The Lectern: Illusions

For a change from all the adrenaline zipping all over the place recently, this month’s edition of ‘The Lectern’ is mellow. With a sober almost sorrowful tone, this new writer bares it all unrestrained, and in the same one stroke, takes it all. It is a WAW hope that this message reaching you from ‘The Lectern’ does for you, more than it did for us.

Nuff said, have a delightful rest-of-April.

The Lectern01

…that we might be read


 

ILLUSIONS

woman

 

You stand there crumbling everything around me

Weakening my defences as you saunter into the room

My heartbeat rapidly increases as I realize

You’re going to ask for something I’m not fully willing to give

But would give willingly because you asked for it

 

My shoulders shake as I weep uncontrollably

As you tell me you’re not going to do it again

You tell me you love me and nothing can ever change that

In my heart of hearts, I wonder if any of it is true

It was easier to believe it back then when the relationship had just begun

 

An uninvited question crosses my mind

‘How long can we continue in this illusion of a relationship?’

I shiver because I don’t know what tomorrow holds

Yet I hold onto you desperately praying it wouldn’t hold the pain of betrayal

And your eyes would never stray

 

You touch me and all my insides melt

You hold me in ways no one has ever held me before

I continue to cry, wishing I wasn’t so hopelessly in love with you

Wishing I could walk away from you without a sick feeling of emptiness and loneliness

 

My mind tells me this is all an illusion

“He can’t be with you forever, he’ll soon move onto the next girl

You can’t possibly hold on for much too long’

I know I should walk away but my legs can’t carry me

My heart can’t handle this onslaught on its emotions

 

I try to imagine life without you

Life without your smile to experience and your hands to hold me

And it seems so dull and dreary

I’ve been in this relationship for so long

I’m not sure I can find myself anymore

I’m not sure I can see me except through your eyes

But this illusion would end one day and I would be forced to walk away

 

Rather than wait for that day to come, I will now helplessly turn to the One

Who can give me the courage to walk away from you and find myself again

 
By Ifeanyi Omoike

TM Ifeanyi Omoike 20150407_200108

Ifeanyi is a focused project manager who believes in God, and the beauty of human relationships. She loves shoes…LOTS of shoes.

If you have written something which you would like our readers to enjoy from ‘The Lectern’, or you just wan show yourself for the helluvit, attach and send it in a mail titled ‘The Lectern’ to ojukwumartin@gmail.com. If you are unsure about a subject matter, still reach out and we can work up something appropriate for you. It doesn’t have to be right, left, right or wrong…just your opinion.

Chisom

The Lectern: Freudian Theory of Psychosexual Development

This month’s feature on The Lectern is Dr Sigmund Freud’s theory of how all of your adult life can be traced to an unconscious sexual unraveling that happened in your wee years. I knew when I first heard it narrated – and I am more certain now – that this is a theory you want to learn of. So it was a great joy for me when Olamide finally sent that golden ping my way

A few of you might have heard just a little of, or maybe even know all about Freud and his theory of psychosexual development. Regardless though, you want to read it the way she has dropped it at ‘The Lectern’ today. What I find most interesting is that a lot of the scenarios described here are laden with acts we see – and overlook – everyday. A lot of us did these things as kids, many of us still do them, and even more of our children are doing them…and all of these add up to our adult identities? *shudder*

At worst, I hope this amuses you and at best, demystifies all of your life’s hidden crevices. My two-cents though, find some way to straddle the line…

I also hope this is the cue for a fantastic November for all of us.


 

The Lectern01

that we might be read

THE FREUDIAN THEORY OF PSYCHOSEXUAL DEVELOPMENT.

Do you suck on your thumb unconsciously? Or twist your hair or bite your nails? Are you known as the guy or lady who has the hots for ‘hot’ arguments? Have you ever wondered why you behave ‘strangely’ or have certain mannerisms which for the life of you, you could never explain?

Many times when faced with questions like these, we worry and wonder and ponder. But very shortly, you will be those no more. These behaviors – behavioral disorders – are not spiritual attacks like is oft diagnosed; many of them are explainable and – this is where it gets interesting – are firmly rooted in our sexuality, a mystery which is unraveled in the Theory of Psychosexual development posited by famous psychoanalyst, Dr. Sigmund Freud.

