I Am ...

Today is a dedication to all women and an appreciation for those who have supported and paved the way. ANIKE, means prized possession, and is the name of my late grandmother who transitioned in 2015. My grandmother is who I named this blog after. Throughout her life she would remind me to live my authentic life unapologetically and to the fullest. Her "gran' grans" as she would refer to all her grand-babies (biological and non-biological) were her prized possessions. On days like International Women's Day, I'm often reminded of the many life lessons she taught me and the impact that she had on our family and community. My mother has since inherited the role of 'big mummy' for the family, a label she wears proudly.

Grandma & I, London, 1988
Grandma & I, London, 1988

As I sit at the intersect of who I am and who I am becoming, I've come to appreciate my journey of growth. I've also come to understand how important it is to protect my journey from the judgement of others. You can't expect people to understand your grind, when God didn't give them your vision. People will pass judgement when your growth makes them feel uncomfortable, and that is not your fault. You can love and appreciate where you are in your journey today while aspiring to be and do so much more. You can express your fear about your future while being filled with faith that your best is yet to come. We are all a little mix of who we are and who we are becoming, and that is okay.

During today's service, Pastor Carl Lentz preached part 2 of his, "That Label Doesn't Fit Me Anymore" series. For the second Sunday in a row, I held back tears as I thought about the many labels people have tried to assign to me that simply weren't meant for me. Labels that often placed me in a box and made others feel comfortable in an attempt to limit the confounding power behind my intersectionalities. The power and beauty of International Women's Day is that it reminds each of us, that we can be authentically and unapologetically who we want to be today and every day thanks to the generations of women who spoke up and out and those who marched before us. It reminds us to claim the naming rights over everything in our lives today as we speak up and out for our equal rights.

There is so much power in the names and labels we give ourselves and others. I've been labeled by society in many different ways over the years, but the labels I continuously choose to proudly claim are: Christian, Black, African, Nigerian, British, American, Phenomenal, Educated, Leader, WOMAN, and the name my family gave me, Adeola, which means 'Crown of Wealth'.

As we wrap up another amazing International Women's Day, I ask that you imagine what your life would be like if you were to live your authentic life unapologetically and to the fullest.

What labels would you assign to that version of yourself?

Claim them all, and go for it!

Happy International Women's Day my friends!

With Gratitude,