2014 has been a very interesting year. As it comes to an end, BellaNaija seeks to showcase a human interest segment, dedicated to looking back at the year. We’ve teamed up with a diverse group of individuals and asked them to share how their year has been. The brief was ‘a personal look back at the journey thus travelled. The idea is to use 2014 as a focal point. The honest and heartfelt piece should talk about your ups and downs / victories and failures – a general self assessment. It should be a raw piece which shows you as a person – the human angle is important.
Each of the participants has graciously sent us amazing pieces about themselves. As you read these pieces, and take stock of the year you’ve had, we encourage you to get inspiration from our 2014 Epilogues.
This is the finale of the 2014 Epilogues gemstones. We hope you enjoyed them.
I beg for your patience. I crave your indulgence. Take my hand, I’m not asking you to trust a stranger. But I am asking you to come with this stranger who likes to tell a good story. Even an epilogue is a story, and this is how mine began or ended or whatever…
Where your treasure is, there your heart is, also
Home is where your heart is
Where is your home if your heart belongs to the heart of the world? Home for me is, Tatisevoon. Home is the smell of Ikokore on Saturday mornings that mother is feeling nostalgic of growing up with her mother. Home is the smell of Belton Suya, chased down by vodka laced coca-cola. Home is the freshest bagels from M. Matrion’s bakery down the rue de St. James. It is the smell of sea air as you run by the beach in Nice. It is the taste of gelato at Giacomo’s little bistro in the heart of Parma. Home is the taste of soul food and hands held in prayer at the little grey house just outside Stone Mountain, GA.
Home is everywhere, and at the heart of it, home is the place of authenticity and truth. As it is the pattern with things that are not hard won, we lose the sense of purpose of the treasure we possess. Only the loss of these blessings, and finding them again, do we appreciate their true value. Absence making the heart grow fonder does not only apply to the plight of lovers. I’ll show you how.
This story begins at a transitory stage in my life. You know that place where you look at where want to be, and compare it with where you are. And all of a sudden, the crushing weight of so wide a difference just depresses you. I was in that place, both romantically career-wise. I’ll be the first to admit that the romance part of it, was strictly the work of my idle hands.
The way these things work, is that at such points as this, you will always find a companion, comrade, friend who shares the same struggles and challenges. Mia was this person. She had reached that point of ennui most creative people trapped in the trenches of corporate enslavement get to; where the only seeming next move is to jump ship. Your mind tells you, you need a soft landing, a life raft, something but no. You just jump. Looking back now, I don’t know ten people with the requisite amount of balls to do so. I use the term balls here loosely (Heh. Balls. Loose. Shoot me please. I will die now). But jump Mia did.
Where is my place in this story? I was that devil on her right shoulder, whispering. Jump. Do it. You know you want to. Just jump. Don’t worry, you’ll float. Honestly, looking back, I don’t know why I urged her to do so. Because I vividly remember a part of me screaming in my head: What are you doing? Do you want to lead someone’s pikin astray? Tell her to turn back. Turn back. Turn back! To safety! Turn back!
So tell me, what did the little devil that was advising someone to throw their life of safety then do? He chose safety. And so like the Prodigal son, and the good one, we chose different paths.
The way to hell is paved with good intentions. I never understood the weight of this maxim. I told myself that writers are usually hungry. And that no one writer, save for a precious few paid their bills writing stories. Or God forbid that they funded the life of consummate wanderlust by writing. I told myself that it was unrealistic. I reminded myself of the look of incredulity my Dad (God bless his heart) had, when I told him that I wanted to actively write and make a living from it. I told myself — and this was the biggest accelerant in the flames of my self-immolation — I told myself that my writing sucks anyway. Nobody wants to read my drivel.
As the days went by, life did as it is wont to do. It occupied my time. I promised that I would. A week of not writing, became a month. At least I am paying my bills, I told myself. I can always write later. I told myself that I am a strong, independent Man who doesn’t need something as trivial as writing to validate me.
2014 began and many things began to happen at once. First off, I don’t know how the writing process works for anybody else. But for me, it starts like the gem of an idea — think of it as a lightbulb moment. It then grows brighter and brighter until it is the only thing in my mind and it will not let me rest until I have poured out this light through my keyboard. It is difficult trying to get this light out of your head, when you’re in a presentation, dressed to the nines and you’re trying to convince them to put their money and trust in you. So I did what I do best. I clammed up. The stories would come, and I would literally stifle them in my mind. I had this oak travel chest that I tossed them into, in my mind. I would feel peace immediately after doing this and I could move on with the demands of life as needed.
While that was happening, the universe decided that it was my turn to receive bad ass curve balls in my life. Now I am not even talking about life throwing lemonade at you. Do you think this is a game? I am talking about Life throwing you into a wrestling ring and having different forces do Wrestlemania with your existence. Now, under normal circumstances, my usual recourse would have been to write about it. But because I had become so adept at censoring myself, I couldn’t even get the words I needed to heal myself wouldn’t even form. I started to have panic attacks and losing sleep. Anybody that knows me will tell you this is impossible. To give you an idea of how key sleep is, to me. I will confess that I have fallen asleep — at my usual bed time — at a Linkin Park concert.
I will make no bones about it, I am irrationally self-confident about many things. It is why people assume I don’t have problems getting girls. Assume, I said. I am hopelessly shy and have problems even talking to girls (I type this with a very serious face). But somehow this confidence does not stretch to two other parts of my life; writing being the chief of it. Sharing the second will leave me feeling a bit naked (Heh. Here’s hoping you don’t get it), so let’s move on shall we?
I feel like no matter how fictitious a story I can come up with, people will always find the pieces of me, my thoughts and fears that I have hidden in plain sight. More than that, it isn’t the writing that is the only problem. It is the idea that another pair of eyes will see the drivel that I have muddled together. It’s like being on a stage with a moving head beamed straight at you and you have to peel your clothes off, slowly.
It drives me crazy.
I don’t even know why I am even sharing, like as if confessing to this will be grant me some kind of freedom and catharsis. It is why I envy and look up to well published authors from Soyinka to Adichie to even Obasanjo. If I had to publish a book and sit in front of people to answer questions, I might literally stop breathing and die (peacefully). The thought alone is giving me heart palpitations and I am not exaggerating.
Look, I remember sweating inside A/C the first time my story got published on here. I even remember frantically calling Glory Edozien to pull down the post because I thought it was absolute trash. This trepidation still hasn’t changed 4 years later. That you’re reading this means, I won the battle over my insecurities this time.
Returning home has been what 2014 was about. It’s been about finding my authenticity, finding my calm amid the storm
Dear friend, you’ve been kind enough to read this far, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am. Honestly. I wouldn’t. I want to end this piece with a bang. I swear I want to tell you how I have come back to my sense and have run 10,000 miles back home. I want to say that now that I know what gives me peace, what truly makes me happy, and that I will never let that go.
But no. I’ll say none of that mostly because it would be dishonest. I will say though, that, this is a first step to where my heart is. I may go back to being solely devoted to trying to make my other dreams come to fruition. Heck, I may not even let this piece see the light of the day. But I’m coming home. Mia, throw me a party demmit.
Ezi, thank you. Of the chorus of voices encouraging me to do what comes naturally again, yours is the most insistent (Read: annoying). :p
Itohan, thank you. You are patient, you are kind and you are smart.
B, tu sei pazzo. Ma tu sei di famiglia, e d’io ti amo
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Yolanda Van Niekerk