Saturday, 24 January 2015

Hanging On

When I was younger, growing up, I used to imagine that suicide was a dumb act. In my mind, any person who thought of committing suicide deserved to die and go to hell. I used to find it strange and annoying that a person would consciously decide to end his own life. My outlook began to change as I grew older and after the first quarter of 2013, when I found out firsthand what it felt like to be depressed, what it was like when a person suffers from depression, my outlook on suicide and matters that related to it changed completely.
An unfortunate fact is that a whole lot of us do not really get that suicide is hardly a function of a person’s recklessness or a person’s sinfulness or stuff like that; it actually, truly is a function of the people around them. When a person takes his/her own life, it is usually immensely likely that that person had shown a plethora of signs that that is the direction he or she was headed. It becomes the responsibility of these neighbours, these people to whom the signs have been shown to figure out what exactly is happening in the head of the person who has been harbouring these suicidal thoughts.
 A major cause of suicide is depression; a severely depressed individual is a lot more likely to attempt suicide than one who isn’t. But apart from the depressed, other people with varying reasons also commits suicide. One thing that is constant in all these causes is PAIN.
Suicide is an attempt, a desperate one to escape from pain, from suffering, not suffering as we know it, no. The unbearable kind, the kind of suffering where one isn’t just confused with life, but also tired and can no longer hold on. The interesting thing is most suicidal people will honestly rather not die, but they consider their problems substantial enough that the only plausible solution is their death.
So what can you do to help people with suicidal tendencies? Well, you can do a lot, thankfully. But first and foremost, it is important to correct the following general misconceptions about suicide and suicidal peeps.
1.      It is untrue that a person who talks about killing himself will not do it and is only just trying to get attention or trying to be noticed.
2.      It is untrue that people who commit suicide are people that do not think and are not smart enough to do anything different with their lives.
3.      It is untrue that people who are bent on killing themselves are a sinking ship and absolutely nothing can be done to help save their lives.
4.      Finally, it is most untrue that only crazy people will even think about suicide as a possible solution to their problems.
To help a person, you need to listen and monitor the person. As I wrote earlier, people who commit suicide almost always give signs or leave clues. It is up to you to decipher those clues and read those signs. Major warning signs include but are not exclusive to the following:
1.      Writing ceaselessly about death: We all write about death, difference is not all of us do it ceaselessly. When every of a person’s writing is about death, there may be a serious problem.
2.      Talking about harming one’s self. Using sentences like: Soon enough, it will be over. Or, I am not going to be with you for much longer. Stuff in that general direction.
3.      Seeking out things which could be used to harm one ’s self: guns, pills, ropes.
4.      Low mood, severe depression.
All that is needed to change a person’s mind is a good few words of encouragements from people they care about. So if you are reading this and you are thinking of suicide, please know that killing yourself will not solve anything, it will even complicate matters more when you are gone. Think of the people that truly love you and I assure you, somebody out there loves you and loves you dearly and killing yourself will simply shatter them. Do not do it.
Till next time,, Keep dreaming!!

N.B. – Pray for Nigeria, elections are coming and the general outlook does not look great. Pray against violence.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Of Nagging Wives and Drunken Husbands

I wrote this story about a year ago. It was published somewhere, I think greenbiro, I miss those guys. Anyway, it was slightly reworked and published again this week on Oya Mag. I think it's a pretty decent story even though as it was last year, it read like a last year, but take a look:

Chinaza, the next door neighbour, the one that wore skimpy dresses and went out every night, the one whose face was once dark like the back of cocoyam but was now as light as a foreigner’s, had once told her that she owned a type of drink that made babies disappear from the womb of the drinker. She would meet Chinaza in the morning for that drink, she thought.

She looked at the wall clock that hung on the wall next to her husband’s police cap: 1:20A.M. it read. She thought about him. He had not shown up in three days and the last time he came, he didn’t stay the night, he left immediately after he had given her a dose of beating, after she had insulted him and asked to know where he was coming from, drunk, at that time of the night. She wished she had hauled more vitriolic abuses at him that night. The children were asleep. They had not heard her when she threatened to leave him and his children and make the best use of her beauty before her hay days wound down, when she called him a bastard and a drunk and a good for nothing woman because to her, he was a woman. They had not heard him when he said she could do whatever she liked after all she was more or less useless. They had not heard how she shouted at him as he left.

