Day Zero

athleteAs I type this I am sitting in my bed while I mentally calculate when to leave my house so that I can get to the gym, workout, get lunch and still get to my dentist appointment on time. This is now my life.

I signed up for a half-marathon. It was a spontaneous decision. Alright, it was not spontaneous like that. It was more like I saw an ad for the AirBnB Brooklyn Half 2016 and I though to myself I should run that. I have become a bit more adventurous as I try go out of my twenties strong. I saw this ad back at the beginning of January. Registration wasn’t for a few weeks so I told myself if I could start training consistently for it, I would sign up.

I have been spending a consistent amount of time in the gym lately. Loads of running and cycling. Recently I have added yoga and strength training to the mix. Running is hard. Some people get on that treadmill and they look like they were born to run. I have had to learn to run.

I have been running for a few years now, off and on. When I was 21, I trained for the San Diego Marathon. I loved every minute of it. The early morning runs. The abdominal work. The discovering weird food like GU. The pasta and broccoli in Marinara sauce with tuna before long runs. The sweaty body. I hated the injury that stopped me from running. I remember that foot injury everyday.

I ran again consistently in Manchester. Then I stopped running until I got to Boston. In between, I did a lot of walking around. I love walking so much. In New York, I used to challenge myself by walking for blocks and blocks. In Ibadan, the teachers taught I was crazy because I would walk from Eleyele to Dugbe often. There is nothing like movement to make me happy.

The funny part about my love of moving is that I have never really considered myself an athlete even though I put in a good amount of time moving. Maybe it is because of my body time. Sometimes when I have a conversation with people about running I feel like I haven’t earned the right to talk simply because my body isn’t skinny. I have put in the miles. But I don’t have the muscles therefore I feel like I can’t be a runner.

Now that I am running consistently again, I am not so worried about titles. Although, I do think I am a runner. I know I am an athlete. I know that because I put in the work everyday. I show up. I push through the discomfort. And I am enjoying this process.

I am enjoying it so much I strategically planned my day to sign up for the Brooklyn Half.  The tickets sold out in 52 minutes and I am one of the lucky ones.




This is not my vote

I have a very frustrating day trying to be politically active. Mondays tend to be a long day for me anyway. I start my day at 4.45am. Get off work. Go to the gym. Work out. Then change quickly and run/walk to train station. Pray train is on time. Get on train. Get to campaign office. The transition between end of work and campaign office is 90minutes. I have been about 10 minutes late once or twice. Then, I pray that we actually know what we are doing. This has been my Monday for the past 4 weeks or so.

I am not complaining. I am ranting. Is there a difference. I don’t know. I just know that I am home on the verge of tears and I can only write about how I feel now. I am tired. I am hungry and I am heartbroken. Okay, maybe I am a tad bit dramatic.

Monday has become a dramatic day. From crying spells on the phone with my friend because I am too exhausted to find my way home to feeling abused and ill-used. The day really started to go down the drain when I arrived at the office and realized we were understaffed. The regular coordinator was no where to be seen. Campaign staff were closed off in their office. I am sure they were doing important work.

And I sat there unsure of what to do. I actually arrived on time today so that made it doubly disappointing to sit there unoccupied while everyone sang a chorus of I don’t know. Oh well, its a small campaign office. Things are what they are.

Okay, let’s get on the system and start dialing. I seem to get a series of bad calls. From the yelling on the phone to the “I am having dinner!” Please don’t be picking up your phone while you are having dinner. If your time with your family is truly sacred, you would disconnect from your phone and focus on the meal.  My calling is not the problem. Your answering the phone is the problem.

Then there was the “Oh, I don’t understand you!” crew. The man who exclaimed, “are you speaking Spanish?” That just further annoyed me. But my day was truly done when this old woman decided to tell me to “speak softly” What the fuck does that mean? “Speak softly” That phrase/statement rubbed my soul the wrong way.

