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Wheeww! I have never had a review for any year written down. I always do the review of the year in my head and just keep the score sheet in my heart. I am not much of a writer so I apologise in advance if my thoughts are not organized but I promise to be as coherent as possible.

This year has been one of learning and discoveries for me. In January, I felt I was emerging out of this black hole I had been in for so long. My head had been underwater but unlike John Legend, I wasn’t breathing fine. I was suffocating. I was choking to death and I had to come up for air. I had just gotten into a relationship in December and because I had been single for a while, I was determined to make this one work. He seemed nice, I mean everybody said so and I became more determined to make the relationship a success.

Work was going on well but killing me slowly at the same time. Try living on the mainland and working a full time and part time job on the island. In between, I still saw my private clients in their homes, churches, offices and wherever else they wanted. I was also taking advanced cake decorating classes. I had no time for myself, I woke up tired and went to bed tired. I told myself this was the pain I would endure in the beginning so I could benefit from the future gain. I only needed someone to tell me I was doing the right thing, that I was on the right path and that it would be alright but there was no one. My parents didn’t understand why I had to work so hard.

The fights between my mom and I started again. The same reason we always fought: Marriage. My mom would shout. My aunties would talk. They could not understand why I felt the need to have two jobs and go to a baking school and basically devote myself to work instead of me to be looking pretty and trying to get a man who would marry me. I was getting old, they said, and I should be bothered that my 19 year old neighbor and my 22 year old cousin were getting married while I, in all of my 27 years, had not brought a man home. Yeah, I should have been be bothered. They could not understand why I felt the need to start my building project when I had not gotten married. I was told that “making money and building houses is not the most important thing. Get a man and he will do that for you”. I woke up depressed, went to work depressed, got home depressed and went to bed depressed. I had a permanent scowl on my face. Husband. Marriage. It became the central theme of my life. It was as if they wanted me to stop living until I got a man. It didn’t matter what kind of man it was, just get a man.

In July, I and two of my colleagues got into trouble at work. I honestly thought it was the end. I was expecting my sack letter/email. We were placed on suspension. I went home and started applying for a new job. Three weeks later, I got recalled back to work while my other two colleagues were sacked. Why I was not sacked, I could never tell but I was grateful. In those three weeks I was at home, I realized that getting a job in Lagos is not beans.

In the midst of this, my younger sister took ill. Seizures. Slurred speech. Blackouts. We didn’t know what was going on. We didn’t understand it. Hospitals. Tests. Then the diagnosis came. Epilepsy. What? Where? When? How did a perfectly healthy young woman get epilepsy? The seizures were bad. It came without warning.  It came at anytime and anywhere. Someone had to be with her constantly. She quit her job. She became a shadow of herself. The drugs were not working. The seizures became more frequent. We changed tactics. Started going from one church to the other,  one deliverance session to the other yet, no improvement. We went back to hospitals. Met a doctor who introduced us to another doctor who showed us a drug that was expensive as heck but it had positive reviews so we opted to try it out. We had no choice. We were desperate. And then the seizures started reducing, from about 10 in a day to two times, and then once. Presently, she has not had any seizures for two weeks now. Baby girl is slowly but surely getting better and for that, I am extremely grateful.

My relationship that was determined to make a success was failing. We were fighting almost every day. We fought about everything. In my quest to succeed in this relationship, I had given up a large part of myself and compromised on a lot of my principles. Holding on would have been better but I knew letting go was for the best.

By the end of October, I fell into depression again.  I merely existed. I was just living from one day to the next without purpose. Called my building contractor and told him to stop work on the project. I thought of selling it. Maybe my folks were right. What was I doing building a house at my age? I would cry every time. My life felt like it had no meaning. Living had no essence for me. My clients were complaining. My boss was complaining. I could not be bothered to do my job well. I saw myself sliding down a dark hole and I had no idea what to do. I started streaming Joyce Meyer’s messages, listening to them day and night and little by little, my spirit began to open up like a rose petal. I decided to start counting my blessings instead of seeing my failures, to see how far I had come and even though I haven’t achieved much, it was better than nothing and although there are still some dark days, I am hopeful for a much better 2015.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

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Dear Amaka, life asked you some hard questions this year. I pray especially for your sister too. The emotional rollercoaster she’s going through has got to be immense. I pray you also find a career that brings out your talents and makes you happy. I’m totally glad you were able to put this on record because when you look back on this, it will be with thanksgiving. Be strong dear. Thank you for sharing.

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