Something you’ll very rarely catch me doing is cry. It’s one of my least favourite things to do. More specifically, crying because I’m sad is one of my least favourite things to do. I know this is nothing new to you. Even though we probably don’t know each other, we can safely assume that no one in the world actually enjoys crying. But for me shedding tears is a pretty big deal. The reason is my name. (Your spell checker is about to have a heart attack.)
Classic Nigerian (Yoruba) name there. I am so glad my parents blessed me with this name, because it embodies a characteristic I aim to embody every single day.
Ayo – ‘joy’
Tunde – ‘has returned’
The literal meaning of my name is ‘joy has returned’. Words can’t even express the joy I felt when I learned the meaning of Ayotunde. From such a young age I’ve always strived for joy, happiness and gladness. In any given day I try to obtain as much laughter out of it as possible. This is just who I am. But for me, this makes the times when sorrow does materialise even more depressing. Because I know when I cry, I’m not living out my purpose. When I cry, it feels like I’m doing something alien, but at the same time all too familiar. When I cry it does not feel like joy has returned. It feels like heartbreak has returned; like bleakness has returned; like darkness has returned. And those feelings return with a permanent intention.
‘Now we’re here, we’re going to make ourselves comfortable.’
‘No, we’re not leaving any time soon happy boy.’
‘We have so much time to make up for.’
‘Those hours you spent laughing yesterday, you’ll spend double sobbing today.’
‘It is time for sadness’
‘I am going to make your heart black with desolation.’
‘We’re going to leave you hanging out to dry.’
‘This is forever.’
It stings. Physically and emotionally. When a tear escapes from my eye and slides down my cheek it stings. My name gets shoved in my face blazing with irony. It’s foolish for me to keep on believing I am beyond crying. It’s only inevitable. Things are going to happen in this life that are going to make me sad. Isn’t that awful in itself, that I cannot avoid it? It’s going to happen. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. There will be another day when I sit down in my room or lock myself in a bathroom or stuff my head in a pillow and allow myself to weep. It honestly breaks my heart.
This doesn’t come from the same place that ‘men should not cry’ voice comes from. I cry when things hurt. Crying hurts. This is coming from me.
There it is again.
The silent sound of a tear having fallen.
No-one is around to catch
Nothing can be made to patch
There must be a leak in my heart because it’s empty
Yet these tears keep on falling as if there’s plenty
‘How many this time?’ My mind begins to ponder
When I look up I see black instead of Wonder
‘Why is it like this? I hate reverting to the abyss. For one time, can it not be missed? This only brings me sorrow, in all of it’s fulness.’
There’s a reply that states, ‘There is a time for weeping and a time for gladness.’
With that things turn a little less melancholic
The blessing given at birth edges further from ironic
As the need for it’s meaning is prominent
Synonyms of ‘temporary’ are unmistakably relevant
As I remember one of the first things I learned:
One day I’ll be able to exclaim, ‘Ayotunde!’
Joy has returned.