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Awakening the stolen dream.

 Do you remember how fulfilled and excited you felt the last time you worked very hard on a given project? The success story and fantastic feedback has your talented fingerprints scribbled all over! People are amazed and surprised at the wonders of this enigma. Wow!  Nice Job!  Who did this?  How?girl 2

Oh! look at you! grinning with smiles of accomplishment.

But not for long. So you decided to brand your creativity, by stamping your image to it, the same astonished world starts to stammer and stutter, there’s fidgeting and uneasiness. Everything begins to go wrong from nowhere. Suddenly, your title shifts to “weird” or “proud” or “non-efficient or not-so-good”.

As criticism sets in, self-awareness seeks comfort in pity-party. Why? ‘Is it because it’s your swag? But, that’s what makes you stand out in the crowd of plenty! Your own God-given capability. It cannot be stolen, knocked down or reproduced. Its your WOW factor!

While some label it Destiny, others says it’s a blessing to be destined for greatness without being tortured by negative people. And because the world cannot handle your achievement, you begin to wonder-out-loud…”Where-did-I-go-wrong? Hmm.

You peep through the portals of your heart and discover that traces of pretentious doubt and cowardly low self-esteem were actually planning on visiting you soon! So you sit alone in the dark cold room and ask yourself, is it your fault? ‘that God has so blessed you with such gifting that others can’t contain the volume? Should I fall through the cracks based on a critical point of view? Or should I just keep heading towards my goal in life, pushing aside any storm? What to do?

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to climb up to the top of the playground swing bar and spin around and around until I was silly-dizzy, and then fall to the ground with a giggly heart. It was thrilling, childish and fun.

And so, my idea of primary school breaks became swinging and hanging on to the bar of the swing set at the school playground with my adorable childhood best-friend, Virginia Wilcox (now Mrs. LeBouf) She was my main dream maker, cheerleader and also my competitor. We will do cart wheels on the hard terrazzo floors! Twirl around and somersault on the cobalt blue wall to wall carpeted auditorium during Mrs. Benson’s music class, as the other students hiss, applaud or watch in dis-belief!girl 1

What a joke! Such silly boyish girls!

With our tightly knotted woolen emerald green dangling ribbons, we didn’t care if our short green school uniform would become dusty or torn from the constant mounting of the swing bars; we didn’t care if the boys were actually peeping to see our oversized mommy-made PE (physical education) shorts.

We just loved to express our athletic talent, especially as the other prim and proper girls, with perfectly pressed silky hair pulled back in assorted rayon ribbon pass by with looks of disdain and disgust! Rolling their eyes in unison.

Virginia and I. Two best friends with so much in common, two tiny mischievous  primary school girls, one in scattered box braids and the other threaded hair, nicely packed up with that very annoying silky black thread! But, we couldn’t have cared less, we weren’t bothered that we were not playing “Miss Mary-Mark” or ‘Mother May I” In our own way or world, we were just genuinely happy and content with ourselves. We were pace-setters, trend-setters and annoyingly so darn confident in our tiny selves!

Eventually we both attended the same secondary school and then same University, and after graduation, we both drifted away apart slowly and totally surrendered to life’s new extension of a real world roller coaster. A much serious one to swing on! But we never gave up on our quest to be all we can.

Today, ask yourself; How do I fight back?  whether you are criticized poorly or ignored intentionally because of that powerful element in you. Believe me, life will surely throw one or two storms of self-doubt  and distraction your way once you begin to rise. The plan is to make you feel less worthy or discouraged about your vision. Don’t fall for it!what they say

Whether you have been hurt, jilted, abandoned, used or called weird names even after you have so proved your self-worth with true sincerity; Be Encouraged! it is just a mere distraction building you up for tomorrow. It is time to wake up from that deep slumber and face the dream breakers or dream killers in your life with one thing; Fight them back with that same creative zeal or crazy passion and be hungry for more success! No matter what people think about your value, You need to know your own worth first! and be grateful to God for choosing you above all others, but don’t be patronized.

