Posted September 18, 2018 from Cameroon

One of the challenging things to do as a storyteller is choosing the kind of stories to tell especially  when some characters in your story are in your audience. But true storytelling is also in not compromising in shedding light on society.

Upon graduation from journalism school, I tried  putting my hands on one or two things to make money aside being an Emcee. So I created a media consultation agency (which I put on a hold, anyway). Then I began to look for media organs in my country, Cameroon, that might need my services. I then remembered that a former classmate works with a certain TV house and I had even helped her conceive a TV show she wanted to start there. So, I contacted her, asked her to give me directions to their office that I want to visit them.

“You are not welcome here” she said.

I didn’t mind. So I consulted their website and contacted them via the numbers I found on the website. I discovered the numbers belonged to the founderof the media house. . I called severally to no avail. I then left a message which read,

“Good day ma’am, my name is Renette Ayuk, journalist. I have some content proposals to make for your media organ please. As such, I would love to pay you a visit. Please can you give me directions to your office?”

Unfortunately, I never got a reply till date. What stroke me is the facfact that, this same classmate sent me a message few minutes after I sent the message to her boss.

“Is that how desperate you are for a job? Do you think you can take my place? Never. You are not welcome here. You have to be humble if not, no one will recommend you” she said mockingly

Then I responded firmly with some laughs saying

“I can never take your place” 

She then flooded her whatsapp status with tags such as,

“There are some people here who want to take my place. Pack fine. Those “desperado” (desperado is a word used to describe an extremely desperate fellow who would stop at nothing to get something) who want to take my place, how market?” she wrote mockingly

I think, this is the height of insecurity and low self-esteem.

You must know that, no one can ever take your place or be like you. Even if you are a hundred doing the same thing, you will still stand out. Every one of us is wired in a unique way to fill a vacuum no one else can fill. When you make room for others, it breeds competition which will propel you in to working harder and achieving better results. But you can’t freely accommodate others if you don’t believe in yourself first: you will always feel threatened that someone wants to take your place. You must develop absolute self-confidence, because with self-confidence, you can even cause the wrong thing seem right.

And when you are a master of your art, you are not afraid to let others in to your sphere of influence.

Five years ago, I decided to join a Christian group in my country where I met a couple of amazing people and the leader of the group decided to make me the head of the journalism department. I can’t tell exactly why he chose me considering that I’d barely joint the group of which there were other people there who had been faithfully serving the group for years before I came in. But I think it is because he saw an ability in me which he thought was fit for that responsibility. And so I took up the task gladly and started mobilising others to work in that department.

It was through a then good friend of mine that I came in contact with this Christian group. We have similar passions and both loved journalism. Soon I noticed a distance between us and our relationship got more and more strenuous. After searching my mind, I realised I had not done anything against her, and so, I decided to find out from her what the matter could be.

“Nothing is wrong, trust me. I’m fine and I have nothing against you” she assured me

I believed her. But as time passed, we became distant even the more from each other. We barely spoke, I will send messages but never got a reply. I struggled to get her attention. Then one day, another lady in that fellowship confided in me saying

“X (my friend above) is not happy with your presence here. She says you have come here to compete with her and have taken her place. She is not happy that you’ve been given the responsibility as leader of the journalism department”

I was shocked but then this could be the reason for her sudden change of behaviour towards me. It really broke me because I did everything I could to keep our friendship  but she seemed disinterested and so I left her to herself. Things have never been the same for us since then. 

Now, you must know that you are in competition with no one. The only person you should compete with is you. Just you! When you focus on the role you have to play in a given entity, you will overlook on who is trying to take your place or not. You are your only competition because, there is no other person like you. The world is so vast with so much to be done, you can’t carry out every single task, you can not touch every life and affect the desired change alone. But only you can do the things you do the way you do them because we are all uniquely wired to fit in to different vacuums in the world.

When you understand this, you will even make space and accommodate other people and even teach them your skills because, the more you let out or give out, the more equipped you become. It is like the human body with various parts but playing different roles. You will never hear the eye crying to be the leg. If that happens then there is a loss of identity; you surely do not know who you are.

But when you understand that though there are two legs, yet, one leg must move before the other; both legs can never move at the same time, then you will cease from comparing with others and invest in yourself to become a better you. You are your only competition, work on becoming better. As you travel through life, you will always meet people who practice the same craft as you or seem to be better than you, don’t be threatened, no one can do it like you do.

Every human encounter is a purpose, make good use of every relationship before it expires, having in mind that you can never take their place and no one can take yours.

Comments 9

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count amigo
Sep 19, 2018
Sep 19, 2018

Doing your thing is all what makes the difference.

Jill Langhus
Sep 19, 2018
Sep 19, 2018

Hi Renette,

Thanks for sharing your powerful and potent message. It's very true that this a great skill to acquire, not falling for comparisonitis and lack, but focusing on our own strengths and knowing that we have a specific purpose or passions that we uniquely excel at and are meant to do. I do have to admit, though, that this can be difficult. I think you're right that it has to do with insecurity, but also lack of trust. I think it's sad that two of your close friends didn't trust you enough to know that you wouldn't go after what they deemed was theirs'. What's even more sad is that women and girls don't really feel they can assertively tell a friend, or anyone, what is bothering them, so a lot of times they end up being catty, rather than admitting to others, and even themselves, what's going on. It's great that you are confident and don't suffer from this trait. I still catch myself thinking, how come that person has this, and I don't. I'm not proud...ha:-) It's a work in progress. Having said that, if I was ever in a position as your two friends were, I would've had to admit what was going on, but not in a catty way. It's just spiteful and unnecessary.

You may want to consider submitting this story, and filling out the corresponding survey on security, for the current story awards: "The Future of Security Is Women." Here is the link:

Hope you're having a great day!

Ngala Nadege
Dec 12, 2018
Dec 12, 2018

Woaw ! Thanks for sharing

Dec 15, 2018
Dec 15, 2018

Thanks for sharing. Sharing is caring :-)

Bim Adegbite
Jan 31
Jan 31

True talk!!! Thanks for sharing

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Hi Reny,
It is very true that people will always be scared of you as a strong character. Never let others overshadow your potential or tramp on your sunshine. The sky is the limit for you and like my friend once said always aim for the moon so if you fall you fall within the stars. Thank you for such a lovely and realistic article.
Stay blessed.

Mar 11
Mar 11

Nothing is as good and as sweet as believing in one's self. Keep being and doing you

Dawn Arteaga
Sep 14
Sep 14

Hi Reny, thank you for sharing this. It is so hard to find the balance between sisterhood and competition sometimes but I agree with you that true sisterhood gives each of us space to shine and doesn’t limit the ability of anyone else to do the same. Sending big, sisterly hugs your way.

Anita Shrestha
Sep 16
Sep 16

Thank you for your nice word and motivation