To My Unborn

My darling Katana,

I will not get to see or hold you for a few more years, but you’re already real to me. You’re as real to me right now as you will be when your mother puts my hand on her stomach to feel you kick for the first time. You’re as real to me right now, as you will be the first time I hear you cry. Or see you smile… Or punish you.

I haven’t told your mom why I’m calling you Katana yet. I probably won’t tell her until you’re almost here. But I have known for years that it would be your name, and I know why. As you grow, so will you.

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Why I Don’t Love My Fiance

Church.

Michael J. Pittman

In 130 days I’m getting married, and a friend recently asked me why I love my fiancé. I wanted to share a deeper perspective on Amanda and I’s relationship, so before I answered why I love her, I had to first explain to him the reasons I don’t love my future bride to be.

I came to two conclusions:
First is, I don’t love Amanda for what’s on the outside. I know. It sounds cheesy, it sounds sappy. This perspective is not a novel idea by any means. How many times have you heard someone say, “I don’t love you for what’s on the outside. I love you for what’s on the inside.” But that brings me to my second conclusion.

I don’t love Amanda for what’s on the inside either.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many things on the inside and outside that I love about

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Desensitized

You’re disconnected.

In the past week or so, a plane with hundreds of people on it has literally gone missing. 700,000 Nigerians paid ₦1000 as an “application fee” for a government job that would only hire 3000 people. Boko haram continues to terrorize northern Nigeria with relative impunity. Ukraine & Russia are on the brink of a war that should raise all sorts of WW3 red flags in your head.

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Learning to Lead

“…unless you’re not a leader, or you don’t want to be one. And that’s fine Uché. We can’t all lead. But if you’re going to be a leader, then…”

-Tico, sometime in 2010

I can’t remember what the conversation was about. All I remember is, it was really late at night, probably between 1-3am, and I was engaged in yet another one of the frequent conversations/debates/discourses I had with someone who was a friend/roommate/brother. I remember being upset he put it that way, because I knew he was right. And he knew I wanted to be a leader. He knew I saw myself as a leader (in the making). Putting it that way was basically saying “leadership is a choice, and if you’re gonna make that choice you have to abide by certain rules.”

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So Near, and Yet So Far…

It feels like I’m really keeping true to the title of my blog. I still don’t like writing, and when I do, I still find it difficult to share. And so other than a brief appearance HERE right before New Year’s Eve, I’ve been kinda quiet…

Yes, there are updates. I can’t say too much right now. I don’t even understand it all right now. I wish I did. I will say this though: I believe God is taking me through a process that is shaping the rest of my natural life. And that’s huge. Already I have a much clearer picture of what I’m supposed to do with my life. More importantly, I’m learning why I have to do it. I’m learning how. And I’m learning with whom. And that’s the reason for this title. It feels like it’s there, and yet it’s not. But I’m not complaining…

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Memories Lost

I’m not exactly sure how I met you. I wish I could remember, but I can’t. It had to be at TAWG though. The Abiding Word Gathering. Your fellowship in uni back then. A fellowship I visited from time to time, but never actually became a full fledged member of. As much as I wanted to, God wouldn’t let me. Which is weird, because off the top of my head, I can think of six of my closest friends who happened to be TAWG members in school. But I digress…

You were never one of my closest friends. We weren’t strangers by any means, but we didn’t get to see each other that often. Whenever we did though… We’d just talk. We never had to force a conversation. It just flowed easily. I didn’t feel special though. You were that way with every one. People just met you and instantly liked you. It must have been your smile or something. Or maybe it was your honesty. I don’t say this about too many people, but you had a pure soul. Everyone could see that. And I admired it. I loved it.

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23

It’s November 4, 2013. It’s 9:27pm as I write this. The first 15 seconds of Wizkid’s “Outro (Love Music)” are on loop. It’s the only song I’ve listened to in the past 2 days. Not because it’s the greatest song ever, it just makes me feel good. My nose is annoyingly stuffy, as it always is. My father’s “gift” to me that just keeps on giving lol. But I digress…

In a few hours, I’m going to turn 23. I never look forward to my birthdays, and as is the norm, I’ve already turned my airplane mode on. As soon as I hit “publish” on this, I’ll turn my phone off proper & [hopefully] go to sleep.

Birthdays usually brought depression. Not because I was ungrateful to be alive, just because it seemed that I never really achieved all I hoped to achieve in each new year. I’d have dreams. And hopes. But not goals. Goals require a plan. And planning has never really been my strong point. Wait, lemme rephrase that. I’m GREAT at planning. Implementing the plan is an entirely different story though. And so my birthday would come along each year and all I could focus on was the things I didn’t do. The things that didn’t go right. The things I shouldn’t have done.

Every year since I turned 18, without fail, I’d look back on my birthday and I’d be unhappy. And for someone who’s usually so extroverted, the fact that I suddenly wanted to be alone on my birthday used to puzzle the life out of my friends. But it’s my day right? If I don’t get to be selfish on my birthday, then what’s the point?

However, this year, that’s not why my phone is going off. I’m not depressed. I’m not exactly overjoyed either, and I certainly won’t be throwing even the most minuscule party. I’m… uneasy.

