To which we say; we’ll be fine.
We will be, won’t we?
While we pick up the dust and ashes of failed dreams,
Romance and true love we killed on a whim,
In our youth, we danced and spun on fate’s wheeling wheels,
With wind in our sails we bent life to our will,
Will we or will we not forever live?
We will be fine; we say,
While forward! We march onto our graves.
We will be fine.
This Took Longer Than It Should Have. I Apologize.
Maybe it has to do with the type of comics I grew up with.
Maybe it was the idea that heroes stood for more than themselves; heroes were a voice for people who couldn’t speak.
Maybe it was the escape it offered such that; whenever I was having a bad day, I could just reach for a comic – and like that, I’m gone away like so much magic dust. Maybe it is the realization that comics; like X-Men for instance, showed me a world where people were feared and hated just because they are different. A world freakishly like the one I live in.
Maybe it was the fact that I learnt the difference between a phrase and a clause; thanks to an Incredible Hulk comic.
Whatever the reason, I am a proud comic book lover.
Long before DC started to drop box office bombs with the frequency of a radio broadcast, I was discussing with a number of friends and wondering what it would be like when these guys came on to the screen. As a result, we/I watched EVERY on-screen adaptation of comic books, just to see if they lived up to the image the owners have consistently created in our/my head(s) for years.
Usually, there’s stuff to complain about. Very few movies have nailed it down – even the most ‘critically acclaimed’ of these movies get a whole lot wrong. And even judging them on their own merit; at worst they created a hot, fudgy mess (Dawn of Justice, any of the CW series), at best they create amazing stories (Netflix Daredevil, Batman Begins and so on).
Logan is one of the latter moments.
There was cause for concern; obviously. The first two Wolverine films were (even now I am shaking my head as I write this) just something to pass the time. I doubt I saw either of them more than twice, definitely not up to five time collectively. There just wasn’t anything to see – apart from a train roof fight sequence from the second one. Nothing.
Then Hugh Jackman teased this:
I wrote a piece then, talking about how I suspected they were going to adapt the Old Man Logan storyline from the comics, or at least come pretty close. The biggest issue with adapting that would be the fact that it was a universe-wide event; even though it happened in a Wolverine story, it affected multiple characters; characters 20th Century Fox do not have rights to. I really wanted to see how they would play that.
I mean considering what they did with Civil War…
I saw Logan twice before attempting to put anything down about it, and this was the first and only post I made concerning that film:
I will not be writing a review of Logan – simply because I don’t have anything new to bring to the conversation. I will, however be writing a treatise on why it’s one of the most important superhero films ever made.
There was only one scene that made me unable to control the waterworks from my eyes; even though there was a girl I was trying to impress present.
No, it wasn’t the fact that Logan was dying; anybody who’s watched more than five movies should have seen that coming. People like Wolverine don’t get to retire peacefully. Their deaths have to be as violent as their lives (you’d understand better if you’ve seen Shane or actually listened to that part in the hotel room scene).
He had to die.
What made me cry; what shook me to my fibre was when the not-so-little little girl said, “Daddy…”
Forget that she was built in a lab. Forget that she’s killed more people than you’ve had orgasms (wellllllllllll). Forget that she’s a violent, half-animal, I-can-talk-but-would-rather-stay-mute-cos-that’s-way-cooler, murdering mutant. In that moment, she was just a child about to lose her father.
And that, is the type of pain no healing factor, no matter how heightened, can heal.
One of the pieces I read after the second viewing said ‘Logan is the Batman Begins of the Marvel Universe’ and I agree completely. What both films have in common is that they brought superheroes to our level. ‘Begins and Logan were not ‘superhero’ films, they were films that had a couple of superheroes in them. In other words, the story/plot/progression wasn’t based on superpowers, these are stories that could happen to anyone; the characters just happened to be heroes.
Take away Christian Bale’s costume and gadgets. Remove Logan and Laura’s claws and healing factors. Would we still have stories? Yes; with minor adjustments. For example, in Logan, we wouldn’t have Reavers chasing Laura and the other kids because they were mutants, they might just be child-traffickers trying to catch some runaway kids some high-end clientele have paid for. Bruce Wayne could just have been some guy who wants to clean his city, a well-trained martial artist. The crime had a human face; Falcone, even the ‘super villain’ Scarecrow was just an insane doctor.
Ordinary people in extra-ordinary circumstances. Just like you and me.
