Lagos is Sleeping. Lagos is Wild.
My eyelids shut
and my eyes opened.
Lagos is the realization and ownership of insanity.
Lagos is admitting that hope plays a paramount role in every waking morning.
Lagos is a relationship, and you’re either faithful or cheating.
Lagos is accepting that destruction can unravel at the next step and stepping regardless.
Lagos is framing me rather than me framing it.
I found myself in the undisturbed chaos of a city; my camera viciously clicked away at every noun (person, place, or thing). By the week’s end, upon endless pictures, no single shot captured the emphasis I witnessed; maybe two or three but not to satisfaction. The smells that slapped me in the face, the sounds that abused my peace, and the sights that followed me home were all ‘Error 404’ to my lens. Lagos was too polar to submit to my frames; its a negative within a positive, simultaneously arguing and making up.
These are a few things:
Chaotic, crazy, overwhelming, colorful, crowded. Wild.
Delusional, melancholy, illusion, limited, grey. Sleeping.
I couldn't decipher the city if I indulged in it and I could never comprehend it from afar. From my perspective, the best way to frame the juggling act was to capture Lagos as a people, because within them, the poles seem harmonious. Without people, a street corner is just a street corner. With people, a street corner is an unstable economy where two minutes in the right conversation can explode your account balance by a 500% increase all before the stock market opens. Without people a tree is just a tree, but with people, a tree in Lagos has been through things. A tree in Lagos was once a home, a giver, a curse, a pissing post, a greener Lagos initiative, and even an enemy of the state. Nothing in Lagos is ‘just.’ Everything is put to use, everything is put to work by the infinitely expanding population. “This is wild,” I thought, “is my lens capturing all of this?”
Not even close.
It took me a while to come to terms with this, but I’m 5 feet 4 inches (on a good day) and there’s nowhere to hide my truth. I cannot satisfyingly capture this city from my lens. Lagos is too much of a fantasy to frame its reality. Eventually, I retired my camera which had fallen into depression due to my frustration. Camera, if you’re reading this, it's not you, it's me. I’m the one who retired my curiosity and became subject to the juggling act, because if I wasn’t capturing the show then it meant that I was in the air, in the hand, then in the air again. Without curiosity, I became part of the to the simultaneous arguing and love making.
This is Wild.
That's where the end of the beginning begun.
On the night of our anniversary I said to Lagos, “I’m leaving. It’s not me, it's definitely you.” It’s your sunsets that clock out way before golden hour. It's your exotic birds that migrate from heaven just to drink my pool water. It's your nosy chickens that cock block the date night parking lot goodbye. It’s your rainbows that have been on strike for years. It's your boli and acara that prostitute themselves on the street for way below their worth. It’s your celebrity politicians and your political celebrities. It’s your NEPA that pimps light and makes us gidi when it comes home. It took me a while to come to terms with this, but I’m 5 feet 3 inches (on a bad day) and there’s nowhere to hide my truth. It’s not me, Lagos, and it’s definitely you.
Lagos without me.
Existential thoughts are the leading cause of buzz kills. The irony is that you walk into a dark place to find the light. If you reach out in the dark long enough, you’ll surely find someone. With my arms stretched outwards I discovered friends in the dark whose blueish green lights shone upon their faces. We sat in hot offices, cold cafes, and stationary automobiles gisting about our dark while tending to our light. As we spoke, Lagos listened; as it listened, so we spoke. One cup of ‘abi?’ one teaspoon of ‘my dear..’ and a pinch of ‘nah so,’ these are ingredients for conversations in the dark. As the gist got deeper, the dark got darker, and the light shone brighter. My eyelids shut, and my eyes opened. I thought to myself, “Am I sleeping?”
Some people believe in more than what they see and some don’t, but both are alike. You would have to be a little insane to believe that tomorrow is going to come, because tomorrow is not inevitable. In our world there are incalculable measures of occurrences that can cease tomorrow’s rising; nonetheless, what kind of life is lived ‘like there’s no tomorrow.’ Therefore, one has to be a little insane to live a seemingly ‘normal’ life. My buzz was killed and my truth arose, “Have I awoken?”