Yeah. That’s the best way to put it. I’m uneasy. Probably because as with most other things I’ve had to deal with this year, I know deep down in my spirit that certain things have to change immediately. And while I recognize the need for these changes, while I want these changes, I know they will be hard.

Also (and I’m only admitting this on here cos not a lot of people know about this blog), I just can’t resist doing things to annoy people. So the phone HAS TO stay off for a while, just so I can get cussed out by quite a few people when I turn it back on.

I need time alone to reflect. This time, to focus on the positives. I need time alone to quiet myself on the inside, and settle this unrest that’s been there for a while. I need time alone to rest. To think some more. To reflect. To write. To plan. And to pray.

Tonight, I’m going to pray.

I’m going to say a big thank you for this precious gift I’ve been given. I’m going to pray that I learn to become a better person. I’m going to pray that I learn to show love better. I’m going to ask for grace to do more in this next year. I’m going to ask that the fear of failure does not keep me from acting anymore. I’m going to ask that I do what I’m supposed to. I’m going to ask for clarity regarding the next step. I’m also going to ask for clarity in SEVERAL other areas (yes Lord, it’s about time you settled this relationship matter once & for all too lol). Above all though, I’m going to ask for forgiveness for not making the most of this past year. And the wisdom to do whatever is necessary to ensure that I have no reason to pray that prayer by this time next year.

Could I have done more? Yes. Should I have done more? Yes. I should have become more. But at the end of the day, in every way imaginable, I’m in a much much better place right now than I was 365 days ago. Granted I didn’t grow as much as I hoped to, but I grew. I’m older. I’m wiser. I’m stronger. I suppose in the end, that’s all that should matter.

Tomorrow, I’ll re-plan for the next 365 days. Right now, I must pray. Then I must sleep.

I’m 23. I’m alive. I’m thankful.

The Beginning.

A couple of months ago, I had a series of conversations with a friend (Hey O!) about among other things, love. One thing led to another, and she basically reaffirmed an annoying truth I already knew, but refused to admit: Some things you do not fully process/understand/really know how you feel until you write about them. So she challenged me to write about something I didn’t even want to discuss. My first love.

I hadn’t written in years. And to resume the habit, I was going to write about what I thought was the most personal thing to me at the time. I ended up splitting the story into 3 parts, and I guarded it religiously. I let very few people read it. But then I realized that suddenly, it didn’t matter to me anymore. Writing about it truly brought me closure even though I honestly believe I’d been over the situation for years. Still, while it was now easier to discuss, it still wasn’t my favorite thing to discuss.

Then came the end of my Spring Semester. I was in a really bad space mentally, and it had affected my school work. So as the week of my final exams approached, I realized I needed all the extra credit I could get. Now my American Literature teacher (who I had taken in two previous classes & have an amazing relationship with) gave the option of submitting original, never-been-previously-published written work or photography for the English department’s publication. In the last class, my “photography” was ruled out, so that wasn’t an option. Plus, I didn’t have time to write anything new, so I butchered what at the time was the most private thing I ever wrote. Changed names, locations, etc, and turned it in for extra credit. I had guarded it for so long, and yet I submitted it to possibly be published. Believe me, the irony is not lost on me lol.

Anyways, since I have at least 3 different write-ups in my drafts I’m just not ready to post yet I haven’t written in a while, I thought I’d post the first part of the story. It got me back to writing, It’s the only one with a happy ending, and it is probably the only one I will ever be able to post.

Names & dates & locations are still changed, but it’s not as butchered as the version I submitted for extra credit (that still kills me) is. And for the most part, it’s pretty much the same story. Enjoy.

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In The Eyes of a 3 Year Old

Yesterday, in the midst of sacrificing my laptop for 5 hours just so my cousin’s 3 year old son could watch “Pokoyo” (just what the hell is a Pokoyo anyway???), I realized a few things he’s shown/taught me over the past 3 years…

I’ve learned that I absolutely HAVE TO say no to him sometimes. And he may not like it. And I don’t care. Because I know better.
I’ve learned that I would do ANYTHING to put a smile on his face.
I’ve learned that sometimes, when I ask him for something (which is usually his favorite toy at that moment), I either want to show him something he didn’t know it could do, teach him to use it the right way, or sometimes I just want to see that he’s as willing to share with me as I am, him.
When he makes a mess and I have to clean it up, I do it with love. Stinky diapers, food & drink spills, even the occasional puke.
I’ve learned that I would put down anything to be by his side if he needed me.
When he says “lub you”, a part of me understands that he means it as much as it is possible for any 3 year old to mean it. But I also understand that it cannot compare to the love I have for him. A love he cannot comprehend just yet.
That feeling I get when he wakes me up in the morning because he wants me to carry him on to the bed just so he can lie there & spend time with me is priceless.
Sometimes he runs to me crying when he has a problem (such as the tv not responding to the remote or he’s having trouble opening his favorite candy wrapper) and I just wish he’d calm down with the hysterics & see he could fix it himself. Because he’s smart. And I’ve taught him how a million times before.
Other times, he doesn’t come to me for help, and when I offer to help he swats my hand away. Half confident/Half foolish in feeling he could fix it himself if he frowns long & hard enough at it.

it’s funny… this 3 year old has taught me more about my relationship with God than he will ever know.

(PS: it took everything for me to not title this post “3”. I’m not trying to make numbered titles a thing. lol)