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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Sunday, November 19, 2006

ON HATRED (longish, got cheese, not for the lactose intolerant)

I am sitting up on my bed in my hotel on the beautiful Cape Town waterfront. Across the room my hardworking production associate seki sleeps soundly, a luxury that eludes me for although we had flown 8 hours and had an unbroken 48 hour work day l had the eyeball ache but tense adrenalin charged mind of the true insomniac. It is not helped by my struggles to expunge the poison l had just read from my soul and regain control of my spirits. It is a familiar battle that l have learnt to handle better as l grow in my career but one no less painful than the first dart in the heart. My well-meaning friend Jumoke in Canada had enthusiastically taken two of my articles and submitted them to the Nigerian village square without informing me. She had mailed to tell me so excitedly, and then a couple of hours mailed again to apologize for some of the comments to one of them and warn me before l read them. I got the mails five minutes apart and l then broke one of my own cardinal rules. Read no evil. I read and reeled back at some of the comments in pain not really at the words but at the unmistakable venom and hatred they direct at me.
Let me confess this to you, if the intent of the people who write truly vile things about others is to hurt, they usually succeed. Whether it brings them validation or fulfilment is unknown to me but they can take real pleasure in knowing that they cause pain.
l then go into auto protect mode, a curiously comforting numb state from which l observe myself outside of myself. The result as usual is calming.
The scenario played out in my mind actually happened earlier today at an event put together by the dynamic Peace Fiberesima of the movie awards. We had just seen the screening of Tunde Kelani's beautiful film, Abeni, TK as we call him is one of my mentors and he is excitedly telling me about this new cheap editing software he has discovered. As l mingled with different generations of film and TV minds, l heard an excited scream and l was gabbed from behind and given a warm hug. l turned around and it was one of my former protégé/mentee. I introduced her to television and she has blossomed into a bright, confident and hard working reporter/presenter/editor at a major network. I hadn’t seen in a while. She urgently grabbed my arm and dragged me aside to talk. She whispered aunty funmi, how do l cope, they hate me so much at work l can feel it on my skin. Its bad enough that l have to find a way to get all this done on my own but l cant deal with the hatred aunty. It is so palpable.
I looked at her properly and without more words l knew exactly what she was talking about. At almost six feet of young, generously proportioned, full force female perfection, she was the sort other women would be uncomfortable with. Add to that her drive, energy, purposefulness and you can see how she would reflect other lesser people’s insecurities unwittingly. She told me the many acts of sabotage and harassment at her job then cried, but aunty it is the hatred that really hurts me. How do l deal with it? l smiled, this is familiar territory.
I told her she had to accept some hard facts and learn some new skills. One is that success can be alienating and two some people will not like you, no matter the transparency of your intention or soul. You must try and engage people as much as you can without loosing your essence but always keep your eye on the ball, i.e. your work, talent, skill, assignment or whatever it is that gives you fulfilment and the resources to pursue fulfilment. l know aunty she sad but how do l deal with the lies, gossip and bad stories. Get funny, l said, for every bad story or look, find the funny or silly side so you loose the ability to be severely embarrassed and thus paralysed. For example when l was confronted with a false news story recently, l realised that the accompanying picture was fantastic so every time someone referred to the story, l replied, damn! don’t l look good in that picture. End of discussion, lightening of spirit. Also do not read the stories or read such stories of others or gossip mindlessly. I never understand it when people say l stayed there to get information. That’s the beginning of sycophancy and sycophants hold their boss/friend victims in a cage of fear. If anyone says anything uncomplimentary or untrue about a friend, boss or acquaintance in my presence, l will interrupt and say clearly that what is being said is untrue and l know this person. I will after wards not even tell the person concerned about it because the matter has been dealt with and settled, l don’t want to score emotional points based on fear. My close friends would never repeat a gossip or a line from a story to me unless it is libellous in which case, we go to court. Reading burns the venom into your heart to be regurgitated for a repoisoning of the system, surely not a necessity. She nods but said, people are not like that. I said on the contrary, l find that they are if they know those to be your values However, remember that even when these things happen, they don’t define you. Bad stories are usually a three week wonder, those who make money off it, move on to the next story and those who don’t find another person to attack in an unwinnable battle to fill a missing void in their own lives, the ones who either hold on to the stories or unearth it periodically are truly pathetic and deserve real sympathy in the absence of professional help. She smiled at this then l said to her, most importantly, put things in their true perspective. The world does not hate you. For every one jealous, envious, misconceiving or just plain stupid person out there, there are tens, sometimes hundreds and with some people even millions cheering you on. We tend to focus on the one spot of ink on a bright white canvas, who wants a white canvas anyway, make a wonderful picture of colours from your canvas of life. Remember to focus on your cheerleaders, especially the people who will be objective with you and who truly know and love you wart and all. l recall once on a live edition of my show, a caller had abused me because he did not like my hairstyle (it was actually my natural hair). Even though such calls were rare and other callers roundly condemned him. I was obsessed by this one caller, my spirits dropping below knee level for days after. About a year later a man walked up to me at an event and identified himself as the caller. I looked at him and l began to laugh hysterically, he was puzzled but allowed himself to be drawn into my mirth, gleefully leaving me his number, a key to potential friendship. I never called him as he had served his purpose, which was to show me clearly the foolishness of my pain. For how in God’s earth had l allowed the opinions of such a poor specimen of humanity dominate my days and rob me of productive energy? Loosing that is loosing your essence, the gift, the magic that combined with learning, work and grace produces the much admired and equally despised (hated camouflages fear) quality that is possible when one walks in his divine wiring. I laughed and genuinely thanked him, he was not sure what for but l knew it was for liberating me from the power of hate. I told her all this and patting her dimpled cheeks said, just remember not to take yourself so seriously, it is only our ego that is wounded when these things happen and we must get beyond ourselves to truly find happiness. She hugged me and left, her full possibilities obvious in the bounce in her step, the proud nod of her pert backside. l remember the incidence now and my numbness melts into grudging amusement and l slowly unfurl, the hurt is breaking up and my spirit lifts as l look out my window at robben island in the distance, a reminder of the power of the human sprit to transcend all. Tomorrow l will go on a pilgrimage to robben lsland with some of my known cheerleaders, TK, Makin, Seki and my friend Onoshe. Its great to be in Mandela’s South Africa.

