In the line of fire

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One of my favourite subjects in school was literature. Even before I got to the stage of studying it, I was already filled with anticipation. Imagine doing a subject that was part of my daily routine. I love reading. I would read all the recommended books and even give the summary to my friends that didn’t have the patience to read. It was in one of my literature classes that I first heard the word, onomatopoeia and it really piqued my interest. Like I said in my previous post, English is a very wonderful language. There are some words that have sounds which portray their meanings. Even if you don’t understand the language the sound of the word alone is enough to tell you its meaning. Take for instance, words like; hiss, splash or boom.

critics quoteThere’s one word I believe should be classified as onomatopoeia, the word ‘criticism’ and all variations of it that exist; ‘criticize’, ‘critic, critique, etc. The sound of it alone can really prick anybody. No one likes to be criticized. We all want to get people’s approval and be affirmed in all we do. When we’re criticized our first instinct is to think that nobody likes what we are doing or us. You might even say to yourself, ‘what’s the use trying so hard?’

Unfortunately we can never avoid criticism. I don;’t believe that there’s any great person who ever lived that never faced criticism. If you’re married then your husband must have criticized you at least once. It may be the dress you chose to wear, your cooking or your hair style. At your office, you must have faced criticism a good number of times from your superior or colleague and we women are so emotional that we easily slip into tears after our work is criticized (please if you want to get ahead in your career then you must put a big hold on your emotional side. Nobody takes an over-emotional woman seriously. See my old post on ‘the contemporary christian woman in the work place‘ I would love to say more about this but that’s a post for another day). As a student you are going to face thousands of criticisms from your peers. I think young people are the most criticized (this reminds me of one man that said he’s the most criticized….on earth :)). The fact is that once you set a goal for yourself and dare to stand out from the crowd, you are bound to be in the line of fire. If you can’t stand the heat, you may just have to run out of the kitchen.

Before you run out of the kitchen just because of criticism, here’s what you should know. There are two types of criticism – constructive (good) criticism and malicious (bad) criticism. Constructive criticism is usually laced with a compliment. It is given in such a way that you will be inspired to do better. Malicious criticism is given purely with the intention of pulling you down. The critic doesn’t care about making you do better.

Even the bible has something succinct to say about criticism. Prov. 15:31 & 32 (NLT) says, If you listen to constructive critics quotecriticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. In my own manual, I believe that there’s no such thing as bad criticism. Any form of criticism is good because it should spur you to do better either because you were inspired to do better or because of your desire to shame your critics. If life gives you lemons then make lemonades with it or in our Nigerian case, ‘if life gives you beans then you better make akara or moi-moi with it’. Even if you believe the criticism is unjustified, use it and improve on it. It’s easier said than done though. It’s not easy not to get hurt when people say mean things to you. The only way to avoid criticism is to stay away from the limelight and do nothing but if you dare to stand out then you will be in the line of fire.

Femmetotale

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Should I leave it in the Closet?

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This is for the ladies who carry so much emotional baggage around, hoping to make a new relationship work, wondering if you should reveal the skeletons in your cupboard or if you should just let them be. If you’ve never had emotional issues in the past then you may not be able to relate with this but if you’re one of those who have had so much to cry about in the past, who have been on the brink of suicide or have experienced untold hurts and pain from people you placed so much hopes on then you may feel at home reading this. I hope you find inspiration to make your next relationship work.

From childhood, Jane always felt there was nothing special about her. She wasn’t a bright kid, she had poor grades, couldn’t grasp simple arithmetics and didn’t feel good enough for anything. She wasn’t the kind of child anyone would see and smile at. She was simply plain Jane. To worsen matters, she had taken a liking to stealing. She would pilfer erasers, sharpeners, ribbons and pens in class. Somehow, she never got caught. She hated school but going home wasn’t something to look forward to either. Her mom would beat her for not getting an answer right in her homework or for some other reason such that she was miserable most of the time.

Then, Erastus, her dad’s second cousin came to live with them. He was a second year University student. He would slap her butt playfully when no one was looking and when she told him to stop he would tell her he was only playing with her. One day, he caught her stealing money from her mother’s purse. That was the day everything changed for Jane. He threatened to tell her mom if she refused to do whatever he wanted. She was so afraid that she gave in. She was only twelve when the abuse started.

Jane grew up feeling so worthless. She hated mirrors because everytime she saw her image in the mirror, she was reminded of how worthless she was. Her low self esteem degenerated into self pity, resentment and anger. Sometimes she would just stare into thin air for minutes. She felt she had nothing to lose anymore and started sleeping around at a very young age. Somehow she finished school, became a strong Christian and carried on with her life. None of her relationships ever lasted long. She couldn’t understand why they were so quick to dump her after hearing the sad story of her life after all she was doing whatever they wanted. Why couldn’t they love her and forgive her past? It wasn’t her fault she was abused, was it?

