WordPress 102… No Pressure

woman biting nails with anxiety

It’s the night before the public launch of my blog. Bright lights cause me to blink. Hear me talking; you’d think I’m a superstar. I am, at least my mum thinks so. I’m sure your mum thinks you’re a superstar too. I’m standing in front of the mirror chanting, “No pressure Timi, no pressure. You are a high achiever who leverages her skills to increase the company’s bottom line. You can do this girl!” Okay, I’m not standing in front of my mirror literally. It just felt good to write it.

Pep talks, I seem to be giving myself a lot these days. To grow is to expand and if all we do is what we know, we’d never grow. Challenges stretch us to use what we have, discover what we didn’t know we had, and invent what we don’t have. A challenge can be our invitation card to opportunity. Livelytwist is where I discover if the sky has limits and what lies beyond it.

I don’t know anyone who has never been insecure. Does that make us weak or does that make us human? I think about an incident many years ago in primary school. I was one of the honour students. My class was to stage a play and our teacher was casting for parts. She called me upstage to take the leading lady’s role.

I trembled as I made my way to the front of the class, hitting my thigh against a desk on the way. I collected the script from her and faced the class. Twenty-four pairs of eyes looked on. I focused on the first line of the script. I swallowed. Twenty-four pairs of eyes looked on. It didn’t help that the leading man who stood across from me, was a chubby boy that I had a childish crush on.

When twenty-four lips parted in laughter, I managed to maintain a semblance of dignity. My teacher walked up to me.

“Come on Timi, read it.”

I found my voice at last.

“I can’t.”

I cannot adequately describe the disappointment in her eyes. It was worse than the laughter that crisscrossed the room, which rose to a crescendo and then fell to a hush before rising again to an invisible conductor’s baton. Was she disappointed because she had misjudged the capabilities of her top student? She tried to mask the annoyance and impatience in her voice when she asked me to return to my seat, but I heard it. I felt it. Shame trailed me as I limped to my seat. Once there, I did not cry. I don’t know why I did not cry. I was supposed to cry.

Fast forward thirty years later, and I can talk in front of almost any crowd. I cannot remember when last my mouth locked like the jaws of a spanner.

That’s what I’m thinking of as questions scream in my head—will people read my blog? Will they like it? Can I sustain it? What if I can’t write a post week after week? However, knowing that I’ve overcome past challenges silences the questions. I know that fast forward a few months, I’ll still be writing and you’ll still be reading.

No pressure Timi, no pressure.

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Photo credit: Fear-filled woman biting her nails with anxiety by Microsoft

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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WordPress 101

wordpress 101 (2)

So, I listened. Isn’t that what democracy is all about—a blog of the people, by the people, and for the people? I googled, how to start a blog. WordPress. It seemed easy enough.

First, I had to choose a name for my blog. You know how when you want to set up an email account, you choose a username, then a few seconds later you’re told it’s already taken? Well that’s what happened to me for forty-five minutes. What can I say? I am a late bloomer. I mean, like everyone was on Facebook before me. My sister convinced me to join. For a long time I had only two friends, my sister and my other sister. What did it matter, I was on Facebook. Phew! I ticked it off my list of things to do in 2008.

Thursday night, I burnt the midnight oil. The result? My sister said, “Don’t worry, it’s content that counts; I’ve seen worse. Huh? As if she doesn’t know me. Come Friday, I slugged away again—nothing but the best for you my readers.

I typed the name of my blog in a fancy font. I am a graphic designer wannabe. When my mum stopped my art classes and encouraged me to study something serious, I followed in my dad’s footsteps. I studied economics and worked in a bank. I liked the upfront salary payment in January, but when they told me to bring  N600 million deposit… well let’s just say I wished I had continued with my art classes!

Where was I? Right, the fonts. I chose this cool font and saw the preview. Brilliant I thought. Then I saw the message that lets you know if it’s too good to be true, it probably is:

“This font is part of a custom design. Upgrade now for $30 and make your blog look and feel the way you want.” (My paraphrase)

I’ll be passing my offering plate y’all. Thirty dollars; did I wake up to write this post because of $30? Yes and no. Listen, when I began, I was told it was free. These hidden charges, they come and bite you when you least expect it. The true cost of buying that cheap product is the amount you will spend on maintenance later. Keep reading because the offering plate will get to you. After all, WordPress developers have to eat.

