Creative Non-Fiction Pieces

On Platonic Love and Friendships

This culture of isolation of married people or people in a relationship is very very toxic. It’s how your friends suffer in silence.

Work on your insecurity o.

You cannot underrate the positive impact of healthy friendships on romantic relationships of the friends. If your friend can’t check on your partner, wow. But draw that line. A good friend will respect it.
Stop isolating your partner.Your partner should choose you if any inappropriate friend is “seducing” them.

Your partner should choose you. Whether or not you monitor them like NASA.

Stop isolating your partner from other healthy relationships in their lives. People need platonic love and intimacy beside their significant others. They just need to talk, cry laugh and breathe outside their “us”.
Where is this possess whom you love shit from?Where is this possess whom you love shit from?

Experience and let flourish. Stop trying to own people because you swapped love emotions.

Stop possessing or isolating your beloved.
Stop limiting someone you claim you love from enjoying their life. Yes, they should have a portion of life outside you. Jeez. I can’t even stand toxic monogamy. Unlearn the shit relationship with love your parents modelled to you. I’ve found myself explaining platonic love and intimacy to a few people recently. It exists, and it’s really amazing. That’s probably why you are insecure. Don’t be.

Platonic love and intimacy is not a fancy phrase for sleeping with your friend please.

I see people doing gymnastics to enjoy their friendship with me because their partners aren’t comfortable with it. When I spend 70% of our time listening to them talk about their partner. Loving multiple people doesn’t mean “a love’ is invalidated.

Learn how to love a person without putting your body organ on/in theirs. You can love someone and not be in love with them. You dont have to always be in a relationship or have sex with them just because you need to talk with someone.
Teach yourself how to delineate romantic sexual love from platonic love. You might just need to find yourself and have healthy friendships not that sexual relationship.Jealousy is a valid emotion. Feel jealous, Express it.

I say every emotion is valid and necessary, both good and bad. It’s about how you show it. But I’ve learnt it’s also about how you let them affect your own life like Amaka said yesterday.

I remember the first time I felt jealous in a long time. Wow. Jealousy is hurt wearing an agbada of anger rolling it up with entitlement.

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On Meditation

“Meditation is an art that helps us function in all aspects of our mundane and spiritual life. We have to make out time to sit still. ”
-Dunni Oni, on Meditation.


I’ve always said meditation is therapeutic. It’s why I practice it daily.
If you get anxious a lot like me. Try meditating.

Stay put, clear you mind of all things then slowly soak in the silence. After that, pick each thing that buzzed around for attention. Analyse with kindness and rationality also.

Breathe in and out while sited in silence soaking in yourself. Always end your meditation with self affirmation(eg.I am deserving of my love) or prayers.

Some helpful Affirmation and Reflection cards CreativHolistic.Co

I have more male friends or Do I?

A piece about how I’ve navigated friendships with men and women.

Male Friends and Life Changes

I had a discussion yesterday with another extern from my chamber of attachment, Greenfield Chambers, Abuja. I said I’m a guy’s girl.. I have more male friends. He said that’s every Nigerian girl..because of unhealthy competitions within themselves they are hardly close friends. I argued on the contrary. I also have healthy friendships with dope women also. He did ‘yimu’. This conversation reminded me of another I had with a friend on the first weekend in Abuja. How he’d said that he knew my bestfriend would be a guy. He’d said there is a pattern, a ring of supportive female friends and one male bestie.

After I left my new acquaintance I got thinking. I have more male friends or do I? Currently I’ll say I enjoy more healthy, supportive friendships from the women in my life in comparison to my male friends. ‘More’ being the number of people. So why did I make that statement? It was an ingrained belief from my teenage years.

There was a time when I only had healthy friendships with young male friends but many things began to change. From relocation, to life and career changes, lack of communication, experience of sexual assault with a number of them, different values, etc. Having to manage a relationship while fighting off relentless but refuted sexual advances became tiring and so I cleared everyone out who made me feel sexually unsafe or touched me inappropriately. This doesn’t mean all my friendships with men were predatory, they weren’t. But many of those in healthier ones were relocating to different states, countries and even other parts of Lagos–life changes. I was left with a handful I’m grateful for but kept in contact with some.

