Monday, 28 September 2015

ADIOS, BLOGSPOT; HELLO, FEARLESS STORYTELLER


Hi there :)

It's been about a minute … or three.
This is because I've been re-strategising.

I am pleased to announce that I have made a creative-cum-strategic decision to move my blogging activities over to a different platform, which is a better fit for my brand and projections for the future. I appreciate your hanging in there!

So, we are now at www.fearlessstoryteller.com – I look forward to seeing you there!

x
Fearless Storyteller
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Saturday, 21 February 2015

LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTER SERIES - I

Photo Credit: syndersstoughton.com
I like to think I would be a kinda … liberal mum/aunt/god-mother.
Partly because I know that 'forced leadership' does not work.
Imposing your beliefs on a child has a nasty way of backfiring. All that living vicariously through your child/niece/god-daughter … isn't for me.

When you have a life of your own, the desire to see someone else as a mini-version of you … a mini-person who is only permitted to do what you want, is quite minimal.
But that doesn't mean you can't help them with the benefit of experience.

Among the mistakes I am sure you will make, changing yourself to suit the perception of others, is one that I hope you will skip.
That is one of my own definitions of HELL ON EARTH.

There are few things worse than trying to gain someone's approval, by succumbing to the pressure of being someone you are not.
Church, family, society, men, even other women – will all have opinions on what a 'decent, commendable woman' should be, look and sound like.

You will love what you see in the mirror, but that will not define you … unless you're planning to get into pageants, which will … we will cross that bridge when we get to it. After you have attained the age of 18, of course.

If you're drop-dead gorgeous, you will contend with people who genuinely believe that being easy on the eye is synonymous with being empty-headed. Like me, you will learn to be amused by such a stupid notion – especially because they will have made themselves easy prey. This will be the case whether you're in academia, the Arts, commerce, or any other profession. In time, if you're as competitive as me, in time, you may become dissatisfied at the defeat of an opponent who didn't take you seriously, at first. Because of what you look like. You will learn that some people are genuinely surprised by 'real', because all they are used to is 'fake'. That is what they are.

Regardless, you will learn to recognise the phrase 'beauty with brains' for the diss that it is. Because it means “You're a beautiful woman. What a shock it is that you've got a functioning brain!”


Y'all – daughter(s)/niece(s)/god-daughter(s) - haven't arrived yet.
But I am getting slightly nervous about the shenanigans you could pull, just because you've got some of my blood … 



Copyright©Chioma Nnani, 2015
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Sunday, 8 February 2015

FAITH-FILLED ... OR POISON-LADEN

It appears that in some quarters, an indicator of strong faith, is an inability to feel.

You cry because you've lost a friend, child or spouse.
You're 'mourning like those who have no faith'.

You missed the cut-off score by two marks, so you didn't make it into Med School.
You're sad because you're ungrateful; after all, you got into Radiology. What about those who have to wait another year to get onto any university course?

You're devastated because you had a miscarriage.
A woman who got pregnant on her wedding night and now has three children – in other words, she has never known what it's like to be uncertain about her fertility. Yet, somehow she believes she has the right to tell you that “Your crying indicates lack of faith. It will excite the devil and will offend God”.

You lose your business, because someone lied against you.
Or your shop burned down and all your wares – otherwise known as your livelihood – went up in smoke.
But your tears of heartbreak indicate that 'you do not trust God to provide'.

If you had faith, you'd never feel unsure, ill or unsafe.
You'd never be unnerved or shaken.
Displaying 'Rock of Gibraltar' tendencies would be easy for you, because you wouldn't be acting: you'd perpetually be stoic and stable, right?
SMH.

There's a medical condition - congenital analgesia - which makes its sufferers, incapable of feeling pain.
It is caused by a number of factors.

Now, not feeling pain may seem like the ultimate dream to some people. Cos then, it would mean absolutely nobody and nothing could hurt you, right? 

A feature of sufferers, is a short lifespan.
There's a good reason for this: in layman's terms, pain is basically the thing that triggers a signal to your brain … the trigger that says “All is not well”. People with  don't get those signals.

So, they can fall into fire and feel nothing. That won't stop them from being burned.
They can be completely naked in Siberian-inspired weather, but feel nothing. It won't stop them from catching hypothermia.
You could slap, shoot or stab them, but they would feel nothing. Not feeling anything, wouldn't stop them from dying of internal bleeding.

If a person whose neurological and other systems worked well, encountered any of the above, they would feel it. They would know they required help. They would seek and possibly receive help. If they didn't receive help, it wouldn't be for lack of trying. But then, you can't receive help if you don't even know you're infected.

It is one thing to put up a front … fake it … not tell the entire world, your business.
It is another to actually feel nothing – and you're not even pretending. That is a disease.

You are not operating on a 'higher level of faith' when you feel nothing.
You are ill. Very dangerously ill.




