Self-Mastery Series IV- Self-Management “Work in Progress” “This is work in Progress” Will be
W hat are Breeches?
Breeches according to the Oxford advanced dictionary is a short trouser fastened just below the knee, worn especially for horse riding or as a part of ceremonial dress. It is a soft piece of clothing, technically for comfort.
Well, applying it to our daily lives means having a sort of comfort through discipline or self denial; just as the breeches offer protection to the lower limbs and we don’t necessarily have to be rich to be comfortable.
Being comfortable starts with the mind and your level of contentment and I can also say contentment is a journey and not a destination.
What are leeches?
The Oxford dictionary defines leeches as a figurative derogatory word that describes person who hangs about other people hoping to obtain food, money, alcohol, etc and according to me, they do it under false pretenses resulting from a mismanaged life.
Leeches are known to be really annoying, crafty creatures that gives anesthetics while sucking your blood, causing you to bleed a little. So going by the dictionary definition of leeches, they are usually difficult to get rid of. As a matter of fact, they don’t mind mutual impoverishment.
My Leech Story
Some years back, precisely in 2005, I was posted to Ebonyi state for my youth service. Well, life in camp wasn’t as impressive but I made the most of it. I was quite popular in camp, being a member of the ‘colour party’. Well, it had its highs and lows.
I earned the respect of so many for being qualified to carry the NYSC flag as a lady. I really couldn’t hide like many corp members usually do when it was time for parade, rather people would troop out to come and see the amazing display of the lady in the colour party.
Anyway, many knew me and I didn’t know many and such was the case of the lady who would later become my roommate.
I was posted to the capital city where I got a posting to a secondary school for my primary assignment. Honestly, I didn’t want to teach. The sight of the school environment and the suggested accommodation which was a live representation of the setting in the book, “The Sugar Girl” (If you ever read it, you will remember Ralia, the Sugar girl).
Thankfully, I was rejected and I made attempts to get another place of primary assignment. Thankfully, through some God sent people, I finally got a posting to the state owned poultry farm and the bigger deal was to be blessed with a ‘correct’ accommodation.
The kind hearted man who gave me the accommodation was in charge of the poultry and he told me another corp member was already given the accommodation and I will be sharing the room with her. To say I was overjoyed was an understatement. Let me share what made me feel on top of the world
The apartment was a one bedroom flat with a beautiful restroom and kitchen, well spaced sitting room, although no furniture but it didn’t matter. The flat was connected to DSTv from the main building, so we had the opportunity of bringing our own TV to stay connected in a land where corp members will gladly celebrate crumbs in the name of accommodation. Oh, I was so blessed!
I met my would-be roommate who before I introduced myself, already knew who I was, so not much of an introduction needed to be done. We talked about how we were going to settle down and I said I was still going back to Lagos to get my stuff. We agreed on certain things to be brought to make our living in Abakaliki worthwhile. She mentioned items she would bring to the apartment which included a TV and fridge……I was so excited. I also mentioned mine. When the issue of cooking came up, like the slang goes- I jumped! I said we’ll be cooking together.
Now, THAT WAS AN ERROR on my part!
Well, I went back home, packed foodstuff like Joseph prepared for famine in Egypt, carried my sound system and all sort up to dishwashing liquid. I arrived Abakaliki on a Sunday morning, since I travelled with the night bus. I was so loaded, I had to get two bikes to get me and my ‘load’ to my residence.
My roommate had been calling while I was away to know when I would be back as I was away for about 2weeks. When I got to the house, she was surprised to see how powerfully I arrived the house and to my utter shock and dismay, SHE BROUGHT ALMOST NOTHING!
Actually, not to say she brought nothing, she came with a stove, a mortar and pestle for grinding pepper, 3pots and less than a kongo of insect infested beans. Na there tori begin o……”my parents didn’t have enough, I couldn’t carry all the load, I will still go back, blah blah blah”.
That was when I discovered I will be responsible for my fellow corp member’s feeding till the time she would go home which didn’t look like anytime soon! We were both receiving allawee and stipends from our places of primary assignment, yet we were living on my abundant food supply.
We went to the market together to buy some petty things we’ll be needing to make life comfortable for us and I discovered this interesting behavior. While I thought of essentials, she thought of irrelevant things (at least to me), like mirror, wine, etc. She actually suggested we bought wines in case we had a visitor! WHO STOCKS WINES AT HOME AS A YOUTH CORP MEMBER BECAUSE OF VISITORS?! I declined and told her to buy that with her money which she didn’t buy for obvious reasons.
