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Read Letter

Glorious Domination

Dear Jack, we’ve spoken about this before. It takes a certain level of discipline and focus to succeed. Success requires self-discipline. You get out of that bed in the morning, even if your eyes are bleary, your head muffled with the substance of sleeplessness… You’ve got to have unfaltering hope, refuse to give in to despair. You need stubborn hope to succeed. When that hope is shaken and you feel like crying and giving up, you readjust yourself and determine to face life. Everyone goes through that patch.

There are always those moments we feel helpless, moments we don’t know what to do, don’t have the strength. You wonder how you’ll ever make it: the odds are stacked against you. The gap between your dreams and the present is too much. You just want to find your way to the top, you don’t want to keep struggling at the bottom. You feel you don’t belong where you are. You just want to get out of that neighbourhood you live in. You’re tired of dirty environment, and that noise – the rude high decibel irritating sound of the pepper grinder… It’s like clanging cymbals grinding themselves… The brutish cacophony of the Danfo conductor bellowing out his route, the shout of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer, the megaphone of the street evangelist…
There’s that constant chatter, that constant noise in the neighbourhood of poverty… The young girl hawking oranges, the music retailer with loud speakers the height of a five year old wailing… There seems no respite from that noise. There’s also the proxy noise of the electricity company represented by an army of small generators, all crying in unison in tenor… Very irritating noise.
Then there are those visions you resent. There’s the man with a towel around his waist at noon, his chest bare as he spares with women at the public water tap, a chewing stick dangling unashamedly from his mouth…
There’s that picture of the long corridor in the rental apartment known as “Face me I Face you” in Lagos… It’s lazy architecture… A corn row of rooms on either side of a long corridor. It’s a long corridor, very long corridor. It’s longer than Putin’s corridor in the Kremlin. There are those dirty curtains lining the corridor, wafting ever so gently from lack of breeze… It’s why the smell stays in that corridor. All the smells from the rooms are trapped. Those smells are a composite, at once musky, at once atrocious. The smell is damp and dark and dirty. It has capacity to suffocate. You have to get used to it or it will suffocate you as you try to hold your breath in that corridor. It’s a mixture of camphor, the stench from those curtains that look like tattered emblems of our nationhood, unaerated accumulation of thick dirt under linoleums. Dettol is too weak for it, Izal only does shakara. That corridor. At the end of it there’s the inadequate suite of conveniences. I mean toilets and bathrooms.
If you want a semblance of hygiene with your early ablutions you have to wake up very very early. There are a hundred occupiers in your Face Me I Face You. Maybe more. There’s a reason the census official spends a whole day enumerating occupants of Face Me I Face You apartments. This is not where you belong you say to yourself. You’re an oddity in that apartment. You economically belong yet you don’t belong. You see yourself differently. Which makes you resented in that apartment. They think you think you’re better than everyone else. You try to make your one room occupation different. The couch is not grimy and overbearing. You rummaged a sound system. The colour of your room is not brown. Most paint their room dark brown to prevent dirt showing. The neighbours may resent you but even they know you don’t belong in that neighbourhood. There’s something different about you. You have to work hard to get out of that neighbourhood.
Of course you’re the toast of the local girls. You’re different. You wear white shirt and tie to the office in the morning. The gators of your trousers are narrower than the way that leads to life. You don’t want to speak pidgin like everyone else. You don’t want to date the local girls either. You’re trying to avoid being trapped. Across the street lives Margaret the prostitute. Margaret is WILD! She’s been known to get into a few scrapes with the other girls. It’s an orgy of violence that involves yanking out of hair by the roots, the tearing of tops to reveal bra, disrobing of wrappers that reveal underwear… There’s use of vicious nails, slaps and abuse. Margaret fought her semi blind father. She slapped him. He never saw the slap coming, couldn’t have, even if he had full sight. It sounded like lightning. Abomination you say, but Margaret has a different set of values. She lives in the jungle. She got into another one with her step mum. It followed the same pattern of stripping down your opponent to her undies, then to nakedness. Margaret has no shame. This one took place at her father’s house and so the step mum had access to robe changes to continue the fight. It’s like a demon of provocation stays in that family. There’s always a fight. This is not the environment you want to live in you say to yourself. You don’t want Margaret as neighbour. You don’t want her noise. There are those disagreements she has with her customers over pricing. That usually takes place at 5.30 in the morning, when the client is spent every which way. Margaret doesn’t like price variation after the fact.