New Friendships and Women

Then I just decided to do me. Be a kind person, if we connect and its healthy then fine if not OUT! I value friendships, at a point it was a prerequisite for dating. I got closer with two female acquaintances (now my close girlfriends) just before graduation at Lagos State University. I’d just gone through the break up of a 2 years plus close friendship with a young lady which taught me so many things about people, myself, friendship, mental health and life. It felt good to have friends that encourage you, challenge you, teach you, communicate effectively, listen, respect, understand platonic intimacy, give and receive financial support, appreciate personalities. These young women who also didn’t take me doing these things for granted. About this time I began connecting with older men. We built platonic friendships. I’ve always had the gift of connecting with older people. The friendship we established has broadened my mind and helped my maturity. Just like dope women who have come into my life the past 7months. They embody #collaborationovercompetition and this reality is amazing.

#blessed

Lately I’ve felt privileged. Being that most of my friends are 2-20 years plus older than me. I have a handful of friends younger than me. It’s been a wondrous seeing them do incredible things with their dreams, goals, and life generally. My Bestie, yes the one with my copy of She Called me Woman, just had a baby boy some days ago. One of my uni girlfriends graduated with a first class. Another friend got accepted into a top Nigerian Film production training programme. Another is launching a swim wear collection next month. Another’s daughter just graduated Uni. Others are excelling as content creators. Another curates an innovative brand that produces resources for literary enthusiasts and bloggers. Some have launched apps and start ups. Others are published writers and poets. Many are running profitable businesses. All are living life at their own paces.

I’m truly delighted for them. The past weeks working on my upcoming book and its promotion, STAB LOVE WITH FLOWER STALKS. My little network of friends have shown immense support and help. I am grateful and blessed.

Social Media Friends

I saw a twit the other day that said ‘tag one amazing friend you have on social media that you’ve never met in person. I couldn’t tag enough people. Social media is our time hub these days. Its run by the connections we make with other people. One thing that I enjoy about creative literary blogging is building connections with readers of my work, fellow enthusiasts and authors. But blogging aside, I have met incredible people as I’ve met trolls. Infact when a friend said she couldn’t wait to meet me in person I was shocked because we truly haven’t met.

Life Lessons

  • In this life, you’ll find goodness in the most unexpected persons and places. Anybody can be a great friend. Dont be judgemental or discriminatory. I’ve enjoyed healthy friendships with queer people and those from other religions.
  • Intimacy is about who you can be your true self with and not sex. Please establish platonic intimacy in your friendships and respect a friend’s boundaries.
  • Shoot your shot but don’t murder your friendship by sexually assaulting a friend.
  • Appreciate your friend’s time, resources and advice by utilising them well.
  • Support their hustle, a shout-out, review, attending their events, sending them money for their projects, praying for them, etc. Just support!
  • Wash your plates when you eat at their house, please.
  • Dont be dodgy about money. If you dont have friendship where you can be honest about money, talk about investments, save together, split bills without fights, etc reevaulate.
  • Dont overburden your friends. Know when they need space.
  • Dont be toxic or tolerate toxicity. Because even in love there can be pain, emotional manipulation and betrayal.
  • Give your friends thoughtful gifts even if it isnt their birthdays. It could be their favourite snack you saw in traffic or anything.
  • Respect when a friendship has ended. Move on Gem.
  • Work on your insecurities and don’t project them on the friendship your partner has with someone else.
  • The older you get the type of friends you’ll need will change.

Thanks for reading Gem!

Setting up a Book Shoot Set; Book Photography Hacks

Hey Gem, find helpful tips and hacks on setting up a book shoot set and taking book photos.

I found a spot in my room at Abuja for book shoots this weekend. I said I’ll show it to you and my other sets in Lagos. I decided to share advice and hacks I’ve learned from setting up book shoot sets for book photos and blogging.

