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#BN2016Epilogues: For Titilayo, 2016 Was a Year of Firsts

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It’s that time of the year when members of the BellaNaija community come together to bond over shared experiences in the last 12 months. As with the previous editions of this series, we put out a call for you to send us your stories. {Click here if you missed it} To catch up on the first few stories this year, click HERE.

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It began on a great note – the year 2016. I was starting a new job someplace fun; I was finally moving out of the old, boring town I had lived in almost all my life and which I had come to dread. I didn’t mind that I was going to be moving in with my sister and her family. Living with them was going to be better and more fun than living like an old hermit in my parents’ house. Besides, it was only going to be for a short while till I saved enough money to get my own place or till I got married and moved to my husband’s house, I told myself.

My writing career was finally going to kick off, I was sure. It was all so exciting and I could hardly wait to make the move. I was also starting a serious relationship – something I had only envied others of for years (and I do mean years) even while my mates were getting married and having children. Yes, I am that old! Like every relationship, mine wasn’t perfect and it had its fair share of ups and downs. But we were doing just fine and if all went according to plan, we were going to get married before the end of 2016.

He had made up his mind about me; he wanted me to be his wife and mother of his kids, he said. A stop at Ikoyi registry in our normal work clothes and perhaps (perhaps oh!) a small reception afterwards with just a few intimate friends and family in attendance was what he wanted. But I wanted a real wedding ceremony, it didn’t have to be big, but I couldn’t miss wearing the long flowing white ball gown that I had always imagined wearing or the emotional couple’s first dance to a romantic song that would make me cry and break out in goose bumps as I looked into my husband’s eyes happy that I had finally found the one or taking in the beautiful view of colourful genes and as-ebis at my wedding from my seat beside my husband.

Okay, he conceded, as long as it wasn’t a big ceremony. Of course, yes, we could honeymoon in Dubai if that’s what I wanted, he said. Oh, that was easy! I had only asked, not quite expecting a positive response. I had never been to Dubai. I had never been anywhere outside Nigeria, in fact. I was thrilled! Can we do a pre-wedding photo shoot and have the pictures published on BellaNaija? I asked, still very much excited at the thought of a Dubai honeymoon. Maybe, but wasn’t the marriage itself more important than a pre-wedding shoot? he pointed out. No pre-wedding shoot then; it was my turn to concede.

I settled into my new life, the one with the exciting job and the relationship full of promises. Everything was finally falling into place; my career, my love life and as far as I could tell, my health. 2015 had not been a bad year but nothing spectacular or different or unique had happened. I had just gone through the motions of the year, writing a couple of stories, living a life of boring routine, having no friends, and envying all my Facebook contacts as I spied on pictures of their perfect lives. But 2016 was different, or at least it started out different in a good way. It made me think; this is it! This is the year I’ve been looking forward to!

So, I was unprepared. I was unprepared for my first sack, my first rejection and my first health challenge that I never imagined I could have. I was unprepared for my boss calling me to her office and relieving me of my duties. I was unprepared for the mean, angry and harsh words uttered by the one with whom I had made plans of a lifetime as he broke up with me and left me flat after deciding that he was no longer interested. I was unprepared for the doctor’s report that made me cry. Oh, how unprepared I was for these things I had never experienced!
The year 2016 became my year of firsts, but not in a good way. Everything seemed to be going so horribly wrong! I was suddenly depressed, tired, angry, and sad. I would go days on end without having my bath or mop all day in bed and in my Pjs. It didn’t help that I had very few friends that I could talk to and those I talked to had no idea what I was going through or pretended not to and were no source of comfort. It made me realise how friends stay with you when all seems perfect and fine and desert you as soon as it gets tough.

I admit that for the first time in my life I actually thought of suicide. I looked it up, read about it, imagined it, dreamt about it, pictured it, but when I couldn’t bring myself to it, I prayed to God to allow me die in my sleep. Then I thought of people who prayed to wake in the morning but never did, and I began to thank God for sparing my life, even if it’s been hard. I have decided to weather this storm with the hope that 2017 would be a better year. I tell myself that it’s a phase that will pass with this year. Indeed, I pray it is – just a phase.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

23 Comments

  1. Vivian

    December 21, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    It will get better. Definitely! It is always darkest before the dawn. Have faith. Heal. Live. Laugh. Love. ?

  2. ucee

    December 21, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I am so sorry you had to go through all you wrote down. Please use this period to develop a deep relationship with God and channel your energy at serving him with all your heart.
    Remember Job in the Bible (maybe read the book of Job as well ) . I pray you find peace in God. It shall be well with you, ok.

  3. X-Factor

    December 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Wow!!! Such faith in the midst of intense storm,… and YES indeed all these shall pass God’s got your back

    …and just in case you need a new friend you can always talk to, i’ll be willing, (Please drop me an e-mail address here to reach you on or better still a BBM pin),
    Caveat: It’s absolutely fine if you dont want to. =…I m praying for you!

    • aj

      December 22, 2016 at 12:26 am

      X-Factor so nice of you to reach out to her! God bless you!

    • Titilayo

      December 22, 2016 at 8:03 am

      Thank you! You have a very good heart and I truly appreciate this. You don’t know how much I appreciate this. I don’t normally do this but for you, I will. And again, because you’ve got a good heart. 335AE37C. Please, please, can you send the request as X-Factor, so that I can accept?

  4. Florence

    December 21, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I love you …you will be happy

  5. Sonia Paloma

    December 21, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Awww sweetheart… don’t worry about it (i know it is easier said than done) but trust me, this is just a trying time. Have faith, speak positively to your life and put God first.

