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Dawn Breaks and So Does Its Pride

to lay naked in front of yourself is an exercise in your mortality. in learning the difference between loneliness and being alone. let the voices within your thoughts swirl around you and you are echoing in them. nothing is as humbling as ugly vulnerability. stripping yourself of the pride of your personhood. your pride calling out from behind you — a baby’s scream for attention. you release yourself to walk upon the ashes of your ego. let those who watch you come to their own conclusions. their eyes tearing at your flesh and tongues wagging in understanding. do they understand? expectations crack through your window, as daybreak comes to meet you curled into the womb of your thoughts. the cooing of sunlight begs you to rise into it. but you are crippled. again. you swim, paddle, in strained attempts to be free. the task of being plagued! the burden of this affliction. if it were a robe, would you not shed it? if it were rope, would you not find its beginning? find its end? you have toyed with the idea of hibernation, haven’t you? toyed with the idea of laying there until something finds you — until the dew that had blanketed you dries on your flesh with first sun. if that becomes your liberation, so be it.

so be it.

Adventures with Scarlet – On Interested Men

Let me take you down memory lane …I really did love that car.


written: November 10, 2010

Everyone who sits in my car for the first time is cordially welcomed and formally introduced: “Welcome to my car! Her name is Scarlet!!!”

And if you know my MO, you’ll know that this is always said in a sing-song voice with every ounce of pride and love a chick can have for an inanimate, yet totally dependable object.  Scarlet is the reason why I will never have traumatic cab-ride stories.  The other day, a friend of mine told me a horrifying tale of sitting in a cab and roaches by the dozens crawled up from under the seat and attacked her.  If that were ME????  Even if cabbie and I were doing 110 mph, my ass would have hopped up out of that moving vehicle and taken to the hills kicking and screaming.  LAWDAMERCYYY!!  So yes, for that reason and many others, I am eternally grateful for an automobile in Abuja.

Now, even though I am not legging around the streets, it doesn’t mean Scarlet and I have no stories to tell.  Oh no sir! It is impossible to live in Nigeria and NOT have a story to tell at the end of every single day. Impossible!

Scarlet’s a sexy little thing.  Between her, my aviator sunglasses and my lip gloss, we stop traffic.  Literally.  How many times have I been trucking along in my sweet red ride and other male drivers damn near risk their lives by driving up beside me on a relatively busy highway or stopping wayyyyy before a red light just to holler and ask for my number?  Too many to count.  The first time it happened, I was wide-eyed traumatised: we were on a highway and this middle-aged man thought it was worth his life attempting to get my attention by asking for a chat.  A chat?????? On the highway????  Like while we’re both doing like 70kmph, yeah let’s totally talk about the possibility of dating and having a full-on chat.  Maybe we can chat and plan to meet in an hour at Salamander Cafe, my all-time favourite spot in Abuja… (I digress).  WHAT!!!  I don’t need to be dying all willy-nilly; I still have the world to save, excuse me!!

The best is when one older male driver literally stopped traffic to pull out his phone, lean over the passenger’s seat and expect me to just dole out the digits.  My word!!

Although every incident is laugh-worthy in hind-sight, when Scarlet and I are in the throws of watching a foolish driver make foolish decisions, like tryna chat me up with my hands on the steering wheel, we both get quite concerned.  Scarlet is always mindful to pull out on a green light rather quickly or brake at a moment’s notice to make a swift right when needed; I thank her for that. Abuja streets are wild!

I guess I didn’t read the chapter on how to drive with your eyes NOT on the road from the latest How to Toast a Chick manual! Abuja men be trippin’!

The Book Thief Movie Trailer

Man. Listen. Y’all do not understand how excited I am about this movie coming out. I read it back in 2011 (book review here) and it quite quickly joined the ranks as one of my favourite books.  Enjoy the trailer; it looks absolutely delightful and I have great expectations.

