|By essaygrl on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 04:57 pm: Edit|
“Ten Little Nigerians Sitting Pretty In A Row--And Then There Were None When Clock Struck One.”
I never thought that I would ever write about my heritage. Although, it is very important to me, and I do thank God for “placing” me in the family that I have come to revere and love deeply. But as I reflect on my family’s beliefs, I realize that success is far more important than following one’s dream.
I love being Nigerian-American, really I do. Yet I feel as I don’t belong, like I don’t fit in. And I want to, so desperately-- but my ideals and perceptions of life are far too outlandish for my family to understand. I want to be a writer--and they can’t understand why. My mother still wants me to be a Pediatric Neurosurgeon just like Dr. Ben Carson, one of my former childhood heroes.
“Think Big, like Ben, and you’ll get somewhere in life,” she said to me once. I looked at her, still surprised that she hasn’t absorbed the fact that I want to write for a living.
“But if I write like Chinua Achebe, then would you accept me becoming a writer,” I retorted. Then she smiled. She loves Chinua Achebe. All Nigerians love Chinua Achebe.
“He is the greatest writer of all time, XXXXX. Things Fall Apart is the greatest book of all time. He makes me proud to be an Igbo woman.” I soon begin to hate myself for bringing up Mr. Achebe and his wonderful novel in our tête-à-tête. My mother knows everything about him and his books. But she loves Things the best. All Nigerians love Things the best. She starts rattling off about the characters, the plot, the diction, the syntax, and the British. Then she begins speaking in Igbo, knowing damn well that I can barely understand a word of it. The sound of her shrill Igbo accent engulfed every little thought I have. Obviously, she appreciates good literature, but she still can’t accept the fact that I want to write some good literature myself. She wants me to become a doctor and live a nice, comfortable, upper-middle class, black yuppie life. She doesn’t want me to struggle like she has, trying to raise my siblings and me by herself. She also knows that writing has become a great passion of mine for the last couple of months. She only wants me to succeed in life by having a secure job.
Soon writing began to consume my WHOLE life and it scared the living hell not only of my mother but my relatives as well. They couldn’t fathom why I, “Smart XXXXX,” would choose such a “risky” occupation. Nigerians, especially the Igbo, aren’t risk-takers. They like to live the “good life” and are able to work very hard achieve their goals, but when it comes to taking a risk; they chicken out. All of my Igbo friends attend the best universities in the nation to become successful and please their parents. But I want to break from that circle, I want to prevail my own way.
As a young child, I was groomed to become either a doctor, lawyer, engineer or a business woman-- as “the risk” career. So when I told them I wanted to become a writer; it was like I gave them a swift kick in the arse. One night, My mother and I went to some party when we encountered a few of my uncles, the D.L.E’s, (Doctors, Lawyers, and Engineers) I affectionately call them. They weren’t really my blood uncles, but Nigerians are big on the theme, “respect your elders or else.” So one must call a person who is older Auntie or Uncle to show respect. But I cared for the D.L.E.’s greatly and thought they would understand my “chosen” profession.
“I thought you wanted to become a doctor, XXXXX,” my Uncle Amara, the engineer, said to me. His voice sounded oh-too reserved. I liked joking around with the D.L.E.’s, but it wasn’t the time.
“No, I want to be a writer now, besides if you saw my math and sciences grades; you’d understand why I changed my mind,” I spoke. I decided to pull in a last minute joke to warm them up to the idea, but they weren’t laughing, so I became really scared.
“But your mother is struggling to take care of you, and now, you want to become a writer. Don’t you know that they don’t make any money!” Uncle Emeka, the doctor, ejaculated.
“See, that’s not a problem. I want to become a screenwriter and they make a lot of money!” All of the sudden, all color from their wonderful faces disappeared. They became ashen-white even their lips. I never thought black people could become so pale; I was REALLY scared for my life.
