What If We Could Fly

If man could fly,
the earth would be uninhabitable.

People would be stupid enough to attempt to kiss the sun or get to Heaven, and the birds would be bullied a lot if the first man was created with wings. Oh, the chaos!

Slavery would have happened still. People’s wings would have been cut off. Someone would have sprayed something in the air and rendered people’s wings useless so they could be captured, especially in an attempt to curb people’s migration to certain territories.
“Fly back to where you came from!”
“Get out of my way! No, fool!”

Maybe God didn’t give us physical wings because we are each other’s wings. We just haven’t mastered the art and act of helping one another and flying together yet, if we ever will.

Greedy, money-hungry, power-seeking people don’t deserve wings, for one. Life would have been unbearable if we could do more evil with the aid of wings.

Privacy? Haha haha haha.

The air would have been poisoned more as a way of maintaining territory.  Blah to the blah to the blah.

Think about it; I really enjoyed doing so.

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The Cycle

GetAttachment

She holds the key to your heart,
after you hand it over to her,
and when things don’t work out between you,
she throws the key at you.
You pick the key up,
turn it anticlockwise to lock it,
and for some reason,
tell yourself that she has locked it for good,
as if she has the power to.

When you hold the key
to the heart of a new “she”,
after she hands it over to you,
you delightfully throw the key at her
when things don’t work out between you.
She picks the key up,
turns it anticlockwise to lock it,
and for some reason,
tells herself that you have locked it for good,
as if you have the power to.

Each person nurses their pain
and doctors their true feelings,
dwelling on past pain,
staying away from true healing,
until something or someone
shows up to show them

that the heart does not,
the heart does not need,
the heart does not need a key, anyway.

Levitation

eaglee

You stay grounded when
you see things with your mind’s eye
from a higher perspective,
removing yourself from all things
to be present in everything.

eye

On Social & Political Consciousness in Nigeria: Jí, Má Sùn!

DrummersandDancersByYusufGrillo

“Drummers and Dancers” by Yusuf Grillo

I was watching a movie again yesterday, although I had watched it about three or four times already, from the beginning till the end. It is a Christian movie, a Mount Zion movie, no surprise, since I tend to prefer movies that fall in those categories, especially for the sense of familiarity that they offer. I watched a lot of them as a child, and a few times in a month, I like to have one running in the background while I’m getting work done on my laptop. As an adult though, I can now see that a lot of critical thinking was/still is not invested in the drafting and production of these movies, and I have addressed that here.

I clicked on the tab that the movie was running in and got hooked. The storyline involves a man, an accountant, who does not get paid for months because he refused to illegally alter the authenticity of certain documents. His boss talks down to him in the office, and worse still, his landlord talks down to him at home since he is unable to pay his rent. Basically, his state of living is terribly toxic. It turns out to be a test; his boss wanted to promote him to a higher position and wanted to assess his credibility and loyalty to the company. Prayer is very good. Believing in God’s ability to care for us in our times of challenges and trials, faith, is important too. However, I observed the scenes from a different perspective yesterday and I kept thinking, “there is no way this is normal”.

Where was the Human Resources department? Where was the union? Why does a workplace injustice have to be countered with fasting and prayer, and passivity? In a socially conscious society, a movie about someone not getting paid for months will not be brushed off by a “it was just a prank” attempt to normalize it. There are Christians and none-Christians who do not get paid what was agreed in their contracts in lower-level positions in Nigeria, who do not have the luxury of basic workplace benefits and live from hand to mouth. Many of them even work in none-office settings. Why is the answer to that problem “let’s pray about it”? Is this a joke?

Nigerians tend to not be conscious of the things that they see, hear, and sense, in the general society and in politics, especially in relation to how they affect them as individuals and people. Songs like Codeine Diet, and others that fall into that genre, that praise the use of hard drugs, engagement in online scamming, and objectification of women, tend to be more popular than the ones that preach critical thinking, the probing of politicians, mutual respect between men and women, and the importance of education. Fela was a very socially and politically conscious individual, and those who are obsessed with the idea of being the next him do not even understand what that means at its very core.

