My Open Letter #InternationalWomensDay

I struggled with what to write about for International Women’s Day; not for a lack of topics or content, but rather because of the availability of too many- Too many angles to broach this from, too many stories to tell, and too many ways to tell them.

Do I speak about the women that have surpassed and exceeded all expectations and barriers and proven time and time again that women are not the weaker sex, or do I speak about the ones who still struggle to come to this realization?

Do I write about the struggles women face every day, at work, at school, in various social settings? Should I speak about the ‘little’ gender biases that are predominant in everyday living but go unnoticed, or the blatant gender disparities in Nigerian institutions?

Should I rather focus on the men; the few who are on the right side of the divide- supporting, and fighting side by side with women to challenge gender stereotypes and bias, or the ones who cannot fathom a society where women are treated fairly and not as second class human beings, or the third group (and the group I find worse of all) who are patronizing, supportive of gender equality only to the extent to which it makes them comfortable?

Like I said, there are so many angles to broach this, majority of which I will continue to encourage discourse about, but today I want to focus on what I find to be most important, I want to focus on us;


Young women…

Young women growing up in Nigeria.

First of all, I would like to salute us, for living, surviving, and for some of us, thriving in this society, in this country, in this place were assumptions are made about our skills, capabilities and aspirations simply because of our gender. It can sometimes be like swimming against a strong, relentless tide but we’re still swimming and for that I am proud.

I recognize that some of us are more fortunate, more privileged than others. When I speak of privilege, I am not referring to money or status, I refer to our backgrounds- what cultures and practices we were brought up on. I am blessed to have been raised by parents who never placed any limitations on me solely because of my gender; I have never felt that I could not do, or could not achieve something because I am female.

There are however some young women who are less fortunate, who were brought up in households where every milestone is just a step towards your ‘husband’s house’; women who are not afforded the opportunity to achieve for their own sole benefit. There are young girls who are uneducated, subjected to various forms of mental, emotional and physical abuse because they are seen as dispensable or second class citizens. There are young women who have been so conditioned to being subservient that the idea of holding any power is a very foreign concept.

Of this group of women, there are some that recognize that there is a problem but have accepted the status quo, there are those that see themselves as completely helpless, there are those that are trying to break out, and there are some that actually support these harmful ideals.

I used to be one of those who recognized that there was a problem but felt that there was nothing I could do about it. How could I, the one person, end violence against women? What could I possibly contribute? I am gradually gaining answers to these questions, but I have also realized that everyone one of us can contribute in the most basic way, by speaking out! There’s no longer any room for silent outrage.

For every young woman who has taken a stance, however small, or spoken up against the unfair treatment of women, you are fighting the good fight and God will surely reward you.

For those that are trying to break through the barriers society, and your mind have created for you, I see you. Draw strength and inspiration from the ones who have gone before you.

For those that are struggling to ‘unlearn’ the things they’ve been wrongly taught, I salute you.

For the women, who constantly put women down, and feed into the lie that ‘women don’t like each other’, I see you as well.

For, the young woman, who feels totally helpless, I see you. Please know that you are not alone. There are many championing your cause and fighting for you.

To the women I’m surrounded with, my mother, my sisters, my friends, my colleagues, I am eternally grateful to God for you. You have shaped the woman that I am, and that I am becoming.

It’s our responsibility to speak up for each other, to celebrate our achievements no matter how small they may seem. The effect of this is greater than you or me, it affects generations to come.

To me, every day is a day to celebrate women, but today I say a special prayer for you.

Happy International Women’s’ Day!

With all my love,


#InternationalWomensDay #BalanceForBetter #IWD2019 #NoMoreSilentOutrage



“Pink blazer, and a flower print skirt. That’s what I’m going to wear tomorrow”, I thought to myself. I was so excited. You know how sometimes you’re so excited you can’t eat or sleep and you really don’t even want to? That’s exactly how I felt. I had ransacked my wardrobe for the perfect outfit and was prepared to wake up extra early to draw on my eyebrows. I mean if I don’t wear red lipstick on my birthday when else will I wear it?


