I am not What I Wear and Other Lies we Tell Ourselves

cracked face

“I want to be taken seriously dammit!”

Her skin is fair, her face, neck, and breasts, the same skin tone. If her blouse were cut any wider, her nipples would escape. Once, she told me with pride that she didn’t need a bra. I want to use my hands to verify, but I check this irrational impulse and listen to her instead.

“I mean who stumbles over cleavage, right? That’s just like . . .  soooo eighties!” She flicks her bangs and sucks her lemon ice tea, her every movement a pirouette in seduction.

“Right,” I reply, aware that almost every eye in the restaurant is on us, on her, as they have been ever since she walked in. Tall and lithe, like cat woman, could she be unaware of her magnetism? Or does her power lie in contrived innocence?

I let her lead, the conversation that is, but I don’t follow. If I say what I feel, she would think I’m like so eighties, anti-feminist, old–er, and sexually repressed by my sociocultural and religious background.

I let her lead, and then I come home and write this blog post.

***

 Whether you believe in evolution or creationism, gone are the days when humans roamed free and breeze cooled what hung bare for all to see. Fig leaves or animal skin no longer covers our “delicate” parts. Along the way, we discovered clothes, which define standards of decency in public. If you walk naked on the streets, people might consider you mad, and little children might giggle.

Imagine . . .

Nine o’ clock, Monday morning, you walk into the building and approach the counter. A man sporting dreadlocks, a cut-off denim vest, and three gold chains with huge dollar-sign pendants, rises to greet you.

“Good morning, how may I help you today?”

You shake his outstretched hand and look around the room: off-white walls, ficus plants at the corner, black straight-back reception chairs, display screens, ATMs, and the revolving door behind you.

“Sorry, I thought . . . where . . . is this the bank?”

You visit your doctor for a routine exam. An assistant ushers you in. The doctor has her back to you. When she turns, her wavy black hair bounces. Her smile is pleasant as she motions for you to take a seat. Your eyes fasten on her cleavage; the V of her blouse would make the Kaghan valley in Pakistan weep in envy.

“Is something wrong?” she asks politely.

“No,” you say as you swallow and drag your eyes to her face.

“How are you doing today?”

“Fine. But, I . . . I’m here to see the doctor.”

At the office, you hit your keyboard with the gentle force of your ideas. When your colleague stops over and says hi, you reply without taking your eyes off the monitor. He walks a few paces closer, so you look at him.

“Was there something I could help—”

You cannot complete your question because you are nearly eye level with his white boxers. Your eyes travel up past the narrow line of hair around his navel, which fans out like a bush on his chest. You spare a glimpse for his biceps before you take in the black bow tie on his neck. When you meet his eyes, his voice sounds distant. You have not been listening.

“I hope will you be done with your report on time. I need to put everything together for the presentation.” He turns and walks away.

Your yes response carries no conviction because you are staring at his boxers, the bit of fabric trapped in the crack of his buttocks.

Why are clothes important? Why do you wear what you wear?

Girls, we’ve come a loooong way! We’ve leaped from the bedroom to the boardroom, made sandwiches in the kitchen and laws in parliaments. We’ve flown beyond prep school all the way to Outer Space and signed cheques for weighty sums in our name too. But what more did my great, great, great, great, great-grandmother fight for? To see me strut almost naked on the red carpet, while my beau stands by my side fully clothed in a tux? Where is equality? Why isn’t he as naked as I am?

While the V’s on our dresses reach our navel and our hemlines tease our bums, men objectify us, fully clothed, they gawk at us, only human, they ogle “with style”. We are progressing regressing to an upscale version of cave woman.  It won’t be long before we’ll be swaying down the streets our breasts running free. We’ll hi-five each other in our Victoria Secret fig-leaves tong, “Power to you girl; we’ve come a long way baby!”

And the men? They’ll be walking down the streets too, savouring women’s liberation, hailing women’s empowerment, fully clothed of course.

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Original image URL: http://pixabay.com/en/cracked-cracks-face-people-woman-164310/

Photo tags: Cracked Cracks Face People Woman Female Portrait

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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WordPress 105… Make Money Blogging or Not?

millionaire

The Introduction

You, online service provider, said your product was free. I downloaded it; waited twenty minutes to install, clicked through for another ten minutes to get past the razzmatazz you call introduction. When I got to the main course, you asked me to upgrade for $49.95. I am not angry… not yet.

I decide to uninstall and search for a truly “free” freebie, but you have refused to go. You have been uninstalling for the past sixty minutes.

However, it is when you, my partner-in-crimefreebies, suggest that I should have read the fine print beneath the shiny free banner that my talons come out, long and wicked like Jezebel’s too. Yes you, I am talking about you, my fellow blogger and friend.

