My name is Toyin and I am a young African woman. I grew up in my country in West Africa. My childhood was great; I had a loving family, friends. There were few challenges I faced growing up but they were not insurmountable. I learnt from them and moved on. However, a single event in my life changed me and has helped me to understand “life” a little better. This single event lasted about 5 years and it was a courtship.
I met my ex in 2008 and we were good friends. I was in university in another state while he was in university in the state where my parents lived, so anytime I went home during breaks from school, I would see him. We continued being friends until around 2010 when he asked me out. I refused at first because we were of different tribes but he kept on asking. I liked him so I talked to some people and also prayed about it. After about 8 months, I said yes and the journey started. We loved each other and were in courtship for about 5 years. He was a good guy and I believed him.
I never cheated on him, didn’t even want to. I was committed to the relationship and so was he. We talked about getting married after school. However, we were apart a lot, but we also talked a lot and made sure we visited each other. In 2013, I discovered on his phone that he planned to go out with a lady on his birthday because I wasn’t around. I was so hurt, he begged and I forgave him.
At first, he lied about the whole thing but later he confessed. I let the incident go; I didn’t allow myself to think that if he could have done that, then maybe he had other things he was doing that I knew nothing about. I didn’t dwell on him being unfaithful.
We continued the relationship. There were disagreements, we would make up and go on. And then in 2015, I noticed some changes, he was no longer calling as often as he used to, he was distracted from me, and was giving excuses of a busy work schedule. I tried to find out what was wrong but couldn’t. We started arguing and disagreeing a lot. We were in different states so I travelled to find out what was wrong. I didn’t get any answer, but that it seems like we needed a break. I was so hurt but I left. Later in the year I got a message on my phone breaking a courtship of about 5 years. I was so hurt, I cried, I talked, but there was no change. I couldn’t think straight for days, I had invested a lot in that relationship, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. Some months later, I saw him with a new girl. Then, I knew it was up to me to survive that period. No one was going to do it for me. I learnt a lot from this experience.
I learned that people do change, sometimes from good to bad, other times from bad to good and those closest to them feel the impact the most. I learnt that having a good family is a great blessing. They helped me through the difficult time.
I learned that I don’t need a man to make me feel complete. I want love and I believe my man is somewhere out there, but before I meet him, I need to go on with my life, enjoy being single, and work towards fulfilling my vision. I don’t need to build my life round an illusion, sit down idle, waiting for Prince charming to arrive and sweep me off my feet. I will work with the potentials I have and make my world a better place in my own little way.
I learned that time is a good healer of wounds. When you subject a situation to the process of time, it becomes clearer.
I learned to have a large heart and not focus on Me, Myself and I. I learned to become more alert to people around me and help them in any way I could or just encourage them.
I learned that my relationship with God is the most important relationship in my life.
God is the ultimate healer of wounds. With God, I can survive, thrive and flourish. I could not have survived that experience without Him. I learnt that difficult moments can be defining moments, so we need to learn from unpalatable life experiences and then move on. We need to keep believing, keep hoping, be diligent and never, ever give up. It’s not over until we give up. There’s greatness ahead for us and nothing can stop us if we believe in God and believe in ourselves.
And I’m still learning…