I was in JSS 3 when the hostel matron asked me what I wanted to do with my life. She asked me this because I was going to be suspended for being friends with Bolanle who had stolen people’s money and lived a lavish lifestyle in school. I didn’t know Bolanle was a thief, I thought She was from a rich home. “What do you want to do with your life when you grow up? Ehn! I know you’re going to be a thief!” The matron breathed down my neck, her protruding tummy hitting me smack in the face. I stepped back! Matron wasn’t a tall person but she was formidable.
She spoke with authority, wasn’t afraid of our parents and walked them out of the hostel if they so much as stepped two feet away from the dining hall. I was afraid of her but that day, fear was the last thing I felt, instead, I felt anger. ‘How dare she call me a thief!’ Because She spoke with so much authority, I feared her words may come true so I immediately rejected it, “I’m going to be a successful writer, I will not be a thief,”. I said. I didn’t stutter, I meant every word and I was angry she would even imply it or speak negatively towards my future. “What did you say? Speak up, I can’t hear you!” She barked at me, her eyes widened, her brows furrowed, arms akimbo, she dared me to repeat myself. “I will not become a thief,” I said, more assuredly, then looked up at her and said again, “I will become successful, I will not become a thief, I reject it in Jesus’ Name”.
The matron was breathing hard and I could swear she wanted to beat me to a pulp. Instead, she called for my sister and informed her I had been suspended. When I resumed from suspension, till the matron left, she never spoke negative about my life anymore. She would call other students ‘stupid, good for nothing, blockhead, never-do-well child’ but she never addressed me as anything but my name till she left the job. So I learnt early, to lay down the rules of how I’d like to be addressed.
To shut down QUICKLY anyone who comes at me with strong negative words because they mean it. I’ve learnt that when you tell people in the most assertive way how to treat or speak to you, they either fall in line or they feel offended and back off! Whatever they do, YOUR WIN!