Pick Your Theme and Colours

Three things, you’ll notice about my blog or bookstagram account are Orange, Vibrant Colors, Flowers-beside the books and food of course. Pick your theme in term of colours, background, positions of books. This is what makes a book blog distinct. It’s why we love pictures from our favourite book bloggers. Play with different things honestly. You can always change your theme or introduce new things to it. For example, I tilt my opened pages towards the right. I alternate between flatlays, book stacks, opened pages or pictures with only flowers.

My Feed as at January before some changes.

Lighting

Popular Bookstagrammer, The Guy With The Books once advised to find the Golden Hour in your city. I can attest that natural light is the best to shoot with. For example, In Yola from 8-10am has perfect sunlight. 12-2pm gives extremely bright sunlight and I had to battle with shadows of props, window stills in the picture. Lagos is darker so mid mornings are my best time. In Abuja 9-10am and an hour before sun down works for my selfies and book photos.

HACK– Set up your set or flatlay where the vibrant rays of sunshine hit. In front, beside or opposite a window. Beware of harshness and shadows.

Select your Props

Some props are books, bookmarks, coffee, fairy lights, beddings, figurines, stationery, candles, plants, food, etc. Mine are flowers, balloons, fabrics, stationery and food. Your props can be themed with the pictured book’s lessons, title, etc.

Or something unique like figurines or balloons. It can be whatever you choose. Layer your props. Make sure their colours compliment or artistically contrast your theme.

HACK– Bring everything closer. A camera picks distance differently than the eyes.

Set up your backdrop or flatlay

Do you have your background ready? A draped fabric is a great background for book stacks if you don’t have a bookshelf. Wooden surfaces give a beautiful, unique pop to ones feed. I have infused them into my feed. White wrappping paper or cardboard or in other colours that fit your theme, make crisp back grounds for flatlays. A wall, flower shrub, the floor, a spread of open books are all valid backgrounds.

Rumpled Bedsheets give a romantic, informal ie. reading-in-bed feel. Bedsheets, scarves, books, white towel or a fur carpet are all gorgeous backgrounds or constant props.

A scarf is the background.

HACK– Be consistent with whatever surface you choose. You can pick more than one so you can switch up where you take pictures.

Mobile Photography and Editing.

My advice on camera will be for mobile photography. Check your phone setting for Pro, Focus, Zoom, etc and use them to snap. Play around! Snap with the dimension for the platform you’ll publish pictures on. Eg. Instagram crops pictures closer, so zoom won’t be a good feature for snapping its pictures.

Choose a filter that will add to the general theme of your pictures. Keep snapping and checking what you’ve shot before unpacking the set. I can be very critical so I usually assess, snap more then unpack. Take a break before selecting and edit. Delete pictures you dont need so you can have space. Back up those you select.

HACK– Tilt the base phone outward so bookstacks and their spines appear tall and vivid. For flatlays, tilt your phone so that all the objects appear very flat.

My book corner at my Mum’s house in Ikorodu, Lagos.

Ebooks

This is a creative literary blog. I feature reviews of online fiction, ebooks and share my own stories. I know the struggle to share beautiful images for ebooks or online fiction. My advice is that you get another phone. Not necessarily a new one, maybe for a friend or sibling or your old one.

Apply all the advice and hacks above also. I usually use pictures of flowers or my write pads as images for my stories. Many creative writing bloggers just download images from Unsplash or use animated avatars. Choose what is convenient and fits your theme.

HACK– Send a screenshot of the ebook cover to the other phone. Then use your phone to snap it.

Extra Tips

Spontaneous Pictures are necessary. Add some outdoor pictures. If you visit spots in your city and you take your book along. Take and share pictures whether or not your book features in them.

Inside the High Court, F.C.T, Maitama where I’m doing my externship in Abuja

Search other feeds for Inspiration when I feel bored or stuck with how I take pictures, I explore through instagram or wordpress through Hashtags like #bookstagramnigeria, #books, #bookphotograhy, #bookblog #currentlyreading #read, #bibliophile etc. You can always recreate a look you like. Don’t feel discouraged that your pictures aren’t similar or have less likes. You’ll get there!

Don’t forget to post your pictures and have fun!


All images used in this post were photographed by Adaeze Feyisayo for Amethyst Saw (WordPress blog and Instagram). All rights are reserved. Reference when used.