For years, Jane struggled with her pain and rejection. She finally met this man that seemed to be her dream come true. After a couple of dates, he told her he loved her. She was so relieved to hear him say that. It wasn’t long before she started to tell him the story of her life. What she saw in his eyes was not pity or empathy, rather he looked repulsed. He stiffened and loosened his embrace. He had to pick up his mom from church, he said and zoomed off rather quickly.

Within the next few weeks, Jane barely heard from him and cried her heart out for days. I tried to console her and pull her out of her depression as much as I could. Now it’s not normally my style to be blunt but… I told her that she has to be healed from her past hurts first before starting any relationship. My take on this is that it is not necessary to start broadcasting your issues to your date at the early stage of your relationship except if it is something that is still ongoing or likely to come up in the future. Besides why are you still carrying such a heavy burden around? Why heap it on someone else and expect him to carry it for you? Ask God’s forgiveness, forgive yourself and move on and if there is still any burden to be carried then hand it over to him. He promises to bear your burdens for you. You cannot keep dwelling in your past. It is true that something bad happened to you but your past does not define your present. If you doubt it, ask the great men and women who had terrible pasts too. Read Paula White’s or Donnie McClurkin’s story and you will understand. Let what happened in the past stay in the past. Time heals all wounds, they say and it is true. The wounds may heal and leave a scar. Just as the warrior proudly displays his scars, let that scar be a reminder that you are a  survivor. As much as you can, be an encouragement to someone else in your shoes.

If you want to make your relationship work then please leave that baggage in the closet and enter your new relationship free and positive. Love yourself and live in your present. If your views are different from mine then please I’d love to hear them. Just leave your comments in the comment box. Cheers!

Femmetotale

Please lie to me

photo credit - madmenoire.com

photo credit – madmenoire.com

Ladies, you know how it is naa. It is so easy to say, tell me the truth but…really? Is it the truth you want to hear or the garnished lie? Do you really want to hear that you’re not the beauty queen you think you are? Would you really rather hear the truth? Lol..now here’s the serious stuff.

A very good friend of mine once said to me, ‘A lie is a lie no matter what colour it comes in. There is nothing like a white lie or black lie. Every lie is a lie and a sin according to the holy book!’ Hmm I nodded in agreement but simply said to him, ‘please lie to me’.

Surprised as you are, he asked me why and so I elaborated. ‘Please lie to me sometimes…not all the time…especially when I ask you how I look’. Hahahaha…. now you know what I’m driving at. I remember seeing a very beautiful picture of two cute chicks (real chickens not babes, please) as a child. Written on it were the words, ‘No matter what, I like hearing the truth, ALWAYS’. It was such a beautiful picture and it’s message was so apt cos believe me, with the number of lies and deceit that occur in the world by the second I’m surprised the devil still has a job. I mean, I’m sure when the devil hears what comes out of some people’s mouths he goes like, ‘damn, even I couldn’t have thought of that.’ It was years later, having outgrown the childhood innocence and felt the cutting edge of some words from people I look up to that I realised that the truth may not always be so desirable. I sometimes wanted to say, ‘I know you don’t want to tell a white lie but please can u make it a little grey?’

But seriously, I have seen people who cut your heart open in the name of being honest. Some say, ‘I can’t help being honest with you, it’s just my nature’. Really? I can’t remember any law that says u must say everything you think about. I mean, do you really have to keep telling me that I look fatter each time you see me? I have a mirror, you know? Do you have to tell me that the hair I spent money to do including the pain I endured, is awful? Do you really think it is nice to tell me that the meal I spent my time and energy to make is terrible? I mean don’t you think maybe you could find a better way to relay it? Before you speak, could you just stop for a minute and consider a better way to say something that is hurtful? Instead of saying, ‘that’s a dreadful hairstyle! You could say, ‘that hairstyle is not so flattering on you’. More importantly, it’s not enough to only criticize, you should balance it by suggesting ways to make it better. 

I’m not saying you should start telling lies oh! Just remember that the world could definitely do with some extra sensitivity.  We often forget that you can cut or heal with your words. Some say hurtful things to you just to make themselves feel better but sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Putting somebody’s candle off cannot light yours. Spoiling someone’s day cannot make yours better, rather kind words can put a smile on someone’s face and in return, that smile could make your day. So again I say, please lie to me.

