The first time I came across the word “inadequate” was in my Primary 5. I still vividly remember the events surrounding that epiphany. I had been preparing for the final round of my school debate – I had made it to the final round and was due to face the other guy in Primary 6. I always won – as a result of my good preparations.

Oh! As I typed that, I just remembered the one time when I came second at the state level, but it wasn’t due to my performance. It was due to my composure, the thing is, as I made my way to the stage that day, my shorts tore at the back, in a bid to hide it, I couldn’t move around freely and it cost me my fluency and ultimately the State Debating titled. I felt so bad at losing, I never thought I’d have experienced things worse that the feeling I felt that day. I was barely 9 years old then.

So as I prepared for that final debate the night before. I had gone to my older cousin to show him the points I had, waiting to be unleashed the next day. I think the topic of the debate was “Doctors and Teachers, who was more important to Nation Building”, something like that. I can’t exactly remember which side of the debate I was on, I’ve been struggling to remember, keeps eluding me. My elder cousin came back late at night, so it meant I slept off already before he could make his corrections.

I woke up the next morning to see he had made some edits on my point. He said so many things but the one that struck was this – he said there were too many “lack of…” in my points. All my points started with “Lack of”, and so he changed some of them to “Inadequate”. I remember asking him what “inadequate” meant with all curiosity and tension. I mean, the debate was that morning, and you’d expect me to be jittery over using a word I hadn’t come across before. He carefully explained the word “inadequate” to me, I think I was satisfied with his definition because I remember using it throughout that debate. Of course, as you’d expect; I won! I had won the primary six guy – my senior! I think I still remember the guy’s name, of course I won’t write it here!

That was my introduction to the word Inadequate. It has lived me with ever since. I have grown to hate that word. For what it stands for, I hate being inadequate. I never ever want to come across as being inadequate and as a result, it has reduced my circle. Rather than appear inadequate, I’d retreat to my shell.

What inspired this post? In some quarters, I’m perceived as proud. I’ve always been befuddled by this tag, because the real me is nowhere near being proud. Like I’m the most down to earth guy you’d ever meet – wait let me finish before you counter that. But in trying to hide my inadequacy, I had sent the wrong vibes unintentionally.

A common example is when I don’t return people’s calls, they’d tag me proud. When I don’t reply your messages; you’d tag me proud. But I wish I could tell you the real reason behind me ignoring you. I fear that my replies won’t be appreciated, I fear that my calls won’t be the best phone call you’ve answered in a while, so rather than call and show my inadequacy, I was better off staying put. I fear that my messages won’t get your maximum attention, I fear that you’d classify them amongst the others. I hate being classified alongside the chasing pack.

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Miracle Roch and I suffer from Inadequaphobia – the fear of appearing inadequate. This fear has helped me overcome challenges, make no mistake about that. For one, it has made me consciously strive to become better, just so I’d not appear inadequate and as a result, I’ve come to learn a whole lot of stuff.

It’s not a bad phobia to have. I mean, I still return some calls and reply some messages, only when I’m sure of maximum attention, or some other time, because your opinion doesn’t matter to me, and that is the challenge with this kind of phobia is that I cannot stress myself too much; so I’m always retreating to my shell or not giving a hoot about what people say in some cases. This is probably the greatest fear I have, I mean, times when I should suffer from what people term “depression” in this part of the world, I have found myself frantically searching for knowledge. I’d rather be miserable than not know anything. Times when I’d be faced with a challenge, I’d find myself trying to bulk up mentally, because I love my knowledge bank so much more than anything.

I always want to know stuff, I always want to read, and most importantly, I never ever care about impressing people, because the more they see me as ordinary, the lesser the shoe size I have to feel hence nothing to not feel adequate about. Thanks to Inadequaphobia.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

Published by Miracle Roch