A Dilation of Toke Makinwa's 'On Becoming'
“To become, I must shed it all. – Toke Makinwa.
Hey guys, happy weekend. . . trust you’re enjoying it;). Today I bring you a review. . .nope, a dilation thats the way I like to call it??
This is one book I was a little bit more than hesitant to review and the reasons being that so many people have had a lot to say about this book up to celebrity singers and writers and then I felt like what right do I have to see things differently when almost everyone is seeing things this way and that way. Nonetheless, I decided to.
Things you must know before you read this post is that;
1. You don’t have to buy my point.
2. I really do not place so much emphasis on what many people think the primary or secondary reasons of Toke were for writing this book like I do care about the message. There are so many opinions about why Toke wrote this book. I’ve read stuffs like cashing out on her story like a Nigerian Kardashian that she is, to destroy Maje Ayida, to expose her foolery to the world, etc. Why is this story a must tell? . . . To explain her side of the story? To inspire and encourage others not to make the same mistakes she made and to remind them they are more than enough? To play the victim card? To put Maje on a blast? Was that her yielding to the prophecy and instruction given by God to write? This is for her to answer and is for everyone who read the book to decide, whatever that suits you! But for me, I guess I understood the purpose of this book.
3. This book is very personal to me. I have read more memoirs in my life than I have read manufactured stories and I can say out of all those books, this is the third book I did take personal. At a point, I got tired of trying to leave comments on posts regarding this book because I felt like each time I leave a comment, people still don’t get it and I tend to look like mumu because the truth will always remain that people will continue to see things from the angle they’ve experienced.
4. This is going to be a post not focused on irrelevancies like the cost of the book, or the seemingly too much details she revealed, why making caps and shirts, etc. . . not my business.
5. And probably this is not your usual type of review. . . thank God my caption didn’t say review.
Now shall we;
I am not reviewing this book as a literary piece ‘cos there is absolutely nothing literary about it and I won’t be calling it a spiritual piece either but I think I feel comfortable calling it a celebrity memoir aiming at inspiring and educating.
As a young lady who has journeyed, had her fair share of life experiences and have made mistakes and still prone to, I know better than to judge a woman making herself vulnerable through the pages of her book and also becoming herself. I have spent the past couple of days reading, digesting, regurgitating and spitting comments of people about this book. Still, I need not to recheck if the reason I was feeling different is because I was trying to imagine something different about the book or because I happened to share my birth date with this Best Selling Author. Then I thought, what were some people thinking? This is not a Joyce Meyer, Kimberly Porter, Heather Lindsey, Sarah Jakes or Adara Butler’s book. ‘Cos I think some people were expecting to see such degree in Toke’s book. We are all called differently to function in purpose by telling our story in different capacities. That is why I couldn’t have imagined a better way for her to write the book. I wasn’t disappointed.
About the Author
Toke Makinwa a.k.a. Tokstarr, Morning Rose is a Nigerian OAP on Rhythm FM Lagos and a co-host on Moments on Ebony Life TV. She’s one of the most controversial Nigeria Celebrities, a very hardworking mediapreneur and fashion slayer. Last year, she was a topic for discussion as her marriage of one year to her beau of 13 years, Maje Ayida came crumbling within a year amidst infidelity and pregnant ex-girlfriend scandal. She moved on from the relationship which she had never spoken about until now in her debut book which she released 28th November, 2016.
“We didn’t like Ruth very much; she reported our every infraction to our parents. Grace was nicer. My mum needed two helps because things had gotten very busy for her with her business. Ruth and Grace used to take alternate weekends off. Unknown to my mum, a rivalry had developed between the two women and they stopped talking to each other. This was why one of them wasn’t aware when the gas cylinder developed a leak, because one failed to tell the other.”