Before I go further, you should know this: every child is born with no knowledge of the outside world – tabula rasa. His behaviour or personality is based on experiences lived through from the early stage of life through several stages of development till age of awareness. It is this extensive stage of development that Freud divides into five:

  1. The oral stage which starts from birth to age one-year.
  2. The anal stage which starts from age one to three years
  3. The phallic stage which starts from age three to age five years
  4. The latency stage which starts from age five to about eleven years
  5. The genital stage which is the adolescent age upwards, usually from about eleven years upwards

 

ORAL

At this stage, the first sexual zone for the child is the mouth. This is the stage were the child derives maximum pleasure from using the mouth; when he is suckling at his mother’s breast, you will see that he has his legs up and bouncing in the air or twisting his hair due to the satisfaction, the sexual satisfaction being derived from the act. At this stage, occurrences like overfeeding or frustration of the child’s feeding will most likely lead the child to mature into an adult with affinity for some oral activities like smoking, kissing, gluttony, alcoholism, nail biting, thumb sucking, gum chewing, e.t.c. Frustration could also lead the child to develop an oral aggressive personality characterized by aggressive behaviours, arguments and exploitation.

A child could become fixated at this stage. Fixation simply put, means that a subject’s psychosexual development from one stage to another has been arrested. Usually for a child, this leads to either a surge or a lack of gratification manifesting as traits of gullibility, passiveness, etc in the child.

 

ANAL

The erogenous zone at this stage is the anus. The child at this stage enjoys the process of fecal elimination. He is taught management of his bowel movement by toilet training. Very significantly, he expresses his approval or disapproval over the amount of gratification allowed him at this stage by stooling excessively or too rarely for comfort.

Certain anal personality traits will arise as the child matures, hinging on the severity or lack thereof, of his toilet training. If he deserves pleasure in retention of feaces, he is said to possess anal retentive (holding-on) personality, the characteristics of which are obstinacy, defiance, stinginess, excessive orderliness and compulsive cleanliness. If the child on the other hand, enjoys expelling his waste, his is called a repulsive (letting go) personality. The characteristics of such a personality include disorderliness and destructiveness, also generosity, conceit, propitiation and ambition.

 

PHALLIC

The phallic stage starts about age 3 and ends at age 5 or 6. This is when the child develops pleasurable sensation from stimulating his or her genital organs. The child is said to have increased sexual intrest in parents of the opposite sex, as he or she is physically attracted to them. A conflict is hereby generated. The other parent – of the same sex as the child – is at the roots of this inner struggle, because the child fears punitive measures that can be taken against him or her.

This brand of conflict is referred to as Oedipus complex (after the greek mythology where a son, Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother). The male child notes that females have no Phallus and consequently is afraid that his father may castrate him so that he loses the object that makes him resemble the father. To resolve this conflict, the child identifies with his father; the boy copies his father’s words, postures and mannerisms, he takes on his father’s values, goals and arrogates to himself the qualities he sees in his father. The male child starts developing conscience with this identification so that sometimes we hear little boys say “you know daddy, I am like you – we are men”.

Electra complex is the female counterpart of Oedipus complex. The girl in this case admires and loves her father and thus enters into competition with her mother over him. According to Freud, another reason for this conflict the child brews with her mother is that the little girl feels that her mother deprived her of a phallus. Eventually, the girl child undergoes a process of reluctant identification with the mother, which Freud says, is gradual and uncompleted.

 

LATENCY

The period between age 5 and 6, and ages 11 to 13 is regarded as latency period by Sigmung Freud. According to him, there is no significant psychosexual development at this stage. Consequently, the period (which is really not a stage) is regarded as latent.

 

GENITAL

The adolescent stage starts at puberty which marks the beginning of the last stage in Freud’s theory of psychosexual development. At the beginning of the genital stage, there is a reappearance of sexual energies; and those conflicts which were not resolved in earlier psychosexual stages tend to reappear. This is one of the reason why the adolescent stage is regarded by Freud as a stage of stress and strain.
The genital stage culminates in mature normal heterosexual relationship.

 

By

Olamide Alo

olamide alo

Olamide is a student of Psychology who loves children, teaching, singing and baking.

If you have a piece you would like to post at ‘The Lectern’, send it in a mail titled ‘The Lectern’ to ojukwumartin@gmail.com. If you want to ‘be read’ but are yet undecided about a subject matter, send me an email too and we can work up something appropriate for you.

“I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter”

FEMALES JUST ROCK…DON’T THEY?

happy woman
MALE VS. FEMALE AT THE ATM MACHINE
A new sign in the Bank Lobby reads:
“Please note that this Bank is installing the new “Drive-Through ATM Machines” enabling customers to withdraw cash without leaving their vehicles. Customers using this new facility are requested to use the procedures outlined below when accessing their accounts. After months of careful research, MALE & FEMALE Procedures have been developed. Please follow the Appropriate steps for your gender”
MALE PROCEDURE:                                                           
1. Drive up to the cash machine.
2. Put down your car window.
3..Insert card into machine and enter PIN.
4. Enter amount of cash required and withdraw.
5. Retrieve card, cash and receipt.
6. Put window up..
7. Drive off.
                                                                           
