Eric’s Diary X : When we can’t fix what’s broken

 

I get into the shower routinely but today I stopped to wonder – “What if I stopped the running water in the bath tub and let my head sink for just 20 minutes?” No, maybe that’s too uncomfortable ; I will choke on the water and drown to death. “Death. Isn’t that what you want?” I was not sure of many things but at this moment I was sure that I just wanted to disappear but I couldn’t do that without dying.
There was this aura of sadness that I couldn’t explain. At first I thought it would go away just like anything else but it was like a tide – it kept rising and falling only that this time it did not subside like I thought it would.
Should I try out what I saw on television instead? Slitting my wrist is not such a bad idea at least Frank from House of Cards taught how to do it right by slitting vertically and not horizontally but there is pain in that one too.
Or should I go to the garage, switch on mum’s engine and allow the odorless carbon monoxide to take over me? It would be like I died in my sleep – peaceful. No one will even notice unless someone wants to use the car which is unlikely at this time. If you feel like you are not in the right place or this is not the right diary you are reading, well sorry to disappoint but it is. This is still Eric.
I used to be on top of my game despite the fact that I have ADHD but now I think life is getting the better of me coupled with the fact that I have been in some bad relationships that left me wrecked (that’s an issue for another day).
Bottom line is – I feel unworthy, unloved and uncared for. I feel like if I were to disappear nothing will change anyway and people would go on with their lives as usual. I feel that I am sometimes being a burden on society and some of the people around me when I can’t control myself due to my condition so I sometimes embarrass them.
No one notices that everyday I cry for help. When I say I need someone to talk to people just brush it aside or sometimes forget I even said anything. They say “hard guys” don’t cry but I believe everyone has their breaking point and this is mine. Maybe this is the end of the road for me because I have tried everything – from motivational songs, videos to speeches.
Those things are even beginning to sound alike and sometimes they are so plastic that I can even predict the next thing that’s going to be said.
Before I was diagnosed with depression, I was in denial at first. One of the few people I am privileged to call ‘friend’ would look into my eyes and ask me whether I was alright and I would look straight into hers and answer in the affirmative even though I was dying inside.
I did not tell her because I was afraid she might not relate to how I feel. I didn’t also want her to leave like my girlfriend (Edem) left when I disclosed that I felt I had started showing signs of depression.
One day when I felt no one was watching, I went behind the classroom to sit on the lover’s bench. I cried the whole time while making a quick google search on signs and symptoms of depression. It was like I had a checklist in my mind and I would uncheck everything mentally just to convince myself that there was nothing wrong win me.
As I was so engrossed in this exercise, I felt a warm tap on my shoulder. Our eyes met and she smiled at me. I pretended I wasn’t doing anything but the tears in my eyes gave me away. She said it was okay if I needed a moment and that I should cry if I need to.For the first time in my life, a girl had told me that expression my emotions as a boy in that manner was okay; it made me feel more comfortable with her automatically.
That was when she told me her story – she was raped at  ten while returning from an errand. She told me about how badly it had affected her and for about 3 years, she was silent and went into a state of repression (unconsciously living like it did not happen).
Till she had a trigger when her boyfriend tried to be intimate with her and all the events that night started to unfold. Her boyfriend did not understand what was going on at first but later got help for her by contacting a psychologist who took her through counseling.
She has been on antidepressants for a long time and she confessed that occasionally, she has some depressing episodes but they aren’t as terrible as the first.She told me that in her case, her boyfriend was both her trigger and her savior . Then she gave me a long hug and asked whether I wanted to talk about what was bothering me.
I have never poured my heart out to someone like that before ( I didn’t want to tell my mum because I felt she had too much to deal with). Cutting the long story short, this girl put me in contact with her psychologist and that was what saved me that day. I don’t know what I would have done to myself. Dialogue is very important to people who are depressed.
I applaud the people who are able to catch the early signs and offer a listening ear to anyone in that situation because sometimes that could be their saving grace. In such times, it is the little things like a hug, a smile or a word of encouragement that veers the person off that path of doom that’s lurking.
Even though no one can be certain that everything would be okay, there is one thing I am sure of ; having anxiety is one thing. Having depression is another. But having both at the same time is like a storm raving inside of you that can’t be kept still.
Eric’s diary is a series of fictional stories with the aim of address childhood diseases and disorders.
By : Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane
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Chale Wote Festival : Graffiti, the ‘Wata Matas’ and overflowing crowd

While walking through the streets of James Town one sunny day, I came across some graffiti work on the wall ; some were being painted over to make way for new ones.

It was imminent  that the Chale Wote festival was near because I had seen the Homowo (festival of the Ga people in Ghana) celebrations which always coincide with the Chale Wote Street Festival which started on the 14th of August and ended on the 20th of August in grand style.

