I had many fears as a child living in the big city. My mom says I was afraid of cars& my father’s volvo was my biggest threat. It had a roar akin to the most ferocious beast and everytime I entered the car, kicking and screaming I might add, once defeated and in the belly of the monster I’d go quiet and very still, my mom said the first time I did that she was happy that she could finally have some peace till she turned around and saw the look of terror on my face. She resorted to singing me lullabies in hushed tones everytime I was in the old, green volvo. later on when I was older and the volvo was long sold, I kept having constant nightmares in which I saw myself in the volvo and we had to drive through a murky river whose waters reached past the windows of the car. I always woke up sweating. My mom says it may not be a nightmare, just the remnants of a bad memory. I was also afraid of elevators regrettably. they were supposed to be one of man’s finest inventions but after being stuck in an elevator for 3hours on a fateful day when my friend Simi and I decided to play hide and seek at her house in 1004 and I had a brainwave to go downstairs and hide in the car but NEPA took light and I ended up almost suffocating at the tender age of ten, I absolutely refused to be in an elevator after the incidence and would only enter if it was absolutely necessary and more importantly I had someone to shamelessly grab unto for dear life with my eyes tightly shut. I had to battle feelings of nausea and claustrophobia was borne out of all the unpleasantness and I could blame this scary new phobia for my adamantly refusing to enter uncle Jide’s ratty old volkswagen beetle when I was in primary five though it could have also been because if I waited a little longer I’d get to enter Mr Sunny’s new honda though I’d be punished for coming late to school but no matter cause I had yoruba first period and Mr Sunny’s new car was very shiny. I heard Mr Sunny’s wife grumble that now her husband would be picking up young young girls and I couldn’t help wondering if she was talking about me. What did she have against ten year olds? Her oldest daughter was eleven and I’d be eleven sooner than she knew. Mean faced woman with her hairy, smelly armpits! I am proud to say that as a grown woman of 26, I have all but conquered my fears and though I still run in the opposite direction when I see rats, cats, dogs and some ferocious looking chickens, I can proudly say I am no more afraid of elevators since any one who’s been to my house knows if you don’t take the elevator then 5 flights of stairs await you! Also not afraid of the bug, cute little car, I want… Thankfully the beetle was scrapped! Ok, I take that back, almost scrapped! No more afraid of fire too though I never experimented with cigarettes cos you have to light ’em first! They should make the non-fire brands! All in all I’ve grown up to be a well- grounded female, abandoning one set of phobias and embracing a new set. Now my phobias are rejection and failure. Phobias are like willy willy and madam koinkoin, the fact that you’ve heard so many awful things about them but haven’t experienced them personally is usually the root cause! Fear of the unknown! Na….I prefer to call it fear of the remotely known! Anyway recently my fear of failure was conquered! You wanna know the secret? Easy pizzy! I failed! Yup, the brainy who’d never failed an exam in her life save for yoruba n by the way, that doesn’t count! I thought I’d die but after crying for hours and indulging in self-pity, I realised my lungs still had air in them! As it dawned on me that God hadn’t heeded my childish pleas to end my life, I had an epiphany! I had lived through the ordeal! Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger! I was stronger, my failure still loomed over my head but I was still the boss! I was alive and that meant I could still turn that F into an A even if it meant studying even harder! Mehn when they said doctors never stop reading, na true talk oh! The bible says I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength so be it JAMB, ICAN, ACCA, Primaries or any other exam that has got u staring at an F, remember that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again! But omo mehn, my 50k just waste like that, God dey!!! Xoxo
Tag Archives: Family
