Olorunfemi Oluwakemi Banwo

In Remembrance of Kemi

My friend’s funeral was on Saturday. It was 9am, the morning was not so bright… not so anything really. I cant remember how the day was. It just seemed like any other day but that we were going to my friend’s funeral. The invite said “home going” which had helped me push it from depressing to acceptable. However on the day of, as I wore my black dress, black stockings and shoes it didn’t seem so quite acceptable anymore. As if every piece of black was a nail on the truth that she was dead. Kemi was actually dead. She was never coming “home” again. At least not in our sense of the word home. I hadn’t cried since the first couple of days, when I’d been told. My coping mechanism had been to put it completely out of my mind and move on with whatever I had to do for that moment, that day, that week. Then July 18th came and I was forced to remember. I chose the biggest black bag I had, not because I had a lot to carry, but because its drag in my grip felt like an anchor. An anchor that I could balance my stride to and focus my mind on.

The service was, not to sound morbid, wonderful. A friend of mine echoed my thoughts recently. That it was the best funeral she had ever been to. Kemi had always been a force to reckon with and the testimonies of family, friends, and acquaintances all enforced that. The church was so full of people that eventually you had to stand because there were no more seats. Every aspect of the ceremony testified to Kemi’s love of Christ, from the dance, spoken word, musical numbers, and more. It was so wonderful because of the impact everyone could feel that Kemi had had on people’s lives. There was a point that I could not hold my composure, when they played two videos of Kemi talking about God and how you should “give him a try.” It was truly more than I could handle. However it was beautiful in that even in death, she was still preaching of His glory. In her days at the hospital, in the cancer ward, she even went to the rooms of other patients to encourage them. She had so much love coming from her family and her friends that she knew that not everyone on her floor had that same support. There were people who were alone in their fight. She had the giving heart to encourage them even in the midst of the biggest battle for her life. When she said in one video, that you are alive and should be happy in that truth and in that blessing, I felt so inspired. I knew my mourning was not for Kemi but for myself in losing her. She was in the bosom of our Father and in a much better place. No way would she want to come back here to the trials and tribulations. However in her absence she has given us a message: To live!

To live in Christ. To live for Him. To fully and truly LIVE. In the days since, I have been reflecting on my life.

Have I truly lived?

I don’t think so. However its not too late. For any of us.

In memory of her fight her family has set-up a memorial fund for cancer research : link.

You can also read Kemi’s testimony about how she overcame breast cancer. Published in 2012: link.

 

Woman with the Issue of blood, Jesus Christ, Savior, Faith, praise and worship, notsoskinnydreams

Women of Blood

A couple of days ago, I attended a service of ordination, of a fellow church member. It was held in a place very far from our own church and in a room with many people I did not know. There came a point where we, the audience, were to give our offerings. I sat with a few aunties from my own church. Upon hearing the call for offering, they smiled broadly as if they had been personally called to the front. I wondered at all the smiles and why they were bustling about as if in preparation for something. Then I saw the flags come out. Large, brightly colored and decorated flags were thrown in the air by these excited older women. Then one was thrust in my own hand. The flag trailed orange, yellow and red colors as if it would catch on fire at any moment. I hesitated at first then grasped it firmly, myself grinning from ear to ear. As the thrumming and rhythm of the choir and band’s music took up and shook the building, we shook along with it. I led the way to the front of the church waving my flame colored flag, aunties behind me jigging and singing along with the choir and waving high their flags.

In the not so distant past I would have been too embarrassed to join in. I would’ve smiled demurely at the expectant aunties and shook my ahead, staying firmly rooted to my seat. That was before I realized what God had taken me through. You know when you die to your flesh because God demands it of you to be all His. That moment when I gave up what I’d thought the world could offer me and gave myself to Jesus Christ, because I had nothing else to live for but him. Instead of living because life was worth living, I lived because he was worth living for. It took an extremely tough time in my life that broke me, to decide between life and death. I chose death, death to the world so I could have ever lasting life through Jesus Christ. I’d seen what the world was capable off and it was Ugly. God saw my brokenness and made a new shell for me to fill.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

What I understood that day as I waved my flag high, as high as my arm could reach, was that, that death and resurrection connected me to these women. My church aunties who danced and sang, praising the lord, as if nothing else mattered. In their movements you could see a similar pattern of old pain healed and joy in a savior that had heard their cry. We were women like Hagar who at one point were struggling on our own, crying to ourselves, and seeking help or death when He heard us, saw us (Gen 16: 7-14). Or like the woman with issue of blood who had nothing else to lose but to believe that one touch from Him, even just his garment would give us a new life (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48). That shared knowledge that Jesus Christ was the only reason we were alive today, made us the same despite our differences in age, tribe, and character. As our motley crew swayed, stomped and waved our flags around the room, we gave no care to the room full of gawkers we did not know, nor to how we must seem. All we knew was our audience was not in the rows of strangers, but in a higher seat we could not see with our eyes.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:18

NotSoSkinnyDreams Goes Independent

It is 2014 and once again I have not written in ages. Before you hiss… hear me out! I had a plan seriously. I’ve been writing quietly in word till a time I felt comfortable to restart my blog. I want to become a consistent blogger with a real following. Pray for me folks. The experiences I had in Nigeria as well as a lot of things I’ve thought about have all been saved.

