I’m a First Gen

Capture

Hello, my name is Paula and I am a First Gen.

What is a First Gen?

A First Gen is someone who is born in a country their parents migrated to. My parents were born in Nigeria, I was born in England. Therefore, I am a First Gen.

What is significant about being a First Gen?  

Being a First Gen is hugely significant because you have to learn to combine two (sometimes even three) totally different, and often clashing, cultures. Your friends at school are allowed to stay out all night and go raving or partying, whereas your parents at home have a set curfew for you and expect you to go to night vigil with them on Friday night. See.. clashing. Being a First Gen is significant because you have to carve your way through life incorporating both aspects of who you are and where you come from.

What is a common struggle you, as a First Gen, have had to deal with?

When people ask me where I’m from. To which I reply confidently, “London.” Then they say,

“No really! Where are you from? Like from, from?” And I reply a little uneasy

“umm.. London.” They then arch their eyebrow, tutting and shake their head whilst waiting for me to try again.

“No, we mean where are your parents from?”

“Ohhh! Nigeria!” 

“So, you’re Nigerian…”

“What me? No, I’m… No, I’m British Nigerian.”

The struggle is real. After years of this same exact conversation I’ve taken to answering the initial question with, “I was born in London but I’m originally from Nigeria.” Saves time and energy.

Do you consider yourself more Nigerian or British?

I pray no one reads this and condemns me, saying I’m disowning my country, decieving myself, trying to be white… I’ve had enough of that over the years. Simple answer: I feel more British (*draws a breath in quickly*) and let me explain why.

I was born in London. I’ve lived here ALL of my life so far. (In a few months I am taking a huge step and relocating to Sheffield to study.) The only time I have ever been to Nigeria was when I was aged 2 or 3 (My mum cannot remember the exact details and obviously I don’t remember because I was a baby) and I stayed a couple of months. A tiny holiday to the Homeland when I was an infant does not quite equate knowing, living and understanding Nigerian culture. I cannot even speak my language of Igbo (shoutout to all my Igbos!), I cannot even imitate a Nigerian accent so how can I be more Nigerian than British???

I will say, however, as I have grown up, my Nigerianness (yes, I made that up) has also grown because I have become more interested in Nigerian culture. The food (!!!), the politics, the movies, the music and the fashion. But I still do not know enough to contest with my British culture. I am learning more and more and I love learning more and more about Nigeria. Yes, I am not white and yes, I am British. Yes, I am British and yes, I am also Nigerian.

What’s one thing you hate about being First Gen?

I hate that your parents feel the need to pin all their hopes and aspirations on you.

“You were born in this country, why cannot you not go to Oxford or Cambridge?”

“You will be a medical doctor/lawyer in Jesus name, amen” *prays intensely*

“You have all the opportunities in the world in this country and you want to become a fashion designer, an actress, a journalist. You’re trying to kill me, isn’t it?”

Like no. Maybe I don’t want to go to Oxford or Cambridge (they don’t do Journalism anyway!!) and what’s wrong with being a fashion designer. Obviously, not all Nigerian parents or First Gen parents are like this (Thank God my parents are not (fully) like this) but it is a large majority.

The worst thing is when you’re First Gen and the eldest sibling…………………………………

What is the best thing about being a First Gen?

Life is always fun. When you’re a First gen, life is full of spice and variety. You might have fish and chips for lunch today, then gari and okra soup tomorrow. Or you might have a roast dinner on Sunday or ackee and saltfish with home-made dumplings. Life is different everyday because you are ALLOWED to pick and choose bits if both your cultures. I repeat, you are ALLOWED to pick and choose as you like. I know this one girl who managed to incorporated Nigerian tribal clothes into her everyday wardrobe. She’d literally be wearing black skinny jeans with a crop top created from her mum’s gele. Talk about being a proud First Gen.

I love being a First Gen, despite the daily struggles we may face. One thing most First Gens will agree is, being a First Gen means your parents will not let you fail. Let me rephrase that, you are not allowed to fail (by fire, by force loool).