When we were younger, my baby sister used to always make us call her ‘BG’ on her birthday, and yes ‘BG’ stands for ‘Birthday Girl’. It was cute, and she was like 7 years old. Don’t judge. Anyway, that’s what we call each other on our birthdays now. I’m sure by now you can tell that birthdays are a big deal to me.

I tried to get some sleep, seeing as I had to go to work the next day, but the sleep refused to come. So I decided to do what any rational girl would do when they can’t sleep. I put on a full face of make up. No I’m not kidding, I have the pictures to prove it. I had just bought a new beauty blender and some setting powder so I proceeded to give them full face beat featuring winged liner and highlight. That and the ensuing photo- shoot made me well and truly tired, and I was finally able to get some sleep.

I woke up the next day, bright and early. It was finally my birthday! I had already gotten calls and messages from my family and friends so I was on a high. I got dressed and got into work, taking my good mood with me. Note that I was serving in this company that I didn’t really like, with a boss that made a 6 foot cobra seem like a cuddly teddy bear but I decided that working there was a learning experience for me and I was determined to finish the service year without losing my mind. I had been there for about 3 months.

By the way, have you ever seen a video of a frog eating a fly? The fly is on its own, doing its fly thing and a long pink tongue comes out of nowhere and just swallows it. It’s terrible. Anyway I’m doing my work, minding my business and my boss comes into the office. She’s in a bad mood, but what’s new? She asks me to do something, and out of nowhere- I kid you not, she begins to scream at me. She basically called me a prostitute and said I was trying to blackmail her because I could type. I, the butterfly in a flower print skirt had all of a sudden become a fly trapped in the cold wet confines of the frog’s mouth.


I felt terrible, and yes I cried. Not because of the things she said, but because she burst my happy bubble. It was my birthday. I deserved at least one day a year to be completely happy and she had taken it away from me.




That was last year.

I turned 23 yesterday. I wore a bright pink skirt.

More importantly, I have something stronger now. It’s called Joy. It’s everlasting and comes from God.

Nothing can burst my ‘joy bubble’. Not the ugliest of frogs or the harshest of words.


BG ❤️



Its Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I have a few things to say

  1. This post is not a story. It’s not even a real post
  2. This post is dedicated to everyone who’s read any of my stories since I started Le Halcyon. I really appreciate your views. Please leave comments, let me know what you think!
  3. Also, please click the follow button at the bottom of the page to be notified whenever I have a new post up. And follow my social media pages!

Twitter:          @ToluO_

Instagram:     @tolu_oj

Snapchat:      @tolu_01

  1. I hope everyone got and showed some love today. I had a conference call with my two younger sisters at 7am this morning. We’re in three different places right now. I could barely hear since we all talk too much and talk over each other but it made my day.
  2. My Dad sent me a broadcast message on Whatsapp, warning young ladies not to lose their virginity on Valentine’s day because of salad and peppersoup. Great stuff!
  3. Bye guys! See you in my next post

With Love,


P.S I really tried to write a love story today, in the spirit of Valentine’s and all that. It didn’t really work out. I decided to tell you Aunty Vicky’s story instead. It’s right below this post.




Aunty Vicky

My dad came into town yesterday. I had to take the day off work so I could pick him up from the airport and be his personal chauffeur. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Its just a little annoying that he still has so much control over me, even at the ripe old age of 24. When he says jump, I ask how high when I’m already half way in the air. No thinking, no room for negotiation, I just do.


I remember the first day I saw my Dad smile. Seeing as I witnessed that monumental event only a handful of times in my 24 years on earth, this particular occasion is ingrained in my memory. My Dad’s younger sister moved away when she was 24 and he was 30. The day she left for the airport is till date still one of the saddest moments of my life. I remember like it was yesterday. My Dad had warned her not to go. He told her that Italy would eat her up and spit her out and that ‘abroad’ was not meant for people like her. Truth be told, I think he was just scared of having to raise me all by himself. He tried to bully her into staying; even threatening to call immigration and claim her visa was a fake but Aunty Vicky didn’t budge. Their stubbornness was a trait they both inherited from their father, my Grandfather.


