Neil deGrasse Tyson, the allegations and the women stars that never got to shine

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the sexual misconduct allegations is a sad reminder of why I hardly have heroes, especially men as heroes. Even when I have men who I would otherwise classify as heroes, it is difficult not to wonder how they have treated women, especially vulnerable women in their lives, and how they are treating the women, especially vulnerable women in their lives.

I have worked and interacted too long in male dominated workplaces with powerful men who are revered and idolised by the society, but who leave me wanting to puke with the way they talk about women or the way they treat women in their personal and professional lives, for me to have any illusions left about men in power. Male privilege and male toxicity are very real, these did not just come about when we started using terms like male privileges, or male toxicity or when hashtags like #METOO started trending.

Sexual abuse, sexual harassment and sexual discrimination have been happening before we found the names to define them, they are still happening long after we put a name on them, and they will continue to happen as long as male privilege exists. These dastardly acts will exist as long as we continue to hero-worship blindly and think just like the way we created Gods, our earth idols can do no wrong. However, we can start putting a stop to this normalised abnormality when we start believing the victims of these sexual predators. We will make progress when we stop blaming women for men behaving badly.

As a woman, a black woman, a bisexual woman, I refused to be held responsible for the state of anyone’s arousal or the state of any man’s dick. It is not my duty to quench your lust or thirst for my body or give you hugs that you intend for your sexual satisfaction. Women’s careers and lives should never have to be defined by what we allow or not allow a sexual predator to do to us, unfortunately in many cases, this is the case. Our lives, our stories our #MeToos are all defined by what men wanted from us and what men took from us and how we are still healing from the traumas of what was taken from us without our consent.

We try to come to terms with what was taken from us because we understood the unwritten code that if we do not give it, we would be out of a much-sought career that we are qualified for and have given our best to. We understand that the unwritten codes say that even if we are the best qualified, we still must meet the qualification, i.e. the willingness to give our body unquestionably to the boss who holds the power and knows powerful people who could ruin our careers just with a snap of their fingers if we do not cooperate. For many, this could mean not just a repercussion for themselves alone, but also for the people they care for and about, it means homelessness, not able to feed their loved ones or their children getting kicked out of schools.

When you sit on your judgemental throne and asked, “but why didn’t she just say No and go look for another job?”, just remember, the person who wears the shoes knows where it pinches, and one size does not fit all. Do not put the blame on the victim, for once, stop with the ‘but’, and lay the blame squarely where it belongs, with the abuser.

When I first read about the sexual misconduct allegations against Neil deGrasse Tyson, I felt so saddened because I really admired him. This is not surprising as he is one of the very few visible black astrophysicists in the world. I loved his Cosmos documentaries and I held him in very high esteem. A part of me seriously wished the accusations were not true but as a woman, I know from experience that such allegations should never be taken lightly. Men in power do things to women under their control that just should not be excused, the higher they grow in their career, the more entitled they feel to every woman’s body. They childishly reason like a spoilt brat that they have the power, the money and in some very few cases, the looks too, so why the heck can’t they have any woman they want?

When I stumbled on this article from TheAtlantic on a friend’s FB page, I felt ashamed because somehow since I first read about these allegations, I had managed to subconsciously push it out of my mind while at the same time avoiding anything to do with Neil deGrasse Tyson. I did not talk about it, I did not discuss it, it was as if I was afraid to acknowledge it. This article managed to kick me out of my numbness because of the way it focused on the impact of sexual harassment on women’s careers. As a career woman, it reminded me that silence is never the answer. I might not have the answer but at least I will not be numbed into silence and be complicit in further normalising sexual abuse just because well, it happens a lot and we are used to it. No, I do not wish to be used to this normal abnormality!

If you are not familiar with this developing story, below are some quotes from different articles on the story so far-

From TheAtlantic- Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Careers That Weren’t

What the summaries can miss-and what many of the write-ups of the matter, far beyond the blunt demands of the headline, can miss as well-is the fact that the claims in question are not, actually, just about sexual misconduct. The women who have come forward to share stories about Neil deGrasse Tyson have also been talking about a related, but different, indignity: the harm that the alleged misconduct has done to their careers. They are talking, in that, about something Americans haven’t been terribly good at talking about, even in the age of #MeToo: the radiating damage that sexual abuse can inflict on women’s professional lives. The smothered ambitions. The seeded self-doubts. The notion that careers can experience trauma, too.

