Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thoughts Round-up

Okay, so A LOT of things have been swirling around in my mind lately. Thoughts about my future, body issues, guys, family, finances...just about EVERYTHING has come to mind. And although I honestly believe that I am the most scatter-brained person out there, I have realized through reading a various list of other blogs that I am not as strange as I initially thought myself to be. It takes reading the oddly similar experiences of others to completely realize that we are not as "unique" and "different" as we have been told we are. Reading blogs has become a way of mine to reading "minds" (a superpower I have ALWAYS wanted btw, I was and continue to be so jealous of Jean Grey and Professor Xavier). Anyway, here is a round up of my thoughts spoken by others:

From Jezebel.com

On narcissism:

me: ok sorta weird question: do you think the world would be a better place if you were in charge?
danny: haha at times i feel like i could run the world better than the people that actually do it because they seem to do really illogical and immoral things but then realisitically i know that i could never wield that much power and deal with the stress that they must have
me: ha me too
so that question was actually from a test for narcissism, which people say is on the rise in college students — do you think people your age are more or less self-centered than older people, or the same?
danny: hmmm, my gut reaction was to say that people my age are more self centered
but i think thats natural because were at that point where we have to figure out what to do with the rest of our lives so we spend a lot of time thinking about our own lives and maybe less about other important issues in the world not to say that there arent a lot of people my age who aren't self centered because i know there are but i think it is natural for people my age to be that way, sort of absorbed in their own life trying to figure everything out.

sensitivitycop 06/28/10
This was pretty hopeful. I used to think poorly of many of the "generations" that have developed during my lifetime, but i really like this generation. In the last ten years I've seen young people respond to 9/11 with their lives and respond to George W. Bush with Barak Obama. While this generation may be a little obsessed with disclosing TMI at a LOL rate, I think we're turning a corner from the utter selfishness that youth were encouraged to develop throughout the 80's and 90's to an attitude that is more open to the service of others (although there was some amazing rock n roll in the 90's.

From Racialicious.com

rawrsydney 06/07/10

"Oh, how much can I relate? This is like me, two years ago. 'Educated, liberal' white people will go to school with you, sit at the lunch table with you, and got 'tsk-tsk, in today's world even?' every time some FOX news pundit lets his true colors show, but start making eyes at them? 'You're pretty, FOR A BLACK GIRL, but I'm just not into black girls. It's just a preference, like with hair color.' Yeah, sure buddy. If they dated a blonde who dyed their hair brown, red, or cotton-candy-pink, they'd just find that something to overlook. Then there's the 'but-my-parents-would-disown-me' excuse (IMO, any parents who would disown their child over their SOs skin color is an unfit parent and never loved their kid in the first place). After hearing all that, why not just be asexual for a while until you find a nice safe black boy? And the media doesn't help any. On TV, how often is a black woman, no matter how beautiful, portrayed simply as a desirable woman to a non-black man, as opposed to a wise-cracking, head-snapping, asexual best friend sidekick? MAYBE, she can be the token in a parade of hot, otherwise white women. Or, if she's Halle Berry, Rosario Dawson, Rashida Jones, or Zoe Saldana, she can be attractive.....and even they are painted blue or playing white/Hispanic half the time. You have John Mayer acting like 'my dick is racist' is cool to say, and many men are eating it up, thinking it's edgy to say 'the only black woman I'd ever do is Beyonce/Halle Berry/whatever' as long as they prefix it with 'I'm not racist, I voted for Obama and I LOVE rap music.' Often, I see guys who do gravitate towards black women (and I don't mean to the exclusion of anyone else or who fetishize black women, just guys who won't immediately dismiss her because she's darker than a paper bag) get made fun of. 'So and so has jungle fever' or 'ha, of course what's his face is talking with the black one.' Surrounded by all that, a white guy who'd normally be accepting will be brainwashed into ignoring black girls, or hide any attraction to black girls to avoid comments from his friends and family.

Personally, my boyfriend is white, and one reason I'm with him because I know if anyone, even his dear old grandma, made a comment about it, he'd tear them a new one. Not that most of his family would; another factor is of course how these men are raised. If their dads are only checking out the waitresses with long blonde hair and skinny ankles, but calling any black woman passing by with a kid in her arms and a designer purse a 'trashy ghetto welfare queen,' what's he gonna learn? That the only desirable women fit a specific, generic mold, and most black women are trashy and ghetto, and therefore undesirable. I'll mimic what I hear the 'educated, liberal' whites saying: tsk-tsk. Even in today's world."

From bglhonline.com

"The reason why the third world exists is because these nations have agreed to follow European standards of wealth, professionalism, and civilization"

-Blacqinfinite, from bglhonline.com

From Def Poet Lemon

"May you find that the Lord? may not come when you call, but He's always on time."

From eatthedamncake.com

Rob (R.M. Levitt) responded on 02 Jun 2010 at 1:23 pm

"I think that by defining your identity around breaking down old stereotypes, you give those stereotypes just as much power over you as if you completely validated them. In a way, you just become a different kind of stereotype: the person who conforms to nonconformity!

