Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lessons from my Mother - Part 1

1. Just because someone hurt you doesnt give you the license to hurt them back:

I learned this lesson from my Mum very early on, in fact I was still in primary school at the time. I have walked with a limp since I was about 3 years old. One day in school, I got into an argument with one of my best friends and she called me "one and a half leg". Of course this was a very hurtful thing for her to say to me & I retaliated in kind, calling her an orphan (both her parents had passed away a few years before). She promptly burst into tears and the whole thing turned into a huge fiasco. Long story short, my mother made me apologize to my friend. I was incensed!! I made the point that she'd started it all by making fun of my leg but my Mum insisted that I was wrong for descending to such a spiteful level. At 8 years old, this was a very hard lesson to imbibe but imbibe it I did, and to this day I am grateful that I had a mother who taught me early on that meanness doesn't pay.

2. He who has never worked for money cannot know its value:

Once, when I was about 13 years old, I went to the market with my mother. Now going to the market with my mum on any normal day was usually an exercise in frustration because it just took so damn long. However on this particular day my mum must have been on top form cause it seemed to me that we were in the market the whole freaking day. She was "pricing" everything and haggling down to the last kobo. At one particular stall it seemed to me that she had spent at least 30 mins trying to get the meatseller to shave something negligible like N2 (two naira) off his price. It all just seemed like a pointless exercise to me: either we're buying or we aren't - why spend all this time arguing over a couple of measly naira?! After a while I couldnt take it anymore and I exploded in exasperation: "Mummy, please just buy it at his price! I will give you the N2 difference when we get home!!!" My mother rarely got angy but I think it's safe to say that this was one of those occasions when she really lost it with me! I thought she was going to rip my head off right there in the middle of the market!!!!!!!! She basically chewed into me, calling me a spoiled brat: "ejo e ko!! o le mo iyi owo tori o sise owo ijo kan laiye e!! omo k'omo!!!!!" Loosely translated, this means, "it's not your fault! how can you know the value of money when you've never worked a day in your life! silly child!!!" Suffice it to say that I imbibed the lesson right there and then - my mother worked hard for her money and as such she didnt trifle with it; any child of hers would do well do to adopt just such an attitude. I never again made the mistake of taking money for granted.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lessons from my Mother - the intro...

My mother passed away 10 years ago. At the time, I thought I would never get over her death, and truth be told I am still not over it. I still havent come to terms with the fact that my mother, my dearest Mummy, is no more. 10 years later, I am still mourning her loss, still comprehending what it means to be a motherless child. I miss her love and her unwavering belief in my abilities. I miss her smile, I miss her cooking, I miss gisting with her, I even miss fighting with her!

I miss her voice: when I was away in college she would call me on the phone and when I heard her voice on the other end, I would exclaim in an exagerrated sing-song tone, "My Mummy!!!" and she would respond in exactly the same tone, "My daughter!!!!" Then we would both burst into laughter. She would ask me how I was doing and I would gist her about whatever was going on in my life at the time. She had an uncanny way of knowing when I was distressed or sad or unhappy and she always knew just what to say to make me feel better. My Mummy understood me, she knew me perhaps even more than I knew myself. She just "got" me. I guess that's why she was my Mummy. I miss having her in my corner. I miss the security of knowing that no matter how bad things got out in the big, bad world, my Mummy would always have my back. Her love was a safe haven for me, and in many ways I have been more or less adrift since she passed on. I find myself looking for her love in all the wrong places - only now am I starting to realize that there is no love like that of a mother...

Still, 10 years later I can say that I have survived what I thought was unsurvivable. I am still here, still standing, still thriving. I am getting stronger with every passing day. It has not been easy but God has been faithful and He has never let me go. I thank Him for His faithfullness, and for showing me that there is a Love even higher than that of a mother. It is because of God's unyielding love that I am still alive today. And it is because of the solid foundation that my Mother laid that I havent gone astray. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and it's becoming clearer to me that I am truly my mother's daughter. My values, my sense of self, my idea of family, my love for God are all derived from her.

In the next couple of posts, I will share what I think are the 10 most valuable lessons my Mother taught me. She didnt necessarily sit me down and say, "Kemikal, hear ye the 10 most valuable lessons of your life......"; she simply imparted wisdom to me every day of my life just by being herself. She taught me sound life lessons, which are still yielding value to this day. In fact, the older I get, the more I appreciate all that my Mother taught me and all that she represented.

