A Good Day For Change

First love yourself

My cousin Megan was the most annoying being my eleven years old self had encountered. At six she was a scrawny looking firecracker; at ten a full blown typhoon. Having spent a considerable part of my teenage years in a boarding school far from home, I had to make do with spending short holidays with my extended family. It was on one such visit that I met Megan in her glorious fury.

My Aunt had just been delivered of the cutest baby girl, and requested that I helped babysit; that for me meant sliding out of my comfortable shell and integrating–introversion and babysitting don’t exactly blend well.

Oh I tried. I laboured as much as I could to dwell with these kids, and would have succeeded but for one glitch: my cousin was an imp. She was disrespectful to elders, stubborn, hard headed, hot tempered….she was such a brat. Everyone but her mother lacked patience for her. For some reason being the oldest of the kids at the time, she had a lot of her anger directed towards me. It was puzzling. I hadn’t done a thing to this child, and yet it seemed she despised me for just being present.

During her brawls, she’d yell about how she was in her fathers’ house, and why I needed to go to mine. I hated it. I hated it a lot. But that girl was untouchable, and I detested confrontations–I still do. So I did what came naturally to me: I avoided her like the devil himself, and when she found a way to get on my nerves, I’d laugh because I was hell bent on denying her the pleasure of knowing I was super mad.

This went on for years. On and off. I left secondary school and got into the university and nothing changed. She seemed to get only better at annoying everyone.

One day I went visiting as always. My aunt had requested I come spend the weekend because she needed help around the house.  I had gone from being cousin and babysitter, to big sister, cousin and babysitter. The younger ones would spend the night in my room throughout the duration of my stay, unless their dad intervened. Me, my heart and bed was big enough to accommodate anyone.

During this last visit, I began to notice changes in Megan. She was less contrary, more jovial, carefree, I daresay respectful. It seemed like the imp I knew had grown into a sane woman. The change was surprising.

Whenever I had to cook, she’d come to the kitchen and keep me company without being egged on. You know how it is for us girls, always wanting someone to yell at us to come sit and learn how to cook? Well, I didn’t have to do any of that. And she wasn’t just sitting, she was also helping; pounding when asked to, washing up the dishes and all that. It was all so exciting. I felt like I finally had a cousin.

So after a while I asked her what the secret to this miraculous change was; had someone taken her for a deliverance session? She laughed and said, “My mom called me into her room one night, and told me to be useful to myself. I decided it was time to respect myself”. I was puzzled; couldn’t make sense how the simple words of her mother could have made so much difference, when everyone had talked and yelled for years–including her mom–without any results.

Now that I think about it though, I see that was the most important thing she needed to hear. She had come to a point in her life where she realized that her attitude wasn’t hurting anyone but herself. She understood that literally everyone save her mother had lost hope in ever living to see a different Megan. I’m quite willing to stake my loaf of bread that her mother never stopped praying for her. And when the change came, all it took was an awareness of her shortcomings and a willingness to love and open herself to something different, something new.

And so I watch this blossoming woman child. I listen to her tell me about the boys she likes; prep her for social day at school–hair, dress, make up, the works; guide her through her confusion about her gifts, school choices, her future; take her through her homework and let her tell me how much of an awesome teacher I am. And still every now and again, I look at her and am astounded at the rate of growth and change.

In all of this, I am given a reason to believe more everyday in the ability of people to change. It doesn’t matter if Leopards never change spots, or Zebras never lose their stripes; they were originally designed that way. But people weren’t. We are designed with goodness and love and respect; and no matter how much dirt and filth piles on top of it, it never buries us deep enough that digging our way out is impossible. All we need is a little self awareness, faith, prayers and people who love us to keep our hands steady while we dig.

21 thoughts on “A Good Day For Change

  1. anxiety April 26, 2015 / 2:24 pm

    Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this amazing
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  2. Dewey Wolnik November 23, 2014 / 11:11 pm

    I keep trying to subscribe into the Letters thing, but there’s nowhere to do so! After i sign in, under the MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION url, there’s only my Book Club subscription. How do I add the Letters thing for $5?


