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Omonike Omuya: Unbecoming the Victim

Omonaikee

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toke-makinwa2Emotional pain is the worst. I was speaking to a friend the other day and we were reflecting on the abundant examples in our experiences of people who continue to talk about things that happened to them ten, twenty, fifty years ago, ourselves included. The conversation ended on the note that it is good to get over things quickly. It ended there because it was the easier way out of our problem of not getting over things quickly.

In the same way it is easy to say all we have said about Toke’s book, On Becoming, because that’s where it ends. We are done after we have had our say. What is harder for us to do is what she did- she “unbecame”, the documentation of which is the singular redeeming factor of her so called “must tell”. Never mind  that the writing was hardly novel, the contents sensationalized and pages too few and dedicated again to too few chapters of her life; in it she unbecame the victim of her story. A version that had justified the anger that while keeping her eyes peeled on what everyone else had done was blinding her from seeing what she herself had become.

The expression “making lemonade out of lemons” pricked my ears as I watched Toke explain the reason for the book on her vlog. It was not the only thing she said, just the one that unsettled me because these days we have canonized revenge by throwing around mantras like “the best revenge is your paper”. Is it?

Isn’t the best revenge that you are not seeking it? That your being somebody deserving of love and (fill in the blank) isn’t in your paper or in any other evidence of success? Are we that egocentric that everything that happens that we don’t like is blown into something that should be avenged and everyone we meet that doesn’t agree with us is reduced to a rival- an enemy of progress?

That’s how we have demonized prayer by turning anyone we cannot control into enemies that “Baba God” will punish. Will he?

Isn’t the reality that no one person or situation is ours to control? Doesn’t it almost seem like all our pain in life is trying to get us to that point? But not only do we give God memos on how to do his job, we dare ask him to be complicit in our self deceit of being in control of him, what he does and who he punishes.

Pain -even the worst- wherever it exists in our lives, is there to help us face a reality we don’t want to see and accept. A reality anger quickly leaps to our rescue to camouflage for self preservation. And while we hold  on to the anger, addicted to the crutch it gives us to justify even the unreasonable reasons why we should continue to be angry, it  grows unrestrained, feeding on us. Anger is the nemesis of the person who holds it and it is so deceptive, it hides behind who we are- “I am angry” and what we own – “my anger”.

Until we can unbecome and see how we are using those stories we rehash to protect ourselves from reality and until we can uncover what we hide from ourselves when we shift the blame, we will continue to be deceived by the anger that we were seating down jeje and (fill in the blank) happened and if not for (fill in the blank) that caused it, our lives would have been perfect otherwise.

Thank God Toke’s book was a good example of unbecoming this anger that is unbecoming of us or she would have wasted her money cheapening her life’s experience into news headlines for a couple of comments and bundle of notes, trying to convince us that she is fine now that she has one more title – published author- and is laughing her way to the bank.

That is if she is.

Omonaikee creates media content on print, online, tv, radio, social media and for events. Her work has been published in Cosmo, Bella Naija, Ynaija, Imbue Magazine, Metropole, +234Next magazine and True love west Africa. She blogs at www.omonaikee.blogspot.com.

24 Comments

  1. Anoy

    December 13, 2016 at 7:23 am

    yarn yarn !!

    enough with this topic joor….stop making Toke a strong woman. she knew from the beginning of Anita for many years so she stayed with her eyes wide open and from the book she was always d other woman forcing herself in Maje

    the best revenge for Toke is fame and attention seeking…that all she cares about

    • Nessa

      December 14, 2016 at 12:42 am

      She has already failed
      When you take away the fame and materialistic bullshit she flaunts
      Did her self esteem increase? No. She is still a piece of work that the millions she generated from the book will never fix. The book should have been called**,Maje **

  2. Blueberry

    December 13, 2016 at 7:34 am

    I think I should do a review on this too. Smh. We no go rest?! If you haven’t bought the book, you will only go and buy it by force, by fire with all these opinions.

  3. Anne

    December 13, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Emotional pain is the worst. What about the pain of loosing a loved one? What about the pain of seeing our loved ones sick; and there’s nothing we can do but only pray for a miracle from heaven. What about the pain a woman feels for 9 months carrying a child and never got to hold that child. What about the pain couples go through while suffering from infertility. What about the post partum pain, women who have babies and their lives are never the same because they suffer from one critical childbirth complication. I can go on and on.
    Not saying that someone else’s pain is not valid. But this generation just seems to be getting more and more shallow by the day.
    I remember the statement Catilyn/Bruce Jenner made after his transition- saying the hardest thing about being a woman is deciding what to wear. The media has made it very easy for everyone to have a personal view with so much insensitive.
    The first commenter Anoy said aunty toke knew all the while about Anita. The fact that Toke’s whole existence at this moment still revolves around Maje and Anita, it’s obvious she is not even close to moving on.

    • A Real Nigerian

      December 13, 2016 at 9:56 am

      “Emotional pain is the worst. What about the pain of loosing a loved one?”
      Lol. What are you saying? Isn’t the pain of losing a loved one still emotional pain?

    • timi

      December 13, 2016 at 11:55 pm

      most of the instances you highlighted could be classified as emotional pains. the only distinct one would be the one of the pregnancy which is physical. I understand your perspective and how you perceive the shallow mindedness of the youths today and in general individuals but “emotional pain ” indeed is the worst as it is twice and if not more as hard to handle or deal with emotional pains as its not something one can see or easily to express.

  4. esther

    December 13, 2016 at 7:53 am

    No pain is worst ooo! Pls pain is pain!!

  5. Lulu

    December 13, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Toke is not a strong woman. Stop the charade people! Because our mothers did not publish their story or go on a media tour? What is even strong woman? Not cooking for your husband because you were already tired of him? Watching as his side chick took care of him and eventually get preggers for him? Please shift. This woman entered that marriage without maturity of mind and spirit. Now she’s out of it. Let’s close the curtain on this one abeg.

