It was on one of those days when I was battling with some serious deadlines-and there are many days like this. I had been working on a website for a friend-a music artist, amongst other ones, and my perfectionism had gotten the better of me, which, oftentimes, results in having to redesign and change creative direction.
As the deadlines drew nearer, I had paid little attention to other things, save the work. It’s often as though, consumed by my attention to the work, I am unable to pay attention to other things. My schedule basically becomes work till my laptop dies, sleep immediately, and open my eyes as soon as NEPA restores power. Every other thing I needed to do was done half-mindedly.
While I worked on this website and reflected, I noticed that a particular pair of Jeans trousers had become the attire for every errand and short trip I had made, since I also shuffled with some other engagements. I was grateful for the amount of time that simple pair of jeans had saved me, at least compared to other types and pieces of clothing. I didn’t need to take time to wash, dry, and iron every single time. And I went on to my WhatsApp to share that gratitude.
A friend of mine was surprised to read this, and that led to a long conversation. She was stunned to learn I could possibly wear the same pair of jeans trousers more than once, and even stoop to the level of simply dusting them off to wear them multiple times. Her shock was simply shocking to mine.
“I mean, you are the ImisiOluwa”, she said, to which I had a good laugh.
By any stretch of the imagination, it’s unlikely that my experience was completely new to her. Most likely, it wasn’t. It must have been something she saw her siblings, friends, classmates do or at least allude to. She’s likely to have heard of the situation or seen ladies spite some guys with it.
After learning that she had this unique perception of me, I decided to poke her further.
“If you see my bed right now, I haven’t laid it in days. I’ve been waking up every morning and sleeping on it like that, with all the clothes on it”, I told her, and she just couldn’t believe it.
“Ha, a whole ImisiOluwa”, she exclaimed.
“I thought you’d be one of those very meticulous people, who have all their things-their clothes always ironed and neatly laid out”, she continued.
Her reaction suggested that she had thought only of ImisiOluwa from what she had encountered of him. It is possible that from her observing how deliberate I may have been in the leadership position she witnessed, how intentional my writing and my music have seemed, and how attentive and thoughtful my public interactions, sometimes with her, are she may have concluded they were attributes I exhibited in all areas of my life.
But this is not entirely true. Fundamentally it is, I mean I live every part of my life from the same perception. But specifically, there are variations across different areas of my life. There are other mindsets I have that coincide with my level of meticulousness.
In this writing, I’m not concerned about the variations themselves, but rather the possibility that we humans can assume the entirety of another human only from a few and specific parts. And that’s not necessarily an evil thing to do. It’s only being human. And it’s just fair.
My opinion is that an assumption is not wrong in and of itself, what matters is what we do with it.
Most people don’t deliberately attempt to masquerade or present different versions of themselves. We are, however, very capable of unconsciously assuming the entirety of their lives based on that part that’s consistently shown to us.
There is a possibility that a man sees a woman lead worship in church or perform in another creative arena so flawlessly that he infers that she is also flawless in the kitchen. (Even though that in itself is a questionable social standard?)
It is possible to see a man explain the scriptures or speak to a corporate audience with convincing clarity in such a way that we assume he is emotionally developed.
Of course, it’s not an excuse for obnoxious behavior, but an understanding that is very useful.
Now, when it comes to romantic relationships where the details of engagement change from ‘love at first sight’ to the nuances of daily interaction, where we move from experiencing someone only in very specific situations to sharing all of their being, these types of variations become important.
It’s therefore important to manage our expectations to avoid a ‘what I ordered versus, what I got’ situation. Although managing our expectations does not mean blindly accepting everything people bring to the table, especially in cases of deceit or pretense, it is still a very healthy skill to learn. It is understanding that what we have first known and admired about others, most from afar, doesn’t always speak of all the areas of their lives. As we exalt people in our hearts – which is something affection does, it is important to understand that people are not fairy tale pieces of perfection. That there are variations of imperfections spread across.
This understanding stabilizes and calms our minds when we encounter the reality of people’s imperfections (imperfections not toxic traits) that while they may be the most outstanding creative strategists, they may always not remember where they kept their wristwatches.
This understanding helps us put our affections to proper perspectives, preventing us from having merely superficial in place of realistic expectations, such as might be omitted in many romantic novels and movies.
This understanding prepares us for the adaptability required to maintain love relationships with consistent vigor and devotion through the stretch of time.
Again this is not an excuse for unruly behavior or deceitful and out rightly pretentious personalities. But it does help us to be attuned to the reality of most romantic relationships. And takes them beyond those sizzling first dates to steady and enduring happily ever after.
I am the ImisiOluwa; thanks for reading.
Love you Plenty