TO THE LIVES WELL SPENT

TO THE LIVES WELL SPENT

Recently, I went to see my maternal grandmother. And as I sat with her, I watched, a bit sadly, as she struggled to remember me. Yes, she’s aged 90-plus years and yes, I am not a frequent presence in her life.

But still.

There was something quite saddening about sitting there, remembering that this was a woman in whose house I and my siblings spent a lot of our school holidays, whose table me and my cousins loved to gather at during festive seasons – and now, until I mentioned my name, she wasn’t able to recollect who I was. Even before I mentioned my name, I wasn’t sure she even knew I was her grandchild.

That sadness became more poignant when I recalled how my grandmother was the brain behind the idea my parents once flirted with regarding sending me to seminary school and grooming me to become a priest. You see, her late husband (my grandfather) was a priest and all her children are connected to religion one way or the other. I recently learned from my father that at the time of my birth, a series of circumstances happened that marked me in the eye of my grandmother as someone to be taken special godly interest in. And so, as I matured, she began campaigning for my parents to sow my life as a seed in God’s ministry.

By the time I was in the university and increasingly becoming disenchanted with religion, that was when I was made aware of my grandmother’s intent, and by the time I graduated and finished service and moved to Lagos, she began calling me – apparently when my parents weren’t showing the interest she wanted – to prod me into picking a path that leads to the vineyard of God.

I didn’t waste time to set her straight. That being a priest was something I would never, ever want to be.

Granted, there was no intense pressure from my family for me to become a priest. But sitting with my grandma in her room which smelled of age and slight decay, watching her struggle to remember me, I couldn’t help but ask myself some “what if” questions. What if she was determined to get me to become a priest and managed to get my parents on her side? What if there was pressure from my family to follow that path? What if I wasn’t self-aware enough to resist? What if they managed to shoehorn me into a profession I knew I wouldn’t be happy in?

What if now, years after becoming a priest, I was to be sitting with the woman who orchestrated it all, very unhappy with my life and watching as she does not even remember me?

She wouldn’t remember me, and yet, she’d have made a decision to redirect the course of my life to a route that pleases her but which would forever guarantee my unhappiness.

There are so many lives that have been altered by the pressure of family and society. Men tasked to shoulder responsibilities they feel obligated to, but which they shouldn’t take on. Women made to marry men they don’t love. Gay men guilted into marriages they are guaranteed to live miserably in. Children given birth to by parents who didn’t want them. Lives redirected from their natural course simply because there is an expectation of what is right for the environment – which isn’t necessarily right for the individual. Sometimes, the pressure is deliberate; other times, it is implied, subtle, unknowing even. You hear gay men saying they have to get married to women because “I’m the only son of my mother” or “I simply don’t want to disappoint my parents” or “I have to give my parents grandchildren”.

Yes, you are an only child. Yes, you shouldn’t disappoint your parents. Yes, having children is important.

But after you do what you have to do, then what?

If you make decisions regarding your life based on what is expected of you, based on what they want, what happens when you realise how much you have been starving yourself of what you want?

Here’s what I believe. The notion that you can do something with your life that will guarantee you endless days of idyllic happiness is naïve. Happiness is not a destination. It is a process. It should be in the little things and in the big feats that are documented as you live your life. It should be in the moments you acquire along the way, and not in some perceived finish line. In the decisions you make about who to spend your life with. About what career you should wake up to every morning. About how personal your personal space should be. About who you let in and who you keep out. About what passions should drive you. About how dedicated you should be to loving yourself.

These are the things that make you happy. You. Not them.

And if all these moments are recorded for their sake, what would you have to say to yourself when you sit with them in a room and they no longer even remember you? When you have led this life you designed because of them and they are no longer present to appreciate the sacrifices you made?

Life is not a no man’s land, sure. We are constantly shaped by the people we surround ourselves with and the expectations they place on the relationships we have with them. But it is important to realise that the only person you’re responsible for is You. Give to them what you will, but not at the expense of what you give to yourself.

Anyway, by the time I stepped out of my grandmother’s room with its dour smells of old age and slight abandonment, I found myself making a resolution: I don’t care for a ripe old age.

No.

Should I grow old with only my books and my dogs to keep me company (because I don’t do cats and I don’t do children), should I get to the age where I become less dependent on myself and more in need of the assistance of the outside world, I would settle down one day and write a note – several notes, even – acknowledging how satisfied I have been with my life, then text a family member or friend to come find my body, toss back an overdose of pills, and finally lie back to sleep one last time.

