By Jourdan Lobban •
“Defiant!” “Fresh!” “Rude!”
Those titles followed me all through my childhood and into my teen years. Anytime I did something bad, I knew what was coming. Lectures in yelling style, laced with fury, and if I didn’t shape up in time, the belt would make an appearance. It was a routine all too familiar to me, and growing up I truly thought that was the best thing for me. I had thought that type of parenting style is why I became the strong, persevering, and well-mannered child I was back in grade school. That was what I was indoctrinated into believing, and everyone else in my family as well as the overall Black community held similar beliefs.
So my denouncing it as an insidious institution of toxic ideology probably means it was not all that effective. I am more than likely going to get backlash of some sort for being this openly honest. I mean, when you’ve been reared to be submissive, having an opinion means the almost certain downfall of your reputation. People start thinking you weren’t raised right, have no good manners, and should keep your mouth shut and up in a cheerfully fictitious smile. For most of my life up to now, I thought being honest about the deep-rooted issues I have and how closely connected they are to my upbringing made me a traitor to my parents, an ungrateful spoiled child, or “like those white kids down the street.” I thought it made me more lazy American than hard-working Jamaican. And I thought speaking up for myself put me in the wrong, that I deserve the other person’s (usually an adult I trusted) response. And to that I say one thing. Bullshit.
For anyone to teach children that they are to submit to any sort of treatment from an adult but can never act as they naturally are is a contradiction which should never have been normalized from the beginning. And the fact that it took me attending university and living on campus for me to realize that is sad. One has must be raised with major mental limitations in order for an extreme change of environment to shift all of that indoctrination. And as someone still going through the process, it has nothing to do with rebellion and more to do with rediscovery of the inner self. After spending the first quarter of my life being told who I am, how I am supposed to act and the expectations that everyone placed on me, it is the most mind-numbing thing that I just now have acquired the means of creating autonomy over myself for myself.
Jourdan Lobban aims to live life in all of its rising tides and calm waters, with some books, and writing journals.