Monday, September 13, 2010

Whip My Hair

I am impressed and envy this chick (and not particularly because of the song), Willow Smith, especially since my father did not allow any artistic talent in our home.  My father had this communist style when it came to raising his children.  The bottom line was that he gave birth to us and so dictated everything that we did ... I mean everything; i.e. we had schedules growing up and we had to follow it closely (annoyingly there was more reading time than recess); we all had to come first place in class and so on.
I mean when Echeazu's kids came second place in school, people cried for us, because they knew we would be in trouble when we got home.  We didn't play in school during recess because Daddy was Chiarman of the school board and our uniforms had to be as clean as it was when we left for school.  Many a times, I got into trouble for my smart comments, I wondered why soap was invented if as kids we had to keep our uniforms so clean.  Beats me now still
Anyways, we were not allowed to play football (soccer), we played tennis instead, since it was more modern. Actually, I think it was because it was one of the alternative sports featured in some of the western channels from our satellite dish. 
Who raises their kids to be snobs?  Oh and how dare we speak incorrect english, or vernacular, or pigin english (street English) or Igbo (our native tongue) we had to only speak English so that everyone knew that his money was well spent in our private school education.
We were smart kids though lol, we did everything behind his back.  Oh I remember we used to wear double clothing to school (in the 104 -degree-weather of Nigeria) just so that we could take off our school uniforms after school and play ball, that way our uniforms would still be clean and momcy and popcy wouldn't find out.  As if that wasn't enough, we used to play barefoot, so that our socks will not be dirty and for fear that our sandals may break and we had to explain how it happened.  Looking back now, we were so stupid.... I mean playing barefoot to avoid punishment? now I will have to face the long evil punishment from arthritis during my old age.  Maybe it is a nice trade for a memorable childhood...well I'll find out.
Anyways, my father only wanted to see us reading, education was very important and highly emphasized in our house.  Could you believe we had the biggest colored TV in the neighborhood, because of this we were the envy of all the kids.  But little did the neighborhood kids know that we were never allowed to turn it on.  It came on everyday at 9 pm (which was our bed time and also news time) and it was off by dawn when we woke up.  When we were left at home by ourselves, the first thing Daddy did when he walked into the house is to feel the temperature of the TV.  We were in trouble if it were warm.  Phew! I hated trouble so I never messed with the stupid thing, it wasn't worth the trouble.  I rather wait till Sunday, when mommy will let all of the neighborhood children into the house to watch "Tales by Moonlight."  Mummy was so kool she would let one of us turn the TV to make it appear to our friends like we do it on a routine basis.  'Tales by Moonlight' came on when popsy was at one of his weekend meetings.
When Daddy returned you had two options, you were either napping or reading a book, and if you were reading a book, you better be at a page that you have mastered well, because if he questions you on that page and you slightly stutter, your evening was ruined.
The only thing we appreciated Daddy's strictness for was the bible and church.  So at the age of 2, was catechism for everyone, now that means you repeated catechism for several years until you mastered your faith, and also since no one is going to allow a 4 yr old to receive communion.  At the age of 4, upon return from church, we all went down on both knees and you are to go into Daddy and Mummy's room in private and explain the preachings at church.  Daddy went to the early service so he knew what the message was from church.  As long as you were able to tell him, you were free from all punishments.
Boy! I remembered when I turned 4 and forgot that I was now initiated into this Sunday ritual, and acted like my normal self, running around the church with the other children, even spending my collection money on sweets.  Oh boy, I came home that day and ran past everyone like, u know a regular 4 year old until Daddy called me back and asked how old are you? and I remembered wishing that the ground will open and swallow me, how could I have forgotten that I turned 4 the day prior.  I blamed the cake.  I started by saying For God so loved the world .... but my father knew right away that I had no clue.  After that Sunday, and oh ... well since that very day, I was always attentive to the word of God.  Though, I no longer have that fear that Daddy has heard the message, I just now have the desire to hear the word of God. :)
Now we look back and laugh, did he really think he could stop us from having fun...I think we drove him crazy, we love to draw and perform, we all played soccer till college, we danced all through and still love to dance, we love music oh.. and we appreciate all kinds of instruments and we also love praising God.
All kinds of music (and not this one in particular) and dance equals freedom for me and my siblings because we did it when my father was not around.  Just like Willow Smith said in her interview that 'Whip my Hair' means "to be free."  I wished my parents allowed us the freedom she has, I don't think we would have recorded a song, but maybe we would have learnt a thing or two about instruments.
Thank God my husband is nothing like my father in these aspect.


Ivy said...

loved the post! it's cool how for you the song represents the freedom to create something so carefree. I actually didn't like the song when i first heard it (i haven't listened since). It just seems so...frivolous? Like isn't there anything else in a 9 year old's world besides whipping your hair back and forth? and she sounded much older than 9 which also threw me off.

anyway, i loved reading your post. congrats on finding someone who will help you provide a slightly freer (more artistic?) home life for your family.

Nenyenwa said...

Lol Ivy u know I didn't like d song because I didn't know what it meant. But when she was interviewed she said that whip ur hair meant freedom for her. And I thought about the freedom my parents allowed me at her age. She is still impressive to me mostly because I was not that brave at 9.:) I'm glad u enjoyed it.

Elizabeth said...

Your Father was a great Man...perhaps more strict than I could ever be...yet look at the children he had! You are all amazing!
I could learn from him Chi Chi

Mrs. K said...

Hey there, I don't know too much about the song but I do like your post. By the way, I just gave you a blog award--visit my blog to get it :)

Northern Girl said...

I can so relate!! (Altho my older siblings say I never saw nottin' lol). I am sure that you turned out very well well- smart, successful, slightly over-bookish ;) And maybe you feel like you missed out on a lot of things because of his strictness? Like you never got the chance to be really "you"? I'm just wondering, because this is the case in my own family too. I was just thinking about it this morning in fact. But we thank God for no-nonsense parents anyway :)

Nenyenwa said...

thanks Mrs K and Elizabeth and I hear you northern girl