I obsess about the truth. As though that makes me a lily-white saint.
However, in my continued mania, I have come to an uncomfortable question; do I really want to know the truth about everything like I claim to want to?
The answer is unequivocally NO.
Sometimes, it’s better to let some lies lie.
I don’t talk about my dad much.
I mean, I got daddy issues. Who doesn’t? He had/has his failings, did a lot of stuff to my mum, to and my siblings – what father hasn’t?
However, to reduce my relationship with the man who gave me life to a couple of disagreements and discontent on my part? That’s unfair.
I love my old man. I do, I really do. I was thinking about some of the memories I have with him and I realize; I love the old man. Failings and all.
Also, because I know beyond all doubt he loves me. Warts and all.
I always brag about how I got the best of both worlds; how God intended for me to be a writer. It’s true. Is it coincidence that I was born to a father who read everything EXCEPT romance and poetry, and a mother who only read romance and poetry? I’m shared this story many a time, but in case you haven’t heard it, when I was fourteen I accidentally burned one of my father’s hardcover ‘Complete Works: Charles Dickens’. He had warned me several times – he and my mother had warned me several times about reading by candlelight and not placing said candle in a holder. At that time, I was young and headstrong. Like every typical youth, I thought I knew everything.
I sha burned half the book when I fell asleep and the candle burned down to it. Damn thing burned a hole in the living room carpet, burned the pillow my head lay on – I still think it’s a miracle my head didn’t burn off.
However, whatever parts the fire missed, my dad’s belt took care of.
After flogging the fat off my behind (I got most of it back tho) he gave me his volume of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, asked me to read and come tell him the story after a week. His memory was a steel trap. If I dared to edit the story in anyway, he would know. He wasn’t asking for details tho, he wanted an accurate summary.
That was my first review.
How can I not love that man?
My father loves music. I got my schooling on Fela/Sunny Ade/Ebenezer Obey/Don Williams/Jim Reeves/Kenny Rogers/The Beatles/Everly Brothers/Elvis Presley/Sam Cooke/Frank Sinatra/Bob Marley/Brenda Fasie/Mariam Makeba/Harry Belafonte/Nat King Cole/Ray Charles/Stevie Wonder and damn near every classical musician from my father. My love of movies comes from him also; from The Three Musketeers to Casablanca to Gone with the Wind to Casino Royale (the Sean Connery first) to every Bond film; from Connery to Dalton that is, to Tom & Jerry to Bugs Bunny to Looney Tunes to –
Damn. I know you just thought my dad is awesome. You can say it out loud.
He is. And I’m damn lucky to have him.
No, he isn’t dead nor dying anytime soon. He is as well as a seventy-seven year old man can be. He’s happy, causing trouble for his neighbors and asking me when I’m getting married. I just thought about him today; a long and oft-happy recollection of my growing years. And I am reminded; how blessed I have been.
I’m grateful. Love you, Papa.
Can I take a moment of your time? Can you just give me a moment? Can we take a minute – and talk about #MaleRape?
Can we talk about male rape and how prevalent it is? Can we talk about how no one seems to care? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how even guys think a man wailing about being raped is ridiculous? I’m talking about female on male rape. #MaleRape
Can we talk about how even the ‘victim’ can sometimes be in denial – because of the shame and stigma attached to it? #MaleRape
Can we talk about our attitude towards male rape? How some don’t think it exists? How others think it’s supposed to be fun? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how it’s almost as though until something happens to a woman, it never gets talked about? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how rape is popularly seen as something that happens only to women or how ‘women=victim’ and ‘men=perpetrator’? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how unprotected the male child is – because we take it for granted that he can look after himself? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how quite an alarming number of guys lose/lost their virginity to an older woman – housegirl, aunt, cousin etc? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how male rape is portrayed in the media – e.g Archie and Ms. Grundy in the Riverdale series? #MaleRape
Can we talk about how we never talk about this issue and that issue and those other issues whenever men are the victims? #MaleRape
Can we just talk?
Dear Male Rape Survivor,
Your timing sucks.
There’s nothing wrong in your message. Whether we like it or not, no matter how we try to ignore/downplay it, men get raped too (click here to read my story). It is an uncomfortable reality; one even some other males refuse to accept. However, speaking up ONLY when another female rape case is breaking makes you look bad.
It really is in bad taste.
I do understand it. I understand how it feels; to have your pain and torment and shame made light of – just because you’re some way. Something has to happen to a woman for it to be taken seriously, to get public attention/outcry – or at least for it to trend on social media. Men and their plight are largely ignored – unless they’re doing something wrong.
I’ll tell you something in case you didn’t know; men get sexually harassed ALL THE TIME. Men get propositioned frequently. From the attendant at the filling station to the cashier at the supermarket to the cashier at the bank to the customer care person to colleagues, co-workers, groupies; literary or otherwise – trust me. Sex is hurled at men with the frequency of power outage.
You don’t want to see some of the unsolicited messages in some men’s inboxes. I promise.