I don’t care for a ripe old age where I am alone, stuck in a room filled with the smells of my age and growing decay.

Written by Pink Panther

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31 Comments

  1. Dee
    April 21, 07:48 Reply

    A well written thought. Thank you PP. This is the situation we mostly find ourselves. Pressured to live for all except ourselves. It’s a weight that can not easily be brushed off.

  2. Cedar
    April 21, 09:59 Reply

    That was quite deep. We have one life to live and make the most of. Some may say, live your life for others. I say, live your life for you, cos all your achievements, failures, success and all will first affect you before others.

    Thanks so much PP.

  3. Black Dynasty
    April 21, 10:04 Reply

    100% in agreement…. except the suicide and no kids part.

    But yea, i firmly believe your life is yours to live. Doesn’t matter how you came into this world, intentionally or unintentionally, living your life for someone else who will eventually pass away will leave you with regret when you finally realise that things could have been different and all the years wasted…..

    Having seen a few people pass away, regret is still the most painful thing people have when death is at the door. Regret of things they did not do, things they did not say and things they wish they’d done better…. never about material things and always about themselves/loved ones.

    One life, be courageous and live it to best of your ability. Easier said than done of course.

  4. Coded
    April 21, 10:22 Reply

    Profound; I can totally relate with this including the part about determining how it all ends. First time commenting – couldn’t hold back because this really struck a chord.

  5. Higwe
    April 21, 10:30 Reply

    Isn’t that the whole point of living …..doing right by the people we love …….so in the event we are no longer around or (in this case ) no longer remember them ……they’ll supposedly be doing great with their lives.

    Our failing( as humans) is thinking we have to paddle; when all we need do, is clear the obstacles ….so the boat can float seamlessly to whatever destination it decides to take .

    At the end of the day , your grandmother had HER great life ( I don’t think she would have wanted it any other way ) , and you’re on the course to have YOUR great life .

    All is right with the world 😎
    Great article Pink P . 👏

    ________

    And I do think your grandmother is kinda right ….she might have simplified the signs to the only thing she could relate it with ….but you’re something special .

    And I have a feeling you’ll change the world someday ….you’re already doing it in your own little way with Kitodiaries ….who knows what the future holds 🤷🏾‍♂️

    —————-

    Happy Easter to you all 😃

    The only good thing about Christianity is its numerous festivities ….I finally get to eat hot peppered chicken.😁😁

  6. Francis
    April 21, 12:05 Reply

    Well articulated. Nothing to add at all though I hate pills and would rather some injection that knocks me out one time for good.

  7. J
    April 21, 12:32 Reply

    And of course you will have the memories of your waka waka 😋 😂

    Well written! If dogs can’t be enough, you can as well adopt a child or two. I believe gays will make good parents, society makes us feel as if we cannot raise good children. Family is important, that’s why most straight people are busier than us, they’re busing raising children and it’s a good time consumer. In this vile and short life, we need someone that can listen to our naggings and stuffs, someone to call a family. I also believe that a child you raise well will always be there for you, adopted children will always be the most grateful of all children.

    When you are parenting and you know that you are meeting a need somewhere, there’s this feeling of importance and fulfilment you’ll get… you know that you are needed and you have to keep pushing on even for the sake of that child you’re catering for. It doesn’t matter what the child turns out to be, you will know that you’ve tried your best at least, you have given your own quarter …

    Every gay person in Nigeria at some point will have this feeling of emptiness… Because relationship wise (meeting the right partner), it’s not easy couple with society’s ignorance and family pressure. I think having a small family can be helpful to many gay singles. If you are capable, adopt a child and raise them well, you will never regret having them in your life.

    • Pink Panther
      April 21, 15:46 Reply

      You make some good points in your comment. Just wanted to acknowledge that first. But there are some parts of it I have to point out are flawed or that I disagree with.

      First of all, when I said I “don’t do children”, it is not because of anything society has told me or made me feel. If you know me, you would know that I am just not a person who is interested in having kids of my own. So, not wanting children is just a fact of my life, not a conditioning by the society.

      Secondly, you sounded like straight people are all just going about getting married and having children. And that the only way for one to keep his life busy and full is when they are taking care of children. I don’t even have to say anything here for you to see how flawed that reasoning is. A full and busy life isn’t only like that because of the presence of children. Different people have different passions. Different things that keep them busy and fulfilled. Hobbies, careers, family – different things make a good life for different people.

