By Omobolanle Jonah
Toke Makinwa popular Media personality in her just released book titled ‘On becoming’ talked about so many things that happen in life which we may not be able to comprehend, so many ups and downs, heartbreaks, pains and many more negatives, but in the end, the ability to overcome these things is what makes one a winner.
The winner of a battle is that warrior that never gave up despite the injuries, pains and bullet holes. Toke Makinwa could be said to be one of the warriors who has not given up and definitely kept on fighting the life battles that we all face in different ways
This book ‘On becoming’ looks like a journey to self discovery or self actualization, finding out who she is, who she was and how she struggled to find healing to the pain and hurt she had felt in the past.
‘To everyone who is as lost and in pain as I was, choose to believe that the sun will rise again’
The beginning of fulfillment in man starts from the self actualization; this is when he discovers who he really is and what he really wants in life.
Many people have dreams and visions but seem not to get anywhere close to them because they have not had time to discover who they really are.
Toke lost her parents at a very young age of eight to a house fire that was caused by their house aides and just then was the beginning of pain and sorrows in her life.
“From being a friendly bubbly child, I became withdrawn and taciturn, from being the child who always came first in class; I went to the bottom of the class”.
Growing up without parents
Growing up without parents at some point took a toll on Toke despite the fact that her Aunty who was referred to as ‘Big mummy’ took her and her siblings and raised them as hers; she still became notorious and rebellious. She could not focus on her studies and had no friends but her elder sister Opeyemi even in secondary school.
‘I broke a bottle once on someone’s head because I was angry’.
She continued to live a nonchalant lifestyle and now she was already in the university (UNILAG). She still did not take her academics seriously, mingled with different people and engaged in different activities which weren’t healthy for her studies.
“I found a group of girls like me to ‘enjoy’ life with. We were members of a party club called ENVEE. It was like a rave club, we threw and attended parties everyday of the week, we were found at some party or club. My studies suffered but I didn’t care”.
Despite all of these, Toke was a ‘soft lover’ she referred to herself as a helpless romantic who wanted a perfect and flawless prince charming as she had read in novels.
Meeting Maje Ayida
Then in the university, she met her boyfriend who she dated for close to a decade before they got married; Maje Ayida.
Her relationship with Maje was almost as perfect as she had always imagined in the beginning until things got sour, then she realised he was a liar and a cheat then the relationship was full of pain,hurt,heartbreak,tears and disappointments and all from the part of Maje.
After doing all these hurtful things, he comes back to beg and she takes him back with open arms.
It got so bad she discovered that he had a child and had even gotten another woman pregnant. She got STDs from Maje which she treated severally, still she didn’t leave; she loved him with all her heart with the positive mind and hope that things were going to get better and she’d see the good in him.
Amidst all these issues Toke still kept up well at work, she didn’t allow the issues in her home to affect her job which she had so much passion for. She’d cry all through the night but still leave for work at 5:00am .
Marriage might be a lasting solution
Years continued to go by and these things kept happening. Suddenly, she felt marriage might be a lasting solution to all these happening.
“But wait, maybe marriage would fix us. Yes, we had to get married and it is the only way we would have peace”.
The good thing was that there was a spiritual side to Toke which had been instilled in her by her parents at a very young age, she always had that time to talk to her creator, fasted and prayed fervently.
Alas! Toke and Maje got married. Maje had called off their wedding thrice and after all the disappointments, thus made the duo have a private wedding which they managed to keep secret for only two days after their wedding before the press blew it up.
It all seemed rosy after the wedding and she felt it was all coming back to normal until a friend called out of the blue that a journalist called her to ask if it was true that Anita Solomon (Maje’s mistress) was pregnant and the press as well as bloggers want to carry out the story of her failing marriage and her husband impregnating someone else.
The news had broken to the entire public, she was ashamed, everywhere she turned to there was news about her marriage and even at her place of work when she walked pass, there will be silence in the room. She got several phone calls from people and she could hardly bear it anymore.
After thinking marriage was the solution and it didn’t work,she felt having a baby will.
Maje wasn’t ready to have a baby with Toke but could get someone else pregnant? What a shame!
She was ashamed, she lost a lot of things because of this scandal, she lost an endorsement deal, she lost her pride and self confidence. She started to look for ways to meet up Maje’s standard for women as he won’t leave Anita alone then there was something about her.
She looked down on herself and always asked herself if she’d ever be good enough for him even up to the extent of her asking her husband to teach her Anita’s sex moves so she’d learn them.
There were other girls involved with Maje all through their relationship but Anita’s name was more pronounced as she already had a child for her Husband.
Anita became her look up to as she went to bleach up her skin to look like Anita since she was light skinned and maybe Maje had a preference for light skinned women.
“Shame is like having your most dismal test results read out in front of a huge assembly that doesn’t hold back on their judgement.
Nobody knows how much you studied and how many nights you spent struggling to keep up, none of those mattered as long as YOU FAILED, YOU FAILED”.
At the end of the day, Toke was fed up, she wanted to leave but people kept talking about the African tradition and a woman leaving her husband.
“… then there was family, some of my closest people, insisting that there were worse things than a pregnant mistress and that I needed to stay in my home. And who can blame them when our culture preaches that a woman must endure anything just to keep her marriage and her home”.
Finally she moved out of her home, got a smaller apartment and stayed there alone. After much counselling she got talking back with Maje and ended it all after she saw series of mails from Anita and confronted Maje and he didn’t deny.
He admitted he preferred Anita and was going to be with her instead and that was it, she realized what she truly wanted and who she truly was, she didn’t listen to no one this time, she wanted it all over, she filed for a DIVORCE and let Maje go.
Just then she repaired her relationship with God and felt it was the right time to listen and learn to wait for God’s guidance instead of rushing off to make moves based on her own understanding.
She began to comfort herself with books, sermons and readings from the bible and chose to believe that God still loved and cared for her.
“I started aiming for clarity over emotions, it wasn’t easy but I pushed myself until i couldn’t push anymore…”
As time went past, Toke had faith and hope that all will be well, she put all her trust in God and slowly came her journey to healing.
“But the lessons I have learnt are sure to make my life easier going forward:
What doesn’t kill you make you stronger.
Forgiveness is hard. Saying it is easy but doing it is real work.
Self-love is important. Love yourself enough to put you first.
You must accept the reality instead of wishing that your past were any different.
God’s plan is bigger than you. The greater the plan, the bigger the purpose.
Obviously, Toke’s ability to finally distinguish what she needed from what she thought she wanted helped her realise what she’s been missing and how she’s been paying less attention to loving herself.
“…Now I have found a new freedom. I can be, I will be and I will continue to BE. My past led me here, and my present gives me hope for a tomorrow where I become all God wants me to be. I take each day as it comes. I have good days and bad days and those in-between.
I keep learning forgiveness. I keep growing in faith and i will continue to follow the light”.
The book is an expression of heartache and heartbreak which she described as not a ‘’tell all’’ but a ‘’must tell’’ to inspire many young ladies out there. No wonder she didn’t grant any interviews about her failed marriage and kept it all bottled up, now she feels is the right time to let it all out.