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How to: Nigerian like a true Nigerian

If you are reading this, it’s too late you are probably pondering and gathering information about visiting one of West Africa’s finest – Nigeria and you want to ascend and become a full blown citizen. First things first I’m the realest” wtf, why? Welcome! Please follow these simple instructions:

-Nigeria’s national anthem is 2Face’s – African Queen

-Nigerians are happy people – it’s annoying.  Fela put it better when he sang “Shuffering and Shmiling” it was no understatement – true life story. Come suffer and smile in the land of the free screwed.

Musicalbox

-Most will certainly agree that the governmental, bureaucratic, infrastructural system and dead ass wi-fi will test your faith. Hang in there. It’s true.

-Talking about faith, you can ditch your alarm clock (no electricity to charge your phone, so chill), there’s always a mosque or a C.A.C (church) that’s gonna wake you the fuck up. #StayWoke

-It is the Tower of Babbel par excellence so choose your battle your preferred dialect(s) out of the 500 , wisely. I mean, in case they want to poison or scam you, you gatso know what they are saying fam! #StayWoke pt.2

-Since the country is being dubbed the “Lion of Africa” – you gotta be resilient as phuck! Such over-pompous label can take a toll on one’s confidence, gotta play the part.

-Food is great over (t)here: can be exxxxxxtra spicy, very slimy and some names given to certain dishes are – “mouthfuls” (LOL) but taste is always bomb af. So, either you are being given the Ofe Achara with Akpuruakpu Egusi, the Gbegiri soup,  or the country’s national treasure – Jollof Rice please do us all a favor – fix your face, don’t ask questions, say your Thank Yous and eat. Unless witches poisoned your meal, then you might die. So, pray before you eat. Or say you’ve just eaten.

-Ain’t no Party Like a Lagos Party. Way too lit, for no fucking reason.

The Wedding Party (2016)

-So, you might need Bella Naija, Linda Ikeji, Ovation and The Bisi Olatilo Show amongst others to validate the aforementioned alternative fact case study.

Depending on where you choose to create your new found nest, you might find kids saying “Up Nepa” a lot. It’s a contagious prayer point you will need in your life.

-Music is a way of life. Get in chune with the vast plethora of artistes. Not just Wizkid and P-Square abeg.

-Abeg, Jor O, Pepper Dem Gang, Gbagaun – just to name a few – boy, you can’t get past the threshold without these slangs. Walahi!

-When on the road, you are either Grand Theft Auto-ing like a true motherphucker or just chilling, for infinite hours, in one hot spot (pun intended). You think it’s a joke. Oke.

 

-Potholes and road bumps are not just double entendres! #StayWoke-ish

-You will learn the truth behind the art of corruption. It will be your daily bread. So when your hear a “Oga/Aunty – drop something“, you don’t drop dead and feign stupidity – you bring out the big monies.

-Speaking of bread, you MUST try hot Agege bread and moin moin. True religion. Don’t trust ajebutters, just like Jon Snow, they don’t know shit.

-Nollywood is a thing! It’s on 51 Iweka Road – Onitsha or Ebinpejo Lane, Idumota – Lagos.

-Nigerian mosquitoes are demonic. They don’t care about your feels, blood type or your melanin (and/or the lack thereof).

-Kneel down for your elders – do not stretch that hand out. Just, don’t. Hot slaps are not a myth.

-If you see a yoruba demon or temptress, run chances are, you are probably already under their spell. It’s too late. I might keep you in my prayers.

OMGVoice

-We take politicians and newspapers seriously! But the combo: Suya Newspaper is idyllic.

                                                                photobucket

Depression or Suicide is not an african thing.  If you are feeling unease, the witches are at work. So you need to locate a C.A.C nearest to you.

-You can’t trust Nigerian football but when you do decide to, living off past glory et all, this is the only man that makes it worth your while.

                                                                Giphy

 

I might update. I might get lazy.  I might forget. Just know, I did my best to get you on the right path. Lookatchewgo!

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u. Unorthodox Junk Box

It’s Saturday and the time says 2:30 am, I keep looking at the time and I think it’s judging me.

Why am I awake?

No reason, truth be told. I’ve binged Youtube videos of guys doing the most insane mashups and I’m jealous and I just wished I was a jukebox altogether. ‘Cause fuck these talented people that’s why. #Goals.

Why am I really awake?

It happens. Well, It’s been happening for a while now. I entered my twenties being totally overwhelmed by life. And for nothing too you see? Nothing scarred me, even though I must say, I keep having this very vivid flashbacks about my childhood and I can’t seem to get over it but I digress.

