You start to write this post and your fingers hesitate over the keyboard. One part of your brain wonders when you bought a franchise for Oprah’s Life Class. You wonder about sounding like a preacher, roll your eyes like a teacher, and resume typing with a sigh. Authenticity on a personal blog is sometimes writing what matters to you with your style and in your voice.
The first time you realised you had a distinct writing voice was when you rewrote the foreword of a friend’s manuscript because she asked you to. You’d found it stuffy like a chemistry class about atoms without pictures. You thought that an inspirational book should make readers feel as though they were drinking coffee with the author and talking about life. You transcribed this photo, infecting your words with warmth that spreads from intimate conversation.
Your approach couldn’t have been more wrong for your friend read it, shook her head, and demanded, “Why didn’t you write like you write at work? That’s why I came to you in the first place!”
You stammered, “But that is my job. This is my heart.”
To write from your heart, you must first know your heart. What made your heart go va-va-voom at eighteen is not the same thing that makes your heart race at forty. The heart is always circulating blood throughout the body. You are a constant work in progress. Neutrality is for the dead, the ideas you encounter daily, shift you one way or the other. Oxygen-depleted blood enters the right side of the heart and exits through the left full of oxygen. Yet, the heart sits fixed in the chest cavity between your two lungs. Who you are at your core and the ideas which circulate in your mind will seep from your pen, whether black, blue, red, or green.
To become you, you must find you. Remember when you isolated your baby’s cry in a room full of crying infants or picked out a friend’s laughter in a noisy coffee bar? This is the magic of bonding, of spending hours with someone you love, you! You hear your cry and understand your pain. Healthy self-preoccupation may mean that you are the last to hear office gossip because your internal dialogue is louder and juicier. You are an active participant in the internal narrative of your life, listening, taking notes, sharing feedback, and steering the conversation.
Experimenting within boundaries may cushion failure on the way to discovery. I wrote poetry and gave drama a stint, before I settled on prose. Second chances are about reinventing yourself. You can gift yourself one anytime. If self-acceptance comes before change perhaps change has a better chance of stamping itself on you because your need is raw like desire.
It takes courage to be yourself for when you finally meet yourself, you may not like who you are. When children unwrap gifts at Christmas, they look past their gift to ask others, “What did you get?” The value of the gift received grows or diminishes in comparison to what others received or how others perceive what they received. You also play this game. It is hard not to compare, after all, there is no tall without short. But you can learn to “uncompare,” that is, measure your good against your better, and aim for the best.
The high price of being you is the risk of being misunderstood or rejected. But even in that, there is value to be harnessed. The world isn’t tolerant of plastic bottles that don’t fit in the general assembly plant. Did you know it costs time and effort to create special assembly plants? You put in the time. You put in the effort. Give yourself the gift of you before you offer the world the gift of you. Then, whatever happens, the ground upon which you place your feet will hold you up.
©Timi Yeseibo 2014
Image credit: stick figures from Microsoft
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62 thoughts on “Finding and Becoming You”
Nice one Timi…..This got me thinking….I realized who you are changes as you go along your life journey….whom you thought you are at 25-32 years is different from who you see yourself as at 40 or over…So i see am rediscovering myself as various points in my life….and my life purpose seem to take new and different dimensions at each turn….
I really found this piece inspiring..Thanks for sharing
LikeLiked by 1 person
I agree, we keep discovering ourselves, finding new expressions for our life’s purpose.
You are welcome. Thank you for making me re-read a post I wrote in 2014. After all this time, I still found inspiration.
I so enjoy every visit. “You thought that an inspirational book should make readers feel as though they were drinking coffee with the author and talking about life.” =)
A reader left me a quote last year: Just be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.
People don’t realize the Joneses also look out at greener grass. (I don’t know if you replace them with a different surname where you are, in “keeping up with the Joneses.”)
Love that last graphic.
“People don’t realize the Joneses also look out at greener grass.” And maybe the ‘greener’ grass they’re looking at is ours! Oh my! I am learning to accept and value myself and make choices that reflect this. That quote the reader left is genius.
Lol@ inspirational book. She wanted a ‘serious’ book 🙂 I seem to weave humour, personal experiences, and descriptive sentences into my writing.
That last graphic has a realistic ring doesn’t it? Things aren’t usually as simple as, I came, I saw, I conquered. Thanks Diana!
btw, we use the Joneses expression here as well.
“I seem to weave humour, personal experiences, and descriptive sentences into my writing.” Would have it no other way.
The Joneses have a house abroad, I see. Learned something new.
Lol, they do! 😀
Wow…just brilliant! You are so talented…in each of your post I find myself dealing with different emotions and sensations. You are wise and so inspiring, thanks a lot for sharing! 🙂
Such kind words, I’m humbled! I’m really glad you’re here. When my writing evokes emotions and sensations, I feel as though my work is done 🙂
Hmmm. The last image is very apt and spot on.
