Still, I’m Here
Final farewell to 2020
This past year has redefined me.
I feel my heart’s been changed, my desires, my goals, the perception I have of myself, the world, the things I value, all of it has changed.
I even got a cat.
I think the deepest change starts in the place we can’t reach ourselves, the innermost part of our heart.
We can change how we deal with the things we feel but we can’t change the inherent feeling. Feelings of insecurity, jealousy, envy, pride.
I think that’s where Yah started His work in me.
He brought to light my brokenness, revealed to me my need for hands larger than my own. I became clay, cast down from the height of every ladder I tried to climb to everything I thought I should be.
I was brought low, humbled so gracefully — when I didn’t fight back — that the loss of my identity felt liberating. I also got a cat.
-Miles Carter in ‘This Unruly mess I’ve made’
Sometimes I think my mind is like bubble wraps-with multiple options to pop. Not in the ‘Make the design pop’ kind of way, but a ‘With every touch comes a sudden disruption in silence and order. Causing chaos one sound at a time’ kind of way.
Last year was the year someone drove a truck over the bubble wrap, and the unevenly distributed chaos came together to make a symphony of very disturbing music with breaks between every ride over the medium of transmission.
2020 was a lot! And to be honest, I’ve had this draft sitting here for a long time because I honestly have no words to describe what this year was, but I remembered this doesn’t have to perfect, but true and a perfect place to finally separate from 2020 considering it took me almost a month to finally sit into the new year. So, happy new year?
Let’s start from the actual beginning
Badass Ogo crushing it, or something like that
I came into last year with one goal-happiness. I just wanted to be sincerely happy and have my heart beaming with joy regardless of the state of my life. Not only that, I wanted to live the baby girl life to the fullest.
Well, I didn’t get that and discovered the fickleness of happiness and achievements and how insufficient these two are in filling my heart.
Last year began with an appointment that can be considered a big deal, depending on your vantage point. Considering I just got involved in students’ politics less than six months ago at that time, it was a leap. I was expected to be happy, but I was more afraid than happy. I was terrified.
This was the kind of progress I was supposed to jump around about, but boy was I wrapped up in fear. Partly because the process of getting the appointment in itself was unnecessarily draining but mostly because I was scared this new duty would break me in ways I wasn’t ready to be broken. I was afraid it would test the balance people attached to me. I was in fear that all the ‘I don’t know how she does it all’ ‘How do you combine all these’ was about to end in premium tears. I was going to be found out for the fraud I was.
To make matters worse, it came with a block on WhatsApp from someone I had no idea was also being hurt by the system. I kept thinking ‘I haven’t even started this thing and people are already leaving’. (Apparently, it’s part of the ‘game’. Tufiakwa)
Well, all my fears were very valid because having to be the person with this tag didn’t help things when my mental health went bunkers and the truck driver decided to practice slo-mo on my bubble wrap. I did a lot of ghosting for most of the year(I’m sincerely sorry to anyone who got hurt in the process, I had to), social media became very repulsive, and I lost all communication skill. All of this made handling a duty that needed me to be always online and available almost impossible, so yeah, I did a very shitty job. Not just in this one thing but even the previous position I held. My motivation was at zero for most periods, and I was absolutely powerless.
So, imagine the skilful, highly recommended Ogo becoming the shittiest person to work with, and she had no strength to fix it. I thought she always fixes things. (warning-I will charge into the third person mood a few times in this article, bear with me)
During that period, I couldn’t hold my phone with the data on without my hands shaking impulsively. And I, lover of phone calls, developed some form of phone anxiety. To cope with this, my phone was in airplane mode for most of the first half of this year. I even took out my SIM at some point because I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.
For people that have read my articles this year, I’m pretty sure you are tired of hearing this story, but I’m not tired of telling it, yet. So, bear with me, once again.
In the last months of the year, I realized most of the ‘beating myself up’ was not necessary because a number of people also went to ‘winging it’ mode this year.
