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Prologue
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“I don’t want to become that girl again”

“Why are you so afraid of her?”

“She scares me. Her emotions were all over the place and no one ever got close. It took a long while and lots of love to break down her walls and I’m scared if I revert back…”

“They’ll eventually stop caring?”

She nods.

“It pains me that you still don’t know your worth. I understand the seductiveness of being the avant-garde for other people. But sometimes, you need to regroup. And the ones who can’t understand that, let them go. Friendship is a two-way street. Not you stressing yourself trying to do and be everybody’s everything. Besides, you are a beautiful person, a sparkling soul.You are a representation of GOD’S creative genius.You are beautiful because you are. No reason is needed. Never forget that.”

The girl rests her head on the boy’s shoulder. He moves it to his lap and strokes her hair. After a long time, she speaks.

“What happens if I have another year like this?”

He smiles, “Then you cry. You blow your nose, you pray. Then you rise up and carry on. You make a success of yourself. You show yourself that there is a very good reason you’re alive.”

“I’m scared”

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers from them all. If you can’t trust yourself, know you can trust GOD.”

“When did you become so wise?”

“I’ve always been. Now talk to the visitors before they begin to yawn.”

“How do you know there are visitors?”

“Because you’re a narcissist at heart.”

Smiling, she breaks the fourth wall.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This year scarred me in so many ways. I’ll try to paint a picture with the brushes available to me.

On the 8th of January, I woke up with a severe pain in my stomach. That day, I became intimately acquainted with the walls of the toilet and my toes. It was later diagnosed to be a freak ulcer – freak because serious ulcers do not come out of nowhere. And as err, crimson- colored, metallic-smelling water was pouring out. This was classified, by the great Google and the doctor as a serious ulcer. I said no way. Haba! I went to Big Daddy and told Him to take it away. He did. But as faith without works is dead, food is always somewhere very accessible. Say Hallelujah, people!

In the same month, it became harder to breathe. The first time I choked, I wrote it off. It had been humid that day. The second time, I had to run out of the room and gulp in air. Head in between knees, no one watching (a blessing), the soft sound of crickets in the background. I tore through my closet trying to find my inhaler (your regular Robb/Vicks inhaler) and whenever my roommates got a little too ambitious with their hair/body spraying, I walked out and did the head between knees thing again.

I regressed communication wise. I learnt the humiliation of stammering and babbling in front of at least 1,403 people. It became apparent soon enough that it was here to stay. As unbelievable as it seemed, I was reduced to babbling in front of an audience. Elocution exercises have been started. Thanks for your concern.

This year, I finally started to believe in evil spirits. Not that I hadn’t always believed this verse – “For we wrestle not against…. but against principalities and powers, spiritual wickedness in high places”. But this was always a little bit abstract to me. It became real this year.

I wish that I could wake up with amnesia? No. Trust me. Do you know how it feels to be unmade? The process is terrifying.  As a fixer primarily, I circumvented it by leaving notes to myself. I found and still find these notes sometimes. It’s so eerie.

The freak accidents continued. It seemed at a point there was always someone prepared to hit me/knock me down. I’m looking at you September, October, November. On the sidewalk, drunk/high okada drivers, side swiping bus drivers and I finally found out how the tires of a full Keke Napep feel on your toes.

Sometimes a tiredness would envelope me. Swamp me. This tiredness could not be helped by sleeping. Vitamins didn’t give me vitality. I simply asked for more work. This later came to be called “soul-tired”. Yes, by me.

I screamed at a lot of people. Used everything at my disposal to hurt two of them. It was unnecessary. And it hurt them, I hurt them. And that, lopsided logic though it seems, hurt me. And when the crazy subsided, the only thing I could remember was the look on her face, the hurt in his voice. And I feel so much regret. I’m sorry. I have apologised. Everything seems to be made right. But I’m still sorry.

13th of August, without understanding, I cried throughout. Later that evening, I performed my one woman show in front of an audience of mirrors in the female toilet of Joshuaville. The content – very loud screaming. I talked to Pastor Biola Williams. To be honest, I couldn’t articulate anything, so I resorted to my default mode – rambling. Awesome woman though, she listened.

