Essays, issue 4: dec 2015
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Untitled by Oyinda

In the Christian tradition, for a woman, it is to wait to be called forth and to answer rather than speak of your own accord. In the Christian tradition, what I was taught at my church, the woman must not sit at the front row in case the pastor’s eyes wander. Of course! The pastor is and remains the man who stands on the pinnacle of Mount Pious, praying and feverishly waiting for the woman to tempt and seduce and dirty. To aid his fall from grace.

God is a man.  I refuse to believe but I say it anyway. Once he told me that we are tiny Gods, but I lie because he really told the boy sitting next to me. My mother and my aunt both say that it is tradition for the woman to cook, and the man to never ask for food. My father cooks and my aunt says my mother was lucky to find a man like my father. If tradition was not respect is equal to silence, I would ask my aunt why. Why she did not demand my uncle to learn a skill needed to survive.

I’ve cried more times on a Sunday than on any other day. The lady I respected more than any man in my church stood up and said that love was intended for Man and Woman. The lady I respected said that any other love was a sin. In the bathroom, a woman rubbed my back and said if I needed anyone to talk to, she was here. I left and I laughed for a long while. Tradition is painful to uphold when your heart belongs outside the box. I laughed because I knew she would rub my back, then leave and hold a prayer meeting asking the Lord God, our Saviour to save my poor soul. I knew that she would ask the dear and comforting Holy Spirit to whisper bible verses in my ears at night, to lead me away from the flames.

I hate and I despise tradition. In all my life, I have seen tradition coerce people into doing what they don’t want.

The shame! The fear! The disrespect!

It’s all implied when you choose to separate yourself from a tradition. It stops you from looking inside and asking yourself if this actually what you want. Sometimes tradition is buried so deep within you, you see no other option as viable. If I could, I would kneel in front of the Goddess who rules my head and my heart and ask for a choice not coated in guilt. Then I could taste freedom without stepping back inside the box to please others who aren’t myself.



Oyinda is a 16 year old Nigerian girl living in London, England. She is a writer and part of Sula Collective’s staff. You can find her on tumblr and instagram

Illustration by Van Hong (website).

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