Let’s Face It, Some People Won’t Be Happy When You Succeed

I remember vividly my first experience of this when I was 14. For most of my life I had struggled academically. In primary school, in the days when kids got grades in exams, there were 32 kids in my class and I was sure to come in 16th/17th position every end of term. You could bet money on me and I got used to this position. When I got to secondary school and there were 5 arms in each year, I was somewhere between 100-120th in a year of 200 kids. As I said, I was always somewhere in the middle-ish.

In my fourth year in secondary school, I became a Christian. One of my first prayers to God was for Him to help me do better in class. If this could happen, then I would know He could indeed do the impossible. At the end of that year I came 49th in a year of 220 kids or so. 49th! Me!!! And I was like 9th/10th in my class. It was unbelievable. I went on to get 6As and 3Cs in my final exams. Which for a straight C/D student is nothing short of a miracle. I’ll never forget the impact it had on me. Now before the naysayers start to recoil, I’m not saying God did this (although I am) but certainly becoming a Christian boosted my esteem and confidence in leaps and bounds and that affected my grades. However, that’s a post for another day.

Back to my story. Apart from the impact of my results, I was also amazed by the reaction of people close to me and around me. There were girls in my class that were genuinely surprised but also really happy that I had excelled so well. I remember the squeals and the jumping, as girls do, so vividly. And for a few moments I was the ‘clever girl.’ However, I was surprised by the reaction of one of my closest friends. It wasn’t that she wasn’t happy for me but she wasn’t as enthusiastic as the other girls who barely knew me.

For years, I had watched her, without any jealousy, get better grades than I did. I mean she was cleverer than I was – fact. And this one time, when I happened to do a lot better than her, I’m not sure what baffled her more. Was it the fact that she got poor scores or that she did so badly that even Tomi got better scores than she did? For some reason, my success seemed to beam a poor reflection upon her. I recall a similar scenario with my younger sister when one of her closest friends simply told her that her scores were wrong as she couldn’t possibly have gotten a higher score than she did. 🙂 Oh the honesty of children.

I’ve had this scenario reoccur a few times in my life where people who were used to me being middle of the road were suddenly appalled that I got better scores than they did. They didn’t seem to think of me when I watched them get glowing results whilst I went home with my pathetic school reports. Never once did I begrudge them their scores. They worked hard for them, they deserved them. I only ever wished that my scores would get better, and my wish came true.

Sometimes you get the feeling that people like you as long as your ‘failures’ make them feel better about themselves.

Misery loves a crowd and in a herd, we all look the same. The moment a head pops up, it stands out. The moment one decides to go in a different direction, it’s glaring. Not everyone will like it. It’s not easy standing out in a crowd especially when people don’t seem happy for you. Particularly as, frankly, no one wants to walk alone. Nonetheless, at some point in our lives we have no choice but to take certain paths on our own – a simple fact of life.

Whether or not it’s as a result of this experience, I’ll never know but I abhor being part of the herd. I want to live my life in a way that infuriates the norm. That’s my goal. Hopefully 40 years from now if you ask me how it all worked out, I’ll reply, ‘gggggggreat!

“People Of The World, Come To My City. We Need You!”

“Please Come To My City, We Need You, We Need Help” cried Jose Aguinaldo this morning as I watched the News. His cry haunted me all the way to work and is etched in my mind. I watched a man probably in his 50s reduced to tears asking for help for his city, himself and all the victims of typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines. I cried.

We live in a world that is desensitised to disasters purely because of the constant onslaught of devastation in the world. The truth is it is probably going to get worse as the years roll by. However we can change something – our reaction to suffering.

I cried this morning as I watched this man. However, very swiftly, I realised the futility of tears in such a situation. Tears were not going to get food across to the millions of victims. I knew if I did not get over being sentimental and do something, I would go ahead with my day and all that would have happened is that I was upset by what I saw. Simply another sad day.

I started to think; what can I do, what can I do? Bake sale? Get all the bakers in Cambridge to bake and donate proceeds ? All very good ideas but I find that sometimes we get bogged down with big ideas and never get to do anything. Sometimes,

what the world needs is not a big idea but more people doing the simple little things.

