Art Credit goes to Rume (@ Yinkore on IG and Twitter)

It is with great disdain that I have to say this in the year of our Lord 2021; but I will say it regardless. You cannot shame women for expressing their sexuality. Women do not need to be sexually ‘pure’ — there is no such thing because purity presupposes the existence of shame and we do not do that over here) — for you to respect them and treat them with dignity.

Too many young girls and women are subjected to purity culture through their socialisation and indoctrination. We are told that we must keep ourselves ‘pure’ for men, that…

Marble Pieces in Lekki Arts and Crafts Market. Taken by MA Okupe

I am such a sucker for love.

I love love. In all the many forms in which it presents itself. I love familial love. Nothing like a mother’s embrace, my father’s mouth spilling with laughter and being chased by my sister as we display the exuberance of youth. I love the love of sisterhood. Of my best friend completing my sentences, drinking wine with my best girls and laughing till we’re breathless with tears in our eyes. All forms of love are so beautiful.

What we must always remember that what makes love so beautiful is the vulnerability that makes…

21 was an exceptional year.

This time last year, I could not drive, I did not have a law degree and I was afraid of love. Today, I drive (horribly), I am on my way to becoming a legal practitioner and I have risen in love, in the most spectacular way. In the year that has passed I have learnt deep lessons of surrender and open hands. 21 taught me, showed me, the abundance that is mine in life. …

When I said I was going to teach my body how to find home in this new city, I never knew it would be this hard. I either underestimated Bwari or I overestimated myself. If you have been to Bwari, I think you will agree with option one. After shedding hot tears and getting over it, I think I can say things are getting better and that I’ve found my feet a little better now.

A good sign about me feeling better here is my being able to draw inspiration from my surroundings. Like I’ve said in the past, Bwari…

Art by Rume (@Yinkore on Twitter and IG). Credits given.

All women matter. All day, every single day.

The 8th of March is celebrated as International Women’s Day, with the whole of the month of March being set aside to celebrate women and champion our causes. Sounds like such a wonderful thing, right? Well maybe all that glitters, is really not gold. Maybe society (and men) hide under a banner of activism for one day/month and then return to their default of putting women’s issues on the back burner. Maybe they forget that improving women’s quality of life should be a continuous effort, year round that does not need a…

Taken by Fifo Adebakin (2017.)

The last time I passed for slim was on my sixth birthday.

Since that point in my life and upwards, I have only grown fatter and fatter. As a result of society and even my own family’s reaction to my body, I have had a long and tumultuous journey with self esteem and self-love. I turned 21 last year and I think that was the first time I felt a hundred percent at peace with my body and not trying to frantically change it.

Young Love. Bwari, Abuja. 23/02/21.

It has been eighteen days since I came here and my body has felt every single day.

Here, hours feel like endless days stretching lazily before me. I have tried to convince my self and my body that this place is our new temporary home but they have both refused to find home here. You know how I said our bodies know when we move? Well my body surely knows and she is not happy.

My body does not like it here and she has shown me in so many different ways.

I usually have soft, supple skin. I have…

Of Open Hands and Tender Victories: #PoetryandSkosko Volume 1

The wisdom in poems enriches my life. The words teach me about myself, about pain, about love and about overcoming. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of this wisdom with you in hopes that you learn something beautiful too. Poetry written by black women often reminds me that I’m never alone. That my life’s troubles are not unique and that they will not swallow me up, because my sisters have already overcome. Struggle can be incredibly lonely. You feel isolated in your pain, like it is only you feeling this anguish. My dear, it is not…

This Is Us

Our bodies know when we’ve arrived somewhere new

A tree-lined street with a rectangular multistory building in the background.
A tree-lined street with a rectangular multistory building in the background.
NLS Bwari, Abuja, Nigeria. Photo: Mofiyinfoluwa Okupe

The first thing I felt was the heat.

Suitcase in my right hand, I stepped out of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport only to be met by an angry sun intent on singeing my skin with licks of heat my body was completely unprepared for. It is by no means cold in my Lagos (yes Lagos is mine, at least it feels like it); our heat is just of a different kind. It’s wetter, more humid, more accommodating. It feels more like an overbearing hug as opposed to this one, which felt like a slow strangling. I already missed my Lagos.

Credits to @Rume__ on Twitter or Yinkore on Twitter/IG

Here is another think-piece nobody asked for to start the year but because I am gracious and ever generous, I am happy to oblige.

Mofiyinfoluwa Okupe

We will always have words 🤍

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store