26: Thoughts. Sprinkled, Scattered. Thoughts.

26wall

These are just a bunch of the scattered thoughts I’ve been having today the 10th of May, 2017, a day before my 26th birthday. Was thinking so much for some reason, so I had to write. Sorry in advance for the length, you should know I’m a long person by now, and maybe also for the discomfort some of you might feel about some parts of the content.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not really big on birthdays. I never really celebrate mine. It took me awhile to get what the fuss was about with people and their birthdays. I hardly ever remembered them, which of course came with its own complications (a pretty good friend of mine refrained from speaking to me for about a year because I consistently forgot her birthday. She’d had enough chale). The only birthdays I ALWAYS remember are the obvious ones: my mother’s, my siblings’ (helps that they are twins, two birds with one stone lol), Awusi’s (one of my very best friends, a constant in my life since I was 15) and well, a special someone I had not too long ago. My late father’s too, for some strange reason.

It’s not that I don’t care about people, that’s not it at all. I just could not get why there had to be such a fuss about getting older, or having come another year in this life, especially in such a shitty world as the one we live. What exactly was there to celebrate? With all the crap that is going on, and just how much more complex life becomes the older you get? Silly I know, but that’s how I felt, and I particularly did not get why forgetting it should be such a big deal. People are busy – yes it’s nice if they remember – but if they don’t it’s not the end of the world is it? Was remembering a birthday (gift-getting, the whole nine yards) the litmus test for ascertaining how much of a priority one was in another’s life? I found that preposterous. I love you every day! The proof of it cannot all of a sudden rest on one day, can it? Of course some friends took this to mean I very intentionally did not commit their birthdays to memory or note them somewhere. It didn’t help that I was a social media recluse either, so Facebook very often couldn’t save me. Suffice it to say, I’ve had problems because of this.

A lot of us remember things by ages, maybe all of us. At least it would appear so, and it seems to be the case for me. It’s very often the age, or the school year I think, which a lot of us then associate with how old we were then. I know I had to wait 21 years to see anything remotely close to the threatenings of a moustache or any noteworthy facial hair for that matter. Nana Kyeremanten had a full blown beard by JSS 2, when we were 13. What I had done to deserve looking like a kid when I was into my 20’s I did not get. It was cute to be called cute when you were 14, not when you were 21. I still look like a kid though, even with the hair. Forken.

I had my first experience with my own semen (I know, sounds disgusting hehe) in Class 5 when I was 10, reading one of the many adult novels belonging to my late father that had been left on the bookshelf/divider in the hall. It always surprised me how those books were just left there, knowing how voracious a reader I was. I was done with the Children’s Classics way before I was supposed to be; wasn’t that warning enough? I can still remember the lesbian scene in that novel, and the heightened sense of wonder and achievement I felt as I watched that strange fluid trickle down little Dick Whittington. I felt like a man! Hilarious.

I went for my first altar call right before I was about to enter JSS at 12. I had smuggled myself into Teens Camp because it was the cool thing to do at the time, and went forward after movie night. I forget what movie was shown, but I remember feeling so terrified of going to hell, and feeling like the ‘there’s one more person who knows they should be here’ call was for me, and that the teacher/pastor (Pastor Appyah if I recall correctly) could see my sin so glaringly through all the people ahead of me. I’ve gone for a few more altar calls and re-dedications since, as I’m sure many reading this also have.

I remember the various but specific times at 8, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 20 when I felt that ‘heavy sadness’ droop over me. I refused to call it depression. How could I be depressed? Nkwasiasem nkoaa.

We often connect memories with the ages we were when we experienced what formed them, we form these strong bonds with people and places and things, and age is important to us because of the marker this serves us. A marker of our fondest memories, of our most significant moments. And memories, I’ve discovered, can save your life.

Humans are so busy doing this complex life thing that we need these types of markers, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and the like, so we can pause a little to reflect, to take stock, to cry, to celebrate with loved ones, and perhaps capture some special sprinkles of a different kind of happiness than we may encounter on the regular. Make intentional memories if you like. As humans we have realized how necessary it is to create our own moments of joy as we live, with the people we love, and celebrating birthdays are some of these deliberately crafted opportunities. It may seem a small thing, but we need these things to help us carry on in this life, and to be happy doing so. Took me a bit, but I understand this now.

I have undergone quite a change since 2012, when I was 21. I lost my virginity that year, in quite interesting circumstances, at the peak of my ‘spiritual prowess.’ I was Prayer Secretary for the campus ministry, and it was quite obvious I was being prepped to be the next President once the Level 400s were done. I was already Vice President back at headquarters. I was one of the shining lights of that batch of church leaders, very respected. Some of you reading know what I’m talking about. You probably also understand the constant pressure to live up to the image I felt people had of me. And then I went and had sex. And continued to have sex. Well well well.

Virginity is everything when you’re crif. Like really crif. Your people try to pretend it is not, but in very crif circles it really truly is. Their reactions alone show. It’s crazy how a person’s intrinsic value in very crif circles is so closely tied to whether or not they’ve had sex. Woe betides you if you’re a woman. And for you the individual, who may not have had the right understanding or spiritual upbringing, you think certain things and certain people beneath you. Inferior to you. Impossible for you. Ridiculous. This was the beginning of my not-going-to-church phase. I had not lived up to my own lofty standards, and the guilt was killing me. Some of you go bab. Later that year I did something pretty terrible and this changed me. Maybe another time for that one. Neither of them is the reason I actually finally decided to stop going to church though, even though they are what kept me out initially.

In 2013 I did a semester abroad in Germany that opened me up to so many experiences. I traveled around the country, visited many important places, and even took a trip to neighbouring Austria, where I fulfilled a dream of attending a classical music concert. It was in Germany that I had to come face to face with things I hadn’t really thought of for myself, like colonialism, my Africanness, homosexuality, race, feminism. I had my first drink there, went to my first pub, then my first club, and for the first time found myself in the company of people who had a completely different worldview to what I’d been brought up with and exposed to. Don’t get me wrong, I thank God for how my mother brought me up and all, thankful for my Christian upbringing. It has served me well in many ways in trying to navigate this life. But there were things that were off limits, certain things I had to just accept, and there’s a certain way this training can condition you to think that is also not healthy. In Germany, I started to question a lot of the things I had previously just accepted as true about life. A lot of the questions would invariably shake up my faith.