I was often misunderstood as a kid like the time the boys got the neighbor’s cat to sit on Mrs Samuel’s footmat and I’d pressed the bell to report the unruly kids and as she opened the door the cat ran in and she shrieked and she and her husband and three children were screaming like banshees and jumping on the sofa and the poor cat was confused and scared shitless and I was at the door, mission forgotten laughing my eyes out till I thought my sides would split. The laughter promptly died as the cat sighting the door ran towards me and I ran for dear life. I too was afraid of cats and this fear had been enforced after a visit to Mrs Okemme’s house. she was the owner of the cat and had placed the big furry animal on my lap and asked me to stroke it while she checked her burning stew. She was gone only for about 10mins but it felt like two lifetimes. I died so many times and every time I awoke the cat would still be looking me straight in the eyes with it’s strange unblinking grey eyes and it’s weight on my lap seemed to increase till I thought I was carrying a car. By the time help came my way I had peed in my panties and was shaking like a leaf, even her famous ginger biscuits couldnt salvage the situation. The evening of the cat on the mat story, Mrs samuel knocked furiously on my door& reported me to mama. I had pretended to be asleep when I heard her voice. Mama was so embarrassed, she made me say I’m sorry to Mrs samuel and write her a long apology letter with my rather limited vocabulary. Thankfully daddy didn’t get involved. Daddy was the good guy. He worked late and always filled his pockets with sweets for my siblings& i on his way home. He never beat us though rather than that spoiling us, it made us fear his verbal reprimands even more while we wouldn’t care a hoot if mama shouted since she was always shouting, we only paid attention when she brought out daddy’s belt. Sometimes she’d pluck a branch from the bushes at school and skin it and the whole school would know we were going to get beaten that afternoon or if she had 5naira to waste she’d buy a cane from an ugly old woman who sold canes& brooms by the roadside on the way back from school, we secretly called the old woman a witch. I heard my dad really angry once. I never actually saw him cause I was pretending to be asleep and had my eyes tightly shut. I’d been bored that evening, they had interrupted the kiddies program to show sports and it was raining outside. Mama was sewing a hole in the curtain&I’d taken the blade, gone into the dining room with the white leather chairs and decided it’d be much easier for everyone involved if our names were written on the chairs with a biro, then I had a brainwave, engraving our names in the chair would be finer and neater and daddy would be so happy I did and so I designed my father’s leather chairs. When my mom saw it, she screamed, all she said that was coherent was ‘Let your father come back, you are in big soup’ I was so scared I went to sleep at 7pm so I wouldn’t have to see him. I was the first to hear his car outside, I waited and waited and soon I heard the shouting. Daddy didnt wake me up because he didn’t believe a sleeping child should be disturbed. By morning he’d left for work and in school I wrote him a long letter, I’d become quite the accomplished writer. Daddy had almost completely forgotten by the time he returned from work and he laughed when he read my letter, hugged me and gave me two sweets and I was happy again in my perfect little world. I love you daddy!!!
I’m a 21st century diva.
Drama has become my middle name. For now u can call me Avee. I’m a doctor and I’m beginning to think saving lives is the least entertaining of my life’s dramas. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job, I work at the children’s emergency of a state specialist hospital and I love the way the mothers eye me suspiciously as they hand their sick babies over to the tall, grey-eyed, brown haired, beautiful if I might add and very black doctor who’s dressed like she stepped out of the pages of vogue, might I add, they tend to hold their husbands even tighter and answer all the questions I direct at the baby’s father but enough about the naughty sanguine that’s approximately 54% of my temperament, let’s focus on the 46% that’s a choleric& that’s the part that saves the day as I work my magic and turn their sick babies into laughing toddlers who want ice-cream or in some cases amala. My colleagues call me a machine when I’m in work mode& i hear the parents whisper to the other parents how wonderful I am…sigh, all in a day’s work. So basically work’s routine but my life outside work is a piece of work. Did I just say work three times in one sentence? Yup…i definitely need a vacation!