The day she left, Daddy refused to drop her off at the airport. He claimed he had an ankle injury and said he couldn’t drive. We watched as Aunty Vicky dragged her too large suitcase out of the door and into a taxi. Aunty Vicky moved in with us, the day my mother died. She had lived with us for 10 years. We weren’t sure the next time we would see her again.


One Tuesday evening, I was sitting on our front porch reading an Archie comic. My dad wasn’t back from the office yet so I was left to my own devices. I was so engrossed in what Jughead said to Betty that I didn’t notice someone was walking up to the house.


I smelled her before I saw her. She smelled like a fish market on a very sunny day. Her hair was supposed to be blonde but it looked like the yellow of urine. She had a gold cap on her front tooth, and so many spots on her face it looked like a football pitch in the middle of a match. She was wearing a leopard print jumpsuit and yellow heels to match her hair. She carried a small duffel bag and walked like she had something heavy between her legs.


‘”Dunni! Oladunni temi ni kan! I’ve missed you my baby”, she said as she tried to envelop me in a hug. I recoiled from this strange woman who knew my name. “How did she know my name?”


“Ahn Ahn Dunni! I haven’t been gone for that long. Its me, Aunty Vicky” she said.


I think this was the first time in my life that I felt truly horrified. This woman was nothing like the woman that left our house that evening three years ago. The Aunty Vicky I knew had skin as dark, smooth and shiny as a freshly polished shoe. She told me she used to win ‘Miss Ebony’ contests when she was in secondary school. Aunty Vicky had long hair that she always complained wasn’t full enough. She was slim, not thin, and tall; taller than my father. This woman looked nothing liker her.

I tried as much as possible to hide my shock, and returned her hug. I helped her with her too light duffel bag. For someone who had been living in Italy for 3 years, she had almost no luggage at all. We talked for a little while, or rather I should say that I talked and she listened. I told her about school and my friends. She never once mentioned anything about Italy and avoided all questions I asked about it. I pretended not to notice and kept talking, anything to reduce the awkwardness in the room. This Aunty Vicky was different. She had changed. I got the feeling she was listening to me but wasn’t hearing what I was saying. She seemed far away. After talking for a while, she said she was really tired from the trip and was going to take a nap.


Regardless of what she looked like, I was happy my Aunty Vicky was home! Finally someone would explain to my father that it was okay for me to go to the movies with my friends. I was so excited to tell Daddy she was back. It would be a pleasant surprise.


I heard the horn of Daddy’s car and rushed to open the gate. I couldn’t wait to tell him the good news! It turned out Daddy had already heard. Our nosy neighbor, Mrs Uzo called Daddy and told him she saw a ‘strange looking young woman’ go into our house. He rushed home immediately after that.


“Who is in my house? Ehn Dunni? Who did you let into my house? You are now friends with prostitutes? Mrs Uzo said a prostitute entered this house today!” he screamed at me. Before I could say a word, Aunty Vicky came out of the bedroom.


“Good evening Brother. Ekale


My Dad was silent for almost one minute, and then his face broke into the biggest grin I had ever seen.


“I told you so,” he said. “I told you abroad was not meant for people like you”.








There is no kerosene left in the lamp. I told my husband to let us buy one of those solar rechargeable lamps but he said no. It’s too expensive. There are also no more candles in the house. I told Kunle, my husband to let us buy a generator but he said no. It’s too expensive. Everything is too expensive for Kunle. I have no engagement ring because Kunle said the ones he found were too expensive. He proposed to me with a ring I already owned. At the time I thought it was cute.