Movies in which people, 99.9% of the time, women, are beaten black and blue by their spouses with no repercussions, bosses demand to have sex with their staff in exchange for job security, orphans and poor children roam the streets because there is no national child-care plan for them and their irresponsible/physically-impaired/late parents can no longer take of them, animals are unnecessarily tortured and abused, differently-abled/physically-impaired are made fun of, people are sacrificed for money in occult rituals, and so on, are still being made, with little or no attention to the central problems in the movies, or proposals on how to counter them, except that the characters/victims became better at some point or someone got vindicated.

Ironically, one of the popular slangs in Nigeria now is “jí, má sùn”, a Yorùbá sentence that translates to “wake up, don’t sleep”. As opposed to waking up and being more conscious individuals, a lot of the youth and adults are waking up, but to higher and deeper levels of ignorance, mob mentality, and stupidity. It’s a crying shame.

Unprogressive: Nigerian Christian Movies

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Family Watching TV – Nick Banks

 

I, just like several other Nigerians my age, grew up watching Christian movies. Critical-thinking and inquiries that may come off as a rebellion towards traditions are not necessarily welcomed in African societies, and more specifically, Nigerian ones, especially the ones that are religious, so I kept many things to myself. I was a very repressed person until a few years ago when I engaged more actively in analyzing several things that have barely been questioned, although they reek of myopia. The rest they say is history. I am now more willing to address issues without a fear of rejection or rebuke, more free-thinking too, and I am grateful to God for that.

Yes, Christian movies are unprogressive. Before I express why I have stated so, let me say this: please note that this is not an attempt to bash any religion or rubbish anybody’s work in any way. I was a drama minister for a short time and I respect the good morals that Nigerian Christian movies teach. Respect for parents, reverence for God, kindness to others (especially when it is to result in “winning” their souls for Christ, humility, and the importance of obedience are taught, but these movies are not perfect, especially the ones that are evangelism and soul-winning driven. The narratives are often narrow-minded, inconsistent with the times, and unfair to people of a certain gender [there should be very little or no confusion as to which is which if you are familiar with these movies], but that is okay because many religions are laced, if not thoroughly soaked, with misogyny, all under the guise of doing “God’s will” and following His or Her or Their plan, as the case may be.

Religion is the opium of the masses after all. Religions give people reasons to live and guide them through how to, and in most cases, even offer the promise of a better world if one does well in this one, and that’s awesome. The not-very-awesome part of a religion is that it can make multitudes close-minded, stupid, unkind to certain people, discriminatory, and point-blank ignorant. 

First of all, think of the way rape is portrayed in the scene that I’m about to narrate. I will not name any movies throughout this piece except I really have to. Then you can be thoroughly certain that I will list several. A young lady in secondary [or high] school, I’ll call her Lady X, sneaks out to a house party. Her mother is not in the city at the time and she does not know about the party. Lady X meets a few guys and she is drugged. She is carried into one of the rooms and is raped, terribly raped even, as we got to know later. It’s a Christian movie; of course, that part was left to the imagination. A few people visit Lady X and tell her that God can forgive her and restore her back to who she was, put pieces of her “shattered life” back together and heal her. That is very nice. Indeed.

“So, what happened to the rapists?”, you might ask, if you have not been too desensitized against this form of sexual violence. In a very brief scene, police officers arrive at the school to take some students who knew about the party as well as the rapists away. “At least they are going to get some punishment,” you would think. What is the problem here?

When are Christian filmmakers (or those who practice any religion at all, or those who are concerned about morality whatsoever) going to start addressing the fact that rape in and of itself is bad, since the mainstream ones are not doing it? Let’s take it that rape is not too much of a consequence for a person who has snuck out of their home, who has disobeyed their parent, for the purpose of the movie, since realistically, it could happen. Females are being raped by people in their own homes, by their own relatives [heck, by their own uncles and fathers] in Nigeria. These include less-than-ten-year-old girls, children, even babies, who grown-up men should not be attracted to at all, let alone heartless enough to rape or sexually assault in the slightest. Christian movies are not portraying that dressing is not the major factor, as far as rape is concerned- dressing, disobedience or anything else. It’s quite unfortunate that I even need another paragraph to explain this further.

