comes to class stratification, oppression, exploitation of labour, crass capitalism and its uneven division of wealth built on the backs of the long-suffering majority who toil every day to earn a living wage but never get to enjoy the wealth created by their labour. However, sometimes the view can be very exhilarating, especially when the voiceless find their voices through union organising, and against all odds, conquer to achieve great successes, fuelled by strength in unity and propelled by hope in a better tomorrow, while demanding for a better today. The last few years of my 30s were pretty challenging, mostly due to having to start afresh in a new, unfamiliar environment as a single parent with a teenage son who was about to enrol in college. I did not plan to be an immigrant in UK or anywhere else, but sometimes, even though we have our life already neatly planned, circumstances beyond our control could force us to depart from our schedule.

Leaving behind a comfortable life and job security to start afresh in a strange land was not an easy decision to make. For immigrants, job search and actually getting a decent job that commensurate with ones’ qualifications is certainly not made easier by the constant side servings of racism or its full-frontal version which immigrants, especially black immigrants, are slapped with daily.

It breaks my heart to read the hostile words UK politicians use to describe immigrants, especially pertaining to the Syrian immigrants arriving on the borders of UK from Calais. David Cameron and his ilk must understand that immigrants are not “swarm of people” invading borders. Immigrants are not pests or insects. If only we all could see immigrants as human beings and not just as statistics.

We all want a better life. For some a better life could mean fleeing from the jaws of death, escaping starvation in war torn countries, seeking freedom to live free from discrimination because of gender, sexual or religious identities. For many, it is a matter of life and death, and certainly not a case of looking to enjoy welfare benefits as right-wing politicians, uninformed voters and die-hard racists love to believe. Show kindness to an immigrant today, they need it, and it is the humane thing to do.

Life is a twin fountain of pains and pleasures, whatever life throws at you, shake it off with a dose of heartfelt laughter. Never hesitate to wash the pains away with your tears. As i wrote in my poem-

‘Born Anew”

Tears, Tears, Tears

Wash away my fears

Cleanse my heart

For a fresh start…

Let the tears wash away the pains but remember, nothing invigorates like good old heartfelt laughter. Get your daily shot and stay as positive as you possibly can. Most importantly, never be too busy to have fun. Treasure every day because you are never getting it back.

Special thanks to my religious friends who refrained from sending me religious greetings or prayers, the respect is much appreciated. Three years after writing the blog post “Respect my Atheism; do not send me birthday greetings in the name of your skydaddy!, now, I hardly get any religious greetings or prayers on my birthdays. Believe me; this makes me happy because it means they respect me enough not to force their religious beliefs down my throat especially on a day i would rather eat cake than be forced to think about how a talking snake tricked my allegedly white mother, Eve, into eating a forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden!

His Holy Noodleness, Flying Spaghetti Monster, has been very kind to me lately, which is why i will continue to sing its praises. Just a day into my 40s, I already love it.

They say life begins at 40; maybe it is true. 40 years of experiences and weathering the storms could prepare one for another 40 years of not letting life get on top of one. You live life and not let life live you. I guess that is the kind of things I get to say at 40!

As this year starts winding down, here is wishing you wonderful experiences and do make every day count in the nicest way possible!

Now, it is time to dance and shake my booty!

“I throw my hands up in the air sometimes,20150816_155431 -resized for ftb  newjpg

Saying ay-oh, gotta let go

I wanna celebrate and live my life,

Saying ay-oh, baby let’s go

‘Cause we gon rock this club,

We gon’ go all night,

We gon’ light it up,

Like it’s dynamite

‘Cause I told you once,

Now I told you twice,

We gon’ light it up,

Like it’s dynamite”

Music- Taio Cruz – Dynamite





Five Assumptions We Should Avoid Making

I was working out at my gym when two gym regulars decided to strike up a conversation with me.

Gym regular (Male) – You have lost a lot of weight

Gym regular (Female) -Yeah, I told her so too.

Me – Oh, yeah, thanks, the hard work is showing.

Gym regular (Male) – I am sure your husband will be happy

Me – I don’t have a husband. I am single

Gym Regulars – What, you mean you are single? [Read more…]

I Am Beautiful and I know It

It is so cringeworthy when people tell me i am beautiful and I accept it at face value with a nod to my own beauty but as a reward they want me to grovel at their feet or expect I say something self-devaluing like  “Oh no, you are just being nice, I am not all that.” Of course, i am all that and much more too, thanks for the observation!