Today, Amet talks about the ongoing effects the alleged rape has had on her body, on her mind, on her capacity to maintain relationships with other people. But her accusation extends beyond that: Amet also alleges that Tyson’s behavior led her to leave the graduate program she had worked so hard to be admitted to, and thus to stop nurturing aspirations of becoming an astrophysicist, and thus to give up her dream of becoming the first black woman astronaut. This is how Amet, addressing Tyson from the distance of diverged paths, put it in a blog post in 2014: “How does it feel to know that YOU are the reason there is one less black female galactic astronomer on this planet? Yes, YOU.”

Backlash, as well, is Katelyn Allers, who has also come forward with allegations against Tyson-admiring her tattoo of the solar system at a professional gathering, she says, he traced its path up her shoulder and under her dress-deciding not to attend more professional events where Tyson might appear. Backlash is the woman taking herself out of the equation. Backlash is the notion that the world is organized by frail little planets that orbit, inevitably, around a singular sun.

It’s another cliche: The man misbehaves, the woman gets blamed for it. Her reputation is compromised; her career is stymied; she is branded as difficult; he is simply a man being a man. This bind-the sexual offenses becoming professional ones-is a stubborn element of #MeToo. One of the women who accused the former TV host Charlie Rose of misconduct summed things up like this: “I was hunting for a job, and he was hunting for me.”

The stories of those who have lived in Tyson’s orbit have served as reminders that, here on Earth, we remain biased toward the stars.

Vox – The sexual misconduct allegations against Neil deGrasse Tyson, explained

When they were in graduate school together in the 1980s, Tchiya Amet says she looked up to Neil deGrasse Tyson.

They were both black students in the majority-white astronomy department at the University of Texas Austin at the time, and Tyson was “like a big brother” to Amet, she told Vox. “We were comrades.”
That changed, she said, when she was over at his apartment one afternoon in 1984. She said he offered her a drink of water in a cup made of a coconut shell. The next thing she knew, she said, she was naked on his bed, and he was performing oral sex on her. When he saw that she had awoken, she said, he got on top of her and began penetrating her. Then, she said, she passed out again.

Tyson has said in a public Facebook post that the two dated briefly, but that the encounter she describes didn’t happen. Tyson has not responded to multiple requests for comment by Vox. For her part, Amet denies that she and Tyson dated – she says they were just friends.

The next time Amet saw Tyson in the halls of the astronomy department, she says she asked him, “How did this happen? Why did this happen?”

“He said, “Because we’re in this alone, and we’re in this together,”” Amet said, “and then he walked off.”

“I didn’t know what he meant,” she said. Soon after, Amet dropped out of school.

Amet has been speaking publicly about her experience with Tyson, now an astrophysicist, TV host, and the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, since 2010. She confronted him at a public appearance in San Francisco, she told David G. McAfee at the religion website Patheos. She posted her story on her personal blog in 2014 and on Twitter in 2016, and McAfee wrote about it at Patheos in 2017 and published an interview with Amet in November 2018.

From Patheos – Two More Women Accuse Neil deGrasse Tyson of Sexual Misconduct

Watson says she had been working directly under Tyson, who called out Trump in 2016 by saying he would grab him by the crotch when they met, and that they got along well. That all changed, however, when he invited his underling to his apartment at around 10:30 P.M. to “share a bottle of wine” and “unwind for a couple of hours.”

Watson, who said she felt pressured to impress her superstar boss, told me she agreed to come in for a glass of wine instead. Upon entering his apartment, Tyson allegedly took off his shoes and shirt, remaining in a tank top undershirt. Unfortunately, the night only got more awkward as Tyson, who is married, reportedly put on romantic music and replayed the most graphic parts.

She says Tyson soon brought out a cutting board and a knife to cut blocks of cheese that he decided they would share. But before slicing the snack, he allegedly gestured toward her with the knife and made a comment about stabbing.

Watson says she took the comment as a bad joke, but it’s important to note that this type of “joke” is exactly what people in power need to keep in mind when dealing with subordinates. And it set the stage for a night filled with subtle intimidation and sexual advances.

“It was definitely a very weird power move,” she said.

Inappropriate Approach
Watson says Tyson started talking about how every human being needs certain “releases” in life, including physical releases. He reportedly mentioned how difficult it had been for him to be away from home for several months.