I got the idea for this post when I watched the trailer (below) for a new show called First Gen. It really got me thinking and made me realise I am a First Gen and totally PROUD. I also did the Nigerian Tag (also below) with my younger sister, so check that out too.

 

 

Udo na ịhụnanya (That’s ‘peace and love’ in Igbo, we thank God for Google translate lool)

Paula Melissa xx

My day at a deaf youth event – VIDEO

You can find inspiration in anything, especially when you do not expect to find it. My mum invited me along to a deaf youth event she was asked to speak at. I went along, not really knowing what to expect. I left that evening with inspiration and a whole new perspective on a side of life I didn’t really know a lot about. What better way to explain my day, than in video form. Enjoy!

I really did not know anything about being deaf, sign language and everything of that sort. It feels good to have my eyes opened.

In many parts of the world, deaf people are somewhat segregated, hidden away in small colonies. People do not expect them to have a life, do not expect them to be funny, beautiful, inspiring people. This saddens me because of course they are.

You can find inspiration in anything. Even in people you have never really known about. Even in people who cannot hear.

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

#DearMe – VIDEO – What would you tell your younger self?

#DearMe

So recently, I kept seeing YouTube advertising this #DearMe hashtag. After a little bit of digging, I discovered it was part of a celebration of International Women’s day. The hashtag accompanies videos where YouTubers say words of encouragement and advice to their younger self.

Here’s the original video on YouTube.

It inspired me to think about what I would tell younger Paula. What should she have known that would have made growing up a lot easier? So I filmed this quick video!

Enjoy, and think, what has changed in your life? What have you overcome growing up? What would you tell your younger self to worry less about?

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

Why does everyone blame the media? Twitter rant

Nowadays, the media never get cut some slack. Everyone takes the liberty of bashing it, repeating the many wrong components of the media. What annoys me about this is that, the media report and promote essentially what people care about and what people want to know about. Sadly, this is generally bad news. I am not saying this is a good thing, because obviously it is not, but how can we blame the media for the negative things that happen in the world when the media is virtually constructed by us?

I have always made it know that I plan to pursue a career in the media as a journalist. I say this with pride because I think that a job where you are paid to write about life and the world is amazing. The media conveys information and communicates it to people. Obviously, there are people at the top of media institutions who are pulling the strings to personally benefit their selves, but overall, we construct the media. It aims to write stories that people want to read. It aims to film reports people want to watch. It aims to broadcast information that people want to hear. I do not believe that the whole institution of the media should be prosecuted for the bad things you see on your telly, especially when you’re the one who wants to hear about it.

I think our society needs to prioritise good news just as much as we do the bad. Of course, it is important to know about murders and terrorists attacks and things like that, but what about young people in business? What about women who are on the verge of changing the world? What about developing nations who are making amazing advances every single day. If we cared more about those things, and less about the negative of this world. If we cared less about global politics and religious wars and every country thinking they what is best, the media would be a lot more respected for it’s work.

And it should be respected. The media takes us to places we would never be able to reach, without even needing to leave our bedrooms. It makes us aware of the struggles people face, but at the same time, it should make aware the victories people make. If we praised the good the media does, we would get more people going into the media and communications professions with ethics and values, with the intention of bettering the world. And less going into the sector to make money from people’s misery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just my thoughts! I was on fire briefly, but I have cooled down now lol.

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

RANDOM QUESTIONS TAG – video

 

Everyone loves a good old tag. Here’s some random questions I answered in video, because I felt like it.

Also, please feel free to check out my YouTube channel :)

 

Random Questions:

  1. What is your middle name? – Melissa
  2. What is your favourite drink? – Juice or water
  3. What is your favourite colour? Purple
  4. What is the last thing you bought? – food from McDonalds
  5. Do you have any pets? – I have a lil doggy called Rolfie
  6. Do you speak any languages? – JUST ENGLISH (and sarcasm, if that counts)
  7. What is something you couldn’t leave the house without? – My phone, my purse and my diary
  8. What is your favourite make up brand? – KIKO
  9. Do you sleep with the bedroom door open? NO.. well, sometimes.
  10. Do you smile in pictures? – I look 12 when I smile.
  11. What is your favourite dipping sauce? – Mayo, Ketchup and BBQ sauce.
  12. What time do you go to bed?- early, I’ll be in bed by 10 but actually asleep by about 10:30/10:45.
  13. What is your favourite book or film genre? – ROM COMs – Romantic comedies are the best.