The Main Body

You started blogging because you felt you could write. You started blogging after that status update on your Facebook Timeline attracted 67 likes and 134 comments. Never mind that half the comments were your replies. You did not start blogging because you wanted to make money. You already had a real job. Even after your cousin evaded your question, “Have you read my blog yet?” by telling tales of how people were making money blogging, your heartbeat remained the same. You had looked at him with pity; the jester had never held a job for more than two weeks.

But now you wonder. After a tentative start on WordPress, you danced when your first post gained you five followers and a few likes. You twirled with hands on your hips, and then wriggled down. When you almost reached the floor, you remembered that you have back pain and slowly began your ascent. Your cheeks redden at the memory.

At the recommendation of WordPress, you check out some great posts from your new followers. Like strawberries and ice churning in a blender, one thought revolves in your mind. Can you really make money blogging? Of course, ever since your cousin sowed the seeds, they have been growing quietly like weeds in the periphery of your mind. Five followers have invited you to make money blogging.

Three of the five bloggers are attractive guys in their early to late twenties. They have escaped the corporate slave master’s whip and the income they’ve made off their blogs allows them to live the life they’ve always dreamed. Tanned and bare-chested with surfing shorts and six-packs to kill for, they grin at you, and you wonder how long before you can hand in your resignation. You wonder about the six-pack too—did they get it from blogging?  You shake your head to clear the silly thought. Two of them live in Thailand and the third on some other island. You’ve always known that you are living in the wrong country, and true happiness resides somewhere exotic like Bali.

One of your followers is a mum. She quit her job and leads a stress-free life. Her husband works fewer hours, and together they have more time for their daughter who has a debilitating disease. Their family portrait tugs at something inside you and sentimental music plays in your head. You zero in on the mum’s face to fool your tears. Rubbing your chin, you whip out a mirror and trace the lines on your face.

Your last follower is a bald guy with tattoos. You do not bother to read his profile. You do not want to make money blogging so you can become like him.

You note the similarities of the blogs, and brushing a fly away from your face, you draw conclusions:

Money-seekers are from Mars, altruists are from Venus.

Observing life has deepened your cynicism. When your daughter asked your son for a sweet, he quickly plopped it in his mouth and said it had his germs. When you asked to share his germs, he swallowed and you watched his Adam’s apple bulge. The human instinct is to hoard and not share.

What do Donald Trump and Warren Buffet have in common?

If Donald Trump’s apprentices had to endure the humiliation of elimination, making money blogging cannot be as carefree as white clouds floating in azure skies or lounging on the beach in the prime of your life. When Warren Buffet talks about getting rich, he uses “dirty” words like invest, which connotes delayed gratification.  At this point, you reach for a bowl of ice cream and stop sucking in your stomach. Acquiring a six-pack takes discipline, patience, and determination.

Becoming rich begins with watching a video or signing up for a newsletter.

One blogger declares that he wants to help those who are “serious” enough to sign up for his updates. You have never been more serious in your life. As your cursor hovers over the link, the title of a James Hadley Chase novel floats into your mind: There’s Always a Price Tag. Bye-bye Bali!

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

You’ve heard it before and you laugh at the allure that these four letters, E-A-S-Y, hold. The same ideas that sucked people in years ago, now repackaged, suck people in again like a merry-go-round that never stops.

The Conclusion

Thank you for connecting all the dots and for flying with WordPress. If after this post, you decide to unfollow me, I will understand. I have also kissed Bali goodbye.

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Image 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

By God’s Grace

scams upon scammers

Religion divides; religion unites. Its symbols are seen everywhere here. In the big southern cities, churches clamour for prominence with their dizzying signboards on busy and quiet streets. While the western world wants to send God packing, we have him firmly entrenched in our society.

Having watched God’s role shrink in the west, I embraced his omnipresence back home. But my joy at luxuriating in unabashed religious freedom was marred by incident after incident with religious-sounding people.

Religious clichés form a huge umbrella where strange bedfellows meet. Christian choruses drip from the sweet mouths of juju practitioners and Holy-Ghost-power-wielding herbalists advertise their solutions in the newspapers. But it is in the language of everyday people that these clichés find unbridled expression, so much so that a simple yes or no response is as elusive as constant power supply.

In a culture where speeches are padded with verbosity and our elder’s words are peppered with flowery proverbs, perhaps it is fitting that our words are wrapped in religious foil and by God’s grace is the heavy-duty foil that covers every situation under our sun!

When I queried my handyman for a firm work commitment, he kept dodging under the grace of God. “By God’s grace I will come and do the work on Thursday.”

When I persisted, in exasperation he declared, “Madam, I will come on Thursday, God willing!”

Then he beamed like a monkey atop a tree that had escaped the canines of a hungry lion, daring me to challenge the will of God.

That he did not show on the said Thursday is symptomatic of a national ulcer.

