Tuesday, 25 August 2020

THIS IS WHERE MY SENSE OF HUMOUR DRAWS THE LINE!

 

Writing laughter into words

WRITING LAUGHTER INTO WORDS


Laughter to me is a form of forgetful explosion. Imagine the colours in a bubble, how they pop and float across the room in small circles and tiny flakes. Imagine a volcanic eruption, that point of expelling, letting go of the built-up lava without a care of what has occurred underground or what will go up or go around.

Happy children

Laughter is freedom, a perfect depiction of how to lay aside every weight; a kind of reflex purgation that builds up from the lower belly surpasses every urge to be digested and makes its way to rest on the heart, till that pumping station has no choice but to render this beautiful uprising to the lips for ears to hear.

Laughter is expressing the rainbows in my heart. I open my mouth, throw my head back and forth, jerk my body, and sometimes even clap my hands in the air -laughter is rest; a watery type of joy that can be unsure, sometimes unexplainably blurry, but never redundant. 

Sense of humour

I do not know if laughter means one thing to me or if it connotes only joy, happiness, and satisfaction. I do not know because laughter is irony too. It is how I open up my mouth to make that sound with gloom in my eyes and anger in my guts. It can also be my response to failed expectation, the scuff that suddenly leads to a wry "Haq Haq Haq;" the best response for my disbelief, the 'Na me be dis' type of disappointed expression.


Maybe it is hard for me to make one complete sense of laughter, but I like to think laughter is multi-layered; it is everything from extreme to cautious. It is all seven colours of the rainbow. It is a result of both rain and dry land. Where it starts or ends remains a mystery.  Laughter to me will always be many things inexhaustible. It is to hold and to expel, to fold and to unwrap, to hurt and to heal, to hold dear and to let go. 

However, this is where my sense of humour draws the line, I find a reason to laugh from almost anything. My sense of humour is complicated, there is a thin line between what I consider humour or hate. I do not mind a good laugh over silliness, goofiness, or cluelessness, and at the same time, I could find it insulting. 

How to take a joke


What is funny or ludicrous to me usually depends on context and motive; if it comes across as spiteful or derogatory then it is no longer a source of laughter for me.

For example, In secondary school, I slept a lot in class and I was not the most sociable. During our graduation when I was called out as the best graduating art student, some students and a few teachers were a bit shocked.

Two students and a teacher literally walked up to me to say that I looked too dumb for the prize(I was quite shocked, narrated it to my friend, we laughed it off that day but..) I found everything about the statement mean and demeaning and I refuse to see how they meant well, to think they were smiling the "well-meaning" Smile and saying congrats as they spoke. The human mouth sure needs a filter sometimes.

Happiness


My sense of humour can accommodate anything, so long as the joke or comment does not promote inferiority complex, obstruct justice, victim shame, or leave anyone devastated. For example, I don't like it when people make jokes about my weight or hair no matter how harmless. I just think it is in nobody's place to have an opinion about it except I ask for it. I don't like "yo mama" or "your father" jokes. I just think everybody has their spot, don't always try to point it out or poke it.

Funny jokes


If we must laugh, it must be because of amusement, comic relief, wittiness, even absurdity. Just not anything that takes away dignity or joy from the human person.

NB: Special thanks to Ìbùkún for making me write this essay and taking time to edit it. I love you.


Do you love to laugh? What do you find funny or annoying? Do you believe there are any barriers to humour? Tell me in the comments. Cheers!



Wednesday, 12 August 2020

ART SPOTLIGHT: EUNICE OTU

 

Art spotlight

Eunice's Art Bio


When you can create beauty and magic by sketching, painting or drawing diverse shapes on blank paper with just a common pencil, it is no longer talent, it is innovation. Otu Eunice is a pencil sketch, visual and digital artist that has successfully painted the narrative that everything you need to grow and develop your talent or skill is innate and not far fetched. 

It is amazing how she draws and paints amazing pieces with only a few tools, a perfect depiction of less is more. While she looks forward to having the resources to get all her art tools, she has chosen to utilise what is available and create content for the art community. 

Eunice has been able to triumph over naysayers who try to undervalue her work because she is female or in college. She is steadily pushing the narrative that you can be good in school and still follow your dreams as she is a very brilliant English and literary student in Nigeria. She loves to read, watch anime and gosh about Shawn Mendes.  She is generally a joyous, fun and easy-going person. 

Digital and visual artist in Nigeria

Her ability to perfectly depict any picture given to her can be attributed to her very emotional trait, because of this, she connects with people and knows how to capture their joys, fears, facial expressions, curves, lines and body languages seamlessly.

I am a sucker for women taking up space and showcasing their talent so watching Eunice grow has been nothing short of surreal.

What I have done is, take Eunice's art and give my own interpretation of it. More like describing what I see and how it made me feel. 

