Date Archives 2014

JOAN RIVERS (1933-2014)


      I turned on the tv and I heard on the news my longtime friend and fashion confidante had passed on and there’s been a space in my heart ever since. We had such great connection from the first time we met on E’s fashion police in 2011. Our love was an instant connection, I knew I would go on a date with her every Saturday night on E and we would laugh at another creation by Lady Gaga’s psycho stylist from Mars or be in awe at how Rihanna could never do no wrong in fashion.
            I sat every week on my favorite couch with my can of pringles hoping one day I would get to meet this incredible woman and she would one day ask me her famous one liner “who are you wearing” and I would in turn answer Jewel by Lisa who by the way is my favorite Nigerian designer.
            Despite my wishes of meeting her not ever seeing the light of day, I was still content that I could watch and share in her awesomeness straight from the tv. The laughs we shared together over series of fashion police episodes made up for my nonexistent Hollywood career and designer clothes. Her sense of humor was equal to no other except possibly the voices in my head.
              Meeting her taught me life lessons that would last a lifetime.She made me realize life is just like an episode of fashion police,  we make mistakes and it only makes sense to laugh about it and sometimes on a scale of one to never getting it right we do break the scale.
              I have no idea what Melissa and I are going to do without her but I have consolation in the fact that she taught me a great deal and probably heaven wouldn’t be such a bad place since she’s there now making God and His angels laugh and approving of their choice of costume since white is all the rage now.
                In an attempt to give myself and the rest of the world closure, I have realized there would never be another Joan Rivers but there will always be you till God thinks it’s time you made Him laugh too so find what you love and never stop doing it.
The girl with the sweaty palms
By Onomesan Oyo 

Wallflower ❀

The other day, she tried to keep her eyes opened while the lecturer rambled on about the wonders of SWOT analysis, but her mind, like her tired eyes, was far from the class.
She looked around and couldn’t help asking for the 100th time what she was doing here, she stood out like a sore thumb, old faces looking down at her mirrored her unanswered questions.
She tried again, to no end, to concentrate on what the lecturer was saying and finally gave up and let her mind wonder and settle at a place where she was perfectly happy a place she did give anything to go back to..
Lost in her mind, she noticed him, for a split second she was sure it was her wondering mind, playing tricks on her, her imagination sometimes sliped into reality.
“What do you think”. The voice, of the person sitting next to her, brought her back to reality. “About what?” she asked. He pointed to a paragragh on a grainy page of the material the class was discussing, she read through it and gave him the most intelligent answer she could come up with.
He agreed, then explained his opinion.
And that was the first real, stimulating conversation she had since she started attending the class..
And it was good looking at another young person..
She tried to keep the conversion going, losing the only connection she made in class wasn’t something she could handle.. One connection could help her get though the next 2 months of classes…
The class finally ran its course and the lecturer left, taking his ramblings with him.
She didn’t want to stop talking to him, so she asked him about one of the few things she loved, ” What kind of music do you listen to?”
He handed her his phone,  she looked through it, he continued by saying
“You probably haven’t heard most of the songs”
She smiled a knowing smile, because she always assumed the same thing when she showed people her playlist with almost exactly the same set of songs. She handed him her phone in return and he looked through..
She handed him his phone, “I have to go, my mum is here to pick me”
He nodded and handed her back her phone while he collected his..
She didn’t realise until she was out of the class that she hadn’t introduce herself to him..
“You seem happy about class today; the lecturers must have been less vulgar” her mum said as she got into the car.
She just smiled.
She just wasn’t ready to share the greatness of the person she just meet, because for a fact she was sure he didn’t quite know it yet, the greatness in him..
He was the very definition of a “wallflower” and he had to find that out himself.

