VISITATIONS

I lay face down on my bed, unable to sleep. My bum was on fire. It still ached terribly from the merciless trashing of Father some minutes ago. My own bedroom seemed eerie to me and my head felt woozy. Very soon, Mother will walk into the room, telling me tales I didn’t care about and other things I never really listened to. She always visited me in such manner after Father’s mindless tortures. As if on cue, she walked in minutes later.

Entering my room, she shut the door slowly and carefully as if afraid that Father would discover her here. I pretended to be asleep but she tapped me gently and asked me to sit up on the bed. I complained about my aching butt, she apologized on Father’s behalf and promised to talk to him. She always said that but Father’s whippings always became more frequent.

Mother always told me how special a child I was. Whenever she said this, there would be bright sparkles in her eyes and a broad smile planted on her face. Mother was a natural story teller. She told me of how she and father had waited patiently for my arrival despite constant troubles from Father’s mother and the mild murmurings of people.

“Some people called me a witch,” she would say. “They said I locked up your father’s brain with padlock and threw the key in the River Niger, that that was why he refused to marry another wife after my many years of infertility. ”

She told me of how, when she had told Father of her friend’s suggestion to visit a potent medicine man who was an expert in female fertility, he had beaten her to a pulp. Father had then locked her up in the guest room for three days without food or water.

“Let me see how you will get anymore devilish advice from those heathen friends of yours,” he had yelled at her.

On the third day, he had driven her to the Parish for Confession after which he ordered that she say a Novena to the Holy Spirit which he said was for her final reparation.

“I don’t blame your father. He was under too much pressure from his friends and family but he didn’t care about what they said. He didn’t care about the sly distance his friends began to give him and that they called him ‘woman wrapper.’ A man of his social standing is expected to have many wives but his love for me made him defy the norms,” Mother would say after recounting the incident. She forgot to add, however, that she had lost a two-month pregnancy in the process.

Sometimes, I wondered why she told me this particular tale, whether it was to justify Father’s incessant beatings or if it was in a bid to console me.

She would then go further to narrate the circumstances surrounding my birth. That night, as she spoke, she looked up to the ceiling of my wide room, staring as though the story was imprinted on it. She talked of how she had lost so much blood and how father had run around the city in a frenzy, in search of blood, as the hospital’s blood bank was exhausted; then she would tell me how stubborn and unyielding I was in her womb, how the nurses had become frustrated of what they called her ‘laziness to push’ and had opted for an Operation. As she said this, I imagined myself, small and taut in Mother’s womb, unwilling to come out and all the time, causing her loads of pain and discomfort.

This was probably why I turned out to be a problematic child, I thought. I never wanted to be one but I strangely found myself doing things I never premeditated. It seemed as though I was being controlled by some external force. This same force, I presumed, made me unremorseful for my wrong actions. On a particular occasion when I was six, Father had beaten me senseless after receiving a report that I had broken a classmate’s jaw for no just cause. The next day in school, I went straight to the same boy and bit him hard on his ear. I had to be suspended from school for a whole week, still I never changed but only got worse. In all these, I never knew I was being prepared for a gargantuan task ahead of me. The fulfillment of that task was a major reason for my existence.

I never really believed that I was being manipulated by something outside of me until a strange man began to visit me. He always came to me while I slept at night, he never visited during the day. The man told me things I didn’t fully comprehend, things that made my head feel woolly. He seemed to know much about me and always called me his ‘future.’ His presence felt more real than like a dream.

“Your father named you Chinazo because it was God who saved me from dying in that labour theatre and saw me through the Caesarean Section. You were baptized Augustine because your birthday coincided with the Saint’s feast day and your father had said that was the right thing to do, ” Mother went on. By now, I had become interested in Mother’s story and I listened keenly. Apart from the intermittent rise and fall of Mother’s voice and the occasional croaking of frogs outside, the night was pin-drop silent.

