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Jessica Ireju: Finding My Way Home

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I can’t believe it’s been five months since I’ve written an essay; I was lost for a while. So, what made me start typing at 10:20 pm at night? I’ll tell you. Someone randomly sent me a message on social media with a link to my old posts asking ‘are you the same Jessica Ireju that writes for BellaNaija? I didn’t know how to respond because at that time, I thought to myself “sis, some days I don’t know who I am!” It was so random that I went back to read my old publications, and I couldn’t recognise that girl. So much vulnerability – amateur writing but with authenticity. I wanted to understand what was so special about my essays that made a stranger want to send me a message. I’ve been lost, buried under rubbles of failures, fear, and disappointment.  

Here’s the weird part: I have more than I did three years ago when I started writing, but I’m less happy and, for the life of me, the math doesn’t make sense. Aren’t you supposed to be happy with more? Okay, maybe I still need seven figures in my bank account and the corner office, but I’m no longer typing articles on my phone with the cracked screen. I haven’t had a steady paycheck in two years, but I’m no longer having a panic attack because I have to work a job that was sucking the life and soul out of me. I thought I had more faith now (you know how much faith you have when you leave your job with no extra income and your bank balance reads N582). I’ve had the flexibility to chase dreams. I started a business with my sister, I have creative control over my content, I’m co-hosting a podcast with my friend, and I have the luxury of time to travel. So, what’s missing? I’m here to report my findings. Are you ready for the real and raw? Please, don’t judge me.

I got lost. Plain and simple. Phewww, it feels great to type this out! I’m bad at remembering directions, that’s why I am the annoying person that will always call you to remind me of the directions to your house even after visiting you yesterday. I try to avoid getting lost at all costs. Somehow, here I was, lost in my own life – the one direction not to lose. I wish I could tell you the exact point I got lost, but here are a few markers that I’ve identified trying to find my way home. I got stuck at timeline junctions with everyone asking’ “when are you getting married?” “Why haven’t you started the blog yet?” “Master’s degree 6 years after university? I took a turn into a comparison avenue, and started sipping the tea of jealousy. I should have called the one person who would find me without question, but I was embarrassed to tell Him I had gotten lost. I took detours to places He didn’t send me to – approval-seeking route, because the authenticity route He wanted me to pass required too much vulnerability. So, I looked at my contact list: the friends I called couldn’t come pick me up, were busy, didn’t know the directions, or sent my calls into voicemail because we stopped being friends.

I’m writing this post safe at home with a few scars and some fresh wounds, but I’m glad to be home. How did I find my way home? I took a break from worrying about SEO for the blog. I stopped wanting to seem like a serious person on LinkedIn and the pressure to be a perfect Christian. I dialed 911 once I realised it was getting dark. All He wanted to know in between the tears, heavy breathing, and apologies was where I was so He could come to pick me up, no questions asked. It didn’t matter to Him that my business was struggling to break even. He didn’t care that I struggled to find clothes on Sundays because the only criteria were to find one where I didn’t look too skinny. Girl, was I happy to leave that dark corner where chances of me getting robbed of my purpose increased with each passing minute. I’ve taken time off from my social media accounts in the last couple of weeks. I live in the moment even if not planned, and rested. I’ve also spent some time in hospital emergency rooms while thanking Him for how blessed I am with the gift that is life. I find myself dancing offbeat to Angeloh’s music these days. When I’m not sending out emails, watching episodes of Laju Iren‘s During Ever after, and occasionally editing podcast episodes has become my new normal.

My reply to the girl who sent me the link on social media eventually was “yes, except I don’t always look like the girl in the photo because I’ve put on makeup only four times in 2021 and my natural hair is almost always in a state.” I had to own who I am even if she isn’t perfect. Because, if I’m being honest, I don’t know all there is to know. 

I hope I’ll find the courage to keep sharing as I’m learning, growing, and thriving in my lane. Were you lost like me? Are you still lost? (remember this is a no-judgment zone) Are you on your way home? Let me know in the comment section. Maybe, we can share our tips for navigating this journey called life so that you can come home safely.

 

Jessica Ireju considers herself a storyteller; she believes everyone has a story worth telling! She creates Digital Content telling stories writing, blogging, and podcasting. Jessica curates her stories and those of other women on her blog jessicaireju.com. She is also the co-host on the 'Gist and Puff Puff Podcast" sharing real-life stories with humor and heart. She loves small chops, thinks journals make the perfect gift and spends her free time watching YouTube videos. When she's not creating content, she invites people to share their own stories by leaving a comment on her Instagram @jessicaireju.

2 Comments

  1. Chidinma

    January 6, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    Jessica. Can I call you Jess?😂 Cos I feel some connection to you. 2021, for me, was that year. I told myself many times that this was not me. I lost my way more than ever before. On New Year’s eve, I wasn’t even feeling ”the new year spirit”. But I know that God helped me. Somehow he did that night of the crossover service in church. He heard those my ‘Help mes’ even though they were not as frequent as they’ve been in the past years.
    Thank you for sharing. And as always, I’m glad I read. And your older blogposts don’t sound amateur. Lol. So glad you found your way back home.❤️

  2. Ozyy

    January 11, 2022 at 5:21 am

    Hi.

    Thank you for sharing this. I have never been lost but I have come to learn to accept feelings. Feel what you feel.

    Sometimes, we may not have the strength to be strong or to do and is just tired.

    For me, 2021 taught me mindfulness. I became so intentional about it. I have always tried to enjoy the moment but putting a name to it ‘MINDFULNESS” made me so intentional.

    Being a human, an adult is not easy but we have the grace of GOD to take us through even in our darkest moments.

    I wish you a greater year in 2022.

    I hope I didn’t talk off point.

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