mawiage

this scene is my throwback thursday.  we were young, my cousin and I, guffawing in ecstasy as we threw our hands back with sheer amusement.  Once we caught our breath again, we would then press rewind with fingers crossed that the video tape wouldn’t get stuck in our dusty VCR and replay.

and now, here I am. married.  most days, it still comes as a shock.  other days, it seems wearisome and binding.  others still, it’s exciting and invigorating.  and then I wake up. lol! but no, on a more serious note, they say you must be nothing but eternally ecstatic that you are married.  that you must be over-the-moon all the time.  you must be jumping up and down, exhilirated and renewed. your husband is your raison d’etre who must be held high up on a pedestle and submitted to.  you must forget yourself, your dreams, your desires, your wishes and succumb to the institution.  for otherwise, he may leave, abandoning you for another, more submissive and timid than you.  you cannot be overtly strong, you cannot be outspoken, you cannot be direct…  you essentially do not exist in this whole and the oneness is essentially you submerging yourself in him.

and then I wonder, where do I hear these voices from?  I realise they are there, in the subtleties of the language.  they are there in the voices of the elders.  they are there in the feedback I hear.  they are there in the advice I am given.  buried like greyness between the lines of black and white, they play this tune in the background, saying, “you cannot exist without him”.

I look glance back and realise I never heard these voices when I was growing up.  my own father told me that I did not have to get married.  He also told my now-husband not to clear the plates because that was my duty.  So, rather fickle in nature, but he did not tell me to forget myself.  my mother was very much a clear and separate entity from my father, so I cannot have gotten it from her.  my siblings, all ferociously intelligent individuals, sharing the same family trait of outspoken, informed sass.  so where, in this path of life, did i pick up the notion that marriage meant I was fighting a war for my sense of self.

my husband, like most men, anticipated someone like his mother.  and i like his mother, so i really take that as a compliment, however, he accepted very quickly that “no, i ain’t yo mama, nooo”.  he doesn’t enable the battle, rather he tries frantically to douse the flames when they leap up to consume me.

so still, it baffles me.  where did I pick up this notion that as a wife, I must lose my sense of self.  and why has that become my battle?  why have I picked up this gauntlet where I have become uncomfortable in my own skin and prickly with others?  this battle in my mind for some intangible ideal of what being a wife means… of what my life should look like to others?  of where I must be silent and not reflect emotion beyond dignified contentment?

and yet, every day, I come out fighting this new title.  Abrasive and brash, putting my foot down on everything, being difficult and losing my chill.  Somewhere, along the way, I conformed to an imagined notion that I cannot be myself and be married.  That perhaps, I am not worthy of marriage.  That anything imperfect in us is because we are not worthy or good enough.

I love being married to my husband though.  It is humbling and exhilirating experience.  We are like two peas in a pod, working together, living together and laughing together.  there is a comfortable ease with which we operate, when I am not this other person.  He compliments me, as I do him.  We literally grow into better people, with each step in this journey together.  So where does this other version of me come in?  Where does this fear originate?  When will I again be comfortable in my new identity?  This extra layer on the multi-faceted experience that is my personality…  why is it this layer that I struggle the most with…

It may just be that time that my father left my mother because they were no longer one… in search of something that he thought he lost.  her pushing him away when the pain became too heavy.  only for both to eventually come back to where they started.  that pain still lives in me…  and i fear remaking their mistakes, but they are in me and I am of them…

