For the final part of my Women’s history month series, I meditate on discouragement but also on faith. Whilst working on this series, I had the opportunity of speaking to some of the most inspiring young women I know. These ladies have taught me that in the end it’s not about what life throws at you, but it’s about what you make out of your situation.
Will you wallow in denial when rejection comes or will you accept that maybe that wasn’t for you and find what in fact is? What decision are you going to make for you? How are you going to make this better? Most importantly, are you going to let God make this better?
To all my beautiful young women, remember that you are a force to reckon with, a city set upon a hill, absolutely no one and absolutely nothing can dim your light unless you allow it.
You are destined for greatness.
This is the final part of this series and today’s focus is Motunrayo Onafowokan.
Motunrayo Onafowokan is an undergraduate at University of Warwick currently studying PPE. She is the CEO of talesofmyyouth, a youth development organisation and she is also one of Future Leaders 2018/2019 Top 100 UK African Caribbean Students.
What would you say has been one of the most discouraging situations you’ve had to go through?
One would definitely have to be navigating through life when everything I thought was going to happen, didn’t. When I was in sixth form I thought I was going to go to Oxford to study law but to my despair, I got rejected.
I then decided to take a gap year to reapply, just for me to get rejected again. This wasn’t just heartbreaking because it was Oxford but it was heartbreaking because I had set my eyes locked on it and not considered going elsewhere so.
Much more so because I had been believing God for it and I had trusted him and receiving those rejections felt like he had failed and forsaken me.
How were you able to get back on your feet? What steps did you have to take?
I had to trust God and trust that he knew what he was doing. Ultimately I believed that God has great plans for me and that he knows the best path to take me on, to fulfil my purpose and take hold of my destiny. So, I had to let him do that.
In practical terms, this meant that I had to open my heart to other universities and quite frankly also be grateful because due to the rejections, I found a different degree from the one I originally chose which is way more versatile and suited to me than my initial choice.
I had to choose to acknowledge that actually, if all things had gone to plan, I won’t have found my true passion and in fact, I won’t have become the founder of Talesofmyyouth, an organisation that was birthed in the aftermath of my rejections.
Tell me more about talesofmyyouth. How would you introduce it to those who may not know it at all or those who think it’s simply a website.
Talesofmyyouth for now, I will call a community. A community online and a community at each event. It’s a platform where vulnerability is power, where sharing is key and learning is the way.
It’s essentially aimed at letting people know that in this life, they will never be alone because 1) God is with them and for them and 2) There are hosts of people out there, including me that share in their struggles, specifically their struggles in faith.
It aims at equipping everyday girls to deal with their everyday struggles through taking on their armour of Faith, Righteousness, Prayer,
It was birthed from a place of loneliness and despair where I knew that even though I felt lonely, I lost definitely was not alone because I was sure others out there could relate to my struggles , even if they were silent. So, I decided that my voice will be one of the voices that brings light to peoples darkness. It started in 2017 June and has become way more than I thought it would be under the 2 year bracket !
You’ve clearly learnt a lot about resilience in the past few years. What would you say to someone who’s currently on the verge of giving up on their goals?
In the grand scheme of things, is this ( whatever you’re going through) what you want to look back on and say, that was why I gave up ? I don’t think so.
You have life in you, you have purpose in you, vision in you, destiny in you and nothing can derail that except you give it permission to. So, don’t. Keep going, God’s mercies are new everyday so take EACH day as it comes.
One step at a time and before you know it the race is over. You will overcome, this too shall pass and when it does, you’d be glad you didn’t give up.
Who is one woman who you would say has been a big inspiration to you?
As Narcissistic as this might sound, my biggest inspiration is myself. Not because I think I’ve done the most amazing things or have the most amazing achievements but, because I know the battles I fight and it shocks me each day that I keep going.
I am my inspiration simply because I am here , simply because I didn’t give up even when everything in my world pointed in that direction. Facing the struggles that I have over the last year has really inspired me as me, to keep going because if i could get through all that I did even without knowing if it will ever be over then, I can overcome way more than I ever imagined I could.
To keep up with Mo and Talesofmyyouth: