Whenever I write a post it it comes from somewhere deep within. I always write my truth, and I try to do it as tastefully and with some humor. Life is challenging enough for us to be too serious about it, humor takes the edge off. I had fun writing Fatty Sandra last week, and also had fun with you guys and your comments. I too read along with you after I published the post and became fascinated with the cast of characters.
Though I was genuinely impressed with Killfuss (a mind like his and what he does is fascinating to me) my favorite character believe it or not was Bugsy. Yes, Bugsy. When I began to write Fatty Sandra and The Baby duppy, as my fingers tapped the keys, I had no idea Bugsy would appear, I was surprised like all of you when he did. And then to find out after that he was an important part of why most of the family survived the Obeah sent their way, it made me look deeper into how many people we meet are underestimated,. Also it made me think about what is looked upon as the “dregs” of society and who some of them really are.
There was a time when my own family speculated about my mental health, even I. It was hush talk, but they wondered, and I worried, this was during the time of my first initiation into spirituality, which took three years, and I don’t know if I will ever get over what I went through, read here. Time has lessened the pain of it, but whenever I think about those times, as I am doing now, something shifts my heart just a wee bit. Which shows improvement on my behalf, because times gone by, my key board would be drenched with tears. My awakening was hard, very hard.
It was a rough journey to becoming me, and while I do not regret it, I thank all that is great, divine and holy that my children did not have to pass through what I went through. I am the one who woke them up, gently, safely and lovingly. I guess that was the contract I made before coming into being, “wake me up fully when the time is right after I get to the world, so that my children will not have to pass through the fire as I” I guess I stated, and boy did they. There was a time I knew a mad man, or what some people called a mad man. To me he was a friend, to be honest I thought of him only after Fatty Sandra was written, but I had long ago drafted a post on him. His name was Bagga. He was Jamaican who had been living in America since he was a child. He was a quiet fellow, always clean and neatly dressed, respectful, never trouble some. As I grew, and become myself, I always at times reflected on things Bagga would say to me. Let me copy and paste the drafted post I did og Bagga so long ago.
The post was titled Musings of Mad Man Bagga
Yesterday I spoke to my father and while we spoke he remembered Bagga, a fellow who lived on the street where I lived as a young girl in America. Bagga was Jamaican like me, and he was the only child of his mother. His father had died when he was young. When My dad brought Bagga up in our conversation, his image came clear to me, and I remembered when we use to sit and talk. It made me sad that I did not know what a great treasure Bagga was, but now looking back Bagga taught me plenty, he also was a great teacher of mine.
How innocent are children, it is as we grow, the world and all that we encounter remove the innocence and harden some of us. The young have no judgement,they do not hate or discriminate, they are trusting, this is why it is especially sad when an adult violate a young child’s trust, teach the child to hate or discriminate, impose on them their (the adult) personality. Bagga was a tall man, and big in body, he was always clean and neatly dressed. He lived with his mother in the building across from ours, and he would get up early in the mornings and put out the garbage for the building which was the supers (janitor for the building) job, but Bagga did it anyway. He would sweep the whole block, and help old people carry their bags up and down the stairs, if they gave him money he would try to refuse it. Looking at Bagga, one would never know that he had a mental problem ( I still do not believe he was mad, but his mother told my parents that he diagnosed something, I forget), but something was not correct with him according to people, and it took me a long time to realize that something was indeed off, but was it madness?.
Bagga was one who use to sit on our stoop with James my friend (he was a veteran and suffered from PTSD) and the other old men, read here , he never drank nor did he speak much when the others were around. At times I would meet him on the stoop before anyone came and he would greet me well by saying “Hey pretty Princess, how yuh doing? I would answer him and ask about his health and we would sit quietly watching the children play in the streets.
Bagga would speak to me at times.
Bagga would say things like this;
“What’s your name again?” I would tell him my name
He said “Ok Let me tell you this Obara, look at the moon, and the sun do you know they are related? His topics were always spiritual, I paid no attention to that fact back then.
I would shake my head, in saying no, I didn’t know and Bagga would say, “You young fool, not that you foolish Obara ( he was always creful of hurting people feeling), but your youth obstruct your mind from seeing the real in most things, for instance Obara, what color shirt am I wearing?
