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Monthly Archives: October 2013

OKAY! WE HAVE GOT TO TALK ABOUT THIS

Alright, let’s talk about hair! Don’t worry, I am not going to go all Chimamanda on you, even though to a large extent, I agree with her perspective (Chimamanda Adichie, since her last novel, Americanah, has been very vocal on her stand; saying that hair is political and how black women chose to wear their hair is very important). As much as I agree with her, I cannot exert my stand because even though I think natural is commendable, I also believe that for some of us (especially women), our natural forms just isn’t sufficient. In our natural forms, we are conscious of all our physical flaws; our eyebrows and eyelashes just aren’t full enough, so we add eyeliners and mascara or even artificial eyelashes. Our face lacks colour, so we add a little lipstick, lip liner, eye shadow or blush.  Our hair not full or long enough, so we add extensions. Modern medicine has even provided more options on enhancing and changing our physical features on a more permanent scale with nose jobs, breast and butt implants, just to mention a few. I am a girl who understands her physical flaws, hence, loves her makeup, so I haven’t earned the right to say I am an all-round pro-natural (Even though I wish I were and respect those who are comfortable with themselves enough to be all natural; no enhancement or filters). Nevertheless, I do agree that hair is a different issue, i.e, from Chimamanda’s racial-political perspective where a black woman could describe herself in her natural kinky hair as having a ‘bad hair day’. I am inclined to agree that such view is controlled by an underlining thought that says natural kinky hair isn’t beautiful.

Over the years, since I grew up and began to exercise my own rights on how I choose to wear my hair (that is my way of saying, since I rescued my hair from my mother *haha*), I have exploited a lot of options. I have gone long, short and medium length. I have also coloured my hair, red, brown, wine-red etc. I didn’t have enough patience for my hair; hence, it was more of a burden than anything else and I was constantly trying different styles/colours to make me appreciate it better.  I have always believed that a woman’s hair is a very important aspect of herself , after all, the bible does say, it is a woman’s glory. If you really want to think about it, reflect on a woman getting dressed up. She has her hair all covered in a towel or a hair cover of some sort, she’s done with the facial makeup but still feels odd. Once her hair is all made up, viola! The difference is clear; her facial look comes out better. Simple English, your hair can make or break your appearance.

About two years ago, I decided to try something different with my hair; I decided to go on dreadlocks. So I cut my hair and turned it into dreads. It was a rigorous, relatively expensive process, but I am happy to say that my hair has grown into full-blown dreads and is still growing. Even happier to declare, I love my hair!!!!!!! I now have a shameless love affair with my hair and I am loving every minute of it. My hair has stopped being a burden and is now my glory!!! Yes I said it.

So am at the petrol station the other day, an attendant asks me, ‘is that all your hair?’ and I say yes. He goes ‘It’s lovely’. I know how to take a compliment plus I get that a lot from dread lovers *winks*, so I say ‘thank you’. However, I sense this is more of an opening than a compliment and being my natural curious self I ask, ‘but?’ and he says ‘but it (dreads) doesn’t make you look responsible’ (For some reason he thinks that by declaring this profound thought, he has just imparted a great wisdom). I take no offense because I also get this stereotypical view a lot. Not really in the mood nor having the time for a debate, I just laugh and say ‘ummm’

This is where the controversy lies; some people (am refraining from saying most Nigerians) have an opinion on how I carry my hair i.e dreadlocks. Most of these opinions are drawn from the stereotypical view of watching too many reggae musicians, hence they believe that dread is an irresponsible hairstyle (another way of saying, it says, you are high on something). Some other people just assume that to dread your hair, you have to an extrovert, a bold and adventurous person. All these assumptions from just a hairstyle; impressive! *haha*. I have had someone (She knows herself) actually tell me that I would have to do away with my dreads if I want a job in the corporate world in Nigeria *ridiculous*!

Okay, let’s analyse this for a minute; with dreads, my hair is all my hair; no extensions, nothing artificial, no weaves. It is sectioned into strands just like braids and has the look of braids, only difference is that, it is in its authentic kinky form. So question: if my hair is natural; in its true kinky form and it can be packed altogether for a professional setup or styled professionally, why then is it not suitable for the corporate world? Oh! And this same view isn’t expressed for those who have artificial dreads fixed on their hair!!! Am I then to assume that wearing artificial hair is more recommendable? Again, ridiculous! Need I emphasize, that I have nothing against weaves and extensions; I just don’t get the logic that would recommend weaves, permed hair (chemically induced hair) against dreads and natural African hair, in its true form. With this view sub-consciously ruling this sort of opinion, its no wonder that Chimamanda’s view on hair has pointed out its political implications; where weaves and straight hair are the accepted definition of beauty (Consciously or subconsciously). Oh well, I promised not to go all Chimamanda on you.