When I came back home that year, having turned 22, I was deemed ready to be told something I already sort of knew, or at least suspected, but always denied because of the image I chose to have of him: that my father, who has been dead since 1998, did indeed have other children. Turns out they were with two different women. I resented him deeply for that – I have been my mother’s son and been there for her as far as my walled up emotions will allow, and I could not understand how he could have been so wicked to this woman, who really is the sweetest soul. I resented my father even more when I met one of my newly discovered brothers, and saw how differently his life had turned out from the life my siblings and I had lived. Here I was, newly returned from a semester abroad by virtue of being one of the top students in my department in uni, and here was my brother, 3 years or so younger, who had never gone past Class 3. I hated the man so much for this. I began to hear stories about him, and how he behaved while he was married. They broke me. The image I had of him had been shattered. I resolved never to be like him.

In 2014, ironically, I began what many people describe as a hoe phase. It had become increasingly apparent that the person I loved and I could not be together, and that broke my heart and belief in love. A young man thinking these things and feeling these things can seem funny and so over the top can’t it? But these are all valid feelings, valid experiences. I made the decision after that to just be and just do. After a life of rectitude, of inhibitions, of living up to an image, what was left but to do the cliché thing and rebel against who I’d known myself to be so far? Cliché, but not invalid. I had always been a relationship type guy. Idealistic. A stickler for the ‘proper thing,’ and cockily so. Now here I was. Life can be beans.

In 2014 I got someone pregnant. She lost it. Throughout the whole ordeal, I died. I would die again in the future. I think I started to die proper in 2014. I don’t want to go into this today.

In 2014, I started a YouTube channel and produced and hosted a show, both things I had never done before. I never imagined myself a host, and not just any host, but one who would actually fool around on camera, more because of how people view me and the box in which they’ve placed me than anything else. That experience of doing something I didn’t believe I could do because of what people thought of me did something tremendous to me too. A little life. I’m grateful.

In 2015, VI Music was born. I met Reynolds, met Akotowaa, Adomaa was forming nicely, and dreams took off. More life. Blem! (I don’t know why I put that there lol). In 2015 also, I was dying, for other reasons. Good things were happening, very bad things were happening also, and most of them internally. I cannot write about these yet.

2016 saw the end to the most dysfunctional ‘relationship’/situationship I’ve had. I denied to myself how attached I’d become to this person, and how much this affected me, for many months. 2016 also saw the final confirmation that the person I loved and I were well and truly over. We’d been over since ending of 2013/beginning of 2014, but at various times since then there’d been attempts to see if things could work. 5 years together on and off, 10 years in total as best friends, that leaves a mark. In 2016, the final nail was hammered into a coffin that was already in the ground. That hurt.

In 2016, and pretty soon after turning 25 I decided I needed to grow. I decided to get my act together. I failed. I screwed up again. I died. Not writing about that either. Sucks that the screwing up carried on into 2017. I’m sorry to the people I hurt. Don’t try to start shit with people when you’re so far in your mess. What you need is help, not another relationship. You’ll only hurt them. I hurt these people. I’m truly very sorry, whether it was my intention or not. It’s never my intention anyway, but see all the hurt I’ve caused since I was 15? Intention doesn’t matter as much in these cases.

In 2017 I have decided to be open about my experiences, to be open to myself, to put more stuff out there in every meaning of the word possible, to begin my catharsis. Because I have been dying inside. I have not been living. I’ve been trudging along with a boulder of baggage, of guilt, of pain, regret, anger, of repressed emotion, of questions, of frustration, of confusion, of everything. I have discovered that writing about these things and sending them out there, releasing them, truly heals, if not completely, at least in part. Healing, in its various forms, and to its various degrees, is necessary. A great man once said, ‘None of us is completely broken, none of us is completely healed.’ It’s a pretty ‘there’ kind of statement, not really saying anything at first glance, seemingly only describing a state and not offering much else in terms of moving forward. It’s one of those statements that can be very annoying when you first read it. Like, what koraaa have you said? But if looked at another way it can change SO MUCH. I take solace from the first part, and I’m working on getting my healing.

At 18 I was naïve, had only kissed one girl (and broken up with her because of the guilt of it. Yup, you bab the kind of guy I was), was the epitome of spiritual fervency and a proper example of ‘zeal without knowledge,’ and was your resident childlike dreamer, with visions of doing everything, ready to change the world. Very green, very cheerful, very hopeful. At 26, I have certainly kissed more than one girl, gone through a lot of stuff I never in a million years thought I would, and my perspective on the world is not as naïve. My dreams still exist, but my approach to them has changed. I have changed. A LOT.

One thing I’m certainly not now is as Christian as I was at 18, and I use that in reference to the origins of the word, not my standing with God. Contrary to what my mother believes, I think this has been for me – at least in part – a good thing. There’s almost always a negative to everything, and this is no different. I know that, and I understand her, but there were good parts to me stepping away from that life for as long as I have. It was a life that had gradually become more about what I looked and sounded like to people and if they’d approve, if I could please them, be the man of God I thought they wanted. It was a very flat, not genuine life (and I mostly blame myself for how I construed things). I couldn’t live that life any longer. I really and truly needed to understand why I was doing what I was doing, and who I was doing it for. I needed to properly understand what I had come to believe, and to bravely, without fear or shame, question the things I could not reconcile with some of what I still believed, as well as some of the new things I had come to discover that would ordinarily be off limits.

I think all this is necessary, because in the end, one or the other is true, of there being a God (gods, a spiritual realm, whatever you call it) or not, and if I’m going to believe the former (which I do, the alternative doesn’t work for me), then I need much more than what I’ve been fed for years.

26 years on this planet, living with other humans. Creepy.

I’ve learnt, and am still learning to say “fuck you” to what people think (hyperbolic of course). Especially certain types of people belonging to the kind of background I came from, as well as another type of people who do not belong to this group, and who do not believe what the people from this background believe. Both (speaking broadly still) judge one another venomously, and look down on each other in ways both often deny, placing more importance on how right or how much more sensible their positions are than on loving each other regardless of these positions. I’ve done same, I know what it’s like, and it’s toxic. Now I’m just trying to find my answers to this life little by little, and to be happy. I’m learning not to let what anyone thinks affect me on this journey.