Initially, there was not much activity during the first few days (probably because momentum was being gathered for the latter days). However, on the 16th of August, majority of the walls came to life as the various artists flooded their surfaces with colorful drawings.

This brings to mind the theme : Wata Mata. It is interesting to note that almost all the works of art had something aqua-related even if it was a drop in the ocean. (Thus Wata = Water and Mata = Matter). Some artists were able to finish their work in a day while others finished within a two-day span depending on the labor intensity of their work.

There was an added advantage of getting the concept from the horse’s own mouth because the artists were around to interact with the public as well as answer questions on their work.

For instance, I was able to ask about a painting  which showed cultural integration of people of different races which I thought was beautiful.  There was also a painting of a boxer with the (James Town) Lighthouse tower beside him signifying that boxing is a common sport in that area.

Chale Wote 2017 Naa
The festival ,which is organized by Accra dot Alt, has been running annually since 2011 and it was no surprise that it was heavily patronized this year. On Saturday, I took public transport only to realize that half of the people in the vehicle were also going to the festival so we all walked together happily.

Getting there was not an issue because all we needed to do was follow the crowd since all roads lead to Chale Wote (only that in this case, some roads had been blocked to make painting of the street possible).

The crowd was youthful but that is not to say that the older people did not come in their numbers. There were a number of foreigners as well who were seen trying to make way through the streets to go face-painting, buy items or take pictures.

Due to the fact that the place was crowded, there was heavy police presence to prevent any chaos. Aside, people running around while shouting and a little nudging here and there, everything was under control.

There was a lot of drumming and dancing alongside gun shots (whose significance are related to the Homowo festival celebrated by the Ga people). The shots are believed to ward off evil spirits

While making my way through the thick crowd, I met an encircled crowd of people. When I decided to peep out of curiosity, I saw that there were two people boxing and the crowd made up the human-ring. This was just one of the many side-attractions. Others included : face painting, motor-bike riding and performances by some local artistes.

Chale Wote 2017 Naa

Not forgetting the fact that the organizers seized the opportunity to open the prisons so that people could have a feel of it. While entering the Ussher Fort prison, I saw something that caught my attention. It was an inscription “This is Art”. I looked above, to see if I was missing anything only to find out that the inscription was meant for the heap of garbage lying just underneath the inscription.

Like many others, I was eager to find out whoever the artist was and what he or she really meant concerning that. This took me a while but I later came across an Instagram post by the originator which made a lot of sense.

She was referring to the sanitation problem in the country (Ghana) and how it may prove to be a threat if collective action is not taken.

Chale Wote 2017 Naa

I believe this was an important wake-up call that draws attention for the need to maintain a clean environment (which has been a major problem in the country). The solution may be less of clean-up exercises and more of attitudinal change but this is a story for another day.

Despite the sanitation flaw, the festival was colorful, beautiful and well-patronized. It would not be surprising to see it become a major tourist attraction in a few years to come.

When I was a little girl, I wish they’d told me…

IMG_20170623_163723When I was a little girl
The first television I knew was black and white
While in school, they impressed upon us that black was the opposite of white
Black for mourning
White for rejoicing
Black for darkness
White for brightness
Black for bad deeds
White for the good ones
The devil was black in every single play
Jesus was portrayed in white as I watched in disdain
Engraving in our memories
That our black sins should be washed away
So that our white garments could be on display
Well, as I got wind of colour television
I got to see the rainbow
Tasted variety
Only Physics was generous enough to teach me that
While white isn’t just one colour
Black may not always be a colour
And rainbows don’t always appear in the sky
I wish they’d told me that not everything was black and white

 

When I was a little girl
Head, shoulders, knees and toes
Regarding anatomy, we thought we were so close
Not that we knew what it was anyway
With simple algebra we were blown away
That kind of math paved a way
It was the foundation that brought us all the way
Just so we are clear
It’s the sole reason why we are here
But back then it was just too much for some to bear
I wish they’d told us it wasn’t that simple
That someday we would need to explain more than a skin dimple

When I was a little girl
I thought mum and dad knew everything
So I would ask them anything
Satisfied with most of their responses
I was never really scared
Because they promised to always be there
One day I came home with many questions
Hoping to get some answers
For hours, I sat on the couch
Tired of waiting, I decided to search the house
No indication of Mummy and Daddy
They never returned
Now I wish someone had all the answers
My days became less bright
I guess mum and dad weren’t always right
I wish someone told me that it was okay to be scared
because they wouldn’t always be there

When I was a little girl,
A teacher once told us to take note:
“Majority always carries the vote”
Majority of the movies I watched
Had similar themes
“Good always triumphs over evil” it screams
Well, in theatre majority live for the applause
A few do it for a good cause
Our real lives depict otherwise
The world is full of good and bad
Being unscrupulous appears to be wise
Yet we must learn to accept that no matter how many times we pray
Sometimes the wicked may get away
I wish they’d told me that sometimes the bad get rewarded and poetic justice isn’t always awarded
This hard truth I wished to be told when I was just a little girl.

By : Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane

Too much or just enough?

Up and down he runs on tarred road
In the deep dark night so cold
But stops to wonder what if he grows old?
Would his athletic story still be told?
Or would his memory be in a museum as mere stone?
He starts to wonder
Is it too much or just enough ?

Swamped by a sea of knowledge
Here is the girl who thought she would never make it to college
Those finals are drawing near
Yet the concepts still remain unclear
Her countless efforts only just mere ?
She begins to shed a tear
And wonders
Is it too much or just enough ?

Consulting room it is
Everyday it’s a different kind of disease
Rare or not we’ve got to care
It’s an emergency but what if it is not treated with such urgency ?
Dangerous disease it is
A malignancy with a 5% survival tendency
Treatment of choice is a 50-50 chance
Do we give the drug
Or fold our arms in wait for death’s deadly drag ?
How sure are we that this dose is just enough to cure
Given that the therapeutic window is too narrow to endure?
Is it too much or just enough ?

Does he have the courage to propose marriage?
Or is he like the other guys who hate commitments and ties?
One brawl to the next
Is it a test?
Some say arguments are healthy
Am I in it because it’s true
Or did I stay just because he is wealthy?
Is this love going to last
Will it fade some time past?
Do you think they’ve had enough?
Is it too much or just enough?

Hitting those high notes
Very soon, there would be no voice to recite any quotes
How long would my vocal cords remain patent
Is it a tangible dream or something so latent?
Am I doing too much or just enough ?

So many cooks
Yet they try to keep the broth intact
It doesn’t matter how it looks
If the taste isn’t as good as its cooks
More sugar, more spice
Would it taste as nice?
But who knows?
When the cock crows
And the dish is served
Does it matter how it looks
Or the number of good cooks?
Which one’s the best anyway?
In this sauce of life
We find ourselves in daily strife
Regarding the decision of whether it is too much or just enough.

The month of love…So tell me, is this love? – Xenophobia & Racism

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February is often thought to be the month of love but is it not ironic that it was within this same month that Xenophobic attacks resurfaced in South Africa?
Is the love the world seems to portray only a mirage/facade?

Any person who decides to hate another individual to the extent of wanting to kill him or her either because of skin colour or the fact that he or she is a foreigner has a big problem. As a matter of fact, anyone who would want to kill someone for any reason must be checked. So it surprises me how a person can look into the eyes of another human being and stab him or her with a knife. Sadly, this is not a joke. That was the story of Emmanuel Sithole and many others (in 2015) who were either stabbed or burned to death simply because another person felt threatened by their presence with the flimsy excuse of foreigners taking over their jobs and economy. On the other hand, a 2015 study conducted by the University of Cape Town revealed that foreigners rather make major contributions to the South African economy by paying rent and providing jobs.

So tell me, is it okay to have a day/month  set aside for love yet the world is still full of hate, racism and xenophobia? Do we but kid ourselves when we decide to turn a blind eye to such issues as the world continues to move on as though the black race or the rights of foreigners are irrelevant? Are we comfortable going to church (or our various places of worship) in one moment and then turn to literally stab our neighbor in the back while walking across the street?

It is often said that the first solution to a problem is understanding the root of the problem. I have tried so hard to see through these racist and xenophobic attacks but no matter how I look at it, it just does not make any sense.

In as much as it is so hard to solve a deeply rooted problem such as this, I think it is very necessary to speak, do whatever we can to stop it and not just fold our arms because the situation may seem hopeless.

When I read about the abolishment of slavery, I thanked my stars that such a barbaric act was put to an end. Just when I thought it was all over, equally terrible crimes against humanity came along – racism and xenophobia.

By : Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane
naabd61@yahoo.com
Twitter : @Adzeley

 

“Who wants to be President?” – the sword of Damocles and the presidency

Date: 26th-january-2017 Time:  10:15:54 am

 

Back in Junior High School, I stood for the position of Girls’ prefect and won. The journey of becoming a prefect ; through the campaign and tenure of office was not an easy task but I thrived nonetheless.

This experience brings me to the realization of how difficult it must be to be President because even within my small school, the task was not so simple.

The President’s seat is a very hot one.

Every decision taken in that seat may become policy so whoever has the opportunity to be in that position must play his or her cards very well. Despite the difficulties faced in decision-making, there are also security issues that he/she would face once that position is attained.

Therefore, there is an automatic need for the president to be protected from all forms of danger in order to ensure a successful term of office.

That said, it would not be out of place to juxtapose the presidency with the Sword of Damocles story given the number of similarities between these two. Let the story begin.

