Hello prosperous people! February has been quite the month with the highs and lows right? One of the high was my birthday and I felt the love from near and far so let me take this moment to specially thank everyone who wished me well. I am truly grateful.
Now back to blogging! To all men reading this, there is a special message for you somewhere down, please read till the end.
It was once hard to hear “I love you”, even harder to say it to family, friends, anyone at all. While growing up, I practiced writing different emotions except love. It is not that I did not want to write it, I just could not. Was there something wrong with me? Yes there was. The fact that I can write this is my evidence that I am not where I used to be. This post took a lot of courage, I hesitated a few times but now I feel it is time to let it out. I only pray it reaches the right audience. It is a lengthy read so grab a bucket of chicken and proceed as I take you to the beginning of my “problem”.
They say charity begins at home. Home is where I learnt what love is not which is a good thing as it helps me spot the fakes. Where the problem lies is that Home was unclear on what love is. I believe my parent’s story is theirs to tell so I will only touch the parts that touched me. At my early age, as far back as I can remember till my early adolescent years, my father was my hero and I was his star child. He taught me assertiveness, he told me I could do anything I put my mind to, he taught me to pursue and overtake. It was win or win with him and I could not settle for less. He was the ideal coach who got me to understand what focus truly means. Anywhere his baby girl wanted to be, he was ready to push, he was my gist partner, my cheerleader, one person that never made me feel less than a princess. I was daddy’s baby girl.
I don’t remember my dad ever saying “I love you” (very rare for most African fathers), but I could tell he did from his actions. I held him in very high esteem. I had lots of arguments with my older brother because though I seem placid back then, I could be quite unyielding knowing my father was my backup any day. I was the sibling my older brother would send to go make requests because it was obvious that I had my father’s attention.
I was and still am the spitting image of my mum, people say she vomited me, that’s how much we lookalike. I don’t remember spending much time with her but I remember mama always hammered on my handwriting and my time with God. She would make me write at least one Bible verse daily and recite it. She would try and try to correct my rubbish handwriting but I was a hopeless case (I know still don’t have the best handwriting but at least it is legible!). Mummy had her flaws too like every human but she is not the main character in this recount. I am all out for the men this time.
The point is, I did not feel unloved during this period. Not until with time, age and observation, I realised something was wrong. It was like a veil was lifted from my eyes. My older brother did not look like he felt loved, how did I never notice that? My family was drifting or had drifted very far, I tried and tried to recall the “together” moments but I only saw my dad and I.
Was it always like that? Was I deceiving myself all this while that we were all together? A storm was here and was carting away everyone’s smile. I don’t know why what I now knew hit that hard but it did. I felt guilty. Was the attributes I thought my hero had all pretence for the naïve little me? The love I thought I had, was it all a lie? Why did my older brother look distant and unloved? My heart was torn, I did not see this storm coming. I wasn’t ready, no one warned me. Mummy said God was everywhere, where was God in all these? Being the typical over thinker, I allowed these thoughts consume me, I cried and drown myself in it. I loved and respected my father deeply so I expected so much from him, when the person I knew became blurry, it felt like someone tore out my heart.
Have you heard about the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon? It is also known as the Frequency Illusion or recency bias. According to wiki, it is cognitive bias in which, after noticing something for the first time, there is a tendency to notice it more often which leads someone to believe that it has a high frequency of occurrence. Simply put, something you learned about suddenly seems to appear everywhere. The point is, this is exactly what happened to me. It suddenly seemed like everyone around me was having troubles at home, single women complained about heartbreaks, married ones spoke about how it was more about endurance which sounded like slavery than marriage. Children were acting up in fits of rage. Couples seemed to be arguing in louder voices like the universe wanted me to hear them as I passed by. Men were scum and women were evil so I decided I would be neither. Earth was overrated and I was done being human. You would hear me exclaim or sigh “humans” in a derogatory manner when someone does something they should not. Now I know this is called misanthropy; someone who distrusts humans and avoid human society.
When I say my head was messed up growing up, I meant it. Maybe mine was partial misanthropy because though I loathed myself and the world, I still cared about my siblings, I saw them as victims.
I was careful to keep these convictions to myself as I battled with the warrior my Dad trained me to be and the peacemaker God was trying to turn me into. I saw strength in the warrior and weakness in the peace maker so it was a biased fight. I wanted the warrior to win. Thunders were setting off in my head, my grades dropped, my chest would not stop aching. I had no control of my tear ducts, I had even less control of my temper. I got into fights and heated arguments.
