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This is for some of you, who feel like giving up; let me share my story so that you can learn from it…..
Growing up as a ‘middle child’ (an elder sibling, and a younger sibling) wasn’t so great. I know a lot of people can relate with this, but you have to be me to understand my own special case. I was different from my siblings, and they never made me forget that fact, every moment of every day. I always and easily had misunderstandings with my sister, so, there was always that opportunity to remind me that I’m the ‘odd one out’, and to go back to the place I came from (whatever she meant by that, I never knew). The painful part was, my parents heard each time she utters this statement, but they never said anything.
So I believed it. I convinced myself I was a stranger, and one day, they would return me to where they took me from. I had a special love for my little brother, but the only person I connected to was my mum (I was still distant, but at least, she understood me a bit).
One day in primary school, I found #5 note or so on the floor under a table in my classroom, took it and spent it on junks for my brother and myself. He got home and spilled the beans. My mother wouldn’t hear it, she was convinced I took it from my teacher’s bag (the money was too much to just be lying on the floor, it had to belong to a grown-up); and that made me the official thief of the house. From that day, any missing thing had to be stolen by me, of course, ‘Shebi’ I stole from my teacher’s bag the other day.
Life went on, and we lost our mum. Guess what that meant for me? The ONLY person I could still attempt to relate to was gone. For years, I mean it, years; I went to bed at night because I was going to see her in my dreams. I was communicating with my late mum every single night. I had not let go. Thank God for Uncle Riwo (my neighbour, he was an house officer then), he prayed with me, discussed with me everyday, whenever he was on call and couldn’t come home, he’d make sure I was the first person he saw when he got home.
And then he got married and travelled out of the country. I got admission into Estate Management in OAU. Ha! Estate Management, OAU. My depression got depressed. Lol. It was supposed to be getting better but it wasn’t. I couldn’t comprehend anything in school, my brain was blank. I’d read and read and still not comprehend one single line. I struggled. Then I met a guy, we could relate well because we had both lost a mother, oh, I desperately clung unto him, ‘cos’ he was the only one I could open up to, and then feelings got involved and I got hurt.
I moved on, but still longed for someone to connect to, I met another guy, he was good, he was actually God-sent at that point, but some years later, he left too. People did not understand why I was so affected, but I lost my best friend.
Back to academics, I struggled to try and rectify things for years; a lot of havoc had already been done. I graduated with a grade that was not impressive at all, and then NYSC mobilization became a problem. After I finally got mobilized, I faced other challenges. Challenges after challenges. Then getting a job now became a problem. At all these points in my life, I had been downcast, with the weight and load getting heavier and deeper as new events occurred.
This is 2017, today, I am grateful to God for where I am, for how much I’ve grown in wisdom, and in maturity. This time last year was my darkest time. I’d understand if anyone in my shoes had committed suicide. I won’t lie that it didn’t cross my mind. I was ready to give up, but there were two people I was privileged to have in my life then. They were really there for me. Calling, monitoring me every day. They were not physically with me, but they held my hands. I got through it all that same 2016. Everything, every failure, every regret, every hurt from childhood. I found that God has a plan for me, and it’s overwhelming. Chai! It is overwhelming. Now I’m happy. I’m glad I went through all I went through because I’m who I am today because of that.
We all need somebody to lean on. Life is not perfect. We need God. But sometimes, we need people too. There are points when we tend to blame God, and pick a fight with Him. We need friends, it can be anybody, but we need people to confide in, to open up to.
Most importantly, we need to be that friend to people around us. Let people feel safe to come to you. Be a safe friend. Do not divulge information given to you in confidence. Help people up. Lift people up. That quiet boy, that downcast woman, that isolated lady, move closer to them, reach out to them. The gentle people are the dangerous ones, as they may be carrying heavy burdens. Be your brother’s keeper. #Beafriend #Beashoulder