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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Older and Wiser

I'm Nigerian and we are a competitive bunch of people. From an early age our parents drum it into our heads that we must strive for perfection in all that we undertake. If you're going to study then don't just study, do something awesome like be a doctor, lawyer, architect, engineer. Something even the guy down the street who can't read, write or speak English can say. They don't want us to be Bio chemical genecisist's because who the hell knows what that is???? And if no one knows what the hell you are, who are they going to spend their time bragging to???

Our parents bring us into the world not just because they want their spawn to populate the earth..They do it so as to have something to talk about when they are hanging with their buddies. How amazing we are, top of our class, making a million and marrying the richest/finest boys/girls around. How you gave them grandkids who could read the paper by the time they were 3 months. So in order to fulfil their ambitions and not embarrass them we spend our lives in constant comparison to every child our age from the next door neighbours to your 2nd cousin twice removed. People you've probably never seen or spoken to in your life and yet the minute the make it into Harvard, marry some pot bellied man worth a couple of illegal millions or dropped 7 kids in one go, they are suddenly the person you should most want be like. Never mind the fact that you want to go to art college and learn to draw naked bits, are a lesbian/gay and intend to have your tubes tied because you think the world is a terrible a place to bring a child into. All irrelevant!!!!!!! These are feelings you must take to the grave with you or at least wait until your parent are in theirs.

ANY form of rebellion will only be met with religious cleansing of your possessed soul, your mother's tortuous weeping accompanied by the "carried you for 9 months" chorus and for those who choose to follow the dark side I think the customary ritual is being whipped to within an inch of your life whilst standing in a river wearing a red loin cloth and not much else as some weirdo covered in shells chants over you. All things you want to avoid. So my as your parents tell least until you are safely on a plane to some non African country(anywhere they can drive to within a day isn't far enough), where, in possession of your passport and anything else you may need to claim refugee status, you may rebel as you see fit.

When you grow up in a society so obsessed with what everyone but the most important then its going to affect most of your choices. At least it did for me. I can remembar loads of things I wanted to do but didn't because it wasn't the done thing. Boys I liked but couldn't admit to liking. The were'nt from the right sort of family, school, money etc. The just wouldn't fit in. Forget would I ever introduce them to my friends, family etc. Especially when everyone else is hooked up with some mega buff guy who quotes Socrates for relaxation. When I was younger fitting in mattered A LOT!!!!

There were lots of guys I could have dated and who knows maybe even married. But for me it was more important that I had a man like everyone else's. Someone who wouldn't cause a commotion by being too different. I suppose if everyone I knew was dating losers I probably would have gone out and found my own personal loser too( I did on several occasions...oh the shame). I had a huge list of what he had to be to be with me. With everyone that came along their was always something missing. I ended up dating someone my friends liked cause he hung out in their circle and was deemed acceptable. As you might have guessed.......didn't work out in a really huge way.

I guess as I've grown older I've learnt to throw the list out the window(ok ...maybe just downsize it a bit)and give people a go. I know I'm not perfect either(I am, but I'm trying to make the rest of you feel better about yourselves), so I'm learning not judge to hastily. I want to end up with someone I like not someone that makes everyone else feel comfortable. The whole point of people loving you is that they make an effort to become part of your life. They adopt your family, friends, hopes, desires as their own and vice versa. So when someone makes my heart go twice the recommended pace, I'm trusting that even if he's a goat herd who can't speak a word of English, all those that love me will love him too. Oh I'm all teary eyed just thinking about it. Someone pass the Kleenex!!!!!!


Toxic-OK said...

I feel you on that one...all kids bonr circa 1970 are aspiring (or successful!) doctors/lawyers/accountants/engineers...most of us just wasting our time in school...

Bunny said...

Lazy-ass! Everyone who no fit do anything blames Mum and Dad...maybe you should have worked harder?????

mena said...

That better not be you bunny go go licious(One of the many thorns in my side). I have ways and means to make Just so guy see the light before its too late.
I'm not blaming my parents for my total lack of ambition. I blame Enid Blyton for making me believe in stuff like wishes, fairy's and magic flying chairs. I think all that fantasy made me a bit of dreamer. Didn't really see the need for a formal education when my imagination was just sitting there waiting to be used. So I told my dad I wanted to be a writer and he immediately asked me to get the first plane back home and stop wasting his foreign currency(apparently there is a very good school of journalism in Sokoto). I weighed my options. Sokoto or staying here to study something conventional and more acceptable to our society. Sokoto lost for obvious reasons and I stayed here to do something with IT, which I might point out, I have NEVER used in any jobs I've had. I think my parents could have been more open minded to the fact that there is life outside having a standard education, but I definately don't blame them. That was the way they were brought up and I'm sure now, as the see people winning millions for doing nothing more than prancing around on stage or even worse sitting in a house and being filmed for weeks on end. They are all wishing they bought that house in the Bahamas and sent us all to Baba Sala's school of better acting.