Who’s there?

At the door of death I stand; a tree of ashes

At the door of life I stand; with roots routing for escape

Knocking, demanding, crying for time to standstill; hoping for life anew.

tltweek124photo by Luis Alfonso Orellana via Unsplash



Written for Sonya’s three line tales week 124.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chivalry and his buddy gender (1)

The MacGregor brides,
Sophie’s heart
The Hawk and the jewel.
As sure as the dawn.

I spent most of my teenage years reading books like those listed above. Pages filled with vibrant descriptions of tall, dark and handsome men causing red hues to rise in the hearts and faces of maidens, mine included. Scenes of majestic horses galloping through bloody fields, guided by strong muscle ribbing arms, arms that will through the pages learn to cradle and caress another tenderly.
I also watched a lot of movies, My fair lady, Odyssey, Gone with the wind, North and South, Oscar, Sinbad, and the seven seas, Gladiator, etc. Movies with similar themes to the above novels. Together (the books and the movies) would transport me to eras gone by, to a time when life wasn’t so complicated and courtesy/manners were things to aspire to, not weaknesses. However, they would also carry out a more sublime form of social conditioning.

Good/real men became symbols of salvation (people who put others first), confidence and a certain allure of mystique which enabled them to make sound decisions. Good/strong women, on the other hand, were considered as calm, demure, wily (for positive outcomes), emotionally attuned, strength wasn’t necessarily good or bad. Then we had the atypical individuals who due to nature or nurture did not fit these profiles, but would through the course of the movie/book find themselves and would ultimately align in some way with the above.

Chivalry was a major theme of such stories. I found it endearing, as I believe it showed how humans regardless of era, societal norms and culture, acknowledged the innate human need to be heard by another.

Chivalry (noun):
​a. Very polite, honest, and kind behavior, especially by men towards women
​b. The system of behavior followed by knights in the medieval period of history, that put a high value on honor, kindness, and courage. (Cambridge dictionary).

Should we get rid of chivalry? Is the act something to be frowned up? Is chivalry anti-feminism? Is saving women and children first, anti-feminism? Is chivalry against gender equality? I do not know if there is a straightforward answer to these questions. However, I do think the following:

1.Feminism isn’t about the oppressed subduing the oppressor.
2.Feminism is about giving everyone male or female (who wants it) a sit, a corner, an angle on issues that interests and affects them.
3.Feminism is about treating everyone with dignity, kindness and having the courage to stand for what is true, what is right and what is just.
4.Feminism is ensuring that you can be you and I can be me within confines that harm no one, including the individual in question.
5.Feminism isn’t about erasing our differences, creating a unisex environment and blurring every line of divide.
6.Feminism is allowing a man to be as masculine as he desires provided it does not harm another or break the law. It’s allowing a woman to be as feminine as she desires, provided it harms no one or breaks the law.

Eliminating the use of pink or blue for girls and boys respectively, or shop aisles designated for different gender or buying only unisex toys or clothes are in my opinion distractions from the wider debate. Bringing up your children to view human life from conception to old age as sacred, teaching them life skills irrespective of gender, effective communication skills and equipping them with the tools to be resilient and attuned to their emotion is far more valuable.

The following quote is often used to discuss the value of education across the world especially in third world countries: “If you educate a woman, you educate a family, if you educate a girl, you educate the future.” Queen Rania of Jordan. Is the quote true or reflective of reality? Should we discard of this quote? If you answered yes and no respectively to the afore questions, then it is safe to say that women and children should still be saved first in the face of crisis. It is important to remember that those who are physically vulnerable are often prioritized before other groups such as children and women. Equally important is the ability and right of a woman to say, ‘don’t worry about me, let me help out first’. This has been known to happen and until you are in those conditions please do not make statements that can have damaging consequences. Perhaps we could say children and their caregivers first.

The new school of thought that propagates the destruction of all traditional guidelines or beliefs is worrisome. ‘Out with the old and in with the new’, sadly I find the new to often be half-thought arguments, centred on indulgent premises, rather than a holistic approach. (Take a look at Brexit, at Trump and climate change or gun law) I stand to be corrected if my thoughts are ill-founded.

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Reach for the sun honey, it doesn’t know your gender.