The green mat lay idly on the ground, she could no longer sleep, she was submerged by the thoughts of meeting Chinaza in the morning, by the irresponsibility and stupidity of her husband, by the poverty that was ravaging their lives, destroying them. She went towards the mirror and observed herself carefully, as if the mirror had the solutions to all her problems. She saw that she still looked pretty. She could easily do the kind of work that Chinaza was doing, maybe even better.

She looked around the one room apartment: the door of the small kitchen that was permanently ajar because it no longer had a handle, and so creaked mystically every time the weather became slightly windy; the dusty white ceiling fan that only rolled lazily when NEPA ‘brought high current’; the black water pot that was meant to be in the kitchen but was not because there was no space in the kitchen; and then their framed wedding picture, her husband looked good with his full afro hair and his black suit, the way he held her hand in his as if he would never let go, his smile, the one that lost depth and happiness as his years with her went by.

She felt angry as she focused on that framed photograph, on her husband’s smile, on herself – how happy she looked that she was getting married to the envy of all women, a man that had prospects, a man that had dreams. If someone had told her that ten years down the line, that bubbling man with all his dreams and prospects would become an inebriate that languished in retrogressive incompetence, she would have laughed at the person.


There he was alone at the beer parlour. Everyone else had left. His head moving back and forth as his eyes struggled to remain open. He was dozing. He wanted to sleep. He wished he could go home and sleep. He wished his wife was the same woman he’d married years ago, the one that encouraged him, the one that laughed with him and cried with him. He wished he did not lose his police job, maybe she would not have changed so drastically from the loving woman she used to be to the nagging woman she is now. It was after the police retrenched their staff and he was unlucky to be a part of the retrenched staff that she became this nagging monster. Now, all she did was scream and call him names, and look for corrosive words to haul at him, as if that would put food on the table. She was the reason he slipped into drunkenness, into redundancy. He blamed her. Other people’s wives were supportive and helped their husbands make challenges become stepping stones, but not his. His wife wanted it good all the time; he would have loved to keep it good for her, he would have loved it – but it wasn’t up to him.

He thought about his children, his four lovely children. He hated that he couldn’t provide three meals in a day for them, that he couldn’t provide their school fees. He hated that he was unemployed, he hated that he was at a beer palour instead of at his home, but he could not blame himself; his wife had made his home unlivable for him.
He got up from the seat, and headed home anyway.

His wife was still awake, sitting on a stool, hand to cheek when he arrived home. ‘Where are you coming from?’ She screamed.
He said nothing and made his way towards another mat that stood folded next to the water pot.
Idiot,’ she started. ‘You are not sleeping here today o. You had better go back to where you are coming from. Foolish man. Drunkard. Good for nothing.
He did not want the children to wake up. He had lost his temper the last time he came home and had beaten her up. He did not want that to be repeated, but she was screaming so loud. He said nothing, still. He just spread the mat next to hers. He was about to lay down when her shouting got even louder.
‘Idiot. Good for nothing. Disgrace. Jobless man.’
He looked at her. One of the children on the bed readjusted as if disturbed, he would awake if the shouting did not stop, so to stop the woman from shouting, he excused himself after shaking his head in disappointment at her.

He was outside, on his way to nowhere when he saw Chinaza, the next door neighbour coming in the opposite direction, with her skimpy dress that stopped just below her waist and her full breast. They had a short conversation during which he explained to her that he had nowhere to spend the night and then she invited him over to spend the night at her place. He could have declined. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Scare Away the Dark!