Femmetotale…

 

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Bad boy factor

Why do good girls like bad boys and why do the bad boys like good girls? Could it be because of the law of attraction that says ‘unlike charges attract while like charges repel or could it be because of something else, some hidden intentions behind all the good girl/ bad boy charade? Could it be the ‘I’m strong enough to fix him without being influenced by him’ mentality that leads good girls to ruin in the hands of the bad boy? Could it be that she sees the goodness in him beyond what others see? Or could it be that tinge of excitement that she cannot get from the good ones?

This bad boy factor is a common occurrence among young Christian single women. Some prefer to ignore the nice Christian bros and pursue relationships with the ones known as “bad boys”…hmm. Worse, some ladies find themselves unable to break free from an attraction to men of ill repute. So, how do you define a “bad boy.”

*Any guy who seems outwardly attractive, but is unwilling to offer sacrificial love in a relationship. He is too immature and preoccupied with himself to share genuine compassion, concern, or acceptance.

*Any guy who lacks character and exhibits: lying, aloofness, irresponsible dreaming, fear of commitment, sexual promiscuity, addiction to substances or pornography, selfishness, hunger for power, disinterest in surrendering to God, etc.

* Any guy that is not interested in true love and has no regard for your feelings. He expects you to do most of the giving, while he ignores your needs or takes advantage of your kindness.

Does any of these sound familiar to you? So why do you think you’re still attracted to someone who is no good? Is it because of your insecurities  or need for acceptance/self affirmation?

Here are some key reasons why good girls like bad boys.

Reason #1 – He can be fixed.
Some women allow their “nurturing instinct” to affect whom they choose to date. In other words, a nice girl may view a bad boy as a “project” or someone whom she can help “fix.” At this point you acknowledge that he has character flaws, yet believe you can help him mature or overcome his problems, thereby giving you a sense of significance. Sorry to remind you that you cannot re-create anybody. Only God can so except if he makes a personal decision to let God change him you’re just setting yourself up for heart breaks.

Sometimes too if a woman was abused or ignored by her father, she may not know how to identify character or real love. Worse, she may subconsciously think that her past pain can be erased by marrying a bad boy and making everything work out right. #smh# wrong thinking. Character is built over time and is very difficult to change.

The fallacy of this belief is that it’s impossible to make a man improve his character. He may fake integrity over the short-term, but a man will only mature when he makes the decision himself. All too often, a woman reasons that a bad boy’s character flaws will not harm her. She believes that she is insulated from the consequences of his dishonesty, addictions, or immaturity. Sadly, she is usually the person who winds up suffering the most hurt. She hangs onto the relationship thinking her sacrifice will encourage him to improve.

Reason #2 – The need for affirmation, to be noticed and to seem cool.

Some girls are attracted to bad boys just for the need to seem popular. It’s quite exhilarating to know that this popular guy likes you when you’re so different from him. Okay, so he is the life of the party and everyone thinks he’s cool…how cool it will be to be seen with him too. So you’re also willing to do whatever it takes to seem cool in his eyes including forgetting about your own beliefs. Bad boys tend to be more assertive than nice guys when it comes to initiating a dating relationship. Since most women want a man to pursue them, this aggressive approach can feel appealing.

Also, women usually prefer a man who seems to have purpose in life. For example, some single Christian women complain that “Christian men are too passive or non-adventurous.” In other words, “nice guys” wait too long to initiate relationships or take the bull by the horns and achieve what they need.

I believe our Christian men should really think about this. Some  are too scared of rejection to ask a woman for a date? Please our Christian bros you may need to take a cue from the bad boys to learn some of those things that make them come alive but don’t be like them oh.

Reason #3 – He’s so exciting.

The kind of society we live in now glamorizes the bad boy attitude. It is the Bad boy actors and musicians that we get attracted to and not the ones that portray a good image. We seem to prefer the casanova image to the good guy that sticks to one girlfriends and treats her nice. The word ‘mugu’ easily rolls off our lips. While it is true that their popularity or playful personality can be very attractive, it is usually very fleeting and does not have deep roots. What some women don’t realize, is that their personal reputation can be tarnished by associating with a notorious person. If people don’t respect your man, they will have a hard time respecting you.

Bad boys may be fun, but the party never lasts. Vain pleasure always wears off over time. So, good girls beware. A bad boy may shower you with compliments, attention, and excitement, but the moment you cease to keep him happy, he will lose interest in you. Soon, he’s off looking for another woman to indulge his selfish heart.

