Knuckling through zero-G

Last summer, I went on a neck-snapping roller coaster ride. It was at a ride known as the voyage –reputed to have been the world’s scariest wooden ride at some point in history.
For days after the experience, besides being painfully aware of every muscle in my neck, I would constantly have the vertigo sensation whenever I was falling asleep and would immediately jolt back to wakefulness. 
I also found myself gripping the edge of my seat in a car when the driver negotiates a meandering road. And I subconsciously relived the screams from the ride whenever everything around me goes eerily quiet.
Needless to say, I was over the experience and desperately wanted normalcy back in my days. 

My friends and I would later joke that it was traumatic for me, largely because I refused to get on a few other rides like the voyage, no matter how much simpler they looked or how much fun the riders seemed to be having.  

 

thumbs_Hands-Up-Going-Down-First-Drop_0

Source: Holidayworld.com

 

However, when the year vomited some real trauma onto my path, I knew that although vertigo and kinetosis pointed to a loss of control on prevailing circumstances, they were a far cry from being the symptoms of a life gone rogue.
Unlike my post-voyage experience, I found a daily charter, to help me fall asleep in peace and pry my blue knuckles off the corners of despair. It helped me put things in perspective in small ways and live through a day at a time. 
It was nothing deep, just a sticky note reminder of sorts.
And I’m passing it along, hoping it helps someone that may be going through life’s unapologetic roller coaster toss or a dark motionless tunnel: 

Don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid to be by yourself. Don’t be overwhelmed by your own company.
Entertain your own thoughts, go one better, entertain His thoughts.

You are not broken, you are in good company; you are in good hands.

Don’t be in a hurry for companionship or love or even close friendships. Just be.

Be healthy, be happy, take baby steps and then giant strides.
Stop letting the days roll over you with no paths.
Make a record of something, in bits, per day.

Love. In truth. Per day.
Let go.
If you find pieces of worrisome weight on your mind when you wake up, let go afresh, everyday.
Cry if you need to, then wipe your tears and practice a smile.

Pour out your heart to your Father, as often as you need.
Make faces at the puffy eyed image reflected at you in the mirror
Then laugh: The sound of your laughter is glorious.

It’s okay to feel crushed, but remember, there is not a weak bone in you.
And you have a fighting chance to be the strongest when you are rocked to your knees.

 

 

Who made them with minds?

“Oh my! Honey, come look. Quick! This was not in the specifications! They seem to possess a strange ability. Sweet Lord! They came with… minds!? What did we do to deserve this? We are nice people, whom did we offend?”

My somewhat overworked mind came up with this scenario for the first set of parents when they found out that their precious children had minds of their own.

****

It’s not as if they thought they were getting a dummy for a child, but they certainly thought this baby was going to function exactly like they want it to -according to their inputs and that alone. Well, he is allowed to make deductions and decisions but those too should be as they (the parents) would make them, and not so differently.

Let’s explore the first parents a little more, shall we? Imagine an alternate universe, (so, stop thinking Adam and Eve already :)).

Time was freshly conceived and the starter had not yet started counting. Wish we could, but we cannot call it 0000BC, just because.

The baby came and was all pink and fuzzy. This was the being they had adored sight unseen. s/he finally comes and adoration meter shoots to the end of the scale, right before the nappy changes and sleepless nights.

I can imagine them sharply sucking in their breath in unfeigned outrage at the first audacious display of independence. That is ridiculous, I know, but these are the first parents, with no experiential or scientific information to go by. How would they know what to expect? (Yo! Stop thinking ‘wisdom’ and ‘instincts’, dude, this here is a spoof)

The child grows and so does this strange phenomenon. She prefers to swim rather than learn Music. He wants quiet when you think he should be among his peers. She wants to build Rockets, you think Medicine or Law sounds more practical. He dreams of becoming a Chef, you think: “not on your life”

Before the invention of the ‘be who you want to be’ phrase, I wonder how these folks managed. They may have gone through denial, anguish, disappointment, felt cheated, be struck with wonderment as this little fella mirrors what they do and still somehow ends up being his/her own self.

One minute, they are teaching him Arithmetic and his adoring eyes make them feel like heroes, the next, he is all smart and lecturing them on Quantum Physics.
They prefer the storybook promise of permanence but this child keeps his Chameleon outfit fashionable.