Well, today I will give every reader of this blog an advice - Go And Start Listening To Passenger. For those who do not know who Passenger is, and I am sure most won't, how do I begin to explain him? Well, okay here, read about him on Wikipedia, unfortunately that will not give you much of anything. The only way to know who he is is by listening to his music. He is one of the most brilliant artists. He makes beautiful music, flowery music with his guitars and things and you are missing way too much if you are not listening to him sing every single day of your life.

Here's an advice from him in his song Scare Away the Dark:

Well, sing, sing at the top of your voice,
Love without fear in your heart.
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

We wish our weekdays away
Spend our weekends in bed
Drink ourselves stupid
And work ourselves dead
And all just because that's what mom and dad said we should do

We should run through the forest
We should swim in the streams
We should laugh, we should cry,
We should love, we should dream
We should stare at the stars and not just the screens
You should hear what I'm saying and know what it means

To sing, sing at the top of your voice,
Love without fear in your heart.
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

Well, we wish we were happier, thinner and fitter,
We wish we weren't losers and liars and quitters
We want something more not just nasty and bitter
We want something real not just hash tags and Twitter

It's the meaning of life and it's streamed live on YouTube
But I bet Gangnam Style will still get more views
We're scared of drowning and flying and shooters
But we're all slowly dying in front of computers

So sing, sing at the top of your voice,
Oh, love without fear in your heart.
Can you feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Year 2015

Happy New Year, everyone. I wish you health, I wish you prosperity and I wish you happiness.

So I worked on this with a friend, Presh O'lives. First time I actually worked on a piece of writing with someone. I hope you'd enjoy it....

It's a New Year and everyone seems to be expecting the best this year. Last year was not so good for many, mostly because a lot of things did not go right. For most of the people in power however, last year must have been such a good year for them, for obvious reasons.
We hope for a better Nigeria: for example, a Nigeria with no power failure. Right now, many people can hardly boast of two days, that’s TWO DAYS of constant electricity. Also, our economy gets worsened as the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months. Our nation is suffering. We need a new NIGERIA starting from now, starting from today.

They say it's a New Year; they talk of new beginnings, new revolutions and the likes. Looking back through the years, when have we successfully boasted of a turn around? In whose leadership has Nigeria and Nigerians truly thrived. Some say things have gone from bad to worse, this may be true.
Therefore, the importance of the year 2015 cannot be overstated, especially for Nigeria and Nigerians. In 2015, the general elections will come rolling by and while some may argue that the survival of the country hinges a great deal on the outcome of these elections, I feel confident that no matter what happens, The entity called Nigeria will survive.

There’s a reason and an essence for an election and that essence is for the citizens to have their say, to determine who leads them, who should lead them. There are good reasons to feel skeptical because past elections have proved that it is difficult to have free and fair polls in these parts: We have heard cases of ballot box snatching, explosion of voter numbers, intimidation of voters and other such ridiculousness.

However, there is a new reason to feel hopeful, to believe that there may be slight differences and general improvements this time around: elections have been conducted in a few states this year and the general consensus is that if such conducts are replicated in the general elections next year, there will be no complaints from anybody.

The issue of who to vote for stirs up lots of angst and emotion among Nigerians, you only need to read comments on Facebook to see how people char each other with all kinds of vitriolic abuses because they support different candidates. APC supporters and PDP supporters go at each other like twin babies fighting for a single piece of pie. Truth is, as it stands Nigeria is divided among lines bordering ethnicity and religion but should we vote for an aspirant based on the kind of God he worships? Should we vote for an aspirant based on the part of Nigeria that aspirant was born in? Or should we have an issue based election, should we shove aside our plethora of sentimentalities and vote based on credibility? Based on track records? Based on set standards?

On a final note, it is important that we as individuals realize that we have become too big to be used by idiotic politicians. Do not allow yourself to be used as an electoral thug and dumped by the way side months after the election is over, like waste banana peels thrown outside speeding cars in an expressway. Ask yourself this simple question, will this politician that has told you to go to a polling unit and intimidate voters or steal ballot boxes or shoot at an opponent ask his child to do same? Do not be used as a weapon of violence.
Happy New Year! In 2015, I pray you get everything you wish and I hope you would be careful what you wish for