2013: Law School, Laziness and Life Redefined.
I cannot say that I know how 2013 began. I know where I was, but only because I have spent all 27 New Year’s of my life in the same place. I know I was desperately unhappy, I know I wished I were some place else, I know I was disconnected from God, I know I was definitely overweight, most of all I know I did not know who I was, or why I was. 2013 was the year I gave up on making resolutions, because I was tired of not living up to my own standards. The beginning of the year is blurry, memory wise, but I do not think I will ever forget how I felt that day. I knew I was going to have to dig really deep in order to find the strength to get through the year.
One of my biggest sources of malcontent was the fact that I had enrolled in the Nigerian Law School the year before. I am not interested in the law, neither am I cut out to be a legal practitioner seeing as I suffer from crippling stage fright. I have always wanted to write and discover writers, as well as work in public relations and art. Because of this I refused to go to law school after graduation. I learned the hard way that it is hard for one to succeed without the blessing of one’s parents and so, four years after graduation, I found myself in the place I had promised I would never be. Talk about walking backwards!
So, 2013 began with no high hopes, no confidence, just a real desire to curl into a cave and be left alone.
Most of the year went by in a blur of lectures I was not interested in. I wallowed in self-pity for the first quarter of the year; I wasn’t going to church and I was adding even more weight. I didn’t care; I was not trying to catch anyone’s eye, seeing as I already had a “boyfriend”.
Ha! I can laugh about that so-called relationship now, but at the time, I was so hungry for validation that I did not realize I had trapped myself up a tree and was being pawed by a worthless vulture covered in the faeces of a dead lion. I was literally begging to be noticed. Boyfriend would vanish for weeks, and then reappear out the blues and demand my presence. If I did not or could not, for some reason, show up, I would be accused of not paying proper attention to him. But where have you been for the last couple of weeks? I would long to say, but could not for fear I would upset him. One day, I was home for the weekend and he called me to come over for a visit. I obliged him and, to my utmost horror, he spent the whole time facing the television, he did not utter so much as a sigh. I left feeling foolish. Worse? I knew I didn’t deserve to be treated that way; I knew that I am often a blessing in people’s lives, I was just so afraid of being rejected. Imagine my relief when he vanished for good.
Nothing was going well in my life. Lectures were getting more and more obscure and I was so sure I was going to flunk out of law school. I detested that place so much. I had to block my family on twitter, as my tweets were getting so depressing they called an intervention. I was almost put on suicide watch. I laughed at them, they should have known better than that. One thing I am not is a quitter, if I start it; I have to finish it (except, of course, some of my stories). My mom even called once and said I could drop out of school if I wanted to. Again I had to laugh, I would not be able to look in another mirror, not that I was having much luck with mirrors.
The worst thing happened to me in February, my brain hit a block. I could not write! Now this may not seem like a big deal to anybody else, but I have been writing since I was six. The only thing I am sure that I can do is write. Brilliant as I am, if I cannot write, I do not know what else I can do. So, this obstacle turned my world upside down. I went through life in a blaze of panic. Through it all, I kept saying to myself, pray about it, talk to God about it, but I did not. I’d go home every weekend just to get away from that place, but I could not run away from the thoughts in my head. Too many voices, too many rooms, too much of me; there was not one outlet, no way to let it out and no body to turn to, I was slowly self-destructing.
Sigh, this seems like a pity fest.
See though, if I have learned one thing this year, it is that God does not give up. No matter how far down you are, He is always just around the corner. Follow me for a while longer, I have a destination and I would love you to get there with me.
In, I think, April, we were sent home (freedom) for a three-month long externship with the courts and in Law Firms, after which we would come back to school and write exams. I didn’t know that my elder sister had a plan for me. Two weeks after I came home, she put me on a diet and I lost 11 kg in a month. Went down two dress sizes and began to look like a normal female. More importantly, God began to show up in the most unexpected places. First, I made a friend in school that sowed the seed (unconsciously) that strengthened my mind for that diet, because it was not an easy feat. This same friend, during our externship, rekindled a desire for fellowship with God, by an amazing story that would take all day to relate. Everyday on that diet, I discovered a new lesson in life and in God.