14th of August – outburst of manic energy, a return of the trembling hands, inability to focus. A friend called one of the members of Joshuaville to help me. I was screaming again. I did the one thing I haven’t had regrets about on that day – I finally decided to trust someone (else). Day ended with me in the doctor/psychologists office. No, it actually ended with me eating Sharwarma while “supportive” text messages poured in from family members and friends I hadn’t yet screamed away.

Want to lose 15kg? Cry. Of course, you might end up looking like a skeleton, but everyone knows beauty is pain.

8th October – Got seriously dizzy, stayed that way for more than an hour, upended everything in my stomach and had to sit down, on the floor, of GTBank. I stayed there for about an hour before I rose up and attended to business. Like a boss. Clothes have been disinfected appropriately. Apologies have been issued. No, it was not Ebola.

My cousin’s fiancée died.

Etcetera Etcetera.

But before you go thinking this year was all doom and gloom, I got some amazing testimonies this year.

This is the most awesome one: despite everything that happened this year, I didn’t give up on my faith. On GOD. And I know that blessings are coming my way soon because of Isaiah 61:7.

Every member of my family is alive and well.

I got a seriously awesome gift this year. I’ve wanted it since I was 11/12 and I can’t believe I got it this year. Thank You Lord!!! I haven’t taken it officially but ;), I will. By faith 🙂

My extended family keeps extending – 2 little ones were born to us this year.

I got a new phone this year. It’s a testimony in and of itself. (Everywhere I checked, the price ranged from high to higher, exclusive of the phone case. In other words, an over extension of my budget. I prayed. Told God to help. He did. Found a phone at PC Corner in my budget, inclusive of a free phone case and the price was within my budget exactly. Miracles do happen).

Finally got to see a show at Terra Kulture. Say hurray for “culture”.

My Tax Club people made me seriously proud this year. There was this prayer point I used to pray while I was President. It didn’t come to pass during my time, but it came to pass afterwards. David, Solomon and the Temple tinz. Obviously, there’s a teeny bit of jealousy there but I’m mostly a proud mother hen. Amen!

I learnt some new, useful skills this year: how to repair laptops, sewing etc. A friend’s little sister is going to teach me how to knit. 🙂 Seems silly to be happy about that, but to each her own. Biri ka mu biri.

I rediscovered my blog. I completely forgot the nuances of writing I had learned before so I usually just opened the blog and stared. Then one day I simply started writing. It failed to matter, my fears or what I’d forgotten.  I simply made a point of writing. That’s how the “Freedom” series came to be. I met some other awesome bloggers in so many situations and it has broadened my horizons in so many ways. WordPress helped and still continues to help. So much that it almost doesn’t matter that they’ve imprisoned my notifications. Thank you. I like that the relative obscurity is lifting. Funny, I think I miss it though. But I choose happy.

I conquered the stage. The stage where I babbled. Where I stared dumbstruck. It became a challenge to me. I conquered the stage. That one. I wasn’t defeated. I conquered it.

LHG left. Don’t ask me to say what LHG means.

On the 14th of August, I got to hear, from pretty much every single person in my family, that I was loved. It didn’t matter what the voices said, what my frequency picked up. They would stand up and begin to stand in the gap for me because I was too tired to do so for myself. I celebrate my family and anticipate our evolving relationships. It’s definitely something to look towards.

My story is not yet over. The best is yet to come.

Etcetera Etcetera.

This year also taught me some things.

I needed to cry more. I was the only person who could fix me. Thinking back, I am amused at the intensity with which I undertook the “fixing”- Shout out to all the blogs I trawled, the stories I read that healed. And to Emmanuella Onyilofor for writing the awesomeness that is “for those whose hearts are always open”. Shoutout to Wikipedia for always. I learned the redemptive quality of a well placed, “Shut up”. I learned the power, the wonderful power of daily positive confession. I learned that I am stronger, so much more stronger than I knew. And that I am weaker in places I never reckoned and never checked. But I’m working on that now.

