How are you guys coping with this rainy, dreary weather? Its so depressing and it doesn’t help that the streets are so muddy. Any way, I’ve got this post that I hope will brighten your day a bit. I’ll keep it short, and hopefully, sweet.
Some weeks back, we had one of those rainy, dull weekends when you don’t want to do anything but sleep. But alas, we all had to get out of bed and get busy. Father was busy watching TV in the den(busy is busy), Kiisa was just sitting and staring (her own way of trying to wake her brain up), and I was groggily digging around in the kitchen for something to put together for breakfast. At that moment, Mother passed by the kitchen door, and two seconds later, came back and stood staring at me from the doorway.
Mother: Chibugo, who just zipped me up?
Me: Zip? Who? What zip?
Mother: Wait first. The lobby is dark but I thought you were the one who I asked to zip me up, and you did so just before I passed by this kitchen door and saw you here again!
We both keep looking at each other and scratching our heads when suddenly, Father’s “boy” (his apprentice/trainee… you should understand by now) passes by on his way out. He is wearing a T shirt and shorts. Mother looks at me. I’m also putting on a T shirt and shorts.
Mother and I share a momentary horror when we realize what had just happened.
At a point, our horror turns to laughter. Mother is so embarrassed. In the first place, of the uncountable “boys/apprentices” Father has ever had since I knew my name, she dislikes this one the most. It JUST had to be this particular one she mistook for me in the dark. As if reading my mind, she suddenly turns to me. “what kind of a day will today be? This is the stupidest thing I’ve done in a very long while”
What do you say when your mom says that to you? First of all, my pride was hurt that she mistook me for a lumbering giant of a boy. Now come and see me see jamb kweshion. ✋ Mom, talk to the hand
Have a productive week, mi amigos. It’s 3 days left until June ends. Don’t count the days, make the days count. ✌
What is it about approaching birthdays that make us suddenly introspective about life? It is a great idea to look back sometimes and appreciate how far you’ve come. Don’t you sometimes wish you could get in a time machine and go back to the past and change some things? I sure do. It’s exactly a month to my birthday and I’ve had these really sober moments when I reflect on anything and everything. What’s this about sometimes feeling like I’m still sixteen, and other times feeling like I’m already forty? I have a tendency to write things, and so I wrote this letter to my much younger self. This almost made it to the pile of things I write which never get published, but somehow it got here. A lot of water has passed this bridge, surely. I hope it’s worth your time.
First of all, loosen up. You’re just fourteen! Why do you worry so much? You worry that you’re not going to make straight A’s in WAEC, that you won’t make it to medical school, that you may not be found worthy of the religious life. You are abashed when you have to say that your father is a bookstore owner and your mother a restaurant owner; you are worried that your parents may die and you and Kembu will be left with the task of raising all five little ones alone just like in the nollywood films, and that the world may end before you get a chance to do anything. Girl, hold up. It’s not that serious! And no, I’m not laughing at you, just rolling my eyes. I still remember how you feel, but can you quit the drama already?
First of all, guess what? In a year’s time, you’re going to write WAEC and even though you promised Father straight A’s, you’re going to come home with something more like straight B’s and Father’s going to be extremely proud of you anyway. As for medical school, well, you won’t make it then, but it won’t be the end of the world. That same bookstore you hide from people, will be your first work experience and you’re gonna love it! You think you’re some quiet, nondescript girl whom nobody knows, but you’ll find out in good time that you were quite known and admired at school. Two years from now too, you’ll realize that you were in the running for the religious life for all the wrong reasons, and change your mind about it even though it’ll also break Father’s heart. And yeah, Father and Mother are alive and strong, grandparents too! Ha!
You worry too much for someone so young. A smile once in a while wouldn’t hurt, you know. Remember, you’re just sixteen. Your life lies ahead of you like a map spread on the table. You worry that you’re not as beautiful as your sisters, you ask Father why your eyes are so big; you’re happiest playing with your siblings and wonder if you’ll be a good enough mother when the time comes; you are a bit afraid of boys, and hide your pimply face behind a different book everyday. Honey, listen. Wouldn’t beauty be boring if it was of one kind? Trust me, you ain’t so bad. And like Father responded, people pay money to get eyes like yours. Best believe him. And boys! I wish you were not so wary of them! Believe me, they’re not the evil demons Mother made you believe they were. What would you expect? She has six daughters and is trying to protect them. You will come to meet all kinds, and you will love them and they will love you right back. University will make you aggressive, for that is where you will find your voice.
