Grow Up Mikey

boy amateur boxer by Lisa Runnels

The walls have remained the same—off-white walls with the imprint of dirty fingers near the doors. It is five long years since I was in my parent’s home. I mull over my last conversation with you. Sitting across from me at the restaurant, the table shook when you banged it, rattling our glasses, your rage exposing your fragile heart. I did not speak then, but I will speak now. Mikey, this is my story and it could be yours too.

My parents are not responsible for all the problems in my life. Ha! It is true that in a moment of anger, my mum flung her high-heeled peep-toes at me. But for crying out loud, I ducked with the agility of a teenage athlete, and enjoyed the small victory of seeing for a second, the remorse on her face when her shoe hit the wall and rebounded with the broken heel coming in second place. She has paid enough, and the statute of limitations has run its course.

And what if my dad never said, “I love you,” and never attended any prize-giving ceremony where I stood on the podium looking and hoping, from primary school through secondary school and up till my graduation from university? So, he didn’t know how good I was at Scrabble and how deftly I could steal two-hundred-pound notes while playing Monopoly?

For goodness sake, he put a roof over our heads, we ate until our little stomachs protruded like a ball, and our summer dresses, which caught the wind and ballooned when we twirled, had pink flower petals and yellow butterfly patterns. He spelled L.O.V.E. in a different way, and I refuse to let my juvenile fantasies of challenging his authority in a boxing ring follow me into my twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties.

So your parents expressed their frustration at your (“un”)reasonableness by acting as though you would not amount to much, swearing with their nostrils flared and their breath coming in gasps. Did they not spend time correcting you so you would amount to much, and when they realised that a life sentence in jail for killing you was not worth the trouble, hired the services of a private tutor? Let it go. Grow up and stop holding a grudge.

Do not tell a shrink the stories that you should reserve for your grandchildren and write the shrink a fat cheque afterwards as if you had twenty-five hours in your day and as if you do not have bills to pay.

Dad and mum, you are officially off the hook. My mistakes are my own, born of foolish choices. The things you forgot to warn me about, I could have found out. All those times when we sat (you on the red armchair and I on the cream sofa), and I wondered who taught you to lecture, pretending to listen, so you could congratulate yourself for passing on great wisdom, I should have paid attention to the pain in your voice brought on by the memory of bitter experience. I could have asked and you would have told me more, so much more.

My mistakes are my own. Despite all you did to set me up for a good life, I chose the life that brought me pain, that brought you pain, that brought us pain. I do not blame you and you should not blame you. We have life, we have hope, we have faith, and we have love. You could not buy the sun even if the central bank printed more notes.

Enough already! Everybody stop crying; say, “Cheese,” and face the camera!

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Photo credit: ©Lisa Runnels/www.pixabay.com (used with permission)

http://pixabay.com/en/boy-amatuer-boxer-fight-sport-72370/

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Open Letter to Akpos

Akpos does it again

Dear Akpos,

You do not know me. I am a Nigerian living in the diaspora. I know you unlike my friend who continues to speak funéh after we have left the office. Even Nigerians in Antarctica have heard of you, so great is your renown like Britain’s legendary Mr. Bean. As you yab Nigerians living abroad temper your jokes with mercy because after six months in oyinbo land, we forget that we went to Burukutu Primary School and Agbaridion Secondary School—the winter makes us talk through our noses and freezes brain function.

Since 2012 when I started reading your jokes on BBM and Facebook and Twitter, I have become more convinced that no condition is permanent. The way that you have metamorphosed and become as entrenched in our national consciousness as surely as Nollywood is synonymous to Nigeria is “amazing”. As you increase, may all those elements that want to take us down as a nation decrease!

Talking about BlackBerry, every day, I receive several Akpos jokes on BBM. The coloured text informs me that it is a yet another viral broadcast message. I know that a response beyond LOL is oversabi; however, I cannot restrain myself. I punch my screen to reply and let the sender know that I was the one who sent him the joke first; after all, I am not a goat regurgitating cud!

Akpos, I take God beg you, stop “doing it again and again” because:

One Akpos a day keeps the doctor away

Two Akpos a day chases the blues away

Three Akpos a day causes temporary amnesia

Four Akpos a day is like mosquito bite, sweet to scratch until you bleed

Five Akpos a day is like eating dodo every day; e no go tey before you shout, “Ekaette, na only plantain dey house?”

