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Of Pageants And slip-UPS….Yikes 2!

And so it was, my fate was decided….signed, sealed and delivered! It was almost as though I was staring down the barrels of a double-barrel shotgun or pump-action, so-called in some quarters; just waiting for the trigger to go off and blow up in my face, with the Marksman and Sniper, wielding the ‘arsenal of mass destruction’; being my pesky, plenty insensitive Commandant of course! In that moment, I closed my eyes shut, a gazillion thoughts running through my mind by the milliseconds; and whilst still trying to process, make a complete sense of and more or less; wrap my fingers or head around and ’bout what was ’bout ready to go down, I figured well; it was as good a time as any for a quick dash, a trip down memory lane!

thinking

My momma’s sonorous voice echoed through my subconscious and I coulda sworn I heard her scream….’Yemi, laugh like a lady’, as she’s wont to doing; in her usual characteristic manner, as I shared one of a lotta laughs with my brothers, and their friends in our frontyard! At such times, I tend to do a double take and for a little less than two minutes, all’s but silent and peaceful! You’d be correct to say or term that split moment as ‘the calm before the storm’, cause almost immediately, my buddies and I pick up from whence we left off and launch straightway into a tailspin…. a whirlwind of mad hysterics; shattering the nascent tranquility that once was; even if only for a spell!

At this point, our collective laughter’s practically slicing through the calmness of the evening and reverberating in the distance! I mean really, laugh like a lady?! What’s that?! Never quite knew there was a certain way both of the sexes were expected and or meant to laugh! Plus, that’s quite a tacky thing, seeing as laughter for the most part is a spontaneous action; it just happens! Who plans for such and then goes on to rehearsing how it oughta be done right and perfectly in line with one’s gender?! Well, definitely not me! Really, where’s the fun and fulfillment in a planned, ‘ladylike’ laughter where I can’t just let go of my inhibitions and pretty much be myself?! Am always one for a good laugh, so; Nah! I’ll simply have to pass on that ladylike bit! Soo NOT for me!

Okay! Maybe, just maybe I oughta have listened to my momma’s admonition back then! Maybe, just maybe….again, there’s a teeny, pretty tiny bit of truth and a slight chance that mummies really DO know best! Maybe! Why does it always rain on me…Eish!

Standing there like a condemned felon ’bout to be led to the gallows, I wished I’d had more practice at being a ‘lady’ and acting like one! Were mum a witness to these whole set up, she’d definitely say ‘I did tell you so Sweetness, didn’t I?! And sure enough, I’d feel guilty for a bit and then say to her ‘It isn’t over till its over mum, watch me as I take back control and drag myself outta this ‘crisis’! Needless to say, I was not gonna just give in without putting up a fight! I mean, where does this bully get off, dictating to me what I should or should not do?! I’d be sooo damned if I allowed for him carry on in the way he did, without a care; like I had absolutely nothing to say or do ’bout his excesses!

As the time slowly ticked away, and he was getting his little glam squad ready to come work their ‘wonders’ and ‘magic’ on unwilling me, it literally quite occurred to me that I had no costumes! Bingo!!! That’s just what I need! Is this my lucky day or what?! I’ll bet the bully didn’t even stop to think ’bout those! What’s a pageant without costumes and the whole full regalia that goes into making it what it oughta?! I grinned mischievously as this thought fully registered in my mind and then I found my voice again!

‘Sir, I’d really love and consider it a great honor to represent this platoon’,I said, whilst effortlessly lying through my squeaky white teeth; but I didn’t exactly come prepared for anything, least of all a beauty pageant’! ‘You see Sir, I continued on; trying desperately hard not to give away and hide that absolute delight I was feeling at the time; at having stumbled on a winning excuse to hit the road and return back to my life as I knew it; before this whole pageant nightmare thingy reared its ugly head! ‘I don’t quite possess the full regalia I’d be needing for an event of this nature’! ‘I’m very sorry Sir’, I finished, perfectly convinced this was the big break I needed to get outta my predicament! I’d like to see him recover and come back from this shocker I sneered inwardly, I’ll bet he didn’t see that coming! Bullseye!!!

