Convictions

“I came to God for power. Why do you think I read my Bible daily” he said smugly. His voice resonating like a baritone.

“I Love Power and there in the Bible I will get that power” he further added. He lifted the stick of marijuana and placed it between his lips and lighted it. He paced around the room with the stick in his mouth, letting out fumes through his nostrils.He turned to Bola and placed his hands on his chest.

“I can make Donald Trump kneel before me and it’ll be by the power of God”

“I believe you” Bola replied with a smirk on his face I didn’t really know if he really believed what Michael said or he just said it to appease him.

“No one should condemn me. Not even you. People say Christ didn’t commit any sin but I believe that Jesus caught his own cruise. Me too I will catch my own cruise. The first person to see Christ after the resurrection was Mary and did you know that she was a prostitute.” ?

He walked towards me and repeated his question “Did you know Mary was a prostitute” ? He looked deeply at me waiting for my answer while He blew smoke from the marijuana he was smoking to my face. I answered him in a confident voice as if to let him know that I was not intimidated by him at all “Yes I know” I said.

“Good you know. Christ came for the sinners and not the righteous. If Christ didn’t die, heaven would be empty. I love doing my own things that’s why I hate going to church. Where Multitude abound, a lot of sin abounds too. If I go to church I’m sure the stupid Pastor would look at me and tell me that I need Christ. He would look at my hairstyle and my piercings and conclude that I need God. He’s the one that needs God not me”.

He stood in front of my bunk staring at me. He was speaking with so much conviction. He spoke like a salesman trying to convince a stubborn buyer into buying whatever he was selling.

I just laid on my bed not giving him any reply. He didn’t really expect any reply. He took occasional pauses while giving his “sermons” During those pauses he didn’t really expect I’d reply him or anybody else would. He just spoke with so much Passion.

He turned to face Bola who was standing beside his bunk opposite mine. “I saw my ex girlfriend yansh yesterday and omo I wan die” he said in a blend of English and pidgin.

“But that girl just fuck up. She fuck up big time. She just left me. A whole me. But me I sha chop am. I chop am big time. IIt’s not her fault. As I dey nau, na enjoy I wan enjoy life ooo”

He turned and faced me, speaking in English this time. “or what do you think” he asked

“About what” ? I asked.

I didn’t really know what he wanted me to say. Overtime I had come to notice that he always sought my view on certain things.I just stared at Bola who was looking fed up from Michael’s talk. Bola never really paid attention to Michael whenever he started spewing his religious philosophies. The philosophies he believed to be flowing from a well of erudition.

“I’m off to class” Bola said as he took his knapsack from his bed and headed out. I watched him as he exited the room.

“I would be stuck with this lunatic” I said to myself.

“Even the wisest man in the world enjoyed his life” Michael shouted.

I knew he was referring to King Solomon. He always made reference to certain scriptures to justify his act.

“So who forbids that I enjoy my life. To hell with that person”

I also wanted to enjoy life myself. I wished I could do certain things that were contrary to my beliefs. There were days I felt choked up with everything. But here was a guy who had no restrictions whatsoever as regards his morality and at the same time sought after God who emphasised morality. I was angry at him for having the gusto which I didn’t have. That was why I cowered at his feet.

I was in a state of confusion. I had always been in a state of confusion since I met this guy. The first time I heard him talking passionately about God I was moved. I Ioved God but I had never had that boldness to talk about him among non Christians. I could boast about his mighty works in the company of believers but not unbelievers. But here was a guy who I consider to be an unbeliever based on his appearance and sometimes the words he said.

“Can a fountain bring forth both good and bitter water” I asked myself. Michael’s fountain was surely bringing out bitter and sweet water.

I wasn’t being judgemental. Who am I to judge him. I also had my demons. The difference was that he wore his demons like a badge on his forehead, proudly flaunting it not like a facade but as a show of dignity.

“I’m crystal clear. I’m transparent” he says

Yes he was. I could see through him like a saran wrap. Like the crystal clear water flowing under the bright rays of the sun. Shimmering and glistening. You could see what skeleton laid at the bottom.

My waters were not crystal clear. They were a blend of water and sand. You might think you see through me but you don’t really. Michael had demons but I had the devil taking a nap inside of me.

