Day 10: Michael

​Happy Birthday Daddy.

It’s December and I still don’t understand this year and how it is going. So I decided to write this entry around excerpts from my journal.


The beginning of the year was awkward (sort of like the beginning of this post), but when you have a memorial on the 31st of December, I guess you should be thankful if it’s only awkward and not flat out depressing. I walked back from the crossover service that I attended to make my mother happy and replied messages with an unsure smile on my face. I was a man without a plan. 

At the end of the month, death came knocking at a door that I had come to like. If I remembered how to, I would have said a prayer for him. 


Take in as much as you can. Sure you could lose it all, but would you rather have nothing to lose? 

I made a to-do list for my life on my birthday. The only item on the list was “make a proper to-do list before your next birthday”. My birthday was an awkward affair, I stepped on a few toes and was willing to damn consequences and cut ties if need be, but like all awkward things it passed. 

It is the lot of some men to be misunderstood and you can fight your lot all you want, but that won’t change anything. 


I relearnt the art of compartmentalising and, although it had become harder to stash things away, it was worth it.  The things I filed away were things that, ordinarily, would have been separate sources of anxiety. I filed them away and allowed myself a basal level of worry to cover for the whole cabinet. 

What’s the point of finding yourself only to get lost again?

On a paediatric surgery ward round, I had an epiphany. March was the first time that I was truly happy this year, the first time that I did not allow guilt to cast a shadow over my smile.  

Life is beautiful and sometimes it has nothing to do with flowers or sunsets. Sometimes it is in the complexity of the human experience – in the range of sensations and emotions that we are able to feel and how widely the perception of such vary from one person to the next. It is in the moments when we step back and watch life be. 


Today is no different from yesterday, tomorrow will be no different from today. Do what you will, but don’t attach more import than is necessary to the sun rising. If you wasted the one before this one, what’s to say that you won’t do the same today?

It seemed like everything was building up to a climax and something major was about to happen. It was a feeling that I’d become all too familiar with and it passed like it always does. Life was easier when I could face trying times with alcohol. It was difficult because I had also thrown away my human crutches so I had to hold things in and support myself. 

We will all be fine; and even if we aren’t, we will all die. 

There were many low points. I stopped taking walks because I was taking them too frequently (and running into people who kept asking what was wrong).


I stopped taking walks so I spent a lot of nights lying in bed and waiting. I’m not quite sure what I was waiting for but it never came. 

I’m underutilising the potential I have, but that’s not impetus enough to get me off my ass. 

Death came for an old friend, but I was too numb and overworked to mourn her properly.


Today I want to disappear. I want to lie in this bed and become increasingly clear until I’m no longer there. 

I was tired of the lack of motivation. I was also tired of the certainty I felt that any happiness I found would not last. I was just generally tired.  

I travelled to Igbo-Ora for a 5-week long Community Medicine posting. It wasn’t the idyllic getaway that I expected it to be. It initially heightened my anxiety instead of helping me to relax. The sky and trees, however, did a great job of distracting me sometimes.

Create order from disorder or die trying. 

I started taking walks in a strange town because I couldn’t get over the novelty of the unexplored streets. After the initial hostility, Igbo-Ora opened her arms wide and pulled me into a warm embrace. 

I’m not exactly singing in the rain, but I’m happy again.


All the free time in Igbo Ora helped me to go over what I believed (and didn’t believe) in. I felt lost and I was quickly losing faith, but saying so didn’t scare me anymore. 

I broke my sobriety pledge repeatedly in my last few days in here. I didn’t take any alcohol but that didn’t feel like a victory at all. 

In this moment I am happy and I am satisfied. In this moment all is well. I wonder if all will still be well when the high wears off. 

It wasn’t.

The month ended with me back home and remembering one of the people that death took away a long time ago. 

The roses are withering from the very moment that they bloom, we are constantly running out of time.

August and September 

“Set yourself on fire just to feel something” 

I read that somewhere and found it impossible to get it out of my head. I could not separate exhaustion from pain and it left me confused so many times that I eventually started feeling numb to everything.

Time was speeding by, I could do nothing but sit back and watch it happen. In all honesty, I probably could have spent less time on twitter and reddit, but there’s no point crying over wasted time. 

October and November

I spent so much time battling inertia. I struggled to get out of bed every morning and was so late to school that it was ridiculous on the days that I succeeded. I could not pay attention to what was being said or being done and this had a significant effect on my performance. 

I learnt that it is easy to be alone in a crowd. All you need is to have on a natural looking smile and contribute appropriately to the conversation. It is easier to say that you are fine than to explain what is wrong. It easier for everyone if you wait things out instead of burdening people with your problems. 


December is always going to be a difficult month for me. Especially now that there’s so much activity on all fronts. There are so many family events that I am struggling to keep up with. There’s also all this studying that I should be doing, but I’m still struggling to get my groove back.

Expectedly, I’m more anxious than I have been all year and that is saying a lot. I should be drifting, but I’m drowning. I’m sending this in with so much uncertainty. 2017 starts with major exams that really would have been a breeze if I had gotten my act together earlier. 

I’m trying to balance making up for leaving preparation until it is literally too late to do anything reasonable with a crippling fear of disappointing the people who believe in me and it is not going well at all. I spend more time worrying than studying which makes absolutely no sense. Now, I can feel a growing sense of resignation. I will take whatever comes (it is not like I will have much of a choice).

It is obvious to me now that these reviews won’t start getting better until after I get out of this hellhole called a school, and even that isn’t promised. 

TL;DR: It was a bad year, not in the obvious and severe ‘cry yourself to sleep on most nights’ way, but more in a mild ‘constantly dissatisfied and struggling to stay afloat’ way.

P.S: I feel like I should have said how grateful I am to the people that were (or tried to be) there for me this year. But the people that were know themselves and I have nothing against the people that weren’t (I’m quite grateful to them too for giving me breathing space). 

Here’s hoping 2017 isn’t quite as bad.


Michael spends way too much time doing nothing in particular. He is professional procrastinator and a struggling student.


  • Nimi says:

    I’m sending you lots of hugs and silent words. It may not seem so right now but you’ll be fine eventually.

  • tcheryph says:

    The Roses are withering from the very moment they bloom. We are running out of time. Brilliant. Simple and moving. Thanks.

  • fk says:

    I believe you’d be fine fine trust it , will get better

    Please find faith and hope

  • Omotayo says:

    I hope things become brighter for you.

    But more importantly, try to worry less, prepare for your exams and pray God multiplies your knowledge no matter how little you have read.

    I know how hard it is because there were times in school I just floated through the semester. But hang in there. This too shall pass.

  • Phew!
    I pray for peace and a tangible experience of God as the strength of your heart.
    Your smile and laughter will bubble up again, free and unfeigned.

    Meanwhile, this leapt at me;
    “Life is beautiful and sometimes it has nothing to do with flowers or sunsets. Sometimes it is in the complexity of the human experience – in the range of sensations and emotions that we are able to feel and how widely the perception of such vary from one person to the next. It is in the moments when we step back and watch life be. ”

    Hope comes alive again for you.

  • Jvmoke says:

    I understand this. I understand all of it.
    The honesty in this gnaws at me, forcing me to go to places I forgot about.
    Keep struggling Michael, you must remember to.
    Your rock will cave and the mist will break, eventually.

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