Did We Do Any Learning? [1]


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


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.

74 thoughts on “Did We Do Any Learning? [1]

  1. it’s deep. too many nuggets of truth. “education is not the learning of facts but…” – i wish someone told some teachers that.

    side note – any time i see a quote “assigned” to albert einstein i think another statement that he probably didn’t make.

    yes. i did do a lot of learning! i like the quote about some no’s being our best yes.


    1. I’m glad to hear that you did a lot of learning. Do you find that reflecting and then trying to articulate what you learnt helps to crystallize the lesson(s)?

      @Einstein, oh well, many sources attributed this quote to him . . .
      I guess we, you and I, can teach others in a new way. 🙂


  2. Stories to identify with. I never really put myself on a weight loss plan but I went on a diet of fruits and soups once for a month that put me in glorious shape, I want to do it again. Control freaks, aren’t a lot of us? I enjoyed this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. While I have never been a control freak, but the other two ladies and their points about always saying YES and weight loss are areas I am familiar with. These are common struggles many of us go through I guess. The writers presented them in such a refreshing and hilarious way, kudos kudos! Absolutely loved these posts 😀


    1. I’m glad they resonated with you, we’re all doing life together . . .
      Many times, what we read isn’t new per se, but as you said, the presentation is fresh, and if hilarious, that’s a bonus. I enjoyed them as well. Thanks Nida.


  4. Saying no! I tried it last week 🙂
    And I didn’t feel guilty!

    Weight loss, I’ve given up on trying my farts and their weird smells.

    Letting go & OCD
    My room’s been in a state all week. I see it and I know I need to do something but don’t get stomach ulcers or heart palpitations thinking about how things are not in place. #winning


  5. “…they cannot go to the toilet after me since air fresheners and diffusers are powerless against this form of domestic terrorism.” No comment. I’m in stitches! 😀

    She’s not alone. Every week I sign up for several X-day email courses on how to do this and that….which would result in shrunken waists and smaller dresses. And of course, it’s not my fault that I shut everyone up when I’m watching my fitness webinars– I need to be in top shape to function at home and to get good grades! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, this was a very nice read Timi. I enjoyed reading about the inner workings of the minds and lives of these people. I am like the second person. Constantly watching my weight and worried about gaining. My hubby cringes every time I tell him I’m going on a cleanse or starting to watch my diet better.


    1. Lol@ Constantly watching my weight and worried about gaining. 🙂
      Oh Staci many of us have been there, done that, got the t-shirt, and are still wearing it! When I was younger, I could eat a horse and not add a pound, now that I’m older it seems as if a glass of water adds pounds XD

      Glad you enjoyed reading. Thanks Staci.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha. Yes, it seems like this topic is the dilemma of most women.
        You’re lucky. I could never eat like a horse and get away with it. I just gained. Now I’m a health and fitness freak. Trying not to be too obsessed though.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think we can all relate to each piece. I know I’m controlling in my own ways, maybe ways that manifest differently from those of Ozoz. I’m going to be a bad old person some day.

    I’m also finding out that each pound is twice as hard to lose as the one before. We need some sort of weight-loss Richter Scale. The first 5 pounds lost are merely .25 of the Chubster Scale. After 15 pounds lost, though, each pound doubles in effort. 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32. To get rid of the last 5 pounds, you call a back-alley “surgeon” who got his medical license in a cereal box.


  8. All three spoke volumes to me.
    I am a control freak.
    I have a big problem saying no.
    And I obviously can’t seem to let go of a number of things.
    Chai..i need Jesus!!

    Thank you for letting these women ‘hijack’ your blog and teaching me something new 🙂

    ….and lol @ Is this what it looks like to be an Egyptian mummy 😀


    1. I’m glad to hear that the pieces resonated with you. Sometimes I think that we don’t necessarily need to hear something new. We just need to hear it told another way, as part of someone else’s journey. I’ve heard it said that we are all equally in need of grace!

      Egyptian mummy, haha! XD Thanks Uju.


  9. This is a very insightful piece Timi. I am glad to learn that saying NO ain’t a close of opportunities but the opening of opportunities to say YES to things that actually matter to my pursuit of purpose.! Thanks for sharing!


  10. Okay, I just started reading my today’s inbox, after recovering from a migraine (no, I don’t need sympathy, after all, I said I recovered! 8D ) but I would like to add my terrible two cents, centimes and sense of things to the fray, if I may.

    First of all, who says we have to have flat pouch-less tummies, at any age? Huh??? I mean, this is nearly 2015, and I thought or hoped that we women were moving beyond such umm –, not vanity no, but senseless preoccupation with perfection in our appearance (and for whom and please please please tell me for what?) and onto better things. Because despite everything, there are better things to be concerned about.

