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Every year I keep saying the maturity and self-awareness of my young friend Lade humbles me. Today, she shares with us her interpretation of the taste 2013 left in her mouth
Around September, someone asked me this: “What are the things you’re most thankful for this year?”
My answer: “nothing”
Apart from generic: “thank God for life” “thank God for food”? Nothing. I thought and thought and thought but I couldn’t think of anything.

This year has been one blow after another. For the most part.

Everything is on shaky ground. Relationships with family and some friends. School. God. My relationship with God.

It’s not like I don’t believe in God. I do. But these days it’s like God has forgotten about my existence in the midst of 7 billion other people.

There were two very low points that shook me.
This first one has a lot to do with last year. I was supposed to go abroad for school. Got my admission but it was too late to get visa for January.
[Last year, going abroad was supposed to be the high point of my year. Too many things had happened and that was supposed to be my fresh start.] I had put in a lot of effort, hope, prayers *insert-other-words-here* into my going abroad. I had planned my life around going there and then …

I became really depressed. I would just sleep and cut myself. Do house chores. Sleep and cut.
Then become ashamed of myself for cutting then cut some more.

It became too painful to cut so I stopped. I still have one scar from that episode.

Next I wrote JAMB (again) and I failed. I had passed JAMB the previous year. Cue depression, a lot of insults and berating. I couldn’t bear to cut so I started eating. I gained back some of the weight I already lost.

Then lots of people died. One a classmate I graduated with. Some people I “knew” through other people. One my sister’s classmate; he was just 14. Another I didn’t know personally.

This year dredged up painful memories I thought I’d buried so deep, they should have been erased.

But that’s a story for another day.
Sometimes, I think of these things and wonder if they did happen or if I’m imagining things.

I can’t continue with all the negative things.

Writing this post, I realized that maybe my first paragraph is wrong.
I’m thankful for my safe trip to and from Abuja. I went there for a family friend’s (who is family really) wedding.

Grateful that I can still smile even after everything.

[I was going to leave this out because the person will probably be reading this but I thought … just do it.]

I told a very very good friend of mine I liked him a lot. Feeling was not mutual. It was painful but we’re still really good friends.

I’m thankful for good people.
My prayer group. Support from people I met off Twitter but have been invaluable to me. I haven’t met Uncle E and Aunty G but they’ve been so good to me. Anytime I have any issues or need advice, I know I can talk to them no matter what it’s about.
I am grateful for I & F who are really wonderful wonderful people. I couldn’t ask for better friends.
And a lot of other people.

I’m thankful for the baby of the lab woman at the hospital. He didn’t breathe or cry in the first hour of his birth.

I started a book blog. It’s a good feeling when people email me to say they bought a book because of a review I wrote.
And when I get so many review requests that I have to refuse.
Those moments are wonderful.

Lessons Learned in 2013
• Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
• Enjoy little moments. They hold depression at bay
• Talk to people. The ones you can trust. The ones that love you.
• Life is fickle. And very short
• Love is not always enough.
• It’s okay to cry. Really it is.
• Writing soothes me.

Much love Lade. You are definitely not growing up alone and we have plenty of hugs to share with you.
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