I was born and raised in Nigeria (I’m purely Nigerian), I come from a family of six with three female siblings (one of whom is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder). I don’t remember much from my childhood but my mum was a major female influence while growing up. My dad used to travel frequently for work reasons, my mum was the main adult figure and she was a symbol of strength and independence. I absolutely appreciated the fact that she worked as a teacher but was very business-oriented and ran her own side business.
Here in Nigeria, it’s rather normal to see women working and making something of their lives because the nation as a whole, is on the edge and everyone has to have an income stream (or even multiple). My dad is the main male figure I grew up with and he believed in building yourself and making the most out of your potential. He’s undeterred by the fact that he has four girls as children and he tried his best to ensure we understood that Islam viewed us as priceless beings and to never let anyone make us feel any less. We were brought up with Islam and I think it was great that we grew up learning and understanding the religion.
Funny story, “I grew up too soon”. I actually left for university at the age of 15.
Funny story, “I grew up too soon”. I actually left for university at the age of 15. It was my first time in a completely different environment but fortunately, I had secondary school (high school) friends in the same university. I joined more social media platforms and after the “”bullying” incident, I came more motivated to find people like me. My elder sister was a really great help and one of the female influences I had. She helped me navigate through school especially on depressive moments. I was inspired to start a blog by several people and situations. A lot of people misunderstood me, I was a very guarded person and the blog seemed like a perfect medium to air out my views. I also remember being inspired by Hadrat (@officialhaddiee) and I think Hafsah (@hafymo). They were Nigerian muslim women crafting an online presence for themselves and I liked that. However, I drew more motivation and inspiration from the likes of @summeralbarcha, @withloveleena, then @dinatokio, @sebinaah and a whole host of others. They were doing what they loved, inspiring Muslim women to be themselves and I wanted to be a voice too.
My female friends saw through all the exterior façade and encouraged me to be better. They were very supportive and pushed me to explore who I really am. My sisters are a constant source of inspiration.
I don’t have a lot of them but the women in my life definitely helped bring out my true self. My female friends saw through all the exterior façade and encouraged me to be better. They were very supportive and pushed me to explore who I really am. My sisters are a constant source of inspiration, Aisha (@thatothernigeriangirl) is a great listener, calls you out on your shit and truly has your best interest at heart. My autistic sister (Hamdalah) inspired me to learn more about the religion, in fact she inspired my entire family to be better and she brought us closer to one another. I’m quite thankful for trying to establish an online presence because I met a beautiful soul, Aisha and she’s a very sweet and loving human. She’s so optimistic and strives to always be a better person. All these women inspire me to be better every single day.
I’ll never understand the ideology of not wanting good for other women. The world is already against us, deeply rooted in patriarchy and desperately struggling to bring us down. It makes no sense to turn against one another and I personally feel women should support themselves more. Life is not a competition, you’ll get whatever you’re destined for but we’ll all be better off supporting and being true to one another. This lesson should begin with friends, always have each other’s backs, tell each other honest truths and motivate one another. The world will be easier to conquer if all women had similar beliefs and stopped seeing one another as competition to bring down.
We should all learn to understand that we make our own stories, if we truly accepted one another and stopped with the ridiculousness, we could achieve so many great things TOGETHER. We don’t have to completely share the same beliefs but the main narrative of wanting to be better for one another is a goal we should all have.
Everyone is still trying to figure out their lives, the important thing to note is to KEEP TRYING.
Overall, I learned a lot through my experiences that I hope other women can relate to. I’m blessed to have such strong female role models in my life because they guided me to the person I am today and hope, you the reader, know you are strong enough to do whatever you believe. I like to think I must have had a strong will to survive in a university at that age. I had a lot of crazy moments, moments when you wonder why you had to grow up and deal with life all too soon. But I experienced it and I’m stronger for it. I have so many fears but despite that, I know I can be better and you can too. Low moments in your life shouldn’t define who you are, you’re so much more. It’s okay to not have your whole life figured out- that’s kind of the point of living. You make plans, plans might/might not change, so don’t pressure yourself so hard that you break. Everyone is still trying to figure out their lives, the important thing to note is to KEEP TRYING. Keep making the efforts, don’t lose hope, and find that group of people who give you guidance. Everything else is up to Allah!