Interview with Ibitola Ojoye-Adebayo

Can we meet you ma?
Well I’m a UK based International multi-award winning author of best-selling books: ‘Acceptance’ & ‘Acceptance: Into the Darkness’ which are a series of fictional stories. I am a graduate of the University of Portsmouth with a BSc in Pharmacology. My genre of writing is Contemporary Romance with a twist which is a portal into my mind and soul. Sparked with a passion for gothic horror, mystery and romance novels; my top writing influences include Virginia Andrews and Stephen King.
I am also a strong woman coming from a family line of strong and inspirational women. I am a mother of three beautiful girls and I campaign strongly for the girl-child. One of the best ways in which I am able to do this is through my stories. My writing is my voice. A way for me to speak out on issues surrounding us as human beings each and every day.

Ma’am you are looking gorgeous. What designers are you putting on?
My dress is from Warehouse and my accessories from Pieces with Luv.

What inspires/influences your choice of wears?
I have always loved the fact that when you dress better, you look better, and you feel better too. I would describe my style as an outlet for who I am. I would say that it tends to be feminine and ladylike very chic. I tend to always go for the European classic look on the red-carpet.

What cologne are you wearing?
At the moment I am wearing Fashion designer Narciso Rodriguezs latest perfume ‘Narcisco’ for her. I find it sexy, smooth, intoxicating and beautiful! I can’t get enough! It’s creamy and musky! It’s dreamy! Projection is good but not offensive. It also has a slight powdery note! I love it!

What inspired you to write the book “My Name is Lizzy Adams “?
I campaign strongly for the girl-child and one of the best ways in which I am able to do this is through my stories. My writing is my voice. A way to speak out on issues surrounding us as human beings each and everyday.
This ambition consequently birthed my up-coming book, ‘MY NAME IS LIZZY ADAMS’ which is the introductory part of the Lizzy Adams Boarding Mysteries series; a young adult fictional novel which is due to be launched 16 December 2016. This new book also gave birth to my new initiative ‘THE LIZZY ADAMS Brand.’
My mission is to change mind-sets that have long-prevented girls from pursuing their dreams. My aim is for the girl-child to her their full potential and live her best life story. The ‘Lizzy Adams’ platform aims to empower the girl-child by directing them through the path that would empower and inspire them to becoming the very best at their chosen career paths.

What should every woman try at least once in her life?
You shouldn’t be afraid to have dreams and aspirations, so be bold and make a list of yours. Then you can start to plan for your future and set your targets and that way, you’ll have something to aim for.

What brings you the greatest joy?
There are several things that bring me joy.
Firstly knowing I’ve added value to the people around me is ultimately what brings me joy. Writing is another thing as I love thinking about new ideas, studying the issue, doing whatever research may be necessary and then crafting the sentences and arranging the ideas in some kind of sequence that makes sense to me. I love the process I go through. I just love learning and gaining new insights. I get a lot of “ Eureka” moments. I just deeply enjoy those light bulb, sudden realization moments. Finally my Kids, I love when they make up why did the chicken cross the road jokes that don’t make sense, and they laugh hysterically as though they did.

What brings you the greatest satisfaction?
Knowing that I have made a difference in the life of a child

What is the best advice you’ve been given?
If at any time you come across someone in either your personal or professional life who is causing problems or headaches for you, make a conscious decision the next time you come across them to stop worrying about them, and let them worry about you.

Who do you follow on Instagram?
Errrm a lot of people.

What is on your bookshelf?
I have numerous books on my bookshelf. But my latest addition would have to be The Game of throne books by R.R Martin.

What charity do you support?
I know a lot of people donate to charity based on something that has personally touched their lives. Make A Wish Foundation is the one that is close to my heart as the stories I heard touched me so much that I just had to start supporting that cause

What is on your bucket list?
Learning a new language is never easy but it’s so satisfying when you are able to converse with someone in a foreign language! I admire people who are multi-lingual

What is on your annual to-do list?
Do my Annual Financial Check-up and Setup New Financial Goals

What are the last three items on your credit card statement?
I don’t use credit cards

What item in your closet do you wear the most?
That will have to be my Blue Donna Karan skirt. I find it very versatile as it can be worn with so many items. I also love the supreme quality it’s made from and it also keeps it shape..

