Saturday, August 8, 2009

Whistler's Law

Call it Black it Juju, if you like...Obeah...Voodoo, or as it's more recently called, in Nigeria, and they should know, it Jazz!

I have encountered alot of ' witches ' in my life time...believe me this is true! But, the first percieved witch I had to deal with, and try and fob off, lived in our house when I was very young! As a matter of fact, I can't remember a time she wasn't there, and by the special grace of God, she....NO...she wasn't burned at the stake, but, by the special grace of God, she is still with Mom!!

I was so sure my mother was a witch, when I was very young, I am still young, so maybe I should say, when I was younger! Anyway, the story of my torture, goes like this; I hated vegetables, like most children do. But, unfortunately for me, in our family, back in the day, when men were men ( and they still are!! ), I had some weird sisters, three to be precise, whom I still have, again by the special grace of God. Anyway, they liked vegetables, or pretended to...pretty, much like my seven year old daughter, Khadija, who just loves salads, much to the horror of her two brothers, because it puts them under pressure to have to eat some! Although, I must commend Majid, who is a month short of seventeen, for begining to nibble on some lettuce, because he says; it's going to give him access to a certain type of girl! He figures that teenage versions of babes like; Rihanna, and Beyonce, will not exactly be eating fufu, so he needs to get with it! Anyway, back to Mom and the torture she put me through!

Because, she is from another part of the world ( we used to think she was from another planet! ), Trinidad to be precise, we didn't get alot of the Nigerian food, we used to crave...I even remember that I used to go and eat with our neighbor's stewards family, in their boys quarters, but don't tell my Mom I told you this! Ok, where was I, before I digress ? Yes, veggies! I tried to tell Mom, that I could do stuff like okro and egusi, but that the lettuce and avocado, didn't work for me. But, what would she do... she would force my mouth open, shove it in, and short of working my jaws with her hand, she'd make me eat it! She is sooOoo lucky, that we were totally uninformed in those days, and there was no cable, and mobile phones, or I would have called for them to come and take her if, even in 2009, in Nigeria, they would respond to a seven year old!

Years later, Trinidad 1985 to be precise. We were living in Diego Martin, Port of Spain during this time. I had grown nicely, or at least I ( the emphasis is on the I ), thought so, and at that age nobody else counts! Guess what tree we would have growing in our little garden at the back of the house? Yep! Avocado! I still hated it, in fact to be honest I had never eaten it before. It was the one thing I was adamant that I would never, Ever, EVER, touch! And I didn't! Then I grew, even more nice... lol! This now being not my own opinion, but the opinion of others lol! And I got married! And, guess what was my husband's favorite vegetable....avocado!

Now, I believe that there are no coincidences in life, and so it was obvious to me that this particular vegetable or whatever you prefer to call it, was destined to figure in my life! So four years ago, for the first time in my life, I ate an avocado salad....and I just loved it! Since then I eat it at least three times in a week! Not only does it taste good with tuna, tomato, cucumber and also lowers your cholestorol levels!

So...Shade...big deal! Ok, I know, it seems like, ( I actually am ), rambling! What's the point??? There's no point! Must there always be one! Well, maybe just a little lesson to be learned here, but if you actually think of it, maybe quite a few! And yes I know, I use alot of exclamation marks ( ! ), but isn't life just so exciting!

If I tell you I didn't start off this post with the intention of writing about avocado, you probably would not believe, except if you know me personally, because if you do, you would know that despite the fact that ' technically ' ( Majid's favorite term ), I am a master planner, I plan for the long term, but allow the shorter term to take care of itself. Maybe that's what I should write about - technicalities or long lerm versus short term planning! You all are thinking, you mean she isn't about to wrap this up! So, let's do it like this; if you are bored go and do something else, if not, the real story starts here!

Where was I? Now I remember, ( that sounds like Millie Jackson, I wonder if she's related to Michael...she's also an MJ! ), the real story, talk about being distracted! Here goes: I have agreed to ride from Cotonou to Accra, on motorbike, with my husband Tom and my son Majid next April. Please note: not as a ' passenger ', but on my own bike...No big deal you say, especially for those who know Tom, he has ridden from Abidjan to wherever and back! For those who know Majid...well, he too would do something like that! But, for those who know's stranger than...avocado lol!
And here's why:-

1. I have never ridden a motorbike. I am a frequent passenger...Agreed. I am one of the best female drivers in West Africa...Fact. I can ride a bicycle to Kutuwengi...Fallacy, ( technically, I can cycle, but not to Kutuwengi, simply because I'm not sure if such a place exsists! ). Thus, I am a bit worried about this voyage or escapade I have agreed to embark on!