“Dressing well” as a means of avoiding/escaping being raped is quite unfair. In Saudi Arabia, for example, where most of the women are so modest in their dressing, as much as it is pushed under the rug and inaccurately reported on, rape is very prevalent. Rape is entirely the fault of the rapist, entirely. Anything else is just a justification for the wicked act. The marital and statutory rape of females are not being addressed yet in these movies, let alone the sexual abuse of young boys and men, which are happening, as ugly as they are. These things are happening on a daily basis and a blind eye is being turned to them. For how long are we going to wait before Nigerian filmmakers at large properly address it?

So, when I say narrow-minded narratives are being published, and the same matters are being excessively re-addressed and recycled, so much so that most of these movies are flat-out boring, in all sincerity, don’t look at my article funny.

The one that is more or less the ‘cancer’ of things is the distrust that is created among people. Many times, when a woman befriends another woman, and the other one is not married, you can be sure that the non-married [single, previously-married, divorced or widowed] one would try to seduce her friend’s husband. It must be in the Christian-movie constitution. She starts by helping her friend with house-chores and whatnot, especially when the married friend is at her lowest or just very busy, and soon enough, as expected, she bewitches her friend’s husband. It’s a very frequent narrative that is not very healthy.

In addition, hardly do you see men in the kitchen in these movies, except they have done something wrong and they are doing housework as a means of apologizing or fostering reconciliation. “Let me help you with the dishes” as a line from the husband is not a very good line. If the housework have been assigned, and although it is the woman’s turn to sweep the floor, he decides to help, that is fine. If that is not the case, how is it “help”? These narratives are not very good, but they are convenient for a few, very convenient, and so there is little or no change. In most of the movies in which women are given strong roles/presence, they usually end up crying and asking God for forgiveness because they have deserted their families or done something wrong. Hardly do you see a Christian movie in which a female character is presented and maintained till the end. If her daughter does not die as a result of neglect, her husband will run mad. How unfair.

Then this one; a man beats his wife till she’s black and blue after coming home drunk. She reports to the pastor of her church or whatever. He tells her to continue to pray for him or change the way she dresses. Then she starts to cook more (or do something else very lame). One thing leads to the other and the man “gives his life to Christ” or something at the end. God “takes control”. He becomes “a new man”. Ha. The lingo is laughable. Is anyone going to address the fact that domestic violence is not right, in detail? If the mainstream ones will not do it, is anyone going to Biblically or “whatever-on-earth-cally” talk about that mess? No? It’s very pathetic. Wife-battery, rape and other assaults are just casually glossed over. The Christian movies are not standing out in any distinct way, as far as all of these are concerned.

I’m not going to make this an “everything that is wrong with Christian movies” article, although there are a lot of things that I will repress for now. There is one last thing that I want to mention, something that I greatly detest, something that hurts me to the very core, something that makes me wonder if a good number of people who are involved are sociopaths.

Little research is done about people and cultures, and a lot of disrespect becomes the result. False “Nollywood facts” are used in the depictions. A man lives in America and sends money to his mother in Nigeria for the Egungun festival. As the Egungun costume is being flogged by the followers in Nigeria, the son who sent the money feels all the pain in America. Ha! E beru Olorun, eyin filmmakers yii, now! I mean, how desperate can you be for soul-winning? Who has that ever happened to? How dirty are you willing to get to rubbish other people’s beliefs and paths? The Egungun festival may not be Christian, quite alright, but it is not evil in and of itself. False narratives have been pushed since the days of old, “old” being “colonization”, and certain sects have suffered a lot of direct and indirect misrepresentation for refusing to accept that Jesus is the lord of their lives. Se won bi sori meja ni? It is interesting how not being a Christian can make one appear like a lesser being in the eyes of one. I will leave it at that.

In another scene, a challenge-like scenario is created between a priest and a Christian, and you can be sure that the Christian “wins”. Such love! A Babalorisa is depicted as being smitten by God, and in that scene, you see that he is sick to the point of death until he receives Jesus as his lord and saviour. As soon as he does, he becomes whole. He is then made to emphasize the powerlessness of deities and the supremacy of Jesus. I’ve never really understood it, to be honest. I’ve never really understood such wickedness, such violence, such sick ego.

The media is a dangerous tool. The narratives that can be created with it can heal, stabilize or very completely destroy. When you give this tool to unreasonable crusaders who rise by wrongly depicting others, as if to make their propositions better, you give them the power to create death itself. All of it is just as laughable as it is sad.

