17 Apr TO BELONG
For The Wrong Reasons
In reminiscence, I think of how different my life might have been had I moved with a different crowd growing up. People we meet, and places we go influence us whether we realise it or not.
I was the youngest and the smallest in high school, midyear in the late 80s and I was “dolled” upon by everyone in class. They treated me like I was the baby of the class (which I was technically) and sought to teach me the many things, good, bad and ugly they thought I should know. I was a very young teenager back then and kind of enjoyed the attention I got.
Unfortunately, there was no much good my “nice classmates” could offer me. A man can only teach you what he knows. I was carried away by trends and happenings, everything I was taught at home seemed to be “not relevant” and I gladly joined the wagon of “socials”
In the hostel one day, a colleague saw that I had just spotted my first monthly period. I had in mind to report it to my sister, who was in another hostel, but the ladies in my hostel had other plans. From nowhere they grabbed me onto their shoulders and started chanting a song I thankfully cannot remember, all round the hostel they carried me, beating on empty cans for music. They were celebrating my “initiation” into woman hood.
All kinds of concerned friends advice began to pour in, the chief one was how I must go find a man to sleep with immediately or I would never be able to get pregnant when I get married. Thank God I had a big sister in school who would later tell me how big a lie it was.
I remember one night, there was a bachelor’s eve party going on in town and my big friends had instructed, advised, counselled that I must be part of. It was late in the night and I couldn’t go knocking on my big sister’s hostel door to get permission, and with my friends leaving me no options I decided I had to go.
They had everything I needed arranged, a bum skirt, one skimpy top ”to show off your beautiful flat tummy” they encouraged, a wig and some high heel shoes to round up the party look. I tell you, I couldn’t recognise me when I looked in the mirror, I had suddenly become a grown up lady.
Should I tell how we jumped the fence? One of them bent her back over for me to land on as another lifted me over. What if something had gone wrong, with my parents believing I was fast asleep in bed, in school?
Let me spare you some of the other events that took place that night, and many other days and nights of running with the wrong crowd.
I wanted to belong.
I wanted to please my friends by being like them, making them happy so I wouldn’t lose them. I wish I had known better.
Most of the wrongs I did were for my friends’ sakes, I could call myself a friend pleaser, both for good and bad, this did not pay off at all.
And I don’t blame them at all, it was ME who made the choice to please them.
What if I had said no?
What if I had chosen to lose their friendship and stick to my parents’ teachings?
What if I had chosen right above wrong? I knew right from wron, very well at this time.
What if I had chosen to be unpopular with “my friends” in order to maintain the good moral teachings I receive at home?
I don’t live in regrets, however sometimes I can’t help but wonder and imagine how my life would have been, if I had made different choices, just wondering…
I know I am not the only one, even as wives and moms, onetime or the other, we may have allowed a friend to influence us to do wrong.
Unhealthy competitions, unnecessary comparisons, friend pleasing, and looking for love and acceptance can lead us into going against the good we know to do.
I have decided long ago, many years after those times, to live for what I believe, even if it looks like it is me against the world. I have decided that if a person will not be a good influence on me, I would disengage from an active relationship with her/him or cut off completely.
I know good and bad, and I have decided that good is good and it is good for me.
You can say no too, you can choose to be and do right over a friendship that could destroy your life.
I have decided to live right even if I go “friendless”. I am growing daily and getting better, it is only by THE GRACE OF GOD!