1. Because I’m not sure I want to remember.

2. Because I’m not sure I even want to trust my memory to rehash certain events and;

3. I’m digressing.

I grew up knowing two things: I was gonna make food a valuable ally (whilst not toying with gluttony) and that I was am going to work the hardest (and enjoy sweating and kicking to get my goals) and be so damn successful, ‘you’ll see‘ because, if you grew up in a poor environment (shout to my parents, I respect and I see/saw your handwork and grind, especially you mama) and you’ve seen and experienced it, that gnawing sense of imminent failure mixed with hopelessness stops being humbling and pretty once you know shit happens out of the world you are used to. And that has certainly scarred pushed me to aim for more. In everything. I deserve it. My family does.

I stay awake ’cause I have all these dreams and as time keeps ticking and frowning at  me, I feel I’m wasting every God-given second by missing the deadline and not throwing myself out there.

Then I pause.

Where the fuck is ‘out there’ and why haven’t I seen ‘out there‘ yet? Why isn’t it on Google Maps?

God forbid but what would happen if the fire in me fizzled out and I ended up…settling?

What happens to other peoples’ dreams and ambitions? How do they feel in their own body when they don’t hit the mark? Can one die of disappointment in one’s self?

Some people wake up from nightmares. I can’t sleep because my dreams won’t let me. And because I don’t even know what these said dreams are. It’s very exhausting – all this acting like one-knew-what-one-was-doing facade.

Growing up is hard‘ was what I wrote a friend few days ago, he laughed out loud – I wasn’t joking. I need manuals for this shit.

It’s 3.07  4 am. And Ed Sheeran wants to “know the truth before he dives right into….

 

 

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w. When It’s Dark Hawt

It’s been almost 2 years since I laid foot again on European soil after going to Nigeria for just 10 days.

I remember then, I’d promised myself I was going to write a day to day run down of all I did – but technology was a bitch, I was busy and the days just couldn’t round up fast enough. It’d been 13 years since I left Agege, my place of birth, home of fresh baked bread and local work-your-ass-off shop owners.
I was 11 when I left, Lord knows I was skinny af, I’m still skinny, but in some way, it’s more acceptable to be skinny when you are in your mid 20s than when you are getting closer to teenagehood…because “Society Says….” that’s why. I went not really expecting much and I’m glad I’d had such low expectations, hoped for the worst…and I wasn’t disappointed! I mean nothing scarred or scared me thank God but yes, nothing happened. I had bureaucratic jargons to deal with (change of Name to be exact, long story..no, not really.) and I ate suya.

I got to watch some Nigerian officials “work” and by work, it consists of:

– getting to work as late as possible,

– getting through an always screechy metal detector,

– entering ill kept offices void of PC stations and just nothing but tables and quarter to dead chairs,

– talking about politics or mundane stuff – most of times not work related obviously,

– and you get to see ignored files every now and then on some official’s desk, by mistake.

Men and women would sell food and drinks, newspaper sellers, recharge card sales girls seemed to often populate the area as well. Looked like a fucking market place instead.
And don’t let me get started on the corruption and how desperate we citizens would eagerly try to bid the highest to get the attention we well deserved from the appropriate persons. I think I saw more influx-out flux of money than people actually seating at their desks and working.

I remember one day I sat for  5 hours – I shit you not, 5 hours, no food o. I stood up for the first time to see if I could still remember how the “walking” process worked, then some Oga (boss) saw me, smirked and came up to me to just to say: “the system isn’t working very well, e be like say you go come back tomorrow again be dat”, but of course, they had to tell me 5 hours later because, bad bitches with uniforms Life.
So, I got my stuff done finally, did I have to pay, hell yeah. Was I lucky I got it done in such short notice and as fast as it got done, yup…but yeah, that luxury wasn’t for free. I remember on a Saturday afternoon, a rather warm one, while the children of the couple hosting me were gisting me about how teachers had stopped beating students in school and that 2.8 million Naira is now the norm for school fees – Nepa (phuck ’em, ain’t calling them PHCN) struck!

– Nepa: instigator of the (in)famously invoked “Up Nepa” by people of all ages.

– Nepa: they toy with your feelings when you need electricity so bad that you are forced into buying a generator causing an awful lot of unnecessary noise and air pollution or if you don’t have the financial means, you chill.

– Nepa: they are so bad ass that when electricity seems to be absent, people are so used to it they start to make assumptions for the next days or weeks on when they’d get it back on, it’s like a fucking Supernalotto, #alternativegames.

– Nepa: they toyed with my feels that day, for the first time on Nigerian soil, in 13 years…and I loved it! I mean, I was going to leave the country anyways, so yeah.

