Empty white space.
That’s all I see trying to write this. I’ve been here for several minutes staring at the blank space, as though forces unseen are in control of my fingers, preventing me from striking a letter.
But I dared them already. You see, I struck the first letter D.
I don’t exactly know where to start, but looking back at the several lines so far I think I have started.
It’s the last day of the year; lots of days since I did something like this. This won’t be a transcript of a 365-day journey, but you’ll get the point. I hope so.
I apologize for my inconsistencies and fizzling on the blog this year. I got the WordPress annual report for the year and I was ashamed! I mysteriously grew a thick skin to post notifications of blogs I follow; erstwhile constant reminders of my inactivity on the blogosphere. Regardless of the fact that I wrote more this year like I set out to, I had to choose between blogging and another form of writing. It was a Hobson’s choice and I had to go all the way with the latter. It dawned on me that I miss the wonderful readers and their comments, more than I miss writing on the blog itself.
Speaking of the blog and awesome readers, I almost lost one―not to death―around the last quarter of the year. I got so carried away with “things” that I became unaware I was passing the wrong clues. The proverbial blow that broke the camel’s back was a strange attitude, or rather, negligence that became a part of me under the guise of being busy. I would miss calls, get pings and texts and then promise to respond when I’m free, only for me to get the freedom and never fulfill my promise. I automatically got sobriquets with “pride” as root-word from some, and a surgical unfriending and unfollowing from others. I blame no one else but me. That wasn’t my real face o, and I am sincerely sorry. I learnt my lesson and I know it won’t recur.
The year came and went so quickly (I remember the first few days of the year like they weren’t so far away), but that’s just an illusion informed by how great or otherwise the year has been for respective individuals. Mine was nimble-toed because despite the little bumps, it was a smooth ride: no accidents, hospital admissions, unfortunate events even in strange lands, etc. Many thanks to the Gracious God for life and for the gifts and privileges, even though we often classify them into categories of basic/general/simple blessings and major/customised blessings; usually taking the former for granted. Sometimes when we have a piece of a thing we ask why we don’t have a truck full instead, despite the efforts we put in. Surprisingly, we usually forget that breathing for just another day automatically qualifies us for greater things.
I’m grateful for my friends, colleagues and family; their micro soft words of encouragement and punchy power points that nudge one to excellence. Life would appear in monochrome without them, I’m sure of that.
I did things I never thought I could do or be trusted with at the time this year. The saying that we don’t know how much we can do until we’re thrown to the deep end held true for me, and I appreciate the opportunities. Borrowing an expression from a blogger friend, Monsieur Kingsley, you never really know how long you can hold on until you find yourself dangling between the devil―or the blue sky―and the red soil.
I was constantly reminded this year that I have grown and qualified for some feats and milestones; but the year also reiterated the fact that there are no strict rules, and that being ready to pick up the mantle is a great prerequisite to shouldering responsibilities. I have not leaped, but I have moved and I am thankful for the pace and the many lessons therein.
Contrary to the opinion of some friends, and their attempts to convince me otherwise, this year buttressed the fact there are no straight answers to most questions. Many opinions/ideologies will not withstand 365 days split to three, and obvious can sometimes double as oblivious. The lady/gentleman that got you humming Titanic’s theme song at first sight may turn out to be a zonkey and the end of you. A simple answer to a seemingly simple question can haunt you for a year or for the rest of your days. You can hate and then love a thing within a month, and the shift will be lost on you. Sometimes, there is a third option after yes and no, and it’s your prerogative to state what it is. Think hard before you make major decisions and say huge pronouncements. Matter of fact, never say never!
Among other things, this year has taught me that:
- opportunities can find you in boxers and no shirts, when you least expect one;
- love can creep up on you at any time or place (cupid won’t send you a memo);
- you’ll always find a flaw if you won’t stop scrutinizing;
- things can go all the way down south even when you think you’ve got it all figured; and
- death can knock on anyone’s door; keeping it locked out won’t be an option.
I don’t have a list of strict to-dos or resolutions, as people are wont to draw one at this time of the year. I’m aware that there are lots of things to do and improve on, but I will take things easy, one step at a time, poco a poco. I will enjoy life, laugh out loud, get down to business and ditch the cutlery sometimes, cry if the movie/story is too touching/emotional and laugh at the cry-cry chicken, keep 69 as my favorite number combo even if the world finds it mundane, try new things… live, love and learn.
