I love Her (my tattoo)

My grandmother was the first person I saw with tattoos, she had eight to be exact. I was fascinated by the marks on her right forearm. Two scorpions, a bird, her name and some other drawings. As a child, I often asked her about the markings and she'd say 'igba sisi mi ni mo ya won' (I got them as a young woman) but that answer was never satisfactory. I moved to England and I forgot about Alhaja's tattoos until I turned 19. I got the urge to get my own tattoo and I thought of her. I know now there was some defiance behind her tattoos, my father told me so. When she was getting ready to marry my grandfather, he objected to her tattoos and she was given the option to either get the offending marks drawn over (my grandfather, a devout Muslim, did not like images of animals drawn on what he perceived to be a holy temple) or forget getting married. My Alhaja chose the latter and according to my father, she told Alhaji that the markings were there when they met and he liked her, so, they'll stay. They parted ways, he went off to fight the Germans in Algeria as part of Her Majesty's army and my grandmother married another man.

They met up again in 1949, my grandmother was about board a bus at
Adeniji Adele when they walked into each other. My father told me my grandfather knew she was already married then, he told her then that he'd seen so much death and destruction that he was no longer sure about God. He asked her about her tattoos, she told him she still had them. He told her he saw scorpions in the desert and he thought they were signs from her, offering him protection.
My Alhaja left her first husband at the age of 22, he had become a serial womaniser, who left home for weeks on end. They got married, Grandma and Pa, a month later, Alhaja wore a western style wedding dress that showed off her tatoos.

In the tattoo shop, I thought of getting a scorpion and I decided against it, I chose to dedicate my new tatoo to my Alhaja and all the women who raised me. So here..... (it says 'but for the love of sistahs)


I am still crunched, my project has been pushed back, I am less than happy about. I am seriously thinking about moving back home though, my plans for the year are rather skewed right now, I dunno. Home in this instance will be Lagos, where I was born. I have been in the UK for most of my life but the need to go 'home' never subsides. I am not one of those folks who emigrate and become so completely assimilated that 'home' hardly crossed their mind.

After my trip to Lagos two years ago, I realised just how vibrant Lagos is, I think it definitely has a spot for a girl like me, the only disturbing thing is how much I was reminded that 'you know you're a girl' it got a extremely annoying after a while. I will be the first to admit that I like a little drink and when that happens, I smoke. It's just something I started while I was living on campus. I a am social drinker and smoker, no big deal. Now, the former did not attract much attention, it was the latter. People thought it was okay, to tell me, a grown woman, that 'you know it's not good for a woman to smoke' to make it worse, dude who first said that to me was smoking! I told him where to stick it. One thing I try to do in life is to reserve judgement until I need to make it, it's annoying that people would reach a conclusion about me because I smoke and drink socially. That really bothered me to be honest and I was hanging out with a rather high brow crowd, I was under the foolish impression that they would perhaps be more accommodating . Anyway, the third time I heard it, I ignored it. (I must add that I did not dare drink, let alone smoke while I was in Eko, I did not want to send my grandmother to an early grave).

Oh, something else I realise is that a foreign accent gets you very far! My cousins, who all sound like 'butter kids' used me to get things, I swear I felt so damned awkward. The first time they did it, we went to Nando's I think and the service was not all that, my cousins were there arguing with the service people which was getting us nowhere then they asked me to ask for the manager, I did not understand why but I did, I took care to be polite, the woman apologised and offered us some free food! I declined, embarrased, I made us all leave. I was later informed that she only did that because I sounded foreign, which was slightly annoying. We got free tickets to some social events and got free entry to a beach (ok, that was in exchange for a cigarette, the beach was close to the Chevron Estate, I cannot remember the name.) I did not know you had to pay some sorta entrace fee to go the beach but hey, we got there and we almost the only ones and I swear it felt like heaven. It sounds kinda trite but being there on the beach, looking out at the ocean and being surrounded by my loved ones brought tears to my eyes.

I also got asked out a lot, but a lot the guys struck me as shallow oh! this older guy, I am sure he was older than my pops, also asked me out, he was the chairman of Eko Island Club (which meant nothing to me because I did not know what that was, not that it would have mattered) dude actually sent his body gaurds to come and bring me to him, I woulda been scared but for the fact that it was at my cousin's wedding and there was police everywhere. Yikes! I told him I'd be back because I did not want to be rude.

