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Monthly Archives: May 2013

BLACK & WHITE OR GREY

I have a couple of uncompleted posts in my draft. Often I start writing, lose my trail of thoughts, get distracted or bored and just abandon it half way. If I am being honest, I will say that about accounts for a lot of things in my life (Oh well! We all have our bad habits). I started writing a post sometime back titled, idealism versus reality, which I never got to finish. However, what I intended to write is closely related to this. So hopefully, I can combine both thoughts here.

Before I continue, it is needful to explain what I mean by Idealism in this case. The original philosophies on Idealism dates back to the early ages in the theories of great philosophers like Plato, Descartes, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel, Fichte etc. Their abstruse theories (at less to me; it’s like reading Greek and I don’t understand Greek) maintains that the real is a nature of ideas or the mind. However, latter articles (in simpler English, I may add) points out the fact that the word suggests two meanings: ‘Ideal-ism’ – the tendency to represent things in their ideal forms, and ‘Idea-lism’ – belief in ideas as the true reality. For this article, Idealism means the former – ‘ideal-ism’

Judging from my metaphors using TV personas, I guess it is no secret that I enjoy TV shows. In all honesty, you can say I am close to an addict; from 24 (I read that’s back in 2014. Yippee!!!!), ScandalRevenge to HomelandArrowGrey’s anatomy etc. It’s one of my favourite pastimes. If you do a physic evaluation of me, you will probably find deep reasons why I am drawn to TV shows, one of which would be the writing. I think it’s brilliant the way these writers create such multifarious and intriguing plots that manages to capture one’s attention for a lengthy period. I, for one, have faithfully followed some TV series for years. Most of the characters are realer to me than the individuals who play them. You find people – blogs and fans discussing them like they are real. Personally, I have cried and laughed through many of these series and more often than not, I have to consciously remind myself that they are just stories; something built out of a good writer’s mind. But that’s just the point; the writing is so brilliant and virtual, that you forget that it isn’t in actual fact, real. Most people think of Keifer Sutherland as Jack Bauer and nothing else. I was reading an excerpt from one of his interviews and he sounded just like Bauer (real or not), using ‘bauerist’ expressions like ‘make no mistake’.

I believe that reality and fiction are so closely related and in Chimamanda Adichie words, ‘Truth is no stranger to fiction’; they play off on each other and every writer, no matter how brilliant they are, builds their fictional stories from nibs of reality. Granted, the characters are fictional, the plot could also be fictional, but some of the character’s dialogue and experiences are drawn from reality.

Now to my topic Black & White or Grey (Yes, I could swear, I have a bug bite that makes me ramble on and on), I know from personal experiences that life is a constant war between idealism and reality. We have all these standards and rules that we believe should be absolute. Most often than not, we find ourselves holding others to our idealistic views, hence, passing judgement on them based on what we believe should or shouldn’t be the accepted standard. In my opinion, I think everyone is guilty of that to some degree. We all at some point or the other, consciously or unconsciously expect people to live by our idealistic views of right and wrong. I don’t think there is anything wrong with airing our opinions (God knows I do all the time) as long as we understand and accept that it is in our opinion and everyone doesn’t have to play by our rules, plus, there are always exceptions to every rule.

Question: so do I believe that life is always black and white??? Emphatically, No!!!! I think that idealism is black and white and reality is hardly ever idealistic. Experiences and context creates complexities that most often than not, makes reality different from idealism. I believe that reality has grey areas for almost every situation. I also think that it is unreasonable and self-righteous to pass judgement unless you have experienced a situation like the other; unless you have felt same emotions like the other and, unless you understand the entire story. Don’t misinterpret me, I accept that ideal, to a degree, is important; It is a source of hope and inspiration for individual growth and a better world; it is useful in creating a lawful society. It is also useful to give people in general a model to try to live up to. However, life in itself is hardly ever straight forward; its deep complexity makes ideals just that – ideals. Even the law understands this and allows room for exploring that complexity. In my opinion, that’s the reason why we have the courts and a chance for defense as well as variations of terms to deal with such complexity. A good example is the act of killing someone and its different interpretations – Manslaughter, Murder, and Self-defense etc.