My mother and I were close buddies. She didn’t allow me to feel the loneliness that came with being an only child. She always wanted to know how my day at school went and likewise, told me how hers had looked like. I told her things I didn’t tell Father and no one else, for that matter. But I didn’t tell her when the strange man started visiting. He had warned me not to mention his visits to anyone, not even Mother, saying that the day I broke this rule, my mission would have to be carried out that same day.

Apart from being my companion and confidant, mother was my saviour. It was she who, in a bid to cover my theft, once lied about taking father’s money from his wardrobe. When Father asked to know why I had suddenly stopped receiving Holy Communion at Mass, she had told him I wasn’t feeling well and that she would ask Father Francis if it would be possible for me to be administered wine instead of the customary wafer which she had said caused me nausea.

However, that was not the truth. I actually loved the taste of the communion bread. My only reason for refusing to receive it was to spite Father. Father was a well respected Knight in the Church and the Chairman of the Parish Laity Council, I knew the effect my abominable action would have on his person. Same as when I stole his money; I always had more than enough pocket money to spare. I knew the right buttons to press in order to piss my Old man off and I sure was a good operator of the machine. In all these, I sensed an external drive to cause Father more harm and I could not help it.

That night, Mother could not save me from Father’s whip. Fury was written all over Father’s face when he came back from work and discovered what I had done. That Saturday, I had been too bored from staying at home all day. A thought came to my mind; I realised it had been a while since I hurt Father. Strange as it sounds, I derived joy from seeing Father unhappy. Suddenly, an idea came through and within minutes, the lifeless body of our Alsatian dog which Father loved with so much passion lay at my feet. Father had beaten me till his hands ached, Mother’s pleas and cries had had no effect on him.

Now as I lay on my bed, I vowed that this would be the last time I would ever allow Father to raise his hands on me in such manner. Hot sparks of anger coupled with hatred for the man I called my father ignited within me. I didn’t want to remain the son of a wife and child beater. A man who headed his family with an iron hand, reducing mother and I to mere house mates, puppets even, never giving either of us a say in the running of the family. His word was final, ours was just to obey and carry out his orders as and when due.

Mother kept talking but I was no longer listening to her. Instantly, I felt a great need to protect her from Father. I felt responsible for her. I didn’t want this to continue, this madness that we called a family.

By now, Mother was already rounding off her anecdotal talks and was preparing to leave my room. In her final words, she asked that I forgive Father and try not to do anything to provoke him again. As much as I would want to heed my Mother’s counsel, I knew deep down that I won’t. It was just like asking me to stop breathing. With every nanosecond that trickled away, my urge to do something terrible to Father grew.

Looking at Mother pleading with me, I grew cold feet. I didn’t want to do anything to hurt her but I knew fully well that harming Father would equate to hurting her. I couldn’t hold it anymore, hot tears flowed freely down my cheeks. Facing Mother boldly, I told her everything. The strange visitor’s warning made no sense to me now. Mother definitely deserved better than this. She deserved to know the truth. Whatever the consequence of my action would be, I didn’t bother to consider.

After listening to all I had to say, Mother looked concerned and touched my forehead to make sure I didn’t have a fever. When she asked me to describe the strange visitor, I did. He appeared to be an older replica of me, I mentioned. The man had addressed me as his ‘future’ and had told me to be strong no matter what challenge I faced for I had a mission to fulfill. Mother looked stunned after listening to me. Minutes passed before she instructed me never to mention any of it to Father. I nodded halfheartedly, wondering why. From the way she fidgeted and avoided an eye contact with me, I knew there was something amiss. Mother knew something about the Visitations but she wasn’t going to tell me anything, reasons for which I was soon to find out.

When Mother left my room, I still found it difficult to sleep. My head still felt heavy and I was shivering from a piercing cold. I wondered where the cold had come from since Mother had made sure my windows were firmly shut and had draped a thick blanket over me. The room was pitch black and I wanted to ascertain the time. The next day was Sunday and the household had to wake up as early as 4:30am in order to make it for the early morning Mass.

