Of listless weeks and Unexpected Wins

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When I awoke to 2018 all I wanted was to go back to sleep. You see, I liked a boy and taking things to the next level seemed so promising with a small exception—within the past weeks it suddenly felt like I didn’t know him anymore. Maybe I never did. The whole episode left me in a bad emotional state that I ended up telling myself, whenever someone asked about my annual plans, that I’d get to it before the month runs out. I never did. 

February should have been better. I was with my girls and having fun but things went south so fast. I got robbed in a public place. Devastated doesn’t begin to explain how I felt. My brain wasn’t processing as fast as I’d like and the missing bag contained my phone, WiFi, ATM cards. I jumped into damage control mode, calling for accounts freeze. Then I sat there and stared into space, while my girls threatened hell, mentally taking stock of lost items. That’s when it hit me. If you ever keep a little notepad with you and a pen for ‘brilliant’ random ideas, then you know how important those are. I cried and wished I’d get that little book back. Just it. My words are like an extension of myself—my mind, and I felt so violated. How would I get it back? What if the thief had no idea what it was and threw it into the trash? I wrote to the company and got tossed around. I went to the police and learned how unhelpful they could be. I sought closure online by writing my story.

Finally, I was ready to let it go. I replaced my lost items and felt better. A minor setback wouldn’t put my life on hold. I was on a roll to the future. Or maybe I wasn’t.

In the next few months I understood what it meant to be frustrated, taken for granted and hopelessly depressed. Progress wasn’t a word I knew existed. I turned to God. I met new people—some who saw my February debacle online and broke protocols for me. During the wedding of an online friend I met some of the most amazing people, got added to a group where I felt out-of-place for a while, left and came back again because I never run away. Not entirely.

Amazon proved to be a pain in the ass. I couldn’t place an order for a laptop I needed because they kept declining my debit card for reasons I didn’t understand. Multiple mails, faxes and complaints later and I gave up on them. It sucks to come from a blacklisted country where the actions of a few determines the fate of many hardworking, honest people. Eventually, I had to use a third-party logistic company that misrepresented themselves, took too long to deliver and messed up part of my order. On the plus side (because positive vibes are shooting fireworks off my fingers) I learned how incredibly polite and patient I am. It became apparent I’d rather suffer for incompetence than vent my frustration on sales agents. 

This was meant to be a post about nasty weeks and gratefulness that it’s over, but writing this has forced me to really think about my experience in details by reliving it. In retrospect it wasn’t all bad. I met new people who proved to be supportive; people who responded to a whatsapp status cry for help. I’m thankful for these.

My fellowship team made our daily devotional in print. I mean we wrote a book and self-published! That’s big. Heck, it’s huge. I have over a hundred copies in my house for distribution and when I pause to think that I wrote at least twenty daily scripture readings for young people, some drawing from my life experience, it makes me proud. Like, hey you over there, we wrote a book!

You know, it’s fine to not have it together. Sometimes life hands you sour grapes and you can’t get a decent juice out of it even with sweeteners. It’s all right to fall apart and rant. A new friend and potential business partner died and I mourned for weeks. Weeks that managed to complicate my life further with stress at work, more man drama and partial blindness. For real, I couldn’t see for some days from staring at a computer screen.

My aim isn’t to inspire anyone here. For the most part, this is more like a rant than anything I’ve posted on this blog. I awoke this year without a plan, with hurt and confusion. I woke up today, the 31st, with a song in my head. I’m listening to the same song as I write this. It’s been a terrible year with so many downside, enough to drown whatever wins existed within.

But, right now, I’m forced to confront my wins. I’m starting a company doing what I love. Somehow in my frustration I got some clarity of everything wrong with my world and all I want to do is fix it. Opportunities abound and I’m grabbing them as they come. I’m going to school again. I met someone who has been so amazing I feel like it’s a dream. Old relationships that ended without notice have been rekindled.

I found my voice again. In a time when it seemed like I was failing, I learned what it meant to be me. I am smart and beautiful and inspire people. Excessive modesty has been the hallmark of my existence for so long. In the last few weeks I’ve sat in panels, questioned and asked how I’m so confident that I talk like someone older than my age. I smile, but what I truly want to say to them is I have lived. I sense more than most; I feel more than most; I question more than most; I experience the world differently. And that’s a good thing. I know I will change the world and my words, heart and charisma will be the tools I use.

This new journey of rediscovery is something I want to share with so many people. I’m taking a chance and placing a bet on myself. I’m refusing to let other people’s fear define me because in a moment of clarity I opened my bible and saw this: If you are not firm in faith, then you’re not firm at all and I want to stand for and believe in something. I want to hold on to that belief with tenacity. So, this is me and whatever comes next, I’m standing and saying, ‘Go girl, you’ve got this.’

