I am Mother. Well, not exactly. I guess what I am trying to say is that we are similar in such a way that it becomes difficult to tell where one starts and the other ends. Like the way our eyes crease when we laugh, or how our noses flare up; a tell-tale of anger. Sometimes I struggle to see myself in her yet she is a perfect embodiment of everything I am, was, and will ever be.


I am not Mother. I say this to myself scrubbing the back of our charcoal pot. I will not pretend to be calm as anger reverberates through my very being for fear of being called an angry black woman. I refuse to pander to beliefs and ideologies that require me to shrink myself subconsciously to fit into a box made solely for me. A box that says you can dream but don’t aim too high.


I feel that she can sense this unbecoming that has begun to unravel in me. The silent fear in her eyes when I rebel against the that’s how it has always been argument. The way she softens her voice to rebuke me when Papa and I engage in our shouting match which has become incessant these days.


Mother knows best or so I thought until I realized that in this thing called life, she’s just a girl winging it and hoping that things fall into place. I guess that’s what makes it easier to forgive her these days especially when I think of that young girl from Ije in a world that’s either or and never both.


Mother is kind to a fault. Her lack of boundaries when it comes to giving might be her undoing one day. I am learning to get used to saying No. No in a way that bounces off the walls and echoes in the room for fear that it might be taken as a suggestion to try harder.


Yet in so many ways, I am Mother. I am the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. I carry within me a generation of women who have struggled and fought for me to be here. I am my mother, my mother’s mother, and hers before that. I am an autobiography of stories, history, sorrows, tears, and pain all wrapped in one like a little ball of yarn. 

I am Mother.

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Pencilmarks and Scribbles Magazine was founded in 2017 by Clara Jack to be a home for African writers, asking them to come as they are and giving them room for growth. The publication aims to give back to the Nigerian Literary scene for the things it has given us.