MY QUEST TO BELONG

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In our house, every thing is remote-controlled. With the push of a button, we get to use our cooker, washing machines, air conditioners, everything but that’s not all. When you get to our house gate, it calls out your name.

My audience stared at me with awe in their eyes as I filled their ears and their minds with the lies I told just to belong in their clique. I still can’t believe they believed me but secondary school girls would believe anything. I sat there feeling proud of myself not knowing the lie that started as a teenage girls attempt to ‘fit in’ would soon spiral out of control.

In my school back then, there were cliques and it worked like natural selection. The rich found themselves, leaving the middle class and the poor to do the same. The rich were identified by the glasses and cardigans they wore, not to mention the ability to cat-walk was a huge requirement. At this point I should mention that I spent my secondary school days in an all-girls school and seeing the way they carried themselves made me think – I have to be one of them but I had to be smart about it.

I started my own clique and the idea was to pull the rich crowd to me – and it worked. In fact it worked so well that school became interesting (you know what I mean). I was eager to wake up every morning because I was not thinking about cruel and strict teachers, but the fans who eagerly awaited more stories of how cool my life was. I could see the longing in their faces when I would pour down awe-inspiring details of our pupil-activated TV and such. Yes I was living the life…until.

“We want to come visit you” one of my fans finally mustered up the courage to say after school one day. I felt my heart sink in my chest and I paused for a second. In my mind I couldn’t dare let them know my actual living conditions. It wasn’t the worst but any where would look like a ghetto if it didn’t match what I had been filing their minds with. I told them that my parents were not in the country (that was another lie of course) and that when they return, a visit would be arranged and we would all make a day of it. They agreed and I thought to myself – that was f***ing close.

The first shocker for my friends was the day there was a school fee drive and my name was called among the names of other debtors. I explained that my parents had not gotten around to doing a transfer since they were not in the country. The next day my mom came to the school to ask for an extension and I covered up by saying she had just returned the previous night.

A few weeks later, I finally took them to my house after school on Friday but there was a problem; I had forgotten the lies I had told or should I say I had forgotten exactly what my lies entailed. First off, there was no hi-tech gate, but they said nothing. I didn’t understand the looks they exchanged either…but I said nothing. We settled down for lunch and when the Okra Soup landed in front of us and we had to sit on the floor to enjoy it, again they exchanged looks but I was too hungry to care. My mom came out and told me that if we needed more soup, I could go get from the cooking hut (where fire woods were our main cooking source). To me, it was a nice visit but to them…

I couldn’t faze the weird looks on their faces out of my head as I wondered what caused them. I thought about it for a while and then it hit me. It hit me hard and I realized I don f*** up.  The lies I told gradually came back and I knew I couldn’t face them in school on Monday. “Mom I am not feeling well, I don’t want to go to school today” I said to my mother on Monday morning but she wasn’t that type of woman who would let you stay home from school for any reason.

I did go to school and I did get confronted… I tried another lie by saying that was our second house and not the one I told them about but I now it didn’t fly. I lost a number of my crew members but in that tough time, I was reminded that I didn’t have to lie about my possessions in order to fit in. It was a tough lesson to learn because of all the embarrassment that came along with it but I am glad it happened. Today when I see adults who never learned that lesson and still live lies behind the selfie stick, I laugh and I am grateful because honestly, that could have been me.

 

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