 

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa xx

Not-so-happy Valentine’s day

So, are you one of those hopeless romantics that love Valentine’s day, or a complete hater of love, flowers and floating babies that shoot arrows?

The topic of Valentine’s day is a funny one for me mainly because I don’t think it is that big of a deal. It should be a day you spend a little more time (and money) on someone special in your life. Whether this is your beau, girl or even your mummy. I feel like that should be the nit and grit of Valentine’s Day.

Every year, on the 14th February, I scroll down my timeline on twitter to find a million and one people tweeting things like, “Happy singles awareness day”, “I’ll buy myself chocolate, I don’t need you to do it for me”, “Valentine’s day isn’t even a real holiday!” “It’s just another Saturday to me, to be honest!” People can be so dramatic, and that’s coming from Ms Drama Queen herself. Honestly, if you find yourself single on Valentine’s day, buy yourself chocolate. Okay. Fine. But don’t tweet about it. What are you trying to prove? Because if you feel like you HAVE  to post about it, then you’re probably not as happy as you’re trying to let on. On the other side of the spectrum, if you find yourself happily coupled up on Valentine’s day, enjoy it. Enjoy the day, the company, the foooood.

Now looking at my blog title, I smile at myself. Why shouldn’t Valentine’s day be happy. If you have people that care and love you, then you deserve a happy Valentine’s day. Forget about the pressure of ‘coupling up’ for Valentine’s day, just so you can post a picture with ‘Bae’ on Instagram or Facebook.

I wanted to understand Valentine’s day a little bit more, and stumbled across this interesting little old video. It’s an oldie but still as relevant as ever.

So this Valentine’s day, let’s love ourselves and other people more, instead of feeling bad and alone just because we haven’t found the perfect person for us yet. This Valentine’s day let people know you love them and that you value them in your life. If you do that, it will be a Happy Valentine’s day.

 

Peace&LOVE.

Paula Melissa xx

let it go, let it go

My last post was rather emotionally driven – more of a spur in the moment thing – and I have considered deleting it many times, but for now I’m leaving it. I think that I’m leaving it because I understand the importance of writing personally and being myself. This is a lifestyle blog, and death is a part of life – that’s my reasoning behind it, basically.

Anyway, on a happier note, here’s a short funny story my friend told me yesterday. It probably isn’t the funniest thing in the history of comedy, but at the time (In a painfully boring English Language and Literature lesson) I was crying actual tears of laughter.

I’m telling it from his point of view (with lots of added exaggeration (of course)):

I was at church on Sunday. The Pastor (the guy who stands at the front, basically) announced that his young daughter had a song to sing to the congregation (the people who sit on the chairs, basically). His youngest daughter refused to come up to sing the song unless her sister came with her. So the two sisters probably aged four and six, came to the front of the church to minister their song. They began singing into the microphone, first shaky then progressively more confident.

*The snow blows white on the mountain tonight…*        

I was like, Hold on! I swear I know this song. Obviously, I said this in my head because it would have been rude to interrupt the little girls singing. Suddenly, I heard synchronised screams as other Frozen fangirls joined into their jam.

*LET IT GO! LET IT GO!*

Were they really singing Let It Go from Frozen, at church. I couldn’t actually believe it. When they finally finished screeching, the adults began clapping like they sang the most inspiring song ever.

I told you that you wouldn’t find it as funny as I did. Honestly, I was laughing so much. But on a side note, who else is tired of Frozen and Let It Go now (I used to be a die hard Frozen fan, but even I can admit, it needs to be stopped).

download

Peace&Love.

Paula Melissa x