One thing that I appreciate is the fact that child battery is not often depicted or encouraged, because if it was, it would have been quite unfortunate. If there is anything that I have observed, and I greatly love, it is the fact that children are not beaten black and blue the way they usually are, in reality, especially in working-class settings where there is a lot of survival-based tension and frustration. It would, however, be nice to see movies correcting that, encouraging individuals to teach their children in love, instead of fostering fear in them and growing a new generation of parents who do not know how to engage in a decent two-way communication with their children.

What am I saying in a nutshell is this: there is a lot going on asides the “evil” that non-Christians do. Christian filmmakers, pay attention and keep up with the things that are going on around you.

This is it, for now. I will make a video about this in the future, and I will go into more detail. 

Our Master Who Art in Heaven

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Painted by Babajide Olatunji

You believe that black is beautiful, and that there is nothing substandard about a dark-skinned person in comparison to anyone else, but when you close your eyes to pray to your Father in Heaven [especially in Jesus name] or your Mother in Heaven [what kind of Heaven is it if there is no Mother in it?],  you don’t see a man who looks like this, or a woman who has similar-looking skin. 

You either see nothing, everything is just so vague and abstract to you, or you see an old, Arab man, or you see a white man, although the Bible specifically describes Jesus as someone who looks like this. You picture the man who played the role of Jesus in “Passion of the Christ” too, that’s the Jesus you have stuck up there, your lord and saviour. Basically, you never see anyone, not even angels, that look like you, in your mind’s eye. 

However, when you picture the devil, or a demon, you picture someone dressed in black, who has a darker shade of skin, with ugly features, including horns and a tail. The devil, if you were asked to describe them, would be a being who likes to stay in the dark and is dark-skinned [subconsciously, you don’t see a light-skinned person except when you think of them as Lucifer, not Satan].

Do I need to go on? No. In summary, you are very stupid person, and I don’t mean it as an insult. It’s not a bad thing to be stupid. Remaining to be stupid, however, is the problem. It is very bad.

How to Heal Your Hurt Inner Child

       I was an extremely sensitive child. If you are into astrology, my ascendant is in Pisces, and my Saturn is in Aries, in the first house. I felt everything. I still do feel everything, but I know how to manage my emotions better. Things that children my age were able to brush off and move on from quickly affected me deeply; they stayed in my mind longer than they would in the mind of the average child. I wasn’t really understood either. I have a Pythagorean line of hypersensitivity in numerology. I am an empath, and not all parents know what to do with one.

         One of the few sentences that I remember my mum always said to me as a child was ‘Rónké̩, o ké̩ra jù, which roughly translates to me being someone who likes to pamper her body and avoid the slightest difficulty. It wasn’t really a compliment, in case you are wondering. My sensitivity to the environment made me a bit withdrawn even till early teenagehood, especially among people who were my own age. I got so devastated many times.

         My sweet mum constantly reported me to Sunday School teachers, and repeatedly called me a “saddist” [I don’t think she knew what it meant; she thought it had something to do with being sad all the time] because I was shy, and I always felt out of place.  Also, I had a lot of low self-esteem issues, especially because it wasn’t that easy for me to express my individuality as it was for other people. There are a lot of retrogrades in my birth chart; a lot of things that need repair and care in this lifetime.

         Many of us attempt to heal our wounded inner children [who experienced all the chaos and pain, even in settings that others often considered “heavenly”- it has nothing to do with wealth or poverty] by trying to have others heal it for us through love relationships. That’s laughable. It almost never works out. We become possessive, needy, toxic, and out of balance. Love relationships are not avenues for healing heartbreaks and pain. A person should have completed their own healing and attained balance before attempting to unite with someone else romantically, else they’ll be making matters worse. You don’t have to be perfect to love someone, you can’t be perfect anyway, but an imperfect yin and a perfect yang would never form a balanced circle. The other person would get very tired quickly when all they do is take care of your emotional traumas, and they would want a break or a separation at the slightest chance that they get. You would never feel complete on your own (without needing to do this or have that) if these childhood hurts are not properly addressed.

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         So, how do you heal your inner child? Our inner children never die. We grow bigger and learn/experience more things, but who we were when we were 5 or 10 or 15 years old is and will always be a part of us. We may repress all the hurts and disappointments and suffering, but until we properly address them, we will never heal, and not surprisingly, it will affect us for the rest of our lives, consciously or subconsciously.

