It occurred to me when I set out to write that it`s been over three years that I wrote about myself. I must have talked about myself over a hundred times in three years — there`s always a need to. I think I`d like to write about myself from a different angle this time. I`d say my life has been a dramatic one — from growing up, to education, work, and a number of other things. Every life is like a book, with different chapters, comic scenes, tragic moments, characters playing different roles, lessons to learn, and the list goes on! Akinsiwaju Sanya is a story to read. Should we say you just read the preface? *smiles* Maybe yes.
In the Beginning…
I was born into a polygamous family in Lagos, Nigeria. Growing up was quite different for me, as my immediate elder sibling is eight years older, and I don`t have a younger sibling. My father was 67 years old when I was born, and my mother was 30 years younger than he was. Quite interesting, innit? This made socialization a bit of an issue. There weren`t many people of my age to mingle with, except at school. Daddy wouldn`t let me mix up with children in my neighborhood. He was that strict. So I had an elderly pensioner father at home with me all the time, a busy mother who did business out of the house at many times, and older siblings who were usually at school. This shaped a whole lot, and perhaps deformed others. I would say at age 10, my reasoning, subjects of discussion, and viewpoints were seen through the eyes of a 77-year-old father. I didn`t always discuss the things my agemates talked about. I didn`t hear the same stories their 45-year old fathers told them. I didn`t know what it meant to have a busy father who was always out in the morning and back in the evening. I also grew up neither watching nor playing football as other male children did, because I never saw my father do it, and he didn`t let me mix with the children who did. I grew up hearing stories about World War II, about the Nigerian Civil War (not without the tribalistic opinion of a Yoruba man), about how Nigeria was much better, about military coups, and many other stories that children of my age would ordinarily hear from their grandparents. So it was in the beginning.
Then Life Happened…
I saw my mother move out of the house when I was eight, I think. They had heard some church sermon on marital restitution, and concluded that my mother leaving her ex-husband to marry my father was adultery. I grew up to hear such complications. I didn’t understand why a man who already had two wives with children would marry a woman who was married with children. “What were they looking for?” I thought. Well, this restitution (of which my mother didn’t return to her first husband, she lived alone) didn’t last, as my father couldn’t bear living without a woman in the house (his first wife wasn’t in the house anymore, and the second was late). My sister said it affected my father psychologically. So Mummy returned. “Were they confused?” I usually thought.
I sometimes wish I didn’t experience all these marital complexities, because they have somehow shaped this 26-year-old’s view on marriage. And it is not an excellent view. When I was 15, my mother left again; it was a bigger drama this time, and it was her last departure before the death of my father in 2008. Life happened, and we all moved on.
If there has been one thing I`ve had to deal with, it’s failure. I failed so much that I thought of suicide before I knew the word “suicide”. In my mind, I called it “kill myself”. LOL! (Now I can laugh about it). Mathematics was one subject I never understood. It made no sense to me why anyone would write “2y + y = 30,” and ask me to find y. I couldn’t relate to why I had to apply BODMAS and Pythagoras’ theorem. The teachers too didn’t help my situation. They were probably just a bunch of unfortunate job seekers who took the teaching profession just to survive. So I thought later. I failed mathematics so badly that it delayed my university admission by five years, and I didn’t get to study Law which I desired. I studied English Education eventually.
I have never really had to deal with my childhood experiences as I do now. It takes a whole lot to make myself believe that all marital relationships won’t be as ugly as my parents’ and those I saw around. I need to work on my mind so much to convince myself that monogamy is possible, and I won’t have to put my children through the trauma of polygamy, which I faced at certain times.
I also have to unlearn some of the content of my social studies textbooks. Those authors, together with our immediate society, taught our young minds patriarchy and a number of laughable gender roles.
We also learned to speak English in the funniest of ways, and I can keep listing all these things I have been unlearning. Foundation speaks and affects a whole lot!
So Here I Am…
Here I am, hoping to give my children a better kind of parenthood.
Here I am, hoping to be financially competent to send my children to schools where they won’t see “Find y” like a nightmare.
Here I am, willing to teach my children that females and males have equal rights and opportunities, and that a female child can wash a car, just as a male child can cook.
Here I am, writing the story of my life, and many more didactic stories for the sake of transformation.
Here I am on dianakolawole.design
© Akinsiwaju Sanya