Breaking the bad boy cycle

So now you’ve been getting attracted to only the bad ones and you know you need to break the cycle. How then do you avoid dating a bad boy? The key lies in first examining the reasons for your attraction, evaluating your need and then realizing your value. For instance if your need is for acceptance or popularity then you need to work on it by yourself. Start taking steps, reading books and gathering information on how to be in the limelight. After all there is no guarantee that the popularity you get from being with a bad boy will last. If however your reason is for the excitement, you’d do well to consider if the end result will be worth it. By all means have your fun but don’t blame anyone for the consequences. If it is an esteem issue, then you need to constantly affirm your value in God’s eye to yourself. It won’t hurt to verbally remind yourself each day of how special you are and the unconditional acceptance God has for you no matter who you are or what you look like. Your true identity is that of a beautiful, celebrated, daughter of God (Isaiah 62:3-4).

Your desire to feel cherished and complete can only be met by Christ. If you do not learn to get your need for love met in Him, then your heart can be vulnerable to a bad boy’s charisma.

In addition, human relationships only experience intimacy when both parties sacrifice for each other. By definition, a bad boy is unwilling to offer you sacrificial love. So don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are immune to his lack of integrity. You must be willing to walk away from a man who is unwilling to sacrifice for your needs.

Also, don’t attempt to fix a bad boy’s character flaws. Only Jesus Christ can change a man, and it generally takes years to see real improvement. Change is possible, but a man must be willing to surrender himself to God and take action. A real man knows that he can do nothing apart from Christ (John 15:5). Therefore, ladies, reserve your heart for a guy who will rely upon Christ to love you.

Ladies, this does not mean that you should date a man who is boring either. On the contrary, date a guy who captivates you. However, it is important to discern a  man’s character before you give him your heart.

Remember, you cannot spin gold from a pile of straw. Dating a guy with poor character, even if he pursues you, often shows poor taste and will not reflect well on you in the eyes of society. Bad boys may be more common than men with character, but waiting for a man with integrity is worth it. So kiss the bad boys goodbye, and say hello to true love in Christ!

Cheers…

Femmetotale

Human Female Tigers – beware!

Hmmm… I’m sure you’re wondering if an astounding scientific/zoological discovery that links humans with tigers has been made. If you’re wondering whether a cross breed of humans and tigers has evolved, wonder no more. They are already in existence, living amongst us with real fangs and razor sharp claws. They are intimidating and ferocious, nothing like the regular women. Oh yes, I’m referring to the every day women, some of whom are our neighbours, some we interact with on a daily basis, engage in business transactions and even have close family ties with. But then these are not really your regular women oh!

Like the tigers, they don’t retreat in the face of fear. In fact they go all out to invite danger. They are aggressive and ferocious. They terrorize their neighbours and more alarmingly, their husbands. These non-regular women are becoming bolder by the day.

Ok, we’re down to the juicy part of the post (enough of beating about the bush). Now, I’m one person that cringes whenever I hear about domestic violence. I can’t even imagine why a man would turn his home into an boxing ring and his wife into a punching bag with his children and neighbours as spectators. But this one is even worse. The tables have been turned. The female tigers control their husbands physically with violence. As incredible as it may sound, it is true. I know some people are tempted to say ‘serves the men right’ especially considering the cases of men’s violence to their wives even resulting in death sometimes. But this is a serious situation oh.

My neighbour’s wife is a human female tiger! Initially, it was just the occasional screams coming from their house at night and curiously it’s usually only the man’s voice that we often hear. Now, their fights or should I say the beatings have been carried to their front door. What was the problem this time, Mr. George told us tearfully that he went out with his friends for a drink the night before even though his wife told him not to. He went anyway and when he came back she started beating him. Did I mention that his wife is a buxom 6ft 4inches tall woman while Mr. George is smallish? (you get the picture). Thinking about it gives me goose bumps. I mean, a man crying out and begging his wife to stop beating him while she continues hitting him and calling him all sorts of names. Naturally, all the other women in my area are afraid of her and so no one wants to talk to her about it. They talk behind her when she’s not there but the moment she passes by, they all retreat. I tire oh! I’m still gathering the courage to go talk to her one day and tell her how a virtuous woman should be and maybe share Prov. 31 with her (are you kidding me… I think I’d rather just pray that she will change).

The I do shoes

Ok, you can stop ogling the shoes now. Yeah, I know they’re cute and you’re wondering what the front looks like…lol. I can assure you that they’re absolutely gorgeous. Well, this post is not about the beautiful wedding shoes. It’s not even about shoes either. It’s about the person that wants to be in those shoes soon.

Ladies, oh how much we love beautiful shoes. Cobblers will never have to go hungry as long as women are on the planet and the men are there to be bugged by us. We go click clack… click clack, relishing every moment of the elevation and the attention it brings us. We have beautiful shoes for every occasion, lovely colours, shapes and sizes.