I’m still busy slugging away at the computer and reading WordPress tutorials. I can’t complain. In my résumé, I say I’m a life-long learner who enjoys surmounting challenges. I can see how all this will look when I rewrite my résumé:

A high achiever who leverages her skills to increase the company’s bottom line

2013 – set up WordPress blog independently

Abi, you wan try?

Okay, you’ve been reading and wondering when you’ll get to the funny part, smiling a little as you read along, but frowning and quickly skipping past the offering bit. You were scrolling down the news feed on Facebook and your face lit up when you saw my post. Like seriously, you don’t expect me to be funny all the time? Is my name Ali Baba? Please put your offering in the offering plate jo!

I won’t bother you with the $99 for further customization or the $18 yearly fee to secure my domain name. Forget that I even mentioned the $30. This is all I ask, put your energy where your mouth was when you nudged me to start this blog. Copy your wonderful comments from Facebook and paste them here. Then ask your mother, father, sister, brother, and dog to leave a comment. And oh, all of you should follow the blog. Amen.

You know, I may not have taken the plunge if you didn’t push. I thank you for your support and encouragement.

©Timi Yeseibo 2013

Photo credit: Man wearing glasses with confused look on his face by Microsoft

Word cloud: Tagxedo

Image design: © Timi Yeseibo 2013

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

On Getting Older

I am getting older and I do not mind. I have embraced my age. I do not want to be a tottering teenager again, watching my father scrutinize my list of provisions and wondering what his response “okay, I’ve seen it,” means.

I am pragmatic. A few years ago, I folded my wedding gown and put it in my bottom box. It seems like a small thing now, but it was not at the time. My dream of slimming down enough to wear my wedding dress after life and children, died that day—I embraced the truth about getting older and weight. I have a sister who can probably still fit into her wedding dress; she distorts my theory. Are we not sisters, from the same mother, no less? Why did she have to have all the slim genes? I digress; this is about getting older! All my highs and lows have made me the woman I am and am becoming. Yes, I embrace my age. It is the greying that I have not fully understood.

When a few years ago I asked my hairdresser for a shampoo to tackle the dandruff that caused the persistent itching in the middle of my hair, she told me that dandruff was not the culprit. “You have so much grey hair there; that’s what causes the itching.” Information overload (amebo); who asked her?

Nevertheless, when I got home, I parted my crown of glory in the middle. And there, standing tall like irokos, streaks of lightning amid my black sky. I pulled a handful, twirling them around my fingers. When and how did they get there? Thankfully, they did not march forward from their hideaway; however, their strategy to gain new territory caught me unawares. Stealthy warriors, overnight, they appeared at the hairline around my temples. Aha, my hairdresser styled my hair with side parting and we won that war. The last time I was in the salon, we struggled to decide which “side” to part the hair. “We will soon have to resort to centre-parting,” she said after grave contemplation.

When the first few grey strands appeared on my eyebrows, my tweezers came to the rescue. And so it was that I was plucking a strand or two from my eyebrows the Saturday before Easter, when I saw it. Grey hair had sprung up in places I did not know they would or could grow—in crevices that my mother did not tell me about! But this? Haba! How far? A grey eyelash? You’ve got to be kidding!

I moved my mirror to catch the natural light from the sun. There it was—not ashamed of standing out in the row of black and as long as its fellow lashes. Is this what it means to get older? Accepting with equanimity the things you can’t control? I went to the shops to find a solution.  I smiled when I saw jet-black mascara. Who knew that black had different shades? I am older, and I will change the things I can, one grey eyelash at a time!

shades of black

©Timi Yeseibo 2013

images ©Timi Yeseibo 2013; photography: Sam Bird & Timi Yeseibo

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Body Magic

BM getty images1

I mounted the scale and fought depression when I read the display. I had not eaten all day, how could I have gained a kilo instead of losing one? I looked at my body in the full-length mirror. I love me, I thought as I sucked in my stomach and lifted my chest. I love me not. I sighed as I exhaled and let everything hang loose. I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember; perhaps it is because I am judging my body by the unrealistic pictures in the magazines.

At university, I used to wear a pair of shorts underneath my clothes, to create the illusion of wider hips and a backside worth looking at. My roommates would often threaten to hide them as payback for something I had or had not done. The threat ensured compliance because I could not afford to be seen without my backside. How things have changed. I have not only been freed from the incessant torture of washing those shorts every night in preparation for the next day, but also from the square foam pads I slipped underneath my bra straps before I wore any top including my t-shirts.