My earliest memories of growing up involved my younger sister, we’ll call her Tina. We used to sleep on d same bed&I was five years old, she was three &yet I was the one still bedwetting. So my devious 5yr old mind would wake up at night just after I did the ‘do’ and remove my wet panties and take my sister’s very dry panties off her butt and wear them. Think that was bad? Wait till you hear how I’d roll her over to the wet side since I figured it’d be way less embarrassing if baby sis took the blame. I wasn’t all bad, my mom always trusted me to give her candid advice like when I was four years old and I pointed at my mama’s thighs the afternoon after I saw a man with a herd of cattle, as my dear mama was panting away doing her rope exercises and said rather importantly ‘cow leg’. I described this incidence in my earlier blog entry. You can imagine I must’ve been a hit in nursery school. My mom got called to class by my headmistress cause I’d been unlawfully acquiring wafers cos I didn’t want the okin biscuit my mama bought. Mom was embarrassed to her ears&after that I can gladly say my lunchbox never had to carry the dreadful biscuits again. By primary school I’d become a crowd puller, I was the queen bee. In primary two my seat mate got punished at home for copying my handwriting cause I’d decided that handwritings were best when they were small enough for ants to read, even when I got dorky glasses in primary four I wasn’t deterred, I felt so important in them that three of my friends pretended they had bad eyesight so they could get dorky glasses just like mine. I made a new friend in primary four much to the dismay of my loyal subjects. She was the new girl& our mothers had been classmates in school& I was asked to take care of her. I must’ve done that pretty well cause my friends pushed her down the stairs on her first day&she broke her leg and had to wear a cast for months. I was the first to sign it. Primary school wasn’t all fun. On the homefront I was being bullied by a boy. He was four years older than me and enjoyed pulling my hair and throwing banger knock-outs at me during festive occasions, needless to say I developed a deadly fear of fire, so much so that at 12yrs of age, I’d learned to cook but needed someone to strike the match and light the fire. I reported him countless times to my mom but she never took him seriously& everyone teased me that he liked me and I remember how the thought of Uche *not his real name, liking me would make me sick with disgust. The more I hated him, the harder he tried. He tried to drown me at the staff club, adding to my list of phobias. On one particular day I’d worn a nice button down wrap skirt to bible club and after the grace as I was walking out the door, he’d pulled my skirt and all the buttons came undone and everyone saw my white superted panties and I ran home, skirt in hand crying my eyes out. My mom was cleaning some crabs for dinner and as I recounted the story tearfully, she gathered me in her arms and dried my tears but I think I saw a glimmer in her eyes. Uche’s mom brought him over to apologise but just as he left, he stuck his tongue out at me and no one saw. I dreamt that night that I stole all his clothes and he had to go to school naked, it was a good dream!
Chutzpah means ‘utter nerve’ or ‘effontery’, ‘the quality of audacity for good or for bad’. In yiddish simply put it means ‘gall’ or ‘nerve’.
I’ve always been quite audacious! At the tender age of 3, I’d followed my mom to the market for the first time and was fascinated by my first live cow. Pointing to his legs for that was all my dimunitive height allowed me see, I asked my mum, ‘what’s that?’ It took her a while to answer as she was engrossed in haggling, a skill I was to acquire much later in life. I was at the stage of repetitions and I said the question over and over till half -irritated, she looked up and said ‘cow leg!’. I was amazed and committed the marvelous moving sight to memory. Two mornings later my mom was doing her rope exercises when I walked up to her thoroughly amused, pointed at her thighs glistening with sweat from exertion and said very importantly ‘cow leg!’. My mom was horrified but laughed too hard to have my ass whipped, I was only 3 afterall. In retrospect she told me when I was older when discussing the incidence that she was glad she hadn’t said it was a cow at the market!!! A couple of days later she really needed to have my ass whipped. Her friend had come over to visit and while they were gisting, I awoke and walked towards the voices. ‘Deedith!’ I exclaimed. Time stopped. My mom looked like she was gonna be sick. Now no parent likes to hear that their child lacks home training and Aunt Edith loved to point out these little truths. She had no kids then so I can bet her views may have changed now. My mom apologized profusely telling her I was at the stage of mimicry and turning sternly to me to ask me to always address her as aunty Edith. I didn’t understand what the fuss was about or why Deedith looked like she’d swallowed a rat! I knew about eating pets, I’d eaten a cockroach’s leg once, was very curious about it and it was on the floor, mum had come in at the precise moment, screamed, spanked me hard and scrubbed my baby mouth till I cried! Was Deedith gonna have her mouth scrubbed out? I wondered! It was later on that the aunty thing finally caught on, needless to say, I wasn’t a darling amongst some of my mother’s uppity friends and I did learn later, the difference between pets and pests! We moved to lagos