The Interim

It is the New Year…Resolutions abound. I’m going to work out. I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to find the perfect partner. I want to cook more. These are all things I have thought of during this transitional time and many others. Inevitably, I’m defeated by the might of my own goal. I find myself making excuses. Then, I give up.
This year, I am taking a different approach. I’m going to give up the quest for perfection and live today. I’m going to live my life where I am today. Everyday, I’ll do the things I want to do instead of waiting for the perfect tomorrow. For me, this has been a very important decision to make.

I find myself wallowing in self pity because I am not where I think I need to be in order to do things I want to do. I want to sew more but I don’t because I don’t have the skills I need. I want to have a more fashion forward style but I resist because I despise my current shape. I want to cook more but it makes me sad that I have no one to feed. I want to write more about health and fitness but I don’t because I don’t have enough knowledge I presume.

I have a reason why not for every dream. The reason not to is often grounded in the imperfection of who I am today. The realization I have had though is that perfection is a moving goal that is crafted out of doing. If I don’t do, I won’t move the needle any closer.

I have always lived my life waiting. The wait gets longer and I spend that time unhappy. I can’t do that anymore. If there is anything I have learned, it is that life is unpredictable and the moment to live is now. Not later, not 20 pounds lighter or a nursing degree in hand…now is better than then, no matter how imperfect it all seems.

This year, 2018, my commitment is to live my life in the interim. I pledge to make the clothes. I promise to dress daringly. I intend to speak on women’s health passionately. I solemnly swear to live each day as I am.

To Not Back Down

I’m a big fan of mantras. This morning I have been telling myself good things. To keep moving. To stay the course. To not give up. To fight the fight. To not back down.

I’m stressed out by something that I don’t want to be stressed out about. Money. 

I never really understood why people struggle to pay for school until now. I’m in the process of figuring how to pay for school. It is amazing how something that is suppose to be helpful becomes this complicated labyrinth of paperwork that derives you to anger and tears.

Yesterday, I cried to my friend about how I really am exhausted with anxiety of wondering if I would have the right amount of funds to even start school. I felt like delaying. I felt like giving up. She kept reminding me that I want to be a nurse. I really want to be a nurse. And I just need to tolerate this short term pain for my long term gain.

I’m a bit more in fighter mode this morning. I still have some of the anxiety of last night. But this morning, I focusing o  the fact that I want this. I want this very much. I want to be a nurse.

Introvert and the Party.

I have had days filled with anxiety. An example is when I sign up for an event on where I will be mingling with strangers. For an introvert like me, that is putting myself in a stressful situation and hoping to survive it.

If this is clearly stressful to me, why would I do this? I have had time to think about it and I think it is simple. When I make decision, I consider my best and worst case scenario. If I attend the event, what is the worst case scenario. For me, I’ll arrive at the location, see all this people and start having an anxiety attack. I’ll still summon the courage to go in and stand in a corner while waiting for a random person to say hello to me. After a while, I’ll get scared and bolt out of the room. I’ll tell myself I tried my best.

Under the best case scenario, I’ll wake up feeling fabulous. I will wear my outfit, do my makeup and I’ll ‘ginger’ up some courage. I’ll arrive at the event and be upbeat plus flirty. I’ll stand in the middle of the room and somehow work myself into a conversation with strangers. I’ll make friends and manage to make connections. At the end of the night, I’ll float home knowing that I had done the best I could as an introvert.

The thing is I never know how I’ll feel until I arrive. Some days, I am really good with large groups of people. Other days, my energy level is just too low to actual care. Even though I stress out about going out, on my good days, I come out feeling proud and happy. On my bad days, I pat myself on the back for at least trying. 

I have learned to make decisions based on dreams instead of fears. I don’t want to go through so afraid of the worst case that I miss out on the best days. So, even though I am stressing out about an event that is 5 days away, I’ll put on my big girl pants and keep making fearless decisions to show up. Sometimes, showing up is the biggest win of all.

To Love, Joy and Laughter

Death is not something I engage with on the regular. I have been lucky in my lifetime not to have had too many traumatic losses. The only nod to my mortality has been my choice to live my life fully and strive for happiness.

I guess 2017 did not get the memo on my life motto. This second half of 2017 has made me think of my mortality in ways that are real. At this point, I am grateful to still be living. Still, I find myself not thinking about death but thinking about life, despite my recent forced acknowledgment of my own mortality. I find that as I start to regain my health, I am more interested in ways to live fully. How do I recover from what has been a traumatic health scare and affirm my life with my choices? How do I live with grace?

I have been laying low for over a week now. I am not allowed to do anything major at the moment. In some of my low moments being an invalid, I questioned how I could be strong in one moment and unable to lift my bags in the next. I have cried at the vulnerability required to say I need help.

The one thing that has been amazing about this trauma has been discovering how much love have in my life. It is in the moments when I am talking to my parents and they are both concerned but so gentle. In that moment, I am no longer 31. I am their child. It is negotiating with my older sister if I can go out for an hour or two. My independence be damned, I am her little sister. It is in my friends creating a cozy corner in their home so that I can nap while visiting. It is in my best friend being emotional the first day I sounded like myself in a long time.

Things have been scary for me. Things will be scary for me. But none of that matters because I recognize that if I can keep my life filled with love, joy and laughter, it will get better. I’ll always have my family and friends to carry me through, near or far.

As I get through this moment, I have come to understand that I needed this trauma. I needed it to remind me to live. To not take time for granted. To do the things that I am scared of. It was a reminder that I am not alive forever. I need to not regret the things I haven’t done. I need to do more. I need to be fearless. I need to truly chase the impossible.

Moments with a Psychic


And the psychic said to me, “would you like me to do a reading?”

And I said, “no, thank you. I’ll take my chances with life, come what may.”

And the thing is, I meant. I meant it because there is a certain level of grace that resides within me this day. I have come to accept that I am strong enough for what is coming. I can do the good days and the not so good days. I know I can because I have done it, I am doing it, and I can do it.

Faith is a big part of my story. I am not a vocal Muslim, nor am I the best Muslim. I struggle with my prayers. I wrestle with the contradiction between my faith and my personal beliefs. I ask for forgiveness, as often as I can. The thing though is that even with all of the questions, my faith is my solace.

I use to wear an inscription of Suratul Kursi on my neck. It was a gift from my mother. I wore it until the chain got tangled and I lost it. That pendant was one of my most treasured possessions for a while. In a pinch, I would clutch it like a Catholic clutches their rosaries. And the presence of Allah gave me calmness.

Sometimes it is hard to talk about my faith. Being a Muslim in America is like suffering from whiplash regularly. There are days when you can talk about your faith because society is generally accepting. There are times of high sensitivity when I personally fear to talk about Islam and how that guides my life. One of the things I miss about living in Nigeria is the sense of community that comes with going to the mosques and going to for Jummah prayers on Friday. When I used to live in Manchester in the UK, this wasn’t a struggle.

The Manchester, especially the Rusholme area where I lived, has a vibrant Southeast Asia and Muslim community. During the months of Ramadan, it was like a month long festival. Stores would stay open late so the Iftar would be a grand affair. The streets would be alive with young adults coming alive with energy after a long day of fasting. Walking down the street felt safe because I saw kindred spirits. I even had a Muslim society that I attended on Sunday, without parental prompting, for a sense of belonging.

I miss that feeling of belonging very often. One of my hopes that as I live longer in Boston, I’ll be able to find a community built on Islam that I feel comfortable within.

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.