Sunday, February 28, 2010

The woman from Tehran

"The night is cold", I thought. Like this was news. The night is always cold. I don't think anymore when I am on the way home. I don't think that my apartment is empty, or that I never make my bed or that my dustbin stinks. I don't think.

I look at the snow and then I feel it beneath my feet, I wait for the crunching sound...crunching, crunching, crunch. My mind is empty. If the bus comes, I shall sit in it. If the bus does not come, I shall walk home.

There she is again...I wonder if she remembers me. I saw her yesterday and the day before that...and the day before the day before yesterday. I see her everyday. I don't know if she works late. I do not give her a character like I normally do...strangers that become characters in my head. I just let her exist. There she is, going home. I do not wonder if she is a mother or a student...or a nanny. She is just there, everyday, standing by the bus stop. I have not yet smiled at her. One day, perhaps I will, I thought.

That day came soon enough. Yesterday. I was at the train station. The night was cold. Sometimes I do not sit inside the waiting room. I like to walk the length of the platfrom and listen to the snow crunch. I was crunching snow beneath my feet when I saw her enter the room. "I will smile at her today", I thought.

I went in. I smiled at her. She smiled back. I did not intend for any further communication. A smile is usually enough. My smile says "I see you, fellow human being, I see you". The train comes. I lose sight of her as I rush in with the rest passengers onboard.

All of a sudden, somebody says " Is this seat taken?". It is the bus stop woman. She wants to sit beside me.

"No, please, please sit" I say.

"You live at "BK", don't you? I ask.

She nods her head rather vigouroulsy, "Yes, yes,"

I recognise a fact. She does not speak the language...

"Oh sorry, I don't...?"

"No, no..b u t I un der stand"

"Do you speak English then?"

"Yes, I speak English"

"I see you at the bus stop everyday" I smiled at her.

"I see you too, I live in the yellow building behind yours. You live in the white building".

"White? (I had to think for a minute...was my building white?) Yes, the white building"

She looks at me. I am not sure if I should keep smiling...or should I ask questions? I don't need to do anything. She tells me all about herself. She is doing some research on nutrition. She likes it here. There are not many people.

In Tehran there are many people. She feels crowded there.

She is from Tehran.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tender heart...

I have never been one of those people that tried hard to be in a group. Sometimes I am in, sometimes I am not. It does not really matter to me. I just drift along and go wherever the tide takes me.

Anyway, recently I was among a group of people that I have known for a quite a while. I really like every single person in this group. However I have never really thought about their feelings towards me. I was not too bothered if they liked me or not. To say the truth, I never even thought about it.

Recently, we sat down for coffee and I was surprised when they started giving me compliments...with me sitting there. It was so difficult for me. I think I was in shock. I really believe I would have handled it better if they has said things like "You know waffy, you are so weird". I would have laughed and said something like "yeah I know". However, nobody said anything bad. Everybody had something nice to say about me. "You are nice to us", "You have so much energy" "I am always happy to see you" etc etc. I did not know how to behave.

It was all so strange to me...and this is the problem.

Why should it be strange to hear nice things about yourself?

And this is not the first time that I have behaved like a fool when I get compliments. Anytime a good friend of mine attempts to thank me for anything or give me a compliment, I never even say "you are welcome", instead I say things like "but that was not good enough, I could have done this or that, etc" or I change the subject. I never even fully accept any compliment.

And that is exactly what I did with my group. I tried so hard to change the subject...

But, the worst part of it all, is knowing that if they had said negative things about me, I would have been somehow relieved. Everything would have been very natural to me...

How sick is that? That's not right.

I know why I do it. It's to save myself the pain of once again being "the odd man out". The way I think has always been different from many people I know. Anytime I say things, people behave as if thats the first time they've ever heard such a thing. With time, I have just got used to thinking that I am a bit different wherever I go. I stopped giving people a chance to know me or see the real me. Everybody kinda gets a watered down version of myself because I always protect the "real" me.

It saddens me that I have become this way.

It saddens me that I can never really accept beautiful things about myself.

It saddens me that because of certain men in my life, I have believed that the real me is not worth much.

It saddens my heart.

I think I might be able to trust this particular group of people. I think I might be able to laugh and be generous. I think I might be able to love them with all of my heart. I think I might be able to let them see the beauty in me.