Yours in HOPE as I share Rachel Platten’s ‘Fight Song’.

Yinka.

 

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Our biases in ASSUMPTION and ACCEPTANCE of other people!

 

ste picJust one look. A glimpse. A glance. A peek. And our imagination starts running wild. If possible, our   interpretation and perception of what is placed on our laps is now portrayed as a footstool for appraisal. For every one of us, at least there’s been a moment or two of intolerant and superficial judging. And within another degree, it is transformed into a battlefield of suspicion or dislike.

Imagine THIS: It is Monday morning, you are at the gas station, minding your own business and a certain hype outrageously-clothed lady walks up to you, all the essence of her womanhood displayed in parade soliciting. She looked you over and smiled over her loud popping bubble gum now stained with her red lipstick and asked for directions! What comes to your mind immediately? Did you quickly tighten the hold on your wallet or just quickly labeled her?

Imagine THAT: On a Friday evening, by the entrance of a coffee shop is a young man in dirty tattered over-size jeans, his grey shirt, dirty with missing buttons, probably due to an organized gang-fight or survival on the street, his exposed chest crowded and begging for a visit to any available hygiene-clinic, there’s a strong rancid odor around him, he’s probably a homeless retard on drugs or struggling to get off it. He approaches you with his arms spread out, toothless smile and looking lost! Money? Food? Or a friendly hug? He’s looking at you questioningly…What Do You Do?

We have all been there. Our devoted posture of Immaculacy, Pureness and Self-righteousness. We give a first look at someone we assume to be not of the benchmark and immediately we set a guard around ourselves and step up with a higher approach of self dis-favor.

Sometimes, even so spiritual as thanking God for not being in that person’s shoes. But really… if anything and we are sincere with ourselves, we are truly the ones with the issue of intolerance, prejudice and unfairness. Not the other party. Why? ‘Like they know any better? That’s why they are more approachable, even during their storm!

Stereotyping leads to racial prejudice when people emotionally react to the name of a group, ascribe characteristics to members of that group, and then evaluate those characteristics. It reflects expectations and beliefs about the characteristics of members of groups perceived as different from one’s own, prejudice represents the emotional response, and discrimination refers to actions.

So, there’s a proverb about judging people I grew up with, from my Mother’s hometown of Delta State – (in her Ebu language): “We are ever aware and mindful of people we think we know and love, but we can never be sure of other people or a stranger’s love or feelings for us” – and till now, She will reminiscence and still talk about the importance of accepting and loving a stranger in distress – because you can never tell their story, until you are told.

But because my first visit to the shelter required me reading books and watching documentary on teenagers with stories of life on the streets, sex addiction, graffiti etc. That prepared me and took away all that was supposed to send me running back to my car or to a pity party zone. What’s inside the minds of the people we ‘hang and dismiss” is deeper and commanding than we can ever imagine. Their stories changes with a look at their heart.

Their acceptance to recovery and salvation is far genuine compared to an everyday God fearing believer. Because they have wounds that are already open for all to see. What else is there to hide? Just a word of assurance, a term that defines their past, a hug that could be cold outwardly, yet comforting inside, a bible verse that could pretentiously be ignored while you’re there, but a remedy at night when crisis begins. A firm hand shake rather than a scrutinizing look of disgust, repulsion and antipathy. Stereotype keeps people from processing new or unexpected information about each individual, thus biasing the impression formation process.

Today, I am encouraging someone to reach out of their standard! to approach and love a stranger without boundary! Instead of loving the person and hating the sin, we treat people out of our norm as not worthy of our love or God’s love. We apply our morals to their lives and fight against their freedoms because of our beliefs. How else will they know our God? If not through our works!

May God help us all!

Yinka

“Who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.

Isaiah 65:5

 

 

 

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