    Like xfactor said, we are here for you. Even though I don’t know you personally but i genuinely care about you already. if you need a friend, just holla (drop any contact) E-hugs

    • Titilayo

      December 22, 2016 at 8:06 am

      I replied with a contact to X-factor. Thank you. And everyone here, I say thank you!!!!!

  6. Flexe

    December 21, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Do you know what I gleaned from all that you wrote? You’re being prepared for something big and in this phase, God is taking away people that will do you no good in the long run, above all, He loves you. You’re a free advert, your testimony is coming. Happy Celebration!!!

  7. mz_danielz

    December 21, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Darling, I hope the lord heals you, spirit soul and body.

    BTW, the idea of social media is to create the perfect life illusion, Don’t be envying anyone’s social media life

  8. Missappleberry

    December 21, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Sending u hugs. Trust me, u are not alone. My 2016 was similar to yours with a few differences but one message I got from God is that “our latter shall be better than the former”. Only God can restore. I am so sure 2017 will be better. Just hang on dear.

  9. Elle

    December 21, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    I’m so sorry dear, you sound so strong and i know you will overcome this trying time, Just keep faith and watch God unfold mercies, blessings and love for you in the coming year. can’t wait to hear your testimony. Love you. P.S. You are not that old. there is time for everything and sure your time is coming. *hugs

  10. Cookie

    December 21, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Wow, keep the faith, my dear. God made you, he’ll carry you and he’ll sustain you. You’re just going through the storms now but you’ll definitely come out refined and strong.

  11. Titilayo

    December 22, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you so very much, my BN family. I’m truly very grateful for ALL the KIND words. I truly am. I don’t know how to thank you really. Started tearing when I read your comments. I forgot how kind some people were. Thank you!!! For the “hugs”, prayers, love, and reaching out, I say thank you! I will always appreciate this!
    Titilayo.

  12. NotaNutellaLover

    December 22, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Sister, it will get better. One thing I know is that life brings curve balls and we will come out stronger and better at the end. With a year like you have had, if you want to cry and mope around in your pjs, i say do it. But I need you to do me a favor, set a Time limit on it. Gather all your strength and focus on getting better, anticipate good things for yourself in 2017 and work hard to get it. Joel 2:25, God will restore everything that has been taken. Don’t be discouraged, sister! I am rooting for you, I can’t wait to read your submission this time next year about how God made lines to fall in pleasant places for you! God bless and keep you! Sending you warm sisterly e-hugs☺

  13. Adesuwa

    December 22, 2016 at 9:38 am

    It’s a blessing to have a support system when you go through hard times, even if that support system is a friend, a parent or a sibling. I’m here for you. See you soon.

  14. Abominable snow girl

    December 22, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    This was so Me in 2016. But I survived, Oh I survived. God and my mother are my rock. My dear, you will be A-ok. It can only get better in Jesus name, Amen. ?

    • Olanna&Odenigbo

      December 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      That moment when you’re scrolling through BN reading very familiar experiences and the scripture ‘….nothing has overtaken you, than that which is common to man…’ pops into your head…

      It truly amazing how ignorant we are of each other’s existence, and yet share such similar stories…..o 2016! My mother, brothers and 2 friends in particular outdid themselves for me this year and I have God to thank for it.

      We’ll never be alone in Jesus name. Xoxo!

  15. Miwa

    December 22, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Don’t worry dear, I totally feel your pain. But don’t worry God will see you through. Its well. e hugs

  16. Weezy

    December 22, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Heya. Sorry o. 2017 will be better.

  17. www.thelmathinks.com

    December 23, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Hey poster, this was so me in 2015, like, so MEEE! (sans the health report) In fact when I wrote about my 2015 on my blog some of my blog readers were shellshocked. Most of them just left comments like “hmmm” because they were lost for words. Mails and calls poured in from sympathizes and the surprised ones who went “you were going through this all this time?!!!”. One even called me to apologize for the times she called me to tell me her problems when the things I was going through were much worse than hers. LOL.

    And yes I’m actually LOLing. Because 2017 has been a dream, like, blessings upon blessings upon blessings. On some days I even want to whine about something but I just can’t find anything to complain about. My year was not perfect but it’s been so unbelievably good, so much so that these days I wonder why God is suddenly loving me like this, and it’s even getting better.

    So I’m certain that 2017 can be a year of total turnaround for you. I love that you’re healing and becoming filled with positivity. I also pray that God heals you, by His stripes… I can’t wait for you to start writing because this post itself was so delightful to read and while I was saddened by what you’ve been through, I was wishing your post wouldn’t end. If you ever want to chat or whatever, feel free to mail me ([email protected]). I don’t always have the right words but I’m a very good listener. Congrats in advance for the many blessings coming your way ??

  18. Mops

    December 24, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Not to worry. God has not forgotten you. Just channel your energy towards picking yourself back up. Get closer to God and try to fill your mind with positive thoughts only. You will be surprised how things would turn out.

  19. Olajummie

    December 26, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    It will always get better. I remember been diagnosed with 2 types of virulent breast cancer few years ago. I had so much going on but here I am today, bouncing in the Lord. The Lord saw me through the surgeries, Chemotherapy and it was a period I can’t describe but I had PEACE. I am doing well by God’s grace, I got healed, got a good job, was able to touch people’s life, got nominated for an international award for young people and got a full scholarship for Masters. When I see the scars on my breast, it is rather a reminder of God’s love for me.My cousin and I discussed how God singled me out of multitude by His mercy. So do not fret, be positive, hold on to God for the best, hang around few positive minded people, work prayerfully and strategically on yourself. You will be amazed with what you will achieve. Regards.

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