22 comments:

Funmi said...

I am glad you are not letting the narrow minds of a few people pull you down. Thanks for sharing this it helped me put a few things into perspective.

Anonymous said...

The "ketekete" story is the story of the world...If Jesus were alive today, I'm sure there would be some person who would say "Ki lo n she Jesu yi gan"?
Don't let the haters get to you...just do your thg, girl!

pamela said...

I pray for God to keep people like you motivated and protected and know many others who do too. one musnt look to others to validation but its good to know you are loved. I absoloutely adore you and what you represent.
Now sharing time.....
My mom is a super achiever, a professor and a vice chancellor. she managed to turn around a new shaky universty into one with accrediation in every single course applied for, one that banned handouts and suspends lecturers for demanding graft, computerized records and operations, produces results 3 weeks after exams (lecturers have thier salaries stopped if they dont deliver)and gives certificates to graduands two days after convocation(which takes place just 3 months after final exams). And all this in under 2 years. Does this stop virulent, malicious gossip being thrown her? of course not. it hurts but people have all kinds of reasons to lash out. Its thier inexplicable issues not yours. dont waste one friggin second wondering who abused them in the past... or whatever

and of course being a single woman makes you a target too.

abeg jus do your ting jo!

hugs

pamela

TP said...

Ah thank you, thank you, thank you for this post Funmi. It's my first time on your blog, and this first post I read is wonderful. I have come across incidents of people hating and trying to bring you down. Thanks for reminding me to ignore the haters and focus on the people who love and support me. Someone once told me that when people see you achieving big things, they either admire and respect you for trying, or they hate you because they wish they were like you.

Keep your head up. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Funmi can I be so bold as to say that you are confusing that person's ignorance with hatred. If that person hates anybody then it is themselves. To stoop so low defies belief but then again the proof about her mindset is in the comment about you just being popular in the Southwest.

This person( I can't bear to further publicise its name) wants to box you in, minimise you, take you down a peg. Classic signs of inferiority complex.

As a man I thoroughly enjoyed the piece and as you know it provided me with the kick up the ass I needed to start my own blog.

So ignore the haters and feel the love.Balance it against all the postive comments you got on the Babangida piece. More grease to your elbows. Enjoy Cape town and Robben Island.

(Please take lots of photos. When I was in Cape Town last month I could not get to Robben Island as it was "sold out". To be honest with you sha this was not a bad thing coz me and sea just don't mix. Naija man to the core.)

pamela said...

i didnt read the villagesquare posts before commenting earlier.

so.... Ive actually visited the scene of the crime and was gobsmacked by the sheer venom. No be small tin oh!
Oh girl you sure say de bobo or husband no dey eye you? abi na contract wey you block? JEEZ. All could think was is this the space female political aspirants will emerge from?
I was moved to pen an epistle and shared it with my women leaders groups. will send a link (its long) soon as i figure out how too.

abeg enjoy robben island

Anonymous said...

Nice post...very encouraging. I'll put it in the bank and withdraw it when the need arises. And in this world of ours, that time is surely not far away.

ada said...

Success ia alienating, and some people will not like you no matter the transparency of your intention or soul.....Funmi Iyanda.

Dang gurl, that was good.

Justme said...

I was just going to post something on my blog about all the DRAMA i am facing @ work. Im a young woman working at a radio station, and for the past few months ihave noticed all the "Hate" surrounding me, all the gossip, the jealousy..........it really bothered me until now. I know its not just me. I have prayed to God about it and i know he will take care of me.

