HANDCUFFS AND WEDDING RINGS

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December 20 – 21, 2013.

Some days are just made to go sideways.

From almost hurtling off the top of an uncompleted bridge to landing in a police cell with the groom’s best man, crazy got as crazy got. Maybe if we had all stayed at our hotels instead of having that night out; maybe if men can truly be men and stop being men for a bit then this wouldn’t have happened.

Okay, I think I’m going too fast. Let’s start again.

It was finally Sir T’s wedding. We all thought he was joking when he announced the date and told us to get ready. Knowing him, we all expected some kind of drama and a last-minute cancellation but Friday morning met us all confirming hotel reservations. Unlike the others, some of us couldn’t leave Lagos for Ijebu-Ode till late on Friday evening because our offices were closing for the weekend. I had to attend a party organised by my office for the less privileged and finish my annual report before going anywhere.

Sir T isn’t our boy; he’s more like an elder brother to us. The other guys were his peers but I and my friends were a few years younger even though we all shared a unique bond because we graduated from the same university one year apart. I, Scooby, Ephizzy – we also call him Epps – and El Flint all lived in his apartment during our National Service year in Akwa Ibom. We were there when he and his guys threw and attended all the parties from Second Base to Lounge Uno and others; we covered for him when one side-chick came calling and another side-chick was around, helped out with his sales job and generally enjoyed a service year many others could only dream about.

Not attending Sir T’s party wasn’t an option; besides everyone we knew from Akwa Ibom was gonna be there and we’ve missed them.

Epps finally called me by 7:30PM. He’s the one driving and I was the first person he had to pick along the way.  Scooby and Pinana were already waiting at Berger so we just had to stop for a few minutes to pick them before hitting the expressway. They brought bread and drinks, and after the initial greetings, I and Awo dug in. We had no idea how hungry we were.

Even at that time of the day, the Lagos Ibadan expressway was still being a bitch but thankfully, the only one among us with the driving skills of a Lagos Danfo driver was Epps. One minute he’s finding pockets of space to manoeuvre, the next he’s driving off road with the impatient interstate bus drivers.

Two hours later we got to Ijebu-Ode. Other than the harmattan haze which reduced visibility to about fifteen metres, It looked different. There was a flyover bridge at the intersection where you’re either headed towards Benin, turning left into town or heading right towards Ikorodu. A few minutes after passing the Lagos Garage, we realised we were driving up another bridge where there was formerly none. Thankfully we stopped and backed up; we would have dropped off the top if we kept going because the bridge wasn’t finished and the signs weren’t readable at that time of night.

By 10PM, we were settled in our hotel rooms. Surprisingly, Sir T was in his room instead while the others were at the club. Nothing we said could get him out; he said he was tired and needed to sleep. He said he wasn’t really in the mood and didn’t want to wake up with a hangover. It was as if he saw what we all didn’t.

When we got to the club, everyone was there; Kay, the best man; Boyo had been transferred to Imo from Akwa Ibom but he came in with Folly; Tony, Boyo’s childhood friend was home for the holidays from England. We didn’t know the others but it really didn’t matter; a friend of my friend is my friend. Besides, new friendships can always be forged over bottles of Absolut and Johnny Walker.

There were very few women though.

Kay was outside with some guy in a white kaftan. He’d been told by Kaftan Guy that he could get some female university students to join us because they lived off campus. Boyo was not interested; his fiancé was at the hotel. Tony was having a nice conversation with a pretty bartender who happened to be from his hometown in Edo. I, Scooby, Epps and Pinana weren’t bothered either but Kaftan Guy somehow managed to convince Kay to goad Awo into drive them to go get the girls.

About fifteen minutes later, I got a call from Epps so I stepped away from the loud music

“Guy, police don arrest us o. You guys should come quick abeg!”

“What the fuck! How?”

“They said I’m driving a stolen vehicle o. I don’t even know how that’s possible. We’re at that police station that we passed on our way to the club –”

The call disconnected.

I ran back inside to tell the others and within one minute, we were all parked at the gate of the police station. Alarmed at the sound of screeching vehicles bathing the entrance with multiple headlights, some officers rushed at us with their assault rifles.

