Friday, 27 December 2013

Life, Lessons, 2013

I wrote this for Chioma's blog ...

Random: The bad part about being friends out of maturity or a good heart with people who have hurt you is the fact that you can never tell some stories without imaginary fingers being pointed at those people or without you appearing to be an unforgiving son of a ‘biscuit’. I have so much to say about the year in review and the first things that crossed my mind were the bad things and tough times, then I remembered I was meant to be writing about the highlights of the year – the hypocritical world called my mind.

I didn’t learn how to play a guitar in 2013, I didn’t learn how to speak Spanish and I can’t even remember my New Year resolutions for the year. I don’t even remember having any because as usual I forget them by the end of April. I think my yearly resolution should be to make a lot of money. 2013 wasn’t the best of years for me, neither was it the worst. One thing I know for sure is that 2013 was a year of lessons. I lost love for one, found it, lost it, before learning what it really was.

Best decision I took in 2013… I took a couple of steps which I had been planning but took me 5years to get off my ass and work on. I moved from the United Kingdom to Nigeria; truth is that felt and still feels so good. A lot changed for me, huge promises and castles that never saw the light of day, people I thought I knew flipped on me like pancakes, friendships were lost and some were rekindled. Importantly I was able to lose 8-10kg at some point thanks malaria and stress, I finally felt proper fit until my mother visited me with multivitamins and “akamu” and ordered me to start eating.

I’m grateful my for family and friends; the new ones, the old ones, the fake ones and those who have stuck by me through thick and thin. I finally do not feel like a stranger in a foreign land, I found peace and realized certain things can only be experienced and not told. Principally I am happy for the gift of life, an overactive mind, ideas and people who believe in me. It is amazing how much we claim we do not care about what people say or think but one mean sentence stays in our minds for eons, and one line of encouragement can give you a boost to make you feel you can conquer the world. Bla Bla Bla, just be nice to the next person and be thankful for still being alive, ok?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Tithes, Blackmail and Material Things

I would like to believe I have a very good relationship with God. We have really cool conversations like friends; other times like a child who tries to be nice when he/she needs something from the parents. It is only fair to understand that children ask a lot of questions and so I tend to ask God such questions; the weird ones, pastors or priests would call you 'blasphemous' for asking. A good example, is the story about Job in the Bible where it says God was having a meeting with the angels and Satan was present. I had to ask, "Err why can you be having meetings with Satan in this same heaven we are struggling to go to? Why did you have to tell him to go bully Job?"
Anyway, we have those little talks and sometimes I get answers, sometimes I don't.

Two months ago, I got some money and being a christian, who was brought up in churches were it was drummed into our heads to pay tithes, I knew 10% of that money was to go to the church... It was hard... very hard. Well, I procrastinated and later spent the money. Actually,I didn't spend the money, I preferred seeing it in my account balance, until my car developed a fault and just like that I had to spend that same amount to fix it. I asked if it was because I didn't pay tithe and this was happening. I joked about it and said is God trying to blackmail me for not paying my tithe? Two days later, I got an answer to that question. My car developed a bigger fault which meant more cost; twice what I spent the first time. At this point, I said I was being punished for believing in tithes and I defaulted.

The following month, I went to church on the first week of the month. I paid my tithe quickly. I didn't even pay attention to the preaching. I just expected that I'd be forgiven, my money would double, my debtors will pay and we will drive happily ever after... Three days later, I had three thoughts to battle; 1. Maybe it is about time I changed that car, 2. Perhaps God is trying to show me he doesn't need my money 3. I've actually forgotten number 3... Moving on, the car broke down again. P.S At this stage, I had changed mechanics three times... A christian mother, at this time, would advise me to rub anointing oil on my car and pray for it (which I'm strongly considering at this point).

