How Growing Up Affected My Social Interaction

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Every time I find myself outside my space, let’s assume, in the company of my really close friends or casual friends, I often find myself shrinking into the noises of the universe.

Unlike other folks, we grew up together as a deficiency to the society. I cannot vividly picture the image of a father in my story but the face of my mother was as clear as a SVG file even though her face was not as frequent as other mothers who would come see their kids in the dormitory but it was closer to my visual and so were the faces of my grandparents.

After I was born on a Thursday as the calendar reads, my father, left. Perhaps, he would come back tomorrow, which I don’t really look forward to anymore. I lived with my grandparents from when I was six months old till when the strands of my beards began to peep.

My grandparents during this period were missionaries who were often transferred throughout the states, from one town to the other, and this birthed me into becoming a confluence of colors bearing different shades of what I have learned. Through growing, getting familiar with each of the states we often took months if not years until I finally inhabited the thought that, no place is permanent and this helped me understand better why my father left. And since life is like fashion, ebbing with time, change is liquefied.

When I was seven, I would imagine myself being an outcast in-home, living alone and suffering because the situation I grew up in, painted me ills of the society. However, by this period, I was living an average Nigerian life, had everything I wanted, perhaps not all, but the better part of it.

No matter how I try to mask it, the trauma of not having a parent has always been a hurt that will take time to heal and it affected me in different ways like affecting my social interaction. The perspective with which I saw myself as a part of the society shaped me into believing that there is nothing a deficient like me can contribute to it, so I decided to keep to myself away from it as a way of escaping the stories that I didn’t want to tell —

“Who is your father?”

“I have not seen your father; does he live here?”

During early teenage, in the days of frolic enjoyment when I saw my friends enjoy, I mastered the art of darkness and broke myself into the silence it offers. The air could keep my company and carry my words to that girl I loved but couldn’t tell, while the darkness could shield the secrets I didn’t want to tell. I hid, like an outcast, inside of me.

When I was 13, I made it to the Secondary School. It was time for me to live without the care of my grandparents for three years. The first year was a disaster, most nights on my bunk, I cried because I lacked the words to properly express myself. On one night, my utmost fear became alive — I was coming from a night prep when I met my roommates outside discussing their parents. I was about to sneak in when one of them called me back.

“I have never seen your parents; do you even know them?”

I lied and crawled back to the darkness that hugged my bunk. Every day after it began to reveal the secrets I was hoarding and my social interaction began to grow. As regrowing a damaged plant, takes more time than destroying it, I began to grow in bits.

For years, I have worn my social awkwardness on my skin and it has moved around with me. I have lost some important opportunities because I have been afraid to speak up, this cost me two years of my life while applying for my university admission. In my second year at the university, I almost lost an internship opportunity because I was afraid of my opinion.

As time moved on, a change occurred in me, I grew in bits. One thing that has become clear to me, is that the man’s utmost fear is what he keeps to himself.

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