In thy face, suckerrr!!! YES!

Having acted out my script so well, I’d expected to hear something along the lines of, ‘Oh, that’s true; without a costume, you can’t enter for the contest’, no hassles; you can go now’! Like duh! Wishful thinking! If there was ever a time I desperately wished to have that infamous phrase ‘Be careful what you wish for, for you just might get it’, happen to me, this was as good  a time as any! But then, FAT chance! Psst!

Dude was unmoved and I wondered if he’d even heard a word of what I’d said! By the time he spoke up, I was in for a shocker of my own! He dropped the bomb on me that he’d sourced for all of the costumes I’d be needing and I needn’t bother my pretty lil sweet head ’bout a thing! All the bases were pretty much covered to the minutest detail! All I needed do was shut up, show up, go with the flow, smile and be real pretty, after going through a beauty regimen and fitting session to see which of ’em costumes was all ‘me’, as in; the ones that fitted perfectly! Huh?! Rats, what gumption!!! Oh, how very splendidly classy! Oomph!

‘There goes my gazillion pounds plan to elude and wriggle outta this bad episode, but if this Soldier man thinks he’s gotten me boxed into a corner and figured out, then he’s got something else coming’, I muttered to myself! I’ll die first before being paraded and put on exhibition like some piece of artwork or ‘artefact’ for hungry eyes to take in, ravage and make a spectacle of! It should be my call, not his or anyone else’s!  Why in the name of all things that he holds sacred, can he not just get it and ‘for-GIT’ it?! Why?!

It was on to plan ‘B’ for me! ‘Sir, I’m sorry but its taboo that I wear other people’s items of clothing, its completely against my beliefs and principles, that I share those with strangers’! I was getting very flustered and frustrated at this point and I’d pretty much hoped he’d just respect my stance and let me off the hook already! ‘Its really nice that you don’t wear other people’s clothes but am also sure that it wouldn’t be taboo to have you sent to a faraway local government area lacking of basic amenities and infrastructure; for your primary assignment’, he said! And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse off than they already were, he chipped in this…’IN A CANOE RIDE!!!’ Finishing with an air of arrogance and super-authoritative finality! The Sonofagun!

Can he REALLY do that and am I also in the form and mood to find out?! I asked myself as I pondered over my next course of action! Does he wield that much of an influence and power to make good on his threat of having me bundled off to the middle of nowhere or shall I just call his bluff, walk and damn the consequences?! This guy’s dreadful, he sure knows how to play dirty and had pretty much planned everything down to the last detail! Plus, he’d quite anticipated I’d put up some kinda fight and resistance in doing his bidding! What an Eel! Slippery and oh so sly! So, am left in the dumps and at a crossroad…..to be or not to be?!

yes | by claudia hering (sundance)

I thought, a few hours in Hell or a coupla months in HELL?…. suddenly realizing all of my plans had finally hit a dead-end! It really was a no-brainer as I resignedly but begrudgingly accepted to represent my platoon on the big night, which in retrospect was just a very few number of hours, ticking real slowly but steadily away, having settled for the lesser of two evils! ‘Its all for the best’, I comforted myself; better the pageant than some remote far off place off of the world map, where I’d be left hanging out on the rails to dry! The horror!

`174 | Hanging by a moment. | by v1nz`

That was how my little diatribe and debacle with ‘Major Pain’ played out! The next coupla hours was gonna be a real trying one for me, as my whole world was sent plunging on a downward spiral, spinning right outta control! Plus, my perception ’bout pageants and those who are brave enough to muscle up the courage and guts to participate in ’em, was changed forever!  Oh yeah!

Images courtesy of flickr.com

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Of Pageants & slip-UPS! Yikes!

