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Amethyst’s 1st Anniversary

365!

Today makes it 365 days of sharing my quirky narrative with you. I started the blog to curate and publish my African chicklit and speculative fiction flash stories. After over 100 posts, 4 series, 8 categories I’m grateful to have you read, like and comment over the past year.

Amethyst’s bookstagram account was also a year old on the 13th.

It seems like hours ago I published this first post of a book photo and review in this WHAT I AM READING above. Today 72 posts later #amethystshotx shares my improved book photography skill. i’m so happy I decided to utilize these platform for what I love. The following months are going to be superb. As I have more flash stories, series, reviews and manuscripts to publish.

Happy Anniversary to Amethyst Saw (blog, bookstagram and newsletters). To celebrate I’ll be doing a giveaway on my instagram for my readers and followers resident in Nigeria. More details will be published on my instagram account so do follow Amethyst Saw.

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THE PERFECT COMMENT SECTION

After reading Annie Lamott: A Cure For Perfectionism by Charles Chu. my finger swiped the page down to the comment section. immediately I began typing, erasing and retyping my thoughts in the Medium comment box. Occasionally my shiny metal knuckle rings would lightly tap against the phone’s bright screen.

“Charles, Charles Charles.

Its your loving reader from Nigeria. This is just another amazing addition to the recent articles I have read on perfectionism. Months ago I realised I was a perfectionist. How? When it was a week to delivering a high grade paper on Maritime law. I had done tons of research, gathered resources and procrastinated the project writing for 2 months. Why? Because I had a gripping fear I would fail. So I put in the hard work and prepared not to fail. It wasn’t till I typed for 3 days straight, saying “it doesn’t have to be perfect. I just have to start.” The paper got the second highest grade and a lot of compliments. I was so pleased with myself. Although I found two typographic errors. After editing over 20 times. It still wasn’t perfect. All I did was start. After all I read on productivity and efficiency every other day. I utilised all of those with self compassion.

In addition to what you’ve said. To get over perfectionism. Its always good to remember to be self compassionate, take actionable steps in the face of fear of failure and imperfection. If not in the end, self criticism and fear of failure will lead to stress and procrastination. Which in return will just make one produce average results”

Satisfied I published the perfect comment on how I overcome my perfectionism daily. Just another morning on my favourite platform learning how to be my best self. My left fingers etched up to itch the bright ankara headwrap at my nape. while my right thumb scrolled down to read other comments.

FROM THE LEGAL DEPARTMENT: Mid Semester  

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For the past two weeks one reoccurring action step was ‘read the Company Law mid-semester test topics’. The reason Law of Business Association is called Company Law by students is still unknown to me.I did accomplish these tasks. Depriving myself of the comfort and intrigue literature provided, I studied. My eyes digested juidical precedents, memorised doctrines and principles of company law, interesting cases names and facts, noted history and progress of company law in Nigeria. I attended lectures competitvely sitting on the first lecture row with other eager female coursemates. My white cotton shirt was crisp, clean, bright and beautiful especially on Tuesdays, Wednesays  and Thursdays. I listened to the learned scholar with his varying shades of grey suits to couldn’t cover his pregnancy. Then made photocopies of materials to study later at night.  Other first row occupiers and I discussed our various understanding of the importance of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, corporate personality and powers of the organs of a company. I continued preparing for the upcoming mid-semester test. During the weekends I stayed indoors having turned down dates from enchanting admirers. The closest I got to pleasure reading was from a few legal academic articles published in the Faculty’s Book of Reading. The book bound enlightening articles on theoriticial and practical operation of various areas of law. I was amoured with its papers as they exposed the bright minds of ignored faculty academic staff.

The day of the test finally arrived. After spending three hours from the crack of dawn revising, I drove away from my apartment armed with my pencil case. The pencil case had a black biro, spare pens and a red one to write out cases and statutory provisions. I had steered the sleek grey Toyota on the Lasu-Iba expressway to join the moving mid morning traffic beforeI remembered.  I slightly tapped pressure on the brake with my small right feet in a black flat shoe. I remember I forgot to take two full scalp sheets. You could never be sure when the test giver would require we have our own answer sheet. Apprehension rolled off my furrowed brows and I eased the presure off the brake unto the clutch.  I had decided to leave my cozy, peach walled apartment two hours to the stated test time. On arriving to the faculty and its tall buildings, trees and loitering students, I made a relieving discovery. The test was thirty minutes before the 12noon I was told. Mischevious coursemates or misinformation, I couldn’t say. With my coursemates both were almost the same.

