The Silent Accomplice

Hey Fam! Happy New Year guys- I know it’s been a while since we’ve come together, but I hope the new year has been productive for everyone so far. In my hiatus, I was featured on one of my favorite blogs, The Naked Convos, on this post right HERE. (Just in case you didn’t see it) And so I decided to kick off #Niran2016 by doing something a little different. Please take the time to read my first official short story below, and don’t forget to share your thoughts. NEVER FORGET!!!!

Amongst other things, Bimpe questioned why she had to be in the market that afternoon. It was as if the universe conspired against her, until she found herself in this exact spot, unable to look away, yet afraid of what was going to happen if she chose to look. One thing she was sure of was madam’s fury; one like none other, that would await her upon her tardy return to the house. Yet, here she was, watching, waiting like the rest of the people in the crowd. She wasn’t sure who the boy being dragged through the mud was, but she was sure of one thing; he wasn’t the culprit they were looking for.

She wouldn’t have noticed him if she hadn’t at the very last minute wandered into Mama Tobi’s small wooden shop, beating herself up for forgetting that madam requested four tomatoes instead of the three she mistakenly purchased. She was particularly fond of Mama Tobi, and often went into her shop, even if nothing on Madam’s meticulous list could be found there. She took an unexplainable comfort in the woman’s welcoming smile and honest demeanor. She was the only vendor that cared enough to ask how she was doing, and she often thought that in another world, Mama Tobi could have been her mother.

But today was different than any other day, and while shuffling through the small used purse Aunty Toyin (madam’s younger sister) ‘dashed’ her, she dropped the Hundred Naira note she intended to give to her vendor. As she rushed to pick up the money, she noticed him in the shop across the street, quickly stuffing various ‘provisions’ into his black nylon bag. Shortly after, the young man in his bright orange shirt and faded khaki shorts hurried of out the shop, just before the owner, a tiny older lady came out. At the same time a nervous looking boy, who looked like he might have been around the same age as her was exiting the shop when the woman suddenly began shouting.

Bimpe thought she recognized the boy from her neighborhood, but she wasn’t too sure. Before she could think any further, the shop owner’s son already had the young boy in his grips, landing him multiple slaps, and asking him to admit to stealing the provisions. Soon, the boy managed to release himself, and emptied the contents of his black nylon bag in an effort to prove his innocence.

While none of the missing items were found, a can of peak milk he previously purchased was more than enough for a public trial. The shop owner and her son declared that he must have dumped the rest of the stolen items somewhere close. She mistook his bright red shirt as the real culprit’s bright orange, and screamed loud enough that people in the neighboring shops began to come out and form a crowd. In an unfortunate moment of fear, the young boy tried to run, but was soon apprehended by the shop owner’s son and some of the other men that were present. If anything, this desperate attempt to escape death only sealed his fate as people mistook his fear as guilt.

As Bimpe moved to the entrance of Mama Tobi’s shop and slowly towards the crowd, a small group of men had already started to drag him through the mud and stopped to leave him in the center of the crowd. Now bloodied and weakened, his pleas got fainter with each blow he received to the face, and kick to the chest. He curled up in a fetal position in a bid to protect himself, but as his eyes met Bimpe’s, it was clear that he had already accepted defeat. In the brief moment that their eyes met, she not only confirmed that she recognized him, but she realized that he was just like her- a young house help from the neighborhood, sent on an errand that he wouldn’t have the luxury of returning from.

Her heart beat at a more rapid pace, and she began thinking about how things could have gone differently. How perhaps she, or Mama Tobi could have said something. But then she thought, it all happened so fast. Besides, who would have believed her, and how could she be sure that Mama Tobi even knew?

When she saw the rusty car tyre being placed around his neck, with him too weakened and downtrodden to fight back, she was crippled with fear. And when through the blur of fire and her silent tears, she glanced and saw the man in his bright orange shirt and faded khaki shorts also watching with a repressed smile, she quivered with guilt and anger. But when her eyes met Mama Tobi’s, who abruptly lowered her gaze and hurried away from the crowd, she was overcome with shame- a feeling she’d become too familiar with.

