How I came to be

The above is the title of a fictional series that I started and never finished. Using it now because it applies to me as well, a blooming adult with dreams, aspirations and sometimes unfinished projects.

Do you randomly recollect a memory, memories you didn’t even know you still had? Because I do. Lately, I’ve been recollecting certain things from my past. Like when I visited a camp and lost a phone I’d just been gifted, my first day at Secondary school, down to getting pranked and injured by a classmate in my primary school. I remember some things and cringe, I remember some and laugh and there are those who make me feel very grateful for growth and change.

Growing up, I was a very playful child and if my family’s numerous trips down the memory lane rings true, a bubbly, social one too. At large family gatherings, I would go around singing to everyone so they could give me tips. I spoke Yoruba fluently, knew all the latest songs and rhymes, and hated school when it was time to go, but I always came home thoroughly disheveled after I’ve played enough to my heart’s content.

Primary school saw me exploring singing and dancing. I fancied myself the best singer in the room and oh, could I dance. I won dancing competitions at birthday parties often and always had a good time at parties like this. It was during this period, after watching a Funke Akindele movie that I decided I had found my path. I was going to be an actress.

It amuses me also, how stubborn I was. I remember when my class teacher summoned my guardian, who was my Grandma then, because I had said a foul word to him.

When I started at my Secondary school with a class size more than triple my previous class, my academic prowess dropped. My efforts did not dip neither did they increase. The first and second year were uneventful but fun. During this time, the kids were growing up, cliques were being formed and we all know how mean kids can be. I started getting bullied in school although I didn’t know I was. I got called out for my eye size and I found myself wishing they were smaller. I could not find myself dancing because that would be me embarrassing myself, I feared being mocked and mostly kept to myself. It was like a competition for who could come up with the funniest or meanest joke, but at my expense. The only place I was playful at that moment, was at home. I was very quiet in school and outside, and would only let my guard down at home. I had my very few friends to count on, most of whom I’m still friends with today. It was like a very cliche excerpt from an high school movie only not as dramatic and without a miraculous turnaround.

Past few years of my life have been full of learning and unlearning. Disappointment is present although it runs both ways. My 10 year old self looking down at me for doing away with the dancing girl who believed herself the best singer and didn’t care what anyone thought of her. Present me grateful for not being that girl who believed that pink is for girls and blue for boys, for believing and living the fact that I am beautiful and worthy of love. Although present Tola might not dance anymore and keeps to herself more often than not, she tries everyday to be a better version of herself.

Ultimately, this different stages are what have made me how I am now. I am not the nicest person in the room and after trying to stay invisible and to keep on the nice side of people for so long, I am not a people pleaser. However, my experiences have taught me to be kind. I still care what people think but what is most important is that I care what I think of myself the most. Now, I do not mind taking up space, living vividly, voraciously and in color. I am on a journey to exploring that child that I once was with the wisdom of my youth.

One year ago today, I hit publish on my first blog post. If you’re reading this, thank you for being a part of this wonderful journey.

Happy One Year Anniversary to the TF blog community!

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