This article is near and dear to my heart! ‘Own Your Journey’ is a mantra that I live my life by and it has helped me to live a life true to who I am. It helps me to appreciate who I am, the things that make me stand out, and why I am special! It helps me live authentically without worry of what others may think. Why? Because this is MY journey and no one else’s! My path does not look like anyone else’s. There is only one Unakem Kazeem! My thoughts are my own, whether right or wrong. I have my OWN opinions and ideas and they don’t need to fall in line with the rest of the world. I appreciate my simple yet complex nature. I truly LOVE myself, who I was in the past, who I am at the current moment, and who I will be in 10 years insha’Allah. I AIN’T SORRY for being who I am and neither should you!
So who am I? I am a Muslimah, an awesome wife, a loving daughter, a cool sister, an honest friend, and a compassionate human being. I was born to a firm Nigerian father and a fashion-forward African-American mother. I am the third child of eight (yessss, the same mom and dad lol). I am a Texas native residing in sunny SoCal. I am a bookworm, but I also have a creative side. I am a nurse practitioner and also the founder of It’s About M.E. Lord knows I am not perfect. Sometimes I am immodest, every blue moon I have a drink, and sometimes I am rambunctious…..yep, I have flaws too! I have my highs and my lows, my peaks and my valleys, but I appreciate and embrace it all. If you don’t acknowledge and accept the parts of you that need work how can you grow? In life so many of us lie, unintentionally, because we do not know our own truth. Let that marinate. You have to open your eyes, move past the denial, and tackle things face on. I have grown sooo much since my days of undergraduate school. If you knew me back then and you know me now then you know what I mean lol! I was a party girl to the bone. I enjoyed going out night after night, dancing until my feet hurt, socializing with guys, and getting drunk. Are those my proudest moments? Nahhhhh! But as I look back and reflect I am happy to have moved past that phase in my life. That phase does not define me. Although I didn’t make the best decisions, it all led me to this very moment in time. And at this moment I am happy and at peace with my past. I am putting plans in place to become even better. Sometimes I take 10 steps in the right direction and then slide back 4 steps or more! It’s a process ladies! Stop beating yourselves and others up! Nobody is perfect!
“Each of us are given different characteristics, lives, and circumstances that challenge us to become who we are.” –Ronne B.
A lot of people ask me what my motivation is and my answer is multifaceted. I want to live a life pleasing to God! I want to make my family proud. I want to help and encourage others. I want to reach my highest potential. Since middle school I’ve always had a feeling that I was destined for greatness (which is subjective, I know). It has always seemed like just another thought, but it has always been there. I realized I was limiting my potential due to fear of the unknown, but I believe that anything is possible with God on your side. I am very aware that I can’t just say those words with my mouth or write them in a blog, I have to live those words and breathe truth into them. Hence, part of the reason I finally decided to start this journey with It’s About M.E. It’s scary to take a leap of faith! Feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, pessimism, and inadequacy begin to show themselves. The Devil is not going to make things easy, why would he?! He doesn’t want to see you fulfill your purpose in this life. He doesn’t want you to be successful, happy, AND God-fearing! His job is to initiate sin in our lives and to cause us to disobey our Creator. That is motivation in itself for me.
Surah An-Naml [The Ant] (27:24) – “….and Satan has made their deeds pleasing to them and averted them from [His] way, so they are not guided”
But we can’t let him win now can we? In the words of Beyonce “Tell ‘em boy BYE!” lol!
Start with little changes…Rome wasn’t built in one day. As cliché as the phrase is, it rings truth! Small but consistent changes will have you in awe of how far you’ve grown. As you start accomplishing some of your goals and appreciating the woman facing you in the mirror remember to CELEBRATE your victories! Treat yourself for pushing forward and don’t apologize for your success! Not everyone you’re cool with now will be happy to see you blossom and some of them will become distant memories. Why? Because they connected with you and related to you when you were the “party girl” or whomever you used to be. The new you doesn’t feel familiar anymore. “You’ve changed” they’ll say and they will no longer find comfort in your presence. Don’t let that deter you! It’s a bittersweet emotion to face. You love your friends and feel some type of way about the awkwardness in your relationship now, but things cannot stay the same my dear. Still show up and support them when it’s time, still operate out of love, still make an effort if you truly care about them. But know where your boundaries are! There’s a quote I read by Jay Z, I believe, that goes something like ‘All these people saying I’ve changed like I’ve worked so hard to stay the same.” *drops mic*
Take the journey with me, right now choose to be great! Choose 1-2 things that you want to improve upon. Set a plan to help you reach that goal. Create a deadline. Give it some time. Stay Motivated and see how you blossom! What are some areas in your life that you want to improve upon? What things do others say about you that you deny but deep down know that it’s true? What can you do today to start the process? You can transform your life starting today, change your thoughts, change your actions….what will you decide?