I have finally decided to start a blog. I have been thinking about it since 2010 (which is a long time to make a decision) and I can’t really place any reason on my delay other than fear. It has always been my biggest hindrance to success.
I am a horrible underachiever due to extreme pressure as a child from my immigrant parents, too much focus on my high potential, intelligence, wit, and ability to quickly learn new concepts, a lack of desire to stand out from my peers, and just wanting to be as average as everyone else. Don’t most children just want to belong? Well, I did. Don’t crucify me yet…you have to know more about me to understand this “just wanna fit in” syndrome that I suffer from.
My parents are immigrants from Nigeria. We Nigerians have a habit of naming our children the full sentence of what we were feeling, thinking, liking, or wishing for on the day they were born. My first name has seven letters (not that many) but it is quite weird in comparison to Ashley, Kia, Crystal, and LaToya. Then I was blessed with an equally weird (by American/British standards) middle name with seven letters and a last name with 10 letters that spelled yet another weird compilation. Teachers, friends, counselors, doctors, everyone I encountered cringed at the sight of my name (a phenomenon that I still don’t comprehend…is the cringe from the sight of a word you have never seen, from the pain of actually having to sound out what you are reading, or from the fact that my name wasn’t Abby, Kate, or Mary?)
Anywhoo…my first-generation American citizen status contributed to many other differences such as the interesting smell of stockfish that came from my clothing (since my mother sold it to other Nigerians and had a large stash of it in our kitchen), the interesting hairstyles (reminiscent of pre-colonial Africa…you can only imagine) that my mother chose for my too thick, too coarse, too full non-relaxed hair, or the fact that I was so blessed smart, always did my homework, and kept my nose in a book that was always above my supposed reading level. Take your pick! I was not your average American kid…no matter how hard I tried.
Perhaps, to you, my situation wasn’t that horrible but my friendly, fun-loving personality found it hard to blend with people when everyone always wanted to point out my differences. Why couldn’t we all just play tag without someone calling me an ‘African booty-scratcher’ (can somebody please tell me what that even means?)? Why did everyone like to point out that my hair was nappy even though theirs was too (they just had a relaxer…duh)? And why was everyone somebody’s cousin but I only had my parents, my brother, and two sisters?
As a child I believed that the similarities between my classmates and neighbors outweighed the differences so my far advanced brain couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to play nice with me and my siblings. My rationale was that I had to be just like them to play with them so I tried to be just like them but they still didn’t like me…Unbeknownst to me, they just wanted to be like me, according to my daddy who always tried to make me feel better after a round of merciless teasing that ended in my face full of tears. Daddy’s rationale didn’t make much sense to me then…and it still doesn’t. Yeah, I still don’t get the reason people are mean to someone that they actually admire, envy, and secretly idolize…
At the age of 20, almost 21, I’m still dealing with issues of wanting to be average but somehow hoping for success—doesn’t make much sense, does it? I guess I am getting over fitting in and I want to use my potential for my benefit. I’m not repressing all my talents anymore, no sir. I am showing just how fabulous, glamorous, smart, and great I really am! No more hiding how much you really want to be me! I’m just kidding…but seriously, my mirror is showing that my many talents are God-given for a purpose and I better start using them and showing them or they will finally disappear, like I used to want them do…