2019 – Make or Break year. That’s what this year was and I still can’t tell what it’s done to me.
I have failed this year. A lot. I failed so much that I doubt my abilities now.
I have failed myself, my family, my friends and everyone who loves me or claims to.
I have tried and now, I’m tired.
I’ve cried. A lot. A whole bloody lot. It’s tiring.
I’ll go to the start – the beginning of this year. I was happy on most days. I can’t lie and say I didn’t have days where life was being messy, but that’s what life is, isn’t it? Shitty days with a mix of happy ones or just plain good ones. Days where you wake up to a flat tyre but you’re up early enough to change it and get to work on time and days where you have a shitty day at work, but you get to come back to family. Life is legit full of ups and downs.
At the point I am typing this, I don’t understand the purpose of life. I don’t understand the significance of anything – everything is gray. I don’t see the point of the dash between birth-death. I don’t understand the point of birth, if there is to be death.
January was good for me. I did the trip back home from the village with my family (with the exception of Chijioke – my big sister) and just lived. I was happy, chilling, dyed my hair even and was not doing much until the end of the month. I started overseeing my dad’s site around this period. Towards the 2nd week, my friends came to the east and we went to a wedding.
I lost my cousin sometime in December (cancer). It hurt. That shit hurt. While I was dealing with that, I was dealing with fighting with a close friend of mine over something that now I think of it wasn’t as serious as we both made it. My cousin’s burial was on the 24th. I went with my family and had a mini-reunion with some of my other cousins.
January was a good month. 6/10
February – March – April
Cj came home for a bit. The family was complete and I was happy. I’m always happy when everyone is around. There’s a feeling from childhood(?) that comes back to envelop me. She stayed for a bit and by the 11th, she had to go back to Abuja and I got sad. The problem for me with sadness is that it lingers and it trickles into other parts of my life… gradually.
Moving on… My friend from before (the one earlier mentioned) showed me his proper self and I decided I wanted nothing to do with him anymore. March came and I spent quality time “bonding” with my sister. I cut my hair, then dyed it again (clearly, I was going through it). Around this time, I started walking (10,000 steps every day) and it helped me deal with where my head was (a bad place, a really bad place). Usually when you exercise, if you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. SHOCKER! I lost weight. A lot of weight. I was skinny, you know? You-look-sick-kind-of-skinny. Sometime in April, STER PH had her OpenMic night and I went. From here, it was just site work and me. I enjoyed it so much.
February, March, April? 3/10
May – June – July
5th of May, I packed up and went to Lagos. I think this is where my problems started. I was soooo excited. I was going to see the love of my life (my boyfriend lives in Lagos while I live somewhere in the east). I spent six weeks in Lagos and I was happy. In between this, I got a job offer. I stayed till the 16th of June, went back home to the east and started my countdown to go back to Lagos to resume work. My dad hated the job and didn’t want me to take it. He asked me to wait and I refused. I basically spent all of July prepping to move to Lagos. My days were spent overseeing site work and preparing to go to Lagos.
May, June, July? 5/10
August – September – October – November
I’m impatient. When I want something and I can’t get it immediately, from the time I start wanting said thing until I get it, I basically drift through life because I assume if I detach myself from everything that is happening, time passes faster. That’s what I did until I moved to Lagos. I drifted until the 10th of August and then, I left for Lagos. My parents cried, my brothers cried, I cried too. I finally moved to Lagos. 12th and 13th were holidays, so I officially resumed on the 14th.
I interviewed for an engineering role. When my letter of employment came and it said Business Development Assistant, I was too excited to have a job that I took it like that. I got zero training. I was basically just dumped into the role. I was sad. I had looked forward to a field engineering role since I was in Uni. I wanted that to be my first official job but beggars can’t be choosers and a million other stories, you know? I started working. It was just a bunch of hit or miss assignments really. I can’t talk extensively about the job but I want you to know that never again will I prioritize a job above my mental health. I would rather eat my own thigh meat because of starvation than work in a place where all I did was cry. That’s all I did for 5 months – cry. I’m not joking. Sure, there were a few good days in between, days where happiness brushed past me but all the other days, I just missed my parents, had flashbacks of home and cried.
