Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Slow Fade

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white turn to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade!
*Casting Crowns - Slow fade

I've been fighting with some demons for a long, long time. Sometimes, i think i'm winning but deep within i know that if opportunity presents itself, i'll fall flat on my face. It takes not just courage and support to break bad habits, it takes the grace of God. The spirit is always willing to do what is right but the body is almost always weak. It may take a while but bad habits/addictions are breakable, 2Timothy 1:7 says "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". We've been blessed with the power and sense to breakaway from sin/addictions and though old habits have been said to die hard, they die eventually if we keep starving them.

I'm not 'clean' yet but i'm close and that's mainly because i have found Grace and also because it is not a substance abuse (and it's not pornography o, lol). People with substance abuse on the other hand need not only our prayers but also our tough, undying love. Addictions are little demons that crawl up your brain and cloud your every judgement. People with addictions know they need help and most times, they know where to get it but the yearning for a quick fix is always stronger than the need for a cure, that's why most of them never break free. And that is also why interventions are the best gifts you can -try to- give the people you love who are struggling with addictions.

Pasted below is a beautiful tribute written for Amy Winehouse by Russell Brand. Yes, Russell Brand! That seemingly crazy man with the wacky sense of humour is also a very smart man and good writer. Please read, (be wowed) and try to reach out to anyone you know struggling with a(n) addiction(s). God bless you
For Amy

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.
Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make it must be received. It is impossible to intervene.
I’ve known Amy Winehouse for years. When I first met her around Camden she was just some twit in a pink satin jacket shuffling round bars with mutual friends, most of whom were in cool Indie bands or peripheral Camden figures Withnail-ing their way through life on impotent charisma. Carl Barrat told me that “Winehouse” (which I usually called her and got a kick out of cos it’s kind of funny to call a girl by her surname) was a jazz singer, which struck me as a bizarrely anomalous in that crowd. To me with my limited musical knowledge this information placed Amy beyond an invisible boundary of relevance; “Jazz singer? She must be some kind of eccentric” I thought. I chatted to her anyway though, she was after all, a girl, and she was sweet and peculiar but most of all vulnerable.
I was myself at that time barely out of rehab and was thirstily seeking less complicated women so I barely reflected on the now glaringly obvious fact that Winehouse and I shared an affliction, the disease of addiction. All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom; they’re not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but un-ignorable veil. Whether a homeless smack head troubling you for 50p for a cup of tea or a coked-up, pinstriped exec foaming off about his “speedboat” there is a toxic aura that prevents connection. They have about them the air of elsewhere, that they’re looking through you to somewhere else they’d rather be. And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.
From time to time I’d bump into Amy she had good banter so we could chat a bit and have a laugh, she was “a character” but that world was riddled with half cut, doped up chancers, I was one of them, even in early recovery I was kept afloat only by clinging to the bodies of strangers so Winehouse, but for her gentle quirks didn’t especially register.
Then she became massively famous and I was pleased to see her acknowledged but mostly baffled because I’d not experienced her work and this not being the 1950’s I wondered how a “jazz singer” had achieved such cultural prominence. I wasn’t curious enough to do anything so extreme as listen to her music or go to one of her gigs, I was becoming famous myself at the time and that was an all consuming experience. It was only by chance that I attended a Paul Weller gig at the Roundhouse that I ever saw her live.
I arrived late and as I made my way to the audience through the plastic smiles and plastic cups I heard the rolling, wondrous resonance of a female vocal. Entering the space I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe. The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse! That twerp, all eyeliner and lager dithering up Chalk Farm Road under a back-combed barnet, the lips that I’d only seen clenching a fishwife fag and dribbling curses now a portal for this holy sound. So now I knew. She wasn’t just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a fucking genius.
Shallow fool that I am I now regarded her in a different light, the light that blazed down from heaven when she sang. That lit her up now and a new phase in our friendship began. She came on a few of my TV and radio shows, I still saw her about but now attended to her with a little more interest. Publicly though, Amy increasingly became defined by her addiction. Our media though is more interested in tragedy than talent, so the ink began to defect from praising her gift to chronicling her downfall. The destructive personal relationships, the blood soaked ballet slippers, the aborted shows, that youtube madness with the baby mice. In the public perception this ephemeral tittle-tattle replaced her timeless talent. This and her manner in our occasional meetings brought home to me the severity of her condition. Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death. I was 27 years old when through the friendship and help of Chip Somers of the treatment centre, Focus12 I found recovery, through Focus I was introduced to support fellowships for alcoholics and drug addicts which are very easy to find and open to anybody with a desire to stop drinking and without which I would not be alive.
Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn’t even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Language Challenge... Tiv

Hey everyone, I put this up yesterday and put it down cos the sound quality after i uploaded it got messed up but what the heck,  i can't do it again and after suffering to traslate it i might as well put it up and hope someone reads it to the end even if they don't listen. Enjoy...