that same year, maybe the shame was too great or maybe my dad got a job with KPMG, hmmmn… I suspect the latter! Lagos was fun compared to Ibadan. I’ve always loved the big city! I was enrolled in playgroup at a nursery school and my mum says I was the only child who never cried when I was dropped off at school. I’d go to each crying child, offer him/her biscuits and say sowwy. The teachers loved me! Well I’ve always been a shameless teacher’s pet! Always better to be on the right side of the law! Hehehe. One day in nursery school my mom was summoned to the headmistress’s office. She was filled with fear. What had Kome done now. The headmistress was a kind, half-caste woman. Mrs Ofonagoro. She told my mum to calm down but that she needed to ask her to start buying me nasco wafers! My mom’s eyes widened in amazement! Apparently I’d been exchanging my okin biscuits with the nasco wafers in some of the kiddies boxes at breaktime. The teachers had realised there was a problem when at breaktime two random kids would throw their biscuits on the floor and start wailing. After interrogating their confused mothers they found out that someone was exchanging them. The lunch boxes were watched, I was apprehended and thankfully charged with ‘unlawful exchange’ rather than stealing! My mom was so embarassed. I was konked in the car but it was worth it cos I had two green nasco wafers in my box the very next day. Green was always my favorite! The bible says that children are a heritage of the Lord. Let’s remember to always appreciate our folks cos anyone with kids knows it isn’t beans! I love you mum and dad! Xoxo
What is it with me and hair? There’s been an ongoing battle with me and my crown from the first moment I realised I had it! The first time my mother attempted making my hair, I promptly deduced that it was no fun at all and screamed and struggled till she devised a way to keep me occupied why I endured the process. My mother was a genius, the mallam and his sweetshop her allies. For every corn row she plaited, I sucked furiously on a sweet. Chocolate’s always been my favorite but soon the balance was upset. My mother grew bolder, making more intricate hairstyles every time she touched my hair basking in the fact that I’d remain docile as long as there was a sweet in my mouth. I grew increasingly impatient as my hair took longer to finish till I discovered a beautiful set of God’s creation- teeth! From then on I became a sweet carnivore. Chewing and chewing away. My mother was baffled, unable to decide if she’d gotten slower at making hair or if the mallam was giving her lesser sweets for her money. Soon she discovered the truth! Her baby had discovered her teeth! Of course a whole lot of things changed after that, my mom stopped chewing groundnut and putting the paste in my mouth and I was allowed to eat chicken. Meat and pomo came years later. As I grew up, I realised that while girls around me were blessed with long nice hair, mine was an afro that frustrated the hairdressers as well as my mother. It broke combs and my mom named it forestry reserve because my grandad was the director of forestry in ibadan back in the days and she swore my hair was an exact replica of the reserve! Had lice in primary school and my mom gave me two options; cut the hair or have my hair doused with kerosene. I chose the latter, my hair was dipped in the highly flammable not to mention smelly stuff and then a hair net was put over it. ‘That’ll teach you not to wear your friend’s hats in sunday school!’ My mum said sternly. After that incidence, I contemplated cutting my hair but my dad would hear none of it. My mum said she’d let me retouch my hair in JSS1 and I eagerly waited. One day I passed by the salon and saw a grown woman crying as they retouched her hair. She wailed and begged to have it removed and the hairdressers kept saying ‘E neva cook!’ I was horrified, almost didn’t go on with it but it was that or keep my natchy hair and that was a no-no. I did some research and learnt venus was the bad guy that hurt like hell. My mama chose dark and lovely though the hairdresser took one look at my hair and said I had to use ‘super’ and I’ve been using super ever since. Sometimes the hairdresser gets it right. Sometimes she doesn’t. I still hate sitting to do my hair because I have a tender bottom and my bum pains me when I’ve been sitting for a long time. Braids have always been a once a year ordeal and I’ve resorted to innovative weave-ons. I never had the liver to be a rihanna, you know just take a bow or shut up and drive with an umbrella. Short hair always freaked me out. What if it didn’t fit me? I’ll never know… Now to the crux of the matter, why don’t weave-ons last on my head? I have a strict one month policy. Laugh at me but doing my hair more often than once a month is torture! I combat the smell with pears baby oil cos obi’m would freak out if the head against his big muscular chest reeks! But my weave-ons just don’t last. Whether it’s darling yaki or supreme or human hair, they expire after a month. My friends use human hair more than once but I can never recycle the stuff. Before you lecture me, I use the right combs, brushes, mousse, oil and hair nets. I think it’s just a genetic blip! I’m really frightened about the prospect of buying brazilian and seeing it expire after a month.
This is the story of a tough, resilient no-nonsense coarse textured african afro that refuses to be subdued by the weave-on that keeps him under and bound but still keeps fighting. How resilient are you?