Did I mention serving in a poultry farm? I bought poultry products with my money and we were supposed to eat everything together. Whenever I eat, I usually gave myself a large serving with a good piece of chicken (after all, the one who labours is worthy of his reward) and my ‘friend’ will call me a heavy eater and claim she eats little but I discovered that by the time I am done with my ‘large’ plate of food and busy with other things, she will serve herself a moderate serving with a piece of chicken at about three or four different intervals.
Technically, while I, the labourer, am eating one piece of chicken, my roommate is eating four pieces in the name of, “I don’t eat much”! The day my roommate fried eggs on her rice, chai! Fear catch me! She alone fried FOUR eggs on a plate of rice! That was it! I had had enough! This lady was bent on sucking my blood for service and I will not open my eyes and let spider enter!
To think I was raised to live on a budget and those days in Mayflower school, my dad would give me my pocket money and tell me that is what I should manage till the next time he comes which might not necessarily be the next visiting day. I knew I had to make mental calculations before spending which was what made my cope with life till adulthood and here I am in a strange land with seriously calculated resources to make life comfortable for me and a leech from somewhere attaching itself to me?!
Immediately, I summoned her to the kitchen, shared the eggs into two equal halves. Since a crate consisted of 30eggs, I took 15 and collected the money for the other half and since she had eaten four eggs, she was left with 11eggs. I told her point blank, “they don’t dash me eggs or chickens, I buy them with my money!”
One funny thing I noticed was since the day I made her pay for those eggs, she never ate eggs like that again, till we finished our youth service. Her money was spent on clothes and beauty products while turning me to her maga. Unfortunately for her, she messed with the wrong person. As for my chicken, believe me when I say, “my chicken treatment is irresistible”(allow me to boast).
I didn’t bother quarrelling with her. Knowledge, they say is light. Knowing full well that the part of the country where she comes from, they don’t eat pepper like where I come from, I simply increased the pepper in my stew. She ran away from my food! The day she went close to my pot and took my chicken as usual, she screamed! I just told her, that’s how we eat pepper where I come from and it is only d weak that don’t eat pepper. She said, “How am I supposed to eat this now?”
I simply told her to cook her own because that is how I choose to eat my food. The funny part is when she was now asking if I won’t be eating from her own soup for swallow, I just laughed and said, “all those your local soups that she was celebrating for eating swallow, I don’t like it, can’t eat it and I am okay with my stew.” I bought a padlock and locked my Ghana must go bag containing my foodstuffs. That was how I saved myself from the headache of tolerating a leech!
Funny enough, she was the one that always had visitors whom she fed with my food. The wines she suggested at the beginning would have implied me buying the wines her guests will be drinking. The day her cousin came again to stay with us and saw the irresistible stew, she asked if she could take and I said, “no problem.” Need I say what happened after tasting it? That was how I got my peace. Her wasteful spending reduced by force because she needed to buy her food herself. I tamed her appetite.
I have observed that a lot of people keep complaining about lack or insufficient funds because they have developed a very bad lifestyle of spending the money they don’t have on things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like. When you turn yourself to a bathroom, you can never become a big river. Like we learnt in basic economics that, “man’s wants are unlimited but the resources are scarce”.
Forget the fact that people like to flaunt wealth, especially in this social media generation but that doesn’t make a wealthy person. Life is not a competition and like the bible says, “godliness with contentment is great gain” 1Tim6:6. Tame your appetite and teach your children so. It’s not everything you see that you must have and it’s not everything children want they must get. Some people whose resources you feel entitled to got theirs through a lot of discipline and self denial.
Discipline yourself too so you can gather scarce resources. You can’t be living in financial recklessness and be feeling entitled to the resources of another who disciplines himself.
Do I have all I need? NO
Is what I have enough? NO
Do I give? YES
Do I get help? YES
Am I where I desire to be? NO
One thing is certain, in the journey of life, nothing compares to living within your means and living purposefully that you came to this world alone and you will face your creator alone. We can keep increasing when we don’t do beyond ourselves. Nobody has it all. Be contented, be happy, live within your means, love your neighbor as yourself and lastly,
GET RID OF THE LEECHES IN YOUR LIFE!
Dupe lives in Akure and is a passionate and strong influencer for growing children. She hopes to lend her voice to reinstate our strong cultural values system giving the kids an option to become better versions of themselves. She is starting with her kids and wants you to do the same.
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