I realized my actual problem is I don’t know how to be kind to myself and when thing go south my way of avoiding actually sitting down to fix the problem was challenging myself to a boxing match and beating myself up till, I have no strength to even try. Yes, ‘omooooooo’. Admitting this was hard but lying to myself isn’t self-care either.
So, one of my major goals in the next years of my life (starting from 2021)is learning the intrinsic details of self-care and self-love. Shared a bit of it in my first newsletter for the year.
In 2021, I want to love myself recklessly, without restrictions and unconditionally.
When I’m on my bed, paralysed by anxiety, unable to do anything productive, unable to morph myself into that beautiful version that is so easy to love, I don’t want to nurse hatred for my own guts in my heart.
I don’t want to feel disgusted at my existence.
Repulsed at every heartbeat.
I want to love myself still.
I want to be able to give myself the same amount of empathy I would give if I lived outside this body.
I want to be able to still sing myself love songs.
Hold my own hands and tell myself to breath.
I still, at the shittest moments of my life, want to love myself completely. Because these moments will come.
Not the kind of love that forgets to stay together, pieces of adulterated affection lying everywhere.
Not the kind that doesn’t see the beauty my eyes still hold in these horrible moments.
But the kind that is whole, sincere and without restriction.
This is the superpower I want in 2021.💜
For the longest period, I have wanted to learn how to code. So, in the mood of revamping my entire life and going for what I really want because, at the end of the day, all I have is myself, I started learning web development.
I started with courses on Solo learn. Inconsistency, procrastination and laziness ate up most of the time, but I’m really glad I started at all. Really, even with my beginner position, it is one thing, asides writing that gives me actual satisfaction. I know, for someone who doesn’t know so much? I don’t know mehnn, I just really love it and really look forward to growing greatly this year.
One thing that fuelled my interest were the six weeks frontend Boot camp by She Code Africa - Admin Minna. Getting into the Boot camp is an entire story and making it to the end? Omoooo, it took an entire village cos I was showing up between panic attacks. But I made it to the end!
This was such a big deal for me because I had earlier applied for the Project Kuongoza fellowship and the rejection actually got to me. So, this is me saying I DID THAT!
Another interest I followed was photography. I spent weeks learning the work that goes into making an image with the right lighting, composition and getting a hang of the ‘Exposure Triangle’, which was my favourite part. I haven’t been able to put this in too much practice because of the hustle for a camera. 2021 hopefully! (put me in your prayers fam)
Award-winning Writer 😏
Writing is my safe space. It has always been. So, I can say 2020 was a safe space for me because it was one year I wrote about everything. Maybe not everything everything but mostly everything and this felt satisfying. What was most satisfying was having people send me messages of how my writing was so relatable and how they feel less alone. It was that for me because it made me feel less alone too. I felt heard and free from thoughts that have sat in my head for years.
I got to write about mental health, Lagos and women. I even wrote an essay that won a prize. Another significant thing was the list of LinkedIn writing courses I took that really opened my eyes to how much I still need to learn. I even started a newsletter.
I look forward to writing more this year and building this skill intentionally. And getting the bag! Cos I need it
I wrote a lot of poems in 2020. Many I haven’t even published. Made a lot of submissions that all returned with a rejection. But one thing that made me glad was releasing a piece that was written in actual tears. One of the most personal things I have ever released (Okay that’s a lie, I have more personal things published but that line fits here perfectly, so we shall let it be)
You can listen to it here
Oh, and I also won a twitter spoken word completion where I got to read an amazing collection of poetry.
Omooooooo, I have no word here. All I know is I need to start taking financial intelligence more seriously this year to prevent future tearsss
In conclusion, 2020 was a weird mixture of discovery, pain, laughter and contentment. I don’t know what this year has in its palm, I look forward to moments of growth, joy and living the baby girl life I deserve.
P.S — I already wrote a review last year here, but I need this one for a place to lay my head and as an atonement as I finally cross over to 2021!