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QUIET | parallel magazine
I remember my first day of school in America. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was nervous, but not afraid. My relatives had taught me that I should not fight, unless I want to go back to my country by myself. So I became quiet. Me, the Lagos kid who could walk 30 minutes from school to home unafraid because I was ready to fight, became quiet.
I was a respectful child, when I was a Lagos kid. I’d sit in class, or church with my friends and I never got in trouble. Unless some kid needed me to remind him that even though this cute uniform dress I wore represented me as a lady, I would not hesitate to beat him like a boy. So being quiet in America was not difficult, but it was not easy.
I sat in class on my 1st day of school ready for what the teacher had in store. Reality struck me when I heard the teacher’s accent. I was not afraid, but I was worried that I would never be able to mimic that accent. So I kept quiet, just in case I would never be able to fit in.
I was busy rummaging my purse when I realized that the tip of my pencil was broken. “Shit”. Everyone turned around to look at me. A girl busted out laughing. “She said the S-word!” I just glared at her wondering what was so funny about “shit”. “See as e laugh like monkey. Abeg sharrap”, I thought. I dared not say it out loud because I did not know whether anyone understood, and I did not want to fight. The voice of my relatives echoed in my ear, “Do not fight anyone when you get there. Face your books.” and lo, those voices taught me how to be quiet.
Victoria Ṣọngònùga is a Nigerian Yoruba model and writer born in the beautiful city of Lagos, Nigeria. At the age of 10, she moved with her family to the United States of America and it was then she began to struggle with poetry and writing as a form of an emotional, mental and spiritual expression. Victoria became interested in African poetry at a VERY young age and she is the product of African literature books like Aláwìíyé by J.F. Odunjọ and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. One of Victoria’s GREATEST inspirations is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who taught her that writing is less about fame but more about expressing the deepest parts of one’s soul and showing others that it’s okay to do so. Here, Victoria will be discussing “Life in the African Diaspora” through poetry and short stories, focusing on her experiences, in hopes that readers may be able to understand and relate.