“How was your exam?”
“Fine o. Adupe. Did you see that number 3, ehn?”
“Abi o, those lecturers lasan!”
“God will help us”
Within minutes, I heard the friend walk away and the lady in my apartment turned to her roommate. “That exam was not fine at all o. Only God will help me scale through”.
In the past weeks, I have been saddled with tests and examinations; and like any undergraduate would say, it hasn’t been easy. There were times when I got the hang of things, and there are times when they were just beyond me at the moment. But still, on any of those days, whenever I was asked how my exams went ( a question my roommate and friends won’t stop asking), my reply was always fine.
Like the lady in my apartment, I tell them fine and only confide in a few friends that I was not okay with what I did.
What has being a Nigerian taught you about yourself when it comes to weakness?
Maybe that you have to be strong at all times, that is why, despite going through difficulties, you don’t want to tell others so that they won’t judge you, gossip about you or think you are a weakling.
Maybe that is why the electrician who was called to fix the light in an hostel the other day refused to admit that he doesn’t know where the fault was, or why some other skilled professional would lie that they can handle a task when deep down they know they can’t.
Does a display of weakness depict failure even when you haven’t done the job?
How am I to know? When right as a kid I had adopted the word “fine” in every situation, and even if anyone doubted that, my smiling fine is enough of a fix.
“Alhamdulillahi”, “Adupe”, “Chukwu Daalụ” are words that we have learnt to adopt even when we are taking our last breathe or on the verge of death.
No, I do not mean that you should “carry your matter for head” and tell everyone around that you are not okay, or that you should broadcast your problem. But maybe you should admit your mistakes when you make them and say you can’t or will try when you cannot handle things. They only make you human, who aren’t perfectionist.
Many Nigerians I have met do not believe depression exists. To them, it is an emotion experienced ‘in the abroad’. That is probably why it is easy to expect everyone to be fine and strong at all times.
I wondered if the lady in my apartment had admitted to her friend that she may need help in a subject, she could have got it. But, then, in Nigeria, admitting a weakness is not an option.
You may be a Nigerian, but still show a bold front when you have to. Say you will try when you aren’t so sure.
‘I will try, or I did what I could’ has not been known to kill anyone, at least that’s what a Google search told me.