Dili’s Log 傾聽你的心 ― dedicated to the people that got me here.

Acknowledgment

不聞不若聞之,聞之不若見之,見之不若知之,知之不若行之;學至於行之而止矣

For your faith, that gave me wings.
For your patience, that suffered me.
For your encouragement, that was relentless.
For your presence, that was unconditional.
For your empathy, when I deserved judgment.
For your comfort, through loneliness and desolation.
For your love, when I was unlovable.
Thank you…
For you taught me the life I now live.
Dulce bellum inexpertis.
Invictus maneo.

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Special Thanks

Kafanchan Grace Choir, Royalties, and New Life Choir: for the colossal contribution you made in shaping my sense of identity and independence. Looking toward the future, some spoke just so they are heard, and others with the intent to act. Well done is better than well said. I hope you are living your best life no matter its form. For my part, if I had known beforehand the overtaxing sacrifices and crushing isolation that would be exerted grinding out those aspirations into reality as well as the high toll it would take on relationships and lifestyle for a tedious protracted amount of time, perhaps I might have prophesied less. Kaza: my boyhood favorite neighbor. Still wonder fondly the whereabouts of you, Tomo, Swam, and Momi; Rev. & Mrs. Nduba and my friend Adozie – you will always be remembered fondly; Ike at CPM Kafanchan, Stephen Chinwuba: it was so fun learning the piano, guitar, and composing songs together during my early teen years; Chidi Achims: for embracing my early developments, and giving it a platform – death cheats and memories redress; Kingsley Igwe: a dear and constant friend of past, present, and future; Abiola and Femi Otenigbagbe: for nurturing a youth’s reckless leadership believing he could rise to more; Tola Akunji: in some alternate universe, our bond and friendship wouldn’t have been so undervalued (Curse Daniel); Tunde Microbrosky: for your infectious enthusiasm for internet technology that drew me firmly into the computer sphere; Chuka Ojimba, Brother Ben, Monday Igwe, James at Technical, Afolabi, others: names to always remember and hold precious; Francis Ikegwuonu and Ismaili: for our adventuresome friendship and the many memorable night vigils spent together learning and practicing technologies; Nelly Ekaidem: I will always adore you – the young are often stupid; Iyke Onka: ♪ Down in my bones I can feel this holy dope ♫. More than a musician, the science ideas you shared with me about Light and Time were brilliant and I wish you’d put them to paper and publish. Thanks for the inspiring figure you were during my more musically inclined years; Chidi Nnadozie: my first work boss – thanks for taking a chance on me and encouraging my adventurism even when it threatened your job. You are the most secure boss I never had again; John & Marilyn Kelly: my second home in Edinboro Pennsylvania, which will always be one of my favorite places in the world; Adaeze Akeru: for your act of kindness; Tracey Newton: for your solidarity in a time of limitless adjustment and distress when everyone else avoided me; Allen and Susan Scott: for your warmth, kindness, and the memorable winter hat and scarf you knitted for me. I will always value the moments shared with your outstanding extended family. Alas, contentment is seldom possible under great pain; Linda Hawkins, Laura Mae Wood, and Laurie Chandler: Georgia was no doubt the unhappiest and biggest time-waste of my life under the circumstances, and I still curse under my breath the exploitatory influences that dragged me there at the expense of my early aspirations and adulthood; as well as the difficult 7-year period it took to reel out. Yet our loving friendship which continues to pulse in my heart reminds me of something to look back on with unending gratification; Anita Okeke, Anna Ruth Flagg, and Nancy Turtle: for your relentless gestures of encouragement – it really was all I had to go by sometimes; Jialuo Chen: favorite roomie – our time shopping, watching the 90s movies, and teaching me to cook Chinese dishes are some of my lifetime’s favorite memories; Andrei Santos: the last pages of our times are still ahead; John Butler: thank you; Jerry and Susan Pickens: all-time favorite neighbors – still treasure every moment we shared.

There are people who prefer the airbrush versions of our lives, the better days, and the fair weather. Others patronize – try to box you into their ideas and presume condescendingly to know how you ought to think and evaluate yourself to fit their delusions of charitable superiority. Some of the names above identified with the most self-inflicting periods of my journey and character in an inconvenient friendship for you. Thank you for believing in me when it was not so obvious. Your names mean something profoundly personal and cherished to me, whether or not I have opted to remain in contact with you. In some ways, the person you knew and loved no longer exists – perhaps undone by the realities of life, which we all share in our forms – but I hold his remnant and know how highly he esteemed you.