“Who una be? Wetin una dey find?

“Oga, two of our friends were just arrested. We’re here to see them.”

“Which two? Na six people our people carry enter station!”

Apparently, they were returning with the girls.

“Two of our friends are among them.”

“Okay. Come back tomorrow.”

“Officer that’s not possible. We have to see them now.”

“I say make una dey go! If I count to three and una never comot here…” The officer cocked his rifle.

We didn’t wait to hear the rest as we scurried into our cars and drove a few metres across the road. Then we got out and decided to send two people over. It was while we were debating who to send that we realised Tony didn’t leave with us as we left the entrance to the station.

Some of us began to panic. Boyo however told us not to, he was just going to join Tony to plead with the officers but Tony was with us before we knew it.

“Guys, dem say we fit enter.”

How did he do it? How come they didn’t manhandle him? Tony somehow felt we had questions so he told us he only showed the police his ID as an officer in the British Navy.

Bloody hell.

Buoyed by this little progress, we got to the counter to see Epps and Kay stripped down to their boxer shorts. Awo had forgotten his licence and ID card at the hotel. Since the car belonged to his company and the officers couldn’t find anything to link him to the company, they simply arrested him, Kay and the girls. Unable to keep his big mouth shut, Awo had further infuriated the officers by insulting one of them.

We had no choice but to beg. The officers said we had to pay N20,000 but they were only going to release Kay, the girls, Kaftan Guy but not Epps and his car. We refused; everyone needed to be out though we didn’t care much about Kaftan Guy and the girls. And damn, those girls were so not fine! Looking at them, it was as if they’d just arrived from the fufu Olympics. Awo said he overheard one of them talking about leaving her two kids with her mom.

Folly suggested calling Kay’s dad since he retired as an Assistant Commissioner of Police. Boyo suggested we shouldn’t because Kay’s fiancée might find out. How would she react when she got the details? It wasn’t going to be pretty.

So we continued begging and hoping they’ll let everyone go for twenty grand.

At around 2PM, they finally agreed to release everyone but the female officers at the counter demanded an additional 10 grand to let them go. These were a greedy bunch and it seemed we had unwittingly become an ATM for this bunch.

All this time, Folly was generally being Zen just sitting outside the station with a flask filled with liquor when a muscled, bare-chested cop closed him down and asked to know what was in his flask.

“Officer, na Black Label o. I no fit let this harmattan cold kill me for outside.”

The officer laughed, before adding that Folly could have emulated him, seeing as he wasn’t fully dressed in the cold.

“Bros leave that thing jare, you’re used to staying outside on patrols and all that. And I sure say you go dey drink too. Follow me go car make I give you better drink.”

When they got to the car, the officer was surprised at how much alcohol Folly had in the boot of his car. Folly just shrugged and told him that it was the way he and his pals rolled in Akwa Ibom. Now the officer was curious because he did his National Youth Service in Akwa Ibom too in 2009, Batch B.

Boyo also served in Akwa Ibom in 2009, same batch.

Folly couldn’t hide hi excitement at this new piece of information, “Bros some of my people for here dey the same camp with you for Akwa Ibom. Make I take you go meet them.” He gave the officer a bottle of Jack Daniels and half-walked, half-ran back to meet us at the counter.

“Boyo!”

At that time, Boyo was pleading with the female officers who refused to sign out Epps and Kay without something for themselves. After an agreed 20 grand, we weren’t gonna budge but the officers were just as adamant.

When he got to Folly, the look of recognition on his face was unmistakable as he stared at the officer with him.

“I know you. Akwa Ibom NYSC 2009. You contested for Mr Macho when we were at the orientation camp.”

Kay, a fair skinned dude who hadn’t said much since we got to the station suddenly shouted, “Agbara!”

That was what they called him back then because of his muscles and body-building. The crazy thing was that Boyo, Kay and the officer all lived in Uyo with Folly’s elder brother for a while before they got their own accommodation.

We were now so confident because we had a friend who was willing to help us – it was a breeze from then on. Fortunately, we hadn’t even paid the 20 grand the police were asking for so we halved it and asked Officer Agbara to settle things for us. The female officers also got nothing.

