Growing up in the village, I attended a school where more than half of the students did not wear shoes. It was almost a fight, because my mother kept reminding me to wear shoes every morning. I was shy or rather ashamed of putting on shoes because I would be stared at like a stranger. To avoid irritating mum, I thought out a plan. I left the house wearing shoes, then removed them before I got to school. When time to return home came, I wore them back. My legs, however, sold me out because they were very dirty. She never understood how that happened, neither did I admit that I didn’t wear my shoes. The best days for me were going to school without shoes, unnoticed, and feeling the stone pebbles press me hard. It felt good to belong, and be like anyone else.
Whenever I remember this, I can’t help laughing at myself. Reflecting on it makes me see how we allow ourselves to be controlled by our environment. The status quo is what we settle for. Not many want to be unique and extra ordinary, what everyone else is doing is what seems right to us. Well, it is good to belong, but with an understanding of what we are going for.
Many are times when people have been put off because no one else is doing what they intend to do. When everyone else is corrupt, the idea of ending corruption sounds foolish. In fact, people will defend themselves with “No one has ended this, who am I to try?” Standing out becomes difficult when we want to do what everyone else is doing.
What am I driving at? Life is the definition we give it. Whether we do it for ourselves or allow our surrounding to do it for us, that is the course it will take. Where we are might not be what we desire for ourselves, but getting out is all up to us. One must forget about what everyone else is doing an go for what will make them better.
If we must be doing the same thing, let it be loving one another and promoting peace. When it comes to change, someone has to stand out and do something different. To end corruption, injustice, name all the ills in the society, one has to reject what the majority are doing and stand for change!
To end poor leadership, a leader must arise who is ready to be odd as compared to the rest. It doesn’t matter what sphere of life one wants to influence, the status quo must be broken.
“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never had.”
By Liz Ekakoro:Diaspora Messenger contributor