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THIRTY YEARS AGO, I was this skinny sickly eight year old kid with plenty of courage. I remembered now with a huge smile on my face as my mother’s eyes usually sneaked up on me with her brows knitted in a frown because of my escapades. My dad was a lecturer at Florida State University but the rest of the family were still in Nigeria and anytime he came home, I always love reading those green Encyclopaedias he brought home. There, I believed was where I learnt a lot of things. Although I was a studious kid but I also loved to play hard. We lived in a picturesque town called ‘Ilorin,’ it was a neat little town where everybody practically knew each other then, our apartment block nestled nicely in a leafy part of town and every evening, kids would troop out playing one game or the other.
We lived on the top floor of the five storey apartment block, one day, out of boredom, my friends and I gathered at the veranda of our apartment. We began regaling each other with stories, when it came to my turn, I told them about what I had read in my father’s encyclopaedias, about jumping from a plane and stuffs like that.
One boy looked me in the eye and asked, ( I can still picture the snarling face!)
‘Can you jump out of a plane?’
‘Yeah, ‘ I replied unconvincingly, I bet he saw my hesitation and played on it.
‘I’m sure you can’t jump from here to there,’ and he pointed to the ground.’ Mind you, I forgot to tell them I hated heights but because I wasn’t going to let anyone see my fear, I said with forced gaiety.
‘Of course I can but my mum won’t let me.’ My friends pondered on that and agreed but that boy refused to let it go.
‘How about we arrange some stools and chairs and make a little mountain, can you scale the stool and jump?’
‘Yeah! Why not?’ I said without hesitation and watched as he dashed into one of the apartments and within minutes, he was back, carrying stools. Some of my friends did the same and before I knew it, the stools looked like Mount Kilimanjaro.
I watched with growing trepidation but I was too proud to say NO! When they finished, the boy asked me to climb the stools. You can all guess what happened. I managed to navigate my way to the top and looking down at my friends, I hesitated and as if on cue they started shouting,
‘Jump! Jump! Jump!!!
And I jumped.
That was the last thing I remembered. The next time I opened my eyes, my left leg and left arm bore the brunt of my fall, my leg and arm were in bandages and when my mother’s tearful eyes met mine, I simply turned away. Believe me guys, that was not the end of my ordeal but I won’t go to that aspect of the story today.
Where am I going with this story? Please don’t JUMP, stand your ground, don’t bow down to pressure from so-called friends to do what you don’t want to do. Since that day, I became my person, I can stand my ground and face any foe. Throughout my primary, secondary and university days, I held my ground, fought off bullies and lived in relative peace.
Life is too short to be easily swayed by others. Like that picture, you’re a shinning star, let no one tell you otherwise.
Have a pleasant weekend and don’t forget, ‘don’t jump! Refuse that sneaky little voice that said you are helpless, you’re NOT! End of story!!’
Much love, always!