As we left the station at about 3AM that morning, I asked Epps if he was going to drop off the girls they went to pick up.

“Abeg, fuck that shit. I didn’t ask for this in the first place.”

The laughter that erupted among us was palpable. It’s been a crazy night.

We barely had two hours of the sleep at the hotel before Sir T came knocking on our doors to get us ready for the engagement. The lucky dude was just laughing his head off as we narrated our ordeal, thanking his stars that he wasn’t with us as it all went down.

I’m not gonna talk about the wedding but I know you’ll be wondering about how we all made it through. It was really fun but let’s just say we were a bunch of groggy-eyed groomsmen for the first couple of hours.

And then…we took pictures! 😀

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Epps and 1 – My favourite pic of the day.

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Flint and my goggled self

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Myself, one of Sir T’s friends and Epps

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Pinana, Epps, Myself and Flint that can’t photobomb with dignity

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Sir T le badass groom!

 

Featured image credits: Sugar Six Photography, https://isgphotography.wordpress.com

#SecSchInNigeria- Time Traveling With Epic Memes

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State High School, Oko-Oba (now Progress College)…

I was in JSS 1, barely a month in when the annual Inter-House Sports competitions took place. It was too early to get involved in anything and I hated competitive sports of any kind back then so I went somewhere else to play ‘Four Posts’ with my new classmates.

After finding a spot where we wouldn’t be disturbed by overzealous teachers and prefects, we all took off our shoes to get comfy. I was wearing a pair of rubber Kito sandals; I dropped my knapsack containing 16 Onward notebooks and took off my shirt, leaving me in my school shorts and undershirt.

Game done, I realised my sandals had developed wings. Mom was definitely gonna kill me this time around. My bag and shirt? Gone too.

Long story short, I found my bag some hundred meters away. The notebooks I hadn’t used were gone. Oh well, I took my half bread and continued my search for my sandals. In the end, I went home with one – Kito, my size. Till today I doubt if it was really mine, it was a jungle out there and they’d succeeded in making an animal out of me (Sharrap, onye ochi).

That was day school. So imagine what I had to go through when I became a boarder. I remember the fight I had with Hamid on the assembly ground at dawn over MY coal iron.

But that’s not why we’re really here (all of you looking for short story, yaa wrong :p).

For those who are Twitter lazy, here’s a compilation of some of the funniest tweets from the epic #SecSchInNigeria trend last week. Check the pictures, read the captions.

Enjoy!

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Mr Osadebe was skilled in the dark arts back then😭😭😭😭😭

Mr Osadebe was skilled in the dark arts back then😭😭😭😭😭

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GONE

Photo Credit: www.zmescience.com
Photo Credit: www.zmescience.com

An uncle of mine died last week.

But I didn’t feel a thing.

I think I should be bummed, hurt, sad and grieving but I’m not. I’m not saying I’m fine; perhaps the feeling that best describes my emotional state at the moment is that of numbness. I just don’t feel a thing.

On the scale of familial feelings of loyalty and empathy, this could make me out as an asshole. I don’t know. People shed tears. I rarely do. When my tears come, most people are already done shedding. At this point, I realise that nothing’s wrong with me – I just happen to grieve differently from most people.

This isn’t really about me as much as a bit of it is. Hold on, we’re getting somewhere.

You see, my uncle and I weren’t really close. We weren’t close, period. I show up at my grandmother’s place and greet him when I see him. He’s not really social and I think that’s one thing we share because he mostly looks like he wants to be left alone. Quiet, easy-going fella, but he’s had a troubled life. He wasn’t disabled or anything but I won’t explain further.

Uncle K had a stroke late on Sunday night and was dead in a few hours. He never got married or had children. He had no love life that I or anyone knew of. No close friends either, he’d greet, smile and move on. Unlike his elder brother, Uncle M, who’s bookish, reserved but still sociable to an extent – he’s the one who named me Spencer – while using me for boxing practice when I’m within reach, just for the fin of it. Or Uncle D, the youngest of them all with whom I enjoy a few drinks while watching football matches – he’s also the best barber I’ve ever known.

And this is why I didn’t feel a thing: I have no memories.