I think I might be able to accept through their eyes and maybe someday through mine, that I am beautiful.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sometimes, a cheerful "fuck you" is good for the soul...

Most of the time, I don't really care about human beings and their shallow shit...I just pretend they are from another planet or something...

But sometimes, you should be able to say "fuck you" and feel quite happy about it. Its not an angry or bitter fuck you, but a very cheerful "fuck you". I mean, no hard feelings, its all good, but fuck you anyway. So I am telling "fuck you" to the following human beings...

Human being number 1: I was always nice to wanted something, I was here. You needed help, I was here. But you SAID, your words, not mine, that I am too European and a "feminist control freak"...after all the help you got from me...okay, so I have ignored you. Yet, now, you keep calling, wanting to be hard feelings, I just don't like you FUCK YOU.

Human being Number 2: We have been friends for too long. You are caught up in your life, I am caught up in mine. I don't have the time or energy to keep up with you, after all, you don't keep up with mine either, no hard feelings. Fuck you.

Human being Number 3: You see me and you pretend we did not have those deep discussions, that went beyond many, I am just...what? another human being? so what was all that deep shit about? you talk like that with everyone? Fuck you too.

Human being Number 4: I don't know why I even bothered trying to get to know you. You are boring and dry, and you never even try. Fuck you.

Who else? Okay, I think I am done. I feel really good saying fuck you...oh, I forgot one...

Last Human being: You remember all those things you said to me? I just swallowed everything...and I never said a word? Well, better late than never. A big fuck you to you too!

I feel so much better now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Creativity...just thinking...

What makes you wanna create? Colours, music, sights, sound? What is it that inspires you to "create? I love listening to music, especially lyrics of songs, I enjoy poetry...I enjoy looking at people's faces and imagining what they are thinking, and recently, I have been expressing myself in colours...

Do we analyse ourselves too much when we create? "Now I am a writer", I shall write something..."Now I am a poet"..."Now I am a leader of a creative project"? Do we see ourselves in roles?

Or do we see ourselves taking part in something bigger than us?

Or perhaps we see ourselves contributing to something?

Where does the need to create come from? I wanna do a video, I want to take pictures, I want to write a many things to do...

Why is there always that "need" to do something?

Must it be beautiful or can it be ugly? Must it be something everybody can see? or is just for ourselves?

Do we create out of desperation to see what we want to see? Read what we like to read? Make the music we would love to hear?

Is this a selfish feeling? always wanting to do something?

Where does this need to create come from?

Its a strange thing...having all this "need" in your blood....

I need to do this, I need to do that...

Open space, let it flow, between heaven and earth, you can go as far as you want...

I don't know...just thinking...

Or I have gone slightly mad...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For Akin...

Tomorrow is another day, my friend. Until then, we eat eggs and listen to music...sending you lots of love.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My African brothers...please...

I don't understand why African men in Europe expect to find traditional African values in European women. Its like going to a Chinese restaurant and ordering starch and banga soup. They do not have it.

If you met the woman working, living on her own, (she has probably done so since she was 18), making her own money, then why the hell do you think that by some miracle, the moment she meets you, she would turn to a submissive homebody, there to serve you and you alone. It will not happen.

And if you do not like it, you know where the airport is. I am tired of men in the diaspora complaining about women. Look around you, this is where you are. How can you not know what to expect?

If you want village wife, go to village. Also, if you are unhappy here, go home. There is no point complaining day in day out and not doing anything about it. If nobody is forcing you to remain here, then I take God beg you, go home (Meanwhile, these are the same men who anytime they return from Africa will tell you how horrible it was, horrible, terrible, no light, no water, failed state, etc).

If you can not go home for some reason, no papers, refugee, etc etc. Then as the Americans would say, SUCK IT UP. That's life. It is hard.

However, stop all this "feel so sorry for myself" business. Its pretty nauseating. Do you think its better for the African woman? No. But women adapt better. We see the situation, we analyse, we do some serious thinking and we make a decision. If we stay, then we have to adapt to the environment, and thats what we do. We do not go around depressed, feeling sorry for ourselves and blaming it all on men.

If I have to meet one more African man this winter, feeling sorry for himself, I might just explode.

Suck it up.

P.S: It is winter, it is supposed to be cold. Did you not get the memo when you moved here?

