Last year, I decided to leave home. It was a bold step for me seeing that my culture encourages unmarried ladies to stay grounded at home until Mr. Right comes around. After a tumultuous undergrad journey, I decided to pursue my graduate studies. As an immigrate (unfortunately…) I had to anticipate out-of-state fees even though I have been in the United for States for more than 10 years (do not ever overstay a visa in America). Grad school meant staying at home to go to school which to me really sucked (my biggest regret in life!).
My Jesus, Nigerian, and Therapy journey began in May 2019 when I finally graduated from grad school (Thank God!) For those who do not know me, I am noticeably big on family. Last year was the most pivotal year in my Nigerian journey in the United States. I did not realize going to school and staying at home was a big mistake. It was last year that I finally realized that I should have left home sooner than I did. I hope you learn from my mistake.
One can argue, there is no healthy family because there is no perfect family. That is true! I think what I am trying to say is you need to be in a healthy environment. It is important for your growth and your peace of mind. Sometimes, I wonder the person I would have been if I had left home earlier. Would have I been happier? Smarter? Who knows… I am all for the Nigerian culture but I think your peace of mind is more important.
In my opinion, I was the perfect daughter. I had faced something tumultuous in my undergrad but I persevered. I didn’t really have a real boyfriend until I was 30 years (I am 31 now). I followed all the rules, heck! I was a choir director at my church for 4 years. I was the praise and worship leader at some point. I was humble, thoughtful, and respectful. I was meticulous to make sure I did not bring shame to my family.
I thought home was supposed to be an incubator of positive minds and energy. My home environment from 2012-2019 turned out to be a nightmare. It has always been a nightmare, but last year took the blindfold from my eyes. Jesus, Nigerian, and Therapy is my journey to heal from all the negativity 2012-2019 brought my way.
I love Jesus. I have always had a soft spot for God from an incredibly young age. I took my relationship with God more seriously in my High School years. I would spend days fasting and praying for days. I would post bible verses all over my side of the wall when I shared a room with my immediate older sister. I didn’t do these things so I would be viewed differently by my parents or family members. I honestly took my relationship with God to another level.
I remember when I started my period (menstrual cycle) and my mother told me “don’t play with boys” that was her failed attempt in teaching me about the birds and the bees. From that point onward, my mother has had an interesting relationship with my stomach. Huh? Exactly. You heard me, my stomach or abdominal area. I remember one faithful Sunday wearing an outfit and going to ask my mother what she thought about the outfit. She had nothing to say yet, proceeded to lift my shirt to look at my stomach. She could not find what she was looking for there. She proceeded to look at my breast. I did not understand what this meant until I got older.
For my non-Nigerian Readers, most Nigerian mother’s biggest fear is their daughter getting pregnant out of wedlock. I cannot remember what year I started my period. From the time I started my period till 2019, my mother had suspected me of per-marital pregnancy.
Mind you, I did not get my first boyfriend still I was 30 years old. Jesus, Nigerian, and Therapy is a journey I should have embarked on years ago. The worse part my mothers’ suspicion was that she brought it to church. With my eyes closed, hands raised high, I would open my eyes to my very observant mother eyes’ wide open and looking at my abdomen. I was not a flat belly kind of chick which made matters worse.
I did everything right. I graduated undergrad. I worked. I paid my bills religiously. I contributed to the household to the best of my ability. If there were other expectations of me, there were not clearly stated and thus, absolutely none of my business. I put myself in grad school and paid my way through with less than 11,000 in debt even after paying out of states fees. I worked hard to not disgrace my family, yet my good deeds were completely ignored. I was obviously too good to be true which is why someone would open their eyes in the presence of God to scrutinize the size of my belly in Church. In 2019, I completely lost it!
This post is not to make my mother look bad. She was not the only person who was suspicious of my per-marital woes. There were other women in my church who did the same thing. Morale of this post is, it does not matter how good you are, people will put you in whatever bracket they choose to put you in. You must break free and stay true to yourself.
I give you permission to leave any environment that does not foster growth. You must leave any environment that sows negativity when you are trying to stay positive for yourself and your future. I did that. I left for my sanity. I left because I did not want to become a product of a toxic environment. You are a product of your environment if you continue to stay. Your life and future matters. Leave as soon as possible and get yourself a good therapist. This is where the therapy part comes in.
The truth is hurt people hurt others. You must make time to forgive and heal from the negative influences of your environment. Your life is worth it. Please never stop healing..
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever”Psalms 73:26