The mention of “Father or Dad” will make me leave a room of people because I knew the tears weren’t far. I hope my Dad reads this one day and know that I do not hate him. Of course I tried to. I wanted to curse his existence, I was bitter. I wanted him to feel the pain I felt in my chest and my head, I wanted to see him grind his teeth and punch the wall in secret like I did. I wanted to see his eyes red and his body malnourished like my older brother looked. I wanted to see him feel lost like my nine year old baby brother who could barely grasp the gravity of the situation. I wanted him to calculate endless figures in “faith” and struggle to help us feed like my sister did. I wanted to hurt him with my own hands and damn the consequences but I couldn’t because regardless of everything, I still couldn’t hate him. The love I had was too deep to just switch so I hated myself and hurt myself in the small ways I could. Love was stupid, for the weak. I was weak and I deserved all the pain I got. If family love did this, loving a stranger would be suicide. I deserved all the pain I got, this is what I told myself when I caught people staring and pitying our family or when I faced problems in general. I was weak and I deserved the pain, It will toughen me up. When I see a family together smiling, I told myself they were just lying.
To me, these people only held hands in public but were animals when the curtain falls. They all held positions and held each other in society and within churches but were despicable when no one was watching. Hippocrates, all of them, that’s all I could see.
However, my conviction started to waver and it began with a man I have come to cherish, my older brother. I saw him transform from someone I knew to be easily angered to one of the best listeners you will ever meet. For someone who lived long before me and had seen more than enough to confine his back to the ground, he never stopped moving. If you know even half of my story you would probably think I should have seen like ten therapist, multiply that number by five for my brother, the burden bearer. He was so sure we could do better than our parents. I saw tears in his eyes so many times but they just hung there without dropping. I thought he must have finally gone mad from all the emotional, mental and physical trauma because what was this crazy zeal? The answer, Moses was and still is a leader, one of the best you will ever encounter. When all four of us lived apart, he hammered on communication. No matter how far we were from each other, he was involved in our lives. He showed me that I could be a warrior and a peacemaker because that’s what he was and still is to me.
When I cannot get through to my other siblings, he is the first person I reach out to. When an external force tries to break our bond, you should see him in warrior mode, big brother will pull down anything in his path. He gave up a whole lot to take up the role as the head, to become a father we are accountable to. I will fight tooth and nail by his side any day. When I wanted to start this blog, go into law, anything at all, he was ready to give the pros and the cons, always supportive. When I closed off to everyone else, he was patient. He showed me the balance I did not know I needed. With him, I learnt how to keep my head low and put my foot down at the same time. When I wanted to quit, he reminded me that my little brother was walking in the paths I made. When it seemed I was being boxed in a corner, he would remind me that I wasn’t less because I was born with little, that I had won battles and this new one was another conquest. With him I was a peace-making warrior. It felt like God was speaking to me through him. Not all men were scum, I know my brothers aren’t. Not all women were evil, I saw my sister take up a mothering role though she is but a year older than me. I was becoming someone I only thought possible in books, my baby brother was finding his voice again. We were broken people from a broken home but we did and still do whole things, they call it healing.
My brother was aiming high, why should I do any less? Head low and foot down, the only way is forward.
I still haven’t written a romantic piece but my heart isn’t closed off anymore. It is guarded like it should be but not locked away. I am at peace now, I hold Proverbs 3:5 “trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding” because I know Romans 8:28 “and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. So que sera sera while I live in God’s will.
I don’t tell you this enough brother, that I love you to the moon and back a gazillion times! I know you can never be who daddy was to me in the beginning and I am not asking you to. I cherish those moments I had with him, though things changed, I know his love was genuine so I will protect those memories. If my tendency to lean towards self-sufficiency (which I am still working on) makes you think you aren’t carrying out your role well, know that it is a lie! You are doing so well that my heart wrenches every time I have to ask you for something I cannot complete on my own. You already carry so much, I would break under that weight but you move in confident strides.
The woman that ends up with you should know what jewel she has acquired and I will be glad to tell her. You are everything any woman would want in a husband and I cannot wait to see you get the happy story you deserve. I pray for you and every other guy like you out there who is weathering through storms, those who have refused to stop growing, those boys who became men early for the sake of family, to all who are relentless in making something out of nothing, to you who keep your head up and lead in service, to all men who have refused to be defined by the trials they were born into. To the present fathers who are doing all they can to keep their families together, and the future fathers who are already taking a stand to do right when it is time. I dedicate this blog post to you all!
Dear Big brother, thank you for teaching me what love is, thank you for allowing God speak through you. Loving and growing with you has taught me so much. I will always remember the shoulder pats, the loving corrections, and the amazing man you are. Through all the verbal lashes and physical ones you got that forced you to bow your head even when you were clearly innocent, you held love in your heart for your siblings. I see the way you treat those still struggling in places we already overcame with sincere respect. Those who never showed up when you called and came to conclusions without hearing your side, you still greet accordingly, following peace with all men. Thank you for showing me what love is. That it is strength more than a weakness. I see you brother and I love everything I see. If there is something better than best, then that is what I pray you always get. Please don’t stop moving! I love you! And to everyone whose heart is till locked, I pray you find your peace❤️.
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