Fifteen minutes after the stipulated commencement time I scribbled my matriculation number on the signed answer sheet our lecturer brought. All my revision, disscussions, studying, highlighting payed off. I answerd a stipulated question analysing the provisions of Comapines and Allied Matters Act on the Memorandum of Association, the Ultra Vires Doctrine and its exceptions. After black inked words crawled to form my conclusion the test ended with a loud order. ‘Pens up!’

After accomplishig action steps that bring me closer to achieving goals I usually reward myself. My slightly folded tummy had rumbled with hunger thrice as I scribbled the position of statutory provisions on acts outside the powers of a company. Amala and Ewedu! Singed my mind. Maybe with some Gbegiri and Titus fish. A quick mental calculation of the naira contents of my leather wallet assured me I could afford my lunch. One Word, DELICIOUS! That is the only word that described the hot meal I carefully spoon through my glossed full lips. Manoeuvring the yellow gbegiri, brown amala, deep orangish fish-ponmo stew immersed in red palm oil. I succeeded in not leaving a damaging drop of oil on my white shirt. My satisfied pace slowed in comparison to my hungry gait some minutes ago.

Later in the day searched for some piece of fiction or literature in the Novels folder of ebooks on my laptop. My eyes were tired of paperback novels stacked at the edge of my brown sofa. I found Jeffery Archer’s infamous best selling novel, Kane and Abel  and so began the enjoyment of my second reward. An impressive lengthly novel that chronicled the lives of two men; William Kane and Abel Rosnovski. Immediately seduced with the plot that spanned decades across Eastern Europe and the New World, America. The highlights and horrors of history. A crash course on stock trading, hotel management, investing and banking. These I analysed with my little knowledge of Law of Business Associations. How zeal and hunger influence career paths. Love, friendship, family, honour and enemity. Comedy and fate. These all made me unable to exit  the ebook and sleep. 11pm to 1am, looking at the page number I read on. 3am, excitement from the interesting plot kept sleep at bay. My brown doe eyes were glued to the ebook till almost 5am! Resuming my reading some hours later I watched how a misunderstanding, pride, fate, smarts and determination push both men to their zenith and down falls.

‘Old age and fear of death allows for sudden change of the heart.’

This quote  stuck with me as the novel’s unbelievably satisfying plot came to an end. I learnt a few valuable lessons and a lot about the World Wars, America’s Boom and Great Depression, fashion and political history of those eras. Reading the book made me wonder what decisions I could insightfully take today. Just at the seeming end of an educational career and professional milestone, my LL.B. Decisions that will shape my career and future relations or even wealth. My rewards were from my first two loves: food and reading. Though tired I am still truly satisfied. My new action steps will accommodate a study schedule for my project research and the upcoming first semester exams of my final year. The other weeks after mid semester are promising as a lack of time has eased into an abundance.

WHO FEARS DEATH

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

“Fate is fixed like brittle crystal in the dark still, when it came to Mwita, I bow down to fate and say thank you”.

“..but sometimes difference leads to sameness.”

Grateful For New

Originally shared as the 11th The Quirky Creative Fiction Newsletter, Caught My Eye pick.

Onye’s spiritual journey of her gifts learning reminds me of tales of my paternal great-grandfather who was an Igbo shape-shifter chief. While reading the book, I found myself liking each character that came along the way for their uniqueness and character flaws. How Onye interacted with them only helped me see leadership in a new light.

Onye was a perfectly flawed heroine. From her brash temper, impulsiveness, to her insecurities and adventurous personality. She was downright annoying and loveable!

A bulk of the plot carried me along her journey to face powerful sorcerer trying to kill her and wipe out Okekes.  The author told a vivid story of her paranormal world, juju, culture strives, wars and truly a post apocalyptic Africa.  On  the journey to rewrite and conquer history other characters embark on their journeys. Luyu, one of my favourite characters gets embolden to live her true self. Mwita becomes a renowned healer, soul bound love and supporter of Onye. I found Sola, the old sorcerer amusing. This story  line shows how war and strive affects women. Using Onye’s experiences, a child from weaponised rape ie Ewu we see a lot. Seeing a possible future of my world if people keep killing, destroying and warring based on their religious beliefs, cultural strives and racial clashes. I also loved how technology was infused into the plot. A portable disc here, a tablet there, hidden degraded computers.  The Vah people who travel in a sandstorm were an interesting, enlightened people. This enchanting story infused basic knowledge of African magic, spirituality, nature and vital bits of Africa. I found these references endearing. The food was unique and clothing apt. What would cactus candy taste like? I repeated asked the book to sell me some weather gel to rub on my clothes to repelled heat and sunburns.

