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The Promises of Change

by Udoka Chiefe on 19th June, 2014 at 12:32 PM CEST

From the start of 2014 and right up to its middle I wake up to realise something a younger me would have been shocked by.  Granted, I can’t say that my decade younger self would not have been more than a little surprised about some of the things I’ve done – good and bad – but I often think that she would likely be surprised by most of the things I haven’t and hadn’t done. For instance, I thought I’d be married to Antonio Banderas by now, but well...

But why bother about the passing of time? That’s life! I don’t care, or at least, I pretend not to. International Days like another Women’s Day or even Valentine’s Day have come and gone, and frankly they all seem the same – erringly similar and annoying. Going through the motions for a few days before and maybe even after, chanting about how independent and wonderful women are, forgetting that most of us probably blackmailed our loved ones into getting us appropriate valentine’s Day presents because we couldn’t live if they didn’t.

Have we really made any real progress as women?

I mean, look at the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and its fast approaching deadline. As a united globe working towards the achievements of the MGDs, it seems that we're no closer to seeing an exciting difference in improvement in any of them, much less numbers 3 and 5 (http://www.un.org/millenniumgo als/). I know that these goals were set in the way one sets aspirations to reach the stars but lands softly upon the clouds, but it just seems so far away and yet accomplished that I can’t help but feel somewhat let down. Not just from our leaders who say that they’re working for the equality and education of women, especially in the developing world and doing everything that contradicts said promises, but at myself, a young woman and other women living in a state of consistent “potential”, yet not rising to the occasion and living by what we preach. Not living the life and loving myself the way I should be. Believing that we’re not good enough, not “worthy” of such a great honour of being celebrated for being the best at something seemingly unfeminine because “that’s just not what ladies do”. 

Here are several things I’ve learned in my short life and maybe some of you would relate:

Pleasing everyone is a fool’s errand, and more so if you’re doing it due to a misplaced desire to be liked, even by the people we couldn't (shouldn't) care less about. 

Patience is a virtue, even if you keep it while trying not to gag as your male colleagues patronise, then hit on you for being a woman with a brain.

Taking responsibility for my life is the best decision anyone would and should make.

Though we are in the middle of 2014, I decided early on to make this year the BEST YEAR YET, and do a few crazy things that correlate with some life lessons I’ve gained:

Crazy No 1: Start My Business (FINALLY)

Finally! I’ve decided to take responsibility for myself and future by doing this.

For some people, this is the easiest thing and almost not worth bothering to make a priority because...it's too easy. For me, this is my top 5 scariest things EVER! I'm introverted, logical and think reading a good book is the best thing EVER! Maybe a part of me felt that I couldn't possibly have anything of value anyone would be willing to acquire. So, I started a Communications and Branding Consulting business aimed at the fashion scene – so far so good...

Crazy No. 2: Get a Mentor

Again, not so crazy. But then again, trusting another person's advice on your thoughts, career and life path seems like a lot for a girl to take, especially when the mentor isn't a known relative or loved one and seems generally intimidating. But thank goodness for Growr (www.growr.net). At least now I know for sure that everyone there works for a greater, worthier cause than just self-interest. I’ve had wonderful advice already.

Crazy No. 3: Being Comfortable with Being ME

I'm skinny, some say to the point of emaciation; physically active to the point of being a tomboy and love to talk about philosophy and the future of coding while young women my age would rather talk about the Kardashians and updating their Facebook status' about how pretty they look wearing make-up and hair extensions.

I think there's more to life than what's the status quo dictated for my sex, and ever since I can remember I've always been made to feel bad because what I tend to prefer are things that "girls just don't do" or shouldn't. So what? I'm not empty headed, that's a blessing, not a curse. Which is not to say that everyone who watches the Kardashians aren't smart, but if after all that time and the only thing you've learned is that Kimye will last forever, then you need to be smacked on the head by reality.

Now, I'm going to LOVE ME and accept ME for who I am, and not as a person trying to measure up to the expectations of others and generally being miserable.

So thanks to the amazing women I look up to (if not standing afar, but still with an upward gaze) like Oprah Winfrey, the late Maya Angelou, Angela Ahrendts; and even to men like Richard Branson and the departed Nelson Mandela, who all are shining examples of who I'd like to be when I grow up: Fearless, a Teacher, Independent and filled with Humour - amongst other things...

So come on everyone, surprise yourself today! You never know, you might just like it so much that you'll never look back.

The article is in alignment with Action Team 12: Wilde Dreams Chronicles

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Muhammad Ali Ali

Muhammad Ali Ali

Dear Udoka Chiefe.
Very Well done!!!!!!
its a great piece of writing.............
keep it up...............

5th July, 2014 @ 7:01 AM CEST

Udoka Chiefe

Udoka Chiefe | Action team

Thank you Mohammad. I'll do my best!

8th July, 2014 @ 3:44 AM CEST

Muhammad Ali Ali

Muhammad Ali Ali

Hey my sweet Udoka:

You are always welcome!!!!!!!!!1

13th July, 2014 @ 2:18 PM CEST

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