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One Year Older

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This is in response to the daily prompt Cake. I’m doing this as a free-writing exercising after abandoning us for over two months. Coincidentally this is one day of the year when I’m allowed to eat lots of cake without thinking about calories. Continue reading

Thinking About The End

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Death comes to all of us—eventually. Unless you’re of the biblical school of thoughts, then maybe you’ll live to see the rapture. Otherwise, death comes and it’s an end we all have to face.

I find the thought of this mortality amusing—I’ve said this before and got called a weirdo, but think about it. If we get to think about where we will like to be in the nearest or farthest future, if we are advised that the most effective way to ensure that we reach our dreams without giving up is to see where it all ends every time, then why shouldn’t we pay attention to our ultimate end which is guaranteed?

Yet people fear death. It’s the reason so many out there want to be immortalized in their children… I think it’s a biological order. Man forms community, chooses a mate and procreate to ensure that his genetic line continues to live long after he is gone. Animals—Lions in particular—kill off the cubs of the former leader of the Pride to ensure his offspring repopulate the feline nation. In life we’re still thinking about living longer than our mortality will allow. It’s like some kind of contingency plan against the inevitable. It’s the reason we feel remorse for one who has passed away, offering respect to the deceased we never knew like we’re appealing to Death to come for us at a much later date.

But death shouldn’t be something we dread; on the contrary we should encourage active discussions. And by discussion I don’t mean talking about it when we’re old and tired of this world; I mean thinking and talking it when we have everything to live for. We should take living everyday like it’s our last quite literally. We should even discuss the various means by which we could leave this world—as dreadful as some of it might seem. But most important, we need to think of the people we will leave behind and our legacy when it’s over… whenever it’s over.

A week ago I woke up to news of the death of a vibrant young man who allegedly slipped in the bath and died. I am privileged to have worked with him in the past and if there was something I loved, it was his jovial nature. The news got out and there was nothing but love from those who knew or were opportune to have read something he’d shared. I spent the rest of the day thinking of what will happen if people learn of my death. You should think that, too. Hopefully you do. Then I asked my sister what would happen if we both knew I’d die that night and she said, “We’ll spend the night awake; no sleeping for you.”

So there are a number of reasons for our fear of the inevitable. We fear the life we’ll have when the people we love are gone; we fear the life they will have when we are gone; we fear we will never be the person we want to be if we die now. We fear we haven’t lived enough. But we don’t have to be afraid, or death has the upper hand. We just have to embrace the truth of our very finite existence so it takes away the element of surprise.

How?
Think of the end. Talk about the end with people you love. Live well. Leave good. Perhaps this is a better contingency plan.

Reconstructing Yesterday

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It’s another season of resolutions. I love resolutions; I love that January  can be a marker, a month we set aside to take stock of our yesterdays and make better plans for our tomorrows.

A year ago I decided to take time to know my God better. It could have won the award for the shortest new year resolution list ever, but the effect of that single decision still ripples today. I’ve since learned it’s not how much you intend to achieve in a year that matters, but the quality of that achievement.

Just before the remodeling of our house commenced my dad and I talked about wisdom. The ease with which we make decisions based on current trends, and what’s acceptable today, but years after we are done reveling in the attention, we see the folly of our past choices and spend money and energy to correct the damages.

I sit in my bedroom and stare at the fresh cracks in my ceiling board. There are giant stones on my corridor and the parents have since relocated to another bedroom in the east wing of the house. Our living room is in terrible condition. The aluminum roofing sheets are totally gone and every morning I am jolted out of sleep by the slap of mallet on concrete above my head. There’s no telling when the ceiling boards will finally give way and cave in on me. The entire experience is frustrating. Yet there are nights when I stumble my way through the corridor to the living room, look overhead and have a perfect view of stars twinkling in the night sky. And I think that perhaps the remodeling process isn’t so bad after all.

There are two things this tells me:
One is that a new year resolution does not necessarily mark the close of a chapter or the beginning of a new one. Like a remodelling project, it can be a moment in time when we choose to retrace our steps and reconstruct.

Two, there will be clutters and times within the year when this new project seems like too much of a burden. It helps to remember why we’ve embarked on that journey in the first place and the quality of life we will have when it’s over.

Whether we are on a course to reconstruct yesterday, remodel, or simply taking more giant steps on the path we’ve been all along, I hope that when it seems like chaos is all there is we remember to look above and see the stars.

Blotched

Last Saturday I bumped into Mr. M. He used to be a friend of the family, until a certain incident changed that. Surrounded by basins of beans, rice, crayfish and other food condiments, he peered so hard at the polythene bag gradually being filled with items of food I wondered if there were hieroglyphic inscriptions on them. Continue reading