Guest post by Dr.Stephanie Oguchi
As I sit here thinking about how I want to share my childhood memories to the public, I can’t help but to daydream about how I got this far, as a Nigerian American Doctor of Occupational Therapy from the big city of Houston Texas, who was bullied because of my differences as a child. As an adult, I should’ve been scared of the world, not open to change and redirect any attention off of myself due to fear of rejection. However, I actually thank the boy who made fun of my differences because it triggered emotions that allowed me to tap into my inner strengths and learn to control my fears, ambition and leadership qualities.
When I was a kid in the 80’s I really didn’t know about any other culture, except mine, which was the Nigerian culture. I knew my family ate a lot of fish, rice and moi moi (an authentic Nigerian dish derived from beans). My parents would dress in their traditional Nigerian clothes, my mom would thread my hair during the summertime, and Nigerian parties lasted till 4 am; which was all normal.
One day, my culture was suddenly seen as “abnormal.” My threaded hairstyle was no longer a normal hairstyle, according to the American kids on the bus. It was the butt of jokes and ridicule which really bothered me as a kid. I told my mom to take out the thread in my hair, which was an easy decision to make as a kid. I was vulnerable and didn’t want to be harassed. I conformed to a “ normal” hairstyle of braids with barrettes to appease the other kids and to eliminate the negative and unwanted attention that was given to me.
Now as I think about it as an adult, I kick myself for conforming to everyone else’s “norm” rather than they conform to my “norm”. [Read more…]