Who am I?
I am a child of Oduduwa, born from the land of the rising sun.
A product of two clashing cultures, I am the best of both nations.
I am Igbo.
Umu nwaanyi Ani.
Daughter of the earth goddess.
The goddess herself speaks to me.
I feel her power in my blood.
Fertility, creativity, mortality.
Mine to channel, harness, explore.
The souls of ndiichie, my ancestors, cry out from the bowels of Ani.
They whisper words of wisdom, of courage, of inspiration.
Guiding my nightly passage through the spirit world, to the song that precedes my rise into the morning.
They fill my heart with fire, and a determination to surpass every obstacle in my way.
I am Yoruba.
Oke Mesun agbo.
Omo aji la la esho.
Omo aji fi ojo gbogbo dara.
The oriki precedes my daily rise, calling me into the land of the living from my slumber.
Daughter of Adunni Omoboyepe, the princess warrior.
Grand-daughter of Abonike, omo eso Ikoyi.
Obirin to jagun bi ekun.
More cunning than the fox, stealth as a chameleon, with the strength of ten men and the bravery of Moremi.
I am female.
Tall, and strong, with the round buttocks and swaying hips that spell fertility.
A vessel of life.
I wear my femininity proudly, because it is not a disability but an advantage.
My strength lies in what others mistake for weakness.
But I am no ordinary woman, you see.
I do not cower in fear of any challenge.
I bow to no man, for I am not a servant.
Some may call it pride, but I call it self-worth.
A goddess does not bend to the wishes of even a king.
My chi forbids it.
My knees may graze the floor and my head may kiss the ground, only in service of Olodumare, the Creator of heaven and earth.
I am young.
The length of my days stretch out like a blank canvas before me,
Begging to be marked however I wish.
I have time on my side.
One whose eyes have seen from birth what the elders only realize in age.
Yet in the folly of my youth, I sputter these words before they are ripe.
I am imperfect.
For all that I am, I am also deeply flawed, prone to error.
I stumble and fall,
I hurt the ones that I love.
I pile my mistakes high till they become seemingly insurmountable mountains before me.
But even these cannot stop me.
I will rise victorious, taking the hands of those same ones as I go,
Making amends and building bridges.
Kingdoms may rise and fall, but the earth plants my feet strong.
The winds may howl and the waters may rage, but I will not be swayed.
Grafted and charted by Chukwu himself, the Fates cannot change my course.
I am a force beyond nature.
I am Uchechukwu Ani.