This is not the “OMG! I am volunteering, you should not talk to me that way.” This is the “I am a young black woman trying to use my voice and be politically active” rage. This is the “I feel diminished because no one else got told to speak softly!” This is the “I feel embarrassed I got told to speak softly.” This is the “are you telling me that I am too much” rage. This the “I feel embarrassed to be told that I am loud or too harsh” rage. This is the ” you just took a happy place and turned it into a place of anxiety” moment. This is the part where I don’t want to return. Can I quit? Does it look bad on me if I quit now because I can’t handle this.

Maybe I am over-reacting.  My first instinct is to quit. Walk away. Who cares? But my sister said to me at the beginning of my shift, “Do Your Part.” I will do my part even though I know I will probably be anxious for my next shift.




The Joys of Doing Nothing

relax, take a deep breathe and just be

relax, take a deep breathe and just be

I am a big Marie Forleo fan. I discovered her when I was living in Ibadan, Nigeria and I was wondering what the next step in my life should be. I have kept up with watching her videos every now and then. For some reason, I saw her Facebook post on her interview with David Bach and it stuck with me. I was really interested in watching the interview because of financial curiosity. This interview was really enlightening about finances but the biggest take away for me was at the end. The final segment of the interview covers Mr. Bach’s sabbatical from his job for 18 months. This got me thinking about my own life. Read more

To Resurrect

becoming blackMy sister pestered me all of the first week in January for a word of the year. I love my sister. My sister and I talk about feelings and everything else. And picking a word of the year fell under that umbrella that most people don’t touch because they are being cool. But my sister and I, we talked it over and we picked a word for me. The word is ‘Resurrect’.

To Resurrect. To bring back to life. To add new vigor. I feel like I need new vigor in my life. I have missed myself. I have missed my bravery. I have missed not thinking of failure as an option. I have missed not being black, being Muslim and being a woman.

I did not become black until I moved to Boston. I become a Muslim every time I come the US. Being a woman I learned about in my teenage years getting propositioned by men driving in luxury cars in Festac.  The intersection of all three finally arrived in this past year with an awakening that jolted me and stole away my confidence.

I remember talking to my father about how much I was trying to be more but I felt I could not be more because of these obstacles in front of me. I never saw those obstacles before. Most people who know  me can attest to the fact that I am a tad bit naive and a lot sheltered. Some of it comes from my upbringing and some of it is the choice I make not to overexpose myself.

Let me tell you that becoming black and truly beginning to understand what it means to be the ‘other’ knocked the wind out of me. It seems crazy that I say becoming black. After all, I was born with my skin. But I was raised in a community that looks like me. Class has always been more of a divisive issue than race. For me, I was never the ‘other’. I was the privileged.

To suddenly lose my privilege and find myself struggling to be seen the way I have always been seen has been a battle. I felt like the battle took my luster. I went from feeling golden to feeling inadequate. I developed social anxieties because suddenly it was hard to get anyone to have a normal intelligent conversation with me. No one ever explicitly tells you to your face that they feel you are inferior but they are many ways of speaking that don’t involve the mouth.

The hard part of being put down repeatedly was that I felt I was crazy. Certainly, I am getting the cues wrong. Maybe I don’t understand what is being said. Maybe I am overthinking things. Maybe it is me.

Maybe it is not me. And suddenly understanding that the battle is not just mine has made me begin to regain some of my luster. This is why I chose ‘resurrect’ as my word of the year. This year I want to be who I always thought I was; an intelligent young woman who would run the world. I have had enough of being timid and scared.



The Truth.

I speak my truth because it mine to speak and no other person's.
I speak my truth because it mine to speak and no other person's.
I speak my truth because it mine to speak and no other person’s.

I feel like I have been having a coming out party. I moved to the United States in the post 9/11 as a young black Muslim woman. My parents in their love for their child advised me to pray privately and keep my religion to myself. For much of my college years, until I move to England for graduate school, almost no one knew that I was Muslim.

I feel like in the few years I have grown to learn that is not important to be accepted by others if they don’t accept me fully. The things that make up my identity are not some dirty little secret. I have moved closer to my Nigerian accent, reclaimed my stories and spoken the truth about my food.  Sometimes that means having uncomfortable conversations that highlight something that may considered a deal breaker by others. It usually comes about in the discussion of food. Since I don’t eat pork or drink alcohol for religious reasons, I often out myself at communal dinning tables.

