Being an adult sucks. I feel like a fraud saying that because I’ve only been an (legal) adult for less than three years and even then, I’m a pseudo-adult. Everything I own is paid for by my parents and my (wonderful) family. I can’t go out without express permission when I’m at home (not as if I enjoy going out…). If I wear makeup, my mum might implode when she sees a picture and if for some reason, I get into a relationship, there’s no telling how many people will have an apoplexy when the wind blows and leaves my nyash exposed.
2019 was a year of vicious pseudo-adulting (we are holding onto the word for now). The year was out to get me. It was out to kill me and it was out to make me kill everyone around me in the process. (Thanks be to God for seeing me through it all.)
I give the year too much credit. It was school. It was all school. School mean me this year.
At some point in my life, school and I were cool with each other. I think when I was a little kid with funny teeth and an awkward smile, I even liked it. I was good at it then. And I like being good at things I do. I suck at sports, so I don’t participate. I can’t dance, so I only do it in my bathroom or around my brother. I can’t say I only went to school because I was good at it (obviously) but it was good to be good at it. I moved to another point and there, school stopped being about learning and it became a machine of stress. I don’t like stress.
School requires certain skills I don’t possess. At least, not yet. I guess, for one, you need to be able to balance everyday activities and building a network with understanding things which make little sense. For another, your memory and attention span must be near perfect because exams aren’t really tests of intelligence as much as they are tests of memory and you can’t zone out in the middle of a lecture and expect to return and understand where R and S came from and what gs stands for. One last thing (and to me, the most important) is you need a drive for whatever you’re studying – meaning, come demons or nightwalkers or Satan with a spear, you remain steadfast, unmoveable.
I’m quite moveable. My drive meter has the needle pointing on 10% out of a possible 100%. It was apparent to me this year that I have NO business being in the department I’m in right now and studying what I’m studying right now. Civil Engineering? What was I thinking when I selected it? My first semester began in February and ended sometime in the middle of the year. It was like grown man poop. My head slipped below the surface and I thought I was dying. I hated myself even more than I usually do. In second semester, although I went back with a vengeance, the realisation that I was in the wrong place held my leg and made trying to stay afloat difficult.
The question hounded me: If not here, where? It’s difficult to admit but I don’t know where. I like writing but is there stability in that? I might have found solace in sewing if I went into it at the right time. But will that do? And though I have some interest in psychology, would I have found studying it in my school more enjoyable? I was lost. I had no passion for much. In my imagination, I conjured up the belief that something I might find the passion for is murdering infuriating Nigerian lecturers in cold blood; jumping into their rooms in the dead of night, dropping my blade to their throat, speaking with a voice like ice: “Dr ********, your reign of terror is over. Now your watch has ended.” Then, I’d retreat into the shadows while ignoring the bite of guilt for leaving his family alone. But we can all see the ridiculousness in that.
I was held in confusion for most of the year. And the confusion swallowed me whole when my results from first semester struck my head and left me naked. How I exaggerate! I don’t think I cried. I had spent most of the semester crying anyway. I had no tears left. I laughed – the cold, brittle laughter of someone who could do nothing else. I calculated my GP when the results of the worst (or so I thought) of the courses came and thought, long and hard, about how I would call my parents, tell them I had lied that my semester was good and I had done terribly and I had fallen their hands. That was when I saw the final grade, a 35 in all its F-ing glory. I found my tears again. And they kept me company at night, choking and hot, while I thought about how useless I had become.
The only hand I had fallen was mine; I would have slipped out of my skin and beat myself up if I could. The general feeling of the people who knew about it was one of disappointment. My parents were more disappointed I had spent an entire semester lying. Everyone else was varying flavours of disappointed; critical, inquisitive, comforting and above all else, encouraging. I got encouragement in various forms this year – from the family who pays for everything to the family I’ve gathered over my years of socialising who hang around because they think I’m cool (I do wonder why) to people who all believe I can succeed in this school thing. I felt so much love I could have exploded. That love lifted me.
The rest of second semester was a fight; a ferocious battle against my greater desire to set everything on fire and burn with them. It was having the understanding that even though I had made a grave mistake in choosing Civil Engineering and I couldn’t visualise myself as a Civil Engineer, I was already here. There was no going back. I had people behind me who I couldn’t disappoint again. And even with all the work, my second semester results still sucked. They sucked relative to my expectations but when held up against my first semester results, they were a massive improvement. I deserved a medal (a small one sha because they still sucked).
In summary, 2019 was a fast year which began on a good note, drove me into the depths of the sea in the first half, and rode out in the second half. Along the year, there were good things sprinkled by the way – little successes of mine and the big successes of my family. Two siblings and a cousin graduated this year. My younger brother got admission into my school. I strengthened several bonds and I’m glad to know that even if everything else about me is poop, God was gracious enough to send the best set of friends my way. I discovered Cowrywise and I’ve saved more money in the past six months than in my first two years in school. I tried my hand on the Web Developer Course Uncle Efe was kind enough to purchase for me (sorry for calling you Uncle lol) and even though I’m just on HTML, I think if my degree is as useless as I think it will be, I could try the tech industry. I began a writing project which is well over 30,000 words currently and seems to be – for the first time in my life – headed towards completion. Though it seems bland and unoriginal, I’m glad I didn’t lose interest halfway through.
The place where I am now, as 2020 waits to leap out, isn’t ideal but it’s okay. I still fret about all the things I should be achieving by now and how badly I messed up this academic year. A couple of days ago, I was frantic, thinking of all the things I wanted to do before the year ended which I haven’t done (and probably won’t do) as if my life has reached its end, as if next year isn’t there. We know next year is there and we know (to some degree) my life hasn’t reached its end. I may not be the best person to give advice on pseudo-adulting – why isn’t this a real word though? – right now but I’ll keep struggling and learning as each day passes till I am worthy. Maybe then, I’d write a book on it even – Essentials of Pseudo-Adulting: A Helpful Tool to Get You Through the Awkward Years.
Next year is a time to pick up where I left off, to face another bloody semester (God help me), to not spend precious time beating myself up over little failures and to (try to) not be the subject of disappointment for my family.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year, everyone!
My dear, dear cousin, all of us agbayas are still figuring life out, or is it life that is figuring us out? When you’re ready to write that pseudo-adulting book, I’ll be here to read it. Thank you for sharing!
Merry Christmas everyone!