I don’t have a car. I had saved up money to buy one but Kunle said it was too expensive and we should put the money to better use. I also do not work. I got a job in Lekki- we live in Ikeja, but Kunle said it was too expensive going from the mainland to the island to work. He told me turn to turn it down. I joked that if I had a car, it wouldn’t be a problem. Kunle said my joke was too expensive.


Kunle and I have been married for 5 years. We don’t have any children. Kunle said children are too expensive and we can’t afford them at the moment. He said we should wait till our 6th year of marriage or our first million; whichever one comes first. Kunle is an engineer and he works at the Apapa port. He spends 3 nights a week at the port, making repairs to the ships. Kunle said that buying fuel in his car to go from Apapa to Ikeja everyday is too expensive. He sleeps on the ship to cut down on costs.


I decide to take some food to my husband at the port one evening. I think about taking a taxi, but I know he will say it’s too expensive and get upset. I take a keke from our house to Ikeja along bus stop, a bus to Moshalashi, another one to Oshodi, one more to Ajegunle and an okada to the port. I get to the port and look for Kunle’s station. The security guard tells me there’s no one there. “Madam, call your husband for phone. Everybody don commot for this place,” he tells me as he slouches back to his old chair to resume his nap. It shouldn’t be this stressful to surprise one’s husband.


“Oga, my husband dey sleep for this place. I’m sure he just stepped out. I will sit down here and wait for him”, I tell the surly looking security guard. He barely even lifts his eyelid to look at me. I wait for one hour and consider calling Kunle. It’s almost 8pm at this point and I don’t want to have to go back home too late. Ikeja under bridge is not the safest place for a lady at night.


I finally run into someone that looks a bit knowledgeable. ”Good evening” I say to the gentleman. “Please I’m looking for Kunle. He works at this station”.

“Ohh you mean Oga Kunle?” he says with a smile. “He has gone home oo. They are having a party at his house this evening.” I quickly apologize to the man for disturbing him. We are obviously not talking about the same person. Kunle is definitely not an Oga and he doesn’t believe in parties. He says they’re too expensive.


“There is only one Kunle in this station,” he tells me. “I am even going to their party. I can give you the address so you can go there yourself. Or I can take you if you don’t mind.” My curiosity is piqued, so I get into his car, hoping and praying he’s not a ritualist and this is not a ploy to get me into the forest and drain me of all my blood.


We climb unto Eko brigde, head into Victoria Island and pass the first tollgate. At this point I’m terrified because now I’m sure he’s not referring to my Kunle. Kunle hates Lekki, he says everything there is so expensive. This man is definitely trying to kidnap me.


As I prepare to open my mouth to scream for help through the open window, he stops at a majestic white house. There are two fountains in front of the house, each one with a cherub placed strategically at its centre. The lights in the garden give the water a rainbow colored tint. It’s arguably the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen.


Trying not to get too distracted by the house, I begin to plan my escape.  I’ve watched too many Nollywood movies to not know what happens next. This is where they cover my head with a bag, and lead me to meet the other victims in the all-white room. I quickly open the door and prepare to run unto the street until I notice there is actually a party going on. My curiosity gets the better of me and I go inside the house.


The house is brimming with people; they spill out from the inside to the garden. They are all dressed in white, holding champagne glasses and eating Hors d’oeuvres. I hear the clink of a fork against glass and a man clears his throat, preparing to give a speech.


“Thank you all for coming to celebrate my beautiful wife’s birthday. We’ve been married for 3 years now, and it’s been so wonderful. She still hasn’t left me even though I have to be away from her four nights a week.” The room erupts in laughter at this and he continues.


“I love you baby. I promise to give you the world. Nothing is too expensive for you.” Kunle turns around and kisses this woman on the lips to a round of applause.


Everyone turns around to stare as I drop the bowl of food I completely forgot I was holding.


The bowl rolls down the short flight of stairs I’m standing on and lands right in front of my husband.


Okro doesn’t look too nice on white, hand made, leather shoes.



















“Lower the heat oo! Shalewa lower the heat! Do you want to burn down my house?”


