Tuesday, 26 February 2008
The Passage of Time, Almost Scarface, and New Birth
Time flies. It really does.
I say this in reference to my niece who turned 16 a few days ago. Actually, i've got two nieces - the aforementioned, and her younger sister who turns 15 in a month, and like children do, they've grown sooooo fast!
My whole family used to live really close to each other, and as such we were always in each others homes, seeing each other at least once a week. This was until, i broke out and moved across the river to North London. The reason for this is worthy of a post of it's own - i was burgled four times in the space of 5-6 weeks!!!
Anyway, i moved up north and by virtue of distance, no longer had easy access to my family, and in that space of time, guess what the inconsiderate little blighters went and did? Yep...they grew! Suddenly, i realised that i really didnt know my nieces and nephews any more. They were no longer rosy cheeked little kids i used to have so much fun playing with and looking after. They were young people with lives of their own, hopes, dreams and aspirations.
I decided to tackle this ever-increasing void by instituting what i choose to call 'Auntie Undacova' day. The first of these was 2 weeks ago when i went out with the girls. I took them out for a Lobster meal (ooo-ooh) and we saw Juno (good film). The boys (aged 11 and 8) want to go Quasar laser tagging. We might have to do some negotiation on that one i think!
My nieces are as different as night and day. There's Niece A who is confident, outgoing, makes friends easily etc; and there's her younger sister by a year, Niece B who reminds me of myself at that age: introverted, painfully shy (covered up by outwards indifference), would rather bury her head in a book than socialise. I, personally, had to work through all my issues and teenage angst on my own, and i can tell you it was a pretty arduous process. My reasoning now is that i've been there, done that, so my nieces can...in fact, should be able to benefit from my experiences in navigating the minefield that is growing up into a well rounded, balanced, self-assured woman. I can't speak for anyone else, but at that age there were things i would rather choose to stick red hot pins in my eyes over, than discuss with my mother!
Niece B is also a 'still waters run deep' kind of person like me, and to be honest, i thought she was the one i'd have to worry the most about, what with her independent spirit and i-know-better-than-anyone-else take on life. Last weekend, i found out to my surprise that i was wrong and it's Miss I'm-16-and-now-an-adult-don't-treat-me-like-a-child who has been manifesting all sorts of rebellious behaviour! Goes to show, eh?
I do recall, however, a time in my life when my 'deepness' (lol) almost got me into trouble and left me scarred for life literally!
I was about 8 years old and sitting at the breakfast table one morning. I'm not sure how long i'd been pondering for, but it must have been a long time because, on not being able to come up with a satisfactory conclusion myself, i asked my Mum the following question: where do we come from? Not as in which state are we from and which home town, but rather where does mankind originate from. She tried her best to explain, and i really don't remember what she said i.e evolution, creation, i don't know, but because i wasn't satisfied, i kept probing and probing to a level that must have freaked her out, because she immediately got on to family and friends who eventually suggested her taking me to see some Baba like that who lived in Ajegunle.
I don't remember an awful lot about the journey, but i do remember we had to enter a Canoe to get there. Interesting detail just to set the scene. Another interesting detail i recall is that as we made our way through the alley ways to the dude's house, for the first time in my life i witnessed dishes being washed with Omo(detergent), and i was completely bewildered. My aje-bota self couldn't quite comprehend that not everyone had access to washing-up liquid!
So we get to the Baba's house and he does some mumbo jumbo. In a nutshell, the verdict is that i should be given gbere i.e. little incisions made on the skin with a razor blade, presumably to ward off evil spirits blah, blah, blah. I don't know if it was because of my age or maybe he got paid per visit, but it was suggested that i get some done that day and then come back for the rest. So this guy whips out his razor blade (scary thought just occured to me - was it new?!) and literally gouges out some lines on my chest and back. I can't remember if i cried or not.
On the second visit, the Baba's son finishes off the job, doing the other incisions elsewhere on my poor eight year old person, including my face, and this is the crucial part in the tale for which i will eternally be thankful to God. I have deep scars on my chest and back to this day, but Baba's son was a little less heavy handed than his old man (thank you, Jesus!) . If he hadn't been, i would today belong to the ranks of those who sport disfiguring tribal marks across their faces! Narrow escape, huh?
And in closing, i must add that only God knows what kind of associations were made that day. What i do know is that the greater one now lives in me and i am a new creation. It's actually funny that in the search for 'answers', my Mum graduated from Babas in Ajegunle into the even murkier depths of the Celestial Church of Christ (aka Cele). Oh, the tales i could tell! Maybe i will one day. When i mention to people that i spent years in Cele, their reaction is unfailingly the same i.e. they can't reconcile the person with their impression of the Church (read my profile to see what i mean). Anyway, one can only praise God.
Apologies for the lameness of the post title :)