Have you ever been for an interview and they ask “So tell me about yourself”? It’s meant to be one of the toughest interview questions because what on earth are you supposed to say, right?!
It was not until I started conducting interviews myself that I discovered they want you to say what it is about yourself that makes you suitable for the role you have applied for.
Anyway, I am rambling because I am about to write a “tell me about yourself” blog and as that popped into my head first, I thought I would use it as an analogy to explain just how difficult it is to find the words to write this. But here goes…
My name is Nikisha. I am the last of four children of my parents and I was born and raised in the Caribbean island Trinidad. I moved to England in 2002 to go to University but I won’t discuss my career as that doesn’t define me. The only thing I will say is that it involves a hell of a lot of mathematics but in complete contradiction I often feel like there is this creative storyteller inside of me that is just bursting to be let out!
I have three children one of whom is only 4 months old and I am currently on maternity leave. When I was heavily pregnant I was exhausted most of the time and so spent many hours in bed. To keep myself busy I started using Instagram much more than I ever did. It disheartened me. The fakeness. The glamorisation of pregnancy and motherhood and I knew I could not have been the only one who could not relate to it. That’s when my inner storyteller could not be suppressed any longer. She was determined to come out here and spread some realness into social media. She wanted to represent all those parents who read those glamourous parenting blogs and go away feeling like they must be the only parents who are struggling and must be doing something wrong. The new moms who find themselves saying “I wish someone told me….”. The ones who have days of feeling that they didn’t really enjoy being a mom and were filled with guilt rather than assurance that they were not alone and it is normal. The ones who were craving to read something on social media which they can fucking relate to for a bloody change! So I started my blog. Using my maternity leave wisely and allowing me to maintain my sanity through having some adult conversation, even if it’s virtually.
In 2010, after 2 years of separation, my divorce from my first husband was finalised. You can read more about the reasons I got divorced on my last blog 10 Year Challenge. Divorce is emotionally traumatic and draining. It can leave you feeling like you will never be happy again. Being in a mentally abusive relationship thoughtout most of my teenaged years and into my early 20s left my confidence and love for myself dragging on the floor. I had almost none left. I needed years of therapy to find myself again as I had become a version of myself that I needed to be to please my ex and keep the peace. A person I did not recognise but was so used to living as. A person I did not love or respect. I played a role, a role that was designed to look after everyone else’s happiness apart from my own.
Walking away from that was a massive and significant turning point in my life. Somewhere along my journey of self discovery, I started writing. It was an overwhelming urge. As I was still lacking in self confidence, I just wrote notes on FB that only my friends and family could see – the people I felt safe with. I started getting positive feedback and encouragement to keep writing. A few years ago with my confidence back in full swing, I looked back on those notes and while they were good reads, many of them were angry. I was so angry in those days, it made me see how far I had come as I suddenly found it almost impossible to relate to that anger. While I did get professional counseling, my notes were a major part of my healing therapy. It’s taken me this long to open up my life and my world to the public in the form of my blog. I resisted for such a long time as I wasn’t sure I wanted to live in a world where I was constantly scrutinised and judged. I didn’t want to deal with that. I always read parenting blogs and there is often a significant amount of nasty comments by people who just live for being a dick to others. I had been subjected to that by someone who claimed to love me and I was finally in a place where the mental scars had healed. I was terrified about not being mentally strong enough to face it all again from strangers and risk undoing all the hard work I had put in to get to where I was. We all know Social media can be a daunting, ugly, scary and unkind place. But I took a leap of faith as I felt my calling was to battle that ugly side rather than hide from it.
I have blissfully discovered with the help of you beautiful people, that it can be a compassionate place where your messages of love and desire to spread joy and laughter is well received. So thank you!!
Time is an incredible healer and with time I found myself again. The feeling of getting to know yourself again after many years of being forced to suppress your free spirit is just about the most amazing experience. I accepted that I had to endure a back breaking amoubt of pain to fully appreciate the importance of just being myself with zero apologies. For me, true happiness only comes when you are comfortable in and love your own skin. My stories are raw, real and uncensored because that’s the only way I am prepared to be. I lived in a fake existence for too fucking long! So this is me, love me or hate me.
I have used this picture of myself as I believe it defines me almost perfectly. I am in a carnival fete in 2011 in this photo. The guy in the picture is my cousin and we are incredibly close, he is like my brother. I will be forever grateful to him as he introduced me to my wonderful husband even though the introduction came with a warning for Jamie to stay clear away from me! My family are everything to me. My siblings and cousins are my best friends.
I am as free spirited, wild and crazy as I look in the photo and I give zero fucks about what people think of me. I’m not glamorous, I hate wearing makeup and I never miss an opportunity to enjoy life because it is too damn short not to.
I LOVE and am incredibly proud of my culture and it is important to me that my children, although being raised in the UK, are educated about their roots. My culture defines me and is truly an expression of who I really am.
I will end by saying this:
I am the daughter of Patrick and Claire, wife of Jamie, mother of Yanice, Yiethan and Yelena. But before all that, I am Nikisha. A person, a woman with needs, wants, desires and aspirations. A person and a woman with feelings; emotions; opinions and ambitions. With a career; hopes; dreams and goals. With intellect; skills; talents and so much love to give.
I use these tools to be the best daughter, wife and mother I can be but before I can do all that, I must just be ME!