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ANNIVERSARY: KNOW THYSELF

Hey Fam! Can you guys believe that we have been on this journey for TWO years now? Yup, you better believe it- because I logged into my account this morning, and got a “Happy Anniversary” message from WordPress. It really put some things into perspective for me. Like 1, I definitely need to blog more, and 2. I need to get more serious and get contributors on this blog. Needless to say, 2016 is going to be exciting. For now though, I want to usher us into this new month by offering some unsolicited advice that has truly shaped me as a person, and that I also think more people should care about. Without further ado, here goes nothing:

I cannot stress enough, the importance of knowing one’s self. I find myself in conversations with people, where I try to explain that I have come to (to some extent anyway) know myself, and that doing so has helped me immensely. While I can’t always articulate my thoughts when speaking (a problem I’m sure many writers have), the point that I do intend to get across is this: when you are even remotely aware of who you are, it becomes much easier to navigate your way through life, and the variety of relationships it throws at you. When you’ve come to terms with even a fraction of yourself, you begin to process things in a different light. You know what you can, and can’t tolerate but most importantly, WHO you can and can’t tolerate.

Listen, it is much easier to remain in a shitty relationship (friendships and all other types of ‘ships’ included) when you haven’t a solid clue on yourself. However when you spend time alone, and really examine your character, you will begin to understand what your core values are; what’s really important to you. Subsequently, you begin to deal with people accordingly. It will be ok that not everyone understands you, and what drives you because you won’t maintain the same type relationship with everyone. But those that you do intend to maintain some sort of closeness to will be examined using the same lens that you examined yourself with. In other words, it’s easier to think “knowing my character, and knowing the shit that I like/dislike, the shit that drives/turns me off, how well will we get along? In what capacity will we relate with one another?”

And while this all sounds great, allow me to inform you on a secret that those who have also been on this journey have never revealed: the fact that you KNOW better, doesn’t ALWAYS mean that you’ll DO better. Again, the fact that you understand who you are and consequently who you can/can’t tolerate won’t mean that you’ll always listen to your inner voice; some people will always fall through the cracks. But what’s important is that you at least know- so that someday if things get really bad, you can adjust your lens, and see things more clearly.

I cannot tell you that I have a full grasp on who I am because I’m still learning. Hell, I’ll probably always be learning. But what’s important is that I’ve started- I’ve spent time alone (too much time alone sometimes, lol) and have an idea. And because of it, I’m able to sometimes sha make better judgments in my various relationships.

So here’s what I’m saying: It really is ok that you don’t bounce from one relationship to another. It really is ok to spend some time alone and really get to know you. Understand your strengths and weaknesses, irrespective of who is around. And I promise that it will be a lot tougher for ANYONE to come and feed you bullshit on who you are- in fact, it becomes comical. DON’T wait for anyone to fix you- empower thyself, and more importantly, love thyself. And then share that love with others.

When you know yourself, you are empowered. When you accept yourself, you are invincible” – Tina Lifford

So You Think You’re Cute

We are all guilty of trying, at some point in our lives, to shape ourselves/behave in a manner we believe to be appealing to someone. But this…this is the reality of many misguided women.

So you think you’re cute. Yeah you with the pretty face, and high pitched voice. Please, raise your voice a few pitches higher and don’t forget to say “like”, like a million times. Throw your head this way, and that. Say shit you know deep down in your soul is pure stupidity because well… he’ll be entertained.

And to give you credit, you’re not entirely wrong. Sometimes, depending on his brand of stupidity, he will be. And so the both of you will live foolishly ever after- well, until he finds another misguided fool, that is. But since we are focusing on now, then please by all means, carry on with this façade. Since I have no right to judge you, I hope it’s ok that I ask one simple question. Does it really feel good? I mean yes the attention must be nice, so I won’t even bother asking you about that. But I mean deep down- with your inner self. Are you happy? Or is it like that post-porn feel, where you’re just disgusted after the fact?

More importantly, let me ask you this: When he knowingly welcomes your act because it soothes his ego and plays right into his incessant need to appear more intelligent than you, how do you really deal with it? How do you deal with knowing that you’re probably much smarter than him, but you’ve now locked yourself in this place where you have to pretend to be less smart? Or maybe you’re not even smarter than him- maybe you’re just smarter than you’re pretending to be. What do you then think of him? Is he really the type of man you want?

Is it this guy, that encourages you to be anything other than what you truly are, the one who tickles your fancy? You’re right, I lied when I said I wouldn’t judge you, as I’ve done so almost entirely in this post. But to be fair, I have judged him too. He- that egotistical manic. He that makes it ok for you to not be yourself. He, who prefers you this way, over any other way because it makes him feel good; “manly” even. He that believes it is his “right” to be better than you. He, that entitled, ignorant fool. So he thinks you’re cute. And then what?

IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK

I’m sure by now, we are all familiar with the phrase “Suffering and Smiling”. Allowing outsiders to believe all is well. Answering “I’m doing good” or even “great” when someone asks how you are. And even taking it one step further by smiling even though you know deep down, it is taking everything in you to keep it together. So you put on a brave face. And I get it- I get why. Not everyone must know that things aren’t well, and not everyone should be privy to your insecurities, or your sadness or whatever it is you’re experiencing.

