The Great Rebellion [Part 2]

Please read Part 1 here.

Life is a foreign language; all men mispronounce it”  – Christopher Morley

By age 14, I had literally been pushed into the wall. I had set the domestic record for stooping down (about an hour or so!) I had lost countless clear-cut “legal rulings” against my bro. Life was really pushing me in the chest. Only one thing to do: PUSH BACK. Interestingly, my pop couldn’t live anymore with the guilt that turning a blind eye served him. Though he never said “hey son! I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you all this time. All that’s gonna change now! I love you” {lai lai!}. He’d simply walk into one of my “gym sessions” (usually, stooping down), ask what I did and how long I had been there, and then ask mom to cut me loose. Pop got so mad one day, he said: “leave my boys for me. I can raise them!” One thing led to another, and the next thing I heard mom say was “if that boy doesn’t apologize, I will leave this house for you. In fact, I’m no more his mother. Let him go and find another mother*”. “Good riddance” was all that came to my mind. In truth, I had a long history of not apologizing once I suspected the match was rigged – and this was one of those times. What did I have to apologize for? “I don’t have her stoop down like a golfer’s routine! I never reset her memory with a knock like she does to me”. “I’m not the one who gives arbitrary and totally unsubstantiated IQ rankings in which the less-favoured son always comes last”

. “She’s not the one who had to talk to the mirror – cos nobody else would listen”, “Damn! She takes credence away from Jesus’s 39 stripes with what she does to me”. Blah blah blah! Still, I apologized after about 40 seconds in the “witness box”. Contrary to what you’re thinking, there was no gun to my head. 40 seconds was all the time I needed to scan my dad’s eyes and see that his soul was grieved. For once in his life, his future was not in his hands. He was hopeless without the love of his life. I suddenly realized it was his neck in the noose, not my mom’s. We buried the hatchet…….. momentarily.

You see, ours wasn’t a war of ambition, it was a war of personality. Mom loved the noisy {remember the empty barrel illustration?}. She loved people who could argue with her – people who would blatantly disregard her “I-don’t-wanna hear-it” pseudo-barrier. I had however taken all the Sunday-school “honour-your-parents” talk to heart. And, for someone just crawling out of his shell, silence was friendlier. I would rather take the blame and pay the price because she told me I did it instead of asking if I did it. Time slowly tic-ed life away. Dad wanted me to be him, mom wanted me to something I still don’t understand. (She often had me wear her clip-on earrings while “modeling” her new female designs. She didn’t see a thing wrong with long girly nails on her son {what a bum I was growing up to be}). I had to choose who I really wanted to be: Dad’s shadow or mom’s something-I-still-don’t-get. I went for “option C” – and that’s the origin of The Great Rebellion.

Of course, like every misguided kid aged 14, my idea of being me was different. I made a list of everything my parents detested and set out to achieve them. I did chores when I pleased, came late from school, had a sleep curfew for 7:30pm (which had me waking up around 2am to read and eat supper), pulled out of church, drum and keyboard lessons, withdrew from all social circles they put me in. I had also made significant progress with plans to change my name (maybe to Tompolo…lol). It was also around this time they hurt me so bad I decided to stop speaking Yoruba to them (or even to anything that breathed). Pop discerned fast and adapted. Mom held on to a lost cause (the only word I’ve said since then to them in Yoruba is “Ekule” – one for which I haven’t found an English translation. Oh! please don’t say “honey I’m home”. Some things truly never change). My parents took for granted that I was the attention-unworthy “good kid and I was ready to shed that tag. I was so desperate to achieve this that by age 15 I had established a rapport with all the vices known to me – including ones better left imagined. Still, the tag stuck (alas! humans will only see what they choose to). If I could afford a brief moment of regret, it be over one thing I did back then; but by “Rules 12 & 22”, I live with it.

I finally got sick of it all. It was time to grow up – maybe there was nothing left to prove. Then came the question: HOW DOES ONE GROW UP? {got any clues?}. After a little research, I stumbled on a proverb based in the culture and language I had come to loathe. It said: “T’omode ba subu, a wo waju. T’agba ba subu, a weyin“. Translation: “when a kid stumbles, he keeps looking forward. When an elder stumbles, he looks back (to see what tripped him)”. Insight was the key. I discovered maturity was not about age, but insight – the ability to analyze and fathom the concealed. It was finally time to let go. I got closer to my illiterate paternal grandmother, (I love you ma. Don’t die soon!) who taught me a few “mafia principles” about family, how to read people and deal with issues like: cooking, women, anger and diplomacy (I think I’m her best student yet!).

By age 20 I felt good to go – I had evolved; my mind was free from all the clutter. I felt like having a shot at fatherhood and showing my pop I was better. I had finally realized I was an original afterall. There would never be another me. Others might look it, talk it, but they will never be ME. I had finally found purpose; something to live for. Safe to say the “great rebellion” was finally over. The wounds had healed – though scars were there to remind us of what once was. While there is no worthy victory without an uproar (in some cases a bloody revolution, like the one that founded America), it would be a nice idea to count the costs first – let’s keep the casualties low!

BTW, I still don’t speak Yoruba to my folks though I do to my “padis”. Pop still wants me to be an academic like him. Mom still holds on to the 8-year-old idea of me – shy, stingy with words and generally poor with girls {the ladies know better}! I’m having to painfully learn the French mom would have taught me well for free and what’s more: I’m not in the medical profession – the only place where mom was sure my “shit hand-writing” would be any good. But, those are minor scars. The war is over – and we’re still standing!!!

Lessons learnt. We move on.


*Funny! She doesn’t even remember ever saying this!!!

This entry was posted in Insight, Rule 12 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Great Rebellion [Part 2]

  1. Honey says:

    Imisi…dis is so deep mehn. luvs it. ur a gd writer.. xx, Honey N.

  2. mind blowing rev, this is cool, enjoy every bit couldn't stop half way.

  3. deekaybee says:

    hmm this accounts for a lot

  4. ... says:

    @honey Ahw! Thanx.@Remi Thanx, bro. U're such a fast reader! Abi o!

  5. Moninuola says:

    And we all move on

  6. Pingback: The Great Rebellion (Part 1) | De-Me-Stified

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