Growing up amongst boys, my brothers; I was a tomboy of sorts for the most part of my very young adult life! I hung out mostly with them and their friends and pretty much liked what they liked…..the rap music culture, soccer, athletics and sports magazines! They were mighty protective of me and would not let any waltz all over their little sister! Oh, how that made me feel……..atop of the world!

At some point in Middle School, my female buddies in the neighborhood I resided, all practically moved house and I was left bereft of female companies save for the few friends I had in school, who didn’t exactly live in my hood! High School flew quickly by and I found myself in College, a Freshman! Wide, starry-eyed and looking forward to the adventures and misadventures that new terrain promised and offered! And of course, I rolled with the boys! Its true what they say after all….old habits do die hard! I DID see myself as one of the boys, and acted the part oh too well, down to the boot!

Being a tomboy and regardless, I’ve always been a HUGE fan of beauty pageants, totally suckers for ’em! Not as part of the contestants, nuh-uh; but a glorious, very casual bystander, taking in the magnificent sights and harmonious sounds! You know, as part and parcel of that teeming audience, looking on in awe, with such unmasked daze, in absolute, total delight and of course, marveling at the awesomeness of the Almighty’s wondrous works! I mean, just staring at a bevy of ‘easy on the eyes’ ‘hotties’, drop-dead gorgeous beauties all dolled and glammed up, lining and making the stage come alive in their stunning glories…..Be-deviling! Ahem, my bad; scratch that! I meant to say…..Bedazzling!

Added to that is my most favorite segment of the event: The Interview! This is where beauty and brawn’s matched with brains, boldness and bravado! This part’s the most anticipated for me! Any contestant who doesn’t bring on his/her ‘A’ game’s dropped so fast like something that’s piping, steaming and streaming HOT! By all accounts, any who hopes to emerge victorious, must really cash in and thrive above the rest with confidence at an all-time high, poise, grace, eloquence and articulation! And am talking ’bout high human intelligence, impeccably matched with top animal diligence! That’s the only way, otherwise; no dice! They can just kiss having the shot at wearing the coveted crown  goodbye as far as the contest goes!

And so it was on this day, I’d heard a pageant was going down to find and unveil the new Queen of one of the Female Halls of Residence!  Naturally, I was pretty giddy and excited, an excitement which only lasted as long as when the third contestant, put her best foot forward and stepped up to be interviewed! The dialogue that ensued went a little something like this:

Anchor: Hello there Miss Jayne, how do you do?

Miss Jayne: *batting eyelashes and oozing of sheer self confidence* Oh, hiya? I’m fine. Divine actually….. totally. Thank you.

Aside.

At this stage, Miss Jayne had become pretty unpopular in my book, cause most folks know that whenever the question ‘How do you do’?! is posed, the ideal thing to say in response oughta be ‘How do you do’?! Well yeah, its pretty lame I know like duh, but the English says that’s how its gotta be said, and so; who art thou to argue to the contrary and who would hold ’em  to it  and or apprehend ’em for it?! You?! And what army?! Psst!

So, back to the dialogue

Anchor: What’s your discipline, Miss Jayne?!

Miss Jayne: Thank you! My disciplines are ahem…….honesty, loyalty, humility and hardworking

At this point, I  honestly thought Miss Jayne was either pulling a fast one on us all, by way of a joke gone bad! Perhaps, she’s giving us a run around and would probably retrace her steps and make right what we’d all considered a misunderstanding of sorts, but; there she was, flashing her teeth, in her best ever plastic smile! Beaming at an audience gone buckwild, and possibly thinking that she’d brought down the house and knocked everyone’s socks off! Only problem being that, she DID bring down the house as evidenced from the whirlwind of mirthful hysterics that rented the already electrically charged atmosphere! Unbelievably too, she didn’t understand that she’d just slipped up and boy was I dazed, in complete shock with jaws dropping down to the floor! I was more disappointed once I realized she REALLY was serious, like DEAD serious! Ugh!

