The Young and Disenchanted


Posted on: 9 February, 2010

As a college senior so much of my time is supposed to be focused on my future. Everyone keeps asking me, “What are your plans for after graduation?” “Are you moving back home?” “What about grad school?” And it’s funny, because when I think about how best to answer these questions and, course, the ultimate, “Who are you?” I feel the need to seek recourse in my past and in my home. As much as I have loved my college experience and living in New York City, sometimes I worry about the fact that there’s a disconnect between the person people see on my campus today and the person I see looking in my mirror when I’m home in Lagos. A friend once told me that we all unconsciously (or perhaps consciously) project a certain image that aligns with how we would like to be perceived, but that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story of who we are. Yesterday, I had a moment like that when I started speaking pidgin English to someone and they remarked that it seemed like my whole demeanour had changed. To me, I hadn’t “changed” – it was more like the “me” that exists outside of the context of American college society broke out in the middle of the library.

But I’m leaving that context in a few short months. My self-projected image may change again depending on where (or if) I move, what job I get and the people around me. But where I’m coming from remains constant, and that dominates more than any other factor the way that I see the world. Yes, I studied literature here but that seed was sowed when I was a 3 year old living in Lagos – not in the USA. My understanding of culture and tradition is rooted in Africa. This kind of refers back to my post on identity, but I do find it interesting that because the people who know me best would probably describe me in a totally different way to acquaintances. Yes, I am loud and prone to making violent threats but I can also be quiet and still when carrying one of my nieces. This “misunderstanding” of where I’m coming from isn’t anyone’s fault but my own, but when your mother tells you that the world is set against you succeeding, you choose to go out swinging because failure isn’t an option. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have to articulate myself differently in the context of the USA because it’s an environment that’s still relatively new to me, as opposed to when I’m in Nigeria.

This isn’t really a full post, but rather what’s been going across my mind lately. Part of this is remembering stuff about my childhood and my life in Nigeria and England, stuff that I haven’t really shared with that many people but which, I think, show a slightly different side to me than what people normally see. Stuff like how I loved Enid Blyton books as a child (ultimate form of escapism – reading about the green English countryside while sitting in the dusty heat of Lagos), or how my father the first person to introduce me to hip hop, but it was my older sisters who nurtured my love for the music when we moved to England, or how I unconsciously became an athlete when I went to secondary school, playing on a school team for a solid 7 years. Small things I need to work on sharing…maybe because in order to figure out where I’m going, I need to come to terms with where I’m coming from. Or some other such clichéd phrase.

Anyways, I overslept and need to read Othello, but I’ll be back soon with some more ramblifications on Nigeria/retarded men/food.


1 Response to "Mini-Reflection"

I’m excited for the retarded men post. And as for food, I had my first kati roll yesterday. My world has been utterly and completely changed – it was THAT good. Street food for the win!

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