Place of Grace

I watched his eyes as they changed colour as the sun cast its light on them; “Hazel Nut’’ he calls the colour, but I don’t have a stored up colour palate in my head. All I see are varying shades of brown that I can’t differentiate and yes every shade is beautiful.
I watched him laugh loudly as he walked towards his guitar, you know the guitar has a name, TITI and we always talk about it like it is a living human being with a heart and emotion we are all supposed to treat TITI with utmost care.
 The first day I really met him 13th of March 2013, yes I love dates and this one is pretty significant to the both of us, it is his birthday and the day I stayed indoors and forced myself to make life changing decisions and in many ways than one it was the start of something new for the both of us, the beginning of a really long friendship.  
So feeling liberated and hurt, I walked to church still thinking of all the pain I was sure my eyes showed. I sat at my usually spot for evening service and I responded to everyone’s question with all the right answers.  “Yes’’ “No, thank you’’ “I’m alright’’ *hehehe*
We usually don’t have testimonies on Wednesdays except on special occasions and that day was one, he got up to sing a song and thank God for his birthday and I couldn’t help think how selfish I had been spending the day mulling over the pain in my life while I should have being out celebrating life.
After service I had enough of my room and I am sure my pillow was tired of me, I tried to get his attention wish him happy birthday, but he had a crowd around him so I waited I really wasn’t interested in another round of water works.
It took more than 30 minutes for all his well-wishers to clear out, I was lost in my own head and he was already walking away from church so I shouted at him to wait, he turned and waited for me to catch up with him.
“Hey, what is wrong?’’ He asked. One thing about him is he always knows when to dig further and when to accept the comfortable silence, that night was one for the comfortable silence.
“I would be fine’’ I answered; the first person I gave a true answer to that day.
‘”Today isn’t about me, you didn’t tell me it was your birthday’’
“I usually don’t tell anyone’’
I raised my eyebrow at him Why?”
“Would you like to come along, I am on my way to pioneer church’’
We fell into a comfortable walking pace next to each other
“And to answer your question, those that I matter to would remember, no need to advertise myself’’
“Fair enough argument, hope you aren’t an axe murder or something’’
He gave me a funny look, I thought to myself, I need to keep my weird hidden, but one look at him told me my many forms would be accepted.
I giggled
“Blame that last comment on too much criminal minds.’’  He kept looking at me sensing I had more to say
“Why are we going to pioneer church’’ I asked
“Oh I should have told you, I want to write a song, the guitar chords are in my head no words yet, and I don’t have a guitar at the moment, I left TITI at home so we are going to borrow me one’’
‘’Who is TITI?’’
He smiled broadly “that is what we call our guitar’’
It was natural talking to him, we talked about things that mattered to us, I was on a quest to find out about Nigeria starting with the civil war. We talked about that and then he told me what the song he was working on was about and he made me promise to help.
We got the guitar, walked back to church and got to work on the song, I wrote down general lines and gradually as the chords filled my head, the pain I was carrying inside became a forgotten memory. We had the chorus and the first lines of a verse before the zip of my dress popped, he offered me his treasured sweater and it was a really first meeting like no other. His guitar is across his back, he bends to adjust his high tops; I should add that after his guitar his next love is definitely high tops.

The Gift of Writing

Expressing myself by speaking is never easy; I run through my sentences. If you are not concentrating when I speak you would not hear the words I say.
I come from a family of fast talkers. When we have visitors over they struggle to keep up with our conversations. Good thing is that we understand ourselves. We are in sync with our fast speech. So the first identifiable misconception on my part; assuming the rest of the world is like my family in respect to talking.
I don’t like the sound of my voice, in my head I sound one way; I sound soft beautiful like the warm voices that writers describe in novels; in reality I sound far from that. When I hear recordings of myself I cringe at the sound of my voice; in reality my voice is so thin, sounds almost cute like that of a coy school girl, ‘’Almost’’ being the operative word. Second problem I have with speaking.
I discovered books at an early age; I have a father that would give you a book for your birthday instead of the skip rope you asked for. I know you get the picture I am painting here. So birthdays were filled with books, holidays were filled with even more books and days my father was in the mood after work we visited the book shop to get even more books. My mother became a believer in the power of books and till today we have endless cartons of books in my house.
My imagination was allowed to take form, take its own course from the stories I read. I was allowed to form my own ideologies on life, decide for myself what is right from wrong. My story has a purpose if you would be patient enough to go on this journey with me.
One of our most priced books as children (my siblings and I) was a collection of stories, 1001 and one fairy tales, if memory serves me right was the name of the book. This particular book struck a chord with me. Not because my mother was furious the day she found out the book got lost that is a story for another day. It awoken something in me, I started to think not only about the words that filled the lines of the stories but the minds that put the words to paper.
I started to wonder about the writers. How they came up with such beautiful stories. My Grandfather not to long after gave me an outlet for this wonder. On one of our many summer visits he bought us journals and encouraged us to fill them with words, with the activities that happened every day.
                                                                                                       
I took his advice to the letter and didn’t stop writing. It started with filling the journal with the activities of my day and gradually I let my imagination take over and I started writing what I felt and the stories that I dreamt up in my mind. Writing became my specking tool, I wrote letters to my mum (I never sent them). The more I wrote the more I discovered it is easier than talking. Nobody would tell me I spoke to fast or ‘’please can you come again’’. Because what I wrote down, gave people an insight into the workings of my mind, my opinions and views on issues. Writing makes sure that my ideas didn’t slip through my fingers.  
The next step in my growth to becoming a writer was deciding what I wanted to write about. A lot can be told about a person from the things the person pens down. So I had to decide how I wanted the world to preserve me, what parts of myself I was ready to share with the world through writing. So I explored. The life changing experience that help me decide the type of things I wanted to write about happened a few years ago. I was on holidaying in Australia when an Asian woman asked ‘’Do you have running clean water back home’’. I was taken aback by this question. I didn’t understand how the rest of the world saw my country.
My friends and I laughed at the funny documentaries we watch showing children playing by streams women washing on stones beside the steams. What we found them amusing the rest of the world took it to heart and that image stuck in their memories and formed the bases for which they viewed my country Nigeria.
We have our many faults, I would give you that. We are far behind in development of social amenities and general economic development and growth. But we are a fighting nation, with men and women trying each day to better themselves. These men and woman fighting for a better Nigeria are hardly talked about, are hardly celebrated. So I have decided to write about these, my people, tell their stories one story at a time. Help in changing the world view of my country with my Gift of writing.
We need to stop complaining about the world view of our country and explore the gift of writing to change that view.
‘’I may not be able to speak but I sure can write.’’