Enuamaka is someone I have known since secondary school. I know her to be wise beyond her years and inspiring and she is someone that I greatly respect and admire. So today, I present you with Enuamaka’s story
WHO AM I?
That’s one of the most difficult questions a person has to answer, be it to themselves or to someone else. It is something I consistently ask myself and yet I am still not completely sure as to how to answer.
WHO AM I?
I am a 20 year old African woman, born to a family of individuals I consider extraordinary. I turn 21 in a few weeks and to everyone I tell, the reaction is almost always the same. I’m told I need to “turn up” since I am now “legal” and can “drink”. Apparently, the most fascinating thing about turning 21 in America is the ability to order a drink “legally”. I’ve never really been one to get excited at the concept of being able to drink alcohol because, being Nigerian, I have never been under the restrictions of a ‘drinking age’.
The thing is, with turning 21 comes a much bigger realization: I will completely and irrevocably, by all standards, be a full blown adult.
And so the question of who I am becomes a lot more difficult to answer.
WHO AM I?
Unlike before when I could just ignore it all together or give myself a non-committal answer, I am quickly approaching the age where I have to make all these big decisions. What I want to do with the rest of my life, marriage, family, all of these things suddenly become real overnight. But none of this really answers the question of who I am so let’s try this again.
WHO AM I?
Outwardly, I am a 20 year old slightly over-weight woman. I have been told that I give off the impression of being a snob. Because I am on the curvier side, it is automatically assumed that I eat a lot, a trait which can be equated to lacking self-control.
In this society, I am also not what anyone would associate with the standard of attractiveness because I have one curve too many. I don’t have what anyone would call a regular job or any job at all, so perhaps I lack focus. I am about to turn 21 but yet to start my junior year in college while my mates are graduating so perhaps I lack drive. On paper, it doesn’t seem like I have a lot going for me.
Except that I do and none of this is even remotely reflected on who I really am. So here it is.
I may be voluptuous but weight can always be lost. I’m not a snob, it’s called holding yourself in high-esteem. I do not ‘lack self-control’, I just have terribly slow metabolism. Yes that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it. The standards of beauty in today’s world are unrealistic so I don’t hold myself to any of them. I mean think about it. Take Barbie for instance, you would have to have your ribs removed to have a waist like that and then proceed to live a life of malnutrition. No thank you.
I do not work because I go to school full time while, simultaneously co-parenting not one, but two pre-teenage girls. I took 2 years off after secondary school hence the reason I am ‘behind’ but that’s irrelevant because I have an almost perfect grade point average. You see the thing is, for everything that’s wrong about me (and there are many, it’s called being human), there are about 3 other things that are absolutely right.
I am a strong, independent woman, responsible and resourceful. I dream big and chase after my dreams. I am fiercely loyal to my family and friends, I am loud (it’s the Nigerian thing), I am annoying (last kid syndrome), you take me as is or you don’t.
From reading all of this, I bet you’re thinking to yourself “darn she has her life so together, I want to be her when I grow up.” I know I am awesome (see, not conceited at all ☺) but you can be awesome too. The secret behind self-discovery is to fake it till you make it i.e go about life confident in who you think you are while you figure out who you really are.
Discovering myself and being content with who I am has been a long journey, one that never ends. Which each passing year, I learn a bunch of new things about myself. Some good, others great (again notice the humility). What is key is being able to take what I have already learned and using it to get from point A to B successfully. Don’t worry too much about who you are or where you should be as opposed to where you are. All paths aren’t created equal. I have come to realize this and embrace it.
So let’s try this one more time.
WHO AM I?
I a non-conformist, I do not bend to fit the status quo. I pave my own path and make my destiny. I love hard and play even harder. I am uniquely me, perfectly imperfect.
I AM ENUAMAKA.