I woke up this morning to this awesome video by Daysha Edewi titled “What If I Knew I Was Beautiful”. My fb friend had commented on the video on Facebook and tagged me and I went, “OMG, this video is so me!” [Read more…]

May Day: Organise not Agonise!

Every day, the divide between the Rich and the Poor widens, few overpaid workers, some well-paid workers and many underpaid workers. On this special day, please spare a minute to remember the millions of unemployed people; many made redundant by the many budget cuts. Many unemployed people are desperately seeking to enter the workforce, to keep a roof over their heads, put food on the table for their children and struggling to pay bills. Underpaid workers and the unemployed bear the brunt of nasty government policies.

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Help turn on the light at the end of the tunnel for many unemployed people left struggling to make ends meet due to economic downturn, corporate greed, redundancy and many avoidable budget cuts. Together We Can! [Read more…]

Natural Disasters are certainly not a time to thank God!

Lately, there has been no end to the bad news making the rounds so much that watching the news has become depressing. Nepal suffered an earthquake that killed thousands with many entombed in their own houses, hotels and museums. More than half a million people have been rendered homeless. The earthquake also triggered an avalanche that hit Mount Everest leaving many seriously injured and some dead.

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One cannot even begin to imagine the terror those people must have felt in their dying hour. It is heartwrenching to see the pains on the faces of the victims’ families as they confront the galling reality that their loved ones are buried underneath all that rubble and their bodies might never be recovered for proper burials.

The pains etched on the faces of survivors tell stories of horrors and gratitude. It seems, in the midst of the sorrows, pains, deaths, and survival; we still must celebrate life. Every life saved amidst these ruins is a cause for celebration. Every dead body pulled out is a cause for sorrow.

To die in such horrific and agonising manner is painful to imagine. In most cases, death really is not as much the problem as the manner and cause of it. [Read more…]

Santa Came To Turn Me On!

Some time ago, I broke my waist or thought I had, and excruciating lower back pain sent me running to my doctor.

I wondered why my waist could no longer support mySnapshot_20141212_117 big bums. After MRI scans and prescribed painkillers, it turned out; it was just some muscle strain probably from my gym workout. As it turns out, pulled muscles can be very painful. For a minute, I was convinced i had a mild stroke in my sleep, until my doctor put my mind to rest! Now, i know better than to lift heavy weights or do some strenuous cardio at the gym. I am definitely not taking any body-parts for granted again.

Many of you were concerned and some of my Naija friends recommended the local sprain and strain ointment, aboliki, which was actually very effective! I also promised that as soon as I was up and well again, I would make another dance-exercise video. Since I always make good on my promise, here it is!

Dancing to one of my favourite songs of all time was indeed fun and the sequinned Santa cap i got it at 99p shop came in handy as a dance prop!

I think my waist is at least 95% back to normal, therefore i consider my waist healed. What do you think?

I am glad to be back in good health, grateful to be able to shake my bums again and of course rock my curves!

Here is a toast to good health and Happy Holidays!


Related link-

Body Parts And Little Things We Take For Granted

Jamie Olivier; Hands Off My Continent’s Jollof Rice! #Jollofgate


Like many West Africans, I was aghast when I saw the picture of what Jamie Olivier tried to pass off as Jollof rice. Twitter was set ablaze by the B1aijQDCEAApYGlrighteous fury of West Africans, protesting the audacity of an international white celebrity chef, who dared to plagiarised (and badly so too), West Africa’s much beloved dish, Jollof Rice. To an outsider, this might seem like much ado about nothing, but hey jollof rice is not just any rice, it is a national treasure, a national signature, and as #Jollofgate fury has proved, it is an African pride. Touch our Jollof rice; we will come at you with united fury! [Read more…]

Why I hate some supposedly wise sayings: Paradise points are not a reason to help!

In my part of the world, every advice seems to be followed by some supposedly wise sayings. African societies have rich collections of very good 1000003_10151996190466873_26189186_nproverbs, but those proverbs are being relegated to the background in favour of some suspiciously evangelical ‘wise’ sayings.

