It has been too long I must confess. I still cannot imagine I did not write for two freaking years! Feels like I have been holding my breath for that long. Wheew! It has been such a hard time, and maybe also my biggest growing up moments.
WHY DID I STOP WRITING?
Well, I wouldn’t just swing into all of the gist for today if I don’t let you in. I feel like I owe you that much. The most convenient answer was that I got busy. I transited to a 9-5 which comes with its unique demands but deep down, I know it isn’t the whole truth. I stopped writing because I just could not. I saw a series some days back (Cook of Castamar) and because of some kind of trauma, the cook suddenly could not bring herself to cooking anymore. I felt that on a different level. Honestly, I thought I was fine but I honestly wasn’t. I was too emotionally broken to intelligently pen down anything. I always wrote from a place of wholeness, and I just could not find that.
First I had to realize I was even broken. It took me a year to find that out. I practically lost the will to do anything. I lost the will to make friends, be happy, be successful, push for anything at all. Like, what was the use? No matter what we decide to do, we all have a common end anyway. I was on this roll for a pretty longtime. No goals, desire or dreams. I shut people out and was just living life as it came. I started fighting different addictions and there was just no will to fight.
After that phase, I knew I needed some fixing up. Challenge was how to go about it. Who could I talk to? This is such a hard question and I still have some challenge answering this till now. You do not talk to only people who have solutions, you talk to people who care enough to proffer the right solutions, tailor made for you. And finding someone who cared? That was so difficult. Where do I start the vetting process from? Should it be in the church or somewhere else? Should it be someone older or my peers? Should it be someone fanatical or scientific for an objective view? It is so difficult.
Sometimes, I start to share and it gets so weird. I just know I am oversharing or this people just wants gist. Other times, you get someone who really wants to listen, but either doesn’t have the right words or loves you too much to hurt your feelings with the truth. And there are some others who are just brutal with zero emotional intelligence, and uncouth in their speech. They say whatever comes to their mind. Very devastating something. I figured keeping quiet until I was ready might just be the best option.
Now, I am ready for you guys.
As the weeks and months unfold, I will keep opening myself up until I am rid of all the excess baggage and weight, and we are back to normal. I might not trust everyone who reads them to handle maturely, but I trust myself enough to now accommodate people’s excesses.
WHERE HAVE I BEEN?
Yes! So I won’t share all the life’s update right now, just what is sufficient to progress into this article. The last time I wrote to you, I was in a beautiful relationship, still in law school and recently moved back into Lagos. I feel like I am an entire new human right now. Lol. Too many things have changed.
After law school, I knew I just couldn’t keep staying at my parent’s house. Well, I had friends who were moving out yeah, which influenced the decision but I was not fully persuaded until AJS said this to me. Grace, your parents house reflects their mindset. You need to get your own space that reflects yours.
This was incredibly powerful. No matter how much changes I made to my room in my father’s house, or the house in general, it was never mine and I had to accept it. If I wanted to get to know me, I needed a neutral space to recreate what I had envisioned in my mind’s eye. So after law school in March 2021, I just became quite uncomfortable.
I did not have the liberty to dwell as much in it as I got a job few weeks later. I was shuffling Ikorodu in Lagos, to Marina every single day. It was hell. The pressure of the job, the new experience, the traffic, the everyday outing, it was not my best moments. Shortly in May, I got mobilized for NYSC and was posted to Katsina. It felt like things could not get any worse. My camp experience was so horrible. I hated every moment of it. No sugar coating anything. I was counting down the days, oh my God!
After camp, I redeployed back to Lagos with the hope of resuming work, to find out I had been laid off. Few weeks after, I got one of the best law firm’s (yeah I am famzing) acceptance letter. This was the game changer. I had learned a few things from my first job, but was still largely inexperienced. The good thing was my current job was accommodating of my lapses so the pressure was bearable. A month into the job, my bar final results came out and I couldn’t even check it. I was so afraid. That is gist for another day. I passed anyway and had to prepare for my call to bar ceremony.
Every shift had financial expenses attached to it. From law school expenses, to the new job where new clothes, transportation and feeding were involved, to flight tickets to and fro camp, to redeployment expenses, to call to bar expenses and missed flights, souvenirs etc. Your girl was hooked. Felt like moving out would only be a dream.
If I almost died doing Ikorodu to Marina, imagine doing Ikorodu to Lekki Phase 1. Omo! I just knew I had to find a way.
I came back from Abuja in August 2021 and started house hunting. I had some funds but I knew it would take a miracle to get a comfortable place with how much I had, so I got myself a roommate. We house hunted one day and it was horrible. What in the name of Lagos were all these exorbitant prices for such terrible houses? The least house we saw was 500k basic rent, for a self con that we could hardly breathe in. With all other expenses, we were adding up about 750k for a house that stretching my arms wide open, I could touch the walls. Thankfully, we didn’t pay inspection fee because I would have cried.
