Remember when we asked you to send in essays discussing how 2018 was for you? Because, you know, writing can be the best therapy. And sharing your joy and pain and all the emotions you’ve felt through the year can only be a good thing.
Tolulope came to a hard realization in 2018: that she’d been telling herself untrue stories. Although she’s not sure how to fix this, realization is always a good starting point.
I finally summoned the courage to pick up a pen and paper but, I must admit, in utmost fear. Fear of opening up to myself, of getting raw with my emotions and openly acknowledging the truths I only have the guts to acknowledge shamefully in the dark.
At the risk of creating a jumbled up reading experience, I will break my 2018 experiences into sections.
For the most part, the year was a blur. This is probably because it was mostly uneventful, or maybe it’s that thing that robs me of my memory happening again. The year started out in fear. My spiritual life had nose-dived, I had become a recluse and it felt more like I was coasting through life without a direction, getting tossed and toppled over by whatever life decided to bring my way – good, bad and very ugly.
I remember attending the crossover service alone, praying hard and leaving feeling empty still. I resorted to promising myself to live life intentionally this year, since I couldn’t feel any form of optimism or excitement for the gift of the new year.
Midway through the year, I think I hit a new level of low. I wasn’t where I had thought I’d be at that stage of my life. I had low-key attempted twice and failed woefully both times at reviving the passion project I temporarily gave up for my 9 to 5. I stopped communicating with friends and felt completely hopeless in the “man” department. Nothing felt like it was working right.
The Daily Vulnerable
The Daily Vulnerable happened to me on the last quarter of the year. It was a refreshing and very unusual reading from Chude, a man, brazenly expressing his emotions. I had found home. Finally, someone (who I thought could possibly have no major worries and had life figured out) whose experiences I could relate with. So The Daily Vulnerable naturally became a habit. It was the first activity I’d engage with every morning as soon as I got to work.
“What’s Your Story?” hit below the belt, dealt me a painful blow. The earth stopped spinning and my ears wouldn’t stop ringing as I read line after line that morning. I remember dropping my phone in anger after reading. I had come face to face with the painful truth I avoided telling myself for as long as I could remember. Chude had written about it. It was there, eyeballing and daring me to dispute all I had just read about me. I don’t know if mental-cry is a thing but I cried myself shitless that day in my mental space.
All my life, I had created a story, conditioned my mind into believing it as truth, and woven my life around it. I believed (and probably still do) that almost everything about me wasn’t up to standard. I was not good, intelligent, eloquent, conventional and pretty enough. I even labelled myself a fraud for thinking of myself as a creative. Hiding behind walls, literally and figuratively, had become a way of life. Hiding because I have always been scared, scared of people getting to experience the below basic and shallow minded person I have always believed myself to be.
I am sincerely still clueless on how to go about rewriting this story I have created and told myself all my life, but I at least know now that it is rewritable and not set in stone. That’s enough for me to be happy about, for now.
It wasn’t a totally sad and dark year. I learnt to enjoy my space and company, let down the reins on my impulsive urge to seek validation. I grew into my own and got over the fear of being alone.
I spent days by myself holed up in my hotel room, in a different city, doing nothing but eating junk food (plus my favourite sandwich – Chickwizz), getting tipsy, sleeping, binge-watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S and religiously following the drama of BBN during my leave. It was, by far, the most amazing thing I have ever done for myself.
I started having movie dates at the cinema with myself every Wednesday after work. PS: I am super shy, socially awkward, and hate going to public places alone.
I also built my friendship to a new level with one of the few “unlikely” people I’ve ever met. Time spent with family always gave me a certain type of joy I still can not bring myself to explain.
Promise to Self
I am still a work-in-progress and I promise not to lose myself while working toward finding and wholeheartedly loving myself.
PS: Thank you Babatunde for making me realize that there’s nothing wrong with being unconventional. Shout out to Funbi, SDC, Ikon Ekwuyasi and Odunsi (The Engine) for making my 2018 musically lit.
Read up on previous editions of BN 2018 Epilogues here and send in your essays to features(at)bellanaija(dot)com. Let us know all the twists and turns and successes 2018 came with. Send your mail with the title “2018 Epilogues.”