My memories feed my joy or pain. If a random stranger dies right in front of me, I’ll be hurt at the fact that another life is gone but I won’t feel no pain on a personal level. My pain is based on my experiences – stories, conversations, arguments, laughs, a task done together, shared food or drinks, gatherings, etc. I have to remember to feel pain and when there are no memories to feed off from, I’m just numb.

He was buried the same day he died. Uncle K lived with grandma – his mother till he died so I guess it was expedient to get everything out of the way so ‘mummy’ wouldn’t dwell so much on the hurt. I wasn’t there but everyone else was: second cousins, relatives close and far, my mother and her siblings amongst others – my sisters too. In life, what really brings people you care about together are life, death and love.

And this is why I felt that hurt later on – he’s my mother’s younger brother. We’re close and even though I don’t really know how it is, it  still not cool losing anyone, not to even mention a sibling. Growing up together, teenage arguments, birthdays, weddings, precious moments and all that; the pain is brutal. So seeing someone I’m close to thrown into sadness because of a sibling’s death got to me. She was upset that I didn’t show up. I had my reasons and as logical as they might be, it’s best you shut up and play yo-yo with the spittle in your mouth.

On Sunday I went to see granms with my brother and the things she said really cut through me. Sitting right across her, I’ve only felt that way just once (more on this in another post). She’s over 80 and I was gutted that the poor lady felt like she’s the one that should be gone and not her son.

“I’m not questioning God, but I wonder why – with the wonderful life I’ve lived – I’m still alive and my son is gone. I know he’s gone to rest now – he needed it – I’m just wondering why I didn’t get to go first.”

As quiet as he was, Uncle K was a piece of work for granms – she worried about the most so I know she loved him very much. As such I can’t begin to imagine how hurt she is.

No matter how old your kids get to be, they’re still your babies and no parent wishes to go through this. And like I said, this is why I’m hurt – more for them than for myself. It’s nothing extraordinary, it just is.

The thing about empathy is that it doesn’t have to be personal. The pain doesn’t have to be yours before you feel it. We’re all connected one way or another and whatever affects one of us ripples wide enough to affect a lot of us. I wasn’t close to my uncle but my mother was and my grandmother was, as well as other family members that I’m close to, so even though I didn’t feel that pain on a me-him personal basis, I felt it through them.

That’s what makes us family.

HATE SPEECH: WE NEED NEW LAWS

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Okay…let’s get serious shall we.

Two days ago, I came across this screenshot of a series of tweets done by one dude – King With No Crown (@mcvaaey). The subject: the need to kill all Igbos for being ‘sellouts’. He called Igbos a number of unprintable names and called on all ‘well meaning’ Nigerians to embark on a ‘purge’ or ethnic cleansing of sorts.

We’ve always had this tribal e-warfare but never since Chinua Achebe’s There Was A Country book drama and Fashola’s deportation of Igbos have we had it this bad. This time it really reeks, like Fani Kayode’s underwear.

Obviously the guy has never heard of Rwanda and Sudan to mention just two. The guy obviously never heard of our own civil war. History isn’t his forte.

These are difficult explanations to come up with. And they’ll stand.

But I’ve got an easier answer: this guy is a bigoted cretin who should be time jumped back to WWII and labelled a Jew. And that goes for the rest of them. Everyone else who would only open their mouths to spew vitriol against people of other tribes, nationalities, faiths, ideological leanings, etc.

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Funny this is that this moron and others like him will still bitch about Boko Haram and wonder why the terrorists act the way they do. Are they any different? Just because they do their nonsense from behind a keypad doesn’t make them any better. And I only feel pity for them. Because they are the first to cry if they land in Russia and someone makes a monkey sound or brandishes a banana at the sight of them.

It’s not just talk. No. Stuff like this can start riots. And they’ll go to church and sing ‘My hands are blessed’ when they’re in fact stained with blood. Some will take communion or say prayers with that same hateful tongue.

It’s sad. really.

And for anyone who really knows me, I can’t just deal with ethnic bullshit. Some of my closest friends aren’t Yoruba. Hell, if I don’t tell you my name or speak Yoruba, you’ll probably think I’m Hausa. My mom is Yoruba, grew up in the North, schooled in the East and her bestie is an Ibibio woman who married a Yoruba man and gave birth to wonderful kids like Seun Olayemi​, Olayemi Oluwatosin​ and their siblings.

