When I started this blog, I basically said I was going to share myself. Yes, I decided to do that through fashion but it would be a shame if I couldn’t use this platform to express my thoughts the only way I really know how to, through writing. So here goes…
It’s Tuesday, August 4, 2015 and I’m driving through my old neighborhood to a friends house. I even passed my nursery school. It really didn’t look like much anymore, just some weird looking building, completely unchanged but it looked deserted. The setting had me more nostalgic than I’m usually comfortable with. You see, the hospital where I was born, the schools I went to from nursery school up until I graduated high school, the church I grew up going to and three houses I lived in till I was about 16 (I’ve moved quite a bit) were all basically in the same area in Surulere. It wasn’t just a neighborhood; it was everything and everyone I knew.
This same day, the piece about me on Tochi’s blog was posted, with me talking about my perspective on the typical “rich kid” in Lagos. The combination of these two things brought a few things to mind that didn’t come when I talked to Tochi but I still felt like I needed to share.
I grew up as regular as it gets. I said I have liberal parents, which I do, but that definitely didn’t mean there was no set strict structure in my life. I had restrictions that I don’t even care to discuss at this point. My mother always had a firm hand in everything that concerned me, which I now know enough to appreciate because I now see the value of not growing up too fast. The fact that I had a famous parent never really set me out from my other classmates when it really came down to it.
I will always be grateful for the fact that parents would bend over backwards if they had to in order to provide everything my sister and I wanted, but I’ve always been someone who doesn’t like to ask for things. Even now, I’ll be in school, with 99cents in my account and still say, “I get paid in a week and a half, its all good”. I have this annoying need for independence. Thankfully my parents see through that and spoil me once in a while. So I was never that child that felt entitled to everything. Naturally, when people call me a “rich kid”, it aggravates me more than you can imagine. Because I still don’t think that’s accurate, and lets face it, the term “rich kid” tends to come with connotations leaning towards being spoiled.
The rich kid complex; the need to constantly prove that you’re not as entitled as you’re made to feel.
Anyway, at the time when I moved to the island, I was just about to finish high school, a lot of things were starting to matter for kids my age. There was a clear cut set of “popular people” in Surulere, in Lekki, in VGC, in Magodo/Ikeja. It suddenly mattered what school you went to, who you knew in other schools,where you lived. Suddenly, people on the same island I’d recently moved to were deemed to be “richer” than those in my old neighborhood. If you know anything about Surulere, you know it can go from suburban to otherwise in the matter of one street, so I never understood. Yes, houses on the Island may cost a bit more overall but did I move because my family had somehow come upon some huge sum of money? No. I moved because times were changing and respective changes had to follow suit. All the new clubs, event centers and companies were on the island, and due to a major event that hit my family hard, it became evident that due to the nature of my dads work and the hours he has to be out commuting on the streets of Lagos, it would be best if we would just move somewhere in close proximity to where he mostly worked. The same way people with office jobs move closer to their workplaces. But according to the majority, our socio-economic status had somehow changed with our address.
I hated the move. I never complained out loud. But waking up at 5am and getting home at 9pm because of the stupid Island to Mainland traffic while I was doing my senior secondary exams, after being in school till 6:30pm for exam prep was physical and mental torture. I missed having my friends within a 5-10 minute walk or drive. I missed just being able to walk out of my gate and have somewhere to buy credit or do my hair appear within seconds. Till date, this place still doesn’t feel like home to me.
“How can you not know (insert popular person’s name here)?” I still get asked this. You know why I don’t know them? Because I never felt the need to familiarize myself with people based on social media followers and a baseless teenage status quo. I’ve never cared enough. I pretended like I did for a while because that’s the wave everyone was on but that shit never mattered. Who cares if someone I like isn’t part of the cool crew? I like who I like. Life continued to reiterate to me that I needed too seperate myself from all of it because even the things I started to hear about myself were absurd. I was suddenly a snob, boojie, promiscuous etc. all the while my mom barely even let me leave the house so where did I find the time to interact with people enough for them to know all this? It was “@Oyindamola_a” they thought they knew.
And then I went to college and it became even clearer that none of that mattered because I’ve had to make new friends and build my name in that school from the ground up, all over again because no one knew or cared “who I was” that Lagos circle I had come from. Anywhere you go in the real world, no one cares about all that stuff, so why should I?
I guess what I’m trying to make you all see is that my life may not necessarily be what you see on the outside or hear, regardless of how “real” I try to be. According to what I’ve heard, I’m even one of these “relevant Lagos rich kids”, which I don’t care to argue with anymore because people dont always mean it as a bad thing, but you need to understand that people are so much more than what you may have heard or what their “social status” is because at the end of the day, perceptions are not facts. I’m writing this hoping that someone will understand that there’s a real person beneath the Oyinda you may have heard about and that this applies to everyone, irrespective of how popular they are. Social media, parties and all that are cool, but people go home and lead real lives with real issues and may have great or terrible personalities. If you’re going to fuck with someone, do that on the basis of caring who they really are or don’t do it at all. Everything is definitely not what it seems.
Love yourselves and respect one another,