It’s Friday evening.
8year old you is with your two younger siblings 6 & 4.
Mummy and Aunty Jade were supposed to pick you all after drama rehearsals and on their way back from Lagos Island.
The sun started to go down and there was notway for you and your siblings to make it into the house.
Eventually, your neighbor Mrs Nduka, who is also your mom’s go-to person in the neighborhood invites you into her home to wait for your mother and aunt.
Seems simple right?
Yeah, those pre-GSM days.
You are suddenly gently woken up out of sleep.
Dazed but recognizing the familiar voice, you slowly rise up. It’s your mom and aunt.
They have come to get you from your neighbors place.
As you all find your belongings and stumble out, you catch a glimpse of the giant Deeper Life wall clock on the wall.
It reads 10:08pm.
You make your way into your house.
It smells like – home.
Exhausted, all you want to do is sleep.
You know everyone is tired. You are still in your school clothes from 7:12am this morning when your neighborhood bus came to get you.
As you drag yourself to your room, your aunty asks what you all want to eat. She assumes you must be starving.
You sleepishly reply that you all had eaten at Mrs Nduka’s house.
Stumble into bed.
You have not a care in the world as you rise on Saturday morning.
You start with cleaning your room like you have been raised to do.
You can smell the Akara frying from the kitchen. You had picked the beans on Thursday after all , you remembered.
A little over an hour later, your siblings assemble to eat their akara and ogi but yours isn’t plated.
Surprised you go to the kitchen to find out why – your aunt redirects your curiosity to your mother in the living room.
She is doing some work and listening to TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network in the background).
You approach and she proceeds to grill you about why you let you and your siblings eat at a strangers house.
You are stunned.
Mrs Nduka’s kids have slept at your house before. Your family has eaten there before.
This woman is your mom’s friend.
You are just standing there wondering. Then it hits you years later, not in that living room.
But thousands of miles away. It clocks that our parents just didn’t want us eating at other people’s houses, especially when they weren’t there.
Before the days of telling us we couldn’t have McDonald’s because there was rice at home, there was rice at home.
You cannot find your special thing in everyone, stop looking for it everywhere.
I was talking to my friend once and they brought up my interesting encounters with love.
My friend asked me if I felt like my constant search for love and belonging might have sent me to places that I didn’t need to be in.
Omo as a proud man, it felt like a slap in the face.
A jolt from within but she was right.
I sat on FaceTime that day as she made her sandwich and I kept feeling like I had just been plastered with one.
It was hilariously painful.
I feel like all my adulthood has been me trying to find love and belonging, and truthfully sometimes in places where I knew I shouldn’t have gone in the first place.
I remember my mind being blown one time when someone sent me a full breakdown of how I wanted to be loved.
It got me so hype and I felt so seen but I was too high on the moment to flag that even the person that was posting out all the ways I wanted to be loved, was incapable of loving me the way I wanted to be loved.
Since 2018, I started keeping a running list of things I prayed for in a partner and a letter to the woman I choose to marry.
Neither of the lists are stagnant – they are very fluid and ever evolving.
But you see, I haven’t always felt like I had a the blueprint written out and truthfully – I haven’t always followed it.
So despite knowing exactly what I want, I still found myself considering things and people that I simply knew could not meet up.
It was that same search for love that led me into the arms of this friend of mine. The same one telling me that there was rice at home but didn’t have rice in their home at the time.
I remember one day Mrs Nduka was advising my mother because I had been seen with a girl down the street by a church member – we were just walking o! She was telling my mom to be more present and stricter with me.
My mom would ultimately discipline me but not because of what I did but because I “allowed Mrs Nduka, the right to speak to my mother about how to be a mom”.
It felt like an insult to her especially when Mrs Nduka’s son had been arrested with some cultists last year.
Who was she to give my mother advise?
It got me thinking – the message might not come from a source you like or respect but it should not diminish the quality or value of the message still coming through.
As someone who has ended up more hurt and confused by searching or even exploring love in the wrong places.
Work on loving yourself, first.
If you don’t love yourself, you’ll tolerate quite a bit and a lot of it won’t even be up to par with what you want or need.
Be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want. And frankly, my message to you all now is “don’t compromise”.
Ladies, drill into your list – we know you have one and decide what you truly want from someone and stick to it.
Don’t just fall for his words or the bread crumbing.
Fellas, bum bum is great. Trust me, I’m a victim. 🤣
Now add in stunning smile, melanin toh bad and a raspy but inviting voice?
Hold firm. Be flexible but don’t concede early. Stand for what you truly want and continuing being what you truly want for yourself as well.
Sidebar: why is that people think that you cannot take accountability for your actions but also explore the perspectives that made you how you are?
In line with not all the “love” dangled in your face is actually love and more importantly, it’s not all “love” that you should accept or collect.
One thing I have always found interesting is how quickly “love” turns to anger, disgust and so on, once you decide you don’t want what they are offering. Many times even before you have tasted said love.
I’ll say this from a man’s perspective because that is really what I can speak on more than other perspectives.
I have seen too many times where you attract someone who professes their love for you – they are sure before they even know you well enough, that you are right for them and vice versa.
You knowing yourself better than anyone else, once you see early on that they aren’t what you need, you make it clear and if you have to, cut ties.
Before you are able to settle, you’re blocked and cursed.
I don’t think Mrs Nduka ws wrong for attempting to feed you and your siblings – people will always give what they have.
You just have to decide if it is really what you want and most importantly, what you need.
Make sure you have rice at home and for those not catching on – rice in this instance is genuine and healthy love.
So have it at home, so when you go out, people don’t offer you things not up to par and you feel compelled to collect it.
Song of the Week:
Buya – UMUTHI ft. Mawelele & Makhosi : This song literally transports me to place of calm and makes me wish I was living in South Africa or Kenya for a year. It’s beautiful, the melodies, the lyrics are rich. Enjoy and let me know if you like it too!
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