Name Calling, Its Effect & How I Survived

Posted on March 14 2019 , at 11:31 am
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Raise your hand if you have ever been called ‘big head’ in your life. It’s Nigeria, so the chances, that at one point you’ve been playfully called big head by someone who then proceeded to slap that ‘big head’, are pretty high.

Well, considering I was born into a family with amazing foreheads, I have heard it for about two thirds of my life. The boys in my secondary school danced around me to sing “17, 18, 19 Ori  (head in yoruba)”. There was ‘Headisabeth’, ‘Oriyomi’, ‘Hammer Head Of Horror’. It wasn’t as painful as it sounded, I laughed… It was fun for the most part, at  least until they got brooms to measure my forehead.

Well, Chisom, one of my new classmates in secondary school, endured the appellation ‘Head of Destruction’ for one week by fellow students. We found her eating and crying at the back of the school dining hall, the week after.  Chisom was out of the school by the third week (the school refused to refund the term fees). Not everyone is built the same way.

Thankfully, the name calling stopped in University. I learned to style the hair around the head. Such theatrics! Luckily, I have grown into my forehead and now I wear it proudly. Have you seen me in a fringe cut? It’s DAAAAYUM!

Fast forward to about three weeks ago when I heard the words, “Hey Big Head!” from my friend’s phone. I froze and grabbed her phone from her scrolling hands. She must have been active on social media recently. We searched and searched, but we couldn’t find what clip had those words. It could have been a voice note, a video, a call…

So, I went around my usual business and life’s stress took over. Then about a week ago, I was scrolling through my phone and finally, I heard the words – “Hey Big Head, when are you coming home.” I was so excited that I finally found the video! Then I shook my head – it’s an advert? Turns out that it’s an advert to drive the awareness on substance abuse. I sighed and I watched it.

I clicked on the site and 10 minutes after, I had forgotten about the fringe wig I  bought three days ago in nostalgia. As it turns out, a group of people are trying to dissuade young people from abusing drugs, codeine and, wait for it… burning tyres. Yup, people are actually burning tyres and smoking it. After 10 minutes of reading up on what “my people” are up to these days, I held my head. “What is wrong with us sef?!”.

So, as it turns out there’s an MTN Anti Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP). And from what I read in just 10 minutes, Gen X needs a lot of help. Fringes and forehead aside, we are in a bit of wahala. Now, I can’t stop thinking….

-Derayo is a Youth Corper serving in Lagos State

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