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"You're Just a Mainland Girl"




"You're just a mainland girl". 
Those were the words Tomi said to me when we got into a fight or had a quarrel.
That sentence always got to me for a number of reasons but mainly because there was a generalization of all the girls who didn't live on the Island. This was years back before the advent of Lekki and beyond. It was when the island was mainly Ikoyi and Victoria Island and only a handful of people lived in Lekki phase 1. So back then it was safe to say that if someone lived on the Island then the person was monied or from a well-monied family. 

I wasn't. And from the minute I met Tomi his friends did everything to prove to him that I was "just a mainland girl". This included setting me up, playing prank calls and going as far as lying against me. 

Once his friend *Tona called me and started asking me some weird questions, it was to be my first test. I knew something was up so in order to try to figure out what it was, I gave some answers that to me, would lead to further questioning and eventually reveal his plot. Unfortunately these questions led no where as the two answers I gave were all Tona needed to prove to Tomi that I was "just a mainland girl". Unknown to me Tomi and the rest of their clique was there and I'd been put on speaker. There was no further questioning that revealed any plot. 

Yet, although Tomi began to treat me shabbily (because of the prank above and I only found out I'd been pranked two years after the fact, when he attempted to explain to me why he loved me but could never take us too seriously...) he still told his friends that I was the ish and he wasn't giving me up. 

Then *Seyi played another prank and this one hurt even more. I'd never met Seyi before. Apparently he took my number from Tomi and began calling me. Seyi was an amazing individual. We'd spend hours talking on the phone about random stuff and opinions. I fell ill once and he sent his doctor to my house and settled the bills. He was the most caring person I knew back then, and he never asked me for anything, except for us to meet up and have drinks, which I never agreed to do because I wasn't too comfortable with the idea. He claimed we had met either at Baccus or Churasco and I'd given him my number. Although I had no recollection of this, this was during my party-animal phase and those were places I often hung out. Also he described me perfectly so I believed him.

      Once when I got into a fight with Tomi I walked out on him and then I remembered that Seyi who had called the previous night also lived in Ikoyi, so I called him and I went over to finally meet him. 
      We talked about so much; he lectured me on the importance of voting, why I had to sit up in my academics, the power Kimora Lee had over Russel Simmons that made him leave everything for her after the divorce, and the importance of adopting a more serious attitude towards life as one became older. He told me how he almost threw his life away when he was in the US, taking two years out to spend his father's money partying from Maima to Las Vegas to LA. Then one day he woke up, advised himself and went back to school; so even if I wasn't doing too well in my academics (I'd complained to him about my grades) it wasn't too late to sit up. He never attempted to do anything and the only body contact we made was a hug when I was leaving. I left feeling that I'd made a friend for life. However I never heard from Seyi again. 
      I called him a few more times and he wouldn't pick up my calls. It made no sense till I learnt almost two years later that the minute I left Seyi's house he took a picture of me leaving and immediately called Tomi; come and see your babe o! I thought you said she's a good girl. I thought you said she's different? Then how come she just left my house?! I told you she's just a mainland girl! (Today Seyi is married to one of my former classmates. She knows nothing about this, she and I were never friends but whenever I see their pictures on Facebook I get the urge to reach into the screen and wring his neck!)

This went on for a while, of course I didn't know about it. All I knew was that Tomi treated me shabbily yet he would never agree to a break up. 

We got into an argument one night and all I remember is him saying "I'm not surprised, after all you're just a mainland girl". I WENT MAD!!! I don't think I have ever insulted anybody and their lineage the way I did that night. Don't get me wrong, I lived on the mainland, I'd had no intention of living else where back then, my parents didn't have that type of money and it was never an issue, until I met Tomi and his pack of old-money spoilt bullies. What infuriated me was the derogatory way he said it, like it was the worst thing to befall a living being; Just a mainland girl. And it was never just said, it was spat out. 

When i'd calmed down enough to ask him what that meant anyway, what was so wrong with being a mainland girl, he said the way they saw most girls that stayed on the mainland was as cheap, low class/classless, HUSTLERS (I wrote that in capital letters because he repeated that word severally), and girls that would sleep with anybody and do anything for money, the ones you shagged in a hotel and never took to your home, the ones that if you dated you never introduced to your family. (Just in case you're wondering, Seyi is not my Ashamer Ex although they're acquainted).  

This was wrong on so many levels. Now besides the fact that it's extremely ridiculous to assume that every girl over the age of 18 who lived before the Eko bridge was all those things, many of us were NOT! I wondered if it ever occurred to them that the reason most of their own (Island) girls didn't live the kind of life they accused mainland girls of was because they were born into privilege and were living comfortably? Did their ignorance allow them to see that some of those "mainland girls" did what they did because they had to? This does not justify runs or prostitution but I've always found it outrageous to peep out from your high fence crowned by electronic barbed wires at the people living on the other side and have the temerity to judge them for doing what they needed to do to survive, especially if they weren't hurting anyone. 