I’ve learnt, and am still learning, what it means to be a man (in general as well as one with the type of life I’ve had), in this very trash world, and how I want none of that. I’ve learnt to not lash out at the generalizations (I detest generalizations in general, I have always thought they do more harm than good) because I’ve moved from “can’t you see I’m not part of that school of thinking? I was raised different!” to accepting that I do have privilege, whether I resent it or not, and rather focus on finding alternative ways of making this world a fairer, better, equal place. I have privilege because of the strata of society into which I was born, I have privilege because I’m Christian/was raised Christian, I have privilege because I’m straight, I have privilege because I’m a man. And once you begin to accept these as the reality on the ground, and not take offence at every single action or reaction from those who are oppressed because of the systems that facilitate these types of privilege you practically by default enjoy, no matter how deeply you oppose them, then you can begin to figure out how you can contribute more effectively to making your world a better, fairer place. I’m still learning how to steer my way through this.

I’ve learnt, and am still learning, to respect people’s pain, and not belittle it because I either did not feel the same in similar circumstances, or have learnt to deal with mine. I’ve discovered in the past year that I actually never learnt to deal with it at all, actually. Look at me now. People’s pain is valid, it’s their pain, not yours, and it takes quite a bit of conceitedness to not acknowledge that. I am ashamed of my old self for being like that. I may not have shown it to people, so not many would know, and a number would think me a ‘good friend’ in their time of need, but I know what was in my head then, and I’m terribly sorry I thought that way.

I’ve learnt, and keep learning, about this world, and how fundamentally crap it is, and how hard life in general can be. I’ve learnt to not impose my subjective experience on people, and force them to view the world through my lens, as I assumed I had the moral right and obligation to in the past. That ain’t right. Sharing is not imposing. We need to know the difference, we need to be more sensitive to these things. Anyone and everyone. I’m learning to do that.

I’ve learnt that I’m the shit, and that I’ve been shit. The former is not arrogance, the latter is not self-deprecation. They are both co-habiting truths that I’ve learnt. I’ve been both wonderful and crap in romantic relationships. I’ve been an amazing friend, and the most terrible when I was most needed. I’ve been an amazing visionary and executor of ideas, I’ve made poor decisions and harmed the start-ups I’ve run. In all this though, I’ve learnt. And that’s the most important thing. You may never be able to change the minds of the people you’ve hurt in the past because of your assholery, and for someone like me that’s been hard to accept, but you can always make sure you do not do the same to the people you have in your life in the present, and those you will meet in the future. Sometimes it’s just what it is.

The biggest key to this life that I’ve discovered so far is truly to let love lead. This is one thing Christianity taught me from a very early age, though the practice of it within the church and towards those outside of it confused me at times as I grew older. Germany taught me to love and value ALL people, to genuinely do so, simply because they are people. Our differences are secondary to the fact that we exist for each other – and to show love despite your beliefs and what you’ve held to be true for years? That’s priceless. I’m also learning to criticize in love, admonish in love, even have love for the people I despise per moment, lol (sometimes there’s just that person in your life at a particular time you simply cannot stand). Learning to love is quite possibly the most difficult thing to do on this planet. For me, faith has helped with this.

Finally (not because this is all I’ve learnt, but because this can go on forever if I don’t stop myself) I’ve learnt that we are always learning, and not to recognize this especially in others, knowing that at a point we also were in the throes of ignorance on possibly the same issue, is extremely sad. I apologize to anyone I was impatient with in the past in matters like this. I needed to learn this for myself to understand what I was doing. There’s so much to learn, possibly even more to unlearn, and we all need a safe space to do that. We also have to be prepared to learn (and unlearn), which is really tough, because these things we have learnt have become largely who we are. But I’m learning to address this, because more than this personal difficulty, is seeing how much more messed up this world is because of what we have seen and what we have been taught. Everyone was born completely innocent, without a single thought, belief or attitude already formed (except Piers Morgan; that man was born annoying), and I’ve discovered that remembering this in my dealings with people, and also with me when it comes to things I hold on to or reject, has helped an awful lot.

I don’t hate my father anymore. No one is perfect. Cliché, but true. I have personal evidence of that that I can’t as at yet bring myself to write about. And I have good memories of him, which are also valid. Despite all his faults, I’d like to believe he was a good man. And there are many things he was that I hope I will be too. I hear about the good things too. I do suspect this father issue (from his death, to growing up without one, to finding out about my siblings) has had more of an effect on me than I know, much less care to admit, and so we’ll see if at 26 I will consider getting a professional opinion on it. I know it has affected my sister in many ways, and I can only assume it has my brother too. Maybe I’ll lead the way.

I apologize for the incoherence of all this. Writing (like this) really doesn’t have to be perfect or follow a certain structure though right? For if art is Life, and Life follows no structure, where’s the Life in that type of structured, rigid writing? (LOL. See me trying to give excuses by passing faux-deep lanes.)

I used to scoff at things like this, taking stock, reflecting on birthdays and New Year’s, or writing about this sort of stuff. Funny how I need to do them now for my own sanity. Someone I respect more than he’s aware always talks about being vulnerable through your art. Is this art? Lol, I dunno, but I’m being vulnerable anyway, and it is bringing me to life again.

It’s a few minutes after midnight on the 11th of May, 2017. I’ve just turned 26. Cool. Rade beat Akotowaa to it by seconds in being the first to wish me at 00:00. It really is cute that they waited for midnight. Rade has sent me a long message that has me even more in my feels (as if writing this was not enough), Akotowaa has just thanked me for existing. Kennetha just sent a VN and is excited for no reason. Lol. I am not too obstinate to realize this: the way I’m feeling, it’s nothing big, it’s tiny, but these are the little things that help us survive, and to be happy while we do so, and I get that now. I’m sorry I didn’t realize this earlier, Akwasi, Sonia, Princess, and all my other good friends whose birthdays I played down when I forgot. It’s not about me, these moments are precious to you, and rightly so.

I’m getting more messages. It means a lot to know you help people make meaning of their existence because you exist. The phrase ‘I need you to survive’ has a double meaning that’s so significant. God bless you guys.

I’m learning to live, I’m learning to love, I’m learning to laugh. I’m learning to cherish memories, to capture them, because they truly can save your life.

Happy Birthday, Kaf.