Thanks for a great 2015.
photo credit: google images
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It’s been a long while since I wrote to you, and yes, I know I write this line very often. It’s so bad I have run out of who and what to blame for the disappearing acts.
Here I am, pulled out from under the unknown—maybe unnamed—rock I’ve been hiding under all these while, typing out my heart content. I know you won’t be bothered about cohesion of thoughts, flow, organisation and all other stuffs critics subject writers to, because if you do I’ve got this stand-by good news: I’m not a writer.
I’m naturally very rebellious when it comes to statements like “all Ijebu people/ladies are stingy/bad wives”, “Ibadan people are very local”, “fat ladies sing well”, “flashy fair guys are Casanovas”, bla bla and bla. I was particularly against the “what you do consecutively for twenty-one (21) days becomes a part of you” statement, because I “worked-out” for more than a month to maintain what was left of my six-minus-one packs, but I skipped the routine for a few days and I didn’t revisit it again (by the way, there is a faster way to achieve that: shed a ton of weight first. Mail me for the remaining tips). I’ve got a few packs left though. Methinks.
Like I wrote above about the statement, I was against it.
Reality set in and taught me some really cogent lessons. Real life is way different from the fancy things we cook in our minds. In fact, reality is more of the old black-and-white TV and far from the 75” LCD TV one wants it to be; it’s just left for one to put on one’s multi-colour lens of choice to view the moving pictures, or throw in some modifications, if one can. Maybe I’m just rambling; perhaps this is the part where I should write “Selah” in a large font. You choose.
My piece of reality was set before me recently, but I erred by buckling to its dictates, instead of viewing it with my very own lens. I got busy with important things, but I let go of other things that make me happy; things I enjoy doing. I felt working a little harder to get things done in spite of myself would make a huge difference, and I was right; I got used to living without the fun. It-stucks-after-twenty-one-days ideology set in.
A really huge difference isn’t it?
When it comes to reacting to the sight of backlog of mails on someone’s device (say some sixty-something unread mails), I think I’m a screamer. I was a screamer. I would look the person in the eye and give the “dude! Like seriously?” face. I think karma hasn’t had my time just yet (busy packaging crash hampers of retribution for better crooks I guess); else someone should have as well looked me straight in the eye—and my nostrils down to my toes—screaming to the brink of asphyxiation at my very own one hundred and forty-two unread mails.
Yeah, it was that bad. And I hate it.
I skim through the mails and disregard the low-ranking ones on the priority list. I could dish out blames at the inadequacy of the 24 hours I’m entitled to daily—approximately 29.17% of which is embezzled by commute time (I kid not), largely Lagos traffic; but I won’t. I shouldn’t. It’s all on me for being just one-directional. Letting go of the things I love to do temporarily sounded like a good plan, but it dawned on me that there will never be enough time, except I create one.
Things should change, and the first step to achieving that is writing this. Now I’ll be reminded of the things I’ve written on the need to put balance in the picture. I will put it as a colour in the lens with which I view and handle life; the aid to my very own box of black-and-white reality.
I wish someone in my shoes—or probably wearing a larger size—would read this and do the needful. Read the mails, reply the pings, read that book, see that movie, holler at the pal, talk with Ma and Da’, hangout with the ma’am… whatever makes/will make you happy. Arrive at a potpourri that has bits of what you want; maybe not everything but most of it.
I almost forgot; I never said it would be easy. I’m not sure it would be very tough either, but I’m about to find out. I hope I stick to my own advice.
Hasta la vista D.
I am @jossef69 on twitter.
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Something happened to me recently. Something that involved my subjection to a loud discomfort in an enclosed space, with my freedom and power to object strangled by a general mindset; a religious mainstream.
As a violation of my fundamental right to peace of mind, it would’ve taken a much different turn if it had happened in a developed country. I’m of the certitude that the source of my unrest would’ve been made to stop, sanctioned, sentenced, or a combination of the three. In utmost sincerity, I prefer the mix.
As if waking up thirty (30) minutes to 5am—in a bid to leave home on the hour, beat traffic and get to the island as quickly as possible—was not enough, every variable I must have contact merged in a conspiracy. Excruciating hooked pain as I sat beside an annoyingly annoying passenger. You’ll understand me soon enough.
This passenger—a woman quadragenarian I’d like to name Mrs Brutus Melody—was a typical pain source (in the rump, neck, and other strategically important body parts) that starts little, gathers momentum inch after inch, arrives at a crescendo and finally, explodes. All in a drab unmelodious tone. I had once imagined Mr Ibu singing Kumbaya; trust me, I prefer the imagination to that reality.