Copyright©Chioma Nnani, 2015
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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

RAINDROPS AND ROSES ...

I think one of the major issues I've had over this past decade was/is being so fixated on getting to my destination, that the journey was an irrelevant burden.

- wanting to make my first million so bad, that I didn't even notice I'd made the first £100; then £1000 ...
- looking forward to having my book in print so bad, that I didn't recognise that completing each draft manuscript was a victory on its own (I rewrote the manuscript of Forever There For You seven times!) 
- wanting bestseller status so bad, that I was actually gobsmacked by an award win and a subsequent BEFFTA nomination. Honestly, I thought that BEFFTA nomination would take at least five years :)

Focusing so hard on THE RESULT, that THE PROCESS (which is actually a series of smaller results - but results no less) didn't count.

It took seeing my own Wikipedia page, for me to actually begin to grasp what I've done and how far I've come, in the last 10 years. 
 
In fact, when I was contacted about it, my first thought was "Why? Don't you have to do real major stuff, before you get a Wikipedia page?" Cos everyone I know (obviously not personally) who has one of those, is a loooot more famous than I am. What everyone sees on the page is a surprise to me, too - it's all real, but taking in all that information, in such a cumulative way, kinda made me feel like I was reading about a stranger. I hadn't taken the time to recognise (never mind, celebrate) the milestones: those little and not-so-little markers of the journey to where I was/am headed.

When I watched a clip of the episode of CNN African Voices, which featured Tara Fela Durotoye, I understood. I understood when she mentioned "being concerned about not being able to stop and smell the roses or feel the rain"; yes, I totally paraphrased that. But you get the picture.

This isn't about not having big dreams. 
Some people will actually die, if the sum total of their dreams, doesn't terrify them ... and everyone around them.

This isn't about resting on your oars, because you've been told that you've done 'better' than many people of your age/race/whatever else. 
Truth is a) You're not 'everyone else'; b) When you KNOW you're capable of more, less will always frustrate you - even if your 'less' is another person's 'best'.

This is about giving yourself permission. 
Not only to dare to dream, but also to breathe. 
Permit yourself to taste the cake, instead of just wolfing it down. 
Notice the roses; including that roses come in different colours. 
Kiss in the rain - obviously, if you're asthmatic, I don't mean for you to take this literally - unless of course, one of you can engineer warm rain :)

Among the things I'll be doing this year, I'll be launching a series of mentoring packages and online courses. I keep getting asked about these and there's no time like the present.
The mentoring sessions will be a bit different from what many people are used to - because a) the sessions will take 'recognising and celebrating your milestones' into account; b) I will only work with people who demonstrate that they are serious, not just because they ask.

If you would like more information about either of the series, please take some time to fill out this survey AND email me

In the spirit of recognising and celebrating my milestones, I got a message from the current Assistant Editor of a newspaper, asking to feature me. My dad used to make me read this paper over 20 years ago - so, it has that longevity and credibility. As you can imagine, I am quite chuffed about it! There was a teeny voice going, "It's not CNN (yet)" & we're keeping that voice in the 'was' category. Yeah, I can hear some of you going, "That's so not little. Three years ago, that newspaper didn't even know you existed." Which I am now telling myself :)

Don't forget - I'm waiting to read from you!!! 


Copyright©Chioma Nnani,2015





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Sunday, 25 January 2015

GETTING NAKED ...

Some days ago, the fact that a Nollywood actor had died, was 'breaking news'. Amidst the flurry of ... information and sentiments - people claiming they were such fantastic friends of his, but didn't know he had been ill; bloggers publishing distasteful pictures of the guy on his deathbed; condolences from all and sundry - was something very unsettling. 

I find it odd when people hear that someone was going through something, yet never volunteered information - so, they didn't notice. 

Some call it 'pride'; I call it common sense. Or self-preservation. 

Why on earth would I tell you my deepest, darkest issue - when I don't know for a fact that you will not use it against me? 
Why should I show you my nakedness, when I have no inkling of how you will use that information?
And after I've sorted my ish (issue) out, why should I talk to you about it? Of what use are you to me?

As a matter of course, I read about successful men and women. I focus on their struggles and what they navigated, on their route to triumph - it gives me hope and helps me feel like I am not crazy. 

I've read about women who went through stuff alone, only for a dude to show up and try to claim the glory. A woman's so-called other half, walks away when she needs him the most. Why is he returning? To deposit sperm? 

I have even met a renown medical doctor whose partner chose to leave her, while she battled breast cancer. 

People (especially Nigerians, or the 'churched ones') are always ready to throw the "Forgive" thing in your face. 
Actions, you forgive. 
Character, you don't. 

If it is in a person's nature to leave you when you need them, to be conveniently unavailable in your low moments; WHY do you keep acting like they will ever acquire a character transplant? 