As I laid on my bed thinking about the plight of Michael and my plight. I noticed him walking towards my locker to pick up his Bible that he keeps there.

“Do you have any reflections I could read” he asked.

He didn’t wait for my reply and neither was I willing to reply. I had nothing to say to him. He opened his Bible and hoped to read the chapter and book the Bible opens to. A technique I had seen a lot of individuals employ. They hoped the Holy Spirit would blow a soft or strong wind which would turn and flip the pages of the book to the particular verse he wants them to read.

“No one knows the son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the son. No man can know the Father except those whom the son chooses to reveal the Father to”

“The book of John” I said to myself. I knew that because the book of John was the book that talked more about the relationship between Christ and the Father.
Michael had a big smile on his face.

He turned to me with the same passion he had few minutes ago. I wasn’t ready for another sermon.

“No one can know God” he said.

“It’s here in the Bible”

I thought he was taking the verse out of context. I was ready to oppose his interpretation of the verse but I decided that I would wait and let him finish.

“if Jesus does not reveal the Father to you then you can’t know him ” he added.

At this point I was happy at myself for not concluding prematurely. I was always ready to defend my point. I would stand and argue it out as if my existence depended on it. Yes my ego depended on it. My pride wanted that I be right all the time. But it was different with Michael. He had bashed my ego several times. I always cowered at his presence. Like a beta wolf losing to an alpha wolf.

He walked away from my bed and moved to the locker to drop the Bible.

“But you know Jesus was weak” he said to me. I was dazed.

“The Pharisees and saducces accused him of casting out demons in the name of belzeebub and he didn’t do anything. Those Pharisees thought they were very intelligent but I really believed Jesus was weak”

I didn’t know the basis of his conclusion but I wasn’t ready to argue with him. He is one Person that never wanted to be defied at all and neither was I but in this case Michael was my King.

He spoke with so much conviction about his beliefs.

“I’m a sinner. Christ came for the sinners ” he always says.

I was a sinner pretending to be a saint. At that point I drifted into a philosophical state. Juxtaposing the contents of our discussion which kept ruminating in my mind.

I was thinking about Michael, myself and others who all had a form of convictions.

Everyone claims to have convictions about their beliefs. They base their acts on their convictions. There are others who don’t even act based on their convictions. They just acted based on what others wanted. Maybe that was their convictions.

I laid on my bed staring at the fan as it moved. My mind filled with a dark cloud of confusion. I realized that I had forgotten about class that day. I didn’t bother to get up.

My path was covered with leaves making the trail difficult to follow. But I wasn’t bothered

Who cares………..

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BROKEN

Photo credit: Pixabay

The path had been graced by the waters from the sky. The evening was cold and breezy. She had goose bumps all over her skin as she walked down the path. But it wasn’t the because of the cold but instead the nostalgia brewing on the inside. Her knees were wobbling and she could barely keep her feet on the ground. She knew she carried her legs and placed one in front the other but not by her own will. She was walking but had no destination. Along the path she noticed a silhouette of a couple in the dark making out. She couldn’t really see their faces but that image sent sparks all over her body. She felt as if she was choking on the air she was taking in. Her chest had this sudden tightness wrapped around it. A lot of thoughts were ruminating in her mind. They kept flying around like dark vultures on a journey to feast on the carcass of a dead animal. The thoughts were feasting on her. A series of negative thoughts gliding through her mind which she couldn’t bear. He had promised he would be with her forever but he broke his promise.

That evening he left her all alone. It was as if the whole of nature knew about the hurt she was facing. The sky turned dark immediately she found out the News. The cloud joined her in her tears. The tears she couldn’t shed. She was too dazed to shed any tear but the clouds did just that for her. She couldn’t stand the pain. She couldn’t even bring herself to look at him. He had turned cold and non responsive. She couldn’t bring herself to see him in that state. Lying helplessly looking as though he was asleep. A sleep she knew he would never wake up from. When the doctor gave her the news she didn’t know when her legs got a will of their own and carried her to the street.