In spite of this, I want to thank you for the great work you are doing in Nigeria. These days, it seems as if you are the only one working hard to make us forget our problems. Can you imagine that Nigeria was ranked 20th saddest country in the world on the 2013 Legatum Prosperity Index? Dem dey craze? Even if oil reserves finish, we go laugh. Make dem flare gas troway, we go still laugh. Akpos, don’t mind them jare. If they had met you, we would not have had such a low ranking.

I still do not know who you are Akpos. Everywhere I turn, I see another Akpos, so tey I have headache that only Paracetamol from India can cure. On Facebook, I found: Original Akpos, Akpos The Comedian, Akpos, Akpos (The Comedian), and Akpos Jokes. Space will not allow me list the number of Akposes I found on Twitter and the spin-offs from your vast business empire: Akpos apps for BlackBerry, Akpos android apps on Google Play, Akpos jokes from the Ovi store, and so on.

This proliferation of your brand reminds me of when my mother started Pure Water business. Before we could finish tying all the cellophane bags of our Pure Water, three of our neighbours had sunk their own boreholes and started calling out on the street, “Buy Pure Water, original Pure Water!” Akpos, your enemies shall never succeed! We are counting the days till you go hammer and your Hummer go land.

I will stop here before your eye begin close like newborn pickin. By now you for don release another five hundred jokes.

BTBY               (be the best you)

LLNP               (long life & prosperity)

OHGSL            (Our Hummer go soon land)

BNFKU           (Boko Haram no fit kidnap us)

PIND               (peace in Niger Delta)

PFE                  (pray for EFCC)

LKH                 (love, kisses & hugs)

TGBTG,          (to God be the glory)

Timi

So what do you think? Does Akpos symbolise something deeper about our national psyche—perhaps a variant of the freedom songs sung by oppressed people through the centuries? Or is Akpos a platform to show that Naija’s got talent, comic relief, pure and simple?

©Timi Yeseibo 2013

Image Credits:

Cartoon by Mike Asuquo: http://asukwo.blogspot.com

Design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2013

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

My Mum the Superhero

Awesome mum

My mum is a woman ahead of her time. Living in a society and a day when having male children was the ultimate sign of fertility and the highest compliment a wife could pay her husband, she did not wring her hands and weep in the maternity ward year after year in quest for a boy child. No, after three girls, she dulled her ears to the murmurs. She dedicated her life to being the best thing that came out of Sapele and poured herself into her daughters so we could be all and more than any male child could ever be.

three daughters

My mum is big-hearted. She stretched the meaning of nuclear family until it extended to include people with whom we shared no blood connection. As a result, we grew up with more cousins, aunts, and uncles than most. Her seeds of kindness have matured and we are recognised and rewarded for being the children of Aunty Gina.

My mum is beautiful. From her I learnt that I too am beautiful. Whenever people called me little Gina, my heart welled with pride. I wore her oversize clothes and shoes, and opened her trinket box to deck myself with her jewellery. Then I sat on her dressing table and put on her make-up. When I looked at the mirror, I no longer saw a gawky child. I saw my mum, my beautiful mum.

mom is beautiful

My mum is a planner. If we had to travel, she would sneak into our rooms at 4 a.m., six hours before we needed to leave, and drag our luggage to the veranda where the sleepy-eyed chauffeur would be waiting to put them in the trunk of the car. She would wake us up at 5 a.m. and cajole us to get ready, hollering our names, pulling the bed covers, and yanking our pillows. How we idled away the five hours until departure time is an unsolved mystery. Today, I pack like a pro and my luggage is at the door five hours before I need to leave my house.

wake up now

My mum is a believer. She told me the sky is the limit; to reach for my dreams, to never give up, to believe in myself, and to believe I could do anything. Yes, I could be anything; as long as I was a doctor or lawyer first, fulfilling her cherished dream. I watched her walk in uncharted territory and bounce back from setbacks. Ever the optimist, even now, she asks, “Timi, do you know what is beyond the sky?”

reach for sky

My mom is an entrepreneur. She has a heap of white play sand in front of her home to tempt the grandchildren into getting dirty and saturating their hair with sand. While we grimace she claps with glee the whiter their hair gets. She encourages them to play in her white sand and repay her when they are older by buying her Land Cruisers and Range Rovers. Although I have tried to explain to the grandkids that they are mortgaging their future by accumulating car debts, they cannot resist the heap of play sand in front of grandma’s house.

playing in sand

My mom is a prayer warrior. She called me recently.