Having said the above, I must admit that there are things which still need to be re-evaluated; including the view of marriage in different gender circles. Women are taught to view it as an achievement, while men view it as an entrapment. Women approach it as a child would a kinder egg surprise, men approach it as a child would a fist pointed in their face from a dark shadow. It is no surprise that both end up having a tumultuous time in the first few years. Marriage is only an achievement if you both acknowledge and respect the time, energy and resources the other has pledged to you. I don’t think we ever deserve people, we earn people. We earn their affections, their respect, their allegiance. Our prices/ values both emotional and economic change as we grow older, for some, it becomes cheaper and for others, it becomes more expensive.

There will always be issues for every human era to tackle. In a bid to effect change we must not turn situational solutions into lifelong rules. In the same manner, we must not be afraid to tackle the status quo. Through it all we shouldn’t be hasty to pledge allegiance, loyalty is still an admirable and faith building trait.

Woman where art thou?

I remember lying down flat on the red dusty gravel filled soil in front of my secondary school dormitory, I remember wondering what did I ever do to deserve this?

I remember the demands of a ‘senior girl’ that I fill her cup with beverages from my provision; I remember being sent to kneel down for an hour under the scorching sun for not obliging the request.

I remember feeling out of place for being a girl, sometimes enjoying its benefits, other times absolutely abhorring its natural calls.

I remember crying my eyes out as they teased me for having a boyfriend in junior secondary school. I remember smiling as an undergraduate after a date.

I remember smiling at my aunt’s kids, thinking how much fun it would be to have a baby. I remember looking at my four month old daughter, wishing I could ship her away to my mum for a while.

I remember sitting at home pregnant with my daughter, wishing the four walls of the room played out scenes from my favourite movies or served as portals to my favourite places. I remember catching a forty-five-minute bus each way to school and back, going to work when I could, while logging around my ever growing second pregnancy.

I remember feeling content with speaking to dear ones through social media thankful the drama of sharing personal space was cut out, I remember wishing I had my mom with me in the labour room.

I remember that through all these times I have always felt that I had no choice but to be strong. I remember feeling the need to make sure my burden hung squarely on my shoulder and on no other.

I remember wishing I could become a child again.

This is my personal journey and most of it has been my choice, while others have been thrust on me my circumstances. It’s interesting to see a come thread running through my journey, a myth that I had come to believe at an early age; the myth that every real woman is strong, able to shoulder every challenge. I absolutely scoffed at women/girls who cried so easily, women/girls who worked their wiles on others to get their way. I especially find it hard to cajole people, a trait that makes me a poor salesperson except when on a mission. And after many years of being me ‘the way I wanted’, motherhood has shaped me into someone who has had to embrace every facet of herself.

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I have learned to cry simply to relieve my tension, to not feeling worried that others might see me as weak or manipulative, because if they feel that way perhaps they feel guilty for not doing enough.
I am learning how to make both impromptu and well thought out decision through checklists.
I am learning to refine my communication skills, realising that patience is very important to the process.
I am adapting to the possibility that living day by day does not make my life less impactful than having high powered dreams/goals. I am accepting that it might be slow but it is not meaningless.

As I read the three waves of the feminist movement, I can’t help wondering what was the overriding goal of each phase? I find myself coming back to the word choice. Without choices, life would probably be crippling, both mentally and physically. Everyone wants the right of way on the narrow streets of life. Sadly this is not possible, thus the need for rules and laws, but if the law gives right of way to Mercedes or Nissan brands only hasn’t it failed in being equitable? This is perhaps why road signs/instructions address car dimensions and potential and not brands.

Humans much like cars come in different dimensions, and varying horse powers regardless of similar dimensions. I don’t know much about cars but I assume it would be unrealistic to expect all cars with a 2.0 engine to perform exactly the same way. There are several factors which would impact on its performance including brand, model, driver, country of use, other components etc. All these factors determine the pricing of these cars. Women(men) are in the same way similar and it’s my belief that what most women want is to be treated in ways that respect their individuality, giving them room to accomplish their dreams.