 

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My Favourite Songs Of 2017 (Part 2)

(Part 1 here in case you missed it)

25. You – Maayaa

What can I say about this song? I’m just happy it was made. So so happy. Yaa and I co-produced it, and I usually don’t like the things I’m so directly involved in as much as things I’m not, but this is a great song. I played it A LOT as well. And Yaa writes SO WELL SO EASILY! I don’t know how she does it!

24. Uncle Suru – John Ogah ft Adekunle Gold & Simi

I LOOOOVE this song. First released in 2014, it was re-made with these two amazing artists and re-released this year. Nothing I don’t love about this song.

23. Tomorrow – Darkovibes

This is one of the best songs I’ve heard from Gh in awhile. Simple. Kuvie is a beast for this beat. Darkovibes is a devil for how he rode this instrumental, the Ga, yo, this song…And I love the video.

22. Iskaba – Wande Coal x DJ Tunez

Issa traaaaaaaackkkkkkk. Jam for daysssss. weeeekksssss. monthsssssss. Talk about making a successful comeback. Wande Coal seemed to be on that path many pop artists can easily find themselves when a hit isn’t arriving, and then this kwaito-influenced gem drops. Dope instrumentation. DJ Tunez on a madness.

21. Gbé Mi – Efe Oraka

This song isn’t perfect, and it’s not music from a fully mature artist, or an artist at the peak of her prowess. But it didn’t need to be. How old is Efe? 19? How old was she when this came out? 17? 18? Efe is a star, and I could tell the first time I heard this, for some reason. I overplayed this song. I love it too much and I don’t even understand why. The message is definitely a big part, considering my issues with faith these past few years. I’ve healthily stalked her since, and I have not been disappointed. Big ups to Harmattan Rain for putting me on this.

20. Bra Menkyɛn – Reynolds TheGentleMan

Reynolds is one of the most complete artists I’ve ever come across/observed/worked with/listened to. He can do practically anything. If you need any evidence as to his versatility this is the jam for you. Highlife papa paaa, composed, produced, performed by the one man weapon that is Reynolds TheGentleMan. Brilliant artist. If you haven’t checked out his mixtape yet I don’t know what you’re doing chale.

19. Justfayu – Kamau ft. No Wyld

This song eh, it is too infectious, too brilliant, it is too much coolness in one record. And so ‘musical’ yeezus. Like there’s really a lot going on that’s really really dope. It’s like 2 years old, but I got into it and Kamau himself this year, and man was I missing out. Kamau reminds me of Anderson Paak, in a good way, and the singing to rap to singing is auditory delight. Have you seen the video? Dope tins.

18. Liability – Lorde

Even though I eventually liked Greenlight, I wasn’t so enthused about it when it came out as the first single off her sophomore album. I’d been looking forward to it so much and it gave me mixed feelings. Lorde is prob my second favourite artist. So I was nervous about the work. Then this came out as second single, and I loved it instantly. Melodrama was really slept on this year.

17. Aki Ola – Paapa

I’m a Paapa Stan. Like proper stan. This guy did so much for me when I was in uni – his music was such a breath of fresh air. Paapa is a major reason I believed I could start something in music that also catered for ‘alternative’ artists. And his comeback project this year was AMAZING. BEAU-TI-FUL MUSIC. He’s grown so much as an artist on that record, and this song was my favourite.

16. Grind Day – Kwesi Arthur

MONDAY YEAH YEAH TUESDAY YEAH YEAH FRIDAY YEAH YEAH SUNDAY YEAH YEAH EVERYDAY YEAH YEAH EVERYDAY YEAH YEAH GRIND DAY YEAH YEAH GRIND DAY YEAH YEAH!!!

What an anthem. This song feels like what it talks about. It sounds like its message. It’s spiritual. When he says the ‘I for gedditgedditgedditgeddit…’ den I start dey mad ankasa. With the release of the remix featuring Sarkodie and Medikal I’m hoping this blows enough to get a VGMA nomination in the hip hop categories.

15. Blinded By Your Grace – Stormzy

Another beautiful spiritual distin oh gosh. One of the best songs of 2017 for me. The song makes me feel, it feels so authentic, and it was just a very liberating experience listening to this for the first time.

14. The Good In Me [Jon Bellion Cover] – Mon Lee

Guys, if you don’t know him, let me introduce you to a TRUE musical genius. Mon Lee is perhaps the most impressive artist I came across this year. Did you hear the beat switch up at the end of this where he brings it home to Naija? YOOOOOO. And the even more impressive thing? He uses his voice for practically all the instruments on his songs. HE IS GENIUS. I wish Jon Bellion could hear this. And the ‘one two teeree’ Dey be me pass!

13. Joromi – Simi

First time I heard this, I was jumping about because fam! Ei! What at all does this Simi eat that she can be making such great afrobeats/afropop with a good sprinkling of soul and such exquisite writing? Her melodies, her CONCEPTS, lyrics, and that voice…Wasn’t surprised when I found out she mixes most of her stuff. The sound is very specific. Joromi is a dope concept, and I love it for its changing of the narrative. Her album is Fuego.

12. Ranger – Joey B ft Darkovibes

The Darryl EP was one of the better projects from Ghana this year from a mainstream artist imo, and this song was the standout for me. First time I heard Darkovibes’ ‘Christ is working can’t you see.’ The real MVP on this song though is Nxwrth. He is VERY good at what he does. Very good.

11. Man’s Not Hot – Big Shaq

Need I say more? I’m a Dapaarian (what does he call his fans) chale, and ebash me say I couldn’t see the LEGEND on the 26th. Chale dat money na I no fi pay. Detty Rave wey ebe 60 Ghana sef I no fit massa. This track just blow up chale. 150 million + views on YouTube man.

10. Homemade Dynamite (original and remix ft. Khalid, SZA & Post Malone) – Lorde

I love both versions in almost equal measure, and feel like this song was good enough to make the numbers ‘Tennis Court’ and ‘Team’ made and even more. If not the original then the remix. Life is not fair lol.

9. Attention – Charlie Puth

I think this guy is really gifted at making pop music. This song is my kind of pop. There’s some fine guitar in there, there’s a retro club feel to the kicks and the entire vibe, reminiscent of Daft Punk, but not really cos it’s also very modern…I love it. I like the subjects he picks too. From lovers not talking anymore to this manipulation theme in Attention.

