To Think is To Differ


When I was born, my ears were pierced; I was a girl; that was the norm.

Growing up, I was taught to always use my right hand. Using my left was rude.

I was told that looking at someone older than you in the face was disrespectful.

Of course I had to be in the science class in Secondary school; that’s where the smart kids went, I couldn’t be allowed to waste that brain.

“Don’t argue with your teachers, do you want to get flogged? Are you talking back at me, you this devil child I carried in my womb for nine months?”

When I got a bit older, they said to steer clear of boys; they could give you babies and STDs. Now I’m out of school and apparently I’m of ‘marriageable age’.

“Don’t smoke pot, cigarettes or drink alcohol.”

I learned that giving your number to a guy without at least ‘forming’ first, made you look cheap.

“How can you not know how to speak Ibo? That’s a shame because it’s your identity.”

“Don’t you know you are a girl? You can’t move out of your parents’ house except you are moving to your husband’s house. What will ‘people’ think? They will look at you ‘somehow’

Don’t talk too loud. Don’t wear your hair that way. Everyone’s wearing this. You can’t follow that career path. That’s not acceptable. Blend in. Fit in.

Do this. Do that. But why? Because that’s the way it’s done.

Now I’m a little bit older (some might even call me an adult). And I think.

I think that it’s ridiculously silly to discriminate against the left hand. There’s a reason we were made with two equal hands (in fact, my left hand is ever so slightly bigger than my right). They are both useful, none more special than the other. Ask the Southpaw. Or the One armed man.

I think that looking at you in the face shows that I’m listening to you and that I actually hear you. I think looking at the floor shows timidity. Ask the young girl who didn’t get the call back after the interview for the marketing job (Although you should probably ask the interviewers; the poor girl would be clueless).

I think that I would have fit perfectly in the arts class; maybe I would have gone on to study psychology. Now I have a good degree in a course I am the least bit interested in.

I think children should be allowed to voice their opinions a little more. Ask the woman who’s stuck in that loveless marriage. How could she tell them no? She had always done what they wanted.

Maybe I’m lazy, but I’d rather just give a guy my number than have to explain to him why not, or ignore him or fend him off. *shrug* Goodluck to him actually getting me on the phone.

I think this business about a ‘marriageable age bracket’ is sadly ludicrous at best. At some point, when we’re growing up (as girls), the misguided opinion that the good guys in this world will soon finish is ingrained in our subconscious and so we settle for the next available thing (which young Nigerian girl wasn’t told the story of the picky village princess who ended up marrying a snake in disguise?) I think that even if good guys are scarce, I’m a good girl. One of them will find me. And what’s this business about some biological clock ticking??? As far as I’m concerned that’s just a ploy by men to get women desperate. I think that you should hold out for what you want (As a guy or girl). Don’t go settling with someone because you feel you’re getting old and you ‘have to’ and then spend the REST of your life in misery; wondering and wishing.

I watched an episode of House once, where this boy’s parents could’ve sworn that their son wasn’t smoking pot because when he reached a certain age (I forget how old exactly), they sat him down in their living room and smoked a little pot with him to ‘demystify’ it. And they were right; the kid wasn’t smoking pot. Most young people do a lot of things out of curiosity so I think there may be some merit to their method. *shrug*

I think that every pair of Jeggins in the whole wide world should be gathered up together in one place and burnt. Offered as a sacrifice to the god of fashion or something. I own a pair. Somehow.

I think that the different languages in Nigeria add to our problems. Take them away and the next guy on the street is just a Nigerian, speaking one language, with one voice. How can we ever be united when we don’t even speak the same language? When we still see ourselves as ‘That Warri man’ or that ‘Yoruba woman’? When the main criterion for running for political office is the region you’re from and not whether you can perform? Looking at the Biblical origin of languages, God introduced languages to bring confusion because he saw that as long as the people on earth were united, they could achieve anything.
I think we should take away the languages.

I don’t want to live in my parents’ house till I get married. I’m looking at marriage in about 3/4 years and I would like to live by myself for at least a year, maybe two, before that happens. Not because I plan to have men sleep over or keep late nights. Truth is, a girl doesn’t need to leave her parents’ house to do any of that stuff. If she gon’ do it, she gon’ do it. I just want to live by myself. Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass about what ‘people’ think or if they look at me ‘somehow’. In other countries, it is shameful for a college (University) graduate to go back to living with his/her parents after graduation.

