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Monday, 27 June 2011

Life For Rent

My hairs stand on end like an electrocuted dog's would, whenever I hear a certain Dido song.
The lyrics seem to hit quite close to home.
Ironic, because they actually deny the existence of such a thing in my life.
Either way, I always sing along with gumption and gusto:

"I haven't ever really found a place that I call home,
I never stick around quite long enough to make it..."

Okay, but who am I kidding? I know I have.
As a person who spent 8 years in medical school (and by extension, in Enugu state) without enough funds to do anything more than breathe and on the rare occasion eat, I had NO CHOICE, the Coal City was my home for a quite a good while!

You see, I got into University a tiny 15 year old who was proud of his academic achievements pre-tertiary education, but was unwilling to work hard enough to garner any further laurels. After all, nobody (except for my immediate family and my secondary school academic staff) really cared how smart I was.

In a way, I felt experienced: I already knew what it felt like to be top of your class when push comes to shove.
But I had gotten into university hoping to get to know what it felt like to be on top of, er... other things. Hopefully, with a lot of pushing and shoving too!

But psychologically, somewhere at the bottom of my mind, I found it hard to commit.
(Though not to exhilarating phenomena like "love": I always wanted to experience that. I grew up thinking I was unworthy of any positive affection so I practically threw myself into love with anyone who, in my estimation, seemed to have walked out of a fairytale, hoping that said real-life princess would kiss this green-eyed but brilliant frog into princely stature and comportment!)

Rather, I found it hard to commit to friends, to fellowships, to classrooms, schoolwork, assignments, a career...

Bottomline, I found it hard to commit to a future.
Because, what is a future if not the sum total result of the actions carried out in the past?

I never really took up chess. I was scared to lose to better players. And I had already heard of 5 year old chinese maestro chess players. I didn't want to be humiliated. So I stayed playing with amateurs, sticking to being the gargantuan piscean in a minute mere.

I tried taking up basketball for a few minutes. But being small, nerdy, unpopular, cross-eyed, and having poor eye-hand coordination did little to ensure the longevity of such a venture.

I never really committed to The Abiding Word Gathering, a school fellowship of like minded souls that I had stumbled unto: I didn't like the intrusions and the regular, constant unsolicited advice and the having to call everyone 'brethren' and being answerable to elders, pastors and the like.

I did not stay with AIESEC, an international organisation that I had joined in my early years in University. Partially because the branch on my campus was suspended for a while, but mostly because I DETESTED the dreadful nickname they gave me.

I didn't seek out people to be in my 'crew'. I even resisted those who sought to roll with me. I was gonna hand pick the coolest dudes, when the time was right.

Just not right now.

I didn't ever want to lose.
I wanted to be the best (and more specific, I wanted to be WITH the best).

And in so doing, I would say I killed a certain part of me before it was even birthed. An abortion in so many ways.

Because normal people play games that they occasionally win and lose, normal people hang out and befriend other normal people. Normal people joined fellowships, clubs and what-not. Normal folk did a whole lot of stuff that normal folk did.
But I refused to.
It was almost as if I felt I was abnormal and had made a subconscious decision and more than a few repeated and overt attempts to stay that way.

So I was lucky that music found me.

Truthfully though, it can be said that we found each other.
I was just this kid who had so much bewilderment, so much pain, so much angst. Nothing could soothe me more than music that moved me.

I never saw myself as anything more than a lonely little kid, stuck in a drab room, slaying his inner demons by straining his vocal cords to keep up with the powerfully sustained notes of Celine Dion's rendition of "All By Myself"...
I never saw myself as anything more than someone who loved music so much that he could sing along to EVERY song that played on the radio (at the time) word for word, note for note, ad-lib for ad-lib.

It just so happened that I ended up being friends with people who will end up being some of the biggest artists in Nigeria, though we didn't know it at the time.

It just so happened that I had memorised the rhymes I had been doodling in my notepad and once, when called to 'rap' for some guy who 'heard that I can', spat out some lyrics that I am rather ashamed of (at least, right now), but which had the effect of driving him ecstatic.

It just so happened that that guy eventually became a 'Director of Socials' in my school. And he did all he could to make sure I performed at every social event he could create.

And to some extent, I did commit.


So, at the end of the day, it IS funny.
How we never see things coming, but we find out, when they do, that this is EXACTLY what we have been waiting for all our lives.

But the question is, "why wait?"

That Dido song is, in my opinion, trying to say that we should embrace life and not live it like it is for rent. Else we would deserve nothing more than we get.

Much as I agree with the morals of the song, I however believe that our lives ARE for rent.

Only thing is, our Land-LORD actually EXPECTS that we live it to the fullest.

That way, He never regrets giving it to us in the first place.

So, people, let's go out and LIVE...
'Cos there's no time like the present.

It's your boy,
Fly Fellow, y'all!

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