Tea Diary: Stories From A Nigerian Secondary School ( Part 1 )

The following series talks about periods in my life and my discovery of self perservation. The purpose is to create an awareness of things we tend to ignore that contributes to our personality as adults.


Feb 2001:

I HATED JS2. Okay not as much as my SS2 ( we’ll get to that). I had very low self esteem,socially, of unimanginable proportions. I just didn’t feel anyone would like me enough outside my home. It felt like a constant battle of always analyzing whether people who said they were your friends actually meant it or you had to have something that they would want to be around you for. Yes, I had low esteem, but I wasn’t stupid. I believe in the law of exchange. Whatever you feel you’re deficient in you try and make up for in other ways. Its a psychological balance that has to be maintained. And there was a time that scale almost tipped. When that sneaky bastard crept up on me and got my ears-a-perking up when I happened to be stormed by a bunch of my giggling female classmates who thought it was about time Feb 14th ( the all hell is gonna break loose) meant something to ‘We Maidens In The Prime of Our Youth’. Some things were just unavoidable. You have to go down a road on your own you wouldn’t think twice of taking.

I developed a new handwriting, as opposed to my cranky scarecrow looking scribbles, cursive it was. I think currently I can manifest about 4 successfully. It does come in handy especially now when people type more often than write and are loosing their sense of holding a pen properly except well to scribble down stuff. My female ‘We Maidens In The Prime of Our Youth’ ( I choose to call them that, however if any of you remember this event whilst with me at the time you can solely identify yourselves, I give you that honor) decided to have me write some, I dunno, cheeky ass stuff if you ask me and pass it to one of the seniors who was in the class behind us. I thought it was a prank. It turned out as a turn down. The dude did come out to take a peek at me and you can guess what happened after that, typical camera zooming moment from afar and them having a good laugh, at me. You should have seen me then; long skirt, way too long for school standards, beret covering my head like a turtle shell, baggy sweater not showing off my boobs and buck teeth. In contrast to the slender hairless legs of ‘We Maidens In The Prime of Our Youth’ at the time, I huddled myself back to my class, took out my flower imprinted diary, and started writing down all my tears, only thing was, it really was tears! But no one heard or saw it from me.

 

Killing Them Young: Why Ideas Matter For Black Girls ( And Every Other Girl Too)

And just like that, I slumped. ” why didn’t I get points for it?” I asked my JS2 (8th grade) physics teacher. The feedback I got haunts me on days I feel like I haven’t put in my best. On days that I am genuinly tired of constantly trying to be the best at what I believe I am the best at. “How can I give you points for a model ? I asked for a project that involves something mechanical, and you present a model. 2/10 for you now go and sit down“.

If I didn’t have a parent that believed in my potential not just for being a daughter but as an actual human being I might have never pursued my academics in the STEM field. I made a cardboard model of what a nuclear power station would be like and explained the concept of how you could re-navigate a water source so that it doesn’t interrupt the water source of neighbouring farmlands in the event one was to be built. I got laughed at by both my peers and teacher of what a silly project it was.

That was in 2001. Continue reading “Killing Them Young: Why Ideas Matter For Black Girls ( And Every Other Girl Too)”