Her legs brought her to this path. Their spot. The number of times she took this path with him. Hand in hand with no worries at all. Living only in that moment. Never worrying about the struggles that is part of existence. They believed they were meant for each other but life another plan of its own. Seeing that couple made her live all those moments all over again. Just this time the feelings were different. That feeling of joy had been replaced by a feeling of pain. A pain in her throat making her feel as if she has gone a downward spiral. Her eyes filled with tears. She felt as if her soul was being shredded. She could feel dark depths she never knew existed. Like the deep dark sea Filled with skeletons at the bottom.

She remembered the day they danced under the moonlight. Their dark skins glistening in the dark. The stars staring at them with jealousy. He had looked into her dark eyes and called her by her name “Onye” he said. She raised her head which was lying on his broad chest where it found solace. She looked him in the eye. “I would be with you forever” he said. “I promise” he added. His eyes carried in it the image of forever. Their bodies swayed and moved rythmically to the sound of the music playing in their heads. The music amplified by the silence of night. The music only they could hear. Each of their steps flowed and moved smoothly like a butter upon a hot knife. She was floating. Her feet seemed to stand above the ground as they moved. As she remembered this moment tears flowed freely down her eyes. He had broken his promise. Why didn’t he fight back she asked. But she knew that he fought. Death came like a jealous lady and bore it’s cold claws into her beloved. Death had observed a so great love that if allowed to blossom will defy even death itself. So it decided to pay a visit.

Her eyes flowed with tears which she didn’t wipe off. It flowed and carried in it the memories of their love. The memories she didn’t want to forget. She wanted him to remain real to her. At that moment she thought she would join him. She continued walking not paying attention to the sound and noises around her. She had suddenly drifted into limbo. As a part of her desired to join him where he was. She wanted to throw herself in front of a moving vehicle. At least it would all end there. But she could not bring herself to do it.

She resoluted that she would live for the two of them. She would carry his memories with her forever. All the plans they made together she would complete. She Loved him beyond death and he would be with her Forever.

Even though he broke his promise, She won’t allow him to fade away. He would Live forever like he promised. He would live in her and through her.

Don’t forget to share and comment. Others are doing it and do well to come back. A lot of readers do that. Thank you

Who Fears Death?

📚 📚 Who Fears death?

This book was an interesting one for me. Why you might ask?

I’m a fan of Fantasy stories anytime any day. This is one fantasy novel I enjoyed. For the mere fact that it was set in Africa made me like it the more.
It follows the Story of Onyesonwu a girl. A shape shifting sorceress born by virtue of a deliberate rape. A rape that was intended to spite and humiliate.

The story follows her journey to discovering herself, stopping the man who seeks to kill her and also possibly end the killings and the rapings.
The story also portrayed themes such as genocide, rape and gender discrimination.

While reading I could relate the behavior of individuals who were far away from all the killings and rapings to Nigeria.
Jwahir people were complacent were not really bothered cos the didn’t directly experience the killings and rapings not until Onyesonwu made them see it all.

Individuals in the southern part of Nigeria faraway from all the killings are scarcely bothered with the killings. I don’t blame them. The distance plays a big role.

My favorite character was Luya. I so much love her transition from being a spoilt and arrogant teenager to being a fearless and courageous woman. Her death even though not detailed shattered me.
She was one person that stood by Onyesonwu all through, which I never expected. I never saw Luya and Onyesonwu becoming so close. Luya was mind-blowing. She was strong. Her death brought tears to my eyes.
The first few chapters were not really aligning well for me. I was trying to place the technology mentioned in the story into a context and time frame. But I couldn’t.

There were computers so my mind expected that there would be cars or trucks and phones. Instead we had camels and scooters. I wonder what the computers were used for. The author didn’t really give details even though they were mentioned several times.
What is Post Apocalyptic Africa? Maybe the answer would clear my confusion.
I also hated the fact that they were eating Lizard eggs. That really disgusted me.

Nevertheless this was an interesting read for me. I love magical stories anytime any day.

I’m a lover of Books anytime any day

Why you need a Journal

Photo Credit : Pixabay

Have you ever wondered about the importance of keeping a journal. Well I have.

Memories.

Yes.

Journals are important resources when it comes to preserving memories.

With the advent of smartphones, people keep journals on their phones.

It’s perfectly logical. We go everywhere with our phones. It’s like an extension of our hands.

