Tuesday, 17 February 2009

A-Z FACT FILE: C... D...

Dear reader, I’ve decided to intersperse my fiction writing (short stories, snapshot narratives and poetry) posts with some facts about myself... my way of inviting you to get to know me better ‘up close and personal’ (lol). My remit... three key words for each letter of the alphabet... which lead to three brief facts about myself... and, I hope to cover two letters of the alphabet per post (whenever I do post). Hmmmmm - this should be an interesting journey. It’s so easy to hide behind the liquid interface of cyberspace however in these A-Z Fact Files about yours truly but I do intend to keep it ‘real and honest’! Please feel free to share your thoughts or ask any questions. [For earlier A-Z Fact Files please scroll down... Thank you!]

C: Chinyere. Christian. Cats.
Chinyere... is my middle name. It means ‘God’s Gift’. In the Igbo language, Chi = God and Nyere = to give. Apparently when I was born my father wanted me to have the longer version of this name which is ‘Nkechinyere’ (which literally means 'what God gave') however my mother insisted that she wanted a shorter version so it would have to be ‘Nkechi’ or ‘Chinyere’ – both very popular Nigerian names in Igbo culture (as popular as Catherine used to be once upon a time). Because of history (the missionary movement and the colonisation of Nigeria) often Igbo names are Christian in meaning. Christian... in a generation where a faith stance comes across as extreme and overzealous, bordering on being ‘not politically correct’, I confess that I am a Christian. I was raised an Anglican in a nominal way (attending Christian schools, church, Sunday schools, etc.) – but it wasn’t until I was 21 when I decided to take my Christian faith seriously and made that commitment. It hasn’t been an easy path with regards to the practical outworking of my Christian faith in my personal and public life. Many times it has felt as if my journey with God rather than being smooth has been full of twists and turns – ‘two steps forward and ten steps back’ – as the old saying goes. However, the older I get the more important my relationship with God becomes. So in spite of the times when I struggle with huge doubts (over what I believe and why I believe what I believe) I know that truly without God I would be nowhere. Simone de Beauvoir, an author and philosopher I admire in many respects, once said: ‘God has ceased to exist for me’ but in my experience ‘I cannot exist without God’. So in short – being a Christian (in terms of having that personal relationship with God) works for me. Cats... I’m more of a cat lover than a dog lover. I do like dogs and have looked after them for friends in the past but they are such hard work. I love the independent spirit and mantra that cats espouse: ‘spruce, sleep, scoff...’ (lol)!

D: Dad. Depression. D-grade.
Dad... or should I say ‘father’ as ours is a rather awkward, formal and distant relationship. I have never had a warm relationship with my father. Aside from the fact that my father travelled a lot with his work with the UN he can be a hard man by nature. He ruled his roost (our home) with harsh words and discipline not dissimilar to an Idi Amin style dictatorship (no exaggeration). The sum total of our relationship (or non relationship as the case may be) – is that ‘he barks and I bite’. Inherently I suppose I do love my father and I’ve always yearned for a closer bond with him but years of unforgiveness and bitterness due to perceived wrongs on both sides have done nothing to bring us closer as 'father and daughter'. Hence now even as an adult I feel unable to relate to him as ‘dad’. Oh - how hard it is to claw back lost time and relationship. Depression... I struggle with periodic bouts of deep depression in my life. Depression (and, indeed mental health issues) runs in my extended family although I don’t know the specifics as the African culture is still very hush-hush on such matters. How I cope with my depression? Not very well... and often with the support of: friends, meds and/or counselling. At the moment, I’m basking in a ‘good spell’ – HUZZAH!!! D-grade... yep – I got this in my Chemistry ‘O’ level. In case you are trying to work out my age (lol), I was among the last year group that did the dreaded ‘O’ levels at a UK secondary school. I took 9 in total and failed Chemistry twice (with a ‘D-grade’) much to the disgust and disappointment of my parents who had been keen for me to pursue medicine or pharmacy at university. They had great dreams for me as a doctor (chuckle). To say the least, I wasn’t a strong scientist in school and I remember always getting the experiments wrong (accidents with the Bunsen burner, test tube leakages and breakages, if anything blew up I was right at the centre of it all... hee hee!) and man did I panic when it came to all the equations in Physics. The only science subject I did alright in was Biology. Incidentally, at that level, my strongest subject was Religious Studies. My weakest was Maths – even though I scraped a ‘C’ in it – don’t ask me how on earth I managed it! p.s. In those days, anything below a ‘C’ was considered a fail at worst, or at best something to be ashamed of... unlike the perspective of results today where a ‘D-E-F’ grades are considered passes at GCSE levels! In many ways - the world has really changed... (lol)...