Kurt Lewin’s quote says, ‘if you want to understand something, try to change it’ but I have altered it a little to what is one of my favourite quotes ‘if you want to understand it, live it’, unless you have; unless you have experienced every aspect of it, don’t throw your ideals around. How can you truly define the ideal, if you haven’t experienced it??

Believe it or not, this thought was brought on by a TV series – Grey’s anatomy. I was watching one of the episodes and looking at one of the characters – Meredith, her marriage to another character, Derek, their history and how their relationship started when I had this epiphany. Derek and Meredith’s relationship started when Derek was still married to someone else. Idealistically, that is wrong because he was cheating on his wife, but I had watched it from the beginning, so I had an insight into their history. I understood that Derek was separated from his wife when he met Meredith; I understood that the reason for the separation was because he had found out that his wife was having an affair with his best friend. This knowledge, in my opinion, created a grey area. This knowledge, in the reality of the characters challenged the ‘ideal’ and created an exception. One might say, ‘it is fiction, don’t get carried away’; but it really isn’t about the characters in this case rather, it is about what this fictional experience teaches me about the reality of life. Also, is fiction so far from reality?? I don’t believe so.

So again, I don’t accept life is black & white. I believe that situations and human beings are complex and no matter how we try to simplify life in other to understand it, the fact is, it isn’t simple but complex. So the next time you try to judge someone else’s life and actions; stop and think. Stop and ask why, ‘what led to that’; stop and understand. Because like Chaim Potok explains, ‘everything has a past… If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present…’ the present is almost always a result of the past. Reality in itself is a web of events, one leads to another and another. It is so interwoven that in other to understand it, you have to follow the events; you have to understand the history.

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Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Food for the soul…

I was reading an article by my girl crush, Chimamanda Adichie and the discussion prompted me to write an article which I have started and hopefully, will finish at some point. However, I got distracted by something entirely different.

Like every human being, I have interests and some days I just wake up with a serious need to explore one of these interests (**rolling eyes** Okay, you can take your mind out of the gutters at this point, it isn’t what you think and yes, I realize how wrong this sounds **laughing**).  Anyways, so this morning I woke up with the need for music. Good music!!!!

I am a music lover. I listen to almost all genres of music (unfortunately, I sing terribly) and I don’t think anyone could ever describe music better than Shakespeare, who implied that music is food for the soul. I don’t know about everyone, but for me, music is one of the few things that can make me feel my heart. It strikes a chord with my soul and can bring me fastest to tears than anything. I enjoy rhythms almost as much as I love to listen to the lyrics of songs, so I guess you can say my favourite genres are soft rock and soul; the combination of a clear and strong rhythm as well as powerful lyrics can send me on an emotional roller-coaster. I love most of Sarah Mclachlan songs and if you know her songs, by now I guess you have figured that I also love sad songs (yes, I am one of those sad people). I have spent plenty of time today listening to almost every song be Colton Dixon and Sara Groves, they are both gospel musicians and are very good (at least, to me they are). I can write a lengthy essay on every song I like and why I like it, but that’s not the sole purpose of this post and I will most probably bore you, so I will move on to what prompted this post.

A friend of mine and I have been contemplating trying something out (sorry, can’t share just yet) and this eventually led me to visit the websites of some Nigerian celebrities. While looking at Banky W‘s blog on his website, I ran across the lyrics for a song he had written and it had me looking on Youtube for the song itself, which I lovveeee. According to him, the lyrics was inspired by his thoughts on what legacy he would pass on to his kids when he finally gets around to having them (Not sure what he is waiting for though). Anyways, I really like the lyrics. I think they are honest, thoughtful, passionate and inspiring.  I change my mind and not to sound like Simon Cowell, I don’t like it, I love it. It is the kind of poem I would write for my child too and lessons that I hope they would learn.