P.S.S: Also, we are not here for the special purpose of keeping you warm in winter. You want warmth, get a hot water bottle.

and one last thing, and this one is for my Nigerian brothers: Was I there when you were marrying "your oyinbo"( as you all call it)? Why do you all keep calling me to talk about your stubborn wives/girlfriends? Am I a marraige counsellor? Look, stop disturbing me with your domestic woes...

Marry who you wan marry. I don't care.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

So...Valentine, huh?

I forgot totally that Feb 14th was Valentine's day. I forget every year actually, not cos I want to...I think its a sweet gesture, remind someone that you love him/her, its sweet. I forget just cos my head is filled with so many other things, so dates become meaningless after a while. I have to really think hard when I see all those adverts for Feb 14th...I am like...huh? What's happening then? Oh...Valentine's day!

In Nigeria, it was always a big deal. Those days in boarding house....damn. It was a mess. The days leading up to Feb 14th...pure chaos. Guys would be seriously hustling for money, girls would be anticipating...

We judged who the most beautiful girl was, by the number of guys that sent her cards.For some reason, Senior Nike always had cards from so many guys. Which I thought was quite ridiculous since most of the guys that would send her these cards were way out of her league. You see, Nike was from a very wealthy family. One of those kids that went for weekends to "jand" just to eat "KFC". She left boarding house as she wished and returned as she wished. The rest of us were prisoners from the day we entered until the day the gates opened for holidays. In the six years I was in that school, I never left even once, for any miscellaneous stuff. Anyway, she was quite beautiful, I have to say. She had a nice shape and everything. All the boys were crazy for her. Rich, poor, slim, fat, short, tall, ajebutter, agbero, for some reason, they all had a crush on her and come Valentine's day, oh boy! You better believe they would show their love.

So, Valentine's day would come, and she would come bouuncing in, one cake box after another. For some reason, cake from "frenchies" was a big deal. I never understood why people used to make a big deal about cakes and food coming from different places. My mum baked all the time, so I was used to eating all kinds of cakes. As for all that hamburger madness those days, it amused me greatly. It was just meat and cheese...anybody can do that...but then again, I come from a family where everybody cooks and experiments all the time, so food was definitely not anything to impress me with. Not on a normal day, anyway. There were some other places in Lagos...was it "murphy's"? or was that a nightclub? I don't remember now. Remember, I was a prisoner in boarding house...

However, if you were in boarding house, food was a big deal. We were ALWAYS hungry. Even now, when I think about it, I wonder how we all survived that miserable place. I blame the fact that I did not get taller on boarding house food. My brother who never spent a day out of my parents house, is a huge come ehn? It has to be the food.

Anyway, so on Valentines day, it would be all about cards, cakes, chocholates, flowers, sweets, perfumes, etc. Girls would dump all these on their beds so everybody in the room would admire. As a junior, it would also be your duty to pass the stuff around as seniors sent pieces of cake to friends, school mothers, etc.

It was always amusing to me. All that hullabaloo over cards and cakes. I still think its amusing. However these days, I mostly do my observations on the train. I like spotting teenagers on the train with roses, teddy bears, etc. Couples going out for dinner...its just an interesting phenomenon...but it is sweet.

Well, well, another feb 14th huh? I'll leave you all with my favourite Naija love song at the moment...enjoy yourselves...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Signs from the past...

I know many people do this, hold on to little things from different parts of their lives...

I have many things that I keep, that symbolises different parts of my life, good or bad. I do not hold on to many things from a particular period, just one is usually enough, and I carry it with me through out my life.

I have for example, the first letter my father ever wrote to me when I first left Nigeria. I could have kept many letters, diaries, etc. But to me, that first letter symbolises everything, (I also have a Bible that someone gave to me when I left. I can't remember who, but it must have been a relative or family friend. It might even have been my father...I really can't remember)my departure from my home and the only country I ever knew.

I have a necklace given to me by a refugee I once helped. It had a gold cross on it, and as he left that day, on the train going to germany (he was later caught and deported), he had nothing to give me, so he took off the chain he had, and gave it to me. I have had that chain for more than ten years now. It is not only because the chain reminds me of him, but mostly, of all the people I met during that time of my life.

I have the ring my first boyfriend gave me when I was 18. I doubt he even remembers that he ever gave me a ring. I also have a night shirt my mum sent to me,(when I told her I was feeling lonely, she sent me night shirts with nice slogans on them saying stuff like "kisses and hugs", stuff like that,) the first letter my sister wrote to me from Russia, etc. I keep those things cos they are important to me, to remind me of my past, of what I have seen and been through...

