Love is for Learners

simply-togeter-alina-malykhina

“Simply Together” by Alina Malykhina

First, you love someone,
then you learn how to.

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Don’t Sacrifice Yourself for Love

sunflowers

“Sunflowers” by Becky Joy

Don’t neglect the love of your life
for the Love of your life.
The love of your life should be
the reason you’re with him or her,
in the first place.

Religion and Politics

WazoBia

Pastors, imams, and other religious leaders, in Nigeria to be exact, must learn the importance of being non-partisan, to begin with. No pastor/imam should be telling you what their favourite political party is, and the side of the spectrum they tend to lean on, asking you to vote for them or anyone they recommend because God has chosen them, or telling you to use your democratic rights in a certain way.

It’d be interesting to see a thesis on politics in Nigeria and how much power and influence the religious leaders have on politics, although it’s very far from being a theocracy. Nigerians generally don’t take things that they are told in the name of religion with a grain of salt; we tend to not be skeptical when words that begin or end with “the Lord said” are said. 

No pastor should tell you what to invest in, what to do with your time, money and body, who to buy foodstuff from, what kind of perfume to use because it’s the kind that they use, whenever they are on or off the pulpit. People shouldn’t state a piece of the Bible or Quran to manipulate you. What they should advise you to do is pray, or pray on your behalf, asking God to lead you to the right answer, and advising you to tap into your own inner intuition and clairvoyance abilities. You are a person of God too, whether or not you were ordained to lead in the affairs of the church, and God can ‘speak’ to you directly. When they however report that God told them certain things, you must be willing to separate the wheat from the tares and engage in critical thinking.

The mediums of any spirit are not a hundred percent infallible. Don’t be fooled or coaxed or scared into doing anything who wouldn’t very willingly do, left to you, in the name of whatever deity you trust your life with.

How Does He Treat You?

“ooooOOOh, we’re breathing hard. It must be love.” 

Any man can skillfully undress you; it’s not that hard to do. You should be with a man who doesn’t only desire to hurriedly take your clothes off- a man who puts effort into helping you get dressed too.

You should be with a man who doesn’t only enjoy watching you get naked, but enjoys watching you get dressed just as much.

Typical Excuses:
“You know he’s a Capricorn. They don’t really like to be vulnerable and they don’t have time for affection and love.”
😂
I have a whole Saturn in my 1st house and that’s not true; it’s bullshit.

_________________________

“He’s a melancholic. They usually don’t text back, so it’s okay if he ignores my texts for a week.”
😆
Poppycock.

_________________________

“They are highly choleric in the family that he’s from. I made him angry so it’s okay if he punches me. To be honest, I deserve it, because he loves me. I can’t lose him now, where will I start from?”
😐
Ummm…no.

_________________________

“My grandmother’s aunty’s cousin’s husband’s sister’s nephew told me that some men menstruate. Maybe he’s menstruating at this time, he’s irritable, and he needs to vent his anger on me.”
😧
For 6 months straight? Definitely, you are not okay.

_________________________

“He is my rock and my pillar; he takes good care of me. He was not always like this and I know he will change. Maybe I am relaxing and I need to do better for him; I need to buy ‘sukura’ [an aphrodisiac] for us.”
😟
Ha! Aunty mi, they’ve finally exchanged your common sense and destiny for a bowl of pap at Obalende. Won ti fi oko gba opolo lowo yin– you’re definitely dickmatized.

_________________________

“If a man looks down on you, talks down to you, and scolds you, he loves you, he is protecting you, and he is doing what’s best for your growth. There are many girls that want to be where you are, and if he has chosen you, be grateful and do what’s right by him.”
😫
Aunty mi, ewo oro enu yin gatagata bi eyín iya olobi. Olorun, won ti n ba mi seyin se [you are under spiritual attack].

Class Injury

Black Girl

“Girl in the Window” | Prudence Heward

It’s almost hypocritical for me to write about the struggles of the working class- I try as much as possible not to say “lower” because of the negative connotations that are often associated with the word. I’m a citizen of two countries; I’m in the university, and I’m okay, health-wise. I am a little girl’s dream come true- me, I’m the little girl. I did not state that I “was” the little girl for a reason; our little, inner selves never just disappear, even when our bodies change.

My parents were in the lower-middle class, status-wise, when I was growing; they were both lecturers. In reality, although we had an “okay” house and at least one functioning car, and my brothers and I went to good schools, we were still members of the working class. I used to daydream a lot more than I do now- there were a good number of excursions and items that I wished I could afford. Don’t get me started on the inferiority complex that I suffered from too. I wore my mum’s hand-me-down’s majorly.

I did phone-call business for my mum (20 naira per min.) and sold recharge cards under an MTN umbrella with two chairs. I sold pure-water and “minerals” (pop)- I hawked for a day around my house and never did it again; I preferred to sit. Then we got a small kiosk and I began to sell more stuff till my dad completed his building of proper shops. Men would pull my growing breasts back then, when I wasn’t looking. It made me angry and resentful- I was like 11 or 12- but I learnt the art of sucking things up very quickly.
I used olo– grinding stone- to grind peppers, fetched water, used wood or coal to cook whenever we ran out of kerosene, and all. My life wasn’t the hardest. People who lived close to me were not very wealthy either- “a face-me-I-face-you” apartment building, one ile-alamo– clay house… it wasn’t the fanciest neighbourhood. Thinking back to how people used to stare at me in envy like I was some princess, we (my family and I) really were local champions.

