THE GIRLFRIENDS’ CLUB
We are all from different walks of life. One thing binds us together irrespective of our culture, ethnicity, races, classes and backgrounds. Each was born as a little child with joy in the hearts of our parents. Growing up as a little girl who had to listen to instructions even if they were weird, but we still had to obey. At every stage of growth, she is faced with balancing her life and fulfilment in her heart. So many times we have to do the wrong things for right reasons while no one knows the options we have had to choose from. We are separated only by incidents that we encounter along the way. The art of living is putting one’s life in order such that the demands of life will not limit one’s greatness. She is faced with attaining contentment and inner harmony. It won’t happen overnight as it takes determination and continuous development of our inner beauty.
By the virtue of some of our cultures, we have been limited. As a result of the abuse or circumstances life has bestowed on us, we have been condemned. Let us exhale every stress we have ingested and let us talk about turning the noise of our lives into the music that we want to hear. More are the things that the lady can receive only from within her. Often we focus so intently on creating a beautiful outer physical image that we neglect our inner self beauty. There is the need to find that inner strength to overcome our personal challenges.
Do not run away from them. Sometimes we are stuffed inside, refusing to deal with them. Let’s not ignore the problem because there are people who are ready to remind you how bad your parents were, how you were raped, abused and maltreated. Facing the truth could be difficult.
I used to be ashamed of my upbringing and did not admit some of my bad attitudes. One thing is to have a problem and another thing is to admit that the problem really exists. Whatever it is, admit it because that is the beginning of your healing.
Fear is lack of belief in oneself. It is seeing impossibilities for some reasons known to you. It belittles oneself. You see yourself as incapable and not up to standard. Fear does not see victory, it sees defeat no matter how prepared you are. It sees a journey abortive even before embarking on it. Fear is debilitating and can suffocate your passion especially when you look at those who did not “make it”.
If you are angry, admit it! If you have HIV/AIDS, admit it! If you have cancer, admit it! If you have been raped, admit it! When you fail to face what you fear, that is the beginning of failure because you already lost to it. Once you admit that these things are present, you seek the strength to fight it.
We must begin to ask ourselves what is making us miserable. Most of us are filled with regrets and secrets, scars and traumas. The truth about this life is that individuals are faced with difficulties just that the weight and effect varies.
You don’t have to package them as if they never happened. Another thing is those things won’t develop wings and disappear.
Nothing can be changed about your past. If you do not confront what seems to be a problem to you, you cannot conquer it. These could be so strong that it can keep you from stepping out and taking on risks and challenges.
I have come to realise that we lose so much while trying to cover up our weaknesses, mistakes and sins. We try to pretend as if these things do not exist. We thus make excuses, blame other people and we pretend things do not bother us when they do.
Don’t wrap yourself in bitterness. Some of us have lots of tales that we cannot tell and we hide our helplessness in anger. Some cry all through the night till morning to put on makeup that covers their scars and a smile that fades quickly.
There are many who have been assaulted at a tender age and cannot even discuss what they have gone through. What about ladies brought up to obey their spouse; a drunken wife abusing husband can alter a lady permanently.
Part of your healing requires that you come out of hiding and be liberated. Be free from what makes you feel miserable. I want to encourage you to take responsibility for your life and its outcome. If you are from a poor family and faced with difficulty in payment of your school bills, do not blame your parents. We have lots of rich parents that are not responsible! You cannot change that but you can choose to excel. You will only waste more time dwelling on the cause for your failure. It is your choice and I believe you will make the right decision.
We must learn to push through our fears and deal with them.
Whatever it might be you are going through, I hope you find courage to get out of it.
You may have just experienced one of the paths you had to tread in order to get to your great destination. Step out of the past and move on. Nothing can be changed about you being abused but you have the freedom to write your future. Looking back drags you to the pit of failure. At this stage none of your past experiences should dictate how to live your life. If you don’t forget the past, you will be very unhappy and have the impression that life is horrible.
