Day 13: Ifeatu

To tell you about my year, I must start at the beginning. Last autumn I started a new job in a new country. The highlights of my year, good and bad, are significantly related to that decision. It was a year of consolidation, I think, of building blocks on foundations that already existed, and of discovering weak, misshapen blocks and attempting to replace them with better blocks.

In the first quarter of the year I felt inadequate and incompetent at my job. I wanted to give up and admit that this was a bad idea. What was I thinking, coming out here trying to save the world? What did I know about this, or about anything? I felt burdened by the strain of constantly having to prove myself, what I knew and what I was capable of. I suppose this is to be expected in every newish job, the need to earn trust through performance; but it was the other things that really stretched me. At some points I couldn’t tell if it was the fact that I was black, female or young that was the problem, or whether it was a combination of all three.

I hate that ‘everybody is against me’ attitude. You know the one; ‘all my problems are someone else’s fault, nobody likes me’. And so I was in denial of certain prejudices for a long time. I made excuses for people when they treated me less than professionally. Because I took full responsibility for everything, I was constantly reviewing my behavior, and my attitude and my work; and trying to change these things because I thought it would change everything. I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but at some point I realized and accepted that certain people would always think and act a certain way, that it wasn’t my fault, and that there were ways to deal with them and that without losing who I was.

Previously, when I heard people say that they couldn’t do a job they didn’t love, I must confess I didn’t think very much of that, or them. I thought that no one likes work, and one simply does what one has to. I now see that differently. Given how much of our time is spent at work and with coworkers, the work environment can significantly impact on our state of mind, moods and happiness. In the second half of the year, things have gotten better. I finally know what I am doing, relatively, I enjoy it and I do it really well. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it is enough. I am sought after by people I suspect don’t like me very much, because they value what I do, and oftentimes there’s no one else who can do it. I now see how being in a good place at work changes everything, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be here and the privilege of being able to do the work I do. In retrospect, I am somewhat thankful for the ‘fires’ of this year, because it has shown me what I can expect to happen and I am now better prepared to handle it.

Speaking of fires, last month I survived a domestic accident unscathed. It was perhaps a divine reminder that God cares about me, at a time when my doubts and questions were undermining my faith. This year I had asked a number of questions, and received faith- based answers that did not sufficiently address my concerns. In some cases, these answers just raised more questions. I found myself examining issues of morality, of the concept of absolute truth and of right and wrong, and realizing that a lot of my beliefs did not arise from a logical consideration of the facts. I have become increasingly discontent with organised religion in general, and the Nigerian brand of Christianity in particular. I have struggled with reconciling my faith with the behavior of Nigerian clergy, and the emphasis of Nigerian churches. I am extremely unhappy about the apathy and refusal of Nigerians to discuss the stinking elephant in the room. But I have chosen to read my Bible and face my God; it is after all a personal race. For right now, I have made a decision to believe, not for lack of evidence to the contrary, but for my own sanity.

Mid-year I participated in a virtual life coaching program called the 31-day reset because I felt I was stuck in a rut, lacking motivation and purpose. I learnt a lot from that experience about who I am, how I interact with others, what motivates me and what goals I need to set for my future. I became more aware of my health and lifestyle choices, perhaps with the down (up?) side that I have become increasingly conscious of my weight.

I have come to understand my interactions with those I live and work with. There was a lot I didn’t know, to be honest, considering how self-aware, strong-willed and principled I considered myself to be. I have been asked questions that forced me to understand my actions, moods and decisions and how they might be perceived by people who are from very different cultures and backgrounds. I like to think I have become more comfortable in my own skin. I am more aware of diversity but also better able to deal with it.

I started to write more frequently this year. I have found it to be therapeutic, demanding, insightful and revealing all at the same time. I wish I could say the same about tweeting.

I visited a few countries, and I enjoyed my holidays so much that I am now determined to see as much of the world as I can, as soon as I can afford it.

Our pasts can color the way we view the present, or perceive the future. Our present can also alter our evaluation of the past. As the year draws to an end I find myself grateful for the experiences I have had, for the new people I have met and for old friends. I am learning to accept the fluid concept of home, and the importance of relationships. I am learning to look forward to the future without worrying too much about it, to learn from the past, and to enjoy the present, to be here in the now. I am growing up.

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I didn’t have to edit anything here except extra spaces and paragraphs. Can anyone fault the English expression here? I’m doing this for fun lol.

Thank you for sharing Ife. Much love.

Look out for Tunrie on here tomorrow people.  🙂

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5 thoughts on “Day 13: Ifeatu

  1. Sisi Jacobs says:

    🙂 Being comfortable in our skin is an often overrated, and very important achievement in life.

  2. vixenpixie says:

    THIS POST… the way it looked, pin pointed the issues behind her everyday life… and that struggle with questioning the Nigerian brand of Christianity. Very well put together, and i’m glad she found her faith.

  3. Annie says:

    This bit – “…l have become increasingly discontent with organised religion in general, and the Nigerian brand of Christianity in particular. I have struggled with reconciling my faith with the behavior of Nigerian clergy, and the emphasis of Nigerian churches. I am extremely unhappy about the apathy and refusal of Nigerians to discuss the stinking elephant in the room. But I have chosen to read my Bible and face my God; it is after all a personal race….” – this’s me.

  4. lily says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. I could see slews of me especially in the being comfortable in my skin and the writing part.

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