We are close to the end of 2021 and where I had projected myself from 2020 to be by now is probably going to take longer than I thought.
Last year, I was on a mission to find myself. I did not want to do or become, I only wanted to know. I sought for Truth like my whole life depended on it, because it did. I strived to build intimacy with God. I withdrew myself from people, even in a global pandemic, I still deemed it fit to shut the world out even more.
As far as I can remember, I have never felt true to myself. I cannot say for sure who I am. Growing up, I was always self-conscious. I was aware of every move I made down to the breaths I took. I observed, analysed, compared, and contrasted everything and the situation. I emulated walking steps based on who I liked at that time. If I liked Zendaya, I walked like Zendaya. And it was that way in every other area of my life. If I found reading cool just because someone I admired did it, I copied it. Nothing originated from me. I was always a character copy of someone else.
On the year of my 19th birthday, I decided to pursue a career in writing. I had always been enthused with writing but I wasn’t anywhere close to qualifying as a writer. I was just the girl who wrote sometimes. And deep down then, I didn’t write because I loved it or enjoyed the process of it, I wrote because I craved the prestige. I always loved what came after. That feeling was priceless. I challenged myself to write full time because it felt cool and sounded like something that would make me become someone. I got stuck in a comparison trap and couldn’t write again.
The year after that, photography caught my attention. Did I enjoy taking pictures? Not very much. Did I like people who took pictures? Hell, yes! Did I want to make a career out of it? Nope. Did I want people to think I am cool because I was a photographer? Yes. A whole lot. I wanted anything that would make me feel powerful in the sight of men, whether I was enjoying those things or not did not matter. I acquired hobbies if they felt cool.
Late last year, I discovered that instead of finding, I was losing myself even more. It felt like the more I sought for the truth about me, the farther I moved from it. I figured I was searching in all the wrong places. I was searching for myself in other people. If someone did something exceptional, and I imagined myself as them and felt good somehow, I would dive blithely into it. I did this until I completely lost touch of who I truly was and was meant to be. And the cluelessness kicked in.
It felt true when I got asked questions about myself this way: What are you? In that way, I could easily say, I was a writer or photographer. But changing the angle of the question a little bit to: What do you do? Saying “I write” or “I take pictures” felt a little problematic and untrue. What am I? I’m a student. What do I do? I go to school. What am I? I’m a writer. What do I do? I write. But did I write? No, I didn’t. Did I take pictures? Absolutely not. Had I taken pictures? Yes. Written anything? Yes. So, it was right to say that I was dwelling in previous achievements that once brought me glory. I had written something beautiful and people hailed me. I had taken really amazing pictures and people hailed me. But when did cooking a delicious jollof rice in a church gathering qualify one as a chef? Could I go ahead and put it out there that I was a chef? I may make really good food, but I would not take the title. I haven’t earned it just yet. Being a chef would take more than preparing party jollof that got the “party” taste by chance. It would require me to stay in it and diligently work my way through the levels involved. Hence, being able to write differs from being a writer.
Climbing my way out of this pitfall has been a big struggle. This year was supposed to be my year of Stillness & Surrender. I was not to do or strive to become. I was to submit myself to God and let him lead me to where he knows I should be. I was to make room for personal reflections; to get in touch with my inner self for once in my whole life. I was to declutter and just be still. It has been a fight. I often catch myself falling back to where I had left off, and forgetting in minutes, the pact I had made with myself. And while at it, I ask myself the “why” questions multiple times to make sure that it’s not some of my many pointless wants and needless cravings.
As the year slowly draws to an end, I am making room for what lies ahead: My big year of Liberation and Transcendence . As God has gracefully led me out of my cluelessness, he will hold me by the hands again and walk me into the right path; that wherever and in whatever I find truth and fulfillment, I will transcendently stay in it and make up for all the years I had lost, finding myself in other people.