It was way back in 2003, I was in my final year at Secondary School and we had a Home Management assignment to finish. Our Teacher had brought very plain material and embroidery threads in many colours and asked us to embroider the material beautifully after sewing it into a table cloth, all of this with a needle and thread. Every Home Management student had the plain material and a selection of threads to embroider any pattern we chose. Of course some people were expected to do well at this some others were not.
Even though I was not exactly slow at School, nobody expected me to do a fantastic job, I was expected to do passable work and I expected I would do that too. I didn’t count myself among the people who would have beautifully finished artistic works of art. Like I said, I wasn’t at all dull, I just didn’t have it in me to meticulously create fabulous work that everybody would oooh and aaah over. Our Teacher asked us to come back for more thread if we needed it, I didn’t expect to ever go back for more thread. I wasn’t ever going to need it. My embroidery was going to be just ok, the lowest mark I would get would be 6 out of 10, the average mark for average students who couldn’t be bothered to exert themselves to wow the teacher.
Chinyere changed all that! She was the girl I went to, to draw a pattern I could embroider on. She was a spectacular artiste, her talent was visible even back then, everybody recognized it. Many others went to her to with pictures they wanted her to draw on their length of material and she drew it beautifully. I went to her too. Not because I wanted anything wonderful to be drawn on my material, I went because I couldn’t draw to save my life. If I could, I would have drawn anything on it. I went to Chinyere also because she was a friend’s friend. She was in the same dormitory as my friend and I was always going to that dormitory to see my friend so I thought, why not? I pointed out some very simple designs for her to draw and left her to it, when I came back, I was amazed! She had drawn two simple but complicated network of flowers on opposite angles of the cloth! They were beautiful to look at! They weren’t what I asked for but they were too beautiful for me not to claim. I showed her the threads I had picked earlier and she asked me to exchange them for different colours. She asked me to make her drawing come alive and make it more beautiful than it was.
The drawing was just too beautiful for me not to try to do it justice. I couldn’t let her labour go in vain, the drawing would not let me take it lightly, it was inanimate, yet it compelled me to put in my best, from the folds of my piece of cloth it screamed demands at me, so I responded to its call. I went back to my Teacher over and over again to collect threads for the cloth, I stitched carefully and beautifully not wanting to make a mess of the pattern Chinyere had drawn. Soon, people were drawn to the beauty of the work, I kept hearing “I was told to come look at your work, I hear it’s beautiful”. Even before I had to hand in the work, my teacher had heard of its beauty, needless to say, she was shocked! I wasn’t one of the creative students quick with the needle or even interested in needlework. I eventually got a very high mark for the work and when it was time to do our final practical which involved cooking, setting tables, making beds and washing clothes and plates, Mercy (fake name now) “borrowed” my beautifully finished tablecloth to set her table. She never returned it.
Really life is like this. You meet people who demand the best from you, who compel you to give the best that you can. People who instinctively know that beneath your carefree attitude, you are capable of much more. People who will not allow you to get away with giving less than you are able. These people build platforms for you to stand on. They give the boost you need and stand in the shadows to watch you excel, taking pride in the fact that they have helped make you. They identify with you at the end but never steal your shine. These people are called, MOTIVATORS.