Monthly Archives: July 2015

#ThisIsMyArt (…ish?)

Disclaimer: about halfway through this, it seems as if I’m talking to myself. I was working it out as I was typing it out, literally. I didn’t want to change it, workings of the mind and all that jazz. I was also hopped up on ice cream when I wrote this and you know how crazy I get when I have ice cream. And, no, I didn’t just realise the coolness of hashtags, there’s an entirely substantial reason for the title.

Existential crises seem to be my latest thing. If I don’t have one at least once a month, it’s an off month but I need them, keeps me on my toes.

I’m volunteering at my local library this summer to get the little baby geniuses of my community to put down the iPads, pick up a book and stare at it for a couple of hours. I do it because I like to think I’m enabling these kids to see the beauty of words, understand and appreciate the magical worlds in the lines they read. In the few moments it takes for me to quiz them on the books, the sincerity and eagerness to impress me with their knowledge burns through the most and I find it mesmerising. Children are mystical, honestly.

The children, however, didn’t bring about this crippling need for me to re-evaluate my life; it was the guy who was my volunteering partner for the day. He was a 17 year old white male with a Justin Bieber circa 2011 haircut. It was 9:30 on a Monday morning and I was ready to sit in stone cold silence for 3 hours just to avoid any means of communicating with him. We were asked to do some book cataloguing and as we were trying to decipher the library’s incredibly ancient shelving system, the ice broke and we started talking about all kinds of things. We talked about TV shows, comics, university, career prospects and all that stuff. He told me he had sussed out what his niche was: TV or voice acting, kitchen design or drama teaching. Despite how odd the selection of goals seemed to both him and me, these things made him happy and the prospect of being either one of the three was more than enough to keep him motivated. I couldn’t help but envy him. At 16, he had such a level head on his shoulders and his path would be way easier than mine but that’s another rant for another day.

On cue, I had a teeny weeny internal meltdown. He had found his art and he was running with it. I like too many things to say I have an art and it worries me. If someone asks me what I’m good at, I won’t have an answer. Does “oh yes, well, you see, I write stuff and organic chemistry gets me going” qualify as a decent answer? I’m always asking people what my backup plan should be if being this kick-ass scientist I have totally envisioned myself being backfires on me. Writing is a comfort, it is escapism and blogging helps me share my weirdness, helps sprinkle my fairy dust all over the place. But I am also incredibly inconsistent with it and even though I’ve been doing this for 10 months (wow, 10 whole months?), I still get terrified every time I press publish. I still fret that I’m talking to a void of white noise and broadband cables. I worry that everyone who tells me I’m good is entirely bullshitting me. But then again, I feel like I am pretty good at what I do, even though I’m not entirely sure what that is. I write about what’s on my mind, I write about how I feel, I write about what’s happening to me, what is around me. Writing is a release; it is the unbuckling of the metaphorical belt on the jeans of life. Is it cheating if I really love to write about whatever it is I write about and still love knowing I can create worlds inside a beaker that can make or break a person’s insides? Am I allowed to have two arts, so to speak?

Damn it, I can. I can love writing and I can love blowing things up in a lab. Art is expression, art is creativity, it is skill, it is work and it is love. It is what you love and it is what I love and I think I’ve found it. This is what I love to do; I could shed a tear.

Now, I have some good news and some bad news. Bad news first: this blog will be more or less dormant until September. I know, I know: how can I write a whole post screaming about how much I love to write only to drop this bombshell on you? This is where the good news comes in: someone likes my writing so much, they’ve asked me to be an in-house writer on their website. Mama, I’ve made it! Obviously, I’m not trying to get fired so I want to channel my all in to the website, meaning I don’t want to post things on here that are lacking juice, you know? I say September because I’ll be back in university, I’ll have things to complain about, people to throw literal shade at, opinions to air.

I’ll be writing on a weekly basis on this website so if you really love me, you’ll find me on fvdedcollective.com which is re-launching on the 29th of July, mark yo’ calendars. I’m beyond ecstatic and I’m super nervous but I think I can do it, I hope I can. So, guys, please, be nice and visit the website when it’s open. Come and read what I and a bunch of other mind-blowingly talented people have to say. We are the youth writing for the youth and about the youth. Don’t miss me too much, I’m not far.

