360SUBMISSION: When I grow up, I will be…

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“Oh boy! Ijeoma your daddy is short and fat!” We told her and laughed so hard till our tummies ached and tears streamed down chubby cheeks housed on innocent but mischievous faces.

“And he even has bald head” my brother added and we laughed some more.

“Eh, it doesn’t matter. When I grow up i will marry a very tall and handsome man. Just wait till i’m grown.” she retorted, close to tears. That was the only way she knew to make up for what she never had and that got us started on a whole new topic: What we will be and have when we grow up.

I, miss talkative, can never carry last so of course I had the biggest dream. “When i grow up, I will be a medical doctor and i’ll marry a tall white man, with very curly hair and all my children will be ‘onyeocha’. And they’ll use them for advert on TV”. I said to the admiration of others who also tried to incorporate my dream into theirs. Like it was that easy; just say it and you get it. Except it wasn’t.

So we went ahead with living our lives, tired of being children, living under authority and impatient to grow up and hold the entire globe in our imaginary large fists.

And grow up we did! However, from my 16th birthday something changed. Time suddenly became an athlete, running a non-stop marathon. It’s like someone pressed the fast forward button on my life and forgot to play it back normally. From days that dragged slowly with nothing to do but go to school and dream of being older, to years that suddenly seem as short as a forth night and a breathless, frazzled me asking “Don’t tell me we’re in 2012 already?”.

It suddenly occurs to me that I am grown! We all are grown. Just what we wanted all along and couldn’t wait to have. So now that we are there why don’t I want to scream “Eureka!”? It isn’t the climax that I expected and I don’t feel like the same person anymore.

Am I a doctor already? Hell no. Okay, perhaps a doctor in the making? Still, wrong. Alright, maybe we could try the other dream… Am I married to my dearest white man? Negative. Ever dated a white man, or let’s come down a bit, a mulatto? Still, no. As a matter of fact only the blackest of the black men are the ones who stand in my ever long queue.

So, what happened? (I know you are wondering. I’m wondering the same). Life happened! The life we couldn’t wait to court eventually fell before us, but it wasn’t anything like what we expected it to be.

I still see lots of the kids I grew up with; A few i’m still close with, most others, we see on the street and act like we never played with each other’s toys and drove in the same car to the same school. Again, life happened.

What amazes me the most in all of this is how really complicated our friend ‘life’ and her offspring ‘growing up’ can be… I mean it succumbed to our incessant wooing, but had the element of shock going for her, and that she dealt us.

Kids with the biggest dreams and better prospects seem to have grown up like they wanted, but didn’t have or become what they were so sure they would be. Thanks to life! What’s more amazing is that the most unlikely ones, the ones you’ll see in school and say “Hey, when I have my company, don’t worry, I might pity you and make you my receptionist” are the ones heading big organisations and touring the world on business and pleasure alike.

I particularly remember this girl in school who wasn’t pretty and to top it all, she was what we all called ‘razz’. I remember saying to Ijeoma “I wonder if this girl will ever get married. Which type of man will even marry her?”

Well, surprise!!! Miss razz is now a Mrs. to one very cutey dude and a mum to a lovely set of twins. While my, and Ij’s, fingers are still empty; well not entirely empty, we wear fashion rings. Lol.

At this point I can’t help remembering Angelique kidjo’s song ‘we are one’ and the part that goes “…and the only thing we know is things don’t always go the way we plan…”

Anyways, all I’m saying is that the most unlikely ones, who couldn’t dare dream, and if they did, they were tiny baby dreams, are the ones living our dreams and I can’t help but laugh at the irony of it all and wish I could go back in time and tell myself, and the rest of us, that actually we are all in for a shocker!

It’s funny. I’m in my twenties now, grown up like I always wanted and rather than be glad, i’m here wishing i could get that remote control that is making time move in a blur, pause it, relax and enjoy being young.

What’s even funnier? I’m not the only one wishing to be little again. Isn’t it ironical that at 15, when asked your age, you want to inflate it; act like a big girl. But now, in our twenties and thirties, we all want to claim sweet 16 and under 18?




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  1. Good read, introspectively inducing and funny too… Good thing i wasn’t ever in a hurry to grow up but here i am. Soon the “when are you gonna settle down” convo will be held. I kinda wish i’m in Neverland sometimes…

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