I’m from a lineage of hopeless romantic lots–in our own way of course. We walk the talk, ask my mother. You will find her on WhatsApp, blessing her contacts with daily Open Heaven devotionals. She doesn’t know about Instagram or twitter yet, when she does, una go hear am. I imagine her on Instagram; gleefully posting Pastor Adeboye’s picture every day, with each day’s daily devotion as the caption–unapologetically. I would probably unfollow her—quietly; she might not know. I love my mother.
You know, some of these things are genetic. It is what it is. I see a lot of my father in me, even more than I would like to admit. I suspect, that, for him, love is a duty. To be there when we need him, to put our needs ahead of his and nothing more. Not so much of affection is involved. Again, it is what it is.
Over the past few years, I’ve carefully examined my strengths and weaknesses, especially when it comes to relationships. What I bring into relationships, how I compare and contrast to those who came before me (this includes my father, grandfather and one of my uncles whom I have also had the honor to watch from close proximity). I see them in me; their individual strengths and weaknesses. My father is not one to call you to say sorry when he’s wrong or draw you close for a hug, he would rather strike a conversation he knows you are very keen on having or quickly fulfil a request that had been pending-mostly monetary of course, or he would give you money without you asking for it. I could tell that he was making efforts to make it up to me in his own way. In retrospect, it wasn’t always enough for me but as I grew up, I understood that that was his own way of showing love. It wasn’t perfect but it didn’t make his love for me any less. Growing up, I realized, that our parents aren’t perfect and they aren’t supposed to be. I have learned to not see them in the “exalted status” of parents, but as humans who also make mistakes.
Of course, this is not to say I know these important figures in my life like the palm of my hand, but to the best of my knowledge, I have watched and taken what I can from them. Their life—to an extent—showed me some of the signboards that displayed the twists and turns in life and I made sure I paid attention. What this has done for me is not to magically take away my weaknesses or amplify my strengths but it has definitely helped me to understand myself better and also given me a profound sense of awareness; and so I consciously fight every day to work on the weaknesses and retain the strengths. It is a journey; probably a life time journey, I don’t know.
The love of my life, sometimes, albeit halfheartedly, says to me: “I don’t even know what I’m doing with you”. Make no mistake, I am fully aware that I’m a piece of work. I take solace in the self-awareness of my own weaknesses and with love I am able to sometimes avoid these mistakes. I am by no means claiming that self-awareness has miraculously turned me into the fearless hunter in the forest of a thousand demons, who can wade through the arrows of life unscathed. Of course not. It has only given me the hope that every day brings a fresh chance for me to be better, and that all I can do is to try to be better rather than venture on a futile quest for the idyllic. Utopia is a farce.
It has taught me that—just like those before me are not perfect, I couldn’t be perfect no matter how hard I tried.
Sometimes, I find myself in some situations and think, how would daddy have reacted to this? How would my Uncle have reacted? Which one is best? What should I do? To be honest, it gets scary sometimes, almost to the point of paranoia.
This attitude is borne off my willingness to learn from those who came before me and my acknowledgement of how similar I am to them. The acknowledgement, that some of the demons I’m fighting are the ones they fought and conquered or the ones they are still trying to conquer or the ones that conquered them.
My biggest lesson so far has been to operate at the topmost echelon of consciousness and awareness with those around me, especially my loved ones.
Literature has also helped me a lot. It has helped me to see the imaginations of people that are different from me. It is interesting. Literature has helped me to reduce my biases, and also breached the gap between my strengths and weaknesses. Reading is good. I should read more. Books are powerful; they have the power to ferry one into other people’s minds; even the minds of dead people. I love Chinua Achebe’s mind, I’ve been there several times. Even though he is dead, his mind is alive. I walk in there anytime I want to. Books are beautiful.
I am thankful for the growth. I am thankful to those who came before me; who lived a transparent life that showed me some of the twists and turns in life and gave me their shoulders to stand on so I can see farther than I ought to.