Tiredly, I reached for the light switch. I fumbled with it sleepily for a while before I was able to switch the light on. What I saw next held me spellbound. I tried to scream but no sound came out of my mouth. It was only open ajar in an ‘o-form’ while I stared unbelievably at my visitor. Standing right at the foot of my bed was the man who had never stopped visiting me at night, the strange visitor. His appearance was way different this time. He looked very real, flesh and blood, not like his normal ghost-like form and our stunning resemblance was more obvious.

Quickly, my mind went to work. I knew that his Visitations took place most times after I had just been trashed by Father. At these times, the man would say soothing words to me, telling me not to be deterred as these present suffering was part of the hurdles on the road to absolute freedom for both Mother and me. But now, I knew something was not right about his visit. He always came to me while I was asleep but now, he visited when I had not even had a wink of sleep.

Quietly, he drew nearer to me smiling mischievously. Surprisingly, every iota of fear in me vanished as he came closer. It was then that I realised who he truly was. I had seen some pictures of him in our family photo album. He was my uncle Augustine, my father’s younger brother who according to family lore, died years back of a chronic illness. I was still unshaken at this realization. A kind of inexplicable calm dwelt within me. Finally, he spoke up.

“The deed has been done. It is time!” he said. He left as suddenly as he had come. I stood up barely seconds after he left and walked out of my room as though possessed. With every step I took, the desire to do something terrible to Father, which had always been in me, became stronger.

 

It was not until the next morning that I got to know that I had been truly possessed. I knew this on my visitation to Mother at the hospital, my hands handcuffed and my back being watched by an unsmiling policeman. She lay frail and tired on a bed I would constantly associate with death and people long gone as she relayed to me events of the previous night and confessions of secrets long buried deep, six feets under the ground. She told of how I had staggered into Father’s room which they both shared at night, bearing a mysterious knife. According to her, Father was too shocked to defend himself. The only word he could utter before the knife slit his throat was ‘Augustine!’ That was also the last word she heard until she woke up here this morning.

“Augustine was not actually referring to you,” Mother continued. I responded to her assertion with unrefined amazement.

It is here that I’m told the whole story. Many years back, a minor duel had happened between Father and his younger brother which had escalated and ended fatal. The different religious beliefs of both brothers had always been a stumbling block to the relationship between them both. It however got to its peak when Father refused to help foot his brother’s medical bills when the latter had a severe case of brain cancer, unless he denounced his atheistic beliefs and converted to Christianity. Augustine due to his pride, preferred to die than to become a Christian. Having no other source of hope, he wasted away in the hospital. Before long, everyone forgot about the whole matter. It didn’t seem as though anyone had passed on. Even when Mother had told Father about a dream she had while pregnant for me, where Augustine was beckoning on her in a bizarre way, he chose not to think much of it.

I didn’t realise how much time had passed until the police escort said my time was up. At that instant, my Mother grasped my hands tightly and I wondered where her strength had emanated from. I in turn, held on firmly to hers, afraid that I’d break her bones. Hot tears filled my eyes so that I could not spot the bright sparkles in her eyes as she told me how special a child I was.

“You will be great, my child. You’re destined for greatness but nothing like your Father’s,” Mother finally said. These were her last words before she gave up the ghost.

As I walked out of that hospital ward, many thoughts jumped around in my mind. Prominent of all was the contemplation of Mother’s words. They keep echoing in my ears till today. Whenever guilt for Mother’s death begins to torment me, I console myself with the thought of our shared acrimony towards Father, albeit hers was a mild one. Mother’s death was just an happening that was rather too unfortunate. And one of the painful things in life is that we never get to choose what happens to us.

NB: It’s been ages since  I posted something here. Even while there’s no rational excuse, I’d like to say that some things have happened to me in this period of estrangement between blogger and reader which have contributed to the prolonged silence. Thanks to all for your usual support. Drop your comments before exiting. Bye bye!

