“So, tell me about yourself.”
Be honest. How many times have you blanked out when you’re told that? How many times have you been tempted to ask “what exactly do you want to know?”? How many times have you actually asked that?
I think human beings are made up of way too many complexities to be able to answer that question on the spot. “Tell me about yourself” is a simple statement, but it’s not an easy one to respond to. It requires careful thought and perhaps a whole week (about a month, in my case) to be able to answer. So to you, my fellow Nigerian sister, who often gets teased for asking “what do you want to know?” when a man is trying to get to know you, please continue to ask. It’s a valid question.
This post is long overdue. It just happened that every time I set out to write, I really didn’t know who I was, or to put it better, I didn’t know which versions of me to write about. Therefore, this is only an attempt to introduce myself to you after taking some time to compile the sides of me that are worth sharing (I’ll also be sure to send this link to anyone who is trying to get to know me).
I really can’t tell if I’m friendly or approachable. It usually depends on whoever I meet, because chances are that I’m feeding off their energy. I’m an ambivert and I tend to work closely with my environment and the things happening around me. So, while I have no problem staying quiet or putting my earbuds in to avoid interaction, and while I have no problem making small talk, I might flip into one or the other depending on whoever is around me, or whatever the mood is. This is precisely why some people might think I’m quiet, while others might think I’m energetic.
I like to think of myself as a joy to be around, though. I haven’t been feeling a lot like that these days, but generally, I thoroughly enjoy making people laugh. My mind goes back to my secondary school days and how my mates would gather in my room sometimes because they knew being bored would never be a possibility (shoutout to my roommate back then, Tito). I love laughter. I enjoy keeping people entertained. It’s ironic because I don’t think I’m an interesting person. If anything I think I lead quite a “boring” life. My idea of fun is staying in by myself or with friends that I enjoy being around. And sleeping. God really did something there when he created sleep.
I love conversations. I enjoy having conversations with people that give me insight into who they are, or why they think the way they do. I also enjoy having conversations that don’t go anywhere; just silly talks that can cause me to laugh when I randomly remember them at 2am or when I’m in the shower. I love to ask questions because I enjoy hearing people speak. It’s much better when they are people I am interested in and genuinely love speaking to.
There’s nothing cute about this, but I have the tendency to overthink. Tell me anything, and I have come up with different outcomes with the ability to support these conclusions with a wealth of data. I live in my head too much, but I love how one of my friends put it to me recently. When you live too much in your mind, your mind starts to talk back to you, and it really could go downhill from that point. Like I said, there’s nothing cute about it.
Overthinking often leads to my indecisiveness. Needless to say, only my brother has hacked the technique to shopping with me. I also don’t like hearing the words “it’s up to you”, “it’s your decision to make” or anything along those lines. While it’s true that I need to be the one to decide on what I want, frankly, I wouldn’t mind others making decisions for me if possible. Because let me tell you, if there’s one thing about being indecisive: oftentimes, you aren’t actually happy with your decision.
I remind myself of the mimosa pudica because of my sensitive nature (I wrote a whole post about how I experience the world as a sensitive person here). The mimosa pudica is a plant that when touched or shaken, will droop and curl inward to protect itself from harm before opening again a short while later. I have acknowledged that being sensitive is my strength and weakness. I have also learned that calling a person “sensitive” is not really the insult you think it is. Being sensitive messes with me sometimes, but it also helps me appreciate the little things.
I don’t like change and would typically avoid doing new things. In this case, my mother says I remind her of inertia in physics. Inertia is a passive property that resists change, continues in one motion, or doesn’t move at all until a kind of force causes it to move faster or move in another direction. Nothing describes me and my love for my comfort zone more accurately. The comfort zone is a dangerous place to be, but I, however, prefer to remain there even when it becomes uncomfortable.
It’s not exactly the best, though, because it has a way of holding you back when you could experience the beautiful things life has to offer. And if it doesn’t work out, you get up and shake the dust off your feet. I just don’t have the courage yet.
I’m not very ambitious, and that’s how I know I was not a natural-born leader. I had to do a job interview a few months ago, and the guy asked how well I perform in a team. The first thing I said to him, quite honestly, was “I’m not a leader, for sure, but I can work well with others just for the sake of getting things done.” Of course, I have an idea of where I would like to be, and what I would like to do, but I have no plan on how to get there even though I fully trust that I will get there somehow. When people ask what my goal in life is, I simply say “to do what God has called me to do.” And since He called me, He will guide me and tell me what to do. I don’t necessarily have any plans. I just know that whenever an opportunity that aligns with what He wants me to do arises, I take it (fun fact: this is what led to my being on a TV show once when I was younger). That being said, I’m also a media student with the ability to speak and understand the Spanish language — one of my biggest flexes.
Speaking about the Big G, I have saved the best for the last. A few days ago, I was awake at dawn and in awe of the one who knit every cell and fiber of my being. The only one who really knows me. I think it’s something I’ve always known, but recently it occurred to me that I don’t have to do anything to earn His love. It took some introspection to realize that the friendship I had at a younger age shaped the way I view relationships of any kind.
Like my friend said to me via text about friendships about a week ago, “this thing don cost for market”. I have always known that friendships are good and important, and so, I have always felt the need to prove myself or do what it takes to earn my place in a person’s life. I remember the “first” friendship I had. I was constantly doing the most, checking boxes, and overstretching myself to meet certain requirements I thought would qualify me as a friend. It reminds me of the older brother from the parable of the prodigal son in the Bible. He was always working and serving, and that wasn’t necessarily bad because he knew it was the right thing to do. The problem was just that doing those things didn’t help him see what he already had. That’s me. Constantly working to ensure I am earning my spot in people’s lives (it’s draining, let me tell you).
It was only a few days ago that I saw the pattern, and that this perception shaped how I also lived out my relationship with God even without really knowing it. If I don’t have to work for it, it’s too good to be true. If He’s perfect, holy, and has beautiful blessings to give, then surely, I had to work hard to earn His love so I can enjoy the great things that come with being His. But that will never be enough. Just like it was never enough for the girl I was trying so hard to keep a friendship with.
God doesn’t love me because of who I am or what I do. He loves me because it’s who He is. He doesn’t tolerate me, He actually loves me, and there’s no way I can work for it. It’s unexplainable, and that’s why Paul had to pray that God gives us the power to know how deep and high the love of God is. I don’t have to do too much, and I don’t have to burn out. I’m already loved by Him, and that is enough for me to have access to all that comes with Him. And just like the father told the older brother of the prodigal son, God too is saying to me, “… everything that I have is yours”
God’s child. The best identity, if you ask me.
At the end of the day, I don’t really think I’ll be able to know or tell everything about myself. I’m constantly evolving. We are constantly evolving. There is still so much we will unlearn and relearn. There is still so much reformation and transformation to come. But for me, for now, it’s all these things and the little things in between. Like deep contagious laughter and snorts. Like my thing for writing and receiving notes, how bad I am sometimes with replies, my love for tea, Nollywood movies, and making playlists.
I liked to think I was a writer until I realized I wasn’t really one, but I enjoy writing though. As much as I believe that I am an articulate speaker, it’s hard to speak my thoughts out sometimes but with writing, I have this ability to gather my thoughts, simplify them in words and speak the hearts of people. From the moment I started writing books at a younger age up until this point, I have figured that the majority of my supporters will be people I don’t know and may never meet. I like that. I like that I can speak to people without exactly knowing them, so thank you for being here. Thank you for listening.
My name is Ife, by the way. Ifeoluwanimi.