I had a pretty amazing childhood. (Isn’t that what we all say ? ).
But I really think I did. Maybe because my definition of amazing childhood involves the following –
playing in sand, travelling on holidays (to “Ibadan” & “Ijebu Igbo”, not America o) and always having Aunties and Uncles around; running around the compound with friends, playing too much card and board games and not reading at all; spraying insecticide on fire-lit papers and saving to buy a Walkman or palito, only to wreck it a day after; “blowing” bangers and other fireworks during Christmas and New Year, playing “ten-ten”, “suwe”, “peepee o”, “tinko-tinko”. A lot! I wonder why I’m not so razz yet (or maybe I am. Lol). I had all of this and I was fine.
I didn’t watch so much TV because I felt the TVs belonged to my dad.
Travelling outside South West Nigeria or even outside Nigeria was until later in secondary school when I was about 14 years old
I didn’t read anything at all – comic books, magazines, school books. Nah! But I was just fine.
Music was not really my thing, so what we consider as now old-school music, were just music I heard in passing
I think I had a proper Nigerian Yoruba girl childhood.
Socially Awkward Situation.
I remember one time in J.S.S.3, there was this classmate of mine. Let’s call her “O” coz her name starts from “O“. She was considered one of the “exposed and social ones”. She had grown elder ones who knew “wassup”. I remember thinking then that “O” had a lot, watched so many cartons and movies, always had guy stories, always had club stories (yeah! And age 11 – 12! ). You know, she “knew life” and she was also really brilliant. Gracious heavens!, she could even drive a manual car back then!
One day, “O” did a puzzle which centered around the knowledge of cartoon and animation characters in about 300 cartoons and animes. You had to have watched them to have the slightest clue. Most of the class was into it. Fellow hip kids were so excited trying to solve the puzzle, some where “forming idea” while I sat there wondering why I offended God so much to have landed me in the hands of Ijebu parents. Haha! I felt so bad that I didn’t know anything.
Similar story when I got into the university; a friend of mine literally asked me what I did with my childhood because I never watched The Matrix and Star Wars. Choi! But I tried to keep up since the “O” incident in J.S.S.3. That took a lot of hard work back then to keep up with what was considered the “social norm” for the “cool kids”.
After a series of social awkwardness and backwardness, I just decided that I’m probably a “latecomer” when social is concerned, that’s if I decide to join the bandwagon eventually. I’ll be really really late because It’s just too much work.
But what I’m I really aiming at here?
A good number of us have easily had experiences that several other people will die to be a part of. People have different upbringings and preferences. All of these make us unique human beings. Some of these we didnt not have control over while we were growing up however, as we grow we decide what we want our lives to look like with as much opportunity is available to us.
Given this, I think it’s a little vain for us to judge people by what we conceive of their backgrounds and experiences because it doesn’t really “jive” with ours. This goes both ways – that someone has seemingly better life experiences doesn’t really mean they belong to a different social strata than you and it also doesn’t mean they are positioned to have a better life.
I’m sure if “O” and I had a discussion today, we’ll both have different experiences which make us who we are now. And who are we now? 2 different and unique human beings. That’s all. No competition.
Also, no matter how backward our social experiences are, they all come together to make us who we are. However, I think it’s not cool to make that define us. For example, I could have just stuck to Ijebu ways and let that be my definition.
Summarily, 2 things:
- Not cool to “classify” yourself or other people based on social experiences. There’s no point. Don’t get awkward. Don’t pretend. Don’t live a lie.
- Be willing to learn, unlearn and relearn no matter where you’re coming from.
Cheers to the long weekend!
Whew! that was one brisk post!