This is where I’m going: if I meet an Ibo man who happens to be an asshole, I won’t call him an Ibo asshole. He’s simply a jerk and will be a jerk whether or not he’s from a tribe that isn’t mine. And this is where we need new laws. I’m not a lawyer but I believe our constitution is pretty weak on hate speech. Help me out here Sir Okwudilichukwu Obu​.

In a sane country like the UK or US, the dude that tweeted such nonsense would already be behind bars. Anton Ferdinand accused John Terry for racist remarks on a football pitch and it became not just a football disciplinary issue but a legal one taken up by the authorities. Last year in the US, Donald Sterling, owner of the LA Clipers was banned for life and practically stripped of his ownership because he made a snide racist remark against black basketball players. And here’s the clincher, he said it in private.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a tweet, facebook post, blog comment or meme, you’re gonna get what’s coming – just ask Mario Balotelli.

We need these kind of laws here. You can insult all you want but eave race, gender and religion out of it. That way, you can ensure that some moron won’t wake up one day and start killing people that don’t speak his tongue. And when we do have those laws, it’s our duty to make them work. It’s our duty to report such people to the authorities and make them realise that you can’t type hateful stuff about people and hope to get away with it.

Rwanda is pretty pretty now but we can have an awesome Nigeria without going through what they did. Nigeria is. Let Nigeria continue to be. See the headache most Eastern European nations are still having after their split? I want none of that.

Hate isn’t pretty, and its children are bloody ugly.

THIS OUR ‘FLEE AND FEAR’ ELECTIONS…

Okay, it would only make sense if I say this today. And it’s probably gonna be my last post about the presidential elections.

If you’re hoping for relatively free and fair elections in Nigeria, stick to the cities and major towns. Anywhere else is a sham. I don’t know, the PVC and card reader might help – a bit. I hope so. I also hope a lot of heads won’t be bashed in, in the process.

No I am not going to vote. No it isn’t because I don’t want to. It’s because I can’t.

You see, I did my voter registration 4 years ago in Ukanafun Local Government, Akwa Ibom State, Ward 4, Unit 6 precisely. Transferring proved to be hectic and I’m just gonna chill till INEC gets it right. It’s only common sense that people relocate.

Now this isn’t even the point.

Back then I functioned both as a Registration Officer 1 and Presiding Officer. Fortunately, I had to work in my local government and my village home in Ikot Oku Usung happened to be in the same ward 4. A few people already knew me, I taught their children in school even though I was really supposed to be at the Local Government Secretariat.

Registration was a major headache because people would bring 13-year-olds and you dare not question them. “Corper, nsido, you sabi my pikin age pass me ni?” So you shut the hell up and register the kid. I’m not gonna get my head broken for some town I really had no stake in. No. Once I asked my ward supervisor and he said, “Please do, for your own safety,” I registered em all and ate bush meat while at it.

Then elections came and I was still gonna work in Ward 4 but another polling unit. The man who took us there later called me aside into a Qua Iboe Church nearby and offered me 20 grand, 15 for my assistant and 10 for another official. He said the governor just wanted to ensure we were well taken care of. That wasn’t my problem but hey, if you are gonna bribe me, it shouldn’t be inside a church (I remember seeing that same man two Sundays later at the Winners Chapel I used to attend in the town, seated in the corner exclusively reserved for elders – but that’s a story for another day) I think I told him to hold on and let me finish my job first.

I thought it was just us. I was wrong.

Everyone else had been paid! Even agents from opposition parties who now rallied everyone they were canvassing for, to vote the ruling party. He was their man and it didn’t matter if he was in another party. He’s Annang. They’re Annang. He will get 100 percent votes in Annang regions.

Same thing happened at the presidential elections. He’s South-South, they’re South-South. Their kin must get 100 percent. CPC and AC agents rallied their people to give 100 percent to ‘Their Man’. It was a blatant sellout and i saw tribal politics at its best both for state and national level elections. This was for a governor who only came to campaign and didn’t do shit for those people but 200 Naira per voter was all right to sway them. He’s their man!

