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

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

FRIENDSHIP

A friend (within or outside marriage) is that person who will still hold your hands when you are in error.

A friend is the person who may be unable to solve your problem but can give you a shoulder to lean on.

A friend is the person who can listen to you even when you are not making sense.

A friend is the person you are not afraid of sharing your struggles with.

A friend is the person who can still call you ‘my friend’ when you do not deserve it.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you. No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you. Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭13-16‬ ASV)

 

Peace&Love.

Paula ox’

40 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME

I did this a year ago and now I’m doing 40 facts to add to it. I hope you find this at least mildly entertaining.

  1. I am the eldest of four children; I have two younger sisters and one younger brother.
  2. I have a pet dog called Rolfie. He is 9 months old and we’ve had him since he was 6 months old. He hates dog food and strangers. (He is smelling me while I write this.)
  3. I’m not a party person. I’d literally prefer to stay at home than go out, most of the time.
  4. I love make -up, especially eye make-up.
  5. I’ve been blogging for over two years.
  6. I can’t ride a bike.
  7. My first published piece was a poem I wrote when I was 12.
  8. I’ve worked in the government.
  9. Both my parents are lawyers, ministers and authors. My mum is also a councillor in our local council.
  10. I love animated movies.
  11. I love cooking, but I can get extremely cranky if people bother me whilst I’m in my cooking zone.
  12. I’ve been singing in my church choir since I was 9/10
  13. My favourite colour is purple.
  14. RomComs are the best.
  15. I can be quite a loud person if I’m feeling comfortable but I generally hate unnecessary noise.
  16. I love education and learning but hate school.
  17. I got to sleep before 10pm most nights.
  18. I am a born again Christian and I strongly believe in God.
  19. Jesus is my life. My life is Jesus.
  20. I use twitter and Instagram way too much – (@PaulaPaceSetter)
  21. I have a complicated relationship with food.
  22. I let my age limit me in life for a long time.
  23. I find people who are similar to me extremely annoying, but at the same time they usually become my closest friends.
  24. I have poor eyesight and therefore have prescribed glasses that I never really wear.
  25. I love gospel music; it is so uplifting.
  26. I became a YouTuber in Summer 2014.
  27. The only countries I have been to are Nigeria, Belgium, France and Wales, and obviously England, which is where I live.
  28. I can be such a fangirl, but I hide it relatively well.
  29. When I become friends with someone I am also committed to helping them or supporting them. Due to this, I am still friends with people I met 10 years ago.
  30. I usually prefer covers to the original song.
  31. I hate swearing with a passion.
  32. I have strong opinions about certain topics, and I am not easily persuaded.
  33. I hate going to the cinema.
  34. I have more girl friends than guy friends but tend to be closer with my guy friends than girl friends.
  35. I don’t like boybands.
  36. I don’t drink fizzy drinks or alcohol, I only like juice.
  37. Ice cream is my kryptonite.
  38. Young people are my passion and I spend most of my time trying to positively impact young people’s life.
  39. Recently, I’ve decided I want to be a presenter, after presenting a talent show and showcase, as well as a journalist; Benny Bonsu is my inspiration when it comes to journalism and presenting.
  40. I am NOT an outdoorsy person but in Summer 2014 I went to Wales, where I climbed up a waterfall, I climbed inside dark tunnels inside a mountain and came out at the top, I went camping, I went canoeing and I jumped into a freezing lake even though I can’t swim. I literally still can’t believe that I did all of that.

Peace&Love.

Paula ox’

Another one on stress and worry

Stress is one thing that I have learnt never really and truly goes away, unless you do something about it. I like to talk about stress because I pretty much battle it everyday. There have been blogs on the topic, videos on the topic (click here), talks about the topic; I’ve done everything. And yet, I still haven’t fully dealt with it.

As a girl, I feel like the problem is a million times harder and stronger because we just stress about school, work, boys, how we look, what people think about us, careers, and literally everything in between. It’s like we subconsciously enjoy worrying and stressing about things that we can’t even change. It’s like we get a strange buzz from telling people the irrational worries that we have, that keep us up all night and occupy our innermost thoughts. It’s almost fun describing these unlikely scenarios to people. I know I do this.

There was a time, I spent hours telling my friend all the silly worries I had about this particular guy. The worries and stresses were consuming my every thought and it genuinely felt good to unload them to my friend. I kept being reminded by an annoying little voice in my head, that I wasn’t pretty enough and that he probably didn’t like me. My friend was so blunt and was just like, “Why doesn’t you just ask him? At least that way you’ll know and you can stop stressing and move on.” So that’s what I did, and even though I didn’t get the answer I wanted, it felt good to have that load off my back so I could finally stop thinking about it all.

The whole point of what I’m saying is, we need to stop worrying and stressing about things we genuinely can’t change, and start fixing and working on the things we can. That’s my new life motto and I’m working my way there. Trust me, it’s not the easiest thing, but God is helping me!

I read in a book called ‘An Enemy Called Average’ by John L. Mason, that “every obstacle has a limited life span.” This means that something you are worrying about today isn’t something you’ll even remember in a weeks time, a months time, a years time. Life moves on and therefore the struggles pass.

Just remember, if someone makes you worry more than makes you happy, you probably do not need them in your life. Cut them out. Simple as. Life is much too short to be anything but happy. On that extremely cheesy note, I’ll end this. But let this be a new beginning for you!


Peace&Love.
Paula ox’