Whether in their personal or professional lives, women want to have the right to progress in any direction. They don’t expect rules to favour Mercedes above Nissan, rather they want rules that keep everyone safe on the road. Choice …. choice. Sadly this idea offends many, for a choice in the corporate world might ultimately cement the place of choices in the community. It is as though the world prefers to confer rights on a maladjusted man rather than any woman. Sometimes a Childs’ choice seems more valued than a woman. We prefer that which might be seen as frivolous than one which requires thoughtful and considerate engagement.

Bringing the point closer to the home front, often in the family we find the womans choice clinching loosely at the bottom of the scale of preference. We have taught our sons the act of having the final say, of laying down the rules, of taking charge without knowing what they are actually in charge of. We have taught our daughters the perfect timing for the first word, the perfect sequence for following instructions, the act of supporting missions without teaching them how to spot impossible missions. 20180106_174851

We failed to teach both how to construct the middle bit of the conversation, how to get to build up to an amicable conclusion. We have taught them to imagine a beautiful end but equipped them for a bloody battle of wits, choices, manipulative skills and little about integrity in the confines of a small room with an audience of one. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Where are your choices taking you? What sort of woman are you becoming?

Your tears are not your shame
Your scars are no regrets
Your strength is not in words
Your weakness is not in silence
defined by a moment you are not
shaped by moments you will be
live those moments truly and wholly.

Choices come at a price but certainly not the price of being superhuman. Society has equated a woman who wants the same privilege for the same role/responsibility as a woman who wants to be a man. Should choices take away from our masculinity or femininity? If my husband asks for help lifting heavy items does that make him less masculine or me less feminine? Earning more or less, exploring my potential doesn’t change my gender or does it? Should it.? How I chose to display my feminine side is subjective to me. Some people will earn more income and undergo personality changes, others won’t, should this be the bases for rules?

In my opinion, the only feminine movement that counts is that which protects the individual woman, giving her room to grow and blossom. To explore her choices, curbing them only when they mitigate harmfully against another. They say we are our own worst enemies and it is true. When last did you complement, support or encourage another woman?

There is a universal truth: we can’t have it all. However, there is another truth: we always have something to add, to own.

What’s your choice worth?

Tailored

The fabric of my life

a pattern above my head

is nothing short of typical days

a messy crisscross of stiches

hemming together

a dress

a shirt

a …..

Restart again

The fabric of my life

an apparel perfect to form

a weaving of colours

shimmering as the sun

shinning as the moon

hemmed together,

a piece

two pieces

three layers

Restart again….

The fabric of my life

as told by the seamstress

is a beauty

less seen, more felt

yet a while before it is complete.

 

 

Level up

Like shadows on a plain
A solidarity in depth we share,
seemingly oblivious of our varying frame.

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Like rising shadows from the vale,

A disparity in height emerges,

youthful gale an illusive veil.

 

Like shadows in the dark,

A blade carving slowly through illusions heart 

reality dawns with a harsh bark.

 

Like shadows embracing the light,

A rebirthing occurs 

strengthened arms ready to write.

We assume to be on the same level with others based on the visible, however some have more room for growth than others. Thus some limit themselves whilst others overestimate their capacity for growth. 

Life is very smart. Under certain circumstances you’re on top and under others you’re limited or in need of more growth. Never become complacent.

 

 

From 2017 with love

Dear CHIOMA,

It’s good to see you once again at the brink of a new dawn; it is interesting to see how you have faired through your journey. I remember the last time we met, you had some doubts about the future but I was certain the end had drawn neigh for you. Alas we both forgot the one who stands before and within you, me moreso than you. I will never forget the moment He interrupted our dance, the moment our little tete a tete spun out of my control and settled nicely into His. Darn Him for having your deep seated attention.

All the same I will always cherish my little victories; moments when you cried, moments when you made a mountain out of a mole hill, times when you swore never to hope again. But like every good thing those moments came swiftly to an end and you sprang back into action despite your scars. If I hadn’t promised to feast on your joy I would have cheered for you and the strength that brought you to where you’re right now. Things never seem to go my way, and it’s all because of those silly words, you know the ones

‘all things work together for the good of them that love the lord blah blah blah….’

