I grew up being called stubborn. Not even just stubborn but defiant. When you think of the word defiant in the my context, you can’t pronounce it like the English – def-i-ant. No, you must think of my Yoruba father and state with complete authority – def-eee-ant. I was defiant. It was my way or the bloody highway. I was Miss Superwoman by virtue of being alive. I could absolutely do all things through Christ who strengthened me, and sometimes just by me who strengthened me. Stubborn. Defiant. Proud – very proud.
Yet I used to think part of this was because I needed and sought to assert myself in the world as a woman and a younger sibling. I’ve lately been learning it had more to do with trust. I didn’t seek help from people who I thought could or would use that moment of aid as a means against me. Count it as a debt towards me. Ultimately I didn’t trust people’s intentions or reasoning. Even very close friends.
Yet there is something precious when you realise you share a relationship with someone who expects nothing in return, especially when that’s a guy. They aren’t walking you home to get into your home. They don’t pay for your dinner to get a shot at taking you to dinner. They give, and they leave. They treat you as a platonic friend. In fact they just treat you as a human being.
You know you are blessed in such a fashion not only when you can contact someone and ask them to wake up at 4am so you can hand in an essay in their college, but when a few months later, you text them after midnight, your brakes haven frozen, and ask them a) to explain the mechanics of how your bike works whilst you shiver in the bitter winter on a poorly lit street and desperately need the toilet and b) when after carrying your bike over a bridge which has a specific name so bestowed because of its arduous climb, they appear with break fluid to try their best to fix your bike.
And then after all that they leave. In peace. Expecting nothing in return. Assuming nothing in your desperate SOS call except there was a friend in need. And you know they see you as a friend, and you know you feel safe to ask, because you flicked through all the other people who could potentially fulfil this engineering role and you rejected them, because you don’t trust them – at least not yet.
So maybe i’m not that proud. Maybe i’m just extremely cautious – and bad at engineering.