Vanessa Willie: On Becoming – The Hidden Message
So I was privileged to read Toke Makinwa’s memoir, On Becoming. Believe me, it takes a lot of courage to make the kind of revelations I read in her memoir. And for that, I duff my hat for her.
Toke’s story resonates with a lot of women probably because almost one in three women has had a similar tale. The downside is this: social media has focused on applauding her courage and neglected other vital aspects of her story. Social media tended to dwell on her vulnerability and how her mess was transformed into a message. These are worthy themes highlighted by reviewers of On Becoming.
However, I’m more interested in the essence (and core) of her message. Sadly, most people seem to have missed it. Just as much as it is good to tell an intriguing story, it is also important to ensure that fewer people end up in these situations at all.
From my experience and many years of counselling, one thing has remained constant with the single and married women I’ve counselled. There is always that primal need to love and be loved in return. That is what they think, but what I often see is a low self-esteem and a void they’re dying to fill. These women try to fill the emptiness with the illusion of The Right Man. Desperation impairs their judgment. They’re quick to think they are in love. Things further worsen when the man remotely mentions the M-word or something along the lines of future commitment. Some neurons snap in the woman’s brain, and she convinces herself that finally, security has found her! Before long, it becomes clear that even marriage is incapable of solving one hundredth of their problems. The emptiness occasionally stirs in their hearts, announcing itself. Soon they blame their woes on the man’s inadequacies. (Obviously, by now, their unrealistic expectations have peaked.)
Every woman ought to learn that there is one anti-dote for this emptiness and low self-esteem. This antidote is called Finding Your Purpose. And who knows your life’s purpose more than your Creator? No one. Need I say more?
In all certainty, Toke’s story made her much more famous but don’t think it will be the same for every other person who leaps out of their closet, armed with a chest full of sad tales and a willingness to share their gory experiences. Different strokes for different folks. Another storyteller would probably be devoured and misjudged by the angry bullies of social media.
Emptiness and low self-esteem cannot be remedied by riches and/or fame; else suicide won’t be common amongst celebrities. Being a celeb these days is no longer an uphill task, just show enough skin, feature in a porn movie, or pretend to be gay or transgender and voila! You’ll be the talk of the town. But I digress!
Do you remember Julia Roberts in the movie ‘Pretty Woman’? Most of you secretly wished Pretty Woman was your story. Remember the adrenaline rush you got when you watch an RMD and Genevieve movie. RMD is probably the rich guy who falls in love with the village girl or underprivileged Genevieve. I know people who sometimes wish they were right in the movie living out their fantasies.
When a woman meets a guy she feels unworthy of, insecurity is capable of creeping in. She is elated to be the chosen one. This very feeling, if not properly managed can ruin the woman. I used the word managed advisedly, because it’s difficult not to feel lucky in these circumstances, despite your confidence level. I mean, if you know me well and know my husband, you’ll understand that I’m speaking from experience. Handling these feelings require a lot of expertise. Toke’ story clearly reflects the importance of wisdom in this regard.
This is what I want you to take out of this article. Love is a beautiful thing but it doesn’t guarantee happiness and it isn’t a substitute. In fact the person you love the most is the person who has the most power to hurt you and vice versa. You can find strength to forgive them. On the other hand, if your essence for living and happiness is not dependent on them. I mean that is too much responsibility to give any human being. Just because a good marriage is a beauty to behold doesn’t mean it can complete you. You should be complete in yourself before you take the vow. Believe it or not, marriage is a union of two whole people coming together in agreement of fulfilled destiny. It demands that each party helps the other achieve their life’s purpose. It’s possible to have a good marriage and not know it. Try not to be blinded by your fairytale expectations. Don’t be deceived by social media. A good marriage doesn’t just happen. It takes hard work. Love is the grease that makes the engine run smoothly.
In other to date successfully, you need a sound mind. Don’t date with the hopes that the new person will heal the wounds from your past relationships. Deal with your low self-esteem issues if you have any. One of my favourite’s quotes says ‘to thy own self be true’.
To be ready for a relationship, you have to come to a point where you can be genuinely happy in your own company. Groom yourself until you reach a point where you acknowledge that you don’t need a man to be happy. Love often knocks while you’re too busy developing yourself. When you have established your purpose in this world, that’s when you’re ready. Don’t let society pressure you into a union. When the chips are down, you alone will nurse the wounds of a broken heart. Bloggers will gather around the ruins to scavenge your story for money.
Watch out for my next article: ‘On signs that you have low self-esteem’. You need to know this so that you can address what makes you unnecessarily vulnerable and easy prey.