It’s been ages since I have written to and for you all. Many things have changed; everything going on at once has made it difficult even to get a moment to write. I’m sorry to you all, especially those who have asked me to write again.
I assure you I want to, and hopefully, I can again. While I find my balance between life, work, and school, I hope you can accept this little snippet of my 2022.
Notes on 2022
The world is upside down
I think this didn’t start in 2022, yet for the first time, it overwhelmed me. It’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing pronouns, but it is even harder to understand why or when everyone became overly sensitive and easily offended.
In 2022, perhaps more than before, disagreement somehow became synonymous with disrespect, hatred, and even phobia. Lines are constantly blurred, and it is becoming impossible to have a debate without one side crying wolf and hiding behind constitutional rights.
People are becoming bolder, hiding behind keypads to call strangers liars and call for their cancellation, only on the words of others who are themselves questionable characters. When did it become impossible to disagree with someone yet remain respectful and protective of their dignity?
Maybe the world will return to sanity, but I’m not holding my breath.
The losses we share
I lost loved ones this year. Some were bizarre, others were avoidable, and all were shocking. Although I’m not a stranger to the death of loved ones, it still always catches me by surprise.
First, it was an Aunty — she died with a baby inside her because the doctor she trusted to treat her for malaria made a mistake and gave her a drug that killed her and her baby. Then, a colleague died because her doctors ignored and kept quiet about the signs of post-cesarean section complications. It was her first baby, and she got no chance to mother him. And just as the year was ending, a close family friend passed away — one day, she complained of stomach pain, and before morning, she died on her hospital bed.
Loss is what we all share, yet grief, the price we pay for love, is a unique journey. So, still, I guess, like everyone grieving a loss, I sometimes wake up and can’t believe they are gone.
Amid these personal losses was another that was more hurtful — estrangement.
I think because those who died didn’t choose death, the grief was of a loss that they had no say on. But estrangement was a choice, so, in this case, I felt tremendous grief.
With this grief came hurt, anger, and a sense of betrayal. Suddenly, I was forced to swallow the hard pill of a truth that I had never acknowledged — these people who were my family, both by blood and bond, didn’t feel the same. Apparently, there had been a competition of successes and failures that no one invited me to, and while I was convinced that our bond was made of steel, they knew it was built with straws.
First, I realized they would only reach out when they needed something; then, our bond had only seemed ‘steel made’ because of our proximity, but distance showed it had been a façade for a long time.
I worked through the hurt and anger, first by protecting myself from the visual reminders and then making a conscious effort to pray for them every time I remembered the pain. It worked, but not like magic; now, believe me, it hurts less.
Work, life, and Canada
I have lived in Canada for over a year, but still, I miss some parts of my life in Nigeria. It’s different here — everything is, and while I’m now free of the anxiety Nigeria started to give me, I miss its familiarity, communality, and my friends. I miss home.
My life has been good, and I say this despite the still long list of prayer points and the other troubles of life. I still think of the things I don’t have and allow myself to feel bereft, but by choice, I focus more on the part that brings me joy.
So, when the doctors could not explain why I had been bleeding for months, I got myself a medium-sized cup of Oreos ice cream from DQ and a footlong sandwich from Subway and devoured them as I curled in front of the TV. After that, I allowed myself to think about what the ultrasound had revealed and what the doctor said and decided to wait for a miracle. And it came. After six months, the bleeding stopped but the ‘why’ and ‘how’ remains a mystery.
Then, I lost my job two months after resigning from a large company to join this smaller team (of course, for more money). I got the call on a Tuesday morning — it had nothing to do with performance, but the company had lost its biggest client. I was in shock, and I remember bursting into a tearful groan as I lay on the living room floor. Suddenly, the songs I had been randomly singing two days prior came flooding back, now meaning more than they did — songs about faith and praises in storms. Somehow, God had been preparing me for that Tuesday morning.
So, my life is good, and even when I’m unhappy, I have joy.
As we look forward to 2023, here are my hopes for you;
- I hope you protect your joy daily, especially when you are unhappy.
- I hope you set healthy boundaries and realize that sometimes, you may need to distance yourself from people, even those with whom you share blood.
- I hope you know that as crazy as the world has become, you don’t have to conform. Your life is your own, so live it in a way that pleases God.
- I hope you know that it doesn't take much effort to be nice.
- I hope you give no one the power to shift your focus.
I’m rooting for you.