Civil servants show up at work by believing and trusting God.

Political parties garner votes by the will of God.

The mechanic will fix your car by the grace of God.

Senators, stupefied by the challenges facing their constituents, hold press conferences where they proclaim, “It is only the grace of God that can save Nigeria!”

Like soap that glides through wet hands, we use religion to evade the grasp of accountability time after time. From Aso Rock to Ajegunle, religion is courted, invoked, and brandished as if it is a determinant of GDP and as if, according to Karl Marx, it is the opium of the people!

power of God bus

At the mall, a young man selling CDs from his début album politely accosted me. Recognising a fellow struggling artist hustling for survival, I decided to purchase one.

“What kind of music is this?”

“By God’s special grace, Christian music.”

I nearly walked away, but I kept hope alive. “Are you sure?”

“Of course madam,” he replied without hesitation, “what else would I record?”

“Look I want to encourage you. I’ll give you N300 anyway, what kind of music is this?”

I guess he must have thought that I imagined that he was born yesterday—a whole him—a scammer of scammers. Looking pained, he told of how other buyers had commended his efforts. He painted a picture of struggle and survival, in which the grace of God and the will of God had converged to give him a testimony, proving that no condition is permanent. Moved, I overlooked the shabby packaging and paid for the CD.

Later, I played the CD in my car. I strained my ears through the poor sound quality to make out the lyrics. The chorus rang:

 

Naija is where we are

Naija is where we belong

Naija is where we will die

 

My lips curved slightly as realisation shone through my eyes, of course it was a Christian song!

Since productivity hinges on how God is wielding his grace, I have come to certain conclusions about my day.

Will I go to work today? Ah, it’s in God’s hands.

Will I eat lunch during break? Yes, God willing.

Will I take a pee after lunch? Believing and trusting God.

And finally, can I draft a concluding paragraph for this blog post? By God’s grace!

 

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

 

 

Photo credit: dan mogford / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Original image URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dansflickr/272385799/
Title: scams upon scammers

Photo credit: MikeBlyth / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
Original image URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/blyth/152662733/
Title: Power of God bus (Chi Boy)

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.

Facebook Fraud

Laurita FB

Laurita Laurita, oh Laurita Laurita! Your name has a sing-song and unreal quality to it. I do not know how you found me and why you singled me out. Facebook has made the world smaller, but there are around one billion people in the world’s third-largest country. Ah yes, we have one mutual friend. What you both have in common still baffles me.  

I am an editor second, and a nice person first, which is why I refrained from deleting your early morning ungrammatical intrusion into my inbox. I checked your wall and saw that your last and only status update before you changed your profile picture was in Russian. You recently changed your Facebook language to English (US), which may explain why you sound as if you used Google Translate, and then copy and paste.

I am fine, thank you for asking and your marital status is of no consequence to me. So you think Facebook is too small to contain the breadth of a friendship with you. No wonder you barely have anything on your wall since you joined Facebook in October 2012. You prefer to catch your victims friends by email.

Your profile picture is beautiful. Your eyes look photoshopped, but what does that matter when your skin looks like smooth caramel latte. Your hair; was that not how Naomi Campbell styled hers, the beautiful centre-part look that I tried in vain to achieve during my teenage years? But I am neither a voyeur nor model scout so I do not want more photos of you.

There is something you should know about me.  I am not as foolish as you suppose I am. Anybody whose name reminds me of Chivita Chivita must have a big head and a small brain. I have therefore written this cease and desist order, Прекратить и порядка, to you.

Laurita oh Laurita

Whether man or woman, I do not know

Whether girl or boy, I do not care

There are many fishes in the sea

Waiting to swallow your bait

But I am not one of them

Laurita oh Laurita

Whether Nigerian 419, it is hard to tell

Whether Russian 419, it is hard to sell

There are many fishes in the sea

Waiting to swallow your bait

But I am not one of them

Laurita oh Laurita

Whether Yahoo Yahoo, na you know

Whether Facebook fraud, na today?

There are many fishes in the sea

Waiting to swallow your bait

But I am not one of them

Laurita oh Laurita

Whether Nigerian or Caucasian, long throat no get colour

Whether Scandinavian or Asian, greed sabi follow follow

There are many fishes in the sea

Waiting to swallow your bait

But I am not one of them

I reject it; I will not be one of them

Laurita oh Laurita

May Facebook delete your account

May our mutual friend wise up and “unfriend” you

May you shudder in apprehension whenever you see my name

May remorse overtake you like a Nigerian politician who did not loot enough before the end of his second term

 

In this vast global village

Let me not be a victim of identity thief

Let someone not steal my profile picture

And call himself Bournvita Bournvita

 

 

Okay can somebody tell me what these Facebook scammers want?

 

 

©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.

Image credit: ©Timi Yeseibo 2013