What better way to keep her memory alive than to share what I learned from her. To wit...

Next post: Lessons from my Mother - Part 1

Thursday, March 27, 2008

In the dark...

It's dark and I can't see my way
I'm stumbling around
Groping for a familiar marker
Everything I know is in question
Nothing is certain anymore

It's dark and I'm falling
Arms flailing about
Lord will you rescue me
Will your arms bear me up?
When I can't see you
Lord do you still see me?

It's dark and I'm crying
Life is leaving me behind
My faith is failing in this valley
Lord have mercy on me!
Be my eyes when I cannot see
Give me something to hold on to
In the dark...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

If you're still sittin' down, you're on a loooong ting!!!!!!!!

Ok, I dont quite know what that title has got to do with this post but the thing just cracks me up everytime I hear it so I decided to use it by force! Plus i'm tired of making excuses for my seeming inability to blog on a regular basis so I thought I would distract yall with D'banj-inspired irrelevancies. How does D'banj come up with all these inanities anyway? Kokomaster, kokolettes, no long ting, tongolo! He clearly has a lot of time on his hands. LOL!!!!!

Ok, ok, I see that you all are not the type to be easily distracted. So why havent I blogged in almost a month? Well, as with most things the answer is complicated but the main reason is that we've had serious IT issues at my office lately so I havent been able to get online as regularly as before. And apparently I am not one of those people who can compose a post offline - trust me, I have tried but it appears that my creative juices are conditioned to flow only when I am seated in front of a computer screen that is connected to the internet. Go figure! So bottom line is this: you guys should join me in praying that I get a laptop soon, and one that is hooked up to a reliable internet service provider so that you will never again be deprived of my sunny wit and inspiring rhetoric ;-)

Moving right along...... So what's been happening in my life of late? Not much, I'm afraid. The monotony of my life is really beginning to bother me, actually. It's the same ol' same ol' day in and day out. There's got to be more to life than this. I feel like I'm in limbo, in a holding pattern waiting for something to happen. Perhaps, in the words of one of my sister's friends, "I've got to be more proactive, dammit!" Stop waiting for something to happen and instead make things happen for myself. Sounds like a nice idea, except that I have no clue how to go about that. I'm open to suggestions though - anyone have any ideas on how to generate some (positive) excitement in my life?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Alai ni ronu's aka "shitty" people......

ThisDay newspapers held their annual awards ceremony recently. They handed out awards in all sorts of categories from "Governor of the Year" to "IPO of the year". Predictably, Nigerians turned out in all their finery, to partake in what, in my opinion, can best be described as a farce. And a mind-boggling farce at that. First off, on what basis is ThisDay qualified to hand out awards to anybody? Secondly, how, pray tell do they come up with their categories?! Some of them are just too inane to believe - Banker of the year ? Transaction of the year??? IPO of the year???? As in............ How do they decide what qualifies as the transaction of the year? Based on what criteria? And the categories change from year to year. It's all a huge joke. Which would be fine, except that people seem to take it so seriously. And people who should know better!! They turn up to receive the awards, hand out the awards and generally legitimize the whole charade.

In a couple of months or so, City People will also host their own "awards for excellence" or whatever they call it and so-called eminent Nigerians will again show up in droves. City People???!! I'm sorry but what does City People know about excellence, or integrity or character? It is a publication that specializes in sleaze, junk and scandalous nonsense. It would be better if they owned up to what they are, but no they want to posture like they are about something worthwhile. That irritates me to no end! (in the interest of full disclosure, let me state here that I do read City People, but I take it for what it is- nothing more, nothing less). That said, I return to my point which is that they are not qualified to hand out awards to anybody, except perhaps philanderers and their mistresses.

To be fair to these publications, it's their prerogative to organize any kind of awards ceremony they like. After all, this is still a free country so they have the right to gather people together for any purpose they see fit as long as it's legal. It's the people that turn up to accept these awards that I judge. Governors, ministers and other erstwhile serious-minded individuals will abandon all the important work they have to do for the purpose of collecting an award from City People or ThisDay?! What kind of people are we and what kind of country do we live in? In Yoruba language, we refer to such people as "alai ni ronu's". In other words, people who lack introspection.