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BATTLING WITH YOUR FEARS

It is 4:30pm. You sit on your bed, yoga style. The other day, you had read in a blog post how this sitting position was the best for effective writing especially when one’s muse was being toyed with by their village people. That is exactly your present predicament and you’ve been sitting in this position for God knows how long. Your phone lay on your bed, open to a blank page on WPS Office. The cursor blinks on desperately, yearning to be utilized.

Your head feels woolly. Many ideas swim inside it but none seem worth writing about. You want to write about your hard-to-please Creative Writing lecturer who, last week, had praised your ‘brilliant short story entry’ in front of the whole class. You want to write about the joyful pride you had felt after the class when your course mates came etching around you to have a glimpse of the story. You want to write about Ose who, according to your friends’ analysis, was your girlfriend. Of course, their analysis was wrong but in a way, you want it to be right. You want her to stop introducing you to her friends as ‘my friend.’ More ideas keep coming to your brain but each seems more unworthy of being penned down than the previous.

Minutes later, you become so frustrated you freak out. You say ‘fuck it’ and pick up your phone. You minimise the WPS Office page and log on to Whatsapp. Before you settled down to write, you had promised yourself you won’t go online until you had at least written two paragraphs. But sitting down there totally blacked out, you know if you had waited another minute in that ‘yeye’ yoga position, you could have gone insane.

Very soon, your Whatsapp messages come flooding in. You have 666 messages from 19 chats. You shake your head at the thought of the number of your messages being the same as that of the mark of the beast. You already know where the bulk of messages came from even before checking. It was from your departmental group. Most times when there were many messages like this, it was due to a verbal quarrel between two warring parties. You quickly click to check what the matter is this time. When you see what it is, your mouth opens wide, not of its own volition. “Our long awaited results are finally out!” your course rep had written. Following this message was a series of captured papers pasted on your departmental Notice Board which contained the results of the whole class. Suddenly, your heart begins to pound. You cannot risk checking yours, not now at least.

The previous semester had been a disaster altogether. It was not because you were given a late admission and therefore, had to resume a month later than your colleagues. Also, it was not due to the mad rush after resumption, how you had had to combine attending lectures with doing one Clearance after another; neither was it because for the first time, you had had to put up with the many rigours of hostel life. You know, now that you think of it, that it was all your fault.

Last semester had started and ended hazily. There had been a perpetual fear tied around your neck that had held you to ransom throughout the semester. The fear of failure. Its effect was so monumental that everything you ever did had been controlled by it. You had attended lectures listening keenly to the lecturers, afraid to miss one word from their repertoire of knowledge. It was worse when you read. You had read voraciously, paying attention to every word, phrase, clause and sentence. Throughout the semester, you had read more than you had eaten. In the exam hall, it was no different. Fear had gripped your heart even before the Question papers were distributed so that every answer was written with a trembling hand.

All these changed when you met Ose in the new semester. She came into your life and took away your fears. It was more like a divine set-up. It wasn’t because you both had met in Church that you think this. No. It was more because of the circumstances surrounding the meeting.

It had been on a Sunday. Sundays for you was a day for Church, Rest and Intense Reading. You would go for early morning Mass after which you’d go to the hostel, fill up your stomach and then head to the library where you’d read till your eyes began to itch. That Sunday, however, had been different. You were lured into waiting for a Legion of Mary meeting after Mass by your roommate who had always pestered you to join the group. Reluctantly, you had attended the meeting. At the end, you were grateful to your roommate for having made you wait.

“Hi. Brother Chima,” she had greeted with a smile just after the meeting’s conclusion.

“Hello. I don’t think we’ve met,” you had replied, taken aback.

“Then I must be some sort of goddess to know your name.” A deep grin was planted on her face as she spoke. “My name is Osezenaga but you can call me Ose, to save you the stress.” You could tell from the way she said this that it was something she said often, a ritual she performed while introducing herself to new people.

“Errhm…. My name is Chima.. I.. ” you stutter. You were surprised, not only by her manner of approach but also by her gorgeousness. She was of average height, fair skinned and possessed the most gorgeous set of eyes. ‘Beautiful’ would be very trite to be used in describing her.

