Is it just me, or does Instagram make you feel like 82% of the women on your timeline are super heroes? Mothers, Bloggers, Fashionistas, Chefs, Preachers. All of it.
But, many moons ago, when I was much younger and before Instagram – some women were steadily slaying. I must have looked at them in awe, jealousy and envy.
First, there was my drama teacher. I wasn’t surprised she became a Nollywood superstar, and a darling of the screen. Because even though I was 8 years old and she was only my drama teacher, I could tell she was made for more. Made to reach for the skies. Miss Silva’s eyes literally lit up when she spoke about acting and drama. Because of her, I’ll talk to myself in the mirror, till I perfected my script and mannerisms. I was jealous of her enthusiasm, but she made me believe in creativity and in passion. She also let me slap the most popular mixed-race boy in school – Leye, who many girls had a crush on. I was acting as the princess, and I think he was one of my annoying suitors. You probably know her now as Joke Jacobs. Yep! Same person.
In 1998, I’d never seen such poise, charisma and confidence from a woman. The title ‘Principal’ didn’t quite capture all she was. We believed it when she said ‘There are only two schools in Nigeria, Queens College… and others’. And when she said ‘Queens College Girls, Quiet please…’, we would all go silent. Okay, most of us anyway. Some girls were ‘Baddos’. She’d often sit with her legs perfectly crossed and when she walked, she walked tall. With both hands behind her back. Stern, yet graceful. The days I stood next to her on the assembly ground felt incredible. She personified elegance, intelligence and character. Plain simple, I was jealous of Mrs. M.T.F Sojirin. It was pretty disappointing when the next Principal took over and the security guards walked behind her and carried her bag. It felt wrong. I think a lot of my high school friends at that time felt their Principal dropped from 100 – zero (Okay, maybe not zero, 10?).
She owned Ruff ‘n’ Tumble – the awesome and one-of-a-kind kids clothing store in Lagos. I learned this fact much later. That had to be why her kids were always dressed in lovely clothes. She also looked graceful – often in ‘Iro’ and ‘Buba’, perfectly paired with high heels. Her husband looked pristine in white traditional attire. (Maybe this white Yoruba attire planted the seeds of getting married to a Yoruba man?). They often sat in the pew ahead of us. In church. How could she be married with three kids, yet so organised, so fashionable, and still a church-goer who got to church early. I was jealous. But she made me realise I could have it all – faith, fashionable, marriage, kids and a thriving business. I never knew her name then – but now I know she’s Adenike Ogunlesi.
I only knew of her when she died. The TV stations wouldn’t stop showing her. After all, she was Lady Diana. The Princess of Wales. It was love at first sight for me. She was royal, yet more ordinary than most. Her relationship with the sick, the dying and the less privileged often led me to tears. She was an embodiment of empathy, warmth and genuineness. I was not jealous of her crown or title – in fact, I pitied her for having those. I was jealous of her humility, her kindness.
Today thanks to Instagram, I’m motivated by more and more women.
In their daily hustle. In their daily lives. Teaching and Impacting. Breaking Boundaries. Breaking Glass Ceilings.
What women get you (positively) jealous? How they have impacted you? I’ll love to hear.
This post was to be published on International Women’s Day, but then someone asked a really important question, which I felt obliged to answer. Catch up on that here. Thankfully it’s still the women’s month of March, so we’re allowed to talk women, all day every day!
