There were so many lessons learnt in 2017! Aside experiences with people and situations, reading and a little bit of travelling have contributed to my education this year. Would it not be so delightful bragging about the number of books I read this year? But as the good woman I am, I would not want to pepper some people into authentic bitterness.
I will share few of those things I learnt (and realised) this year.
- Try not to stifle all the persons in you by conforming to stereotypes of a label. As I often say, humans are like oceans – profound, vast, ever-changing. Labels are like cups. A cup cannot hold an ocean. Society can choke on labels.
- When you hold a progressive thought that works in developed countries, Nigerians say you are going against our culture. Does that mean our culture is backwards?
- Madness believes it is sane because it has not run into the street naked. Many people are mad. Sadly, social media heightens it, because phone screens empower us to be more expressive.
- That something is normal does not make it right. Before upholding a cultural practice, ask for its origin and make sure it is tenable and logical in the 21st century.
- For some reason, some people believe being anti-establishment is voguish. Being irreligious, feminist, pro-LGBT, et al, is not a trend.
- Society invented virginity, slut-shaming, and circumcision in a bid to tie women’s sexuality to men. We flatter the phallus when we say the absence of penetrative sex means one is a virgin. If you have experienced sexual activity and pleasure in whatever form, you are not a virgin. Not all of us were born with hymens, to start with.
- Polygamy was created for economic reasons, not because men are polygamous in nature. Women are as polygamous as men are.
- Do not use sexism to mask the fact that you are an irresponsible and inadequate adult. No one owes you anything: quit feeling entitled. It is your duty to cook your food, fix your car, pay your bills, et al. “I can do it for myself, but I want my…” Just do it yourself!
- Feminists (male and female) should not play the system. Playing the system only reinforces the system you want to change.
- Women changing names after marriage buttresses the concept that women are visible only when attached to men. If it does not make sense when a man does it, it does not make sense when a woman does it.
- Love does not come with terms, conditions, and entitlements. When you really love someone, you do not think of the things you can get from him or her. You just want to do things for them, because it makes them happy. Society places expectations on people, but because we love them, we do not have to feel entitled. Love is giving, going the extra-mile, without expecting anything in return. This makes me feel that romantic relationships, in the patriarchal context, are frauds, because of the many entitlements.
- “Life is too short to be at war with yourself.” This one is for gay and bisexual people who use homophobia as a defence mechanism. Hating and condemning people like you will not make you love and accept yourself. Repression is not erasure.
- “Understanding is the first step to acceptance.” – J.K. Rowling. No one was born bigoted. Homophobes need to be educated on sexuality. Some literate people have decided to be uneducated, because they have refused to read.
- Love is infinite. You can love more than one person, with the same intensity. Loving your partner does not mean you love your child or your parents any less. That your partner feels intensely for another person does not necessarily mean he/she does not love you. Most of us are not as monogamous as we have been led to believe. Love and sex – just like religion and spirituality – are different notions we must learn to differentiate. You can love someone deeply and not want to have sex with him/her. You can want to have sex with someone and not love him/her. You love a person, not the sex organ. You can love anyone, if you allow yourself. You love and connect with the mind, not necessarily the sex organ.
- What is the assurance that a religion that did not give an accurate account of the origin of life has given the accurate account of the afterlife? Please, how can we explain two Middle-Easterners mutated into four different races if we debunk the veracity of evolution? It is okay to be religious, but it is highly reprehensible when you use your religion to peddle sexism, homophobia, and all other shades of prejudice. Most importantly, your religion should be personalised: do not use it as a yardstick to appraise other people. Let people go to hell in peace if they are not hurting you. If they make you uncomfortable, simply look away. It gets more interesting that you are likely going to hell according to another religion.
There are more thoughts, but I felt I should share these ones. For now.
P.S. “To the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.” – J.K. Rowling. I know Ohakwe Akwiwu is on an adventure.
Ever since December 2nd, I don’t even know how the days have gone by. It is like my mind is frozen; like, I am floating, suspended, in time. This has been the longest month, and it has been the shortest month. Until now, I could have wagered I had learnt how to wade around my emotions, but now that I have encountered grief, I am clueless.
It is like this cosmic joke – the one person I would have loved to talk with is the one person I cannot talk with. I got a mail and I was almost calling him, only to realise he would not answer.
He was my male bestie, Partner-In-Crime, Onye Foto, Major Fan, Mans, Husband-In-Waiting, and every other thing in between. I will miss pitching ideas at him in order to pick his brains. I will miss lacing fingers with him and caressing my thumb with his’. Then our private jokes, and how we threw shade at people together. Always shady, ever messy. I will miss lunch dates. Last time I had period cramps, he told me we would get ice cream. We never did. He told me he had a surprise for me this December and I know this – leaving – was not the surprise.
Because the mind can go any length to cope, I imagine he is on a trip. At a point, I felt my mind was going to break. Like, I would just start laughing maniacally, or get catatonic.
Catch you later, Ohakwe! Te amo antes, ahora, después, y para siempre más un día.
And I am pissed at LUTH! He did not have to leave like that.