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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Parents III

I was talking to my girlfriend the other day about spring break, about how we are going to spend all week having animalistic sex. Ok, I lie. But we did talk about spring break and how she had to come up with a legit reason not to go home. Why on earth does she have to go home? Why can’t she just hang out with friends like every college kid does?

Two words: her parents.

If you are not going to be an engineer then I’m not going to pay your school fees. Who is that girl? What are you doing with her? Is that what I sent you here for? You’ll see who will pay your rent, idiot!

My father has had perhaps the best and worst influence on me. I think I’m the asshole I am today because of him. I hated my childhood and I was clinically depressed for most of secondary school. I remember being skinny as hell and he still called me a fatty. He was about 300 lbs and he called me a fatty. He was probably first person I heard curse, I guess that’s where I get my potty mouth from.

You fucking fat ass

I remember how much I always wanted to please him and how I stayed on campus for my freshman spring break. I was the only person in my 60 person dorm and I didn’t own a TV. Sometimes I think back and wonder why i didn’t go to South Padre that year. The motherfucker was in Nigeria, how on earth would he have known?
Ironically, he cut ties with me because I spent thanksgiving with my aunt and he didn’t know. Yeah, you read that right. Sometimes I ask myself if i begged to be born. Like I came from wherever the fuck I was and I was like, “motherfucker, I need to come out now.” R-I-D-U-N-C-U-L-O-U-S!!!

I have a love/hate relationship with my parents: I hate my dad and I love my mum. Yes, that is my definition of love/hate. My kids will probably think I’m the best dad EVAR. It’ll be like:

Kids: Dad, can we go out tonight?
Me: Yea, just don’t bring a fatty in my house. If you want to fuck a fatty, do that in an alley and make sure nobody sees you.

Kids: Dad, can we talk to you about drugs?
Me: Yea, sure. Don’t do crack, heroin, speed, acid or salvia or else I’ll disown you. You can try weed but not until you are 18.

Kids: Dad, we think we’ve found a career path
Me: What is it?
Kids: Basket weaving
Me: What the fuck? Are fucking with me? You better be a fucking engineer or I’ll kick your ass. I want none of that liberal arts hippie bullshit.


It’s a vicious cycle.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Parental Guidance Pt 2

I was going to say 'Parents in general' but that might be taking it a bit too far. Plus it's basically not true. For the most part, Nigerians love their parents. They work hard to please them when they're young and even harder to take care of them when they are old. Nope, no nursing homes for us. And not just because there are no good ones but because it's not part of our culture. We're family people. So what's the problem you ask? That's just it. We're family people. I'm not sure {older generation} Nigerians understand the concept of individualism. I understand that parents want the best for their kids but seriously, there are many different ways to go about achieving this best. The typical obedient unrebellious Nigerian child sits balefully at his or her desk day after day pondering questions such as the following:

Why can't I do it our way? Why must it be yours?

Why is your view of success so painfully twisted? I do not have to be a doctor/lawyer/engineer to be successful so why are you making me become one?

Why should I study Physics when my passion is writing? And why do you get mad when I do not do well as you'd like when you know that that's not where my strengths lie?

Why must I call Uncle so and so when it is very apparent to us all that we do not like each other? Why can't I just save myself the pain {and minutes} and spend what would be five excruciatingly painful minutes being otherwise occupied?

Why oh why oh why?

I don't want to hear about Chief somebody somebody's child who went and studied {gasp} human services or classical studies or another such major, wasted their parents money, gave them a bunch of grief and is currently unemployed...Hell, I'm happy for them because at least they're happy.

I {The Typical Subservient Nigerian Child} on the other hand am not. And I will not be until you get off my case and let me do exactly what it is that I want to do with my life. No, you cannot live through me, make up for your past mistakes through me or use me as a trophy to show off to your friends. If you can't be proud of me for who I want to be then quite frankly you suck.

I am fortunate enough to have two brilliant self-employed creatives as parents who believe that for the most part I should be able to do whatever I want {within reason} which is why I'm only half and not fully crazy. Others are not so fortunate. I plan to take it a little further with my children and let them make a couple more decisions for themselves...Not to say that I'll let them run wild but you get my point...because quite frankly, at the best of times, a Nigerian household run by parents whose views of success are painfully narrow, is not the best place to live.
I would rather watch The Teletubbies re-runs in slow mo for the rest of my life than live for someone who quite frankly is going to die sooner rather than later.

