I usually would start up with the fact that everyone always have their perception about things, but we shouldn’t allow the truth depart in every of our dealings. Sentiments as an idea or as whatever sentiments stands for, is what kills the major vein of justice and equality.
I am the third child of my parent, the first girl amongst three girls and five of us. First and foremost, I would say nobody really knows who we actually are, even ourselves; because everyday we work and walk into the realization of who we are and what we are becoming.
Growing up in my family as the first daughter, with two elder brothers is nothing I see as wrong; in fact,I feel very lucky and blessed to be in the position I find my self. I think to my best interpretation, my parents are two people with very conflicting personalities. My father was very relaxed, enjoyed visiting on Sundays, drink, drops money, spends on non essentials; my mum always said “he is never ready to go the extra mile for the family”, she said “he is selfish and bad hearted”. My mother was selfless, ambitious, hardworking, puts our interests first, jokes very less with us; she was a definition of a back bone.
Growing up in my family was the best experience ever, not because we had the fancy life or any of that material; but the immaterial things I learnt watching my parents, seeing how common it is for every home to have a favorite child, and how that works. I look very much like my father, Mr Kunkala; so everyone calls me ‘Kunkala’. I really didn’t think there could be anything wrong with that.
My both parents were flinty towards themselves, at least to the best of my knowledge; this came down to us as the children, to me in particular. There where times where I was body shamed by my own brothers, not because of hate; but for the fun of it. If I cried, it became worse. I was weak in a family where we were all strong and numb. My mother says I am my father’s carbon copy, she thinks I am his favorite child, she should know better; anyways, that’s her husband or whatever, she thinks I love him more than I love her, she feels like I did choose him over her. That is not even any thinking of my thoughts, I am too young and unbothered about these facts she kept dishing out.
Forward to 2017, my elder brothers made it to the university in Bayelsa state, Nigeria. I was in my second year too, in the university; but in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, Nigeria. This meant I was always home, at least to a reasonable extent. My immediate younger sister was in the boarding house in Bayelsa state too. My mum had left the family house; my parents had unresolved issues, plenty issues that amounted to what made her move her things out of the house. She rented her apartment, things got out of hand, my dad’s character changed towards all of us. I basically lived alone in the entire house since my brothers weren’t around and yeah, I grew OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) over a lot of things. I tell you, I wasn’t used to this life as simple as I write; this my family swiftly moved into a broken home, it was hard to understand what happened next. My father didn’t look like he was going to try to make things right, he was still giving my mother more reasons to feel he wasn’t good enough. Words will not even suffice if I start to say how bad my dad became.
I moved to the hostel in February that same year. By July, my mum came to pick me from school then. In the course of our conversation, she said my dad had gotten himself a new wife with every custom fulfillment (traditional marriage). I felt sick immediately; no reason in particular, but I love a family with cracks and members consciously trying to be perfect, not a broken family.
From school, I moved to my mum’s place. I started staying with my mum, this isn’t what I am used to. Everything became sad, my mother became very temperamental, very emotional and she transferred aggression for every reason; I think because the pressure on her became too much. She loved us, she clothed and fed us, and she paid the tuition fees of the five of us; as my father had stopped all of that once she moved out of the house.
Slowly things became unimaginable!
The story never ends. My second year holiday, I became depressed. Remember that my mum thinks I am everything my dad was, so I get the best of the aggression; she loves me, I love her too, she buys me stuff as much as the rest of my siblings; but there’s something about the words she uses on me at the slightest provocation, there’s something about the image of me she sends to people. I am a bad child; like father, like daughter.
During my holiday, I was in charge of my mum’s business that period because she just got back from the hospital and she needed rest. After a week or more she decided to come out. A day in particular she came out to the shop; I was at home making rice, which I brought after I had finished cooking, to her and my elder brother because he was around with her in the shop (he still stayed at our family house then).
On getting to the shop, I felt very useful as a matter of fact because the food was ready on time, and it was my off day. I gave her the food and was going to head back home when she said I should come back, and stay. I felt like it was one of those her sentimental play and stuffs like that. Then I said, “mummy, but it’s my turn to stay at home, Bernard (her favourite) should stay”. My mum’s shops are opposite each other on a major road, so we were known there. At that point, people were already looking.
The next thing I heard was, “Christiana if you pass there, I will deal with you”, my mum warned. My mum had said that already and then Bernard added, “you dey mumu oh, you no go come back here?”. I had summoned courage to speak out my mind that day because I always felt humiliated. I couldn’t correct my younger ones because my mum feels I am of no good. So I made her know that I didn’t feel okay with this; that if it was Bernard’s turn she would let him be at home, that it was always this way once it got to me.
So, I started crying in my annoyed state; people were watching, my mum and Bernard started laughing making jokes off my crying face (Smiles). I knew I was not in the same page with them, and whatever my hurt was; I was my only partner. I went to the other shop and sat on the fridge, I cried and cried. What was my hurt again? I was confused. Somewhat, somehow; I was tired of my life. I wasn’t getting why things were this way, at least from my point of view.
I cried until I slept off on the fridge. My mum came over, then she said, “just for you to stay, let him go and bring hammer, that’s why you started to disgrace yourself”, my mom said as I felt further humiliated. Why did you not just tell me this from the onset? Why did you this? Why?
I carried the empty coolers and moved towards home; that day I cried and cried, thinking of how customers joined to laugh at me and all of that. The next day I was still not concerted, I had slept on the floor the previous night. Around afternoon hours, my mother came home to get money, found me on the flour, called my name twice, I answered. Then she said “you are awake?” Then she used her legs to hit me three times, called me names:a wicked girl, useless girl, like father like daughter, your heart is black, and some other things my heart choose to erase. This was not the first time I am getting these words from my mother; but this time for once, I am thinking maybe I am useless. What am I alive for? I should take my life anyways.
I cried, there’s nobody I could tell that this was what was happening and where I went wrong; to maybe correct me, absolutely no one. I didn’t eat until the third day. I decided to get back to normal, went to the shop; my mum wasn’t talking to me. I saw Bernard and then he said, “the money weh you done thief, done finish na; Na why you come out” (My brother was accusing me because of theft).
I felt even stronger for some reasons.
That and many other occurrences had come and gone, I am not even playing the victim’s card; but the other day, my younger sister said she pities me every time she tries to think or remember my emotional torture. This very feature is present in almost every home, most people cannot take such; hence, they take their life. My home wasn’t comfortable for me at all, I always felt my actions and inactions would still amount to me receiving wickedness, because I looked my father.
Life still goes on, I just moved into the realization that I am in charge of how I feel and the energy I receive, even though most times I break down. I know I am for greatness, and one day my mother will be proud of me. I got to understand that education is more than what you were taught; education can also be what you didn’t get to learn. Absence of meekness and mild love makes you understand the importance of mild love in your children’s life; I will only want to be a better mother when I am in that position.
Love and light!
– Christiana Kunkala.