Watson says Tyson asked her if she needed any releases, and she responded with a story about sexual harassment she endured in the past. It was a smart way to diffuse a tense situation, but she says he was unfazed.
“It was like talking to a wall,” Watson said.

She was getting up to leave when Neil allegedly stopped her, saying he wanted to show her a “Native American handshake” he knew. That involved holding hands tightly, making eye contact, and feeling for each other’s pulse, Watson told me.

When she broke off the awkward and incredibly intimate handshake, which he allegedly said represented a “spirit connection,” she attempted to just get up and leave.

Tyson then allegedly put his hands on her shoulders, and said he wanted to hug her, but if he did, he’d “just want more.”

I sincerely hope these cases get investigated, due process followed and everyone concerned get the justice they deserve.

Do Not Trigger Me With Your Invasive Christian Evangelism!

What is it with these nincompoop Christians and their invasive, entitled, ignorant evangelism? I came home from a nice weekend away, opened my door and found this evangelical card stapled to a pack of Haribo sweets on my floor. It was slipped into my home through my mailbox. The creepy message reads “IT’S OK! There is no need to be scared! (If you have Jesus on your side), while the other side quoted a bible verse.

As an atheist, are you saying I should I start freaking out as I do not have your imaginary Jesus by my side?

What if I were a practising Muslim and believe I have Mohammed by my side, should I be scared cos’ according to you, I should be scared if I don’t have Jesus?

What if I have Zeus, or the Gods and Goddesses of my ancestors, Ogun, Obatala, Oshun, Oya or Sango by my side? Ah, of course, you already called my Ancestral Gods blind, dumb and deaf in your bible. Same Bible you gave my ancestors while you stole their land and cart them off to a lifetime of slavery in foreign lands.

What would be your reaction if as a Christian you came home, opened your door and found same card you sent to my home with the same message, this time just insert Mohammed where you have put Jesus? Bet you would classify it as a terrorist message, convince yourself that it’s a plot to wipe out people who don’t believe in Mohammed. Your entitled, bigoted, Islamophobic arse would probably call the cops and the bomb disposal unit!

Yeah, this is the thing with Christian privilege, you get away with a lot of crap and harassment in the name of evangelism.

As an atheist, I do not come to your home to harass you about your religious beliefs.

I do not knock on your door to tell you about my lack of belief in your God, religion or whatever Skydaddy you worship.

I do not invade your place of worship to tell you to be afraid because your religious beliefs are silly, even though they are.

I do not come to your door to tell you that you are worshipping the wrong God as the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the one and only true God.

Was this supposed to be your spooky Halloween treat?

Do not harass me in my own home, you religious freaks! You already took a lot from me with your colonising Bible; I do not need you to trigger me in my own home.

I wish I could sue this Holy Trinity church, Springfield for harassment and for causing me stress in my home.

Btw, the card and the Haribo treat are headed for the trash can. I still remember what happened to my forefathers when they welcomed you into their homes, embraced your bible and accepted your treats!

It’s My Birthday; Time to Shake What My Mama Gave Me!

It’s my birthday and it’s not complete without my annual birthday dance. Every year I do a birthday dance on my birthday, and I enjoy comparing the dance videos to see how far I have come, interesting memories.

It has been a particularly difficult and emotionally tasking year with the sudden loss of my mum. I had to process different emotions in my personal life and confront prevalent social ills in my professional life, especially made difficult as the only black person in an all-white work environment where the words ‘Inclusivity and diversity’ are alien language.

However, despite it all, as I turn 43 today, I feel like a hot pie and the only girl in the world.

This is my first birthday as an orphan and I especially miss my beautiful mum because she would have woken me up with a birthday song and try to sneak in some unsolicited prayers! I miss her so much today. I dedicate this birthday dance to my departed beloved parents. You were my vehicles to this world, and I appreciate it.

Thanks to everyone who touched my life in one way or another and left positive impacts. To these who left only negative memories, may our parts never cross again. Positive vibes only.

Thanks, lovely people for all the birthday greetings and lovely wishes, much appreciated.

Happy Birthday to me…it’s time to shake what my mama gave me!

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Farewell, Mum. Love, Always.

I finally got to bury my beloved mother On April 2017, after going through the most horrible experience in the hands of the Coroner’s office just to get her death certificate to facilitate release of her body from the hospital to family members for burial. Her sudden death at work caused so much pain, which was made even worse by the high-handed and insensitive manner the Office of the Coroner handled the situation.

