Why It Was So Hard For Me To Answer The Question ‘Who Am I?’



By Olutosin Adebowale 

This is a simple question but when I was confronted with this examination in an ongoing training event, and I realize it was not that easy to come up with a ready made answer. The training is a week programme on Leadership Development for transformation. According to the facilitator, no radical change can occur in any organization except there is a change and the change begins with an individual. We were to have about two hour retrospection before writing, enter into the sacred forest, look for a giant tree, spread your blanket, begin to scribble and do not discuss with anyone. I promised to write at least two typed pages about myself.

I smiled again and again as I remembered how I used to write composition about myself in Government Primary School in those days, immediately, I packed few things and walked across to select a favorite spot beside the table mountain. Suddenly, after a few minutes retrospection, I began to weep. I remembered the facilitator’s last question; when last, did you appreciate your inner being for supporting you this far? I thought this was why she wanted us to think deeply before writing anything. I have written so well about others, criticize some constructively and also few chastisement to not to some officials who have not been performing brilliantly well but not in the last years have I sat down to write about myself.

This is not deliberate, I have been caught up with life’s “I gotta got to the top”, like the ants story I heard about in Bangalore. It is now time to write about myself, but after writing six lines and that was all. Though, I did the best thing, at that moment, I allowed the teas to flow freely and I placed my hands on my head and apologized to the inner me, (the blind spot from which I operate) for neglecting her for so long a time. It is not my fault, I argued, it life’s hustle and bustle; before I arrived from work exhausted,  look for food for all and put those ones to bed,  pacify that one too, too worn out to think about any inner being, who has supported with inner strength to make the journey worthwhile.

The main issue now is how to write about myself, is it writer’s block or what, I walked further into the forest to discuss with other participants, the instruction was not to discuss, but amazingly, I met everyone eating the tips of their pen, no one was engrossed in writing.

Consequently, we converged after two hours, there was no one who had so much to write and then the lesson began. We forget so much about ourselves when we become adults, except there are few people who are privileged always in the spotlight, and are frequently interviewed by journalists. We just have to learn how to read our own reality and write our own history according to Paulo Freire.

When was the last time have we stopped to tap ourselves on the back, placed our hands on our head without the Pastor’s instruction and say, well done myself? It is not pride; to be modest, the inner being has helped this far, it has remain calm in the face of adversity and rage, it has pacified us, spoke to us during those hard times.

Wait a few moments,  just to pick a personal journal for a new life’s journey, it will be used to write the good things you did successfully, thank yourself for cooperating with you daily, it is living in our future; which can only be achieved if we are able to notice what we pay attention to, because what we pay attention to, is what happens, therefore, we must learn to select the type of news we want to hear, the type of information we want to gather, because our intention and attention creates our situation. This is a way of learning form our future.

While I am thinking about what to write about myself, kindly write some paragraphs below about yourself; appreciate yourself and those good works you have done.



Olutosin Adebowale founded the Star of Hope Transformation Centre after her training as one of the Voices of our Future Correspondents with World Pulse in 2009. She is a tireless advocate, with a focus on the prevention, response and treatment of child sexual abuse, gender based violence, and empowerment skills for women and children.The Centre operates both online and offline resources for those it serves.

She has a Masters in English Language (2001), and Diploma in Computer Studies from the University of Lagos, and is the mother of two daughters.

Find her on Twitter @olutosin

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