‘The Corper in my office asked me where I served and when I told her I served in Niger state, she asked me if Niger State was in Lagos’.
The silence that followed was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. Sensing our emotions, my younger brother tried to explain and said:
‘She had her university and post graduate degrees abroad though her Primary and Secondary education were in Lagos so she assumes everywhere is in Lagos’
My people, to say my sister and I were disgusted is a huge understatement. I mean the Corper babe was educated in Nigeria up till secondary school so how could we explain the selective amnesia. Abi she don forget her ‘States and Capitals’ ni? Arrant rubbish! We believed the girl was just forming…but then, most of us form. I’ve taken some time to detail the various types of form-ers available, based on the assumption that the major purpose of forming is to somehow seperate oneself from the crowd, and standout.
Some of you might identify yourselves in either of these categories and if you do, please admit it even if only to yourself.
The ‘I belong’ Form-ers
You know those types, they have foneh to the core. But in all the spree spree, you can still hear their native inflections. These are the ones who ‘Don’t like going to the United Kingdom because they think Manchester is better’ and ‘they like Seychelles because it’s one of the most beautiful places in the Middle East’. And yes, I’ve heard people say this and when they say it, I agree with them politely. I can’t shout abeg.
The Unfortunate Europeans and Americans
I’m sorry if that came out harshly but some people eh, they can be annoying. I’ll have to grant it to these group though. Most of them are usually wealthy individuals, born and trained in the best boarding schools abroad, so in their minds, they are not Nigerians. They sing the American national anthem in the office and whenever America or Europe is mentioned, they smugly talk about the country starting with ‘You know we Americans ( or whatever the country might be)…..’ They are the ‘Nigerpolitan Club’ described in Chimamanda’s ‘Americanah’ and take every opportunity to remind you of the western world… and how Nigerians have issues till you’re filled with pity for them and want to scream ‘ Dude, just pack up and leave already’. Most of them just can’t, for reasons known to only them.
The Spiricoco Form-ers
These ones are too righteous to do a lot of things. They are the principled ones. Whenever a situation is mentioned, they not too subtly remind you that principled people like them are a different breed. They are better than everyone around. My dears y’all hiding behind principles secretly believing you’re better than others.
The ‘Silent’ Form-ers
You can’t really tell that these ones are forming oh. They would go on a vacation without announcing it and when they return and you ask where they’ve been, they say they traveled non-challantly. They bring up their achievements in conversations ever so non-challantly that you just have to respect them. I mean if someone who practically flew up the corporate ladder or has achieved other admirable feats mentions these achievements like they are a walk in a park without sounding arrogant, you will not only respect them but spread the word. At first, I was adamant that these group of people weren’t form-ers but my younger brother argued that these people sound calm and non-chalant about their achievements because deep down, they believe that they really are above the achievements hence no need to shout them off rooftops thus making people respect them. He also insists that I belong to this group (I don’t know how true that is).
The ‘Notice me’ Form-ers
These ones shove their lives down your throats. They bombard you with carefully edited pictures of their lives on social media. They buy the latest phones not for the features but because they are expensive. They remind you that ‘they only wear Gold jewellery’ and don’t use things that are not expensive. They tell everyone who cares to listen at the Salon that they ‘prefer Peruvian hair to Brazilian hair cos Brazillian hair makes them break out’ (Don’t even remind these ones that we knew when they were fixing ‘Darling Yaki’ and ‘Expression Mandy’). With this group, it’s not about what they have or use, it’s about the shoving of these possession down our throats.
The ‘Real’ Form-ers
These ones define forming. The ones we called ‘feelers’ (or feelanco da bebe) in secondary school. They are stylish, power dressers, with their swag on point. Their noses are constantly upturned like they are inhaling an unpleasant smell. They do not hesitate to look down on people around them and are extremely selective of those they talk to.
So dears, there you have it. The various categories of form-ers according to me. You might have identified yourself in any of these categories and if you did, please this isn’t a diss at you.
The major crux of this write-up is that we understand that as humans we all have that basic need to be respected, admired and celebrated for our uniqueness and this need is highly legitimate. What might become a turn off is how we go about satisfying this need. If we go about it in a way that’s annoying, then we just might put people off. There is nothing wrong with being principled, loving to keep people engaged on social media with pictures or choosing not to talk about our achievements. It’s the motive behind what we do that matters. There’s something I’ve always believed; if you are your best self, you would most definitely stand out, because we are all created unique and different. There is no need to try too hard to impress. You are beautiful and unique and if you do your best, people would instinctively respect you because you respect yourself. There is no point to prove and to thy own best self be true.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Stephen Coburn