Let’s get to a point when we laugh over our past experiences and be gracious it happened.
Intentionally step out of things and activities that will draw you back into the pits of despair. I’m at a point in my life where what people say to me does not matter to me. Sometimes I make statements based on what should make me sad and my friends wonder the kind of person I am because I do not reckon with past happenings.
If it’s going to take you to forgive, please do. Don’t let offense take root in your heart, it will be more difficult to deal with if you do.
There is no way to change the past, but there is a way to benefit from it.
Even though you have many responsibilities, keep yourself alive. Be a person who steps out of regrets and never give up on a wonderful future.
IT IS ABOUT WHO YOU ARE – YOUR IDENTITY
You are not limited by the virtue of what you have gone through. A person who is abused almost always develops a shame-based nature. The situations should not define you. Whatever is in your past, do not feel ashamed and as if you must hide it.
You can expect people to have great difficulty realising how hard it was to get out of who they think you are. You might have involved yourself in what you think should define you for the rest of your life, but you can be yourself and identify where you find your joy.
You can suppress who you are but you cannot change who you are. Don’t lose track of who you are. You need to separate who you are from what you can do. Don’t be lost in the circumstances you have faced. You are too precious to be tossed around.
We must get to a point when we begin to see ourselves so special irrespective of what people might think. If you do not know what you have, you will not know when you will lose it.
THE HEALTHY MIND
It is the healthy mind that celebrates itself. Don’t be too starved to settle for just anything. One of the things that I have learnt as a young lady is being self- challenging. So many times I have had to speak loud to myself in order to survive.
Most of us live for others and their causes. While we value others, we should appreciate our self-development. This is a call to recognize our strength before we become lost in praising someone else. Moreover, we often say we do not care about what people think about us, but we still envelope ourselves in the discomfort of the circumstance that has named us. Irrespective of what people think of you as the girl child, you must develop the ability to embrace yourself.
A positive self-image is not arrogant. I did not realise how slim I was until sometimes when I was in the University. People do say it even my siblings make fun of me and sometimes it get to me. Along the line I realised I have to accept that I am slim and blessed with this cute stature of mine and there I was laughing and enjoying it all along till now and I’m over the stress.
My dad would say, ‘Nobody owes you anything, if it’s going to be it is up to you’. It is the inward beauty we create by ourselves that enables the outward strength we carry on with. Be important enough to carry on yourself.
Some years ago, I lost what I considered my most treasured substance to the cause I have vowed to fight till my last breathe. So many times I had wished I never lost it but I did already. As I grew up, it was hard to bear but it is what gives me the strength to soar. I see myself beyond my present circumstances. I value my existence and I spend a lot of time entertaining myself. I am responsible for any of my decisions and I have learnt to move on in life.
We make steps that lead to womanhood and we stumble and suffer many bruises along the way. As single ladies we must have the time to strengthen ourselves -economy, personality. Before you get a second opinion, be sure you have a first one. Yes, you might have poor upbringing, been abused, lost any of your parents at a tender age or limited financially but know that there is nothing damaged within you. The wisdom of my experiences is a gift I share.
You can enjoy life and have the strength to keep going if you learn to repent quickly, receive forgiveness quickly and get back to doing what you are supposed to do.
I used to love sitting alone, feeling sorry for myself. Not anymore because I will not stop hoping for better things! Freedom means we are able to make choices about how we will behave and not a prisoner to negative emotions. Get your mind off your old failures, old mistakes and the old life. Be free of those awful things you think of yourself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olaitan Taiwo is a graduate of Economics from the University of Ibadan. She is a Make-up Artist who loves writing and currently an Editor for The Unity Magazine. She is an individual who believes in independence and advocates for girl child education. She is a creative lady who sees possibilities in difficulties. She is a listener focused on sharing her experiences to help young girls who are faced with life challenges. She is the brain behind the girlfriend’s club, a platform towards the outstanding performance of the girl child. She is also into the HIV/AIDS awareness and education.