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.

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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!

It’s Still Rape/Abuse If You Enjoyed It

Bus Stop

“Bus Stop” by Larry “Kip” Hayes

Many men and women (who were probably first abused as children) find it difficult to agree that they were abused. They think “well, I enjoyed it; is it still abuse then?” Your little “peepee” was pulled or rubbed against your consent by an older person or your breasts/vagina were touched against your will, whether or not the abuser had sex with you, and you think it’s alright then. Actually, it’s not.

Don’t think- “well, it was just a little stimulation”; it was abuse, whether or not penetration was involved. I have spoken/had chats with a couple of men and women who were abused as children. Their innocence was taken away by older persons, usually, and they were convinced into thinking they were enjoying some sort of secret, pleasurable activity.

Forever-Friends----Larry-Kip-Hayes----Folk-art_art

“Forever Friends” by Larry “Kip” Hayes

In some cases, they believed the other person was helping them become an adult or become more mature. In a few of those cases, they had a crush on that older person at that time. Even if they wanted to report the issue or tell someone else at some point, the older person- the abuser- would convince them that they were going to be blamed instead, and so they would not.

Well, it’s still abuse if you enjoyed it. It’s still abuse if, as a child, you had said “yes” to being touched because you were naive and innocent, unaware that it was wrong and it would result in psychological trauma and regret. 

It’s still abuse, and you should never ignore that. Don’t tell yourself otherwise, so you can find healing, if need be.

I am Not a Savage

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Pretending not to have a soul
while desperately needing a soulmate.
Proudly stating that one is a savage,
and one does not have a heart,
while constantly feeling one’s heart ache.

Not being vulnerable is
what we consider honourable.

We become honourable,
yet not able,
not able to freely live,
not able to freely love.

We put ourselves in chains
because we don’t want to be slaves,
but by doing so,
we become slaves to ourselves.

It’s okay to address and discuss emotional issues, even if the events that now hurt you happened when you were two years old, and perhaps you tried to talk about it but you were told to shut your mouth. Proper healing is essential for good survival, because you deserve a good life. Even if you have two more weeks to live, do so with true peace in your mind. 

I recently had a conversation with my mum about an event that happened over a decade ago. “Mum, when I was like five, you flogged me for this and that reason, but this was what happened, if you’re ready to listen.” She did, and she apologized. Look, I am not a ‘savage’. I was hurting, and she needed to know, so that we could be true friends.

The thing about not addressing issues is, you might not just hurt yourself, you might hurt the people who love you, the people you love/will love in the future, consciously or unconsciously, in a bid to not get hurt again. Sometimes, you’ll get defensive when you don’t need to be.

Also, if you think you are going to hurt people by discussing the reason why you’re hurt then it’s necessary that you do so. “Dad, when I was three, this and this happened and you didn’t listen.” When you ‘destroy’ old structures built on lies, you’ll be surprised that they can be ‘rebuilt’ in 3 minutes when the foundation is placed on the truth. Maybe those old structures don’t even need to be rebuilt; maybe they need to be replaced with trees that give lots and lots of oxygen.

My point is, help yourself, or let someone else help you, if you’re hurting.

Give yourself closure.

Heal: You Are Beautiful

Were there terrible men and women in your lives,
relatives or non-relatives, at any point,
who found it pleasing to compare your beauty to someone else’s, 
in order to get to you and make you think less of yourself
or get you to agree to whatever perversion they wanted to try with you.

“You are fine but not as fine as your mother; why are you feeling yourself?
Remove your skirt, let me see your legs” and such.

I bring you healing. You are beautiful, and I’m not just trying to patronize you. Don’t ever let anyone determine what you think of yourself.