“The high price of being you is the risk of being misunderstood or rejected.”
Nothing could be truer. The inherent risk is what scares most.
True. I read somewhere that rejection is a staple in the human experience. I guess we should brace ourselves for it and get on with becoming who we are?
Thanks Tony for being here.
Hmmm. Indeed! Life. I guess all we can do is prepare and brace for the impact, whether our preparation is adequate or not is irrelevant. We would still get on with becoming…who we are.
It is truly hard to write posts, showing yourself and not wishing to sound pedantic or otherwise, ‘preachy.’ I liked how you mentioned, Oprah. I admire her, but no, I cannot be like her. I find ‘relationships’ to be my driving force. If the article will help, change, shed light on an area of life for someone out there, then I write about it! Sometimes, nostalgia and memories are driving forces. This post, Timi, gave us some good thoughts and ways to evaluate, accept and improve both our writing and our lives! I am definitely not a ‘cookie cutter’ member of society! Smiles, Robin
“If the article will help, change, shed light on an area of life for someone out there, then I write about it!” This takes boldness.
Yes, Robin, you are definitely not a ‘cookie cutter’ member of society! 🙂
This post is for keeps; it speaks to the heart. It’s in line with “No one has the right to tell you that you are a failure until you see yourself as one.” Self discovery is important. Only when we meet ourselves can we realize our full potential–at least, that’s the way I see it.
“Only when we meet ourselves can we realize our full potential–at least, that’s the way I see it.” This makes sense to me Uzoma. Thanks for sharing.
“It takes courage to be yourself for when you finally meet yourself, you may not like who you are”
This line right here, spoke to me 🙂
I’m glad it did Ochuko. I finally got tired of wishing I was like someone I admired. I decided to be me- play to my strengths; understand my weaknesses & how to manage them 🙂
I just found your blog and love it. Perfect timing. I am just starting the process of finding out who I am after many years in a difficult relationship. I think your words will be an inspiration for me as I take baby steps forward. Thank you for share yourself.
Hi Mary, I’m honoured to meet you. This is the best part of blogging to me- when my story intersects with another person’s story 🙂
I’m toasting to your baby steps . . .
Sometime it takes so long for one to discover who they really are. It can be a painful process as well. I find that I’m most at peace and confident when I let go of the control of my own life. It seems that when I try to make things happen on my own, it’s a struggle. Yet when God opens the way, and pride isn’t in the way, it’s smooth sailing. I also find that, when I allow myself to be defined by the temporal or material world, insecurities and pride get the best of me.
Great post Timi.
“Sometime it takes so long for one to discover who they really are. It can be a painful process as well.”
This resonates. I fell many times along the way to where I am now. Although some missed opportunities are like Halley’s comet, there’s no statute of limitations on second chances 🙂
Thanks Stacy. I like the lessons you’ve learnt on your journey.
Indeed, I am work in progress. 🙂
When I get out of my head for a moment, I am able to hear the voice of my heart. And that is always the most beautiful melody I have ever heard.
This line spoke to me: But you can learn to “uncompare,” that is, measure your good against your better, and aim for the best.
Thank you Timi for this. Your self-discovery pieces are amazing. 🙂
“When I get out of my head for a moment, I am able to hear the voice of my heart. And that is always the most beautiful melody I have ever heard.”
How do you get out of your head? 🙂
Thank you Jazilah for your kind words.
Nice piece Timi. Loving yourself is one way to be confident in a world that easily provides us with options of who we can be as against we were meant to be… I share your thoughts that if you don’t know who you are, you cant know the where-to of your life. Self-discovery is key to purpose-discovery. Thanks Timi!
Self-discovery is key to purpose-discovery.
When I attended school, we were taught many things. Self-discovery was not one of them. I wish it was. I don’t know what school is like these days . . .
True. I think we really need teachers who will not just be interested in Biology and all, but who will look out for the beauty of God in each student…
i have long learnt to accept myself the way iam.though,notperfect,buti choose to be my self.
reblogged this onwww.mumumugu.wordpress.com
Good for you. I think it is liberating. I’m on the journey, and I’m getting better everyday.
Btw, did the reblog work?
I like your analogy to Christmas gifts. It’s very important that we don’t try to compare ourselves with the rest of the world, that might make us think we are not good enough. Each of us is wonderfully and fearfully made, endowed with a peculiar gift.
I have also reblogged it on my blog: http://storieswithoutborder.wordpress.com/
“Each of us is wonderfully and fearfully made, endowed with a peculiar gift.” Well said. We should spend time discovering and developing our own gift.
Thanks for the reblog 🙂
It’s my pleasure.