Let's explore, This should be fun


Bone art

I named this art "feelings" because we live in a world that doesn't actually associate masculinity to vulnerability. The flower resting on the cape of his neck and the rainbows just added some kind of softness to his bony frame, I love to see it. 

Her unfinished work is an even deeper kind of art! 

Illustrations
I will print this and hang it on my wall!



Pencil sketch artist
See! The unfinished work has me spellbound



I just saw this and I thought "power" an African woman's ability to hold her own is a concept generations of people from other continents will need centuries to fully grasp. It is the daring eyes, the sharp wing liner, the bare chest and the fitting firmness of the headwrap, that did it for me.  

This piece screams confidence & beauty in culture


 
Female artist
  
Read this post to find out why I named this Artwork "choices" Brethren a queen is a queen wi or without full hair, plus look at the facial expression, it's screams " I did it and I am going to live with it and thrive, deal with it."

Low cut art


Bald black women

This version of the sketch is my fav. look at the freedom. Beauty is not one size fits all, its diverse. It is good to have hair but it doesn't define you, That's the vibe I got from this piece.


Kdrama art

I honestly don't know why I named this "halo" I just know I admired the piece for a while until he started to look like a greek god. Starring at it again, I am thinking Kpop, I feel as though he was taken right from a Korean series.

Kpop series

See eh, if you like him just print him or blow powder because this hotness. 



Draw braids

Can we just take a moment to admire the accuracy, neatness and precision of the braids? I can literally feel the weaving by touching my screen. 

Our roots and braids

This artwork is very modern yet it portrays identity. Braids are originally African and it's amazing how it has gained worldwide recognition. Everybody wears braids these days. I love it.  The whole painting, for some reason, gave me some kind of afro-futurism feel.


Comic art of a wolve

I think there is a kind of fierce tenderness In this photo. I see protection and an understanding of something inarticulate. It's like there is this whole world ahead and she is strong enough to conquer it. A darling but daring soul. 

Digital art
The digital art adaptation of this piece is just amazing, looks like a comic book or anime cover



Art spotlight

It's very simple, this art is magic, there are roses on her head and my name is Roseline,   So I have a soft spot for it lol.  This drawing is so dreamy, from her eyes to the bridge of her nose to her curly hair and her collar bones. 



Pencil sketch art
This piece already makes me want to write poetry 

I love the precision in the drawing and the fact that Eunice used her amazing shading skills to highlight the facial features, crisp! The roses took the drawing to a different level of beauty for me. 


African woman

I am getting Aladin vibes from this artwork, she looks like a genie. If I am to imagine one of my ancestors in her prime, it will be like this, looking like royalty with moody eyes, and a resting "we are the pacesetters" clueless face. (I am laughing at what I am typing but okay)  anyway, guys look at the Ankara on her head, do we all ageee Eunice is talented? Like the details!!!
 


Okay, this is the End. To see more of her art. Visit her Instagram Page and be blown away!! She is open for bookings too and it's affordable, hit her up to draw you and your family members! 


Wednesday, 5 August 2020

On handling Loss || An Interview with Stella Mpisi


Loosing your loved ones

It's the month of August already! I always have some sort of time shock when it's a new month! Like how did we get to four months away from Christmas? Anyway, I have to say I am happy to be starting this month with a very exciting feature.

I am drawn to stories and how they shape people. I want to hear how people are dispossessed or elevated by their experiences so I started digging. And to be honest, I found treasure. I was drawn, excited, cried even, at some things I found.

I was particularly intrigued by Stella's Story. The honesty and openness of it. I binge-read her Blog in one sitting. Her writing style is simple but it will draw diverse and complex emotions out of you, open your eyes to the nuance of what you once considered obvious till you can see the unconventionality of perspectives. Whoosh! I am typing so fast I might go on a spiral and forget the purpose of this blog post.

I reached out to Stella and she responded so warmly and timely. I feel so honoured that she agreed to do this ( I am actually smiling my I am so blessed smile) I am so grateful for this. I learnt a lot from her response and I hope you will too.

Let's meet Stella

Being an orphan

I became an orphan when I was ten years old.


I am so glad to have you here please introduce yourself?


Thank you so much for reaching out to me. My name is Stella Mpisi, a Congolese-born South African writer. I became an orphan when I was ten years old. Both my parents died on the same day. My experiences with orphanhood are what inspire most of what I write. 

The more I grew up, the more I realized that I was different from South African natives,


What was it like growing up in South Africa?


Growing up in South Africa was both interesting and challenging. On the one hand, it was interesting to be a part of such a diverse nation. Being exposed to people of different racial backgrounds, cultures and religions was intriguing. However, there was always a sense of disconnect when it came to certain issues. The more I grew up, the more I realized that I was different from South African natives, even to those who looked like me. As a child, I did not know how to embrace both cultures as being a part of me. I often hid my Congolese identity out of pure ignorance or out of shame of being different. 