As I watch the political climate of fear-mongering, I realize that unless I keep outing myself, I am a part of the problem. There are bits of me that wants to hide again because I don’t want the experience of dealing with people’s prejudicial self. But the thing is a larger part of me realizes that it is important to fight back. I speak my truth now because it is mine to speak and no other person’s.

For the longest time, I wasn’t sure that my truth mattered. In my insecurities about the usefulness of my own voice, I chose to be quiet. But no more. No more biting my tongue because I am afraid to hurt feelings. No more letting people put me down, personally or as part of a larger discourse. My truth matters, therefore I will be part of the discussion.

My dad asked me why I was volunteering for Bernie Sanders’ Campaign. I hadn’t really thought much about it because I just wanted to do something different at first.Then I realized that I am doing it to be part of the discussion. I firmly believe that in order for voters to make the best decision there has to be a healthy discourse. A healthy discourse only happens why there are more than one viable candidates at the table. I am making calls to ensure that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton can have a healthy discourse with occasional input from Martin O’Malley.

I guess the Democractic primaries are also low stake for me because of the craziness on the Republican side of the aisle. At the end of the primaries, either Clinton or Sanders will have the ticket. Then the real battle begins. And I intend to use my voice until the end.

Tell me in the comments in what ways you are making your experiences count.



Democracy is a Drag

Turning thirty is doing something to me that I can't describe. Maybe it is that I need something to motivate me to fill my life up or maybe there is some life crisis playing itself out like a slow tune. Whatever it is, I find myself doing things that are making me become this person that I maybe always wanted to be. I always wanted to be an activist; to be political active.

Christmas 2015. The duck must have been cooked. The potatoes mashed. I am not sure if I was between cooking and eating or if I had eaten. All I know is I signed up to attend a phone bank event for a political candidate. The most surprising part might not be that I signed up. It is that I showed up on the designated day to make the phone calls.

Turning thirty is doing something to me that I can’t describe. Maybe it is that I need something to motivate me to fill my life up or maybe there is some life crisis playing itself out like a slow tune. Whatever it is, I find myself doing things that are making me become this person that I maybe always wanted to be. I always wanted to be an activist; to be political active.

I am not quite clear now what I thought a phone bank was. Okay, I won’t lie. I had some thoughts that I might meet some like minded people there. In the back of my mind were thoughts of having life affirming conversation with voters on the phone. I really have a need to expand my social life beyond this screen.

At least, I don’t think I had any thoughts of being in a fast moving scene like a movie. You know how movies always make campaign seem like the sexiest things ever. The offices are dimly lit to show how much of a long shot the candidate is. The carpet is grimly. The walls are covered in logos. It should be clear to the viewer that this is a long shot candidacy. But you still get pizza, copious amount of coffee and people yelling unintelligibly into the phone.

The truth is I showed up at a door on a nondescript building tucked into the shadows up a bigger nondescript building in the middle of the city. The room looked like a movie scene, except emptier and quieter in the beginning. The long I stayed there, the louder it got. I did meet new people who are nothing like me and don’t live within a screen. And the first hour was a drag.

Oh Lord! That first hour was a trial of my commitment. It was a series of unanswered phone calls. The second and third hour was a series of answered calls. Here is the thing I learned from my few conversations; most voters assume their money and their support is all they need to give to their chosen candidates.

“Hi, my name is Sinmi and I am calling on behalf of  ….”

“Already gave money online and I am voting for …!”

click . To be fair to the many polite people I spoke to, only maybe 2 people did this out of the almost hundred I called in three hours. The rest were polite in declining the invitation to volunteer. A few decided to thank me for my service. A few said they would look into volunteering online. Heck, I even got one person to make a concrete commitment to come in for a shift next week.

Somewhere between that first ring and 3 hours later, I had fun. It was in the snippet of conversation with people who just wanted to say ‘hi’ to me. It was in the atmosphere in the room. It was in the pride that I took in doing something. It was fun. It was so much fun I signed up to work again next week.