2016… Cho

STRONGER

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I honestly cannot find the right words for 2016 in general. It was just too painful. every single month had a tragedy. It was like someone put the whole world inside a dryer, put it at the highest speed and ran it the entire year…

Personally I had highs and lows. I didn’t do all I said I would do but at least…I’m here.

A day before I left home I had a an accident. Nobody died or got hurt, thank God. But it was so scary. Typical Nigeria, as soon as the people around saw I was alone things started going left a bit. I tried to talk to the driver that ran into me : I don’t have time, lets discuss how we will settle  but unfortunately, he was an Uber driver. According to him, nothing could be done without the ‘go ahead’ from his office and they took their sweet time. I called Okpas and he showed up in like five minutes. Only him managed to disperse the crowd that had gathered. see ginger. Anyway, we spent the whole day at the Police station just to get police report because , Nigeria. The next day I left. I almost missed my flight. there was no time to cry or even hug goodbye at the airport. swish. the plane took off. I was dazed when I got here. I was exhausted and scared out of my mind. when I finally joined the living the next evening, I read an email Okpas had sent me : Be brave, be a good girl…all that shit. that’s when I started crying. O God! I thought, I’m really and truly alone.

You see, that’s one thing I appreciate about our culture in general. The way we care for one another. Whether or not we are in the mood to care is irrelevant. Remove the family. Down to the society. On twitter you see young people raising money to help others. tuition, medical, jobs… Our government has failed us but we held each other up. I don’t see that a lot here. Everybody is on their own, minding their business. I guess it works for them. It’s just really strange to me. I saw a girl at a train station with little clothes on, begging. People just walked by without a second glance and I thought about Nigeria. One ‘aunty’ would have given her one wrapper, somebody will buy her agege bread. It’s not a lot but I learned something about my culture: our arms are almost always outstretched towards the next person. Its beautiful. I miss the security of being home. I miss having the security that Aunts and Uncles give. -If shit goes down I could always go to Aunt Mayor’s or Uncle Peter’s …

The last four months of 2016, I was so overwhelmed with stress. I felt like I was constantly moving from one problem to the other. No breaks. I started feeling like a fraud. Like I was just faking my way through everyday, I did not lose sight of my goals though. After a while I shrugged off the dark clouds and continued pushing. Life is not your friend. it is not fair and it is not kind to the weak. I was determined to ‘conquer’ every problem. God helped me.

We lost our dearest Uncle Tom Miachi…

My siblings… God how I miss them. I miss my sister so much. I miss the fact that I can’t go and hide from the world at her house anymore. I miss how she ‘mothers and sisters’ me at the same time. Eddy is that one person that gets shit done. No matter what it is Eddy will find a way. She inspires my soul. I spent two weeks with Iye and it was amazing. Iye has a beautiful heart. Always thinking about everybody else, always thinking about the next project… baddest Jagagban.  Okpas was my rock this year, He was in my corner. He likes to pretend like he’s gangster and shit but he loves Drake- take from that what you will. My mother…God please…

I pray like mad everyday for my Family. They are the people who God put on earth to frustrate my life and I wont have it any other way. I love you guys.

2017 will be amazing. I will continue to learn, I will continue to grow. I will continue to win.  I keep rediscovering myself and my abilities. I have so much Faith for my family and myself. we will win 2017. I hope you do too.

Happy New  year!!!

 

2016… Edsensiq

AWAKENING

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2016 dealt a lot of blows to me. These past months have been an eye opener,  a teacher… I was forced to mature and grow even when I thought I had no more room to grow. I felt so much personal pain this year that I didn’t think I would end the year like this. This year I forgot how to be strong…

I work at a job that I love and hate at the same time. You can love something  but loving that thing becomes hard when you are forced to do it over and over. When you have no choice, few options, no freedom… I had to stay at this job because I did not have an option.  When you are young you think that the whole world is open to you, that you can be anything, anyone, go anywhere etc. you never even stop to think that there are factors that will stand in your way like money, family, love… life.  I have always wanted to be a traveler, world changer, writer, makeup artist, actress. Well, I am a mother of two now. I have these two wonderful girls depending on me for everything. I no longer have the luxury of dreams. I have to take care of their every need. As much as I love doing this, parts of me died everyday this year. I watched as everyday, another dream and wish melted away. I did not miss a single day at work this year, I consistently did my best at my job, trying to juggle being a mother, and being a staff, trying to fight back tears everyday and hold my tongue at my boss who can be difficult. 80% of my year consisted of me fighting back tears, sometimes letting them fall behind my palms, feeling sorry for myself and wishing for things to change.

Financially, the year was not as fruitful as I would have wanted.  My needs were many.The economy is in crises. Prices in the market doubled and then tripled. My income did not change. But God was faithful. We survived.

