HI, I AM ADEOLA
My name is Adeola; in my language, it means Crown of Wealth. Beautiful name, isn’t it? My father gave me that name and where I come from, a name is something you live. You become it; it becomes you. It took me a whole of 38 years to really understand the importance of my name and now that I do, I wake up to this reality every single day.
I have been through my fair share of trials and challenges and sometimes, I didn’t think I could get through them. So, when I tell you that now, I AM royalty, I AM phenomenal and full of faith in God, it isn’t to be boastful, it’s because I believe it to be true. It’s because one day I woke up and told myself it was time to get up! This is my journey of discovery.
I remember vividly the day he asked me to marry him. We were standing in front of my family home. It was night. He had just spent a few hours visiting my Dad. I walked out to see him and his friend off, and without notice, he got down on one knee and proposed. It was surreal, because barely months before, we had ended our relationship. So, I was ecstatic. I had butterflies in my tummy; my dreams were finally coming true – THIS was the man I wanted to share the rest of my life with.
Have I mentioned that he was a widower, and had 2 kids already? Some people thought I was crazy, but I didn’t care. I was in love and that was more than enough for me. I remember when I spoke of him to my late Dad, he asked, “Why do you want to start off your life with a man who has kids?” I said to him, “Meet him first and if you think he isn’t the right person, then we’ll talk again.” I knew exactly why I pushed for this. You see, my husband was/is exactly like my father. So, when they eventually met and my father said to him, “When am I seeing you again?”, I wasn’t in the least surprised. We had his blessings and all that was left was to set the date.
My wedding day was beautiful. December 5, 2014, was a memorable day. I had the best support from family and friends, the most gorgeous location, and we were surrounded by people who loved us… well, most people who loved us.
I left the singleton life behind and donned on the cap of wife and instant mother and the first thing that hit me within the first month was how much I missed my family. We had grown up as a close-knit bunch and even more so after we lost our eldest sister. I thought about her a lot in those early days because she would have been my first port of call. In her absence, I told myself I had to be brave. I had to pull up my big girl pants and adjust to my new reality – a new family, the in-laws, and the children’s maternal family. But you see, no one is truly prepared for marriage, no one shares their deep stories and experiences about marriage. When you are young, you are sheltered from those realities from the people around you – parents, aunties, and uncles. I realize now that it’s either they don’t want to scare you, or they want you to experience it yourself and bear up as they did. In my case, not only was I unprepared, but I was also totally in the dark about the dynamism of managing a blended family. The diplomacy needed is second to none.
Now, I had read books and watched lots of romance movies; I had listened to songs that spoke of perfect love and the perfect life. I was full of many expectations about what a marriage should be. But with no preparation and only expectations, the fantasies inspired by the love stories from Mills & Boons quickly faded away.
As the marriage started to unravel, my sense of security began to slip away, and then came my decline. I will explain.
I was in completely new terrain. Although I had known my husband for some time, living with him as man and wife was a different game altogether. And then, there were the children. I had met them before we had the official green light and of course, it was important for me to get to know them, to ensure a smooth transition after the wedding. That transition from Aunty Ade to Mum was a learning curve for all of us. There are several relationships you must cultivate and manage in a blended family. In my case, this is the hierarchy: my husband; my stepchildren; my husband’s family; my family; my husband’s in-laws from the previous marriage and my family, who from time to time would have to relate with my husband’s in-laws as well. And just when you think you might be getting the hang of it, along comes your biological child too! Let me borrow English from my favourite politician, Hon Patrick Obahiagbon, “It is all a higgy-hagga of a political parapoism.”
As you can imagine, finding the harmony between all these relationships is a tall order. You don’t want to be seen as favoring your biological child over your stepchildren. You don’t want to be perceived as giving preference to the family members that come calling, and you don’t want to be looked at as an intruder to the children’s former caregivers and maternal grandparents. It was a constant battle for me and naturally, I became very insecure. I felt my every step was under scrutiny and criticism, especially after I had my child. I felt I could never do anything right, and my home became a constant battleground. I had put on a lot of weight after having my baby and I became repulsive to myself. I felt alone and lonely, so, I watched my husband like a hawk. Nothing gave me joy except for my daughter; she was my glimmer of hope.
The marriage didn’t make sense to me anymore and I almost walked out several times. I felt deceived, betrayed, and heartbroken. I lost confidence in myself and I didn’t trust anyone. Now how do you share this deep pain and with whom? I know what you are thinking, “Didn’t I have anyone to turn to?” Well, maybe if my sister were alive? Maybe if my Dad wasn’t ill and my mother wasn’t occupied with looking after him? Maybe if my younger sister was my older sister? Maybe… maybe… maybe… The truth is, there is only so much you can share about your marriage to “outsiders”. As women, we are taught by our mothers and religious leaders to keep our marriage private. Of course, some things I shared with my mother and younger sister, especially when I hit rock bottom, but I wanted to protect my man, protect my home, and in a way, protect myself.
My immediate response to things was fighting! I judged myself and my intentions; I warred with my husband; I distanced myself from my stepchildren, and I lived my worst fear of being labeled “A Wicked Stepmother”.
Nollywood and Hollywood paint a scary picture of stepmothers. They scream too much, or they are stricter on the stepchildren, or they put the needs of their biological children first. But my grandmother had stepchildren of her own and this was not her experience.
So, why did I want to lash out at every point? Why did I want to stamp my own authority and change things to suit me and my ideologies? Where was the support from my husband, who was slaving to build a business and keep a roof above our heads? Why did I attach so much meaning to so many little things? Why was I constantly in attack mode? Because hurt people, Hurt People.