Reblogged this on Stories without Border.
“The high price of being you is the risk of being misunderstood or rejected.” That line hurts…but it’s a soothing type of pain. At the end of the day we’re all in the process of discovering our true selves, unwrapping layers and layers of falsehood and mismatched IDs brought on by life.
One thing I’ve come to learn is that some people will dislike you because you are…you. No excuses, no explanations, you’re just not loved…because you don’t fit into their description of what you should be. This discovery hurts, and I who thought I’d go back into my childhood days when I thought everyone meant well for me, am forced to embrace this reality by steeling my heart.
As I read this piece I heard my mom’s voice saying, “Maggie, the world is full of good and bad people. Don’t be naive.” And I, after reading this have one thing to add: “Bad belle people plenty well well!”
@ a soothing pain, you know, I like to think that there are certain things no one is exempt from like rejection and disappointment for example. We should have a game plan for dealing with these inevitable things.
Lol @“Bad belle people plenty well well!” True.
I’ve been rolling over what Curt said in my mind:
“I don’t expect rejection. I expect people to accept me for who I am and who I may be growing into. And 99 times out of 100, they do. But, and this is important, I am then obligated to accept them for who they are.”
What it means for me is that yes, there are bad belle people out there, but I’m going to have a positive outlook and expect that I’ll be accepted. If not, then it’s their loss 🙂
Touché! Brilliantly done, Timi! 😀
The journey is getting easier. Thank you for flying with me 🙂
I smiled at the image that contained this: “It took me years to love myself, I don’t have that kind of time to convince you”.
🙂 It’s nice to finally meet me!
An Early Birthday Present for you, Timi:
Today you are you!
That is truer than true!
There is no one alive
who is you-er than you!
Shout loud . . . “I am lucky
to be what I am!
Thank goodness I’m not
just a clam or a ham
Or a dusty old jar of sour
I am what I am!
That’s a great thing to be!
If I say so myself,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!”
~ Dr. Seuss
Nancy, I love the present! I’m certainly not going to look over my shoulder to see what someone else received. 🙂
You have no idea how I felt posting something similar to this, only to come here and find that you already posted this.
Thank you, Timi 🙂
Is it telepathy or what? I like it when I find myself in good company. It feels good to travel with you, Uju.
I’m pretty sure I know who I am now (it only took 49 years!) I find increasingly that I don’t need approval or care about other peoples opinions of me – direct family excepted of course, they matter very much indeed. Is that self assuredness, conceit & arrogance or just plain old stupidity.
I only started writing/blogging last year, it was a tough year that brought many challenges and ended up being cathartic in many ways. Writing was part of a healing process at the time, but has become something else as time has moved on.
I still do it for me and am flattered and honoured when other people take the time and trouble to read what I have written.
Lol@ it only took 49 years! My birthday is around the corner and today a friend asked how I felt about getting older. Reflecting on the question, I realized that I’ve never felt more confident and at peace with myself. I have a sense of what I want and what I don’t. Age can be a plus in knowing who we are, if we harness it well.
You too? Writing is cathartic for me as well. But it is also a platform for much more. Your writing is engaging and has clean lines. More and more people are bound to drop by.
When ones caring what others think and stops acting like someone else, the kind of people you don’t like fall away, and the kind of people you do like find you.
Now, that’s a strong motivation to be me.
You know this post was inspired in part by our comments about writing what’s on your heart or writing what’s popular, on last week’s post. When I started typing it morphed from a post about writing, into one that embraces other aspects of life 🙂
To buttress what you said, following my heart on this blog, has connected me with people who appreciate what I do. This is not to say I can’t write what is popular, I’ll probably do it my way, just as you write your entertainment posts your way 🙂
When we stop growing and changing, when we stop challenging ourselves, when we stop trying to make those things we do well even better, we lose an important part of ourselves and what makes us human.
I don’t expect rejection. I expect people to accept me for who I am and who I may be growing into. And 99 times out of 100, they do. But, and this is important, I am then obligated to accept them for who they are.
I don’t want people to try and change who I am, or assume they can. But I do hope they support the dreams I have of who I may become. Again, it’s a two way road. And it is one the people I am closest to follow.
Beautiful blog, Timi. As always your words lead me to think. –Curt
I admire the sense of self-confidence that your words evoke:
“I don’t expect rejection. I expect people to accept me for who I am and who I may be growing into. And 99 times out of 100, they do. But, and this is important, I am then obligated to accept them for who they are.”
This is something I want to aspire to. Thanks for sharing.
My words make you think? I’m moved, my work is done.