My relationship with my husband this year…In marriage there is hurt, betrayal, love, fulfillment, hate, disappointment, happiness etc. all rolled up in one. Your picture is made up of which of these things you choose to focus the most on. That’s marriage. Its not easy but at the end of the day Love and God continues to win, at the end of the day this is all I know: I love him so much and I feel his love for me, for our family and its like…its like an anchor.

I made very few new friends this year. I’m sure I also lost a lot of old ones. I didn’t give myself to people this year. I was shut in. I was not there for them. Attended very few events, did not call my friends as much, I avoided being seen too much. Not healthy at all.

I added so much weight this year because generally, I was unhappy. You see, my weight is a direct function of my feelings. Lol, I know I’m not alone in this regard.

I did not see my mum as much as I wanted to this year. Because I did not want her to see how much I was struggling.  Her radar for these things is  so strong. I wanted her to see a happy and fulfilled child so every time I saw her, it was with the biggest smile. But she knew. I know that she knew.

So far so grim right? well this is how I felt generally in 2016. This is all I carried with me in 2016 but no more.

Okpas, Cho and Iye were  awesome as always.  I have the best siblings. Cho, went to Paris for school this year and I honestly felt like a part of me was shutting down.  I have always depended on her for a lot.  I see her running after her dreams and it make me so jealous but soooo proud at the same time. She just pushed herself and threw herself at the world and she is doing it well!!!.  I expect great things from this girl. Great things.

I woke up a couple of nights ago thinking that I cannot continue like this. I realize that my state of mind , even though it’s generally affected by the things that happen to me and around me, ultimately, I have the ability to choose. to be happy or unhappy, contented etc. I  have chosen.-

I will no longer just survive, but I will live. I will be happy at all costs. I will eat right and lose weight. I will work harder for my family. I will give myself a deadline and work at leaving my job. I will work on my mental health, improve on my qualifications, work on additional lines of income and most importantly , grow my relationship with God.

2017 will start with me shedding a lot of my beliefs and views on how things should be. I want to expand my thinking and let other views in. I will build new goals, dream new dreams, wish for things and work for them.  I still believe in myself. I have not given up on me yet. I never will.

So I wish all my friends and family the best of the year. I have been reminded of my strength and I know I have won 2017. Cheers.

2016…Ekos

DETERMINATION

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This year came with some great new bits, I finally started school, I learnt a little bit of a new language, I learnt how to live on my own for some time and we had new additions to our family.

This year, life also hit me hard, I lost my father, my first love. I have had to go through different processes of grieving. It was difficult trying to process my loss and continue with life at the same time, But I got to learn that life indeed goes on, little by little.

The only thing you have after you’ve lost a loved one are the memories you have made with them. They stay with you forever. I learned we should always show people who mean a lot to us that we care about them by giving them our time, resources, and so much more, because life is too short.

I learned more about empathy – I shouldn’t minimize people’s grief by comparing it with other people’s sad life events, that I should empathize with friends even when they get a little scratch without making statements like “your own is even small”.

I also learned to say “no” more often. Making myself happy isn’t wrong, and knowing my own true definition of happiness for myself (which for now, apart from the deep stuff we all know is lying on my bed and watching movies I like) is important. I learned I shouldn’t let other people define it for me.

Most of all, I learned about family and real friendship. I learned how important it is to be there for your friends and family when they’re going through a tough or happy time. I used to think a little text from me wouldn’t matter to some people but now I know it does. For the sad times, we all do not like sad events, neither do we know what to say when sad things happen but I now know it is important to reach out no matter what (FYI, text may also include Facebook messages, DMs or Instagram messages, LOL).

In retrospect, by this time last year, I had all kinds of positive feelings about conquering the world and trying my possible best to do so, but I also learnt that sometimes, it is okay to step back from the struggle of being a better version of yourself, relax your brain, have a moment alone and come back stronger. No, it is not laziness, it is simply human not to be a “go-getter” all the time.

In conclusion, I learned the importance of family (it may mean different things to different people), recognizing real and true friendship, meeting up with obligations and taking time out of the constant struggle of life to be better and perfect to relax and have time for the simple things in life.

And yes, I am thankful to God for his abundant gifts of love, knowledge, joy and peace. He indeed has wonderful plans ahead for us in 2017!

2016… Chide Ochicky

HOPE…

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Where will I start or what should I say about the year 2016? I will say boldly that 2016 was a great teacher to me….. With practical life lessons for which my faithful God saw me through. The year was indeed Rosy with all its thorns and beauty. I had to learn that being an adult involves making important decisions and taking responsibility for your actions.

2016 saw me making a very critical decision about my career. It was also the year I learnt and had to practice important virtues like patience and hope. It is easy, when things are going well with us, to believe that no matter what, we can excel and overcome whatever may come our way but its only in difficult moments that you truly know how strong you are and this is what 2016 taught me well- my strength. I also came to understand what it truly means to have faith and depend totallyon God.

