Monday, August 16, 2010

Be grateful for how you look, you dont know what you've got till you lose it

Yesterday, I was humbled by a sight I beheld after church and an ensuing interaction. I was going to write a post about it immediately I got home... but you know how these things go. I was extremely busy yesterday afternoon and evening. And when I finally got home at night, I could only sign in before I dozed off. Talk about willing spirit but weak body! Anyway, better late than never, right? Well, here goes...

When coming home from church yesterday, I saw a guy whose looks arrested me - and I don't mean in a good way. Being one who always notices when people stare for too long and sometimes often complains about it being rude and all, you must understand that it must have been a purely involuntary action. I was, literally, riveted to the spot and was only capable of two things - 1)staring and 2)keeping my mouth open in that perfect oval of astonishment. I was so transfixed by what I was gazing at that I didn't even know the guy had noticed and was staring back.

When our eyes finally met, I blushed purple under my chocolate skin and muttered, "I'm terribly sorry". The guys smiled with a hint of a twinkle in his eye and said, "Don't worry, I'd stare too". I marveled at his resilient spirit. I don't know how long he'd been like that but personally, even if I had been born looking like that, I doubt I'd ever be that comfortable in my disfigured skin.

Enough of the suspense, let me describe the guy to you. You know the condition where water gathers in/around the skull? Hydrocephalus, (pronounced /ˌhaɪdrɵˈsɛfələs/), also known as "water on the brain", is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. This may cause increased intracranial pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head, convulsion, and mental disability. Hydrocephalus can also cause death. The name derives from the Greek words ὑδρο- (hudro-) "water", and κέφαλος (kephalos) "head". (source: wikipedia) You can find a photo here:

Well, this guy looked like he had that and someone had gotten an idea to knock a nail into one side of his head to get some of the fluid out. It was not a pleasant sight, to put it mildly. Before you get me wrong, I was not disgusted by what I saw, I was sad, filled with concern, and consumed with guilt over how much I take how I look for granted and am even ungrateful sometimes.

Emboldened by his statement, I asked, "Do you mind me asking what happened?"  "Haven't you already asked?" He retorted. "Touche" I said and laughed, praying he would satisfy my curiosity. "I had a motor accident and my helmet got crushed and caved in a side of my skull" He offered. I visibly blanched. The infamous motorcycle. My eyes misted over. "Are you crying?" He asked, He had a photograph in his hand. I sniffed away my tears and took the photo. "Is it you?" I asked. I couldn't hold back my tears anymore. He took the photo and said - A reminder not to go racing against a sports car on the Tema motorway. "I'm sorry'  I said. "Don't be". He replied "God's will concerning me shall still be done"

The he did something that humbled me and opened the floodgates of my tears. He looked at me and said - You're beautiful. Be grateful for it and strive to be a worthy custodian of the looks God has so freely bestowed upon you.

As I dressed up this morning, I took a long, hard look at my face and whispered "Thank you, Jehovah" and decided not to put on any make-up at all - not even powder. If Akwasi (my new friend) could wear his face with dignity, I don't have to make-up for anything... and henceforth, I will make no excuses for it. It is my face, & I love it! -warts and all.

(c) Nana Oye Odame

Friday, August 6, 2010

Grieving Dictionary

Is this large lump inside my throat
Which try as i may, I cannot swallow

I dont know what this means and I dont care
Wait! I think that's what it means - no longer caring

Is this bitter taste I have n my mouth
Which not even the sweetest honey could get out

Is one negative feeling I dont have and I'm glad
Why should I die and the problem remain?

After shedding gallons of tears, i have no more to cry
My pain for pain is exhausted & I feel... nothing!

That elusive feeling everyone tells me will come
It seems I've been waiting forever, will it ever come?

I stopped waiting for hope and started looking for silver linings
I have counted my blessings and am amazingly serene

They say time is the greatest healer
As the days go by, the pain subsides, slowly

Is returning to me, unhurriedly, but certainly
And I am finding that I am stronger than I ever thought

I keep finding motivation to fight harder
I will fight, win and come out stronger. It's worth it

My hunger and enthusiasm for life sluggishly returns
My 'joie de vivre' as the French call it

Today, I remembered and didnt shed a tear
I even managed a wistful smile - I have arrived

(c) Nana Oye Odame 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

One Fine Prep... (What we do when we are supposed to be studying!)

This is a vintage piece by yours truly... written about seven years ago when I was in Secondary(now Senior High) School.

I tried to work some Math
But ended up calculating
the angle of your eye

I tried to do some Geography
But each map I drew,
bore a striking resemblance to you

I wanted to do Economics
But the marginal utility of your smile
Kept going up and refused to come down

I couldn't practice my French orals
'Cos one phrase kept repeating itself in my mind
Je t'aime; Je t'aime; Je t'aime

With History, I was hopeless
Because the only date I had memorized
Was the day I met you

The only Chemistry I was interested in
Was the one between you and me
But try as I may, I just couldn't balance the equation

I decided to try some Physics
And that is when disaster struck
The photometer I tried using to measure the brightness of your smile
broke down due to over-exposure to bright light - your smile

And so I thought - what the heck?
Lemme try some English and write you a letter
But alas! just then, the siren for prep-over went
I guess I'll have to make that another time...

SMH! Youthful exuberance indeed. I wonder who my inspiration was at the time. I cant for the life of me remember.

So I was chatting with a friend of mine in University and we were going over this poem and we came up with very valid questions, just poking a bit of fun at myself -

  • Doesn't the person having an angle to his eye imply that he was cross-eyed? Why would anyone find being reminded of that flattering?
  • Considering the most common maps we were drawing - Ghana, W. Africa and Africa, that dude must have been interestingly proportioned... Or I was a terrible artist. The latter is more likely...
  • What was the day I met him? I had no idea... 
  • Unbalanced chemical equation meant one of us was more attracted that the other right? yup! probably me shamelessly pining over a guy who didn't even know I exist...
O! to be young again!!!