Heal

REMEMBER

         Think about your childhood. Do this when you are alone and comfortable, at night perhaps, in your bedroom, away from bright lights. Think about everything you can remember. You may listen to this mantra while you do so; I personally enjoy it, and you may too.

         First, think about the good times. The day you were praised for being the best at something. The day your mum surprised you with your first toy car. The day you travelled with your favourite cousin. That sleepover that you enjoyed so much, you practically laughed yourself to sleep, because you were so sleepy, yet, you were having so much fun. Do this for as long as you can. Don’t be distracted by the negative thoughts yet. Go over and over all the good ones.

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SORT YOUR MEMORIES

         The next step would be to list the things that you can remember from your childhood that really hurt. Don’t dwell on them. That is not the point of this exercise. You may feel the pain, that is expected, but don’t be the pain.  The time you were bullied or made fun of. The time your parents’ marriage came to an end and you were confused. The time your uncle passed away. The time you felt unsafe. The time someone called you a monkey. The time you were not played with because of your tribal marks. The time you were publicly embarrassed. The time your father called you an idiot. The day your mum had an accident. The day you were beaten. The day you felt cheated on. It’s okay to cry. Remember, don’t be the pain. Don’t start to build up resentment and hatred. Detach. You may jot these experiences down, but you don’t have to. You may feel the urge to stop this exercise but try not to.

LET GO

         The next step is to consciously let the pain go. Forgive those that you need to forgive, although it may be hard. Let everything that is holding you back and affecting you negatively now, whether you realize it or not, go. You may imagine that your young self is swimming in a lake, away from all the pain. You may visualize that your young self is covered with a bright light, and all the pain is escaping through their forehead. Visualize letting all the pain and hurt and resentment go. Don’t hold on to it. Why do you want to hold on it? What purpose does it/would it serve to you? What gain do you intend to acquire by holding on to resentment, distrust and pain? I understand that it hurts, and it is not so easy, but let it go. Let all of it go.

ADOPT AND HEAL

         When you have done this, visualize holding your young self in your arms or holding their hands, adoring them, acknowledging their pain, feeling everything that they felt. Adopt this young self, this young you, as if they were your child. You know everything that they’ve been through. You know where they lived as a child. You know what happened when they were 6. You know this child better than anyone does and ever will. So, the best and only person that can adopt and heal this child is you. You know about all the love that he never felt, and how hard it was for her. It is now your responsibility to take care of him or her. The big question is: are you going to continue to remind him of all the negative experiences that he had, and all the pain that she has gone through, or are you going to help him or her move on from it and embrace healing and relief? Now that he has been found, and she is before you, what do you intend to do about this child? How do you intend to make it up to him or her? How do you intend to make her feel beautiful, and love her? How do you intend to help him express his artistic abilities and assist her with expressing her passions? How do you intend to give this hurt child a voice? You owe it to him/her; nobody else owes this child anything except you. Nobody. Do you remember the day the day she was ridiculed? How do you intend to honour her and help her heal? How do you intend to make him feel naturally handsome or help her feel appreciated? 

         It is now up to you to make the right decisions, to nurture and honour your inner child. Remember, if you need to discuss with me further or you need a free reading, you can always reach out to me.  Love, light, and healing!

Fighting Our Demons

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We start to fight our demons
when we stop fighting,
suppressing our emotions,
keeping our hurts in.
When we accept transformation,
and release our hearts for mending,
roll with the wheel of fortune,
and open our souls for healing.
When we accept the very truth that
each end is a new begining.

Healing Bound

African Dancer- Ayodeji Ayeola

“African Dancer” by Ayodeji Ayeola

The foot feels the foot
when the foot feels the ground.
Reality sets in;
the pain is profound.
Foot one before foot two
and a quickly twirl around.
Step one and then step two;
healing bound.

Today is Another Day

Grillo

Painted by Yusuf Grillo

Today is another day;
today is an other day.
Tomorrow will become yesterday,
a brand new yesterday,
if you don’t take new steps today.

Take four steps to grow,
take three steps to heal,
take two steps to love,
take a step to part ways
with today’s yesterday.