FEMALE PROCEDURE:                                                         
What is really funny is that most of this part is the Truth!              
1. Drive up to cash machine.
2. Reverse and back up the required amount to align car window with the machine.
3. Set parking brake, put the window down.
4. Find handbag, remove all contents on to passenger seat to locate card.
5. Tell person on cell phone you will call them back and hang up..
6. Attempt to insert card into machine…
7. Open car door to allow easier access to machine due to its excessive distance from the car.
8. Insert card.
9. Re-insert card the right way.
10. Dig through handbag to find diary with your PIN written on the inside back page.
11. Enter PIN.
12. Press cancel and re-enter correct PIN.
13. Enter amount of cash required.
14. Check make-up in rear view mirror.
15. Retrieve cash and receipt..
16. Empty handbag again to locate wallet and place cash inside.
17. Write debit amount in check register and place receipt in back of check book.
18. Re-check make-up.
19. Drive forward 2 feet.
20. Reverse back to cash machine.
21. Retrieve card.
22. Re-empty hand bag, locate card holder, and place card into the slot provided!
23. Give dirty look to irate male driver waiting behind you.
24.. Restart stalled engine and pull off.
25. Re-dial person on cell phone..
26. Drive for 2 to 3 miles.
27. Release Parking Brake.
(copied from a Yahoo Group discussion) 
By the way, #27 totally did me in…LMAO.
In case you didn’t see it, I said “the joke was COPIED from a Yahoo Group discussion”!
On that note, have a lovely work week ahead. I know I will.
I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

OMO, SEE GOBE!

On the matter of this broadcast joke – which is apparently stale to everyone but me – omo, see gobe oh! Kai! First check it out godu…


 

If you want to marry my daughter
FILL THE FORM IN YOUR OWN HAND WRITING
AND IN BLOCK LETTERS.
I ___________________ ____________________ __________________, hereby apply to marry your beautiful daughter, Sir.
I am _____ years old.

(Please answer the following questions honestly)

1. Do you go to church/mosque? Yes/No
2. Do you have a degree or diploma? Yes/No .
3. Are you still a virgin? Yes/No.
4. Are you working? Yes/No.
5. Do you have a car? Yes/No.

(If your answer to any of the above questions is NO , do not continue & quietly leave my house.
Don’t look back as you walk out. If all your answers were YES , then you may continue.)

1. In 50 words or more, describe the disadvantages of cheating in marriage.
2. With the aid of a diagram, explain how you can give respect to your father/mother in-law.
3. Suppose your wife says, “Honey, I need money for my hair at the saloon” , what would be your answer?___________________
4. Explain any TEN causes of divorce.

5. What does the term ‘good husband’ mean to you? ______________________________  _______

6. Do you have both your mum & dad? Yes/No . If No, explain why?
7. Were your parents legally married? Yes/No.
If YES, for how long? If the time of their marriage is less than your age, explain why
you were born out of wedlock.
8. Explain the meaning of ”COME HOME EARLY” as used by married women. (100
words)
9. Give any THREE reasons that can cause a man to sleep outside his house.
10. In case of divorce, who do you think is the owner of the kids between father and mother?

(Answer the following by Yes or No.)
1. Do you drink alcohol? Yes/No.
2. Do you smoke? Yes/No.
3. Are you short-tempered? Yes/No.

(LAST PART, BUT EQUALLY IMPORTANT.)
1. When can you be free for interviews? ____________________
2. When can be the best time to interview your dad?____________________
3. When can I interview your mum? ____________________
4. When can I interview your church pastor/mosque imam?
5. Please stick your passport size photo below, which will be put in all the daily
newspapers for 1 week to cross-check if you have other girlfriends or on wanted list by
NSIS, CID, Police or other law enforcement agencies.

Sign here: ___________
Sign again: __________
Thank you for showing interest in my daughter. Your application will be processed
in 18 month’s time. You will be acknowledged only if you emerge successful. As you wait for
my response, please don’t call me, or visit me, or contact my daughter, you will be
disqualified automatically.

Leave your details in case I need to ask you
more questions.
Postal Address: ______________________________________________
Email: ______________________________________________________
Phone: _____________________________________________________
Facebook user-name : _________________________________________


 

LMAO. Kai! This is poverty speaking oh…poverty sprinkled with healthful dollops of stinginess, better known as aka-chichichii. Mschewww!

As for me and my family ehn, when faced with such a situation, two things are involved. It is either:

Option A: I lose all manner of interest in the lady in question…no, you don’t understand. I mean that she will go from…

Meagan Good

…in my eyes, to…

mock10

…and soon enough, she changes to…

mock09

and at this point, the damage is good as done because it is unavoidable that whenever I look at her, I will see…

mock14

In summary, I turn my back and never look back. If I stop, it will be to wonder again, whaddahell I had seen in the babe in the first place.

