1. My writing career began as something of a dare: I’d always been a voracious reader, but I never actually saw myself writing, talk less of having anything published. I was having a hard time dealing with the struggles of women close to me and poured my heart out to a dear friend. We argued over a few aspects and I told him, in utmost annoyance, that I was going to write about it; he said ‘sure.’ In part, I did it to prove him wrong, but I also really wanted to tell these stories I felt many other women would relate to, and hoped that in reading my writing, they would make different decisions from the ones I knew. Along the way, I discovered the peace that came with writing and haven’t stopped since.

Aiwanose Odafen, Tomorrow I Become A Woman

Aiwanose Odafen, Tomorrow I Become A Woman

2. I’m quite determined: I’ve never been one to take no for an answer. When I was done with working on the draft of my manuscript, I Googled, ‘How to Get Published,’ and spent hours and hours reading on formats, querying, word counts and publishing timelines. During my querying process, I received, in total, about fifty ‘no’s. I kept a list of all of them, wrote a simple ‘Rejected’ in the last column of the table (left the ones that were too painful blank) and kept it pushing until I got a yes. There were, of course, tears and redrafts in between but I firmly believed I would get a yes eventually.

3. I was something of a performer as a child: My parents, particularly my father, was quite set on ensuring that his children were well rounded individuals and signed us up for musical classes, our church choir and several performances. I learned to play the piano, violin and saxophone and found that my name, along with my sisters’, was always included on the church program. I was also, for a while, part of the dance team, even though I’m not that great of a dancer. These days, I keep my performing to the barest minimum.

4. I’m a big Kdrama/Asian drama fan: A little over a decade ago, I was a university student happily strolling along my hostel corridor and a friend invited me to join in a group watch session of a Korean drama. My life hasn’t been the same ever since. I was — and still am—totally taken in by the superb storytelling, cinematography and original soundtracks. Dramas are the only time I turn off my hyperactive brain, relax and just enjoy the show. Most importantly, I usually get a finite number of episodes and never have to think about or impatiently wait for seasons, which is quite pleasing to the overthinker in me.

5. I’m a numbers person: I think in dates, numbers and sequences. My favorite subject in school was always Maths. In secondary school, I took this a step further by joining the Mathematics Olympiad team at my school and winning a few medals in the national competition. I studied Accounting at the university, got chartered with the ACCA, did an MBA and passed my first level exams for the CFA. Yes, in case it wasn’t clear earlier, I really never thought I’d become a writer.

6. I’m really bad at anything that involves using my hands: Whether it’s needle work, doing up a nice bun or dabbling in decorative arts and crafts, I’m really bad at anything that involves me using my hands; well, except cooking because I have to survive somehow. For this reason, have a deep admiration for those who are really good at these things. After years and years of trying, I’ve finally accepted that some people are good at everything and I’m not one of them.

7. I react badly to caffeine: Caffeine has never worked for me; I get a heavy sensation in my head that never quite goes away until I sleep it off. I can only consume coffee with a healthy dose of milk/cream and I’m not quite a fan of either. For a while, black tea worked as a decent substitute until it didn’t. I’m now forced to rely on good old green tea and decent sleep to get me through the day.

8. I’m a bit of a sports fanatic: Football, tennis, athletics; I love them all. I was brought up in a family fascinated with sports. One of my favorite memories to talk about was watching the 2002 FIFA World Cup Final with my mum and sisters and placing a mock bet against my mum who was so certain that “the German machines” would win. My sisters and I were quite fascinated by the beautiful football the Brazilians played and were sure they would triumph. We were right, and we’ve never let my mum forget it.

9. I’m learning not to worry: For most of my life so far, I’ve worried about and tried to plan out every aspect of where my life was going and what I would be doing in the next five years, and the ten years after that and so on. Then the last five years happened, and I realized how much of a waste of time this was because I couldn’t have predicted, in any way, all that has happened since and just how much these events would change me. I still get bad anxiety days, but now, I’m making a conscious effort to look forward to the future with expectation, optimism and hope.

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