Emotional

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Transition is very emotional. I think about all that I left behind to be here but what I have and what I hope to achieve, far outweighs it. I once walked on dusty streets without sidewalks and worried about the mosquitoes sucking blood from my children as they slept at night. How many times I had to patched those holes on the mosquitoes nets but they still found their way in. They even became immune to the insecticides that were supposed to eliminate them, they won the war and buzzed in our ears to remind us of their victory.

The heat due to lack of electricity, the wet pillows that we sought comfort from, drenched in our own midnight sweat. The next battle became the war against malaria.

My kitchen where I could not preserve my cooking, my food gone to rot, the refrigerator died due to power fluctuation. Rats crept under the metal door and continuously fed on our food storage competing with the cockroaches both big and small. I went to bed at night and lay beside a man I once called my husband, pretending to love him to avoid his fist yet thinking about the other man I once loved but could not be married to due to society’s disapproval. I craved for him silently accepting my loss and struggling to accept my lot.

I went to a job I had to, it frustrated me to be there but it provided for the family. I drove for one and a half hours through the madness of Lagos traffic to get there in the comfort of my four wheel drive,one of my proudest accomplishments. I remember the day I bought that SUVĀ and tore the rubber off it, I sat in the drivers seat, clenching the steering wheel and sucking in the smell of my brand new ride. It saw me though that arduous journey to work, serenaded by the music of Celine Dione playing in my CD player. I worked hard to pay the bills, I frequently awoke at midnight to pursue the passion that kept me sane, I had to make art, I had to paint, I just kept painting. Sometimes, I’d stagger to work the next day still sleepy from the lack of sleep. Grateful for my cozy parking space and the cushioned seats in my jeep which became a haven to catch up on lost sleep. Leaving work, I would drop my managerial hat at the door and go home to continue in my role of mother and wife, one that sometimes gave me joy but also wore me out, I had to stay inspired, I had to keep on painting.

Staying true to my passion and holding on to my dreams, here I am now in San Francisco California. My art paved the way for me. I am walking on the sidewalks of tarred roads adorned with dog pup and pee, a sight I have gotten used to, never complaining due to my immigrant gratitude. Household pest and rodents now a thing of the past. There is electricity, I actually drink water from the tap, my food stays refrigerated and I only perspire when I go to the gym. The scars of the mosquito bites that once covered my children’s skin, now all faded away , drifting with the memories of the discomfort they once felt. I am painting to pay the bills now and I am working two jobs that I love. I read about my art in newspapers and magazines from authors I never knew. My paintings are being collected by art lovers whom I never had pervious affiliations with. I am constantly inspired to make art . I am motivated by this and yet another source…..

Emotional again with a heart full of thankfulness, I find myself loving again. I have taken a dive,I am deep in it, wearing my heart on my sleeves and shaking in my boots in the fear of a heartbreak. I constantly remember all that I have been through in the name of love. It has given me much happiness yet caused me so much sorrow that I gave up on it. So why am I doing this again. There are forces on earth that we cannot comprehend and this one is not on me. Greek mythology blames it on Cupid, I tend to agree. I am not in control, I got carried away by a weird winding wind that dropped me in his arms. It cast a spell on me and I am in a hypnotic state. I am in love but I am afraid. I am emotional.

Stranger

He looks in the mirror but he sees not himself, he sees the man inside him, the one he struggles to hide, the one that he denies, he sees himself but he knows not who he is. He is a ‘Stranger’.

In search of identity, in search of truth. We often ask ourselves who we are. We think we know but we know not. Our curiosity leads us down an unwinding path of self discovery.

Stripped down to the bone and still searching for our identity. Who are we? where did we come from? why are we here.

Who is black and who is white and all the inbetweens? Why is racial classification so deep rooted in society.

If we all strip off the flesh that clothes our bones, then are we all not the same. Then who does that make us?

What we are is beyond what we see, we need to confront the stranger within in order to begin the search for our true identity.SONY DSC

Le Fantasico

As a child , I remember watching those Brazillian festivals on TV. Their exotic, colorful and revealing costumes, well toned bodies, flashy and shiny make up and athletic performances that made their street festivals look so much fun. O! how I dream of Brazil. My parents travelled to Brazil and bought me this lovely spaghetti strapped dress. It had somany colors that it lit me up like a rainbow. I wore it till it became a skirt and I wore that skirt till it could fit me no more.

When I was twelve, I took part in the West Indies Festival in Lagos Nigeria. I was a Fire Bird, with a big bright orange head gear and fire feathers on my arms and my tails. We danced the streets, we showed off our colors, we wagged our tails as we made merry. I was having my own Brazillian Festival moment, one I would never forget.

Comming to America and learning so much more about the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, I have learnt that a lot of kidnapped Africans were taken to Brazil and enslaved there. The Brazillian culture has subsequently been highly influenced by Africans. The music, the dancing, the food, the dressing and so much more. No wonder I loved those Brazillian festivals so much.

Living here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have found a touch of Brazil. It reminds me of how they sang ‘Le Fantasico’ as they paraded the streets of Brazil.SONY DSC