Language Challenge... Tiv by doshiX

I greet you all, my name is Dooshima. First of all, before i explain why i'm speaking in Tiv, i want to apologise, i know i've abandoned this blog for such a long time and i don't even have an excuse. I'm really, really sorry.
Ok... i'm speaking to you guys in Tiv today because Sugabelly started something called the language challenge and everyone, anybody who is interested really, is supposed to put up a blogpost speaking their language so that others can listen and learn what other languages sound like and probably pick up one or two things. So that's what we'll be doing today.
My dad is from Uganda but i've been there just once... i was there for 2 weeks to visit my step brother. My mother is from Nigeria, here, she's Tiv (from Benue State) and i grew up here. I was born in "the white man's land" but i grew up here, that's why i know how to speak Tiv. My mum speaks to me in Tiv and the whole family here speaks Tiv so i just picked it up... it's only natural. I speak Hausa too, *in Hausa* I understand Hausa, i speak it fluently (this is the only translation i can come up with, lol) and *in Yoruba* I understand Yoruba, I can't speak it well but i understand, shey you get me? and *in French* I speak French but a little because i'm a begginer... if anybody understood what that meant at all. I think that's all and yes, i can speak broken English, dis kain, i sabi scatter de tin well well, you no fit sell me (this just means i speak broken English fluently, shikena). That's all i understand.
Let me gist you guys.
There was this night i was going to church for night vigil, i slept and got up at about quarter to 12, dressed up, picked my bottle of water and was walking there (i live very close by)... i wasn't paying attention and before i knew what's up, i was walking inside a puddle of mud. I got so upset. When i got to the front of the church, close to the gate, i started using the water i was supposed to use through the night, during the prayers to wash my feet. Then a man who was driving by started horning and asking "are you going?" i thought he thought i was looking for a ride to the junction so i was about to say "no, thank you" when i realized that he thought i was a prostitute. I got sooo mad and was like "are you crazy? I'm infront of church, I'm coming for night vigil" then he said "oh ok, i'm sorry... please pray for me".
I was so disgusted, who does that? Even if i was a prostitute, who picks prostitutes infront of church? Are you crazy?!
Anyway, after he apologised i hissed and said -i thought i said this in my mind- "there's no hope for your soul!" I know i shouldn't have said that but i was really upset and the worse part was that he heard. The guy reversed and parked where i was, infront of me and said "why will you say that? I thought you were a christian and christians are supposed to pray for others?"
My God! I've never felt so ashamed, i felt so bad. I told him i was sorry and half of my prayers that night was for that man. I feel so bad.
What i'm trying to say is that sometimes we get so carried away playing church and sit down on our high horses judging people, forgetting that Christianity is about loving people, accepting them, preaching hope and Christ. We get so carried away with our salvation that we forget to minister that to others and it's a really, really sad thing. I have never forgotten that day, i feel so bad about it and... wow... i hope someone is still listening and will not do what i have done. Please pray for that man for me.
Aaanyway, i think i've ended up speaking more English than Tiv but i have to stop this now cos it's getting too long. I hope i haven't embarrassed the Tiv Language, i hope someone is still listening... and... yes, thank you for listening and may God be with you all.

Here are the rules:

1. It DOES NOT MATTER how well you can speak your language. The goal is to speak regardless. So don't worry if you don't speak that well or you have to include lots of English words. ALL language levels are welcome.

2. Video posts or Audio posts are strongly preferred. This is because the point is to hear and enjoy the spoken language. Written posts are frowned upon but will be accepted too. ^_^

3. Please always provide a translation for your readers of other ethnicities! Translations should be in English and can be in the form of captions under a video post, or written transcripts for audio and written posts.

4. Please tag each participating post as - language challenge - and post the link here in the comments so I can link to it and make all of them easy to find.

5. Please encourage other Nigerian bloggers to post in Nigerian languages.