Easter always brings about a case of Methodist guilt for this liberal Methodist girl. Try as I might to be nonchalant about my faith, I can't escape the years of religious teachings I endured as a child and young adult. I woke up this morning to a few messages from distant family members (I say distant because my immediate family members know me better than to send messages like that ha!) asking me to release them from any wrong doing and it made me think if I were to attempt to do that, we'd be here all year. I mean I'm the person who has 369 people on my block list on Facebook because I'm petty. I'm also the perfect example of an extrovert who hates being around people (I have no choice with my own children because I know I'd get asked to take them back if I tried to palm them off to someone for the day) So does that make me an introverted, extroverted maniac? Probably.
I recently read Trevor Noah's book, Born A Crime where he shares his childhood experiences of growing up as a mixed race child in South Africa during apartheid and after. Whilst it made for hilarious reading, there was also a sad undertone to it all, the hero in this book was his mother. His childhood escapades and lessons he learnt from his mother reminded me of my own mother who more or less dished out similar life lessons. I don't blame my mother one bit, I was that shit kid everyone knew, but I was the youngest in a family of 5 siblings so I knew how to beat the system so to speak. Although the times I did get caught by this crazy Nayauan mother of mine, you can be sure the whole street knew. My primary school experiences is littered with many of these experiences. Take for example my first year of primary school...class1 - who gets in trouble at class 1, you may ask? Me of course. I decided I wanted my classmate Mobina's pencil (which was this fancy ones you could get Superfresh supermarket in Tamavua, that had fruit designs on it - oh did I mention I have the memory of an elephant and remember everything and also I hold grudges like a mofo) so anyway, 6 year old kleptomaniac me decided I would "borrow" not one of the pencils but all six, not to use mind you, oh no that would be the sensible thing to do, just to keep in my pencil case, in my desk for all to see. Mobina of course did what every 6 year old in her position would do and snitched. Before I knew it, the next day her mom was there calling me out for being a thief and all hell broke loose, with Mrs Ravu trying to calm Mobina down and tell her mother to leave the classroom and at the same time get me to return the pencils. I returned the pencils and apologised, as you do, but then I decided to call my mother at her office from the payphone outside the library (with my 20 cents spending meant for my ices) and give an exaggerated account of what happened, which went along the lines of me being swung around the classroom like a helicopter, complete with the crocodile tears too. My mother turned up at the school and demanded to see the teacher (because my mother was a crazy Fijian mother who didn't have time to be dealing with this shit) and got the teacher to tell her exactly what happened... and as you guessed it I got the hiding of my life in front of my new class, all this in the space of the first week of school. That shit hurt. LOL.
In one of the chapters, Trevor Noah wrote that each time he got in trouble he used to tell himself he wouldn't do it again and in the very next instance would find himself doing the exact same thing again. I was constantly scream laughing throughout the book because I could relate on so many levels. There's a part where he describes how his mother threw a vase at him and he catches it to put it down safely because he knew if that vase broke, he'd get a beating for that in addition for whatever naughty act he had done. I'm sure a lot of Fijians my age can relate to this, I certainly can. In fact I've even reenacted the scene in the movie Apocalypto where they are told they can go free by the sun worshipping Mayans but they had to run through this field, one of the main characters is shot in the back by an arrow and falls down spread-eagled on his stomach - that character was me. My own reenaction of this scene came about after one of my usual ill-thought out stunts. My mother telling me about three times to clean my dishes, at which point she gets her hands on the infamous taufale that everyone owns in Fiji and (I kid you not) takes an Olympian javelin athlete stance and launches this broom at me, my life passed before my eyes in slow motion and the only options I could take were - run or run... so I turned and ran, but not before the handle of the taufale hit me squarely in the small of my back and had me falling forward like the character in Apocalypto. Did I lie there and cry, oh hell naw! I picked that broom up, handed it back to her and ran around that crazy woman like I was Usain Bolt in the making. I tell my kids these stories and while I'm telling them I'm usually dying of laughter, which is strange for them because here they are growing up in a totally different time and also I'd get locked up if I ever tried any of these stunts with my children ha!
I find myself talking about my mother a lot more nowadays, sometimes the memories are funny, sometimes sad, sometimes angry because as a parent today I sort of try to reason why she chose to deal with certain situations the way she did, which is unfair because I also know how much more there is to parenting then just making snap decisions. For all the hilarious and painful life lessons I received, there are more happier memories also that I remember fondly. Like how my mother introduced me to the library at the age of 4, she nurtured my love of reading and writing and for that I am forever grateful. My mother also knew the importance of learning to do things on my own as she herself learnt when she was a young child of aged 10 and had to take on parental responsibilities when her mother died shortly after giving birth to her youngest sibling. She taught me how to make a lovo because we were predominantly a family of girls, my brother being the eldest and only boy in the family so making lovo the perfect Nayauan way was law in our house. She taught me that having an opinion was one thing but being able to follow through with actions was much more important because empty vessels make the most noise... this was her favourite line to use whenever my inquisitive questions got too much for her. My mother also taught me that what people thought of me in conversations that didn't include me was none of my business and I shouldn't worry too much because God had a way of looking out for his faithful servants, she would then slide in a, "And you need to go to church because it's one thing saying you live by faith, it's another actually practising it." Touche Na... TOU ALL THE CHE'S!
I started out this post wanting to make light of the whole Easter experience, because I'm a wayward liberal Methodist who is trying to justify my non-church attending ways by making a joke of everything but it's somehow turned into a post reminding me of lessons I've learnt through my crazy mother. There’s so much more I could share about her that would probably leave you all crying from laughter as much as I do but for now I wish you a Happy Easter and a blessed weekend.
Much love & light,