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “Women [and men! —R.M.] can and should be whatever it is that they feel inclined to be.” That’s a healthy kind of feminism that doesn’t ridicule women who like to bake cookies, and the male equivalent doesn’t tell us we’re gay if we don’t like football.

By the way, I suck at math!"


Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm going to be like her one day....

I was peeking around a tumblr called Afrolicious, and I found this wonderful photo. I can't wait for the day when I radiate sensuality and confidence like this woman. She's fabulous.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Being "African"...

There are so many contradictions to the statement. However when I use the word "contradiction", although it carries a negative connotation, it is those apparent "contradictions" that make being and "African" so powerful. I don't remember how many times I have mentioned it to others that Africa is a CONTINENT, not a COUNTRY! However, when someone asks me if I am African, I do not refute them and answer, "no! I'm not an AFRICAN, I am a NIGERIAN". In fact, I agree, and this is my usual reply "Yes, I am African, I'm from Nigeria."

Ah ha! In that one statement, I am clarifying not only my continental identity, but the identity of the country I come from. It is comparable to asking someone, "Are you North American?" and they replying, "Why yes! I'm from Canada." The only difference is that the majority of people recognize that there are different countries in North America, while that same majority believe that Africa is a mass, a lump of people; they fail to distinguish the countries that make up the continent.

Does that mean that songs, banners, slogans, sayings, and movements promoting a "United Africa" are enabling and thereby continuing the misconception of a "Country of Africa", a continent filled with a homogeneous group of people? This is where the "contradiction" I mentioned earlier makes it's appearance.

I bet some people would reply "yes" to the question I just posed. But this is how I see it: I have a strong identity of being an "African", hence, being a person from the continent of Africa, and therefore, I have a bond with others from the continent. Even if the people are not a part of the same ethnic group as I, even if the people do not speak the same language as I, even if the people do not worship the same god as I, even if they people are not from the same country as I, there is an inevitable bond there. It is a bond that comes from a history of oppressed, suffering, surviving, thriving, and resilient people from the continent of...AFRICA.

Hence, when I meet a person from Ethiopia, Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, etc..., I feel a connection with them. To an extent, they have seen some of the things I have seen, and they understand about the blatant corruption that plagues our countries. And although the same things happen elsewhere in the world, I feel a stronger connection this regard when I meet other Africans (as biased as that might seem). I must note this a connection that not shared by many others in other continents. For what I have observed, there is not that same "bond" between countries in North America (i.e. Canada, Mexico, USA) nor is that bond seen in Asia. From what I know, Russians do not have a "bond" with their Chinese, Mongolian, Indian, Pakistani, etc, counterparts.

...but as "KUMBAYA MY LORD" as this sounds, I must mention the nationalistic and ethno-centric pride that divides so many African people from other African people. It is a good thing to love who you are and to love your ethnicity, but when this "love" is converted to "pride" and " discrimination", then the problems arise. Those are some of the problems that continue devastate my own countrymen, and so many others all throughout the countries of Africa.

I hope my explanation isn't too difficult to understand, but a thorough investigation of this subject is a difficult task.

Here, let me try to say it as tersely as I can.

Yes, I am an African. I come from a continent that is teeming with the culture of billions. I come from a continent that is overflowing with resources that have been stolen and misused, but I also come from a continent that possesses strong, powerful people. However, within this continent, I was born in a country named Nigeria. Mine is a nascent country, a country with several of it's own problems. Yes, as contradictory as it may sound, I have identify as a Nigerian, but also as a African. For even though Africa is a continent with 53 countries and over 1 billion people, I share a common history with those people that even I cannot completely explain.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Camera...

I am currently considering buying a new DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera. It has been a purchase that I've wanted to make for a long time, but I didn't have the financial resources to carry me through. In fact, I wrote a post about my love of photography a couple of months ago. The downside is that these types of cameras are not cheap. Most of them start at $400.00, and for a college student, that is a large sum of money . I know that there are PLENTY other things that I could be spending my money on, or even saving my money for...but...it is something that I have wanted for a very long while now.

It sounds like a worn aphorism, but photography is sincerely a way for me to keep my best memories. And what better way to preserve memories than capturing them in the sharpest, most highly defined way possible? I have so many memories from last year that I wish I would've captured, but my old camera failed me numerous times. And honestly, I don't want regrets. I don't want to regret not capturing those amazing moments. Additionally, I do not want to gain any sort of acclaim or praise from my photography. I am not planning on a career in photography, or selling my prints. I just want to document my rapidly changing life in the best way possible. Does that sound reasonable?

Well, it does to me. To my mother on the other hand, not so much. But here is a difference between she and I. Meticulous detail from the most minute images or memories have a greater meaning to me than to her. My mother is good at seeing the grand scale of things, of generalizing. While I have the habit of focusing on the small, the the facets that go unnoticed. There are pros and cons to both ways of seeing life, yet is understandable that she doesn't feel the same reward from photos as I do.

This could be attributed also, to the fact that I am surrounded by others who appreciate photography in the same sense.

BAH! I'm going to buy this camera! And I'm not going to regret it! Sure, I have a ridiculous amount of things to buy next year, but I know I will enjoy my year so much better with this camera...as foolish as that sounds.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Now Reading...