“I know your name already na.” She smiled, showing all her teeth. “Do you stay in the hostel? I heard there are some bad boys lurking around the corner on the way. You’ll make a good bouncer.” Smiling was her second nature.

Your trip to the hostel was fun. You both chatted as though you had known each other for years. You told her you stayed in Ijebu-Ode, that your parents did business there. She, on her part, was born and bred in Benin. According to her, the only other place she had been to outside Benin was Lagos, where she sometimes went for holidays, at her aunt’s. She wouldn’t stop talking about Lagos; the sky-reaching skyscrapers, the Sea and the general boisterousness of the city. She argued that Lagos should have remained the capital city of Nigeria, that no other city has an amazingly empirical description of the two major classes of people that existed in the country. The Rich who stay on the Island and the Poor cum Middle Class whose place is on the Mainland.

You had learnt a lot from the conversation. You learnt that other tribes other than Bini existed in Edo State. It was when you asked her if she spoke Bini and she said No, she didn’t. You had wanted to say that you weren’t surprised. That you had, in fact, not expected her to be able to speak her language because the lingua franca here, even among the adults, was Pidgin English. She had cut you off. She wasn’t Bini, she had said. She was Esan and she spoke her language perfectly well. You had become puzzled and she had laughed at you, a laugh that said ‘I understand how you feel right now.’ She then went ahead to explain, mentioning some other tribes that were also a part of the State.

When you get to the front of her hostel, you had realized you didn’t want to part with her just yet. You knew she had also felt the same way. She had reduced her pace and sometimes even stopped walking, as either of you talked.

“Chima, how come you don’t have an Igbo accent,” she had asked at some point.

“Well, how did you know how to detect one who has it?”

“Common, I have many Igbo friends and all of them speak with the same intonation.” she had replied with a giggle.

“Wow. You have many Igbo friends?”

“Of course. You guys are an itinerant lot. Why is that, anyway?”

Now, that was a big word for you. You had never heard it before now. You had stared at her wide-eyed, unsure of how to respond. She had looked at you understandingly for a brief moment and then added,

“You travel all the way from your village and settle down in the West. You are not satisfied. Now, you’re in Benin for University. I’m sure you’ll be the happiest man on earth if you get posted to Kano for NYSC,” she had said with a chuckle.

You had smiled.

There and then, you had fallen in love with Ose. Not the erotic kind that made one touch themselves at the thought of the other when alone. No, not that kind. It was a sincere love, one that came from the depth of your soul. From then on, you both became very close friends. You weren’t in a relationship and if she had a boyfriend, she never spoke about it. You wanted your friendship with her to mature a bit and when you thought it was the right time, you’d ask her out.

Your meeting days was majorly Sundays. You’d meet in front of her hostel and walk hand in hand to church. Later in the evening, you’d sit together for hours unending at the Relaxation Park in front of her hostel. Sometimes, she’d cook spicy Jollof rice and you’d both eat in silence, savouring the food and the blissful moment. Most times, you talked. You talked about everything and anything. It was on one of those evenings you told her about your fears. She had watched you with tender eyes, listening intently to every detail. Afterwards, she had spoken soothing words to you, urging you to face your fears head-on and conquer it. Without that, she had said, one won’t go far in life.

It was the following week that your hard-to-please Creative Writing lecturer praised your ‘brilliant short story entry’ in front of the whole class.

Now, it’s 6:00pm and you’re still sitting on your bed but not yoga style this time. And you’re still logged on to Whatsapp. Your head is still as blank as a tabula raza. For the last hour, you had ignored series of messages and calls from your departmental friends. You know why they’re calling so you just keep ignoring them. Discussing results was the last thing on your mind right now.

