I Needed to Tell the Truth – Lara Kudayisi

Ini: Hi Lara!!

How are you?

Good to see you, good to have you on the show!!
Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

So guys, just in case you’re wondering, my name is Ini Akpan, also known as IniWrites. And today on the show we’re having Lara

Lara: Yayyyyy


Ini: We’re having Lara Kudayisi

Lara: I wanted to match your pace…thank you, thank you

Ini: And I did not let you, so…..uhhhhhh, wow! So guys, please give it up for Lara. Whoahhhhhhhh!

Lara: Thank you, thank you everyone, thank you so much

Ini: You’re welcome. Thank you for coming on the show. And if you noticed I didn’t introduce you beyond your name. So, in three sentences tell us about yourself. Who is Lara Kudayisi?

Lara: Okay. So Lara Kudayisi is a relationship expert and a therapist. Ehhmmm and I help people heal from emotional pain, trauma, dysfunctional childhoods to live a happily ever after.

Ini: Ghen.. Ghen…!

Lara: And my story….are you interested in the story or I should just keep it?

Ini: No! Please tell us, tell us.

Lara: Okay, my story in a nutshell is that I healed from having a child at 19, fourteen heartbreaks, 15 abortions and a divorce.

Ini: oh, wow….wow…okayyyy

Lara: Yea

Ini: Uhhhhhh, wow guys. I mean if you’ve had up to 15 abortions, a divorce and 14 heartbreaks….well, I don’t think many people have had that so I guess we’re talking to the expert on healing matters.

Lara: Yea

Ini: So, to be honest that just blew my mind… I’m trying to recover. Even though I’ve heard your story before, I’ve heard your story so many times but the way you said it just like…

Lara: No be you again?…you Ini

Ini: (laughter) …it took my breath away….okay, so ehmmm…wow.

We’re having you in this show today because you wrote a book titled “How the Matchmaker’s Marriage Failed”. And we edited that book.This month we’ve been talking about marriage and we wanted to talk about your book because I mean, its beyond just saying oh prepare for marriage, or what to do in marriage. Divorce is part of marriage, so we also wanted to know what to do when marriages fail. So thank you again for coming on this show.

Lara: Thank you for having me

Ini: Your book has such an intriguing title- How the Matchmaker’s Marriage Failed. Hehe…ahhh…aunty, you’re matchmaking people and your marriage failed. So why did you write this book?

Lara: uhmmmm … Firstly because I’ve been sharing that story for a while since about 2012, and it was about marriage. So it usually ends with I had a child at 19, 14 heartbreaks, 15 abortions before I got married. That’s what people know, many people didn’t know that marriage had broken and I was divorced. I felt like my audience needed to be updated as one of my values is authenticity. This is very important to me. I believe that as a relationship expert and matchmaker, telling people they could live happily ever after and mine was crumbling want right. I needed them to know that even their healer needed help. I didn’t want to live a plastic or cosmetic life.
Secondly, I needed people who had been through broken marriages to relate, they needed a voice. Married women going through pain needed to understand that they’re not alone in their struggle.

Those are the reasons why I wrote that book. It was like a dynamite and I’m really glad I wrote a book with that intriguing title.

Ini : What I hear is number one authenticity, and she wanted to be true to herself, her brand and her values. And I think that in doing that, you’ve taken power away from your opponent and anyone who would try to sabotage you. You took that power away from them by sharing your story out there yourself. And the second reason being that people could relate with the story. I’m sure we’ll ask this in the subsequent question. There’s something you told me recently that I think our viewers need to hear.
Question 3: What major challenges did you encounter while writing this book? I know part of this story, but for the sake of our audience I’d like you to Tell us your major challenges and how you over come them.

Lara: Writing this book wasn’t easy as I had to release some emotions that I had supressed. Bringing back those emotions again wasn’t easy. I also struggled with how much information to put out there or if I should hide some parts. I questioned myself a lot. I always say that Nigeria is not ready for people like me. Many persons would be quick to criticize and judge you . Also, at the point where I sent the book to some of my friends and colleagues for a second opinion, I got bad feedback and they felt I was giving out too much, they really didn’t get it or understand why I was doing it. That affected my morale for a while but I eventually decided to go ahead with the book because I felt it was my personal story and my journey to share. I was sure that the people who needed to hear this story would understand.

