May I just mention that I’m ending my year on such an immensely happy high? Now that’s out of the way let’s continue.
There was Trump, the Headies, Brexit, Boko Haram worsening, immigration crisis heightening and… Well you get my point. It was a dramatic year. There are a lot of adjectives I could use to describe my 2016 most of them a little on the less positive side. But if I must truly be honest, it really wasn’t all that bad.
At the beginning I was so sure my year would be perfect. I had it all planned out from day one right down to December thirty first. NYSC mobilization a few weeks into the year, I’d get deployed to Lagos or Ogun, have fun… But God’s plans aren’t always the same as ours and the long route doesn’t mean the wrong route. The previous year I spent graduating and confronting, for once, my depression. So by the first of January I felt lightweight and ready for a new phase in my life. Then it happened. I realized with dismay towards the end of the month that NYSC wasn’t going to happen for a long while. To say it shattered me isn’t enough to portray vividly how I felt.
I shut myself in and everyone out. I once again found myself screaming as I cried out to God in anger and utter frustration. Why was I so unlucky? Just why? Being unable to be mobilized with Batch A seemed to me like life setback which was way too huge. God is perfect and trusting in Him again I watched as my life ever so slowly fell into place. But it took a hell of a long time to have anything actually happen. I spent a lot of my 2016 waiting for things to happen sometimes patiently, other times not so much.
At some point in 2016 I got asked about my mother and I realized I no longer found it too painful to talk about properly. I even tweeted about it and created a thread about what had happened all those years ago…
I honestly had no idea it would blow up the way it did, especially with it being so personal. But it did. You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this but because of those tweets I met one of the most important people in my life. I tweeted about losing family and God gave me family in T (let’s just call him T, okay?). He literally changed everything around for me and has been one of the best gifts 2016 gave me. Really, I can’t begin to explain how positively my life is now. Because of him. Twitter finally did something right. Thank you T, I appreciate you.
Remember how I mentioned I spent a lot of time waiting? Well patience was never a virtue I possessed and a few months into the year my optimism had faded. I found myself living with depression as my roommate. Alcohol came back briefly into the picture but this time I knew better and dealt with my pain in better, less toxic ways. I felt unfulfilled and discontent. I was idle and had nothing near eventful in sight. Now I look back with understanding that it was during this blank space in my life I began to reestablish my relationship with God again and mentally clear up all the baggage I’d carried around for too long. So God taking me past the long route to my destination paid off after all. He prepared me for the rest that was to follow.
Sometimes things happen not at all. Or all at once. It’s exactly what happened to me, I started an apprenticeship and a job at the same time, on the same day. I worked my butt off and ended up being pushed to my limits but I was happy doing the things I loved. I finally was learning how to make clothes, something I had wanted for years, and being a part time journalist for a newspaper. My only free days were Sunday and I spent them tutoring a class who couldn’t afford to pay a teacher ahead of their external exams next year. I was tired and stressed and worn out, but I was happy.
If nothing could make my parade go south, my family could. Things are still a little bit rocky with my relationship with my Dads wife but I’m learning to pick my battles wisely. My sister got admission too and I can’t wait to attend her matriculation when it comes. The baby brother? Well junior WAEC is around the corner but I’m not worried, he’s always been a fighter. I still haven’t heard from my siblings with my mother, or my mother but I think perhaps in 2017 we may just somehow end up in each others path again. But it’s okay for now the way things are: peaceful. Still yet they remain forever in my prayers.
Which brings me to one of the biggest small things I did this year, cut my hair. Yup all that wavy hair that fell way past my shoulders I chopped off. I woke up one afternoon after a short nap and ordered my sister to cut it short and leave me with a little afro. I did of course cut it even lower a week later with clippers, but the deed had been done. Everyone was shocked and wondered why in my right mind I’d do that. I did it because I was angry. I was full of rage. Why could I not do something I wanted to just because I wanted to? Did I have to have a reason other than just wanting to do something? Well I followed my own words “whatever makes you happy, do that” and chopped my hair off. It wasn’t just about doing it because I wanted to, it was also because for the first time in my life I was finally comfortable being who I am and in my own skin. I was so comfortable I didn’t mind my huge weight gain (10kg) or the fact that cutting my hair would make me look different. I’ve never been happier with such a major decision in a long time. Loving yourself is pretty damn addictive.
Where did I stop before I digressed? Ah yes… Work. Work got interrupted in November when I checked where NYSC had decided to fling me away to: Adamawa. Please can I just at this point say don’t ever believe what they say about camp or your NYSC year or wherever it is you’ve been posted to? Please don’t. You’ll have it ruined before you even begin. I know Adamawa is a Boko Haram hot zone and all, but still I had everyone tell me the worst things about it and let’s be honest, they mostly weren’t true. When I saw Adamawa on my call up letter I was shook. Like how?!? The worst part? Camp would be all the way in Karaye in Kano state. Kill me now FG, kill me now.
My heart came streaming through my pores and I just couldn’t come to terms with spending an entire year in Adamawa but you see, things have a reason. Four days after checking my fate I was living my fate out in a government secondary school in dusty, rural Karaye. My hostel had no bathrooms or toilets but I think I took it better than a lot of people. Thank you FGGC Abuloma for preparing me for the worst.
Really, my camps environment was the worst and two weeks in I ended up so sick I narrowly missed losing my life. But I’m out. And well. And alive. Still I say camp was amazing fun and I had a great time with the people I ended up meeting. I think anything can be fun if you pick the right people to roll with, you know, the ones who don’t really take life too seriously and find a laugh in everything. Camp ended on a great note with me being redeployed to somewhere else… I’ll keep that my little secret for now. Those who know, know.
On the note of love, I think that tweet sums it all up. Love just did not happen for me this year, not even a narrow miss. But I’m okay with that. Occasionally I do find myself wishing I had someone next to me to share certain things but I know it’s not something that has to happen, it just will. I think with all the drama that happened for me in my love life the previous years, I was content to sit this year out and be committed to bettering myself. Perhaps in 2017 I’ll have Prince Charming in my life, who’s to tell? I’ve learned to expect the unexpected this year and it’s a lesson I’ll carry on into every other year I’ll ever see. So 2017 be kind to me.
My year wouldn’t have been complete without so many people. I wish I could name them all, but I really truly can not. But I know I’m surrounded by a lot of good people who have the best intentions and are always looking out for me. For this, I am grateful. It’s a nice feeling knowing you can pick up your phone at any point in time and have a person who wants the best for you answer at the receiving end. Thank you, all of you, I love you to bits.
So here *raises glass filled with freshly squeezed orange juice*, this one is to 2016, you will not be missed but thank you for the memories, lessons and people you brought our way. To 2017 we say welcome, and we’ve been waiting for you since at least July. You took your time getting here but we hope it’s because you come bearing gifts of happiness to us. Please be kind.
I really enjoyed reading this. You read so easy. And I love the picture as well. Thank you for telling this story like it should have been told, Miss Kingston.
This evening, Thalia will be on for her review. Don’t miss it.