Category: inspiration

ramadan

Call to Prayers: The End of Ramadan

I wrote this piece in May 2011, as I watched Muslim faithfuls convene to pray in Abuja.  It was inspiring to observe, be caught in the middle of, and document.  The post has also been featured in Pamay Bassey’s My 52 Weeks of Worship Project. Every time I revisit this piece, I am aggressively attempting to edit it. I begin to, but I don’t. I wrote this in a very particular voice; it might be just what it is to keep it this way. Nevertheless – 
Eid Mubarak!

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kylli sparre

I can beat the night, I’m not afraid of thunder

I am full of light, I am full of wonder

New year, who dis?
It’s a new year and in typical fashion it makes sense to ready the vision boards, create the resolutions/goals lists, decorate the gratitude jars, muster up the courage to finally tell your boss you deserve that raise, block the unrelenting ex and other similar lovers who didn’t make the 365-day cut, etc. etc. etc… I’m right there with you. I’m expectant. Nay, I’m impatient. We are six days into the year and I’m AWL ready for the glory that awaits. I’m not sure I have the words yet to properly articulate how much I need 2016 to be a great year for me. I’ve commenced, in full form, my Beyoncé year, so there is no time to waste!
There are three life skills and goals I must master (to any greater degree!) this year:
a) Learning to play my tenor sax, as I’ve had this amazing instrument for years and have yet to acquire real proficiency;
b) Learning French, as I’ve literally learned this language on and off for 30 years; enough is enough; and
c) Allowing myself more humanity, as I need to make sure that in a world where steely confidence is seen as an asset and a security blanket, I don’t forget that I’m fucking human and crying in my car on the way to work because a song really spoke to me particularly is quite alright and well within the purview of self-care, healing and personal strength. Whew!
So here’s to 2016; may it be full of wonder!
repete black magic
I spent most of last week with this song replaying in my head, listening to it on repeat at work. And for good reason; it’s a lovely song to say the least. Between Brymo, I’m loving the soul coming from Yoruba artists. Black Magic’s voice is deep and smooth and the trumpet adds the right kind of soulfulness – and how about the chick in the polka-dot top is sufficiently cute!
page silhouette

Mkay.

I have to write this because I’m fairly sure my sanity is shattering into a million pieces.

I’m turning 30. 30. 30! I’m turning 30 in a few days. In fact, this week will end and I’ll be 30 and I’ll start Monday morning as a 30 year old. This doesn’t yet mean I’ll be ticking a new age bracket in those online surveys (that will happen in five years), but this does mean I will be formally exiting my 20s. For Pete, Matthew, James and Moses’ sake! YIKES!

My 20s have been a warm blanket. A growing blanket, a 10 year blanket. One that I have learned to appreciate in all its imperfections. My 20s were hot in the spring and comforting in the autumn – annoying when I was expected to share it; clearly something I’m having trouble giving away. Growing pains, man. I can still remember when I was 21, down to exactly who I was. I was in college and constantly uncertain of the space surrounding me. However, I was always present: in class ensuring I was on someone’s honor roll list; at college parties learning how to Dutty Wine ’round all these Jamaicans (thanks Kanye!) and discovering vodka (uh…ew); coasting South Beach with friends who stopped being friends in heels I couldn’t stand in and in dresses I no longer have interest in wearing …yet, constantly wondering whether I actually belonged there. I was there in a body, navigating an environment that was familiar and foreign at the same time. To provide context, like everyone else, this was my first time away from home, and my first time in the United States. I had just began to appreciate the difficulty folks had with pronouncing my name and to realise I was not the only young person out there dealing with juvenile diabetes.

I’m fairly sure I spent my entire first semester terrified of everything.

Twenty-one turned into twenty-five and my blanket had learned to wrap itself around me much tighter, replacing tumultuous fights with a friendlier, more adventurous hold: I moved back to Nigeria for the first time as an adult, learned how to drive the mean streets of Abuja in my beloved Scarlet, discovered more comfortable heels and fashion that spoke more to my sensibility, began to love the fearlessness, acceptance and power of female friends, realised what a dope relationship with a man would be like and what I truly found irreplaceably attractive about men, and learned how to be tactical and appropriately vocal at job and professional spaces.

…and then twenty-five turned into twenty-eight and then twenty-nine et voilà! Decades of work in progress, stupid mistakes, failed relationships, new relationships, harrowing moments of anticipation, immigration, stellar successes, tighter camaraderie with my siblings and parents, discovering the joys of make-up, body oil, and a consistent work out routine has created this beast of a woman. This woman, who in a few quick days will be formally entering her Year of Beyoncé. Whew!

I have always been one for the journey; the destination na jara*, really. I have always been one for balance and growth, despite the journey’s imbalance. I have always been one for celebration, even when my feet are unsteady and my heart still yet races. I want to shout, “onward, young one, you young tender-hearted Superwoman!” But really I’m apprehensive and frankly, scared. I’m giving away my 20s blanket to be suited up with a cape (much like Solange’s wedding attire, I imagine). Will the cape fit? Will it be the colour I like, especially seeing as I don’t really have a favourite colour? Will it comfort me when I need a really good cry? Will it allow me soar more meaningfully than I actually budget out? Will it keep my credit score high and my credit card debt low? Will it attract the kind of attention I need and want and desire? Will it hide my scars, when I need a little more time to lick my wounded ego?

Ugh, so many fucking questions… but lemme tell you about the stillness in my heart as I type this…

It’s been nothing more than a pleasure to inhabit the spaces I do and have. I belong there. I belong here. I’m turning 30 in a few days. And by gawd, let it be great!

—–
na jara = When you’re in Naija (the context to which I am familiar) and you go to the marketplace to price out uncooked rice or beans or garri and whatever and the market lady apportions out your desired quantity. You ask her to add jara, to add something extra on top of what you’ve requested, for free. It builds customer-seller relationship, it builds personal character in your ability to bargain wares… shit, it also ensures that you’re getting your damn money’s worth!