Why you ask?

Well for several reasons. One, I hated being hosted by WordPress. I felt like my writing was being blasphemed by their random adverts. They never asked for permission nor did they let me choose what kind of ad could be displayed. Two, while going through what I went through in Nigeria I didn’t feel it was the time to take on my blog again. I hardly had consistency in my own life let alone time to blog nor internet to blog with (smh). Three, I wasn’t comfortable having a live blog that could expose certain people around me at the time. Now time has passed and I am entering a period of clarity and a need for reflection. As a result… I apologize in advance if some people may become offended by my writings and detailing of certain events. However, I will not retract anything since I’ve decided to continue as honestly as I started this blog years ago.

Author of NotSoSkinnyDreams

“Return of the Mack”

It has been some time I know. The faithful have by now given up on me and the curious forgotten me. What can I say? Absolutely nothing. In my defense I felt my life was on pause for a big change. What interest could there be in a paused moment? Still I should’ve persevered on and updated you all on at least my mind. I could’ve rambled about small new discoveries and small hurts. However drama has always been my calling and drama is what I like to give {positive drama!}.

As I write this, I am now in Nigeria. Sigh, I can hear my old readers exhale. Yes we’re back here again. My mindset has changed however. Its not all about here anymore… its about EVERWHERE. Or at least everywhere a market is emerging. I feel Kenya rumbling with new possibilities, Ghana knocking next door and Uganda clamoring not to be forgotten. Those are just a few of many I’ve been looking at.

Let me pull back before I get caught up. For now my stay here is relatively brief. Time will tell how brief that is. Already I’ve connected with some wonderful people. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong and life long friends can be built past undergrad.

BOYFRIEND FOR A DAY

Yes I the impregnable actually said “yes” to someone. It may have been for only 24hrs but hey lets not nitpick. You may be wondering why the heck did it end so quickly. Well… because I let it. Well… I made it so. As soon as those words slipped from his mouth and into my heart “…I want to be exclusive with you…” I knew I was in trouble. Words that I could’ve sworn I wanted to hear so dearly just a second before. Then seeing those eyes on mine, that irresistible smile pushing my buttons persistently and I wanted to RUN. Hit the hills and put my hermit cape on turning my back on the world till rapture swept me up. Instead of being swept off my feet by Mr.Could-it-be-Right? I felt a ton of bricks bury me to the ground. “Exclusive…” phew. It just didn’t feel right. Then maybe after hearing what I’d wanted to hear I didn’t want it anymore? Like getting a brand new shiny toy you’d pinned for and realizing it wasn’t all that your expectations had built it up to be. It could be I was all about winning the goal. I got it in! “gooaaaal” now lets shake hands and go home. Ciao

Then there was the other part. I’m greedy when it comes to people’s affections. I want all or nothing. When it comes to men especially you’re either ALL MINE or not at all. That feeling of complete ownership wasn’t there. That stake in the ground that allows you to smack their bum like its yours, wear their shirts because darn-it you bloody can, have chics give a wide berth because your piss mark is so strong. Yes this may seem like a man’s possessive nature but women are much worse. We may hide it behind a demure smile and carefully applied blush but don’t miss the glint of teeth in that slight smile. I’m not talking of the psychotic crazy “I-think-I’m-that-insane-Blonde-from-Obsessed” but yes I am Beyonce in that movie and sharing isn’t an option. So even though he said “exclusive” I heard “exclusive till…”(insert tiny hard to read disclaimer here). Hmmph now I don’t believe in layaway. I’ve never done it. I never will. Either I have the money now or I wont buy it. This also applies to my person. I am not a layaway product. You cant put me on the shelf or on hold till your ready to completely buy in and paying in installments isn’t an option for the Joy model. You get me now lock stock and barrel and paid in full. Ghana-must-go bag in hand or whatever way your comfortable bringing the full payment. I’m too old to start playing games and I’m not in the mood to play the guessing game with my affections nor to play around in a relationship.

Women if they’ve experienced it before know how it feels to be adored by a man. You become the center of their universe and the sight of you lights up their day. The feeling is encompassing and hard to miss. So when its not there you cant pretend it is. Putting together scraps of “like”, a smile here and there, pieces of his time and attention, a warm but hurried embrace, is not going to mimic it no matter how much you stitch it together hoping to get a similar feeling. What you have is a patchwork, a macabre of what you once felt. This is a formula for a boatload of hurt. I deserve more than that. Which is why 24hrs into the second to closest thing I’ve had to a relationship in my life… I said no.