DON’T COLOUR ME ANONYMOUS
I would love to be like Lagbaja, but my name is not Tamedu and neither is he my father. My father has a known name, just as his fathers before him and I have mine. The one people know me as, the one people often practice words and antonyms with and all other sort of things one could think of when my name is shortened, but never disregard. It’s such a shame that I thought of giving it up for the sake of expressing myself limitlessly. Hiding and running are two things that I have become effortlessly good at. I have continuously hid behind fancy metaphoric words instead of coming out straight to say exactly how I feel. I don’t want to have to explain my tiredness in colours unknown to people such as anonymous, so I could say the truth. Well, it’s not like I am a known liar. This is not to say I haven’t told any lies in the past.
Imagine the number of people I have to put into consideration when it comes to airing my thoughts and asking sincere questions. The urge to freely express myself overtook the necessity to live up to my personality. All of a sudden, I find myself feeling like an accountant with a secret need to splurge money. My three social media accounts express some aspects of me. On Instagram, I am the fine girl who posts pictures once in a yellow moon with cheesy captions. On Facebook, I am the Christian I should be. Writing positive words incorporated with the gospel of Christ which my everyday life should reflect and on WhatsApp, I am just the chick who shamelessly displays her love for poetry and paintings. Oh yes, there’s Snapchat where the vain part of me is encouraged by the availability of many pretty filters. Mine is the garland (intertwined flowers that graces one’s forehead).
There’s another part I haven’t mentioned and that brings me to the reason for writing this. The fear of failing made me divide myself into two halves, so I would still have one if the other one sinks. I consider myself a childlike adult and the things I write are chronicles explaining different aspects of my life that people may or may not know. I created another Instagram page, just so I could write everything and nothing in particular as long as it means I get to air my thoughts. Sooner than later, I started obsessing about the likes and the follow figures. Also, went ahead to doubt myself and slid into a couple of D.Ms. It felt like this other person I created sucked and it affected her writings, while I in my entirety flourished with my upcoming book Art on a Sunday in the works.
I mean I can’t imagine not being wanted, being criticised for thinking normal thoughts as I should because of who the people perceive me to be. If I should start posting quotes on my personal Instagram page where I normally post pictures, people will start to wonder why the sudden interest in poetry. If I post pictures on my writing page, people would assume I am considering a deviation from the norm. God bless my soul if I ask a question about body changes when one starts having sex and reliable birth control pills, people automatically assume I have backslid and I am definitely having sex.
I have a lot of questions that don’t even all have to do with me, like why do people think decency and morals are related? Why must I break my back before my respect for someone older is recognised? Why are female dilemmas more projected than the silent wars men fight? Speaking of men, why do some act as if love is an evil spirit that quickly possesses a vessel? Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-love? How did the Nigerian/Ghana Jollof rice war start? Will it ever end? Why don’t I know how to draw brows? Will I still be attractive to gawking men if I were as dark as the night? Would Osita Iheme make a good Tyrion if he was in Game of Thrones? What if Cinderella was a Yoruba girl? What songs will she have danced to with the prince? Would he be a Yoruba demon or an Igbo angel or a Hausa vessel possessed by the former two? Forget this silly thoughts of mine. Now to the real deal
I have things I want to talk about without being asked questions like “aren’t you supposed to be a perfect good example to the coming generation?” or be judged by self-righteous Christians who don’t know it’s not a religion, but a belief which is better expressed personally. I want to ask a lot of questions about being a Christian, my background aside; it is a lovely thing to be – Christ-like, living well and right. Why do things that are wrong feel so right? Especially when you seem to pray fiercely about it? What can one call a situation whereby someone receives a prophecy from a man or woman of God, but it does not happen? Why do people feel like pastors are people who rip off people in the name of the Lord? Why is it easy to believe that people have common sense, but it’s hard for people to believe that God is real? When they are both invisible? If seeing is believing then we should all doubt the existence of sense and probe every “wise” thing that has ever been said?
