Growing up, I lived life boldly and undaunted. I embraced life with all that I was. I dreamed freely. Wrote freely. I was outspoken and wasn’t overly concerned about what other people thought or said about me. I lived a “free spirited” life where I was not afraid of being authentically me. One of my high school teachers actually nicknamed me “ayala”, which is an Igbo term for “rebel” or “radical”. LOL.
I loved it. I loved me.
But as I got older, somewhere along the line, all that changed. I became more withdrawn and overly cautious. All of a sudden, people’s opinions-even those who didn’t really know me- became important. Then when I got saved, I felt like I had to be a cookie cutter version of myself. I really felt like I had to be restrained and docile in order to be a “good Christian woman”. I started calculating everything, making sure I never stepped out of line.
I held back a lot. Missed opportunities. I bottled things up when I should have been very vocal about them. Heck, even my writing became controlled and calculated. I mean, when I think back at some of the crazy essays I wrote in high school, not caring about what my classmates and teachers would think… In fact, I think that’s part of why I put on a lot of weight. I was internalising a lot of things instead of letting go and releasing them (you know I had to blame this fat on something, right? LOL)
I knew I wasn’t me. I was restless. Unsatisfied. Unfulfilled.
Yet, the most amazing women of God, in my opinion, are bold and fearless and lived their lives unapologetically. Think Christine Caine, Joyce Meyer, Heather Lindsay, Bianca Olthoff, Sarah jakes Roberts…
I work in film and the female filmmakers I admired, the late Amaka Igwe, Mara Brock Akil, Leila Djansi, Ava Duvernay, Kemi Adetiba , Lowladee, Tope Oshin to mention a few are not wallflowers just waiting for life to happen. No, they made things happen.
I’ve learnt that God saved me not to turn me into a bland individual with no personality, but to refine me so I can become a better, bolder, wilder (Get your mind out the gutters, people, this is not a bad word), freer version of myself. God made me an eagle, wild and free. And I was living like a caged bird who sang from time to time about times past when the clouds were my constant companion and the winds beneath my wings. God wanted a woman who could run with wolves, yet I was content with lily livered living.
God wanted me, the authentic me, the one who wasn’t scared of standing out, yet I was trying to become a conformist so I could be worthy of God’s ( and people’s) love. He wanted me unashamed and undaunted, ready and willing to thrive and bloom where He’ s planted me.
Instead of changing things, I stalked my younger self. I spent a lot of time in memory lane reminiscing about the “good ‘ole times”. The problem with dwelling too much time in memory lane is that time passes you by quickly and then you wake up one day asking , “Na me be this?”
One day, I packed my things and moved from the lane called memory.
I’m meandering into a future of liberty, risk-taking, authenticity, crazy faith and courage.
That future is now.