So I gave up. Wait up sir, I’m coming for our money!

One dude, came over at some point and snatched the box and ran off, the others pursued him and brought it back “den never put anything officer, everything dey there.” At some point they took the ink pad and ballot papers and created a desk for themselves to thumbprint at will -PDP. It was messy. Well I heard the others did the same at their strongholds. Some dudes were there with cutlasses and hoes, “We dey go farm after voting oga. No worry.” Yes sir, by all means. No, nobody is gonna farm on my head. I don’t live here. I won’t pay taxes here. I don’t have a Chihuahua in this fight. I will siddon look and go home to my family when the time comes.

When we got back to the collation centre, I realised some of my colleagues had been badly beaten for being ‘too stubborn.’ Oh oh, na so dem go kill person for matter wey no be my own? Iyo!

Now what also worried me was that there was basically a 100 grand budget for every polling unit per election. We had about 10 per every ward in that LG – 20 wards, about 200 units. Do the maths, the. Do the same for the remaining 29 local government areas. When salaries wasn’t paid on time that month end, I laughed.

It was more violent in some other areas. Some colleagues lost lives. Over what? Bullshit. Sure it was fine in the more accessible areas where the observers camped out. But in the far flung villages, it was something else. The people didn’t know their right or what to do. And this is why I believe that you don’t wait 5 months to the general elections before sensitising people. What do you have 4 years for?

Despite our reports, nothing was canceled. Not even places where friends were beaten up. They wanted 100 Percent, they got it.

It’s all about numbers and those in the cities don’t really count for shit. Now tell me where the bulk of the voters are and you’ll realise that what we have so far is a sham.

Free and fair elections? Not until we install sense 2.0 in our heads in this country. As for the candidates we have, its a shame on us that there seems to be only two to pick from. Darn shame. Why didnt APC go with Rochas and seal the East? Why not KOWA? Ah yes, she’s a woman with no ‘experience’.

Oshi.

Vote wisely, your life isn’t worth losing for this. Friends shouldn’t be lost because of political differences. I hope we get it righter. Receive sense! Amen.

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A LITTLE SOMETHING ON MOTHER-IN-LAWS, CLINGY PARTNERS AND OTHER THINGS IN BETWEEN

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Yeah, smoother and drool over him/her. Why not also pee like a mutt just so we know you're marking territory?

This started out as a comment on a friend’s Facebook wall but I just thought to post it here as well.

And yes, it’s about overbearing mother-in-laws, clingy partners and that type of shit other things in between.

Somehow I realise now, how it’s even us the children and our mom that scold pops that he’s been away from his mom for too long. His maternal family could be a pain and he knew, so he shielded us all with some distance. I remember when mom tells stories of her early years in marriage and how grams would interfere with her other children at every opportunity, including sneaking some girl in under the guise of being a maid.

If anything, I appreciate how she handled it and how I share some of those traits. Ariwo ko ni music – no insults, no long winding arguments or nagging; just this quiet stubbornness that tells the other person to back off. Those early days earned her my grams respect and till date she’s even the one that visits often – more than her husband.

Some women just smother their kids instead of mothering. For me it’s both ways. I’ll run from a girl who seems to be a mommy’s girl too because you won’t seem to do anything right. Nobody likes someone hover over them just because they’re in a relationship with that person’s child. It’s bullshit. If you’ve trained your child well then you’ll have very little to worry about someone who’s dating or married to them.

Sometimes I’m really scared of the kind of parenting we give these days. Always eager to troubleshoot even before there’s trouble. We eliminate every appearance of error and raise kids in a controlled environment – like culturing a specimen in a lab. We forget that we won’t be here forever and this is where I take the Magic School Bus mantra and apply it to raising kids: take chances, make mistakes, get messy. Let them learn but let them know that you’re with them.

If you know you can’t cope with such nonsense, run. You’ll know from the first few encounters. No man or woman is worth that headache and Jesus didn’t die for that kinda ish. Better to have a US drone or spy satellite over you than a hovering MIL.

