Society and the PK

They say a good writer’s first paragraph starts with them getting out of their comfort zone and experimenting so they can have something to write about. Well, that has never been the case with me.

For me, “going out of my comfort zone” has never been necessary ‘cause I guess it comes with being a PK (preacher’s kid), not that I even call myself a “good” writer or anything. I have just been living my life but here I am, eventually with things I should have told somebody, anybody, a century ago.

Could have done it over Easter but as you can already imagine, that is a reminder of a painful struggle in my childhood when I had to fake being born-again for an entire weekend! Not my proudest moments.

In my language (Swahili) there’s a saying, “Cha mkufuu mwanafuu ha, na akila hu; na cha mwanafuu mkukufuu hu, na akila ha!” Which loosely translates to, “An elder’s fruit is forbidden to a child, so is the child’s to the elder, as both parties would die if they ate each other’s fruits!” Well, being a PK, this was preached to me in my entire childhood but you can only guess what I ended up doing. Let’s just say, I was the girl mothers warned their daughters not to be friends with at school and warned their sons about...

But how could I blame them when all I did was live my life contrary to what was expected of me? From arguing with my mother over my first love, telling her that that was the man I was going to get married to; to running away from home to Vegas and getting married to an 18-year-old Czech Republic kid and getting divorced after six weeks. I blame the society for expecting me to be the pastor’s perfect daughter when all they should have done was let me live my life, make my own mistakes - after all, daddy being born-again can never be my passport to heaven, can it?

And that’s been the biggest cloud over my head; trying to live up to the society’s expectations of me!

I hope I speak for all the PKs who have had to be preachers, get “decent” jobs, or worse, get married to pastors ‘cause their parents thought it best. Imagine a pastor in church and a MAN at home, living with you under the same roof! Nothing beats having to be what you are not, to please those around you.

Don’t get me wrong; I do not mean to discount my upbringing. No, I adore my parents for the kind of rearing I had, except that they let the society’s expectations weigh in on me! Again, I am not saying that I hate them for that either. I just feel that they should have let loose of the ropes a bit... but really, who knows what I could have become without the same tight ropes I fought so hard all my life to break away from!

My issue with the society is not preparing a PK for the world! We grow being “shielded” from the world and all its “dark unknowns”. But what we grow up NOT being told is that we are better aware of the darkness than live to get the rude awakening of the cold, bitter and crude world with ruthless people who look down upon you for not knowing certain things they expect you to have long known.

And the sad part is, without your realising it, you are racing to catch up with “everybody else in the world”. And soon, so soon, reality dawns in; you have become a serious drug addict, you are being taken to rehab, you no longer have friends and you start fancying what your funeral would be like, who would attend... You even go ahead to make a list of who you think would come and who wouldn’t and why.

Reason, ‘cause at that time, the only thing you’re thinking of is ending your life ‘cause you can’t imagine how you would face the world behind those rehab walls. The thought of the entire hypocritical fellow PKs who wish to have lived wide like you, makes you sick to your stomach at that moment and you wish you had some sort of insecticide to spray on all them, and then you would watch their demise with a full wine-glass of “Adam and Eve”. Talk about criminal minds.

Being a PK is suffocating and most PKs have decided that as long as they can’t beat it (and end up like me), they’d rather just live by the book; be born, go to pre-school, then to primary school, then high school, then college/university, get a “good” job (oh, note; it doesn’t have to be a high paying job ‘cause money is of the world), then get married and bear children, so the Bible says. No dating! Just ‘courting’. I keep myself from laughing, not at ‘courting’ but at the idea. It’s so confining. How are you expected to know how a mixed fruit juice tastes like if you are not even aware that there’s a fruit called ‘kiwi’, all ‘cause you’ve been made to believe all your life that ‘kiwi’ kills?

Then some of us go “out there”, far away from all that we were taught to be, then we meet bad people who nobody warned us about.

All we grew up hearing was that the world “out there” is very bad. What’s bad about it, nobody ever explained ‘cause that would have meant talking about drugs, human trafficking, alcohol abuse... oh, and SEX! We grow up watching Christian TV channels and listening to Christian songs until we go, say, to boarding schools where it all starts; being gay, Satanism... name it. We meet other PKs who would drop it all to be “normal”.

Imagine waking up to find yourself in a dark huge hall and alone; not knowing how you got there, scared of making a single sound - even that of your heartbeat - unaware of who could be watching from some hidden camera and every single mistake in your movement being bound to an unknown reprimand that nobody’s clear about - apart from strewn information of melting away in an everlasting fire! That’s how my life as a PK was for many years, growing up, till I told myself I was going to live my life - didn’t matter what it would turn into... I just wanted out on what had been “written” of my destiny.

Looking at my parents now, I would, above all honesty, say they only did what they thought was best for me, in the only way they knew how. And doesn’t that go for every parent? Now that I am a parent myself, the thought of my little girl judging me by my past, some day, scares me to death. But the best thing I’ve had to do for myself since her (my daughter) is shun the past and live for today, with the knowledge that the consequences of my actions today, positively or negatively, will be for the only person important in my life (her) to judge. It’s a dark thought. Talk about questioning Christianity!

As a PK, I have always wondered how a “normal” family diner (apart from the TV families) goes down in a non-PK’s family. What do they talk about? Do kids eat with their parents on the same table? Do they also have “family meetings” where the family’s “image” is reviewed and the kids are told how to behave in church, etc? I mean, really, I have wondered.

Much of the mystery I guess has always been because I was never really the sleepover kid; it always felt to me as though the hosts of the sleepovers just enjoyed exploring the opportunities of flossing their “perfect” lives... oh it pissed me off!

Ok, let me just come out with it already; I grew up an angry kid - at the world and whomever had put me in that particular home, with those particular people, in that particular country, with such relatives...!

Again, this isn’t me trying to downwash my background. This is me walking you through a PK’s mind - as a kid and especially as a teenager ‘cause the society won’t stop rubbing it in. This is me blaming, not my parents; but the society. Not where I grew up or how; but the society. Not what I did to defy the last idea of it; but it, entirely.

In a PK’s life, there’s a lot to tell. Lots to deal with. And you might hear the last of it, just maybe, for another chance granted. For now, remember next time before you judge a PK’s lifestyle, that what you should be doing instead is hugging them... they need it, desperately! PF