2. I have some deep seated fears, which I push myself to overcome, and riding a motorbike is one of them. And I am very serious here. Let me just tell you a few of what my fears were or are, if you prefer, considering they may never actually go away, but they have kind of been brought under control.

a. Marriage - I was so sure it would be a stress, and it is! But positively so! That's why I had to do it so soon after meeting Tom, or I would never have done it...
Lesson one: Do not think too deep...Just Do It! ( Especially marriage lol!)

b. Driving on a long, dark, lonely, Nigerian expressway alone ( with no street lights and the possibility of ALL sorts ). I did that two years ago. I deliberately set out for Cotonou from Lagos in the dark, and I was scared as hell. My thinking always is, what if there was an emergency, and I HAD to do this thing? I believe that he subconcious knowledge that it's been done before, sort of like a trail run, allows you to function better in such a situation.
Lesson two: Do those things that you fear the most and liberate yourself.

c. Driving through deep water, alone. wouldn't believe this, but this is my worst nightmare. I think it comes from a childhood memory of our car being stuck in a puddle of water, when we were younger, and the driver, Mr. Odebiyi, I think, imagine I can still remember his name, threatening to drop me in it, as he carried us from the car to ' dry land ' lol.
Well, this June, it rained so hard for three days in Cotonou, and living near the beach means the storms break by us first, there's more water, and the way out is all sandy!
The short of it is, we were marooned in, Tom was in Ghana, and I was craving chocolate ice cream so badly, like I always do when it's cold! So Majid, my buddy, said, ' Mummy this is a good time to overcome those fears ' ( note he really was only interested in the ice cream )! And I told him, ' Majid, I can't, I'm scared. What if my car get's stuck, do I climb out of the window on to the roof, and then some stranger will carry me through the water ( hopefully ), and probably drop me in it? ' Then Majid explained to me that ' technically ' I couldn't get stuck, because the water was only about knee deep, and that my car was higher than that, and that it was a four wheel drive and as such would not stop once I kept accelerating gently, and that because of the position of the sump of the Mercedes, water couldn't get in the engine, and that...and that...and on and on...I was very, very, impressed with him... but I was still scared!
However, I went, I saw and I conquered! And I'm still scared at the thought, but I could do it over and over again if I had to!
Lesson three: ' Technically ' speaking, most of our fears are baseless, that is they are not founded in reality or fact, and yet they are so strong, they prevent us from doing things we CAN do! Remember the AVOCADO!

d. Cockroaches and mice: This one I have not yet been able to overcome, but I'm working on it lol!
Lesson four: Some fears just never go away, and cannot be overcome, but it doesn't matter!

3. I believe practice makes perfect, and knowledge is power! Suffice it to say, that I am just about to start my motorbike lessons. Tom has explained all the technicalities to me; ' once you ride a bicycle, you can ride a's actually safer than a car??...your awareness is heightened...your higab will blow in your face and cause you to crash if you try to wear it, Shade... trousers are better than a flowing jallabiya...and most of all it will be fun! '

We need to take charge of our lives. Our destiny lies in our own hands. We must overcome those things that hold us back, those things that hinder us. Success is just round the corner, indeed it is upon us, if we would only act. We cannot keep doing things the same way, if we want different results. We must remember that it's never too late to learn something new. We must strive to be happy. It's one life to live, and indeed the second half of life goes faster than the first.

Whistler's Law states; " You Never Know Who Is Right, But You Always Know Who Is In Charge! "

Get in the driver's seat of your life today! Fear is the only thing holding you back! Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of ridicule, even the fear of fear itself! Don't let them fool you, YOU are your own judge! Other people's opinions DO NOT count! Break down all barriers in your way, remove all obstacles! Affirm NOW... ' I AM IN CHARGE OF MY LIFE! '

' No One Knows Caution Like Regret. ' - Kenya

' You CAN Do It! '


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  2. I enjoyed reading this (as usual!), and I'm affirming it..."I AM IN CHARGE OF MY LIFE!"

    Nice write-up, thanks Shade!

  3. Very nice Shade...funny and real