Today, I would be talking about some things I grew up believing were taboos and ‘unchristianly’; things I thought were automatic tickets to hell.
- Making didi-adimole: thinking about this, I cannot help but wonder how I could even think this. Well, I had never seen my mother make that style of hair. She had never made that style of hair for me or my sister and she made our hair quite often then. Even when we went to the hairdresser’s shop, it was always plain weaving. Therefore, I concluded that it must be one of those things that we just did not do because we wanted to make heaven. Meanwhile, I often admired the style on others and wished to have it done on my hair some day. The day came when our hairdresser asked if I would like to have it done and you need to have experienced the combination of surprise, joy and realization when my mom said, “of course, you can”.
- Using brown powder: So, for a long time, I only remember using dusting powder on my face. I remember the stinging, peppery feel it would leave on my face and the irresistible urge to sneeze repeatedly for a while. When we finally moved on to ponds, it seemed like the highest upgrade we would ever get to. Brown powder? Yeah, not happening. Meanwhile, white powders always made my face… you know… white!!!
- Lip Gloss: it was vaseline, vaseline, vaseline. That was the moisturizer for our lips, dry or not, peeling or not. It was really a wawu moment when I handled and used my own lip gloss for the very first time. I could almost dance for joy.
- Heels: even my sandals had no right to be too off the ground, else, I would feel like I was building the tower of Babel, again. It was until later on I knew it was because of our height and maybe a fear of tripping and being laughed at. (I am still wary of heels and I have added the medical consequences of subjecting your feet and legs to heels as another reason not to wear them.)
- Hair extensions: I never had to worry about this because we got long hair from my dad’s side and we did not see what was ever going to change that. Fast forward to two semesters of 100 level university life without making my hair and baldness was staring me in the face. I was not having time to or resources to make my hair every week or two and continuous combing had cut off my long hair. I was in need of ‘extensions’; to extend my hair back to their original length or at least above the borders of baldness and to extend the period in between making new hairstyles. It took some talking and discussion with the parents that opting for these hair extensions was not a sign of me going into the world.
- Jeans… for men: I was ever so worried for my brothers that they would never experience the joy and swag of jeans trousers. It was a pain thinking how their already handsome selves would not enjoy the compliment of jeans. The day my first brother came home in jeans trousers and the foundations of the earth remained intact was the day I knew all things are possible.
- Trousers… for ladies: I would be back for this one.
The truth is, many of these things were because I never asked or actually voiced my concerns over their absence in our family. I just grew into the awareness that they were not there. When I started asking these questions and seeking out steps of my own, I am sure my parents were worried some. I am sure if they could, they would still prefer my lip gloss is plain transparent, my use of hair extensions is a once in a blue moon thing and I have nothing to do with jeans skirts or trousers, jeans or not, ever.
Thinking back, there must have been moral, financial and cultural reasons for those perceived taboos and I would like to admit that they shielded us children from all sorts and helped us focus on other things, including figuring out our stance with God.
However, if all my faith and growth in God is based on whether or not I use or do any of the above, then, the truth is, they do not know me well.