Today, I have the distinct pleasure of having my husby and dreamboat to share a piece with you all. I’ve loved him for 10 years (first few years we’re as a crush, then as someone I loved to hate coz he wasn’t loving me, then as my forever guy) He’s the kind of guy who wears his heart on his forehead, he’s honest and cares for people in a way I’m still learning how to. I’ve always loved how he expressed himself and I’m so happy I can share him with you all today!
At the juncture of our dreams, on the days our life begins to sing its swansong, the beautiful things will not be the sunsets and sunrises. No. They will be the fact that we lived lives beautiful enough to appreciate the beauty around us while knowing they were an adage of the beauty we gave to each other, and to the world.
I always loved words. They felt like cosmic realities that only came alive when they were in my hands or on my lips. I tend to think having a mother who would sing to me even before I understood what music was has something to do with that. Growing up she would sing often to translate her pain and joy into language and I played the role of an audience hiding behind kitchen doors, gazing as she wiped dishes with the delicateness of one who was wiping away a part of them that they loved but had to let go.
I found myself with the very same look when I pictured where I always wanted to be in life. Writer, Musician, Poet, but one whose love for words quickly felt like something I was wiping away.
In 2007 you would have smelled passion on me – a mix of music, romance with each stride like the walk of a sun ray whose feet were on cold faces. I felt fly. I would spend days on end at Alliance Française creating music with great friends, my songs were on rotation on Capital FM and I felt like everything i wanted to be.
A few years later in university, I was drunk in a school hostel after spending just 5 minutes in a class, leaving my bag on the seat and heading out. I had a heart break the day before and the reminder of that and my music coincided. I had a shirt from my ex with the lyrics to a song I did called Le Jardin printed on – my journey goes on for a couple of miles…. but the truth is, I felt my journey had ended before it really begun.
I had taken a break from performing in order to better understand who I was and to dive into my books and the withdrawal symptoms took effect long after my last dose of tasting a stage or a recording studio. Even though I didn’t verbally admit it, I felt worthless without my music, without being on stage, without Hip Hop music, poetry and neo-soul music. I was a romantic who knew words and I carved each others names on the barks of trees but after a few years, it felt like my name in the Skillz and Words forever faded.
My mind had to deal with the fact that this man who felt like sun rays on cold faces now felt like ice to his own heart and I stopped falling in love with who I was. In taking a break, I had lost people I considered close, contacts, faith and felt alone. So even though I was tumbling down a rabbit hole hoping for a beautiful world at the end, I hoped I would find myself. That would be the beautiful world.
It’s funny how we tie the things we do to who we are. When I wasn’t making music, my mind would ask me, “Who are you now?” When I wasn’t writing, my heart would ask me questions I tried to avoid using silence but when words are your lifeline, even the word silence runs in your mind and gives birth to debilitating thoughts. This is why I believe we need to see the sonograms of our mind and heart to see what we are birthing within us.
For a long while, the pictures of my mind and heart were simply large scars that had their own heartbeat. I knew if I didn’t allow myself to grieve for who I thought I lost then I would give birth to wounds that would outlive me and be the only memory this world has of me. I started to write about how it felt to feel like you are nothing because the only thing you have is a broken reflection on a whole plate in your hand that you are trying to clean, and you can’t help but travel to the moments of hiding behind doors loving music and words and thinking, “Will I ever get that feeling back?”
I wrote. I wrote to remind myself of 2006 when my debut song played on radio and my mother and father ran to the room to hear Chao play it on ‘Bubbling Under’ and they were bobbing their heads like they invented boom bap. I had to remind myself that they were ultimately there not for the song but for the one who had the song in his own heart.
On days like those, I reminded myself of my value. That I am enough not because I am known but because I know myself.
This world will try to make us into a reflection of either its brokenness or its illusion of happiness and for the first time, I realized my break made me free from both of them.
If I never took time in silence, away with myself, I would never have met my wife. I would have met a friend but the silence made me see the wife in that friend. It allowed us to reconcile seeing as we had immense problems in university, me wanting to live in her world and her, having another man in it. And I never knew. So when we found ourselves needing to stand on the shores of decision, the waves carried us away from each other. Hate grew in those times and even though we went our separate ways, our hearts seemed to know something we didn’t.
She, like me, was passionate. She was born to wield words. Syllables have never looked as sexy as they did when she wore them. And she knew it.
My break allowed me to ask myself questions like, “Why don’t you smile?” and realizing the answers there lay in the eyes of my wife. I rarely smiled with a full set of teeth because most of them were cracking, broken… almost a reflection of how I saw myself but this queen made me know kings look like me.
I learned all these things. I wasn’t recording music, I had struggled to write, I had struggled to have self belief and here she came opening the gates of my mouth because she saw treasure inside. I’ve never been afraid to laugh or smile again.
I remember the day I cried in the darkness remembering the dentist tell me most of my teeth could fall off without a procedure and then handing me a bill that was more than what I earned. I was broken. In that moment of shame she became my warmth from the cold that came for my strength. There are times you are held by arms so loving you feel like barren land that is bearing fruit for the very first time. In those moments someone sees you even when you struggle to see yourself.
The truth is, we rarely understand who we are until we have nothing that can define us for itself. That is where we begin to truly learn who we are and when we finally understand, it will be because we were no longer afraid of the empty.
Most times we are afraid of fear so much that instead of fighting it, we surrender to it, believing we are too powerless to win and so we carry ourselves, lay our war chest at fear’s feet and curl up in its corners making a home for ourselves.
I was in fear that I had missed every chance to give to this world the very things I loved- music, poetry, romance, passion, meaning.
I felt like people had changed planets and I was the last to know, but sometimes that just means you have a whole planet to shape instead of its emptiness shaping you.
You see, I learned that the boy who watched his mother sing in the kitchen loved who his mother was and what she did in her own silence was powerful because she did it for herself. There were no lights, no cameras, no applause – just her and her dishes with music in her heart. I realized that even if an audience were to appear, they would engage her in the applause and not in the creating.
I realize that most of the things we face we either create or have been created for us. And so we need to see the sonograms of our heart from time to time and see what is being born in us in those painful moments – moments of doubt and even moments of joy.
The reality is, everybody wants heavenly moments but some choose to pursue them through hellish means, permanently losing themselves in the process.
I may not be where I want to be yet but when I write now, when I go back to creating music, when I go on air or just simply breathe, I will know it is not because I am nothing without the things I once lived for, but because I know who I am.
I know that I am enough.
On days when I walk these muddy streets and have cars splash water on me, I smile with my teeth out knowing even that muddy water wants to touch this healed soulful man. And in the moments when I stand finally reading from my own book, I remember the words in it are to make others find where faith loves to hide.
These are the things I have learned so far in a class that never ends:
That we owe it to ourselves to remember we are enough.
We are beautiful. Sunrises and sunsets have nothing on us and one day, we will give ourselves to this world without fear. We will give it the love we give ourselves – that love that took everything to find. And we will remind this world that we truly are the real treasure it holds.
Wasn’t that something? You’ll be seeing a lot of this hunk here.
Thanks so much for passing by. If you loved this, won’t you be so kind and share it with someone who needs to believe in the beauty of their dreams? I’d appreciate it.
David Oyuke aka BlackSkillz is a poet, Hip Hop artist and radio host who is falling back in love with himself, life and his craft. After taking quite a long break from active poetry and music, he broke his silence in 2018 with the release of his debut poetry anthology “Flowers in a broken vase” a book on healing, self love, and seeing the things that truly matter in the world around and within. It retails for 650/- and can be bought at Bookstop Yaya.