Logan is a fitting end to Jackman’s run as Wolverine; he has never been better and I doubt he can ever be. Patrick Stewart was at his telepathic finest even with his mind ravaged by Alzheimer’s (see the irony?) and the new girl, Laura aka X-23 was just…
In all the many, many mortalities in all the X Men films, none of them hit me like the death of Logan. Not because he’s my favorite X Man (well, till they find a perfect Gambit) but because it was human. This was not a superhero, mutant, claw-popping, accelerated healing factor rocking guy dying; this was just an old man who happened to have lived too long.
In fact, I was kinda happy for Logan.
Finally, he’s going to rest. I mean, he has the burden of outliving EVERYONE he’s ever cared about. He’s lost his one excuse for sticking around; Professor Xavier, so his life pretty much had no purpose from then on. Finally, this lonely and grumpy old man will have peace.
But, he had a daughter.
Someone who knows she was built in a lab finds out she has some kind of tie to humanity; she has a father. A father who denies paternity – but a father nonetheless. And when, just when he’s finally accepted she’s a part of him –
They kill him.
Even now, putting down these words that have been hovering in my head for almost two months, my eyes still smart. Finally, an X Men movie I can not only enjoy; but relate to. Themes of friendship, responsibility, purpose, destiny keep going on, over and over.
And then, when you consider I have a little girl of mine…
As far as I’m concerned, Logan is a movie that belongs in the ‘How To Make A Superhero Movie’ corner of libraries, film schools – and whoever else archives stuff like that. Me?
I’m just thankful I’m alive to see stuff like this.
Now, who has some tissue?
The thing about clichés is; they’re often true.
One very annoying thing; cliché if you will, people say when things go wrong is ‘it is well’.
Trust me; I know how annoying that shit is. Here I am, tearing my eyes up over the loss of someone who gave me life and gave my life meaning – and all your tired ass can say is ‘it is well.
Educate me, how the fuck is it well?!
I know how you feel.
I also know that, for the most part people who say that shit mean well. They just don’t know the proper way to say what they want to say.
Okay, how about we do it like this – what if instead of saying ‘it is well’ they said ‘and this too shall pass’?
Feel me now?
As different as both phrases look, essentially they’re saying the same thing – no matter what is happening to you, it will pass. One way or another, it will.
Think about it. Someone has just been diagnosed with Type A Cancer – the type that cannot be cured, fuck chemo. Their world comes crashing; they die before their due date.
Who can blame them?
However, this person is in a unique position; they possess a knowledge most of us will never have; they have an idea of when they’re going to die.
Do you have any idea how powerful that makes them? They can do things the rest of us are without fear of consequence; they have nothing to lose anymore. The worst has already happened.
Their fates are sealed. ‘And this too shall pass’.
Getting the picture? I’m not trying to make light of whatever anyone is going through; and sometimes, all we want is silence instead of lame attempts at consolation. However, reality is reality is probably the most subjective thing on this side of things –
It depends on how you look at it.
Everything that has a beginning has an end. If there’s any certainty, it is that. You’ve heard the one about ‘not living seriously because none of us are getting out alive’, right?
I remember something I shared in a conversation; ‘Death has been around the longest, yet we’re still not used to it’. An unfortunate truth – but true nonetheless. And if we know, death is certain, why don’t we spend each day living, knowing what we know?
Sometimes, I feel like this life – this entire existence is purposeless. Sometimes, I wonder why I’m here, why I don’t just take a cold drink of something hot and end the freaking thing. Sometimes I wonder…what exactly I’m here for.
Sometimes I can’t figure out what the next thing is. Funny, I know.
You know what though?
Those moments of doubts are just part of the whole process. I mean, to create anything there has to be moments of doubts, moments in which you question if it’s going to work or if you’re just wasting your time. How else do you get through times less that but by stiffening your spine, squaring your shoulders and telling yourself ‘it is well’?
I assure you – everything you’re worrying about or obsessing over will soon be over. Sooner OR later. Everything; including life itself, has an expiry date. We’re all just winding down. And since they say ‘today is the tomorrow you prayed/worked for yesterday’, does it not make sense to realize that – everything will; sooner or later become history?
No matter what it is, it’ll be over soon.
So – believe them when they say; ‘It Is Well’.
Because. It really is.
I was discussing with someone on Monday, on the prevalence of suicide and depression. He said its always been bad – but we didn’t know enough to do anything about it.
True; I said, but that’s only part of it. The other part is; we’re more alone now than ever.