    You know, I frankly LOVE a little pouch on any woman compared to the over-dieted scrawniness of someone who may have that flattened tummy (and I am not talking about you, Timi) but has probably sacrificed if not her health then at least the sweet smelling atmosphere of the bathroom to get it…But much much worse in my ever so not humble opinion (and please forgive me, but I have struggled as anyone else has with these issues) is the energy and time wasted — not to mention money — on something so essentially frivolous and self-demeaning…Am I wrong to say this?

    Whatever happened to real and honest self-love and self-acceptance here? I am not saying we should not be healthy, but to starve yourself for three days just to lose a few pounds that stats show will come right back…well, that is folly indeed and worse. And the worse is, at least for me, that to starve myself deliberately would induce a migraine, for sure, but it surely brings any person to fatigue and irritability…and WHY, WHY, WHY? What message were we all given as children or teens that we must toe some terrible invisible line of perfection that includes our female bodies, so that now we must all have some fictional woman’s perfect shape?

    This is nonsense. Please, Timi, don’t fall for it. OCD or just very careful, it doesn’t matter.

    Don’t let your readers fall for it. I liked EAT, PRAY, LOVE as much as you did, but if the take- away message is YOU MUST BE PERFECT, then this is insane and we have come nowhere. I would tell all your readers to read THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz to learn why we feel as we do about ourselves and why we believe we must do or think or even feel what we have been taught to do and think and feel. It isn’t necessary. It is just what we learned as children…

    But I for one am determined to UNlearn these things and teach myself finally to love myself and not to be told by society that a flat tummy is either important or essential to my loving me or THEIR loving me. But if it is, the latter that is, well then, that society doesn’t deserve me, and I will go find another…

    Sorry, I have been told that my bluntness gets me into trouble sometimes, but there you have it. I could not sit by and let this post go and all the comments without saying something.

    My best to you always, in truth and honesty always,

    Pam Wagner


    1. Question: ” . . . who says we have to have flat pouch-less tummies, at any age?”
      Answer: Eriye says Eriye has to have a flat pouch-less tummy at her age. Timi says Timi has to have a flat pouch-less tummy at her age. We want it and we’re working hard to get it within the bounds of what is healthy and acceptable for us. 🙂

      Eriye is a master at satire. She’s painted her weight loss journey on a canvas of desire, determination, and (humourous) desperation. It takes healthy self-love, self-acceptance, and self-confidence to showcase this to the world in my view.

      I like to think that readers can read between the lines and identify what she’s describing and what she’s not describing, which is why her post resonates as much as it does.

      As for Eat, Pray, Love, Ozoz shares about her aha moment when she read it. She was able to locate a trait which she found undesirable and identify a strategy to correct it.

      These posts aren’t about perfection. They are about people sharing what they learnt during the year. They are about people being willing to be vulnerable so that they may perhaps strike a chord with others.

      Are you wrong to say what you said? In my view, no. You just shared your opinion and we’re secure enough to listen and try to understand and appreciate where you’re coming from, since you’ve also shared bits about your journey with us. Your bluntness won’t get you in trouble here, lol. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like your response but on the other hand i wonder if a flat pouchless tumy would be important to you alone on a desert island or in prison. If not, then that to me says something about whether you are really the one wanting it, or society demanding that “you want what it wants you to want…” My sense is that no one naturally would struggle so hard to lose weight if they were alone in the world…and that it is only the lack of acceptance by others that makes us toe a line of perfection or unacceptance of ourselves As we naturally are.

        BUT why do we care what they think? They are in their own worlds, with their own lives and viewpoints, we have no way to change them or the way they think or even their opinions of us, and why should we? They are they and we are we. The only people we can affect are ourselves and being the most loving, least material and least vain people we can be, all we can do is live and set an example for others…that is all. But our children need this. I honestly believe that the more we set examples of strugggling for superficial goals like flat tummies instead of healing the earth and its violences and injustices, the more we set that as a goal for our daughters, well, that will be their reach, not the sky…

        By the way, sometimes i am too serious to recognize satire, i freely admit that. So if the aloe vera piece was satirical, bully for her! And i am truly glad of it! But my point was that readers were enthusiastically endorsing rhe weight loss aspect and the tummy blaster…not the satire. So they took that part as seriously as i did, plus you only gave us an excerpt, so we could not exactly see what she was satirizing.

        Again, just my two puny cents,

        Bw to you,

        Pam Wagner


        1. Pam, it’s obvious that you care about this. We are viewing this through different filters. I may be wrong, but some of your comments suggest to me that you do not read my blog regularly. I thank you so much for reading and commenting.


  11. I loved this! Three very solid pieces with insightful lessons. I laughed well well while reading the second piece. The third piece had a very personalized message for me. And I love how that message came.

