I decided to write this in the spirit of African-American history celebration and based on Serena’s call to celebrate the beauty in our differences.
Let me start by stating- my accent is an important part of my Identity, not a measure of my intelligence. More importantly, my identity is found in Christ.
It has sadly taken so long for me to embrace my accent and care less about people’s perception of my accent.
Thank God for motherhood! Motherhood is helping me grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally and in many other ways. I stopped worrying about my accent because I want my child to watch me speak with confidence anywhere and anytime. Worrying about my accent makes me shy or timid in some environment. I have declined public-speaking opportunities because of my accent. I have found myself pronouncing English words in unnatural ways and my ability to speak English fluently becomes questionable in my attempt to adopt a more American accent. I basically end up looking stupid.
I don’t want to live life like that and embarrass my child. Speaking with confidence says a lot about who we are. I want my child to be multilingual and that will possibly have an impact on his accent. I can’t teach him to speak confidently if I can’t model it.
After much introspection, I realized the main reason I didn’t like my accent is that it often leads to the question “where are you originally from?” and I didn’t want to be associated with Nigeria. Sadly true, I was focusing on the problems and negative things about Nigeria and that’s all I could see.
I was born in Nigeria. I have been speaking English since I was three years old and grew up speaking English fluently and better than my native language. When I moved to the U.S. in my late teens, I desperately wanted to change my accent. I wanted to fit in. I didn’t like my accent despite people telling me “I love your accent” several times. They often follow the compliment with “where are you originally from?”. That’s the question I didn’t like answering. I would have to tell them I am originally from Nigeria but I didn’t want to. That was the problem and motherhood solved the problem.
Motherhood opened my eyes to the fact that my birthplace was not an accident. My birthplace is part of God’s divine arrangement and that’s an important reason to embrace my accent and never be ashamed of my Nigerian heritage.
I believe God specifically chose me to birth my child and everything about his birth was divinely arranged. His place of birth isn’t an accident. That’s the same way my mother was specifically chosen to give birth to me in Nigeria. I was born in Nigeria for a reason. My place of birth is an important part of my identity and I must embrace it regardless of the negative stereotypes. To embrace it is to acknowledge the fact that God’s divine arrangement is perfect.
My accent is not fully Nigerian, neither is it fully American- It is a beautiful blend of I don’t know what to call it but I like it. It makes me unique, I am proud of it, and I choose to celebrate it.
Go Love Your Accent!
Let me know your thoughts below👇