“You held my hands and gently helped me unwrap the gifts
With kind words of patience, and dedication and time”
In what seemed like a spur of the moment experiment we (at For Creative Girls) decided to a 2-month mentoring program for female creatives because we deeply understand what it’s like to find it tough to move to a new level in your creative endeavor and strive for mastery.
Barakat got into our mentoring program and was paired with Adebola Rayo as her mentor. Little did we know, how glorious an experience it would be for her. Two months after, as we gradually round off the program for the people who started early, Barakat Denike writes this gorgeous piece for Adebola Rayo and a poem to follow up the piece.
For Adebola Rayo
I used to stalk Rayo’s work and desperately wish that she’d be my friend, but it just seemed so impossible. I’ve read every single thing she has published. It’s that deep. Her writing is everything that I’ve ever wanted mine to be, honest, raw, open and beautiful.
Something in the universe clicked, and I got my wish in the most unexpected way, she became my mentor. It’s honestly one of the best things that have happened to me this year. I’ve struggled a lot with my work. I’m very afraid to write, to put my work out there, and this fear comes in different forms and disguises.
Voices that say I’m not good enough, or that there’s no point. Rayo gave me honest appraisals of my work without implying that I was not in any way good enough. She’s taught me that it’s okay to not be perfect, but what’s not okay is not to try to grow.
‘You need to have confidence in your work’, she said to me during one of our long phone calls. She showed me the reality of what being a writer was. The grueling work that goes on behind the scenes of even the most successful writers. She shared her struggles with me, how even she does not have it all together, and the only way to grow as a writer is to simply just keep writing and telling the stories that I want to tell.
Now I know that even though 1 million people have told the same story, nobody has the power to tell it like I can. The most striking thing she said to me is, ‘Why are you afraid? Nobody can see your work unless you show it to them. So write the things you want to write the way you want to, and then work through the drafts until you have the story you want’.
Rayo gave me many gems, and without meaning to, she taught me how to be vulnerable without being afraid. I’m really really grateful. Time is precious, and Rayo gave me hours of hers. I will never be able to repay her for her kindness and all that she taught me. I only hope that one day, I’m able to pay it forward. I’m writing this to say thank you. For being dedicated to me, for having faith in my work, for being patient with me even when I did not submit my assignments on time. For the amazing coffee date. For taking your time to edit my stories and explaining every edit.
Words are precious and they last forever, so I’m writing you a poem to say thank you. I really hope that we keep being friends after this, and I promise to make you proud.
The path was covered with roads I did not understand
The sky was grey with a hint of sunshine
I held the promise of potential
But I did not have the key to unlock the secrets
Then you came, and suddenly the sky became blue
An unexpected wish come true
You held my hands and gently helped me unwrap the gifts
With kind words of patience, and dedication and time
A chance meeting that has changed my life
Because of you, I have the courage to simply be
And even though I’m still trying to find who are I am, I know that whatever I find
It will be okay to be that person, comfortably and without any apologies
You taught me that fear might try to drown me and my words, but I have the power to raise my head, breathe and speak
Because of you, I know that my voice is unique
I’m glad that you’re alive
Because you’ve made my life better, simply by being
And I hope that now that our souls have found each other, we will create magic forever
Thank you for the most beautiful two months
I hope life brings you joy in the most unexpected ways
That you find friends even on the most lonely roads
That your words remain as beautiful and true as you are
And that you always find faith in despair
Because of you, I have joy in my writing again Rayo, and that’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
You’re a star.