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Letter to Jack

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My dear Jack, I must confess I read your mail with a tinge of sadness. How do you do that to a woman? You dated this young woman for two years, all the while sleeping with her and impregnating her. And now she’s suddenly no good for you. Meanwhile you were the one who insisted she keep the pregnancy. There must be something I’m not getting… And this is not about the dialectics of abortion or no abortion. That’s not the issue here. The issue is, why would you insist a girl keep a pregnancy when you have no intention of marrying her? You impregnated her to have a child or what? You wanted the child but didn’t want her? Or were you confused when you insisted she must have the child? An independent observer would want to know your exact intention. The pregnancy is to what end? And especially given the things you said about her.

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Listen Jack, I know it’s tough out there. Young men and women are facing so much discouragement. I get where you are. And I understand why your mail contains so much negativism. There’s despair. But I don’t want you to lose hope. You can’t lose hope. If it’s any comfort there’s no successful individual who hasn’t had moments of despair. Despair generates depression and fear. The fear comes as we project into the future but can’t see beyond present circumstances. We can’t see any turn of events.

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My dear Jack, you’re subjecting yourself to all sorts of spiritual influence. I already told you this marriage divination thing is not in the Bible. Your pastor should not be functioning as Ifa or juju priest divining who you should marry. I belong to the Christian faith and I find no such thing in the Bible. It’s extra-curricular and if I were you I’ll be careful about extracurricular stuff. Of course you’re going to start having funny dreams through the power of suggestion. Don’t you find it curious that before this spiritual consultation you never had such dreams? What is troubling about the whole issue is that you’ve inserted fear into your relationship. If you go ahead with the wedding and you dash your foot against a stone during honeymoon you’ll attribute it to those dreams. And if there’s late conception in your marriage you’re going to attribute it to what your spiritual consultants warned you about.

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My dear Jack, there are two capacities you must develop if you want to make a success of your relationship and indeed life. You must develop capacity for introspection and capacity for critical self-analysis. The two are not the same. By introspection I mean the ability to look inward, to consider your life, your direction; to see where you’re coming from, know where you are, where you want to go. It’s a meditative exercise, sort of. Doesn’t mean you have to lock up yourself in a room cross legged, breathing methodically. It’s just having some quiet in your inner self, seeing things through your inner eyes. It’s not meant to be a pity party either. Introspection is neutral in emotion. It’s not about feeling sorry for yourself. It’s simply looking inside. Introspection allows us to see the need for a plan. It doesn’t come up with the plan but it will give you an awareness of the need for a plan. Planning requires rational energy. That’s not the energy employed by introspection. It uses a different form of energy. Introspection doesn’t sweat. It has a coolant.

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My dear Jack, I think you’re mistaken about issues of life, possibly conflicted by your ego. There’s no nobility in poverty. If you don’t accept that as basic fact of life you’ll keep having problems in this relationship. Your girlfriend’s character is not defined by willingness to live in poverty. That’s not what makes her a good woman. That she wants to live in relative comfort is not a repudiation of character. Everyone has a right to aspire, to want more from life. She has a right to want to live in relative comfort. You can’t blame her for that. Neither should you accept your starting point in life as the permanent definition of your class. It’s just a starting point. Aspire for more. Aspiration is not evil. It produces drive in us, creates leadership potential in us.

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My dear Jack, you and I know the Osu caste stuff is cultural irredentism. And it’s from a bygone era. The logic embedded in that caste system is so obtuse. How do you hold someone in the 21st century responsible for the alleged crime of her ancestor from antiquity? And the moral standing is doubtful. By one account Osus were condemned to serve as sacrificial offering to contumacious demons to clean the land from abomination. The saner version of the narrative is that Osus were criminals who sinned against their communities or were disobedient to the edict of the king. So how can a lady who is 100 times removed from her primogenitor be held responsible for his ancestral crimes? Why should she be socially isolated and denied her marital choice in the 21st century? Even more illogical is the notion an ancestral line can be branded with blemish forever, and this irrespective of the personal qualities of the descendants. And there is no redemptive recourse. Continue reading

My dear Jack, you’re going to put yourself on an emotional rollercoaster trying to keep this lady. Your heart can’t afford it. First, your relationship is in a state of plausible deniability. She never said yes to your boyfriend proposal. She just allowed things to carry on. There’s no definitiveness about the relationship. Perhaps you should have asked her a simple question: Are we boyfriend and girlfriend now? Sometimes it’s wise to ask such questions, especially if a relationship seems borderline. Not sure she really wants to date you. Seems she just used you as a gap filler. She didn’t want to be alone. She sucked emotional nutrient from you but she had no plan to commit to you. Continue reading

My dear young man, I kind of understand your confusion, if not disappointment. I mean, you went out of your way to buy the young lady a valentine’s gift… It’s something you thought through, just to make sure it’s the right gift for her. You went to that store, picked it yourself. And then nothing! Not a text, not a call to say thank you. You got that distinct feeling your effort was not appreciated; that the gift was not appreciated… Your gift ought to be appreciated, after all you bought it with your hard-earned money. The least she could do is call to say thank you, or send a thank you text that shows she appreciates the gift. Even outside the purview of relationship that’s courteous. When you’re given a gift you should at least say thank you. The whole thing kind of dashes your expectations, as well as projections. And it wasn’t a cheap present you bought. Makes you wonder. And makes her a wonderment.

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My dear Jack, been a while since we corresponded. I hope your year started good! Yes, I saw your mail but I was on vacation. I needed the vacation. And I needed to spend time with my family. You’ll appreciate that as you grow older. Family is very important. Continue reading

My dear Jack, I present a few nuggets from my letters to you this year. Here they are: Continue reading

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