Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On Life: I Like Being Me

She was my friend, from way back in secondary school. Back then I was an awkward, insecure teenager not sure of who I was. She was the pretty and popular one, the confident one, the one with all the social skills. Everyone liked her – from the principal, to the staff and to the students. Everyone wanted to be her friend. I was the painfully shy and quiet one that hardly ventured out of my shell and the few close friends I had. I used to wish I was like her, I wished I had some of her beauty and her popularity. Fortunately, I wasn’t jealous of her and she was a very nice girl, so we got on brilliantly in spite of our obvious different personalities. We were very close friends throughout secondary school days; we had secret codes that only two of us could understand. She was the only person I could willingly allow to read my diary, which is saying a lot as I was quite a guarded person back then.

We remained friends after secondary school. We even went to college together, becoming friends with another girl and together the three of us formed a close knit group. After college I came to the UK to study and she remained in Nigeria, but we still kept in touch. The distance was never a problem, she came over once a year and a simple phone call was all it took for us to resume our friendship where we left off.

Okay, fast forward to last week. I logged onto yahoo messenger and she was online so we started chatting. We had been talking about normal girly stuff for a bit when I mentioned that I cut my hair off cos I wanted to start over and that’s when the conversation changed.

She said: “I don’t have the courage to do half of the things you do”

I was like “What? What things?”

She said: “You do brave things. Like cutting your hair and starting over. I could never do that”

I said: It wasn’t a big deal. I just didn’t like my permed hair anymore”

She said: “It’s not just that. You travel a lot, you eat all kinds of foods when you travel, and you quit your job to become a writer”

I said: “lol, that’s just me becoming more adventurous”

She said: “I wish I was like that. You’re my role model”

I can’t remember what I typed next cos in my mind I was like “REALLY!”

Thinking about our conversation later, something interesting struck me. I couldn’t believe that I had spent a lot time when I was younger wishing I was more like her, but all the while she was wishing she was more like me! It was quite a revelation to me that she could even think of me as her role model, something I had never even imagined myself to be, except maybe to my little sisters.

I’m glad I’m no longer that awkward, insecure teenager. I am now secure in who I am. It’s such a blessing to realise that I am the best person to be. God made me, ME for a reason and I’m not meant to be trying to be anyone else. It’s when I stop trying to be someone else that I appreciate who I am. And that’s when I find out other people want to be like me.