That is why losing any of them, makes me incredibly sad. I thought I had lost a gold chain that I have had for many years. You can not imagine how terrible I have felt anytime I thought of it. It was a very tiny chain, if one does not even look properly, one would hardly see it on my neck. It carried a Virgin Mary pendant that my ex then, had gone to the vatican to get blessed.( I was raised a catholic and even though I have over the years, formed what is almost my own type of Christianity, removing the christian stuff I don't like and getting other stuff that I like from different religions, still, there are some "Catholic feelings" you just can't get rid this whole vatican really meant a lot to me at that time)

Anyway, I never even used to take it off my neck...I showered with it, swam with it, etc. I think I actually took it off on a holiday to wear something else or so. Then my life turned upside down and I never could really think about it so much.

Now, since I recently got most of my stuff back, I decided to at least sort out some of the smaller boxes. It has been on mind mind for the past few weeks, to ask my ex if he had seen it but I did not want to put salt on old wounds, so I just felt bad about it.

Well...I was looking through a small case with bangles (all the while, the only thing on my mind was "imagine if I find my chain") when........................

I let out a loud gasp! There it was. I did not cry. I just let out a loud scream that sounded, even to my own ears, way too dramatic. It was like I was in a movie or something...

Now I have the chain on my neck, but to top it all, I open one of the boxes, and there, right on top, is my old worn out Bible ( I told my sister this story, and the only thing she could say was "YOU have a Bible?" as if that was the most incredible thing she had ever heard) Not worn out, because of use, but mostly from moving from place to place. God knows how many times I have moved since I left Nigeria.

It makes me feel good, having these things. Knowing that, I am always who I am. Yes, life may not work out as I hoped for but I do know who I am and where I am coming from and it is nice to be reminded of that fact, from time to time.

God bless us all...

I also found a CD of Sir Victor Uwaifo which I am listening to at the moment.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day off, off to the library...

I just realized that I need to return some books back to the library. God knows how long I have had them. Hope it won't be a huge fine.

I am cutting back on my book buying this month cos I can't eat books. Also, getting my old books back has been quite a comfort to me, so now I can read some all over again. The really really good ones, that is.

Hopefully, I'll be able to borrow enough to keep my interest this month. So that means, I need to be able to borrow at least 12 need so many cos you might not like some, or you might get bored half way, etc. Better safe than sorry. Also, I don't want to go there every week. Better to borrow as many as possible, which basically means its gonna be a long day at the library cos I will have to make some hard choices... Gosh!

And now to my main issue for this week. I have started going to the gym again, which is quite good (and seriously needed) but now I have to fit it into my already tight schedule. This is an issue cos since I have sleep problems, it is quite hard to be motivated that early in the morning...I am usually exhausted...and I can't do it at night cos I come home so late from work...

I am not so motivated about doing it, I tell you, But I will do it anyway, c'est la vie, life is hard.

Okay, now I should really go and stop this browsing of internet...

Have a nice day, everybody.

Lots of love, waffy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Back to my roots...

I walked past my favourite reggae store last week, I havent been there in ages. The guy was very happy to see me again. There was a time I used to just sit there listening to music almost everyday...but now, cos I live so far away, I hardly go there anymore.

As usual, I got invitations to different jams happening, and I think I will go to a couple. I remember a friend telling me once that it seems I am happiest when I do the things I love. Its simple to say, but tell me the truth, how many of us actually take the time to do those things?

Most times, we do the things we HAVE to do, which is mostly work. If I had to do the things I love, then it will be mostly reading, swimming, listening to reggae and hanging out with friends in a coffee shop.

When last did I swim? Last year.

not easy to do the things you love every day. Sometimes, my mood is so foul that i can;t even get myself to put on the radio or even TV. Sometimes, my mood is so dark that I do not even put on the lights. To do the things I love, my mind really has to be in the right place, if not, I just destroy everything.

I feel good today. I think I can see a little bit of light somewhere, I think perhaps, I will make it through this week with a smile on my face.

I want to do so many things and my time never seems to be enough....

I want to see so much more, I want to know so much more...I need to know more.

Ah! lets see how long this mood last...for now, my curiosity is taking me out again...