8. Castle + Arose – Eminem

These are the last two songs on Slim Shady’s much-maligned latest album. And they are the best songs. They are essentially one song, with Em writing to his daughter Hailie at various points from before her birth to her growing up, then switches in the next song to his overdose on drugs and how he fought for his life with his family watching. Em has still got it as a storyteller, don’t let the bad reviews fool you.

https://itunes.apple.com/gh/album/castle/1321895370?i=1321895631

7. Gone For Good – Simi

Have I already said how good I think Simi’s album is? I have? Oh ok ok. I thought I hadn’t. IT’S GOOOOOOOOOOOD!!! This is my favourite song from the album. Awesome writing once again, the keys and strings in the beginning caught me immediately, and when the beat comes in I dey my zone inside. The chorus of voices at the end too. That male voice she gets to do backing vocals sometimes, he really adds so much to the music. Chale I knew Simi was great, but she exceeded all my expectations of her this year with Simisola.

6. Wait For Me – Johnny Drille

Can I even do this song justice? Released as a single before 2017, the video came this year and really took off. First time I heard it I was pretty shocked. The whole country music/Afrowhatever going on in there was just so well done. Romeo and Juliet is also good, but Wait For Me makes me want to shed a tear or two. Watching the video knowing the lyrics and with that production gave me goosebumps the first few times.

5. Flame On – Ria Boss

At the Black Girls GlowMother Of Heirs Concert, something magical happened. Ria Boss stepped up to perform this song and the atmosphere just changed. It was almost trance-like. There was a star, right before our eyes, and the audience, caught up in the beauty of the music and her aura of almost tangible awesomeness, just started singing along in a way I’ve not experienced often at all, swaying together, some with their eyes closed, just feeling the music. It was wonderful. This song, is flawless.

4. Shape Of You – Ed Sheeran

Another of my favourite artists, I was super excited to hear Ed was making a comeback after an intentional hiatus. Shape Of You is a monster of a hit, and heralded the year Ed finally established himself as a proper pop powerhouse. His album is still in the Top 10 in most of the world’s biggest charts almost a year after release. The video to Shape Of You is on its way to 3bn views. The song was the most played on both Spotify and Apple Music the world over. The remix to Perfect from the album, which features Beyoncé, ensured that Ed ended the year at No.1 in America, and in many countries as well, having started the year at No.1 with Shape Of You. Ed has arrived BIG.

This single was brilliant pop, staying very Ed, but also very very commercial sounding, with the Caribbean groove that seems to be the current world sound playing a major part in this. I loved it the minute I heard it. Ed Sheeran and Charlie Puth make my kind of pop, and they crush it. TOP SONG.

3. Walk On Water – Eminem ft. Beyoncé

I don’t understand why so many people hate this song. I think it’s one of Eminem’s best songs in a while. I feel EVERYTHING he’s saying, and its rawness does so much for me. I’ve followed Em for a long time, and so this song is super personal to me as well. I personally relate on a much much smaller scale. But as objective as I can be, I think it’s a really great song, the arrangement, the lyrics, the production, the hook which Beyoncé nails (though she sounds maybe too technically perfect – a tad too ‘safe’ as compared to the emotion I would have expected her to infuse) and I think if people gave it more of a chance they’d see how good a song it is. I’ve had it on repeat for weeks. Only wish Beyoncé was in the official video. Dunno who’s doing the marketing for Em these days, but they missed an iconic moment/opportunity there.

2. By The Anguwar – Mon Lee

This was my favourite song of 2017 for a very long time. Tronomie has introduced me to a lot of great artists, but I’m so grateful he led me to this genius right here. I love Mon Lee’s mind chale, and I don’t know what it is about this song exactly, but I just never got tired of listening to it. The voice as various instruments is here again, there’s rap, and there’s just great music. Thank you for sharing your gift sir.

1. Wonderland – Efe Oraka

My heart. There was so much anticipation for this song, but somehow unlike my other favourites I was not nervous. I just had a feeling. Then it was released, I heard it, and I was blown away. It is BEAUTIFUL. I have played Wonderland so many times since its release, shared it, and there’s practically no music discussion I have that doesn’t see me talk about this song. To say I love it is an understatement. The concept, imagery, writing, the melodies, Efe’s VOICE, those splendid backing vocals from Tay Iwar, his production, the journey it takes me on – I literally feel like I’m going down a rabbit hole chasing my Love, then in some field with my lover, alone, in our own bubble, swept up in the magic of what we share, dancing (yes it actually makes me feel I can dance, ME) and not giving a care in the world. It’s absolutely MAGICAL. Bring that EP this year Efe. I’m here for it. And please come to Ghana soon lol.

So that’s it, my top 50 favourites of 2017. 2018 promises to bring more great music, and I’m excited to see what the gods we have among us that we call artists create.

Happy New Year!!!

My Favourite Songs Of 2017 (Part I) 


2017 has been an amaaazing year for me when it comes to music, especially music from Ghana. This was the year a collective of brave guys with dyed hair announced themselves to Accra and kidnapped a certain demographic, a former cover singer and music competition winner defied the norm and proper blew nationwide, and a controversial (by Ghanaian public standards) former VGMA Unsung nominee staked her claim for Ghana’s first woman Artist of the Year.  

(Photo Credit: Team Black Image)

2017 was also quite the year for Ghanaian projects. Ayat, Ria Boss, MzVee, Black Girls Glow, Bryan The Mensah, Magnom, WanlovSarkodie, Becca, Joe Mettle, Ko-Jo Cue and Shaker, Paapa, Akan, Robin-Huws, Worlasi, Reynolds TheGentleMan, EL, Amaarae, Ebony, Stonebwoy and so many others ensured there was no shortage of EPs, albums and mixtapes to listen to. For the first time I actually felt I couldn’t keep up with the releases, and this, for me, was a very good thing. 

Outside of Ghana, there was a lot of stuff to also get excited about. Some of my favourite artists released projects, and I was in heaven for long periods bumping Ed’s album, swooning over Lorde’s, applauding Simi and love-hating Eminem’s Revival. 


This here is a list of songs I found myself listening to more often than others, so it’s safe to say they were my favourite from this year. I don’t listen to as wide a range of music as Benewah of Harmattan Rain, Swayekidd of Culartblog or the Decaf guys, so it’s nothing crazy 😂.

This also does not mean I think these were the best songs I heard in 2017. Some of them might make that list if I ever made one, others definitely not, but this post is not to critique. These are just songs I enjoyed, that’s it! 

So! Let’s get into it. My Top 50 favorite songs of 2017. First 25 in descending order in this post, Part II to follow with the other 25. 