See, the thing about me going to my homeland wasn’t my main issue, it was about fitting in really. I’d surely be seen as an outsider since I’d chosen to find a better life elsewhere. That’s the down side of being a black migrant, you end up being of everybody and nobody. Everyone’s foreigner.
I did miss Nigeria but unfortunately I didn’t enjoy my stay like I would have hoped to. I was constantly torn between nostalgia and frustration. I was being judged regularly, especially by the madame of the house, my crime was since I lived “in the” abroad, why wasn’t I always ready to splurge money unnecessarily on costly or meaningless stuff.
The thought “If you are not doing well over there, why not come home instead of looking like an imported peasant” clearly must have ringed in her/their mind millions of times. I would, but you see, I’d rather not, Ma.


I
missed fast internet and I missed Italian, I studied, I spoke regularly in my native dialect or local pidgin English. It was like I had to constantly prove, to most and myself, that I was indeed, the prodigal daughter but I could pick and handle my business right from where I had dropped it years before. And that’s exactly how it felt, I felt at home, it was like once off the plane, right after my first interaction with the personnel at the ABJ airport, I fell right easy into “the role”, which isn’t a role per se, I am as Nigerian as I always thought I was, wasn’t sure then but now, I am.

We gotta get reacquainted properly though, Nigeria ’cause that just wasn’t it.

What this journey taught me: I have two homes in two very different realities and continents, does that mean I have multiple identities too?

Iyeoka | I travel home

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l. Lust in the Future

I’m not used to not being looked at in a condescending way.

It’s been long my elder sister and I got away from our abitual, respective routines. Scrap that, we’d never done that. So when Ryanair gave us the right offer at the appropriate time, we hopped on it, like bees in a honey pot.

The country was Eindhoven – the Netherlands, beautiful, beautiful place. Clean as phuck too, great buildings and cordial people, food wasn’t that good though. Everyone spoke English or at least, tried to make our stay bearable by making sure the language barrier wasn’t going to be a deal breaker. Even though I’m starting to get into the dutch language myself, I do like knowing when I am being told off.

And that moment never came.

I’ve lived in Italy for 15 years already and when you are an “outsider” you just know when you are being looked at like you don’t belong there or  you are being considered “less than”. I’ve dealt with so much covert racism that I was simple waiting for that moment to hit me, in the cold streets of Eindhoven, with a loud ass luggage behind me disrupting the quiet of that afternoon.

It never came.

I’m not trying to sugar coat the Dutch – neither do I think it’s a safe haven either, I mean racism is real and it’s everywhere, the various shades of peoples’ skin will always be an issue, everywhere, anywhere, all the time – yes, even in African countries.

Still, it is a welcome feeling to be treated for who one really is when in a foreign country – tourists – not really black tourists per se, just tourists with very peculiar and coloured hairstyles. Tourists, who were undeniably excited when the train announcer said: “Next Stop, Amsterdam CS.

It felt good to be treated like everyone else, not be fetishized, at least the illusion felt great. Felt fucking amazing to pass unnoticed too, in some way, not because we were black Ugh these niggers are probably here to steal something, let me call my neighbour to hide the valuables but because we were just in a nice country to feed our eyes and hearts on what went on when we were locked away with the monotony we’ve made our lives.

It was nice to watch so many mixed couples walk hand in hand and no sad, judgemental older (wo)man raising his/her brows in dismay and horror OMG! The white race won’t resist much longer if this sin against my ancestors continues, gotta remember to call my sister to tell her son not to bring any rice cake home – after my kebab, I love kebabs in sight.

The worst kind of racism, for me, had always been the covert kind of racism “It’s all in your head L. – It’s just ignorance, not real racism – You are one of the good ones, but the others, I’d kill”.

My heart is full with gratitude for each day I pass on Earth, you know? Everything, everyone, has been a gradual process to making me who I am today, every experience, every lesson, every racial slur and every “you are a beautiful black woman” too.

This trip is simply a metaphor I’d cherish and keep trying to decode in its simple yet awespiring intricacies. I didn’t know just how much covert racism had made it feel normal for me to feel unwanted or inappropriate, right from some years shy of teenagehood. Do not get me wrong, Italy is great – the food is greater, made good friends and questionable ones have been kicked to the curb, yet, I just wasn’t used to this, It was a breathe of fresh air. Might be hard to understand if you can’t relate but knowing something as good and as simple as “opportunity to prove one’s self before undergoing unintelligible skin color scrutiny” happens to people of color, daily – every and anywhere, outside my comfort zone is just beautiful, makes me feel at peace – at home, once again and I’m glad I was priviledged enough to know just how good that feels, I’d truly forgotten.

Welcome to Amsterdam, have fun. I hope you enjoy it” said the guy seated close to me on the train once we got to our destination.

 

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti : “Trouble Sleep, Yanga Go Wake Am.” [1979]

 

Lindsey: “Trouble sleep, yanga go wake am – Cover” [Brown – The EP]

 

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