I don’t know how to keep a man.

Psst: I’ve moved. Visit me here http://streetsideconvos.com. Maybe the new blog will be for you. Maybe not.

I don’t know how to keep a man

Never been good at playing hard to get

Stick my foot in my mouth

Care too much, don’t care enough

But you. You’re still here.

Dark birthmark on my right cheek

I try to pinch and peel you off my skin

secretly loving the way you won’t budge

You are the rock, I am the river

winding furiously in spurts and stops

Admit it you like it ; the passion of its flow

the full calm when it ebbs; the curious mix

of feisty bitch and gentle lover

the warrior you boast of, the coward you pep talk

You know me. I need not say more

than those sighs my chest heaves

lying on top of yours

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Work or play?

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Psst: I’ve moved. Visit me here http://streetsideconvos.com. Maybe the new blog will be for you. Maybe not.

Work. It was all those things you ‘had’ to do for very justified reasons. Today it was in the name of commitment, tomorrow in the name of reputation, the next day in the name of tradition, maybe in the name of adulthood, and oh, watch for the big one- in the name of god.

It was all those boxes you had to stuff yourself into because of course you had to be realistic. Yet no one told you that reality was a constantly changing construct that perhaps you had a stake in recreating.

You justified it long enough although when you stopped to listen you knew that it was not wings but shackles that your so called ‘reasons’ gave you, and you were a willing prisoner. Your excuses were many- justified excuses. Everybody agreed to them because they were so wise and reasonable – except that little’ naive’ child inside of you that you just couldn’t get to shut up.

Then there was play. It was not what you had to do, but what you got to do. It was that place where you became a child again. There were no reasons here, all the reason you had was love. Love got you doing crazy things; much more things than tradition, reputation, god or any other thing they made up to guilt trip you into a loveless commitment could get out of you.

Work or play?

The pesky little child scurries off again into distant lands hidden deep inside of you. (S)he comes back, telling you that there is so much more. That there is a place where life can be play. That it is a place where work is play and so no longer work. A place where you give not just your time and your energy but your whole life. A place that everyone is waiting for you to claim but they just don’t know.

But how can you explain this? What if you never find it? What if you end up naive, irresponsible?

So your dreams become nightmares inside of you. And the light that only you carry gets suffocated in the dark musty cupboards where you hide it.

Your dreams get short of seeing because its been too long in those dark musty cupboards.

You dare not voice them and so they will never know that first kiss with the air that could birth them into words, then goals, then reality.

So then you become disillusioned. And you settle for work. Work is justified. Isn’t there something sanctimonious about the ‘sacrifices’ you ‘have’ to make? You hide behind reasons and everyone agrees with you and nods along because God forbid-  what if your dreams came true then their own dark musty cupboards will have to prematurely see the light in a way that will be oh so unbearable.

Except stubborn little child. There (s)he goes off to play and when (s)he comes home you give him/her a good spanking.

“Shut up! Shut up!”,  you tell stubborn little child.

“Say no more of your childish fantasies.”

But what if you went along with stubborn little child?

What if you got to play forever?

Don’t even deceive yourself that it is an easy road. It will not be as easy as hiding behind all those reasons everyone tells everyone.

Here you will fight and fight. At the risk of your life, your reputation, your tradition and all the other things you and they used to hold you bound, you will fight for your right to play.

Work or play?

What will you choose?

Intercultural West African love: Ghana comes to Nigeria for Pelumi

This summer my really good friend got married. She is the first of my close friends in my age group that got married and so it was very special to me. It was also different because she was marrying outside of her country- to a Ghanaian, a few countries away from Nigeria.

Gifts from the groom to the bride's family. Those are yams all nicely tied up

Gifts from the groom to the bride’s family. Those are yams all nicely tied up

If you know anything about the two countries you know Nigerians and Ghanaians have a sort of sibling rivalry though they secretly love each other at the end of the day. (Ghanaians probably love us more though :P)

I went to Abuja for the wedding with my dad and younger brother who also had people to see in Abuja. We travelled by road so it was quite the journey- we left Lagos around 5 am and got to Abuja at night!