50. My Baby – Magnom

This was such a JAM. Took me a while to get into it, but yo before long I was hooked to the banging beat, the raw voice singing that infectious hook, and just the pretty awkward artist that is Magnom. 

49. Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man 

First heard this when it got into the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. The melodies, the bass, the horns, the guitar, the little digital sound infusions, the entire arrangement. Deez eez a sooooong.

48. Fine Girl – Kuvie ft RJZ, $pacely & Kiddblack

Yaaah this one! Signature Kuvie sound, with all the atmospherics. RJZ was perfect on this, with that laidback style artists like Odunsi have that I like so much. Herh I liked this song a lot lmao.

47. I’m Getting Ready – Tasha Cobbs Leonard ft Nicki Minaj

I didn’t listen to as much gospel music this year, but the uproar in the Christian community over why amazing vocalist Tasha Cobbs would collaborate with Nicki Minaj who is obviously of the world drew my attention, and I fell in love with all 8mins. Gospel music is some of the most beautiful, uplifting and technically stellar stuff you’ll ever hear, and Nicki crushed her verse.

46. Who Dat Boy – Tyler, The Creator ft A$AP Rocky 

Hear that haunting beginning? Tyler is a brilliant artist. You may not always get his music and what he’s trying to do, but yo, this was a jam, in a very weird eerie way, with a typically creative, weird video to match. I loved A$AP’s verse on this. 

45. Circle – Arabic Man 

Rapping over Kendrick’s Humble beat, Arabic Man lit up my life for a couple of days with his Circle phone story. The accent, the storytelling; it was very good, creative entertainment. 

44. Iron Boy (Intro) – Ayat 

The keys in the beginning, the way the beat enters (big ups Kayso), his singing which I really like, the Rex Omar interpolation. LOVE. First track off Ayat’s heavy Zamani EPFavourite lines: ‘Call me for a show I no go show unless you pay, cos studio time dey cost and free exposure no be pay.’

43. Now Or Never – Halsey

I’ve been a Halsey fan ever since I heard Castle, from the soundtrack to ‘Snow White and The Huntsman.’ She released an album this year, this being the first single. The beat bangs. And I’m a sucker for these Ellie Goulding type voices chale…

42. Despacito – Luis Fonsi ft Daddy Yankee 

Not the Justin Bieber version though, please. No matter how generic this song is with a lot of Latin Music, it was a very infectious worldwide hit with an enjoyable video you couldn’t run away from. I mean the video has 4.5bn views now. I was hooked after hearing it everywhere. And the melodies are great really. How Fonsi sings the very first ‘Despacito’ in the first chorus before the beat drops must go down as an iconic moment in pop culture history. Honestly. 

41. Eraser – Ed Sheeran 

My most overplayed song from his album Divide. I love artists who get personal, and this was very personal. And honest. And I like the rap thingee Ed does. Aaaand I like the chorus of voices at the hook especially where he sings ‘Higher.’ Ed’s had a fantastic year by the way. 

40. Leg Over – Mr. Eazi 

Wizkid had the best year in afrobeats in 2017, Davido had the biggest hits, Mr. Eazi the biggest come up. And this song was too lit. Too too lit. Released in 2016, it hit proper with the video release this year. I think it’s Mr. Eazi’s best song so far. E-Kelly killed the production. 

39. Odo – KiDi

First thing that hit me when I heard Odo was the production. Brilliant. It’s your typical afrobeats/contemporary highlife beat, but it’s GOOD. That bass line is everything. And whether it’s a pad KiDi has mixed nicely in the background or what oo, it works. This was really good production. Which is impressive cos we were all on twitter when KiDi said he’d started learning how to produce lol. This song is everywhere. 

38. Forgotten Love – Robin-Huws 

This is my favourite Robin-Huws composition. I played it so many times before we released it I wondered what was wrong with me. It’s such a lovely song, with some weird unstructured structured structure bi and no real hook. And the harmonies are everything. That humming at the last part especially. Beautiful. 

37. Sundays – Amaarae ft Fingers 

My favourite thing about this song is the Ewe this Fingers guy is singing. You will not hear sexier Ewe ANYWHERE. Ebei! Amaarae’s voice deɛ we don’t talk about it plenty. She should do a show and charge just to sing-whisper in ears. First song off her Passion Fruit Summers EP

36. Wild Thoughts – DJ Khaled ft Rihanna & Bryson Tiller

Successful sampling. It’s simple, but tight. Clean. Well done. And Rihanna carries the song. The video is Rihanna. That dress, that room scene. Rihanna eh…me I won’t talk plenty. Played this song A LOT. 

35. Bodak Yellow – Cardi B

SAID LIL BITCH YOU CAN’T FUCK WITH ME IF YOU WANTED TO THESE EXPENSIVE THESE IS RED BOTTOMS THESE IS BLOODY SHOES!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAA WHAT A LITNESSSSSSSSSS!!!

34. Sing My Name (Remix) – MzVee ft Patoranking

This is another jaaaaaaam. MzVee hasn’t had a good year by her standards. None of her singles from Daavi took off properly. But this afrobeats bop is a jaaaaaaam. Very catchy hook. Generic afrobeats elements in the production, but it is lit, so we will ignore the fact that the chord progression is very similar to KiDi’s Odo (try singing Odo over it and see lol). Favourite lines: You hit the jackpot bingo, hope you’re bigger than your ego, a b c let the d go, u go V go. Hehe. 

33. Humble – Kendrick Lamar

Most infectious mainstream hip-hop song this year yes? You don’t think so? Sit down, bitch. Be humble. Lol. Kendrick had a mad year. Maaaad. 

32. Mawena – Worlasi ft Alee 

Such a sweet sweet song. What more can I say? Worlasi is a boss. That hook mehnnn. And Alee. Love love love it. Solid production from UglyOnIt, reminds me of Reynolds The Gentleman’s R&B productions. 

31. No Way (Ole Cover) – Adomaa 

In case you know me and your mind is drifting there, no I’m not just throwing in some of the songs from the artists I work with lol. These are songs I genuinely like. If I didn’t like the songs we put out, they wouldn’t be out! But there’s always one or two that really pull me. This is my favourite Adomaa so far, a reply to Reynolds The GentleMan’s Ole. I LOVE the writing, really love the lead vocal performance, and the harmonies for the backing vocals and how they are mixed. Top top stuff. 

