BY “SHY KNEES”,
So I got a wonderful internship opportunity at a soliciting Firm, but had to quit on the first day because of distance. It’s on the Island, and I don’t live there. I have to make a journey through the 3rd Mainland bridge to the other side of Lagos to get home.
It was an experience of many firsts for me. I have never gone to Ikoyi all by myself. I have never had a proper job interview, and I have never interned before. All these happened on the same day! So, I can rightfully say that the 28th of September, 2015 was a memorable day.
Anyways, I got home terribly late (few minutes to 8pm in my house is a total “no-no”), and since my dad right from the start, had been bothered about the distance, my safety, his preference that I rest properly before going to Law School and what-not, I decided to quit my job.
I was really pissed, because the place was really nice and cosy. The boss is very cute and honest, and was really going to take his time to teach me. I’m the bigger loser here. **sad face**
My decision to quit, and the process of going about it (via a mail to my boss) got me chatting with my elder sister. I was of the opinion that I would never have chosen to quit, but for dad’s worry and over-protective nature; and that I can’t wait to be free from all these shackles. “Shebi if I were living on my own, would daddy be telling me all these ones? Would he even be able to monitor my movement?” My sister tried to interrupt me , saying that he means well, but I continue “For heaven’s sake! Most of the big firms are there! Daddy’s excuse is not valid to me, because I will always have to face this challenge of ‘long distance from home’ if I’m to work in a really good firm. Unless I have my own car, such that transportation would be faster, safer and easier, since I won’t have to hop from bus to bus or keke, and just have a jolly ride home. ”
Holl’up holl’up holl’up.
My sister wasn’t having it! What?! A young woman ,thinking of living alone and establishing her independence immediately after NYSC and driving her own car? That was too much to stomach.
I forgot to mention this, but I feel like everyone in my house is a conformist. We do what is expected of us by society, forgetting that the rules were made by fellow mortal human beings who were once the members of the society, but one way or the other, had control over how people behaved, and could enforce compliance. We forget that they created these rules solely for their benefit and convenience. We act like the heavens will fall if we do not conform. I, for the most part of my life, have also followed the drill. I also conformed- obeyed my parents, respected the nasty elders who have failed to respect themselves in the first place, etc. I have also found myself going to church on Sundays, even when it’s only my body that could have been present, while my mind would have been miles away.
Little by little, our actions lacked sincerity of purpose. We degenerated to the extent where we value the form rather than the substance…
My sister started giving me this long talk on how I shall be labeled by society if I decide to live on my own and have a car before marriage; how people will interpret my independence for waywardness, and how it might be difficult for me to get married, because guys would think I am inaccessible, stuck-up and can never be subservient.
Hian!! ( with the deepest Igbo intonation I can muster)
In my mind, I’m just like “Really?!?!” I chose not to voice my response in rebuttal, because I’m not in the mood to go on with the conversation. Conversations like this make me sick, and I’m trying to draft a resignation letter for the job of my dreams. That’s more than enough for one Monday night.
While pressing the smooth keys on the laptop’s keyboard in a bid to make progress on this involuntary resignation e-mail, I reflect on what my sister has just said, and it just resonates in me all over again, that the odds are against the woman. Reverse the situation. If it were a guy that had his own apartment and drove his own car, he would be applauded. If it’s a female on the other hand, people would be raising eyebrows. “I na e raise lu’m eyebrows maka why, na??” So instead of her beind applauded and encouraged to soar higher, her mother would whisper in her ear, “when is Mr. Right coming to do the introduction?”
At the end of the day, the woman remains in cages in many facets of her life. She continues to feel subordinated to the man. Her whole world is built around subtle lessons and impressions that she can never be complete, and that her life will never find meaning unless and until she settles with a man. And men are scarce! So what does the woman do? She enters into competition with her her fellow women for the few available men. She becomes fake! Becomes the best cook ever; the most submissive in the planet! She becomes his cheerleader. She wears tones of make-up and styles her hair just the way he likes it. She loses her essence and purpose in life because she is concentrating on her form, rather than her substance.
I look at such women and from the depths of my heart, I don’t want to be like them. Hence, I toast to today, being the beginning of yet another ‘first’- that I shall be a non-conformist free spirit; and that I wont’t let society dictate who I’m going to be, and what I’m going to use my life to do. What about you? Any recent first experiences?
the article was written by “Shy Knees”, a free- spirit, non- conformist, partly- learned girl, who also struggles to become a Vegetarian. I’m also a girl who’s “teaching my mother how to give birth”. Now, this is a phrase that has many meanings…