First, her lips began to move like a squirrel munching kernel after a week of fasting and no prayers. I cast her one of those quick glances that carry a c’mon-stop-this-your-nonsense-before-thunder-strikes-you message, but she didn’t move a muscle. Not even a fibre. Continue she did.
As a general rule I follow, I never expend a molecule of glucose let alone a negligible amount of energy on matters that neither affect me/people nor pose a threat to national security, so I relaxed and occupied my space while she continued munching. I went over my laid plans for the day.
But then munching became humming. Hums that can irk the deaf, not at all like that of the sweet humming bird.
Livid as I was, I didn’t bother to turn to her since I already could imagine the woody mien she would have installed on her face; the face that got my vote of immense hate—or hatred, whichever is more caustic—within just a few minutes. I tried to suppress my anger but I noticed my face was also contorted in a way Mr Bean would envy.
The noise from the bus slightly muffled her voice and I was relieved. None of the noises was desirable but somehow I—and other passengers I can assure you—preferred the former to the latter. The relief was however short-lived. The engine revs eased upon gliding into traffic and Mrs Melody took that as a cue to go up at least two notches, shifting into gear her musical explosion.
And she blew our minds to pieces. Nay, scratch that, she blew us to smithereens.
Prior to the moment I had no idea what she was up to but it started making sense to me seconds after the burst. Mrs B. Melody had hitherto prayed (the munching), worshipped (the humming) and then on the main songs of praise (the outburst). All faces turned to her with several frowns and contortions communicating disapproval, but the gestures proved futile as she was deep gone in the spirit.
What can the faces of the disturbed do to a disturbance whose eyes were firmly shut? We didn’t even seem to amount to a mountain before the wicked Zerubbabel in skirt. She delved deeper into the songs which were grossly loud and incoherent, and then spoilt her face like she was trying so hard to weep or stifle an emotional breakdown. It is better depicted by the countenance of one who crunched alum or rushed near-ripe agbalumo (Chrysophyllum albidum).
She shifted through various kind of gospel musics—rock, reggae, high life. . . even pentecostal hymns and many others yet to be discovered let alone documented—in terrible treble and catastrophic tenor that was pure tremor-inducing terror. Yes, frogs croak and it’s annoying, but even the slimy croakers are often rhythmic in their business.
As you would expect, I dubbed her the owner of the most horrible voice mankind has ever heard, and imagined. Whoever beats the record should be shot. Close range. In the head.
The traffic lasted for over an hour and Mrs Melody didn’t pause for once; she had the strength of at least two horses and one black cow. In between I had developed migrane, murmured, hissed severally like others, and a pregnant lady by her other side had changed seat. My anger stemmed from the fact that nobody complained; not even a word to the effect. We all sat and listened compulsorily while the lone mass choir did her morning devotion, more like a mini church service aided by a made-in-Obudu public address system that has seen better days.
Diary, do you know why no one stopped her even though we all would unanimously agree to toss her out into the lagoon if presented the priceless opportunity?
Fear. Fear of stopping someone praising God!
It is ridiculous! You may not understand that. I doubt if you really understand religion, especially in the way we handle it in this clime. I doubt if you know a thing about Sunday school either. The thing here is this: nobody wants to be dealt with like a certain woman was, for mocking a king praising God in his own way, in his own palace. I refer to the King David versus Michal case contained in the holy book here (around 992 BC).
Notice the bold words above? She got served because she mocked him, not complain of disturbance; and he praised in his palace, his royal space, not in some fancy chariot with others or a full fourteen (14) passenger bus.
It was a violation and she was wrong (my opinion). No one should disturb the peace of others all in the process of praising God. What if I was meditating and communicating with my God as well at the moment? What if I was churning in my head ideas on how to cure ebola without a salty input, or better ways to relate with Bola?
With these valid points of mine I have convinced and not confuse myself on the subject matter, right? I’m justified and should be bold to caution her, yes?
Wash! Iró nlá!! Terrible lie!!!
I didn’t. I couldn’t. It was a risk I wouldn’t take at that moment. The believe had eaten deep into me and obviously my other comrades-in-discontent.
So we suffered. In silence. Enduring our collective malady; none willing to risk the possible consequence of stopping the ma and her brutal melody.
I am @jossef69 on twitter.
