By Tosin Opeoluwa
We cannot successfully walk through the door into the future dragging the baggage from the past.
I was a girl raised by a single, struggling mum. My mum was, and she is still, hard working, although she has no bills to pay anymore. As a child, I created a world of fantasy, and I would tell friends what I thought my father should be like. But deep within me, I knew who my father was; it wasn’t until after I finished my high school that we became friends.
Sometimes we had no food, and mum transferred her aggression toward her children. I never heard the words “I love you” from anyone in my household. No matter how much we worked, we hardly got sincere appreciation. It was a house where housing, clothing, and food were seen as a privilege and not a right. It was a home where I overslept out of teen depression and woke up in fear of being sent to my father. A home where we were taught to respect and not how to love, a home where no one gave hugs or asked questions because they were rude, a home where you were beaten and disgraced in public.
I remember how I used to hide the cane my mother used for flogging. I can’t forget the day I was molested and lost my virginity and could not tell my mother out of fear. My mum respected other people’s children, but we were disgraced through insults and maltreatment. However, above all, I remember her sacrifices, and I know now she was the best mum she could be based on her life experience and understanding. I hold nothing against her today.
“Maybe I deserved bad treatment,” I thought when I was younger. “I am rude, everything breaks in my hand, I get angry and irritated easily, I hate people, I am always seeking attention, always aggressive, and I am gripped with low self-esteem. If I think I am better than those around me, I am okay. However, my head is bowed when I am around those whom I perceive better than me, and I suddenly become quiet. I am called an introvert, but deep within me I know something is wrong.”
When I was around people who did not know me, I would switch to the imaginary me, with imaginary parents. Through the years, I wrote my experiences in a small book where no one would see it. I never knew it was called journaling.
When it was time to leave my childhood behind and start my own life, I failed woefully. Then my mum called me in 1998, and she told me she had nothing against my pursuit of higher education. I went home for six years, and I was able to acquire a college of education through my brother’s support. Later, I married, started an etiquette and life coaching business, and then traveled to the United States for my Master’s Degree.
Externally, I appeared successful, but internally there was no transformation. I was still dealing with anger, resentment, low self-esteem, shame, and guilt from my painful childhood. I was mad at myself, and my husband was paying the price for that anger. Even though I became “spiritual” and I loved God, I felt my past cheated me from fully expressing love and receiving it in return. I was destroying every good relationship in my life because I did not want to give people a second chance if something went wrong. I always felt, “I have enough hurt in my life.”
I avoided having conversations about my issues; I just wanted to be left along because I thought that time heals. But the ticking of the clock didn’t heal my old wounds because they had become thick scars. Then one day I had a moment of clarity, and God told me: “You will know how to heal others when you heal yourself. That is when you will see the fruits of your labors and become a better person.” That Divine message started my journey of transformation.
I see many teenagers today struggling for success and significance, living in confusion and identity crisis. They want to be “someone else,” and it has warped their view of reality and what is important in life. In many cases, this has resulted in slanderous tendencies, scandals and infidelities. This has fueled diseases, including constipation, pain, and glaucoma. The stress has resulted in high blood pressure. Troubled kids create troubled schools and communities, and then society continues in the circle of anger and bitterness.
Yet, deep within we all want to prosper, we want to be significant, we want to change the world, and we want to travel the world. We want to be wealthy and live in abundance. The good news is that these things are all possible, but they can’t be accomplished by carrying the old baggage of abuse, pain, and past disappointment. We cannot successfully walk through the door into the future dragging the baggage from the past.
Once I received this message, how did I commence my journey into transformational healing? I wrote my vision for success, and took steps to achieve it. The first step was to turn to my understanding of God for help. I became self-aware, and I was able to trace my attitude and personality issues to my childhood. From there, I worked to resolve my issues with forgiveness, including those people who will never say “sorry” back. I started reading books; I went into therapy, I got a coach, found mentors, attended seminars, enrolled in courses and training, nourished my soul, started meditating/praying, exercising, and surrounding myself with the right people. Then I started talking/sharing and writing about my painful past, all of which helped me to start helping others heal.
Where are you today in your transformation journey? Do you need to be more self-aware? It is time to stop saying, “This is just how I am” because this is the root cause of your limitations and the source of negative energy. If your life is negative now or was in the past, you will affect your spouse, children, family, and the community. If your experience and life is positive, it’s going to have a beneficial impact on everyone around you.
My questions to you are: What kind of positive transformation would you love to produce in the world? When you leave the Earth, will someone be bold enough to celebrate your accomplishments and positive impact on the world afterward?
I leave you with this story:
Dad is sitting watching television when his little boy comes running over. “Daddy, can you play with me?”
This father enjoys playing with his son, and plans to give him plenty of time, but not just yet. “Soon, son, soon,” says Dad. “When this program finishes.”
Five minutes later the little boy returns. “Daddy, can we play now?”
“Soon, son, soon. When this program finishes.”
Two minutes later the little boy returns again. “Daddy, is it time to play yet?”
Dad realizes he’s not going to get any peace, so he decides to set his son a task that will take some time. He notices a picture of the world on the front page of the newspaper lying in front of him. He tears the picture out then rips it into small pieces. “Now son, I’ve got a game for you. Take the pieces of this picture of the world and put them back together and then we’ll play together.”
The little boy eagerly takes the pieces away with him and sets to work. Dad’s relieved he’ll get to see the last half hour of his TV program. But to his amazement, his little boy is back in less than five minutes. “I’ve finished daddy. Can we play now?”
The father is stunned when he turns around to see his son holding up the picture of the world, each piece sticky taped into the right position. Dad begins wondering whether he has a child prodigy on his hands. “How did you get it done so quickly?” he asks. “That would’ve taken me a good 20 minutes, and I’m an adult.”
“Oh, it was easy daddy. On the back of the world was a picture of a person, so I put the person together and that’s when the world came together.”
Tosin Opeoluwa will be releasing the full story of her experience in her new book The Pen of a Daddlyless Girl in December 2019. She will also be releasing a documentary called “The Journey of Grace” during her Master’s graduation. Tosin is a life purpose and transformation coach. She is a graduate of Information Resources Management from Babcock University Nigeria and a Master’s Student in Human Science at Prairie View A&M University, Texas. Tosin also is an associate member of the Nigeria Institute of Training and Development, Houston Association of Marriage and Family Therapist, and the International Association of Professional Etiquette Consultants. Her certificates include Behavioral Therapy Practitioner, Professional Etiquette Consulting, and Mental Health First Aid. Tosin is a content writer, certified Life Purpose/Transformational Coach, a transformational speaker, and coach with one message “correctitude.” She has over 200 online life-changing articles on blogs and social media pages.