Time, they say is a healer, but the pain never fully goes away. We grow and learn to manage the pain left behind by the sudden, avoidable death of a loved one. Sometimes we fill the void left by the death of a loved one with unhealthy habits to mask the pain. However, there comes a time when we must accept our loss and move on to live our lives fully again, while honouring the memories of our beloved ones.

Laying my mum to rest and giving her a befitting burial meant I got the opportunity to say goodbye and seek closure. I finally let go of all the ‘could have beens’ and ‘what ifs’, instead, I chose to celebrate the beautiful memories we made together and the full life she lived.

Thank you, mum, for all your love and care. You live on in my Heart and all of your children and grandchildren.

Love you, mum. RIP.

 

Related Link- For My Mum: You Will Always Have A Home In My Heart

For My Mum: You Will Always Have A Home In My Heart

I lost my wonderful, loving and amazing mother to the cold hand of death on the evening of 16 November, 2017. When I got that phone call that my mother had suffered a heart failure while at work, had been rushed to a hospital in London, and I was told to prepare for the worst while I made the journey from Chelmsford to London to be with her, that minute I knew life would never be the same again. It was a sudden death; I never got to say goodbye.

Seeing my beautiful mother lifeless on the hospital bed cuts like a sword through my heart. However, I took solace in the fact that she looked so peaceful. As I held her still warm hands and kissed her goodbye, I uttered the words I wish I had said to her as many times as possible when she was alive…Mummy, I Love You.

Words can’t express the pain I felt and still feel.

My Mum was a super woman, WonderWoman, hard-working to a fault, fiercely independent and super generous.

I remember filming this video in my mum’s home in London during one of these spells where I had been rendered homeless once again in London. My mum had opened up her home to me to crash while I sort out my house and job situation. By so doing, she saved me from even considering the conditional offers from predators who I thought were my friends or comrades but who instead saw a vulnerable woman in need and decided it was a good time for them to confess their affection for me while offering me their sofa, bed or a spare room in exchange for sex or relationship with them (and to think some of them wonder why i never want to speak with them again).

I always had the luxury of having the choice not to take up these predators on their offer of a sofa, bed, room, relationship even marriage proposal in exchange for a roof over my head because I had a mum who was there for me. Their appalling requests and conditional offer of help showed me their true colour and the part of human nature you don’t get to see if you are never put in a vulnerable position.

It is one of my favourite videos even though it was filmed at one of the most difficult times in my life. My Mum made these times bearable for me and always told me everything will be alright again.

My mother was a very caring mum who despite her meagre means was always ready to put everything on hold to make me feel comfortable and provide a roof over my head in difficult periods, shared her bed with me when i had none, and always looked out for me even though we disagreed on almost everything, especially Religion. Even though I was a moody daughter who never seemed to open up to her like her other daughters, she was still there for me.

From my mum, I learnt early never to depend on a man or anyone, for my wants or needs. She was a fiercely independent woman who singlehandedly provided for her children and grandchildren without ever asking much back in return.

It’s almost four months since you were untimely and unfortunately taken away from your children by the sudden cold hand of death. I miss you everyday my precious mum. and I wish i had been more affectionate towards you, let you know in ways that left no doubt in your mind that I love and appreciate you.

On this Mother’s Day, I celebrate you dear mother, and all the good and bad times we had together. You are at peace now Mum as you no longer need to toil in this cruel world. However, the love you showered on your children and grandchildren and your generosity of heart continue to live on in the hearts of these who knew you. I am glad to have been your daughter and I will always love you.

Thank you mummy for your unconditional love. Your children appreciate all you did for us, SuperMum.

R.I.P my precious mother, you will always have a home in my heart.

 

 

Happy Birthday To This Wonder Woman

 

I am very grateful to be hale and hearty on this occasion of my 42nd Birthday. The past has been glorious with some pains along the way. I am learning to embrace my present with gratitude and optimism, and I can say I am all geared up to make the future the best of them all.

I appreciate that life is full of surprises, some good, some not so good, and we cannot plan for all exigencies. I embrace life surprises with an open mind and a sense of adventure. I am just grateful to be alive to feel and experience all that life throws my way (and it has been throwing some lemons my way for some time now, there is only so much lemonade one can make with life’s lemons before screaming enough with the cliche).