Back to reality and my rambling mind, I thought about people, friends, relationships and our illusions... Maybe most times, people do not really harm/hurt us deliberately as we think. Sitting down, thinking and blaming someone or something for your failures or downtime when the person isn't even thinking about you or bothered doesn't cut it. Same way I learnt maybe I wasn't being blackmailed and God doesn't really need my small money for him to help me or not. I just had to fix my car properly and shut up. Or some cars just have that transformer thing where they have lives of their own and decide when they want to work or not. I'm actually toying with the idea of not paying tithe this month just to see how things will go (God forgive me in advance). Anyway I learnt a lesson, you don't always have to blame someone or people for everything that goes wrong, just fix yourself and live on...

For now, I need to find a taxi or 'Keke' to get home. The car should rest...

Randomly Yours,
That Andy
November 2013

Friday, 18 October 2013

Pretentious life of a" G"

You can't show weakness, you can't be complaining while she complains, you can't let anyone know about it... Any guy who likes Drake's songs is a 'sissy'. You are forbidden to talk about some songs because they are too soft. Real men don't drink Fanta... The list is inexhaustible. It is even worse when you hear things a girl is not allowed to do, say, wear, act, eat, etc;all in a bid to be accepted by the society. Fitting into socially correct perspectives just have a perfect way of making us blend in; ironically blending into the same society where you are not allowed to be basic. You have to be different, unique, special and back to the same old circle.

You cannot talk to anyone about things that bother you either because they will judge you, lie to you or confuse you. You can't write about it because it would mean you are taking shots at someone thus making you petty and silly. Don't even mention social media; your mates are busy trying to be deep, funny or cool, who are you to say what's really on your mind without coming off as weak? Some are family oriented and love family but the problem with family is that they may support you too much to the point where they take decisions that are long lasting for you even when you've let go and moved on from that issue. So you decide to bottle it up.

Lately there's always one story or the other about a child who was bullied on the internet till they hurt or killed themselves. Some on the other hand realised that they had to prove that they are the real "Gs" and they take a gun to a public place and randomly go off killing people...I don't know how this fits into my rambling but I think there may be a connection somewhere between the song I'm listening to and the cold plate of rice I should have eaten 20 minutes ago... Aha! I remember, we all have shit we are going through and we all handle them differently but how long would you handle it pretentiously (like a G)?

How do you let off steam? How do you handle your problems? Who do you talk to? Who are you when you drop your gadgets? The social psychology concept of the "looking glass self" would like to tell you that you are who the society sees you to be. Therefore if people keep saying you're beautiful or ugly, you may start seeing yourself that way and it would have an impact on everything you do. Motivational speakers and life coaches will want you to believe that if you tell yourself positive things about yourself, you may believe it and it would boost your confidence and productivity.

People will still be assholes till the end of time.People will still make fun of you. You will never be enough for some but it can only make you better or bring out a darker side of you. Truth is, we all need to find a way of letting things out. Some tweet, some talk to people, some fight, some hurt themselves, some eat, some work out, some write and some people just have that one person willing to listen to anything and say you will be fine and mean it. I think I listen to music or think of new businesses and write, then still go back to think about what I am running away from but hey, no one has to know because I AM A G. Right?

Who are you?

Randomly yours
That Andy
October 2013

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Hang On (unedited)

I remember when I used to enjoy writing, when I could just imagine a topic and randomly ramble on about it until it bores someone to death or it makes sense to the reader. Safe to say I'm assuming that I actually have readers, but seeing that you are already reading this, then you may as well continue. I'd love to ask how you spent the Easter break and all of that but to be honest do we really want to know how people celebrated the break or are we just asking for the heck of it? If you had a good one, great. If you had a boring or tough Easter, hey hang in there and find one reason to be thankful.

It is the last day of March and Andy is cleaning up the mess in the kitchen, thanks to the feast they had as part of the Easter celebration .As usual he blocks out the world by listening to music. He goes from Jason Mraz to Gavin DeGraw's album "Sweeter", listens to tracks one to four, stops at the fourth song (titled Soldier) and puts it on repeat. Light bulb moment happened thanks to a line in the song where he said "Funny when times get hard at the last moment when you're supposed to charge... bla bla bla Still like a stone". In a minute all of his struggles, past and present flashed through his mind. Through it all, as much as he thought about all his problems and battles, he realised that he was able to come out strong. Most of the time, no one would imagine he was going through stuff, someone once told him that he always had everything under control. I guess that is what "still like stone" means. Do not even try to tell me stones have their own struggles. What if they do? Well, you get the drift.

