Of Love, Grit, Introspection and Lots More

I’ve been trying to write a post to be published here for a while but I’ve never been able to successfully put the words together. The last time I published a piece here was in December 2021 and a whole lot has happened since then.

Yesterday on WhatsApp, I posted a status update where I mentioned that "for the first time in a long time, I actually feel great".

Yes, I do feel great! And, I’d tell you about it.

This might be a long read eventually ‘cause I have a lot of thoughts to put together but I’d try as much as possible to ensure it all flows.

So, please stay with me.

Introspection

Have you ever looked at yourself and realized you didn’t know who you have become?

I have.

And, for weeks, I went on a search for myself. After countless soliloquizing and conversations with a few other persons, I found myself — afar, unreachable, and detached — and, it was in that moment that I saw how I was gradually becoming a shadow. I was blending perfectly into the night and nowhere to be found when the morning light came.

A few more days later, it dawned on me that I had missed myself and I needed to get her back. But, a lot of people thought what I meant was that I had missed hiking because I had shared photos and videos from past trips.

No.

I had missed the girl who could allow herself to be, knowing that the world would eventually adjust.

I had missed the girl who did not have to pretend to any human that she was perfect or she didn’t like the things she liked.

I had missed the one who showed up and knew how to have a good time. I had missed the girl who had a mind of her own.

It took a while but I eventually realized that in a world where a lot of people want you to live by their rules and plan, not having a mind of your own is the biggest weakness one could possess.

As I searched deeper, I discovered that a hungry soul needs to be tamed lest hunger leads it to slavery.

There I was, gradually losing every bit of resilience that I had in me, I was giving up yet all that I let everyone see was headsets, pictures, and smiles.

I may have been searching for something but in the cause of searching, I was now lost.

Summarily, I missed the girl who was strong enough to say enough is enough.

Baggage

We think that emotional baggage is a totally terrible thing but I don't quite agree. We all have past experiences and all of these have contributed to the existence of the people we see when we look in the mirror.

So, why not let’s examine them with an open mind to be sure they need to be there or not.

"what emotional baggage do you think you might be holding on to".

As the words rolled off my partner’s lips on the other end of the phone, a wall sprung up in my head and I became defensive. I had been longing to speak with him for hours and this is what he starts with?

I was upset.

"Is he saying I have baggage? Was there something I had done to warrant this questioning?"

But, when the noise calmed in my head and I responded, all I could say was "let me check Google for a clearer explanation of what emotional baggage is".

Typically, I would not have said that but over time, I have come to accept that my defenses need to lie flat at times.

I checked and had some clarity about the subject and over the next three to five days, the conversation progressed and before I knew it, I was facing my fears.

We both faced our fears.

At the same time, we traced subtle actions, reactions, and behaviors and soon, patterns were discovered. Most of them unhealthy.

I had mixed emotions; I was frightened yet excited, embarrassed yet relieved e.t.c. However, it put me in a better place and I now know what to watch out for and exactly what I need to let go off.

Of course, I’m still a work in progress but if you’ve been shying away from identifying or accepting that you might have unresolved emotional issues, you might want to read this.

That experience helped my partner and I bond much more, although it was not fun while we were at it.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m feeling great and I believe that being able to feel great again is a ripple effect of that week’s activity of cracking the hard nut.

Community

Speaking of activity, I was recently asked why I stopped a particular one I used to enjoy and my response was that it "no longer aligns with my values and office".

Yes, I updated my values and I also have an office that regulates what I am allowed to indulge in.

We can update, right?

Great.

The ripple effect of updating my values though is that I lost touch with a lot of folks since we could no longer connect.

It was what it was and life is also what it is.

However, I have also learned that the size of a community is not in its numbers but in the worth of its members.

So, few over many, every day!

Grit

I’m growing in and with a new community already. This year has been all about being intentional, setting goals and ticking them off one after the other.

Looking at the girl in the mirror and saying “you’ve got this!”.

For the past five weeks, I've been on a journey to become a seasoned VA, grow my network, gain relevant experience, and make more money.

In the first week of the ALX Virtual Assistant program, I learned about GRIT - not the word, I know that one.

