Growing up being black was hard but enjoyable. Childhood was different. These are the signs that you grew up black in the UK.
- When you were ill, it wasn’t everyday Calpol you had one secret recipe or undercover ointment to help you feel better – e.g. Tiger Balm, Rubbing Alcohol, A tea concoction etc.
- Your parents had some wicked sayings and some proverbs which explains lessons in life and you will hold those close to your heart and can explain so much when you are older. Mummy always told the truth!
- Sleepovers or going to someone’s house after school was a myth. Your parents took offence and was like ‘What is in their home which makes it better than ours? Why are you not playing with your siblings?’ #sigh
- When there was a party. There was so much food. Your mum, aunties and uncles could cook for Jesus and his disciples. Aunty put rice in the container *J Hus Voice*
- Board games were life, what do you know about Ludo, Dominoes, Mancala?
- Hair and uniform were serious business. You cannot be looking foolish e.g. No Mohicans, no lines in your hair, only cornrows and Vaseline – No big people hairstyles. Your dad was your barber and your Mum was your hairdresser and everything was ironed.
- They need to know where, what, when, who and how you are going somewhere. You cannot be spontaneous, you need to plan and get consent weeks in advance by a colourful PowerPoint presentation about why you should be trusted and why you should be able to go. Don’t be a rebel as I cannot come kill myself.
- You had a nickname and your full government name/birth certificate name was shouted when you did something wrong. Pronouncing your name at school was stress for some teachers. Ms: Can I call you A? You: Nope, my name is Adeola.
- Your lunch seems fascinating, people couldn’t get over you bring food that wasn’t sandwiches or roast dinners #allpurposeseasoningb
- Your career was made for you by the time you showed an interest in one subject – You cannot be a failure. You had to be bright or promising at something.
- Chores were a staple. You learned how to cook, clean and sew by 14. When the worship, old school songs are played early morning you knew what time it was.
- Church/Mosque was non-negotiable. You had to enjoy and praise God. #time
- You could never waste money. You cannot come and be useless and stupid.
- As soon as you do something wrong, your parents are asking for strength and asking why you are there son or daughter.
- After school club was lit or extracurricular activities, you were always there since your parents were working or your older siblings looked after you (aka bullying).
- You did not ramp when it came to beatings/licks. You realise your parents are very flexible with a lot of power and you always ended up wanting to run away from home aka going down to the 48 bus stop and coming back. Sometimes you licked or shouted at in front of your friends or outside school and white kids thought it was abuse. ‘It’s calm guys I am just going home to hold more licks’. Crying wasn’t advised once you were getting hit as the infamous phrase ‘Fix your face’ was shouted.
- Your name always got mixed up with your siblings and you always got called from upstairs.
- Snacks from back home were lit. Sweets, crisps and other snacks were serious.
- Food was made with love and care. It was a disrespect not to eat the dinner that was cooked for you whether you liked it or not. You had no choice.
- Boyfriends and girlfriends were reserved until your 25. At 18, you were too young to have a SO but at 23, you’re getting asked why you haven’t found your husband/wife. #pahdin #clocksticking #howsway?
- Privacy is a myth. Your letters get opened, your doors get opened when you are sleeping or awake (you cannot be idle) and if they could they could, they would open your texts on your phone. #password12#456
- Understanding your mum and dad when they speak 2 languages is a skill. Your google translate skills are on point.
- Stealing meat from the dutchie or pressure cooker was stress. The lid was heavy AF and your hands just as heavy. 9 times out of 10 you got caught but you perfected the skill as you got older.
- There is no such thing as quiet on the phone and you will have to speak to that dreaded Aunty/Uncle who will ask – How old are you now? What do you do? (In your head I am thinking I go school) How is your mother and father? I hope you are doing well in school. Do you remember me? I think I am coming to the UK soon. #????
- Food can be contained in anything than a normal plastic container. Stew is stored in an ice cream tub, rice and peas is stored in a butter tub and something else is in the biscuit tin that is not biscuits.
Peace until next time,
This Girl Can Write, A
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