I don’t even like earrings.

But I cannot think these things. I am not allowed to. Because to think is to differ. And who the hell are you to be different???

There, I said it.


21 thoughts on “To Think is To Differ”

  1. >I particularly like this piece and I do not believe young ladies should be forced into early marriage, without first finding their bearing in life. However, if you find it early in life I'd lyk to attend that wedding. #WORD Ada…


  2. >My left hand is as useless as a… Well, left hand :(Ha! Hmmmn…. This paragraph —-> "I think this business about a ‘marriageable age bracket’ is sadly ludicrous at best." <— could get you burnt at the stake oh. What I mean is: while I agree with you to some extent, but I feel there is some truth to axim about "the good guy scarcity". See, I'm a guy, while I'm not one of the "good guys" (I'm one of the mommy-says-run-types), I also know there's a bunch of us out there that are literally the scum of the earth. The really good guys are actually scarce, and with the 10:3 ratio? The singles market is like Harrods on 75 off one day sale. Maybe we should have this conversation again in 3 years time? Then again maybe this is me being jaded. It's funny you should say this about the languages, cuz I said exactly the very same thing last week about some sordid experience outside of Lagos. Nigeria won't be united, sorry. I'd like to see you pull that off sha – the living alone thing. If you do, I'll make a shrine in your honor. Oh and btw, please tell your parents that I'm an MTN cam vendor sha. Just in case, by some stroke of whatever, they agree. So I can make a quick buck from them wanting to keep an eye (or 3 on you)The business of being different is dicey, and thinking when the society commands otherwise is punishable by death. Because when you do, you go down forever in history as that guy/girl that "went against society". Hitler was different, so was Mussolini and then so is Gaddaffi (can I get a big º°˚˚˚°ºнaĦaнaº°˚˚˚°º). This is me being dramatic, but then again, you get the idea. I'm sure you don't find it weird that I'm not doing the norm, and agreeing with you even though it would seem you're speaking for many of us, me inclusive. Could it be that I'm doing the same thing you are – thinking, differently:)'Jiböla


  3. >@ 'Jibola: Of course I don't find it weird. I was, in fact, hoping I'd get a couple of 'differing' thoughts. That is, afterall, what the post is aimed at; getting us to think.I could argue with you on a number of your observations, like perhaps, the reason your left hand is useless is because it has been conditioned to be so for 20 something odd years? Or that being different in no way implies being EVIL (with respect to your Gaddafi/Hitler reference.But I won't. Not here at least ;)I would however, say that there is nothing wrong with accepting the norm. If you have thought it through and you agree, then please by all means accept away. Afterall, there is a reason why norms are norms.And 'Jibola? God will NOT be able to help you if you sell that cam to my parents.


  4. >This post hit me pretty hard cuz u see, up until recently I was what u would call a "mindless drone". Yes that's a gross exaggeration but my point is I never questioned the "why" of it all. Why's the right hand any better than the left? Why can't I ask WHY? (Asking why is usually synonymous with insolence and disrespect) And the extent to which that has affected my overall person is terrible. Thankfully I've been able to snap out of whatever hypnosis I was under and I'm slowly but surely becoming my own person.Ada, I'm so with you on the living alone bit. There's nothing I crave more right now. To be an individual outside of who/what the parentals want me to be. Yes, being INDEPENDENT. Sadly I don't see that happening, ever.Nice post Ada, I'm hoping it'll be something of an eyeopener/wake up call for some.


  5. >@ Dami: Thank you very much.I can totally relate with you on the 'hypnosis' level and I'm really glad you have been able to snap out of it. I myself am just starting to make important decisions for myself and give voice to the questions that have been in my head for a while.I'm still working (and praying feverishly) on the living alone bit. Will let you know how it goes. Who knows, maybe we could be apartment mates? :)


  6. >I agree with the overall sentiment of the post. People do things because everyone else is doing it. However, sometimes, everyone does something not because of being brainwashed, but because that's just the way to do it. Only 11.3 percent of the entire world population is left-handed. It's the way you're born. So technically, for most people, the right hand IS the useful hand. So you can kind of see why it would be disrespectful to not use it. But I agree, we should all question things more.


