Sunday, July 17, 2016

Emosh Analytics

Just last night, I had had enough from this friend who had upset me. He had done his thing as was convenient for him and when I called him out, he started bombarding me with text messages and calls that upset me even more. He wouldn’t stop with the follow ups - some of which were guilt-ridden, and the others were plain annoying. So I asked him to quit bugging and let me/things breathe. And then he came up with yet another long epistle before conceding.

On a different note, I'd been considering getting back with a not so old flame/ex (these head v. heart matters that usually throw common sense out the window), and I needed clarity. Spending the week in Lagos - away from him - meant time for me to think objectively, as well as getting time and input from my ever loyal homeboys. Ever loyal :) 

Just this morning, I started to think about the people I'd been romantically involved with, and attempted to analyze my patterns with hindsight, on a whiteboard. I thought about how I reasoned, what I felt when I was in it, and how/why things ended. In all honesty, it was a pretty good eye-opening exercise. Now I want to plug these findings into "Big Data" ...

Bookreads and Yoga: Diary of an Oxygen Thief

I hated this book. 
I read it today in a couple hours, while I did my weekend laundry.
I loved how it started. With yoga. 

My muscles were sore from a long travel streak. In a span of two weeks, I had done Aruba, New York, Lagos and Enugu with layovers in Paris and Amsterdam. Dragging luggage pieces across the globe did leave me a little sore, plus the flights were long, and my sleep patterns were disrupted from jetlag. I could hardly wait to get into the next Yoga class once I was back to base, even if it meant skipping church. 

Yoga is great. The first time I went to a class was sometime in the last two months. I had missed my regular cardio class and decided I’d just drop in and see what the yoga people were doing. Quickly decided it wasn’t for me, but went again another day and managed to buy the idea of doing handstands, stretching and taking deep breaths for healthy reasons. Plus it was a reality check for me to see how stiff my muscles were. I soon bought my own yoga mat and blocks and tried it at home. 

The next time would be Fathers' Day, which was the first Sunday after my dad passed away. I had no intentions of being within the walls of any institution (especially a church) that would be celebrating that occasion. I went to the gym instead, and found my perfect escape there. And so today, while I sat there on my mat thinking about freeing my muscles, my yogini announced that someone had taken a picture of the customized tattoo she had on her right arm, and replicated it. She said she felt violated seeing the pictures on Instagram, and hurt, and wanted to hurt them back. I could not help wondering if tattoos were some sort of intellectual property. She mentioned she'd just finished this book called “Diary of an Oxygen Thief,” and the theme was about how hurt people hurt people. Then she read out the opening, which went like this:

“I liked hurting girls. Mentally not physically, I never hit a girl in my life. Well once. But that was a mistake. I’ll tell you about it later. The thing is, I got off on it. I really enjoyed it. It’s like when you hear serial killers say they feel no regret, no remorse for all the people they killed. I was like that. Loved it. I didn’t care how long it took either, because I was in no hurry. I’d wait until they were totally in love with me. Till the big saucer eyes were looking at me. I loved the shock on their faces. Then the glaze as they tried to hide how much I was hurting them. And it was legal. I think I killed a few of them. Their souls, I mean. It was their souls I was after. I know I came close a couple of times…”

Quite a grabber, wouldn't you say? It was catchy and dark, and you immediately saw yourself in either the hurter or the hurt, or both - which are really one and the same, since the hurter is hurt, or maybe not. Anyway, she asked each yogi to set their agenda or dedicate our practice for the day to someone. I thought about one of my friends who upset me last night. I had much to say but refrained from blurting out everything that had gone through my head. So I halfheartedly dedicated my yoga to this annoying friend. Right after the session, I would walk up to Caitlyn (yogini) and she would lend me the book. I was excited. Got home, loaded my washer and settled on the couch.

I wanted to enjoy this book. I really did. Heck, maybe I even wanted some therapy out of it. But that was not the reason I was disappointed. It was poorly cooked and disjointed. The opening lured me, but turned out to be all hype, fluffy and deceitful. The intrigue following the opening lasted for a while until the buildup fell through. I kept reading, because I just wanted to finish it. After some 150 pages, it ended rather passionlessly in an anticlimax. Ugh!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Us and Them


Just saw the videos of Philander Castile and Alton Sterling. Had chills running down my spine.

People, why so hateful? If my life is valuable to me or to the people I love, then why shouldn't another person's be? Who made you or me an authority to take a person's life out, when neither you nor me was responsible for breathing life into them in the first place? No, this is not okay.

Earlier today, I was talking with someone who was asking me questions about my love life and "toasters." I started to tell her about a love interest when she interrupted me, "What tribe is he from?" 

I responded with his ethnic group and added, "What does it matter?" 

She was just asking, she said, and we kept talking.

In another conversation she would ask about two friends of mine whom she was acquainted with. 
"Those two?" I told her I had played a role in introducing them to each other. "Looks like they might be hooking up soon." 

"Really? Anyway they fit each other."

She barely knew them. I asked why she thought so.

"They are both Yoruba Yoruba," came her reply.

No, this is not okay.

At that point, I didn't feel the need to carry on with the conversation any longer. It didn't matter that she was older than I was. I was successfully irritated, and managed to say that people were not automatically (a) fit for each other because they hailed from the same ethnic group. 

I'm in Nigeria by the way.

With the latest killings and racial tension in the news this past few days, it's easy to point fingers at America, place blames and take sides. But how about you and me here at home, where we are of a single race? One race, but yet, still obsessed with hate, and blinded by differences. It just occurred to me that we, human beings will never be satisfied with being just what we are - human beings. We, human beings will always need to segment and categorize and prove that whatever groups we choose to be members of must be superior to the non-members. It's easy to see that the concept of World Peace is a myth, an oxymoron.It will always be "us" and "them."

But this post is not about acting holier-than-anyone. I have a bias that I only just discovered as a result of these recent hate crimes, and it makes me cringe to see that I've been indifferent. I was once of the opinion that illiteracy was the sole reason behind closed-mindedness, and that education was the cure. I now know how unfounded that statement is. Education and enlightenment are two distinct things. Instead of being aloof when I am not directly affected, I choose to be an ally. 

How do you and I take personal responsibility?
This is by no means exhaustive, but go ahead and be intentional in your relationships. Expose your bias. Enlighten yourself. Increase your tolerance towards people, especially those who seemingly have little or nothing in common with you. It's extreme, even fanatical to want to force others to see things your way. I am tempted to say stop evangelizing, stop preaching, but a better way to phrase that is to live by your own example. 
Let your evangelism be in your deeds - and not mere words. (Well, writers will argue)
Live and let live - let people be, let them choose.
Live so that people see and want to emulate, and do so because they decide to. 
Why focus on fixing them? Leave them, and just live!

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Time for Everything

My manager told me: 
this is the time for friendship.
Some of your friends will rise to the occasion. Some you never expected.
Some will shrink back, to your surprise, because you somehow expected they would show up. 
Both categories will take you by surprise. The ones who shrink, do not hold it against them.

No truer words, man.
I love my friends, 
And wherever these roads lead,
Remember no one owes you/me anything.

Monday's Child

Ageing is irrefutable, and it will happen whether you worry or not.
Merely counting down and watching the numbers add up, is an easy route that will induce worry and panic attacks.
However, if you make the content count, soon enough you will start to appreciate and actually look forward to your best years - which have not even happened.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Message to the world

Are all people born with a cause to fight for?
How do these things come?
Do you get one, or maybe two, or more of these causes?
Do they change over the course of one's life or are they time agnostic?

Image: xkcd