Special Thanks also to the notion of Failure and Imperfections: Whatever I am today, it is because of a healthy willingness to fail in friendships, love, family, business, and life. Without these permanent failures, I wouldn’t be better at life, love, and work.

Academia

Adun Akinyemiju, S. O. Adigun, F. T. Himmikaye, S. O. Otoide, A. O. Edun, Lola James, N. J. Osai. A heartfelt appreciation for seeing something in me at a time I could not have possibly believed alone. Thank you. Dr. Ron Koger – for your influence that kept me in college longer than I could afford, Dr. Kim Haimes-Korn and Erin Sledd – for teaching me writing as an exploratory means for inquiry, discourse, and fine art. Dr. James Ponnley: the only math teacher that mattered… of blessed memory. Thank you, Dr. Ponnley.

Near and Far Heroes

To Barbara Spohn, Michael Vanni, and every other sponsor, thank you. I have no clue why a dozen-a-dime people think that what every bright minority person needs, regardless of their age and experience, is a chaperone – a self-appointed mentor or foster parent figure. Talk and dinners are cheap. If you aren’t opening new doors and helping your person of interest move forward from where you met them, you are a distraction. Putting one’s reputation and personal interests on the line betting on a belief or faith in another person, which the person may not even see in him or herself, is the differentiating impact of a sponsor that inspires lifelong gratitude and respect. You facilitated opportunities, jobs, cash, and seismic advice. On occasion, you pulled me out of the deep when I was in over my head or threw a line to keep me going. While our personalities might have drawn us together even before common interest, it remains among the most conflicted relational dynamics I’ll ever know to endeavor a non-solicitous friendship around someone with *seemingly* a water barrel when you are yourself parched by thirst. Thank you for seeing past my impecuniousness and mountains of unfavorable odds. Thank you for every Yes when it was a fit, and for every No when it wasn’t. Special thanks to those of you who respected both our time and did not treat my time and effort as inferior to yours… you were the better leaders.

To each of my rideshare riders – you bore me through happy times, grief, and many reflections bringing all the excitements and a radical heterogeneity of meaningful human-to-human connections with laughter, sadness, solidarity, and occasional irritation. Sharing thousands of moments with people from all works, stations, and places of life that I could not have otherwise met from all parts of the world has affected me considerably – leaving me with no doubt that humanity has far more in common across peoples, cultures, and societies than our upbringing and environment might have us think. Only through a genuine human connection with the person next to you can the world become more colorful and vivid. Every 37,000+ of you from 150+ countries, 80% of which we shared more than a 5 minutes conversation, left a part of yourselves, your world, and your experiences – highs and lows, with me. Thank you.

Robert Greene – particularly your work on Mastery. It was an enormous reinforcement to drive and focus through the earlier darkest moments of inner conflict faced with sheer excess work over punishing hours where no other friend nor companion would travel with me, often reinstating clarity and the security for staying on mission. Leil Lowndes: for your definitive guidance that enriched my conversations and connection with other human beings – allowing me to see more treasure in each person as well as broaden my horizon regarding other people considerably from my background. Monica Lewinsky – for standing back up and outmatching the entire world; demonstrating our ownership over our own story. Your resilience continues to inspire my approach to life. MacKenzie Scott – the moment you had the influence to improve millions of minority lives, you did.

Other

No matter how strong or in control we might think ourselves to be, our behaviors and outcomes are not silos. The close relations we keep and the environments we put ourselves into have a surprisingly outsized influence on our mindset and well-being. Some orient and bring out the best in us – furthering our maturity, while others disorient and bring out the worst of our humanity – regressing us backward against our hard-won values. You can either spend all your lifetime bickering about being held hostage by your background and unhealthy relationships… or you can just leave, dispel all the norms you once held, start anew, and take the reins yourself. You become your own person only after you embrace the latter. The singular life skill most responsible for my attainment today, however belatedly learned, is the intolerance and readiness to jettison places, communities, and situations that attempt to detract or level down meaningful growth and impose conformity to how such places and people would rather you be. Yet, there are and continue to be those who add positively to the story of our lives. Many have names we tragically may never remember again. Others, like my literature teacher during Primary School (Elementary School) in Benin City, a tall slender man who often wore black trousers on a black short-sleeve shirt with white polka dots, whom I only remember as Mr. David, are remembered as though from another lifetime. Mr. David’s palpable disappointment, hearing my involvement in a foolhardy class raid and fist brawl in Primary 2, would go on to frame my conduct towards aggression – I never wish to see that look on his face ever again. I have been loved, aided, and abetted by Latinos, Semites, Indians, Black, White, and Asian people. Most of my teachers through life and school expected so much of me and fostered their hopes. All those past ‘lifetimes’ were the building blocks of the present. Wherever you are, thank you. You made a difference.

