Day 25: Roli

Random voice: Roli, come back online. How was 2016?

Me: I don’t know. It was a bit of this and that. I am not sure how to feel about it.

Random voice: Analysis… Why do you say this?

Me: I want to say “It doesn’t look like or mean anything to me” but this would be a lie.

2016 was supposed to be ‘the year’. The year I turned 30, the year I accomplished dreams, fine-tuned over my twenties, the year my stories would have been published somewhere other than my head and other safe places. The year I made my first film. A short film. The year I would apply for residencies and literary prizes.

This year was supposed to be all that but these didn’t happen. Instead, I find myself in this loop. Wake up, follow a thin line between living and existing, depending on what the script was, go back to sleep and repeat.

If you watch(ed) Westworld, this description would make more sense to you. I feel like Dolores running around a maze trying to find the center of it and fulfilling my purpose but in between choosing to see the beautiful side of life…

I woke up in 2016 with plans. We all did right? I quit my job with a media company and went freelance with two other media companies and it well, quite worked out.

I found real friends in a chat room, who turned out to be really awesome people. Like minds, great sense of humor, support system, and all the responsibilities that the title ‘friend’ hangs on one’s shoulders. These folks rock it so well like an invisible cloak. We would cover each other’s shame without the next person noticing. Oh and the laughter and jokes for dayyyys. These chatbroom friends coloured my year brightly.

I didn’t do much writing. No fiction writing at all. I feel I have become sloppy at it. This is tres disappointing but I also made money significantly from commissioned writing. I should be proud of this. Shouldn’t I?

I did a lot of cooking. Made money from it a few times. This felt good.

On becoming 30. LOL… I just wanted to use the word ‘Becoming’ I have been fascinated with it waaaay before it made its way to Toke’s book cover. It has a nice ring to it.

… On becoming 30, let’s just say this hasn’t been my best year so I wasn’t excited about it. I was numb on my birthday maybe depressed sef.

Nigeria broke my heart. Buhari failed me. I have finished whatever hope and belief I have in the system. I wish no longer being Nigerian was as simple as a break up. Then I’d say it’s over, rolling my suitcase to the airport where a flight to Mauritius will be waiting. I hear their economy is favourable for immigrants…LOL

My family is in tact. I still have them. I am thankful for this. We have known a different sort of life from what we have been used to. Crumbling walls, failing finances, loosening bonds…

At this point, writing this review has become too much for me. I have scratched layers forgotten that have become rather sore to share. So I must stop now and take console in this Fried rice and chicken.

Merry Christmas and dare to venture the new year with a new narrative. I will try to do so as well.

Let’s clink our glasses and drink to this. Shall we?

Roli Afinotan

Writer, poet, spoken word artist, narrator for Stories dot Ng, food bender, future deputy governor of Lagos state.

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