So I read the post The Audacity of a Nigerian Daughter and that inspired me to put this piece together. Please remember that this is one person’s point of view -MINE. So….
Like the title implies, my dad was and still is a pastor, so, I grew up under very strict conditions. I still vividly remember the night my father called me to the parlor, removed my earrings and threw them in the dustbin. That was the end. When I grew up to know my left from my right, I had no hair on my head and I was stopped from wearing trousers at age 3 or so. I was still a youngin so that was not really a problem for me then. Little did I know that mo se se bere.
Then I started to know my left from my right and I realized, uh oh, shit isn’t funny! You know those times you got to school on Monday morning and every one was talking about the Cadbury Breakfast Show? Naa…I didn’t watch it. Most times I didn’t. I just sat quietly, listening attentively and I picked up on what the other kids said. Thank God it wasn’t required in school, I would have failed woefully. I was not in on anything as a child. During holidays, you’d most likely find me at Deeper Christian Life Children’s camp. My father stopped me from participating in dancing competitions at parties when I was about 5. In fact, he kuku stopped me from attending parties altogether when I would not stop dancing. Alajota!
Secondary school came. Trust me, I had every reason to be a wayward child, and I went to a secondary school that gave me every right to be. But whenever I thought of what would happen if my father heard, I’d just chill. If I thought of scaling school to go for a party, I’d just imagine something going wrong and they’d have to call my father, and that thought would sail back to where it came from. I wasn’t allowed to know man. I couldn’t even say hi to man! I remember that whenever any of my male friends came visiting (they never came to the house), we’d meet up miles away from the house. Still, the boy would ask, “hope there’s no camera on your body that your father is using to monitor you.” Loooool! Me sef I’d double check and look around. I kuku went to an all girls school so my father had nothing to worry about. You are going for socials because? In which house?
Time for Uni came along. Where else would I go if not UNILAG? But you see, ko bo si (it didn’t work out). I was shipped off to a private uni. I couldn’t even protest for the fear of hot, life-changing slaps! They used to send our results home that year. I should have used a fake address, but no. As a good gehl that I was, I gave my real address. How tragic! I remember once, I got home and my dad summoned me. “You have started joining bad gang abi? You are following useless people in school. I am sure if I come, they will not know that you are the child of a pastor”. These were the accusations thrown at me before I could even enter his room completely. Read those statements. My father wasn’t asking, he was sure I had joined bad gang. Why? I had an E on my result that semester. I had As and Bs in my other 7 courses. But my father didn’t see those. He saw this one E. Imagine! I remember when I was told, “If you ever get pregnant, one of us will go to heaven and it’s surely not me.” I didn’t want to check whether it was an empty threat or not. My father offered no explanation, he wasn’t reasoning with you. As far as he was concerned then, no one around my age was capable of having a sound spiritual life. So I could make no reasonable decision.
Living the ‘churchy’ life was the height! The only reason why you wouldn’t go to church (my dad’s church) was because you were almost dying. Except that, you must be in church, no matter how bad your cramps are or if you just slumped in the bathroom. I remember when they’d wake us up for devotion very early. That wasn’t the issue. The issue was that anyone could be called to lead devotion and you cannot read word for word from the devotional. So you must have read it before hand. I went to various ‘ori-oke’ (bless you if you know what this means). Olorun kole, Ido Ajinare, Erinmo, name it. I have gone for various deliverance sessions and prayer retreats. I remember on one of such retreats, my dad mistakenly poured kerosene into the porridge he was cooking, thinking it was groundnut oil.
While I was waiting to enter secondary school and uni, I had to follow my dad to his pastors’ prayer meetings. I met a number of them that run big churches today. Very fast, my house became what I called a high court. All manners of ‘dirty’ and ‘silly’ pastoral and church matters were settled at my house. I eavesdropped. You hear some things and you can never look at some pastors the same way again, ever. This part probably affected my spiritual life a lot. Seeing people you look up to mess up. Sad.
One of the hardest parts was the expectation from church members, family and family friends. The annoying part was that these were standards they would never hold their kids or themselves to. You’d visit their homes and they’d strut around in trousers. If they ever saw you packing trousers from a clothes line, they’d say ‘you want to become a useless child abi (o fe ya omokomo)?’ Spare me! You cannot bend, sit, wear sleeveless, talk or shit in peace. They always had something to say!
My brothers and sisters, it was not joking sturvs! In all, I’ve been better for it. For all of this. I wouldn’t train my children this way but a lot of those measures were helpful really. Forgive me if I say I don’t ever want to marry a church minister… but all this is why. Trust me, going through it was not fun at all. Watching your father being extra nice to strangers and not being the same at home, it was not nice at all. One thing I know is that the discipline has made me who I am today. Thankfully my father was never one to choose a career path for you. Big ups to my dad though, he’s great fam!
As I round up, I can still remember lots and lots of funny episodes I have been through mehn! I remember this one time…nvm. Being a preacher’s kid? It wasn’t fun at all yo!
This was written by TeeCleff, an average human trying to shoot her ‘short’. She draws inspiration from personal experiences to write about things she feels strongly about.