As for me I find that I prefer the old school method. Pen and paper. Nothing can replace this for me. The smell of the ink. The feel of the paper against my nose and face as I inhale the sweet smell oozing from the sheet.

There’s nothing that can compare to that for me. It’s like an erotica for me. Don’t get me wrong. But I think or I know I’m attracted to books.

As a writer keeping a journal should be one skill you must possess.

There are stories out there that are yearning to be written. Stories that have happened and wish that one observant writer with his journal wll conjure it up. Adding more flesh to the story from the deep well of imagination.

In whatever part of the country you belong, there’s a story waiting to be told

A story at the bus stop. The waiting room of an organization. The dark corner on the streets. The bridge. The government house. Your classroom. Even your interaction with friends is a story.

Stories about Love, Pain, Joy, Friendship. Stories everywhere.

Our lives are also stories waiting to be told.

What better way to keep this memories that would later evolve into a story.

It might not necessarily be a story that must get published in a prominent publishing company.

These stories can be recorded for self. You get to keep different versions of you in a tiny book. Stories that in the near future would bring tears to your eyes or douse you with joy.

You need to keep a journal today and I’d prefer you go Old school.

Journals are basically beautiful. The colors on the journals awakens the creativity inside of you. So go get a journal today

13 reasons why 2

A lot of things are happening in the society that we keep mute about. Things that should get us angry and make us speak out. When we are faced with the reality of things we tend to find a way of avoiding it. Life is not perfect. Humanity is not perfect. It would greatly help if we started talking. Let’s open up our humanity.

There’s a series I’m currently watching that has made me want to talk. I’m feeling melancholic at the moment. The series does a valid depiction of reality. I wrote a previous post introducing the series. The series talks about things that we don’t wish to talk about in our society. Things like suicide, Rape, Substance abuse, bullying and same sex relationships. Issues that are true and have dire consequences but we still choose to ignore it. I’m angry at the producers of the series for painting the imperfections at the center of Humanity. There were scenes that brought tears to my eyes. I’m angry at them for making me feel vulnerable. The series follows the uncovering of the reasons why a girl took her life.

The first season ended with another suicide attempt, the uncovering of a rape. We also get to know the 13th reason why Hannah Baker killed herself which I’ll be commenting on. All 13 reasons are 13 different individuals. The other twelves are students but the 13th was not a student. This one especially got me angry. The school counselor. Hannah Baker approached the counselor with the intention of giving one more shot at life. But he only broke her heart and drove her to decide to jump off the cliff called life.
She wanted to seek help from him. She made a comment that she just wishes life would stop. She was crying for help even though she wasn’t literally doing that. She wanted to tell him that she was raped. She didn’t use the exact words but she was hoping he’d take a cue. He’s a counselor for goodness sake. He is meant to be sensitive. He finally told her to move on. How does he really expect her to move on. Sincerely how can he say that? . I got angry at him. I got angry that he was not sensitive enough. During the whole session his phone rang a couple of times and he was not even sensitive enough to turn it off. I did a course on counselling psychology and I know that there’s not meant to be any distractions during a counseling or therapy session. I guess he didn’t know that. I got angry at him. She got up and left the office hoping he would come after her. She stood outside the office for a few seconds but he didn’t show up. How can he be so insensitive? Did he even study at all? Human behavior and non verbal communication.

I got angry at the 13 reasons for not being sensitive enough. But then I had an epiphany. I could have been any one of them. We all could have been anyone of them. I’m sure they didn’t think that their actions would lead to that. I guess that’s what the producers are trying to depict. We as Humans hardly think about the consequences of our behaviors. But if we can learn to look beyond ourselves and think about the next person, who knows what calamity we will be preventing. All the individuals probably had problems of their own. Problems they were struggling with. Why should they bother about another person?

Season 2 opens up with a trial. A legal battle between Hannah’s Parents and the School. I know Hannah’s mum is grieving but she needs to let sleeping dogs lie. She’s only making things difficult for herself as she won’t get any closure. Nobody would. Is she ready to bear what’s going to be uncovered during the trial. But maybe the trial might be the way she gets the closure she needs

The bullyings at the school hasn’t stopped. The rapist is still walking around free. The whisperings have not stopped. And the school is not taking the appropriate measure to stop this. The series might have been set in a western setting but that doesn’t mean that such doesn’t occur here in Nigeria.