Bottom line, I love my hair with its locks and in its natural kinky form (and no, I am not an artist of any sort). Saying I can’t wear my hair like this in a professional setup, or even worse, tagging my hair as inappropriate or irresponsible, is not only hilarious but critically baseless.  Like I said, natural is commendable and kinky is full, rich, African and most certainly, beautiful…

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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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30…ish and Single (still): The Idea of Marriage

I went back and forth trying to make up my mind whether to categorise this post under my 30…ish and single (still) series. Finally decided to but I hope it communicates its original idea though.

I recently had to make a tough decision (Although my cousin would beg to differ) whether or not to stay or walk out of a relationship. Like I am sure most people can identify with me, I went back and forth in my mind, even created a list on ‘things I like about …’ (I hope you understand my reason for withholding the name).  It wasn’t so much so that there was anything wrong with this person in question; he is actually quite a good catch in some ladies’ opinion. He’s fine, has a good paying job with excellent potentials, patient, reasonable, attends church etc  (I hope if he reads this, saying this makes up for writing about him*bats lashes*). However, I knew he was wrong for me (Maybe I should say, we were wrong for each other). I tried to hold on as long as I could, telling myself I am the one with the issues (My cousin would agree **hahahaha**), always over analysing everything, ‘there is no sure thing as a perfect person’ blah blah blah. Eventually I stopped second guessing myself, mustered the courage and moved on. Making this decision didn’t come easy because, oh well, like most people would agree, being alone isn’t the easiest thing in the world and I am not a needy person. I quite enjoy my own company and know how to be alone but that doesn’t always make it easy.

During and after this decision was made, I kept questioning myself, why was this decision so hard for me to make, especially when I knew it was the right decision for a while? I eventually came to the conclusion that the reason was beyond the fear of being alone but largely, also surrounded the fact that I am 30…ish and single (Still). I am at that stage of my life where everyone is looking at you and wondering why you aren’t talking about a date for the wedding? Why you aren’t introducing anyone to the family and friends? And even worse, why isn’t there a man in your life? So at this stage, any man (especially the one with a good profile like ‘recent ex’ *lol*) becomes better than no man, regardless of how ill-suited you are for each other. This, in my opinion, is what I call the ‘idea of marriage’ and we are completely sold out to it.

Again in my opinion, this ‘idea of marriage’ primarily accounts for a huge percentage of failed marriages. It makes one blind to the faults and ill-suited attributes of the other until the nuptials are exchanged and then you decide you can’t live with them after all. But the person didn’t change (at less, not fundamentally) you just chose not to regard those attributes initially. My mother would say, don’t think what didn’t change before the wedding, would change in marriage (Except by the special grace of God). In my immediate society (Nigeria), it’s even more difficult to be at a certain age and be single (still). No matter how successful you are in your professional life etc, you are still regarded as well ‘not so successful’ in your life. No matter how old you may be, you are still called a girl and younger ladies with wedding bands and children on their hips are given more respect than you (After all, you are nobody’ wife and don’t have the covering on a man *ridiculous*). Even when you come from an understanding family like mine, even when you are liberal-minded like me, there’s still that uncertainty and fear of ending up alone and if one is not lucky, this fear pushes you into a relationship and marriage you have no business being in. Sometimes, if you are lucky, it works out just fine. Other times, you end up being unhappy and in worse cases, you end up being miserable. Your children would never look at your marriage as a yardstick to measure up to. You become one of the huge percentage of married individuals who when asked if they would marry their partners again would cry out in their hearts, ‘NO!’. Don’t get me wrong, I am adult and a realist enough to know that marriage isn’t a walk in the park. I understand it is commitment, work, loyalty, compromise. I also believe it should be love, trust, respect and compatibility among other things.