This year, my birthday resolution is to leave in the past everything that does not grow me. Life is too precious to waste on those who do not deserve to be in my life. I am choosing to surround myself with people who look more like my future than my past.

It is time for me to learn the art of letting go, both in my professional and personal life. There is no point wishing to relive the past when there are still so many adventures to be had, memories to be made, places to explore, and many more ways to live and survive beyond the conventional or familiar.

I must learn to say out loud without shame that I am tired, fed up and done with a system and people that take so much from me and give so little back. It is OK to move away from it all without guilt or a sense of failure.

It is time for me to embrace the unfamiliar and let go of the familiar, its comforts and promises which no longer fulfil or nourish me.

Happy Birthday to me as I step up once again to be the Wonder Woman that I know I am.

Below are some pictures I took on my special day, and a video of my annual Birthday dance. Enjoy! 

Life isn’t always black and white, but on those occasions that it is, everything becomes much clearer and simply beautiful.

Just chilling;after all it’s my 42nd year on planet earth today. Happy with my past, contented with my present and embracing my future with gratitude. Don’t forget baby, leave everything that does not grow you in the past.

Below is a video of my annual birthday dance, which has become a sort of ritual now. Every birthday, I dance to a song of my choice and share with friends. This year, I chose to dance to another old school favourite of mine- ‘Baby boy’ by Beyonce featuring Sean Paul. Enjoy the video.

Brilliant BeatBoxer Beatboxing at London Pride, 2017!

This beatboxer got my hitherto dead ovaries coming alive and jumping for joy when I stumbled on his street performance at London Pride, 2017. He sure set the crowd on fire and he was a sheer pleasure to watch. Guy got moves, I sure loved his swag and accent.

After a bit of stalki… oops, sorry, digging for info, I finally learned he goes by the stage name MPFree.

Needless to say, I am now a fan of beatboxing. I’ve even started practising some beats at home. I should find out where he regularly gigs as it would be nice to take a few more notes from the expert. #LoveHappensHere.

Enjoy the video.

Serena Williams Nude Pregnancy Pictures and the Predictable Reactions.

Serena Williams pregnancy picture on the cover of Vanity Fair is the embodiment of beauty, strength and womanhood. The pics are breathtaking, the story of her courtship with her fiance was well written and quite moving. She is indeed WonderWoman.

I have always loved pregnancy pictures. I find them fascinating. Growing up in Nigeria, I was fascinated with wooden sculptures of pregnant women. They looked so earthy, majestic and divine. I wish I took some pregnancy pictures when I was pregnant with my son, 22 years ago. If mobile phones were a thing then, I sure would have taken pregnancy selfies.

I don’t have any plan to carry another pregnancy or nurse a screaming tot, however if I ever find myself pregnant again, I would document every single day of that pregnancy with a selfie. And yeah, I’d be sharing them on social media. People who are disgusted by naked pregnant women pictures will just have to scroll past my contents or choke on their own hate.

I stumbled on this comment left by my very good friend and fellow Nigerian on Serena’s post, and I must say, I totally understand how she feels.

Some people read the beautiful love story, saw the pregnancy pictures, and all they took away from the story was to feel offended by her beautiful pregnancy pics. When I read that some people used the word “disgusting” to describe Serena Williams’ nude pregnancy pics, I knew instinctively that some of them would be my country people, Nigerians, and yeah, I was right! Hear them-

What is disgusting about a woman’s nude body? This is a country where a woman wearing a bikini to its many beaches is still frowned upon. The people just aren’t comfortable with a woman showing as much skin as possible in a public space. Never mind that it is one of the most corrupt countries, a haven for rapists, and one of the highest consumer of porn, especially gay porn, funny as the legislators recently voted 14 years imprisonment against same sex relationships, and ten years jail term for anyone who advocates for LGBT rights. Hypocrites.

Haters are everywhere on the globe, here are some of them hating on Serena’s pregnancy pics-

The human’s body is a beautiful thing, especially a woman’s body. It is even more so when it is nurturing a human being inside it. I don’t get how that is not fascinating. Yes, some think it should be for the private eyes of the closest families and friends, but it is still the woman’s prerogative to share this wonder with the world if they so wish. You are not being forced to fix your disapproving gaze on these majestic pictures, you don’t have to comment on it to register your disgust, or displeasure at a woman sharing her pregnancy pics.

