Did We Do Any Learning? [1]

Learning

Yiikes, I’m a Control Freak!

Accomplished is my word for 2014. But so is Control Freak, as I’ll learn later.

It was a fine morning in June 2013 when I sat, filling out forms in the anaesthesiologist’s office.

“Gosh, you have OCD,” he said, when I handed them back.

Puzzled, I turned to him, “Why do you say that, sir?”

“Well, you’ve filled out every detail on the form. Hmm, the people who work for you must be suffering.”

What? All that from filling out a form properly? No appreciation? Why ask for the information if it was unnecessary? I shrugged but paused, thought lingering.

 

Fast forward to November 2014.  I’m reading, Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m awed that she, thousands of miles away, can write my heart so perfectly. In the book, ‘Liz is in conversation with her friend, Richard:

“Lemme tell you something, Groceries – you got some serious control issues.

“My rage at this statement consumes me like fire. Control Issues? ME?

“…Listen, you’re a powerful woman, and you’re used to getting what you want out of life,…Life didn’t go your way for once. And nothing pisses off a control freak more than life not goin’ her way.

“You gotta learn how to let go, Groceries. Otherwise, you’re gonna make yourself sick. Never gonna have a good night’s sleep again. You’ll just toss and turn forever, beatin’ on yourself for being such a fiasco in life…How come I screw up all my relationships? Why am I such a failure?”1

I scream in my head. This is me. Has been me forever.  And so I’ve decided that my phrase for 2015 is Letting Go. Because I can’t look forward and back at the same time.

Control Freak. Letting go.

 

Ozoz @ Kitchen Butterfly
Watch her Journey by Plate, at TEDx Port Harcourt, October 2014.

 

No Stopping Me

I refuse to listen to the cynical voice sending evil messages to my brain, “You have reached your limit, just give up and maintain what you have.”

It is not possible that I cannot lose any more weight. Short of sewing up my intestines, tongue, and teeth, I have tried everything humanly and spiritually possible to lose weight.

Last Friday, I decided to give my body a treat. Off I went to a nearby gym and spa center. I asked about their services.

“Pedicure, body polish and massage, facials, tummy blast—”

“Eh Tummy blast?” Light bulbs went off in my head. “What does it entail?”

“We have a machine that rolls over the stomach, as well as a kneading wood that helps to blast the fat.”

“Wow! Really?”

“Yes ma,” the lady responded. “But you need to come in for a minimum of six sessions to see tangible results.”

 

Treatment started in earnest. The machine began its work. Years of unleavened fat would not go down without a fight. The kneading wood was applied to further flatten the pouch. Next, they tied me with cellophane and a long strip of cloth. I made Herve Leger’s bandage dress look like child’s play. Na wa, so this is what it feels like to be an Egyptian mummy?

Fifteen minutes later, I had lost about an inch! They placed me on a three-day fruit diet with lots of water and gave me aloe vera gel drink as part of a detox plan.

Although the aloe vera drink tastes like shit and my husband laments that he and the kids are the real victims of my never-ending weight loss programmes (they cannot go to the toilet after me since air fresheners and diffusers are powerless against this form of domestic terrorism), I am trudging on. Ain’t no stopping me. One down, five to go.

 

Eriye Onagoruwa is a legal practitioner. She writes satirical pieces for The Guardian.

 

A Thin Line Between Yes and No

I tend to say yes to almost everything.

I tell myself that this is due to my good nature, after all what’s so bad about trying to avoid the landmine of hurt feelings? I sometimes suspect though, that it is because I hate being told no myself. My reluctance to use the word no usually results in my being burdened and stretched with over commitments and ever-increasing responsibilities. This was a constant thread than ran through the fabric of 2014—a constantly overflowing schedule. The slender margins took a toll and gave rise to frayed nerves and a quick temper.

A person who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.2

I wish I had known earlier, the freedom that comes with just saying no. Saying no does not close the door on opportunities; rather it creates the opportunity to say a resounding yes to the things that do matter. Saying no is just another way of saying, “Yes!” to the important things. Lysa Terkeurst calls this our Best Yes.3

I am not one for New Year resolutions, but as 2015 peeks from behind the folds of 2014, I hear, margin. I have learnt that I need margin in my life and to achieve this, sometimes, I need to say it loud and say it clear, with a dash of understanding and empathy of course, “No!”

 

Tamkara @ naijaexpatinholland
Tamkara rocks her clogs expat style in the book, Dutched Up! with 27 other expats who share their perspectives on life in The Netherlands.

 

  1. Gilbert, Elizabeth, Eat Pray Love (Croydon: CPI Group (UK) Ltd. Books, 2007), 158 – 159.
  2. Goins, Jeff. 025: Saying Yes to the Best Things: How Do You Balance It All? [Podcast]
  3. TerKeurst Lysa, The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demand

 

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