so at what point do I forgive them, thus myself and be free…

Gold

Words stick to the base of my toes,
Sticky remnants of a momentous past.
Their darkness tainting the hairs on my legs
Tough, coarse and bronze-like in hue,
They reflect the light with that jet black blue
Creeping like gangrene towards my heart
I hear their voices even in the night of the dark
Taunting, jeering, sneering and staring
They remind me of a girl that I once knew
Who became a woman of little and few
Because the words shred layers off her tan
Bleached beyond recognition, she hides in sand
That nappy tamed to not offend
She rips off pieces of soul to heal to defend
But words creep up to that abdomen
Like acid burns she cries again
Relief so sweet in alcohol and men
The beast released through her tongue of sin
Eyes glass over in clouds of smoke
The words scratch into the surface of her skin
‘You ain’t shit’ in calligraphic gold
And handwritten swirls of “worthless bitch”
Inked like tattoos on her veins
Yet, this woman right here remains redeemed
Cos that Guy Right There died for a clean win
Through Him, she sees bright lights jumping
With joy bubbling forth from a fountain within
Those words still etched up her skin
Turned golden and jewelled by her King.

write me alive

Hello, my name is kmplx.

Or at least that is what I was once called.  Because that is who I once was.  Lost in my own world of conundrums and cryptic autobiographic perspectives of everyday issues… otherwise known as first-world problems.  Since moving back to Africa (or rather home), I have seen my alter-ego vanish more and more as the simplicity of life’s basic struggles become my new reality.  Who cares about pontificating when you are wondering how not to gouge your eyes out because someone is being unnecessarily long-winded and simultaneously retarded in a 4-hour meeting to discuss something that you discussed in the previous three meetings.  The need to express yourself becomes overrated in a world of shameless self-promotion.

And yet, these days, I’m considering writing again.  The itch to speak returns as my mind is filled with possibilities and ideas.  Not of my own stories but rather of the stories around me – disparate but connected in their own magical way.  I toss with the idea often, however, I do not know who to write for.  Will anyone even be interested in the stories from my mind’s eye?  What do the characters in my head look like, beyond their purpose and their role?  Do I have enough of an imagination to write fiction?

Certainly, I am no longer kmplx… No longer willing to divulge the navel-gazing of my once self-indulgent existence.  But, in thie clarity of my afterlife, who am I?

banded

wow… i re-read my last post and it was… raw. deep. so far from where i am right now.

so, anyways… *drumroll* spy and i got married on april 9th 2015.  amidst such laughter and joy that i would have certainly never predicted.  there was so much joy that i could taste it on his lips as he kissed his “wife”…  I am officially Madame Spy.

… and it is interesting, fun, exciting, infuriating and new everyday… we are an inter-cultural, inter-faith, inter-skin tone, inter-height couple and to be honest, we just look really odd together… except on our wedding day.  we actually looked like we belonged.  possibly because I was donning 6 inch heels so I dodn’t look like my normal midget self next to Spy.

i can honestly say that it was a beautiful day.  and it was all because mother finally showed up in her full grace and love and she danced for joy, which is all I had prayed for and ever hoped.  my siblings pulled and punched above and beyond their weight and they showed up for me.  my family turned up for me.  Spy’s family turned up for him.  and our families joined for a brief moment of calm and joy.  and it was honestly beautiful.

since then, we threw ourselves back into work and slowly coming up for air… slowly starting to enjoy being together, with no boundaries or limits finally.  gettign to know each other and feel each other out in this new setting.  and everytime i look down at my band, i smile. and try to pray.  that we only get better.

my poetic voice still remains quiet in my heart.

where have you been?

almost a year has gone by… more even since I lost my writing voice.  Mind you, I lost my reading voice also… there are so many things to be said… words to speak and yet, it is as if something in me has died.  that once free spirit is now trapped in a healing state… called age.  I am condemned to “act my age”.  their voices taunt me in the night – such foolishness, such madness, such immaturity… my counter balance is gone.  and I realise that their shelter was a cage that I never ventured out from, except on dark, drunken nights.  now as I try to break free, to be myself, they crowd me with spears and taunts, belittling, scolding, attacking in fear… when all I want to do is soar into His arms.  but ther fear is overwhelming nd I am suffocated in my silence.  they use His words like chloroform and I try to muscle my way out or I retreat in silence and they use it as a way to attack.  their burden weighs heavy on me.  He lightens the load, whenever the noise gets deafening, He calms me.