We get it that you are offended by another woman’s body, but really, it is her body, her choice and good for her if she made lots of money too by sharing those majestic pics. I know I would share mine just for the sheer pleasure of it, but if someone offered me good old cash to do it, I’d say let’s do it!

I am glad that so many people also left positive comments, applauded and thanked Serena Williams for sharing these amazing pregnancy pictures with us. Hear them-

Pregnancy selfies are great, if they are your cup of tea, please go for it with all gusto, don’t let these easily offended by the sight of a woman’s natural body discourage you. If it is not your cup of tea, good, enjoy your pregnancy, however do not go around dissing those who share their pregnancy selfies.

Serena Williams looked majestic in those pics taken by famous photographer, Annie Leibovitz. I am really glad she chose to share such beautiful, intimate pics of her pregnant self with her legion of fans. Here is wishing her safe delivery when the time comes for her baby to make a grand entrance into the world.

 

 

 

The First Time I Realised I was Black

I didn’t know I was black until I relocated to the UK in 2009 at the ripe old age of 34, before then, I thought I was just a human being.

Settling down in the UK, I quickly realised my skin colour mattered. It matters a lot.

I relocated to the UK in 2009 to study for my Post graduate degree in Law, specialising in Gender, Sexuality and Human rights.  Even though I had contemplated my gender, sexuality, globalisation and the catastrophic effects of unbridled capitalism, I had not given my skin colour much thought.

From the overt racism, which I encountered from the University Surgery GP, the subtle racism of some of my white lecturers (who ironically taught equality classes), the white co-workers who turned their noses up at my African accent, to the ‘behind the back’ racist stab by the white, female principal officer in my workplace, which cost me a much needed, very good job offer, I quickly realised that my skin colour mattered. [Read more…]

Does taking gym selfies or posting several pics on Facebook translates to Narcissism?

When my dear Facebook friend all the way from America sent me a link in my inbox with the message “London, we have a problem.”, I opened the link with a bit of trepidation and was confronted with a shady headline Study Finds That People Who Post Gym Selfies Have A Psychological Problem “

The article went on to postulate about some dubious research it never linked to. The  article reads

Some people have to let the whole world know that they have been to the gym by means of Facebook posts normally accompanied by a selfie. It turns this could by due to an underlying psychological problem which causes them to become obsessed with taking selfies.

In a study conducted at Brunel University is was discovered that people who constantly brag about fitness tend to show narcissistic traits  – This is a term for the psychological disorder where people gain pleasure from self admiration. This behavior usually results  annoying vein posts such as “sun’s out, guns out” all over your timeline, the intention is to boost their own ego with comments and likes.

 I call bullshit on this. [Read more…]

Baby, You Are Beautiful – Dance Video

Some of us know we are.

Some of us don’t believe we are.

Some of us let society tell us otherwise.

Beauty comes in different colours, shapes and sizes.

Baby, You Are Beautiful.  Snapshot_20160515_252

What makes you beautiful is Not

Because you don’t know you are beautiful,

But because you simply are.

Do you; with or without make-up

Rock you; whatever your body size, shape or ability.

Celebrate your body; even if the society says you shouldn’t.

Flaunt these curves; even if they claim you aren’t beach ready.

Embrace and shower your body with Love.

Cos baby, You are You.

And Baby,

You Are Beautiful.

Background Music by One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

Snapshot_20160515_176 Snapshot_20160515_88

Online Dating: Serving up Choices and Confusion

Dating in this generation has a whole new meaning. It is all about choice or rather the illusion of choice, leading to confusion, pain, and a life wasted on swiping profiles for the next hit. This Facebook note by a Facebook friend, got me thinking about dating. As a single woman, i must say, i agree totally with his take on it. In this age of online dating, it is all about the illusion of choice and the uncertainty that comes with it. dating

Back when i was a teenager growing up in Nigeria, 20 something years ago, dating was not even a thing. You were either in a relationship with someone or you were not. It was straight to the relationship phase. Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy asks girl, “Will you be my girlfriend?”, if girl likes boy, she plays coquettish long enough to not appear desperate, then says yes, and bingo, they are in a relationship. No dating as it is known today, no testing the waters, that was done at the ‘eyeing her/him up’ stage. The courtship stage did not normally involve alone time together. Maybe time with friends and families where you both sussed each other out, until one of you makes the move. [Read more…]

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. [Read more…]