****

Parents generally feel pride at their kids’ achievements but it seems they constantly try to preserve a hold with their usual attack/defense being that they have been around longer than you, seen more, and well, know better. It is not uncommon to hear things like “who is the Parent here?”, “who got to this world first between you and I?”

It is understandable that parents may tend to worry and be overly concerned for their children. It’s natural. Especially as all children are wont to think they have seen it all and they are both street-smart and world-savvy (which is also natural).
You would be concerned too if you were them- as a child is a piece of you running around in the world, and you, all things being equal, want the best for him/her.
Sometimes also, you may be wanting to live vicariously through the child, making available your missed opportunities and correcting the mistakes you figure you made in life through them.
Noble intentions, but er… NO. Guide, support, nurture, advise, scold, help, gently push (where necessary), protect even, but do not impose… let them be all they want to be.

Love would do that.

****

I appreciate the fact that parenting is hard work, it takes a lifetime, tonnes of patience, strength, flexibility and a warehouse of wisdom.
Honour your parents, love them (in spirit and in deed), respect and cherish them. Even if some things have gone wrong between you guys or they have rubbed you the wrong way, they are human, no catalogue or manual came with you at birth, neither did any suddenly appear as you grow.
Besides, you were way too awesome to correctly assess and for some time there, they were silently wondering who made you with that mind!

You’ll see, when you get to be a parent too, more than once, about your child, you will find yourself pondering: where did s/he get that mind? I hope you remember your growing up and swallow your dosage prescription of chill pills then. 😀

Actually, I think the first parents (refer above) would have been sorely disappointed if the child hadn’t come with a mind of its own. But hey,

That’s my story
I’m sticking with it
Thanks
for reading this
beautifully ridiculous piece.
Parents Rock!
😀

Tickled toes

1376865128899

Travel the Universe in your imagination
Crater the Sun, reset the Moon
Tickle the stars and give the sky a hug
Woo the springs, sing with the birds
Whisper to the Onyx, nestle the corals and dance with the Dolphins
Turn the tides, touch the ocean floor, kiss the reeds, and capture a thunder
Rise with the mist, catch a shooting star
Swing from the trees, unearth gold
Twirl on a taut rope, jog with a Cheetah, sip on love
Put down the stone in your hand, etch a poem on it, give your anger to the echoing mountains
Smile, laugh, curl your toes and open your mind
Tame your pounding heart and take a step to-ward your dream
Enjoy what you do have
Celebrate life

Lily Chronicles 3- Homes and Alleys

First, I really must apologise for going MIA on this blog practically all year long.

I’ve thought of this blog every single week and my heart yearns to post something but I somehow find that the months roll by and I still don’t.

Excuses won’t cut it, I OD’d on those already.

So, to every person who visited here and found the same old post(s) every time, I apologise for not coming through. Forgimme?{puppy eyes}. Thank you {bright smile}, I’ll try harder and do better, I promise.

Now, here’s an old story (purely fictional) about an unlikely beauty queen. Let’s just say Miss congeniality, is not an undercover cop, but a one-man rebel government this time around.

Catch up on and

And the day came, when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom -Anais Nin

The days keep counting, alternating between being exhilaratingly fast and frustratingly slow. The euphoria wears out, public attention wanes, there are new scandals, news piece and everybody is moving on but my life, my course is forever altered (or maybe I just got on course?).

Today, I got a call from Emayo, whom I fondly call ‘PG’. He is the Projects and Programmes director, so both letters P and G find a cozy home as acronyms of his job description. More accurately though, the acronym stands for ‘Parental Guidance’, my way of giving parents with little kids a heads up around him.
His language is vulgar and rated PG-13 at least, also, he is quite the lady’s man, and adult supervision (R-rating) is advised if your pretty, young daughter is going to be hanging out around him.
It drives him up the wall that I won’t quit my PG parade and as a way of payback, he calls me ‘Lil’. (Who on earth shortens the name ‘Lily’?!)

He calls and asks if I have gone through the slides he sent me and if I didn’t find the pictures too disturbing.

I almost let loose a guffaw.

Those pictures, to me, were like flipping through an album of my life, only they didn’t contain any picture of the past 12years that I’ve lived –outside of that kind of environment.

High definition pictures that depict the standard selling point of Africa- as many outside the continent know it. Poverty. Call me paranoid, but I think that is why PG chose this particular project for me, to make us look “good” to potential investors.