This is my first time of writing a piece of my mind to you right here, and I seriously hope this continues. I’m attempting to share thoughts through writing—or ranting, in similar word—to a John Doe that listens, or another version of Señor Joe in the alternate universe. Hopefully you will be of a better persona and have less propensity of becoming bald.
I can read through some thought processes right now bent on unofficially proclaiming me as a sexist, so please diary, feel free to be transgender. You can be a she, a Jane Doe, or a Señorita Josephine as the situation demands. I’ll remain myself.
Now to my very first.
The paradigm of marriage perplexes me. First time I listened to ‘Iyawo Mi’ by Timi Dakolo I was only drawn by the voice, rhythm, and other cool stuffs except the lyrics. Over time I got to listen properly to the content (great song that
should may attract the adjective ‘evergreen’ from the sound of it), and my reflection shifted into gears.
Heaven and earth were promised his sweetheart (his newly wedded wife inspired the song, almost obviously. I think he confirmed that) and that got me thinking. Within a short time you leave your family/siblings with whom you’ve over what seems like ages shared lots, especially the most sacred of all connections—blood. You choose a woman, an hitherto complete stranger (from a very objective perspective) from across a distance, country or continent, and she eventually becomes your wife and dear; your closest and newest favourite.
She does the same to her family and starts a new life with you; an entire entirety under the umbrella of marriage. I’m not incestuous, neither am I advocating it. . . this is just a flummoxed bloke writing out his mind.
It is what I call necessary handing over, from the perspective of the erstwhile family of course. Ask the wife and husband’s parents and siblings and you will have a better grasp of what I mean. Little wonder many mother-in-laws in our very own nollywood—and typical realitywood—expands like fluted pumpkin and bloats like the amazon mega-frogs, becoming auto-rivals with the new ma’am that has the cookie. After all, she (new wife) was never there nor partook in the trouble when Le Boo spent nine months—or more, in the case of some special bigheads—in the womb forming as the to-be desired man, wet bed with urine shamelessly even till age ten, broke a leg or got hit by a near-death sickness. . . and a host of many troubles he put the family through.
In case you’ve taken my advice already, assuming a feminine existence at the moment and fanning the embers of activism in favour of the Jane species, I want you to understand that I can as well write the same for the wife, though I can do it better from the angle of the Le Boo, being a man and an aspiring husband myself.
As a religious individual marriage is, inter alia, purposeful union, obedience to the grand commandment; a convenient corroboration of the idea of a biologist: regeneration or procreation. To the chemist, an apt reaction—which I’d like to be (near) irreversible—of their choosing would fit. To the category I’m yet to brand a nomenclature, it is testing new waters; actualising fantasies; exploring sexuality; unrestricted experimenting with things. . . intimate things that birth the idea of the biologist. Please decrypt ‘waters’ your own way.
In case you’re wondering where this is actually leading to, don’t bother yourself about it. It doesn’t have to lead anywhere or add to the body of knowledge like some undergraduate thesis, I am just maniacally bewildered and letting it out.
If you’re satisfied with that, PLEASE stop here. If you however insist, it’s your call. The consequences will be borne by you. I’ll put the rest to you in the words of Hon. Patrick.
I’ll simply say, prestissimo (that is, as quickly as possible), that the marital crinkum-crankum, or if you like, the nuptial higgy-hagger, that has enveloped my mind for a period of aeon now, has all the trappings of an odoriferous saga cum gargantuan gaga.
This is because all the flashpoints of my preoccupation, that has transmogrified into bringing about a calamitous end, always have their fons et origo (the source of origin that is) in an adiabatic furore. I can see the ship of my cogitation hovering around the figurative Bermuda triangle, and if urgent and necessary steps are not taken, it has all the capacities and possibilities of berthing in a pestilential aqua. It is therefore crystal clear, like the biblical MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN; audible to the deaf and visible to the blind, and thus leaves me with two conclusions:
1) The fons et origo of this topic is deep, and if not properly handled could lead me to a catastrophic caledomine—still bomb. Stop, I must.
2) This cachestomoboplutocratic contemplation changes nothing. It is therefore not a gesture of belligerence to result to no symposium, and without tension arrive at a conclusion that matrimony is fundamental and incontrovertibly germane, regardless of the non-egalitarian side turned to some microscopic, or if you like, macroscopic concerned Homo sapiens.
I know. I have not communicated. But I warned you. And I’m very satisfied.
I am @jossef69 on twitter
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