Battle of the mind:
When I was growing up, I wanted to be a medical doctor. My parents encouraged me to write entrance examination for Oyo state school of science, so I could fully concentrate on sciences and have the best foundation possible to build on. I wrote the exam, passed and got and admission into school of science Oke Bola, Ibadan which later changed its name to Oladipupo Alayande school of science (OASOS).
I was in the boarding school at my new school and went up to my uncle’s house during holidays. I loved my uncle’s house but it was different for me. My cousins were there but I mostly felt lonely. My mum used to check up on me regularly, so I wasn’t home sick, but I wanted to be with her always more than anything else. I had always been with my mum where things were done differently to my uncle’s. Knowing it isn’t my parents’ house restricted me from my freedom in the house and marginalised me from my family. It gave me enough time to magnify issues in my head and created enough doubts about people around me in my mind. I was a slave to my mind but again, I did not speak to anyone. I lived in my own shadow because I did not think anyone would listen and/or understand me.
Something happened one a day, where my younger cousin told me to not destroy his dad’s house because I mistakenly threw a hard ball at the ceiling. I got so upset that I let my emotion run wild. I was thinking, could this have happened if it was my father’s house? Did he even like me? Was I even welcome there anymore? Should I just stop playing so I couldn’t make any more mistakes? There was a flood of negative reasons why he hated me going through my mind! Poor boy, he didn’t even think anything of what he said! He was blunt, he was sensible, he thought he was looking after his parents’ interest which is what we were taught! But in doing that, at that time, he maybe said it in a wrong tone? Maybe I read more meaning to it? Maybe my previous bullying experience meant I saw negativity in everything then? In my mind, I travelled far!
We do not know what battle people are fighting behind closed doors. What do you think your action or inaction will do to others? How would you affect others? I am of the school of thought that you are responsible for your actions, you can’t be held responsible for the receiver’s reaction, but it is important to be sensitive to other people’s emotions and feelings! Surely, we can’t always get it right! If then unknowingly we hurt someone, don’t be slow to apologise unreservedly! At that time, you probably aren’t apologising for what you have said but for how it made that person feel. After all, it is their feelings! And no matter what you think, it is valid to them!
No act of kindness, however small is ever wasted- AESOP. Let us endeavour to use our ‘freedom of speech’ sensibly and responsibly. The effects of our actions and/or inaction might not be physical or instant! People have battles that they are fighting, the least others can do is to support them and not make it worse- wherever possible.
To the people fighting battles in their minds- remember- speak out! Seek help!
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.