Monday, 23 July 2007

Monday Muse: Moi

Thursday evening… Leicester Square… As I walk through the early evening crowd in London, under the dusky azure skies of my spiritual hometown, there is only one word to describe the feeling deep inside of me, scattering in a million shades of firecrackers and light as a butterfly’s wings: Contentment.

I don’t know how many times I have walked down the same trail from King’s College at Strand down to Charing Cross then up towards Leicester Square. There was the very first time as a fresh PhD candidate, full of hopes and dreams, having stepped off the train from Egham, armed only with her ideas for a research which she didn’t know would take her a good part of early twenties. Then there was the disengaged girl who would have much rather scampered in her heels down to Oxford Street for a spell of shopping than go over the same chapters of tedious writing with her supervisor. Then there was the teary-eyed girl who trod the same walk with feet of lead and a sunken heart, determined to prove them wrong yet too exhausted to go on. Now a twenty-eight year old woman, willing to take criticism she does not necessarily agree with, determined to give her writing her best shot, resolute to complete what she has set her heart on doing a long time ago.

In the recent years I have suffered every single thing you would expect a PhD student to suffer: hours of isolation cooped up amidst the dusty shelves of a dingy library, threads that promise heaps of information ending in dead ends, writer’s block, frustration, reluctance or inability to constantly revise and redraft, midnight shifts spent reading, taking notes and writing away into the small hours of the morning, low cash flow, exhaustion… You name it, I’ve been through it, which resulted in two years spent fooling myself into thinking I was getting on with things when in reality I wasn’t, and another two years of interruption after I realised my subconscious reluctance to do any work on my dissertation and decided to take time out to focus on my career without the pressure of a PhD dissertation that needed consistent work, effort and drive without any distractions.

Now with renewed vigour, I am ready to throw myself back into it. I walk down the same trail I have walked down so many times, filled with so many different emotions and realise I have so much to be thankful for. I have spent a good part of the last four years berating myself for not pushing myself hard enough. At times I have felt like a failure. On a mild, languorous Thursday evening under the azure skies of London, I look back, take stock and realise I am anything but.

I arrived in the UK at the age of twenty one, fresh and green. In London, I found my feet, friends, and my identity. Over the course of the last eight years, I completed an MA, survived in a metropolitan on my own two feet, on a £600 per month budget, on a wing and a prayer. I made my way through a range of crappy house shares and a range of crappier men. Within seven months of each other, my dad and my grandma passed away.

Then I moved to MK and got my first full-time job: teaching, with no formal teacher training and no teaching experience. With next to no support at work, a bully of a department head, a syllabus I couldn’t get my head around, I would come home and cry my eyes out every evening, then get back up, wipe away the tears and stay up well beyond midnight planning my lessons. Two years later, I took up another job; half-way through my formal teacher training year, I had to take three whole months off work due to a range of illnesses which later delayed my training and caused adversities at work with some students and colleagues. At one point, I was on the verge of serious depression.

Now I am a qualified teacher, respected by my colleagues and appreciated by many of my students. I have recently started writing for a fashion magazine and am now pushing myself more in freelancing. People tell me I have a way with words, and for once, I actually almost believe them. It has been just over a year since I picked up an SLR camera for the first time to go out shooting on a beautiful April day. A year on, people say I take amazing photographs and I am a part of Team Suby and Sin What is more, for the first time in my life, I actually have the confidence to almost believe I do indeed take amazing photographs.

Walking under the calm azure skies on a Thursday evening, my heart light like a butterfly’s wings, my steps matching the easy summer rhythms of languorous London, I look back and take stock, I look back and realise just how far I have walked, I look back and realise just how little credit I sometimes give myself.

For as long as I have known myself, self-doubt and low self esteem have always been inherent parts of my personality. Most days I still wake up thinking I suck or I am a failure, especially when things are not going my way. Most days, I need my other half, frustrated by just how blind I can be to my own talents, to remind me of how much I have achieved and how much I am set to achieve. For today though, as I walk down on my path, I don’t need reminding. I know there’ll be harder days when the dusky azure skies will turn dark and gray, and I know there will be dips on the path and steep hills, I know there is a huge possibility something may go wrong tomorrow and knock the wind from my sail; but for today, I will enjoy my accomplishments, my talents, my life.

