Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.
-Shannon L. Alder
I was in a nasty love triangle a few years ago, and on one occassion the other lady rang me up, called me names and asked that I left her man alone. It was ludicrous as the man in question was seated right next to me at the time. The name calling didn’t really get to me anyway, it was when she called me a drop out that I literally felt pain in my heart. It hurt because it was true.
I decided university was not for me many years ago, and it had nothing to do with finances or intelligence. I had a sufficient amount of both back then and I still do. But I never got the chance to actually choose what it was that I wanted to study. I didnt choose what university I wanted to go to or what career path I wanted to be on. It was all handed to me on a platter.
“Boohoo, poor me” right? Well, the luxury only left me feeling like I was constantly on a rollercoaster.
In the first private university I went to, I studied English for 2 years. It was expected of me as I always did well in Language and literature plus I almost always had my nose stuck in a book reading or writing so yeah, I was told to study English. And I did… then I got bored. I mean what was I going to be? A teacher? Or was it really just to get a degree whatever the case?
After that, I took 6 months and got sent to another private University to study Mass Communication because I was so eloquent and I would make a good presenter on TV or Radio or both. It was expected of me. I mean especially with my last “melt down” I had to study extra hard. After 2 years of mass comm, I got bored with that too.
I decided to take a bold step without the consent of anybody and try working at a radio station as a presenter. It was redundant. Some times I’d be having a bad day but I would be expected to haha for the listeners and I thought “hell NO! I don’t want to be chirpy all the time as a profession” I’d annoy myself.
I got into an Ad agency and stayed there the longest. Almost 4 years. But that was when I realized that leaving University was the best decision I ever made because in that period, I learned more daily than I ever did in either of the Unis I’d been to and I dare say that I have a very impressive knowledge of media buying and planning thanks to that experience.
But advertising wasn’t MY passion, I needed to find myself, so I resigned.
I quickly picked up buying and selling of quirky African items. Bags, jewelry, clothes etc Just to have a little cash inflow while I thought deep as to what I really wanted to do. But I was so ashamed of myself so it was hard to think straight, I was miserable. I felt so confused and out of place. When I was asked what school I finished from I stuttered, changed the topic or lied, so I just stopped going out. I couldn’t say anything because I still had nothing to show for my drastic decision.
I almost got into a 3rd school but decided against it at the last minute. I was not to be pushed into going through motions by society’s tag line “drop out” of course I am. So what? I was going to stop feeling insulted by it and now if I had to lock myself up in a hole till I figured it all out, I was going to do just that. While I admit to being a little flighty, I needed to discover MY SELF myself.
- OWN YOUR SHORTCOMINGS — No one can insult you with the truth. Own your faults, scars, mistakes and shortcomings. NOBODY is perfect. We are ALL a work in progress. Some find themselves sooner than others but that only gives them extra time it doesnt guatantee they’ll do better. Others make many false starts before they get on the right path. It doesnt make anybody better than the other. We are all the same. I constantly reminded myself that it wasn’t how fast but how well. I could not afford to drown in self pity, it was slowing me down and besides to tell the truth, I had no one to blame but me so I shook it off. I surrounded myself with support and people that believed in me even in my darkest hour. I will eternally be thankful for my family. #positivevibesonly
- FIND YOUR PASSION — work out where you flourish. It took me almost 8 years of fear, false starts caring too much what people would say/think and indecision to discover where I was most comfortable. We all have a talent, a gift that makes us special. God made us exactly the same but equally different. I went back to the drawing board and picked out my strengths. Discovered what I was passionate about. Reading and writing. How do I make a career from that without necessarily owning a blog?
- BUILD YOURSELF UP — to embrace yourself is to be proud of who you are. Before you can do that, you have to establish yourself. For me, I needed to be able to say I dropped out of Uni and I’m doing very well in this and that. I got on Google and stumbled on content management and marketing. I couldn’t believe my eyes. So basically all I had to do was research and write to get paid?? Why didnt anybody tell me about this before?? It looked like a dream come true. I signed up for some online courses and newsletters. I registered my company name, made business cards and started writing on everything from fiction to lifestyle, relationships and sex, parenting, skin and hair care etc then I got on twitter and sent out direct messages advertising my services. “hi I sell content so if you need a freelancer or know someone who does, here’s my number” I am still getting responses.
Now, I write content for blogs, websites and magazines. I do some copy writing, editing and proofreading. I will delve into script writing very soon, get an office space, hire more hands and keep building myself and my company up by God’s grace. I enjoy what I do and most importantly, I am proud of the woman I have become, proud of the late nights and proud of my finished projects. And no I did not learn any of these skills from school, I am a drop out and a gratified one at that.
Watch this space. Ms Ssygala is a creative writer determined to touch as many mediums as possible.