In the beginning:
I was born into a family that consisted of my mother, my father and my elder sister (My arrival meant 2 children of course). Both of my parents are nurses. They both loved having families around so although they worked much, we were never alone. Another beautiful baby girl was born after me but was soon taken away from us, what an unquestionable God we serve.
I grew up with lots of aunties, uncles, neighbours, friends etc around us, most of which are truly wonderful. Dad travelled abroad in search of greener pasture and I watched my mum work hard as a single mum to bring up 2 wonderful ladies to rule the world.
I attended one the best school of our time in our city. I was stubborn but not rude. I fought a fair bit because I hated been cheated and if I felt cheated, I would fight like I had a second life hidden somewhere. I yearned for attention and ended up getting it the wrong way most of the time, but it still meant grabbing others’ attention. I was a rough player and got injured so many times with scars to prove my silly choices.
I was ok at school, but I knew I could always be better. My mum put it down to my stubbornness and dislike for studying (Well, there was football, suwe and other games to be played, why study eh?). I just passed every time and at that time, it was fine by me. Though I knew my abilities were better than average, I was too scared to deep further because of the fear of finding out that I wasn’t that good in the first place.
I didn’t really have friends. People would play with me one day and refuse to be around me the next day. Oh wow, what could have happened? Were they warned off me? Did I hurt them? Did they hate me? Was I just too annoying? All these questions went through my mind regularly even at my tender age- under 10! Should I tell my mum? No! She had too much on her plate, I couldn’t dump this on her. Shall I tell my lovely elder sister? No!! She couldn’t understand!! She was the best child even born! She was gold! She was one of the best students academically, well behaved! I just couldn’t let her know I hated being me!!! And I didn’t tell anyone, I hid it deep down inside me.
I got in a lot of trouble because anger was stored in me!! Any opportunity to fight, I grabbed it with great commitment!! I became a self-professed advocate for other people. I’d pick up other people’s fight just to tell their opponents that picking on people was bad!! In my own little way, I was making up for what was happening to me in others. I thought I was passing across a message but unfortunately, no one got the message because now I know, violence is never the answer!!! I became even more resistant, I fought with girls and boys. Younger, older, I didn’t care. I saw my mum cry so much because of my behaviour and at some point, I thought I was causing her more harm than anything.
I left primary school and moved on to secondary school. Wow, it got worse!!! I was older, I understood it better!! There was no excuse for anyone in my head! It was glaring that I was unlovable!! At that point, I had made a conscious effort to control my actions. I didn’t want to make my mum cry just for me to feel better for few minutes. I was bullied!!! I was picked on, pushed around, spat on, cheated and so much more. My classmates thought they were better than me and they bullied me!! I thought I had to get used to d idea of being bullied- it became a norm for me. I decided to join a group of friends, I believed I had to always follow their rules and opinion, I didn’t realise I had choices! I gave myself up!! We had 5 Muslims and I was the only Christian, though they never for once asked me to come with them, I thought if I didn’t “be a Muslim”, they would not want me anymore. I decided to “be a Muslim” and even gave myself a Muslim name just because I thought I had to!!! I wanted to be with them all the time, I wanted them to want me!!! Y couldn’t we go to the Mosque together??? I didn’t attend fellowships, I chose to be a practising Muslim!!! Of course, still didn’t say anything to anyone at home.
I was a fool!!! If people offended me, in my head, it was my fault!!! I was hurting but at a tender age, learnt to deal with things in a matured way (well, so I thought). Hmmm, people saw me and thought I was confident, I saw me and saw a coward! I saw me and saw a failure! I saw me and saw a broken child!! I couldn’t have a boyfriend! I almost did but the fear of God and STD and pregnancy made me run a mile!!! I became a tomboy!!! I made up an appearance to cover for the fact that no one wanted me (in my head)!!! I made it seem that I didn’t have a boyfriend or an admirer because I was a tomboy!!!! But every night, I cried inside me because I felt neglected and rejected!!!
Hmmm, in the beginning…. I’ll stop here for now, continue to follow this blog and there’ll be revelations and more stories. I do hope that reading this will touch at least one person (especially a younger person) and help them know that there’s more in life. And help them choose wisely and remove some stigma. In all, I’m grateful to God, my parents (specially my mum, my jewel 💎 of inestimable measure), my only and only full sister and my darling friends!!!
Why am I recounting all these? I want to encourage someone out there, speak out! Talk to people! I am sure there are people that love you and that would like to share your pain. It is okay to feel low, it is okay to feel lonely, find the right people and talk to them! Growing up is hard, it comes with no manual nor job description but one thing for sure is that your feelings are yours and if you don’t deal with them, they’ll deal with you! Do not conform, BE YOURSELF!!! I never succeeded when trying to be another person. I had and still have a very loving family, but you know what, I hid my pain from them! How could they have helped?! If any young person is reading this, please, talk to someone!!! Don’t suffer alone!! If you read this and notice any of your behaviours that might classify you as a bully, please, work on it!!! You do not know how much you are hurting someone else! Say no to bullying!!! Don’t filter feelings!!! Speak up, speak loudly, be heard!!!
In the beginning it was rough, the middle is still rough but I’m learning to ride with it and make lemonades out of the lemons I’ve got. Because I know that I have a future and I can’t to afford quit.
Thanks for reading and I hope you’re blessed.
Remember, in all you do, BE INSPIRED!
My name is Foluso Ajuwon, popularly called Folu. I was born on the 8th of June in Ibadan, Nigeria. I moved to the UK in 2004 for resettlement and to further my education. I got married and had my son in 2008 and went ahead to tertiary education in Manchester Metropolitan University to study Chemistry and Forensic Science. I am a devoted Christian and my values are mainly built in the Christian belief and faith.