The only other good thing I had going for me at the time, was my job. Or so I thought because that joy too was taken from me. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say I have made my peace with it. Now I had finally hit rock bottom and thank God because now I was faced with only two choices – sink or swim! I had a marriage to rebuild; I had children to love; I had a self to rediscover.
In the middle of fighting depression, I was aware of one thing. I needed help! I spoke to a friend of mine who happens to be a therapist. What’s funny, is that I didn’t ask him to be my therapist. But he invited me to join a meeting, which I did. It was the beginning of a long, tedious but worthy journey to recovery. It was a group of change-makers and thinkers whose purpose and vision was beyond any one individual. I started to change my focus. I met with one of the leaders of the tribe once a day for six months. I talked about everything. My fears, my struggles, my children, my family, the loss of my sister, and the loss of my sense of self. And slowly, I began to gain my power back.
Now, this should be where I tell you that I lived happily ever after but that would be a lie because as I was gaining power, a new problem was arising. Now that I had found my voice, I expressed my God-given right to use it, and I used it unapologetically. I was no longer speaking from a place of fear, doubt, and low self-esteem, but from a place of revenge and refusing to be shut down! I was in beast mode and once again, something had to shift.
One day I stumbled upon a video with Lisa Nichols and Tom Bilyeu that just blew my mind. I started watching more videos of Lisa on YouTube and I knew I had to reach out somehow. When I heard she was starting a course, “The Extraordinary You”, I didn’t even think about the expense. I lunged for it. I knew I had found my way out. One of the most powerful things she said was, “extraordinary people are people who put extra in their ordinary; so, get up, do it scared but keep moving; take action and stay in action for it’s the antidote to success.” My morning had finally started!
As I sit here and write this, I am remembering every painstaking step I have taken in the last two years. I remember every dollar I have spent. I remember the countless hours in front of my screen, on my phone, listening to message after message, constantly reminding me of who I am and whose I am. I remember getting lost in meditation and speaking words of affirmation. I remember the exercises I was instructed to do, painful but rewarding. I remember every wish fulfilled and I am grateful.
People as I keep growing daily, I am excited about my growth and who I am becoming. I am a true example that God exists on earth and that His love is real. I realized that what I needed to get back up wasn’t a physical hand to lift me up, but a connection in my soul to pull me out. The most powerful discovery I made, was that everything we need is within. I owned up to my faults and shortcomings. I stopped asking for permission to be me; I gave the world full notice. I refused to allow my limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, and words to rule me. I enrolled in courses, paid for coaches, attended seminars, conferences, meditated, visualized, prayed, praised, cried, laughed, journaled, scripted, learned how to be still and listen, I did everything I needed to do, to heal and forgive myself and others, from my inside out.
I even went as far as going through Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) created by Marissa Peer. I dove deep into the recess of my mind, seeking who I was and how I became this person, and what I found out was shocking. I almost didn’t want to accept my findings but I knew deep in my heart that I had made the best decision possible for my life. And so, without apology, I turned my crawl into a walk and my walk became a run. My whisper became a roar. I became ready to tap into my greatness, my brilliance, my value, my prosperity, and my God-given abilities. Then, I became open and the opportunities started rolling in.
As my life unfolds daily, I am reminded about how far I have come and I take comfort in the fact that my story is still being written in the most exceptional way. I know we are not perfect, but we have a say in who we become. This is my new reality: If God created me in His image, then I am a co-creator with God. I have the same power HE has, to create. With this newfound liberty, I became much more cautious and sensitive to others. I began to see beyond their faults and actions. I gained a new level of compassion and understanding, and I learned to negotiate the best outcome for all. This changed my life totally; it changed my relationship with myself, my husband, my biological daughter, my stepchildren, my in-laws, my husband’s in-laws, my friends, business associates, and family. I started to live a life of peace and bliss; every aspect of my life transformed.
My relationships, health, wellness, finances, and spirituality, scaled in leaps and bounds. I became joyful and grateful. I had better conversations and my communication became better. I learned to care front and not confront! I became emotionally intelligent, and I didn’t hold anyone or anything else responsible for my happiness anymore. It became my sole responsibility and that was the secret to becoming Adeola, to wearing my crown of wealth again. Today, my life can be summed up in three words, “OWNING MY GREATNESS”.
Does my story resonate with you in any way? Do you feel judged or misjudged, lonely, alone, unseen, unheard, guilty, or victimized? How is your communication within your hierarchical relationships? Do you want to learn how to create healthy boundaries? Are you tired of the constant fighting and battling? Do you want to be and do you and not feel bad? Do you want to scale the four major areas of your life: Wealth/Finances, Health and Wellness, Spirituality, and Relationships? Do you want to feel at peace, appreciated, accepted, noticed, enough, beautiful, heard and understood, exceptional, confident, wealthy, loved, and truly joyful? Then, I ask, how can I support you in becoming the phenomenal woman you truly are without asking for permission? How can I help you establish a turning point? You see, in my journey, I scoured the internet for days looking for a support group in Nigeria, in Africa, and I found none. It seems everyone is left to their own devices to make lemonade from lemons. This is why Owning My Greatness was birthed: to create a safe space for stepmoms in Nigeria.
It is my desire to teach you the same tools I used on my road to recovery. I want you to know that you are not alone. I am still on this journey with you, and as I continue to live out my name, I will teach you how to live up to yours as well. Here’s my promise to you: We will sit, you will Speak; we will Ignite, and you will Shine.
Send me a message and let us start your process to Owning your Greatness. We are discrete and confidential, and we will hold your hands through the entire transformational process as my hands were once held too.
I am Adeola Kingsley-James, and I am Owning My Greatness. What say you?