I grew up feeling inadequate, inferior.
I grew up feeling I was never good enough, smart enough, spiritual enough.
I grew up trying to earn attention, acceptance and love.
Not from the outside world, but from Family.
I sang, my voice was too high pitched and “noisy.” I sing soprano, I sing very high notes or used to.
I wrote, my poetry was either too off or the stories couldn’t be mine. I started writing poetry not like the regular teenagers but patterning myself after the Soyinkas and J.P Clarks.
My choices were constantly critiqued and found wanting. My sense of style irreligious.
I voiced my opinions but they were too unpopular hence the source of too many a conflict.
In most Churches I went to, I was pressured to conform to be more acceptable even to God.
I’m an adult but sometimes, I find myself struggling with self doubt and that crippling feeling of inadequacy. More often than not, I doubt my intuition, I doubt my mind, I doubt my voice and I doubt my ideas. But I’m pretty courageous so I do stuff anyway. Unfortunately, many people are not.
This is why I am very protective of children. Dear parents, stop making your kids doubtful of their abilities, applaud them! Be their biggest fan. Help them believe in themselves, that’s the best gift you can give a child.
Fear is a learned behavior. A child doesn’t doubt he can’t fly if you tell him he can. Imagine we all had the faith of children!
We live in a society where to be your true self is a taboo, most of us are living lives that are inconsistent with our core.
For women, the bar goes higher. Some take it a notch further by not only living in their alter egos, they feel the need to tell/show the world they’re the perfect definition of “good/virtuous women.”
Hence, a sexually active woman can easily preach celibacy in public and a model of the perfect “Christian woman” who preaches “only death should do you part no matter what” can go from one divorce to another without batting an eyelid.
Such behavior tells me that money and environment isn’t the solution to the Nigerian woman’s plight; she must learn to unlearn, learn and find the courage to have the courage to be herself in this Society where a woman isn’t even allowed to decide what she wants to do with her age and womb.
Everyone knows how a woman should be, what she should do, how she should act, etc. Her likes, her interests, her choices are predetermined by the voices of a thousand faceless people called “Society.”
The problem isn’t really with “The People.”
The problem is that sadly, she too never stops to ask herself who she really is, what she really wants, and what she is truly about.
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