You would think that I had increased the temperature of the gas burner so high, that flames had burst through the kitchen windows and were eating up the street. I was only trying to fry some plantain, and it was taking too long. I don’t have time to waste.


Anyway, all the cries and shouts of ‘heat lowering’ from my mother were just entering one ear and coming out of the other, like wind. Not because I am an alaigboran- which some members of my family claim I am. Uncle Funmi says I’m as stubborn as a he goat, but what does he know anyway? He is a man and his name is Funmi, his parents must have probably passed their poor judgment to him.


Anyway Uncle Funmi called me a he goat just because he told me I shouldn’t carry the large bucket of water from the outside of the house to the bathroom in the house. He doesn’t know that I’m very strong. Of course I carried it to show him. If not for the stupid carpet that decided to trip me, I would have made it. Instead of everybody to tell me sorry for falling down, they were shouting that I broke bucket and poured water on the floor. That day mummy shouted and shouted and shouted, I thought her throat was going to collapse with the pressure.


So as you can see I am not an alaigboran. Bad things just tend to happen to me. Aunty Bukky says it’s the people from my father’s village that are following me. I wonder why they are following me, where do they think I’m going? I never really liked Aunty Bukky anyway. Ever since that day that she shouted at me just because she said she wants to eat ‘yam hand hegg’ and I said Mummy didn’t cook ‘hegg’ that morning. That day she said I’m very ‘senseless hand hunserious’. It took me a minute to figure out what she was trying to say.


It’s obvious that my family members don’t love me. Last week I tried to run away but mummy caught me when I was trying to sneak some rice from the bag in the store to take with me on my long journey. I had decided to go to Lagos to see my daddy. He’s the only one that loves me. He buys me everything I ask for, and he doesn’t shout at me or call me a stubborn goat. On my 7th birthday this year, he bought me a phone. I use it to call him and play snakes. Anyway, that day he came and I told him how mummy beat me the day before, because I was sweeping the living room but they started showing ’As told by Ginger’ on the TV and I stopped.


My daddy’s face became very red! Did I tell you that my daddy is half-caste? He looks like Ramsey Noah. Anyway, my daddy went upstairs to talk to mummy. I’m sure he went to tell her to let me watch TV anytime I want. I miss when daddy used to live here. He told me that mummy and Aunty Bukky and Sister Tokunbo sent him out of the house, because they don’t want him to have any friends. I remember that day. Sister Tokunbo went out and saw daddy with his friend, Catherine and came to tell mummy. I don’t know what is her business. Anyway mummy and daddy started shouting that night as usual, and then they started banging the wall and screaming. I never understood why they did that. Daddy will make noise, ‘gba’ ‘kpo’ ‘gbo’ and mummy will now be screaming and shouting. Was it some sort of game? When they were done, daddy would leave the house and mummy wouldn’t come out of her room till the next day.


Anyway, Daddy left that day for the last time. He never came back. He told me he had to move to Lagos to stay with Catherine his friend. I begged Daddy to let Catherine stay here with us, in the house in Ibadan. I even offered to give her my room but Daddy said no.


So Daddy went upstairs to talk to mummy about my TV, and they started playing their game again. I hear ‘gba’ ‘kpo’ ‘gbo’ followed by mummy’s screams. I increased the volume of the TV because I knew they would soon stop, but it kept getting louder and louder. I wanted to go upstairs, but I know mummy will say I should stay downstairs with Sister Tokunbo. That’s what she does anytime they play their game.


They finally go very quiet and I can finally hear what Blossom is telling Buttercup on Cartoon Network. Praise God. Daddy comes downstairs and runs straight out of the house, so fast I feel the wind blow past as he leaves. He didn’t even say bye to me. What did mummy say to him? I go upstairs to ask her but I’m calling mummy and she’s not answering.


“Mummy! Mummy! Mummy wake up now are you sleeping? What did you say to daddy? Why is he angry? Muuuummmmmyyyyy!!”