This time, I was taught that grit is STAMINA - the passion and perseverance for very long term goals.

Very well put, I must say. And, I haven’t thought about it otherwise since then. I have always seen grit as making things happen at all cost but now I seen it as maintaining a balance that makes things happen eventually.

And, here I am, making this happen against all odds.

Even though I had to be at two jobs and skip Office Hours and my laptop chose the worst time to crash, I keep telling myself that “bad news never has good timing” and the show must continue.

I’ve since had to stockpile my workload till the weekend so I can use a borrowed laptop to turn in my milestones. Thanks to my very sweet partner who’s been making the sacrifice.

Hell, yeah! I’m unstoppable and not even my internet providers who choose to be unfortunate multiple times in a day can change that.

Nothing can stop me!

Since my laptop crashed, my eyes have stayed open for unimaginable hours due to approaching deadlines, but with every milestone graded and every comment I read about my assignments, I'm convinced that this is it!

I can and will go the extra mile.

This is the girl I know - a resilient fighter!

You may be wondering how I plan to be a VA without the least device necessary since my laptop crashed, but even though I don’t know the answer yet, I know one thing — grit, baby!

I've got this!

I can. I will. I must.

Religion

Speaking about ‘must’, the scripture says "many are called, few are chosen."

I’d never forget these words even if I can’t point them out in the scripture but for reference sake, you can find it in the book of Matthew 22 verse 14.

So far, year 2022 has seen me do the most in service to God and I didn’t do any of it because it was ‘mandated’ by man, I serve and will always serve God as is mandated by God.

Right now, I understand that a handful of people might think I’m crazy, stupid, or dishonorable, but I dare to say that I dance only to the tune of God and not of men.

Last year, a client I was writing for wanted me to include a statement in my work that says “religion is the opium of the masses” and back then I didn’t agree with that school of thought, so I detached my emotions from the job and did what she wanted.

However, this year, I’d say I quite agree with that statement. Religion takes away the audacity of a lot of folks and while I know that silence can be a great option in a lot of situations, I think religion takes away the ability to kick back even when it’s most necessary. It offers solace and tramples upon reasoning a lot of times. It gets you high — but, when your eyes open, the world has moved past you.

I could go on and on on this subject but it would get boring and I have no intention of boring y'all.

However, I’d like to reiterate that I would never do religion. I have avoided it all my life and I’d continue to.

I'm a spiritual being and I do spiritual things. If it's getting too personal, alaye mi, s'ope o ti lo!

Family

With family, especially in Nigeria, ko si ibi ti oun lo (you’re not going anywhere).

You could be pushed to the wall today and swear you're done but before long you'd be sending money home for a cousin's cousin aso-ebi (wedding attire). Lobatan! That's on period!

Every family has its roses and thorns and my family is no different. Yet, with all of the ups and downs, we still manage to stick together.

Recently, I spent hours ranting to my mum about some things I was displeased about and like every other person I had ranted to, her response was a question

"So, what are you going to do?"

Honestly, I wasn’t ranting for advice — I knew what I wanted to do — I was ranting for support, for validation, for camaraderie, for assurance that however my decision turned, I would not be alone.

I thought I needed it but in the end we all are on our own and the ball was in my court.

And, when I made up my mind and took the next steps, I was glad I could look back and see that I was not alone and even if I was alone, I still would have done the same thing.

Friends

My friendship life has taken a huge turn this year. Wait! We can say friendship life, yeah? Like, love life?

Great!

Today, lots of my friends now have a Mrs or are Mrs’, some are dads, some are mums, some have taken on new jobs, and I have officially lost count of the ones that have left the country.

How has this affected me?

So many ways, to be honest.

With the ones that have left the country, you don’t know when checking in on them becomes a bother, and with crazy time differences, a large amount of understanding and maturity is needed to keep some relationships. Still, the japa syndrome has its way of unveiling relationships that were never going to last.

As for my married male friends, there’s an automatic withdrawal from me. They try to keep in touch and I’m trying not to ghost but "things are not the same".

With the ladies, maybe I’d understand what’s with the ‘secrecy’ when I finally fix a date too but it’s been all sorts and I’m gradually approaching indifference.