Think about it. I grew up at a time when there were no cellphones. No Internet. There were Nitel and Nipost – and that was it. We actually had to look for each other to hear from each other. Boys would come to my house and vice versa if there was a party in the neighborhood. Trust me, if you invited one of us, you better be ready to host all of us. Those were the days of bathing in the afternoon, stealing mom’s perfume and walking around the area hoping to run into some fresh girl.
Yeah. The days of five aside every Saturday morning, church on Sunday and rice after church. The days of Christmas clothes and…
Now, we look for each other on social media. We take posts and tweets to mean the other person’s fine – forgetting sometimes that we’re so self-conscious we’d rather act like everything’s fine than be labeled attention whores. These days in which we’re all talking and nobody’s listening. I could be in a silo for days. Drinking aftershave and crying. How would you know? Why would you care?
I’m just saying. Reach out. Let’s go see a movie. Hang out. The beach. Walk. Eat Pizza – whatever. You don’t have to walk it alone. You don’t have to do it online either. Reach out. Sometimes, all we need is just a listening ear.
I got two of those. I’m sure someone close to you does too. How much talking do you think can fill all the ears you know? At the very least, send me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org. We can start from there.
Talk. We dey here.
They said we forgot.
They said that’s how we are; we’re shouting now, but in a week or so we’d have moved on to more important things. Until the next rape, till someone else beats their spouse to death before we start shouting about domestic violence. That until the next suicide, then the hashtags will start pouring in, and the support groups will remember their responsibility again.
Until then, they say….
And for a moment – it did seem like we did. Life goes on, doesn’t it? We get swept up in our drama, our touch points – things we do to keep ourselves together. We started to talk about forged certificates and government jokes and jokers – and we let suicide slide. For a moment.
But no, we didn’t forget. How can we forget about one of ours?
It may seem like nobody’s listening; especially in today’s world in which everyone is clamoring for attention. It may seem as though we’re waiting for the next bandwagon to ride to wherever it desires to take us, the next Facebook posts, the next hashtags.
But it’s not true. We’re here. And we’re listening.
You are not alone.
#MentallyAwareNg #WeHearWeCare #SuicideWatch
I’m sorry. I’ve been slow putting this one out here – and its simply because there has been so much on my mind.
So what else is new?
Without further ado, I’d like to share with you a sneak peek into the pages of Lẹ́bẹ́: First Cut!
There were no stars in the sky that night; Chibuzor could tell that much from his position as his vision seemed to dim and brighten alternatively. He was conscious enough to regret not backing up the latest designs for the clothing line company he and his girl were setting up; conscious enough to know the police could see what was happening to him but refused to do anything; thinking about how he was alive with nothing worse than a headache and ripped pants to show for his ordeal. He could hear the clatter of plastic on tarmac and tried to sit up.
A light-headed feeling rushed in on him; his stomach rebelled – he quickly lay on his back once again. From the sounds, it didn’t seem the thieves had noticed him.
Another thing to be thankful for, he decided.
He lay still, feigning unconsciousness, wishing they would just go away. They were mumbling, but for reasons he wasn’t sure about, he couldn’t hear what they were saying.
“Wetin una dey do dia?” said a voice.
Chibuzor’s eyes flew open; the police had come! He stretched his hand, groping for the iron grating of the compound. He found it and pulled himself up, at the same time forcing his swimming vision to focus long enough and seek out who it was that had spoken.
What he saw however made him freeze halfway up.
A figure, a tall and dark figure stood not too far away from the left of Chibuzor. It was what this man was wearing however that made Chibuzor freeze. It was impossible to tell what he looked like because his head was covered with a hood, leaving his face in shadow. He was wearing a dark-colored hooded shirt with a huge, white skull and crossbones printed on the front of it. His hands were wrapped in white bandages; like a boxer would have on before putting on his gloves. Dark-colored jeans and ankle-length black and white Converse sneakers completed his ensemble.
He looked out of place considering the evening heat; there was nothing friendly about the way he stood, in the way darkness somehow clung to him.
The thieves looked at each other and then the self-elected spokesman for the group said, “Oga, waka dey go o. Na we reach here fest. We don even obtain am finis, tomorrow fit be your – “
Chibuzor wasn’t sure what happened. One moment the tout was trying to discourage the stranger, next moment he was staggering backwards trying to keep blood in his nose with his hands. The hooded guy was standing in front of Chibuzor now.
“Oya, drop everything wey you collect back!” the man snarled.
The other touts jumped forward, the smoker pulling out a kitchen knife from the waistband of his jeans, the second wielding a plank. Hooded guy slowly moved backwards, drawing them away from Chibuzor who couldn’t believe his eyes.