Aha, now that I am close to the big four-zero, it is as if my metabolism has ground to a halt. Even a cup of water adds a half kilo to my weight! How did I get here?

Last Christmas, I decided to make up for all the Naija Christmases I missed while living abroad. I stuffed myself as if jollof rice was going out of style. I watched my weight rising on the scale but was confident that by the end of January, I would be back to my old self after a strict exercise and diet regime.

But nothing could shift the bulge I had acquired on my stomach, backside, and hips—I ran on the treadmill, I lifted weights, I speed walked, I started eating twice a day. The fat just raised one eyebrow, barely opened an eyelid, and then went back to sleep! I began a series of non-religious fasts. After the first few times, my body betrayed me. I ran into the kitchen and ate everything in sight, all this before 11 a.m. on an appointed fast day.

It was at this critical point that I heard about the Body Magic—lose two to three dress sizes in ten minutes. Hmmm, and Michelle Obama is my mother’s younger sister! But I was desperate; my clothes were shrinking, so I requested one from my friend. Let’s call her B.

She arrived at my house with her bag of magic. I could not wait to shrink like Alice in Wonderland. After measuring, she determined my size and selected a garment from her bag. It looked too small. B laughed and assured me that it would fit with some help.

I turned the garment upside down and put in my legs then the struggle commenced. We pulled and dragged and pulled and dragged. As the garment inched higher up on my body, my flesh trembled and wobbled as though experiencing a minor earthquake. Then it flapped like a small flag in a gentle breeze. B instructed me to do a curious dance—stand on one tiptoe and then the other in quick succession to redistribute the fat allowing the garment to slide further upwards. I warily complied.

By now, I was sweating as if I was a Christmas goat being led to the slaughter even though two 1.5 HP air conditioners were on full blast. My sweat glands went into overdrive because I was sure that despite the deodorant I used, I reeked of perspiration. Embarrassed, I mumbled a self-conscious apology to B. Sweat, what sweat? B claimed she smelt nothing. I suppose this was a small price to pay in her line of business.

It was over ten minutes and we had not been able to squeeze past my hips and backside. Accomplishing that feat would be akin to reaching the peak of Mt. Everest. I needed a break. From the corner of my eye, I saw B flop into an armchair and massage her wrists. Who said making money was easy.

We resumed a short while later. Pull, drag up, tuck in, dance, and pull again. B continued to help and encourage me.

“Come on, almost there! There you go, good! Now move your body to redistribute the fat. Yes, yes, yes, one, two, three, go…pullllllll!”

At last, we crossed the final frontier. The stubborn mass of fat that had defied every diet and exercise routine known to me bowed to the power of Body Magic.
The most difficult part was over. I pulled the top with ease and slipped my arms through the straps. To hook the clips, B had me lie down. She yanked the left side then the right while instructing me to suck in my stomach, “Suck in some more, alright, that’s better.”

Hook, hook, hook, deftly she clasped the hooks. Putting on the Body Magic involved more skills than I had first thought, a coach and trainee relationship was evolving.

When she finished, I stood and felt as tight as a wound up doll. However, my posture was immediately improved because I was forced to stand straight. I had an hourglass figure with a lifted derriere. I quickly donned on my tight Ankara skirt. It glided past my hips. The most noticeable improvement was my stomach. However, I had not dropped two to three dress sizes.

What was I expecting? Magic? Yes! Wasn’t that why they called it the Body Magic? B read the disappointment on my face and started explaining, but all I could think about was an elephant trying to squeeze into a corset meant for a hippo. I lay down like a zombie and sucked in my stomach while B unhooked me. The rest was easy. As I pulled off the Body Magic, my fatty portions popped free with pops of relief.

These days I am back to the good old-fashioned way—a consistent exercise programme, a healthy diet with lots of water, and no yo-yo dieting. I climbed the scales today—I love me, I love me not. Scenes from the Body Magic ordeal crawled across my mind and I laughed. What won’t I attempt to acquire the perfect figure? On second thoughts, I love me— bulging stomach, fatty hips, rounded buttocks, and all! I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Photo credit: ©Cornstock Images/Getty Images

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Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.