I am an old school music lover, mostly because I think presently in the music industry, it is more about performing and less about singing; it is more about the beat and less about the lyrics. As much as I love great beats, I love thoughtful lyrics more. I think the years of songs with great lyrics are almost fading, songs like ‘I Believe’ by ‘Blessed Union of Souls’; passionate, thoughtful, and motivating. It really isn’t just me because most people I have had this conversation with, think so too.  Fading quickly are the years when songs are about a message or deep feelings (whatever kind) as well as the rhythm. These days when you strip songs down to the bone, most often than not, you find nothing. For individuals like me, who love the lyrics as much as the beats, we find ourselves living in the classical times or constantly sieving through the increasing dust. I am not trying to disrespect anyone’s art; I am just expressing my own thoughts aloud. However, it can be arguably said that the economics of life is all about supply meets demand; as such, it doesn’t take a genius to see that in present times, performing sells more, not just in terms of albums and money but also in terms of publicity and fame.  So who am I to complain?

Still, days like this, I am grateful for lyrics like the one I found in Banky W’s blog;  mostly because they motivate a deeper sense and thoughts for me.

I have posted the lyrics to the song here – To My Unborn Child”, so y’all can tell me what you think.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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QUESTION 1: TOMBOY OR TOMGIRL????

Sometimes it is easy to accept things that have been passed down through generations, especially by professionals, as being correct without ever challenging it. But as someone rightly said, ‘A lie isn’t less a lie just because millions of people think it is the truth’ (at least I think that was what was said). Once in a while, I have the tendency to challenge things that just doesn’t sit quite right with me and one of those things is the word ‘Tomboy’ (Some of my friends whom I have had this argument with, already know what I mean).

The word ‘Tomboy’ is simply used to refer to a girl that acts like a boy. Okay, so this is my argument; let’s begin by breaking down the word into its two parts ‘Tom’ and ‘Boy’. These two separate words are put together to make up the word ‘Tomboy’ and give it its meaning. However, I think there is a lapse in separate word choice and this is  my reason why; ‘Tom’ is generally a name for a boy, and ‘Boy’, well means ‘boy’ (laughs). So it is just like saying ‘boyish-boy’, which  doesn’t exactly mean what the word ‘Tomboy’  means or anything at all, if you ask me . Now I think the appropriate word should be, ‘Tomgirl’, because like I have explained ‘Tom’ in this regard is synonymous with a boy and ‘Girl’ is a girl, thus, it can be easily translated to mean a ‘boyish-girl’ which  is literally same as the presently recorded meaning of  ‘Tomboy’. Consequently, it most definitely makes more sense to say ‘Tomgirl’ (at less to me, it does) . This way, you have ‘Girl’ in the word, as you do in the meaning and it is quite clear that you are referring to a girl who acts like a boy, not a boy who acts like a boy.

So am going to put this out there alongside my argument and y’all can comment and tell me what you think. I think it’s time the word got revised to make more sense. I already use ‘Tomgirl’ anyways **smiles**

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Interlude 2 – photo shoot experience

So last week, I decided to take my niece for a photo shoot (I think that’s the fancy way of saying it although in this case, there wasn’t any fancy dressing room, assistant, makeup and all the other fancy things you think of when one says photo shoot). My niece, booboo (that’s what I call her), is just about 8 months old and after some headache, her hair has finally started growing out. You see I have always wanted a niece and daughter (hopefully I will have the latter in the near future) because I think girl babies are so adorable (I think all babies are adorable but am a little partial to girl babies especially the chubby ones). So my niece’s hair just started making some progress (thank God) and I decided that she should have some new pictures to mark the occasion and yes, erase all the horrible ones she took without any hair (**laughing really hard** I will be in big trouble when my sister reads this).

This was my first time of taking a baby for a photo shoot but as am such you can imagine it is quite some work (getting them to look at the camera and smile, trying to keep them from running towards you and crying **sighs**, really hard work); luckily, I was aware beforehand, hence, tried to prepare myself. First, about an hour before the time to go, I fed her coca cola. I figured that since coke has caffeine, it could get her hyperactive for the shoot (**smiles**). So, I gave her coke, rather early because I also thought it would need some time to take effect.

