Head 1 – A Little Girl’s Dream
Hello! My name is Funke Obianuju Neita. I am the only child of my mum (not sure about my dad’s side). My parents divorced at my fifteenth birthday party. Right after the party, Mama and I left for Ghana, but Dad remained in Jamaica.
Mama is Ghanaian and Papa is Jamaican. My parents are obsessed with Nigerian names, hence my preceding names (Funke Obianuju). But I bear my dad’s surname, Neita.
In a nutshell, I’m going to tell you about my single life’s ups and downs. Please refrain from passing judgment on me. You’ve undoubtedly heard that sarcasm is my forte, which some find rather aggravating. Despite having a fantastic personality and the ability to make you laugh your heart out, I rarely smile. Yes, I’m that weird. And it’s fine if you don’t like me. I simply don’t care!
Name: Funke Obianuju Neita
Nationality: Ghanaian / Jamaican
Fun Fact: I dance perfectly with my two left feet.
Every girl envisions her dream wedding as a teenager, donning the beautiful wedding gown and walking down the aisle with the perfect gentleman. It’s one of those images that keeps a goofy smile on her face because it sounds perfect. Like other women, I had fantasized about having four lovely children with my imaginary husband. I won’t lie, it felt incredible. But you realize after a while that what you anticipated years before was just because you hadn’t experienced life in itself.
The African standard for education is to progress from crèche through nursery and, subsequently, to kindergarten. The rhymes and poems, together with the numerical and alphabetical songs, become ingrained in our minds. It’s the stage where we make friends but can’t seem to get their names right. So we pronounce them exactly as they sound. Like telling our parents she’s called ‘Your highness’ instead of Johannes, ‘Hyena’ instead of Helena, or ‘Laundry’ instead of Audrey. The local names, for some reason, seemed to roll easily on our tongues and flowed with freedom from our lips.
Then we get to primary school. Another interesting stage is when a parent hears a child say, “that son of a bitch is two” or “Our Father, who art in heaven, Harold be thy name”; actually, the child is saying, “the sum of which is two” and “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Primary school is also the level where we confidently name our future professions, whether we know the struggles involved or not.
‘I want to be a doctor.’
‘I want to be a lawyer.’
‘I want to be a pilot.’
Every child seemed destined to become either a lawyer, a pilot, or a doctor. Nobody wanted to be a teacher, a caterer, or a chauffeur. Don’t blame us! Our young minds at the time told us that the former was the only respectable and well-paid profession (until we grew up). And those who hated math-related subjects eventually changed their professions without hesitation.
At the time, the class teacher felt as though teaching was a pointless profession. (Don’t get her wrong!) Honestly, it was as if she had to spend hours yelling at the top of her voice to manipulate a class full of diverse personalities. Yet, she was required to maintain her sanity and accept minimal pay at the end of the given term without leave. That was some bullshit!
High school popped up and left in a flash. Parties, sneak-outs, and hangouts, irrelevant relationships with the opposite sex, were a waste of time. It was also the season where some good kids went bad and vice versa.
With the advent of puberty, girls began to notice changes in their bodies and embraced their femininity. For boys, their Adam’s apples got bigger and their voices got deeper, which were a total flex.
And finally, welcome to tertiary life! The liberation from home, obligations, and direct parental or guardian control. You tasted a bit of every aspect of campus life if you were as curious as a cat.
Then you woke up on graduation day. It was either you graduated from a respectable class or one that made you gnash your teeth. Cheers, you graduated!
School is out. Likewise, national service. Now it’s up to you to believe in and declare prophecies about getting a job, or to chase those you feel have the necessary connections to assist you, especially after applying for job vacancies without success. Just a few put their talents or skills to use and called it entrepreneurship or hustle.
The Adulting Life Begins…
Friends begin hurling wedding and baby christening invitations your way. You’re honoured to be the bridesmaid at your friends’ weddings and even end up catching bouquets regularly with the expectation that you’ll be taken soon, but nothing happens. Your folks are beginning to worry when you’re going to bring a man home (including your nosy relatives and neighbours). When you show up to a church function, the pastor’s spiritual eyes spot the demons that are blocking your marital destiny. Days of fasting and praying smack you in the face.
Now it appears that no one is concerned about your unemployment status but that you’re still single and clocking thirty or thirty-five. Another crap!