Ini: So how did you overcome these challenges? What prompted you move on in spite of the opposition?

Lara: Firstly, because of the conviction I have as a spiritual person. Many persons s might not consider me to be a spiritual person because in Nigeria we are used to people associating spirituality with boring and uninteresting people. But I am a very spiritual person and this book was an instruction from God. That was what kept me going, so even though people were opposing me I just kept going. I honestly didn’t know what would come after the book, that’s the funny thing. If you’re Christian or Muslim and God gives you an instruction, please do it. You might not know the outcome but after I wrote this book everything started to make sense. I started having healiny Bootcamp and so many things. So even though many of my colleagues were against this move and felt it would dent my brand, that conviction kept me going and I’m glad I went with that conviction.

Ini: wow….wow…wow….
You guys need to really read this book to understand why I’m wowing like an ambulance. You just need to read this book, you need a copy of this book. This book will blow your mind.
When Lara first sent this manuscript to me I was excited to edit the manuscript and when I saw it was about her marriage, I didn’t know what to expect because I had heard so many rumors before then but I don’t take rumors seriously. So I was excited that I would get to know the story directly so I would get first hand knowledge. A part of me was wondering what she would write, and I didn’t know what to expect because many persons in this situation would blame their partners and hide some facts. One thing I did at the time was to pray that God would take control of the situation. I didn’t know what to expect really and getting that manuscript was exciting for me. When I was done, and the book was published, someone actually came to me again with the rumors about the marriage and I encouraged the person to actually read the book. And I said so because you were very open and plain. There was no blaming or fault finding in your partner or other persons, it was just the story as it is and I was really impressed.

Lara: Yes, when I write or tell my stories, I’m not telling it as a victim. It was a marriage between two people. He did his part and I also had my own part to play. He is the father of my son and he’s a good person but it’s just that our marriage didn’t work. If I was to go about blaming him and not owning my part, that is not authenticity. It negates authenticity. It just pushes the blame so I can be exonorated. Authenticity is not exonoration. It means saying things as it is whether you did good or bad. And I know that’s what a lot of people would see. The first book they read that doesn’t sound bitter or try to shame men in general. I know I was so honest and recently in an interview someone really was so emphatic about the things I shared. Like I said, people are going through this, are doing worse and have done worse and many persons would like to shy away or lie about it. And then when someone comes to share their story to help people many critics would comment as to why you would want to wash your dirty linen in public. This was a ground breaking book for me and I’m glad I did it Ini Akpan.

Ini: Great! Well done.

Lara : Thank you

Ini: What gave you the courage to write this book on divorce, in a clime where divorcees are castigated and maligned especially divorced women. So what was the strong reason for writing this book beyond authenticity?

Lara: There was the fact that when my marriage broke, I needed hope badly. I needed to see women that have been married and that are also experts like me have a broken marriage and still doing excellent. I needed that hope because it looked like that was the death of my brand. As a matchmaker you needed a personal testimony to sell. So I needed hope and answers. So I googled to find out if there were any other women in a similar situation as I was but I couldn’t find any in Nigeria. I kept seeing names of people in America, Real Talk Kim, Sarah James Robert, Paula White, and I couldn’t find any Nigerian. It’s not because it doesn’t happen in Nigeria but because nobody talks about it for fear of stigmatization or fear of blame. And this is a result of our very conservative culture. It represses authenticity. So I decided to be the first person that would do that, in case someone needs hope in the future and tries to find out who had gone through a similar situation and survived it. I wanted to come out so I could give hope.
A second reason was that telling that story was healing for me. I had that story for two and half years before then. It was weighing on me when I had to go on Interviews and people ask me about my marriage and I have to talk about it like it still exists. I couldn’t tell my clients that I could relate to their feelings of broken marriages during counseling because that would be the death of my brand according to my coaches, mentors and colleagues. So telling that story was healing, it felt like I was releasing a burden. I jokingly say I could now do MCM on Instagram without any trouble but that’s on a lighter note. It was freeing but many persons don’t know that. I wrote the book for me too, behind writing for others because it was healing, it was freeing and released me from the burden of the secret.

