My year in 2011 began and ended with romance. Weird. But that is not why I am here.
I’m here to ramble. To give thanks. To pull together snippets of random feelings and recollections into something resembling a coherent account of my 2011. I may succeed.
I wrote the hardest exam of my life in 2011. Incidentally it was the exam I had prepared for the most also. I had even received a revelation of a possible exam question, which actually came out as I thought it would but which I still failed. I was depressed for a long time after that, biting my nails in regret for missing my chance at hitting an international question I actually prepared for on the head. Somehow I got over that.
Results came out, I passed well. I didn’t have a distinction like my friends and family expected, but my wingman and revision partner, Wole, did. The joy he felt on that day was my joy too. I was touched that God sought to use that little sign to compensate him for an unusually turbulent year. The project that gave him so much grief and dementia also won a special prize. He also was the only Nigerian (after me) offered a job of a unique nature. I saw all this and rejoiced deeply, though I may not have shown it very much at the time. 🙂
I had the opportunity to travel to France and Thailand this year. Nice and Bangkok to be precise. Those two trips opened my eyes to the world in an amazing way. I realized how much my world view was distorted by the Western Media and how I had been blind to so much in the world because of thinking the way America wanted me to think. The value of hospitality was brought to my notice in Bangkok, where no one tried to cheat us tourists or make us feel like intruders. This city had simple, content (the Western world would say poor), smiling people who did not speak English but desperately wanted to communicate as friends. The genuine smile of the Thai is something everyone should see at least once in life. In Nice, I met young people from all over the world who came for French summer school. My powerful command of English meant nothing in that place where I was the only non-French speaker. I felt like a five-year old being led by my translator, who felt like a parent, though he was seven years younger than I was. I determined there and then to make my kids learn international languages as part of their education. English all of a sudden seemed over-rated.
I would love to talk about London and Edinburgh for a while but that would be a story for another day.
I joined the global conversation called Twitter in June under pressure from Wole and Meena. It is easily the most life-changing thing I did in 2011. Can I say that in six months I had meaningful conversations online with almost a hundred people, had crushes on almost twenty, and met about ten people who radically altered my view of life? Can I say I became friends with over a hundred people? My work place, my UK experience, my settling down in Nigeria upon my return, my knowledge of current affairs in Nigeria and the world were all made richer and I dare say possible by interactions via this awesome social network. It had its downsides as well. My productivity dropped drastically. My phone call friendships also suffered terribly. My relationship suffered too, in ways I do not yet fully understand but which I have learnt from. Will my child have a twitter account? Certainly. Will I stalk them on it? Certainly.
I discovered a few things about myself this year. I found out I was funny. I laughed the hardest at my own jokes and broke down age barriers and religious walls effortlessly. I found I could make friends with total strangers within minutes and be romantically vulnerable within seconds. The possibilities were as scary as they were exciting. Realizing many of my new found friends suffer from depression put sense to my having this gift. I found myself being the only one to listen to some hurting soul (mainly female, the guys just don’t share feelings, *shrugs*) and having to address suicidal feelings even when the word suicide would be conveniently unsaid in those painful conversations. I really do not care for my happiness as much as I care for the happiness of my friends. I may be blessed by God in that. He gave me the gift of making others happy and then gave me the reward of being happy when others around me are happy.
I also discovered that I was not as strong as I thought. I now see why wedding vows are taken in church. So that God would be kind to give you the grace to stay faithful. I thought I had the power to say no to sex. I didn’t. Every single time I said no, some divine miracle was taking place. The few times I followed my heart, I was deep in sexual impurity before I realized what I was doing, and many times, even AFTER I had realized exactly what I was doing. Was I disappointed in myself? Very. Did I become wiser? Very. Am I grateful to God for my falls then? Very. Do I regret them? Very. Is all this a paradox? Very much so. Do I accept it as normal? Yes. Do I reject sexual sin as an aberration of divine purpose? Yes. Do I ask myself a lot of questions? Duhhhhh!!
I thank God for my family. They prayed for me and encouraged me and many times gave me a reason to get out of bed. I love you church family.
I’m happy I went through 2011. I’m happy I met you all. When I say I love you, best believe it.
*raises glass of lemonade, gin, vodka, and champagne* Cheers to 2012.
Happy New Year.