16 comments:

Frisky Librarian said...

Thanks for sharing. And I'm happy to hear you are basking in a good spell at the moment.

Rogue said...

It's a lovely name! And having been raised in a Scottish home, by an old world, ex Black Watch father, I can fully understand how hard a time you had maintaining a relationship with your father. Stay healthy Cath. We all love you.

Rogue said...

PS Congrats on the awards! You certainly deserve them! Well done! :-)

rebecca said...

Catherine,

I am loving this insight into you. What a lovely middle name you have. Tell me, how do you pronounce it?

And, I know well your love for cats. I have three - Frodo, Miss Olivia and Trouble/Devil. They are my heart and keep my home full of laughter with their little shennanigans. But, I also love dogs just as well! My daughter's two spaniels come and spend each weekend with us...is that hysterical? People laugh when they hear her say that...."dropping off the pups at my mom's for their weekend getaway."

Science...blah, blah, blah!!!! The only course in school that I was miserably terrible at. I would get C's and I think I got a D there somewhere along the way...I'm sure. B's were intangible. My head could not wrap itself around it and I hated, hated biology! Nearly failed it when I refused to dissect a frog. But I pled my sorrow for it so well, that the teacher gave me a pass. She felt putting me through that would have been too traumatic and she did not want that responsibility on her shoulders! HA!

Loving, loving this...Miss C...keep it comin'!

Mustafa Şenalp said...

Çok güzel site. :)

Linda S. Socha said...

Please check out the recent post at Psyche Connections. There is a well deserved blogger's award waiting there for you!
Linda

CathM said...

@Frisky Librarian: Thank you for your good will thoughts!

@Rogue: Thank you for your HUG in words. It really means a lot!

@Rebecca: Hello dear friend... well, my middle name is pronounced ‘CHIN-YE-RE’. I love that ...."dropping off the pups at my mom's for their weekend getaway" (I’m chuckling loudly!) OoooooHh - yes, I know what you mean about dissecting creatures or body parts in Science. I think I may have spewed or near-fainted at the thought of dissecting a pig’s heart in a Biology lesson at school. I’m so squeamish about things like that. No – I wouldn’t have made a good doctor. Thank goodness my sister took that baton on... even though, I had to listen to in-depth details of dissections of cadavers while she was training – eeyyK! Lovely to be chatting with you (as always)... and, definitely - I’ll endeavour to keep it coming.

@Mustafa Senalp: Great to have a visitor from Turkey. Thanks for popping in and leaving a comment:)

@Linda: How exciting... THANK YOU (I’ll be sure to drop by and collect my award)!

L. Rochelle said...

Beautiful Blog..congratulations for the award! It's a privilege to share it with you.
Lyn

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

Thank you for your kind comments. Your blog is also rich with inspiration - I will visit again!

justin manas prince jaspher ligin said...

d-is emotional..forgiveness and adjustments and tolerance up to some level will nurture the relationships..

Caryn Caldwell said...

I'm so with you on the cats thing! I like dogs, too. In theory. In practice, they're hyper, messy, and high maintenance. Cats, though? Peaceful, neat, and low maintenance. My sort of creature.

Lilly Jones said...

Hey Cath,

Wishing you the best. Well done on all the lovely comments and awards from your readers. Keep it rolling. Ciao

- Lil

Lilly's Life said...

Loved finding out more about you. What a gorgeous second name you have. OK mine is Mary - cant guess I have a mother who is a devout Catholic can you - we all had variations of Mary.

I love dogs more than cats. And I know too well about the depression. More of us suffer from it then ever. I also think it is great that we live in a time we can openly talk about it. It wasnt that along ago that it was never discussed but hidden. As for your father, I dont know what that is like except I was in an abusive. controlling relationship. It eats away at your self esteem there is no question. But please remember this, only hurt people hurt other people.

As for science, well of course not. Look at the wonderful language skills you have instead. Your name will be on many books one day. Personally I am glad you failed science because we get to share your writing. Take Care and glad things are positive.

CathM said...

@L. Rochelle: Thanks for stopping by!

@Diane Vogel Ferri: Lovely to have you pop by... do come again soon!

@Justin: Thank you for your words of wisdom!

@Lilly J: Thanks sis!

@Lilly’s Life: Thanks for sharing... it’s great getting to know you more too!

J.M. said...

Your fine heart shines through your words... Keep smiling Catherine, your great writing gives you reason to do so:)

CathM said...

@JM: Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. Great to have you stop by!