My name is Nike, I am the owner of the fashion and lifestyle blog SpecsandBlazers. It is my pleasure to share with you the glamorous truth about courage.
Truth is…it’s not. It’s not glamorous at all.
My story starts on a farm in Abeokuta, Nigeria – my father was a professor but always had this passion for farming. It was by all counts a home that was full love and I recall that at every dinner we had to go outside and pick our own vegetables. (the real organic).
Around the age of three I can remember my parents arguing about their daughter – me, my mom would say : “Oh that child she’s so stubborn, she only listens to herself what are we gonna do about her?”
My dad would say : she’ll grow out of it.
Well…I never did.
My behavior continued all throughout primary school- I had lost count at how many times my ears were yanked. I was simply too mischievous for the classroom and my parents found themselves lost with me.
I didn’t want to live on a farm anymore. And at the age of 11 something happened.
My dad’s best friend came to Nigeria from London with the American Visa Lottery form (worth a small fortune when it was still around). He handed it to my dad to but my dad trashed it almost immediately. He was adamantly against the idea of moving to the U.S., he didn’t buy into the American Dream. He thought that this was a country where people came to work and die.
I went to bed that night almost in tears- I said to myself that I was destined to go to America. I remember tip toeing into the living room and going into the trash and taking the form out. I filled it out in my dad’s library- the form seemed endless- and it really was. But somehow, at age 11 I was able to correctly fill out the form for myself and my entire family of 5.
I handed it back to my dad’s friend. Two years went by and by that time I’d forgotten all about the American Lottery. One day we received a letter in the post- my dad opened it and it read: Congratulations You’re Going to America. My dad thought this must have been a mistake.
I remember running to my aunt’s house and yelling : Auntie we won, we won, we’re going to America!
My aunt and I ran back to my house to call a family meeting to convince my dad to move to the US. It was then that I confessed to him that his beloved mischievous daughter had sent in the form.
When I turned 14 my parents sold the schools, the houses, and the hospitals that they had sacrificed and worked so hard to build. We uprooted our very comfortable lives in Nigeria and moved to Tampa, Florida to start all over.
I landed in the U.S. ecstatic to be in the land of opportunity. I arrived to high school with my braids and traditional African garb excited to make friends and be American finally. And this marked the beginning of four hellish years.
I remember the first day of school writing a letter to a girl, innocently asking her to be my friend. She looked at me and sensed my social awkwardness and laughed at my face. And I wish the laughter would’ve ended there, but over the course of the next couple of years the laughter turned into teasing, and the teasing turned into physical abuse. Worst of all, I couldn’t tell my parents about the bullying, after all I was the one who had filled out the forms that got us to Tampa in the first place.
By the third year I was eating in the school bathroom because I was so afraid to eat with the other kids- however, they soon discovered my hiding place and I found myself with my head flushed down the toilet. Over and over again.
I survived high school- don’t know how but I did.
My very African parents had chosen my career for me already by the time I was three. I later went on to college to become a lawyer, just like they wanted me to. And I experienced pain in college as well. But this time instead of hiding in the bathroom stalls I hid behind fashion.
I showed up to class in fabulous heels every day and I let fashion become my obsession. Getting dressed up was a way to rid myself of the pain I was going through with my first breakup. I started a tumblr account chronicling my daily outfits and writing about the fashion industry. My interest prompted me to fly to LA for Fashion Week and this led me to permanently staying here.
I remember calling my parents and saying: I dont think I’m going to be a lawyer, I think I’m going to stay in LA to pursue fashion.
My dad said: FASHION?
And my mom said: Ah, Jide, I thought you said she’d grow out of this behavior!
This was the first time I’d ever heard my dad get so angry with me his words to me were: you can go ahead and drop my last name if you’re not going to become a lawyer.
I didn’t hear from my father for 2 years.
I stayed in LA, crashing couches, staying hostels, and at one point ended up living out of my car but the mischievous child within me kept telling me no to give up. The results were slow to come but they were happening.
Last year I was stuck at a job that I hated – thinking that I was never going to see my dream come to fruition. And then I got a call. I was getting my own billboard in Downtown LA. I called my parents very excited- and they weren’t impressed, they told me: but you’re still not a lawyer.
It wasn’t until one day when my mom was flipping through People Magazine at work that she saw her daughter talking about fashion in one of the pages. She called me excited, crying and for the first time said, “I am SO proud of you.”
Now my dad is again my #1 fan, he calls me and tells me: I am on your BLOD!
He can’t properly say BLOG because he will probably never understand what I do for a living. But he’s so proud.
I recently had a campaign for Aveeno, Tesla Motors, and my blog has been featured in InStyle, Glamour, and Vogue Magazine and to top it all off I’m living my best life.
Through this all I’ve learned that life is like a rough diamond- you to have beat and chip away at it to make it shine- but through these beatings both metaphorically and physically- while not sexy- will produce something fabulous and strong.
I fundamentally believe that if you work hard enough and are courageous when in the face of adversity and when you are doubted by the people closest to you and they tell you, no you can’t you simply say yes I can. Eventually, the blessings will come because there has to be a test before the testimony.
My parents may not have believed in the American Dream, but I am the American Dream.
Author Bio: I am a fashion/lifestyle blogger and I live in the city of Angels.
I am passionate about life. I’m a nomadic soul eternally in pursuit of happiness.
Link to social media or website: http://www.specsandblazers.com