Ladies and gentlemen, did you go to church? Yes? Good! No? Oya go and kneel down in that corner there,seriously! And raise up your hands, close your eyes, stick out your tongue (if you went to secondary school in Nigeria you should have a little chuckle somewhere inside you)!
Seyi wrote this piece in answer to my call for reflections on the year, and whenever people I didn’t know before send in pieces, it amazes me how the internet and indeed emerging technology shrinks our world so easily, making us interact and learn about people we probably would never have met!
I’m grateful to Seyi, and I know you’re going to love his piece!
My name is Oluwaseyi Ige. I’m unrepentantly Nigerian. I’m a broadcaster, author, publisher and media consultant.
The other day at the office a colleague walked up to me. It’s a scene that has played out several times.
‘This your hair, why don’t you cut it?’ she said, with a matronly look straddling her face. She was saying it for the umpteenth time! (Now, I’ve been wearing my hair that way since 2005. I trim it quarterly. I love it lusciously ‘bushy’.)
‘Really?’ I said, sounding as mischievous as possible. I enjoy the look on their faces when I give my reply.
‘If I’m your wife, I would have cut it while you were sleeping’. She said.
‘No, she won’t. She’s used to it already, and she understands’, I replied. I wanted to be diplomatic, you know, take it like a good sport.
Within me though, I wanted to give her a very tiny piece of the angry part of my mind. Really, I would have told her: ‘how is my hair any business of yours? Maybe that’s why I didn’t marry someone like you, amebo’.
Truthfully, I don’t get why I have to be civil always. I should have kind of given it to her, maybe it will keep others away. For crying out loud, there is no ‘hair code’ in our staff regulations, and I don’t understand this concept of having a prepared picture of how others should wear their hair, makeup or even socks.
We always want to fit others into our prepared cells for them in our minds, because we know what is best for them, even the person to elect at the polls. And when they refuse to fit in, as it happened recently, they are half-developed Neanderthals as far as we are concerned. Maybe that’s one of our country’s problems.
Neither can I really comprehend why I can’t always say what I think.
Aside from such instances of people trying to help me mind my business, it’s been a smooth year so far. I didn’t make any resolutions in January, which means so far, I’ve not been disappointed. Every achievement – and challenge (read problem, and they are so many!) have been taken in stride.
I’ve learnt that people are never who they seem. They could be better or most times, worse. I wish I had stuck with more of my ideas. Right now they look good on paper!
I am actually grateful for all the people, privileges and pleasures I enjoy. And the grace God has given me to be alive.
I’m really looking forward to a better rest of the year (don’t we all have that wish!). But to aid that wish coming to pass, I have to start doing what I really want to do, even if it looks weird. Life is too short to waste any moment of it. Maybe I can re-invent me. I should reach out to people some more too.
And I must pay more attention to my spiritual convictions. Very important.
So, maybe at the end of the year I may have had enough courage to go do the dreadlocks I’ve always wanted, hoping it will make people stop asking me to barb, and I would have expressed my mind a few times.
PS – I loved this! Oh how I would love to say what I really think sometimes! But there’s the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ question that just ‘offs’ that fire…