OR

Option B: I will do everything to marry the babe – all na hustle abi? I will endure it all in wait for the end when I can finally take her as wife. For the wedding ceremony, my relatives and I will attend dressed in our best ceremonial attires.

militant03

And after I have married her, I will present dearest popsy-in-law with my own stone tablets of commandments

tome

you can safely assume that he will be signing affidavits for the rest of his poor life.

I will take wifey dearest home in style…

mock12

and we will spend the rest of our lives giving her old man beautiful grandchildren…

mock16

Abi no be cunny man dey bury cunny man?

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter  

AN EARLY MORNING ROMANCE

…for Chibueze Devicky

love04

It was a bad day at work and you cross your threshold at home feeling the weight of the devil’s cloud over your head. You kick your shoes into a corner, grab a chilled bottle of water and plop down on the sofa. It’s late, too late for the kids or anyone to be awake so you’re startled by the noise to the right. But you lean back just as soon because it’s the wife. She stands there, reproach in her eyes and one recently discarded shoe in her hand – she hates to see them strewn all over the place. You hadn’t littered the shoes with the intention to irk her but seeing her so pissed gladdens the devil in you. You wait for her to yell – you count the seconds – so you can unleash it all on her. But she doesn’t.

Instead, she walks over to you and in an exasperatingly loving voice asks, “Tough day?”

Why couldn’t she just have yelled? you fume. She just had to deprive you of the satisfaction of a midnight shouting match! You sulk, ignoring her. You focus on the blank tv screen – hell, you should’ve turned it on – sipping your water every other second, still ignoring her.

She bends towards you resting one hand on your bent knee for support – sending shocking thrills up your thigh – and feels your forehead. She runs her fingers down the left side of your face and cups your jaw. You feel your muscles relax, your frustrations ebb; you can’t help it so you raise your eyes to her. Her eyes whisper comprehension of your inner turmoil and she moves her feathery touch to your neck…

The devil in you jerks those chains again; you in turn, jerk away from her touch.

“Baby…” she entreats, raising her hand again towards you. But you shove it away. Hot, you down the rest of the water and escape, taking the stairs three at a time muttering something incoherent about needing a bath.

You take long in the bath because you want her to go to bed – you just want to sulk and feel miserable. Alone. Wearing just your bathrobe, you tiptoe past your bedroom door and head for the stairs. Nothing suits misery better than chilled beer and nighttime television.

The aroma hits you first; it stops you mid-leap down the stairs. Your neck snaps around to the dining table and there’s a bowl on it that hadn’t been there earlier. Like a thief, you near the bowl, shooting glances everywhere and nowhere in particular. Closer…you reach out with one hand, the other unconsciously shields your face – what? It could be a food bomb!

You unscrew the lid on the thermos bowl…okpanaede! Glorious, hot and orange like raving fire, with green and red bits of heavenly vegetable and whatever else it was made of, the local delicacy stared up at you, tantalizing, like a naked lover cross at having been kept waiting.

Face to face with the phenomenal aroma, the impact is too strong for your mouth to even comprehend the process of watering, so it dries up. You notice the plate beside it, turned over, cutleries and a bowl of water. Forget those, you reach out with a finger…

The noise stops you. It’s from the kitchen – clinking and rattling of utensils. Didn’t she go to bed already?

You gingerly near the door; the wife is standing with her back to you and while you watch, she scoops the last of the okpanaede into a plastic bowl. She turns then, halts for the tiniest of seconds on sighting you by the doorway, and then walks on straight by you to dump the bowl in the fridge. Then she walks right back, this time nearly through you knocking you off-balance.

You can’t help the shame that washes over you – 35-year old idiot! For the first time this night, you see her. Her hair done up shows off the best of her neck, the graceful line of spine snaking into the top of her collar. You caress – with your eyes – the white blouse that hugs her back from behind, molding along the little folds of post-baby flesh here and there. The grey skirt looks like dinner; it clings onto her hips like skin and slides down along the thighs with the bliss of a child on a rubber-slide.

Her calves are rounded, smooth and long, helped by the wrap-around straps of her black sandals. They are also spotted with something brown, caked. It dawns on you that she is still in her work clothes; if those spots on her calf were what they looked to be, she hadn’t even had the time for a bath. It is well past midnight – early morning already, yet she had cooked you a real meal, and stayed up to watch you eat it.

35-year old idiot!

She brushes by you again, dropping another bowl into the fridge and you try to catch her eyes but she studiously keeps them diverted. Her scent fills your nostrils and unbidden, your loins quiver up. She barrages by you again, into the kitchen – ‘who is there?’ the dragon roars.

Now you are the only thing worse than a 35-year old idiot – an aroused 35-year old idiot.

