A Wiseman once told me “never in the heat of anger speak ill to people older than you who have offended you in one way or another if you are not responsible for yourself yet, remember to always keep a smile on your face even when people cut through your heart with their words and actions. You may think silence equates to stupidity but who is more foolish between the man who raves and spits and he who is composed and has a smile on his face?”

These words echoed in my head on my way to school this morning. I was lost in deep thought till late at night yesterday, I went over events in my head and how I had reacted to things in the past. I used to be an angry child, I lash out at anything and anyone including those who love me and want to be my friend, I could remember Tasnim, my Primary 1 seat mate, she is always at the receiving end of transfered aggressions. I pour out my grievances on her instead of whomever it was that had offended me. I was like that with her until the day she freed herself of the shackles I had over her. She talked back at me and stopped being my doormat and I stopped being an angry child, at least throughout my primary 1.

In life, we come across things, people that threaten our peace, one of such things that threaten tranquil living is anger especially the one which is bottled up, it is like an adder that is breeding and its offspring are waiting to unleash their venom any moment. It is like an overblown balloon that is waiting to burst, a little prick and boom!

As Africans, little children are brought up to always respect adults no matter what! This is one of the reasons why cases of sexual, domestic and verbal abuse goes unreported, most of the kids have been taught to blindly follow any older person. Insults and a smack here or there is often seen as home training, after all “it takes a village to raise a child”. Children then grow into adults who feel they owe every body who is older than them something. The older one don’t make it easy for them with their excessive feeling of entitlement.

Respect has been abused by people, everyone thinks they deserve it but should you expect respect when you are not worthy of it and you don’t give it? Being older gives people that “age entitlement”. It is worse when you call them aunty or uncle, you dare not question them or talk back at them, you dare not reject whatever shit they are feeding you with, in fact you must ask for an extra plate to show you are well brought up, you dare not show any sigh of discomfort when they inconvenience you, you dare not do whatever it is they forbid you to do. Why? Because they are older than you and they know more about life than you do!

In this kind of situation, there are two things that can be done, you either rebel against the perceived injustice or you go dumb and accept everything with spoonfuls of pepper! If you rebel, you are a spoilt brat who would never amount to anything in life. If you accept everything you become the cushion they jump on for the rest of your life. So what would you do?

I often resort to silence and avoiding the person involved, I wouldn’t want to be seen as rude by talking back and I don’t want to be an idiot either by accepting injustice meekly. So I shut them out and recoil into my shell but the irony is, this is seen as disrespectful as well.

What I said above only buttress the fact that human beings can never be satisfied, which is why we have to stay true to ourselves. Never in the name of being “respectful” allow people treat you like scum. Hold your head high and do not slouch! It is not your fault if they can’t see the need to respect you because you are little. And for the time being, avoid lashing out until you can stand on your own two feet.

Have a wonderful week. Xoxo

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