Stone The Vagina

Yesterday morning, I was looking at my blog stats for the year 2016 and Na Man You Be! jumped at me. I wrote the post when I lived in Benin-city, not long after my ex-boyfriend had to claim we were engaged just so I could rent the flat I was living in (yes, he was ex at the time and still one of my closest friends). I shared the post to some friends on WhatsApp, I didn’t even read it until Nnamdi asked me about the post, so I went to read it.

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Show A Little Kindness.

The first time I watched a video of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I was struck by the number of times she would prefix her sentences with “I think”. A few years later, I was at her workshop and again, I was struck by how she never said anything without saying “I think” first, even on the most ordinary things, even in spaces where she is an authority. She would always use that prefix and after a while I was upset by it (see what I did there). Why did she always have to absolve herself from being definite with her opinions? Why didn’t she cut through certain bullshit with “you know what, this is what it is” and end the matter?

 

Eventually, I would come to understand why it was necessary to create that distance, she is a human being whose words are prone to be twisted, misinterpreted and even outright lies ascribed to her. I have long since stopped wondering why she is such an easy target; she doesn’t say things we haven’t heard before or thought about, neither is she rude or uncouth in passing her message. And no, it is not the fault of bloggers and newspaper headlines, if we stopped reacting to a particular topic- it would stop being news.

 

If I hadn’t watched the video of Ms Adichie’s interview with Trevor Noah of The Daily Show yesterday, I would have thought that she decreed a new law preventing men from opening doors for women- from the reactions I saw this morning. No, I am not going to pretend to understand how asking people to be kind to everyone regardless of gender and using opening doors as an example is suddenly the worst thing in the world. Or how asking that the weak be saved first regardless of gender is a now a crime, I’m sorry my brain circuits would not survive the power shunts required to make the connection.

 

The truth is, she shared her thoughts on chivalry, watch the video or see the transcript on Farida’s wall. Everything began with “I think”. Unless we are saying she has no right to think or that her thoughts are suddenly binding on all of us. She can go on a billion talk shows and tell men not to open doors for women- as people are implying she said, it will not change anything. The men who want to open doors/ stand up from seats/buy assurance for bae, will still do so.

 

You can still be anything you want to be, a feminist, a feminist who loves the patriarchal privileges, a chauvinist, a woman who believes that women were put on earth as afterthoughts and to be foot mats to the kings- men. I have always distrusted chivalry and romantic gestures, call me unromantic if you like but I value kindness and tolerance more than anything. Ulterior motives scare me every time.

 

I’d much rather be with a man who is kind to everyone and is unromantic than one who is terrible to others and fantastic with me, romance will always fade, friendship might wear and chip and crack but kindness is constant. I’m more interested in how my man treats his younger sisters than in his pampering of me, if he is a bully to them… I should fucking expect to be bullied with time. My friend ‘Vester, lights up when he’s talking to his sisters, it almost makes me want to be one of his sisters even though I do not want more brothers and my feelings for him are not even sisterly to start with. But this is Adaeze and these are her thoughts and not binding on anyone.

 

We all have our platforms where we share our thoughts, some of us make a dozen posts daily across social media where we talk about the same things over and over; Buhari, Assurance, Sex, Money, Saraki- whatever we please and nobody tells us how our own is too much or how we put our mouths in things that are not our business. Most of all, we would not tolerate people coming to tell us what to talk about, or what matters while our thoughts do not. It’s not hard to extend that courtesy to CNA, to wait to watch a video or read the transcript to know what she’s talking about before going on outrage rampages or speculating silly theories about her mental state or her marriage. We do more for pastors and politicians…

 

At the end, Ms Adichie in her speeches, interviews and books, does the same thing we all do every day- share her thoughts. Until she gets into the position of making laws and edicts that affect our lives, let’s spare our outrage for those who actually make the decisions that affect us.

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Mama lit a fire.

My grandmother had called my father ‘Uncle Eze’, as long as I can remember but I thought nothing of it, didn’t my own mother call me Mommy when she wanted me to do something I wouldn’t do normally? Maybe like my mommy, she too used it to move the immovable force Mbaise children tend to be.

 
A few days ago, I was teasing my dad about something. In the past, teasing him like that used to be the sure way to negotiate for more pocket money or getting a major boost to the “anything for the girls” ministry. Sadly, I am grown-up and independent *hot tears* and that teasing does not yield monetary results but the routine has been set and the man likes it (he’ll deny it if you ask him)
 
Uncle Eze” I said as I patted his shoulder and I suddenly wondered why he was uncle to his mother, I knew it wasn’t a reincarnation story. What could it be? I asked myself.
“Why did Mama call you Uncle Eze?”
“You’re the one who told her to call me uncle” he replied.
Mua Adaeze?” I gasped and he chuckled.
One day she was calling me nwa and you said ‘why are you calling my daddy nwa?’”
 
I burst into laughter, I was a slightly imperious child and assertive too. Most times, the stories of the quirky things I said back then always seem to be of a different person.
What did she say?” I asked, still laughing.
She asked you what she should call your daddy” he continued, he was smiling then but his eyes showed his thoughts were in that room in the past with his mother and his young daughter.
You told her- ‘call him uncle’ and she agreed.” he was smirking now.
Just like that?”
“Just like that,” He confirmed.
 
As I told Paul this story this afternoon, while I sat across the table from him with chocolate ice cream warming my blood and icing my tongue, it hit me that my grandma had been laying the foundation for a lesson she wanted me to learn- that my voice mattered regardless of how small I was at the time, that I would be listened to and my ideas considered, and if they are superior- they would be adopted.
 
And the funniest thing is- she didn’t need a fancy speech or to join a million-woman march, or to get a Harvard degree in gender studies to teach me these things.
Sometimes, the biggest fires were simply because two stones rubbed together at the right time
 

If You Say So.

She smiled when he jumped into the bus, she’d thought he was lying when he said he was already at the bus stop waiting for her and seeing him eased her mind on his reliability. Her smile faltered when he ignored her and her big smile and bounded towards the lady with the wavy weavon sitting in front, put his hands on her chair and said “hello angel.”

What is the meaning of that!” she spat as she turned around.

“I’m so-sorry” he stuttered. Continue reading →

By Force Mrs- a rejoinder.

I got a response to my previous post from a lady on Facebook and her story- her sister’s story actually, was so sad that I shed a few tears, before getting angry at her for being foolish. The story was shared with me so I would write about it and advise young women to look before they leap. I don’t know how to advise anyone, especially here on social media. Plus I am not sharing details of the story before somebody sues me, I don’t have money to give anyone for what I know nothing about, I am too broke for nonsense spending. Continue reading →

Kolanut palaver.

Krakakum, krakakum

The sound walked into the ears of each of the men and they jerked in unison as it tickled the nerves encased in the bones of their backs. Your father closed his eyes and put his palms on his head, with his elbows pointing in opposite directions and he jerked again.

 

The sound continued on its journey as you chewed the kolanut slower than you did before, letting the bitterness fill your mouth and your heart too. Continue reading →