And that seems to be the main problem we have in Nigeria: we are apparently not given to any kind of introspection. Put differently, we are not deep at all, in fact we are a very, very shallow society (of course, I am generalizing here). We are content to act only on surface levels and we are more concerned with appearances than substance. Governors and other politicians fancy themselves as celebrities, rather than public servants and thus feel duty-bound to appear at every event, party or gathering. Prancing around like circus clowns and congratulating each other on their non-achievements, meanwhile the whole country is falling apart. It defies any sort of logic. This is why concepts like "excellence" and "integrity" are pretty much meaningless around these parts. In most sane societies, only an alainironu of a governor (and/or one who is on a mission to commit career suicide) would accept an award from a publication like City People, but I guess we march to the beat of a different drummer in this here country.

The more I think about these things, the more my blood pressure escalates, so for the sake of my health I will rest this post here. But you can be sure that I'm not done with the subject. I will be back when my blood pressure levels have returned to their resting rate. Lolll

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gongo Aso.......

I'm really feeling the song, Gongo Aso by 9ice. I'd never heard of him until I heard his smash hit and I am so loving the song! I listen to it on repeat (loudly!) in the morning when I'm getting dressed for work. My sister-in-law was teasing me the other day because she knows I dont even understand half of what the guy is saying in the song but I jam to it anyway. She's like, for all I know the guy is cursing me and all my ancestors. Apparently, he's speaking Yoruba, but that must be some conc, "ijinle" stuvvs cause I dont know what in the heck he's talking about- lol!! Whatever the case may be, the song is hot- "gongo aso, o ti so, my personality no matter at all.." If you live in Lagos and you havent heard the song, then you have no idea what you're missing. More pertinently - under what rock have you been hiding??!!!!!! Gongo aso is what's up!

The other song I'm feeling at the moment is Ifunaya by P-Square: "all because of Ifunaya, onye mbu n obi, nne biko biko dont go." Another line from the song goes, "my love is knocking at your door, and na so e go dey purshue you dey go, go, go" Talk about lyrics! LOLL!!! I love it!!!!! Again, I dont understand half of the words but who cares? A jam is a jam!!!

So Gongo Aso & Ifunaya are my jams of the moment. What's on your playlist?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The ball - an update.........

Hi guys, apologies for yet another delayed post. Had serious technical issues all of last week so wasnt able to get online, hence no blogging. You know what I realized last week? I get withdrawal symptoms when I havent blogged in a while. This blogging thing is becoming a lifeline of sorts for me- like my sanctuary in the midst of the chaos that is Lagos...

Anyways, so on to what y'all have been waiting for! LOL!! The ball was really nice. I had a blast! The dress code was "a touch of silver" but I wasnt dress-code compliant. In fact, I was a renegade in my burnt orange and bronze number - lol!! But I think I looked nice :-) My date looked great. He picked me up at 8 on the dot and I have to say I did a near double-take when I saw him. He turned out in a black pin-striped suit with a white shirt and silver tie - very sharp! I hadnt seen him in a while so I guess I'd forgotten just how cute he is... The good news is that he DEFINITELY did a double-take when he saw me, so I guess the equation was nicely balanced. Lollll.

When we got to the venue, we had to walk up a red carpet to get into the hall. There were photographers everywhere with their cameras flashing incessantly. I hate that, I really do. I find it so invasive... But moving on. We eventually got into the hall and it was very beautifully decorated. Immediately set us in "romantic" mode... An usher showed us to our seats and within seconds a waiter appeared to ask us what we would like to drink. Plenty "effizy". lol. There was a 3-course dinner, although I didnt eat much cause I wasnt really hungry. During dinner, we were serenaded with live music from a number of singers, including Timi, West African Idols champ. He has a powerful voice, I must say. He also has a rather nasty scar on his forehead - heard he was attacked by militants in the Niger Delta area recently. I had no idea... Other entertainment included a stand-up comedian who was simply hilarious! After dinner, there was music from DJ Humility and plenty of dancing. All told, it was a very nice event.

But I'm sure you want the nitty-gritty, not all this clinical gist I've been giving :-) So here's the 411: my date & I had a great time together. We were very into each other that night, if you know what I mean. A lot of hand-holding, meaningful looks, that sort of thing... In retrospect, I'm not sure it was such a good idea to be so touchy-feely with him in such a public forum because anyone watching us would have assumed that we are an item, but we arent... We have been hanging out since then though, so we'll see how it goes. I think we're both being cautious because we have history. You know how that is...

So that's the update. It was nice to spend the evening with someone who so obviously cares about me. No demands, no drama, just companionship. It was very nice...