Remembering a conversation with my grandmother; my mom’s mom.
One of my best moments while growing up was visiting my grandmom and staying over at her place just to eat her asa-iwa, asa-akpakpa and ekpang.
She made those specially for me in exchange that I teach her ‘grammar’. On one of those visits, I was seated outside her house and grumbling about the sun/heat.
I kept going on and on in ibibio about how the sun will remove my hair and fry my scalp. She was lying down inside and enjoying the fan while listening to my lamentation.
After she had enough of my grumbling, she loudly asked me “ado eto?” meaning ‘are you a tree?’.
The above phrase is one that is commonplace in my family.
I had one time complained to my mom about this fish seller that cheated me each time I bought from her. My mom asked me one day ‘ado eto, E-girl?’
You see, my grandmother is one person that has taught me how to exercise my agency as a human in all areas of my life. Her quips and witty admonition is one thing that keeps me going. I learnt control from her. I learnt the power of exercising one’s will from her.
Are you a tree?
I did not understand that statement immediately she said it but as she repeated it again, it finally dawned on me that I had a choice to stand up from the sun and go inside where there was a fan and some measure of coolness.
I was not glued or rooted like a tree to that place. Nothing was tying me to that seat outside, but I refused to exercise my power of choice and rather settled to suffer in the heat and grumble.
Daily, I remind myself that I am not a tree. I am not rooted to any situation, especially one that endangers my life, compromises my security and sanity or one that causes some measure of discomfort for me.
I am not tree, I can choose and will choose to walk away from harm, danger and anything/anyone that puts my life at risk.
I am not a tree. I can change and improve where I am, what I do and who I am becoming. (this means that I can learn, unlearn and relearn thereby growing as a person)
I am not a tree. I can decide what I tolerate and what I accomodate. (The tree has no choice but to stay under the sun, the rain, the harshness of the elements and other unsavoury events. That’s why it is a tree but I on the other hand, I am human and one powerful thing is that I can ‘choose what to do in any situation’…)
I am not a tree. I have the ability to make use of my legs, my hands and my brain. My body parts were created for a reason. My legs to move/leap/run etc. My hands to work/create/gather/scatter, etc. My brain to think, strategise and plan. Etc…
And just in addition, one of my favourite bible portion; [For God hath not given us the spirit of fear/timidity/cowardice/indecisiveness; but of power/control, and of love and of a sound mind/wise discretion/instruction/discipline/sound judgement. – 2 Tim 1:7. ]