What are we going to uncover about Hannah Baker? What are we going to uncover about our 13 reasons? What are we going to uncover about our society? This series surely knows how to keep you in suspense. It’s Thrilling ! It’s emotional (You’ll surely get your eyes filled with tears)! It’s educative. It’s really aimed at exposing what’s going on in our schools and the society at large. I hate the way it makes me feel.

Reading and Mental Health

The first therapeutic book I read was Attitude is Everything by Keith Harrell. Before then I’ve been reading other books. Why I called it the first therapeutic book is because it helped me with a particular problem. I was 14 years old and was facing a psychological problem. The book was therapeutic as it mirrored my life and made me see from a different perspective. The story of the author was similar to mine. Everyone expected that he would become a basketball player. Given his history and His Physique. But then He couldn’t. I think something occured that deterred this dream. He was affected badly. All his life he had thought that he would become a basketball player. But now everything has changed. He had invested a lot and didn’t have a plan B (Who has a plan B for career choice). He had to start a whole new journey to self discovery.

My story was Similar. Everyone in my life thought I would join the science class and go on to become a medical Doctor based on my History and interests. But that didn’t happen. I couldn’t even get into science class. I didn’t meet up the requirements to be in science class. It was terrible. I was facing a dual problem. How could I face my Mother? How could I face my Teachers? How could I face those individuals who I considered were not as good as I was but managed to get into the science class? It was devastating. I decided to join the commercial class since most of my friends were there (Second option for most individuals). This started a whole new journey to a search for an identity. Everytime I was asked what I’d like to study I always had a different response. To make it worse, I was the third person in my Family to be in the commercial class. My two older siblings were also in the commercial class. Everytime we meet family members, they always seemed to ask that question- What department are you? Then the response comes. Commercial, Commercial, Commercial. The commercial Family. It was difficult. Everyone assumed that maybe we didn’t possess the intellectual ability to be in the science class. This infuriated me and I felt That Mum was not too happy or proud. Most Nigerian Parents want to be called Mama/Baba Doctor/Engineer. I knew I was lost.

The author Shared his experience of how he started a whole new journey to self discovery. He tried new jobs and eventually found himself. Now he’s pretty successful and enjoying His Job. He laid down certain principles. According to Him, Your attitude matters a lot. I knew I had a negative attitude about a lot of things in my life which needed to be changed. The book had therapeutic effects to a point as it alleviated the anxiety I had. It made me realize that I was not the only one facing such and surely I would be able to get over it. It helped the emotional distress I was facing.

Bibliotherapy is the use of Books in Therapy to produce salubrious effect. The books in Bibliotherapy encompasses Self help books and Literature.

Self help books are targeted at equipping an individual with Knowledge and Strategies to handle many of life’s difficulties. Issues such as depression, Anxiety, Eating disorders, Childhood sexual abuse, Bullying, Bereavement, Addiction, Parenting etc. There are a lot of books out there that are recommended by specialist for these issues.

Why Books?

Not every one is a fan of reading. But reading books have been shown to have therapeutic effects. Not every self help books are usually recommended for psychological problems. So it would be better to get a recommended text from an expert (Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Trained Librarians).

The use of Books in therapy has been employed for a while. Individuals with psychological problems are given recommended books to read. Bibliotherapy has been proven to be beneficial as it helps individuals see that they are not alone in the world and that other individuals are facing the same similar problems as they are. Also, they provide information that would facilitate behavioural change in these individuals

I particularly love works of Literature. Poems and Work of fiction. The way the words are used. They have a powerful therapeutic effect. The world is not perfect and literature depicts this very well. It shows what’s at the heart of Humanity, Imperfection. Usually the protagonist has problems of his own that he’s struggling with. Literature paints the world as it is and not how it should be. This helps individuals with psychological problems because they are sometimes faced with issues that requires them to be perfect or behave in a particular way.
With Literature a not so perfect world is depicted. Evil doesn’t always triumph over good in certain literatures and sometimes the evil ones get away with their deeds. Sometimes things are rosy and other times they are not. This helps in better adjustment for the individuals. It helps dispel some unrealistic expectations they might have towards life. Expectations about how things should work out. Expectations about how others should act towards them. Life is not always a bed of roses and literature helps depict the reality of life.

