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This year was my year of learning. The lessons I learned have tattooed themselves to my being and I doubt I will be forgetting any in a hurry.

Nothing stays hidden or buried forever. You think you have perfected the art of running from shit but on the day shit decides to pursue you? Ah!! Ozeba! I had kept so much in. Shit happened and I looked the other way, dusted my bum and moved on. It is not really moving on until you have dealt with it. The littlest and randomest things open the biggest can of worms and you are left trying to breathe. Do you have an outlet? Do you have something you do to take the edge off when shit gets real? I had no outlet. I find it hard to shout, or cry or talk to people. Writing helped to an extent but at a point I could not even still my thoughts long enough to write. Inside I was all tangled up like earphones in a trouser pocket. On the outside I remained the life of the party of course. Before I discovered jogging and handball, I developed an unhealthy relationship with my blade. Do you have an outlet?

People are responsible for people’s actions. It has nothing to do with you. Saying “you pissed me off and so it is your fault I hit you” is the stinkiest lie. You are only responsible for what you do, everything outside that is not on you. The eight year old I was did not look or act a certain way; that was not why I was selected to be defiled out of all my sisters. The nineteen year old I was did not hug or laugh in a way that suggested that I was down with the idea of being raped. 

Not my fault.

It was not my fault.

I say this every morning and one day I will believe it. Take the blame that’s yours and leave the rest. Please leave it. Or you can just be selfish and take no blame; that works too.

You guys, who loves you loves you. Irrespective of, because of, inspite of and any other phrase you can think about. Who loves you loves you and whatever skeleton you think you have and you need to hide makes no difference because those that really do love you will love you. I do not know if I am making any sense. The second part to this is that being loved is not like getting picked to be head girl. You do not have to be on your best behavior. Being on your best behavior and forgetting your voice and giving him sex whenever he asks for it and letting him hang your leg on the fan or window sill or whatever bloody position he wants is not a guarantee that he will stay. Who loves you loves you even in the absence of all that.

I spent a better part of this year scouting for “real niggaz” on my team. I found them; I have them, always have. It was not enough. You know why? I did not have the most important team mate.

Myself.

Having the entire LWKMD twitter voltroning for you does not mean shit if you do not have your own back. The cheer of others does not stop the second guessing and low self esteem if you do not even believe in you enough to love yourself. It is important, very important. You have to have your back. Not loving yourself also feeds you dirt and you do not have a problem with it because you are convinced you deserve it. Nobody, not even family can love you like you.    

Depression is bad. I do not have guide lines on how to overcome it. Do you have? Can you share? Darkness of the night has nothing on the darkness depression brings. The mornings it felt like ropes tied me to my bed and I was injected with bolus doses of worthlessness. Depression is bad.

At this point I will like to give a shalla to all the people whose DMs (direct messages) I invaded. The ones that gave the much needed smiles and verification I thought I needed from strangers, God bless you. Some of you are family now. The ones that gave me EOL (Ela of life), God bless you too. That stuff is character building. In learning to love myself I realize why I dealt so badly with being alone. With so much self-loathing, I was the last person I wanted to be alone with.

I lost love this year (maybe it was never love) and after all the blaming and saying what he did and did not do, I go to bed at night and hold my pillow while the truth holds my eyelids apart like toothpicks. Asking somebody else to love me when I do not love myself is just unfair. It is not possible. Yes, they may love you and make you feel good about yourself for a while but one day they will not be able to. Not because they do not care enough but because they are human too. At this point you realise you are unable feel good all by yourself. It is like suddenly withholding cocaine from an addict. Like you, be comfortable in your skin, love you.

Forgiveness is not by force (Efe I can feel your protest). It is good and biblical but it is not by force. You are very much allowed to disagree. I am not preaching unforgiveness but you don’t mess up “lifetime mess up” and throw scriptures in my face. God will punish you ok? The right to be angry is mine, the right to not want to see you is mine, the right to use your picture as a dart board on my wardrobe is mine. When I am good and ready, I will let go. Forgiving is delicate guys, forcing someone to forgive when she is not even ready to face the silhouettes that make up her nightmares can go wrong in so many ways.