  3. hrh7 November 8, 2014 / 12:26 am

    Aww! Lovely ending.


    • uju November 8, 2014 / 5:03 am

      Don’t we love good endings? 🙂

      Thank you.


  4. Great September 21, 2014 / 7:39 pm

    Wow! Is good to be here again. Nice write-up as usual,Uju. Permit me to say that once again,”Nice write-up!”
    I want to say “Change begins with our decision.” Megan decided she had to change and that was the crucial thing that gave birth to the new Megan. The several years of yelling did not do it but her decision inspired by a loving Mum was just enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uju September 22, 2014 / 4:29 pm

      well said, Great.


  5. obasi chidi September 21, 2014 / 12:32 pm

    Like the article,life’s about change.


    • uju September 21, 2014 / 1:37 pm

      Thank you 🙂


  6. livelytwist September 16, 2014 / 7:32 pm

    Teenagers can be like that some times, angry with the world, for what to us seems to be no reason. She finally grew up and realized she was a brat, good! Her mums TLC paid off. Truly, we can dig ourselves out of bad habits . . . with help.


    • uju September 17, 2014 / 12:23 pm

      Hmmm to be a mum with great patience, Timi; that’s some super power I’m still praying for.


  7. olisakwerah September 16, 2014 / 11:34 am

    Yea, u are right. It’s easier to relate with a battle uv fought and won & she’l be able to mentor kiddies that have dat attitude…thanks to her super mom and awesome cuz.

    Well I dunno about the send para…lol…but I sense wit, empathy & humour from ur posts and trust me; People are crazy about that.


    • uju September 17, 2014 / 12:20 pm

      I’m beginning to sound like q drone programmed to say ‘thank you’ all the time.

      Thanks 😀


  8. olisakwerah September 16, 2014 / 7:39 am

    Lol@ ‘most annoying being’ and ‘imp’. Lots of things could have been responsible for the way she was; Environment, Peers, Doting parents etc. Well, like u wrote earlier, change is constant and humans have a higher tendency for positive change. Judging from your story(..jovial, cheerful, helping in the kitchen and making effort to be better), i think she has changed for good. From experience, wild kids often grow into calm and sensible adults (e.g.****a)…..besides, your display of maturity as an 11 year old is laudable.


    • uju September 16, 2014 / 8:49 am

      Nature and Nurture 🙂 Whichever way, I’m glad she’s different; and best of is her reservoir of experience that will enable her handle others who are like her old self.

      Can’t say that ‘laudable’ display of maturity hasn’t come with its price. Today I’m an emotionless control freak (of my environment i mean). People aren’t too crazy about that.


  9. pkboo September 16, 2014 / 5:00 am


    Brings many questions up

    Has she changed?

    Is the old person the fake character and this new one the real Megan?

    Is this about the faith of a mother?

    Just musing….


    • uju September 16, 2014 / 5:15 am

      Has she changed? Tremendously.

      “Is this the fake or real Megan?” I don’t believe I have the answer to that. We are what we make ourselves to be, and this to a large extent is because we are full of so many diverse–and even contradictory–characters. Sometimes we play–or should I say morph into all these different people, before finally settling into ourselves.
      So this could be one of Megan’s ‘shift’–one I won’t deny I love–or it could be where she’s finally settled. What I do believe in is the ability of people to change, in good ways and bad ways, but self transformation is always preceded by self-acceptance.

      “Is this about the faith of a mother?”
      I’ll just let you muse this one out 🙂


  10. ericjbaker September 15, 2014 / 5:38 pm

    You’ve written a lovely piece today. The opening line was great. Who can’t related to that?


    • uju September 15, 2014 / 6:27 pm

      Thank you! 🙂


      • ericjbaker September 15, 2014 / 6:31 pm

        Um, I meant to type “relate” not “related.” Thank you for responding graciously to my nonsensical comment!



      • uju September 16, 2014 / 5:06 am

        Lol I hadn’t even noticed 😀


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