  7. >I love this piece like seriously! The "move-to-burn-Jeggins", "u not liking earrings" & my fave – "u might as well be called lazy as u can't be bothered to front before giving a guy ur number, especially if ure feeling him" – if that's true, then I'm lazy too *grinning*… Fab piece!Adults (including parents) have to understand that we, 'younger adults' (for a lack of a better phrase), have minds too, think for ourselves, even unbelievably manage to make 'right' decisions, and should not be forced to blindly concede to everything. They work for a living to give us exposure & self-awarenesss, hence, they should adapt to the after-math of these.Totally agree with ur stand on the so-called "marriageable age bracket" – u simply should only settle down with the person who works for u.But can we entirely write off society expectations, standards & supposed code of conduct from an African (somewhat archaic) view point? Is it permissible or for a better use of word "proper", to leave ur parents' home as a 'girl', especially if u intend moving to a nearby vicinity as ur parents' house?I'd like to think my thought processes are rather 'westernized', but what happens to this annoying statement, "when in Rome, act like a Roman"? *confused*Kudos darling though. X…


  8. >Fab piece . u have some good points there.Moving out of one's parents house maybe understandable in some circumstances,if the parents live far from where u work or u have become a MSW(Mature Single Woman). Even tho may MSW still live with their parents.


  9. >@ dami: I see your point and like i said in my reply to 'Jibola, there's a reason why norms are norms so it's okay to go along with them sometimes. Thanks.@ Dami: Lol!@ Amani: Thanks hun! Trust you to agree with me on the 'lazy bit', Lol!I see your point on the 'When in Rome, act like a Roman' bit. I think a possible solution would be striking a balance. To know when to question and when to accept. I have learned from experience to pick my battles so sometimes, the best course of action would be to concede.There are however, some battles that should be fought to the 'death' (ask the Libyans).God help us.@ Fairy godmummy (Mrs FAB): Thank you. Maybe you could see my real mother and explain to her the concept of an MSW? Not like i think I'm there yet sha.


  10. >I really like the wit in this piece. I could hear the defiant tone and it is actually funny in some parts. Lately in my life I've been taking the "deviant" route. I realise that my time is precious therefore it should be occupied with things that are of value to ME. Now, we cannot escape picking up principles and ideals from those closest to us and from the social environment we find ourselvces in but for a society to perpetuate a mentality that derides questioning and assigns it as rebelling is tantamount to good old oppression in the classic form of mind control. Nobody can tell me things are the way they are because they are just the way they are. That is an incredibly redundant statement. Things are the way they are because someone or people in positions of power have made them that way. Humans are amazing creatures but also very manipulative. Those in convenient positions like to stay that way but it doesnt follow that the status quo needs needs to be maintained to your detriment. If people decide to maintain certain norms it shouldnt be for lack of questioning and awareness but because they have carefully weighed the options available to them and feel that that is the interest that suits them. You've said it girl, nigerians need to ask more questions- ignorance is not bliss. Conceiving an unconscious life is a very scary notion for me and a sad waste of brain cells and scarce resources on the planet. p.s. You should go ahead and get that flat. I'll come party in it;)


  11. >Oh wow Ifeatu, you really hit the nail on the head. You're so on point,I feel like i could just give you the whole blog to take over! Expect the party invite :)


  12. >lol! Keep writing! Sometimes I feel that I do not have the right to critique Nigerian social culture because I have been out of it for some time. I'm loving the 'first-handedness' of it all from you so, I will try and follow religiously.


  13. Very very true… I don’t know how many times I’ve had arguments with NIGERIANS on all the above topics…


  14. Okay, time out people….reality check! I took out time to analysis this write up and this wah I think!

    Every country has its own culture and way of living….even the developed world which we seem to copy every grain. Culture is wah defines a nation or even an area. I refuse to be drawn into this illusion the writer wrapped herself in on.

    Half of us on this topic will def end up not practicing wah we preached here, why, cuz that’s the norm guiding us and is an age long tradition which will keep surviving even with the increasing influence the developed countries have on the young lads.

    For pete’s sake, compare the lives of the females in Nigeria and that of the so called developed world, crystal clear, ours are way better. Point being, the writer needs to lay off American movies, most of which are make believe….Yes, some go into marriage to please their parents or to wade off the stigma of being called names, only to regret being in such marriages, buh then, check the odds, 3-10, fair!

    youthful exuberance it is, u will get over it.


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