My first day in class one was a mess.
In my school, there were three classes in each grade: A, B and C. There was a theory that, it was according to academic prowess, however, the administration decided against it somewhere along the line (after a certain heated PTA meeting) and just mixed things up. That’s just by the way.
I went to school on the first day super excited, hand in hand with my father looking for my class. I don’t remember what hairstyle I had or what new shoes I was wearing; I was just glad to be starting primary school. When we finally got to where the class one classrooms were, I saw a lot of my friends in 1B so we went in. We met the class teacher who immediately took a liking to me. In no time, I was settled in. Half an hour later, the assistant teacher from 1A came over. She said that I was actually assigned to 1A and instructed me to move there. I sadly packed my bag and headed over to 1A. I hated it on sight.
It was a very dark (read morbid looking) class. I didn’t know anyone in there. The teacher didn’t look as fun as the one in the other class. She was stricter and I obviously made no form of impression on her. The assistant teacher who had brought me there was no fun as well. It was Boring Ville and I hated it.
Moments later, the 1B teacher came over. I was glad to see her. She went over to the 1A teacher and accused her of stealing me. It sounds funny now, but it wasn’t so funny then; she was pretty peeved. She took me back to her class and told me to settle back into my seat. I gladly obliged. Unfortunately, the assistant teacher from 1A showed up not long after that and sent me back. This back and forth happened throughout the day. Both teachers insisting on keeping me. It was tiring and stressful. I didn’t want to be in Class One anymore. When I got home, I told my parents I didn’t want to go to school anymore. They didn’t get it.
Next day, my dad takes me to school and jokingly/not-jokingly asks the teachers, “What did you do to my daughter? She said she does not want to go to school anymore.” So they explained to my father that I had been assigned to 1A but there had been some kind of mix up and the teacher in 1B didn’t want to let go. They also stated that it had been settled so there was no need to worry. After many reassurances from my father, I decided to give it all another try.
I was sad at first, but a kind little girl spoke to me, Maame. She was my first friend in primary school. She walked me through everything and introduced me to everyone in the class. By the end of the day, I had settled in quite nicely in my new class and with new friends. I never looked back.
In every new environment I have ever found myself in, my first attempt at conversation is always the most stressful. Sometimes, it’s not even about trying to talk to someone. It’s about just existing in the space without imploding. My hearts begins to beat really fast, then I find it difficult to breathe properly or focus on anything. My whole face starts to feel hot and then I feel lightheaded. As all this is happening, I find myself striving to look calm and composed so that nobody knows I’m literally freaking out on the inside. Sometimes, I crack, other times, I leave victorious. It’s always a 50/50 thing.
However, if by some stroke of luck, someone says hi or even better, strikes a conversation with me, I would immediately find myself beginning to calm down. if I’m lucky, I might have an amazing conversation and even relax into the environment. That first conversation, is always the hardest thing I’ve ever done at any given time, and it’s even worse if I initiate it.
Regardless of every social fear I have, I keep putting myself in positions where I have to face them. Easier said than done, to be honest. Most days, I chicken out at the last minute and stay home. Other days, I ask a friend to go with to help me deal with it. However, there exist rare events where I face them head-on with my head held high. #IfIdieIdie
So if ever you see me out on my own, looking like I run these streets, just know that I won the battle on the inside and have earned every right to look the Boss Lady I was born to be.
Dr Nyameba 💜