These supposedly ‘wise’ sayings do get on my nerves. Some of these sayings are so common that I am beginning to think perhaps people just say those things from force of habit, without actually thinking them through.

In particular, I hate ‘wise’ sayings that attach a reason to why we need to help others. For example:

  • “Be nice to people on your way up, because you might meet them on your way down”
  • “You don’t know what this person would be tomorrow, be nice to them today”
  • “Help someone because that is what God wants good believers to do”

Do we really need a reason before we extend a helping hand to someone in need? [Read more…]

Sensationalising the Plight of African LGBTs

I am often approached at LGBT events especially at protests rallies by filmmakers and journalists who want to write a piece or make a 04338_yemisi_ilesanmidocumentary on the ‘horrible’ situation of African Lesbians and gays (they hardly take cognizance of bisexuals and Trans).

There is no doubt that African LGBTs who reside in countries where their sexual orientation is criminalised face a daunting task. Living a closeted life or choosing to face the consequences of being out and proud in a society where one’s sexual orientation is criminalised is frightening and dehumanising. I have been there, I am still there, and I know how horrible the threats can be. So yes, I understand why the filmmakers and writers are fascinated with telling this horror story.

However, a recurring theme makes me cringe every time I am approached by filmmakers or journalists demanding that I tell the horror stories or at least provide them some graphic pictures of violence suffered by African LGBTs. There is this fascination with the horror stories and abused bodies of African LGBTs that I am beginning to wonder if it is a voyage into morbid porn and/or just another way to portray Africans as victims.

When I inform these filmmakers and journalists that I do not have pictures of abused African LGBTS to share with them, they are immediately crestfallen. It is my opinion that most of them haunt African LGBT activists protest grounds not because they are interested in the fight for African LGBT Rights but because they see the plight of African LGBTs as a way of furthering their career in Journalism or film industry.

A heart-wrenching, graphic documentary on the abuses suffers by African LGBTs and why African LGBTS need white saviours could turn a [Read more…]

Body Parts And Little Things We Take For Granted

My waist is broken. Sadly, it is not a sex injury; it is probably a gym injury. Excruciating lower back pain sent me running to the doctors again.SDC14523 Last week it was flu, this week it is broken waist, i smell foul play. Now, I must ask my doctor why my waist can no longer support my big bums.

It is painful and somewhat embarrassing. I can barely seat or bend. Lying in bed is difficult and turning sideways is as scary as hell would be if it were real. I get some funny looks because I now walk in a Zombie-like manner. I cannot afford to swing my waist and hips as usual, one of these little things I used to take for granted!

I said “Sadly it it not a sex injury” because in a way, it would make me feel better if it were at least an injury sustained when trying out some 50 shades of Grey positions.  Actually, the ‘sex injury’ reference is cultural. In Nigeria where I grew up, waist injury is associated with ‘prolific sex’. When lovers or potential lovers flirt, it is common to hear exchanges like “I will break your waist o”. It is a reference to how prolific they are (or think they are) in bed. I grew up hearing this myth and even local musicians sang of it. Therefore, when i finally had a broken waist without the benefits of the sex, I feel cheated. At least the memories of pleasurable orgasm could have put a smile on my face when I scream “ouch” whenever the pain hits.

I now attract puzzled looks from passengers in the bus and on the street with my constant shouts of  “Ouch”, “Shit men”, “Fuck” as yet another pain jolts through my waist as i attempt to go about my daily business!

Since it seems I will be stuck indoors for a few days while I heal, I stopped at a supermarket to get grocery. One of the shoppers suddenly [Read more…]

Just another sexist and racist encounter at the hospital

After many failed attempts to get an appointment at the surgery, I decided I was not going to endure another restless, sleepless, sweaty, tossing and turning night, so I dragged myself to my local Accident & Emergency/Walk in Center. At the entrance to the hospital is a big sign that reads, “If you have flu, stay at home, and call your GP”.  Well, I have flu-like symptoms and I have spent the last three days trying to get an appointment with my GP to no avail.  Majority of the NHS surgeries now have a rule that one can only book an appointment on the particular day within the hour of 8:00am -9:00am. Anything outside that, one would have to wait until the next day and start the process again. The problem is, as soon as it is 8:00am, the line becomes engaged. Try every minute and you will keep getting the busy tone. It is frustrating.

