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2014: Live. Love. Learn

My year began in July when I got a new job and moved back to Lagos. I had always said I couldn’t live in Lagos, but opportunity came and I answered.

For the first time in a long time I could afford to do things for my mum, especially as my brother got married and more responsibility fell on me.  I got to meet people I’d only ever seen from a distance, go to events at exclusive venues, and work with someone I consider one of the best writers in Nigeria.

My writing came home. I found the confidence to refer to myself as writer. I had an amazing three weeks as a writer-in-residence, a program of the Port Harcourt World Book Capital. I went to book festivals; I met great writers, made new friends.

Someone said, ‘as writers people tend to make excuses for us. We can do whatever we want and no one would bat an eyelash, because, we’re writers. It is left for us to define our moral compass because society does not hold us to any standards.’

I was drinking and smoking after 15 years of abstaining. I stopped going to church. I stopped praying and reading the Bible. I flirted with atheism for a while, opened myself to all sorts of ‘liberal’ ideas. I stopped referring to myself as a Christian. I was making all the right sounds when I met or spoke to my ‘brodas and sistas’ but I knew I was deceiving myself.

 

Early 2014

I ended a three month relationship with a selfish man. I blame myself for not seeing it from the start but I was too busy trying to be the right kind of girl, be malleable, be submissive and I ended up hurt. I cloaked the hurt in anger.

I quit my volunteer job with an NGO after over two years. My former boss didn’t want me to leave. I remember sitting with tears running down my face, listening as he twisted a lot of information and made me look like a devil’s incarnate. Afterwards, I wiped my eyes and swallowed the anger.

I got urgent messages to return home, only to get there and be asked to take part in some fetish rites that would miraculously make my father walk unaided. I refused and I was the wicked child who didn’t want good for her kin. I didn’t let the anger show. I stuffed it.

 

Say God

In December I woke up. I had people in my life that had no business there. I was moving in the wrong circles. I was carrying a load of unforgiveness. I had stopped caring about God.

Rev. 2:4 But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!

God never stopped caring about me. Looking back at 2014, there were a lot of bad things that could have happened because I put myself in so many risky situations.

In 2014, I lost my way. Completely. At the last possible moment, God found me. He plucked me from the middle of nowhere and plunked me right back on track. I see some of the road ahead and it’s going to be hard, but Jesus has me by the hand.

God’s love for me is what 2014 is about. The rest is just detail.

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Was lovely to see you walk up to me and say this is Jite! Was fun to watch you chase a ball and hold up a camera to follow shots after so many emails and online memos. Was like, this is Jite!

I pray for light, the brightest light only possible after one has experienced the darkest night. Nothing less than the total experience would suffice. Thank you for sharing Jite. Look up and look out!

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