What is Forbidden?

Adedolapo Olisa
6 min readSep 8, 2023

Usually when I havent written for a while, its because I am scared of what keeps coming up. This time is no different. I am scared to define what I cannot have because it establishes what I can have. Also because it questions why I cannot have what I cannot have.

Photo by Alejandra Quiroz on Unsplash

I am sitting in my chair, listening to Burna Boy’s “If I’m Lyin.”

It is artistic masterpiece; a lyrical triumph of rhymes and emotions.

I wont come close to that but I will come close to revealing emotions that are hard to admit.

STALLING

What makes a thing forbidden?

What makes someone forbidden?

Who defines what is forbidden?

Have you ever thought about these things?

I haven't… yet they drive my choices.

I cannot go to the club because its not Christian.

I cannot drink because its ungodly.

I cannot have sex because its unrighteous.

Forbidden isn't always so clear cut though or even so stereotypical. Sometimes forbidden is subtle. I have heard stories of many Nigerian men that had sex with a white woman or a woman from another tribe the night before they married their wife. I often asked WHY??? Like many things, the reason isn't always so obvious or so binary or so simple.

Once upon a time, I went to a clubhouse conversation where they were talking about black love. The topic was moderated by black women insisting on hearing why black men don't choose black women.

As a black lover, I felt safe to step up to the plate, raise my hand and be vulnerable. My perspective was gonna be applauded I thought because its modern and nuanced.

“I am attracted to Brazilian women with the curvy ass but I choose to marry a black woman, more specifically, a Nigerian because of cultural telepathy.”

I was booed off the stage. Men and women came on after and dissed me right in my presence. Then they called me back up and asked me questions designed to set me up as a scapegoat for men to avoid and escape. As I stood metaphorically in the room’s stage or high table as we call it in Nigeria.

What was my crime?

  • You are the reason women are frustrated. GO and marry what you want to fuck!
  • You don't love yourself. If you did, you will not be attracted to anyone but a black woman.
  • You have unresolved trauma. Did your mom hurt you?
  • You have colonial complex. You see white women as someone to conquer because of where you come from.
  • You don't love black women.

I was ashamed.

I felt so small, so little.

I have carried that conversation with me subconsciously until now.

WOW

I came here to write about the white woman I am seeing and to capture the conflict I have because I met an Igbo doctor with an ass.

I did not realize that I have unresolved emotions from that clubhouse experience. What I did know is that, I have struggled to come to terms with separating what kind of women I find sexually attractive from those I find socially attractive.

Let’s back up.

How do people choose who to spend the rest of their lives with?

What role does other people’s experience play in that choice?

What is the wisdom of exclusion?

My dad told me, Igbo people are hard to love. When they have money they become uncontrollable.

Is he wrong? I don't think so! But the question is… am I someone that needs to control my wife? and what does it mean to control someone else?

We are often quick to dismiss the concerns or to embrace them as gospel. See, I am someone that desires a strong woman. Someone that will toss me up and down mentally and abuse me within the bounds of healthy. Someone that will hurt my ego like a booty workout. You know, rip it apart so it can expand and grow and become stronger. I want a strong woman that will challenge me to be the best version of myself. Someone that I can live life through her passion for life, work, and the pursuits of excellence. I desire a relationship where I am pulled into things I am uncomfortable doing or doing by myself. Someone that can intellectually flog out my complacency by sowing words that leave me with no choice but to arise and adapt. Arise and adopt. Arise and accept that it is apt to adapt adoption of unrest.

YET I want to very much rest. I want to be left alone to be and chill and be lazy if need be.

You see… these have nothing to do with the race of a woman. It has nothing to do with her culture. It has everything to do with the journey, the communication, and the internal posture of the person in relation to their ability to refuse to remain still.

Job Description

I started to come to this realization with my business. When I started to hire people, my natural inclination was to hire Christians. I thought since I have a Christian mission. Only those who embrace that mission fully should be hired. I wrestled with the general sentiment that diversity should be prioritized over cultural alignment.

Even though I had a strong preference to hire Christians, I never gave an explicit command or instruction to the team. I just let it play out and observe how a diverse team will interact with the vision we have.

Today, some of the cornerstones of our operations and team are Muslims! I remember going to one of them once and sharing my vision and what drives me fully expecting him to shrink and recoil that he is working for a company with a vision that might compete with his faith. Turns out people value clarity and acceptance over some big nebulous picture or vision.

It doesn't matter what your why is, if it doesn't prioritize or foster a culture that pours into people, prioritizes other's needs, and aligns with the personal goals and trajectory of people; you’re dead in the water.

The same is true of dating, and love.

FACTS

My father doesnt care about the tribe of my wife, he cares that he can invite her for dinner and she will kneel down to greet him.

My community doesnt care that my wife is white, they care that we will last the distance and we love each other

My friends don't care that she cannot cook Nigerian food, they just want to know if I am cooking it or if there is a catering service we can go to.

A Nigerian is no more a scammer than a white woman an alien to Yoruba traditions.

The Power of Stereotypes

I do not want to erase wisdom for what I want but I have been having a wrestling match with wisdom. Its almost as if wisdom never cared but I thought it did. I thought wisdom has spoken and I am a rebel.

In the end, I need to be careful.
WE need to be careful.

Stereotypes have created a kosher culture. A culture of Halality where only certain approved combinations are allowed. Where what is acceptable must go through the Supreme Court of Public Opinion. Take it one step further, even when this court passes a combination as palatable, I find myself still relegating it to forbidden because of what might be.

I need to end this rant.
I feel like I have deviated from what I wanted to write about at least twice.
I feel like I have run out of steam.

What I am clear about though is that, I will let her go.

I will let the pleasurable lady go.

The one who is good, and desirable, I will let her go.

I will face the ache of my heart and tell her that the balm of Gilead will comfort her.

I will reduce the chatter and embrace what life looks like when I give love a shot.

I have sabotaged love for so long by labeling everything pleasurable forbidden.

I believe there ought to be forbidden to me; but today, I throw my hands in the hair and accept that what I have used to limit myself is outdated and incoherent.

I love black women, I love Yoruba women; and its okay that my penis follows white ones.

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Adedolapo Olisa

I’m an aspiring story teller that is learning to let stories tell their own morals. You’ll find me where Faith-Tech-Art meet.