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Listen to my mind and not to my body! by Nse Ikpe-Etim

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My girl, Actress Nse Ikpe-Etim called my attention to a lovely piece she had written for a website debateandreviews.com and I felt I just had to share it with you guys…you’ll see why! Happy reading!

Nse Ikpe looking out

Nse Ikpe Etim looking out

After a night of bliss at my own designated Hard Rock Café, I woke up one morning and decided that paid employment was not for me. No risks involved.

I always got paid on the 24th of each month, with or without performance oriented results. My conscience did not help in any way so I took the front door out and never went back.

Faced with the challenges of not earning any more money from my “office”, I decided to become entrepreneurial….hmmm! One, two, or many, more steps before I arrive at the destination of my choice.

Thoughts of being all on my own haunted me, but I ignored the pressing issues and slept for days unending, enjoying my new found freedom. Food, Food…..and more Food. Small wonder my waist line began to look fuller.

I thought of so many ways of making money, seeing the fact that I had many addictions. Human hair, designer bags, shoes and I had to smell right all the time. My skin, a given. I always tell my friend, it must report.

I asked anyone who cared to listen what it would be like to own a spa…and they all said it was a brilliant idea. They proffered all kinds of solutions, the capital, solely my headache. I wondered where and how I would raise the capital, and once you have a body like mine, I realized my brain never mattered.

Is this because I possess a somewhat nice body or being female is just a crime in the business scene?

Why did every male investor want to invest in my body and not my mind, thoughts and business Ideas?

After series of fruitless meetings that led nowhere, my future looked bleak. My funds began to deplete, and I knew my landlord would come knocking. Sleepless nights had become the only form of my relaxation as I surfed the Net hoping that an Idea would spring from one already had.

I began to curse my body as it was the only reason the powers that be had refused to hear me out…..they just stripped me each time I approached them.

I became a recluse. Life was dealing cards and each passing day came with a different hand and just when I thought there were no aces, the call came through.

My friend was hungry and she came crashing through my doors. I fixed an off menu dish as I had nothing prepared and as she ate, she became so sentimental about the food and bang the Idea came.

She asked if I had ever considered cooking for commercial purposes and much as it sounded strange, it made more sense than anything I had heard in a long time. I pondered.

I looked for a way out and decided I had to draw up a proposal and a bankable document to get capital to start off restaurant.

First, I called up my late father’s friend and he seems like the right sort to speak to. He paints the picture of a perfect business plan, calls up a friend and in a fortnight I have the document that can turn my life around. The only price I had to pay for him to stand as a surety for me was to give him a receptacle…me! What nerve?

And to think this man is 65 years old with children. Another one bit the dust and I was left out in the cold again looking for another way out.

Who is to say that if I had succumbed to his whims and caprices, would there have been a restaurant? On what terms would we have signed this contractual agreement?

I went back to my bed which serves as my drawing board and cried. I was tired of telling people my dreams, tired of asking for help in any form as it had become a broken bridge. My friend always said to me, “Make Room”. I thought I had tried to make room but nothing happened. All Daddy’s friend wanted was my body in exchange for more lies.

I got wind of a party that was to rock the town, so I spoke to the lady of the Manor about it. She asked to taste my food, and I willingly arranged a food tasting evening for her. It was to be my first ever attempt and I was nervous. She decided to let me do some of the dishes and that was a blessing to me.

My food rocked. The party rocked. As an off shoot I got other deals and found myself travelling in the middle of the night from the eastern part of Nigeria after a brilliant outing yet again just so I could spend Christmas with my family. I arrived at 3am.

I made room, my business has started without the much needed capital, so all you out there who would rather my body than mind….ta….I am gone with the wind!!

Nse Ikpe-Etim is an Actress and lives in Abuja.

This article first appeared in www.debateandreview.com but is reprinted here with permission from the writer.

26 Comments

  1. PET

    January 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Very well put together! Old men and their stinking advances – number 1 killer of dreamz! But then, i cant help wondering why highly placed women would not come to the rescue of young female entrepreneurs, they’ll rather spend all the money on Gucci, Tiffany and Louboutin!

  2. Fine Babe

    January 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy…

  3. NotNaija

    January 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Wow. I have respect for you, it’s not easy to stand by what you believe. Under no circumstances should you settle for less in your life. We did it when we knew no better, now that we understand that God has a special purpose for our lives and that we are to seek the things above, it’s easier now to strive for righteousness. Ill and easy gains never bring peace, it’s just a matter of time before the demons come knocking at the door and who will answer? Be blessed! I am glad for this piece I pray it gives others a different perspective in life.

  4. F

    January 13, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    It is so sad, but unfortunately true… The problem continues to perpetuate itself as well since younger girls see how using one’s body instead of intellect and personality can be more effective in today’s world so they do not bother to develop themselves on the inside. There are too many secondary school aged girls I have met who want to be like Jordan or any other “glamour” model out there… Really? You have the chance to go to school and you want to take off your clothes for a living??? It’s like the Yorubas say those with caps don’t have heads and vice versa…

    I love the uplifting twist at the end, though… At least it’s not all bleak…

  5. info?

    January 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    True, what about rich women? Good point!

  6. JEN

    January 13, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Educated women are the culprits/victims. There used to be a blog about a journalist turned banker who slept with men to get huge accounts, vacations, promotions, money to send siblings to UK and the readers just cheered on in comments. There are dream killers but another problem is so many succumb to the nonsense old married men and other women support with it over time. (See UniLag and UniAbuja girls, using lecturers for grades, senators for housing and dubai shopping, and then eventually continue to use their bodies for career success etc)

    Loved the article! Privileged women should really intervene.

