When I was in Abuja, I stayed with this friend. My friend lived in this area, where there were about five churches. All the churches were close to each other. And they had those megaphone thingies, facing outwards – so that they could sufficiently terrorise each other, as well as the entire neighbourhood.
They had clearly never heard of ‘noise pollution’. Actually, many people haven’t, but that’s not the only thing. These had something going on, EVERYDAY. Not just on Sundays – actually, it felt like they were there all day, on Sundays; because when one church stopped, another started. They were also there at different times of the day, on weekdays. Starting around 6am; I kid you not.
The most ridiculous part was in the construction of the ‘prayers’. From what I could hear (and that was everything!), all the members of these churches, had evil ancestors who were tormenting them. So, every prayer session was devoted to getting rid of the influence of these nameless, faceless, deceased ancestors. Every prayer session. Seriously.
Even if you believe in that kinda thing, why would you be praying against the same ancestors, for years? Why is such behaviour, in the realm of what you consider ‘normal’? And you go, “Africans are more respectful of the elderly, because we have a culture.” It’s one of the delusions of Africans: that ‘our culture’ makes us more respectful. I mean, the Caucasians who have recorded achievements in just about every sphere of life, who don’t go attacking their ancestors at every opportunity, are the ‘disrespectful’ ones? OK …
I don’t think it’s very respectful to pray against someone, but what do I know? How is it possible that anyone can be so … unmotivated in life, and such a victim – that you would blame your dead ancestors who are not ‘topping up their sin’, for all your misfortunes? Some people have built empires on others’ wilful ignorance and self-inflicted stupidity.
Ma’am, you’re not married, because you spend ALL your spare time in church, praying. You live a ‘triangular life’ – church, home, office. You don’t socialise. You don’t go anywhere else; you don’t know anywhere else. And because your church says that you can only marry a dude in your church, you’ve got a serious problem. There are about 25 other single ladies in your church. And a total of four single men, if you count the guy whose attendance is like an epileptic light bulb – on and off, on and off. You don’t know you, so how are you going to know what you want in a husband? This is not your ancestors’ fault. This is just you.
And if you’re so broke, that even the poor call you broke-n, no woman in her right mind will want to marry you. It’s not your ancestors’ fault, that no woman wants to suffer. Don’t tell me that “Fela Durotoye was living in one room, when he married Tara” story. You’re not Fela Durotoye. And you’re clearly nothing like Fela Durotoye, if you honestly think that your dead great-grandfather is responsible for your problems. Yes, Mr. Durotoye was living in one room, when he got married. But he had ideas – not the same thing as castles built in the sky! He also got up and worked on them – meaning he did not jump from church to church, ‘trying to get delivered from some non-existent generational/ancestral curse.’ And now that he’s no longer in that one room, he hasn’t acquired a new model (of wife) to go with his new lodgings – issue for another blog post …
I can hear you going, “Ooooh, but my ancestors shed blood.”
Yeah, so? Who doesn’t have at least 10 blood-shedding meanies in their ancestry? The Caucasians also do – please, go and read up – and it doesn’t appear to have hindered their progress in the here and now.
In fact, if you really believe the Biblical accounts, like you claim to, you’d understand one thing: they were doing complete wipe-outs, back then. Families, dynasties, nations – that was a lotta blood. What do you think they were spilling? Water? Why was any of that, different?
Deliver yourself. I know that it’s very difficult, when you’re immersed in a religion-infested environment; one that helps you blame everyone, but yourself, for your problems. And it appears the more invisible your ‘enemy’, the better. I know; I’ve been there. But, when you look for angels, even a white handkerchief takes on the semblance of an angel, for you. When you look for demons, even your own shadow starts tormenting you.
Like I said before, there are people who make a living from preying on others’ ignorance and fear. The more you entertain these ‘prophets’, the more nonsense you’ll hear – because that’s what you want to hear. I even remember being told that my skin problems were as a result of (an unnamed) ‘someone’ doing something against me. I look back now, and wonder where I kept my brain! Of course, my skin was messed up, because:
i) I hadn’t found the skincare regimen (products + routine) that was right for me
ii) I had no concept of SPF (and when I did, I didn’t take it seriously)
iii) I reached for fizz more times, than plain water
iv) I wasn’t sleeping or resting, properly
v) my diet was all over the place (and because I remained the same dress size, I didn’t think it mattered)
So, yes – my skin responded the only way it could. Thankfully, these ISSUES are now well and firmly in the past.
I delivered myself. I had to. I had to come to a point where I told myself, the following:
a) You’re not a f*cking victim. You’ve survived things that would blow many people’s minds. Yet, people actually think you’re just testing out a new fiction storyline, when you talk about these things. You don’t look like what you’ve survived. Some others wonder how you’re still alive, or why your mind is still intact.
b) You are clever. You are a Law (LLB) graduate of one of the most amazing schools in England. You didn’t screw someone for your degree, or buy it. You worked for it, while holding down part-time jobs at different times, and lots of volunteering activities (which were recorded, and for which you have stacks of awards). Therefore, you have a functioning brain.
c) You’re a published author of a 360-page fiction novel, whose manuscript you re-wrote SEVEN times in 18 months. While holding down a full-time job and being enrolled on the Food Law LLM at De Montfort. Meaning you have enough creativity, discipline and stamina to achieve whatever you set your mind to.
d) You can be anything you decide to be. The only one stopping you is the only person responsible for whatever you believe you don’t like in your life: YOU. Stop this display of ‘dumbassery’. Take responsibility for YOUR LIFE.
And that’s the crux of the matter – taking personal responsibility. For the expansion of your knowledge base, the acceleration and trajectory of your career, your happiness, health and the altitude of your life.
Taking personal responsibility. It’s one of the most honest and liberating things you can do for yourself. Create your own life. Your ancestors are dead and gone; leave them be.
Copyright ©Chioma Nnani 2015