Kovie is my person. There a few things I would not do for this girl. She has a massive heart and is one of the bravest people I know. I’m very happy you guys get to read some of the stuff in her heart. As usual, quotes from me are in italics.
1. What does your name mean to you?
This one is for me a reminder that I am my own person. After years of struggling with my identity, I finally chose to be called my middle name, not only for it’s meaning but also because I felt like it defined me more. It was the change I needed at the time and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Plus, it’s not a very common name, so there’s that.
2. What’s your favorite childhood memory(ies)?
There aren’t a lot of specifics about my childhood I remember, but this one memory is vivid. My father lived in another town and would occasionally visit for a couple of days. These visits were few and far between and were usually unannounced. I remember one morning, I was about 7 or 8, he showed up just as we were about to leave for school. Of course, I was really excited and didn’t want to leave for school because I wasn’t sure if he’d be home when I got back. He offered to drive me to school. That was all the convincing I needed. He dropped me off at school and gave me lunch money that was at least five times more than what I’d usually get from my mother.
I remember my mother being very upset with me that day because I’d spent way more than I was supposed to. I remember not feeling bad about that because for once, I too could share stories with my friends about things my father said on the drive to school. I spent most of that money buying things for classmates that day. I had a “daddy story” and I wanted to share it with anyone who’d listen even if I had to earn your attention with a pack of biscuits.
It’s the only time my dad has ever given me a ride. It’s the only time we’ve ever been alone together in a car, no siblings, no driver, just the two of us.
3. What is the unique thing about growing up female and Nigerian?
There are certain expectations society demands of us as women in Nigeria. Never mind that those may not be what you want for yourself. You should be married by a certain age. You should have children or at least want them. You should make money, but not too much, you don’t want to scare the men away. You can go to school, have a degree, maybe even a second degree, but no PhD until you’ve bagged a man. And on and on… Society expects us to be moldable; building our lives around the men in them. No concrete beliefs beyond that of your parents. And eventually, those of your husband. You should go from being a daughter to being a wife. Never your own person. Never that.
4. How have you tackled any of these unique challenges?
Maybe being raised by a woman played a role in this, but I’ve never felt like I had to bend and break in order to conform. My mother is mostly conservative, still I’ve always been given the opportunity to choose and decide for myself, even though I didn’t begin to utilize this privilege until much later.
I think knowing that I have the support of my immediate family makes it really easy to go against the grain. I can be free spirited without necessarily feeling rebellious.
5. What do you do professionally at the moment and why do you do it?
I’m currently in Art Management, working freelance as a curator. Why do I do it? Interest, mostly.
6. What was your trajectory? How did you get to this point?
I studied law, but knew from my fourth year in uni that I wasn’t going to practice. I knew I wanted to do something in the creative arts, but wasn’t sure what. Over the years, I’ve dabbled in a number of things and as soon as I realized I could have a career in Art Management, I pursued it. I think of myself as a Multipotentialite (as described by Emilie Wapnick) so there are quite a number of things I’m interested in. Currently working on making space for these expressions.
Like someone said, there are so many ways to live. Figuring out what suits me best is half the fun.
7. What are you passionate about? (cringe)
Haha! I never know how to answer this. Creative Arts? In a plethora of expressions, but primarily music, writing and visual arts.
Faith – as a journey, for me and for others.
And child welfare. Because children should be raised in loving homes. Adoption anyone?
Me!!! Can you talk a little bit more about adoption and your reasons behind it?
It breaks my heart knowing that there are children who have never (and will never) know what it means to live with a family through no fault of their own. I’m not entirely keen on bringing more children into the world when there are many who need love and care around us. While it’s great that there are institutions to take children off the streets, it’s important these children do not spend their entire lives in institutional homes. There isn’t much of an adoption/fostering culture in this part of the world and I’m hoping that changes soon. I want to play my part. If it came down to a choice between birthing biological children and adoption, adoption would win for me every time!
I’m glad there’s someone else who thinks like me.
8. What are three lessons you’ve learned in the past year?
Doubt can be a good thing. I’ve spent the last year questioning a lot of the things I once completely believed in. At first, all of that doubt was so scary. I wasn’t sure what I was, or if I was anything, without my faith. I’ve however come to see that doubt is a good thing. It’s put a lot in perspective for me and I’m once again loving the journey. Of deconstructing and redefining.
It’s not always about the money.
Forgiving myself is a major part of the healing.
9. Are you happy at the moment? What can you do to be happier?
In this moment as I write this, yes. Yes, I am happy. Considering that I haven’t been having the easiest time this year, and plans haven’t exactly worked out as I’d hoped, it’s a little weird. Yes, I could do with a few changes, but I’m genuinely happy for progress, no matter how little. And for where I am in my life now.
10. Who inspires you? Why?
My mother. Because there’s more than one definition of success and from her I’m learning that my journey is uniquely mine.
11. What are you reading at the moment?
Zadie Smith’s NW.
I’ve just been on a Zadie Smith streak myself. Great minds, ey?
12. What would you say to the teenage you?
Enjoy the process. Relax. Calm down. This is not a sprint. Breathe. Explore. Experiment. Notice things. Notice people. Give of yourself. Be generous with your heart. Laugh. Allow yourself be young. Have fun. This is not a competition. Follow your heart. You’ll be alright. More than alright. Forgive; first yourself then others. Friendships are important too.
13. What would you like your future self to remember/ keep about this season of your life?
That it’s okay to question things. That I always have choices. That life can be as simple or as complex as I want it to be. That it’s okay to fumble in the dark sometimes and not always have every single thing figured out… Life’s in the moments.