What an irony! We sell our worst stories to attract charity. The inspiring stories hardly gets a media once over, local innovations get booted to the curbs, SME’s sweat tears and blood, the political landscape is fraught with backward policies, violence and corruption but hey! who cares, right? So far we can attract international pity with our poignant stories of squalor and window dress our festering sores to look “good” for foreign investors.

I go over the slides again and smile sadly… there were shots of children playing on extensive fields of debris: If you look carefully enough, you will see the not so odd bodies of dead chickens, goats or dogs, at different stages of decay.
A child with an alarmingly distended tummy and a half eaten mango celebrating a swarm of flies paying homage to the bounty that she holds, stands on one part of the field.

There were pictures of Mothers – with teams of kids- in different states of undress, going about their daily chores with no self consciousness.

These particular photographs made me chuckle.

How these women would have their delicate sensibilities offended and talk haughtily about city girls and their trending barely-there dresses, when they practically would have on their undergarments and a shy piece of wrapper and go to the next street to fetch an errant child or pieces of firewood.

In this state, they would unabashedly greet male folks and smile warmly at strangers (this is a show of their hospitality and is not intended to be sensual).They watch the movies and see “modern” ladies with no social qualms as loose and a bad influence on their young daughters.

Slide after slide tells a story of domestic abuse, police brutality, environmental degradation, sad state of social infrastructure and dehumanization of epic proportions.

The town in consideration is not far from a mega city. It, infact produces a huge proportion of the food items supplied to the city, besides supplying it with cheap labour in form of teenagers and ambitious young adults.

Small towns like this one mostly has a distribution of the aging and the really young population- both dependents,as the work force migrates.

Everybody wants to go to the city and make something of their life. The drive is mostly from the stomach.

They operate a communal setting with likely tradition of jointly raising children. Your child could do something wrong three streets away and neighbors will already help you deal with him before you show up, you just thank the neighbors and promise the child additional hell when you get home. Vices such as lying, stealing et al are frowned upon. Hence,a rumbling tummy would more likely drive a youngster to child labour than to the neighbour’s (money jar) till.

To fix, to empower,to sensitize,to educate… this is to be my project. I smile. I am going home.

Home, not because I am from there, but because I can identify with their struggles and pains.

Home to me, is a distant but ruthless memory, which comes once for an annual visit… on the anniversary of my guardians’ demise.

Blue Funk

Sometimes we just want to escape the drudgery of everyday life.
We wish to feel different, we desire some excitement, a shot of adrenaline, a tingle or anything to show us that we are still human and we are ALIVE. We want to at least feel different- if not special- from what we are used to.
We want some adventure, the kind we have read or heard about; we want to call the shots and have the game played our own way and by our rules – even if it is temporarily.
We may even want to step away from the limelight or for a while, feel like we are truly out of hurt’s way.

It is hardly unusual to, at times like these, have hordes of ideas compelling convictions on how this can be achieved; how ‘who’ is responsible for the present condition we are in or how lucky someone we know is to have a better life than ours.

The feeling of life’s unfair deal to us can degenerate to outright depression, bitterness in the more extreme cases. I hear you think that depression is a worse-case scenario compared to bitterness. But while you may at least have inklings about someone suffering from clinical depression, a bitter heart does not exactly wear a recognisable halo.
For instance, there are no pills to pop for bitterness.
Yes, it is an ailment. No, don’t bother consulting a medical dictionary.
Yes, it is dangerous; a trigger-happy condition.
No, neither depression nor bitterness is a good thing.

Now, I think you may have gotten my point. Thank you.

The sad thing is that, when the blues set in, we are magnanimous enough to sell others in on our misery.
Overcome by paranoia, we may believe there is a contrivance of people, systems, forces and events seeking to surcharge our lives.
In a bid to defend our sanity, we often lash out, dishing out blame to everyone – from the central authorities’ insensitivity, to the rottenness of our parents’ wombs.
If we have spouses already, they get charged with the murder of our dreams; the environment takes its share,even God is not spared our righteous indignation. “How could He…?”

Ourselves? Oh, we deserve so much better. Yes we have our flaws but no one should be forever punished for things they could not help. There are worse people out there and they do not (have to) go through the things we do.