Be careful before you agree to 'get naked' with anyone. 
People have a way of showing you the contents of their hearts toward you - we all eventually do. If someone truly cares, they don't leave you high and dry, when you're in dire straits. 


Copyright©Chioma Nnani,2015
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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR! PLAYING CATCH UP ...

Happy New Year! 

Yes, I know it's been about a minute ... 

In the last quarter of 2014, I found out I was nominated for a BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) award for my writing. I don't think the words to describe the level of my shock, have been created yet! 




And someone thought I 'deserved' my own Wikipedia page and I got the link to the page on New Year's Day. Incredible way to begin 2015!

I promise to blog more often & let you know what I'm up to :) 
And yes, there are really exciting bits of news coming up ... 

Have a 2015 that's more amazing than even your wildest dreams!
MUAH!!! X


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Sunday, 10 August 2014

OMNISCIENCE IS NOT MY JOB ... OR YOURS ...

Sometimes, it is OK to say, "I don't know". 

I don't know why you studied, but didn't make the cut. Or you know your result was sold, but you can't prove it. So, you have to sit at home for another year, listening to people mocking you about being a fake Christian, while you wonder "God, why me?"

I don't know why you were gang-raped on your way back from church. And now, you're pregnant and suicidal. Oh, and you've got HIV. And everyone (including your fellow choir members) are sneering behind your back, saying, "She claims she was a virgin; yeah right. She was probably sleeping around and has invented this 'rape story' to gain sympathy. It's the so-called quiet ones you should fear."

I don't know why you were faithful to your husband and he cheated on you severally. Then, he ran away with your best friend and the contents of your joint account. And everyone around you is saying, "She must have done something to deserve it. She knows and is just pretending. How can a man leave you, if you're such a good woman?"

I don't know why you raised your son to be a decent, kind, Christian man - only for him to fall into the hands of the first golddigging ho who set her sights on him. He was so heartbroken to discover the extent of her infidelities, that he got into the car and drove straight into a petrol tanker. They say he was lucky to survive. But your precious 35 year-old 'baby boy' is burnt beyond recognition. And he's on life support. And despite all your prayers, the specialist told you this morning that if he makes it past tonight, he'll be a vegetable for the rest of his life; so it's better to turn off the machine. And some of your church people are whispering behind your back that "You must be a witch who's eaten her own son." They are even saying things like, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge."

I don't know why your family is full of smokers, but you're the only one who got cancer.

I don't know why your only son was minding his own business, and cultists picked on him and stabbed him in broad daylight. And so-called sympathisers chose the time they came to your house to talk about "the merits of covering one's own offspring with the Blood of Jesus."

I don't know why the doctors say there's nothing wrong with you or your wife, but you still don't have babies. You've even tried IVF and that's failed. Adoption procedures have fallen through, twice. And now, small boys are showing their 'liver' by saying to your hearing, "When real men are talking, you should be quiet." And because you've got a couple of millions in the bank, some of your church people are also saying that 'god' told them that you used your manhood for money-making rituals. And you're afraid that your wife may be starting to believe them.

I don't know why you worked so hard for your business, and someone tricked you into signing it away - and you don't even remember doing so. Or they stole your reputation with lies that you cannot refute.

I don't know why the guy you grew up with - almost like an adopted brother - in fact, you introduced his used-to-be-sorry self to your well-to-do parents. And they changed his life; they cleaned him up and upgraded him. You were so close, people thought you were brothers. Then, he chased after your fiancée - the only woman you have ever loved. Got her pregnant and they are now married. Happily. With twin boys. Living the life you thought you were building.

I don't know.
There are some things that nobody will ever know, as long as they are in human form. So, please stop trying to answer for God - because you feel like you need to say something to fill the silence. His silence. Stop trying to find reasons where you can't see any, but are choosing to go with your wild, ridiculous imagination anyway. Stop inventing sins for people to confess and labour under, as an excuse for 'why God did not come through'. And when all that has failed, stop banging on about 'the sovereignty of God' meaning that He will do whatever He likes - you're not doing Him any favours. Stop acting like everything in your life is an answer to carefully-orchestrated prayer or a result of an intricately-choreographed lifestyle; like you've never had cause to question what you believe. Like you have a real explanation for everything that's happened, or not happened in your life.

Sometimes, you will pray/fast/be nice to people/give/etc and the child will still die, you won't get the job you 'believed' was yours, and you will still be single by the age of 45. Quoting Psalm 91 or 23, or Isaiah 54 regardless.

So, dear pastor/prophet/priest/teacher/'church mummy'/general overseer/deaconess,
it is OK to say "I don't know". It's also OK to understand that maybe the God you claim is so powerful, should be left alone to speak for Himself. Or are you afraid that He's mute? What was that thing Elijah said (I Kings 18)? If you're so busy (believing that you're) defending Him, when will He have time to defend Himself? Or you, for that matter?

Copyright©Chioma Nnani, 2014
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