…hmm, I wonder when the last time was that I was this excited about an upcoming movie…

I Remember – My Scarlet

These days I’ve been missing my first car ever – my blazing red Toyota Starlet, fondly called Scarlet. We had a fond and tender relationship. We understood each other, so much so that it was only during my final days in Nigeria that the car decided to pack up and no longer function. Clearly Scarlet didn’t need any new owners. So I dug up old blog entries in remembrance.
written: June 17, 2010

For those of you who know me, you will know that my holding a driver’s license is a big deal.  You will also know that my driving myself around these streets on the daily is even more of a big deal – in fact, it is awesome!  And so this is a blog entry to glorify the advantages of not roughing out the rugged Abuja terrain with the forever erratic and generally crazy taxi service.

I’m not too certain about other countries in the developing world, but in Naija, you price. Everything. You haggle and you hoot and you holler and you shower the seller or provider of service with enough praise so that they continue to reduce the price of the good or service until it meets your budget. I fail at this. I fail at this because all my life has been largely lived in the West. And thus, I have been spoiled by their machine-generated price tags.  I never grew up to refine the art of negotiating prices.  I also fail because I do not cannot speak pigin English.  Once I open my mouth, America comes out. America means white man. White man means money. Even though my face is dark and my passport is green. Even though I’m living on a Youth Corpers budget, which is only very marginally better than a student budget.

But with my car, I escape the perils of fighting over why I cannot and do not want to pay a whopping N500 from Jabi Airport Junction to my workplace in Maitama with a taxi man who hears only my over-accentuated Rs in the word ‘airport’. (Can I get a witness?) Perhaps I’m missing out on the possible adventures of haggling prices, but if my ability to get to work in a timely manner gets crimped by my failure to successfully hire a taxi at an affordable price, yeah, we’ll have problems.

So this is to thank Gott im himmel and Papa B for providing me a ride. It’s an old little thing, doesn’t look quite as glorious as the picture I’ve included herein, but it’s a fighter and it undertands and I appreciate.

That is all. Carry go!

Health as Social Justice …6!

Public art as social justice tool. ‘Reflection’ by Alice Mizrachi

Semester I Year II

I’m taking a health as social justice class and I’m uber excited about what I’m going to learn.  So far we’ve had two classes and I’ve left class feeling extra giddy, which is always a good sign.  It means I’m learning something I’m passionate about …something that makes sense to me …something that could shape the way I view the world. I really didn’t think I would find a class like this in grad school.  After my first two semesters, I was almost certain there were no spaces for open dialogue about issues that mattered most to me.  But here it is! A class that encourages interdisciplinary learning, designed to stimulate class discussion and challenge societal and personal norms!

I’m hoping I can be faithful in my writing about the class and what I’m learning.  These things need to be documented.

By the way, I am officially less than a week away from my birthday. I can’t even deal with how excited/apprehensive/nervous/anxious I feel right now…

The Re-beginning …10!!

Satirical Art by Paul Kuczynski

And so it begins.

I cannot yet place my finger on how well this semester will turn out for me. Unlike my last two semesters, this year I begin a little more confident in my ability to balance my life, my future, my aspirations, my social life, and my course load. MaybeI’m speaking too soon; it’s hard to tell. But so far I’m not sitting in class already overwhelmed …this is a good sign.  I don’t trust grad school to help me keep body and soul together, but considering how I believe I’ll actually enjoy just about all my classes this semester, perhaps more of my sanity will be preserved come the Yuletide.

That Grad Life

by Guido Daniel


It’s such a warm, familiar space. Classes begin again in a matter of days and I’m right back to the fuzzy feelings of quickening heart and warming palms. Summer was not long enough. To manage fear, you try to think of it objectively: you make incremental, manageable plans; you pray; you meditate; you work diligently; you take coffee. Then when you think you’ve got your shit in control, you pause and equilibrium cracks. Just a little – enough to send you into a state of mild worry. All you can remember is that you’ve inhabited this space before. You know the outcome. Inevitability. That’s when coffee stops working. Hyperventilating is almost too easy an emotional response. You want the courage to take the first step without consuming the weight of your anxiety in comfort food.

So here I am. Opening back up the life that enveloped my world. I didn’t miss it. I need to get through it and come out the other end unscathed enough to press forward to grown up things. I know that’s wishful thinking.

Deep breath. Pause. Let the air circulate the base of your throat. Release slowly. Repeat. Release. Sip coffee. Delve in.