Tessism Returns to Nigeria

In the 30 years since I had left Nigeria, I had grown to believe that the longer you stay away from the land of your birth, the more ghost-like you become.  With my father’s passing, I finally got the chance to test that theory.

Traveling back under those circumstances has been surreal.  I promised myself that I would keep my eyes wide open and my judgment at bay.  I have definitely kept my eyes open but I constantly fight a war of attrition with my judgment.   Thankfully, today, my higher self is winning.  That is, until, I run into something difficult to accept in the bubbling pepperpot of brilliance, corruption, wealth, destitution, mismanagement, delight, highs and lows that I call my homeland Nigeria. By the way, Happy 51st Independence Day, Nigeria.

It has been a marvelous, emotional roller coaster filled with food, people and places I’d forgotten I was missing and stories of an amazing life that I will never stop celebrating.  One thing Nigeria will always be is breathtaking.  It is breathtaking in its beauty, greenery and blessings.  In the same token, it can choke you with it’s pollution, greed and absolute disregard of legacy and humanity but I’ll save that for another blog.

So I am here.  Was my theory correct?  Am I less ghost-like now that I’ve returned to my land of birth?  Well, yes and no.

Being away simply left me incomplete.  Not quite a ghost–a woman-in-waiting missing parts the longer I stayed away.  I still have no idea what those parts were but it feels different.  Yet my years away are an essential part of the woman I am today, something I would not change.

I don’t expect to ever be complete in this life.  I am happy for the experiences that expose more of me to…me.

And although I’ve learned to chase regret away as quickly as it descends, I am saddened that I did not see my father before he left us.  I connect with him each day as I walk where he walked and sit where he sat.  I fill in the parts of his life I missed.  Some days he is more of a giant.  Others, more human.

He lived life long and fully and left peacefully.  For that I am forever grateful.

He is my Daddy.  My prism through which the light of life is reflected.  His love, energy and legacy remain.  Always with me.  Thank you for welcoming me home.

38 thoughts on “Tessism Returns to Nigeria

  1. Beautifully said Tess. Sorry to hear about your father’s passing, however glad to hear that you have used this opportunity to revisit, reconnect, reinterpret and, I trust, renew.

  2. Thank you for letting us get a tatse of your journey. Love this line: I connect with him each day as I walk where he walked and sit where he sat. I fill in the parts of his life I missed. The ability to create is a what makes us human beings so damn special. Cheers to you!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your journey. You where there when we celebrated the life of my late Father and in return, I say to you things will get better with time and I pray that the loving memories you have of him carries you always. Remember that your Father’s legacy lives on in you. My condolences to you and your family. Continue to walk among the acestor and may your soul rest in God’s perfect peace.

    • Thank you for your sweet, kind, generous words. They were exactly what I needed today. Ah, yes I still miss your father and we celebrated his life and eased the sadness. I look forward to doing that with mine. Thank you for reading!

  5. As always you are so gifted – blessed by God. I miss you my friend, but at the same time I will take your advice and connect with you wherever you walk in your Tessisms. Looking forward to more.

    • Thank you so much, Ama! Miss you too, dear! I will definitely see you soon but, yes, in the meantime, follow me on my journey here. I’m so glad you’re reading! Kisses from Nigeria!

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  8. Hi, Tess! I am on one hand thrilled that you took the trip that so many of us of Nigerian heritage, but born and/or raised in America often neglect. On the other hand, I am saddened of the reason for your trip. I am sorry to hear you lost your dad. No matter how old we get or how many people we gain in our lifetimes, the loss of a parent hurts. I know because my mother is still troubled by the loss of a mother who died when she was 15. Her loss affected my fear or losing my own mother for years.

    Though I cannot say I know personally how it feels. I am certain you will use this tragedy as a stepping stone to greater things in a life already overflowing with wonderful self-made experiences. You are truly an amazing (and fearless) woman.

    I wish you the thing that you seek most during this trip to Nigeria. I also pray for journey mercies. Let us know your progress through your blog.



    • Oh thank you for such kind words! They mean the world to me. I will definitely try to cobble together my experience on this blog. Thank you so much for reading. It’s been a trying time but words like yours make all the difference!

  9. The first time I read it I walked in your shoes as I read it again I am able to share both your saddness and joy. Losing a parent is never is easy and I’m glad you are able to have closure. Can’t wait for the future blogs from the MOTHERLAND!!!

    Safe travels


  10. Such an emotional journey through the past to the present. So sad, yet so inspiring. Condolences, and wish you the best on the remainder of your trips.

    See you in 2012 in vegas! ;o) Love Matt

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