Roll call a.k.a “Hey now, you’re an all star”

1. Big Daddy. The Author. The Finisher. The One who Makes All things New, the One who Loves, the One who Saves. We see the Sun and the Son, the Light, because of You. Thank You. For this is the Appointed Time. Now. I love You. I give You Glory.
2. My Family. I love you. All of you. Every time.
3. Alobam. Enyim oma. My muffins, My “sisters”. Ife Ayinoluwa, Joy Abaniwonda and Oladimeji Ojo; thank you for running in when everyone was rushing out. For being my friends in the truest sense of the word. Thank you.
4. The ones who came into my life at just the right time- Jagga Esq himself- Boma Owunabo, Oluwaseun Sodunke, Victor Abo, Nnamdi of Joshuaville, Millicent Umoru, Dozie Egolum, Tsemon Awala-Velly. Thank you. You might not have realised it, but every time I needed someone, you were there. Thanks.
5. My old friends- Pastor Faith Onadipe, Taiwo Oshodi, Tayo Adesoye, Stephanie Ihediwa, Moteleola M.O.T Olusile, Yewande Adebowale, Damilola Abidoye, Yinka Oluwo, Rukeme Noriode, Morinsola Daramola, Seun Lari- Williams, Tomi Ola- Oladimeji, Adewunmi Adekambi (for her blog- koolstorys.com) and Bisola Odunayo for listening. And the Bohemian babe- Ifueko Evbuoma. Thank you.
My new friends- Mayowa and Damilola Ajijola for getting married and occupying me with a countdown :), Tomiwa Oyedara, Kalu McHarrison, Aishat Isiaq, Rita Anwara,  Kanyinsola Odusi- thank you. Pastors Oyinlola and Mfon Ntukidem- Thank you both, so much.
6. The ones who stayed after being given permission to leave – Morenike Ademiju and Mayowa Ajijola. Thanks.
7. Everyone else. Thank you all. For being in my life. For watching me dance. For cheering me on. For being there. Thank you.

But it is not solely for the recounting of my 2014 that I disturbed Mr. Ori-Jesu for a spot on this 2014 review. No.

It is to remind my future self, who will (classic Pygmalionism) return here, that the lead role in her life belongs to God that HE might glorify Himself through her and that she might glorify Him. My Anchor holds within the veil.

To remind myself that everything has a place and a time. That the most important lesson she learned in this year was balance. That she needs to have a clearly defined balance in her personal life. That she needs to balance her compulsive shut up and forget it with the need to scream. To balance the gratitude of having people to love her with the need to call them out on their misbehaviour. Sometimes quietly, and soon enough, so it doesn’t build up and so that the damage is minimal.

To remind myself that hurt doesn’t last forever. That failure is not fatal. That no matter how people react or don’t, crying doesn’t mean you’re weak and there is no shame in needing to cry and scream. That she needs to let go sometimes and it doesn’t mean she has failed. That she needs to write more, because writing is her therapy. Close her door more. That she needs to keep sewing, bestowing clothing on people because practice makes perfect. That she needs to keep expanding on her skills. That dancing even without music might be crazy, but the smile on her face thereafter is a universally accepted sign of happy. That she needs to touch her nose more often. To dress up more often. Make new friends. Meet new people. Network. Talk. That no matter how she feels, she is loved. She is loved.

I do have a special request, a favour to ask of you, the audience. Today, and throughout the year 2015, I need you to think of me and send me thoughts of peace, of healing, of love. Send me and my family thoughts of blessings. Of strength and stability. Of hope and hold on. Pray that it is well with me. And trust that I’ll be doing the same.

Thank you!

P.s- R.I.P N.A Ayalogu. (1995- 2007)

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Her royal highness Obianuju has written. And we have read. LOL.

We will pray for you. Please don’t also drive us away from your door when we come knocking to check on you. There’s only so much prayer can do. May your 2015 be stellar. Come back in a year’s time and let’s see where we are then compared to now 🙂

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