Paula Olaitan BenedictMarch 30, 2016 at 11:22
Very correct about PQC … Mrs Sojinrin as documented.I’m sooooo jealous of My mum, despite being from a very very humble home with little or no education benefits which presents its own challenges as you know, has taught me to be positive at all times and that i can be who i want to be as long as i work hard and ask God to take the wheel. She has taught me to be content and thankful for what i have no matter how little and to share the little with others… She has influenced me so much to be the lady i am today and i am so happy and grateful for the values.On the spiritual front, Mary, the mother of God, got me jealous everyday. Despite being a lowly handmaid, found favour with God and became the Mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This has taught me that God cares about me to the tiniest little details. I learnt to remain steadfast in upholding the truth and doing what is right at all times no matter the circumstance even when it seems no one is watching because God sees it all and rewards every effort.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMarch 30, 2016 at 18:19
The few comments you’ve dropped on the blog show how much God plays a part in your life, and how you strive to be better! I’m so inspired by you. And Mums are everything honestly. We pray to be as good as them! Xx
Paula Olaitan BenedictMarch 31, 2016 at 15:56
God plays all the part o… not just a part (smiles)… one look at our mums tells us how much God loves us… Amen to your prayer to be as good as them and even better because that’s what they expect of us, to be better than them… xoxo
Ijeoma UcheibeMarch 30, 2016 at 12:01
That would be my elder sister and you. Yes…*covers face..Used to wonder then in school if you were related to Zeus (brainwise of course) You were an enigma i couldn’t quite get my fingers on but then again what do I expect from a superstar that you are now…*runs off still covering blushed cheeks and debating whether to come back to the blog
Paula Olaitan BenedictMarch 30, 2016 at 12:37
You can say that again Uche…. i missed this one out too…. Kachi was an inspiration back in school…. i worked sooo hard to win at least one prize when Kachi was there parking all the gifts and thankfully I silently got one and made myself and Kachi proud… smiles
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMarch 30, 2016 at 18:18
Ij and Olaitan!! I see you guys have planned to thoroughly wash my head this evening. I’m just here trying not to blush. Thanks a million guys. All na God. Ij please come back to the blog oh!!
Ijeoma UcheibeMarch 31, 2016 at 09:04
If i hear…Of course you know I’m stuck(in a good way) on the blog…
Ijeoma UcheibeMarch 31, 2016 at 09:02
My dear…her brilliance made me go for a TDB for one of our courses back then in school but it paid off. I got an A for the first time.
Paula Olaitan BenedictMarch 31, 2016 at 15:57
Hahahaha @TDB…. I know how an A for the first time would have felt gurl.
Ijeoma UcheibeApril 4, 2016 at 11:51
NengiMarch 30, 2016 at 18:58
I crushed on Sojirin too! She was so classy! Her replacement was a let down so I agree with your 100 to 0 analysis!Any list without my mum will be so wrong! She is such an achiever! My grandma too! She has a BS.C in geography!Back in QC, I was (secretly) in awe of Aweytu Gaza. She was always so honest, managed to stay out of trouble, was so relatable and very smart! I wonder where she is now!and you!! (Covers face)
Kachee || KacheeTee.comMarch 30, 2016 at 19:09
Nengi!!! I just found Awyetu today on Facebook! What a co-incidence. I added her as well. Yes indeed there was something about her I agree. I skipped my mom because I had already written about her in the Mothers Day post. Lol! Your grandma has a BSc? Wow wow!
NengiMarch 31, 2016 at 04:23
Me too! I sent a request!
Paula Olaitan BenedictMarch 31, 2016 at 15:52
Wow @ Grandma’s achievement …
Simi OlusolaAugust 22, 2016 at 14:59
I did not attend QC but my sister did and I just loved Sojirin from the things she told me and from seeing her in the Aurora.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 22, 2016 at 15:05
Haven’t heard of Aurora in years. You just brought back some good memories! I really did like Sojinrin.
The Steph WayAugust 22, 2016 at 21:15
Joke Silva was/is so cool. She was my elocution teacher in primary school – coached me for public speaking, from accent to voice levels to pronouncing every necessary syllable.Shame I actually don’t remember much from my QC days apart from Wande Abe being the head girl when I was in JS1 and her deputy’s twin being my school mother lol. I always thought I’d be head girl if I was just like Wande but didn’t stay till SS3 lolActually the other woman I admired in QC was one of our housemistresses who always made me aspire to be a prayer warrior. She was known to have prayed out an old set of SS3 DanFodio girls who were actually cult members and were running their operations from the dorm.
AbbyDecember 31, 2016 at 00:54
Interesting list!I’ll actually make mine(P.S You’re defs on it) and share them sometime! (cos its a long one!)So many women out here really doing the Lords work inspiring, motivating us and stuffXx