Anyway, I decided I have not been diagnosed with Flu, I needed treatment, and i am not going to self-diagnose or self-prescribe. Therefore, I walked to the reception room, and requested to see a doctor.

The following discussion ensued- [Read more…]

Religion, LGBT rights and military regimes: Interview in Solidarity Newspaper

Kate Harris interviews Yemisi Ilesanmi

Published in Workers Liberty’s Solidarity Newspaper

How did you get to where you are today as an LGBT activist and out bisexual woman?

It has been an interesting, tasking, journey towards self-awareness. It is also a journey that has involved studying society and finding my place in it. It is a continuous journey and one where I have to constantly remind myself that I have a right to be who I am in a world that is desperate to make me into what they would rather I be.

I started being politically and socially aware of my human rights at an early age. I was born in Nigeria in the mid-70s and grew up in a society that was marred with constant military coup d’états. There was no stable democracy. It was confusing because people took to the streets to celebrate successful coup d’états. I wondered why it was a good thing for the military to forcefully overthrow elected officials. But the people’s response was that the elected officials were corrupt. However, after having a taste of what military dictatorship means, people stopped celebrating coups. This started the difficult journey towards demanding and organising for a civilian regime where they would have a say in electing their own political leaders.  [Read more…]

It’s my Birthday, It’s my Birthday and I’m gonna shake my bodyyyy!!

The journey started 13.8 billion years ago with the Big Bang and continued 4.5 billion years ago with the Solar system and the Earth.  39 years ago, I swam for my life, beating millions of other sperms to the race to the egg. 39 years after, the race continues. However, I am happy to even have the one in a billion chance to experience the wonder that is life.

I am also loving all the good wishes coming my way from family members, friends and fans.

Even Google took time to send me birthday greetings in the form of a lovely personalised doodle. Yeah, I know they probably do this for everyone [Read more…]

Physically attacked at an atheist event by a fellow ‘feminist’ atheist!

I always thought if I were ever to be attacked by someone I only knew from social media especially Facebook, it would be by a homophobe, biphobe, 385838_210204545725456_192116174200960_481213_799145023_ntransphobe or a religious fanatic who didn’t like my LGBT rights advocacy or anti-religion posts. Never in my dreams would I have thought I would experience a physical attack and verbal abuse at an atheist event from a female Facebook friend who identifies as a feminist and an atheist!

Until now, my casual encounters with people who only knew me from Facebook have been positive. From the ones I ran into in London tubes to the ones who excitedly introduced themselves as my fb friends at social events or gave me heartfelt hugs at London pride, it has been positive experience until now. Get ready to hear the full gist, don’t forget to get your popcorn! [Read more…]

I got a new purple laptop and found the meaning of life!

When my Sony VAIO laptop suddenly started freezing, I thought the world was about to end! Surely freezing laptops and inability to access the internet are signs of the apocalypse; the inevitable invasion of the zombies?Snapshot_20140726_15

I didn’t realise just how much I have come to depend on my laptop and internet for my daily existence until I couldn’t use my laptop or access the internet at will. When I informed my son that my laptop was faulty, he was so concerned that he would make international calls several times a day, to take me through steps to sort the problem. My mum also panicked, every time she called, she would ask how I was coping without my laptop.  It then dawned on me that even those close to me recognised that I am highly dependent on my laptop. It was as if they thought not having a functional laptop meant I was going to fall apart and spiral into depression cos I could not go online to perform all those ‘important’ online stuff, like well, Facebooking.

In a way, I can understand why they were so concerned. I must admit that I am addicted to my laptop especially since I am currently an unemployed refugee trying to rebuild my career and make a home in a new environment. Writing basically keeps me mentally and emotionally stimulated. Not being able to write was driving me insane. However, once upon a time (seems like a galaxy far away), I used to author handwritten novels. In fact, those story plots were written on paper, mostly notebooks. When I was a high school teenager, I would write romance novels fashioned after Mills and Boons series which I was kinda addicted to, although I cringe now to think I ever liked these M&B series.  My classmates were fascinated with my stories, and since there was only one handwritten copy of these stories, they would queue up and take turns, waiting to read each chapter as the plot thickens. Now I can’t even write a legible sentence on paper to save my life! [Read more…]