Picture time, she is dressed up, positioned properly and we are set to go, so here we are trying to get my supposed hyperactive baby to smile, she just turns and looks at the camera with a blank face. There is nothing hyperactive about the baby in front of me, scratch that, there is nothing active (happy, laughing and jumping) about her at all; maybe intrigued but definitely not active. So we start rolling the pictures anyways, changing her position and all; she just looks at the camera – blank face, stubborn cheeks and mouth – half an hour long, not minding all the monkey dances and horrible singing; and not even a slight bit of expected reaction to the coke. Anyways, we just took what we got (at least, she did look at the camera). Happy to say, we did get some beautiful pictures (model like; high fashion, not commercial model **winks**).

An interesting and tiring process; she is asleep by the time we get home and yes, lessons learned for me: babies definitely have their own mind, especially the ones who show potentially same character traits as moi!!!!! Lesson two, coke doesn’t always work on babes. 

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Interludes: The next generation

 

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My Girl Crush…

The first paragraph of any article is usually the hardest for me. Even during my university days, writing academic essays and all, I have always struggled with that first paragraph. The moment I manage to get it done, everything else just falls in place; I can write another 100 pages with ease, but that first paragraph is a constant struggle; it is so ridiculous. Okay, some of you may know what I am trying to do here, which is get rid of the first paragraph by writing what I have just written (I do mean it nevertheless) even though it is totally out of point. Hopefully now that the first paragraph is done, I can actually write what I intended (**haha**)

I have lived for 25years and some; in my rather short life (I call it short because I intend to live for much more than that), I have had a surprisingly high number of crushes. For clarity sake, when I say crush, I mean a relationship that happened in my head only. I believe everyone (and I say everyone boldly) has had a crush(es) at some point of their life. There was Nosa when I was 11 or 12, not very sure, he was very cool and boy! Was I in love. There was that cute NYSC teacher (or at least I remember him as being cute) when I was in secondary school, he seemed so much cooler and older than all the other boys I had met. I spent all my pocket money buying whatever it is they sold (cant remember) in the staff room he was in, just so I could catch a glimpse of him (**laughs**, it sounds so ridiculous now), they were so many, can’t even remember most of them now. Oh! I remember Donald Duke (God! That man is fine, intelligent and he sings). If you sing, I am most probably at risk of having a crush on you (**laughs**). Anyways, I got older and my crushes sort of developed into something of respect for people and less of wanting to marry them and have their babies (Can you just imagine how many times I have been married in my head? Way more than Jlo and Stella Damasus **laughing** {no disrespect ladies, I love you both especially for your will not to give up on love}; I am pretty sure if it was reality, a new law would have long since been written on the maximum number of times one can get married **laughing really hard**).

So, back to my original thought, my crushes have developed with age and maturity. These days, I am more attracted to individuals with grace, exceptional courage, defined individuality, high intellect, achievers who are not afraid to go after what they want, artist who have found their artistic strengths and used it resoundingly; individuals like Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Chinua AchebeAlicia Keys (I love love her),  Asa, Steve Job, Beyonce (yes I said it), Pastor Iain Duthie, Victoria Beckham, Malala Yousafzai and so many more. For most of these individuals, the reason why I greatly respect and admire them is so obvious; their grace, exceptional courage in the face of adversity, inspires me; for others, their humility, tenacity and artistic success in such a complex society is amazing. However, at the moment, my girl crush is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

I love Chimamanda!!!!! Not just because she is a beautiful intelligent Nigerian woman but because she has mentally engaged me so many times. She is someone who has actually got me thinking. Growing up, I loved stories; initially, just having someone verbally narrate to me was okay, but eventually, people got tired of narrating to me, so I started reading. I read every romance book I could lay my hands on, every James Hadley Chase. However, literary Nigerian books (with an exception of some few ones) were always a big challenge for me to read; I had no interest. Chimamanda recently has challenged my interest in Nigerian books, she has challenged my reasoning on a lot of matters; how I define a culture or my stereotypical categorization of things/people,  my interest in history and a lot more. She simply inspires me. So yes, I have a huge girl crush on her at the moment. I know most people know of her but for those who do not, read about her, listen to her speeches on ‘Ted’, read any of her books and you most probably will admire her some. So to end this post, I have selected a few funny (at less to me), intelligent quotes from one of her books ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and her talk on ‘The danger of a Single Story’. I hope you laugh and most importantly, think about the message, like I have.