    • englishgirl

      December 13, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      Can I just say that it takes a lot of strength and courage to tell a story which you are certain is going to invite a lot of judgment and criticism. Especially in a country where shameful things are ‘supposed’ to be hidden. Every one needs to looks past the person telling the story and try to learn something from her experience. That’s what is most important

    • peridot

      December 14, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      i just wish people can be less judgemental about this shit, more than half wouldn’t have survived this…… strong woman indeed

    • nene

      December 13, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      gbam

  6. Coke

    December 13, 2016 at 9:23 am

    All i see in this Toke is a woman too weak to move on with her life.

  7. Spunky

    December 13, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Hehehehehehhehe! With fewer comments and dwindling likes, her matter can take a cold chill.

  8. el

    December 13, 2016 at 11:01 am

    any more article on toke and emotional warefa,I swear I will literally pass out

  9. Netizen

    December 13, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Isn’t it funny that when people mess you up and you decide you’ve had enough and push back, that’s when everyone else sees that you’re wicked, vengeful, heartless, etc. A similar occurrence happened to me earlier this year. This person dealt with me for some weeks, every other person enjoyed the show while it lasted. The day I made a just statement that cut deep, that was when they all knew that no one has monopoly of wickedness. Come and see the private messages I received that day. I was like wawu, see these hypocrites o. Where were you all when I was being pushed to the wall? Do you all have selective memory or what? That someone is gentle, nice, avoids trouble doesn’t mean the person has no capacity to hurt you. Every action has an opposite reaction. When Maje was cheating like his life depended on it, what was he expecting? That Toke would take that thrash forever or better still walk away silently like most would? Na, he met his match. If that makes Toke wicked, so be it but please let’s stop trying to make Maje into a saint here. He got what he asked for. He just wasn’t expecting it to be this way. So yes, I support Toke’s decision to right a book. Next time before you think of hurting someone, remember that a day is coming when you would be at the recieving end. I just hate people who think they can misbehave without consequences.

    • Wizzy

      December 13, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Just some correction – Toke wrote a book, not “right a book” as its already been written so its in the past. And you came off so angry in your comment, maybe you need to let go of your personal pain and realise its not related to this story an get some “unbecoming anything in your life. Toke’s details in her book and her experiences are from her own perspective, detailing her beliefs or what she believed happened to her in that relationship. Enjoy it, take what you can from it, or not. But, never settle for it as the actual story. Maje holds his own truth, and even his cannot be taken for granted as everyone tells their story as they believe it to be.

  10. Adewunmi Alake

    December 13, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Toke, knew what she was going into, despite of the lies, trust issues, secrets and womanising. Maje should have told her about the child he had with Erica but he didn’t, she found out about it herself. And toke I perceive her to be one who wants to be in control of the relationship. Why will a married couple have sex with his wife and not come inside her? Yet he busy cumin inside anita and got her pregnant. Seriously speaking toke you were the architect of your problem.

  11. englishgirl

    December 13, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    *look

  12. mee

    December 13, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Isn’t it funny, how people choose to see and understand situations and stories? Well, I’ve read ‘On Becoming’ and i’ve learnt a thing or two from it, even though i don’t agree with some of what she did and said. We are always too quick to criticize, why can’t we look out for what we can learn and move on or just ignore if we can’t make sense out of it? I can say Toke is a strong woman because she had the courage to publicly accept her flaws and mistakes, which most of us shy from. Unlike those our mothers that refused to talk and make abnormalities seem normal and that’s why our Men keep behaving the way they do. Wickedness is never normal or right. Let’s face and support the truth and stop hiding under culture. Let’s also be able to accept the consequences of our actions.

  13. Heart

    December 13, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    “Pain -even the worst- wherever it exists in our lives, is there to help us face a reality we don’t want to see and accept.” This quote from the article sums it all up for me. Thanks for this

  14. Someonecute

    December 13, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    BN, Slow news day uh?

  15. alwayshappy

    December 14, 2016 at 3:25 am

    I have not read this book, i actually don’t intend to but i believe all the parties toke, maje, anita involved are each on their own #becoming journey, may each person heal and become whole enough to let light shine from the broken places we all cannot see, hear or read about in a book. Regardless of the perception, interpretation and environment this book is subject to , it is a bold reminder for Nigerians brainwashed by culture, to break the bondage of silence, to utilize resources like therapy for mental health, for dealing with demons, for dealing with grief and the message of female financial empowerment is critical.

  16. Letty

    December 14, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    This book has nothing to do with being strong. Where was the strength demonstrated. It is all about revenge, payback and exposing her dirty laundry. Its obvious the man never loved her but she thought she could intimidate him into wanting her by force with the bleaching weaves wigs clothes sex and makeup. No amount of bedroom antics will make a man love a wiman he will just keep coming for more to get some action…. Who knows she must have some bad qualities that no amount of bedroom action, pancake or popularity could cover. She has gotten her revenge my hope is for them to make peace which seems unlikely now with all the bad blood shed.

  17. Opy

    December 20, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Hmmmm…. It’s a pity that most people here are struggling with their lives yet they still have time to criticise others.. Sometimes some people wonder why things are not going well for them but how can it go well when you are busy hating on someone that has gone through a lot. The thing is many people have forgotten that everyone makes mistakes and maybe toke made some mistakes but I’m sure she wrote that book for people to relate with her and learn. I really don’t know why Nigerians are so inconsiderate but God help us all…. All I know is that no matter what God loves her and cares for her just like he does for everyone so if you like keep hating it doesn’t matter all that matters is what God says about her … Peace!!

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