She is doing the dishes. You sneak up on her from behind and quickly – to avoid a head-bump – encircle her waist with your arms. You draw your arms upwards so that they cage her arms which in turn, cage her breasts. Then you squeeze.  The vision that greets you from where you stand over her shoulder ignites fireworks in your head. You hear yourself sigh. Or was it her?

You nuzzle her neck, breathing in the musky cocktail of sweat, dust, spent lotion…and woman. You feather kisses on her neck, up her cheeks and nearer her mouth, when you feel the wetness.

You are alarmed to find that she is crying. You can see a mute tear roll down her cheek, only stopping to dip into a dimple before continuing downwards to meld into the dirt-streaked collar of her white lawyerly blouse. You feel the pain in all the different rooms of your heart.

“Honey, I’m sorry!” you whisper, “I had such a rotten day”

“Oh you did?” she spat – Oh boy! – “and mine was great? I finished late, spent two rotten hours in traffic and got home to discover that the rotten sitter hadn’t come today. Again! The children hadn’t done any homework, they were dirty – ”

“Shhhh,” you coo. Who are you kidding? She can’t be stopped now.

“ – it was a rotten task getting them organized, cleaned and in bed. Still I wanted to make you something special for your promotion. But no, you had to go and be a rotten jerk. Tonight of all rotten nights! Did you have to treat me like that?!”

Now you regret ever using the word ‘rotten’. Through the entire tirade, she doesn’t even try to look back at you. You are sure that but for the arms you had around her, she might have taken a pan to your head.

Spent, she stands taut and unyielding against you. “Why?” she sobs.

You say nothing, you know better. Slowly, you move your hands up to cup her breasts. And you squeeze. You feel the knots relax one at a time; the nipples tighten and shoot into your palms, pebbly and warm. You squeeze again.

“Why?” she moans.

Slowly still, you turn her around to face you. Holding her hands loosely, you bring them up to your face and kiss them. First in the palms, then you fold them into fists and kiss the knuckles, then the short unevenly coated nails and the wrists. You feel her pulse quicken and you look into her eyes, for the second time that evening. They are teary still and glazed over, hurt and staring into yours. Gently, you pull the hands up till they rest one on either of your shoulders. Then you hold her waist and pull her closer.

Her hairline is sturdy; a few errant curls have escaped the elastic band and you can see that  a few of them are greying at the roots. You kiss them. She shuts her eyes and the lids quiver like butterfly wings. You kiss them too. The last of the tears roll down and inch by inch, you kiss them off. You trail your lips along their wet path stopping only to kiss each dimple before continuing down her neck.

Her breath quickens, and her nostrils flare up ever so slightly. You kiss them. Then you trace the lines of her upper lip, left to right, first with wet kisses. Then with your tongue. She breathes even faster, her lips parting very slightly to help inhale oxygen. And you kiss them.

The kiss is slow, very slow. Almost lazy. You apologize, you thank her and you love her – all in that one kiss. Like a spring bed dressed in wool mattresses, she soaks it up, all of it.

You break it off, trailing your mouth down, past her jaw and down still. Your knees yield till you are down on them before her. Her eyes staring down into yours speak volumes of hurt, of love, and of lust.

One little button by little button, you undo her blouse. Next, the bra comes off. Three children haven’t done any damage; her breasts are as you remember from the very first time – fair, bouncy and staring proudly ahead through dark-chocolate brown nipples. They call to you but no, you kiss them feathery adieus…see you soon.

You spread kisses on her tummy, warm and rounded. You kiss the scar from when she had gone under the knife for your second baby, plant light kisses around her navel, blow into it and suck the skin around it between your teeth. It is a faint sound from outside the roaring in your head but you hear her moan.

I hear you, baby.

You undo the hook and slowly, slip off her skirt. And panties…

It rains down on you, a torrent of water. Your first thought is hot water and panicked, you jump up. And land very roughly on the concrete floor. You jump back up, sputtering with your eyes shut against the unceasing flow; your head connects with something metallic and blunt on the way up.

“Gerrup, my friend!…hanlele!”

Your finally have your eyes open to behold the combat colors of the soldier in front of you. Whip in hand, he walks out of your line of sight. What? How?!

You pick yourself up and take in the rest of your immediate environment, your confusion mounting by the second – bunk beds with boxers, singlets and other articles of clothing hanging off of them; the grimy louvers and dust-breeding nets, torn in more places than weren’t; boys in different stages of undress, running to and fro; the uneven concrete floor now sporting random pools of water, and the dull glint of the premature sun’s rays on them.

The soldier spots you still standing; he comes towards you, raises the beagle and blows it into your face: tutururu…tuntururu…tuntuntuntunturururu.

“You this animaaal, muff it now or ah wee muff you, walahi!”