I feel lost in the unknown.  Uncertain of what lays ahead.  F told me that I had nothing to fear.  I was not designed to fear.  I am born of a lineage of fearlessness, such is faith.  And yet, even he suffered through their fear.  It’s suffocating grip, constraining and bemoaning, instead of rejoicing and praising.  Such words they thrash around in His name, and I cringe.  If they are true then my soul will cry out in willful abandon.  Instead, all I see is pain and hurt and screams and panic… this weight of greyness and blindness.

I cannot write poetry anymore.  Gone is that imaginary being inside of me… bruised and beaten to a pulp by the bullies.  I fight to take the better road, but these days I have been slipping… Like their weight has draged me down.

Perhaps I take it too lightly, perhaps I am too naive, perhaps there is something I don’t quite understand, perhaps there is truth to what I believe.  “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”… I hope for healing.  For a wound deeper than we can feel.  I hope for a healing from this spirit of fear that we have inherited.  Fear that creeps in and stifles us from loving each other.  And I will see it come to pass, because I have asked for it in His name.  and it will come, for He has promised this to me.  I am filthier than the filthy, less worthy than the least worthy of all, and yet, He gives me joy.  Refilling and rejoicing.

For where there is fear, one cannot rejoice.  I am not worthy, Lord, but say the word and I will be healed… running into Your kingdom on that day.  You are the Almighty God.  I fear, I fear. But in You, I rejoice.

On Being Evacuated: It’s every volunteer’s worst nightmare.

Aside frm the title, I really loved this piece. It was her truth accompanied with realism and facts.

Sara in Peace Corps Guinea

Today volunteers in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia received the information that we will be sent home for an undetermined amount of time as a cautionary move against the rising risk of Ebola.

Electron micrograph image of the Ebola virus. Electron micrograph image of the Ebola virus.

Friends and family back home are overjoyed at the news, but volunteers in-country are stumbling around in a state of shock. Projects that have taken months of sweet-talking the authorities, grueling grant applications, planning every step of the way have to be left now – postponed indefinitely. Bags must be packed. Close of Service dates for volunteers preparing to leave will be moved up. Pre-service training has been stopped dead in its tracks for the recently arrived group of volunteers. Somehow, we must all find the words to explain to our friends and host-families the harsh truth that we are leaving and don’t know when we will be back.

The…

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truism

my relationship with men changed the day the relationship with my father changed.  it changed again when my relationship with him changed again.

writing again

we sat there, on big, comfy couches in this airy apartment in the middle of downtown dakar.  talking through the challenges of the development sector and how it is indeed, all full of crap.  never mind that our bills are paid by it, and he has the view to die for (overlooking the Atlantic ocean and the Presidential palace), we needed to vent about our dissatisfaction with the meaninglessness behind the farce that is “development”… and yet, how it was a conundrum we still wanted to take half-attempts at solving.  conclusion, after an hour of thrilling, intellectual dissection – get rid of the word “development”.  excellent.

whatever you do don’t tell my mother.  she paid for my masters… in development studies.

this week, I discovered that someone is putting together my idea for a series like The Office, but set in Africa.  Theirs looks at a supposedly-fictional and comepletely useless NGO based in Nairobi.  It’s full of the stereotypes of acronyms, buzzwords and all set to save the entire country of Africa, so help us God.  I found it hilarious.  Spy, on the other hand, because he has been lucky enough to be protected from the complete waste of space that certain NGOs are, didn’t see the humour so much.  Like most people out there, he still saw the NGOs as these matyrs risking their lives to save helpless creatures and being rewarded for their selflessness by collecting phat ass per diems and driving around huge 4wheel drives, even though they only go off-road once a year.

They did a great job… for an international audience.  My idea was to do a version of The African Office for people who actually work within African Offices.  It doesn’t even need to be an NGO, I just haven’t seen a decent African series around the lives of those that go to offices.  It’s like some complete mystery what goes on in their shiny buildings everyday, and that they all attend so well-presented.  Here the shows focus on the home life and more traditional aspects, but never about what these people actually do.