It was still fun watching you stumble and fall while you learnt the lessons He cleverly scripted into my scheme. Like when you learnt to not fear the worst possible outcome in that particular situation. I had hoped to hold that over you, to riddle you with guilt, shame, and despair. You mortals often feel failure is the end, the truth as you have learnt is rather much simpler. ‘The acceptance of failure as defined by oneself or society as an identity is the end.’ If you reject the label, the identity then you can rewrite the end of your story, which in real terms never ends until you breath your last. I guess once you discovered that lesson my grip on your reality took a nose dive.

But I still had to try, didn’t I? I mean it’s not a victory until your opponent fails to rise again and by jove that’s what you kept doing. 20171226_151906.jpgAnd as you watched your daughters bubbles fall to the ground rather than rise into the skies you acknowledged the single truth that time, chance and motive is indeed all that separates heroes from villains, mediocrity from success. You understood that though the bubbles had the inherent ability to soar they lacked the momentum and conducive environment to rise into the sky. But you also learnt that fallen bubbles regardless of stagnant conditions harbour an ability to bring joy to a little girl as she popped them even in the harsh winter breeze. Again it reminds me of words from that book again,

‘for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.’

I am not a sore looser or at least I like to think I am not but I have to say I am not pleased you got away. You can be sure  I will be visiting you again although my name will be a bit different.

Goodbye from sultry seven

Get ready to welcome sexy Eight.

 

The story that is us.

The story that is us, is the story

of delicate tendrils stretching through red soil.

The gods foretold its future,

‘cursed is the seed left un-watered 

beneath the haze of golden rays.

For though it carries the future,

it shall wither like

the cracks on the heels of a sojourner in the desert.

The story that is us, is a story

of angry tears beating down viciously on a smile.

The gods declare 

it is a rainbow 

hope in the midst

of opposing yet interlinked natural events.

Tomorrow shall yet come,

as surely as the tortoise has a home in its shell.

The story that is us, is a story

of shoots reaching out to golden rays

beckoning for a hug.

Chanting  ‘I know not when nor how

but one day I shall spread my branches high to the heavens

and my roots down to squash hades.

The gods are bemused,

for the story that is us

is not theirs to write but for the future to unravel.

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As thy self …

I got to the bus stop minutes ahead of the bus, did my regular inventory:

Ticket ……..  X

Purse ………  X

Shopping bag …… X

Phone ….. X

Everything was in place, ready to board the bus. There’s only two of us waiting for the bus, which reduces any likelihood of having to stand for the journey. The bus pulls up right on time and my fellow passenger courteously indicates that I should board first. I confidently place my prepaid ticket on the scanner and it’s not long before reality sinks in; my ticket has expired. I reach into my purse only to discover I didn’t have enough change to pay the fare. Oh well, turns out I hadn’t done the most important inventory after all, have I? Turning to disembark from the bus, I hear the other passenger calling me back and without much ado my fare is paid.  I felt the tears start to pool in my eyes.

I could say the passenger paid my fares for several different reasons

  1. He had excess money
  2. He took pit on my bump
  3. He wanted to show he wasn’t racist (I know right, how much more political can the mind get?)
  4. Or simply it was a kind act sent my way, a reminder that the universe still had atoms of agape love floating through the stratosphere.

One could also wonder why I would get on the bus without a valid ticket or cash in my purse:

  1. Baby brain (yeap a reliable get out of jail free card)
  2. I was hoping for a miracle.( I hope for one every morning anyways)
  3. Or I thought my week long ticket would run from Tuesday to Tuesday rather than Tuesday to Monday (having only bought this for the first time). And I don’t carry extra cash because I  keep looking for random things to buy. 

Thankfully I didn’t repeat the same mistake again on my way home, however I made a different one. As a student I am entitled to a discount on my fares, but I need my identity card to get this discount. I guess you know by now how that went today, I didn’t have my ID card at hand so no discount for me. Having paid my fare, I sat down for a short reflective ride home.

I wondered how trivial life issues can be and how we sometimes derive false value and identity from the things we have and the circumstances that surround us. I could view everything that happened to me today as a serious turn of misfortune and sad occurrences in my life. I could overlook the kind act in the morning by thinking of how it should not be happening to someone like me at this stage of my life. I should have a car, I should, I should ….. 

In life our self image is revolved around three things

I am ….. who we are and whose we are. Our strengths, our weaknesses.

I have ….. what resources we have:  family, friends, money, property etc never devalue anything.