One morning, I picked up my skipping rope and began to skip (I was not allowed to do any form of exercise on that plan as I was eating only enough to stay alive). As I was skipping, I began to think about Christianity, God and myself. I had become a new creature in Christ in 2000, and for at least 4 years I had a fruitful life. Then, everything I had promised never to do, I did. At first I thought I was a failure, then I realized God was trying to teach me a lesson in humility. Before I fell so drastically, I could not relate with so-called Christians – as I used to call them – who could fall into sin so readily. Now, I can listen and actually have tools that can aid them. But in the past two years, I had been experiencing a larger-than-life crisis of faith. I began to doubt that God would ever be able to accept me, which was the beginning. As time went on, I was faced with the acts of my Christian friends. These people claimed to be saved and in a relationship with Christ, yet their lifestyle was one of defeat and I literally could not differentiate their behavior from the man who says there is no God. It doesn’t get much better; I looked at my life and I fell short, far short, I too, lived like there was no God. I justified my behavior by dropping out of church and saying, “This Christianity thing is too hard, the standards are impossible to meet.” But that morning of skipping changed all that.
I began to think about the weight that I had lost, (by then I had lost about 7 kg within two weeks) and how I had been consistent with it. This thought crossed my mind, if you can control your appetite for food just to look better on the outside, what do you think you could achieve if you would control your appetite for self-destruction. I did not understand the thought, but I thought about it all day. The next day, I picked up the skipping rope again and started to skip. This time the thought I got was this, do you think that this is all there is to life? Will you just live as you want to and then die? Is there nothing beyond death? If there is nothing after life, then why live at all? If there is life after death, do you really want to go through life without God’s vindication?
That thought made me pause and I went to look for my bible. On and on, for a month, every conquest I made health wise, brought one revelation or the other about Christ. When I added onions to my sachet of soup to enhance the flavor it was, See? Christians are not supposed to be lazy, unmotivated and unimaginative! You are called to be creative; to be able to use your brain, after all to do otherwise would be waste. The day I ran 5 miles: if you can go the extra mile for a body that will give up on you one day, what can you do for eternal life. When I gave up soft drinks: You deny your body certain things because you are scared it will ruin your body and slow your progress, shouldn’t you be more willing to deny other things that will threaten your eternal soul? It was in this way that God slowly turned my mind back to him. He took me at my lowest and taught me to find value in a soul that he had cleansed.
So, I went back to school, with a new body and a slowly transforming mind. But the year was far from over and I had more hurdles to cross: the accursed Bar Finals. I had studied during the semester and had attempted to study at home, but I was far from ready and I was looking forward to studying with my flat mates. But I got to school and was hit with a surge of lethargy. I was thoroughly unwilling to study and even when I forced myself to study, I suddenly felt dumb, my brain refused to retain information, only my mother and my flat mates know the epic battle I waged against my books. However, (on the however, however, as I like to say sometimes) through it all I was sort of at peace. I knew I was not going to re write the examination, I had prayed about it and I had been instructed not to worry. The problem here was I was not able to retain knowledge. How do you not worry in this situation? I kept at it, fighting laziness and a suddenly faulty brain. When the exams came, I had covered the syllabus at least 1½ times, but I did not think I knew anything. In the hall, I wrote an examination devoid of authorities (a no-no in Law school) and I came out totally sure that I had failed. After my last examination, I left school without saying goodbye to a soul, so desperately did I desire to leave that place. I will say one thing, I did not leave sad; I had made up my mind that regardless of the outcome, the joy that I had stumbled across would not leave me. I was determined to be somewhat cheery.
Oh, I forgot, while I was studying, my other sister had promised my writing services to a friend who wanted a script written as soon as possible. I objected stating my exams as an excuse, even though in reality, it was because I had not written since February. She convinced me to do an outline and I ended up writing a short story as I was studying. I have never had to squeeze my brain in order to find a story in my life. This was a new experience and I did not like it. It took me a little over a month to finish a 16-page story. I have not written a story since then.
Waiting for results to come out was another trial. I felt like I was temporary, if you understand what I mean by that, and I could not accept a job even though I had quite a few offers. Results were sent out and wonder of all wonders; I finished with second-class honors. Period of transition over, I was ready to work, however, the only job I would accept does not begin till January. So, I’m still hanging in there, living second to second, growing in grace and preparing for a legendary 2014.
See, where I begun 2013 in despair, I am entering 2014 with joy. In 2013 I thought maybe I had no future, now everything is possible. On January 1st I was going it alone, right now, I know I have God to lean on and even if I have nothing but God, I have everything. When the year began I did not know my worth, now I know that I am a queen who has been masquerading as a bound slave. I have learned that as long as breath remains in my body, there is always, always, always, the possibility of a brighter day. Now I cling to hope, I cling to grace, but most important, I cling to God.
I met OnyiBi the week she sent this in and we already feel like long-lost friends. I’m sure any of you reading this can understand why. The world is waiting for you girl>