You hide yourself in the pages of books, and you dream great dreams; and that’s fine. You have made awesome imaginary friends in Achebe, Dickens, Emecheta, Amadi, Ike, Nwapa, Ekwensi and a host of others. You will make more friends in Adichie, Cole and Shoneyin, and you will come to be indifferent to poetry which was your first love. That’s okay. Keep dreaming. It will inspire you to push hard in difficult times.
You’re eighteen now, and you question everything. Does God really exist? Why is the world so evil? Why do we even have to die at all if God loves us so much? Why did I have to be born a girl anyway? Things changed so much ever since my chest stopped being so flat. Why do boys look at me like I’m something edible whenever I dress nice and I’ve got makeup on, but zone out when I start a smart conversation? Why do I ignore cute boys and have huge crushes on nerds? Does that mean something’s wrong with me? Why does nobody understand me?
Well, you are one big bag of questions now. Don’t sweat it chica, you’ll come to find that indeed God exists, and most boys your age at that time, aren’t really interested in smart conversation. You wonder why God didn’t create you a boy. Being a girl is so much work. And you’re sure Father would be pleased to have a grown son. Well, you’re here already, and you are enough. Your dreams are valid, and the earlier you began working on them, the better. Remember that resolution you wrote in your diary, that you and your sisters would make your parents prouder than parents of ten sons? You were right on track.
So here’s to you. You’re imperfectly perfect, and born to inspire. You took the name Theresa at confirmation because you wanted to imitate Mother Theresa. Guess what? She will be canonized this year, half a dozen years into the future. The years ahead are full of rough roads. You will have several boy crushes and recover from them all. You will survive a fatal accident too, and your outlook of life will change from then. I do not know if you will be wealthy, but you’ll survive.
You won’t suddenly become some cool and glamorous diva, nope. So crush those dreams of suddenly waking up to find that you had morphed into something like Omotola or Genevieve. You’re going to be more like the regular jeans and T-shirt girl next door 🙂 and you’ll be perfectly fine with it. Now listen and listen good: the next time you travel from school to pay a visit to aunt Fidelia, share as many jokes as possible with her, play, laugh and hug her really tight. Memorize the sound of her voice, the color of her skin, and the cadence of her laugh. She won’t survive that pregnancy, and everyone will be devastated. You will hurt terribly in places no one can see, but you, and the rest of the family, will live through it.
Go on, dear girl; grab another book and lose yourself in it. Bear the title “Bookworm” proudly. Remember that readers are leaders. Write, write, and don’t stop writing. I wish you would not try so hard to stifle your overactive imagination. Worrying about your future will get you nowhere, but I can tell you that to the best of my knowledge, it’s going to be fantastically awesome. You’re going to meet great new people and make great new friends, travel to new lands and learn new things. Remember to Whom you belong and trust in Him. He has a great masterplan. Stay strong, and remember to smile more often.
Sincerely, (and with great nostalgia and fondness),
Your future(and hopefully wiser) self.
I don’t know about you reading this, but writing it was especially therapeutic for me, and if you’ve read to this point, then I owe you a really big hug. It’s weird how things that felt so insurmountable years ago seem so laughable now. Haha. If you ever get to write your “letter to your much younger self”, don’t hesitate to tag me or reach out to me via any social medium.
What advice would you give your younger self? Let ’em loose in the comments!
Regret not that which is past; and trust not to thine own righteousness. – Saint Anthony of Padua
Rain. Lagos. I dislike the combination immensely, but this is our present reality. Like everyone else, I just deal with it and move on. I hope you’re not having a hard time of it. Moving around in Lagos is a chore already, the rains just compound the situation with hike in prices on some routes, and the usual “potopoto” everywhere.
My son Matt, (well, we were classmates in uni but somehow I managed to graduate with two sons. Don’t ask me how. Lol) is a Jos – bred boy. His family moved to Lagos when he was already grown. Currently he’s completing his masters degree, but decided to come down to Lagos and spend time with family and friends.