I can …. how we pull things together to help us.

But we must never anchor who we are on what we have or what we can pull together. Our core should be based on the ‘I AM’. Every other thing is subject to change and depreciation. A friend who carries you at 20 (both mentally and physically) might not be available to carry you at 60/80 for several different reasons (death, old age, falling apart, distance etc). Isn’t it amazing how the ‘I AM’ controls how you relate with the I have and I can components. You can’t receive or give what you’re not.

Love thy neighbour as thy self.

You will value your neighbour as you value your self.

I will be back …..

20170711_110003.jpgMy new car spied on my way home.

 

 

 

Identify yourself

A weed: a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially : one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants. 2.) an obnoxious growth, thing, or person.

A parasite: An organism which lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense. 2.) A person who habitually relies on or exploits others and gives nothing in return.

A crop/plant: a plant or animal or plant or animal product that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence <an apple crop> <a crop of wool> (2) :  the total yearly production from a specified area b :  the product or yield of something formed together.

At every point as individuals we behave or are viewed as weeds, parasites or crops by the world around us. Any crop can become a weed simply by overgrowing it’s desired limit. A parasitic plant is by nature a parasite, crops rarely morph into parasites, they can harbour parasites but by nature they are not intrinsically parasitic.

It’s important to note that a weed and a crop are both classified based on the intent or expectations of another. A parasite is often less frowned upon than a weed, because the mind believes it can contain/control the parasite but not a weed. A weed looks too much like what we planted, what we desire; it blends into what we are expecting thus the fear that it might replace the actual crop.

Who’s the crop, weed and parasite in your life? 

What’s your role in the life’s of those around your?

A plant takes but it also gives back what it’s designed to give.

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This book taught me …

First I must apologize to all my blogging friends who have published books, I promise to get to them slowly, but surely. Several reasons stand between me and that objective ( a major one being that I prefer paper print to electronic print when it comes to reading a book), regardless I will make good on my words. Now to the lesson(s) from the second book I have read this year (yes I know very poor for a self-acclaimed avid reader) but I don’t consider half read books or books read over months in this category.

Title: It’s not me, It’s you

Author: Mhairi MaFarlane.

Lesson 1: In every relationship, there will always be a party who in some light seems to want it more than their partner. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and is often insignificant until something goes wrong, creating a chasm in a once ‘secure’ bond. Often the more devoted party isn’t necessarily desperate or dumb, rather they like a prospective investor have overestimated the returns from a venture. Like the main character in the book they sometimes ignore glaring problems or view them as necessary evils that accompany every process. They invest emotions by positive words and actions into building the relationship. The second party, however, is more complacent, more often than not they see no need for overt affection, their true personalities lie behind a mask and they underestimate/disrespect the other person’s feelings and value. This probably occurs as a certain degree of value is assumed when one is sort after.

Does this mean the main character was wrong to go after a guy she ‘fancied’, I don’t think so? However, it’s important to always evaluate your relationships every now and then, by yourself and with your partner. It all boils down to owning your choices and accepting that other are responsible for theirs. Understanding that you both owe it to each other especially in a relationship, to be honest, and respectful to yourselves as individuals and partners at all times.

Every object in a market stall has an inherent value.

The one who buys it’s no more a fool for the purchase

as the object is a demi-god for it’s appeal to the buyer.

Lesson 2: how an individual views your imperfection plays a key role in how they treat and view you.It determines where you stand with them as equals or not quite on the same level. The main character had a ‘flaw’ of being wide-eyed and perhaps timid, this character trait evoked different responses. It struck a protective cord in one of the male characters, and in another, it encouraged an exploitation of her nature for selfish benefits.

Choose the one you

respect their strengths,

are willing to nurture through their weakness,

and love through the waves.

Choose the one who feels likewise about you.

Lesson 3: a woman’s waistline will forever be linked to the wandering legs of her partner. A man’s waistline might stay the same, thus the diminishing state of his ’emotional and considerate’ waistline long before the growth of her waistline is overlooked. There are no books or chronicles documenting the aforementioned strange phenomenon and it links a sudden attack of ‘waywarditis’ in men.

Last words: a good read picked solely because of its title, I enjoyed reading it and I needed a laugh. Not a fan of the swear words, though.

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