For today, I will celebrate myself and the journey I have made so far.


Suby said...

Aaaawww, my confident wifey, it is glad to see you having more and more confidence in yourself, you know I have always said you have it in you, you just had to reach out for the force you young Jedi LOL.

On a serious note, the world is your oyster, go forth and conquer itLove you to bits and extremely proud of all you have & will achieve you brilliant, Teacher, writer, person, wifey, photographer :)


Queen of My Castle said...

I would first like to thank you for stopping by my page. This piece was very inspirational. It made me take a look at myself and for once stop being my own worst critic and to appreciate how far God has brought me. Thank you. Please keep writing. :-)

Pink-satin said...

tanx for stopping by my page!will read ur post now

Pink-satin said...

you do write wonderfully well!yes yes we all should strive to make ourselves something!i guess we all go thru the crappy phase of life but it does make us greater!

...toyintomato said... your writing, its different and calm, i cant explain it, but still engaging in a personal way.
...really cool.
glad to see you, gaining more confidence in your photographs.
cant wait to see you post some on the blog..(hint..soon!)
..haha don't mind me.
great blog.

diary of a G said...

you do that girl

Ugo Daniels said...

Now, here's a toast to you. You do write eonderfully well. I can as well understand your life's journeys. It can be frustrating at times, but as i always say, once the epilogue is sweet, no problem.

Hope other peeps having similar experiences can look up to this and know that with determination, eopenness of mind and a very strong will, the sky's gon be the stepping stone to greater heights, no longer the limits of what they can achieve.

If i may ask, what genre do you write on/about?

Pelmo said...

What you need now is a get away, a place you can relax, recharge your batteries and enjoy the simple joys of life.
On weekends I go to sleep with all the nocturnal sounds around my pond, and then awakened by the fluttering noise of hummingbird wings as they busily go about their business feeding at the feeders outside of my bedroom doors.
The peace and tranquility of walking in the woods and spotting different foliage or wildlife. Feel like a new person when I return to the city.
But it does help having the support of what appears to be a loving husband.

Vickii said...

You should definitely celebrate yourself, you have so much to be proud of!

You are an amazing writer and a great photographer and I can't wait for your first novel to come out!!!

Miss Opeke said...

Thanks for stopping by...I love the way you is amazing that there are so many talents our there...
Am with Vickii on that...

classybabe said...

I don't usually read long posts through,but this one i did.Self-belief is the ultimate,and you write well!

pamelastitch said...



Very inspiring....


catwalq said...

I celebrate with you. I too am embarking once more on the journey to claim my destiny after having stumbled a few times.

Onada said...

i agree with everyone about your writing! its wonderful!! Everyone feels that way, me especially. its alway good to have a reminder of how much you have achieved and progressed over time to get yourself back in gear! Thanks for sharing.

Rinsola said...

Quite an inspiring post. I guess most people can relate to this post. u sure do write well.

princesa said...

You have come along way dear.
Am happy u got over the self-doubt and low self-esteem.
And yes,u do have a way with words.

Eugene said...

That was a great piece. Makes me glad I never got a higher education in the academic sense, anyway.

Sounds like you have plenty to be confident about. I learned something I always tell myself when things aren't going the way I think they should..."Things may not always turn out the way I think they should, but they always turn out.

I am usually a poet, but have recently gotten into photography, like maybe in the last month. It's mighty fun, isn't it!?

I should tell you about my friend who is the Economics Head at Clark College in Vancouver Washington. He was a major source to my personal education. Amazing humanbeing.

Thanks for this post, and don't forget, you are always worth being confident, the other shit is just stuff we have to work through on our lifes journey.

Have fun in all you do and boy, sounds like you've accomplished a lot!

Kafo said...

This is beautiful


i really needed this today

~Mimi~ said...

awwwwwwwwwwwwww that was a great post.

its okay to fall down sometimes, just as long as you pick yourself right back up! and that you definitely did!

no wonder hubby is so proud of u!

Afrobabe said...

One never knows how many blessings you have had over the years till you take a deep breath and look have achieved a lot and have every right to be proud and celebrate...Your brilliantness shines in your writing..

Naijadude said...

wow! this is needed for self empowerment... I am really glad you got over the adversity and grew as a person... right on!