Nubian Narratives: Personal Growth feat. Miss Temilola
At the beginning of my journey here in Asia, I made an internet buddy who was also Nigerian, teaching overseas (in Thailand), and a blogger! Her name is Temi, and she is a beautiful soul with an interesting story.
Knowing her journey abroad was similar to mine, I recently reached out to Temi to discuss her perspective on personal growth - something that has inevitably become a result of our overseas experiences. I'm delighted to share a bit of her story with you and debut this new section to my blog called Nubian Narratives. Here, I'll be highlighting the stories of everyday black queens and kings, claiming their narratives and showcasing their holistic beauty.
Below, Temi details her personal growth journey: realizations, actionable steps, and the ramifications of her self-development. I hope it's as relatable and inspiring to you as it was to me.
Could you please introduce yourself to our lovely readers?
Temi: Hiii everyone! I’m a proud Nigerian woman who decided to defer my corporate job and live in a part of the world I’ve never been to before for one year. I’m currently doing that as an elementary school English teacher in Thailand. When I’m not dancing in a classroom or hopping on a flight, you’ll probably find me reading, looking up new recipes to test, or binge-watching.
Let's jump right into the questions, shall we? Was there a moment or experience that made you feel you needed to invest more in working on yourself?
Temi: One day, I got a text from a friend that I hadn’t spoken to in awhile, and I ignored it on purpose. Throughout the day, I kept thinking about why I was hesitant to talk to them… they hadn’t done anything to me. The truth was, whenever we talked, it felt like all they talked about was how great everything was going in their life, and as cringeworthy as it sounds, I really didn’t feel like listening to it. Yeah… not my proudest friend moment. Reflecting on why I would feel something so negative, I finally admitted to myself that I was unhappy. I was unhappy because in Thailand, I was hyper-aware of my insecurities in a way I hadn’t been in college, and they were beginning to make me anxious and unconfident. After work that day, I took a long walk in a daze, thinking about what I felt and why. It was the first time I’d really confronted it, and it was a huge turning point for me.
What exactly did you do to work on yourself? How did you turn your reflections and realizations into actions?
Temi: First, I started by having conversations with myself in my head. It involved asking myself questions and being fully honest with the answers. I would think about what I was feeling and keep asking “why?” until I got to where I believed the source of my feelings were coming from. I journaled all of this down. By writing it, it felt like I was finally acknowledging that these feelings were real. Sometimes you don’t want to admit that they exist, and for me, once I did I was able to start focusing on how I could address them. I began to write down self-affirmations, listing things I love about myself, writing some of my favorites on post-it notes and putting them around my room. I’ll admit I don’t look at these post-its often but the activity in itself helped. Whenever I find myself sinking into my anxieties and insecurities, it helps me to talk through them out loud with a friend or to myself. It helps me to remind myself that these feelings aren’t the sole definition of me and don’t have to be my reality.
What was the hardest thing to change or come to terms with about yourself throughout this period?
Temi: The hardest part has been the periodic relapses back into negative feelings and energy. It’s funny. I assumed it was just a hump I had to get over and would never look back on. But from time to time I slip into those old feelings again. It’s a frustrating yet unavoidable situation. The main lesson I got from it is that I have to constantly be aware of what triggers me and how my insecurities manifest in my thoughts and actions.
After putting in the work to change, what breakthroughs or improvements have you noticed in your way of life?
Temi: I’m someone who’s naturally non-confrontational and will keep things that hurt or bother me to myself for the longest. I sometimes tolerate way more than I feel like I should. My process has helped me unapologetically maintain a higher standard for the people I have in my life - whether it be a friend or a significant other. I’m trying to put more value on my time and my energy. There’s a certain way I expect to be treated, and if I don’t like something I try and address it earlier. I’ve realized that good friends and good partners respond to this positively.
I’m also in the process of taking more control of my life: using my free time the way I want to instead of how I feel pressured to, trying new things I previously didn’t think I could do, distracting myself to let go of unnecessary worries. I am happier and more confident, but I know I still have a long way to go to achieve the energy I know I can have.
Thanks, Temi, for sharing your narrative and letting the world know a little more about you!
I leave you, fabulous readers, with these questions: In what areas have you recently shown growth? In what areas do you think you need to change? What can you do to get there?
Interested in being featured in Nubian Narratives? Contact me here.