by Abidemi Johnson
I’m referred to as many things by different people, ‘girl’ ‘lady’ ‘woman’ ‘madam’ (I hate that one, someone please tell my boss!). That’s not all, there’s ‘babe and babes’ (I don’t understand why one babe is referred to as ‘babes’, perhaps it’s not an English word), then of course ‘chic’. Chic? Seriously! There’s just something off about that – I have even seen it spelt as ‘chick’ and that’s not me trying to be funny.
Then the more offensive ones ‘Lepa’ (and I have to answer with a smile, otherwise I’m rude), but that doesn’t even beat what my sisters on the other side of the scale are called. ‘Sisi’ (there’s no smile for that one, rude or not), I could go on, but then my blood would get unnecessarily hot or my tongue twisted because there are some you need an accent for, like the ‘baby’ from an Ibo man or the one I heard once ‘Okere’, apparently the Yoruba word for Squirrel.
The creation story in the Bible is one of my favorites, and I’m a natural amebo – or professionally put, an inquisitive, curious seeker of knowledge with an innate desire to understand theories, principles and history (it’s easier to say amebo). The story explains how the world was created, how the human race came to be, it’s purpose, its authority and its components; Male and Female “He created them, Male and Female”. So then, why am I never referred to as female?
Maybe I’ve made a point, but that’s the least.
Today, I, a young female, stand at the window of my room and what I see is unfamiliar. It’s the same white house, black gate, brown and green tree and even the same people I see from the window everyday (not exactly the view from the top of the Eiffel tower, but a view all the same). However, today its different, the view is the same but the world is different.
It’s not the world I used to know – with love that made you believe that Snow White really did live in the 18th century, peace that felt as real as the smell of a white rose and hope that was easy to have because the future still seemed far away. The music, movies and art made you go to bed with a smile on your face and the ‘baddest’ man on TV was Angel Eyes in ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’. The world wasn’t perfect, Nigeria wasn’t perfect, my life wasn’t perfect, but it was good.
Today is different, almost scary but fear is not allowed in the heart that must go far, so let’s just say ‘almost scary’. How did things get to this point? The point where people talk about bombs, violence and death over breakfast just before someone interrupts with the scores of last night’s premier league match. There’s domestic violence, ethnic violence, political violence, religious violence – so much violence that I now almost have a phobia for the letter ‘V’… Yet, life must go on.
I’m a young female yearning for peace, laughter and good news. Can I not pick a national daily and drop it with a smile on my face, with peace in my heart and hope for the future? My friends say ‘Abby, if it bothers you so much, why read the papers?” they forget that I’m an amebo or preferably an inquisitive, curious blah blah blah.
What were the words of the proud father of an adorable one year old boy? He said “I did my son a disservice by bringing him into a world as crazy as this and now I have to fight hardest to stay alive because I need to protect him”. Are those words exaggerated and unnecessary or are they the words of a mother who fears when her son is being posted out of home to serve his country, or a father who is about to give his only daughter away to a man he saw for the first time twelve months ago?
Well, my pastor says “trust in God and He’ll give you peace and joy” and indeed He does, or how else do I wake up every morning and find a smile on my face in spite of it all? How else do I stand at this window and see the bright shining stars over the heads of men and the moon in its grandeur, how else do I have so much hope for a better world with love, peace and unimaginable joy…how else!
I’ve been called many things, but tonight, I stand at my window and I call myself a young female, a young female with hope for a better world.