“Just like that, dreams you didn't know you had come alive.”
This was the caption I attached to the image I shared on social media after I got accepted into the THREAD at Yale program, and this caption is true. Yale University was not a place I aspired to for college, graduate school or even for a program like THREAD. I didn't place Yale or any Ivy-league college for that matter on a pedestal because I didn’t see the difference an Ivy League education would make in the grand scale of my life. I believe I'd do great whether I went to one or not, and I still believe so. This, I told myself for the longest time, was the primary reason for my lack of aspiration.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized my lack of aspiration as a teenager was probably due to a mix of many other factors. Factors like I wasn’t necessarily aware of Yale and Ivy-league colleges. Of course, I knew about ivy-league and top colleges, and I was a top-performing student, but I wasn’t aware enough or encouraged towards it and hence didn't develop the desire to apply. I believe coming from Nigeria and going to high school there contributed to my lack of awareness. I also didn’t think I was whom Yale wanted, and anyway I couldn’t attend without a full scholarship. In addition, coming from Nigeria, I just wanted to get into college, and my focus was never on a place like Yale. After my acceptance to THREAD, I got even more introspective about my lack of aspiration, and I came to the conclusion that maybe as a teenager I did put Yale and Ivy-leagues on a pedestal, and I didn't bother to climb, with all the "baggage" I listed earlier strapped to my back. A part of me wonders if I thought I wouldn't get in, hence I blocked out any aspiration to aspire to it.
As an adult, I tell myself that I'm intimately conscious of the choices I make especially as it relates to my peace of mind, joy, self-care, and growth. Choosing to be in spaces where the environment, policies, and programs may not serve me or cater to me wouldn’t be high on my consideration or aspirations list even if that place was an ivy-league college. But as an adult presented with the opportunity to apply to THREAD, I realized my adult rationale for lacking aspiration coupled with my teenage "baggage" were no match for my commitment to building a great career. I simply shove them to the side and applied!
Any who…introspection made me consider all the many places I don’t aspire to especially as a writer. Sadly, the list was long...Washington Post. New York Time. New York Time Magazine. Rolling Stone. Esquire. Buzzfeed. The Atlantic. Times Magazine…issa long list, but you get my drift.
I have told myself over the years that I don’t aspire to write for these publications because the stories I want to tell don’t fit there. However, after I sat with myself and got honest with myself, I came to the conclusion that I’m primarily working from three lies, 1) I couldn't possibly write for these publications even if I desired to and even if I had story ideas that worked for them. 2) I don't belong there. 3) I wouldn't thrive there.
Here goes another evidence of scarcity mentality and self-limiting beliefs owning space in my mind, heart, and life.
The truth is we’ve all believed lies at different points in our lives, and many of us, including yours truly, still believe some lies. Some of the lies we carry in our inner beings form the abundance of our hearts, and it is from this lie-based abundance that our mouths regularly speak, our beliefs reside and our actions and reactions arise from. A few weeks ago, in my quiet time, I chose to challenge and dig deep into my lack of aspiration. The predominant thought that came out of that time was the lie ‘I am not good enough” and when I dug even deeper down into it, it transformed simply into “I am not enough” This lie is one I'm always coming out from under, because it is the underlying reason for the million of times I didn’t apply for the job, develop the story idea, pitch the story idea or make a move. It seems regardless of the many great and fabulous things I know and believe deeply about myself…this one has the power to sabotage it all if I don’t continually attack it and transform it into heck…I AM ENOUGH.
Scarcity stricken people maintain a scarcity consciousness. They think in terms of scarcity. They talk scarcity. They fear scarcity. They expect scarcity. They don’t see and can’t grasp the abundance around them, and It is a cycle I refuse to sit in.
…so by a stroke of God and my fabulousness and enough-ness, here I was sitting with other program participants from different creative non-fiction pursuits listening to lectures from Jill Abramson, Glynn Washington and Nicole Hannah-Jones…amongst others. Whether Yale University was on my dream list or not, It was an honor and a blessing to be accepted, so I soaked in as much as I could and learned a lot about what I need to do to create better narratives and to become a better writer and storyteller. The entire experience was beautiful, eye opening and overwhelming. More stories out of THREAD coming soon.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.”
[Psalm 139:13 -18 NIV]
PS: You are Immensely Loved!
image via Pinterest!