When next you’re facing a psychological problem or emotional distress do well to read a book. It serves as an avenue for emotional release.

Examining the sexual harassment allegation against UNILAG Lecturer

I’ve never been a person who engages in controversies. I always avoid them. But I felt like just passing a comment on this particular story. It’s trending on social media on how a Female student of the University of Lagos released nude pictures of a Lecturer who was supposedly harassing her. The pictures were released to Linda Ikeji’s blog. The student claimed to be a student of the English Department, Faculty of Art. The Lecturer is a Lecturer in the department. The University has promised to look into this. Nothing has been heard from the accused Lecturer.

When I saw the story I first thought it was a false allegation. But I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that thought that way. A lot of Nigerians will surely think that way too. It’s a mindset we have. Some individuals might take the story to be true. You know how we love controversial stories as humans. We become the judges and start assigning blame. It’s either the lecturer or the student. If we had our way we could hang anyone who we think is guilty. I’ll keep an open mind in this case. It helps a lot. There’s danger in a single story.

What we have currently is a single story. From just one party involved (The student). The lecturer has not said anything and by default we would assume that he’s guilty. Which is not all too appropriate. Never make a conclusion based on a single story.

I decided to confirm if the story might be worth it. Maybe it might have a little credibility. The girl in question released the nude pictures of the Lecturer to a popular blog in Nigeria. I don’t know if the owner of the blog checked the credibility of the pictures. The supposed lecturer was pictured in Just his underwear. This looks like a plausible and credible evidence. But what if there is an alternative explanation?

I will be making two mutually exclusive assumptions.. The first is that the girls story is true and no other explanation can be given. The second is that the girl’s story is False and the lecturer is innocent. These two assumptions are tenable. and I’ll be giving my comments on each assumption.

The Girl’s story is true and the lecturer is guilty.
Sexual harassment is not a new happening in the world, let alone this type. No one gets sexually harassed and remains the same way psychologically and Emotionally. The girl reports on how she’s scared for her life. Who would not be? Sexual harassment has a lot of consequences. These consequences could include Sexual problems, sleep disturbances, nightmares, depression, .insecurity, shame, guilt, self blame, isolation, anxiety amongst others. These consequences would in no doubt affect the individual’s social and occupational functioning.

Sexual harassment is a threat to an individual’s mental health. If the case is proven, the lecturer needs to face the appropriate consequences. Asides the direct consequences of the sexual harassment, the girl is likely to have difficulty especially in how others would respond to her. I managed to go through the comments given by readers on Linda Ikeji’s blog. Some were encouraging as expected, Others were antagonizing as expected too.

For this girl apart from facing the direct consequence might be subject to “Verbal assaults” especially on social media. If the harassment has really affected her psychologically, then this could escalate it ,which might likely result to having suicidal thoughts or deteriorate her mental well-being especially if she has little coping mechanism. We just hope the appropriate measure is taken to prevent this.

Sexual harassment is an infringement of the fundamental human rights of any individual and if this girl’s story is valid then the Lecturer in question needs to be appropriately prosecuted and the appropriate settlement be offered to the girl for “damages”.

The girl is lying and the lecturer is Innocent.
This assumption has to be proven first. I just hope that the school and others involved would bother to go through the stress to investigate further. If the lecturer is guilty, there is a high tendency that the girl in question is not the first victim of the lecturer. Let the other girls likewise come out to testify. It would corroborate the accuser’s story. I’m kind of skeptical about this actually given the nature of the society (The girls might fall victims to stigmatisation) and our legal system in Nigeria. But really stop and think, What if the Lecturer is innocent and there’s an alternative explanation for the pictures. It sounds stupid I know but I said we need to keep an open mind and examine things objectively free of emotions and biases or prejudice. Not everything is black and white. There’s possibly a middle ground.

As Humans we need to learn how to think objectively for us to make an accurate judgement. Critical thinking skills are essential in accurately making decisions. It could be the girl’s fault or the lecturer’s fault or the fault of someone else. We can never know for sure. Can we? All we have is a single story and even if we have the whole story we cannot be sure if it’s true. Single stories sure do well in brewing controversies.