‘There’s something very lazy about the way you have loved him blindly for so long without ever criticizing him. You’ve never even accepted that the man is ugly,’ – Half of a Yellow Sun

‘It’s wrong of you to think that love leaves room for nothing else. It’s possible to love something and still condescend to it.’ – Half of a Yellow Sun

‘Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.’ – A Single Story

‘The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.’  – A Single Story

TED (conference)

TED (conference) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Interlude 1

Even though I am not a mama yet, I am presently blessed with four nephews and a niece (Thank God for my niece, with the way my siblings kept popping out boys, I wondered if we were ever going to get a girl in the family). So it’s been a joy just watching the kids grow and seeing how a person’s character takes shape. I am fortunate to spend plenty of time with two of my nephews and my niece  (my sisters’ kids). Both my nephews, practically growing up in the house, although of different parents, could not be more different. The first, Di, who just turned three, is a born politician, very diplomatic. I’ll give you an instance in a minute. My second nephew, Yem, who will be two in July, is a born entertainer.

Di, my very own little politician is amazingly tactful (at least for a 3 years old). Usually I let the boys play with my gadgets (I am not a geek, in case you were wondering). When my nephew started making calls with my phone and of course not saying anything, I became more careful. Once when he wanted my phone, he came to me and said ‘lady T (and yes I make them call me that **smiles**), Yem wants to play with your phone’, Yem just wants to jump about the place and is not the least bit interested in the phone. However, Di has employed Yem to do his bidding to gauge my reaction and ensure he doesn’t get into trouble. Unfortunately for him, I was unto him (and yes, I don’t mind playing my own games), so I said ‘of course, Yem can have it’. Yem takes the phone because for him it is just another distraction, which would most probably last for 10 minutes. Di, who thinks he has won stage 1 (actually, I have **winks**) of successfully getting the phone from me, then moves to stage 2, which is getting the phone from Yem (what he doesn’t realize is that is a harder stage than the previous). Ideally,he could just wait for Yem to lose interest, and then take over, but he is 3 and doesn’t realize that, so he tried to enforce his seniority by taking it from Yem. However, this doesn’t go as planned; so he came back to me and said ‘lady T, Yem does not want to share’. Normally, because I try to teach them how to share, he expected me to say, ‘Yem please share with your cousin; let him play with the phone too’. But I was unto him and said ‘Yem asked for it, you didn’t’ **laughs**; so got him.

Yem, on the other hand, my own little entertainer is just fun to watch (at least on a good day). He is exhausting, highly adventurous, which is a nice way of saying, constantly all over the place. Yem has tried everything; Mechanical Engineering: repairing the generator by turning Engine oil all over the place and connecting two fuel hoses together; Weight lifting: carrying a ten litres gallon of fuel (which ended up on his body); Electrical Engineering (constantly trying to screw all the wall sockets off the wall); Cleaning (throwing dirt on the ground and demanding for a broom and dirt packer to clean it up); Laundry Man (plugging in an electrical iron and wanting to iron the carpet off the ground); Musician (singing off an empty book, up and around the house); Dancing (He is a good dancer, I am not sure how he learns all the steps he is constantly dancing); Football, Stand up comedy etc; my list is endless.

So yes, these are my little men. My niece is still a little baby (just 8 months), she displays her self every now and then but for now I will let her be.

I do intend to share my experiences of the next generation (Tagged Interlude) with y’all from time to time. Hopefully, you all can see why children are such a blessing; they are constantly entertaining you (without asking for permission or caring if you are in the mood or not). Maybe I can just entertain you and if you are in the mood for a deeper sense, you can see how three kids nurtured in the same environment, grow into different persons with individual characters. While values and beliefs may be closely related, personality and character quite different. It is a classic case of nature versus nurture. So please stay tuned…

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Interludes: The next generation