It is often said that there is that one (or two or three) thing about us that makes us different from every other person... that makes us unique.
That thing that makes you stand out. That quality you possess that make others remember you long after you leave the room
I wonder if anyone over the age of 25 especially in Nigeria still possess their special quality. Or at least still possesses all of theirs. The illusion of social acceptance has robbed us of our Individuality, of even the memory of how we used to be.
Social acceptance is profound...its number three on the hierarchy of needs of every individual. After psychological need and the safety need comes the need for social acceptance; Maslow refers to it as 'a need for love and belonging'
How subtly we go from who we are to who others think we should be, and begin to act how others feel comfortable with us acting around them… and we reason that this is fine so long as they accept us and we belong to them and they show us love. So what if I have an opinion different from others, it doesn’t matter, what matters is checking first to make sure those we receive love from agree with the proposed opinion.
So what if I want to have my dessert before the main dish? Nah we reason that it isn’t socially acceptable…so far be it from me to be caught with a piece of cake before I have eaten my vegetables
So what if I prefer pants to dresses, it doesn’t matter, the culture you have noticed in your place of work suggests that you look more serious wearing a dress…oh and it doesn’t matter that the company’s policy doesn’t dictate either ways, you just know you’ll blend in better with dresses, you just might have to learn to wear heels often and practice your leg crossing better
So what if my idea of a good evening is relaxing at a lounge like Mouse Pad in Lekki phase 1 with soft classic music and a calm ambience because that’s the environment you need to unwind after a long day’s work? Well it doesn’t matter what you want because you are considered boring if you don’t prefer one of the other alternatives that have music blaring to ‘Surulere’ ‘Your waist your waist all I want is your waist’.
I remember a friend, I don’t know what we were anyways, we were in probation stage of dating,
sort of.. I think… arghhhh!!! I had
gone for his birthday, was the first to arrive and after sometime his intercom
rang and he was informed another guest was on her way in… he said okay, then
turned to me and ever so smugly he said:
‘Chichi is coming in, she’s my friend, please don’t embarrass my friends’
Honestly till today I don’t know what that was supposed to mean. All I was doing at that point was flipping the channels while I was eating chicken pepper soup. Fast forward two hours later like 9:30pm after all his guest had arrived and we had eaten and drank and it was time for me to leave… he walked me to my car and hugged me and said:
‘wow you got along so well with my friends and you blended well with them, thank you so much’ or something and in my head I’m like ‘what the hell? I was sitting there all this time being there for you and you were watching hoping and praying I don’t embarrass you with your friends??? Seriously who gives a Sugar Honey Iced Tea’ but I responded with a smile and I left.
But the thoughts of that day still linger till now, I’m sure if my head isn’t correct I’d have found myself thinking:… how do I act to please and talk and shit and moan and eat to please and not to embarrass this guy and his friends, then his family and then our kids. OLORUN MA JE OOOOO
You see the more we try to blend, the more we give up one unique thing about us each time. Very soon you would not remember if you like your eggs boiled or fried or raw. You just become so used to being like others that even you will not remember what is unique about you. When you get to that stage, don’t expect others (Boss, wife, husband, pastor, kids, client etc) to think you have anything different to offer them than the average person. You are just like every other person. Someone to be forgotten
Social acceptance is profound, its key and its all the things it is… but it’s not worth giving up your individuality for. The world is a very big place, so if MR(S) A isn’t comfortable with who you are and what you stand for and can’t accept you like that, move to the next person (or office or church or mosque or city or house) and the next and the next till you find who accepts you as you are.
Don’t give up your individuality just because doing so makes another person more at ease to relate with you on their terms.
Take pride in whatever it is that makes you different. Individuality is what divides you from the rest.
Happy Democracy Day in advance