God! I must have banged my head real hard, he thought.
Nevertheless, he watched as his savior sidestepped the descending plank and hit its wielder with a left uppercut. Chibuzor winced as he heard the clear crunch of teeth clashing together in a not-so-nice way. The plank wielder went down and screamed through mashed lips and blood-soaked hands. The one with a smashed nose straightened from his crouch and, grabbing the plank, joined the knife-swinger who just sent the knife towards the hooded guy’s midriff in a stabbing move.
A left forearm knocked the knife-holding hand aside and a right jab to the throat put him out of the fight permanently. The knife fell to the tarmac with a clatter and he held his throat with both hands and staggered, thudding loudly beside Chibuzor, breath rattling in his throat.
The loud blaring of a horn drowned out the coughing sounds and a danfo screamed past. “See dis mumus wey dey fight for night!!!” somebody, probably the conductor, yelled.
The plank wielder and the hooded guy circled each slowly, like boxers looking for an opening – and then the plank went up. At that moment, a sound interjected and Chibuzor realized that a phone somewhere was vibrating. The next moment he was once again focused on the tableau before him, forgetting what he’d heard.
He watched as the hooded figure moved aside to avoid the plank with a smoothness that reminded of Michael Jackson moonwalking. He blinked – and the hooded figure was close enough to the plank wielder to hug him. Instead of a hug however, the hooded figure hit him with a swift right-left combination that would have made many a professional boxer envious. In this case however, the street lights were enough illumination for Chibuzor to see the tout’s face change color – and then, he turned his head away as the tout threw up.
The tout fell to his knees and continued to throw up, blood dripping from his nose and mixing with the puke.
Chibuzor was disgusted.
“How you…are you alright?”
Chibuzor stayed against the wall, frightened into immobility. He stared as though hypnotized at the man’s face – at least, where a face was supposed to be. The man’s voice was gruff, uncultured…not too different from what the thieves had sounded like. Chibuzor didn’t move, his heartbeats thunderous in his ears.
“E for beta if you begin dey go o, because dem go wake soon,” hooded guy said, waving in the direction of the touts who were slowly moving again, holding parts of them that hurt. The tout throwing up had stopped, but he was bent over on his knees holding his stomach, rocking back and forth and making moaning noises. Chibuzor left the wall and staggered a bit, feeling for and finding a lump on the back of his head, aware his headache was now a distant pain. He looked at his savior with disbelief.
“What are you, Daredevil…or what…?”
The hood swung his way – and even though he couldn’t see inside it he felt a burning stare.
“Carry your tins dey go,” the voice from within the hood said.
There was a cold finality to the sentence that started Chibuzor moving. He looked around, and spotted his valuables scattered amongst the groaning bodies. Quickly he darted between them and scooped up his laptop, phone, wallet and twenty naira one after the other. Stashing them into his bag, he turned towards the hood who was pointing back towards the busier side of Opebi – the left side from where they were standing.
“Selfie?” Chibuzor asked.
Click here to buy Lẹ́bẹ́ First Cut for only N500!
Depression is a bastard.
I don’t know anything anymore.
You know, I used to be pretty sure about stuff. Like, I had it all figured out. I knew everything I was supposed to know; you put two and two together and you get four. Facts, not sentiment.
However I came to a realization; facts are not always truth. Two and two do not always make four; sometimes they make twenty-two. There are several ways to do any one particular thing, and no matter how much you think you know, there’s still so much you don’t.
What do you think will happen when your ‘truth’ meets a greater one? When you realize that everything you think you know/are is nothing but a dot in an ocean, a little something that is just a mark on the surface of things? When you find out, no matter how much you think you know, you actually have no idea?
I pray the sky doesn’t fall on you that day. I pray your world does not collapse like mine did.
I’m sitting here, on the railings of the Third Mainland Bridge, sucking the last drops from the bottom of an Absolut Vodka bottle. It took me a little over an hour to finish that bottle – but I’m as clear-headed as I was when I began. I look at the bottle again, and I realize it’s empty. I hurl it at the tarmac in frustration; it comes apart and shatters into thousands of fragments of varying sizes. They stare at me, looking at me with indifference.
The bottle is the one that’s all over the highway. Yet I’m the one that feels broken.
It’s two minutes to eleven on a Sunday night. This was not how I planned to spend my evening. I returned from Ibadan a few hours ago from a production meeting of sorts, a meeting that kept being stonewalled because of some people who think everything can be bought. I did my part and left – but I would be wrong to say I was satisfied.