Soon, another call enters. You get ready to mute it as usual until you see the caller’s name. Ose. Your heart skip a bit. Ose rarely called. Most times she called, it was always for a serious reason. A bad day, a disturbing male lecturer, family problems. You both chatted mainly on Whatsapp. She was always online. Sometimes, you wondered how she – an Optometry student in her first year managed to squeeze out some time for reading. She was intelligent anyway, you always concluded. You had seen her last semester’s result days ago and it was flawless.

With a shaky hand, you receive the call. Your guess is as good as true when you hear her words.

“Chima, something terrible just happened. I really need to see you. Let’s meet at our usual spot ASAP.” She sounds fuzzy, as though she had been crying for a long time.

You don’t stop to think. You jump off your bed in a frenzy and get dressed. In less than five minutes, you’re in front of her hostel, holding her hands, her head resting on your shoulders. She is as beautiful as always, even in her melancholy state. She is sobbing Now, quietly. You don’t want to bother her yet. You want her to take her time before stating the problem.

“My boyfriend broke up with me today,” she finally says.

You are unsure of how you feel after hearing this. You don’t even know what to feel. It seems to be a mixture of mild anger and gladness of heart. Angry because you had not known before now that she was in a serious relationship, the thought that she had hidden something of so much importance from you for so long pisses you off a bit. Your heart, on the other hand, is dancing merrily to Davido’s ‘If’ blaring from the speaker outside the nearby barber’s shop. A voice in your head tells you, “She’s all yours now.” You’re filled with so much joy, you’re afraid your heart will burst out open, spilling out tiny bits of happiness.

Ose raises up her head and wipes her tears. She looks at you right in the eye, straight-faced, as though she were trying to read your mind.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about him. I really am. He has always been a pain in the ass and I didn’t want to bore you, telling you about him. I’m happy we have now call it quits,” she says wearing a smile.

“It’s okay,” you say. “Everything happens for a reason.”

She smiles, a knowing smile.

“That reminds me. I heard your first semester results are out. How was yours?”

Her question jolts you back to reality. Your heart thumps violently. You are sure she can hear your heartbeat loud and clear.

You are beginning to explain why you hadn’t checked it yet but she didn’t give you room to. She already understood. She puts her index finger across her lips vertically and you hand over your phone to her, telling her your Mat. number. In those fleeting seconds when she glanced at your result, you stop breathing. Your heart slips into your mouth and starts an abnormal beating sequence.

Moments later, she focuses her eyes on yours, her face expressionless.

“Congrats Chima. Your have beaten your fears hands down,” she says eventually.

 

FINDING PURPOSE IN LIFE: BIRTHDAY POST

It is often said that every birthday marked draws us nearer to our graves. This statement, although being the gospel truth, tends to send chills down the spines of many. It is not surprising as most of us are afraid of death. The subject is never broached among many as though our mortality were not a blatant reality of our existence. Nobody wants to die. At least, not yet. We all want to live hundreds of years on this earth, no matter how tough life appears to be.

Growing up, birthdays were for me, days to celebrate and make merry. On these days, the whole atmosphere at home always changed. The line of daily events took on a different turn. Starting from the Family Morning Prayer, the changes occurred in the additional special prayers and the ‘Happy Birthday’ song, both addressed to the celebrant. Also, the day was all pomp and pageantry for the one who was celebrating. He was treated like an egg throughout the day. All his mistakes and shortcomings were overlooked. It was his day, after all.

Cakes were not part of the whole formula. Replaced by this customary birthday food was sweet smelling jollof rice or fried rice, as the case may be. The celebrant was always the first to be served and the largest portion was his best bet.

It is my birthday today and there are so many things to think about other than being served big portions of sumptuous meals. With age comes spontaneous growth and development in varying aspects of one’s life. A time comes in every man’s life when he begins to question himself. He begins to dig deep and question his purpose in life. Questions like these begin to pop in his head:

-Why am I here?
-Where’s my life heading towards?
-What’s my purpose in life? etc.

These questions are not only asked. No. It doesn’t end there. Probably, you find answers to some of these salient self posed questions, you begin to work towards implementing your given answers, turning theory to practical. Decisions are then made. Prompt actions are taken. Subconsciously, you begin to map out a plan for your life. You start envisaging the future. Your life begins to make sense!

