What we look like through the retina of another homosapien’s optical system as well as the world’s adulations or criticisms tremendously matters to us, doesn’t it?
However, an inexplicably talented young woman wrote some lyrics that amidst other excruciating soul searching exercises should form our disengagement from the “what do they see?” cul-de-sac and get us trailing the paths of the street labeled “what do you see?”
Henceforth, we might want to refrain from too frequently soliciting that we be appraised from the lens of another man’s magnifying glass for an effectual answer sometimes, could only come from one source- YOU!
No mortal could ever unravel the intricacies of another mortal’s being and shed light on the stark darkness of a man’s core save for divinity and maybe, man himself. Wouldn’t looking inwards always, strengthen us? Not totally disregarding external opinions but meticulously, after intense ferocious self foraging, subjecting the external opinions to evaluation by our internal findings.
So, next time you stand in front of your body sized mirror, you might what to say to your reflection “what do you see?” You should want to ask yourself “who is this person, starring right back at me?” and we will get closer to unraveling the enigma in us.
But if we fail to tear off the layers and see ourselves clearly, then an imminently inevitable danger of abuse looms for of all of the wonders of creation, a mortal is the most mercurial. This nature of man transforms self discovery into a herculean, but eminently significant task.
What do you see? What does your reflection show?
Allow me a partial digression as I would like to travel centuries back on the waves of history. Let me share a tale of quaint events that is often told by my kinsmen. It is a tale about the era when man survived primarily on hunting and lived in caves.
In that period of the early man, who enjoyed virgin landscape and climate, lived two brothers. One beloved of his father and the other prejudiced. The father loved his younger son very dearly because he was a chip of the old block. His voice, physique, gait, behaviour, everything was his father’s, but his strength. The old man gazed with awe upon his younger son as a reflection of himself but, loathed his older son.
Life in the cave was torment for the older son, he did all the hard work, but the favored son got the best piece of meat. Time passed and boys became men, but the status quo remained.
Several years of being discriminated against and psychologically tortured eventually rubbed off on the older son. So, all he ever saw of himself became what he saw through his father’s eyes in a lifetime of futile efforts to get his father’s approval.
However, several dusks and dawns passed and the young men reached a marriageable age. The ruler of the kingdom announced that every young man must enter into a competition that would require them to embark on an arduous journey fraught danger. It would be a test of hubris, strength; compassion and wit and whoever that returned successful would be made husband to the ruler’s daughter and would automatically become next in the line of rulership.
All the young men entered the competition with fervor but the old father prayed only for the success of his young son. Repeatedly, he told his older son not to compete because he could never be successful. Stung by the venom in his father’s tongue, he vowed not to return except he was successful.
You can tell who returned successful! Years of hunting paid off and he was able to conquer the hardship of the quest. In fact, his favored brother only returned alive due to his help but when asked how he was able to accomplish the task, his reply was “I saw beyond what I could see.”
Our Nigeria is in disarray, there is visible hunger and fellow countrymen are caught in-between the rock and a hard place. Children just recessed back to school, there are bills to be paid but salaries are delayed, jobs are cut off and retrenchment is the new promotion. Our naira keeps plummeting and though the international oil market seems to be picking up, there is no visible positive effect on our economy. The nation is in recession and the commoner feels the sting the most because even garri is costing a whole lot more and kerosene has become some precious liquid.
It is in times like this that we need to employ the savvy of our innermost eyes if we must survive. It is in such times as these that we must collectively and consciously work towards pulling off the cloak that casts darkness over our minds eyes because it is in looking with our minds that we can find a pathway through this labyrinth of national woes.