From the moment I could think for myself I knew my life wasn’t mine. Even my conception didn’t appear planned and even if it was I know that I wasn’t consulted; I had no say in the matter. Who told them that I wanted to be born? Who told them I wanted to be the fourth and not the first child? So many questions I have for them and my creator even but then we are told not to even think or ask them for fear of ending up in the eternal lake of fire.
Knowing my life is not mine still doesn’t change a thing, although it has its physical boundaries it ends there: all my imaginations, thoughts and fantasies enjoy the liberty I am denied in person.
First and foremost if my life was mine, I would be Nigeria: yes the country, I wouldn’t be just Igbo, I would be all the ethnicities at once: I would eat authentic Amala and Ewedu straight from an old woman’s pot. I would rear cattle with the Fulani cattle-rearers; I would wake up in the morning, clean and eat fresh fish straight from the rivers of Rivers state. I would live among the Calabar people and see if the dog-eating stories I’ve heard about them are true and if so I would eat with them. I would dance with Tivs; I would witness the marriage of an influential Emir’s daughter to an equally wealthy Alhaji’s son. I would visit Sapele and plant yams, cassava, corn and groundnut with Mr Sada the farmer who I remember from my primary school reader. I would visit the excavation sites in Benin from whence beautiful bronze plaques were first discovered and carted away to foreign museums; a true testimony to civilisation and arts. I would visit all thirty six states and engage in whatever festivals they celebrate. I’d be all the greenery, I would be Obudu cattle ranch, I’d be the Sahara and the Niger river that runs through some part of Nigeria, I’d be lake chad I’d be thewarm springs of Ikogosi I’d be Zuma rock, Aso rock and Olumo rock all in one. I’d be Nigeria: the people and the place
If my life was mine I would be a citizen of the world; borders would be a thing of the past to me. I would travel to whatsoever country holds my fancy. I’d begin by eating fresh scallops from Cornwall, id visit the emerald isle listen to traditional folktales and dance to traditional folk songs sung by the locals. I’d choose to become a young girl in Tel-Aviv where I’d attend a bar mitzvah; I’ll listen to readings from the Torah whilst catching the eye of any young man of my fancy. Later that night id kiss him passionately under the starry skies of our Lords country of origin. It would be a whirlwind romance. I’d go backpacking through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore; the entire Asian continent in a nutshell. I would go dancing in Acapulco; I’d eat fresh colourful tortillas made right in front of me on the dimly-lit streets. Id learn to ride a horse bare back in the U.S.A, I’d watch bull fighting in Pamplona Spain, id even become one of the bulls if I so desired; gore a man to death and feel his bones crush beneath me. If my life was mine id be a typical American teenager; one day white the next day black; two sides of the coin. I’d experience and survive a drive-by shooting in queens New York and come back with the scars to prove it. I would then become my white counterpart; id get disvirgined in a borrowed car on my prom night by the boy I’ve had a crush on ‘in like forever…..’ who would probably linger around for a month or two then forget we ever crossed parts. I would then go on to become ?ber rich; you won’t ever see my photos splashed across magazines but my name would be a re-curing entity on the Forbes rich list. I’d be invited to exclusive ski-parties in Aspen in the winter and to Richard Branson’s Necker Islands in the summer where I’d rub shoulders with the crème de la crème of world. At one of such parties I’d cheat on my husband with his business associates yet maintain a straight face the following Monday at a board meeting. Life goes on.
As interesting as all these seem most of all I’d love to end my days in the rice fields of china; looking forward to the joy in simple things: watching the sky to gauge the weather, planting the seeds in their season and stamping on the stalks during harvest time. All the time surrounded by close family and friends amongst whom my death will be felt. What would you do if your life was yours?
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