Some are reaching
Few are there
I was a witness to that struggle; that eternal reaching struggle where we leave our souls at home and travel for hours to chase dreams along the banks of the lagoon, the marina, the Lekki peninsula. I was a witness to the ambition, the paper chase, the hellish grind, the reaching. I live in Lagos.
Or, actually, I live in *Las Gidi* and work in Lagos; the city is like a shrew with multiple personalities; like a cup of excellently brewed coffee that burns your tongue. I drink daily from her sweet-bitter cup. It’s the city of dreams and we the thronging masses reach for them daily——and there is nothing wrong with reaching. There is no condemnation for the possession of ambition. It’s just, we’re all reaching, but few are there.
Brother, brother, we all see
Your hiding out so painfully
I see you, my friend. I see the rejection that brought you here. I see how, maybe, you felt the need to prove yourself, how you wanted to be anything but the man your father was; to be better than him, to abuse yourself so that you might know how it felt to abuse the ones you loved, and the ones who loved you. I see how you wanted to know because maybe, somehow, in that knowing you might bring yourself to forgive him and to forgive yourself for being so human that you could not forgive him. It never makes easy sense.
It was rejection, until you tasted a little recognition and decided you couldn’t live without it. You decided you wanted to be accepted by ‘the crowd’ who had made acceptance a thing, and who dangled it before you, just outside your reach, like raw flesh to the nose of a tame wolf. You wanted people to laugh at your jokes, and be needy for your recognition, to recognise your name——your social media name——before they recognised you. But this is not your pedestal. This contract wasn’t drawn up on your terms, and the exclusion clauses apply. We wrote the small print for you:
You can reach all you want, but we reserve the right to change these terms without notice. We reserve the right to fuck up your life because we can. Now sign here.
A lover’s rain will wash away
Your envy, and your fear
Ah! Love. That beautiful, wonderful, treacherous thing. That time when your faith turned out to be a blessing, and then a mistake a little bit later. That time when you took your peace and your entire everything and exchanged it for a stranger’s fucking baggage! You ended up broken, stretched out on the floor of your naked, tiled room, dressed in your work clothes, clinging to heartbreak songs for life support, wondering how that first, simple ‘hello’ had evolved into this thing threatening to ruin your life and push you over the edge to emotional desolation. It’s been a while now, but you haven’t forgotten. Love sends his apologies.
Take away the cause of pain
By showing her we’re all the same
So maybe you want to muster your faith again; the eyes-closed, heart-pounding kind of faith it takes to let go and fall, and find yourself, and be found. But it’s been way too long. It’s been so long that you’ve, quite frankly, become happy with being lost.
Still, you have dreamed this dream (where you meet a stranger) a thousand times. You have refined it, and perfected it, and changed its clothes, and dressed it with elastic expectations. It’s a lofty, layered ideal, tough to live up to. Your prospects will always fall short. But this faith you have in love is your one sin, and you find yourself surrounded by saints.
So maybe next week, or next month, or in three years, after you disband your heartbreak committee and open yourself wide up again, but not too wide; maybe love will brew you a storm.
So have no envy, and no fear
Because we all are somehow broken; and life breaks us all when it breaks one of us. We all are lost, or dreaming, or searching for something. We all are striving to become.
So cry if life makes you. Sing when you’re winning. Break out in random dance. Live every minute with the full knowledge that life is too short, and too fragile, and you only live it once.
Beanie Sigel once said, ‘I’m not the captain of the yacht, but I’m on the boat.’
And that is how you live. That is how you approach life; tongue out, middle fingers ready, arms wide open, breeze in your face, scarf flying in the wind, one eye closed, the other open, big grin fixed on your face…because, screw every veritably damned thing that tries to get in your way. Because, why the hell not?
That is how you live fully. That is how you die empty; without envy, and without fear.