You know what frustrates me the most? When people care WAY too much about what other people think? And when I say that, I don’t just mean people getting a little frustrated about comments that people make about them. The most confident people can let those little things get to them, even if it is on a rare occasion. I’m talking people who let the words of individuals that they either don’t like, respect or even know, affect them or what they do in their life.
Unfortunately I feel that this is the mentality of most old school Nigerians, my mother and father included. Even me just writing this would most likely be an embarrassment to them if they were to come across it. But as soon as I decided to write this blog, I promised myself that I would just be myself when I wrote. Essentially I would give zero fucks about how it might come off or what people would think. It’s a shame, because in so many ways my mother is such a strong woman. She is one of the things that inspire me to keep pushing and do exactly what I believe what I am meant to do, which is write. Yes, my blog is definitely a work in progress. I don’t have that many followers on Twitter or Instagram, at least not yet. I haven’t completed a book yet, and I’m not yet on the path of the career I’ve been envisioning. Yet. But I am on my way. I’ve also become a much more resilient and confident woman, and this is only in the past few months. I think my best friend is also partly the reason for that. She has inadvertently taught me how unimportant the opinions of others can be, especially when it comes to doing something you are passionate about.
However, my mother and I unfortunately got into a pretty heated argument a few days ago. Actually we’ve yet to speak again properly since then. You see, my mother has a lot of pride, a trait which is apparent in most Nigerian women, as I’ve mentioned previously. She doesn’t approve of a few things I do. Shining examples would be the clothes I wear, my tattoos and the pictures that I post on social media. Not that I follow them on anything, or have them on Facebook. I’m not stupid. She’s referring to pictures I would use for my display picture on Whatsapp. These aren’t anything horrifying; she’s literally referring to pictures where I rock a bit of cleavage, or a holiday photo where I’m wearing a bikini. Basically pictures that I personally don’t regard as inappropriate, but my parents clearly do. This is not only an opinion that they cannot seem to help constantly sharing with me, but also a topic which other family members that I don’t even talk to seem to speak to them about.
This was actually the root of the argument I had with my mum, and what I’m angriest about. There are certainly family members that have said some unforgivable things about me, my mother and my brother. So for that reason, I choose not to associate with them or even act like they exist most of the time. So when they deem it appropriate to voice their opinion on me and what I’m doing, which is often, I do not pay attention. I don’t understand why anyone would listen to someone that you know has no respect for you or you family, and choose to give their opinion any validity at all. If were all going to get judgemental, I have plenty of things that I could say about them. But I don’t. Mostly because I don’t care about them enough to talk about them anyway. However my mum was evidently embarrassed at the idea of them talking about me to my father. But why? Firstly, in the eyes of the Lord, any sins or transgressions that I may have are not any different to theirs. Secondly, I am well past the age that they can try and dictate my life or my decisions, whether they approve of them or not. I understand that this is the way with most Nigerian parents. But I’m 25 years old in a couple of months, and it really is just getting ridiculous. Their way of thinking just makes absolutely no sense to me.
I was so angry at my mum that the only thing I wanted to do after we had finished arguing, was get on my laptop and write this. But I took a few days to calm down before I started writing. I am very glad I did this, because if I had written it that same evening, I would have gone in on her and every single family member who never gives me the time of day, but yet still think they have a right to judge me and talk about me. So I’m very glad that I can sit here and do this from a much calmer place. I’m still doing my best to continue to grow and learn the most important lessons every day, and I don’t want to set myself back by talking about people that aren’t worth my time. I also want to be able to continue to love my parents unconditionally, which I do. But unfortunately, we may go through a good streak at times, but they will eventually break it by giving me more of this bullshit and they will continue to be like that. So as much as I love them, and as much as we are much closer than we were before, they will still always be a wall between us in some way. Not because I grew up differently to how they hoped I would, but simply because a part of them will always be this judgemental and unhappy with me, meaning they will never truly accept me for who I am. It’s hard coming to terms with that fact. I, on the other hand, am not quite like that. So while they do quite a few things I don’t like, I will still love and appreciate them regardless because they are my parents. At the end of the day, no matter what we may say to each other in heated moments, they still gave me life. They clothed me and fed me. They sacrificed so many things just so I could have a good education, and I will never forget it. But unfortunately, I will also never forget some of the horrible things they have said or done to me either. All I can really do though, is promise myself that when I have my own children, I will never make them feel ashamed just for being themselves.
I guess my reason for writing this is to say to all parents, Nigerian or not, who have a similar technique when it comes to their children, please think about how your words and actions towards them make them feel. We understand that this isn’t done out of malice, and that you were just raised in a completely different way. But we have not grown up that way, so things are bound to be different, which you should only expect. Yes, when your children grow up they may do some things that you do not approve of. But please try your best to just accept that they are old enough to choose their own path, and trust that when it comes to the fundamental qualities of being a well-rounded human being, you have done a good job in teaching them. I know this may be harder than it sounds, but coming from one of those children, doing the alternative, especially with extreme methods, will only push them away.