It was an obscene affair, the wedding. I am sure there were over a thousand guests, they had some comedian guy, Julius Agwu as the MC, the Governor's wife, Oba Akiolu, the Elegushi of somewhere and some top politicians were all there. I would hate to have such a wedding, it turned into some networking event. I felt sorry for the bride, I am sure people forgot it was supposed to be her day!

This has gone on for longer than I intended...

Hey Ya!

This credit crunch thing has really done a sista in! So, I am here thinking about a line from one of the most ubiqutous songs of the the noughties, 'if nothing lasts forever, what makes me love the exception?'.... This is not a question that I have ever tried to answer to but I think the question can be broken down, there are certain types of love that will and can last forever, I do not see how anyone/thing can rid me of the fierce love I have for my family, I guess that is love we all take or granted because it is assumed and we rarely have to work at it. I take it for granted that my siblings and my parents love me, I do not work at cultivating that love, it does not require me to put my best foot forward, it is a love that is complete. I feel it from time to time when my sisters go out their way for me, then my heart skips several beats and I remember that I am loved. That love I know, will be for the duration of our forevers, when it is we meet our maker, that love will be as strong as it is now.

Now back to the song, I am going to assume that dude was talking about romantic love, the kinda love that you feel in your fingers and toes ( yes, at the risk of sounding cliched, my left hand does get momentarily paralyzed when I see certain displays of romantic love, so, sue me!) I do not know if that love lasts forever, I have never been 'in-love', I have been in strong 'like' but never a head-over-heels kinda deal, nope! What I have seen and heard allows me to believe that love is some shape shifting emotion that does not remain the same for long. The initial rush of discovering something so precious,
the I want you by my side all the time or the we can't wait till the bedroom rush wears off. What is one left with? Two people who continue to grow, change ( for better or worse) so it is only right that the love does the same. I have seen people who could finish each others' sentences turn around and loathe each other and that always leaves me with questions, did this person change into some sorta ogre or did the 'love' run it course?

I am a romantic cycnic (the biggest oxymoron one can imagine), aside from the involuntary reaction my left hand suffers from, I have little time for all the mush, you know, flowers, chocolates and the like. So I feel that I am going to err on the side of those who believe that love is a transient emotion, I think one should enjoy it while it lasts and once it is finished, that is that.

When I express this view, my mother is shocked
'you are playing with loneliness' but that is a worry that does not cross my mind right now. I have seen many people suffer under the yoke of fear of being alone and like my friend says 'that one will not be my own portion o'. My plan in life is to know as many people as possible, travel different continents, I intend to open my mind and heart to the complexities of human emotions and maybe then my opinion on the matter will change but we'll see.

What do you all think?


I used to be a little African girl,
happy, confused and without a sweet tooth
Now, I am a grown Londoner, African still
but I was yanked into womanhood
by tobacco smoke
men who wanted to be freaked
and women who thought they were unique
Red light districts that prompted
'whys' and 'maybe(s)'
I grew to the sound of cries
ephemeral joy, a fodness for mechanical toys
and curiosity about non tow headed boys
Sprouted to drums of Fela

I grew to soon.

Friday Night.

I am not a fussy chick, never have been, so when he asked me what I wanted to do last weekend, I said surprise me. I left it at that. Come Friday night, a sista was getting ready, Maxwell in the background, tried and discarded outfits on my bed, I feel pretty good, after a stressful day at work, I was looking forward to mingling with friends, anyway, my phone rings;

L- hey, you ready yet?
H - err, I can't really decide where I wanna take you, bar hang or catch a film
L - I am not fussed, I just wanna get outta this place tonight
H - okay, I'll call you back....

I hate it when he does this, maybe I am being unfair expecting so much out of him, I mean we are not together but I do love his company.... We ended up at Grafton House a cool spot in SW London, I had a good time but I there was something missing............

Ladies (and Gentlemen) suggest what the missing 'thing' could be.


photo courtesy of: http://abdullahpope.blogspot.com/