      And this:

      Every gay person in Nigeria at some point will have this feeling of emptiness… Because relationship wise (meeting the right partner), it’s not easy couple with society’s ignorance and family pressure. I think having a small family can be helpful to many gay singles. If you are capable, adopt a child and raise them well, you will never regret having them in your life.”

      That is the funniest thing I have ever read. The biggest mistake you will make is to have children for the wrong reasons. Namely, to make you feel less lonely or less empty. That is one of the wrongest reasons to have kids. Gay or straight, you should have a family because it is you are both capable of doing so and because it makes you happy to have that close unit in your life. Not because you feel empty or because you want someone who will be there for you in your old age. I mean, what if your child grows up to be someone who moves very far away from you? Then what?

      • J
        April 21, 22:05 Reply

        So tell me, how can a gay person live a fulfilled life without the slightest thought of committing suicide at the end of the day?

        Money can give you a comfortable life, but it will not make you happy. Marriage can’t make you feel complete, children can not complete you… Your carrier can’t make you happy. So what’s that thing that can make a person truly happy and fulfilled?

        I still maintain that we are placed on this planet for affection, sex and continuity whether gay or straight unless if you’re barren or impotent. Any person that tries to opt out of this simple truth would have to live a lonely life.

        • Pink Panther
          April 22, 06:10 Reply

          “How can a gay person live a fulfilled life without the slightest thought of committing suicide at the end of the day?”

          I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that one way is to endeavour to do things or keep steady in your life situations that give you joy, whatever those things may be.

  8. Colossus
    April 21, 13:00 Reply

    Nice write up, well thought out plan. I do hope it all works out as planned and your path to happiness remains clear cut.

    • Pink Panther
      April 21, 13:57 Reply

      Like I said, I don’t believe in a “path to happiness”. Happiness isn’t a destination or a goal. It’s not what exists tomorrow or where I’ll get to in the future.

  9. Gad
    April 21, 13:02 Reply

    I love the concluding part. It provides so much food for thought. After a great life lived pleasing ourselves and one ends up lonely and suicidal. Has he really lived a great life?

    • Pink Panther
      April 21, 14:05 Reply

      First of all, it is funny how you think someone who is alone is lonely. How you think that a great life is guaranteed by having people in your life. There are lots of people out there who are the loneliest even in the midst of the people they surround themselves with.

      Secondly, I said “IF”. I characterised that ending with a probability of one who understands the very real possibility that he may not find someone to grow old with. Does that remove from whatever good life I’ve led in my youth and vibrant days? No.

      Thirdly, using the word “suicidal” makes it seem like the desperate act of an unbalanced person. IF I ever do decide to take my life in my old age, it wouldn’t be because I was desperate or not thinking straight. In fact, as I sat with my grandmother and came to that resolution, it came from a very clear headed state of mind. Something must kill a man, and choosing to end my life on my terms before I get to a decrepit old age is neither sad nor indicative of a bad ending.

  10. Ken George
    April 21, 15:11 Reply

    Interesting. But I don’t agree. I don’t believe we are meant to live ourlives for just ourselves, nope. That’s not only selfish, but dangerous. I know many people feel its their right to live as they like, but in the end they often find out just how wrong. You are not an inanimate object, your life matters. And its very important to plan your end from your beginning. Love is important. Compsnion is important. Children are important. Big dick and bubbly ass won’t mean anything when u are hit with dementia or loneliness in old age. Its true u can be around many people and still be lonely in old age. But I’ll say its better to be lonely around your own people and not just to fizzle out and die like u were nothing without meaning.

    Its a lot to thing about but this is my opinion. Family is everything. Not saying u must marry or give birth to kids, but its not too early to start making plans for how your exit will look like.

    • Pink Panther
      April 21, 15:34 Reply

      Thank you for pointing out how all this is your opinion and how they are all important TO YOU.

    • Delle
      April 21, 17:28 Reply

      But he was clearly talking about himself. What HE NEEDS AND WANTS.

      I do not agree that we can’t live for ourselves because we can. When people (should) matter is when making decisions that will influence another. But when the decision revolves around me, I’m all that matters.

      And marriage, kids, relationship…that’s all on me. So yes, he is very right to want to be the way he chooses. We’ve lived so much for others in this part of the world and this is the reason a lot of us are innately sad beings in a redundant society.

