Posted in Life

DEAR 2020, For me you were one of my best years

I know many cannot wait to open the 31st December door, shove you out like an annoying, unwanted guest, wipe their hands clean and pretend they are waking from a bad dream. Asking ‘what was that about’?

That would be legit.

Again, I’m aware many want to sit you down, give you a few slaps and kicks and bruises all over your body, get a box of erasers and clean every memory they have of you, sigh and scream ‘good riddance to bad rubbish!’

Again, that would be fine because you acted like an asshole. Maybe you really were.

I also do know some people might wish they knew what you had under your sleeves the moment you walked into our lives on 31st December 2019 so they could have prepared better for you but of what use would your lessons be if we expected them?

To be fair to all those with these sentiments, Dear 2020, you were a douchebag and the earlier you admit, the better for us all.

I saw this and it rather fit into everyone’s final word for you so….

You were a year that took so much from us. Someone said you gave us nine months of unimaginable disorientation and I totally agree. You forced us into lockdowns and isolation, took away freedoms we didn’t realize we had or how much we’d miss, stole loved ones from us, and pushed us to the brink.

But nevertheless Dear 2020, it would be thankless on our part if we pretend you were all but misery.

2020 did teach us lessons we may carry on for centuries to come, if we live that long.

If for nothing at all, we learned that we are humans and we cannot live without each other. We learned to be there for one another in times we couldn’t physically keep that word. We learned to show compassion. We learned about a disease called Novel Coronavirus, how it mutates, spreads, and kills. We learned about quarantine and PCR testing and nasal swabs [I wouldn’t have cared less about all these phenomenon without you, really].

If I want to get a bit personal, 2020 gave me one of my most valuable experiences. I learned to love. Properly. And accept love.

I have always been a self saboteur or worst of a stoic. I always thought people exaggerated when they talked about being loved or vice versa but I experienced it for myself and it happened in 2020. To whoever made that possible, thank you. It was quite an experience.

Though it was nothing compared to what’s going on between Daphne and Simon in my dearest Bridgerton series, I may not be far from wrong to assume it is like the biblical tale of Sampson and Delilah [Now I want to laugh]

2020 was eventful. It was full of lessons. Lessons in friendship, in career, in devotion, in planning, in building a future and some more I cannot pen down.

For some reason, I wish 31st December could linger a bit more but I do not control time and that is another lesson I learned better this year. Things will happen in their own time. You can plan as well as you want but time and chance happens and they can throw your plans off balance but never lose your focus on the things that matters most to you. [I’m done sounding like some Toni Morrison….Oh how I love that woman!]

I know you all have so much to say about 2020 and I’m glad for all of our little experiences which will make us better appreciate 2021 if we want. It was not a perfect year and I’m not even daring to say so.

I only believe 2020 was greatly misunderstood and treated like a culprit instead of a victim like we all. I am not a year, but lets assume 2020 was human like we all and has the opportunity to meet humanity for a whole 366 days [even blessed by being a leap year]. Do you honestly think that the human 2020 would wish to have left the memories she left? Certainly not. So we are all victims. Enough of the victim-blaming. We are all victims of the lousy, inconsiderate, spooky Covid-19. [I wish I found worst words but my vocabulary is limited]

So Dear 2020, I’m certain you would have wished you were the year that made us fulfil all our 2019 resolutions and even more but you are also a victim of circumstances.

So Dear 2020, I would have wished to join the army of people screaming how bad you were to everyone [though they are not necessarily everyone] or how slow your days and months have been [arguably false] or perhaps, how cold your nights were [ I’m still sleeping without clothes even though its December] or how inhumane you have been…but I cannot. Really because you have been a good year, regardless.

Taking stock of these tiny little 366 days tells me how exceptionally different a year you have been [Thank God I love different]. I’m grateful.

I’m sure everyone would scream HELL NO if we are asked for a replay of 2020. But one thing I hope you are thankful for if you are reading this long post is that you are still alive. In 2020, or 2021 [if you have crossed over] and you are still here.

No matter how hard the year was it couldn’t take away that beautiful smile you always wear and that confidence you posses when you walk through the door. So my dear reader [now I’m sounding like Lady Whistledown, but that’s all right] be happy. Be cheerful and let’s look forward to a better 2021. Hopefully we find a vaccine. And oh, Hello 2021, hope you are less of everything your predecessor was.

