"The most precious thing I have now is the most precious thing I had then – my own curiosity. That is the thing I knew, even in the classroom, they could not take from me. That is the thing that buoyed me and eventually plucked me from the sea.” – Ta-Nehisi Coates
For the first time in my life, I feel fine. I have a list of unaccomplished goals, endless tasks, and milestones to go, but I feel that I’m on track.
I grew up in Lagos in the 90’s. Throughout my childhood, I remember being described as shy by everyone - my family, friends, visitors, everyone called me shy. In addition to being introverted and less outspoken than my peers, I never did well in most of my primary or secondary school classes. Semester after semester, I would come home with a report card flooded in bright red Fs. The comments were repetitive, “Valerie needs improvement,” “Valerie needs to concentrate in class,” “Valerie should channel the energy she uses on the playground into her class work.” Every year, I’d promise my family I’d improve in school, and they’d express grave concern for my future. The summer would come and go, and we would do the same dance in the new school year. I could see the worry in everyone’s face all the time. It wasn’t until a little later in life that I realized I had internalized that failure. Failure was like a cloud over me as I moved through life. I felt voiceless and that my fate had been defined.
The person I am today is almost unrecognizable to those who’ve known me all my life. I’ve become outspoken and determined. Don’t get me wrong, I still fail, but something changed along the way. There have been particular people and moments in my life that were pivotal.
In my last year high school, I developed a close friendship with a girl named Enitan. She was one of the brightest students in our graduating class. She most likely does not recall her impact on me, but I remember it like it was yesterday. She did something that no one had ever done before, she made me believe that I had the power to change the course of my life. She said that if I wanted to, I could make the change, I could get better grades, I could make family proud. It sounded simple enough. I was 14 years old. Everyone else felt sorry for me, coddled me, or resented me for failing all the time, so much so, that I believed my failure was inevitable, unchangeable. Enitan refused to do that. She tutored me in subjects I struggled with, and made me take my classes as seriously as other extracurricular activities. She made me believe in myself and helped me channel that energy into practical steps towards improvement.
I graduated high school on time to everyone’s surprise. I wouldn’t reconnect with Enitan until a couple of years ago over the internet, and I have not seen her in person for 14 years, but her impact lives on. There have been a few people over the course of my life who I consider guardians placed here on earth just for me, and Enitan is one of them.
My blog is my voice. It is my outlet to the world after years of feeling that my thoughts and ideas didn’t matter. It is now unimaginable to think that at some point, I believed that I could not change anything about myself or the world. ON A CURVE has evolved over the past couple of years. It was called “Fashion On A Curve” when I started in 2014. I love fashion, but it didn’t quite encompass everything I wanted to say. I wanted this blog to be a place where I could have conversations about my beliefs and hear other’s perspectives. It is now truly an expression of my curiosity and my thoughts.
So, if you can relate to any part of this story, I think you should consider starting a blog. We may be in the same place or at different stages of our journey, but there’s so much you can learn about yourself in this process. It doesn’t have to look like mine or be public, the only requirement is that you share what you believe and recognize the power of your voice.