Young, Female: “I’m one in six billion!”

by Abisola Johnson

It’s another Monday morning. I’ve snoozed my alarm eight times and I’ve decided…I’m calling in sick!

I don’t have malaria, a sprained ankle or period pains, but I’m mentally and emotionally fagged out so I can pass for sick…I’m not a liar.

I tossed and turned all night. It started with a nightmare that woke me up at 12.45am. I don’t remember the events but I remember seeing my secondary school mathematics teacher, then I was on a farm and there were giant yams and pineapples. I woke up thirsty, and after a glass of water I couldn’t get any more sleep.

As I laid awake, I thought about the million deliverables I had due at the office, the million and one phone calls I needed to make before the end of the day and the million and two meetings I had to attend. After thinking it all through, I asked myself the simplest yet hardest question – “Who am I?”

For someone that narrates an epistle of identity every morning, it seemed like the last question to keep me awake, but it didn’t only keep me awake, it got me scared. Do I know who I am? Is being Abisola Johnson, busy project manager, investment banker’s girlfriend, third child of divorced parents, church worker, jazz music lover all there is to me? It couldn’t be!

I’ve been running a race for twenty-eight years, and it seems as though as soon as I reach out to collect the medal, it moves farther and then I start the race all over again.

You grow through infancy, then school starts, you work hard to pass the Common Entrance (is it still called that?), then you get into secondary school where your ultimate character is built, you deal with complexes (inferiority or superiority), you build your self-esteem, your body starts to change and you start getting attracted to the opposite sex.

Then you get into the university (JAMB determines how matured in age you are when you get in), maybe you know what you want to study – maybe you don’t. Maybe, like most, you know, but the faculty is so full that you settle for what you get. When you’re done with that exciting part of life (which I loved most so far), you have to get a job (even if it’s a bank job… hahaha), start to earn money and then all eyes are on the fourth finger of your left hand. That’s still where I am, so I’ll stop here.

Not only does society give you these mandatory stages, it gives you deadlines too, and the progress and success of your life as an individual is based on these factors. Somewhere between all the activities, you start to judge yourself based on the things you’ve achieved, those you haven’t, what you want to achieve, what people around you have achieved, what they haven’t, achievements, achievements, achievements and mind you, not intellectual achievements, emotional achievements or spiritual achievements (society has no business with those)!

I want a bigger life, I want to end a day knowing I did something that only I could have done. I don’t want to be one of the six billion people in the world, there should be 5,999,999,999 and me.

God would have created six billion more rats if he wanted the world to be a rat race, but He made me in His image and likeness, a spirit being sent to the earth to fulfill a purpose with dominion and fruitfulness. I see people who have broken out of norm and have done great things with their lives – the world applauds them because they’ve done the extra-ordinary. I want to be like them.

So this morning I’m breaking free. I’m liberating myself, I’m finding harmony within myself, I’m discovering who I am. It’s not a day’s work, not after 28 years of falling in line. Tomorrow morning I’ll be at my desk with my fancy laptop, but I’m going through a process, and with God helping me, I’ll be one – not one of six billion.

I’m still Abisola Johnson…

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