Parental Guidance

There is no typical Nigerian profession. It depends on where you find yourself, what ethnic group you hail from and particularly the people who brought you into this world. Nigerians have struggled in the past. We just obtained our independence long after the structure of DNA was determined (not that that has anything to do with the topic). And so Nigerians do what ever it is they can to eschew struggles. Some may lie, cheat, steal, and yet others tell their children that they must be engineers, "doctors" and the occasional businessman with 'containers on the high seas.' Do not get me wrong I have nothing against the world of science and business as I myself am a full fledged science addict. Nigerian parents all have minds of their own and forget that their children, being Nigerian offspring, also have minds of their own. I cannot recall the time when my parents told me to be what I want to be. "Go out and take as long as you with this thing called self-discovery and we will support you no matter what", they never said (verbatim anyway).

This all makes sense because they find it hard to believe that being something called a political scientist puts food on the table, pays the bills, sends their grandchildren to school. These are all justifiable reasons but nearly if not all the members of my ASA are either pre-med or human development and pre-med, or engineers of some sort all with the aspirations of being doctors and engineers and the occasional pharmacist. Where are the journalists who will run The Guardian? Where are the public relation officers who will tell the country lies or the truth about how oil companies are exploiting the Niger Delta people? Where are the lovers of art, the musicians. Will we still listen to Femi Kuti and Lagbaja over and over again at Gbedu parties? C'mon now, we can do better than that. Maybe I should not be one to talk but if we all become something that we are not , something that our parents have forced upon us , all because we want to put food on the table and drive a big car then what is left for love, music, art, and culture. What else is left for essence of humanity?

I am not sure I did this topic justice but I am sure either Mellowyel or Sugarbelly can help me out.

Monday, February 2, 2009

America: A Love/Hate Relationship?

Nigeria is a funny country. We seem to be very good at being bipolar. As a girl now in her twenties, I hear a lot more often talk of marriage and homemaking. I always marvel at the oldies saying, "Oh don't worry, you can marry whoever you want," and then, in the same breath, "but don't you dare bring home a boy/girl from that tribe/village." I could launch into a whole other post on this issue, but I'd rather focus on my original topic. the great US of A.

When talking about America, Nigerians suddenly develop bipolar disorder. We love to laud their technological advances, their election of Barack Obama, their working infrastructure, and their great schools. But then, we look down on their more casual dress sense, the way they talk, their apparent lack of morals, and, most especially, we hate anything that can be termed "African American."

For example, parents are proud, and tell everyone that their daughter is studying in the US. But then, when a Nigerian in the US relationship problems, they ask if the boyfriend/girlfriend is American, and then assume knowing looks when the answer's yes, as if to say, "You see? They should have found a Nigerian person to date." It gets worse, though, especially if you decide to start to act like a "black person". Once that happens, you're done for. You're the black sheep who's forgotten what your mother taught you, and you need serious prayers. I can just imagine my parents' reaction if I ever return home with dreadlocks...

More examples: We welcome Clinton and Bush into our land, yet we refuse to allow them to build their military base there. We embrace their music, movies, art and architecture, neglecting the art forms that are Nigerian in origin, from before colonial times; and yet, we deride those who decide to become musicians or dancers - we consider them people without real jobs who are just wasting their time. I think what disturbs me the most about this whole thing is the fact that we strive to maintain some aspects of our culture (traditional values, language), and throw away all the others (dance forms, architecture, etc). Anything - or rather, most things, that are American are good, and anything that's inherently African is bad (another topic that I can write a whole other post on). Does that make sense to anyone? I don't mean are there reasons for this phenomenon: I mean, is this the way Africans should think? I'd like to think not.

See, this is why people who work in global health are concerned about mental health in developing countries. Nigerians is crazy, yo. LOL.

I'd like to ask Sugabelly if she could write about the phenomenon of hating things that are inherently African, and anyone else if they could write on inter-tribal love/hate in Nigeria. Can we talk about these issues, please?