Is it just me – or is there some kind of unfair expectations placed on the menfolk without their consent?
I have moments I want to cry. Moments I feel like coming online to beg for a hug – because I feel so alone my shadow seems like company. I don’t know – maybe it’s just me because I know people ask us men to be vulnerable all the time – and then run for the hills at the first sign of tears.
I don’t know. It probably IS just me.
I probably am rambling because I clearly set out to tell a different story from the one I’m sharing now. I probably am rambling because what I’m saying now is completely different from what I had in my mind when I opened this post slot in my blog. I probably am rambling because this is a moment of nudity; a moment of indulging in self-pity; probably the most unproductive emotion ever known to man.
I probably am rambling because I’ve had more vodka and Vicodin than I should. Sigh.
It probably is that time of the month. And I worried, because I have my little girl with me and it won’t do for her to see daddy with tears in his eyes. Oh, I know. Tomorrow is another day.
Today, however, I bow under the weight of my loneliness and wonder; if anybody understands how hard it is sometimes to be a man.
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
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.
Do you remember when you were six years old?
I don’t – well, for the most part. But I learned some pretty profound lessons around that age. That was the first moment I realized – something sweet can still hurt you.
Case In Point: DODO.
I’m sure I had been eating by myself long before I was six (at least I think so) but the clearest episode of that happening is the one I’m about to tell you about.
I had this aunt, Alaba, a beautiful woman. I’m sure I had a crush on her and she was fond of me. That afternoon, our parents weren’t home so she was to make me lunch. She fried dodo which I loved (and still do) and gave me a plate. I think the idea was for me to carry it to the dinning room and wait for her.
It didn’t work out like that.
I mean, there I was staring at what I probably thought was the sweetest thing in the entire world, and you’re telling me to wait before I start eating?!
You and who; fest?
I just dipped my hand into the plate and took hold of a piece. I was conveying it to my mouth when my hand sent a signal to my brain that THIS THING IS HOT. I promptly flung the piece of dodo one way, the plate the other way and screamed.
I remember screaming.
Of course, my darling crush came running, petted me, blew on the hand, smacked the plantain for hurting her baby (what won’t adults do to placate children eh?) and reminded me that she’d said to wait. But I found most confusing was – how could something that tastes so nice have hurt me so much?
I think that was my first introduction to heartbreak.
Many of my childhood lessons stuck with me till now – and I like to think that’s the case for most of us. But one thing that goes out of lot of us as we grow older….is that childhood curiosity. That desire to know more.
I remember watching Wonder Woman. I remember going outside after watching an episode with my friends and jumping up and down because; hey, if she can do it why can’t I? Never mind that I wasn’t a woman. Never mind that I am not anything close to an Amazon.
If she can do it, why can’t I?
All that ‘genetic mutation’ ‘Kryptonian DNA’ ‘mutant gene’ was too much an explanation for a kid. He looks like me – therefore if he can do it, so can I.
Who knows? Maybe if I had continued jumping then I would have created a way for people to jump over tall buildings in a single bound! Anything is possible, no?
But we grow older, and as we do our worldview becomes smaller. We desperately protect our ideas that hardened into crystals and therefore view any other perspective as a threat. As the Ancient One told Strange; ‘You’re a man who has spent his entire life looking through a keyhole’.
Very small perspective.
We should grow. We should be curios. No matter how much we think we know; we still don’t know as much as is possible to know about any one particular thing. I am probably the best authority on anything Seun Odukoya, and I still don’t know a third of what there is to know about me! There was a time curiosity was what got me out of bed in the morning. I was always looking forward to whatever new adventure there was in the day, what new trouble I was going to cause/get into, what new person I was going to meet.
Then caution overcame my eagerness. Somewhere along the lines, I started to think I knew enough; there was nothing new to see in the world. I withdrew into some kind of protective bubble and became only conscious of survival.
Well. We all know how that went.
But I don’t want to die. That is why I didn’t drive into the ocean yesterday on my way from work; even though I was tired and unhappy. This is why I agreed to undergo therapy and treatment for Major Depressive Disorder and a couple other things (insert laughter emoji). That is why I have started to walk again.
I. Don’t. Want. To. Die.
I am finding reason(s) to live again. Something to get me out of bed, eager and excited about the new day and the possibilities it brings. And I am not saying there won’t be days I’ll feel shitty and hate myself and wonder why I don’t just hold the boiling ring, plug it in and hope NEPA leaves power long enough for me to leave –
But those days will get fewer and farther between. Right now, I am curious as to how someone can bake a whole cake and not finish half of it before it’s done. Maybe that sounds like nothing – but it’s enough to get me till tomorrow.
Never stop. Never settle.
I think Hennessy said it first.
Tree limbs wither and die
Where withal, lay I
Brave face to the open sky
Inside, I’m tired
World-weary, what a weary world
Word heavy, my soul screams with birth pangs
I shiver, I shudder and –
I pull hard to get milk from life’s udders
Drowning in sighs and mushy nothings
Wrapped in my cocoon, impervious to pity
I’m alright, all night
Conversing with stars all high
All – hi,
Nobody says hello
I’m holding on to black – too scared of yellow
Too afraid to let go.
This is all I know.
Do I love You?!
Give me a moment – allow me kill myself,
Maybe then you’ll see there was never anyone else
Give me a moment; just because you think you can write
Don’t assume you understand the power of my words
Give me time. Let me think of what I need to say
I feel powerless at times; I hate to feel this way
But you’re the one, so I smile and grit my teeth
I hurt you, I’m selfish – but I’m the one you need
Give me a minute. Allow me kill myself,
Maybe then you’ll see you’re…you were all I had left.