Toluwalase, a “smalley” who threw her self-esteem to the wind and felt she was never enough, shares her story with us. In her words “…I talked to friends and leaders that could help me; I engaged myself in various activities in church and attended seminars at home. I challenged myself to start writing and singing. It wasn’t easy but I knew I was done getting stuck. I want to take the risk, to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid, to think and act for myself and face the world boldly and say “Yes I have made it”…
I am Toluwalase Ayomide Bismark with the nick name “Innocent smiles” because of my looks but trust me, I know more than you think I do.
Let me tell you about my life, and some of the burdens that I have learned to drop to be better.
I was the only child for my parents for a long time. I used to have a younger brother who should be 17years now, if death hadn’t taken him away. My childhood with him was amazing and losing him was painful. Thanks to my parents for giving me another brother after 7years of his departure. I love my family, they’re the best.
I’m the 1st issue and only daughter of my parents. I love reading, dancing, acting and talking, so I get to meet new people and show off the talents in me; I used to be very forward and always wanted to lead. At age 12, it all seemed normal not until I was 13 and my confidence vanished into the thin air. I started meeting older friends and felt intimidated; they had bigger stature, taller, more beautiful, and talented, so I started withdrawing. I thought I could never meet up with them. Who was I? I was just a slim-baby-faced little girl who thought the whole world should bow to her. This affected me a lot and my diary became my only friend. Yeah, I had friends but I still withdrew. I loved debates; I guess that was the only thing I could do.
It wasn’t easy and I tended to know less of my environment; I felt left out and lonely and let words hit me so hard, like the nick name “Smalley”. My parents were unaware of all these. They only knew their daughter was the good girl who loved to stay in her room all day. They even got me my own television and DVD player, novels, motivational books and a smart phone. They talked to me when needed, tell me things a girl child of my age needed to know and I also made sure I did well in my academics.
It went on and on like that till I got into the university. I couldn’t walk within the school with my head up; I was always looking towards the ground. I made sure I was always on time for lectures, so I won’t get to be the center of attraction whenever I stepped in. I’d sit in front because I knew the lecturers had their focus mainly on students seated at the back.
In Church, I’d only move my body left and right, when I should komole (bend and dance well), shake my buttocks and dance properly. Then, I was a dulling fine girl so people thought I was forming and proud. I laughed. It was funny, only if they knew what I was fighting with on the inside. Well, at home I was absolutely myself.
Later on, I discovered my weakness, my self-esteem was broken. I reached out to God and prayed about it; I talked to friends and leaders that could help me; I engaged myself in various activities in church and attended seminars at home. I challenged myself to start writing and singing. It wasn’t easy but I knew I was done getting stuck.
I joined my school drama club and a church dance crew, even though I stopped later on, due to my management of time but I knew I had fought a fear in me. I read books on overcoming shyness and how to improve my self esteem. I got hungry for more, and I developed my communication skill. I knew I was too legit to quit. Now I can say I’m better than before, I can smile and feel good about myself.
I know a lot of teenagers out there are having issues with their self-esteems. I just want to encourage you to fight it, just like I did.
- Have it in mind that the world must see you as somebody and not as nobody. You have to prove that.
- Don’t hold on to resentment; love yourself
- Get rid of your past emotions
- Get better, not bitter
- Don’t ever regret anything; learn from it, let it go so you can grow.
- Believe in yourself and stay positive
- Change; do things that make you anxious
- Identify your dream and know it is possible
- Think of you, keep climbing up
- Assemble your life’s support system; take with you someone who knows the way.
I choose not to be a common lady. It’s my right to be uncommon if I can. I’ll seek opportunity. I do not wish to be kept anymore. I want to take the risk, to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid, to think and act for myself and face the world boldly and say “Yes I have made it”.
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About the Writer
Toluwalase Ayomide Bismark (TAB) is a graduate of Economics from Ecole Superieure d’Administration d’Economie (ESAE) Republic of Benin Cotonou. She hails from Ogun state, Nigeria. She loves to write, she loves kids, and she loves God.
You can connect with her via Facebook or her email address: email@example.com
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