    Super writers, well done. Timi, thanks from bringing these great minds together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol @2nd piece- we refuse to listen to the cynical voices sending evil messages to our brains XD

      I like it too when I find pieces of my story and a message for me in a post. I’m glad you did some learning and we’re travelling this journey together. Thanks Samuel!


      1. Thanks Nedoux for your comment!
        One of my major “Aha” moments this year, stemmed from this learning point.
        Timi, i also had a massive shift in perspective. Thanks for the opportunity to share.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Letting go is a lesson I could use – in a slightly different context (the nostalgic memory of the past rather than control) for 2015 too… And an aloe-vera intervention.

    Far too much Pizza and Nandos this year has left me in dire need of some of that!!! Thankfully, I’ll be able to keep my domestic terrorism to myself.. 🙂


    1. Letting go . . . the nostalgic memory of the past . . . I know . . . I even studied how to develop new neural pathways in the brain. We will get there . . .

      Lol@ aloe vera & domestic terrorism. As an older woman who’s had kids, people ask me about my nearly ‘pouchless’ tummy. When I tell them I jog and do sit-ups/crunches, they walk away disappointed. Now I can offer them aloe vera 😛


  13. I think 6 sessions of that Tommy blast will finalise my own process for me 🙂 , I mean this my flat belly longing struggle has really over stayed its welcome. The last I was in the labour room was five years ago so why are there still flabs? Am glad I read this post, but now where do I find that saloon here in Belgium?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Marie..you are not alone for sure..sorry I can’t help you-dont know any fat blasting salons in Belgium!
      But like Timi suggested-we can start with a near by gym!
      To all of us in 2015-keep trudging on and don’t give up!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. While letting go is a good idea being a control freak has its merits too such as self discipline, attention to details , being organised and high achievers . In fact most companies would hire control freaks because they are high achievers and result oriented . While letting go of being controlling, over demanding and manipulative retain the good stuff too! @ Eriye enjoyed your piece very entertaining had a good laugh I would also like the tummy blaster lol!


    1. True. We should learn to harness the strengths of our personality types. Big vision people need detail people, minus the negatives. Thanks for helping us see another side.

      Ah, I need to start offering tummy blasting services as a side gig XD


  15. Tamkara, I feel as though you wrote your piece for me! I said no to people who matter to me, and went on guilt trips for ages. This has set me free:

    “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.”

    When the things that matter come along, I will say, “Yes!”

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Timi, thanks for your kind words.
      This is not to say I have achieved my Best Yes. I still press on 🙂
      But as you mentioned, by virtue of certain well timed Nos, I am definitely more disposed to saying yes when the right opportunities do come along!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Totally agree with you on this one “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.” Life can be be so much easier when we use our power to say ‘No’ after all it’s our life we deserve the right to say yes or no even when it seems like it hurts others at the end of the day you’ll be left alone to deal with the consequences of saying yes or no

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ozoz, I like order, I’m a planner, and I’m very organized. I get stuff done. I recall someone rising from my sofa and fluffing the pillows just so. When I asked why, she said, “I want to leave the pillows the way I found them; just how you like them.” Oh dear!

    But life happened and my 20-year plan got thrown out the window. I still like order, I plan and I’m organized, but I’m more flexible and relaxed, as are the people around me 🙂
    Letting go. I suppose at some point in the seasons of our lives, we’ll have to let go- whether we held on to something loosely or tightly. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Eriye, I think determination is a key ingredient in any weight loss endeavour. You know my Body Magic story right? I will not add aloe vera aka domestic terrorism to it XD
    I understand the frustration that arises from doing everything to lose weight, and not succeeding. I’ve been exercising and eating healthy, making slow but steady progress. Maybe I should try the tummy blast to speed things up 😉

    Btw, you look great. Thanks for sharing.


    1. Thanks Timi..i agree..seriously, though I’m determined to keep at this weight loss struggle..sometimes I fail, eat like someone Whoz just been released from prison, but then I just keep at it..2015 would see me still on the weight loss journey..tummy blast and all!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol! Do you hit the gym at all?
        I really believe weight loss is 50 determination, 20 workout and 30 lifestyle change.

        Good luck though. I got my yoga mat today and will hopefully find good beginners tape 😉


        1. Thanks Uju. I used to be a gym buff, but can’t make the time now. I jog several times a week plus lift weights and do crunches. I eat everything I want in moderate portions (I try). I agree, it takes discipline & determination. Yes, to lifestyle change- I keep early nights because I jog early mornings.

          I think that if you find an exercise routine you enjoy, you’re more likely to follow through for the long haul. I hope you enjoy your new exercise routine. You started running right? How’s that working for you?


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