You may see my smiles and fall in love, you may hear me talk and get swayed, you may be at my event and laugh away. Yes, I am that sweet, smart and fun but it did not all just start off like that. It took a process to discover this Peter, one which I played the needed role.
I am the 5th child of six, born to my parents in the south south region of Nigeria, Warri specifically. Growing up in a home where we did not get the best of everything yet we did not rest with the worst; a classic average family by society’s standard. I did not own a bicycle or fancy toys, there were many times I needed better clothes and shoes but had to make do with what I had and risked damaging my esteem.
Getting new uniforms or sandals was tough and I needed to almost be walking on bare feet to warrant a change from my parents (a bit extreme example but you get my drift). Interestingly, it’s not that my parents could not afford it, but it was a mindset thing I guess.
If you are fed, sheltered and had your fees paid, you pretty much are sorted to them. They did the best with what they knew and I hold nothing against them. I do love them!
Well, that was a glimpse of my growing up. There fun moments though, pretending to be sick to get special treatment or meals, doing well in school and getting extra meat and all. Or was it travelling for vacation, errm to the village! What were you thinking? Abroad?! Not then!! It indeed was an interesting mix.
Right from secondary school, I was one quiet boy but I always loved making people smile. I would do things to light up laughter in those close to me, never a dull moment with Peter. How I got that name Peter is another day’s story, I was named Ochuko (meaning God is my helper) from birth.
As I grew, I saw different expressions of me, I loved people, guided and counselled, touched lives as much as I could. Bringing laughter to the room became second nature, I could do practically anything to make you laugh and smile. I was witty, responsible, smart and funny. Till this day, if you meet me, I am sure you are most likely to laugh before you leave, however how short our encounter is.
These signs were there but I did not take a conscious effort to develop them. No, I did not think of hosting events for a living or helping people and getting paid. No, society has whipped us into a state, be a doctor, lawyer, engineer or accountant. Anything less than these was termed a failure.
In other to conform, I lost valuable time and opportunities for expression. I wanted to be who society painted me to be.
I wanted my share of the national cake, a place in an International Oil Company.
Then I missed it…