On Becoming is a 14-chaptered book that narrated the story of a death-stolen childhood as Toke watched her parents’ burn in a gas-ignited fire accident at their home due to malice between their two house helps, Grace and Ruth. This event which finally led to their death became the bedrock of all that followed from a dragging academic life, reckless living and lassitude towards some things. She tried to find a fix in different things and relationships which led to her 13 years relationship and one year marriage with her estranged husband. This fix consequently led to more damages, pain, abused dignity and a chronic loss of self-esteem till she came to a melting point that led to another turning point as she took solace in God, struggled with letting go and finally facing her fears as she took the divorce option, dealt with letting go and journeyed to wholeness.
True that the bone of contention was her marriage; how it crashed within a year and the reason for the crash but she took us through a chapter of her growing up, 12 chapters dedicated to the details of her relationship and one chapter about the other woman and another chapter that really addressed the crux of the book! But to really understand her journey to become, all those chapters were very necessary maybe not so detailed.
I’ve read so many analyses and I just think this book is more than the breakdown so many are giving it. I am not trying to defend Toke or speak for her but I think until you find yourself in a particular situation, you don’t have a right to judge the choices made by that person. It is easy to watch from afar and make conclusions but trust me, you ain’t gonna make a better choice if you were there. This is a case of severe battered self-esteem and bottled pain from the past that led to holding on to wrong love, believing you couldn’t find better and unnecessary determination to make it work even though it’s hurting you.
Why didn’t she leave? Why did she continue to use the cream afterwards? The society always blames everything on the woman, what about the man, he is a beast, heartless. . . If the lady’s pregnancy hadn’t become a public thing, would she have left? When she knew she was going through all those things, why was she advising people to do what she couldn’t bring herself to do?
Someone said she chose love over wisdom. Dysfunction has a way of presenting itself as love. Toke didn’t choose love, she chose dysfunction over herself. She was stuck, the more reason she couldn’t leave even though she was having all those green lights both left, right and centre. She just couldn’t walk away, after all these years? Where would she start from? These are the lies the devil keeps bringing. Bad relationships have a way of making you feel weak. You love this person and you wanna believe so much that they’d change if you keep giving them chances over and over again that you refuse to see how much it has sagged you and how little by little, it has gone from love to dysfunction.
Love shouldn’t hurt but love hurts only when it’s one sided. You keep doing all the loving and the other person treats you like being with you is doing you a favour and in all of these things that you know, you still couldn’t bear to see yourself leave. Maybe with time, he’d see me. . . maybe he’d come around with time and why you keep staying you’d never seem to understand. That’s why she kept holding on even when everybody wasn’t a fan of that relationship.
She loved up. Ignored her instincts, her dreams, the witty sayings from Maje’s mum and advice from my his sister ‘cos she didn’t feel good enough and she just wanna keep seeing the good in the man. She never felt good; you see yourself through the reflection of the other person. The more reason she was willing to put herself in harm’s way, bleaching her skin and begging to know if it was all about the sex styles, she was willing to learn, including accepting to make a sex tape.
One thing I’ve learnt in life is that stop seeing the good in people all the time if you are becoming the victim of the bad you ignored over and over again.
Loving him was wrong but she didn’t care because she never loved herself too. It was all about him and little about her. Heather Lindsey would always say, it’s not in your place to change somebody. Don’t make yourself an altar of sacrifice for a man. You’re not God; you’re not the Holy Spirit that convicts and changes.
Why didn’t she leave?
I bet she had asked herself this question over and over. At the end, you realize everything was hinged on low self-esteem. You will never understand something you’ve never experienced and I don’t pray anybody do, ‘cos it’s not a sweet one.
Why did she continue to use the cream afterwards? Did Maje put a gun to her head?
When did the relationship end that’s now about why didn’t she stop! What’s the point in this question I asked myself. She was never gonna get back her original skin colour, she has no choice but to maintain the one she has now. And no, he didn’t put a gun to her head, she was just going through a cycle of dysfunctional relationship that she was willing to do the unbelievable to win him; please herself to displease him.
The society always blames everything on the woman, what about the man, he is a beast, heartless. . .