God bless my mother. If one day I am half the mother she is, my children will be more than lucky. For the 1am calls, for the times she snuck into my room while I pretended to sleep and she sat at the edge of my bed and prayed for me, for all the extra favours and extra money and food, for always reminding me that I will find my own song, for the times she held me while I cried and spoke to me in Ishan that I barely understood but my soul heard her, for making me know it is alright to fail an exam. “Happy and alive Okaima is more important than doctor and unhappy or dead Okaima” These words I will never forget. I also appreciate her for apologising and showing me that parents are human beings too. We often put them on really high pedestals and we forget that they are just as human. I think I really started loving my mother the day I realized she has flaws and she does not know everything. I saw her differently.

I read two books that made so huge a difference to me in the last quarter of this year. The book of Job (in the Bible. It is a book abi?) And I know why caged birds sing by maya angelou. Job was my nigga in depression, that dude had it bad. I read of his wahala and wondered why I was crying. The book has the most beautiful quotes and I could feel and identify with everything he was going through. Then at the end there was rest. I got the second book because I liked the title, I wanted to know why too, I expected some deep far reaching answer but the answer is really so simple. Caged birds sing because they can. The cage does not change the fact that they can sing. So they sing of the cage and of freedom and whatever the hell there is to sing about. They just sing. I read this and something changed.

I learned acceptance this year. It is something you never actually finish learning. Somedays I wake up and learn to accept all over again. Somethings you cannot control, somethings you cannot understand, you just leave them. It does not have to make sense. A young man getting high on a fine sunday afternoon, losing control of his car and killing eight people does not make sense. That twenty-three year old Amaka who rounded up a twenty day fast that day and still died in that accident made no sense. She had been praying for twenty days, should that not count for something? . That nineteen year old Racheal went to Asaba to attend her cousin Amaka’s funeral and met death on her way back made no sense. Afro’s crime was liking the wrong girl, he got one in the head and two in the chest ten days before the start of his final exams for that. That’s all it takes in my school. I asked questions, lots of them. I got no answers. People had died before but this year, it was different. This questions almost tipped me over then I realised there are no answers. It will never make sense. It just is. Somehow we have to deal. Somehow. It will never make sense. I do not know where souls go after but I hope they know we remember them. We do.
   
This year has been hard but not bad. In the midst of the pain there was laughter. The unexpected kind. The best. On days when there is nothing to smile about and Edwin starts with his gist or Efe says something old-papa youngish like “keep calm and blow kisses”. I learned. I grew. I sleep now (without abusing drugs), the reccurring dream that woke me by 3am for as long as I can remember is history now. I dreamt it one last time in November, that time I was not running. I sat on the floor with the child and we talked. I told her I was sorry I never let her be, I apologized for everything I could think about and I woke up crying and realized that that was me. I had been the one chasing myself all this time. The child was me.
   
I do not have to wake anybody up to follow me to pee at night, I do not lock myself in for days, I eat (or I try to), I talk to my friends, I do not panic when power goes out at night, I do not feel hands running up my thighs in the middle of the night anymore, I laugh now (Fejiro my bestie says my eyes aren’t sad anymore), I have remembered how to dance, I get angry now and shout and tell my offenders the different ways they need to f**k themselves, I say No to people. Guilt free No, without explanation. Just No. And I do not start having palpitations worrying over who I offended. 

Baby steps. One day I will be able to look at myself naked in the mirror without turning away, I will be able to go and swim with Fejiro.

Baby steps, I know everything good will come. Hang in there ok? Just grab on to something and hold on as tight as you can because even as 2012 has come to an end whatever it is you are going through will come to an end one day.

I thank God for my family and friends, for TNC and 19th Street, for twitter, for music; For Kendrick, Pink, The Weekend, Lana, Kanye (of old), J. Cole, Nas and Eminem. For Kendrick again.

I may not really know who I am yet but you guys I know what I want. That is so important to me. For the first time, I know what I want and that is really all. I am looking forward to the New Year. It is like I got new shoes and I can not wait to step out and make koi koi everywhere. I hope nobody has left banana peel outside my door.

And wait! This one is important. Do you know why this year did not end on the 21st? It is because Eminem is to release a new album next year!!!!!!!!! 

That is all, I am sorry this is so lengthy!

Happy new year in advance guys.

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Honestly guys, Okaima is like a daughter to me. It is true. “Who loves you loves you.” Much love to you. Baby steps…

Tomorrow, we will watch Mr Sawyerr take the podium and give his 2012 speech. See you  🙂

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