Who are your heroes?
My parents as they sacrificed a lot for my sibling and I. They taught me that hard labour pays off and that life sucks but it goes on.

Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
So tough to narrow it down.
My Top 6 would be because
-George R.R Martin
-Dave Chappelle
– Albert Einstein
– Richard Branson
-Superman
-Vin Diesel
I think they all would engender an amazing dinner conversation.

What quote do you live by?
“Whatever you do, be different” – that is the life quote I got from my mother and I find it one to live by, “if you’re different, you will stand out.” She always says.

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
Blessings of simple human kindness have meant more to me than any other gift

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That I wanted to go into acting and I have been an extra on several dramas.

What is your beauty secret?
My favourite look is just wispy, not too heavy. What I don’t try to do, no matter how late I get in or how tired, is try not to sleep with the makeup on. It does happen sometimes, but I try not to. Neutrogena makeup wipes works wonders and I just try to really wash my face and put like a moisturizer on before I go to bed.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
People will see things in you that they want, that they wish they were, or things in you about themselves that they hate and project it off on you.
All of these things lead to people hating others, and naturally becoming some sort of shining light leads people who have something within themselves that they need to let go of want to unload that issue off on you.
In Line of this you can grow more from your enemies than you can from most of life’s other experiences. Compassion, patience, and understanding are all qualities that are tested and therefore can be developed by experiences with our enemies, and these are some of the most valuable qualities a person can develop.

What advice would you give to young people who want to become like you?
“Be yourself, and have confidence in who you are. We all have self-doubts from time to time. Our confidence is shaken. We lack the faith in our talents and skills to launch a new initiative. Having someone believe in you is priceless.”

What was it like to write for public viewing for the first time?
But it’s a scary thing to share ones work for the first time. It left me feeling exposed and vulnerable. But I am thankful I didn’t stop.

What sort of practice do you need to come this far?
Working night and day, including weekends, for a long time to the annoyance of your friends and family. My belief is if you aren’t willing to dedicate the time, stop.

I realised also having a good plan and goals, being tough wasn’t enough. One must be willing to give everything. To me, being determined is a perspective.

My interest in learning not only how things work but also how to do better is one of my greatest assets. I recognized that what I don’t know is almost as important as what I do know. I am always willing to seek out opinions from multiple sources. To me knowledge is king.

What is on your nightstand?
On top of my nightstand I have a lamp, TV remote, radio/alarm clock and The Feast of Crows; the fourth of seven planned novels in the epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire by American author George R. R. Martin.

What is your greatest indulgence?
Having a shower by myself with no-one trying to jump in with me or asking me for something or any interruption at all.

Thanks for your time ma’am.

Unapologetically Plus & Proud

Okay, so this is a very sensitive issue that I’m going to get off my chest. It has been said that one can never fully understand a situation unless one has been there before. That is why understanding people are mostly those people who have been through the most trying times and somehow managed to survive.
On this note, I am going to address a rather obvious and also sensitive issue that concerns me a lot. Issues that I let affect me unnecessarily for too long.

I was born normal. Just like the rest of you, I was born with my body having all the features that it took for society to pronounce me normal. Yet, where I come from, society dictates who is normal and who isn’t, regardless of how big your abstract passions are.

So, because I was born normal society expected me to not only grow up and act normal but to also LOOK normal. Yes, you have to look normal so as to not make the other “normal” people feel uncomfortable. Interestingly, the ability to look normal naturally is not within a human being’s power most times.

Unfortunately for society, I was destined to be different in a big way. Of course, I acted normal, but I did not “look” normal therefore that constituted a rather BIG problem (pun intended). You might ask, what was abnormal about me? I will tell you. It’s my weight. Yes, I was not only overweight; society described me as being obese and made it sound like I was dying or something worse. In retrospect, I think it would have been better if it seemed like I was dying because then at least people would have looked upon me with softer eyes and offered comforting words, rather than the uncomfortable stares and gossipy-murmurs I grew accustomed to.

