Breaking Point! – An Article

Roses have thorns...A loved one fell into a state of depression right after the holidays. I had expected her to look rested, radiant, not moody and morose. She quickly explained that her husband is one of those men who insist on a trip to the village at the end of each year (sometimes by road; to save costs) rather than enjoy a relaxing time in their tasteful Lagos duplex. For ‘Oga and sons’ such trips are an adventure (a chance to catch up with kit and kin, attend Igba-Nkwus, sample freshly tapped palm wine, watch young maidens dance…).

For the woman however, the stint means two whole weeks in the village cooking local delicacies faster than the stream of traditional chiefs, distant cousins and peasant children can eat them (house-helps and electronic appliances are often redundant at this time of year, so God help the woman who can’t roll up her sleeves and make fufu the old fashioned way). And what’s worse, the children are too little to assist without making a mess of things and dear hubby dared not lift a finger while his relatives were about – for fear of being labelled ‘woman wrapper’.

Idowu also ‘snapped’ during the holidays. It was his wife who found him slumped on the bathroom floor that fateful morning and raised frantic alarm. He was only fifty three. Yet he was dead. Throttled by high blood pressure on Boxing Day because the bills mounted every day his father-in-law’s corpse remained unclaimed at the morgue. Not to mention house-keeping allowance and the children’s school fees due, without fail, on the first week of January. “Why, God why?” His widow wailed. “Why? Oh, Why?” The children gathered around their mother, eyes wide as frying pans, heart pounding in their throats, the future uncertain.

I empathise so well because I also reached breaking point over the holidays. Like many Nigerians I cringed when word broke out that 23 year old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had been arrested for attempting to detonate a bomb aboard a U.S aircraft. Thankfully his concerned father had alerted the authorities earlier on and no innocent lives were lost in the botched terrorist attack. However, ‘for a moment’, whatever was left of my optimism about Nigeria, was lost. Indeed the swagger was knocked out of our stride, the hopeful smile wiped off our faces in one cruel swipe. When you’re nearly fifty and still waiting for your big break, still trying desperately to turn a corner, all hope seems lost when something like this happens – without warning for that matter.

Still, where there is life there is great opportunity. And often ‘breaking point’ is a good place to be because when we’re pressed to the wall we realise that we can’t stick our heads in the sand anymore, that we can’t rear sacred cows any longer. It’s time to stand up and be counted, time to rise up and fight for our future with every ounce of strength left inside of us. They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. But it can also teach us the valuable lessons we should have learnt a long-long time ago.

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Ọgọ Ogbata is the author of the novel titled Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman.

About the New Novel:

Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman is the story of a young girl who metamorphosises into a woman of great courage when a series of mysterious circumstances befall her family, juxtaposed with the evolution of the country she loves but doesn’t understand.

To see excerpts, photos, author interviews and more about this exciting debut novel, please visit: www.elpwoman.com

Collector’s hardcover edition of the new novel is available at Amazon. CLICK HERE to get yours now.

11 Comments on Breaking Point! – An Article
  • Julia January 8, 2010 at 12:18 am

    I will buy this book as here is a really good writer who can captivate your attention.

  • Favoured Girl January 8, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Nice article. I feel bad for the woman who lost her husband, what a sad story. I hope she finds the strength to pick herself up and work things out for her and her children.
    I wonder if the first woman knew what she signed up for when she got married…

  • vickky January 8, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    IThe ve been in the shoes of the first woman. only thing is, this year i lost my dad and had planned to spend christmas with my mom. hubby disapproved but didnt openly disagree. and what was i to do with my kids? take them or leave them with oga? well, i didnt get my leave approved so i didnt travel.
    we also sat and discussed the kids schoolfees which put paid to the villa trip. that was a wise decision in retrospect. the downside……….i was on duty on both christmas and new years days .

  • Olivia January 9, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Nice writing style…willl look out for the book. The whole ‘cook till you drop at xmas time in the village’ has a cure. The solution is to find one of those big ‘aunties’ (as in very good cook) and take them with you. Pay them very well and treat them with respect and you will get your money’s worth!!!!
    They stay in the background doing all the cooking and you are in the forefront looking pretty and dishing out the delicacies….lol Everybody wins and get celebrated as a stress free hostess par excellence!!! C’mon ladies, you have to apply your degree with wisdom. Life can either be fun or plagued with problems….

  • Nneka January 9, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Do you still run your blogs FG?…

    To Ogo: A really nice read. I feel a little guilty though. I just realized how disconnected I have become from certain ‘traditional’ expectations women endure….This article reminds me of my mother. I never understoof why she called those trips home holidays. She just never sat down; from attending to numerous guests to some other chore. I have never pictured myself in those shoes. Blame civilization and the increasing availability of nannies and maids.
    More power to the African woman.

  • Ada January 9, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Cool, article. Which way Nigeria??

  • RedHot~ January 10, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Just ordered my copy of your book off Amazon…Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping the whole book is going to be as good as the excerpts. Does the autographed copy cost more than the regular one?

  • dupe balogun. January 10, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    a big one dear. being a woman is a delicate n large responsibility. thanx 4 waking the tots of womanhood.

  • Jay January 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    The whole Xmas celebration is unnecessary IMHO. I don’t know why people want to kill themselves every year.

  • Myne Whitman January 13, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Ogoo’s book i s really good, still reading it though…

  • IDOWU OLUWAFEMI SAMSON April 6, 2010 at 11:25 am

    WE ALL LOVE YOU 9NICE, BUT NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS BREAK UP, I WISH YOU KNOW AND UNDESTAND THE FACT WHY GOD MAKE US TO BE HUMAN BEING, IT IS FOR US TO SEE AND OVERCOME CHALANGES LIKE THIS , THIS BREAK UP CAN STILL BE MAKE UP, IF YOU CAN READ AND UNDERSTAND WHAT THE BIBLE HAVE SAID BEFORE YOU AND I WERE BORN, 1 CONRITHIANS 13 .4 ,(WHAT LOVE IS ?)AND AFTER THAT GO BACK TO SEE EVERY WORDS YOU SAID IN YOUR SONG (WEDDING DAY), THIS KEEP ME GROWING IN MY RELATIONSHIP,

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