This has nothing to do with how the society views women. One of the things I’ve learnt in my journey is that admittance comes most times with having to deal with a higher percentage of the blame if not all. She allowed it, that she didn’t deny. So don’t let us make this about the society blaming her. No one is lauding Maje Ayida and the point of the book was never to name-call anyone but Nigerians, we care so much about the gossip that we wanna name call and blame all the way cos truthfully, I don’t even care about the guy, what he had done, he had done! I think we are the ones even making this book so much about him. She had accepted all that she needed to, let us leave two adults to live in peace and pick the lessons we find worthy in the book. . . We don’t always need to have a say all the time. The purpose wasn’t for us to analyse but to learn something.
If the lady’s pregnancy hadn’t become a public thing, would she have left?
Probably not or maybe she would have. But there is something they call the last straw or last nerve. . . it has a way of giving you back the sense you lost along the way. It’s always the point where everything changes.
When she knew she was going through all those things, why was she advising people to do what she couldn’t bring herself to do?
Yes, that wasn’t fair but there is something I always say, that in all those pains you can still find time to edify! *my quote* lol. . . Maybe while she was doing it she wasn’t even doing it knowing she was edifying others but probably keeping appearances and trying to be sane yet I know some people were helped by it. She wasn’t sincere with her process and that is okay but sometimes you find it so difficult to apply the same advice you give to people in your own situation but the truth is one day, you will have to take that advice and that day actually really came for her.
I know there’s no justification for selling a lie, having her vlogger family believe she had the dream marriage when she didn’t, still it’s the same way there’s no purpose in if only, why didn’t she. . . Why waste your energy trying to justify a past she already took responsibility? T. D. Jakes says, in our pain there’s a purpose and in our mess there’s a message and God did it with her and the point is, if He did it before, He can do it again.
Truthfully, most times I don’t understand her, especially when she released that video about Things you do in your 20s and 30s. . . cos you can’t be kind of a Christian and kind of wordly at the same time still, it’s not in our place to write people off! You have no idea what God wants to do with them. . . Sometimes I don’t understand myself, the same some of us don’t do too at times, but the truth is if we are supposed to understand people before we love them, half of the world is gonna remain unloved. We are all a work in progress hoping to see what our finished product looks like and we don’t grow at the same rate either. Let us stop with the castigating, name-calling, shaming and trying to rewrite a story that has been played out but you can change how it plays out in yours or someone you know’s if only you focus on the message and stop trying to read meanings into it or expect Maje’s book. . . like some people were asking Maje if it was true she gave Toke STI. . . Haba!
Favourites from the Book:
1. My favourite chapter was Chapter 14 titled Healing. There’s that point where you come to a place of admittance, acceptance and sincerity towards yourself. Your faults, mistakes, choices, take responsibilities for your part which sometimes happen to be more on your side, deal with regrets, how unchangeable the past is, how unpredictable the future is but still you trust God; this is the stage where you deal with the why, how, what. . . no more running, no more denial, forgiving self and the other parties, letting go and letting God.
2. I love the writing style. Simple and engaging.
3. Quotes at the beginning of each chapter.
3. I love the metaphoric significance of the of Chapter 10 which was the only Chapter with Toke’s quote. The message is encoded in that quote.
There was something about the tenses I didn’t quite understand especially in the first chapter.
I know that 99.9% of readers read the book to satisfy their curiosity in different forms it took and had also successfully came up with our interpretation of the book, I hope whatever aim she had releasing this book will be achieved and yea, I do know how it feels like to still have some residue left in there but I trust God to make it all go away like it never happened. Finally, I know this book is gonna be useful to anyone who truly needs the message in it.
I read she’s preparing for her 2nd and 3rd book. Thank you Toke for sharing your story with us. I pray everything she’s lost in her valley experience God will restore in a trillion folds and I hope your life will always be one that speaks God and shows godliness and I hope you heal totally and truly be yourself in God.
Have a nice read!!! This book is available everywhere in hardcover, paperback and eBook.
Till I come your way again, don’t stop becoming bold, strong, daring, fearless and the best version of yourselves in God!?
Judge miles only if you’ve walked them. ~ Ibukunwrites.