It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are~ E.E Cummings
Knowing who you are seems quite an easy thing, right? I mean I am me so how can I not know who I am? I know where I was born, I know my dislikes and likes, I know my family, I know my dreams, I know what style I am drawn to, What person or persons I really connect to, I know what my career is or what I want it to be. I know all this so how can I not know who I am.
And yet that question, “Who are you” has confused me for so many years. I have heard it in many interview rooms and also at the start of a budding relationship, Oh so rephrased- Tell me about yourself. What does that mean? Who am I?
I thought that I had answered the riddle to this question until a discontent fell upon me and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I knew what I was passionate about. It was the creative economy in Africa but I then realized that I had never followed through with it. Oh yes, it seemed like I had. I mean I had left a career in the NGO world to follow this dream, I endured quite a number of insults and sighs of disbelief along the way. I invested resources, my time and heart into an organization that was doing good so why the sadness? Why the discontent? I realized that because I wanted to appear before my peers, my family and friends as sane and capable. I created exactly what I had run away from. And I was dying inside. 7 years later and I just could not do it anymore. I may have succeeded in lying to myself, to those around me but in the wee hours of the morning, the truth blared bright and it’s there that I couldn’t even run away from myself. I mean I am me. Where was I gonna go without me?
“Every turn I take, Every trail I track, Every path I make, Every road leads back to the place I know. Where I cannot go, where I long to be.
See the line where the sky meets the sea, it calls me. No one knows how far it goes. If the wind in my sail on sea stays behind me.
One day I’ll know. If I go there’s just no telling how far I’ll go.” How far I’ll go- Moana
And that one day came where I needed to know how far I would go. So I left that social enterprise that I had spent years building and wiped the slate clean. I moved back home and I must tell you it was humbling the first couple of months but that’s a story for another day. I vegetated for those couple of months, put on weight that I am now struggling to put off- Goodness, It is true ”a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”. I was utterly confused. Concerned parties told me to apply for jobs left, right and center. I knew I should but I just couldn’t. I could see myself leaving within the week. I needed to know what to do. What do I do?!!
And then a virtual women’s mentoring program came up. 16 weeks of walking with about 15 women and our mentor with the hope that at the end, I would find Patricia. I will be honest I was skeptical. I had searched for that elusive knowledge so what made me think that this would do the trick? I can’t say I know really but I just knew that there was something here to learn, to appreciate, to recognize and that after 16 weeks, I would know how far I would go.
Ladies, how far are you willing to go to get to that place where you can boldly proclaim, ”This is Me!”. I will not lie to you. It is not an easy journey. I am not even sure that you get to that place where you say that you have arrived. We are human beings so we change. We evolve and it’s great that we do so. However, I think it is the process of ‘becoming’ that person that you become more cognizant of who you are and when you are firm about your identity, your confidence soars and of course then you are able to boldly proclaim.
In my journey, I thought boldly proclaiming, “This is Me!” to the world was what was needed. But I have slowly come to the realization that this proclamation is not for the world, be it family, friends or even society. It is actually for me. It is me accepting myself and telling myself, ”Girl, this is who you are and you are fearfully and wonderfully made.” When I would read that bible verse, I would think of myself in the physical sense. But what of you and me intellectually? Emotionally? Socially? There are many facets to who we are and we need to embrace each and every facet because that makes the totality of who we are.
This is my journey- my journey of discovering me- the raw, unfiltered version. It might get ugly but if I can’t be honest with myself, who will?? Because in the end, this is who I am. This is me!
I have to ask Ladies, WHO ARE YOU? And how far are you willing to go to find out? In the end, the choice is in your hands.
Written by Patricia Opio – This is Me
Patricia Opio is a multi-passionate Creative Purposepreneur, Designer and Storyteller with a mission to inspire and empower women, creatives and brands to embrace their stories to unlock their creative potential. I am also the Founder and Creative Director of This is Me!,a digital platform that takes on the role of bringing my mission to life. I love color and all things creative! Well,This is me! http://www.thisismestory.com.