As a product of the church and the society, I wonder why the roles aren’t being reversed. Would the world be a better place if both sexes exchanged shoes? Will a man last in a woman’s shoes if he had to go through the pains of menstrual cramps and labour pains? Will a woman understand that although it doesn’t seem like the man is doing much that he is actually working his ass off? I am sorry, but I chose to use ‘ass’ because ‘buttocks’ will not quite hit home! He has to be a man; a strong hard man – not vulnerable, not emotional, forceful and inconsiderate. He doesn’t want to rape his wife, but the society says he owns her. “She is your property!” He wants to cry too when he is sad, but he cannot because women were born to shed tears in all situations. The man is either there to cause it or end it. The man is the head of his home, but the woman is not the slave. The man is the head of the home, but he is human too. He is not also the slave. The church teaches the man to take things by force, but no one ever emphasises the ‘love your wives’ part. Men hurt too. I wonder when the society and the church will learn that the world is fast evolving. The church is stuck with the Old Testament mentality and have even brought it into the era of Jesus Christ. The society is so ignorant that it has refused to realise that feminism is a movement for both men and women in the actual sense of it. Some have taken it to the extreme though, making it a platform to express their bitterness.
The government! Oh it makes me sick to think that I would serve soon and I might be roaming the streets with papers that I spent years to acquire and even when I write on papers, it’s disregarded. It makes me sick that when they pray in churches and Nigeria and the government are mentioned, people sound like they have suddenly lost their voices. It makes me sick because I have to either hide my identity or sugarcoat the bitter truth so it tastes like a sour sweet in the mouths of those deserving of it. Of course, I don’t want to be picked up from my house for speaking against louts in corporate wears or boxers in agbadas. I don’t want to be coloured anonymous so I could air my thoughts according to human rights
As a normal girl with feelings and the likes, I want to know a lot about relationships. I want to know why single girls give better advice about relationships more than people in relationships. Why do people think that insinuating things and sending songs is equivalent to expressing feelings out rightly? Why do people expect that the people they are talking to will grab what they are trying to say? How does one get shot at without being expected to fall? How is one expected to be complete when pieces of him or her are being stolen? I want to know about success and fulfilling purpose? I want to be able to say how I am feeling whenever I am feeling what I am feeling without being labelled one thing or the other? Why do people always feel that they can put out something in the public and not expect the public’s various responses? What does a degree matter? What if I am both book smart and skilled? Should one be forfeited or both should work together? I want to ask why one can’t just decide to stop being friends with someone when nothing positive is being gained without being tagged a friend with benefits as if that’s not what it is all about. Can one care about the physical without the emotional baggage attached without being tagged a slut?
I was going to open a blog, distant from my known personality, distinct from the anonymous one already existing as a result of fear. This is not to undermine anyone Sia-ing him or herself right now. I have realised that people find it more exciting to read about strangers who refuse to show themselves than known people. It’s true what they say, strangers are easier to talk to than known people, because strangers don’t judge (well, it’s not like they have anything to judge). I wonder why I have to paint myself blue to dance naked in the rain among other blue children, when all I want to be is red, seated on the window-side, observing blue children notice me looking at them dance. It’s hard even being true to myself at times, but the world is positioned in a way that the best thing to be is yourself. I don’t like myself at times and the decisions I make, but my name is my name and it’s mine to own till the day I return to my maker. It’s going to be rejected, scorned, accepted, adopted, cherished, but it will still be mine and it will be known to me and for this reason and more, as I scrubbed the fear off my body in the shower this morning, I told myself “Don’t colour me anonymous.”
As I air-punched all the things that make me angry as motivation to join fitfam. I wondered why I want to kill myself to wear a size 8 and less, when I wear a beautiful size 10. My head will be too big for my body. I was too eager to be someone I wasn’t born to be. I punched myself and said
“Don’t colour me anonymous”
I don’t know what colour you might be thinking on pouring on yourself for the sake of the general public, you need to stop. Nkan won ni ta! (things are expensive ni ita!)
Take the energy, spoil yourself and tell people what your name is. Kinta Kunte was proud of his name and he was fictional. What happened to you? What happened to me?
Don’t colour yourself anonymous, wear that name with pride – it is who you are and it is the label for the things you do.
“You are a star and you are gifted. Don’t colour me anonymous”
Wear your brand like it’s really expensive, because it is. Wear it and flaunt it for the gram, more importantly yourself.
Written by Adetutu Adedoyin, Senior Literary Editor (Core Magazine Africa)