In all, this year I am grateful to God for the gift of family who stood by me throughout, the gifts of friends who helped me and encouraged me. I hope 2017 will teach me more about myself, help me grow personally and in God, and come with even greater blessings.

I have to keep on Living….

One of the mails I received. A few things have been tweaked to protect the lady’s Identity but here it is:

I have to just keep on living….I don’t know what else to do. I have considered suicide to just end it all but I’m not brave enough. I have struggled with this guilt since I was like six. I had this uncle who came some weekends from Halifax and he would bring us lots of candy and sometimes toys. My parents trusted him. What they didn’t know was that he would take me to his room and abuse me sexually. He never actually did ‘it’. He would just touch me for a while and that was it. I never told anybody because…..because I enjoyed it. I felt..wanted. because I enjoyed it I felt so guilty. I felt like God didn’t love me anymore even after I gave my life to him a million times over. I was a kid I just wanted people to like me especially God. So any time they did the altar thing, I would rush out. Almost every Sunday. This continued for years till we had to move to Canada because poppa got a job there. By this time I had become so quiet and shy and withdrawn everybody thought that was just how I was. But I remember being so…alive. My parents had had issues before we moved and I know she didn’t mean to but my mum neglected me a bit. I would go to school with dirty clothes, my hair so dirty and old you could see the mould on it. I knew this because I always wanted my uniform to be as shiny and the other girls…I started ironing my clothes myself and doing everything myself just to feel like a pretty shiny student. My grades didn’t suffer much though because I somehow had a very good memory especially in science class. It must have been that right because I did my homework myself sometimes copying my friends answers…and through all this my mum would blame me for being so dirty when she had time to bathe me. like what did she expect I was a kid bathing myself unsupervised of course I’m not always going to wash behind my ears properly. She would scrub me till it hurt and I would start crying…I remember I used to have some brown in my underpants and she would call me and scream that why are they brown? I guess she didn’t really know how to handle it. The guilt. I kept on wondering why I had that kind of discharge and why I wasn’t like all the other normal kids and why my shoulders were too broad and why my legs where not so straight. I was 9 -10 years old by this time and I already felt so ugly. Then I started wanting boys to want me. I thought If somebody could just want me, I will be fine. The person won’t regret it because I would give them my everything and more. All this while,through high school, I was known as a good girl because I never partied, did drugs or had sex. It’s not like I didn’t want to do all those things but I had read a lot of books by then to know the importance of waiting. I used to read a lot of inappropriate books back then….nobody cared what I read but I loved to read. I would pick up newspapers, dirty magazines anything and just read. My dad gave me my first real book but he was not around enough for that to occur often. I would never forget that book. I never quite understood it but I felt like my dad expected me to read so I did and I never stopped reading after that. That’s a good thing I suppose. Anyway I got into college trailing my past behind me and just managing to stay that quiet good girl…I almost got raped one time. I followed a guy I had just met back to his apartment and he locked the doors and said “I paid for your groceries didn’t I?” I screamed and struggled till his neighbor came and banged on the door. He kept on banging till he opened the door. He told his neighbour he was just teaching me a lesson because I tried to steal his money. He ordered me to clean the mess I created and I started cleaning and his neighbour asked me to leave that he would do it. I will never forget that guy. I never saw him again but I still pray for him sometimes when I remember and I hope he has all his hearts desires. I couldn’t go to the police because that guy threatened me and told me he knew guys down at the station. I was too scared to think I just ran home. I met a friend on the way and he kept asking me why I looked so dirty and where I was coming from then he said “oooooo avery you’ve been naughty huh?” with a twinkle in his eye. I got home and met my friends and gave them one bullshit story about how I tripped and fell into a ditch. I cried myself to sleep that night. I stopped going to class because I had bruises everywhere and I was just tired. Somehow I started living again. I even fell in love one time and it was beautiful. ‘He was the wrong one but he loved me right’. I felt wanted again. I felt good about myself. I felt beautiful and I felt intelligent. He was perfect. But not every perfect is your perfect. I’m glad I met him. He helped me heal. He helped me grow. He helped me to be truly happy. Then my parents died. My mum had been battling cancer for some years and I guess her death broke my dad because he died a few months later. That period of my life was shit. I had long since broken up with my boyfriend and my friends were nice enough to call me but I was all alone for the most part…I couldn’t really cry till a few months after. I was in a cab and it just came rushing at me. I cried the whole way like really cried. And I didn’t know but the cab driver kept driving round my block till I finally calmed down then he took me home and wouldn’t take any money. Then he said “don’t worry madam,it will get better. Pain only gets worse if you try to resist. It will get better after a while ” then he left. And he was right…the pain is now a dull ache….i feel like I’ve lost my bearings but I just have to keep going, keep living. I believe I will be fine one day…that one day will come as long as I keep breathing. I just decided to write to you because ut feels good talking to a complete stranger you might never see in this life. You can put this up to give women like me hope. Thank you.