I would answer Black, it was a Black polo shirt that Bagga had on that day with Khaki colored shorts, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles could see that, but Bagga told me that the shirt was red (the others hearing this would laugh, but he ignored them), he would say;
“Obara the world want to fool you but you have got to be wise, they tell you it is black, and so black is what you see when you see red and red is black when you see it”. At the time this confused me, but I somehow had interest in what he was saying and wanted him to explain.
I asked him how come and he told me that there is a war going on, but nobody knows and the war is without guns, it is the war with peoples minds. He said “Obara, they get us through the foods, and when you reject what they are telling you or selling you they say that you are crazy, Obara, let me teach you”, he would say.
“Have you ever heard from anyone that the sun and the moon were related?
Of course I answered no. He explained that the Sun and the moon were of the same parent which was the Earth, they were born. Warning bells began to ring in my head, as something would say to me, “cukoo, cukoo, cokoo”! like the cukoo bird chiming from the clock. Another voice would tell me, to listen to him, there is truth and facts to his reasoning’s they are just jumbled up.
Bagga would tell me that all that was around us speaks to us everyday and that the sun had a voice. He called it Ra. He said the ancient Egyptians served Ra the sun and that Ra was the one who created all and everything, even us. At the time I was Christian minded so I would interrupt his foolishness and told him, that God, the God of Abraham created human beings. Bagga would laugh and say “Obara yuh ah grow, God of which Abraham”, Nothing like that he continued. “Who was Abraham, where him come from”? Obara, open up yuh mind and listen to me, mi telling you de truth.” Then after saying this he would get up and walk way from the stoop. I would call out to him “Bagga, whey yuh going?” and he would reply “Obara, dem get you already, yuh mind done, dem done mek yuh believe inna de bible foolishness, what color is my shirt, he would ask again? and I made sure to tell him red. Bagga would turn around look at me, smile and say, ok, maybe yuh soon ready and then he would leave.
I think at that young age, I too was not “normal”, because Bagga was my friend and I looked forward to sitting with him on my stoop, or taking a walk with him to the store. My mother would say “why yuh love hang out wid dah mad bwoy deh”, and the neighborhood would tease me and call him my best friend;
“Hate is hate, love is love is two that don’t agree but I like hate more than love, because hate is real and cannot hide itself. Yes, hate show on the face and in the speech and in the actions, while love is mimicked by everyone. So no one is ever sure when loves comes around, but hate loves to announce itself”. He told me this often. To others it made no sense, to me also at the time, but later as I came into my self. I realized the wisdom within his words and reasoning.
There are may ways to love and to feel love and also to show it, but hate is just hate, an emotions that rivals love but is very hard to disguise even with the best actor. Hate announces it self, and is very hard to disguise. I have seen this over and over again in my life. The teachings about the color of his shirt, Bagga, wanted to let me know that it is what I have been taught that I believe as true and real. But not because society calls a black shirt black, it means it is that color, he wanted me to realize that my reality was mine to create, and to move away from what is considered the norm. I have done that.
Once he cooked for me and I turned it down, at first he seemed offended and ate the food in front of me, telling me afterward, that “see, I did not poison it”. I had no fear of poisoning, but in my mind, this was something a mad man cooked, how could I eat it. I was silent with him while we sat on my stoop. He then got up to leave. He turned to me and said “Obara, yuh ready for the world now”. I looked at him quizzically and he smiled. He said “I tested you with the food, and you did not eat it, don’t ever eat from people, this is how they got me”, and with that he crossed the street. To this day, I remember what he told me, and it was told to me years after that I should not eat any how, meaning I should be careful whom I eat from.
Lessons can come from anyone, it is never good to thumb your nose down at anyone. Bagga was a mad man according to whatever diagnosis was given and to those who were too asleep to understand his wisdom. I can truly say that he was a teacher to me, one that I greatly admire and respect.
Obara Meji is a spiritualist, Ifa-Orisa practitioner, and teacher of metaphysics. Since 2011 she has used her online platform to share her personal experiences to those seeking answers about spirituality. Her teachings will expand into short stories, novels, and public speaking to continue her mission of bringing enlightenment to the world.