Love, your inconsistent scribbler

Adwoa Tenkoramaa

Posted in People & Stories

#SpeakUpForHer: How to heal and prevent sexual harassment

First of all, I’m done promising. I think I’m better without it. I remember planning how I was going to stick to schedule and post often but that obviously didn’t happen. Sorry guys.

But I’ve been up to so many things. One is trying to begin an advocacy for girls who are abused in the cyber space. To this end, someone shared with me a story about how she was nearly raped by a man who is part of the leaders of her church.

For the purposes of this right up I’ll use Cindy as her pseudo name.

“I’m a young lady who once visited a married church elder. He is like a counsellor so almost every lady in the Church feels safe being friends with him and I was not an exception.”

“I did not hesitate when he asked me to visit him because he is a married man and never had I had any bad thought about him. Also, because I knew his wife was likely to be around, I did not think of any thing negative.

“Despite my trust for him, this man locked his door and prevented me from leaving when it was time for me to head home. I was confused but I started struggling with him to let me go. Then luckily for me, someone came knocking loudly on his door. The knocks were too loud to be ignored and the person on the other side of the door heard some struggle inside so she knew the man was in the room. That was my only chance of escape so I hid at his porch and once the door opened I fled,” Cindy told me earlier in the week.

Cindy’s account sounds like a story you probably have read on the internet or in a book but it’s a real experience. And it’s not exclusive to her. Most people have experienced sexual harassments, probably in ways they did not even realize it was harassment.

Other people clearly know they’ve been harassed but cannot talk about it.

I think people who harass you get the power to do more, either to you or other people, because you do not speak up. Once you do, even if people do not completely believe you, they will mount certain defenses around the person and by so doing, prevent themselves from ending up in the same or similar situations.

In my part of the world, it is hard to talk about harassment, not to talk of rape. Usually, the victim [the one harassed] will be blamed for what happened.

Questions like; Why did you go to his house? What were you wearing? How come you’re the only one saying this? Did you seduce him? and all the remaining nonsense prevent people from speaking out and up.

Imagine being raped for instance and going to the police station to report and the first question you are asked by another hungry looking man is ‘how do you know you were raped? or ‘how are we sure you did not ask for it? These and more prevent women and girls and generally people who are abused or harassed from talking.

First of all, since the society is not designed to do much for such people, I will and give a few pointers as to how to deal with consistent harassments and abuse.

Do not wholly trust men. This sounds a bit too harsh but that’s the reality. Whenever you trust too much, you let your guard down, expose your weaknesses and people who want to harm you will take advantage of those weaknesses.

Do not discuss financial matters with just any man. One factor I’ve realized that cuts across most rape or harassment issues is when the victim needs help and the other person invites him or her over to offer assistance.

Also be smart in your conversations especially with the opposite sex. A lot of the times, these things don’t happen out of the blue. There are signs. Once someone starts giving you some vibes you aren’t cool with, quickly draw back.

Most importantly, DRAW THE LINES. Draw the damn lines and set boundaries. Once anyone begins to cross that boundary you know there’s a red alert and you need to put them back in their place.

When visiting people you are not sure of, please don’t go alone. They can’t harass or abuse both of you. Worst case scenario you can overpower the person with your strengths combined.

Lastly, talk about it on the internet. I know most of us feel the internet might not be safe place to pour your secrets but that’s why there are groups which allow you to talk about your pain anonymously, you can do that and get healing for yourself.

To others who have been able to overcome these challenges too, kindly share your stories. You don’t know how far your experience can help someone.

#ThriveWithDigital

#SpeakUpForHer

Posted in Life

There will be sweeter days, honey

It’s been a minute guys!

So it’s been a week since I put up that post asking which day you would prefer to have me write on this blog and most of you think Mondays are ideal.

So yeah, I’ve settled on Mondays and it will be up mid-morning.

But did you know, that during your lifetime, you will produce enough saliva to fill two swimming pools, well yeah [LAUGHS]. That’s your fun fact for today.

Before we start with the schedule from Monday, here are some words I put together for stressing and happy souls…I call it ‘There will be sweeter days’.

Some days you think your body parts will fall apart

Some days it looks like all you’ve got is that faint, almost withering little cliché of ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel’ which barely keeps you moving.

Some days you want to ask why am I even doing this? And the answer that follows isn’t enough to keep you from not asking the same question tomorrow at 2

It’s legitimate to feel that. Truth is, every day, battles are being fought. Battles of depression, of anxiety, of fear and of not being enough.

But there are the good days too.