I turned 24 this year and I know I’ve been putting pressure on myself since I was like 19, but this year has been the worst. I quit my coping mechanisms, so I just dey push dey go really. I faced everything head-on not alone. I had friends. I had people who checked in on me, but I can’t lie and say I reciprocated properly because how do you console someone when you’re crying yourself? How do you tell people “it’ll be fine” and sound convincing when all that’s on your mind is ending everything? I thought about killing myself more times than I have since I was born and by God, I have thought about suicide for way too long.
September was okay. I tried to stay happy. I went out, spent time with Imaami, hung out with friends, spent time by the waterside. I found a spot. Technically, I didn’t find it. It was shown to me by a friend. Thank you, Eke. October came and same, but it was slightly better. I went to Ake festival, went to a gathering that had only women, went to the sex for grades screening. Of course, I spent time with Imaami.
October came and went.
I called one of my closest friends and told her, “Look nne, I’m tired, I no do again. I’m going home”. She, in turn, reported me to a mutual friend who was in the same city as me and did an intervention of sorts. She gathered a group of friends, cooked and hosted us.
The reason I talk about these somewhat minor events is because they refueled me to continue moving forward.
Again, I spent more time with Imaami.
Spent more days at my spot with another friend of mine.
Had a night out with people from my workspace.
On the 12th of November after work, I called a friend of mine (thank God for him), went to Yaba at about 6 pm and spent a third of my salary buying baking things. It’s something I’d been wanting to do for a while – start baking, that is. (I’m going commercial in 2020, so if you’re looking for moist chocolate slices, hit me up, thank you). Baking gives me so much joy. If I could afford it, I’d bake and just send out cake to people for free.
Moving on… one of my best friends got married this year. So, midway through November, I booked my flight to Abuja for the 28th. I was looking forward to it because look, I was tired. I was crying more than usual (which is a whole lot for me). Two days before I was to leave, my boss tried to change my plans, but God pass everyone. I got to Abuja, got to my Aunty’s place by almost 12 and for the first time in 5 months, I ate and didn’t feel like the food was coming up. See, I’d had acid reflux after every single meal since I moved. The heightened emotions, the sadness, the unease, the fear/uncertainty at work, the anxiety – everything contributed to me suffering from intense GERD. Eating had been such a chore.
I spent some of the best days of 2019 with my sisters and I was happy – truly happy. The days that followed after were hell. They concern work, so again, I can’t go into details. I came into Lagos on the 5th of December. On the 9th, I resigned. I said “I no do again”. Thank God for Imaami, Femi, Kechy and my big sister. They are the people who got me through it. I didn’t have a plan, to be honest. I still don’t have a plan like that. I don’t want to talk about what happened after so I don’t jinx it but yeah, I’m alive still.
I’ve basically spent the rest of this month relaxing and being a baby girl. Except for a short horrible stint in the hospital when ulcer tried to kill me and all the women in me, I’ve been good. I made my first cake sale, sent out free cake samples, did my first boat ride, volunteered at Tarkwa Bay, tried out new recipes, went to Happyness, back home to my parents.
After the number of times I thought about dying this year, the depression, the nothing, emotions that I still can’t explain, late nights at work, I’m alive. I’m taking every day as it comes. This is a testimony of sorts. I’m 24. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life but most importantly, I know that I can’t come and kill myself.
So, from me to you – don’t kill yourself. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance.
Dear lover of life and light, I can’t imagine how hard it was to write this. You squint at everything yet you hit speed bumps, not road blocks. You drive rough and run off the road yet you never crash. I’m happy for Imaami (how do you say this in 3rd person?) and for all the ribbons of hope you saw this year. Hold on to them, maybe connect the dots between them. Your life will come together in the end.
Love and light.