If all of us in the United Kingdom donated £1, that would be £63.7m going to the relief. The reality is that many of us can do more that £1. We can give more. We can do more. Some of us can volunteer time or even go to the Philippines to help out. Others can use their influence to raise awareness. There is always something we can do if we choose not to turn away from another human being in distress. We’ve got to challenge ourselves to resist the temptation to be desensitised to the suffering around us; even when we ourselves are in need- there is always something we can do.

I discovered a list of agencies I could donate to published by the Guardian. 14 British aid agencies have launched a joint emergency appeal to get food, water and shelter to victims of the typhoon. You can donate directly to the The Disasters Emergency Committee.

Give a little. And If you can do more, do more! Please don’t sit and watch the world hurt around you.

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? (Isaiah 58:7 NIV)

Phone and Away

My phone and I have a love affair going on at the moment. I use it to connect with the world. My husband insists I have an addiction (which my mum agrees with) but obviously I disagree.

I left my phone at home today. I thought it would be hard but it really wasn’t that bad. In some ways, it was a relief not to constantly feel the need to be in touch on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, What’s App, WordPress and BB. My phone has been a bit of a lifeline in a boring job. Not necessarily because I can’t live without my phone but because it’s a welcomed distraction.

When I got home I had two missed calls and forty-five emails which I’ve now gone through and responded to. My attachment to my phone may not be totally cured but I realised that I actually didn’t need the phone at all. I must admit, ever so reluctantly, I got a lot more done at work and should probably keep my phone more in my bag than on my desk.


To Feel Or Not To Feel?

Do you ever just go with your gut feeling? No facts, no research; simply go with your feeling?
I’m a feeler. If something doesn’t feel right to me, I just don’t do it. I don’t care what the facts say or who has a PhD in the subject, I just won’t do it. And when it does feel right, no matter the risks involved, I just do it.

I have a few great experiences and some not so good ones but it doesn’t stop me from being a feeler.

This morning I got the urge to take a different route for the school run. My gut failed me today. We ended up being late to and now I’m living in dread of receiving a note from their teachers. 😦

I’m not likely to stop going with my feelings but I might put on the traffic news next time I get a rumbling in my gut before the school run. 🙂

Why Should Equality Rob Me Of Being Feminine?

Men and women are different; we have different needs, we think differently and any working environment that leans only towards one sex, is robbing itself of the rich dynamism that those differences bring.

However, on a personal level. I don’t want men to treat me like they would treat a man. I want doors to be opened for me, heavy boxes carried on my behalf and if ,God forbid, I happen to cry, don’t look at me like I’m weird. They are only tears.

I’m not weaker, I’m just created differently.

This might cause confusion for some men who have been accosted by a woman vehemently refusing their help because for some reason that translates into being weak. After centuries of, lets face it, oppression by men I think it is understandable that some women feel this way. Nonetheless, let me help. Simply ask if help is required. If I saw someone, anyone, struggling with boxes, I would ask if help was required because that’s what decent people do. It wouldn’t matter whether they were male or female. I would ask.

I bet there are more women like me in the world who would appreciate not being treated with care. Chances are you are more likely to get a grateful thank you than a verbal walloping.

My name is Tomi and I am Redefining Wonder Woman!

Lessons From Life

I’m an observer by nature. I try and learn from life and what I observe in the lives of others. Life has so many tests and what I have gleaned from my observations have granted me some ‘exemptions’ from several tests.

I’m listening to a man denigrate someone else in a role he would like to have and I ask myself the following:

    If you have to bring someone down to elevate yourself or make yourself look better, then you’ve really got to ask why you do this. Could it be that you don’t feel good enough? Or perhaps you have a low opinion of yourself? And so the only way to come off feeling better is to bring down everyone else around you to your perceived level?

Note to self: If you don’t have anything positive to say about someone, then keep quiet. Second note, if you aspire to be something, go for it and don’t blame others for where you find yourself.

Food Is The Best Form of Bribery

Negotiation skills are very useful in parenting. Just exchanged pancakes for the sorting out of washing with my children.
At last a plan that works for domestic retirement!

Disclaimer: this will only work with children under 10 🙂



I think that was a fair exchange.