Have you received any push back in terms of sharing your journey with people, have you had anyone try to measure your grief and tell you that you are supposed to just move on?


Very often! The biggest pushback I have received is from family and friends. People misinterpret my writing for being a sign that I am stuck in the past. They do not quite understand that grief is a journey and that I’ve chosen writing to explore and navigate it. It is not a destination to be “stuck in”. 

I lived in denial for many years,


How did it feel losing your both parents on the same day and what was the most defining moment in that for you?


The feeling was of sheer disbelief and confusion. At ten years old it had never occurred to me that that was even possible. I lived in denial for many years, even after seeing both my parents in their coffins at the funeral. At the back of my mind, I secretly hoped that God had made a mistake and that my parents would come back somehow. I guess the most defining moment for me was when I finally let go of denial and accepted things for what they were. 



In a recent post, you talked about being an orphan bride and how you were able to navigate through it, in that light how do you handle disappointments and what advice do you have for anyone who feels sad that their expectations were cut short


I think with time and age I have learnt that life is not a straight line. The first step to handling disappointments is understanding that events do not define you and learning to get up when you fall. Another important thing is that you have to understand that problems come and go (no one lives a perfect life) and what matters is not the problem itself, but how you react to it. Your reaction or lack thereof determines the rest of your journey. 


My mistake was that I relied on religion and religious principles and not so much of spirituality and my actual relationship with “the unknown”.



You mentioned giving up on God at some point, how did that feel + do you think having a spiritual life is important in handling Loss?


Wow! This is an interesting question. After my parents died, I held on to God with all my strength. I didn’t blame God for any of the things that were happening to me. I relied on prayer to survive. But after many years, I got tried and questioned everything. Life just didn’t make sense anymore and I lost all faith. How could God be so good to some and yet just abandon me? I felt empty. I think spirituality does indeed help with handling loss. My mistake was that I relied on religion and religious principles and not so much of spirituality and my actual relationship with “the unknown”. I believe that spirituality has no rules and is about you as an individual and the individual relationship you have with God. That relationship is very important when it comes to grief. 

Loss


You have had to Isolate yourself at some point and try to hide your pain. How effective was that in itself and do you think hiding from pain is a solution for grief? 


For me, I think isolating myself was needed. I think isolation comes with the territory. However, I don’t think that hiding from pain is a solution. I had to go through that period of isolation to focus on myself and to understand that I needed to address my pain. That’s the “phase” I am in right now. I think it is important to mention that grief is not a problem you find a solution to. People grieve because they love. You don’t just stop loving someone because they are no longer alive, so you never really stop grieving. That is why I believe in positive grief.  


Did pity from friends and family contribute to the length and intensity of your grief. 


Most definitely. I can’t stand pity. It makes me cringe. I understand that people mean well, but pity has always made me feel “less than”. 

Motherhood



Has being an orphan affected motherhood for you, any life lessons?

Oh yes! Becoming a mother changes, you and I think going through that change without a mom is one of the most difficult things I have had to go through. My daughter is almost two years old now and the most important motherless motherhood lesson I have learnt thus far is that of being a positive example for my child so that she can look up to me even when I will no longer be on this Earth.  

Without writing I don’t think I’d be anywhere near the level of healing I have reached today.


You mentioned writing as a coping mechanism, how was that like and where are you in your writing journey. 


Writing helped me through many obstacles. It is almost like I am able to escape the troubles of the world and pour my emotions and thoughts down on paper. Without writing I don’t think I’d be anywhere near the level of healing I have reached today. Apart from my blog I am currently working on a fiction novel in honour of my mother. I’m super excited about that! 

“there are as many ways to grieve as there are people on Earth”. Everyone is different.


How would you advise people to handle loss and the pain that comes with it, is there like a rule book? 


There is no rule book whatsoever. I read somewhere that “there are as many ways to grieve as there are people on Earth”. Everyone is different. What I can say, however, is that it is important to have a support system and to learn to take care of your mental health. 


Orphanhood and grief


Do you ever outgrow the need for having your parents + advise for young people who want to hurry up and just be independent?


I think being independent and needing your parents are two different things. With every important life experience, I feel the need to just pick up the phone and call my mom and dad. The relationship between parent and child does not end when the child becomes socially and financially independent. 


How has loss affected your relationship with people?


I have serious trust issues and I am somewhat anti-social. For many years I lost all trust in mankind. With time I am slowly rehabilitating the social aspect of my being. It’s an uphill battle. 


Give us two fun / random things about you? 


I LOVE rapping. I can rap several Eminem songs from start to finish! LOL. Also, I hate the smell and taste of the coffee. 



I learnt so much from this and I know you did too. What are your takeouts from this post? How do you handle loss? Let's chat in the comments + Stella would love to reply you. If you have any suggestions or people you want me to feature tell me and we'll make it happen. Love ya!


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How to survive orphanhood

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