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I’m hoping this isn’t going to be one of those times when I just start ranting and then completely go off track and forget what it really is I’m talking about. But just in case I do get completely overrun by my thoughts and let them take over, I’d like to state that the entirety of this (hopefully not too long) write-up) is about gratitude.

God, I’m so super grateful for everything that has happened to me this year. The good, the not-so-great, and even the seemingly horrible – because ALL of it brought me here. Yes, I am one of those horribly cliché people who believe everything happens for a reason. God really does have a plan and a purpose for everyone and for everything. It took me a while to accept, and I still struggle with this acceptance from time to time, but I’ve learnt that it’s best to just let go sometimes and let God do God.

As I type this, my Ayo just completed her nursery 2 exam. Yup, nursery 2. Why are they writing exams in nursery 2? Only school administrators can answer that question, because I personally don’t remember doing anything when I was in Nursery 2. It’s funny because the school said they’d have to start her from Nursery 1, seeing as she hasn’t ever really been in school. Apparently, day care isn’t considered early education. I was really just grateful that I could get her into school at all and pay the fees (and this is because my aunty is the most awesome woman in the world for giving me such a great discount on fees), so it only hurt a little that my princess would go and be mama in her class. One day, I went to check on her in class and couldn’t find her. I asked the teacher where she was and she was like “Ahn, she’s in Nursery 2 now”. I almost squealed, but I’m a G.

Sometime this year, I decided to stop having (casual) sex. I don’t have any deep, heartfelt reason to give. I’m not doing it to prove a point. I woke up one morning and didn’t feel like having sex. Like, I felt utterly tired of the whole concept and process of it. That’s all. So, I started to make excuses whenever someone who I knew I would probably end up having sex with asked me to hangout. Eventually, I just started telling people if they were asking me over to have sex, there was no point. It’s true that some people are only your “friends” because they want to have sex with you. This should probably upset me more. At a point, I thought I should be infuriated. But I’m not. I’m grateful, if anything at all, because it saved me a lot of awkwardness having to tell people I can’t hang with them anymore – as taking sex off the table made them “slyly” remove themselves from my life. I may have a lot of love to give, but it’s no reason to be wasting it on undeserving people.

I have a job. I did what I said I would earlier in the year. I packed up my shit and moved to Lagos. Settling in has been difficult – to put it lightly – but I’m grateful my job makes it easier. It’s a job I love, and I cannot ask for a better work environment. If I didn’t actually enjoy what I do, I’d have packed up the one or two pairs of shoes that have remained outside my boxes through my ordeal these past couple of months and returned to my mother’s house. So, thank you Dekemi for encouraging me to take the job and do what I need to do to get it. And for being the pain in my butt that you are.

All of this is amazing because I didn’t even think I would graduate this year. Well, technically, I still haven’t graduated, but I’ve completed all my course requirements and I have my certificate. That’s as good as a graduation to me, please. I’ll never forget how I felt when my mother called me a few days to the close of registration for my final semester and told me she didn’t have the money for our fees. I actually started crying right there in the hallway with everyone watching me. And then my housemates held me and made everything okay. Not just by holding me oh. Like these people legit paid I and my brother’s fees. ‘Gratitude’ is not a strong enough word.

And mhen, I have f%^&ed up so much in this life I do not deserve half of the people who have stood by me through my shit. Like, gosh I know some f&$#ng amazing people. Even when it looked like I wasn’t going to graduate due to yet another complication, these people stayed praying with me every day. I was not the most pleasant person to be around at that point – I am aware of this – but there they were.

I am grateful for three amazing friends I made this year. I feel very compelled to mention their names, but I’m not entirely sure how comfortable they would be with it. These people are great because they are my daily reminders that there are people in the world besides God and my mother –in her own way – who care about me. Yes, I need constant reminders. It’s great to care about people, but it is beyond awesome to show them how much you care so they are reminded of it every time they need a reason to not just die. And I haven’t even ever physically met these people. So, thank you Irven, Ladi and Michael for reading and listening to every one of my rants and enduring my moods and being awesome all year-long. All three of you are beyond awesome in more than one way.

Just as I made new friends, I realised the people you expect to be the ones to be there for you are the people who will break your heart the most. And you know it shouldn’t hurt because you’ve known for the longest time not to depend on people but it will hurt anyway. Even more so because you knew and you trusted anyway. Someone will call you their best friend and in the same breath leave you on the side of the road stranded even though it is well within their capacity to help you. I thought I’d be writing this with enough anger to write this person’s name, but I feel like it’s not even worth it anymore. I’ve cried and I’m over it. I think that’s one of the awesome things about tears. Like, as they flow down, they carry the problem with them.

And then friends who you feel you have burned every bridge with will just rise to the occasion and help you above and beyond what you expect. Besides Irven, Ladi, and Michael, Deola has been the biggest hero this year. Like, I cannot even put in words how grateful I am for everything she has done for me. I wish I could do something so super special for her, but I have a reputation to maintain. We’ve spent time bonding again and it’s funny because one random day, we randomly realized we lost touch over nonsense miscommunication. Imagine life. This move has not been easy – not even a little – but Deola has stepped up more than I expected anyone to and had my back the entire time. And it’s not like she doesn’t have her own shit to deal with oh.

*sigh*

This year was beyond amazing in more ways than one. I loved every moment of it. God came through for me in so many ways and I will never not be grateful for any of it. I cried so much. I laughed so much my chest hurt. I burned bridges and built skyscrapers. I actually learned shit. And, most importantly, Ayo and I actually celebrated our birthdays together this year. I hugged my princess and told her happy birthday for the first time since I had her. I didn’t sit in a room miserable and sad, waiting to be sent pictures; I was present. I’m stopping now because I spot my word count in the corner and it’s making me unsure.

Thank you stories.ng for letting me write this. I thought I would go one direction, but I actually went another. Lol. I love life.

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Reading this was such a delight. Your joy is infectious. Thank you Coco Chanel, you have turned on a light in our hearts. Here is to a brighter 2016.