Coming from a Nigerian environment, one could say there was a time when plenty of marriages were arranged and those couples stayed together through their lives. Well, true, but this is a different time. In that age, the dynamics of marriages was different. Women were more subdued and the roles in the home were well defined, specific, with little or no overlapping. These days, the rules have changed. Women have more rights (Thank God), are more vocal, more independent. It is more of a partnership and less autocratic *winks*. Not trying to undermine the authority of men in their homes, just calling it the way I see it. So it has become essential to try one’s best to get it right from the foundation, from the beginning. To make sure that whatever you say yes to, is what you can live it. To ensure as much as possible that you are with a man/woman you can marry over again. It has become essential for our parents and family to ask the right questions like ‘does he/she make you happy?’, ‘does he/she respect and support you even when they disagree with you?’, ‘does he/she put you first and love you?’ etc.

Marriage should be a lifetime commitment (Unless of course you are in Hollywood or all the other ‘woods’) and while the future is unknown, the chances are better if you review your cards properly. I, for one, know being single isn’t the easiest thing in the world and could be socially and emotionally frustrating, so I hope I abide by my own preaching, because I can think of a whole lot things that are worse. I am also adult enough to know there isn’t a 100% perfect person but there are wrong people (at less for an individual). Nevertheless, for those who have walked down that road already, be of good cheer, I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel.

After all said, what do I know, I have never been married; 30…ish and single (still)

 

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in 30…ish and Single (Still)

 

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A BIG THANK YOU

I want to start by saying thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my posts thus far. A bigger thank you to those, who have taken additional time to comment; share their views and leave feedback (Whether solicited or unsolicited *hahaha*). The biggest gratitude to my esteemed followers who have clicked on the ‘follow me’ button, so they can get notice every time a new post comes up on JOCM ‘Journal of a Complex Mind’ (However, inconsistent they have become). I started off just wanting to express my thoughts but it feels good to know some people actually take the time to read my posts and comment. Y’all encourage and challenge my mind, so thank you.

While I am saying thank you, I would also like to restate my objective for this blog. Beyond just writing and discussing my thoughts, opinion and worldview, I really want to share and discuss ideas that I believe are rather universal and important. So while my posts are largely my own opinion and mostly drawn from my own experiences and life, the reasoning behind them is to point out issues, ideas, thought pattern that I believe are generic and engage in discussion that are much more than my life only. Take for instance, when I shared my loss and forgetting to remember, what I really hoped to achieve was to communicate the idea that I have come to believe it is okay to move on without feeling a sense of betrayal to your loved one. The primary objective is to hopefully reach out to someone who is experiencing soon sort of personal conflict in this regard and give them support. So behind every post on JOCM is an underlining thought (Sometimes clearly stated, other times, in between the line, but easy to see)

Basically, I am saying that I hope my posts communicate ideas that are bigger than my personal life and open or encourage conversations for such topics, ultimately, challenging and changing thought patterns.

So once again, a heartfelt thank you and I hope you continue this journey with me… God bless

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Interlude 4 – Learning to talk

If you have been following my posts on my family’s next generation, you will know of ‘Boo’ by now. If not, Boo is my one and only niece (At least, at the moment). She turned one in July and is at the stage where she is learning how to talk (It’s quite an interesting process). Her favourite words are ‘ge me’ meaning ‘give me’, ‘lea me’ meaning ‘leave me’, ‘Car-lea me’ meaning ‘carry me’ and the popular one, ‘No’. I am now becoming somewhat an expert in baby language *haha*

When Boo was born, being a baby growing up along side two toddler boys (very active ones), my sister came up with a idea to remind the boys, Yem and Di, to be careful with her. So she would say ‘Baby Nina is tender’ (Baby Nina is Boo). Soon it became a recitation in the house. When the boys are being their active, all-over-the-place selves, we (the grownups) would say ‘Baby Nina is …’ and they would respond ‘Tender’. It has been very useful in stopping them from hitting her over and thank God it has worked effectively.

Okay, so this is where it becomes hilarious, my niece, Boo or Baby Nina (Hopefully, we can drop the baby soon before it sticks and she is being called Baby Nina in her adulthood) has become very active as well, running about the place with the boys, forgetting that she is this tiny person and ‘tender’, like we so put it. The recitation has become part of the house, so much so that she has started reciting it herself *haha*. So you go ‘Baby Nina is …’ and before anyone else can respond, she goes herself, saying, ‘tender’ **hahahahaha**. It is so hilarious. I doubt that she actually realises that she is infact the baby Nina, who is supposedly tender, because she sure doesn’t act like it.

Oh! What joy children are (When they are not following you all over the place and constantly trying to destroy your stuff) *hahahahaha*

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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