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Jessica Ireju: Piecing Together the Puzzles of My Life

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I like to think of life as a jigsaw puzzle sometimes. Jigsaw puzzles are beautiful; it’s fun to put the pieces together but sometimes, it’s frustrating trying to decide which piece fits where. Isn’t that how life is? Fun and then sometimes frustrating. I think I’m like most people; nothing in my life ever comes prearranged, in a complete set and perfectly put together. It comes in pieces. I’m learning that purpose isn’t this huge block, it comes in bits. I always thought my purpose was this huge picture completed by degrees and achievements but no, it’s in the mundane, everyday life.

The challenge I have is recognising which piece belongs where. Why am I talking about puzzle pieces? Because after years of trying to complete the perfect picture, I’m happy to announce that I’ve finally figured out where some awkward bits and pieces of my story fit in. I don’t want you to think “well she’s on her way to completing her jigsaw puzzle, mine is still strewn all over the place.” I’m still trying figure out where some of the pieces are supposed to go; the people I’m no longer friends with, the articles I wrote that never got published or all the math formulas I learned in school.

Let me save you the trouble of wanting another person’s puzzle piece, it won’t fit in your picture, it would ruin its beauty because we weren’t meant to take another person’s own – everyone gets their custom made pieces to create their perfect picture. Rather than wish for other people’s “finished” picture, spend more time arranging your own puzzles and making it picture perfect.  

I’ll tell you about some of the bits that are beginning to fit – the ones I’m focusing on even though some are quite oddly shaped. I finally get why I talked to the stranger next to me on the bus heading to my final semester in university, kept in contact with her for a few years on WhatsApp and didn’t say more than a few random hellos – 7 years later and we’re co-hosting and producing a podcast! I understand get why I got fired from a job – it taught me positions didn’t give me purpose. I’ve struggled for years with body image and stretch marks, but these days, when I chat with my younger cousin, we laugh about our stretch marks.

Even as some pieces of the puzzle of my life are beginning to fit together, some odd-looking pieces are beginning to arrive and for the life of me, I can’t seem to figure where they fit. Pieces like why I have been a freelancer for 2 years. I mean, I’ve always liked the idea of having a 9-5, and dislike being associated with the term “entrepreneur”. Why are some prayers unanswered?

I’ve made a commitment to focus on the pieces I know where they fit – my faith, my love for family, my assignment telling stories and work on putting them in their places, knowing that time will tell where the others belong and if they don’t fit, I’ll remove them from the puzzle that is my life.

How’s your puzzle looking on your end? What pieces has it delivered to you? I’m currently receiving pieces of good news, doubts and answered prayers. What about you?

P.S – I’m back to writing again in 2021, I wasn’t sure writing was a piece meant to fit into my life anymore but now I can’t imagine anything else taking that space – it’s beautiful!

Jessica Ireju considers herself a storyteller; she believes everyone has a story worth telling! She weaves words together as a content writer to help brands tell their stories most engagingly. She's currently working on co-hosting a podcast to curate her personal stories and encourage others to share theirs. She loves small chops, thinks journals make the perfect gift, and is a fan of Johnny Drille's music. On the days when she's not creating content, she invites people to share their own stories by leaving a comment on Instagram @jessicaireju.

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