If you weren't born with and given the privileges you have then do you know that you might have done worse? 

I deviate. 

I was fine dating Tomi even with all the quarels and arguments but when he finally spat out what must have been at the tip of his tongue all the while, I gave up on us emotionally. I would never let him or anyone make me feel ashamed of myself or my circumstances. I'm sure on some level I'd always known the way he felt but to hear him voice those words... even though I was much younger I knew there were certain things I wouldn't put up with. Dating someone who sees you as less than they are is unhealthy and harmful to your ego and self-esteem. (know that unlike my Ashamer Ex, Seyi never acted like he was ashamed of me, after all it was the fact that he proudly introduced me to everyone that made his friends desperate to prove that I was not worth it.). 

Tomi and I are still friendly. I ran into him at The Place last month and it was all smiles and hugs. Isn't it funny how life is? After all those tearful fights and quarels today neither of us barely remember and none of it matters. It's for this reason I understand when people say; this thing you're stressing over so much right now, will it matter in the next two years? Will it even matter in the next two months?

So many things wouldn't. We need to learn to put things in perspective and choose which battles are worth fighting. (Oh, and in case you're wondering, these last two sentences have nothing to do with being "just a mainland girl" but a mere lesson I've learnt from various life experiences that I adopt in situations).




PS: I remembered all this because during drinks last night someone that resides here in the East asked why he hears about the Island-Mainland as if they're not both in Lagos and asked if one is better than the other. A lively conversation followed and it took me back to the moment when I was first aware that there was a divide, and that was when Tomi called me "just a mainland girl". 

Also I need to add that even in ashes there's beauty. Although Seyi did all he did just to prove an unfair point to his friend(s), that conversation we had at his place the first and last time we met, is what caused me to realize that although I'd not done too well in the past few Semesters, that was no reason to continue in that path and it was not too late to get back on track. I left his place with a new determination to sit up and improve my grades, and I did just that. 

Comments

  1. T, My 5 years in Uniport, I found out that the daughters of the Rich were more involved in Prostitution (Runz) than those of the poor!
    That was when it dawned on me that indeed, anyone can be anything! Circumstances shouldn't make U do the wrong thing, it was their choice! Everyone makes their decisions. Good or Bad. Even then, There were legal & dignified ways of making money!

    Anyhowway, Lovely Read...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, very lovely read. And at least some good came out of the bad. Loved that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice write-up, I learnt something

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think the main issue was old money vs no money, because as you rightly said, back then the island was strictly for Lagos old money and they guard themselves jealously. That's why all them friends tried so hard to keep you out of the picture.

    ReplyDelete
  5. yeye de smell. Nobody can intimidate me, I be confirmed mainland girl. And Hellerrrr there are lots of coded money bags on the mainland.
    SO many Shallow minded island people(with reference to the post i am not generalizing)

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is the height of superficiality, really this happens? Wowzers

    ReplyDelete
  7. Word, well written, I could feel the pain and healing just by reading.

    Some friends and the extent they would go to prove a point.

    Clare

    ReplyDelete
  8. Word, well written, I could feel the pain and healing just by reading.

    Some friends and the extent they would go to prove a point.

    Clare

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good story with some life lessons.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  11. Something we need to learn,only u can give another the power to make u feel small, T everything is an experience get the good aspect and say to hell with the rest! Anyone that tries to make u feel small is insecure and just needs u to feel bad abt yourself! Took me years to realize this thanks mom. Still remember when people would make disrespectful comments at my mom,trying to make her feel bad she would smile hold her head up and move on.
    Think abt it,those island babes and dudes may not even be happy with what they have

    ReplyDelete

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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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  15. POWERFUL SPELL CASTER HERE IN THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!!

    Oh Geez! A POWERFUL SPELL CASTER HERE IN THE UNITED STATES!!! i never believed that i would get my Andrew back! i was never really a fan of spells but when i was hit with reality seeing my man being taken away from me by a fellow woman i had to seek help.. i was scammed by spell casters from Nigeria and South Africa all to no avail until i tried LORD ORANGAN TUTU who just relocated to the United States! i was like yes i can deal with this as he is here in my home Country, he got to work and I GOT RESULTS IN DAYS!! NO GIMMICKS! Need a POWERFUL SPELL CASTER? Text him via his mobile (+1 512 758 4614) and also send a email via (orangantutu@gmail.com). Trust me! so far all other Spell casters are FAKE!!! Don't waste time and money and also Trauma you will go true! Take My humble advice and contact him..FOR ANY TYPE OF SPELL. As far as its a spell? Lord Orangan Tutu Can handle it!! (orangantutu@gmail.com).. You will be glad you did! Thank me later!!!

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