Some days are so sweet you begin to think the day’s angel slept while the honey and milk poured out in immeasurable quantity

Those days come with laughter, love and smoothness

So yes, there are sweeter days, but so are sour and gloomy ones and these days come with their strengths.

I wish that you can see the strength in that gloomy and shiny day.

Strength can be saved and used later, you know!

So if you’re reading this and your day has been great, look beside you, your colleague may be having a bad day.

Or do you work alone? Someone you know might be having a bad day and if you can, put a hand on their shoulder or share a random virtual message, you might not know how many people will need it.

If you are the one having the bad day and you’re here, hold your palms together like you’re giving yourself a handshake and caress your hands, take a deep breath, smile and remember the day you were so happy you thought you were going to burst.

There will be sweeter days love, there will be sweeter days.

[Don’t forget to like, comment and share.]

Love

Adwoa

Posted in Spontaneous

I want to come to you but I don’t know when

If you’re here to read some thought provoking, ‘Albert Einstein-like’ post today, then this is not for you.

But if you’re looking for a girl with scattered thoughts who needs help to frequently and consistently pour out those thoughts then you’re welcome.

To put it shortly, I want a day or two in the week to write my thoughts to you frequently.

I just realized that allowing my thoughts flow naturally and regularly, without any hesitation is probably the best gift I could ever give myself as a birthday present. [If you’re new here, my birthday was on September 11 and I’m officially an adult)

And for the next year ahead, I want you to be a regular here.

In order to be consistent and timely, I want to start writing simple, crisp, (suggested by one of my readers) and straight to the point. Instead of running around and being over elaborate lol.

So you guys remember my friend Benjamin right? I spoke about him in my previous post as one insanely intelligent guy. Well, he gave me a few pointers and I wish to add them to my writing as we move on and one of them was not to be over elaborate.

We’re aiming for the top guys so every single advice given will be considered and implemented where and when applicable.

Before I forget, thank you guys so much for the feedback on my post: ‘Turning 25! 20 and 5 reasons why you should and should not love me. It was everything and more. I really appreciate.

The thing about giving people feedback is that it always helps shape future actions and decisions so guys, thank you!

Right. So I have a plan.

Thing is, this blog is 90 per cent lifestyle and everything else left unsaid. And I want to maintain the spontaneity and so there will be a loooooot to write on. But I can’t promise to write everyday so please help me pick a day.

Between Mondays and Fridays or only Mondays or only Fridays. Which would you prefer? So either once a week (ie. Monday or Friday) or twice a week (Mondays and Fridays).

Why Mondays? Because ‘Everybody hates Mondays! Now that’s a cliche, I know but I chose Monday because it officially starts the week.

Also, it’s mostly the ‘not-so-exciting’ day in the week and most often people enter Mondays worn out or moody.

So, the plan is to bring my bubbly self to you for some smiles [I’m acting cute here, wish you could actually see me]. Seriously, I know life can be tough and the office can be crazy or crappy on Mondays so you need some easing up and that’s why I’m here.

And Fridays?…uhm well I chose it because is the weeeeeeeeekend! Yeah and whatever the case I want you to feel relaxed and have me in mind for your mini holidays. So in as much as I would want to give you some thought provoking messages, something lighter will do. Especially if you’ve been lectured the whole week [I’m rolling myself].

One thing I also want to do is to add a favourite quote or fun fact at the end of each post, something that syncs with the content. Don’t worry I won’t over do it.

Oh wait! I forgot the time…so I can’t promise you my mornings. They’re usually depressingly busy but let’s vote for 11 am or 1 pm.

I always want to work with a plan. Any day or time you will choose I’m going to discipline my self to meet the schedule so please choose a time you would be love to hear from me.

I’m actually going to pause writing this and set reminders for both days and time on my phone.

*break*

There you have it…

Yep so I just did. Whatever you choose, I’ll go with it.

So kindly drop a feedback in the comment section and I’ll choose the day (s) and time that had majority votes.

Wait, don’t leave yet.

Did you actually know that Cherophobia is an irrational fear of fun or happiness? Yes. Like a person can actually have an absurd dislike for being happy. Google tells me Cherophobia comes from the Greek word “chero,” which means “to rejoice”.

That’s your fun fact for today guys. Till next time keep smiling and staying true to yourself.

Love, Adwoa.

Posted in Life

Turning 25! 20 and 5 reasons why you should and should not love me

I turned 25 on September 11. Yaay right? But can I be honest? Hitting the quarter-century mark of my life (if I’ll live to be 100) was not really exciting. For some reason, I expected to have a completely dry ho-hum birthday. Not that I didn’t have loved ones. Maybe just because I didn’t expect anything.

