A few good memories…

It’s been months and then some,
It hasn’t gotten easier, everyone says it will. Perhaps they lied?
Every song sings about what might have been,
Every painting paints colors and hues of happy ever after, seems to me like it’s just another lie.
Me thinks it is time to calm the storm, before the tides take me over.
An end has to come to this avalanche of pain that seems to rear its head when it pleases.
Now it is a choice, a choice I have to make…
To cry or to laugh, to dance or to scowl, to move on or to hold on, to stay or to flee?
The answer is clear, perhaps that is why it hurts this much.
For I know it’s time to stop and if I stop what will I have?
I have searched and searched and then I found a truth,
A few good memories are better than a life time of pain.
So off I go with the memories I have, and I hope that from here on out, love and life will be kind to me.


Tunnel Vision As Written By Lekan Olaifa…

A good friend of mine wrote this and I found it so enlightening, trust me when I say it is a worthy read, enjoy!

Tunnel Vision

I cannot think of a better a time to write this note than now,because I read yesterday that the price of crude oil has dipped to an all-time low of below $50/barrel. And the naira has been forecast to exchange for N202 to $1 this New Year.

It is believed that the book “Things Fall Apart” was inspired by true events; the truth is that all books are inspired by true events; they just become a different story after passing through the mind of the author. But “Things Fall Apart” is said to have been a story that really happened and thankfully for our benefit, it was well told. Okonkwo a.k.a.Amalinze the cat was a man among men, he farmed the best yams in his village,he had a seat among the elders, and he was revered by everyone in the entire province. But none of these great things defined him, he was defined by only one factor; his impetuous, his reason for living was only that “Okonkwo will not become like his father – Unoka”. Unoka was a joke, his wives laughed at him, and the villagers reviled him, why? He could not farm yams – the crop of men, he was not macho enough – he feared the sight of blood, he couldn’t take care of his children and he owed everyone. Okonkwo’s entire life was based on not repeating his father’s mistake(s), what was that mistake? Now, this is the point to pay attention, so you don’t think I am endorsing Unoka’s life when viewed through the lens of irresponsibility. I am only trying to make a point.Unoka’s only mistake was that he lived before his time, in other words, he was not trendy. He was not doing the things that were generally acceptable at the time and that earned him poverty and widespread contempt.

Unoka according to this great book was very gifted at playing the flute. Imagine a man of Unoka’s traits living in our world today; dainty,musically inclined, and effeminate; he’ll be on the cover of all the magazines,he’ll be labelled with terms like sapiosexual, metrosexual, and uber-cool. If this is interesting, imagine if Unoka had lived in the same time he lived, but in Europe, and he was known as very talented with the flute, but he’d probably be a Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, or Unoca if his name was gentrified. But, we rejected him with every gift in him; I just hope that Lagbaja or Pastor Aremu came back with those gifts.

Everyone is quick to point fingers at the successive governments that have not diversified our economic portfolio as a nation. But the truth is that this applies to all of us, it is a progressive culture and mindset, not a singular action, or a periodic anomaly. This applies to all the parents who insist that their children must toe only a particular line of study, to all the girls who will only date the guys that work in oil companies,to all the people who will strive relentlessly to work in banks, to enter into Nollywood, and to open up a church. To all those who believe that success is impossible except beyond the shores of Nigeria, to all who believe that the fountain of well-being is flowing only in Lagos, to all who think that they have to hold political office to be wealthy, and to all the innumerable examples of those who believe only in farming the crops of men.

We don’t know if Unoka believed in yams, or maybe he was just innately unable to excel at farming. He played his flute and survived on borrowed funds, he pursued or remained who he was but he could not make it in a society that regarded him as unworthy. On the other hand, Okonkwo proceeded on the accepted path at the time, and gained the admiration and respect of the people; the worthless feelings that turned him into a stone. He killed Ikemefuna because he never wanted to appear weak (like Unoka), which would have made him lose the respect of the people, something he worked for all his life –his reason for living. More than anything, this note applies to that society that has misplaced its values, that rigid society that appreciates and accepts only those who farm the crops of men. If Unoka had been accepted and perhaps celebrated, if he had a few students learning the flute, playing soothing music to the wrestlers, warriors, and dancers, a new channel of wealth and learning would have been created. And definitely, Okonkwo would have felt much less pressure, he would have lived a full life, he would have considered that Ikemefuna called him father and spared his life. He would not have despised and condemned Nwoye. He would have farmed some, wrestled some, laughed some, and danced to his father’s flute. So, for all of you who respect only those who farm the crops of men, and despise the dignity of those who play the flute,this note is for you. If you change, the economy will be diversified, men will stop killing each other over political offices, there will be fewer aristos,Lagos will be more livable, other cities will develop, and peace will pervade the land. After all, people mostly gravitate towards what is generally accepted.