“XXXXX, I t-thought you w-were smart. Y-You can’t b-become a S-S-SCREENWRITER!!!!!” Roared my Uncle Uche, the lawyer. He was stuttering and when Nigerians, especially the Igbo, stutter, one knows the sun isn’t going to rise again.
“Uncles,” I appeased. “I suck in science and I really suck at math. I can’t become a doctor. Please don’t be angry at me.”
“Okay,” they said, becoming much more understanding. “But you are still going to Yale, right?” I sighed. I know they care about my future. Like my mother, they want me to succeed, but can’t accept the fact that I could still succeed as a screenwriter.
“Guys,” I whispered. “Please don’t be mad, but I really wanna go to XXXX.” They were really steamed now. Their faces were red and large puffs of smoke were coming out from their ears, too.
“XXXXX is a horrible school. It’s dirty and the people look crazy. New York is dangerous altogether.” Uncle Uche stated. I was really irritated now. They were bad-mouthing “my school,” the place I knew I would be happiest after I graduated from high school.
“Well, if you guys can’t accept me becoming a writer or going to XXXXX, if I get accepted. Then the hell with you and Yale!” I got slapped in the face right then and there by all three of them. The other party guests didn’t seem to mind the ruckus, they were laughing the whole time. Even my mother slapped me in the face and in front of the guests too. She was embarrassed. Nigerians don’t like to be embarrassed.
See, Nigerians have big dreams for themselves. I also have big dreams for myself as well. But I am also a realist. I know I wouldn’t be accepted at Yale. I simply don’t have the grades or the board scores. Yet, I want to go to XXXX and major in dramatic writing, a university just as competitive. It’s my dream-- a dream I must accomplish before I reach the ripe, old age of a hundred and two. It’s situations like these that bring me back to “Igboland.” Even though my passions of becoming a writer are a little too extreme for my relatives to understand; we all share a passion inside of us. We all want to attain that one special goal that will make us “somebody” in life. That is why success is so important in the Nigerian culture.
I want my mother to understand that I will be successful as a screenwriter. I don’t want her to worry, but continues to. I wouldn’t be happy as a doctor or a lawyer; it’s now my calling. My calling is to write whether I attend XXXX or not. I know in time my mother will expect my calling. I just have my dreams and writing to comfort me before she does.
|By Tim (Tim) on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 05:24 pm: Edit|
You want to go to NYU?
|By ElSapient on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 08:52 pm: Edit|
OK, here's a hint: don't ever use the word 'ejaculated' in a formal piece of writing. I know it has a variety of definitions, but still. Just get a thesaurus. There are plenty of alternatives.
BTW, I didn't actually read the essay, it's just that the word mentioned above stuck out like a sore thumb.
|By essaygrl on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 09:08 pm: Edit|
i changed it after i sent it in.
|By Adrasteia on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 10:13 pm: Edit|
I'm not sure if the style that you're going for is supposed to be overly simplistic or something, but that's what the writing seems like to me. It's clear and it gets the meaning across, but if it's about you wanting to be a writer, it might not be the best approach.
|By smiles on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 10:29 pm: Edit|
Err...it's a bit slang-y. I wouldn't use 'suck' or cursing in a college admissions essay-or at least not use it casually. It would be for effect. I wouldn't say 'I suck at math/science' either-you might say you don't enjoy them as much, they don't peak your curiousity, etc. Or better yet make it positive by saying that English is your best subject. I second Elsapient about the 'ejaculated' thing. Also, and this might just be me, but every time you say 'Nigerians this' and 'Nigerians that' I cringe at the generalization. One last thing-make sure you're within the word limit (the Common App word limit is 500).
|By cookie on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 10:40 pm: Edit|
That's why it's not my college essay...
|By cookie on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 10:49 pm: Edit|
i am gay
|By cookie on Friday, January 31, 2003 - 10:51 pm: Edit|
The 10:40 and 10:49pm posts were not written by me.
|By asdf1234 on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 10:46 am: Edit|
please post where you got into...it will be interesting
|By qwe on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 04:51 pm: Edit|
umm, everywhere, because she is black?
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