But sometimes, it’s ok to not be ok. And even if you’re having a hard time admitting that to other people, don’t make the mistake of not admitting it yourself. Because that is the only way you’ll begin to heal. Allow yourself to know that it’s ok to be angry. Allow yourself to know that it’s ok to be sad. Allow yourself to know that it’s ok to not be sure. That it’s ok to feel whatever you’re feeling. Because acknowledging it, is how you being to understand it. And once you understand it, it becomes easier to deal with. Don’t replace how you truly feel for how you think society wants you to feel, or what you believe paints a prettier picture. Because at the end of the day, that pretty picture and that beautiful facade won’t do shit for you. It’ll only make you feel worse. So acknowledge it- It’s ok to not always be ok.

Hey Mr.Good Guy.. I’ll Let You Finish But….

Pun!! Pun Intended!!!

You know what I sometimes have a problem with? This whole idea of the “good” guy, or the “good” woman. Because honestly, what is good?

I’m sure we’ve all at some point heard or seen a man lament about being the good guy who *drum rolls* finishes last. However somewhere in my mind, I wonder… How does one qualify as a good potential-significant other? And why is it that this tale of the good guy/woman is mostly told whenever said individual loses out on their love interest?

Could it be that the person just wasn’t into you? Could it be that you’re not the victim you believe yourself to be? I know, shocker. But wait, I have one more. Could it be that if in fact cupid wasn’t asleep, and things worked out like you wanted, you would have ended up as the oh don’t do it bad guy?! *insert exaggerated gasp*

Let me break it down for you: The simple fact that you are interested in someone, and imagine that you’d be great to that individual doesn’t mean that you actually will be. And to be frank, I find this entitled mentality as annoying as I do arrogant. Now this isn’t me telling you not to know your worth. You might very well be a great person, with good intentions. However to victimize yourself and claim that you’re “carrying last” (rolls eyes) simply because you didn’t land the man/woman of your dreams is a bit arrogant. Especially when there was never a guarantee that if you did in fact enter into a relationship with that person, you wouldn’t fuck up. Because even the best people fuck up. That is all.

The Other Woman…Doesn’t Owe You Anything!

So while looking through my notes today, I randomly found this post I wrote a while back. Now clearly I’m exaggerating a bit as I do understand that certain situations are different and should be addressed differently. Not to mention that there’s also a general “treat others as you’d like to be treated” rule, but in all honesty, how much responsibility/blame should be placed on the “other” woman/man? Read the post below, and share your thoughts:

So I’m obviously going to piss a lot of people off with this post, but hey… why not. Lets dive right in. Very often when a man cheats, there’s always talks of “the other woman”. This evil creature who sticks around and gives your man a reason to betray you. She is well aware, (well sometimes anyway) of your relationship.. of your position in his life. Yet, she choses to frolic with him. And so after all of your suspicion, and lets not forget research you find her. You can put a face to the name- you’ve identified the devil in disguise; The “home-wrecker”, the “Other Woman”. You hold her responsible because somewhere in your mind, you feel like as a fellow woman in this difficult “man’s world”, she should have known better. I mean isn’t there some unspoken sister-code amongst women? (I’ve been working on my sarcasm so I really hope it translates in that last paragraph)

The truth is, there isn’t. And I won’t lie… to some degree, I understand this mentality. I understand feeling like others should at least be considerate. I understand expecting or at least hoping that people are good to you. However, what I don’t understand is why this other woman owes us so much responsibility; even more than our partners. I view relationships very much like contracts. We myself and my imaginary boo have decided to enter into this thing together. You and I. Not me, you, and the prospective “other woman”. And so I intend to keep it that way. Not because I’m a virtuous woman, or a ride-or-die (aka mumu), or more importantly that I’ve come to find no other man attractive, because lol let’s be honest…there are soooo many fine… ok I’m getting distracted. But anyway, it’s because we have made a decision to be loyal to one another- to deal with one another and to be exclusively with one another. With this in mind, it is expected that both parties stick to their end of the deal, no? However if YOU the he-goat that you are decide to demolish breach our contract, then the responsibility falls entirely on you. NOT the other woman. She may or may not have known, but she owes me no responsibility. She didn’t sign that contract with us.