Once I was able to recover from that, I picked up my jaw from whence it laid on the ground, and told myself I’d had ’bout enough of the contest anyway! It was beautiful while it lasted and I gotta get a move on! I couldn’t linger on cause some pesky guys were already taunting and mocking us females! ‘That does it’, I muttered to myself, I’m outta here! I just had to get away from that whole fiasco! It was so darnright distasteful, in too much of a bad taste I could almost taste it on my buds! Yuck!

Thinking back now, I can’t help but wonder that maybe if I’d just slugged it out and ‘endured’ till the end of that show, I’d have been better prepared for an event I didn’t know was gonna take place in my own life, pretty similar to this one at a much more later date and time! Perhaps, It’d have served as a sorta training ground and learning, to avert a future disaster or not?!  Who knows?!

I graduated from College and it was time for the mandatory National Youth Service Corp, NYSC, where all graduates of higher learning and institutions across the Federation are in fact mandated to serve the Fatherland for a year, in other parts of the country; to learn and internalize the ways and cultures of other tribes! This was put in place to foster some kinda togetherness and unity of sorts by the founding fathers, way back in the days! Failure to adhere might cost one any chance of gaining employment as the certificate given at the end of this period, is also as important as one’s credentials if not more! Every employer of labor demands to see it as a mandatory requirement during the recruitment process!

My posting was to one of the far up northern states! I wasn’t thrilled at this news for the mere reason that I hated traveling, still do! And this trip was gonna be a very long one! I had no choice but to go along anyhow! So, right before settling down eventually in my new home and abode, I made a new friend who I hung out with throughout the duration of my stay in that part! He goes by the name, Femi Toosh! I made his acquaintance while under the scorching sun, corps members were all queued up, trying to obtain kits, garbs and beddings! It was gruesome, with pushes and shovings here and there! I was totally exhausted having stood on my feet for a good number of long hours, on an empty stomach and with the sun shining brightly in its  hot, scorching glory!

He made for me and said ‘So. how ’bout we go grab a bite’? ‘You look just ’bout ready to pass out and girl, are your eyes RED’! I looked around to see who it was he was referring and at this point, he……..well, just grabbed me by the arm and pleaded with the guys around to safeguard our spaces on the queue, that we’d be back in a tick!  I was much too tired to argue or tell him to go sweep his own side of the street and mind his ‘beeswax’, that I just allowed for him to drag me along, hobbling right on! That was totally outta character for me, but I just felt really lifeless and needed some saving….from myself! We laughed ’bout that episode long afterwards, after becoming quite inseparable during all of the times we spent at the orientation camp!

It was during one of those fun times I hung out with Femi Toosh, just kickin’ it at one of the hotspots, that a group of guys accosted me and relayed to me that my Platoon Commandant asked to see me immediately as a matter of urgency! Plus, I was expected to follow after them so they could take me to where he was at! They just wouldn’t let on, on the reason why I was being summoned and I wasn’t having none of that! I knew I hadn’t flouted any rules, so why was I wanted?!These guys were really persistent and at some point I expected to hear the ‘Miranda Rights’  reeled out to me! You know, that ‘You’re hereby under arrest, anything you say may be used against you in the court of law’ infamous line! Yeah, that one! Except well, the military don’t do the court of law! I was being led away to be ‘court-martialed’!

Face to face with my Commandant,  he greeted me on arrival and announced, how he’s single-handedly decided and chosen me to represent my platoon at the much awaited Miss Camp Contest slated to take place in  what……less than five hours?! Who does this?! Whatever was he thinking?! Don’t I get to have a say in the matter?! Like I don’t get to say no, not interested; amma double nay, triple pass on the offer, thanks but NO thanks?!

And that folks, was how the stage was ’bout set for the ultimate showdown, even amidst my pleas, protests and tantrums! I felt like I was being unduly targeted for a shake down and I literally had a major meltdown! The horror, like boo…… freakin’ ……hoo!

All images courtesy of http://www.flickr.com

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