The Sword of Damocles is a Greek story that brings to light the constant danger that faces people in positions of power. The character Damocles (which means fame of the people) worked as a courtier during the reign of Dionysius II of Syracuse, Sicily.

So Damocles always told Dionysius II (the king at the time) about how privileged he was to be in such a high and commanding position while being surrounded by magnificence.

Eventually, The king decided to switch places with Damocles (the courtier) so that Damocles could have a feel of the magnificence he was always referring to. Damocles accepted the proposal without hesitation but little did he know that he was not only in for a surprise but a lesson of a lifetime.

Before Damocles sat on the throne, the king had ordered that a huge sword should hang above the throne. The hanging sword would be suspended at the pommel by just a single hair of a horse’s tail. Hearing this, Damocles quickly pleaded with the king to withdraw his decision to allow him to sit on the throne indicating that he no longer wanted to be as fortunate as the King.

Damocles finally came to the realization that positions of power come with great danger and responsibility.

It is the same way with the Presidency; from a distance, we see the pomp and pageantry with everybody hale and hearty but the task is an arduous one which requires a lot of calculated risks.

Most of the time, people tend to give derogatory remarks or in simple terms hail insults on presidents (both past and present). I think this is a negative practice that must be brought to a halt. Regardless of who is in power and what they have done, it is not right to insult anyone.

Rather, it is more effective to take an objective stance on issues which we feel haven’t been addressed and even go further to suggest ways of how we can improve them. I think that way, everyone wins and no one gets offended.

In as much as the duty of the opposition is to keep the incumbent government on its toes, it is also important that praise is given where praise is due. Yes, I mean that regardless of whichever political party is in opposition, I look forward to a time in Ghana where there would be constructive criticism only and praise for the good work done (if any).

If a government can take a decision for the benefit of the country despite the fact that it may not benefit their individual party, I call that – political will. This is very much needed.

There were a few reports of ballot boxes being destroyed during the 2016 elections. To address this issue, I do not think that any disagreement is worth a fist fight. The factions involved could have had an effective dialogue in the presence of a mediator so that all skirmishes would be ironed out.

There is really no need to fight to prove you are right.

Lastly, I would like to touch on the issue of defending the indefensible.  This refers to a situation whereby one party is wrong but tries to justify the wrong-doing at all costs. Wrong is wrong and right is right, if you decide to prove otherwise, it doesn’t make you smart, it just makes you a puppet.

By:Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane

Riddle Riddle : Can you guess the answer before it ends? (Cc)

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Not all riddles are mind-boggling but I bet most of them are interesting because of the suspense they build. Without further ado, let’s press play –

I have no cutting edge but I could make you bleed.

Don’t confuse me with FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) because we both make sex a traumatic experience.

To those who hit the gym every new year, look no further ; I could make you lose weight drastically but remember not every weight loss is good.

Remember all those junk food you were cautioned not to eat? I mean the pizza, fried rice etc? I could prevent you from eating those by making you lose appetite but that does not guarantee good health.

In your diagnosis, don’t just label me as pedal oedema, I can do more than just excess fluid in your legs.

I can’t promise you motherhood but one thing I can make you experience is pelvic pain that is synonymous with childbirth.

Don’t think you know who I am yet by calling me osteoporosis because I break just a few bones. You would be so wrong.

When I advance, I engage in something that is called metastasis. That is when I spread out my wings because my environment is too small for me. Here, I behave like the colonial master or mistress (since I affect mostly females) ; I want to rule your body and conquer as many territories that are available. I could go to your abdomen, your lungs or anywhere I please.The longer you take to visit the hospital, the more time you give me to travel and explore.

My initials are CC (as in Carbon Copy). That was even in the title.

Still haven’t figured out who I am? Let me just save you the time so that you can have the chance to get tested after reading this. People gave me the name – “Cervical Cancer” because I am an autonomous overgrowth of cells at the cervical region of a woman’s body. In most of my adventures, I usually travel with a virus – it could be HIV or HSV. However, HPV is my closest alibi in most cases.

The following activities are termed low risk but it doesn’t mean I can’t use these as a medium to get to you – multiple pregnancies and the use of oral contraceptives.

Lest I forget, this is to the chain smokers : “I am coming for you, it won’t be long so turn off that lighter before I hang on you like a leech.” To the passive smokers, make sure you are safe before it is too late because I could increase your risk of coming into contact with me.

Call me ubiquitous; about 70% of me is found in developing countries.

Want to know how you can escape my icy hands? Well, it’s simple! Just draw closer to that Pap smear.
Don’t wait till we get to the surgical, radiotherapy or chemotherapy stage. By then, a Pap smear can’t help you.

By : Naa Adzoa Adzeley Boi-Dsane

naabd61@yahoo.com
Twitter – @Adzeley