Unfortunately however, it’s not supposed to be a big deal. Men ARE SUPPOSED TO LIKE IT. After all, ‘men think about sex every nine seconds’ (I wonder how they arrived at those figures – tie a man down, activate a stopwatch and said, ‘every time you think about sex raise your hand’?!). Men LIVE, BREATH, SING, EAT, SHIT, DIGEST sex – or so ‘they’ say.
Men don’t think about anything else. Frankly, men don’t have the time to think about anything else. Not according to ‘statistics’.
So men smile. And laugh. And suck it up. After all, it’s not anybody’s fault you’re a man, is it? And that’s what men do – suck it up because complaining, whining, crying about – of all things – sex and attention; even when unwanted – is shameful and weak.
Because; as much as we think we know in this day and age, the idea of a man turning down sex is preposterous – almost blasphemy. Such a thing is unheard of.
‘So how is it ‘rape’ if you wanted it, anyway? Are you not a man? Don’t men like sex?’
No. Not all the time they don’t. Just like women.
But that’s beside the point.
I understand ‘men get raped too’ because it seems like it’s the only time ANY ATTENTION can be given to the unfortunate, oft-ignored minority – the male abuse/rape victim. It feels like, ‘shebi I shared my rape story and nobody said anything? How is her rape story different?’
It’s not. However, snatching the microphone from her and pulling a Kanye is not the best way to plead your case. Trying to downplay a rape story because ‘men get raped too’ is not the best way to get people to listen. It is not a competition. Nobody’s measuring dick length by who gets raped the most.
We should learn to talk about male rape whenever we can – not just when the story of a 14-year old raped to death breaks. It makes us look selfish and insensitive – even though we mean well.
Rape is a shitty, horrible thing for anyone to go through, and we should all talk against it. Please, okay? Can’t we all just get along for the good of all?
Not all the time gender war, biko.
It was wrong. This; was wrong.
I wasn’t supposed to be kissing her; that’s why I wanted to stop.
So I started to stiffen my jaw – but then my phone rang. And then, I did stop kissing her. I had to stop kissing her to attend to the phone.
However, by the time I was done with the phone, I had forgotten my initial intention not to kiss her any further.
I just continued to kiss her. Like it was the most natural thing in the world.
And, just like that – I was doomed by my own hand…
Or mouth; as the case was.
That Gender Equality Bullshit II
Pick A Struggle, Biko.
Before I proceed, look at this picture:
To provide context, that is one of the promotional posters for X-Men: Apocalypse, one of the worst X Movies I have ever seen.
But that’s not the point.
The big guy is En Sabah Nur aka Apocalypse, the guy hailed as the first mutant. In his hand is Mystique, a female shape-shifting mutant. They are on opposite sides of the war, which is why he would be choking her
That poster raised the ire of some ‘feminists’ and ‘human rights groups’.
It promotes violence against women.
It isn’t a lie, is it? Why would anyone want to promote a movie by having a man wrap his hand around the throat of a woman? Isn’t that what they/we’re fighting for?
It is wrong, right?
But; aren’t we supposed to be fighting for gender equality? Those two up there aren’t friends; neither are they lovers. They are people on opposite sides of a war; and in war there are casualties of both sexes, aren’t there?
Someone should have told those hot-blooded feminists; context is everything.
I mean, if she was given preferential treatment because she’s female, that would be sexism, wouldn’t it? He treats her the same way he would treat her male counterparts, it’s violence against women. It’s like asking that female soldiers be shot with special bullets – just because they’re female.
You see why people like me often find feminism confusing? Pick a struggle, biko.
That was just the intro; I said that to say this:
A few weeks ago, it was announced that Dr. Who, that British Time Lord who has thrilled English people (and people worldwide) for decades will be portrayed in its thirteenth incarnation by a female. Of course, a number of reactions trailed the news. I wasn’t bothered however, because I know the history of the character. The Time Lord is supposed to be genderless; it was written into the show to allow for continuity in spite of time and explain the change of actors. In fact, I honestly wonder(ed) why it took so long. It’s been coming since forever.
Around the same time, gist about some ‘Women Liberation Front’ People agitating for a female James Bond surfaced. The first I heard of it, it was because Chris Hemsworth had seen Atomic Blond, that Charlize Theron movie and said she would be an amazing Bond. Honestly, I’m pretty much indifferent to the dude. He’s cute but can’t act for shit. That said, I was disappointed. I mean, I would expect him know better.
I’m sure he was trying to pay her a compliment – but he didn’t think it through. If he had, he would have realized agitating for a female Blond is not a compliment to Charlize, neither is it a fight for equality; it’s appropriating a well-known male figure and forcing him into a female mold.
Now let me ask you; why would you want to do that? Is that you don’t think female characters are strong enough – therefore only by appropriating what has been male for so long is the only way to make women relevant? Don’t you know that by doing stuff like that, you’re actually being sexist?
As an aside; I love Kemi Adetiba to death – but the title of her show/program King Women is something I frown at. I love the show, I’m a fan of several of the women who have been on it – but that title is the summation of everything wrong with that side of the ‘gender equality’ war; women can’t achieve greatness on their own pedestal (Queens Regnant; that is – ask Google), they have to come into the men’s arena (Kings).
