A password will be e-mailed to you.

They said the world would end in 2012.

I mean, it was everywhere. People committing mass suicides based on Mayan calendars, pastors prophesying specific dates, movies telling us how it would end and how America would undergo some Project Noah activities to make sure humanity wasn’t wiped out, fat men would be commanding engines to start on their own and Asia would switch geographical locations with Africa (I didn’t quite see how the Chinese would be eating amala and ewedu or the Koreans would be doing the azonto instead of the gangnam style, but in retrospect, that probably wasn’t the point).

They said the world would end in 2012.

When 2012 started, I wasn’t ready for it to end just yet. I mean, I’d just survived 2011, I’d graduated from university, gotten posted to Niger state but then gotten redeployed to Lagos (thus ending my plans to acquire a plot of land or two, marry a sultry native and have beautiful babies with Yoruba/Hausa/Jamaican blood that would grow up speaking patois with “h-factor” and Hausa accents), gotten over the second major heartbreak of my life and inadvertedly broken someone else’s heart. I had a job, and I was moving out of my father’s house. I mean! Life was just beginning! If the world was a fat lady, she would just have had to pour herself a triple shot of gin, light up a Dunhill Switch and put that curtain call on hold for a little while, cos mehn, I had it all planned out.
They said the world would end in 2012.

So I got prepared from the beginning; I placed my order for “angelic white” baby-lace and sent it off to sew my Ascension Aso-Oke, I started planning transportation and housing logistics… oh what the f**k (I hear I can’t curse on this blog) am I saying? It’s not like I believed a word of all that stuff. Life was kinda just beginning…

Where do I begin?

In the middle of the fuel subsidy removal crisis that took place, I found time (in between fulfilling my daily duties as an armchair activist), to forge new ties. With no lies but a bit of self deceit, I plunged into this different experience with my feet first, never imagining how different it would be. And on the real, it was crazy. Amazing, beautiful, annoying… I don’t even know how to explain it; but let’s just say T-Pain’s “5 AM” became one of my favorite songs (this should have been the first sign that 2012 would end soon, but I wasn’t paying attention).

I lunged straight into my service year, and slowly but surely, began to be disillusioned about the perks of being a “working class citizen”. Besides the fact that I found that the NYSC scheme is probably one of the most terribly executed schemes in Nigeria’s history, and that waking up at 5:15 every morning was in no way fun, I realized that being an adult and independent was… a shitty deal. I learned very quickly that things are always much cheaper when your parents are paying for them. Bills, transportation, food, clothes; I found myself paying through tears for all these things, and I started to understand what my father meant when he’d always rant about how his children didn’t know the value of money.

Speaking about my father, I started to understand him; slowly, but surely. I started to see some of the things he’d been through and the sacrifices he’d made for his family. I realized that it wasn’t easy and if anyone deserved to be cut some slack, it was him. So I did… maybe.

They said the world would end in 2012.

And there came the time that I thought mine had ended; not my 2012, my life in total. I remember the first phone call I made, and the words we said. I remember having to compose myself and still laugh with Blossom as I took her to her friend’s place, ‘cos I couldn’t tell her what was going on. I remember seeing my future altering completely, and knowing there was nothing that I could do about it but be a man; because that was what I was taught to do, it was the only thing I knew how to do.

But I remember knowing fear; fear of the unknown, fear of the future, and fear of the uncontrollable.
I also remember everyone that stood by me; through everything. Through my ranting and raving, through the times where I didn’t think I was strong enough to be me. If you’re reading this, you guys are the best ever, and I’m lucky as f**k to have had you all around me through what I can honestly say has been the most trying year of my life.

They said the world would end in 2012.

Lemme be honest, at some points, I wished it would. It was difficult, work was stressful, people gave me stress, and Frank Ocean came out of the closet (Yes that was a traumatic experience for me), but it did have its upsides…

I gained experience in so many things, I learned more about myself, I became stronger… 2012 gave birth to a project I never thought I’d have been part of, much more be the one to think up.
And speaking about births, my daughter was born. The Hope of my life, and the one thing I’m most proud of. In 2012 I watched her come into the world, silent and beautiful, and I knew my life had just begun.

They said the world would end in 2012.

But here I am at the end of it; and truthfully? I don’t have it all figured out. I’m yet to master the art of having peace at heart. But right now, my daughter’s cradled in my left arm; and that’s enough, ‘cos she’s my greatest piece of art.

My name is Panda, and 2012, was when my world began.

==========================

Panda!!!!!!