In life, somethings are not black and white. Somethings don’t even have colors. They are just as it is.
Whatever we are, it’s the system that made us
Growing up can be a bitch, especially when you have an absent single parent.
You don’t blame them for how you feel. You love them for staying, and they act like they care. It’s popularly said that we accept the love we think we deserve.
But as a child you wonder why all the kids around you get way more love than you, and you crave that love too. The kid at the end of the class with mucor always running down his nose always gets picked up in a Mercedez and embraced at the end of class.
The kid that can’t even spell his own name still gets special treatment from teachers because his parents always greased the palms of the teachers.
Those that made noise like their lives depended on it — yes, they’d cry after a few strokes of the cane, but the next day their parents would come in to scream in high pitches at the teachers. You’d see the teachers cower and the frown on the kid’s face grow into a smile.
I knew that was love. I never understood why I never got it.
You know, life forces you to grow up fast and having a brother is God’s way of keeping your sanity. Unfortunately, not everyone’s sanity can be kept.
As you are forced to grow up among other children that only know and do children-like things, you need someone you can grow up with. Someone that can make sense of all the gibberish your world has to offer. Someone to look over your shoulders, to hide his tears so that he can watch yours dry, and my brother, Jordan, did all of that.
We grew up a little and me, 8, and Jordan, 10, were out of primary school. As for mum, she found love again and the neglect increased. Our only saving grace of love was that she needed to put food on the table and put us through school, so we became handy maids in her next business venture. We became torn between school and selling food, but we could not complain. These are the pains of growing up Nigerian — our reality. Fuck any other reality that wasn’t as tough as mine.
We made money selling food — we sold food to men and traders.
I made change selling food — we also sold food to scum. Another reality for young Nigerian girls, but in this one I came out untainted.
Mum got married, and became pregnant so that ended the business. The week after, we were taught Sole proprietorship as a type of business and it all made sense. I aced the exams when they came.
Jordan and I were quickly done with school and getting a University degree seemed bleak. I was resolute and worked as a lesson teacher and made some money, but not enough. Then hope came, and it was beautiful.
My dad got in contact and asked Jordan to come spend time with him while he promised to fund my education, but hope itself is deceit as it marked the evils that defined what we did to survive as teenagers trying to be young adults.
Jordan would reveal to me many years later the horrors he endured at the hands of a man who should have given it all up for us. For me, I would never get a dime to help with my fees. How I made it through school is a story not for the faint-hearted.
Without any ceremony or glamor, I finished from school with good grades, my ethics and morales intact. And I still had space in me to love those that had trampled upon me.
In retrospect, my greatest sin in life is that I want to be loved — and to find love in people that can’t give the love I deserve has been the bane of my existence.
But if there’s one thing I appreciate, it has to be life and its everyday ignorance. I like the people around me, I appreciate the people that occupy my comfort zone and I am trying to find love in myself.
I am inspired to read more, live more, and give more!
I want you to know that only you can dictate the path you choose, even when the system has failed you.