Toni Payne said...

wow!.. bless you for this post. I had my own little experience recently what struck me as odd was the way I handled it.

Normally, I am a fire cracker waiting to explode but that day I kept my cool, did not let it bother me and went about my day and most importantly i did not give a rats ass about anybody's opinion. Trust, that changed a lot of things for me because that day I realized if you do not let it bother you, it won't and have been living my life that way ever since.

My thing is so far I know the truth about me and I am conmfortable in my skin everything else is by the way, plus you can't please everybody.

You know they say if haters do not talk about you, or try to bring you down then u sef should be worried you are not doing something right. lol.

At the end of the day, you have control of your life and people looking in from the outside will form their opinions regardless of how well you do or dont behave.

So hell, if my hair is nappy today and it doesnt bother me, I really dont see why it should be anyone elses problem.

uknaija said...

Funmi,

I enjoy your writing and I admire your achievements and passion for Nigeria. What I am going to say is not insensitive,I mean well. I'm slightly shocked that you are still so hurt by what people say...I would have thought that by now you'd be used to all the hating-it comes with the territory...you need to protect yourself- and often the way to do it is to ignore whatever it is, painful and difficult as it may be to so. Channel your hurt and anger into achieving even more and thus confound the hatred. ?My two kobo

Anonymous said...

hey just want to tell u dat every one must not lik u cos if de do then no one lik u. want to tell u dat cos i told u my experience. and somtime u search urself and if de are false just fashy it and mov on cos its not worth the thugt find dat every where both small,large, just name it and wats up with cape town will really luv a pics of it dere and did u fly, hey just wandering.abeg tak care people do care down here and thanks for trying to help mi but fashy will always tell u wats on my mind and latest thou its against my resolutions u know experience is the best teacher.
cleoterria

erra said...

URRRM,
Excuse me, I just think she is being blatantly and brutally honest. Is it really going to pick a hair off her skin? Will she really be contemplating it when she wakes up on Robben islantis tomorrow. ABEG! Bone Fade :D LOL

Just because you have the power to elevate beyond the simple minded ones doesnt mean they wont still dumbfound you from time to time.
FIYA n die, i feel u o jare. I get you too uknaij.. I was taken aback by her raw feeling on the naysayers, as I personally believe small people gather in small places and the few TINY things they had to say didnt seem that bad or shocking to me but bottomline is she is still human,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and
*sing*
evreeeeebody HUUUUUUUURTS (lol)
Everyyyybody Scarrrrrrrrrrs
everyboddyyyy wounds........

SOMEtime.




...ok I think im officially in love with fiyanda now. Can i be your stan? thank you odabo...

Gbeborun of Lagos said...

Yesssooooo! FI is afterall still human. Its not strange that stuffs we think we've outgrown still gets to us atimes.
it reminds me of something i heard years ago - 'the best of men are still men at their very best'

Anyway, Funmi we'll all (I'm i speaking for anyone else?)love to see some SA pix and youtube video if available.

Idiare Atimomo said...

Glad your spirit can rise that way.

If you base your thoughts on the applause of the stadium, its inevitable that at least half of a stadium is there to cheer for someone else!

Keep moving SISTA!

Anonymous said...

Sis Funmi,

You're truly a phenomenal woman!! This is the second time I find myself printing one of your articles and saving it in a folder on my computer in a public hospital in NYC where I work. You're a truly an inspiration to us younger women to strive to be the best persons we can be. That ability to inspire others and change lives is the priceless.

You are blessed!

Tolu

Olawunmi said...

its funny that you should mention this now, when so many of the people on the blogger community are going through similar problems with readers who just dont understand the concept of freely expressing your own opinion. it is a legal right, as is being criticised without being subjected to personal attacks for you opinions.

people hate, and resent anything they can't control, and thats what you represent, a loose cannon in a world that would rather hear lies than the reality that is your ammunition.

i have learned that people will talk, aand in the end all that matters is being true to myself, and my vision of the God that is in me.

you gave your friend good advice. if everyone loathes her just for doing her job right, then she is probably doing a lot better than she realises.

please keep your head up.

cleo.kelvin said...

hi hope uenjoy ur stay

laspapi said...

funmilola,
had to be informed by an American via e-mail that my babe has a blog. see life.

I nearly had a circuitry overload with all the info I tried to take in at once here. I'll go over all you wrote slowly now.

Welcome back.

Anonymous said...

I'm your number 1 fan:)

Ms. May said...

Awesome post. My sis works on air at Channels and is dealing with this sort of thing everyday. I'm pretty sure she reads your blog but just in case I'll tell her to come check it out...this post especially.

You are truly an inspiration to many just by your words here.

Ifeomaadiagwuagwu said...

Wow. Fantastic article. Very inspiring and encouraging. There are some haters out there but like you rightly said, "one has to get past their hating so as to not loose one's essence / authentic self"

Thanks.