Lost, not found.
Unclaimed emotions in unsafe territory.
I am open wounds made raw, fairytales turned nightmare.
I am disillusioned naive beliefs…
I am hopeful,
I am fear.
I’m afraid we can’t work with you at the moment.
Your militant natural girl thing just…does…not…appeal to our demographic.
The Nigerian Girl Demographic that is.
Can someone tell me what this ‘Nigerian Girl Demographic’ is?
Who is the Nigerian Girl and what aesthetic is she only permitted to have?
Long hair don’t care, Malay don’t fret, no risk of having Ebola, no fear of heat, perm or bleach Nigerian girl?
Stepped out of a ratchet video, I’m talking Love & Hip Hop, softened up with her…bedazzled vagina and Aunty Funmi hair, Suri Signature blow out, face beat by celebrity MUA Nigerian Girl?
Oh! Pretty whitenicious Nigerian Girl no, not to be confused with Ms Cookie Skin Nigerian Girl – because there’s a difference between brightening and lightening, Nigerian Girl but you really should polish and even out your skin tone, Nigerian Girl.
Are you taking notes?
In this demographic, flawless is more make up than a bake up Nigerian Girl. Think Real Housewives Atlanta, less..
No, no, no, that cannot be, we celebrate Lupita – short hair, barely there makeup, occasional blue eye shadow…
Yes. She’s successful AND not Nigerian. Pay attention Nigerian Girl
So here’s the recipe – one part goat’s milk, one part Egyptian milk,
– shall I bring the henna?
No! That’s too organic, they might think us poor.
I am complications made messy by my own unacceptable approximations of my own uniqueness
I am fragments of disappointed moments made whole
I am joblessness found solitude in anxiety
I am poverty,
I am Peter
I am Paul.
The Nigerian Girl, living fabulously in Nigeria must show up
AND be counted on the red carpet.
Her name picked up as quickly as it is dropped in conversations.
Be a socialite, not a nuisance.
Who cares what you sound like just show up and be pretty.
You are not hungry enough; you don’t want this enough
Sitting at a table I nether feel comfortable being at nor enjoy watching others elbow their way unto.
The Nigerian Girl is force fed the truth of a society I have never felt a part of.
Must you be so obtuse? Why won’t you just shut up and blend in?
Blend in to what? The confusion? The sham?
Italian hair manufactured in China, nails strenuously cut, trimmed, carved and polished – blood and all – at an overpriced nail studio by a calloused and underpaid Itshekiri girl, employed by a Portuguese beauty bar owner who’s laughing at the stupidity and gullibility of the flock?
Air kisses and crab mentality – all of us victims of our porous imagination.
But you must wear Nigerian on the red carpet Nigerian Girl
Why? Because it’s more accessible than Karen Millen or (oh!, my bad, that’s too cheap)
Sigh just follow me, I’ll show you what to do.
These are the ropes, trust the master to pull when you are needed but for now, watch and learn the Lagos Shuffle.
I see no rhythm and cannot rhyme with this lifestyle.
I am ambition, unexplored, creativity hindered
I am colour blind with eyes open to prejudice
I am all ears full of hurt, disappointed moments, tugging
I am consciousness, unsteady
I am all mouth, all hunger, all nerves
The Nigerian Demographic is flawed and making carrion of my life in a room full of road kill, borrowed accents, pleather and stolen dreams.
It asks me to set my clock to fake watches and expects gratitude in slumber.
What is this Nigerian Girl. What does she know about standing up for herself. When will she realize the haystack does not keep her protected from pricks. Can she see beyond her horizon of forced realities she makes others atone for? Does the demographic of a Nigerian Girl in this parallel world fear so much for where she came from that she would caste all out of her baseless island and sand influenced kingdom?
I am stock. Unseasoned, rushed, flavourless, all liquid no punch.
I am ashore, washed up, passed over.
I am youth, I am age, I am backtracking retrospect full of introspect
I am Black British, devoured, Nigerian Girl.
I am hobo chic, Nigerian Girl, descendant of the Otaro and Ekarobome lineage of Ogori, a small village which as you joke, one road runs through it.
A people who for centuries have followed the beat of their own drum. Our language is too rich in culture for the palette of your Nigerian Girl.
That Nigerian Girl celebrates mediocrity and you will silence me no more.
Stifle me no more.
Define me by your myopic understanding of the universe and on how life is no, more.
I am a voice. I have, a voice.
And no, I’m not Bruce Banner or She Hulk. What you see as militant natural Nigerian Girl, I see as choice. I choose me.
I am Oreka Godis, this has been the transition.