My name is Tosin Akande. I have an interesting life…I think. Perhaps, it is not an interesting life as much as it is mine. I am the ever evolving equation to an unknown product. I don’t mount myself to much. I am just a girl with God and heart and love and words and passion and ideas and tenacity and life.
I like to believe, I have a lot to offer, but sometimes I think the best thing I have to give is my story. I don’t like secrets; they only lead to condemnation. For the greater part of my personal life (life outside of basic parental instruction) condemnation presented itself as a theme to my perpetual pity party.
I come from an astounding family. My older sister is brilliant beyond measure. She has excelled in her academic career from elementary school to a master’s degree. She was and is and will be constantly applauded for her plastic and concrete approaches to life. My younger brother, he is lovable. From the moment God blessed the earth with his presence (which was six days before my 4th birthday), he has been well loved by many people. It may be the Colgate smile or the “swag”, but he is lovable. I, however, early on in life caught myself in the middle of an identity crisis. I was not astounding in any sort of way. I often tucked myself in the shadows of inadequacy. I was smart, but an A/B average didn’t seem special with a sister who made all A’s. I was liked, but no one ever seemed to take a vested interest in me. Why would they though? At a young age, I met condemnation. You do not fit in. You are different. You are not welcome here, because you are not the same.
Those three phrases, planted little seeds in my heart. My condemnation spread from my home eventually to church. The youth ministry was vibrant. It was a gift of God. I was able to see my sister becoming more and more involved. I was falling to the wayside, but not so much to the wayside. I was falling to my sister’s side. Everything she did. I did. Sometimes it was out of convenience other times I don’t think people considered how individual my sister and me are. My sister is pragmatic and analytically logical in work. I am relational and holistically concerned in work. She does facts. I do feelings. So, when people placed me in administrative jobs, I felt like they didn’t know what they were doing. Worse than that, what was simply a reasonable assumption became a personal attack. Condemnation arose again. You have no personal identity. You cannot be yourself. No one cares to know who you are.
Condemnation is gripping. It grips at your very spirit and halts any breathe of life from occurring. Condemnation is life threatening in early adolescence. Those messages of hate constantly played in my head. I were the first and last thing I heard every day for years. In a time period where I was already being fat and tall and having short hair, I was condemned by the enemy. Eventually, I became tiresome and began condemning myself. Heavy with grief and the knowledge that I deserved death, I began simply contemplating…death. The noise in my head couldn’t have been any louder, and if I was gone it wouldn’t matter. I didn’t stand out enough to be and obstruction or of usage. I was a coward. I couldn’t kill myself. Losing all hope, I indulged in any manner of sin. My life had no meaning or purpose. Note this though, sin atop of condemnation equals more condemnation. You do not feel better. You do not feel nothing. You feel sick. You are sick, a sin seed has spread throughout your spirit like cancer.
Yet, there was grace and there was Christ. There was hope and there was life. I cannot give this cinema moment where my whole life changed and I never felt condemned. However, sometime in 2008, I began searching for something better than condemnation. I didn’t care so much about acceptance, as much as I did to silence such hateful voices.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus. -Romans 8:1
For some people it means no hell, and they are not wrong. For me it means that there are no voices contesting my value, my purpose, and my life. It meant silence. It means peace.