Mummy isn’t answering me, she’s acting like she’s asleep but her eyes are open. She’s staring at me but she’s not saying anything. Me I don’t understand. Aunty Bukky and Sister Tokunbo are sitting beside her, crying and screaming. Why is everybody shouting?


Something feels funny. I don’t understand it. But I’m going downstairs to finish my power puff girls. When mummy wakes up she will explain everything.


Le Halcyon



(hal-see-uh n)


Meaning: Denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful. A mythical bird said by ancient writers to breed in a nest floating at sea at the winter solstice, charming the wind and waves into calm.


Believe it or not, I started this blog almost a year ago. I remember it took me a whole week to come up with a name because I wanted something that would make me smile every time I heard it. It was a time in my life I didn’t have a lot of peace. I had just started my service year, and was working at a place that I absolutely loathed. I would wake up every day feeling twice as heavy as my actual weight, and very reluctant to go to work. The place was robbing me of my sanity.


Anyway, back on course. I decided to start this blog, I think in January of 2016. I googled synonyms of calm and peace and after a lot of searching, I found the word Halcyon. I had never ever heard of this word- I initially thought it wasn’t even an English word. I found this on its history:


“According to Greek mythology, Alkyone, the daughter of the god of the winds, became so distraught when she learned that her husband had been killed in a shipwreck that she threw herself into the sea and was changed into a kingfisher. As a result, ancient Greeks called such birds’ alkyon or halkyon. 


The legend also says that such birds built floating nests on the sea, where they so charmed the wind god that he created a period of unusual calm that lasted until the birds’ eggs hatched. This legend prompted people to use halcyon both as a noun naming a genus of kingfisher and as an adjective meaning either “of or relating to the kingfisher or its nesting period” or calm.”


Nice little story, right? When used as an adjective, Halcyon basically translates to a feeling of calm or tranquility. The ‘Le’ is thrown in there, just because I’m boujee. Lol I joke.


My name is Tolu. I am a writer. I like to write fiction mostly, which is what you will probably see more of here. I might write about myself sometimes, my life makes for very good story- telling.


Welcome. Stay. Read. Share. Come back.



On the 26th of December 2016, my flight home was delayed for a couple of hours. Blessing in disguise you might say. It gave me the opportunity to do what I had been trying to do for the past 2 weeks, slow down, reflect and strategize.

2016 kind of got away from me. It was like a wild horse that rode with no regard for who was sitting on its back, a horse with no respect for its reigns or who was holding them. 2016 was faster than me, much faster. You would think that this would mean that 2016 was a bad year for me. On the contrary, it wasn’t. It was a very eventful year with a lot of changes. I moved across the country, got a new job and a new apartment, my family moved to a new house and I took a trip I had been dying to go on. The year was packed full with changes.

One of the things I always used to pray against was being stagnant, living life stuck in one spot with no changes whatsoever. I would rather live with any change- good or bad, than live with none at all. So you would think that my review would be more positive, glowing even, you would think I would give myself a pat on the back.

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I am a little bit disappointed in myself, albeit very thankful to God. All these achievements have been through his favor, but I didn’t work for any of them. I had no list of goals I was aspiring to, no dream that was bigger than me. I was basically floating through life, living with no disappointments.

This would seem like a blessing to some, but I wish I had worked really hard at something and maybe failed. At least then I would know that I had tried and that means I can try again.

I want to try next year. I want to feel the trepidation of putting all your time and effort into something that may/ may not succeed. I hear it’s not a good feeling, but as all other things in life, I would like to see for myself.

P.S Today is the 3rd of February 2017. I’m trying. I typed up my goals for the year and I’m shaking my head at the list and laughing. I’m basically saying to myself ‘Babe, are you well at all?’ But at the same time, I’m excited. My brain is riddled with thoughts and ideas and things I didn’t even know could be thoughts or ideas and I have an outlet for them now. I’m discovering what my skill sets are. 2017 is the year of the ‘try’, Ladies and Gentleman, and I’m doing it.

It’s a wonderful feeling. So far, So good.