Your words are words of wisdom. 🙂
*strokes long white beard and gazes solemnly into the distance* 😀
I can see it now, especially the long white beard. 🙂
This is a very wise piece, thank you for sharing. As Samuel said, there are many quotable portions here, but my favourite is “You measure your good against your better and aim for the best.” Self-evolution follows self-discovery, and perfection should be the aim. I like the fact that after emphasising self-acceptance, you spoke about ‘change’. Mediocrity is born out of extreme and lethargic self-acceptance that leaves no room for self-improvement. “The high price of being you is the risk of
being misunderstood or rejected.” This is so true *sigh, but for me, a bigger danger is self-obsession; it’s easy to love yourself so much and then pass as obnoxious to other people.
And for those of us with multiple personalities (lol), I guess we’ll learn to love our self and shadow-self(ves) 🙂
Dunni, I’m so glad you brought this out: “Mediocrity is born out of extreme and lethargic self-acceptance that leaves no room for self-improvement.” (very quotable, by the way). We certainly don’t want to give the excuse, “That’s just the way I am. Take it or leave it,” when we present shoddy work.
@self-obsession, knowing the pitfall is half the battle won. My issue is that there’s so much going on in my head that I have to remind myself to be present when doing routine or mundane stuff. I’m getting better . . .
@multiple personalities *chuckles & shakes head* Dunni! 😀
Thank you for reading.
Many quotable portions in this beautiful piece, but this one resonates with me:
“Experimenting within boundaries may cushion failure on the way to discovery. I wrote poetry and gave drama a stint, before I settled on prose.”
I have learnt (I am still learning, and continue to reinforce in my mind the things I have learnt) that for some people, the knowledge of you is not one Eureka moment. It is a continuous and ever evolving process. Style, voice, character or whatever we call it, must be faithful to each ones complex and unique tapestry of emotions. And how do we discover the full spectrum of who we are if not by experimenting?
I thought it was songwriting but then I discovered the joy of writing a novel. But, I would get disillusioned and switch to poetry. But after finding (and loving the short story format), I would engage with prose again, while still loving poetry. But would I have known a time would come when the love of poems would compete with something else–microfiction?
Now, I look back and see everything coming together. It was all a journey of discovery: each engagement with a different format, was a small, separate apprenticeship for something richer that will continue to evolve.
Now, after a flash of history, I realise why your articles shine out the poetic beauty of language. 🙂
“And how do we discover the full spectrum of who we are if not by experimenting?” You tried songwriting? Me too!
I couldn’t agree more Samuel, the knowledge of you is not one Eureka moment. Your journey from songwriting to prose to poetry to microfiction resonates. I’m enjoying this your microfiction phase, and thinking of giving it a go. So yes we continue to evolve.
Your summary is powerful- looking back and seeing everything coming together . . .
When people comment that my prose is rhythmic or has a poetic ring to it, I smile and remember my poetry phase.
Experimentation and evolution should tend to specialization at some point. We’ll need to focus our energies in particular areas to produce our best work. I’ve chosen prose. I’m still experimenting within the genres in prose 🙂
Thank you Samuel for being here. I enjoy our long conversations. I’m looking forward to even richer writing from you. I dare say you’ve completed many apprenticeships with honours.
The part I love most about this, is ”loving you” I have to love me, no one understands me than me. No one spends more time with me, than me.
“Give yourself the gift of you before you offer the world the gift of you. Then, whatever happens, the ground upon which you place your feet will hold you up.”
If I could quote the whole post, I would have.
I love this post, it speaks to every inch of me.
Beautiful write up.
I’m glad it resonates Cecile. No one spends more time with me, than me. How true. As a child, I was frequently reprimanded for not greeting people. It wasn’t that I was rude, I was lost in my imagination. I enjoy being with people, but I also enjoy being by myself, maybe even more. A good deal of reflection goes on in my head and that keeps me company. But back to loving me. Did I love myself? My choices would not make the answer a resounding yes. That’s why I like second chances 🙂 Now, I can give myself the gift of me.
@ beautiful write up, thank you.
“It takes courage to be yourself for when you finally meet yourself…”
That just about sums it up. Because we’re afraid of what we may find when we go looking for ourselves, we just try to become whatever other people think is cool. That’s the bad side of the crowd thing. When everyone is afraid that they’d stand out too much and be ostracised if they chose to find their own skin and wear it.
It takes courage; peer/parental/societal pressure is real. I like to think I’m a tough cookie, but I’ve shied away from some things because I couldn’t bear the scrutiny that came with being different. I’m getting there . . .
Well, I do not even tell myself I’m a tough cookie when it comes to some things. I’m still taking near-baby steps with putting the self I found out there. Thanks, Timi. Thanks a whole lot.
Nnedimma, the world can be cold and rejection cruel, so taking baby steps is wise. I like to think that baby steps involve giving yourself the gift of you- loving & affirming yourself right, and connecting with people that validate you. Then you can test the waters, put yourself out there a little . . .
You’re welcome 🙂