The Janitor

“The Janitor Who Paints” by Palmer Haden

We don’t celebrate the working class enough, hence, the urgency that people place on being wealthy. You’re nobody in the society except you are rich or can pretend to be. It has gotten worse with the advent of the social media- there is this desperate, adoration-seeking urge that people have to display a level of wealth/influence.

Class injury sits with you in different ways: One way is that you feel uneasy in upper-class settings when you become a member of the middle-upper or upper class. You miss the joys, the struggles and the pain that came with being in the working class, and you feel like something is missing in your life, or you don’t deserve to be where you are, or you feel guilty/bad because some people are not enjoying life as much as you are.

Another way that it manifests is that you try to get away from the people you used to be like as much as people, even members of your own family- you don’t want to be reminded that you used to be poor. You don’t want to remember the struggles, the hurt, and the societal “shame” that you used to experience. I see people like that a lot on social media. “I’m not poor, and I don’t sit with the poor” type thing.

I’m still a member of the working class; I came into the country that I currently live in some winter ago, with a few clothes and some books, and there has been no drastic, overnight, lottery-winning change in my life.

Class shapes every aspect of our lives, and those of our descendants, and I find it quite interesting; our society and inequality are pari passu, and we’ve been taught that it’s okay. Even if you are not part of the 1%, don’t be at the bottom among the 99%.

In conclusion, the point of this whole epistle is- while you struggle and hope for better days, you should be proud of yourself and your class. You are not a failure if you are not rich, and you’re not inferior either. It’s easier said than done, but be grateful for what you have, and find joy in the little things.

Stand tall and proud wherever you go; don’t put yourself down for anyone, and don’t let anyone put you down. Acquire new skills, develop yourself, and be innovative, not necessarily because you thirst to be one of the 1%, but because you want to build yourself and contribute your quota to your society. A line from Badlands goes like this- “poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and a king is never satisfied…” 

Your Best Feature

Red Scar Peju Alatise

“Red Scar” by Peju Alatise

You become your best as a creature,
and as a creator,
when you realize that your scar
is your most-attractive feature.

Floor-Her and Flaw-Her [Flora My Flawa]

I was listening to Davido’s Flora My Flawa, and I heard the line that messed me up for about five good minutes. At first, I was listening to Adekunle Gold’s Ire. My autoplay was on, and when Ire was done, several videos were automatically played till it got to Flora My Flawa. What in the world does “if nothing lasts forever o, me and you go be nothing forever o” mean?

Flora

“If nothing lasts forever, you and I will be nothing forever.”

The mind game in that sentence is intense. The first part of that sentence has been strategically placed to distract the listener.

“If nothing lasts forever, you and I will be nothing forever.”

It means:
i. You and I will be nothing, and we will be nothing forever, since “nothing lasts forever”.

However, a person who might be more trusting of sweet words- a person who can be easily cajoled- would think it means:
ii. You and I will last forever; we will be like “nothing”, since “nothing lasts forever”.

It’s crazy how that sentence could mean two or more things at once. I could expand on what a third meaning would be, but I’d rather not. Mercury is in retrograde, and since Mercury is dominant in my chart- it’s the ruler, trying hard to make myself over-analyze anything at this time could drive me crazy. At least, Uranus is not in retrograde. Phew!

“If nothing lasts forever, you and I will be nothing forever.”

It’s one of those “make whatever you wish of it” sentences. It’s quite interesting.

On a lighter note, look at the poster for the song below.

davido-flora-my-flawa-article

That cupid looks like its up to no good; like he’s about to ruin someone’s life. He looks like mischief itself to me. See how red the tongue is too; Oluwa, saanu fun wa. It’s probably so red as a result of sucking life and happiness out of innocent ladies.

Also, is that a stud earring? Chai. May the forces keep us safe from the deceptions of the Yoruba demons that continue to break hearts, ruin souls and waste lives.

Ki oju ma ribi, gbogbo ara logun re; stay cautious and alert in your dealings with sweet-tongued men, especially Yoruba demons. Whenever you are being toasted [wooed], listen to each word attentively. Don’t let them make you giggle your wisdom, knowledge and understanding away. Don’t let them cunningly collect your Saturday from you and give you Sunday in exchange. Ire o.

Saying “you and I will be something forever” would have made me less uneasy about the song, by the way.  No, I’m I’m kidding. It’s a nice song, and my criticism is just banter. I’ll dance to it again for sure. Whenever it gets to the “if nothing lasts forever, you and I will be nothing forever” line, I’ll just pretend like it doesn’t bother me, even if I begin to shake visibly as a result of my skepticism.

When Life Gives You Melons…

When life gives you melons,
don’t confuse them for lemons:

Melons Painting

Ovanes Berberian (American, born in 1951)- “Still Life Saturday with Melons”

It’s for your good. Melons are juicy and yummy, although they don’t look like they are on the outside. When you cut them in half? Hmmn…

Not everything is planned to give you a sour life. God/the universe will always find a way to put you in the right place, whether you think it’s the right place at first or not.

Life gives you/lets you keep lemons when it lets you have the things you don’t need anymore, whether it be people or properties or positions of comfort or a kind of peace that might lead to sorrow eventually.

Persevere and endure the painful process of cutting things in half, and into different shapes, when life gives you melons. They are not lemons. You’ll see.

Changing the World

You cannot change the world but
you can change someone’s world.
Give to people in need,
with intentions as pure as can be,
and a day would finally come when
a better world would be ours to see.

We Walk Different Paths

Roses are red;
violets are blue.
I mind my business,
and so should you.

Don’t compare anyone’s life to yours. You either get an ego boost or you get your ego deflated. Neither is good.