Or maybe I don’t understand the thinking behind the title ‘King Women’. I stand corrected.
Remember Lara Croft? How about Salt? How about that great lady, Agatha Christie’s (debatably) greatest creation; Miss Marple? How about Wonder Woman? How about Major Motoko Kusanagi of Ghost in the Shell? How about Linda Ikeja? Genevieve? Sally Kenneth Dadzie? Tomi Adesina? Ogechi Nwobia? Elsie? Joy Isi Bewaji? Beyonce? Melissa Macarthy? Angelina Jolie? Scar Jo (even though I don’t think much of her acting skills)? Ellen Degeneres? Can’t you be great, successful, fucking wealthy and be utterly, undeniably female? Honestly, this kind of thinking is the bane of gender equality – because whether you know it or not, you’re saying there’s no value in being female; there’s something wrong with being female. Like; once you have a vagina, you’re doomed; and the only way out is to try to be male.
It’s the same thinking that makes people ascribe the success of Wonder Woman to ‘GIRLS ROCK!’ and not an amazing character given an amazing story, played by an amazing actress and shot by an amazing director.
No. It’s only because she’s female and we haven’t seen a female-led movie in forever. Hm.
Just yesterday I read on a friend’s Facebook post that some person said chivalry stemmed from chauvinism and therefore should be eradicated.
SO, there’s something wrong with a man being nice to a woman.
Okay. Fair enough.
Yet, if a man behaves around a woman the same way he does around his male friends, there’s a problem. He’s barbaric; animalistic and male. You understand the confusion yet?
Pick a struggle, biko.
Let’s not go into the double-standard conversation. Let’s not go near the whole it’s-only-rape-when-its-done-by-a-man-to-a-woman gist. Let’s not talk about how it’s flirting when a woman does it, it’s sexual harassment when a man does the exact same thing. Oh, let’s leave out all of that.
Please. I’m just asking for clarity. What does gender equality mean; the equality of a species or the ‘get-out-jail-free-card for women when they are in generally inconvenient situations?
I’m just asking. And from one human to another….
Pick a fucking struggle, BIKO!
Of the many, many tragedies that taint my well-lived life, the one I probably regret with the most frequency is the fact that I don’t have a lot of pictures of my mother. I only have about two or three; not as much as five.
I don’t know; maybe it has to do with me not being much of a picture person. I’m the guy who disappears from groups when it’s time to take a picture. I don’t know; something about pictures just puts me off.
Maybe it’s the knowledge that I have to smile when I don’t feel like it (nothing personal; I usually don’t feel like it). Maybe it’s the idea that…oh, I don’t know. I just don’t like it. Whatever my reasons/excuses, they are why I don’t have a lot of pictures of her. As much as I loved to look at her; as beautiful as she was/is, it just didn’t occur to me to take more pictures of her. Despite being way into the smartphone age by the time of her untimely demise, I only have one picture of her taken with my phone. All the others are hardcopies.
It might not sound like a big deal, reading it like that, but think of the person you love most in the world. Think about the things you adore about them – like how they listen when you talk, how they hold your hand, how they call you for no reason, how their eyes light up when they see you, how they call your name – everything that makes them special to you; everything you know only comes in their package.
Now think about dealing with never seeing them again – literally.
Not that you don’t want to; unfortunately, the choice is moved out of your hands. They leave when you least expect it. They go without saying goodbye.
And what’s worse?
Not only do you have to deal with never understanding why what happened happened the way it did, you have nothing but your memories to remember them by. Not a keepsake, not a love note –
Not a picture.
And memory, even one as awesome as mine, is a frail thing. I remember thinking of my mother in terms of how she smelled, the smells I connect to my more pleasant memories of home, of growing up – coconut oil, Joy Soap and Imperial Lather. There was also one perfume – the name however eludes me now. I miss those smells – especially since coconut oil smells like plantain these days, Joy and Imperial Lather have forgotten where they came from, and home is an unfamiliar place.
If I could go back, apart from taking hundreds of photographs of this great woman, I would also make sure to record her voice. Common, one of the greatest rappers ever and one of my personal favorites, had his father frequently contribute to his albums till the man died in 2014. Imagine how comforting for him it would be; being able to touch a memory of his father whenever he felt a need to. I wish I could listen to my mother’s voice once again – but I still hear it in my head; as clear as a bell.
She’s just as warm as ever.
The physicality of my mother is preserved by a headstone, a few pictures and a letter that contains everything I need to know to live a fulfilled life. The most important things however; her spirit, her warmth, her gracefulness, her kindness – these are the things I will always have with me, the things that defined her essence.
And nothing can take those away from me.
PS: Remember those tragedies I spoke about?
They are the ink and blood that make the tapestry of an otherwise bland life colorful and interesting. They are the things that make me who I am, because no matter how tragic my circumstances have been, I always find a why to smile.
And that’s enough. I hope you get/got the message.
Oh, and one more thing:
Happy Birthday to Me.