Keep Calm and Moisturize
No resolutions...just resets, reloads, refreshes, and emollients to end 2023
"It takes a person two years to learn how to talk and all the rest of her life to learn to keep from talking too much."
Ain’t that the truth, especially as we balance the books on 2023. Debits, credits, assets, liabilities…balance them all. All that talking you did in 2023, what was your ratio of talk vs listen? I need to rebalance mine for sure…put more focus on the work, and less on the noise of words.
“Impact isn't about having something to say. It's about having the power to be listened to when you say it.” From the Hulu show, A Murder At The End of The World.
Speaking of having something to say, I was challenged a couple of times this year with, “Chidi, you use a lot of Nigerian and Igbo colloquialisms in your writing. Aren’t you alienating non-Naija folks?”
Have you read any social posts from my South African fam? The latest big news from the Rwandans? Online complaints when things go awry in Kenya? My peoples will write a post called, “Only for Foreigners: The Secrets of Living and Surviving in Joburg/Nairobi/Kigali”, and then the only decipherable thing in the entire post for non-natives are the first three words, “So listen up…”, and then you get hit with a long string of u’s, x’s, h’s, r’s, w’s, and z’s. An occasional a or m. Throw some d’s in that b*…and you can call the grim wrapper, cos it’s over.
(that reference was for the real hip hop heads)
I see a Kinyarwanda write-up…me and Google Translate throw our hands up and walk out the room. My mouth doctor is asking what happened, and I tell her I attempted to enunciate a sentence in Xhosa. I love Amapiano, but I get this sneaky feeling I should check with the translators before singing along in public.
Abeg make una leave me jare.
So, this one is for the fellas. It is clear to me that most of the misery being visited upon the world today by men is because of an acute lack of moisturization. Yes, I said it. In English, not Igbo. I traveled a good bit this year, and let me just say it: bobos, it is time to invest in some serious emollients, walai. Listen, I am aware there’s always been this fear of men’s grooming as the sissy-fication of the male species. The emasculation of the masses. (BTW you should look up the word emasculation…it ain’t quite what you thought it was).
No, it’s not. It’s called personal care for a reason. Look at our faces. Our grills. This is the one part of the body that is not only attacked on a daily or bi-daily basis by the environment but also assaulted with jaded brutality by a machete marketed as a shaving stick. And then we throw 100% pure vodka and whiskey masquerading as Old Spice on our mugs right after. And we strut about thinking we look like Denzel, while the evidence is pointing more toward Chris Rock’s crackhead character in Jungle Fever (see below).
Women figured out face care from the get-go right after we got evicted from Eden. Just for comparison, here’s Halle Berry as a crackhead in the same movie:
Black don’t crack, when you moisturize. No color in the spectrum is cracking, when you moisturize.
My big reveal in 2023 was the not-hidden art and science of skincare. Vitamin C serum? I did not know this was what they meant by “take your vitamins” o. Retinol, hyaluronic and salicylic acid…what? I thought the dark spots on my face were meant to be the grim and grisly reminders of the war against facial hair. Not the case, my brothers, not the case. Glycolic acid, niacinamide…hmm, these natural face transformers are here hiding in plain sight and we’ve been dry ashing like mumus. I even found out that there is this magic stick called concealer that can disappear that gnarly thing that decides last minute to appear on my lip just as I am about to get on stage. And it is in my skin tone, with shea butter and hya…hyal…hyaluronic acid.
Keep calm and say hyaluronic five times straight without stuttering.
And yes, BO aka the Funk is a direct ancestor of bad body personal care. So un-funk yourself before you wreck yourself. La Roche Posay? On it. Cantu? Yes, can do. Derma.E? Come on now. CeraVe is fully loaded with weapons of skin de-funk-tion. Shea Butter. Moringa. They are out there in many flavors and sizes. The game of stink and ash is one I choose, with extreme prejudice, not to partake in, walai. Men’s grooming is a thing, get on it.
BTW, big shout to my ace and sister from another mother, Orlena Blanchard, who launched her WonderTree Skin line this year. MoringaShea for days. Great lineup of products, but nothing for us dudes yet…she says it is coming. Please be coming already abeg. She has this thing called BDC Slugging Serum. Ha!! Which one is slugging now? Ok. Only for women? Abeg, I thought slugging your face was a violent act, but if Orlena says slugging is good then me I want to slug my face o, Orlena.
The ads for gyms are out and in full force, but there is a new and very…suspect addition to the mix—weight loss drugs. Ozempic, Ro, Wegovy, Sequence…it is getting crazy. Not for me. I am cool with my six-unpack. My thick thighs have literally saved lives. No complaints, well we do want the love handles to not love as much, but let’s not get too obsessive. I love and will always love my fufu and egusi soup. Yes, the use of Spanx Men has been activated once or twice, go ahead, report me to my mother. Mumu. We are chasing soft life, but in the gym killing ourselves, rejecting bread and fufu, injecting drugs for hard bodies because Oprah and Instagram says so. Please let me come and be going.
Heard this song yesterday and it is stuck in my head—sing with me, “If it makes you happy, it can't be that baaaaaaa—aaad. And if it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad.”
Sheryl Crow, ladies and gentlemen.
By the way all the oversized baggy pants that these trend pushers and celebrities like Asake seem to suggest we must wear, please carry your trouble and go back to your spaceship abeg. I wore baggy pants in my Cross Colors and Karl Kani days, but trying to force inverted MC Hammer pants into my wardrobe will get you kidnapped and forced into skinny jeans in my alternate universe. Stop it. Leave me alone. And can someone please tell my 14-year-old that wearing a sweatshirt in 95-degree Fahrenheit weather in Atlanta is the hallmark of a psychotic break? Tell her o.
Well, it was a…year. And now we go on to another…year. No resolutions…just resets, reloads, refreshes. And this Denzel gem (video here) is my go-to jet fuel every 1st of January:
“Without commitment, you’ll never start. But more importantly, without consistency, you’ll never finish. It’s not easy...so, keep working, keep striving, never give up. Fall down 7 times, get up 8. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work.”
See you at work.
Happy New Year.