Songs of the Week because yeah

Until September… don’t cry, don’t make this any harder than it needs to be,

Georgina ❤

 

And The Award Goes To… Not Your Child

Last week, I played the role of supportive big sister and went to my brother’s secondary school for this end of year show and it was so intriguing to witness exactly how parents behave. Every single school thing I’ve ever attended, I’ve been on the other side. I’ve been the one waiting to be called up with everyone else’s eyes on me.

To sum up what I observed, there’s nothing like a public acknowledgement or lack thereof of the achievements of the fruit of your loins to bring out the absolute worst in you. Body language is the biggest snitch. Sure, some parents will never outwardly express their absolute disappointment in their child during such events but you can sense it. You can feel the subliminal God, did I give birth to this foolish child thoughts just swirling above your head as they sit and watch every other child but their own get an award. I found it so funny as the parents waited with bated breath to hear their child’s name being announced only to exhale with silent bitterness at the child that did win. It was a like a war of worlds between the miniature fist bumps and the heavy but stealth eye rolls of contempt.

Being surrounded by it all got me thinking how Nigerian kids have to deal with all that plus a hell of a lot more by the time they get home. It all starts in the car. Your parents will give you the silent treatment but the second everyone is in the car and seat buckled in and the key is in the ignition, someone will start: “Why can’t you just make me proud? Why can’t you just focus on your work and win an award or did all the other children that win have two heads? No, we cannot go to McDonald’s, there’s rice at home.” If you’re lucky and you go to a fee-paying school, there is no way you won’t hear “after all the school fees I’m paying, simple award you cannot get.”

If you haven’t lived through it, you wouldn’t know. I can’t tell you much it sucks to try and do the best that you can, academically or otherwise, to then have your parents tell you “but why couldn’t you get higher than this?” or “what did everyone else get?” I’m guessing it’s a Nigerian thing. Competition is embedded in our DNA and a lot of parents are of the mind-set that their child must have a title attributed to their name in terms of a profession to be able to say, “yes, my child is not a bastard.” I honestly believe as a Nigerian child, you will hear the words doctor, lawyer and engineer thrown at you at least 700 times before you reach the age of 16. I know they mean well because job security and financial wellbeing are attributed with such jobs but they are not the only jobs in this world, for goodness sake. And how many times have you said “I want to be a singer/writer/artist” to only have those dreams shut down faster than you could even imagine?

I’m actually extremely lucky. My parents have never been soul crushing, dream stomping monsters but they’ve never been the ones to ignite a flame that couldn’t be sustained, you get me? They’ve allowed me to find my own feet and find what suits me as they fully understood that whatever I chose to do was what I would be saddled with for the rest of my life, not theirs. For instance, when I was really young, I was convinced that I was Beyoncé’s protégé. I was destined to be her next in line. I used to watch the Crazy In Love video on repeat, I nailed the walk and the sudden drop to her knees and everything. I could lip-sync like there was no tomorrow, I actually could sing…ish and I had confidence in the bucketloads. One day, I just said “Mummy, I’m going to be a singer when I grow up.” My mum looked at me, utterly bewildered yet astonished, I can never forget how she looked that day, and she said, “Maybe you should have a backup plan, just to be on the safe side.”

When I think about it, I always wonder what my own response would have been if my own child said something like that to me. I want to say I’ll be the best mum ever and say “sure, baby, you can be whatever you want to be” even if my child sounds like a cat being dunked into a bathtub. I mean, I want to be as encouraging as I can possibly be and I want my children to know they can get to the top of any ladder this world offers them to climb. I want my kids to know that they can be whoever they want to be and they’ll know that I will be the one forever in their corner, no matter how epically they fuck up because they will and that’s okay. I want to be that mum who screams her head off with joy even when my child comes last in school races or brings home C minuses on their report card because that’s what every child wants. Everyone needs that little push just to know they’re on the right track. But as always, I worry. I worry I say all this and create this foolproof ideology of how to parent in my head until I am faced with hardcore motherhood to only have my Yoruba genes shroud my sense of open-mindedness and for my inner we-have-rice-at-home mum mode to kick in.