As cliché as this may sound, we all have our battles and we have different ways of winning those battles. Some by staring it straight in the eyes and fixing it, some run away from it, some resolve it and some go as far as committing suicide to run away from their problems. The subtle reminder that we have been through loads of problematic situations and survived, is the factor that keeps me going. I tell myself hang on. Dolly Parton once said: If you want to see the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain. To be honest, most times I don't care about the rainbow and the rain could also be good but we can't help it. Sometimes there is no rainbow after the rain and we get to appreciate the rain.

Back to Andy, he remembered all the nights in university when he had to drive his car home with the gas tank on empty, wallet empty, hope/ faith: full to the brim. Some nights he got home safely, some nights he parked the car on the road and walked home. At the end of the day he didn't stop driving. Life will throw curve balls at us when everything is perfect, kick that ball, duck or sell that ball.

It took me a while to realise that I was on a high horse, frowning at the way people handle their problems. Thanks to social networking sites, most people put their problems out there and to be honest, as much as I wouldn't do that, I realise it is an "escape" and if it makes them feel better for ten minutes, then that is good enough for 10 minutes. I listen to songs to motivate myself (Praise you in this storm by Casting Crowns is my favourite), some people go for long walks or run, some hit the gym, some eat, etc. At the end of the day you still face those situations. In summation, no matter what is going on in your life at the moment, hang on. You'll be fine.

Randomly yours,
That Andy

March 2013

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Osuofia Moments - of Electric Toothbrushes and Blinking Lights

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to obey nature's call. You have to go for a wee then Lo and behold, you see this bright red light blinking in your room. As a black man the first thing you would think about is that the cops are outside your house... You instinctively recount the details of the last 24 hours just to be sure you have the right alibi. Now on the other hand, if you grew up watching a lot of movies to the point that your brain is quarter past twisted, then you would think the aliens have arrived. Well, I fall into the twisted category because I automatically said "Blood of Jesus" then started casting and binding evil spirits. Obviously this happened within about 3 seconds. I blame my banker Brother for that and I'll explain. Let's digress a little, shall we?

About two years ago, I was on holiday and I had to visit the Brother. One unfaithful morning, I heard the sound of trumpets, getting loud and louder and you know, louder. And I was like "Dear Lord, forgive me for all my sins, Amen". Those nine words are embedded in my head in case I ever have a near death experience or if I realise I'm going to die. Well, fortunately for me, it was the boy's lousy alarm waking him up at 4am. Who wakes up at 4am though? Lagosians are not allowed to answer that question.

Anyway, let's go back to my latest Osuofia moments.

I had an awesome Christmas, I even got gifts. My Cousin got me an electric toothbrush. Now, while a part of me really hoped he wasn't subliminally telling me I had mouth odour, I was genuinely happy because I've always wanted one of those. It also had a manual I never read (obviously, only boring old people read manuals). So, I connected it to electricity and charged it for like four days, then used it until (scroll back to the first paragraph) I had my alien experience. The stupid electric toothbrush has this red light that has refused to stop blinking for two months now. Do you want to know how I sorted the blinking light out? I wrapped it, then re-wrapped it and hid it under a pile of clothes in a drawer in my room... until the battery dies. Andy 1:1 Technology. I still haven't figured it out but I'm back to my manual brush abeg. Not like my teeth got any whiter after using it.

The last time I had a blog post on my Osuofia moments, I wrote about my bicycle. A week later the bicycle was stolen. I mean, who steals a bicycle? Don't answer that.
Ps: Dear bicycle thief, feel free to steal this toothbrush.

2013 has been a weird year so far but through it all, I'm thankful. I have decided to see life as a lesson, laugh at my Osuofia moments, admit when I don't know stuff and finally laugh and write about the weird times.

Randomly yours,
That Andy.