I always try to avoid labels but for the purpose of this post, I shall identify as the Introverted Nigerian.
I don’t talk much and I’m not exactly shy. I used to think I was. I prefer to talk when I have something meaningful to say, well except on this blog where I discuss mostly irrelevant issues. I was the child that never danced during those children parties my mum made me go to (Cool kids don’t dance). Sometimes, I didn’t even know whose party I was attending. I didn’t really fancy socials in school either and I never danced. I don’t think my friends have seen me dance before. Maybe one or two have. I dance at home though. It’s usually silly stuff; when I’m trying to make my siblings laugh. That’s probably the only way I know how to dance-like a clown. Please don’t try to imagine me dancing if you know me. Things will never be the same if you do. Although my comedic dance moves are top-notch, I try not to exhibit them in public. I don’t think the world is ready for my moves. Not yet.
I get asked some rather annoying questions sometimes due to my reticent ways and I’m here to address some of them.
Enter Introverted Nigerian (IN) and Random Classmate (RC). IN and RC aren’t exactly friends, just acquaintances. RC comes over to IN’s desk and they engage in a conversation.
RC: You never smile.
This isn’t even a question. It’s a blatant statement. It is said with the same conviction someone would say ‘you’re a girl’ and be sure of it. What sort of ignorant statement is this o you omnipresent one? ‘Never’ is such a big word and it’s rather annoying when this person who has known me for barely a month comes to me and says ‘you NEVER smile’. And I’m pretty sure you’ve seen my 32(not sure if my teeth are up to 32 really) RC, as I usually laugh at jokes during class.
IN (smiles): Haha… I smile. (I mean how else can you reply such an ignorant statement?)
Enter IN and RC 2. It is February 14th and the theme of our French lesson is L’amour. We have a little party in class later. There is cake. Pictures are being taken. I don’t really like posing for pictures so I sit and watch. I am not sad, not at all.
RC 2: What is your problem?
RC 2 looks annoyed. He probably does not understand why I’m not jumpy and excited. This question annoys me. My problem is the fact that he has presumed I must have a problem. He didn’t even ask ‘what is the problem?’ to generalise things or ‘Are you okay?’ to express some concern.
IN (smiles): Nothing… I’m okay. (I mean what am I supposed to say? That he’s being annoying and I’m not interested in the activities going on around me?)
Enter IN and Le Professeur. Le Professeur tells IN to read an article.
Le Professeur: Parle fort!
I can understand this. My voice is deep and low and has a tendency to get lost. I can’t really do much about this though. That’s just the way things are. I wish she would accept this. Does she want me to shout? Another classmate comes to my aid. He tries to explain to le professeur.
IN: Désolée madame. (Proceeds to read in shaky awkward-sounding voice)
I like to think that I’m a happy child, that I’m fairly normal and not that weird, but questions like this make me feel awkward. They make me feel like I’m doing something wrong when I’m really just being myself and that is unfair. I wish more people would understand this.