Tag Archives: happiness

The widest smile I didn’t dream

Hello everyone,

It has been such a painfully long time since my last post and I apologise. Sadly, the thing about good literature (hopefully something I contribute to!) is that it’s impossible to force it. So I spend my days walking around, trying to bump into something that inspires me. It will come, I know this 🙂

In the mean time, I received an email that brought me the purest dose of happiness I remember. I had applied for a creative writing workshop that was to be held in Lagos for 10 days, and taught by the queen of African literature, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Any African writer could apply. Weeks had gone by, and I hadn’t received a response, so I took it on the chin, and accepted the defeat as a learning process.

But, lazily checking my phone today, I never expected this email from the queen herself:

“Dear Ehae,

Thank you for applying to the FARAFINA TRUST creative writing workshop.
Your entry was one of the final shortlist of fifty from about eight
hundred and fifty entries received.
All fifty showed immense promise.
Sadly, we had to select only twenty four because we don’t have the
resources to accommodate every writer on the shortlist.

I want to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your entry- and to
send my regards for your continued writing.

Best regards,

Chimamanda Adichie”

You win some, you lose some. And even when it seems like you lost, you may have actually won 🙂

I will be back soon.




Alala- Making Light of Life

My name is Alala. I am a dreamer. Let me dream.


From my youth, I used to make lights. I don’t mean chandeliers, or torch lights, or something silly. I mean brightness, and sunshine, and beauty. I created lightness with my bare hands, feeding it to all who were around me. And I made them full. It was easy. It was easy because the light was all I knew.


I was born with the lightness. And then I was soaked in it. For years and years, and time upon time, I only remember smiles filling my days. Because that was what life gave me, and I showed it. Positivity, they call it. I was full of it. You could see it coming when I walked in a room. It was like a halo glowing over my skin.


Life was faithful in the rhythm it gave me, and my lightness helped me dance in tune- quick steps that filled the world with envy. And I was smiling the whole time. I was so consumed by the ease of my happiness… So I wasn’t paying attention when it came. I was looking down at my feet in pride as the darkness drew closer.


This was my darkness: Succeeding was no longer as easy as I had known it to be; words like “ambition” and “career” saturated my space; stress did not immediately crumble after a hard day’s work. Life changed tempo, and it hit me hard, and I let it. Life seemed to betray me, giving me something that I was not used to. It was only fair that I should have those days. But I hadn’t seen how to handle them. I had no clear example of failure, or pain, or fear. So I tried to share the burden of the dark, and only widened its destruction. My lightness died, and I darkened others too.


For years, I gave in, even when I didn’t have to. I lost my light, and I knew it. I felt it- the change; the alien nature of myself. I heard it when people would say “you used to be so…” Guilt took me too because there were people that had made a deal with my lightness-people who had seen me at my best those years back and wanted her. They thought she was powered by the sun and would wait to see her in the season when the sun was out. It was dreadful. They had been tricked by my change. I had tricked myself too. I hated this new girl as much as everyone else. But I didn’t know where she’d come from, or how to banish her away. I tried sometimes, but she stayed because it was too hard.


Something had to shake my core for my real fight to begin- to show me how much my life had changed.  Something did. Something moved. And I began to fight. Because my reflection became clear, and I knew I didn’t want to be a stranger. So I fought to have myself again. I fought for the girl who made light so easily. And I won. She was waiting for me, as if she’d never left. As if she was telling me, “I have always been the real you”. And she is.


Now I dance in the light again, not because my life is perfect, but in spite of life’s perfection in changing the tempo.  And that’s the most exciting part. My light is stronger now, because it has come after a fight with the darkness. I fought it alone. And I won. I thought I’d forget the dance- of quick footed happiness- but I never did. I cleared my vision, and now I dance and smile, through the light, and the dark. And people say again, “you ARE so…” as they stand in my glow.


My name is Alala, and I’m a dreamer. But I haven’t dreamt up a great year ahead. Because I’m prepared to dance and smile. I have been doing it already.

light maker 2