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Accepting Me, Respecting You

Essence coverThe February edition of Essence magazine has a column from Jill Scott, artist, poet, actress, songwriter…she is all that and can do bad all by herself too. Her piece is titled, Always Be True, a reflection on how to stay true to yourself.

I read it with great delight because it is so true that we sometimes subject ourselves to become what we are not in order to fit in or be accepted by others. We take on a different personality to avoid people commenting on us and see as good or of the most amiable manner. I say, screw the pretense and start being yourself.

Let’s see, oh, you take everything personally, you can’t take a joke, you misinterpret what people mean, you are too intense, you can be full on sometimes, you can be off-putting, you are too serious, learn to relax and my favourite, you are too sensitive. Okay, maybe you need to check yourself and work on a few things for we are all work in progress but I sometimes find people use this excuses as a way to be rude, arrogant, do what they will not tolerate, yet they expect you to accept it. I will be the first to admit that I have had to do a lot of work on myself, confidence and self-esteem. My background is not one of the rosiest there is but whose story is ever so smooth and rosy? You do have to strike a balance to avoid putting up a face when you know that it is just not there. What I have come to discover is that people sometimes take advantage when they know your vulnerability or what grates you. So you must be aware of your own tendencies.

Personally, I don’t like rude jokes. They may be jokes and some people can take it, not me. So, please, don’t bring it near me. Same way, there are others things I don’t like and so won’t do it to others. In past times when I have tried rude jokes, I end up feeling bad about what I said because it is just not me. Be clear about one thing, I am by no means perfect. I am far from it. For me, perfection in any human being is a myth though we all look forward to finding that perfect person someday but I don’t think we as individuals are perfect.  For we are made up of different mental, emotional, physical and spiritual components like a car needs different parts in order for it to be certified as safe and fit for the road.

Jill ScootIn her piece, Scott starts off by saying, ” I guess I have a multiple personality. If that’s what it is, I most likely like it. Don’t get confused with a multiple personality disorder.” I see what she means, we have different sides to us as individuals, some we share with everyone and others we keep for those we know we can be comfortable with when we get that way. That’s why they are different personality types right?

For a very long time in the process of growing up, I found myself adjusting at every turn to accommodate others, I was too intense, I was too this or too that. It came to a head-on-collision one day when I had just had enough of everyone else telling me what they thought I should be and I decided I was going to be Belinda. Believe me, Belinda is a lot of things, intense is one, sensitive and delicate, yes but by no means take that to mean weakness. For I am a woman, strong in my own right and know when to be strong and when to be weak and who to be weak for. That is the difference, knowing who to let see you at your weakest point, you cannot fake it with them. That’s what it means to be naked and not ashamed. There are people I will let see me cry and there are people, who no matter how painful the feeling inside me is and the fact that I am about to explode in tears, I will hold it back. When I am no longer in their presence, then I will do my ‘buhahabuhaha’ and let the snort flow. Sensitive and delicate, by no means take that to mean, I cannot stand to be criticised either. For that is what makes me better…I may not like what I hear but when I give it some thought, I take what I need and leave the rest where it came from.

So, I started learning to embrace myself and all that makes me who I am. The moody me that may not talk to anyone for days. That same moody me may not even smile at you sometimes.  The sensitive and delicate me, the crazy and fun me, which a few people sometimes see and gasp because its like, oh, she does laugh. Yes, I laugh, a whole lot and very loud at that. The talkative me…ah ha, you didn’t know that, did you? Trust me, I can talk, just give me a mic and I will take the floor. And there is the me, whose laughter is loud and my anger is furious and fierce. It is furious to the point, where it takes great energy to be that angry, very unhealthy because I end up exhausted. So, I try not too get that angry but I do get angry for it is an emotion that must not be ignored. If you ignore it, then you are dead. Even Jesus got angry, remember the temple, when the traders were trading in there when it was supposed to be a place of worship. So, who am I to say I never get angry?

It is the kind of anger that sometimes makes me do things I otherwise may not do. It is the anger that has sometimes cost me when I made irrational decisions. It is the anger that would make me slap my senior when I was in SS1 and she was in SS3 and so, I became the rudest girl around. It is the anger that made me beat my younger ones like they were football to be kicked about but they have forgiven me and I love them like crazy.  It is the kind of anger which flares and you are referred to as being hot tempered. It is not always nice but it is needed sometimes. And it is crucial you allow yourself feel the emotions that come with you. For truly on an individual level, you are a baggage. Now don’t flip and take that in the negative sense. All I am saying is, you have your own load to carry and what do we use to carry load? Bags? You are the real deal!

So, Ms Scott’s piece really hit home for me. In being yourself, don’t suffocate others or yourself, and you must learn that you cannot always have things your way. Stop being so manipulative about it too. And so, you must get to the place where you are hopelessly, absolutely, positively in love with yourself to accept that you are what you are and people either take you or leave you.

It is on that journey that you learn to accept your flaws and decide on what it is that you want from life. You may not be the greatest author but you could be the greatest mother. You may not be the greatest looking man or woman, but you could be the greatest lover to a man or a woman who knows, what they have in you cannot be bought, duplicated or found elsewhere. That’s why you can have a man or a woman, who is fine like hell, yet his or her character stinks like dog sh*t and because you settled on their physique, you have to live with the sh*t they throw at you.

So, I am off to continue learning how to be myself and staying true to who I am.

I hope you too will learn and get to the place where you are yourself and comfortable in your own skin. And of course, we learn to respect each other and our differences.



Belinda: Ayo Adesanya

Jill Scott: Google

Essence Cover: Essence magazine website


11 Responses to “Accepting Me, Respecting You”

  1. Ogochukwu says:

    Wake up call.

    I’ve personally had to learn that I was not made to try to be someone else but to be the best me there is….to quit trying to act like this or smile like that or speak like this…and be me. Afterall, thats who i am – ME.

  2. Belinda Otas says:

    Abi o! 🙂

  3. Darrell Stiverson says:

    Thanks for the post it educated me haha.

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