30. Too Good At Goodbyes – Sam Smith 

Can you hear the bass guitar in this song?! I love Sam Smith, and I’m glad he’s back. His voice is extraordinary. And the chorus of voices on his hooks are always such a highlight. 

29. Young, Dumb and Broke – Khalid 

I absolutely love Khalid’s style. Distinct vocals. He’s very good, and I’m happy for all the success he’s got so far. 

28. New Rules – Dua Lipa

This song dey be me plentay! The video is what grabbed me though, such lovely visuals. The song is a lot what one would probably say is the modern ‘world’ sound, but it’s also very different especially because of what she’s done with the hook. I think it’s one of the best hooks of 2017. And she’s right of course, with everything she’s saying. 

27. Sober II – Lorde 

Lorde is a great songwriter. I wish I could serve her tea forever and just bask in her brilliance. This song is pretty simple lyric-wise, and I like that she can write like this too. The beat knocks really hard. A fitting melodramatic song. Honestly don’t know why this album didn’t hit big time. It is very very good.

https://itunes.apple.com/gh/album/sober-ii-melodrama/1210856718?i=1210858180


26. Believe – Eminem 

Anyone who knows me knows Eminem is my favourite artist. It’s very personal lol. I haven’t had it easy processing the new album. It didn’t meet my expectations first listen. My heart broke. The beats were weird and off, my biggest issue. The lines weren’t as clever, and some of them downright sucked. Then I gave it a few more chances, and now I like it for what it is. It’s nowhere close to his best work, but you’ll enjoy it if you’re a fan. There’s an honesty to it, in that it reflects where the 45 year-old is right now, and I recognize that. I also recognize that Em, even at his weakest, is still a superb storyteller and artist. This experience with the album must be what made me love Believe so much. The hook: 

Do you still believe in me?

Didn’t I give everything I had to give you to make you see?

I’ll never forget if you turn your back on me now

And walk out, I will never let you live it down

I’ll never quit, do you still believe in me?

Yes Em, I do.

https://itunes.apple.com/gh/album/believe/1321895370?i=1321895374


To be continued…

[Part II in next post]

jarring

This poem is by my beloved aunt Jayne, who, though thousands of miles away in Charlotte, North Carolina, follows my activities quite keenly and supports me in most of the stuff I do. She’s always had my back, and has always made me feel comfortable about myself from as far back as I can recall. The poem was inspired by my last blog post. It made me…uncomfortable. As my story obviously made her feel as well. I love it. 

jarring

the title takes me aback
a little
because I would never
be as bold as you
and I envy your confidence
in your craft

in my mind
you remain
that wide-eyed innocent five year old
calling out –
“Xola”……

the story mesmerises
with its interjections
of profanity
the cavalierness in his voice
attacks my empathy for her choices

and yet
at the end
my overwhelming thought remains
I hope these Christian kids
are using condoms.

Jayne Offori-Deku
2.14.17

I HOPE I CAN SAY FUCK YOU TO HER THE WAY I DID WITH YOU

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‘I hope we can still be friends.’

‘I hope so too.’

I immediately realize this is not the response she is looking for. She seeks reassurance, the kind they offer in films and books, the ‘I promise’ kind, but I have none of that to offer. I don’t want to remain friends with her, if I’m being honest. I don’t see how that will work. I look up at her. Jesus. Why so damn pretty? Her mercilessly enchanting eyes – large, dark and sinfully slanted – are canopied by perfect eyebrows, and I swear I’ve never seen lips more perfectly formed. The lip gloss I love so much is what she has on, adding an extra layer of difficulty to this already unpleasant ordeal. For a second I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. She stares at me and breaks into a very tired, nervous smile, and says, ‘Well I hope I’m that person you choose to go to the movies with once a while.’ My heart jumps. The pain pangs are back in full force.

***

We are at the cinema. She is moving gently atop me, in circular-upward movements, arms resting on the seat in front of her. We sort of are still following the movie, honestly. At least as much as we can while my bulk is filling her up . Skirts are man’s greatest invention, I think to myself, trying hard not to nut. The cinema isn’t quite empty, there are a few people scattered in the middle row, and though perched at the very back in the darkest corner, we panic whenever there is movement in front of us, or when someone new enters the hall. We pause, holding our combined breath as a man who has just walked in rather purposefully, heads towards the back row, and relax when he picks a seat just two rows ahead. We resume our dance. The rush is amazing. I slide my fingers down her mound and massage her clit with her wetness. A moan escapes her unwittingly, and she cups her hand over her mouth in a flash. The man who just sat down ahead of us turns, but can’t seem to make us out. We stifle giggles. Jennifer Aniston, meanwhile, is making a fool of herself on the screen. She really should take on other roles.

***

I usually go to the cinema alone. It’s my safe space, my happy place. People are a bothersome distraction. Yet it seems to be the only place I can suggest when I ask someone out on a date. I guess it’s because this is where I feel most comfortable? I dunno. Really though, I do vehemently detest going to the movies with people.

Pamela is the exception. I love going with her. She is almost more intense than I am when I’m watching movies, and man, that’s something. That truly is something.

***

We swore at each other a lot. Before, when we first met how many years ago, I couldn’t even say ‘shit.’ Pamela told me it was okay to swear. You say these things in your head anyway, she argued. She laughed at me when I said ‘shoot,’ or when I did my very worst and said ‘screw you.’ We called each other names, dissed each other all the damn time. I’ve never said ‘fuck you’ more times to anyone than I have to her. But they were never seen as insults, always as terms of endearment. Maybe when I see a shrink he or she will tell me how unhealthy it is to be called a fucking idiot or a complete fucking asshole all the time by the person you are in love with. Fuck the shrink in advance. I loved it. We loved it. We were comfortable with it.

***

We are at church. Youth service. I have just laid hands on some stranger and he is writhing all over the floor. I feel a surge of something inside me and place my right hand on the forehead of another girl who has made it to the front. She starts to scream. I can see Pamela at the other side of the room, pacing up and down and hurling tongues fit to light the whole building up on their own.  The whole room is crazy, and I do not understand half of what is happening, but it’s happening alright. Later, after things have calmed down, people come out to say things like they’ve been healed of their illnesses, and someone says he received the Holy Ghost there and then. Well, praise Jesus! Pamela leaves the church premises with her family. I stay awhile at the youth church and pray in the small room by the washroom where we keep church supplies, and which doubles as the prayer secretary’s office of sorts, my office. I go home alone, and when I finally crawl into bed I’m exhausted. I dream about the expected: me splitting Pamela’s vagina in two just a couple of hours before today’s powerful youth service, in the small room by the washroom where we keep church supplies, and which doubles as the prayer secretary’s office of sorts, my office.