On the other hand, however, many of us do no such things. We keep shuffling through life as though it were our birthright. We make no conscious effort to plan for our future. We live only in the present, forgetting that whatever we do today finds a way of resonating in the nearest future. In the long run, living like this not only makes your life meaningless but purposeless as well.

How do you discover your purpose in life? People find this out at varying points in their lives. Before you decipher your purpose in life, you must first of all, know what ‘purpose’ means. It simply means that which you’re to do, in service of others. That’s the simple truth, as unbelievable as it might sound. We’re all called to serve one another, albeit in different ways and varying degrees. Let’s look into the lives of the greatest men on earth today. Take Mark Zuckerberg for example. He is currently serving billions of people through his Facebook invention and management of other social media. Till today, he keeps making plans to make these social media better for their users. This is simply because he knows it is his calling, it is his life’s purpose. Pope Francis is another figure to be considered. Do you think he would have been able to do the great works of humanity he’s doing currently if he had refused the call to become a Catholic clergy? What about Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man? The list is endless.

We will not remain in our present positions forever. For example, you are currently an undergraduate. If you don’t begin to search inwards now and discover the purpose for your life, what becomes of you after graduation? Many youths today, when planning for the future, just think of the conventional pattern. Graduate with good grades, bag a well paying job and get married. What happens after marriage? At the end of the day, after living such a life, one would realise that he had not ‘lived’ at all. He has not imparted on others. He has not served others with his God-given talents. He has only lived for himself. May this not be the case for us!

When we begin to live a purposeful life, we would realise that our trepidation for death would lessen. We would begin to see life and death in a different light. We would be happy with ourselves.As we mark our birthdays, we would be able to party all we want, make merry, eat and drink peacefully. By then, we would see all these as rewards for another year of giant strides towards achieving a purposeful life.

PS: Thanks for reading! For those who read my previous post, hope you enjoyed this as well. *winks* For the first timers, do well to read both. Don’t forget to drop your comments. Your commendations and reservations are welcome. Noticed I’ve not dropped a single story? My first two posts have been more of motivational pieces. My next post will be a short story, having a motivational touch to it. Watch out for it! Till then, be well.

 

 

OVERCOMING LAZINESS: AN INTRODUCTORY POST

It’s been a while since I wrote anything worthwhile. A very wide lacuna exists between the last time I penned something down and now. I still remember the title of my previous write-up. It is a review of a book I had just read – Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo. The novel was so captivating and engaging that I felt it would be a sin not to write a review of it. That was the first book review I’ve ever written, anyway.

The article attracted a few likes on facebook where I posted it and a handful of people requested for the book. For those who’ve read it, you know the gist. And for those who haven’t and are interested in doing so, you can freely slide into my DM to get a copy.

I know I’ve digressed a bit. Let’s go back home. I was talking about reading and writing. Speaking of writing, there are some ominous things that befall me after writing a particular piece. First of all, I feel fulfilled. Overtime, writing has become for me, a sort of necessity which always needs urgent attention. Anytime I get stuck while writing, be it fiction or non-fiction, I become quite restive. At those times, I might not be the best person to hang around with. This is because I have taken up Writing as a profession and can get broken whenever I’m not able to write. So, this feeling of fulfilment that comes over me after weaving words together to form a coherent whole is quite understandable.

Now, this is where the ominousness comes in. With this overwhelming feeling of fulfilment comes relaxation. I feel like one who has just completed a Herculean task and therefore, need enough time to rest. I didn’t know that I was deceiving myself all along, that writers never go on sabbaticals, that Writing is not and should not be seen as a profession. This is then, the point where laziness creeps in.

