The Buried Self

“If you are given the chance to change some things about yourself, what will they be?” Ask a group of individuals this question and listen to the various answers each person will give. Some would even wish they could change their entire personality, family and social circle. Some think and feel they are mistakes in the first place and wish they were somewhere or someone else.
I grew up always wishing I was a bit taller, a bit more muscular, a bit more fashionable, a bit more knowledgeable, a bit more spiritual, a bit more sociable, a bit more fluent and eloquent, a bit richer. A bit more of almost everything. I grew up striving to be more of something or someone that I lost track of who I really was and how I really felt about everything. I buried myself!

Here was a school mate I secretly admired since our first year, a young man who seemed to have everything, the intelligence, the favors, the positions, friends not to even mention his family wealth, clothes and meals. He was on point when it came to church stuff too, at least that was what I saw. This was an image I always prayed to God to be like and here was this same young man, wishing and praying he was like me.
I suddenly remembered a line in one primary school poem we use to recite, “Do not say the grass is green at their feet, for grass is greener at your feet”, a line we were used to but never really lived it. In primary and JHS, I was the talking and disturbing type, I never seemed to keep quiet. I was always creating jokes about people, reading and talking about what I read and saw, I was mostly found with the ladies because with them I can join in their little gossips and chit chats. The gentlemen saw me as too emotional. Back then, my mouth was my weapon. Unfortunately, something happened which made me bury myself. The people around me saw me to be too noisy, especially the guys. So gradually, I grew from being the emotional extrovert to the emotionless introvert, something I became so uncomfortable to live with, just to fit in.

If you are given the chance to change some things about yourself, what will they be?

The interesting thing is that while we are trying our best, beating ourselves and being hard on our efforts to be like some other people we look up to, these same people are also going through the same process to be like other people, if not us. Most of us don’t really love and appreciate ourselves that much; even the few who claim they do, actually doubt their self-love and self-appreciation. We are never that good enough so long as that other person exists. We bury our real selves and try to live the life of others.
I grew to realize that my number one special gift and talent was my mouth. I was a gifted talker. My dramatic nature made it easier for me to build rapport easily with new friends. I had that special gift of encouraging and motivating people. My time with the ladies back in basic school as well as some past terrible experiences made me learn more about empathy and being sensitive to the emotion of others. I also realized I buried this side of me before completing Junior High School, until my final year of Senior High School.

If I didn’t talk, what else would I do? If I didn’t interact more with those around me, crack the jokes and be that dramatic, what else could I possibly do? This was the real me I buried and had to resurrect. With time I learnt how to talk properly and timely, of course. I learnt how to transform my talking into writing, as you are benefiting from today. I learnt how to use my talking to teach, preach, persuade and sell. All I have is my extremely emotional self and my talking so I have to use it to help myself and others. I used my undergraduate days to discover and improve this aspect of myself.
It is quite normal to have that social comparison in our minds as we move through our days, comparing ourselves to those in our social circle and using the information we get to improve on ourselves. Unfortunately, we tend to look down on ourselves instead of striving to bring out the best in us. We tend to feel inadequate and insecure because we allow those around us put us down, forgetting that we are special and unique in our own special way and that we were not meant to fit in.
I found my buried self, resurrected, loved and appreciated it, though I sometimes feel that urge to be someone else for a while. What about you? Who is the real you? Do you have any buried self?

Philemon Gbadago