Of course, I have to acknowledge that in Umuofia of the“Things Fall Apart” days, the yam farmer would have been more prosperous than a flute player. Just the same way a senator would have been more prosperous than a musician in the heydays of the Roman Empire. In the end, money drives the traffic, money drives our traffic. Yes, ninety-nine percent of these decisions are made for money. If this makes you feel funny, that’s your nobler nature getting nudged. And it’s time to answer some questions, if you don’t feel anyhow, it does not mean there is no nobility in you, you may just be more honest or more aware. Either way, let’s answer the questions; can we respect anything other than money? Can a well-behaved, conscientious, and consistent human being who has a not too lucrative job command our respect? Or, since people always look for that which they do not have, and we are largely a resource challenged society. If we must pursue money by all means, can we find other ways of making the money? Rather than everyone trying to knock on the same doors and doing anything possible to get through those doors.

If we respect money less, newer channels will open up and we will all be better for it. The irony of following the traffic is that the traffic moves. My parents told me how actors and actresses used to be looked down on in their days, not anymore. Just stay where you are and pursue your dreams, you’ll be alright. But, more importantly, respect the trend less,respect money less, give due respect to those who play the flute – they are the future. And for you, as an individual, insulate yourself from the pressure,there are too many examples that show us that it is worthless to succumb to it– it is like chasing after the wind. I once read a quote “there is no limit to what a man can achieve, if he does not care who gets the credit”, for me I’d say “there is no limit to what a man can achieve, if he does not care if the ball drops”. Ultimately, the first quote is true, but I believe the second to be truer. Those who do anything and everything to appear like they have it altogether to the society are the ones who eventually do the unthinkable. Be ready to lose some and win some, understand that there will always be richer and poorer people, and that it’s okay to rise and fall. Know that the value of your pocket is not the value of you, and you’ll be amazed at the possibilities.

So I’ll not be guilty of some form of plagiarism, I have to acknowledge Pastor Bankie (www.kwm.com.ng)who brought clarity to the thoughts in my mind.

Rookie Tips From A JJC Like Me…Part2

I did promise to share my experiences as I slowly get the hang of things, so here I am again with my JJC chronicles. Nothing has changed much since my last post, I still miss my family like crazy but I am super thankful for technology…

There is a world of difference between my first degree and the one I am getting now, and after a couple of classes its dawning on me how different things are especially when it comes to the relationship between a professor and the students but that’s fine, better late than never right? I am here to learn, and learn I will.

So here are a few more experiences that I would love to share:

1) Not every cat or bird you see is evil: An average Nigerian is fairly skeptic what it comes to cats, and I am one of them, coupled with the fact that I have a father that attends MFM, (only a few people will get why this detail counts) you can imagine my fear when I was coming from school last night and  was greeted by a fat black cat! I almost threw my bag away in shock and fear, but I quickly composed myself when I saw a couple of kids calling the cat and rubbing its fur. I walked briskly upstairs while saying a quiet prayer and hoping I didn’t run into another one.

2) Dress according to the weather: During winter,recognize the fact that you come from a warmer climate and cover yourself in deference to the weather because failure to do so can result in health issues. I have since taken to wearing socks whether I am indoors or out.

3) Ask ask ask! I cannot stress this enough, especially when it comes to important issues, its wise to ask and get clarifications in grey areas, I am privileged to have a few people in my life that have been here longer and have had almost all the challenges that I am having now and luckily, they are always willing to answer my numerous questions.

An important aspect of all these experiences is the fact that they are opening up my mind and I must say that I am seeing things a lot differently than I used to. I will do my best to document these experiences and share them as I go.

Move to a new country and you will quickly see that visiting a place as a tourist, and actually moving there for good are two very different things…”- Tahir Shah

Rookie Tips From A JJC Like Me…

Where I come from, JJC is short for “Johnny just come“. It is a term jokingly used to describe people who have just arrived in a new town and know little or nothing about the place.

Like I stated in my previous post, a change has occurred in my life and I have moved to the States to further my education. Since I got here, it has been an exhilarating experience. My people, A/C no be fan oh! I am learning as I go. Although I was here in March, I have since discovered that visiting is not the same as residing.

In my brief experience, I have learned a few things that I would love to share, some of which are:

1) Do not bother with the accent, just speak like the Nigerian you are and they will understand you. Some of the Nigerians I have met here have the most hilarious mixture of both the American and British accent.

2) If you have to take a cab, insist that the meter be turned on, so you can pay your exact fare. Don’t fall for them like i did in NYC.

3) Be financially savvy and smart, know when and where to shop, you want to save as much money as you can.

4) Pay attention to the bus routes and learn fast(I am still learning though), you might get lost a couple of times but you’ll get the hang of it.

5) Never ever be ashamed to ask a question when you don’t know or find your self in a fix, there’s no shame in asking!

Starting Over…

Change is hard, a little painful too but at the end of the day, its all worth it. I started my year with a change, something I had worked toward, prayed toward and just plain wanted, but it cost me a great deal! For someone like me who is attached to my family, its been tough this past week. I know it might get tougher before it gets better but I am focused on the bigger picture and my support system is still firmly in place.

Let us see this new year as a clean slate, a fresh start, an opportunity to accomplish something that you have been putting off for a while now because really, how much longer do you plan to put it off for? Time waits for nobody and you are not an exception. Make each day count, clearly define your goals so that at the end of year, it wont just be another 365 days down the drain.

I have moved to the United States for school, and I will try to share some of my experiences and JJC moments with you all.

Make a decision to make 2015 count, Happy new year.