Why did i decide to use ‘thankless’ instead of ‘ungrateful’ (which would have flowed better right?). Well I thought about it alot but I decided that ungrateful is too strong for the pure intentions(I never wanted to hurt anybody) I carried around. I was grateful to humans (I still am) whether they believe it or not. I was thankful to them for whatever contributions they made into my life(the positive and the negative).
I was thankful to God for being there. Where the thanks became less was when it had to do with me, I did not appreciate myself. No matter how many times i was praised, I was never enough for me. Which is why I decided that the ‘less’ in ‘thankless’ fits the picture in my head perfectly. So back to that robot!
Time lapsed and the robot grew, still following her own programing. If only i can get my hands on that girl. I only thank God that I wasn’t obsessed with competing with other people because I would probably be an ex convict by now or better still, in rehab 😇.
In PART 1, I said there was no external pressure, I was the one driving myself insane. In this second PART, there were external pressures, so much that the track I was running on became cold as ice. People had noticed my race and they were interested, the atmosphere became more intense and they started talking to me. Both the old and the young. The baton in my hand felt hot but I couldn’t drop it. I pushed forward with the discomfort. I had been told that nothing good came easy. I wish I had also been told that taking a break was not the same as giving up.
Whenever I tried to take a break, I would look on my loved ones and their suffering would discourage me from resting. Also, there would be someone to tell me that I’m about to become lax, or I’ll never amount to something if I rest, or one tongue lashing or the other. I did not even know which pressure was worse, the one I inflicted on myself or the one I allowed (because truly, words hurt you with your permission) to be inflicted on me.
When the GCE (General Certificate of Examination) result was released. I had an A, Bs and Cs and one D that felt like death(9 subjects altogether). I focused on the failure, I saw nothing else.
When the JAMB(Joint Admission and Matriculation Board) exam scores came out, It was a good score but it wasn’t what I aimed for so to me, I failed.
The pressure was suffocating me. Words were thrown at me, little words that cut deep because my skin was already weak from my personal quest.
I always wondered why others could shake off those words but not me. It took a lot to stand up with the ‘confident’ face I was often commended for. Those negative words would resound in my head over and over again. Why? I did not know why then but today I do. I had become my own wall. I had unknowingly trained myself to focus on the negative things around. My aim was to never feel in my comfort zone but I was going about it the wrong way.
The WAEC (West African Examination Council) exam result came out and I did not see one A in all the 9 subjects, neither did I see a C, D, E or F, I laughed. I had straight Bs. Close people rejoiced, but to me, I had failed again😁. I couldn’t let anyone know I was not happy with the scores because they would think “she just wants to show off”. If you knew me during these times, I can say that less than 10% of you can say we were friends. True, gisting, studying, partnering, solving problems, helping each other, calls and chats kind of friend. It was entirely on me, I take the blame🙈.
As if my sister could sense it, she reached out to me and asked me if I understood that ‘B’ wasn’t failure. I agreed, yes, but don’t we all do that once in a while? Say you understand when you actually don’t?🙉
I could not get scholarships with my results and that was one of my greatest wishes. If I could go back in time, I would knock some sense into myself but sadly, it’s not possible.
The failure I considered the ultimate, the one I actually paused my life for, the one that made all my dedication seem like rubbish, the one I refused to go to church for, the one I forgot to eat for, the one I stood up and started walking to nowhere for, the one…..well you get me right? It was when all the admission list for the University of Ibadan came out and I was not listed. That was more than I could take. It was the end for me, A part of me died that day and I’m glad it did.
I have come to realize that what did not kill you, taught you a lesson and what killed you, made you a lesson. I learnt a lesson and became a lesson at the same time.
The first thing I did when it dawned on me that I was really not accepted, was to go to a book vendor. There was an old man sitting close to the University and he had lots of novels(my other secret obsession😸). I robotically walked under his shade (it was just like a stand, not an actual shop). I perused through his books and I talked to him about the ones I had read or the authors I knew. I stayed with him for a while before he asked, “won’t you go home?”, the effort I had put into my brave face fell for a moment. If he noticed it, he never said a thing. I bought two books, and I started reading them there.
A while later, the old man’s grandson (I’m not certain though, just guessing that that’s their relationship) came to tell him something that I couldn’t really hear clearly. After a while he turned to me and asked if I could watch over the books for a little while with the little boy. Of course I said yes (but please I am not encouraging you to just talk to any stranger🙈).
I sat down there to gather my thoughts, what do I do next? I had no time to waste. I wanted to study law and starting early was my aim. I called my older siblings and we talked, both asked me to go back home first. They did not yell or berate me, they knew me well and they knew I had just taken a big blow. I stayed until the man was back and then I thanked him.
How I got back to Lagos from Ibadan was a blur. How everyone found out later was an even blurrier blur.
Days passed and I was still floating. I secretly harboured hope that they would call me. They never did.
My older brother decided to tell me a bit of his story on one fateful day. He told me about his own set backs. I heard the regret in his voice and I realized how privileged I was to have him exist before me. We took a long walk that day, I remember well. I looked at him and I knew I was the reason he just went back into his painful past to bring out a lesson.
When I got home after the walk and looked at my mother staring up at me with a blank face. It was never that blank before, it always held emotion. I caused it, I knew I did.
I looked at my little brother. He had always been quiet but my quietness had made him more quiet. How was I so blind?
I was trying to grieve alone but these people were openly grieving with me. I had people that truly cared about me. My success and failures, everything that made up me. I knew I was privileged to have them by my side.
I wept that day and my mum held me. Many things happened that made me shed tears but these tears were washing away something, they were different. I couldn’t stop saying “I’m sorry”. I was sorry for many things and it’ll take pages to list them out. I couldn’t stop wailing like I had just lost a child. I had held the dam for about a year and it finally broke that day. My little brother was next to us and I felt his light touch on my back but he did not say a word.
No mater how serious I was outside, I was always my family’s clown inside, the one that wouldn’t stop talking, the one that pestered everyone with hugs, the one that asked endless questions, the one my family was missing all this time. I was too busy being lost in my head to notice before but that day I did.
I saw my whole life flash before my eyes. The way it happens when your soul knew that death was close.
I had stayed away from friends and acquaintances (especially the ones that had gotten into school). I did not want to be asked “what happened?”, ” are you sure you checked the list well?”, “so what happens now?”. I had become curt and easily angered. I was everything I did not want to be.
Some were genuinely concerned but some others were sure to tell me how ‘my books had finally failed me'(cue in my eye roll here😽)
I had dropped the baton and stopped running but I had not given up( I guess I just wasn’t wired to give up😸).
The robot died and I took over. I reached out to the people I had pushed aside. It took time but I became my family’s clown again. I made a new baton and ran with God right next to me. Now I understand that failure can only have the weight that I give to it and little successes only glow if I polish it. I have a new baton, a baton of many colors.
The jibes will never stop, I know that. As long as I am still alive, I will still face successes and failures. I understand that now and I hope you do too.
To all those that have a burning desire to achieve something. Whatever meaning you’ve carved for yourself, whatever baton you are holding with your life, whatever race you have decided to run, do not loose yourself. Do not run alone. Always remember this;
…it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth but of God that showeth mercyRomans 9:12
For reading this far, I say thank you❤. For showing this to someone that you believe would relate to it, I say you are gold💟. To everyone that was a part of this part of my life and you are still a part of my present, I say thank you💞. With love, from a very thankful human.