Some Years Offer Sadness With a Tinge of Gratefulness

Food. That’s really how I did it. That’s how I got through this whole year. I am gulping down (never sip) my litre of juice after cancelling a hefty portion of chicken and chips, my mood feels a bit lighter, and I am certain that’s how I did it. How I didn’t break. It’s also how I became a thicc heaux but that’s not why you’re here reading this review. This is my attempt at humor before we delve into what a year this was. Like every other year since I lost my joy (that internal idealistic stuff), I just want to have another go at this life thing and fix screw ups. I mean who doesn’t?

The moon has never fascinated me, so tonight I am bemused to find that its absence makes me uneasy. The sky is a blanket of black and the light of the stars are as absent as the moon is. There are four benches where I am sat, and usually they’d be full with couples, groups of friends, or people on long night calls. Tonight, I am the only one on a bench. It seems like everything is aiming for absence; reminiscent of how I am at this moment. Absent from the rest of this year and waiting for the next one; a new start, as arbitrary and false as that newness, of a new year, is.

Two paragraphs in, and you’re probably wondering, yelling internally, tell us about the damn year already. And that’s the thing; I cannot speak of 2018 in tangible moments. I am trying to think of what happened this year and all I am left with are blanks. Spaces I filled with silence, empty smiles and drowned with alcohol. Underneath all the moments that made me smile truly, my weariness was eating at me from within. I have no idea why I am here, or what I am doing. Each time I tried to find out why or what this year, I got turned down and turned away. 2018 was me picking myself up, smiling and moving, with no purpose and no idea what I was doing. 2018 was the year that whispered to me: “there is no purpose, there is no meaning”.

A new year for me always begins with my birthday and a side helping of existential dread. 2018 did not disappoint. I spent the beginning of the year waiting for the end to come because I was already tired of tests, exams and projects. School had never brought me so much dread as it did at the beginning of the year. I spent the early months holding myself through the sheer force of my will during the day, and asking where my tears were at night. A strike, a student protest later and I was searching for the end of this journey that seemed so close at the beginning of the year. I was smiling and laughing to shows, to meet ups but inside my weariness and thoughts were toying with me. Nothing I tried was working, and I could not convince myself that I was making progress, that I was enough. School came,eventually, and the period I was dreading with it. Destiny still arrives. No anime, No social media; It was food and I for the long haul.

This year was supposed to culminate with me being totally excited about completing what has been a tumultuous and regret filled seven-year journey through dental school. And while the journey is over, finally, I am greeted with the dread of a future unknown with all my failures behind me and my regrets leading me. So, yes. Am I not happy that I am a doctor now? Am I not elated that I am moving on with life and starting something new? Am I not excited about the possibilities that come with being able to chart my own course? The truth is that I am tired and when I sit to think about it, after all my perceived failures and shortcomings, I don’t want. I am grateful nonetheless. Happiness and Joy are entirely different questions that I am still searching for answers on.

There’s a new couple on the bench beside me. He’s dressed in a suit, she in a dress, and they are giggling into each other’s ears. It’s almost midnight and I am now wondering if my presence is not wanted, forgetting that if anything they met me here and should be the ones more concerned about my presence. This is how my 2018 went; I spent it folding myself into spaces I couldn’t fit, trying to be invisible, to make others comfortable over myself. I spent the year making others happy that save for food and anime, I am not entirely sure what I want anymore, or what makes me happy. I could tell you what any of my friends wants though and that’s okay. I am grateful for new friends, for their belief in a ‘me’ that I cannot see. There’s the avid movie lover’s vision of me that is smart and a prolific writer. There’s the stoner’s vision of me that’s cute as fuck but still has no idea how to handle a blunt after wasting his first try this year. There’s the dwarf’s vision of me that eclipses not only her size but my presumed ‘giantness’ that I am always itching to fold and collapse into tiny spaces. Did I mention the easy or whyte vision? I am itching to see this me, to be this me but I am blind and my glasses only see far enough so that I don’t stub my toe against stones in the dark. These visions flatter me and lie beyond the power of my glasses.

Nothing has changed. This could easily pass as my 2017 review. I am still searching, and although it seems from the outside like I am making massive strides (yes, Doctor), I feel stagnated. And it’s difficult to explain;because how do I explain that it feels like I am constantly drowning when it seems like my head is above the water. So, I don’t try to explain and remain silent, or smile with no light in my eyes. But you won’t notice, I make sure of that. Far be it from me to be the one spreading negative energy (legit heard that this year, must have been caught slipping). In the end, the search is mine alone and the journey undertaken only through my sheer will. This is the core of what I have learnt this year: good intentions will only get you to where you feel you have to do shit yourself. The truth is people are going through shit,and while they will demand your support, far be it from you to be vulnerable with them. “Tell me” and then they ghost into the wind. Catch the next flight out of your life, because after all they owe you nothing. So, to all those who stayed this year, thank you.

The moon is still not out and I have grown tired of searching for it. I just want to be here, in the now;grateful for the breeze and how it gently caresses my bare arms, thankful that tonight my sweat won’t dry on my body. The moon has nothing to offer me,whispered into my ears by the voice of Ben Cooper: there’s no magic inside the moon, it’s just a rock you can’t reach. That’s how I want to learn to live in 2019, without allowing my failures to haunt me, or my regrets to forge new paths for me. I want to see more than my shortcomings and regrets. I want to try again, because there’s really nothing else to do either way. I want to keep showing up for those I rate, for friends who stay. That’s what I want next year- to live without allowing my fears and failures to choke me, to try again and friendships that stay- and honestly, I think it’s about time.

So, do I think 2018 was a bad year? Well, let’s see. I am broke, without a laptop, a job, any semblance of a stable relationship, without a sugar mummy… Okay, that looks way too bad. In the end, I am still alive and a doctor. That’s something I didn’t have last year, a step forward; I am grateful. We try again in 2019. Though, I can’t shake the fear that I’ll just fail, as usual. So, cheers to 2018: the year of sadness with a tinge of gratefulness.  

Uchechukwu Osondu

Uche is tired and struggling. He is currently on a hiatus from studying and doing meaningful things. He remains grateful for anime and food.

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