Only a few are true enough to self to look in the mirror and dish the guy in it some responsibilities. This too can be done in the most self-depreciating way, where you make yourself feel like you are responsible for all the ills in the world. It’s kind of like committing suicide without actually killing your body off…

It goes without saying that, it simply is easier to have everything in soft focus when things appear to be going great. But a simple rock to the boat and we’re screaming foul play.
Yes, I do understand the rocking may be anything but simple. It may be more like a violent shaking that could lead to a possible capsize.
It may be the kind of turbulence that pilots dread, the kind of storm that captains loathe.

But we so easily forget.

Oh! How we so easily forget.
That all that can be shaken will be shaken and all that’d remain is that which cannot be shaken

That our interpretations and our choices/decisions added up to this point, making our individual lives what it is

That the broken have a greater tendency of becoming masters at healing

That there may have been a contrivance at some point, but nothing holds power over us that we have not given power to

That the saying that “a man’s enemies are of his own household” holds first for our body, our senses, our mindsets, and our belief systems. Yes, it’s all shut within that 5ft x” frame of yours. (Deal with it)

That if you had done all you could, all you can then do is to stand and not give up on yourself

That bitterness shrivels up our vitality

That playing the blame game will merely prolong the inevitable

That possessing the entitlement mentality sucks, nobody owes us anything per se, what we get from others are privileges. And if they refuse to man up, it’s not usually worth it to hole them up in our hearts;

That there is order in chaos; life is worth living and the sun will rise again. It always does

That the only way to see change is to (be the change) have a change of perspective

That that tingle, the fluttering butterflies, the grand adventure may just be a-step-round-the–corner away

That looking for an exhaustive list of how to’s, solutions and life’s recipe from one man is a laughable mission. There is a book and it is not called People Magazine nor blogs, it is called The Bible 😉

We often forget that, forgetting is not a problem if we never knew in the first place.
Know.
Understand.

With Blues, Hip hop and a hand-fan,
©301112
Lily.

Raising Isaiah

Tried to arise but I couldn’t feel my legs
Tried to shine but I didn’t believe I could
Knew my light came somewhere but I thought I couldn’t handle a spotlight
Knew your glory rose on me but I felt I wasn’t worthy

Trying to rise but my knees are buckling
Trying to shine but all I can manage is a flicker
Know my light has come but I keep feeling for a switch
Know your glory is risen on me but what to do with it?

Your *word came and set me on my feet- as I, in faith received it
In the understanding of Your grace and glory
I lose the consciousness of sin and jumped out of the bushels
As a proud city of God, set on a hill
full of light and glory
I shine

I shine and nations are drawn to the reality of Your beauty
‘Cause You are in me and I in You;
You are the light and have so made me

Arise, shine
For your light has come
And the glory of the Lord
Is risen upon you
(Isaiah 60:1)

*The words that I speak to you, they are Spirit and Life.John 6:63

IOU

I owe you the best of me at all times, if anything happens to truncate that, forgive me

 

I owe you love and respect no matter what

I owe you the truth even if you do not want to hear it or I do not feel like telling it

 

I owe you a listening ear and a helping hand when you are swamped

I owe you laughter, inspiration, support, help, edifying words and a shoulder to cry on

 

I owe you a loving scold when you’re obviously messing up and you’re oblivious of it

I owe you a hug when life gets ‘too much’ for you to bear or for when you just need a friend

 

I owe you a pen to write your plans down and encouragement when the going gets tough

I owe you a clink of glass and a toast when the deal comes through

 

I owe you faith and forgiveness (as the case may be) for every time and for all times

I owe you prayers and a light on your path

 

I owe you a call or a message to check on you every now and then

I owe you a fight for our friendship when life’s busy-ness threatens to erode the bond that we share

 

I owe you a presence of mind and understanding but not unnecessary indulgence

I do not owe you my life, but I owe you an introduction to the LIFE

 

I owe you no apologies for being me, I tried somebody else but I sucked at it

Me is the best I can be

 

I owe you, I know I owe you and I receive the grace to be good for payment every single time

I owe it to you…but I do not think you owe me anything back

I simply know and accept my responsibility and it is not dependent on what you do or fail to do

Whatever I get from you, I do not take for granted, but I charge you(I owe you that much!), wake up and accept your responsibilities too.

oh! And I owe you appreciation too… thanks for being a part of my life 🙂

 

 

Inspired by: Femi Jacobs