Speaking to other friends of mine, who have gone back, one of the joys of being home is actually being at the office.  The African Office is actually an entertaining space.  People have gist.  All the time.  I’ve never laughed so much in my entire life.  There is all sorts of misconduct and miscomprehension that can provide such ample juicy, relatable entertainment that am surprised that no one has decided to write something.

So I think I will.  The African Office.  Am laughing already thinking about it.

__________

and, so anafricanoffice.wordpress.com was born.

almost 4 years later

time flies.  after 15 years, i packed it all up and moved to follow my dream.  at the time, b and i were together, but that was not to last much longer.  i am not a distance person.  i am not a lot of things.  i learnt that when i finally stepped out on my own.  what i am however, is still a mystery.

the crash and burn that was b and i, was like a calm before a storm, then post-hurricane devastation and i ended up shipwrecked on a shore with no feeling.   i clawed myself through healing, until somewhere along the shore, spy picked me up.  literally took me home and warmed me up again, with warm soup, band-aids and fought my self-mutilation tendencies with a firm hand.  in turn, i mirrored his care and showed him, him.  the next storm was more like an earthquake that led to a tsunami and everything was seemingly lost.  but, somehow we held hands through the storm.

emé hit puberty and we got her registered and will be launching her in a few weeks officially.  the dream from 13 years ago materialising.  what she will become is yet to be seen.  but she will be beautiful.

he left my side, with love.  i let him go, with love.  i learnt the world by his side.  how to be emphatic, a perfectionist, too honest, forgiving, accepting and embracing of family.  i still miss him terribly some days.  this club of loss makes Him so much more real.

spy asked me what my goals were and i realised that i am on my way to realising them.  i hadn’t even thought i had some, but actually i’ve been working at them sub-conciously over the last decade or so, in his style of little-by-little, slow but steady and here we are – realising “quality”.

he is still a mystery to me.  and even to himself.  but all of me.  all of him.  crazy and out of our minds.

home?

i came back this week, to continue the work of honouring F and doing what needs to be done.  it is going painstakingly slowly, but there are many rewards on these trips. my understanding of them, builds each time.  they are more open and honest, because when i am here, i am here. I am not who they thought I was.  the surprise is amusing.  we joke and laugh, but there is still a line, which I maintain to ensure familiarity does not breed contempt.  it also helps me to give advice, and be heard.  i am gaining wisdom, in my reflections and scars.

i am also on a break.  and just happy to not have to deal with work for a bit.  have realised that it is making me miserable, and I really need to find a new job, or do my design stuff full-time.  both are a possibility.  i want to learn again, i want to have an intellectual conversation about a project idea, aimed at transforming how the society functions.  instead of spending my time trying to get people to think before they act.

it no longer smelt of him when i walked in.  i frantically started cleaning and reorganising.  his scent has now returned.🙂  turns out it was under all the incense that they burn in the house.  can’t deal with incense, and thankfully neither can Spy. relief washed over me, the day i found that out.  we grow under His grace. there are things that i was anxious about and i am less so.  the thought of making the final leap grows less frightening, because he reminds me of His control.  it will be well, no matter what, because He is there.  that is both F’s and M’s greatest gift to me – a reminder that I am His. Spy is my regular reminder.  and with that I am calm.

Syn said she didn’t feel that this was home without him.  The other show the same.  But this is and always be home to me.  This is where I ran the streets.  Where I tasted the ocean and its salt spray bound itself to my soul.  This is where my heart belongs, but my brain is chased out by the insecurity.  these bricks are his blood and sweat and tears for us, and being here, even in his absence, and the new bizarre smells, reminds me that he did what he thought was best and he loved and protected us.  reminds me of my imperfections and of His grace.  this puts the world back into perspective.

sorry, my posts these days are scatty as such.  there is a peace and turmoil ongoing in my mind. but there is grace as always.

days i speak

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