Laziness. It is one of the worst things that can ever happen to anyone. It renders one almost useless. I wish it for nobody. Laziness can be related to what happens to our TV sets whenever PHCN decides to ‘hold power’ for stretch of days. It just sits wherever it’s been placed, showing no sign of life. I bet that if one who had never seen a television sees one like that, they’d pass it off as just a metal box designed with glass. This is exactly what laziness does to us or better still, what happens to us when we run into its deceitful embrace. We become tantamount to an empty vessel, making little or no impact in our daily journey of life. May we never be caught up in the deceptive hands of this ugly monster!

After reading Stay With Me, I plunged into Teju Cole’s Everyday Is For The Thief which also proved an awesome read. The book is not a lengthy one so I completed it two days after writing the review of the previous book. I felt it won’t be bad writing a review for the book as well. This was the beginning of my predicament. I kept procrastinating writing the review till memories of the book began to slip off my brain. Then, I felt it unnecessary to write a review after all. I began to envisage writing a Short Story. Various ideas popped in but I couldn’t draft a story with any. More came, same result. Nothing seemed to work.

It was as if I had lost it, like my brain has been replaced with cotton wool by my village people. I began to feel less of a writer. Laziness capitalised on the situation and soon began to engulf me. I didn’t even bother anymore to put down my ideas to paper because I knew it would turn out abortive at the end of the day. I began to seek help from my writer friends. Majority of them told me what I was passing through was normal, that I shouldn’t force myself to write. I should only give it time and I’d be on my feet again very soon. As soothing as their words seemed, I felt they didn’t understand me. That they didn’t know what I was passing through. I was afraid I’d never be able to write again.

Now, let’s fast forward to yesterday. I was at the Reading Room of my hall of residence with a friend and coursemate in the wee hours of the day. The weather was quite unfavourable. The cold tore into every part of us but still, we remained there. We were poring over a textbook for a course we knew virtually nothing about. It is the beginning of a new session and a single lecture has not been held. I had joked earlier on, about how it felt like the night before the examination. We knew we weren’t supposed to be reading for so long as the semester was still very much ripe but there was something about the whole aura around us that glued us to our seats. It felt magical.

Things continued this way and just some minutes after 12am, we heard noises outside. There are varying degrees of noise making in Hall 3 but it is quite easy to decipher this kind: noises of a band of boys encircling a lone figure while spewing all manner of curse words as they drag their victim along with them, out of the hostel. We both rush outside with others and try to have a glimpse of the thief and the story behind the crime. We got nothing much. It was a stale story. The culprit had stolen a phone, the owner found him out and then raised an alarm. The chaos doesn’t last for long as the thief is successfully taken to the Security personnel in the next hostel without a hair on his head tampered with.

Going back into the Reading Room, I knew I would write something that night. Even if it wasn’t a story. Without giving room for a second thought, I abandoned the textbook I was reading and began to write. I wrote without stopping to think. I didn’t think of failing at any point. I didn’t even stop to consider what my readers’ reaction would be. I just kept writing and writing until this write-up was born. In the long run, I decided it won’t be a bad idea to put it up as my first blog post.

By now, a question might be reverberating within you. “how do I overcome laziness?” It’s not just a mere assumption. Laziness does not spare any human being. This monster catches up with us at different points in our life. It roams around like the devil, looking for someone to devour. Let us have it in mind that before we can overcome laziness, we must first know its cause or causes as the case may be. I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t categorically pinpoint the causes of laziness. However, the truth is that we all have different reasons for being lazy. In my case, it was fear. The fear of failing at my writing attempts stood predominant along side the fear of my audience’s rejection of my write-up. It was when I decided to stop feeding this fear of mine that I witnessed a turn around.

What’s yours? What’s causing you to keep postponing that particular task or work that you greatly crave for? What’s preventing you from showcasing that talent you always knew you had to the rest of the world? What’s stopping you from doing it TODAY? Yes, today. Once you identify this, I promise you’ll come out victorious at the end of it all.

PS: This is my brand new blog. I use this platform to tell stories that matter and need to be told. I hope you drop by often. Thanks for doing so today. My next post would be on my birthday which is around the corner. It would be a gift from me to you. Watch out for it! Till then, be well.