I remember telling my best friend a day to my birthday how I was feeling sad and completely listless for the day ahead.

First of all, thinking that I am 25 is totally crazy. I remember vividly when I was like 12 and I saw people who said they were 25 like some adults who needed to get their lives together. Funnily, I thought and dreamt that by 25 I will be done with school (1st degree and masters) and probably have settled down with a kid or two (laughs) but the reality is always different from the dream.

I don’t know how the years went by. Now that’s a statement I don’t want to be making at 50. 25 is old, unfortunately, but it’s obviously not too old by any stretch of the imagination, like I thought it would but I still believe that it’s the age where life starts to feel more real and you’re officially an “adult”. And I’ve been feeling this since Friday. Like all of a sudden I want to do more and be more.

Now let’s talk about how my day went.

Right from the minute I woke up I knew this year was going to be different. As to whether it was going to be good different or bad different, I didn’t have enough time to think about that.

I woke up to only three birthday wishes. One from my best friend (Sarah), the other from my very good friend (almost a sister, Ann) and the last from someone who loves me like my mother (Adjoa)

Somehow, I expected these three. Because these people are ALWAYS there for me, so much that my eyes are filled with tears anytime I give it a thought.

I sat on my bed on Friday dawn just staring at my phone for minutes before replying them because the actual reply I wanted to give them could only be uttered by my heart.

Let me share with you one of the messages from these three.

It read:
“Happy birthday my wife.
“25 of the reasons I love you:

  1. I love you for being there
  2. I love you for everything you don’t love about yourself even though you really should
  3. I love you for being true to yourself and being real
  4. I love you for loving me (which is hard not to do I know. I’m too awesome)
  5. I love you for your thoughtfulness
  6. I love you for your concern and impactful motherlike care
  7. I love you for your selflessness
  8. I love you cause you’re kind of awesome too (I’m guessing from hanging around me)
  9. I love you for how you love
  10. I love you for your generosity
  11. I love you for your sense (you have plenty)
  12. I love you for your maturity
  13. I love you for your perseverance
  14. I love you for your determined spirit
  15. I love you cause I know you and no one can know you and Not love you
  16. I love you because you do not judge me no matter how many stupid decisions I make
  17. I love you because you make stupid decisions too.
  18. I love you because you tell me every single time you make those stupid decisions.
  19. I love you because you sometimes have a dope fashion sense. Emphasis on sometimes. You can go zero to hundred and it’s refreshing.
  20. I love you because you know what you like and you’re not ashamed to admit it.
  21. I love how you always come through.
  22. I love your smile
  23. I love that even though sometimes you act like you can kill me, you still have not (hehe, thank you for tolerating all my awesomeness)
  24. I love you because you are so much stronger than anyone knows, even more than I know. And you wear it so well.
  25. I love you because you are my girlfriend (I carried my eyes to the market when I found you) my wife, my shoulder, my hand to hold when I need one, my joy and my comfort blanket.
    I wish you the best of the best this life has to offer. May only good things befall you as you finally join us in the silver league.
    We will make it, sipping wine in our office clothes after a fruitful day of boss chicking while our children run around us raising hell like only children who come from us can.
    Happy birthday babe…

And this was from by best friend, Sarah. (I call her wife or occasionally weirdo).

And I completely agree that you should all love me for these reasons because look, you can’t find this awesome whole package anywhere.

But I have my down sides and I sometimes think these are 5 out of the above reasons you shouldn’t love me.

First of all, I’m a sucker. Especially when it comes to love and in as much as people think it’s cute, I worry about it. I feel it can ruin me one day.

Also, I’m terrible at being in anyone’s business for a long time so mostly I end up giving off an “I don’t care about you vibe” which is mostly misinterpreted.

Again, I eat a lot, which shouldn’t be a bad thing but don’t love me for it cause I might finish your food if I visit.

I worry myself sick about the future and so you might not really enjoy my company since most of my time with you will be dedicated to day dreaming and lastly, you shouldn’t love me for my argumentative side.

I like to argue. Sometimes it helps with mind stimulation so even though you may be right on the subject we’re dealing with, for the fun of it, I will argue with you (sometimes unreasonably, but that’s the point). Beyond these 5 reasons, I know impossible not to love me. *laughs*.

Enough of the diversion, so back to my birthday. Where was I? Weirdo’s message I think. Honestly, after I read it, I felt like the birthday was over. The next day should just come. But no, I was in for the best day of my life, literally.