  7. JEN

    January 13, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I meant educated women are SOMETIMES/ A FEW TIMES the victims/ culprits.

  8. oncesaved - alwayssaved

    January 13, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Strive for righteouness? how? You did nothing to qualify for it in the 1st place…read it again

  9. NotNaija

    January 13, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Christ is our righteousness, when we live for God, we partake in that righteousness, it’s not on our own, but we must want it that is what I meant by striving for it, it’s attainable and it’s do-able.
    Thank You

  10. mamichulo

    January 13, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    beautiful piece! i have serious respect for Nse if this is a true story o! the courage to walk away from a stable job in search of your dreams…
    i agree with others, women need to start helping each other out….

  11. Fellow Entrepreneur

    January 13, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Inspiring article! Every woman in the world should read it, because what she experienced occurs everywhere and as women our bodies can only be respected if we respect it first, by saying no to men who want to use us. However, as women without trust funds to bring our ideas to life, we must learn to begin our dreams in small ways and grow from there. The idea to cook is a good one but why did she have to start with a restaurant? Though as impatient people we may not like to wait for success, God led her down the right path by preparing her for her ultimate goal of owning a restaurant because in reality there’s so more to owning a restaurant than just cooking. So many businesses fail because the owner(s) are not prepared for the reality of the work their dream requires. This story also shows that God watches and comes through for those who choose to hold fast to their morals even in the face adversity. Praise God!

  12. Bola #1

    January 14, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Nse’s appears to be a lovely lady.
    For someone who was already somewhat established in her life, and left a surebanker job, you would think that she would have had the connections needed to succeed in the Nigerian climate.
    If she had it that hard, can you imagine how much harder it is for other ladies (with no prior means of earning income) to succeed. I belive these kind of frustrations contribute to making women sleep around just to survive. And once they start, i’m not exactly sure if it makes a difference for them to stop.

  13. Ays

    January 14, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Truely inspiring piece for me. I’m also one of the many young Nigerians
    who feel enough is enough for this monthly pay thingy..i.e., am tired of my job, its not really what i wanted to do in the first place, but av been hanging on basically cos of 2 factors, start up capital and of cos fear of failure!!
    This piece was just like a BREAK OUT CALL for me.
    Thank you and Kudos to u, i wish u all the best.

  14. duchess419

    January 14, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Love her and the article too, wherever you go in Africa ( dont know about abroad) but all men require the same of you when they see you are in need, a great pity cause some of them are old enough to be your father or even grandfather in my case. One word EUUW!!!… but this is a very inspirational article and props to her, I do hope everywoman reads it if they can and see that its good to have dreams, and you gotta start small first before you blow up. Well done.

  15. Tokunbo

    January 14, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    This is a familiar phenomenon you know. Women are always at the receiving end of sexual harassment. I really identify with this writer, and I had and still suffers from this situation even though I am married now. Nobody want to help a woman especially if she is beautiful or has a great body, it seems like its a curse to be richly endowed. Anyways we always find a way out most times without getting hurt. Women activists should actually do more and every woman must say NO to intimidation and harassment

  16. boogsy

    January 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    er…i am thinking it is fiction o!

  17. bimbim

    January 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    i love this piece…OMG!!!this has inspired me alot,cos the beginning sounds like my story…i just left a minimum wage job after 24months of being static….after earning a degree in Economics under d harsh sun and the unfriendly unimaid weather,only to look for job everywhr n cud only find one at long last as a front desk officer in one of the leading telecoms coy in Nigeria…Took it up,hoping better ones will come along d line as i completed my Masters programme,but still nothing!i really admire women who know wat they want in life and take a bold step towards achieving their dreams….Naija is hard ooo,with ur dreams and aspirations,u have to be tough as a woman to succeed,and i admire the writer’s ability to say ”NO” to sexual advances all in d name of dreams…I think most young women should emulate her courage…..
    Thx Bella for sharing this with us…

  18. az in...

    January 14, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    loll… I’m thinking the same

  19. Nneka

    January 14, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Fiction or not…..it is food for thought for all women.

  20. thislove

    January 14, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    This piece reminds me of a short story in Chimamanda’s The Thing Around Your Neck. I enjoyed this read, thanks Bella.

  21. mac sale

    January 15, 2010 at 11:47 am

    The story is so nice and at some point gives us lessons about life, men, and failures. Failures with things that we want to achieve but for some reason the exchange would cause of our own self. And in any hardship of life, what important is we always try and accept whatever comes.

  22. berry

    January 15, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    nice piece.u ve got some writing talents this article sounds like a story garnished with lot of inspirations and advice directly or indirectly.never stop persevering

  23. Bola

    January 17, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Its a true story actually! It really happened according to the author.

  24. Sims

    January 18, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I can see why her body would cause all these, i mean the babe is HOT!!! i mean, she has d kind of body every woman dreams of

  25. Afribabe

    January 19, 2010 at 2:06 am

    Most ritch African men r so damn dirty n unprofessional…i believe errything she said kuz it olwayz happens 2 me when da manager is a African…Sum1 shuld really put a stop 2 ol dis mess

  26. GLORY

    May 26, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    BRILLIANT ARTICLE !
    AND VERY MUCH A REALITY,
    LOTS OF YOUNG FEMALE ENTREPRENUERS ARE FACING THIS.
    AM ALSO GONE WITH THE WIND JUST LIKE NSE

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