I guess I’ll know when the time gets here and there’s no use fretting over something that hasn’t even happened yet. All I do know is, awards don’t mean anything… most of the time. I mean, look at Kanye West: wasn’t he voted least likely to succeed? In primary school, I didn’t win a single award until I was leaving the damn place. Every year I was boycotted, if that’s even possible, until finally, finally, I won the science cup in year 6 and well, look at me now, bitches. Secondary school? I used to get awards and certificates like they were plates of jollof rice on a Sunday afternoon.

But that’s besides the point. Don’t live by someone else’s idea of you. You are you and as long as you’re being the best you there could ever be, everyone else can nose dive off a very tall building. That is all.

Song of the Week

Remember, my news? Should tell you by next week 🙂

Georgina ❤

#WhatWeLearn: Wireless Edition

I’m so sorry for my flakiness, I don’t know how long I can keep apologising for my own faults. I’m so grateful that you put up with my crap and come back to read whatever it is I have to say. I only blog when I have a story to tell and I have been action-less of late but nonetheless, I’m here. I love you, honestly. Real love.

I have to talk to you about my Wireless experience. It was my first ever musical festival and honestly, I was frightened about it. I didn’t know what could possibly happen, it seemed so daunting. It’s one thing to go to a concert as that’s more controlled and everyone there is there for the same reason as you but with festivals, everyone comes for someone different. I found myself encroached in social tensions, different levels of eyebrow fleekiness, the usual anxieties that entail major gatherings of human bodies. But as they say, see a lesson in everything you do so, here are 5.

1. Second-hand highs are real, I honestly felt slightly buzzed. The air was thick with smoke, saturated with it. I witnessed a transaction too: there was this short black guy, the kind of guy that bulks up and seems super touchy about his height and these three white girls, all kitted out in short shorts and blonde hair and all I could hear was the weed man screaming “so how much do you want then?” and it was right in the open, hundreds of people were just walking past this scene like it was nothing and it perplexed me. I guess the best way to do something dodgy is right in the open to remain inconspicuous, no?

2. I can rap pretty well. I don’t know what came over me but when Childish Gambino opened with Crawl, I found myself matching him word for word, my squeaky voice pitches above him and everyone else. I didn’t even realise what I was doing until this really pretty girl with a shroud of blonde curls tinged with green spray turned around and gave me a thumbs up during Sweatpants like ‘mama, I hail thee, you try.’

3. Boys don’t like it when you can rap better than them. Kendrick Lamar opened with Money Trees and everyone lost their shit, collectively. It was ethereal but as his set proceeded, I noticed this really tall dude who was in front of me kept turning back to give me the evils whenever his own mouth stopped moving but mine was still working. Who begged him not to binge read rapgenius.com beforehand? Not that I did but still.

4. A lot of white people are indeed insane. This group called Gorgon City performed and these bastard meth heads formed a mosh pit right behind us. I felt so sorry for the little Asian girl in front of me, she smacked her head against the metal railing so many times. Do you know what a mosh pit is? It is a conglomeration of bodies being slammed against each other for no reason whatsoever besides a beat drop. You would think they were trying to stomp their way down to the depths of hell. On top of their demonic displays of madness, this tattoo-ridden, sunburnt, alcohol infused, weed infested lumberjack of a fiend used the cramped conditions we were in to use my ass as his personal rubbing post. I could have died. He was against me, skin to skin. I turned around to look at my tormentor but he looked away. He knew what he was doing. I must have dazed him; my ass was probably the realest ass he had ever felt.

5. The power of music is parallel to juju. What else can make you stand on your feet in the blazing sun for over 7 hours, endure all kinds of bodies and bacteria crawl all over you, have water thrown at you in the name of keeping cool, be on the edge of actual exhaustion to only have someone come on stage and for a familiar beat to play and all your troubles just fly away? We were all transfixed and we were all united and as we told to jump, you could basically sense our minds going “how high?” It’s a force. It baffles me how one person and their music, their poetry, their art can have so much control over so many minds.

Just look at this video and you’ll see what I mean. It’s like all hell broke loose 20 seconds in. I apologise for my noises in advance, I’m sorry.

Either way, it was really amazing; I would do it all over again, minus the unsolicited ass rubs and choking weed smoke.

Also, I should have some news for you sooner rather than later. Be calm, all is well. Keep your eyes open.

Song of The Week

This song is so pretty.

Georgina ❤