It is one week to the General Elections in Nigeria and I write all words here with anger- not righteous anger- just plain old pure, Nigerian anger. The kind that makes you surprised that you’re angry. The kind that leads you to shout at the bus conductor who expects you to let your 20 Naira change go although he would never do the same for you. That, which seeps in from time to time, leaving you more confused.
I am a very patriotic Nigerian- there, I said it.
No matter what has happened, from utterly useless regimes to even stupider laws, I consciously chose to keep believing, to defend when deemed necessary. Over time, like the incident involving the Chibok girls, I did have my moments of hopelessness, but I never, ever thought of giving up on my country.
So when the time came for me to get my Voter’s card, I missed my first opportunity when I was 19 years old, but I swore that nothing would stop me next time. I thought, I must vote next time, no matter what! So, four years later, I sought to get it.
This took me two attempts- 3 hours in Delta State and 11 hours in Lagos State.
First, in April 2018, during my internship in Delta, I took some hours off from work to get it from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). I got there at 9am and left at 12pm…without the card. Why?
Well, this was partly my fault. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to vote in Delta so I decided that after getting it here I would transfer to Lagos. When it was my turn to be attended to, I explained the situation to the INEC official who said that I won’t be able to transfer until after the elections. I should have asked earlier instead of wasting the time I did. ( Ps. I don’t understand why I can’t vote anywhere in Nigeria, but specifically where I registered! This is definitely the dumbest policy I have ever come across.)
I was left stunned, wondering why things have to be so darned complicated in this country. I mean, the whole point of this card is to vote, so why would I want it transferred after the elections? I resolved to get it when I got back to Lagos.
I was finally able to go to the Amuwo-Odofin INEC Office when I got back. I got there at 6:37am, wrote my name on the ‘list’ (which was rather pointless) where I was number 143 and finally got the Temporary Voters Card at about 5:36pm. The tales of what happened in these 11 hours are the crux of this story.
Yes, I am still very angry.
We can all agree that self-confidence is essential to living a fulfilled life, but life really sucks sometimes and we lose it, bigtime! Does this mean we are losing at life?
When people talked about being self-conscious as teenagers, I just didn’t get it. I didn’t have great skin or look good, I was skinny with ‘rashes’ on my face with medium-length hair, but I didn’t care. Academically, I was doing well-ish.
My point is, I was your average girl, just swimming in the middle of the masses.
So, the concept of self-confidence was like Greek. It was beautiful, but incomprehensible to me.
I didn’t quite get why having acne or being fat or skinny would make someone feel bad about themselves, I just thought, it is not that deep, biko.
Fast forward years later, I finally struggled with the issue.
In 2016 and early in 2017, I felt rather bleh without even realizing so, until afterwards. My parents noticed, and asked me if I was depressed (I probably was, but I said no multiple times, of course).
I was going through a thoroughly disheartening emotional time which infiltrated my physical. I don’t even know how or from whence it came.
For a while, I felt ugly.
Oh yes, like a face-rash-ridden-skinny-ugly-somebody. To make it worse, my previously thriving hair refused to keep growing. It was around this time that I finally had to come to terms with the fact that I could not have a first class degree after wanting it for so long and I messed up two important relationships.
Moving to 2018, I went through a second bout of this dearth of self-confidence, but due to physical reasons. I used a skincare product that left me with a really bad facial allergic reaction and the ugly feeling came back, even worse.
I was angry, ashamed, in despair; you name it, I felt it. Eventually, I came to realize that I needed to go through that, and quite honestly, I believe you need it too. Well, your own version though.
Here are the absolute reasons why;
After last year’s intense reading, The Hate U Give felt like the best bet to start off 2019.The movie adaptation was definitely the most emotion- grabbing movie I saw in 2018 and its book, one of the most popular on the #Bookstagram community. It obtains its semi-eponymous name from the acronym by Tupac Shakur, THUG LIFE (The Hate U Give Little Infants F***s Everyone).
I went on an all- out spree searching for the book but I simply could not find it. Eventually, I was gifted the book and decided that it’d be my first read in 2019.
The lead character, Starr Carter is a 16 year old black girl leading a seeming double life. As an offspring of a teen mom turned nurse and an ex- drug dealer living in the fictional ‘ghetto’, Garden Heights, she struggles to juggle life as she attends a predominantly white prep school and with her presumably beautiful relationship with her white boyfriend, Chris.
The story, in both adaptations, tells of the killing (and its aftermath) of her best friend and presumed drug dealer, Khalil, who was shot by a white policeman.
The Hate U Give, in general, is a narrative that isn’t afraid to portray a specific story – a truthful and important story.
It is 10pm on December 31st, 2018 and I arrive at church for the ‘Crossover into 2019’ service but I am stuck outside. I cannot go in.
This is because Angels and Demons has held me hostage.
I. Cannot. Leave.
So I stay outside to deal with it because this has been on my neck for two months and I need it to be over.
10 minutes later, it was over.
I had truly finished my fiftieth book. I had attained my goal!
When, in January, 2018, I wrote down the goal to read half of a hundred books, I didn’t truly believe I would. However, with a little less than two hours left for 2018 to elapse, I read my last word in my last book for the year. I was elated!
2018 was the year I ran out of paperbacks at a point and I had to turn to e-books, and I had a joyful moment when I purchased the physical copy of an e-book I had read- Americanah.
Good books were my fortune as I flipped through pages, but some did stand out. They took me to places unknown and captured my emotions in distinct ways.
In no specific order, these were my favourite paperback books I read in 2018 and a brief reason why you’d love them too;
There is power in our individual differences as humans. It is interesting to witness how literally opposite we can be, and how someone (or thing) can turn out worlds apart from what was expected. I am naturally a people pleaser and it’s astounding how much it stealthily moves into my everyday life and thoughts. I literally feel drawn to please everyone, no matter how inconsequential it may be to me. This characteristic in me usually transcends all relationships, but in recent times, I realized that some people would use it to their advantage which wouldn’t be a problem if it was detrimental to me. I still find it difficult to say ‘No’ almost every time, but I came to realize that feeling entitled isn’t always a bad thing.
There are times when we really are entitled to certain things. We don’t need to settle or accept everything we get. There are things that we thoroughly deserve from life. I do not need to please everyone. In fact, there are times, I daresay, when I only need to please Desire, she and herself.
These are a number of facets of life where we are in our own right to demand how things
should must go;
Self-love is being preached everywhere I go. I am not quite sure if it’s just how my social media is set up but I keep coming across the act of self-love. As a teenager, I had no real idea of this concept because honestly all was quite well in my world.
When adulthood began to force herself into my life I struggled with losing myself and self-love( its dearth actually) became my reality. This wasn’t (and isn’t) in terms of putting myself above others or placing them above myself.