Friday, June 27, 2008


On Tuesday, Big Buddha (my nickname for him) and I talked for the first time in a while. He was in Abuja for a few days and staying with us. We opened up to each other - our fears, the emotional-spiritual challenge of trying to be transformative in a transactional space (Nigeria), the prospect of death, the challenge of working out what the future might hold, the forgetting and remembering of poetry. A couple of bottles of Star lubricated the conversation.

As we talked, I realised how alone I feel here. I don't have a buddy or brother-type person in this town - someone close with whom I can talk about anything, from the highly cerebral/metaphysical to the ultra-mundane. Its a bit like when I was ten, living outside the village, with only the fields and the sky as my companions. Of course, I know quite a few guys here, but none I can really open up to on every level like I can with Big Buddha. I have a few male friends who I could also open up to who are not here, but email is one thing, the open presence of physical interaction quite another.

This thought - of being alone, of not having brethren at hand - may be a common feeling among men. We cover our lives with sport, with activity, but when do we open up to each other about our deeper feelings, our fears, our desires and the things we find hard to articulate? Its as if we're wired for action, and see the communication of an emotional world as a sign of weakness. Well, perhaps this can only be said of straight men talking among themselves.

I'm thankful that there are people like Big Buddha in the world. It would be nice to have him around more often.


Nuggetzman 9:10 am  

Jeremi...but how u go feel lonely when folks like us are here in Abj with you? Abi na only 'Big Budah' na the only main man? Anyway I can feel what you're speaking abt deeply cos I've faced such moments here in Abuja unlike when I was in Lagos where I'd a couple of guys that I resonated with at both the intelectual ,emotional and spiritual realms. One of such came to Abuja recently and we talked late into the wee hours of the morning without knowing...The bible hints on that as the 'iron sharpening iron' phenomenon!

anonymaus,  10:32 am  

I admire your openness, especially after I have witnessed the behaviour of some contributors on this blog.

I hope you find some way of relieving that solitude which you sometimes feel there.

Good on you.

Waffarian 12:51 pm  

eyaaaaaaa, ndo oh, me i no know anybody for abuja wey I fit introduce you to...if say na our side you dey na, ehen, e for easy....

On a serious note, it is very rare to actually have somebody to talk with on that really does not matter where you are...thats why we have books ohhhhhhhh na im dey save me!

Anonymous,  12:52 pm  

At least you have Bibi...Well done, I like your honesty.

Obi 1:14 pm  

I used to feel like you do, but now know that a lot of it had to do with my unwillingness to open myself to others, for various reasons including consciously or unconsciously holding onto stereotypes of the sort of person to whom I wanted to talk.

Open your mind. You'll be surprised.


Anonymous,  1:28 pm  

nuggetzman! "Iron sharpening iron"?! sounds a bit happy, er, freudian to me... but dont mind me, am in a helluva humour this morning!

Kody 2:19 pm  

To digress just a little Jeremy, I have noticed something -you seem to have a particular preoccupation with your inevitable death, and seem to mention it in passing often. Am I wrong?

Anonymous,  4:32 pm  

Kody of course he has. He is a philosoper and their ultimate preoccupation is with death, especially male philosophers. Thinking about Birth and natality is too mysterious for them. While male female philosophers tend to contemplate about death, feminist philosophers think about birth and see that as the mystery of exitence not death.

I don't think Bibi or any of our partners can really help us with conquering that feeling of aloneness you speak so openly and honestly about. What you are after is a fellowship with another man that comes easily among women.

I do know and understand that feeling you speak about. thank you for your openess

Anonymous,  11:03 pm  

The situation is not exclusive to a patriarchal society like Nigeria. In the UK, still patriarchal but not to the extent like Nigeria, young men are vulnerable and commit suicide on a large scale. Men are more likely to suffer vulnerability and depression with age whereas with women these factors decrease in age.
When men dare to open up to other men they are unsure of what the reaction will be. Therefore, they suffer in silence.
It is also hard for the opposite sex to understand the challenges of being a "man" (whatever that is).

Anonymous,  2:31 pm  

Why won't you feel isolated, when you're so stuck up your own you-know-where.

Tunji 4:17 pm  

My favorite Oyinbo... I am sure a lot of us "men" of a particular stripe feel a particular kind of loneliness. The trouble is that especially among the so called elite, the men are needlessly ultra-competitive for all the wrong reasons. We have to learn to share and open our emotional spaces, building life affirming trust and then boldly go forth cooperatively to take care of kith, kin and kontry. Because we are for the most part constantly masking our fears with that familiar shakara, we never get the opportunity to deeply explore our inner lives and confront our fears, doubts and inevitable mortality. Contrary to what some men might want to portray, we too are human... in an all too human way, and male bonding, true male bonding is an asset and not a sign of weakness. Having and giving love and compassion are true strengths not weaknesses. But I do recognize that you cannot give what you do not have.
And for those of you cynics sniggering at my warm and fuzzy post, note that the reference to Big as in Big Bhudda is not a reference to lofty enlightenment. It is a reference to my heft all 270lbs of it, mostly muscle I should add ;-)
Love always.
Oh I will take you up on the offer to visit again!

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