You stand, staring into his red-rimmed eyes, seeking some explanation. He sweeps his eyes over you, from head to toe then he returns them to your face, an amused expression on his.

“Bloody otondo” He spits and moves on.

You stare down at your drenched boxers-clad self and see the reason for his amusement. But you are not amused; the visible bulge of your semi-erect phallus only reminds you, painfully, of the beautiful wife you just lost, and the dream along with her.

You drag your full bucket of water out from under the bed; your sponge floating around in it looks like a bloated frog, a blue bloated frog. You completely ignore the ruckus around you – let them do their worst – as you grab your soap pouch and towel off the bunk bars. You head for the bath stalls cursing the National Youth Service Corps and all the gods of khaki.

khaki

P.S: Like I wrote earlier, for Chibueze Devicky; for him and all other fresh otondos who will never get to see the life of NYSC camp. I am happy for you, bro…just wish I could be happier 😉

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

 

THIS THING CALLED “THE FACE”

THE FACE

A long time ago in the land of UpSideDown, there lived a man named Festus who was gifted with hands of gold. His gift was such that whatever he laid hands on, regardless of how low or misshapen, immediately morphed into the best of its kind. As is expected for such a man, Festus was wealthy by all standards. He had herds and herds of cattle, seemingly limitless hectares of land, a blossoming business empire and a large happy family. He literarily and quite literally had it all.

But one day Festus woke up unhappy. He needed a new project, something else to take up and refine into the best shape ever imagined. And while he stood before the mirror contemplating this, his eyes lit upon his face. He stared. At the long crooked nose, the spotted cheeks and lined forehead, and the webbed corners bracketing the squinty eyes. Then he knew he had found it. He would take the face up and transform it so that it turned out to be the best face ever imagined.

Excited beyond measure, Festus walked around the mirror to retrieve the face but it wasn’t there! Festus moved the mirror this way, and that way. It was a large mirror, 9-foot high, 6 wide, made of oak and shiny arcs lined with rubies, and it stood on two large ceramic claws. Festus poked and prodded at it from behind, he squirmed this way and that way, nothing.

He peeked again at the shiny mirror surface and sure enough, the face was there. Then he looked again behind it, and the same thing happened…it went poof!

Alarmed, he called in his servants and explained his dilemma to them.

“If I may speak, sire…” a brave steward ventured.

“Quiet!” Festus yelled; his face was by now livid, forehead dotted with sweat and lips drawn in a thin unyielding line of strung-out anger. “Just find it” was all he said.

He ordered them to work in shifts, round the clock; and he had his bed moved so it sat just before the grand mirror. Every morning, the first sight he saw was the face. He would crawl up through the miles of bedding to it, a plea in his eyes, tears too. Please let me touch you. He would reach out to touch it – this obsession of his, but he would yet again make contact only with the hand, the cold, unfeeling, obtrusive hand that belonged to the face. Then he would grit his teeth, rise and walk around to the back of the mirror. And always, the face and hand would vanish.

Festus would fume and kick and scratch at his stewards and order them to bring him the face. They tried to take the mirror out but he turned grey all over and yelled like a train gone berserk. His servants obediently took to the mirror, peeling off the layers of shine, then paper, then strip by strip of oak. It took days but then it was done, but the face was still not found.

“Keep looking” Festus said.

“But how, sire? The…”

“KEEP LOOKING!!!”

Festus would hear the counsel of no one, not the tender pleas of his children, nor the amorous wiles of his wife of two-score years. And soon fed up with his sour demeanor, they parked up and left to the village. His stewards too, one by one, packed up and left the mansion until it was just sully ol’ Festus in it. Festus and the face that couldn’t be found.

He sent word out to the other eight lands and to the seven seas and oceans; he put up his entire wealth for the man who could find the face he saw in the mirror. And they came, and tried, and failed.

Festus watched the face wane every morning; the brows lost their wing-like drape, the nose grew even more crooked, and the spots took over whatever rest of it dirty graying hairs had spared. And as he watched the rot, his soul wilted. And as his soul wilted, the face waned even more. And waned. And wilted. And waned.

Until one fateful night, Festus lay down. And waned.

 

Interpretation:

The tag of ‘interpretation’ is for want of a more apt word to use because sincerely, there will be very little ‘interpretation’ happening here. Matter of fact, if I’ll be doing anything, it’d be more like EX-terpretation. So here goes:

Festus is everyday man, woman – you and I.

The Face is what some of us call ‘inner peace’ or ‘peace of mind’, some call it ‘satisfaction’, some broaden it to be ‘soul satisfaction’, some call it ‘true happiness’ while others call it ‘true living’. Because it is called by so many names and because I plain like to be noticed, I’ll continue calling it The Face for the purposes of this post.

