My story: life is a journey

By Drum Digital
24 November 2010

They say who you are has a lot to do with where you come from, both geographically and biologically. When I turned 21 I thought I had a pretty good idea of who I was and where I was going in life. I was the eldest of three daughters born to a mom and dad who lived under the same roof. They’d been together since they met. Okay, maybe not from the very first day they met, but for pretty much most of my childhood.

My family seemed pretty normal compared to other families I knew. I’m ashamed to say that I used to feel pity for all the people I knew who grew up in single-parent or step-parent households. It seemed that growing up was hard enough without having to deal with a broken family, extra siblings or a step-parent.

So considering how high-and-mighty I felt, imagine the shock I got when at the age of 22 I was hit with the news that the man I’d been calling “Dad” for as long as I could remember wasn’t in fact my biological father.

A week before my umemulo, my mother and aunt said they wanted to talk to me in my bedroom. I was surprised and wasn’t sure what to make of it but I certainly never expected what was to come.

They told me they had made the decision to withhold this information from me before because they felt it was the best thing to do at the time. When I think about it now, it still doesn’t make sense to me.

Why would they keep the truth from me?

At first I thought I wasn’t really too fazed by the news. I didn’t think that having a different father would have any impact on my life. After all, I thought that the father who raised me did a great job and that there was no need to suddenly make way for a new man to take over the role. But as the months crept by the cracks in my self-confidence started to show. I was no longer sure of who I was or who I thought I was.

Childhood memories and personality clashes with the man I thought was my father started to make sense. But did this mean that I wasn’t the person I thought I was? I felt confused and unsure of myself. It seemed like I was starting to unravel from the inside out and I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

For weeks my mother kept asking if I was willing to meet my biological father. Then a family gathering presented me with the opportunity to do just that.

The man who stood before me was a total stranger. I couldn’t see myself in his face or his mannerisms. he was a short, round man with a dark complexion. his height seemed to be the only thing we had in common.

He came across as a bit pompous and somewhat arrogant about the material things he had, but I admit to making these assumptions at face value. I hadn’t spent any time with him, so what made me think I knew who he was? Our first encounter was rather boring, actually. It was my cousin’s unveiling and we didn’t get much chance to talk. I didn’t have much to say anyway, and if he did I didn’t give him the chance to say it.

Read the full article in DRUM of 2 December 2010

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