Why Personal Relationships Can Survive Polarizing Differences In Opinion
When you spend more time with family members, you can either grow to hate or love them. In my case, as the aging process continues to manifest with dictated consequences that aren’t nearly as bad they could be, I decided to move closer to my parents.
This was borne out of the realization that starting from the age of eleven, when being sent away to boarding school (thanks to British colonialism) was mandatory, I was essentially out of the house for most of my childhood.
And when it was time for college, I made my long-awaited exit for the land of my birth, thousands of miles away. Back then we were solely reliant on phone cards, home-based telephones and crappy long-distance service. And those elements combined made it challenging to stay connected with reasonable frequency.
Yes, there were scheduled visits with me flying back to Lagos, and mother touching down in New York City with my youngest brother in tow. But those routine checkups were not nearly enough to fully catch up on what makes each of us tick.
Growing up in a Christian household educated me on the basics of what was acceptable behavior in the eyes of the Lord, and my religious parents never allowed us to miss Sunday service.
As the only daughter, the expectations were higher when it came to abstaining from anything that could be remotely categorized as scandalous.
My mom and I never had the “sex talk,” but it was understood that such an act outside of the bed that I share with my husband would be nothing short of blasphemous.
As a born-again Christian and staunch believer of the immeasurable love and sacrifice that Jesus Christ exhibited for the sake of preserving my right to a sinless existence, my role was to constantly disinfect my soul against the polluted properties that could threaten my prized entry into heaven.
Fast forward to the present, and I’m quite certain that based on the track record that showcases my vibrantly complex journey thus far, including the adult decision to refrain from the laziness of blind faith in a God that I seriously question, there’s no doubt that my present disposition will alienate me from disapproving family members.
The British really did a number on us!
Aside from succeeding in the quest to weaponize religion for the end result of permanently destabilizing Nigeria’s ability to recover from the epic season of abuse and economic thievery, we were also taught the practice of self-hate in its most paralyzing forms.
It’s no secret that former colonial territories have formed a scathing union that sadly enriches devious European-based cosmetic companies, that log in eye-popping annual profits from exporting deadly skin bleaching creams to booming markets with Black and Brown consumers.
The Church of England, founded by a gluttonous murderer, King Henry VIII, who wanted to divorce his mistreated wife and marry the mistress he ended up beheading, is traitorously responsible for the warped principles of “decent living,” that still permeates the culture in most Nigerian households that recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
There are varying degrees of blatant ignorance, but for the most part the crux of those beliefs are solidly focused on the exact methods of dehumanization that were directed at the Black brutes who were violently invaded by the weaponry of white supremacy.
White British soldiers and equally ambitious wives introduced Almighty God to their Black captives as an apparently selfish asshole, who demands what can never be achieved from his flock of brainwashed shepherds.
You can’t help but wonder how much more tolerant and humane we would’ve been if Christianity hadn’t willfully erased the precious statutes of our primal beings.
During this chaotic political season that’s getting everyone fired up and inherently nasty with assistance of extremes, I have been exposed to the unfiltered views of my loving parents, who never hold back jarring criticisms that can be both justified and foul.
The stark differences in our personalized assessments makes it hard to conceive of the reality that I was groomed in their care. And it’s definitely an ode to how children eventually become empowered adults with the privilege of formulating opinions, based on accumulated experiences that are shaped outside parental guidance.
We don’t see eye-to-eye on equality for all, specifically when it involves communities that are readily dismissed as glaring candidates for the hell fire that awaits.
The sacred right for women to choose what they want to do with their own bodies without government or religious interference is also a tricky conversation that never began because my defeat is guaranteed.
And by the way, I’ve never been queried about my past when it comes to whether or not I was ever tasked with making life-altering choices like the one at the forefront of national debates, because the assumptions of both my parents automatically kill those curiosities.
There are other major issues that hit close to home, and through the comments that are casually shared for better or worse, it’s abundantly clear that I know my parents more than they know me.
It’s no surprise that some of my distant relatives and a handful of family friends are vocally supportive of Donald Trump. Somehow the national crusade that heralds the saintly anointing of a pompous terrorizer’s tragic ascension has evolved into a global tyranny.
I am however happy to report that the two people who created me haven’t let me down with the inexplicable allegiance to a destructive, incompetent shit starter.
Their problematic adherence to the deceiving mechanisms of Christianity that limits the scope of humanness without prejudice or harsh judgments was instituted by white missionaries, wielding bibles in exchange for the lifelong supply of our invaluable resources.
My parents’ generation got it the worst, and while it’s no excuse, there’s no way to downplay the long-lasting effects of those staged attacks on impressionable minds, during the historic period of domestic strife.
The analysis of culture and politics at home can be civil and non-confrontational because that’s the way it has to be. Also, maturity has armed me with the capabilities that were missing when I was much younger and feistier, even when certain occasions couldn’t stand the level of passion.
If my parents were my besties, there would be the need for an agreed separation that allows for the possibility of meeting halfway in the future, but that option doesn’t apply here.
I have to respect that we have polarizing differences in opinion and still love them exactly the way they are. They obviously raised me to be an independent thinker, although they never imagined I would take it this far.
Maybe one day I will wrestle the bible out of their hands and watch them struggle to thrive without the misused shield that misrepresents what’s holy and true.
But for now, it’s all about love and understanding with the required interjections that may still sink in because you can’t give up hope on the ones you won’t live without.
I guess I’m thinking about other families during this national crisis, and wondering if those coping mechanisms are working.
Survival of the fittest is the goal, and while it’s beyond exhausting, it’s worth the fight.