Yes, indifference because life has really happened to me this year. From terrible HRs and Team Leads to saucy “senior” presenters, to constant shift changing and much more. It’s been a handful. And, with my plate full, I have almost no time for drama.

Months ago, I was caught up with unavoidable activities at different intervals that in turn made me react in a weird and unimaginable way to a friend with whom I had been planning every bit of her wedding from the start.

And, to make matters worse, I ended up missing every one of the ceremony. Terrible, yeah? I know. We’ve not been the same again since then.

Another person also recently came for my head for being indifferent about her wedding since I got the invite and at this point, I think not getting invited in the first place is a great way to avoid stories that touch.

And, when your friend that ghosted for an entire year pops up out of the blues, what do you do?

You let the conversation linger for about two months, and when you finally get on a one hour call, you realize none of you was right or wrong. And, you begin to thank God you didn’t say all the mean things you wanted to say on Episode 7 of your podcast. Please listen to my podcast

Also, I hope that as we are growing to become husbands, wives, and parents, we don’t become a replica of those parts of our parents that we hated so much as kids, and even adults.

I hope we can stay faithful and save our partners and children from unnecessary drama while enjoying the lives we have chosen.

I hope we strive to get it right and if need be, I hope we all can examine the baggage we’re currently carrying and drop whatever needs to be dropped as soon as possible.

Love

Loneliness plus life is a terrible combination.

We all need companionship at some point and love is the ticket that gets us on that ride. Be it from family or friends or a lover, love offers us the warmth of companionship. Some might argue but to each their own thought.

I hardly ever say true or genuine love cause if it's love, it'd definitely be true.

With romantic relationships, you never know what you’d find in the “ribs market” like a friend would say but when you think you’ve landed a great one, I think you shouldn’t just discard it in search of something better ‘cause what if you never find another?

I’m not saying there’s only one person out there for you, I’m just saying know when to wrap up the search.

As for me, I’m glad I’ve found a vessel bearing love in its most relaxing and sensational form, and day by day, as this love is showered on me, I take my time to take it in. Yet, the vessel is never empty.

Of course, you can pour and not be empty.

I learned long ago that to remain filled, I could not afford to pour from my cup, instead, I needed an overflow (the running over part) where I could pour from and still be left with something that my soul can connect with.

Actually, I believe that no amount of pouring from someone else can fill you up if you already are empty.

So, I give love from the abundance of my self-love, I give respect from the overflowing respect I have for myself, and if you know me well, you’d know I don’t be understanding myself sometimes so I don’t blame people (my partner included) for not understanding me — I’m still figuring that out.

I love love a whole lot though.

Prayer

I love God.

And, I love talking to God. You can ask the people closest to me and they’d tell you “she prays”.

But, I learned to pray on my own. And after watching my Granddaddy talk to God while my mum laid lifeless in the hospital in December 2018, I upgraded my communication skill.

If you ever see me praying in understanding all by myself or with people who are used to me, you’d think I’m just joking.

But, that’s it, I’m talking to God still. No drama, just a girl talking to her father.

And, when I pray in the Holy Ghost, I don’t joke. I’m encapsulated and just basking in Abba’s glory and building up my most holy faith.

Religion may be dramatic but fellowship with God has proven over time to be comforting and drama-free.

Just spending time in the presence of Yahweh, being reminded of His love is everything.

I’m gonna make a shirt soon and have “the unscathed one” printed on it because recently I was reminded that it is love, Abba’s love that has seen me through all the fires of life, unscathed.

Prayer has held me together in all of these times and through all of these turns, it’s made me feel safe and kept me safe.

And, I hope I never stop praying even though I must stop this piece here, now.

If you’ve read this far, kindly leave me a comment or send an email to blissakinyemi@gmail.com to tell me what has been keeping you together so far this year.

Feel free to share this piece with your friends and loved ones — I wrote this for y’all.

Also, know that you can clap as many times as you want, so, go ahead and hit the clap button below.

I love you.

MiCi

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Bliss Akinyemi

Name-maniac. Cake addict. Helpless Romantic. Chocolate lover. Wannabe polyglot. Aspiring traveler. Storyteller.