This fateful day, he had finished some business at Apapa and on leaving, asked his host for directions on how to get to Bariga. He received these instructions : “From here, take a bus to Mile 2. From Mile 2,take a bus to Oyingbo. Then from Oyingbo, you’ll get a bus to Bariga”. Instructions noted. He took a bus to Mile 2 as instructed, and when he alighted, he was going towards the big danfos called “Molue”, that plied the Oyingbo route, when he heard “Bariga! Bariga!”. What luck! He immediately hurried and got on the bus, happy that it was a small one and would fill up quickly. He couldn’t believe his luck, and, just to be sure, he asked the conductor, “Na Bariga abi?” And he vigorously answered in the affirmative. They began the journey. And what a journey it turned out to be!
As a jayjaycee, he really couldn’t tell that he was on the wrong route, until the journey got really long. When he finally registered his surroundings, he realised one thing. This could only be Lagos Island! What the heck was the relationship between Bariga and Marina? He accosted the conductor who was bewildered. “But na Marina I dey call now! Bariga keh? Who dey go Bariga? Abi you no dey hear well”? 😭😰😥.
My people, so began he the journey from the Island back to the Mainland. That is the tale of how a 2 hour journey extended to more than four hours. We had a great laugh when he told me about this incident. What a welcome party Lagos gave him!
I hope you, my dear reader learnt something from this. If you no sabi road, and you ask for directions, follow the directions to a Tee! Don’t shine your eyes alone, shine your ears too, because Lagos conductors have diverse accents. Marina could sound like Bariga to you too if you don’t take care. Lol.
Life is a journey that must be travelled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations – Oliver Goldsmith
For you reading this blog, I love you. And thank you. You’re the reason I still write.
Happy new month my people. Like play like play, this year has gone halfway. Don’t beat yourself up if like me, you’ve still not been able to achieve your personal targets for the year. One day at a time, na ein sure pass.
Now to our danfo series. Today’s post is quite interesting. One thing I love Lagosians for, is their ability to turn every disadvantage into an opportunity. You see, seated in traffic, you’re bound to think of the many things you’d rather be doing with the hours you spend flattening your buttocks in that rickety bus. Now the hawkers have transformed the highway into a kind of market, teaching commuters a means of fighting bus-lag: shopping!
You will be astonished at the number and variety of things you can buy while in traffic. I admire the ingenuity of these hawkers who have turned this menace of traffic into a means of livelihood. You gotta applaud that. Have you ever helped a hawker bring down his/her wares from its cranial perch? Believe me when I say these guys carry their shops on their heads. That, coupled with constantly having to dodge speeding vehicles and greedy, violent touts, is no mean feat. Everytime I come across an honest road trader, I say a silent prayer that he/she moves to a higher level. That kain suffer no be here oh.
Like I was saying before I digressed, the variety of things you will see to buy on the roads are fantastically diverse. If you think I’m exaggerating, oya check out this list I wrote while stuck in a late evening traffic coming from the Cele-Okota Link bridge, inwards Ago Palace Way; my usual route😉
1. Gala, chinchin, other snacks
2. Soft drinks and water(they go: “Botu water lacasera minira! Botu water wazo wazo! i.e : fifty naira each. Hehe. Street code)
3. Apples and grapes(I bought some)
4. Mirrors of different sizes (don’t ask me, it’s what I saw)
5. Portrait sized pictures of Jesus
6. Hot water flasks (eh?)
7. Chocomilo cubes(I got this too. It’ll get Kiisa off my neck when I get home)
8. Clocks (really? Chei)
9. Full Plantains(you read correctly)
10. Ankara materials
11. Groundnuts, walnuts, chips (all ye hungry passengers)
13. Fresh vegetables (well, they looked fresh)
14. Children’s pyjamas (I kid you not)
17. Rat killer. This one got me. Rat poison? Really? After feeding my eyes on all that awesome merchandise, na rat poison wan help me close market? Lol.
Still, I would rather give my money to these guys than to the beggars who hang around waiting for you to give them money for nothing. Your limbs are intact, your sight and speech are good, and you expect me to pay you for being lazy. Gerrarahia mehn! Many of them are robbers masquerading as beggars just to get you to wind down the Glass of your widow before they strike. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a bus or in your car. Please be careful, especially at night. That doesn’t exclude the hawkers who abscond with your change, especially when traffic begins to move and they know you cannot get down to give them a hot chase. Ndi oshi.
That said, it’s time to reveal the weirdest thing I’ve ever bought while in traffic: stockfish. That’s right. Stockfish. The thing do me like nollywood film too. I’m not too surprised though, someone confessed to me that she had once bought almost all the ingredients for her pot of soup while in traffic. My people, I Kent. Lol.
Tell me your own experience down below in the comments section. Make my day too!