It’s not your fault you say to yourself. You wish your parents were rich. You try and escape your surrounding in your imagination. There you are on the other side of town, living in those places without noise. Those places don’t seem to have mosquitoes either. There’s a battalion of them born in your neighbourhood every night. They’re like bats. They come out without fail every night. These mosquitoes are a special breed. They thump their nose at powerful insecticides. They’ve reengineered themselves. They can pierce dermatological armour of any variety. There’s a chance these mosquitoes are mentioned in the Book of Revelation. They sound in description like the army of Abaddon the Angel of Death. How many times have you fallen ill from mosquito bites you say to yourself. Your malaria is so constant, and so vicious in propagation every time you recover you swear you’ll never have malaria again. It’s trauma. No mosquito nets can stop these mosquitoes. Not even the ones distributed by Bill Gates. He knows nothing about these kinds of mosquitoes. He’s dealing with the gentle variety – the ones applying for visa to America. Not these ones, they’re local lords. These types of mosquito depart not but by prayer and fasting you muse to yourself. And you’ve not come to the subject of rats. The ones in your neighbourhood consume doors.
You look around you and there are people who have given up in your neighbourhood. They are denizens of hell. Some have become local champions and specialists. There’s the pimp Madam prostituting underage girls – thirteen, fourteen, fifteen year olds. Her primary market is “Okada drivers” – the motorcycle transporters. She has an options menu. If you want to have sex without condom you pay a premium like DSTV cable subscription. It’s a two-item menu – condom-less sex or sex with condom. The Okada riders prefer condom-less sex. And they come at break time, about 1 pm. They line up like engorged hordes with their motorcycles. Those girls are probably diseased with AIDS. Madam has a simple solution. There’s the local herb seller offering pharmacological concoctions to gonococci and other bizarre sounding diseases of the pot of flesh. And so venereal diseases spread in the neighbourhood in concentrated form. There’s a constant deposit of virused primordial fluids in vats of innocent flesh.
Then there’s the crime at night – the stealing of clothes from laundry lines. Special hooks attached to bamboos are deployed from the next compound. Everyone knows the landlord’s son is a thief. No one puts out a pair of sneakers in that neighbourhood at the same time. You wash and dry one leg. Retrieve it. Then you wash the other leg the next day. It’s called sneaker insurance. Conscientious parents lock up their kids from 6pm. They don’t want the neighbourhood contaminating them, but it’s a hard battle. And so I understand where you’re coming from Jack. I hope the graphic illustration captures it.
Let that neighbourhood you resent be your motivation. Getting out of it has be your singular purpose in life. You must overcome your neighbourhood, it must not bury you. But it means you have to work harder than everyone else at work. They’re not from your type of neighbourhood. They don’t have enough motivation. You do. Your motivation is a life and death situation – the death of your dreams is a possibility. It also means you must never give up. You go farther, you fight harder, believe stronger.
I sometimes watch WWE, just to clear my brain. I’m not a big fan but it serves its purpose. It’s light entertainment, like the gossipy wives of Beverly Hills. Wonder why they call them “real housewives.” I remember tuning the channel one day and hearing the anthem heralding Bobby Roode into the arena. It was uplifting, the words so powerful. These are the words to that anthem. It’s called Glorious Domination – “Glorious/ No, I won’t give in/ ‘Til I’m victorious/ And I will defend/ I will defend. [Chorus] Glorious/ No, I won’t give in/ ‘Til I’m victorious/ And I will defend/ I will defend/ And I’ll do what I must/ No, I won’t give in/ I won’t give in/ I’m so glorious/ Until the end/ Until the end. I commend the anthem to your listenership. Here’s the link to the song –
Never give in, never give up, do what you must. See you at the top!
Your mentor, LA
© Leke Alder |
Success requires self-discipline. Click To Tweet
Tags : Success, poverty, background

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