Everywhere I turned from the time I was little, society was telling me how much I have failed in my efforts to be a normal person. Magazines did not stop telling me what I needed to look like to be socially accepted; in fact, all forms of social media never grew tired of reminding me on a daily how much of a big disappointment I let myself become to society.

Speaking of letting myself become a disappointment, it’s interesting to note that I did not choose this nature. I doubt if anybody really has a choice of how they were created. I imagine if we all had a choice on how we wished to be created, what a perfect (or not) world we would have today.

I know at this point some rather insensitive, insisting and annoyingly quick-to-reply-rather-than-understand people will start with all that “With the right effort you can change” campaign but listen guys I don’t want to hear all that poop right now. For years and years I have listened and tried so for once, instead of all that forcefulness how about you just adapt to me instead and let me be.

The amazing part is that people can be so insensitive… like the really don’t have any clue that they are talking to a person with feelings. That is why I respect fat people because in getting such thickness they also had to harden their hearts and sometimes minds to such insensitive “societal normal” people who think that they are better than everybody else and deserve better just because they were lucky enough to be born with good genes and a faster metabolism. But I digress.

For over two decades on this earth, I spent a lot of time accepting the fact that I was and probably always would be the biggest among my peers at every stage in my life. I spent a lot of time enduring the laughter and names people threw at me every time I walked past. It made me feel inferior and even less than a disgraced criminal or a third class citizen. I felt like I did not deserve good things.

Whenever a man decided-yes, DECIDED to ask me out, I was expected to jump at the offer because he was obviously doing me a favour by asking me out instead of all those slimmer girls I thought were better than me. Some men would say, “Unlike many men I prefer chubby girls” and look at you as if you should now give them a national award for even considering “chubby girls”.

I am a Libra, but I hated looking at myself in the mirror because society made me feel sorry for being me. I would gather courage to stand naked in front of the mirror and my reflection would look back at me and say; “You do not deserve to be happy for being this way. You should be sad and depressed. In fact, you should just take your own life and relieve society of having to deal with the discomfort your presence brings”. And I would cry: sometimes within me and other times the tears would overflow from my heart and escape to the surface to come pouring out of my eyes.

Then one day, something changed.
I cannot completely explain it but it is similar to that saying that goes, “When you sink so low to the point that you hit rock-bottom, you suddenly realize that you have no choice and nowhere else to go but up”.

I realized that despite my Stand-out size, I am flexible; I have a good working brain; I have no terminal illness; my limbs are complete; I have a large warm heart.
Therefore, I also deserve some really good love, a happy & fulfilling relationship because I can give back quality love in equal and even higher force; I am strong. I can take a lot and not feel let down. I have a wonderful family that loves me. I have a plan to make my parents proud and so help me God I plan to follow through on that.

This write up is not a cliché. If it was I would be talking about how much of a strong, independent woman I am who doesn’t need a man in her life to make her happy. While I do respect this category of women, I understand that I DO need love in my life because I know the power of love and its wonderful effects. After all, I have seen its impact on my life since I realized my great, big worth and decided to love myself. Don’t get me wrong.

If I could shed some weight, trust me, I would; BUT not for the wrong reason of simply being socially acceptable.
I am not on a big bold and beautiful campaign, neither am I on a bitter rampage, no.

This is simply an amazing fat young lady who is unapologetic about the body she was created with; a lady who has dreams just like the rest of you; a lady who has stopped caring about that standard of society.

Here I stand, unapologetically fat, because my fat does not give you a right to insult me. Therefore, why should you use it to define me or my abilities?
Here I stand, unapologetically fat because my happiness depends on me and the last time I checked, there was never a prize for being socially accepted.
Rather, history only remembers those who stood out and guess what: THEY STOOD OUT WITH NO APOLOGIES TOO.
©Racheal Dangiwa (2017).