It was the perfect ending to my trip to Nigeria because I got to work on my non-profit, meet people old and new, and then party with the Aikins!

I enjoyed the traditional wedding because I don’t think I have ever been to one. Also, I am from Eastern Nigeria  (Igbo) and Pelumi is from Western Nigeria (Yoruba) so it was nice to see the differences in culture. A few that I noticed;

In Igbo traditional weddings,  the male elders of the family officiate, while in Yoruba weddings women officiate.

In Yoruba weddings, the girl’s family takes care of most of the traditional wedding since they are trying to make a statement about how well taken care of the girl was to the man that is taking her for a bride. In Igbo weddings, the groom plays a huge part since he has to prove that he can take care of his new bride.

Pictures speak better than words so check them out! I put mostly pictures from the traditional Yoruba wedding because I think that is something unique to the culture so it was worth sharing more of.

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Women from the bride’s family welcoming the groom’s family… with dancing of course!

 

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The groom’s family prostrating and kneeling to greet the girl’s parents. Males prostrate, females kneel as a sign of respect

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Jubilant groom dancing forward

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Eric explaining what he is here for and dropping some money in the bucket for the family

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The women of the family were having fun with him and issuing commands like asking him to stand at attention, etc

Receiving the blessings of her father

Receiving the blessings of her father

The bride dances into the venue

The bride dances into the venue

 

Mother daughter moment

Mother-daughter moment

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Showing she can take care of her husband

 

Eric showing he is strong enough for her

Bye Bye Nigeria

 

 

Hello Ghana

Hello Ghana

Happy couple

Happy couple

The drummer got some love and Naira for his hard work too.

The drummer got some love and Naira for his hard work too.

 

Church ceremony the next day- K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Church ceremony the next day- K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Transition

With their cheesy lines and naive glee

those big screen stories made no room

for this, this mourning of something lost

this crossbreed of terror and passion surfacing

where those actresses would be only smiles

She stared at the stranger at home on her left hand

it blinked back even in the candle’s ambient glow

A part of her wished to be the night’s centre piece

the other wished to be the ambience, existing

only to set the mood for the main event

She felt too weak to embrace all this

It overwhelmed her, the prospect of changing

her story, his story, her people’s story

What would all she now carried evolve into?

What would she lose? What would become strange?

What was she forgetting? Who was she betraying?

‘Diamonds’, he whispered like she didn’t know

into the pregnant wide-eyed silence

Tears.

Where was the logical sense in grieving

as a rite of passage into something beautiful?

It didn’t stop them from falling

Each one a salty mish mash of longing and missing

of primal desire and her instinct for flight

‘Yes’ she said, after the fact

She kept saying many ‘yes’es; ‘yes’ upon ‘yes’

‘Yes’ to silence the unwarranted no

from the creature of comfort called her ego

She loved this man, and deep in a place

you could find only after much digging

She knew how precious it was,

this understated thing that only they shared

so she cried because the risk of losing him

was so much more than this weakening fear

of embracing her impending evolution.

– To Pelumi

 

Don’t forget to leave me a comment, subscribe and come on over to twitter to continue the conversation 😉

Why?

He asked me a very simple question. ‘Why?’
‘Why does it matter?

I tried to give a strong and thoughtful answer.

He didn’t give up; ‘And why are you afraid of that?’

I gave another logical answer but I could tell I was gradually being found.

Why, why, why. He kept asking me a series of ‘why’s until one by one I let go of every balloon I had hoped would cover me, then lift me up and away from the gravity of truth.

Balloon 1, 2, 3 were gone. They kept leaving with every probing ‘why’ he asked me and as my answers became more honest and painful.

I was there- found and naked in my most fragile moment.

Seen, guilty as charged, yet loved all the same. Then and only then healing could begin to fill all those crooked hidden empty spaces. Then and there love and acceptance could find those jagged places and tell them it was okay for the sunlight to shine on them.

It was okay to not be perfect.

And for some reason, it was from my fragile imperfection I could begin to be strong, and I could finally share my heart’s song.

Don’t forget to leave me a comment, subscribe and come on over to twitter to continue the conversation 😉

Omolade, Dasola and Kelechi in Calgary

I hung out with Omolade, Dasola and Kelechi to plan a possible open mic/movie screening etc.

By the time we were done it was already too late to meet a stranger to interview so I asked (*cough*coerced*cough* 😉 ) them to do the interview (even though this isn’t the first time I’m meeting them).

This video is the longest! I had to break it into 4 parts in order to upload it.

What I enjoyed the most about this was getting to know them better. One thing I have to say is that the three of them definitely have a strong awareness of who they are.

For example Omolade always like to help. If you are around her she will assertively ask you what you want and offer you things to make you more comfortable. She doesn’t consider it tedious, its just her being her. She is always at others’ service and when she said that she wants to help others with her life I knew she meant it.

Dasola is always making things happen. He always take ownership when there is anything to be done- from a road trip to party to movie to career night etc and I understood why now- because he likes efficiency in every system.

Kelechi doesn’t like to do anything in half measures. He always revises over and over again till its as close as possible to perfection and when he said that he values excellence I appreciated why he does things the way he does.

Its cool because I got to know them more- what makes them who they are, what their values are, their heart, their future dreams and thoughts. I didn’t know Omolade loves change. I didn’t know Kelechi loves to make people smile. I didn’t know how much passion Dasola has for creating the Nigeria of his dreams. They all had one thing in common- a desire to create a better future for others.

It was honest, funny and deep at the same time.

One thing I learnt from this interview is that it is always good to still make room to discover and be surprised by the people in our lives. If they are anything like us then they are beautifully complex.  After sharing the same space or doing some routine activities together you might assume you have a good sense of who they are. When you connect to their essence however, you really admire their gifts and also have a stronger sense of respect for their own self-expression.

Sometimes its hard to have more than a superficial conversation but maybe we can start by sharing our authentic self with others. This doesn’t necessarily mean not using discretion or telling all your dirty secrets but rather being bold enough to wear your essence closer to your sleeve. Its scary but it also has a way of bringing the right people into your life.

What do you think? Yes? No? Maybe?

(Ps: On my previous post about passion- I will share my own ideas on how to get driven/passionate about things we may not presently enjoy. Still waiting for your comments though!)

On Les Miserables, love and generative thinking

Psst: I’ve moved. Visit me here http://streetsideconvos.com. Maybe the new blog will be for you. Maybe not.

I watched les miserables yesterday after hearing so many good reviews. I am so happy to hear it won Best Picture – comedy/musical at the Golden Globes because it was definitely something. I heard so many people sobbing by the time it was done and to be honest I was really moved as well although I didn’t cry 😉

For me the movie was about the hard work of love when the rubber hits the road. The hard work of love when love might never be returned. Love in all its forms and love for the sake of love alone. Love that gives and gives and gives to the point of being foolish and truth be told, no one wants to look foolish.

I think that loving others is the height of generative thinking.

Its easier to employ our creative energy to circumstances but it gets complex when people are involved. Circumstances are impersonal. They don’t have egos, feelings and of course, mouths 🙂 Not so with people.

When we choose to apply our creative energy to the task of loving the people in our lives, its not without a mess. Its dirty, its real, its raw, it takes humility, sacrifice, dedication and lots and lots of forgiveness;  but its still worth it. This is definitely an area where I am not perfect and am growing every day but thought to share.

We don’t know how far our actions go. We don’t know what our gifts do to others. We might love someone today and they don’t return it, but we don’t know how it will impact them and from them a much bigger number of people than we could have imagined.

While we are at it, meet Cher. She lives to influence other people’s lives. She was quite surprised when I asked her if she’d like to do the interview. I guess she wasn’t expecting something random like that to happen to her when she was leaving her house. haha Thanks for your time Cher.