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Read Letter

Akeem the Runner

Dear Jack, let me tell you about an athlete of renown. No, he’s not Usain Bolt, Ed Moses or Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco; or any of the ones the Press tout. He’s not known in Olympic circles. Never enters competitive sports. But he’s a great athlete. I’m talking about none other than Akeem Gomez. I’m sure you don’t know him. I didn’t too until I began to do research for some stuff I was working on. As I googled my brain his name dropped.

Athletes specialize in either speed or endurance. And so you find athletes at one end specializing in 100m, 200m dash. At the other end are the long distance runners. The shorter end of that spectrum is of course the 400m run. From there things scale up in distance and complexity, to events ending with “lons” – triathlons, decathlons, etc-lons. Long distance races require a different kind of skillset from short distance races. Not just skills, capacities too. Training regimens are different. The high altitude training of a Kenyan athlete is not the same as Usain Bolt’s.

Amazingly, Akeem Gomez is proficient in both short and long distance races. He’s incredible! But Akeem’s sport is different from that of the Usain Bolts of this world, though both do athletics. Akeem specializes in emotional athletics. Once he finds himself getting too close to a woman he takes off! To be honest, you can’t blame him for some of those sprints. You would in the same circumstances.

Take the case of the girl who wanted to live off him. That was her goal, her one true objective. She didn’t love him! Or take the disagreeable woman he attempted to date some years back. That proved a daunting proposition. Then there’s the diabolic who went after him with shaitan viciousness. She was cacodemonic. Akeem took off! There’s also manipulative Mary. Took control of his life without a power of attorney. He realized and bailed.

I know you’re wondering how come he attracts these kinds of women. Well, he’s a succeeding young man. Succeeding young men attract different types of women. And Akeem is nice. Kind. Remember what I told you Solomon said: Kindness makes a man attractive.

Because Akeem is looking for serious relationship, he tends to credit women with attributes in advance. He runs ahead of himself, like all young men do- progresses relationships in his imagination. He does meet women with some attributes he likes, but they always seem tattooed with punctuation marks. Some are tattooed with scary comas, some with tendentious semi-colons, and some with mystic exclamation marks. He thought some women were just friends, only to discover they had elaborately crafted designs on him. He’s sometimes felt like a fly being ogled by a spider. And once he spots danger signs, Akeem takes off. Akeem is afraid of falling into the bosom of a selfish woman. He’s encountered some in his short life. And then there are those impossible relationships – the types that can’t proceed for whatever reason.

Like every young man Akeem has some specifics in mind. He just can’t translate them into life expressions. He wants peace for example. That’s strangely a FEELING… something inside. Not easy to express. He wants someone with cultural exposure, who speaks well; someone with a job of her own. Someone who fears God… someone he can make a home with, who can make a home… He wants someone who truly wants him, not someone who just wants to marry. It’s one thing for someone to want to want you. You must make your own determination if the someone is good for you. He wants someone fair to look at – someone beautiful. But he doesn’t know that yet. His vanity does.

Turns out the things he thinks are important are not really important. He doesn’t know this as well. But life does. And the things he thinks are not important – they are really important! Again he doesn’t know this. But his heart knows.

One day Akeem sat down to ruminate over his issues – why he doesn’t seem to want to get too close to women. He discovered it’s kind of a combination of fear and honour. He’s afraid of being trapped with the wrong person… And he also wants to keep his word when he gives it. So he’s careful. Doesn’t want to be obligated to the wrong person. But these are not strong enough. Something else was instigating his avoidance of intimate relationships.

As he thought and thought the answer came. It had to do with his relationship with his mum. They are not close. His parents divorced when he was young… ten or eleven. It’s been a difficult relationship with his mum. She’s broken every confidentiality agreement they ever had. Can’t afford to confide in her again. The intimacy of natal natatorium was breached. Now he’s afraid of closeness to her… of her potential to inflict pain. His aversion to closeness with his mum translated into aversion to closeness with female species in general.

Data confidentiality means a lot to a man, even from youth. He wants his confidences safe. If a man confides and the information is leaked or broadcast, the pain runs deep and the damage goes far. It’s not just about information trusteeship. It’s about confidentiality of emotions. What Akeem needs is an emotional investor. And usually she’s been there all along. But Akeem is not looking! An emotional investor is sincere and truly loves. She stakes her heart.

Who is Akeem? Akeem is every young man chasing shadows, who can’t see what’s right there beside him. Akeem is every young man afraid of committing, afraid of making a mistake. He errs grievously on the side of caution. Akeem is every young man who doesn’t realize marriage is a faith adventure, that you’ll never control all the variables. Akeem is every young man ignoring what’s good, pursuing what’s bad, believing what’s good is always out there. Akeem is every young man who doesn’t realize vacuum is an invitation to space tourists and heart speculators. Akeem is every young man who in search of heart-shaped relationship gets entrapped in a groin-based relationship.

Are you Akeem?

Your mentor, LA.

© Leke Alder 2014

Tags : Emotions, Women, Intimacy

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