However you choose to address it, The Face is that state we all – or some of us who have decided that death is unavoidable eventually – want to die in; that state in which we are free of all worries and in fact, happy with the lives we will be leaving behind. It’s that state we’ve heard that people were in who died with smiles on their lips. And many times, it’s a state we seek – some of us through the entirety of our mature lives and others, much later – and rarely find.

Fusing the analogy with this inexterpretation then, we often seek The Face and often, in the wrong places. Ironically, sadly, The Face is right with us, on us, in us, so we shouldn’t even have to ‘look’ in the first place. But oh, we do. We look.

We look for it in careers, in wealth, in crime, in power, in abusive relationships, in amorous ones, in love, in family. People tell us where to look, how to look and we listen or don’t. And either way, they soon tire because really, they can do nothing to help. As Abe so succinctly put it, “you wan hep pesin fain im own face?

So sometimes we find it, most times we don’t but check this out, eventually we die. And after we’re dead, people spend time wondering about The Face on our behalf; they wonder if we found it – did he die happy? Did she live a fulfilled life? Is that a 🙂 ? Or a 😦 ?

And they never know. Then they die. And the wondering cycle whips on along.

So I thought of a question that would best direct people to find The Face while they lived. So that it wouldn’t matter to you at death what other people will wonder or think about you. So that it wouldn’t matter to you whether you died 🙂 or 😦 or :/; when the time came, you would just quietly let go without fighting to hold on to the razor-sharp rims of mortality.

Many of us don’t like to hear this next part so reader discretion is advised for the next 23 words, 3 commas, two semi-colons and 2 full-stops.

Some of us will die violently, others peacefully; some slowly, others quickly; some painfully, others by an orgasm. But we will all die.

So death is sure – check; we can’t control it, nor can we control the manner in which it will visit us. What we can control though is the state we are in at the time it comes. Maybe we can die without feeling regret or intense dissatisfaction, the kind that breaks the heart of even a dying man.

If you’ve died before, then don’t bother reading this to the end, you already know what I mean. If you never plan to die…well, cumbayaya cumbaya. But if you – like me – are yet to but will surely die, kindly follow to the end.

I came upon this blog post from December of mega-sized ‘blackboard’ walls where people wrote with pencils their individual finishes of the open-ended clause, “Before I die, I want to…” And I thought, cool. So I conducted a mini-survey among my usual pool of youths 20 to 30 years of age. My pitch to them was this:

“Complete this – you may be as effusive as you desire, or concise. However you want to answer it:

BEFORE I DIE, I WANT TO…”

IMG_20130929_141129

And the answers came rolling in. I will share a few of the answers I received back as well as my own answer in the next TTC post but now, take a moment to answer it for yourself. Because this question will help you find The Face, or peace of mind or soul satisfaction or happiness…whichever.

What is it that you deem your life’s purpose? That dream, that goal, that ambition which achieving right now will see you very happy, even if death came in the next minute. What is it that you want to have checked as DONE before death comes knocking?

What is the deal with This Thing Called ‘The Face’?

Think on it and do well to share with us.

 

P.S. While you’re at it, don’t look in ANY mirrors

 

Mention me @ojukwu_martin on twitter

 

 

THIS THING CALLED…SUCCESS (1)

 

Because the muse hit in 2D, I’ve split this TTC post into two. This first leg is inspired by a sister’s post on her online forum where the issue was of successful women and why unhappy romantic relationships seem to be the price they pay for said success. A lot of people like to make this a ‘Just African men’ thing but for the purposes of objectivity, we’ll leave it open here.

For starters, ‘successful’ in this context refers to that woman who is clearly flying high. She’s at the top of her career, controlling power, fame and recognition, money and even men. And she is married to a man who by his bank account and social status, is not exactly Lazarus of the biblical Rich man parable but is neither Dr. Dre, post-Beats sale. They may not even be married yet; maybe the John is dating her, or wants to. Why is her success a turn-off?

Chimamanda Adichie in reference to her global success once said, “the type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in”. And I can hear the sisters whooping in the house. But wait. Take a chill pill – yep, I can be hippy too – and let’s really think on this.

Why do men run away from successful women?

 angry couple02

Scenario A:

Peter earns more than Mary who he is in a serious relationship with. Mary decides to change the dining table but Peter says, “No, baby, I can’t afford it. Plus do we really need a new table just to eat?”

So Mary lets it go. A few months later she gets hired by a multinational; her new pay package is higher than Peter could ever dream to earn even with two promotions. Three months into the job, she’s on a business trip in Mainz and sees this fancy oak-wood table which literally calls her name as she passes by. She purchases it with a few dainty chairs to boot; she has the whole set shipped home. The day it arrives, she does all the moving and redecorating herself; she is going to surprise her husband when he returns from work with ‘our shiny new dining room’.