The novel "Cutting For Stone" by Abraham Verghese

It takes place in Ethiopia and revolves around the relationship of two twin boys...I've only made it into chapter 2, and I have SEVERAL more chapters to go. This novel is massive! I can't wait though, my reading regimen has been skewed a bit.

More so, because of the aforementioned change in my sleeping habits, I have been spending much too much time on the computer. I need to cut this down exponentially. Haha.

As for the World Cup? As I predicted, Nigeria is now out of the World Cup 2010. Their team was plagued with too many problems to function properly and a coherent group. Actually, many of the African nations are not fairing too well.

Such a shame.



Man, this new job has got me exhausted. More so, it has caused a weird dynamic shift in my summer. Gone are the days filled with reading excessively and spending my days walking and sleeping. Now my days are filled with little children screaming in my ear, pulling at my clothing, disobeying every single one of my requests, and just wearing me out! As I type this, I am humored. I didn't know what I expected; although I did expect this, I just didn't expect how tired I would be as a result. I suppose I shouldn't complain. After all, I myself know several of my peers who were not able to find jobs this summer. Several have searched with no avail. Fortunately, I did not have to search at all. I had always been on good terms with the owner of the summer camp I currently work for; so returning with ease after a two-year hiatus was no real surprise. And I understand why he was so eager to have me return. I am a good counselor. No, haughtiness hasn't overwhelmed me, it is just something I realize. I am good with children, most children really take a liking to me...but is the feeling mutual? I'm not sure.

The thing is, I believe that the reason children like me so much is that I don't treat them as children, but as "young adults". I could see how this point of view might become problematic, but for the most part, children love to be given attention like that of adults. They have important things to say, and want their listeners to realize that. However, it is inevitable to mention that children WILL behave like children; this is where the majority of problems arise.

Anyway, this is the latest I have been up in the past week. Right now it is 10:37 pm. On previous days I would return home, just to pass out on my bed. I would remain in this pseudo-comatose state until about 3 or 4 am in the morning. Meaning that I would waste my entire day due to my sheer exhaustion. I have become more accustomed to the schedule now and I think I will be alright.

I think I have to remind myself that money is money, and that all these challenges are a stepping stone to something greater.

Yup, I'll just stay optimistic.

That is all.

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Fever...

...I think there is nothing more to be said. I love futbol, and therefore I love the World Cup...
My home country, Nigeria is playing tomorrow against Argentina. I don't know how they will fair. I'm preparing myself to be disappointed, but hey, anything can happen!

Apart from the sports festivities, next week I am officially beginning my job. This past week has been a very enjoyable one. My family and I have spent a good amount of time with each other. It has definitely been fun. Now that I think about it, it has been good to spend time with them again.
Plus, I have been catching up with my some of my friends, and that's always a good thing!

Lastly, I have been immensely enjoying watching Def Poetry episodes on YouTube. Ugh, such good stuff! The way these poets speak their words is absolutely electrifying. It makes me want to be apart of a poetry slam.

That is all. :D

Thursday, June 3, 2010

body. image. issues.

"I suppose everyone is susceptible to them. It sucks believing that the way you look isn't good enough. I believe everyone struggles for an "ideal" image, when in reality, it doesn't exist. The thing is, as I say it, I know that I'm not heeding my own advice. It strikes everyone, and I'm not an exception"

Glastonbury Festival 2010...goodness gracious I want to go so bad. It aches.

Kounter Kulture

I feel "deep" today. I just came from hanging out with friends. GOOD FRIENDS.
It's so refreshing to find people who are just as "deep" as you. What do I mean by "deep"? I mean socially conscious. I mean passionate. I mean willing to share their own experiences. I mean hip!It's so hard to put in words. I think this is my reward for not always going out and hanging out so much. It makes the times in which I do so much more rewarding.

Especially today. Because one of the special people I spent time with just came into my contact just by chance. It was amazing.

Then there were the younger people I met. Not much younger than me, only about two or three years younger...but they too were hip. Like the beat generation inspired by Jack Keroauc, although I don't think they realize their own power. I saw fads and uncertainty in all of them, but I also saw potential. I know I'm sounding like an elder spouting out old adages from years past, and I'm sure that's how I sounded to them...but they were chill kids. From what I could tell, good company...that's just going by first impressions.

I'm still reading. I have completed "The Memory Keeper's Daughter". I was disappointed. I don't think it was a good novel. It was very "Danielle Steele"; very melodramatic, dripping with over-wrought sentiments falsely propelled by one action. Kind of like reading "rich white people" complain about their problems. Additionally, I didn't like how the character with Down's Syndrome wasn't given an "inner voice". The book dragged a bit, but wasn't entirely un-readable. Just not my cup of chai.

I have started reading "The Poisonwood Bible". We'll see how that goes.
Next I want to read "On The Road" by Jack Kerouac. I'm feeling like a part of a novo "beat" generation (as mentioned earlier), although it may be a somewhat exaggerated and stereotyped feeling.

The parentals and I are getting along. I love them, but they sometimes seem to forget that I'm growing up. I have a foot in adulthood and another foot stuck in adolescence.