You see, my father evolved a little more than the average Yoruba man, he was pretty set in his ways but he tried to move with the times as best as he could.
He still thinks I’m completely bonkers for being an LGBT Advocate amongst other things, but you see, he never thought a girl was inferior to a boy, well, I guess he didn’t have much of a choice since he had to raise five of us.
I remember that when I was little he had a saying, which translates into something like “when adults are gathered, children must not speak.” I was about five years old but that statement deeply offended me, my elder sister Abike was my role model, graceful and purposeful, she had a way with words and skin so delicate I thought she bathed in milk secretly. Abike didn’t subscribe to my dad’s school of thought, so I aligned my thoughts with hers.
I was about 12 years old when the narrative started to change; my dad openly encouraged us to speak our minds wherever, whenever and however. I felt like a new world had been created, one in which I could thrive and fly.
One night at the dinner table I said to my father, “I really like that you’re a decent husband but I don’t want to marry a man like you” bewildered he looked on, my mother standing still like a pillar of salt I continued, you don’t do chores, you’re lazy and I don’t think I can look after a person the way my mother looks after you” I don’t know if he was angry or shocked, he just smiled and nodded.
I noticed that the next week, my dad made his bath water, i am not sure if that had anything to do with my mindless rant but he plugged the giant electric kettle my mother had bought, and did a mixture of hot and cold water. I was silently impressed.
My father did not only show me that I had the freedom to speak my mind, he showed me that when I said the right things, I could inspire change, I had the power to make a difference with my words.
My father didn’t change much after the awakening; he strongly believed that if you have something to say, you should say it, it didn’t matter If you were a girl or a boy, what mattered to him was the content of your thoughts. He would loudly declare, “no one will know what you know until you say what you know.” He encouraged however that the only way one would not play out the empty barrel rhetoric was to read as much as one can.
You see, you can do as my father says and also as he does, he would not say things he wouldn’t do, till today, I aspire to that level of integrity. He read as much as he could and learnt new things as though his livelihood depended on the amount of information in his brain.
This made me pursue after knowledge, I ask questions without shame, I contribute to conversations that interest me without fear and live passionately.
I only participate in things that interest me, and when I am interested, contributions, questions and weird enthusiasm is to be expected. This is Unapologetically so.
I live by my father’s rather intense adherence to the Yoruba adage; aile soro ni ibere oriburuku