2016 was a tough year. Like, I am tempted to compare it to a blood-sucking kind of year, but I will not. We are in the last ‘-ember’ month and I still have to travel home for Christmas so I am not going to jinx anything.
But in all honesty, it seemed like I just could not catch a break this year. There was just always something or the other popping up its knobby head ready to mess up the year.
But there were the good pop-ups too. The positive stuff that just made me beam so wide that it felt like my chest was about to explode because I didn’t know how God could be so good.
And then there were the beaming within the fucked up moments because there really wasn’t anything else I could do and I knew I just had to trust that (1) God loves me and (2) He’s going to clear up this mess pretty soon.
I think I’m currently in one of such messy moments, but I digress. So let’s rewind for the brief recap.
First, there was school. One huge happy, beaming widely and proudly, chest-exploding kind of moment. I began my Masters programme amid a little uncertainty, half-conviction, and a whole lot of determination.
Second, work. Another pretty huge beaming moment. I kept getting one new job after another, and sometimes two or three together. Even though they came with meager pay, they provided sustenance and financial freedom. And for a single female in her mid-twenties struggling at adulting, financial freedom is the Peanut Butter to the Peanut-Butter-without-the-Jam adulting sandwich.
What with the recession and my inability to work from an office because of school, being able to find job(s) that allowed me work remotely was a Godsend.
But with all the good comes the bad. And when they say bad news comes in threes or something like that, it is no joke. First, I got robbed. The first time was nine days to my birthday and the second was two weeks after. Laptop and phone; gone.
And like I didn’t already have enough problems, I also lost over five years’ worth of writing with the laptop, plus a manuscript of over three hundred pages I had been working on for nearly two years and had been procrastinating backing up online.
What do you do when you lose everything that you have worked on for years?
I will not lie, I was an emotional wreck. It also did not help that my love life suddenly went haywire. I ended a three-year relationship and in the span of five months, began and ended another relationship. Like, really? How many break ups can the heart take?
Apparently a lot, because I am still here. But why wouldn’t I be? I am made of much tougher stuff than I give myself credit for. And that is what this shit-faced, tough-assed 2016 year has taught me – that despite it all, I am still here. Barely standing, but at least still holding my shattered heart in my stitched together arms, trying to count and be sure all the pieces are complete before I start the work of putting them back in place.
That is where this fucked up, not-so-bloodsucking year of 2016 has left me. Relationship-less, for the first time in like…ever. Story-less, for the first time in like…ever. And severely jaded about the concept of love and happily ever after for the first time in like…ever.
But there are the good things. I have a new phone. I just got a new laptop. MMM has not yet crashed. Jobs have been coming in. School is rounding up to a fabulous close. I have an idea for a new book. I met nearly all my writing heroes at Ake Festival. I ATTENDED AKE FESTIVAL! My writing might not have taken any major leaps forward this year, but its right where it should be. And I’m grateful for that.
I’m particularly grateful for family. Especially for those older siblings who while they still live in the same city as you, allow you the opportunity to leech off them while you get your act together. I’m grateful for younger siblings that remind you you’re getting old and give you that occasional reality check when you need it.
I’m also particularly grateful for WhatsApp helping to keep family close so it never feels like they are so far away, allowing us share in each other’s victories, and not-so-victories.
There is a lot about 2016 that I would have liked to change. And there is a lot about it that was pretty fucked up, but life is not about the perfect moments that go your way, it’s about the times that don’t. So I am grateful for all the times that 2016 seemed to fuck me up, I am embracing it as the most profound and genuine experience of the year.
Frustrating and unfair as it may be, they’re the moments I’ll remember that taught me the most. I’ll be grateful for the resilience I built. The ability to go through it and meet rock bottom. It’s a good thing. Because when you hit rock bottom, the only place left to go is back up. And that’s the only place I’ll be, come 2017.