When I put up the post asking where all the first-generation Nigerian bloggers went to, I think I got more information than I bargained for. And I loved it. A lot of people said that bloggers don’t blog from the heart anymore. That’s really sad.
When I started writing nine years ago on Nigerian websites like Nigerian Village Square and Nigerians In America, I really did not have a plan. I was just glad that I could share my thoughts – no matter how outlandish – with other people. And the responses I got for each write-up was ah-may-zeen! I got e-mails from women who said they were encouraged by my words, and I got e-mails from men who had fallen head over heels in love with me *squeals* and of course, I got e-mails from people who said I was straight up stupid. I thanked them all the same.
One thing I know for sure was that I cherished every single e-mail, and I looked forward to constructive criticisms. If I did not construct my sentence well, or if I used the wrong punctuation, or if I did a bad job at conveying my message, or if I even had an entirely wrong idea about the issue I was writing about, I wanted to know. It made me a better writer. It really did.
I remember the people that would send me e-mails and leave comments on the sites and tell me that I was clearly an old hag (not their exact words), that I was a bitter thirty-something year old woman because I had no husband and I was too crazy and extreme for any man to love me, and that I should stop doing that nonsense (writing) and go and get married and have children before my eggs dried up. That was nine years ago, and I still haven’t clocked 30. Go figure.
I never did tell them my age, and because I was anonymous, they did not know what I looked like, so they could only judge me by my words. That was when I found out that the bitterness of a single woman starts at age 30. Apparently, 30 is the abominable age of not being married. If you are 30 and single, you have a legitimate reason to commit suicide because I mean, what else are you living for?
Then I discovered blogging in 2006, and I took it and ran with it. I just loved the idea of being able to write as much as I wanted and post it on my own space for everyone who cared to read. It was never about money, business, or fame. And I knew nothing about Google Analytics, SEO, page views, and unique visits. Seven years later, a lot has changed (as I now know what these terms mean, and I smile when the numbers go up), but I hope a lot has remained the same.
Verastic is no longer just a space I come and have fun with. She’s still my baby, but she’s now also my business. She’s still a baby business, but she’s a business all the same. I have not lost my love for blogging; if anything, I love it more now than I did before. In the past seven years, I have grown chronologically and in many other ways, too. And my blog has also grown. For example, I no longer blog in text speak, and each time I see the text speak in my really old posts, I cringe. But I don’t edit them because that would be tampering with history. I don’t even edit the typos. In real life, you cannot edit your past as you see fit (although I wish we could).
If there is no change, then it means there is no growth. I have not learned everything, and I don’t think I ever will. I think there’s new information about new media every second. I may have changed the way my blog looks, and I may have added ads and sponsored posts, but through it all, I hope the message has remained the same.
It’s very tempting to join the bandwagon and decide that I’m going to start writing about celebrity gossip, or that I’m going to start giving news, or that I’m going to start posting every pair of shoes I find, but that is not me at all. This has never been, isn’t now, and never will be a site where you come for breaking news or celebrity gossip or fashion updates. Because I’m trying so hard to remain myself, I turn down so many things for this blog: press releases, new songs from artists known and unknown, celebrity photo shoots, and more. When I do blog about certain things, like current events or celebrities, it’s because I genuinely have an opinion on the issue.
Here’s what I hope you get from my blog: I’m not as young as I used to be (as I am now of marriageable age), but I am still a kid at heart. I have an active imagination, and I want you to know it. I’m very playful, and I have been sometimes criticized to play too much, but it’s all I know to do.
There aren’t enough words to tell you how much I love this community I have here with you. Each time you leave me a comment, you add a laugh wrinkle to my face (which I try to scrub off with Apricot scrub). I feel like my blog attracts people like me, people who don’t take life too seriously and are quick to laugh at everything.
I have big dreams that are so wide I can’t see their end. I will get rich and famous, and my blog will get me there. But I do not want to compromise my authenticity. I want to have a unique voice; when you stumble upon a post somewhere with no name, I want you to read it and suspect that I may have written it because you recognize my voice. Now, this paragraph sounds like Jesus saying that His sheep should recognize His voice, but trust me, I do not walk on water (as if you need to be convinced).
So I want to know what you really, really, REALLY think of me. And please don’t tell me what you think I want to hear, as lying or sugar coating will do me no good. Do you think I still blog from the heart? My heart, that is.