2016: My year of the shaking, beating, pressing, to come out greater
- I started the year in a very low place. Yes, I went to watch the New Year fireworks and counted down happily to the new year surrounded by hundreds of strangers somewhere downtown Chicago. Yes, I shouted ‘Happy New Year’ at the top of my voice and hugged people I didn’t know hoping for a good year but deep down I was distraught, confused, overwhelmed, and on the verge of depression. I was dying inside and I had no one to talk to. See, I usually now how to fake a smile and pretend like everything is perfect with me but this time, I couldn’t even hide it. Communication and interaction was stressful and I just wanted to be by myself. The people I could confide in weren’t even in the same time zone so most times they couldn’t be there when I needed them. I said prayers for God to take control of my year and looking back now, most of what I asked for, He has fulfilled. In fact, He over surprised me this year. In my 2015 review, I was scared of losing my scholarship and was a mess directionally. Well I did lose it, and I almost quit school but I remembered there was nowhere else to go and had to stay put as miserable as I felt. My adviser even advised me to switch programs, alluding to me not being intellectually competent to handle the program. See, my self-esteem was battered and bruised into nonexistence. I felt worthless and stupid. In fact, I’m still recovering from the heavy impostor syndrome I’ve been battling. Then I went on my knees and cried out to Him who listens and things gradually started getting better. The process wasn’t immediate though and I’m still watching things unfold. It took about 4 months for me to see that distant light at the end of the tunnel but I saw it. God gave me a word and a promise which I held on to desperately. I realized that sometimes you think you hear wrongly but then when things magically manifest before your eyes even though you had written them off, it becomes very evident that it could only be God. People, God was and is still at work in my life. Sometimes, I’m just speechless. Things were hard, very hard. I went from having little financial troubles to scrounging and saving everything I could while surviving on the barest minimum. I couldn’t afford to buy anything for myself for most of the year. I had several humbling moments but I’m better off for it today. And the way God turned around my academic situation eh, me sef shock catch me.
- In my dark moments I felt sad, confused and at an utter loss for what exactly I wanted to do or even who I was. I was snatched up from my cool life in Lagos and planted in this small, boring city in America and I couldn’t find my bearing. I lost all interest in things I used to enjoy and when people would ask what I liked to do, I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know anymore. Well, the truth is I’m still a little lost and I still don’t have that certainty or assurance but this year God started unraveling His plans little by little by dropping ideas in my mind here and there and things are starting taking shape. I realized he uprooted me from Lagos for so many reasons and I’ve come to peace with that part of my life’s story. I’ve learnt tough but important lessons. The future looks bright and I am excited to see what it holds.
- You hear me throw ‘God’ around and you think I’m the poster child for a good Christian. Na so! God came through for me no doubt but I went back to my old ways several times and man was I unfaithful and took His grace for granted. But being the ever-loving father that He is, He kept forgiving me and that’s why I can be boasting of His love like this. I’m a work in progress obviously but I marvel at my transformation. My independence levels grew from 40 to a 100, I’m not even joking. Recession and exchange rate woes hit my family bad and it’s been a struggle but we’re surviving. My mum had a health scare but thankfully, it was just that, a scare. In spite of my tight finances, I was still able to buy a two big gifts for myself and I am super proud of how far I have come. My account is almost in the red but as a child of the Most High, I have come to realize that there is power in the tongue so I know that I am rich through Him.
- I lost a close uncle this year and it was hard processing the thought but even harder that I couldn’t be there for my cousins and Aunty. But with all the deaths I heard about this year, I couldn’t be more grateful for life and be reminded that life is transient so it’s not about the length of your life but the quality and impact you make with your life.
- I got myself a boyfriend and though things aren’t perfect with us, I’m learning daily to be more and more patient and less and less selfish so we’ll see what the new year holds. I also detoxed myself of social media; said bye to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat at different points in the year and gradually healed myself of addictions. I tried to start a couple of projects this year which failed; partly due to procrastination, no dedication and deep self-doubt, and partly because they just didn’t work out, so I’ll try again next year. I still have dreams I’m not sure how to achieve; still want to start or be a part of a live band, plan big events, do my media thing and contribute to solving Nigeria’s energy problems, among others. Hopefully 2017 brings some answers and clarity.
- So I’ll leave you with a few lessons. a) Give and help with all your heart without expecting anything in return even when you’re unappreciated and taken for granted. God sees your efforts and will reward you in time. b) Friends come and go; some are there for a reason, season and others for a lifetime. When it feels like the friendship has run its course, dust your hands and get moving without burning bridges. c) Bad things do not happen to you to break you but to reshape you and for you to learn from those things, overcome and come out stronger. d) Be patient and steadfast for the things your heart desires, though they may tarry, they’ll eventually come through if in line with God’s will.
Happy Holidays! I hope 2017 brings us some of the great things we so deeply desire, and some more.