Toke Makinwa is a woman I greatly admire from afar. With all the storms that have come her way, she has managed to keep her head up high, look her best, and still smile. And this Saturday, she is adding the feather of philanthropist to her already full cap, by hosting the On Becoming Campaign #Imusthavemyown, where she will be giving out grants to 50 people.
One woman, multiple feathers: On Air Personality, TV Presenter, Philanthropist, Author, Vlogger, Actress…
And from watching Toke, there is definitely more to come!
So for today’s throwback, we are going back to our December 2016 interview, where Toke let into story behind On Becoming, her best selling memoir.
Enjoy an excerpt from the interview.
The title of your book is On Becoming and you’ve mentioned that there were a lot of spiritual elements involved in bringing the book to life. Could you elaborate on that as well as the writing process?
Every year, I would ask God, ‘what are we going to do this year?’ In the beginning of 1015, I got a word that I was going to write a book and I kept arguing with myself: ‘Is your mind running wild or is this the voice of God?’ I never really saw myself writing a book. I wish I could sit here and say it was in the plan, but it wasn’t. Even when the word came to me, I pushed it to the side. Every single time I tried to play it under, there was always a sign. There was always something that would come to me. There was always someone who would reach out to me and say. ‘When are you going to write your book?’
Three months later in March/April, I got an email from someone who watches the Vlog and the person said to me, ‘I’ve been watching your vlog and I have a business proposition for you. I would really like to meet with you.’ So, she came to my office and asked if I had ever thought of writing a book, how you have Steve Harvey’s Think Like A Man, Act Like A Lady because I had a relationship vlog whose topics we could turn into a self-help book.
It was a good idea, there was nothing wrong with it, but then I thought that if I was going to do something like this, it had to come from a genuine place – not like that wasn’t genuine enough, I didn’t have any problems selling that, but I still wasn’t convinced. I said I would get back to her and I was driving home when that word came to me that this was the second time, but I was still stubborn – Jonah and the whale – I was still like ‘yeah, whatever, I’ll think about this book.’ I went away to work for a while.
I was in Paris and so many things had happened to me on that trip (which you will find out when you buy the book). I got back from Paris and the month of June rolled in and June 10th was when everything happened. The news of the break-up broke out. It was a Saturday night; everyone was going to read the story of my life/
The truth of the matter is after that happened, the voice came to me when I was lying in my bed, after one of those nights that I’d cried until the next morning and said to me that ‘When I told you that you were going to write a book, the biggest challenge was that you had no content… there you go, now there is content.’ I said: ‘Lord, how do I write about this? This is embarrassing. I’m still trying to survive, Lord.’
What makes On Becoming Special?
On Becoming is my gift to the world, per se. This is a book of acceptance because it is my new normal. It happened. There is no hiding behind the curtains and trying to act like it didn’t happen.
With this book, I’ve been able to share my own experiences in the hope that someone somewhere would read it and if you are in that sort of situation, it’s not the end of the world. Get used to it, accept that it happened. There is always a silver lining, look for it.
It’s one of those books that leave you assessing your life and also wanting to make changes for the better, regardless. It’s not about my marriage, per se, of course, my marriage was talked about, but it it’s the story of a young girl who had had life throw challenges at her and has learned to deal with them. What is life without our struggles at the end of the day? I would say my book is my journey to purpose and strength because I feel even when I did not know I was strong, I had been dealing with a lot of things. I would say my purpose was more defined.
It’s also the perfect Christmas gift. I think mothers should but it for their daughters. I feel like a lot of parents need to read it to understand that times have really changed. I’m not completely throwing out the advice of the grey hairs because what an adult can see sitting down, a child cant see standing up on a tree. This is not a book where because Toke’s marriage didn’t work out, I’m telling women out there to leave their homes. This is a book of frankness, raw honesty, and acceptance. It’s not the end of the world. If you can salvage it, then by all means, do.
What impact do you think your book will have on anyone who reads it?
I’m hoping that a lot of people will speak out more on the issue of marriage. I think that’s where a lot of people get it wrong. It is a wrong idea that the moment anyone is struggling in marriage, it means you have a bad marriage. We all struggle. We’re human beings. Why is it okay for people to know you are struggling at work, but when it comes to marriage, you have to paint this picture perfect world?
I think the deceit is what makes people jump into marriage, thinking that its going to holding hands for the rest of their lives, a walk in the park and when they don’t see that, they think: ‘Oh my, I have a bad marriage’, and then you’re told in Africa that you don’t even tell your sister, you don’t tell anyone; you keep quiet, you keep it to yourself and pray until your knees turn black. I wish a lot more religious houses in terms of churches and mosques did more. People don’t share because they’ve told them that God hates divorce and if you divorce, you cant remarry or you die. My answer to that is God doesn’t hate anyone. He doesn’t like separation, but I am yet to find someone suffer because he or she left a situation that wasn’t good for them.