Mom: I hear you started writing on the internet.

Me: Yes.

Mom: Why?

Me (thinking): Well, I’ve always loved writing… it’s a global platform to display my writing and not only reach, but also engage wider audiences. I hope to inspire, entertain, and inform. I want to—

Mom (interrupting): After all that grammar, how much are they paying you?

Me (pausing): Em, nothing.

Mom (after a while): Did you quit your job?

Me: No.

Mom: Good. I will pray for you.

My mum is a supporter, my avid fan. She asked my sister to print my blog posts for her to read. Will she read them? I don’t know, but I know she will make at least four hundred copies. She will paste a few copies on the gate that leads to her home and on her front door. She will litter her living room with several copies and carry the rest in her big bag, evangelising everywhere she goes, “Google Timi, she’s on the internet!” Finally at night she’ll bring one of the copies from her bag and look, and look, and look.

It’s mother’s day in The Netherlands. Happy Mother’s Day mums! Look at you; appreciate how far you’ve come. Honour a woman who has nurtured you. Tell her, she’s your superhero!

©Timi Yeseibo 2013

Image Credits:

Awesome Mom by Shad Fox: www.creationswap.com

Disco gal by Robot: www.vectorstock.com

Vector backgrounds: http://all-free-download.com

-European retro pattern background vector 2 by www.zcool.com.cn

-Sun background vector 2 by www.zcool.com.cn

-Beautiful sky theme vector by www.zcool.com.cn

Girls Three by Spike: http://www.clker.com/

Pink 2 Frame author: / inky2010 Glossy Transparent Frames: http://all-free-download.com

All other people illustrations, animes, avatars and vectors by Microsoft

Design: ©Timi Yeseibo 2013

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sacrifice or no Sacrifice?

Dutch Royal Family 30-4-2013

It’s been one humble selfless year of papal resignation and queenly abdication1 with fixed tenures bumped in favour of well-received successions. So what will you give up to the applause of the world around you? What noble act will cause you royal pains for therein lies the definition of sacrifice? Here in The Netherlands, I needed to see first-hand what sacrifices Queen Beatrix’s legacy and King Willem-Alexander’s enthronement had inspired.

Undutchables Recruitment Agency photo

I hit the streets on this last Queen’s Day, to see what my fellow Hagenaars were up to. Mind you, I’m not a journalist, for the official version, watch CNN.

Our national flag stood at attention on masts protruding from the first-floor walls of most houses. The flags caught the wind that brought the change and waved gaily at onlookers and passers-by. Orange buntings completed the look, which stopped short of the madness (oranjegekte) that engulfed the streets during the 2012 UEFA Euro championships. That year, endless lines of orange buntings crisscrossed the streets running from one house to the next.

Street flags courtesy NL Planet

In support of the royal house of Oranje, everyone donned something orange. Orange wigs, orange hats, orange tees, orange skin, orange leg warmers, orange sun glasses, orange scarves, orange pants, orange balloons, orange inflatable crowns, a sea of orange broken by the green bottles of merry revellers. And they were quite a few, staggering, whistling, and taking a very public pee in honour of King Willem-Alexander. Beer flowed in abundance and although it cost around two Euros a bottle, VAT remained 21%. With solidarity so strong, what else could the new king ask for?

Queens Day

Dancers aka modern-day court jesters. Nothing shows the true state of the heart like the carefree, uninhibited movements of hands, hips, and legs wobbling in tipsy land. Beatrix was a good queen; Willem-Alexander will be a good king the gyrations seemed to say. Perhaps because it was late in the evening, after the controversial koningslied had been sung, street parties showcased English music and foreign dance moves.

queens day Voorburg

Echoes of an inebriated crowd singing Sweet Home Alabama faded in the distance as I walked home and pondered what all this portends for the new king. The sun must approve because it shone until it chased the coolness of a 13ºC spring day away and held the rain at bay.

koningswup

Now that we’ve packed our Oranje paraphernalia until next year, pray tell me, whether you live in The Netherlands or not, what are you giving up in honour of a greater good that’ll cause you royal pains?

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2013

1. Quote from Nkwachukwu Ogbuagu, Facebook Timeline photo, 30/4/2013.

2. Image credits:

Royal family photo: http://www.koninklijkhuis.nl

Undutchables Recruitment photo: https://www.undutchables.nl/

Street Flags photo: http://www.nlplanet.com/

Koninginnedag photo: http://www.holland.com/

Unattributed photos: ©Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.