What about houses that were still occupied and the agent found it okay to still take us there, or the uncompleted one that they were urging us to pay because it was being occupied fast? It wasn’t the best at all. Just when I had thought of giving up, my friend (would be roommate) told me about a family friend who did not mind having us around in Ajah, for free as he had his BQ unoccupied. I couldn’t believe it. With joy and all enthusiasm, I prepared to leave home in September.
Telling my folks was a hurdle I had to cross. My mum was amenable to it after seeing the benefits, however my dad didn’t want to hear it. You know how dads put up a tough skin, instead of just communicating how much they will miss us, that was exactly what it was. He thought of a 1001 reasons why moving out was a bad decision. I was a bit taken aback because for me, it demonstrated a lack of faith. Up until I moved on the morning I did, it felt unreal to him. My mind was made up and I was certain it was the right call, so I moved regardless.
NOT A BED OF ROSES
I might not be able to give a lot of details of all that ensued when I moved out but there were definitely nights when I cried my eyes to sleep to be honest. I understood better all I had been protected from. I didn’t realize how timid I had grown until I was faced with confrontations, and my best bet was always to cower away. As you guessed, I was taken advantage of severally.
Lagos is such a wild place. From the men (Yoruba ones lol) to fake friends, to opportunists, to power play and so on. Then the traffic, eh God! The most I would say is, staying in a place for free is a good money decision especially in Lagos until you start to lose your peace. Don’t ever permit that.
In December 2021, divine orchestration, my friends got a place and needed an extra roommate. It was perfect for me. I honestly did not know the magnitude of how much I had kept away in savings until I suddenly wasn’t afraid to pay rent. That was how I knew how much I had grown. I moved to Lekki Phase 2 at the end of that 2021, and yeah, I have become the happiest version of myself.
LIVING IN LAGOS AS A SINGLE WOMAN
You will always have bills to pay. Like, they never stop. Woe are you if you do not know how to set up emergency funds. One moment, the pipe in your bathroom bursts and the next, the cooking gas finishes unannounced. Some other time, you have a nasty craving to eat fancy and tell yourself, if I perish, I perish so you spend 10k of your hard earned money on a meal. Trust me, you will really perish. At least, till the end of the month before salary comes.
Everyone suddenly thinks your life is put together. Wait? I only moved out oh. I am still the very same person but no one believes it. The monies I can afford to spend now are monies I have put away consistently for years but everyone thinks you are now a walking money bag. I have never given so many handouts in my entire life like I have in the last few months and there’s so much more to come. If you have followed me closely, I do not do loans as I hate debts, either being in debt or being owed. But I have had to compromise the latter a lot in recent times. There are times I am just worried that if something happens and I do not have a stream of income, who can bail me out? Thankfully, I do not have to worry about that as much anymore. God came through with beautiful enriching relationships and I am so grateful.
You suddenly become more attractive when you seem independent. Again, I have not had as many men want to sleep with me like I have had since I moved out. Like what is wrong with these men? First I thought there was something wrong with me, but then, I realized I had probably being living in a bubble and becoming more aware in recent times. Like, I now know what “Netflix and chill” means. I knew I had the tendency to be naïve sometimes but this move, exposed me to me big time.
I am neater than I thought. Hmm. This is a good one. I just was very broke honestly. I didn’t think I could keep to changing toothbrushes, cleaning for no reason, and all that stuff. Another addition; I am actually homely as well. Let’s just say I am learning more about myself than I have in a long time. I advocate living on your own any day any time for this particular reason. I have witnessed the good, bad and ugly in few months and I can’t imagine finding all these out in a man’s house. There are many times I do not like myself, until I discovered how to deal with me even when I do not like me. Would be a very nasty experience doing it for the first time with a partner. Much more nasty if he also hasn’t learned to live on his own. Walking disaster!
This will include knowing that staying in your house in Lagos is always a wise financial decision. I once told a friend that it is possible to blow your entire monthly salary in one night in Lagos and he thought it was a joke. This Lagos, you start knowing thyself, and then picking the kind of battles to fight.
Now lets talk about the weddings. All my friends are getting married and as much as I am happy for them, I am seeing all the debit alerts simultaneously. 20k for asoebi, 10k for sewing, 7k for uber to and fro, 20k for gift for couple….60k for one wedding when I am not the bride or related to them. This is even for weddings in Lagos. Outside of Lagos, add 100k for flight money. Please dears, I am very introverted, I’m sorry. I don’t do well with crowds anymore.
In all thy getting, get wisdom. I learned early in life that your parents should never know how much you really earn. Argue this all you want, but it is the wisdom that has sustained me for years. Do with this information however you please.
Overall, living in Lagos is a blessing if you know just what you want to do with your life. Otherwise, you will become a pun for everyone else. I have experienced tremendous spiritual growth, learned discipline and grown in love since I made this decision. I remain a woman of purposeful pursuit and I enjoy the freedom. I can use to do an all night vigil, worshiping my Father and whispering sweet nothings to him without restraint. I can cry without reservation when I am heartbroken and be vulnerable. It is a beautiful experience and it is not something I would trade for anything in the world.