Day 3 – were you a truth-teller as a child?

Dear Diary, “12 Days of Christmas”: Day 3/12 –I was painfully a truth-teller.

December 15, 2023.

Today, I want to report myself as a professional truth-teller capable of spilling the beans on anyone and everyone. It was a dreadful trait that landed a lot of people in trouble. Literarily everyone who didn’t do the right thing. It was almost a contest between my brother and I – who were two opposite sides of the same coin.

Before I start, I’d be happy if you find the time to read Day 1/12 on Spit-proof Grace at:

And; Day 2/12 on My Mum – The unbeatable champion of all time:

Now, let me quickly tell you a bit. In our upbringing, my brother was a loyalist to the core! He exhibited unwavering loyalty to our domestic staff, my mother’s sister who was in charge of the domestic staff, and just about anybody—earning their love in return. He was a true people’s person. On the contrary, I had no interest in pleasing anyone. I was far from being a people’s person. I embodied the spirit of “Iyalaya anybody,” which translates to not being afraid of ANYBODY. However, there was a caveat—I was only allowed to be afraid of my mum. My brain would always question, ‘But, mummy, why should I be afraid of you?’ As Africans, we all know where that could lead, so I’ll pass.

Now, back to my brother. Picture this: he was the star boy, the living calculator. Whenever we visited my mum’s office, people would test him with all kinds of arithmetic, holding a calculator, and he never disappointed. Oh, he always answered correctly, and they generously rewarded him with money. I remember him being so puffy and innocent; my mother was often embarrassed by the gift of money because it filled her bag and every available space with a zipper. Everyone always wanted him around, the firstborn son doing firstborn things. It seemed there was literally nothing else for me to do or be.

Stopppppppppp! That’s a lie! Let me set the record straight from my perspective. 😂🤣

I was the Queen Bee, incredibly stylish, and meticulous about my clothing. My mother’s sister and all the domestic staff always seemed to defy my mum, and I never hesitated to report every tiny lirru bit of disobedience to my mum. If they annoyed me too much, I’d theatrically gesticulate to show my mummy how they all did wrong, complete with irrefutable proof. I was a legendary CCTV camera in human form; nothing escaped my watchful eyes.

After a while, I caused everybody so much trouble that they began bribing me not to spill the beans. Sometimes, this even came with a share of the proceeds from their so-called evil enterprises. And, being my mother’s daughter, I’d savour their toast bread, biscuits, candies, or whatever the bribe was, only to eagerly reveal it all to my mother upon her arrival. They considered me a horrible child, and I, on the other hand, couldn’t comprehend why simple instructions were not being followed.

At times, I’d wait for my mother like a hawk. As soon as she arrived, I’d play back every single thing that went wrong from the moment she stepped out of the house until she returned. My mother’s sister knew I wasn’t just as intelligent as my brother; I was more—I was downright dangerous. 😂🤣

But then, I remember the constant negative feedback and name-calling from the domestic staff and my mother’s sister. However, my mother told me to own it gloriously and not be ashamed of being a truth-teller. She convinced me that name-calling could be a positive thing especially truth-teller. At least they called me good names like Margaret Thatcher until my aunty added ‘alika’ or ‘aliki mosquito.’ I just couldn’t be bothered for obvious reasons.

I only didn’t understand why my brother was so empathetic. I didn’t have the heart to be sentimental about nonsense, even though I love my brother a lot. And let me tell you something, people—because my brother was loved by all and would even assure them that he wouldn’t tell—I made it my life’s mission not only to report all the wrongdoers but also to let my mummy know that my brother knew but would never tell. And, God knows, to this day, I see no reason to lie. If you want to kill me, you better do it fast because I, Toyo, will say it as it is.

So that fateful day, they all did wrong again, read again, they not me. They all managed to do wrong again, and, with their cunning skills, ensured that I became an unwitting accomplice in their mischief. Here’s the rundown: My mother instructed us to attend catechism. What did we do? We swerved to my auntie’s friend’s place whose nephew had a party. Why did I go? Well, I got the golden opportunity to flaunt one of my precious party outfits and I couldn’t have said I was not going. What was I not prepared for? I wasn’t prepared for the harsh reality of attending a party, especially one where my mother was absent.

Now, why did I take offence and spill the beans on everyone? Picture this: they singled me out at the party for a children’s competition, fully aware that I despise peopling and one boy now poured his juice on my dress. What happened after? I started wailing ‘I will report all of you to mummy’. And how did they resolve the situation? Everybody knew the only solution was to delay the punishment by making sure I slept as soon as we got home. Did I sleep? Not a chance! I remained vigilant like a hawk, eagerly awaiting my mother’s arrival. But, after a considerable amount of crying, I somehow succumbed to sleep.  😂🤣

What happened the following day? It was my mum who was the first to wake me up by stroking my forehead as she normally does. And that, dear people, was the beginning of the chaos.  My grievances, carefully stored up during my hawk-like surveillance, began to brew within me like a storm and there, I spilt it forth like a torrential downpour. I recounted the party fiasco, the juice incident, and, of course, the ominous threat to report everyone to mummy and that I had executed my mandate as the truth-teller.

But my mother, ever so diplomat couldn’t help but chuckle at my dramatic reenactment of the party calamity and knew above all else that she had to calm me that it would never repeat itself and that my party dress would be replaced. She began to question me: Do you know the house of the party? I said yes. How many people went? I told her. What time did we go and return? I gave an estimate and that was it. She had gathered all her fact-finding from her truth-teller. What happened after? Was never my business – My mummy was at home and that was all that mattered.

And so, dear readers, you can imagine what happened next. All I know is my brother got a special dose of mummy’s treatment for not been a truth-teller, and he was very angry at me. But we became friends again almost immediately because who else would do my assignments for me?

However, no one dared to take me anywhere again. To date, if we receive any party invites, this time, my siblings or mother wait for me to willingly want to go or shout at me before they all express interest in going because I am still a party spoiler. And there goes another day in the life of Toyo, the truth-teller unfolded from the realm of childhood antics and the unpredictable twists of growing up.

Olu the truth-teller

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