Prayers, prayers… On returning Home
“Ah, Yemisi ti de patapata!” An excited acquaintance or neighbour would echo when told the news of your seemingly final return home from school. And after that would follow a stream of prayers which you have to shout “Amen” to. Not doing so might mean contempt of the human and the prayers. The prayers would go like this, in no particular order, but a lot of these would make up a befitting stream of prayers for you, preparing you for life after school, especially if you are a lady.
Ise gidi ti o ni alubarika
Ooni gbe eegun elegun
Alaafia ara ati emi
Good job with blessings
A great husband
You won’t marry wrong
Good health of the body and spirit
They’ll also pray for a good posting for NYSC for you. Olorun ma je ka rogun Bornu. And then, the person offering the prayer will emphasize the part of you getting married to ‘your husband’ and not another person’s.
You’ll then have a look on their face, wondering how much they wanted to eat wedding Jollof rice. You want to advise them to go into their kitchen and add more tomato paste to their usual rice. And if it was a matter of Amala, they should add some egusi in their ewedu and pour curry into their stew.
After the prayer session, you finally get a word out, and that’s you complaining about how everyone always emphasizes you getting married rather than having a job that makes you live comfortably. They would not be in a hurry, but analyze the prayers till you understand. You were a woman, and no matter how much you earned, if you had a bad husband, even your money would lose its value. You can’t argue with them because it makes sense. But that only leaves you wondering if your mother put them all to this, even though lowkey, you’ve taken their advice of praying into your future.
The Question “So, what are your plans?”
“So, what are your plans?” You will be asked that a lot of times. Your parents will ask you what you want to do. Not all of us have established businesses from school. We were too busy balancing our CGPAs and developing life skills while hoping to find ourselves on the way. Your parents are asking that vital question, not to pressure you. They want to become aware of a reality you might have been refusing to see.
It is easy to go with the flow, or latch onto opportunities like NYSC to have more time to think life out or try our hands on other things. Whose fault? None. At least such experience will help you transition into the real world, different from a utopia of books, students, lecturers and a sprinkle of social life. You will have opportunities to think about what you want to do and choose what path you want to follow.
For some ladies, especially those of marriageable age, it is easier to grab onto the marriage option. I can’t help but imagine the Actress Patience Ozokwor being a caring grandmother for once, and she’s advising her twenty-something-year-old granddaughter.
“Chimoooo! You mean, you fell in love, so why should you force yourself to be unfallen in love? You want to enjoy your single years? See, let me tell you, marriage is good, so likewise is the desire for marriage. And there is the blunt truth of the biological clock ticking. You wouldn’t have your mother reminding you of that. If there is a bridegroom, why not just get married?”
So, this would be an invisible tug of war between planning one’s life and not going the expressway of what seems to be the next item on the list. You might also choose to ‘follow the tide of the wind’, taking one step at a time, and not getting fixated on getting a thing consecutively done before the other.
Thankfully, God doesn’t have a book of step-by-step instructions on things to do before the other. We only have to listen to him and follow his directives.
Coping with thoughts of what next
You could liken it to a valid reason for mood swings. It is usually a bittersweet experience. You’re happy about a lot of things. You finished school after some stressful years in a school notorious for producing hard-trained intellectuals. Even if you never felt the need to be grateful, you think about the goodness of God, you will see the need to be thankful. And most of the time, you don’t need to see the contrast of negative things that had happened to people with whom you had been in similar shoes before you become thankful.
For me, gratitude didn’t come easy. My thoughts were layers upon layers that couldn’t be differentiated. Most of my coursemates were all smiles on the day we wrote the last paper. Their joyful emotions were evident that anyone could cut through it with a knife. For someone who was always in touch with her emotions, I felt nothing. I had a tough time making out which emotion I was experiencing. Was it Joy? Anger? Bitterness? Hatred?
Usually, I would try to journal my thoughts so that I could get to the bottom of my emotions and be in control of them. But, like a dog with its tail in between its legs, I ran from myself. Talking to God was also something I did in the manner of scratching the surface because I didn’t want to open up to God and hear him tell me things I didn’t want to hear yet.
Having a family of loved ones that can read into how you’re behaving indeed helps. While some will love you by constantly asking you the dreaded question “what next”, it is worthy to note that they do that because they have most likely passed that stage once or many times in their lives. And that they are there for you to ask to guide you if they are not already doing that.
So, I have answers from a few ladies about what they have planned for life after school. Unfortunately, not a single gentleman sent an entry. The expectations laid on the boy-child are enormous. These expectations must have resulted in a habit of keeping things to themselves even if they were going through tough times.
So, these are the interviews and entries these ladies sent. I hope you learn quite a lot from their vulnerability, ranging from ministry to learning more about Christ, relationships, marriage, academics, choosing career paths, encouragement, fun, banter, laughter and all. I had fun interviewing some of these ladies.
Precious sent in the first response. It was concise and as unique as her personality.
I’m always too shy to say this because of the looks I get from people. People staring at me like, “Is this one ready for life?”
I know, but I really don’t have a plan for now. I’ve not sorted it out yet. I’m done with my first degree, yet I didn’t fall in love with it like most people did. I feel like I want to explore another side of me. Not science though. I want to do something new but have no exact idea of ‘what’ and ‘how’.
The truth is that I’m not even moved by my lack of plans. I left it to God already. He sure knows the best for me, but that doesn’t rule out the fact that I believe in myself. I believe in my abilities and strengths.
I know that I can achieve all I want if I put my mind to it.
In summary, my plans are laid out in His plans for me ✌.precious
Now, that you’ve finished the second episode, take in a deep breath.
Yemisi ti de patapata: Yemisi is finally back
NYSC: National Youth Service Corps. According to Wikipedia, The NYSC is a program set up by the Nigerian government during the military regime to involve Nigerian graduates in nation-building and the development of the country.
Olorun maje kaa rogun Borno: Translates from Yoruba language to “May God forbid that you get posted to Borno State”
Borno: A Northern state in Nigeria with the Nickname “Home of Peace”. But, it is known today as home to the Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group.
Amala: From Wikipedia, Àmàlà is a staple swallow food native to the Yoruba ethnic group of Southwestern Nigeria made from yam, cassava flour, or unripe plantain flour.
Egusi: The Nigerian Egusi soup prepared with melon seeds.
Ewedu: Jute leaves soup usually eaten with Amala
Patience Ozokwor: An Igbo actress known for playing the role of wicked mother-in-law in Nollywood movies.
Chimooo: Translates from Igbo language as “My God”