Rearview

To surviving siblings. In early adulthood, we try very hard to paint the merriest pictures of our childhood life at home, yet the raw truth eventually stares us down. Belittled and invisible at home, bolstered and valued by outsiders, then criticized and accused of preferring outsiders. To rephrase a quote, rivalry among families is the most cruel and toxic form of rivalry because the stakes are so low. I wish masterful gaslighting were enough to amend tumults and extortions carried on from childhood. Permanently extricating and cutting ties may have been the most painfully difficult decision I ever made, but it was also the healthiest… There is no looking back. I regret the wasted and disoriented years, irreparable life damages, lost time, and self-sabotage it took to finally summon a firm decision, but take solace in knowing my ultimate recourse was that much an absolute last resort. I do not doubt being ignorant of some grand cosmic rationale that flawlessly explains the ever-changing twists and mind-bending circumstances and subplots so extenuatingly that only a simpleton like me fails to appreciate the melodramatic vindication of reptilian justice and religious hypocrisy. I do not doubt being the odd one… the black sheep – left out of the sanctimonious justification for godly cruelty. In a world where estrangement from even a family bound to heinous dysfunctional cycles carries a negative social stigma, I do not doubt being a monster for my resolution. So be it all. Our better decisions in life aren’t usually the most popular. May we all find the courage to do what we must and let time show the wisdom and harvest of our judgment – bringing greater contentment in our discrete paths that eluded us together. I wish us all peace and healing through the remainder of our separate lives.

To Francis Ezeadina Ikwuadinso, we shared a lifetime mixed with affection and alienation. Your unexpected passing left me permanently cratered with shock, and I still mourn you. Your industry provided agency to my aspirations despite your shortcomings as a father. A man of your time and place, I do not hold you blameworthy for who you were any more than the inevitable outcome of our relationship in my adult years. Still, I had tacitly hoped for closer and prouder days ahead of us reignited by success and a newfound grown-up understanding of ourselves – an opportunity to know better the person behind the Dad. I did always hold gratitude for your hard work and what must have been painful sacrifices for you, especially faced with the same pressure in my efforts as well as in observations and shared stories with other hard workers. I am saddened by how much your sweat enriched my life and how little of this impact you ever got to know before your death. We had no closure. Without a conclusion, my mind recursively searches for you restlessly in dreams during sleep. When you come to me, you are elusive and ephemeral. A brass light is cast on you and none of it makes any sense. A meaningless and utterly avoidable death, yet certain in the absence of the will to live. While I harbor no regrets but resolve from your fate, the reveal of the crueler realities of this world that coldly weaponize your final moments to extort lifelong pain and emotional blackmail was the befitting culmination for a beleaguered and tyrannized childhood, and has dealt even more losses. It remains the lowest point of my toil, and the darkest day in my life. Friends and outsiders bore me through the dissociation in childhood. Strangers now bear me through grief. I grieve only one. Have heard it oft said that the dead see all things. If they do, then you know intimately my deepest feelings and hopes towards you. You also now know the crushing circumstances under which I carried out my mission daily as you did in your time. You once told me that in this world we are all alone with no one else. Although I continue to regard your remark a fallacy, I feel its weight ever more gravely since your passing, and I worry that I always will. RIP – Invictus Manetis (You remain unvanquished).

Remembering my grandmother, Mary Rose Mbaezue, whose soft reassurance I could never forget. To my favorite cousins in teen years, Chijioke and Eloka Anyaso, do miss you guys – but there is no guilt in the absence of malice. Adult life is complicated. To Aunt Chinwe Ozigboh: there are things about our brief encounters in my late teen years that I still deeply appreciate about you that I’m sure you don’t even remember. Fond thoughts also of Sylvia Omini and Chineye Okeke. To dear Aunt Onumasi Okafor: deep within my heart you will always live – death cheats and memories redress. Ifeanyi Ikwuadinso: the nearest ideal I had to a big brother.

Featured Song

Thank you.
Memores acti prudentes futuri

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