Now this isn’t me saying that the other woman or the other man shouldn’t at all be held responsible. I’m simply saying… don’t hold them more responsible than you do your partner. Because then you’re not accepting the situation for what it is. If whomever you’ve entered an exclusive relationship with cheats, that person should be faulted for cheating. THat person owed you loyalty. That individual is the culprit. Yes, someone may have aided them (I mean, that’s usually how it works right?… lol) But they wronged you . Not the outsider; so deal with them accordingly. However the point I’m trying to get across is this: as the “victim”, you’re allowed to be hurt and to be angry, and to some degree blame the other woman. But it shouldn’t extend beyond a certain point.. it shouldn’t reach a physical altercation, because remember.. She didn’t sign the deal. He did. With that in mind, the best solution is to kill him. Just kidding. 🙂

PS: Why is it that we don’t often hear about the “Other Man”? Might it be that this law of unspoken loyalty doesn’t apply to men? Or are men just that respective of other Men’s relationships (which would then suggest that women don’t cheat?)….LOL what are your thoughts?

Nigeria: My Addiction to Religion

#Addicted

Hey Guys! Since I have so much time on my hands, I decided to get a bit creative with this post. I hope that it doesn’t get too confusing and that you do understand the message. Please read, and leave only your honest thoughts. Thanks 🙂


Nigeria: “Hi Everyone, I’m Nigeria and I’m a religion addict”

Everyone: “Hi Nigeria”

Group Leader/Therapist: “Care to share a little bit about your journey here?”

Nigeria: “It all began years ago, when the white man came and introduced me to a different type of high. Before then, I used what we now regard as “Idols”, and although I was content, the white man managed to convince me that his way was better. And since I experienced his kind, I never looked back”

Group Leader/Therapist: “Why is that?”

Nigeria: “Because this high is different. It allows me to do different things and takes me to different places. But more importantly, it affords me lots of excuses. It’s truly a drug like no other”

Leader: “Care to explain?”

Nigeria: “Well, for one, it gives me a certain sense of superiority- it allows me to sometimes believe that I’m better than those that aren’t experiencing what I’m experiencing with this high. And if I’m allowed to be completely honest…”

Leader: “Please.”

Nigeria: “It initially wasn’t a problem for me. In many ways, it felt good… to be able to point out others’ mistakes to them, and more importantly tell them there’s a better way to live. That there’s a more fulfilling and satisfying experience.”

Leader: “So when did it start to become a problem?”

Nigeria: “When I realized how badly it also affected me. When it became clear that pointing out faults in others was sometimes my own way of refusing to deal with my imperfections. Believe it or not, this drug doesn’t afford me the luxury of not having imperfections”

*laughter*

Nigeria: “But the light bulb went off when I noticed how it affected my home. My reliance on this fix discouraged me from making any real impact at home. It’s like somehow along the way, I forgot that I have the ability to make an impact, and simply criticized without action. I relied instead on the power of the drug to influence those in power, while neglecting the power that I actually had, and the gifts that it bestowed upon me to bring about change. I and my people got together and established more (churches) houses; in fact we now own the largest amount in the world. But our resilience in continuously opening these homes, on every corner was quite symbolic of our unrealistic expectations- as though the more homes we built, the more inclined God would feel to come down and solve our problems for us. I began to lose my way- I began focusing on the concept of religion and it dawned on me that perhaps I wasn’t always using the purest form of this drug. I was merely using a beautifully disguised counterfeit- one that allowed me to fall in love with the idea of religion as opposed to its teachings. One that ignored my humanity and susceptibility to mistakes- one whose facade was as strong as my need for a fix.”

Leader: “Wow. Please continue”

Nigeria: “Finally, I also started noticing that some suppliers a.k.a appointed leaders of these houses (churches) started taking advantage. As the market grew (due to the unprogressive nature of the economy) and they began to flourish, the product became increasingly diluted. What bothered me more was that as they became richer, some of their customers remained stagnant… I guess we can also blame this on the addiction.”

Leader: “Well said. So how do you think you, and everyone else in this room can move forward?”

Nigeria: “Well… (nervously laughs) I’m not sure. But I think instead of judging and being intolerant to those that have chosen a different path, we can begin to acknowledge our humanity and moral imperfections, because lets face it…we all screw up. We shouldn’t let this high distract us from the work that needs to be done within our society. Perhaps we should also pay closer attention to our suppliers. We should verify that what they are distributing is only the purest.

Leader: “How do you mean?”

Nigeria: *sighs “I mean, instead of talking about enemies and those that are after us, maybe, just maybe we should talk about love. And no, not in that very desensitized and abstract manner we’ve become accustomed to. But in the way God loves us- as we are, and not as we should be. Thank you for listening”

Leader: “And thank you for sharing, Nigeria”

*applause*