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Does she have two heads?

Seeker Spotlight Series

Oluwademilade Fajemisin

Howard University

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Does she have two heads?

Whenever my grades didn’t meet my mother’s expectations, or I didn’t get a 100 on the quiz, my mom would ask me if the person who did pass the quiz or got 100 on the test had ‘two heads’ or a ‘better brain than me’. Of course, I would answer no, and she went further to inquire why the person was able to supersede me academically. If I tried to reply to the rhetorical question, she would debunk any reply I gave. And insisted I just didn’t work hard enough. Even though I hated to hear her criticism, it started to grow on me and shape how I think.

The concept of ‘two heads’ was not something my mom formulated out of thin air, but is a very common concept in the Nigerian society. The idea behind it is, since everyone has the same capabilities or one ‘head’, each person has the same ability to succeed. Therefore, no one has any excuse to not be successful or to be mediocre. This notion that anyone can be successful is an important value in the Nigerian society, and is a seed that is planted in almost every child’s head. Because of my mom’s constant encouragement and motivation, my seed has grown to a strong plant that motivates me to do my best in life. From my academics to athletics, to even activities in everyday life, this voice constantly reminds me that I can do whatever I set my mind too. This notion that nothing is impossible is what has developed me to be the person I am today. From school, to track practice, to even extracurricular activities, I always believed that I could do whatever I set my mind to.

Whenever I watch the news or heard reports of racism, deaths, bullying, or suicides, I try to imagine what could have been done to prevent those drastic outcomes. If it was a suicide, I would imagine how far a word of love could go. If it was a car accident that led to the loss of lives, I would imagine what would have happened if the person had survived the incident. If a person had died because of a disease, I would imagine what would happen if the person had been healed. In fact, most of the time, I was the one who spoke the word of peace, or the talkative friend that kept the person at the party for just a little longer, or even the person who recognized what was wrong before the doctors said it was too late. My imaginations were so vivid that sometimes they became reality in my mind before I knew it. However, despite my longing to help directly, there’s only so much a girl from a small town in Maryland could do. The only option reality offered me to support others were through prayers and words of encouragement, but it never seemed enough for me.

However, when I see people such as Helen Keller, Oprah, and others who have changed the world with so little, the concept of ‘two heads’ comes to mind and a little voice in my head seems to question reality. “How come they can do it and you can’t? You can do so much more.” That voice constantly urges me to touch the sky and the moon. It is driving force to pursue my dreams of changing the world. It encourages me to make a difference in the world, which is the basis of my dream to become a motivational poet- to shed light on societal issues such as bullying, depression, the saving grace of God and save lives and souls alike. It reminds me that everyone is capable of success, no matter what anyone or anything says, because no one has ‘two heads’. That voice has always said yes when society has said no, it has inspired me to be who I am today, to work hard despite all oppositions, and to believe in myself because I have whatever it takes to be great in me.

This seed that my mom planted in me is the foundation of whatever I do. It inspired me to be the light of the world like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. Even though society says so, the voice constantly reminds that if people such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela could change the world, so can I- and is what encourages me to work harder to pursue my dreams of making the world a better place to live in so that one day, when I look back, my imaginations will finally become my reality.

Vocate Editor

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