Ini: It was like you finally exhaled…

Lara : Yes

Ini: Alright. Thank you so much Lara. Now, what life changing testimonies have you received from this book?
I know this book is amazing, what would you say is the most common or life changing testimonies you’ve gotten from this book. As much as you wrote for yourself, this book is a healing book. So what testimonies have you received that made you feel the book was worth it.

Lara: The fact that many married women can relate to that book. Many married women are not happy in their marriages and then many persons make them feel like they are ungrateful because some others aren’t even married. So reading a book like this that seemed to be like them, makes them feel like they are not alone. A lot of women cry when they speak to me, because they can relate to the story like their own. This tells me that this happens to a lot of people. Major dysfunctional childhoods and relationship with parents going sour is a common story that no one has the capacity to tell. That makes me happy. For unmarried people who tell me that some things I wrote would make them make better decisions in marriage. So that makes me feel fantastic.

Ini: So guys, something happened when I was editing her book. I would sometimes stop in the middle of editing and start praying because I was so overwhelmed. When I met you in 2015, you had come out with a great brand and you were married and would come to your events and praise your husband and say great things about him. And I remember saying to myself, couple goals. For me it was healing to edit that book because I realized it was a remarkable experience of knowing what you pray for. I was so excited to edit that book because I had formed so many opinions and it helped me realize that this is the back end of the story we don’t get to see. Like you said, your husband is a great guy not a bad person but it was just that the marriage wasn’t meant to be. But in those moments when you praised him, he became like a model for someone I would want to marry. So having you tell us this back story, I was able to weigh and realize what I needed to have in order to get what I wanted. I haven’t said this before, but…

Lara: You’ve not given me this testimonial before, this is about two years now…

Ini: Then I was more focused on getting the job done, so that’s the reason why. For our listeners I’m saying this, many times I stopped to pray while working on her book and then continue because I realised that marrige wasn’t exactly as we see it on TV. So I’m personally thanking you for writing that book, it was liberating. So everyone listening, you all need to get that book because it exposes so much about being single, married and recovering from divorce. It starts from your childhood and you take us through your journey- almost like a memoir. So it’s not a sub-story or a generic “men are scum” narrative. I think that we’ve said so much about this book, let’s not spill too much for our viewers and listeners.
So when should we expect your next book?

Lara: uhmmm…my next book, maybe by the end of 2020. You know that with the pandemic, we don’t really know what would happen next. Someone once said that we are all trying to survive in 2020. So let’s survive first, then we can start thinking about how to make money or do anything else we want to. But seriously, it’s hard topping “How the Matchmaker’s Marriage Failed”. What do I write next? Reader’s have high expectations after reading tht book. That’s the challenge. As the editor, you would tell me (laughter) what I should write about.

Ini: So, viewers you can write under this post what she should write about next. But first, you’d have to get the book and then when you do, you can now tell what you think she should write about. I think that our viewers, especially your readers would have a better idea what next they want you to tell them.

Thank you Lara

I’m trying hard and restraining myself not to ask any more questions, because we could be here for the next 2 hours at least. There’s a lot about your book we could explore and I think that people really need to get that book for themselves. Maybe we could bring you in the show another time so that you can have a book reading or something…
But don’t just get the book, follow her on Instagram @Larakudayisiinternational.
Is that the same on Facebook?

Lara: No, Lara Kudayisi page on Facebook. Lara Kudayisi on Twitter and YouTube.

Ini: Okay, thank you so much Lara for your time. Thanks for granting this Interview and thanks again for writing that amazing book. I believe that book has encouraged so many people that were perhaps wondering if the end of their marriage was the end of their life. And for people like me who were contemplating what kind of man to marry, it’s also a great book for people like me. And like you said a lot of married women would be able to relate, those who married because of circumstances due to pressure about their age. They would learn how to navigate from your book. You showed us why your marriage broke and what people in such circumstance can do. Thank you for writing that book and it was such an honor to be a part of your story. Thanks for granting this interview.

So, any last words for us before we go?

Lara: No matter what you’ve been through or you’re going through. No matter how bad your life has been, just know that it isn’t too late to live happily ever after.

Ini: okay, thank you. So it’s never too late to live happily ever after. Thank you Lara.