7 years a Slave,
That’s exactly how it usually appears on attendance sheets, sitting high up, somewhere between the first three rows. I can always tell when the reader had landed on it because they would always squint backwards and peer harder into that line on the sheet as if trying to get the letters to re-arrange themselves into a more readable name.
“Who is…?” “Nikedonishan”? “Nikelodeon”? “Enchadolizard”?
‘That’s me’ — The girl with the funny, hard to pronounce first name, one that’s left many unduly worried that they may have somehow offended me with their sattempt at trying to sound out the first 5 syllables.
Tall, serious-set eyes, friendly smile, athletic build, something East-African in her beauty, lyrical American accent. Most observers quickly note when they size me up fully, and good thing they do, I worked hard for each one of those adjectives.
“She’s funny, I like her” — a conclusion most easily arrive at barely midway into our first conversation.
Raised as the 2nd daughter of a strict disciplinarian father from a military home taught me that there were serious consequences to not being ‘likable’. ‘Papa’, a stockbroker by trade, translated that for me to mean; stellar grades, an endless string of academic badges, my name getting called out at school ceremonies, and ultimately a name tag inscribed with the initials, ‘M.D’ — short for Medical Doctor.
‘Culture’ translated that for me to mean; married by 23yrs and if not at least possess the trappings of wifey material; well-mannered, fluent Igbo, curvy figure ‘8’, excellent cook, perhaps even in line to take up a leadership position in a department of a local church.
‘Peers’ translated that for me to mean; an active social circle with a trailing archive of 1000+ Facebook likes, retweets and Instagram reposts to show for many wild weekend nights out.
And so it was that my living ambition became: ‘Being likable’.
Costly as ambition always is, it demanded sacrifices be made in service of it, and willingly I made them. My fixation on keeping up a well-polished exterior endured at the cost of a well-concealed interior that gradually decayed. An ever-present diplomatic smile hid a face that could just as easily fly into a violent rage when out of the spotlight. The jovial campus head of this or that organization hid a vindictive will that would stop at nothing to get revenge. The playful Sunday School teacher who taught new Christian rhymes to a class of jumpy six-year olds on Sunday mornings, after having been in bed with a man just the night before.
While the world saw much to applaud, God mourned. His heart bleeding out at the scene unfolding before Him. A tragic tale with Him as the protagonist Father whose precious daughter had been sold into slavery of man-made ambition. “Why are they so blind? Can they not see what is happening? What are all these worthless badges of honor they keep mounting to cover this battered soul in need of rescue? How can I let her stand before me on Judgement Day like this? I would lose her forever! Angels! Gather round, rally for me an emergency rescue team. Go and find my Daughter, unleash an all-out attack on those wicked slave-masters and bring her back before her time on earth runs out.”
Today would make it exactly 7 years ago, when Abba intervened. When Abba saved me. Saved me from me. Sexually immoral me. Unforgiving me. Angry me. Impatient me. Greedy me. Envious me. Unfaithful me. Arrogant me.
You ask what’s happened in those 7 years? Well, I’m still a slave. Only with a new slave master — God and His Righteousness. All my old slave masters? Well, they’re still in business. Yelling out commands, every so often to get me to bend a knee again to them. But my loyalties lie elsewhere now. Today, I celebrate my 7yrs as a slave, a slave to God’s Righteousness.
But what about you? If we skip the formal introductions, the contents of your resume, the panels you’ve spoken on, the certificates on your LinkedIn profile, who are you? The answer to that is the you that will stand before God on Judgement Day. Are you ready?
Let’s connect for a conversation, I want to hear your story too.
My contact information is below:
Facebook: Nchedolisa Anammah