My mum. She is the other person who brought tears to my eyes.
Last year she bought a yellow dress for me. Which is my favourite till now. This year she told me on my birthday eve that “Adwoa you know I would have given you a gift if I had money but I don’t. So I’ll cook jollof for you to share with your colleagues at work.

It wasn’t entirely a bad idea but I refused the offer. Not because I’m mean but because I would have been hurt if I did and anyone said they won’t eat or spew bunkum either silently or to my face because I couldn’t afford a packaged lunch for everyone.

My mum woke up at 4am to cook me that food and I didn’t want anyone to downplay her efforts. So I packed just a little bowl, with the intention of sharing with anyone who wanted to join me.

Pause. I tend to write exactly what’s on my mind. So pardon me if this is your first time here and you feel I’m being a little too candid.

Now moving on…

As I helped my mum prepare the food, I missed calls from my annoying boyfriend (he knows he is). He slept and couldn’t wish me at 12. Which is okay because he was tired from the day before.

I called back and he said he offered an apology of sorts for not wishing me at 12. But honestly I was okay cause anyone who called at 12 would have woken my snoring self up and I wouldn’t have forgiven them, not even him.

I got to work an hour later than usual cause I was getting my makeup done by Nana Yaa. This lady texted me three days to my birthday and said she wanted to make me up for free, for my day. I told her I leave the house everyday at 5:40 am in order to get to the office at 7 so it might not be possible. But she insisted on doing it, even though it meant she would have to wake up before 5 and get to her shop at 5 on the dot. The kind of favours I get on a daily basis blows my mind.

At work, it was completely normal till a cake arrived for me from an anonymous sender. I didn’t know how to react cause it would be my first birthday surprise ever. I mean I receive gifts occasionally on my birthdays but that kind of gift was the movie kind of surprise and I was excited.

Next I received a call from a dispatch rider that he’s delivering an item to me. Another surprise. He came and it was boxes of doughnuts and he said he didn’t know the sender and that he was just called to deliver. When I opened one and I saw the hand written note, I knew it was my foolish friend, Adwoa Animah (auto-correct kept insisting I should call you ‘animal’ which shouldn’t be too far fetched but I’m kind of generous so I changed it. But thanks for those doughnuts….God I loved it!)

After some time, two of my colleagues, Debbie and Ekow decided to gather funds for a pizza party. My editor Nii gave a huge amount (thanks boss). Another generous colleague, I call her sugar mummy, Marie also gave a huuuge amount and the rest of the cost was shared between Ekow and Debbie ( I’m grateful guys, you’re the best) and so yeah we had an awesome day.

Now my favourite part, the mobile money transactions….*laughs*

My first momo came from Benjamin Alpha (my insanely intelligent friend), who took care of my airtime for the rest of the month.

Next was my boss, KKB, then Aunty Sophie, then sugar mummy (physical cash after the pizza money, you see why I love her) then Kwame came early Saturday morning…..I was besides myself with joy!!! I still am actually.

But still on Friday, my boyfriend asked me to pass by his place before I go home and I did.

What I met, I nearly cried . In fact I did when I got home. When I sat back on my bed to reminisce on the happenings in the day.

Now all this while, I was still receiving calls and messages from so many people I didn’t even expect and the love was simply overwhelming.

I’m writing all this because I want to document this day so I don’t forget. I easily forget things (oh that’s another reason you shouldn’t love me) and I don’t want to ever forget all the love shown me on Friday. I don’t want to forget the people who spent money, a lot of money just to make me smile.

Thank you.

And to God, I am grateful. I’m grateful for taking me through 25 years on this earth. Though it still feels surreal. I’m not just gratefully because people die before getting to this stage but more because of the things you’ve walked through with me.

My brother called me at dawn to remind me of a time when I was a kid and was playing with my big sister and she mistakenly cut my head with a machete. (the Mark is still there) And he told me “Adwoa, if you have nothing at all to be grateful to God about, that day should be enough because you could have died”
And I totally agree. The best part is I have a lot to thank you about. Even seeing me through university when my parents didn’t have enough money is enough to thank you.

I am everything I am now because of the channels you’ve taken me through.

And to you all, thank you. I’m so grateful that I’m crying as I write this. Thank you and may you all find happiness like I have. I love you from the depths of my heart.

If you read up to this point, thank you once again. And do read my other posts. Like and give me feedback under each one you read.

Love, Adwoa