Talking about the I do shoes, just as we take time to select every other accessory for the d-day, the shoes are not left out. We just want to feel special in those lovely shoes. Now, who really sees the I do shoes except the few girlfriends and bridesmaids that go oooh and ahhh, goggling the exquisite pair? Its hidden for the most part of the event.

It’s just the same with our hearts. Who really sees our hearts and knows us? As adults we have become adept at hiding the contents of our hearts and putting up a bold front. Every experience that hurts us, we carefully tuck beneath an I-dont-care exterior but deep down inside we may be hurting. Nobody sees that part, not even the man that will be walking with you down the aisle. Sometimes if he is sensitive he might get a glimpse of it or he may never know. So this heart keeps yearning for expression.

We only see the beautiful shoes and wish we could have them. But there’s one person that sees the baggage you carry within your heart. The fear, disappointment, shame, hurt, uncertainty, disillusionment and despair. There is one person that can truly understand your hopes and aspirations, your hearts desires and your greatest wishes. He is the only one that does not mind sharing you with another man and is even happier when the man is his son.  Feel free in being honest with him. Just bare your whole heart to him and he will take care of it for you. He will mend the part that is broken and give expression to your desires. Do you want to know who this person is? He is the one who died to set you free. The I do shoes need not be hidden anymore.

Dare to stand out….

 

 

 

Femmetotale

Do women know what they want?

Ladies the fact is that we are very special. The very fragile hearts that distinctly differentiates us from the men and endears us to them is the same thing that has come to be our greatest undoing. Love, care and nurture come naturally to females.  Maybe it is because we grew up learning to use our hearts more often than our brains, maybe it is simply a biological or natural occurrence but in relationships we are so very different.

And so the question keeps ringing, ‘do women even know what they want?’ especially considering the spate of failed relationships caused by ladies who end up wallowing in regret for a lifetime. She just couldn’t wait any longer for the man she loved so she married the guy with the hummer jeep; she just couldn’t bear not to be the center of all her friends attention so she married the expatriate who practically lives in a night club; she is a good girl (she’s never even been in trousers before) yet she can’t live without this jeans-sagging, power bike riding dude that lives down the street; she has never been sure of what she wanted anyway so what the heck…just marry the first guy that says will you… Even if he didn’t complete the sentence; she’s waited for so long to meet the right man and her clock is close to midnight so she’s given up and has accepted to be a third wife. And so the question continues to ring, do women really know what they want?

We did a simple survey to determine if women really know what they want. I was quite satisfied with the result of the survey cos it showed me that women everywhere have minds of their own. We may have learned to bend our will to the whims and caprices of society but it has not eroded our aspirations or needs. Women are actually more intelligent than society sometimes gives them credit for. They are strong, untiring and unrelenting in their belief in love. Is it better to love or be logical? This question can as well be interpreted as ‘is it better to love like a man or like a woman’ since women tend to be emotional and men logical. Thank God some men in this generation have learned to embrace their emotional sides too.

I’ll blame it on two things: 1. Personality and 2. Society
Society has already laid down and mapped out the life of women especially in this part of the world where you must be dependent on a man, whether it is your father, brother or husband. So naturally, society has defined the role of women such that we are allowed little room to exercise choice. Would u waste time exercising the power of choice in a family where your father is reminding you everyday that you are increasing the number of mouths he has to feed? What about peer pressure when all your friends have gotten married and are flaunting their husbands’ gifts? I heard about a girl whose parents sent her out of the house when she finished her NYSC. She ended up going to live with the first man that asked her to marry him and he kicked the ball into the post, shouted ‘goal’ and left her heart broken. Did she not know what she wanted?

Then comes the issue of personality. Some ladies are actually very shallow minded. They have never actually sat down to think about the concept of marriage and its importance before diving headlong into it. Its all about the money he has, the effizy for their friends and the beautiful white dress that will make them the centre of attraction and did I forget to mention ‘madam of the house’?

I believe that the contemporary woman is strong and courageous, focused and knows what she wants. Life’s storms may blow you in different directions and threaten to swallow you up but can you just stay focused on your dreams and hopes for the future? My advice is, know what you want. It may not have an exact description but you have an idea. I told someone earlier that when you go to buy detergent from a shop, you might have a particular specification in mind but you don’t know the brand name so you keep searching the aisles, seeing different items that look like the one you have in mind but something tells you its not it…after several minutes of walking about (like I said, time is of essence) you may decide to pick one. Does it mean that you never knew what you wanted?

Ladies, dare to stand out.