      If you think otherwise, that’s all on YOU, Ken.

    • Higwe
      April 21, 18:46 Reply

      You raise very valid points .

      Fate is one hell of a legerdemain …..the moment you think you’ve figured him all out ,he finds a way to switch it up on you real quick.

      While I think he has every right to want to live his life a certain way ….I still think it’s too early to tell .

      You’d be surprised the difference time could make .

      Personally I think life is better lived a day at a time …..just go with the flow ….. because life is fucking unpredictable and the worst mistake one can make is thinking they have or will have it figured out .

      _____________

      I do disagree that family and adding value are interchangeable .
      There are so many people that had children that still fizzled out …
      You need to read the *joys of Motherhood* by Buchi Emecheta ….

      Nnuego was the quintessential good mother. Who was ready to sacrifice anything to give her numerous kids a good life .
      At the end of the day she died lonely , dejected , abandoned- at a roadside .

      Though it is a fictitious story ….so many situations like that occur in reality.

      In the same breath, we’ve had great men and women who died leaving no living offsprings ….but their deeds continue to echo .

      Pink panther certainly likes to stretch the “living for you ” slogan ..
      What he doesn’t realize is that he’s indirectly already living for others…

      I mean this blog has already given tons of gay people a platform to get their voices heard albeit anonymous …still it counts for something.

      Let’s not even talk about the lives we could have lost to “kitoes gone wrong”

      Some of them have learned how to protect themselves via this platform …and if tomorrow that person turns out to something great instead of being offed in a ditch somewhere , that’s a win for Pink Panther too .

      Personally I think there is nothing more valuable than knowing that because of you …. someone out there , just took another breath .

      Not neglecting all the wonderful commenters …..both the genuine and clout chasing ones 😉🤣

      At the end of the day …. Machiavellian says ” the end justifies the means “

      • Pink Panther
        April 21, 20:01 Reply

        *heavy sigh*

        Higwe, I’m sure you know what you did here. I’m sure you know very well that when I talk about “living for you”, it has nothing to do with obligations and passions. Kito Diaries isn’t something I’m “living for others”. It is something I love doing. Something that makes me happy to be a part of.

        See?

        My happiness.

        That is what I am saying. Do whatever you do that counts as a happy place for you.

        I am not stretching any “living for you” slogan. I am merely stating a simple fact of life — or rather, what should be a simple fact of life, seeing as some people are going to war with me over it. That even when we have relationships and obligations to family and friends, we should also remember to live our lives for us. It doesn’t mean you should abandon those close to you. It means you should recognise when it is time to make your life about You. Not every sacrifice has to be made, not every call of duty has to be answered. Especially when they do no good for you.

        Surely, that isn’t so hard to understand or such a bad thing to comprehend, is it? But hey, to each man’s shoulders his burdens.

        • Higwe
          April 22, 00:26 Reply

          *Heaviest sigh *

          Indirectly 🤦🏽‍♂️ _ happening in addition to intended result.

          Yes , kitodiaries is not “you living for others ”
          It is something you enjoy doing that still ends up helping people .

          Never said that Kitodiaries was your passion …
          Never said it was your obligation ….

          All I said was that this hobby of yours or to put in your own words – this thing you enjoy doing has been very beneficial to a lot of people.

          So whether you’re doing it consciously or unconsciously * this hobby of yours * you engage in for whatever reason best known to you is INDIRECTLY adding value to the world .

          This is not me arguing against your slogan “living for myself ” or questioning how you choose to partion your responsibilities .

          This is a reply to Ken George who equated family , companionship- to adding value .

          I’m trying to tell him that someone doesn’t necessarily need all three to add value .

          “Living for myself ” is one of the most abused phrases in English language .

          Ask any degenerate walking the streets and the first thing they’re gonna tell you is “it’s my life , I can do whatever the fuck I want with it ,I’m living for me”

          Now you can understand why Ken Doll made the statement ….the phrase has become a cliche at this point and it’s not associated with anything positive.

          Why can’t you see that I’m on your side on this one ? !

          I’m trying to point out to him that even though you’re also an advocate of that fast becoming infamous phrase , you’re still doing some selfless act with it (even if it’s not intended )

          Do you enjoy misunderstanding people just to start up an argument ?🤦🏽‍♂️

          Are you averse to getting praised ?

          You should know I’m not the one to throw compliments around .I only do it if I really mean it .