The end of the novel and Onye’s journey is unexpected. Unexpected losses taint the triumphs. i asked myself the question Mwita asked about destiny. Did Onyesonwu beat her destiny and cheat death through her last shape-shifting feat or did she live her death and fulfil her destiny?

I highly recommend this book to mystic, magic, speculative fiction readers and lovers.

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian American author of African-based science fiction,fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults and a professor at the University at Buffalo, New York. Her works include Zahrah the Windseeker, Binti novella trilogy, Akata books and others.

Image source: amethystsaw

ORAL ORDERS

my Vagina is not an embassy!

There are a lot of harmful sex practices that inhibit me and other African women from being sex positive. I had a conversation over the weekend with an admirer about a no-bra day to treat heat rashes underneath my full breasts. I got upset that he referred to my no-bra day as me “terrorising/ tormenting everyone”. This ‘joke’ led me to converse about ascribing free female sexual expression as terrorism, oversexualization of the black female form and rape culture. For chocolate sake! My nipples are not nuclear war heads of mass destruction. I tried discouraging him from saying that because it encourages negative sex perceptions and rape culture. Phew! It feels good to rant. I am still on my abstinence spell and its been rejuvenating and peaceful. Sometimes I wonder where my sex interest travelled to. I am grateful to have a sex diary to record experiences, share musings and encourage sex positivity. #blessed. I’m also grateful for a few sex positive spaces for African women online. I MIGHT share some of my favourite works from them soon.

Apart from jokes that promote rape culture or invalidate free female sexual expression. I dislike despise other negative sex practice. Like exs or past sexual partners who try to have sex after an ended relationship or sex-utationship.

“A woman’s body is her country.”- Ruth Behar

Your ancestors are not citizens of my body. My vagina is not an embassy! You CANNOT fuck and go as you wish. Once our relationship/sex-utationship has ended I take no dick applications to enjoy my body.  This Okafor’s Law (once you’ve had sex with a woman you can always have sex with her) nonsense has got to stop. We all aren’t horny, emotional unintelligent, affection starved, low self esteemed wreaks. It’s just as harmful a sex practice as assuming first consent suffices for further sexual acts. I feel it erases a woman’s body autonomy. It isn’t yours or society’s booty. It is MINE. Deported past sex partners negotiate for “friendships” which is often times awkward. Taking advantage of this uneasy treaty, some exs try manipulating dead feelings to have sex with me. It’s appauling. It’s not bad to try, I know. Previous emotional connections may be a valid reason to initiate sex.

But, my vagina is not an embassy!  What is bad is when you don’t respect and accept my NO. What is hurtful is when you want to have sex with a person you’ve hurt and or abused. What is wrong is you trying to dump toxic lust wastes in my country. Respect our boundaries and manage your sex expectations. There is nothing wrong in talking about having sex or a mutual decision to have sex with a past partner. Don’t create false safety only to be rubbing my sleeping butt with your penis at 2am. Or steal kisses when I’m being supportive during your break up.  Or text me in the middle of a work day to “seduce” me with crude recollections that you’ve previously slut shamed me about. I thought back to the great, good, hilarious and horrible experiences after my last sex fast.

I recalled when a past sex partner who reverted back to a friend tried this with me during a sleep over. Inappropriate comments compliments, propositions that reopened healing wounds, crawling fingers mapping my body during the night, me swallowing repulse, irritating promises of emotional investments. I had to grab his hands, insist on my no and state my vagina is not an embassy. Before I could sleep peacefully. His girlfriend’s hand bag glared at us. The next morning as I typed up an article and read Medium a cute lady walked into his room. Surprise, Surprise! That was his side chick. I felt humoured and relieved about my choice. Previously, I had ended our short romance because he was dishonest about his other relationships. I guess I might have varying levels of attraction to exs or downright miss sex with them but I own my body. I did have sex with an ex once. What?! We mutually agreed to have sex and I was horny. He and his girlfriend made up two days later. That would have been painful if I was pressured or persuaded to have the sex.  Plus I don’t have a sexually unhealthy thought that if I have sex I have diminished in some imaginary, societal dispensed “value”.