To give a little background story, the first part of this topic was suggested to me by a very dear friend when I first started blogging. And even though there were numerous angles & instances that I could have written something from, it just didn’t feel right at that moment. I thought, how do you faith it?
A part of me felt my whole being was not totally convinced that my story would be compelling enough to pass the message I’d like.
It’s been over 9 months and I recently just took a step that ignited the need for this conversation.
Stay with me!
First things first, you do not owe anybody anything based on their expectation of you. Their expectation is more of a reflection of themselves than of you and that’s why you need to stay focused and be dedicated.
As much as the above is easily said, it is even much more difficult when it comes down to executing. It’s much more difficult when there are people you care about looking up to you, as you’d always want to come through for them.
While it’s very alright to come through for them, do not do it at the expense of your happiness, values and inner peace. It should be duly noted that these people are proud of you because they believe in your ability and not your ability to live by their standards.
So, do it for yourself, and then for them and for the culture.
A little shout out to my kid sis Hanan; as I write this, she brings me a plate of good morning oats to keep me pumped.
To the crux;
I’ve heard the phrase “fake it till you make it” and on all counts I’ve been unable to understand how to fake a whole life; how to be a character when you’re not staring in a movie.
It is bad enough the we fake smiles and laughs, pretend to be happy and hide other parts of ourselves because we want to fit in or have our real selves hidden.
On the other hand, I propose that you “faith it till you make it”.
To the Nigerians reading this, we claim or maybe actually do love God a lot but why do we lose faith so easily or barely have enough to take us through our trying times? I don’t have the answer too.
The logic of faith it isn’t the direct one that screams “God” but that which whispers believe, self confidence, perseverance, patience and honesty in living out the process of achieving your dreams.
These act on a high ground gives a positive act to the process of doing whatever it is that you set out to do.
Let’s pick out three of these attributes and relate it to dealing with expectations of being a Muslim woman. ( insert yourself in place of a Muslim woman if you aren’t one.)
• Believe: Believe will have you go from I can’t do this to “it can’t be that bad, I’ll give it a trial and see what comes out of it.
This perspective in my opinion is a type that gets things done for you and leaves you feeling refreshed and also helps boost the trust you have in yourself i.e increases your self confidence.
As an average Nigerian muslim, I was at an audition for the position of a TV presenter as has always been my dream and in a hall filled with over 200 people, I was the only hijabi ( covered muslim woman).
I had a tightening in my chest as I walked into the hall not seeing any single person that identifies like I do.
I got some weird looks which I interpreted to be “what are you doing here”. Ignoring those stares, I made my way to a sit in the crowd and admist this 200 people, I got attention that I didn’t ask for and would never have wanted.
Not to be two faced, I legit felt like standing up to leave at some point as I had feelings that maybe , just maybe I didn’t belong here but then I thought about it deeper.
People saw me walk in and a lot are curious about what I’ve got to offer. I had earlier caught whispers of a few people saying ” She be soji Alhaja and “shey Alhaja go sabi pidgin ike this” so i stayed. It was a presentation to be held in pidgin english.
I’d rather not bore you with my experience but believe made me stay even when I suddenly started feeling a little cold as it was almost my turn to present. Believe took me through this phase and I’m glad I let it. Let yourself believe.
No one said a word about expecting anything from me but as I looked at people’s faces, I knew I had to answer the questions in their eyes.
Expectations come in different forms; pick those that concern you and align with your goal then smash them. For the rest, let people keep expecting.
Sometimes, expectations might help you grow but don’t make it your sole driving cause as you might turn to a people pleaser and would never be content with what you do for yourself.
• Self confidence: Take a little time to look in the mirror or any reflective object close enough to peek yourself and ring into your ears that self confidence can’t be bought, rather, it develops over time with conscious effort and deliberate actions towards being confident.
In achieving anything at all, no one owes you confidence, trust or being proud of you. You alone owe these things to yourself and the moment you give these things to yourself, what everybody else puts on the table is a bonus as it cannot make or mar you.
Other muslim women have discussed with me on how they’ve been in spaces with people they have never even met before having an opinion about them and how much knowledge they have based on their head scarf.
Phrases like “oh you’re a different hijabi ” soji Alhaja” modernised muslim” don’t cease to part from their lips as you smack away their preconceived substandard notion of you. However, don’t take these phrases as compliments, they aren’t.
Such people need to be asked how many Muslim women they have met that makes them a label authority to think the intelligent Muslim they come across is an exception?
Without self confidence, a lot of Muslim women and people in general would be out of good places and won’t sustain their success which would wear of as low self esteem and fear kicks in.
Self confidence is like a wave of wind that keeps you spiced up and nourishes your craft and abilities with full force.
Having self confidence is having faith in yourself.
• Perseverance: If you’re a loyal follower of my blog, then you know I’m most likely one of those who needs perseverance lectures on a daily. Constant reminders however is very helpful for growth.
My consistency doesn’t flow like a river; rather, it is similar to the constant tick from a clock that sometimes stops working mid day till you give a Nigerian smack that resets it’s buttons.
However, on few projects that I’ve been consistent and with other people’s experiences; I say with confidence that consistency is a driving energy that not only makes your effort noticed and your pain and struggle worth it but also helps you grow and understand yourself and craft better.
Consistency is what other people who look forward to working with you need to be sure you pocess. Consistency as I’d like to call it is adulting and taking responsibility.
There’s no how you would be successful if you don’t display a certain level of consistency or else, your success might be short lived, which is also fine if that’s what you wish for.
Some people just want to shine once in a while and return to their shell. It’s okay.
A couple of years back, my Insta page could pass for everything abstract and I loved it. I expressed my love for life, God, good things, and appreciation through photography and on that journey, I met a lot of travellers and villagers with whom I now have a little community.
However, a change in interest came and I cleared these old memories to create an entirely new reality for myself. (Never get rid of the process)
A few weeks back, I had posted a photo on my Instagram and someone asked if I had taken the picture myself after commenting on how lovely it was. While I appreciated her and said thank you, I felt a pang of guilt and pain as to the question she asked.
I thought of how much I’ve derailed from what I so much love doing and was averagelygood at. I felt like I had lost a part of me.
My page was solely a photography page and daily, I documented life as I lived it. It hurt me but futher proved how inconsistency perhaps drove me to starting something entirely different but the biggest mistake now was “getting rid of the memories.
As consistent as you may be, it is very necessary to document your growth to be successful. It shows how you have grown overtime and that helps strengthen your craft. At least it won’t leave you feeling guilty like me.
To sign off, all it takes for you to make it is faith whatever you do with the necessary requirements for the path you’ve chosen.
I really hope this concise post settles with a part of you.
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Thanks for coming back again and hello if it’s your first time here. Knock yourself out with my previous posts.
Black top and hijab: wardrobe staple
Skirt: House_of_anaum on IG
Bag: Adeiye on IG
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