That said, there are women or men that are like this around their partners (see picture). Makes the whole darn thing even more difficult doesn’t it?

Seriously, check yourself. It might just be that you might be the one that also wants to own him/her by shutting them off from friends and family, people who were there for him before you came into the picture. You can’t possibly make up his entire world. It just doesn’t work that way. They might represent his past and present but if that’s good, who says the past, present and future can’t mesh in this case?

Also, in reverse, who’s to say that the future can’t coexist with the past? It’s all about perspective. You see a husband or wife. They see a son or daughter. Make it work or walk away early. No point tying the knot if you know you won’t be able to live with it.

As for clingy, hovering parents too; sometimes the whole point of teaching your chicks how to fly is that they can leave the nest on their own…eventually.

GOT A DREAM? QUIT PIDDLING AND START SOMETHING!  

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“You cannot build a reputation on what you’re going to do” – Henry Ford

Uncle Tunde – we call him Bros T – is one of my favourite relatives; he’s the one who gets reprimanded by our parents for trying to spoil our milk teeth with too much chocolate and sweets. He’s also the funny one, always having a story to tell. We believed everything and enjoyed all the tales of what he’s seen, heard, read and experienced during his lifetime. As we grew older, the stories became less believable and we’d give ourselves knowing looks as if to say, “fabu” (the rough vernacular translation for fable).

Of all the stories, the one that stuck with me over the years was the story of his life. Bros T got a job with a shipping line in the early 80’s after finishing secondary school. His original goal was to get a degree in Law, practice for a few years and then move into the academic world to become a university lecturer. Unfortunately, he couldn’t because there was no money to finance his education.

Years later, after working his way up the ranks at the shipping company, Bros T was comfortable enough to chase his dream of being a lawyer but he couldn’t shake the niggling thoughts: “I won’t fit in.” “I don’t think I’m smart enough.” “I don’t think I’ll pass.” “It’s too late for me to go back to school.” Now, anytime a Law related topic came up for discussion, Bros T would say, “And I would have been a great lawyer oh,” a rueful smile on his face. There’s no mistaking the fact that he looks back with regret at not taking the bold step of going back to school.

The major reason he didn’t follow through on his dream was FEAR. That fear brought a lot of questions and doubts into his mind. But how would he find answers to all his questions if he stood rooted to a spot and didn’t take the plunge? Fear is the number one dream killer; it brings with it, self-doubt, worry, and feelings of inadequacy. Many young people’s dreams have been frustrated due to fear.

We all have our questions, “What if this?” “What if that?” Sometimes the enormity of our dreams scares us silly but we often forget that we don’t need to start big. If you’ve got a big dream, who says you can’t start small? The important thing is that you’ve started. There will be challenges and obstacles but if it is a God-given dream, those challenges will be stepping stones to help build you up.

In actualising our dreams, we sometimes forget that the first set of actions might be in the form of preparation. If you have to hold on to learn a few things before making the jump, why not do so? Preparation is key: what is the use of spending days cutting a big tree with a blunt axe and not succeeding, when you can spend hours sharpening the axe before the actual cutting?

If you don’t start where you are, how will you get to where you want? Start where you are, use what you have at your disposal and begin to do what you can. If you have put God’s in the picture, you will achieve it. In the Bible (Judges 3:31), a man called Shamgar was recorded to have saved Israel by killing 600 Philistines with a cattle prod (ox goad). Fantastic story, isn’t it? A cattle prod; not a sword! Shamgar didn’t wait till he had a sword in his hands, he had a cattle prod and that’s what he used. He started where he was and used what he had at his disposal. In the end, he made his mark – even though he was mentioned in just one verse in the bible!

What is a man if he can’t dream? Man is essentially wired to dream, to aspire, to become a better version of himself every single day and make his mark positively wherever he finds himself. Have you got a dream? Quit piddling and start now!

I’ll leave you with this encouraging picture I found…

In the end, it mostly depends on whether you want to, or not ;)

In the end, it mostly depends on whether you want to, or not 😉

What is a man if he can’t dream? Man is essentially wired to dream, to aspire, to become a better version of himself every single day and make his mark positively wherever he finds himself. Have you got a dream? Quit piddling and start now!