Peter comes in, having had a harried time at the office – he really should burn some black candles on top of his boss’ picture. He has just reached for a cold bottle of water in the refrigerator when he sees the table, the chairs too – WHOA! He looks around him quickly – no one – and takes a second look. It’s one very VAAIIIRRYYY ugly table but it’s new – he touches it – EX-PEN-SIVE too. He turns around and Mary is standing there beaming at him…”SURPRIIIIISE!” She runs up against him, hugs him, pecks him, she’s gushing, “Babe, you like it? Come take a closer look…”

Peter sets her away from him very roughly, eyes reduced to irate slits of black. He flings the bottle of water against the wall and positively, literally, incandescently BLOWS UP!

“Did you not hear when I said I do not want a new table? What is wrong with you, woman?” – then – “SO BECAUSE YOU NOW HAVE SOME CHICKEN FEE TO SPEND, YOU THINK YOU CAN RIDE ALL OVER ME?”

THE END.

Okay PAUSE! Now, rewind. Not at the refrigerator, keep going. Go all the way to the beginning. Unhuh…wait! Too much, go forward a bit…there! Good, stop. PLAY!

 

Scenario B:

Peter earns more than Mary who he is in a serious relationship with. Mary decides to change the dining table but Peter says, “No, baby, I can’t afford it. Plus do we really need a new table just to eat?”

So Mary lets it go. A few months later she gets hired by a multinational; her new pay package is higher than Peter could ever dream to earn even with two promotions. Three months into the job, she’s on a business trip in Mainz and sees this fancy oak-wood table which literally calls her name as she passes by. She purchases it with a few dainty chairs to boot; she has the whole set shipped home. The day it arrives, she does all the moving and redecorating herself; she is going to surprise her husband when he returns from work with ‘our shiny new dining room’.

Peter comes in, having had a harried time at the office – he really should burn some black candles on top of his boss’ picture. He has just reached for a cold bottle of water in the refrigerator when he sees the table, the chairs too – WHOA! He looks around him quickly – no one – and takes a second look. It’s one very VAAIIIRRYYY ugly table but it’s new – he touches it – EX-PEN-SIVE too. He turns around and Mary is standing there beaming at him…”SURPRIIIIISE!” She runs up against him, hugs him, pecks him, she’s gushing, “Babe, you like it? Come take a closer look…”

Peter lets her drag him. He listens with a smile and nods obligingly in between sips of his water while Mary tells him all the special things about the table. She tells him it’s vintage ‘gold’, Pharaoh’s – yes, the very pharaoh of the Red Sea story – elephants were born under it and the legs are hollow so one can store spoons and plates. Peter is exhausted but he oohs and aahs while she hops all over the place, happy as a tot in a candy store. He waits for the perfect break in her gushing, for that lull in her commentary where she takes a breath then he butts in.

“It’s beautiful, darling”, Peter says. She beams. She knows, she says. Then he adds – quickly, “let me just take a bath and we can launch it, huh?” She beams again. Great.

He pecks her and zooms up the stairs, already tugging on his tie. Mehnnn, he thinks, that table is U.G.L.Y. He can’t believe how excited one person could get over one squat ugly table and a set of even uglier chairs. The image flashes in his mind, of her hopping one-legged, gushing excitedly over the absolutely hideous table, and he chuckles inadvertently. Kai!

THE END. No, really the end now.

So my take is that it’s all about attitude. And perception. Have man and woman risen to a level of maturity where material success doesn’t adversely change who they fundamentally are? Is the man able to realize that his partner is the same – faults and points, vices and virtues – whether she earns more or not. Is the woman able to be that – the same – even when her man’s pay is doorman’s tip compared to hers?

Your perception is the fine line. If she always hated cooking, then it is in character that she hire a cook or buy take-out on one too many nights, especially if her pay can afford it. You bore it bravely when she earned peanuts but you can’t stomach it now because she earns six figures? Now you only eat freshly cooked soup, nothing over 24hours-old!

If he always was loud and never stuck a finger past the kitchen doorpost, then it is within character that even when you’re overwhelmed by kitchen chores, he’ll be outside with ears plugged shut, mowing the same lawn he had mowed only the day before. When he paid all the bills, you thought it was ‘cute’ how he evaded any kitchen duties; but because you’re now a CEO, he’s being ‘childish, insensitive and domineering’. And it’s nerve-grating to you that men cannot stand a working class woman!

And there, successful ladies and gentlemen, is where the fabric starts to rip.angry couple

So what’s your take? What’s your opinion of This Thing Called Success, in the context of successful women and their less successful male partners? Click below in comments right now and Share!

 Mention me on twitter @ojukwu_martin