***

We are at the hospital. My mum has just been wheeled into the emergency room. Angela, the nurse we have grown accustomed to, assures me everything will be fine. I should be breaking down in tears, but I can’t. My chest feels tight, I can’t breathe. Pamela is right next to me of course, and has my head cradled in her arms. I choke on my saliva and sputter. She pats and rubs my back the way my mum used to when I was little and had a cough. My mother will die. I feel it. This time she will not make it. The tears finally begin to fall. Pam pulls me up and takes the tears with her lips. Her eyes are watery too – she cannot stand to see me in such pain, I know. She’s also come to love my mother deeply, so this is hard for her as well. We find a supply closet, and fuck inside. The tears are streaming heavily down now. I turn her around and thrust as hard and as fast as I can. She doesn’t moan at all. I break down on top of her as I cum. I can feel it, my mother is gone.

***

It’s July. She’s tired of me. She lets me know. She doesn’t think she can do this anymore. She says I take her for granted, toss her up and down like her heart is made of paper. I retort, and try to defend myself. She will have none of it. She storms out of my room. I don’t attempt to chase after her. I know she is right. We both love each other, but what the fuck else do I want? What the fuck am I looking for? I’m all over the place. Doubting everything, uncertain of anything, I’m fucking insecure as shit. I want her, but I don’t. But then I do. What the fuck is wrong with me?

***

Two weeks have passed since the fight. I pull the covers off me – it’s getting a little too warm – and stare at her lithe nude form, finding a stray strand of her hair and twirling it between my fingers. I love her. She stirs, looks up at me slightly groggily, and smiles.

Looks  like I did the sleeping today.

Yup, looks like it.

She draws me in and sucks my soul out with her lips the way only she knows how to. Looks like it’s time for Round Two.

***

We are at the food court. It’s Friday, and the mall is packed tighter than the bills of cash stashed in my miserly idiot of a father’s wallet. It feels like it’s just me and her though. That shrill, ringing sound you get in your head like your tympanum is giving technical feedback is all I can hear. I try to make sense of what Pamela has been saying for the past thirty minutes. She’s sorry…she’d hoped it wouldn’t ever come to this…she just had an abortion…she hopes I’m not mad…she took the after pill she swears…she always takes the after pill but still…she couldn’t tell me because I’d freak…she knows I don’t want children…this is her third abortion…the others happened earlier…this time she used her fees…she wouldn’t ask me if she didn’t need the money…the other times she had savings…she was expecting some money to make up…person disappointed…she really didn’t want me involved…the other two abortions were mine as well

Did she say abortion?

I can feel my soul wither and die, my heart sunken to the floor already. I can vaguely make out her voice saying it’s okay, that she’s okay. All I can think about is how I was sure I always pulled out on time.

***

I’ve met this other girl. She’s perfect for me. She ticks all my boxes. Well not all of them, I mean who ever does, but she ticks all the important ones, and a lot of the quirky ones too. I’m obsessed with the thought of her for now, and I honestly feel I can fall for her easily. She’s not as intense as Pamela. She’s more logical, less dramatic. She’s not as artsy, but she paints, and is very good. I can feel her work, and that’s amazing. The first time she showed me her pieces I asked her why she didn’t take painting up professionally. She chuckled and put them away. She had been nervous to show them to me, but I could tell she was beaming inside because I loved them. And I truly did. She is perfect. She says no sex until she’s ready, and that will probably be marriage. She’s trying to be a good Christian girl, with God’s help she always adds. She gives me hand jobs though, and lets me suck on her tits. They are truly divine. I hope I can say ‘fuck you’ to her freely, the way I did with Pam.

***

Pamela has taken this well. I feel like I’m the reason the ‘Men are trash’ statement was made in the first place. She just aborted what maybe could have been my third child not too long ago. And here I am, doing this. I’m such an asshole. Technically speaking we were not dating, so this is not a break up per se. Technically she always knew what I was looking for. It hurt her that she fell short of my stupid ideals. I always told her she was more than enough, just for someone else. That hurt her more. I tried to ignore some of the burning issues, but our lives were headed in completely different directions, and trying to merge our increasingly divergent paths had been hell. It was possible, but it would be extremely difficult, and some crucial stuff would have to give. At a point she suggested not going to grad school where she had applied anymore; at a point I said I wouldn’t mind having kids. Lies. Why we do this to ourselves I do not know.

***

The movie statement has shaken me. I’m suddenly thankful we are in public. ‘It’s for the best,’ I say, knowing that it truly is. She knows it too. I love her to bits, she knows that, but I can never be with her, not honestly anyway. Sometimes I think she flirts with the idea of that situation, and maybe actually sanctioning it; that she’d rather let me cheat with any woman who fits this fuckingly senseless archetype of who I say I can only be with, than let me go completely. I can see it in her eyes sometimes. But I would never let her do that to herself. No one is worth that, especially not a useless motherfucker like myself. I give her a final hug, as the Uber she requested finally arrives, and start to walk away. She calls out to me one last time, ‘Sedi…’

***

We are fucking in the backseat of the Uber. The driver must definitely be in shock. Somehow he continues driving, and doesn’t say a word. Maybe he’s a voyeur. None of this makes sense.

*

Interview: Poet Dzyadzorm talks her soon to be released EP ‘The Wine Wrote This’

CulArtBlog

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Poet/spoken word artiste, Dzyadzorm talks about her soon to be released EP ‘The Wine Wrote This’, her expectations’ what the future holds for her and place of women in poetry.

I had a hunch you had a project in the works. I, however, didn’t see it coming to fruition this early. How long have you been working on The Wine Wrote This?

I officially started working on the EP a few months ago. There are two poems on there that were written over a year ago but everything else was done last year.

The title of the EP sounds interesting. What’s the story behind the name?

I used wine as a metaphor for openness and honesty. I think you’d agree with me that most of us are in our truest form when inebriated. We tend to become more expressive and direct when communicating. That’s what TWWT is about; allowing my…

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