You see my friend,
It’s so easy for me to tell you to fight, when I’m in the audience,
I’m cheering you on from my place of safety and inexperience.
You’re at the center of a ring, in an unfair fight,
where your opponent’s only strategy is to get under your skin and bite
I cannot tell you when to shoot, or when to shield
I cannot tell you when to break, or when to build
I cannot tell you this is a test and this too shall pass
I cannot tell you to be happy that you were chosen for this…
My friend tweeted something a while ago about how we should be honest about our feelings when we’re asked and we shouldn’t be afraid to vent because, in her words “you never know”. This pushed me to think a little.
This started as a twitter thread, but since it’s #WorldMentalHealthDay2019, it wouldn’t hurt to bring it here right?
I’m pretty sure we’re familiar with the deceptive (albeit very popular) act of murder that is in form of the question, “How are you?” It has become a rhetorical question.
Heck, for some people, it’s even a sort of greeting. I have broken down a lot of times at that question and started to pour out my heart to the person that asked, only to realize that it would have been more productive to teach a fish to fly. The question is an emotional trap that everyone is probably tired of falling into and has developed some sort of immunity to. So instead of answering honestly, they just say, “I’m fine”. After all, that’s what we were even taught in school as the response to the question. …
A recent field trip to the age-long Olumo rock in Abeokuta, Nigeria schooled me on a subject I thought I knew so much about — Rocks. Before now, when I heard the word, I thought of formidable stones that are irredeemably permanent (also a little bit of electric guitar and sweaty people on a dance floor, but let’s just pretend it’s just stones). Nothing much right? Pfft.
But there’s more.
So yes, we embarked on a field trip to Olumo Rock tourist complex sponsored by my department. By the time we climbed the man-made stairs on the rock, high enough to feel like God and get a reasonable view of the ancient city of Abeokuta, one of my friends made a brilliant observation which turned out to be a topic of discussion. He pointed out that within the angle of vision that we had, the most conspicuous and relatively modern buildings were three mosques. Everything else was beautifully finished with an ancient red dusty roof. He was of the opinion that the presence of the Olumo Rock tourist complex should have spurred more development in that area, at least within a reasonable radius of the complex. We talked about that for a while till something more interesting came up (which I can’t remember) and everyone moved on, but apparently I didn’t, and that’s why we’re here. …