I came home, there was no power so I just had a shower and tried to cook. I made pasta – but by the time the meal was ready, I was no longer interested in eating. I threw everything into the dustbin and went to lie down.
I tossed and turned for several hours. I was tired, physically and otherwise, but sleep decided to stay away. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I get up and get out of the house.
It comes to me to go check the closest thing to a girlfriend I have. We spoke extensively while I was away but I hadn’t told her I would be back that day. So I figured to go visit her, and depending on the reaction I got, I’d either stay there or return home.
So I’m headed to her place, but as the cab carrying me gets closer, my mood spirals downwards. All sorts of thoughts take root in my mind and start to grow. It’s not very considerate to visit her unannounced. What if she’s not home? What if she’s having her hair made – or she has guests over? What if her mother came visiting?
By the time I’m done with that thought cycle, the evening is dead on me. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t left my house. Depression; the kind I have not experienced since I saw a therapist last October descends on my spirit, pretty much like the curtain that signifies the end of a stage performance. Quite abruptly, I find myself staring out of the cab window contemplating the meaning of life.
I cannot go thru with this, I thought. Even if she’s not doing anything, and would be excited to see me, I am not in any mood to socialize. The smartest thing I can do now, for myself and people I might run into is to head back home.
I opened my mouth, intending to tell the cab man to take me back where he picked me up from when I saw a Coldstone signpost. Ice Cream always makes me feel better, and even though I hadn’t had any since the year began I wanted some. So I told the cab man to stop. He did, I got out, paid him what we agreed and we went our separate ways, him to find another customer, me to fill my guts with colored sugar.
The Coldstone yard wasn’t too full – maybe that’s why it was easy for me to spot her bright red Toyota Corolla, one of those fancy new ones. I stopped for a moment to pull myself together and to decide if I was going to leave or stay. I didn’t want to run into her feeling the way I was feeling, but I also wanted some sugar.
The sugar craving won.
So I went in, walked through the busy Dominos floor and up to Coldstone. It seemed people preferred pizza to ice cream on Sunday evenings, and I was grateful for the relative quiet. Quickly I headed to the counter and placed my order.
I was being attended to when a girl, one of the Coldstone barristers came behind the counter, her face pink and giggling. Another barrister asked what she was giggling about, and she started to say something about a very-in-love couple that has been sitting in the corner for over three hours, just looking at each other and sighing.
The other girls joined in her laughter – but I heard it from far away. Trepidation hugged me around the shoulders and effectively held my heart. I studiously avoided looking over my shoulder, instead focusing on the girl who was putting my order together. She wasn’t laughing. She was engrossed in what she was doing, and I mumbled a quiet prayer in appreciation of her treatment of me. Eventually she straightened and passed my order to me. Her smile brought my focus back to her, and I could hear her say clearly what my bill was. I paid and stood by the counter, eating my ice cream, reluctant to turn around because I knew what I was going to find.
Eventually, I turned around and looked in the corner the barrister was talking about. I was right.
I turned away, put the half-eaten ice cream on the counter behind me and walked out, walking and running as though I had to go. I couldn’t trust myself to hold it together in there. I’d rushed out and, trembling called a cab. “Third Mainland Bridge”, I’d said.
I’m pretty sure the poor cab man was confused. He just nodded and asked me to get in. We sped out of there, going like a demon on an errand. We stopped just once, long enough for me to pick up an Absolut Vodka bottle – and then we continued.
So, here I am with all these memories that threaten my sanity. Bottle shards winking like diamonds in the lights cut a pretty picture. I spent a moment thinking about the fact that nobody would notice when you leave, when you’re nothing but a memory. Nobody cares.
Puts to mind a movie I saw a while ago. The title eludes me now, but there was a hitman played by Tom Cruise. He was talking with this taxi driver and shared a story about a guy who died on a train and had been dead for eight hours before anyone noticed.
I thought about that – and then, I came to the realization that it doesn’t matter. ‘Nothing ever matters,’ I say out loud. I taste my tongue, feeling the numbness that comes with ingesting too much alcohol at once. I looked around as a car came screaming out of the darkness. It went on for three heartbeats – and then, it stopped, brakes shrieking like a banshee let loose. Slowly, it started backing up, no doubt for some concerned citizen to attempt talking me out of my intention.
I smiled over my shoulder before straightening on the edge of the bridge I was standing on. And without preamble or drama…
Depression is real. Call any of the following lines to share your pain.
Someone’s always listening.