          I know you don’t like my pseudonym (you’ve made that abundantly clear on many occasions ) and I would be lying if I say the feeling is not mutual .

          But one thing I can never be caught doing is trying to undermine you or your work ….which in my opinion are both deserving of grandiose respect .

          I’m tired of this constant back and forth …it’s exhausting .

          Tomorrow , overmorrow , next week , next month…I’m certainly gonna leave another comment that will be tagged “controversial ” then you can go off like you always do .

          But for now accept my comment for what it is …..merely a clarification of an assumption using Kitodiaries and its originator as specimens .

          If you’re having a hard time grasping what I’m trying to say ,then please read Ken George’s comment again …and this time read to understand and not merely to reply .✌️

          • Keredim
            April 22, 06:20 Reply

            Higwe,

            I think the main post was made in the family context. (i.e the family choosing someone’s career path, who to marry, etc)

            Ken George’s response was also made within the family context.

            PP’s slogan as you put it, for as long as I have known him on here has primarily if not solely, been with regards to family and what society expect gay people to do.

            Perhaps if you kept your well meaning explanation within the same context, he wouldn’t be so riled and averse to accepting your praise on this occasion.

            Just an observation.

  11. Peace
    April 21, 15:19 Reply

    Sigh…. It’s well. Thanks for this pinky! And let me reiterate this again that, finding kitodiaries is the best thing that has happened to me so far. I have really gained a lot and I hope to gain more as I try to have a better understanding of myself. Jisie Ike nnam!

  12. Buddha
    April 21, 16:07 Reply

    Pinky, you can grow old with me. If you want, you can die in my arms. Looking into my eyes as you draw your last breath.

  13. Delle
    April 21, 17:31 Reply

    I totally agree with this.

    Except that I love kids.

    So I’ll have my children, a partner may or may not be present (I’m hoping he is), a chihuahua and a beach house.

    I love my family as well. My mum is like my bone marrow but I cannot displease myself, a displeasure that’s sure going to have a lifetime consequence, to please even her. Nehh. In the end, it’s my life. She’s lived (living) hers.

  14. Posh666
    April 22, 17:50 Reply

    This is really deep and Pinkie you just expressed everything that has been lingering on my mind for a really long time..I agree with almost everything you said and that’s how I have chosen to live my life except for the suicide part. I’m a Muslim and I try as much as possible to abide by the rules of the Quran and it states that ending your own life means being in eternal hell fire.

    Yes being gay too is a major sin in Islam but that is beyond my control and not just a lifestyle I choose to live for the fun of it.

    For me too I’m basically the only son… *Well the only responsible one in my small family filled with women* As such a lot of responsibility is placed on me … For a Long time now everything I do, I put my mom into my calculations in every life decision I’m making since my dad is late.

    Sometimes ago we were discussing something with my uncle and I told him about my relocation worries because of my mom and the hard truth he told me was that, he knows I love her so much but at the end of the day she has lived her own life based on her own terms to the fullest so I have to live mine too.

    Ever since then I just knew that no matter how much I love her and other people I put into consideration before taking life decisions, they are all gonna die someday or even forget all I did in order to please them and I will be left all alone to live with such decisions..

    As such I have to be strong and chase my own happiness first and when I grow older I want to look back in time and say Wow! How I lived,a life so good like no other!

    I know for a fact I will love to have kids,two beautiful baby girls or maybe four,not sure if I have feelings for women or if I can even make love to a woman. I want my mom to see my kids,I want to see my kids too but I’m not willing to get married just to make her happy..

    Oh dear…Decisions decisions….. Yes the sad truth is that most gays end up living a lonely life. Most times after the whole days hustle and bustle we always end up going back to an empty apartment and a cold bed… You all alone in your world.

    Monogamy is hard to come across in the gay world and its even harder in Nigeria.

  15. Net
    April 22, 18:53 Reply

    Wow PP thanks alot for this, you really have no idea what reading this has done. There’s this burden and worry that has been weighing me down and now I feel it lifting. What’s the essence of being the obedient child if you end up being depressed and unhappy. I think I’m finally ready to make the decision of the direction I want my life to go

  16. Francis
    April 22, 22:49 Reply

    Some people will just sit and be making argument for argument sake 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️. I wonder when we will start giving out trophies for KD sef.

  17. Starlight
    May 04, 07:20 Reply

    Yes. The only way to true happiness is to always live for yourself first.

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