“CapoeiraPanda: Dear Lord, don’t let my ashiri tu in 2013.”
That was my first, actual prayer this year, tweeted on January 1st.
Of course, as you know – if you follow me on Twitter, or were anywhere near the internet a few hours after that tweet – things didn’t actually pan out that way; my year started out with a lot of ridicule and embarrassment, thanks to a particular (kissing) picture which I can’t seem to find a copy of (Efe if you find that picture and add it to this post, I’ll have you assassinated).
So, following that trend, nothing in 2013 went like I’d planned, honestly. I’ve read a couple of people’s posts in this series, and I really wish I could do a month by month knockdown of how the year went. However, my memory has decided that I’m not worthy enough to organize itself chronologically, so I’ll just try the “anywhere belle face” approach, and tell you how things went based on the lessons I learned.
“Be ready to learn”
In January 2013, I was new to life. My little girl was two months old, and I was realizing just how… “not easy” it was to have a baby. Not exactly for me, seeing as I didn’t live with her and my basic duties when I went over to see her every other day involved changing her diapers (which she managed to soil like a champion), and singing John Legend’s “High” till she fell asleep, but for her mother, and those who did live with her and were charged with being her primary caregivers. On my end, I realized that even the little things like Huggies Diapers for Newborns and Aloe Scented Wipes could leave an interesting dent in a grown man’s pocket and well, I had to figure something out.
“Be ready to change”
I saw one of my best friends carrying his dad to the hospital, and decided I wasn’t going to be that kind of person who threw away good health just to chase money, leaving his children to deal with the consequences later in life, so I hooked up with a personal trainer, and began a journey into improved health; for myself, for my daughter, and for her younger ones who may show up sometime in the future.
“Battles will come”
In January, my woman and I went through a battle that melded us together. It was tough, and it would have been easy for any man to run and leave her to fight it herself, but I grit my teeth and stayed with her, and going through that fight helped us become stronger as a team.
I learned, that fear was pointless. That when faced with a challenge, the best thing to do is to simply face it head on, pray, and break through it.
In February, my lady started having health issues. Hospital to hospital, doctor to doctor, nobody could tell us what exactly was going on with her. But then, some doctor told us a few things;she was hypotensive. She’d gone her whole life, not eating properly, and doing a lot of things wrong, and it was starting to kill her. I remember the day she told me; I looked at her and thought, “this thing didn’t kill you last year, when I had no idea who you are. It’s now that you’ve come into my life that it wants to take you away? So funny.”
In May, I reached what had to be my lowest point at my job. I was going to work tired, working through the day and coming home exhausted. I loved what I did, but hated where I was doing it. I was overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated. Worst of all, I knew I deserved better. I tried to get better. I applied to different places, for different positions. I took tests, and for the first time in nine years, after working hard for excellence and “First Class Status”, I was failing and getting rejected.
Then in June, I found out Blossom had been diagnosed with “Anal Cancer”. A rather rare form of cancer, they told me. So why the hell did my mother have it, if it was so damn rare? Again, I said hello to Fear. I wept at the thought that she could be taken away from me by something so horrible. That the last time I’d have seen her was when she waved as she went off to get on a plane. That she wouldn’t get to hear her granddaughter call her “Nan”, and complain that the kid was too fast for her when she ran all over the place.
And then October came, and a doctor told us a bone in my daughter’s foot wasn’t growing properly, and she’d have to get surgery. He said that was probably why she hadn’t started walking, even though she was almost a year old. My first thought was “What in the actual f**k is going on? All three of my women, in one year?”
“Leaning is not a sign of weakness”
I taught this to Kiitan mi, and then started to learn it myself. I found myself having to lean on Victor Kalu, Justice Ojiaka, Kiitan mi, Remi Olutimayin, and I realized that they would never judge me for it. That the fact that I recognized my weaknesses and came to them for help was a sign that I was strong, and that they would be strong for me.
“Death respects nobody”
In the month of June, a star fell from my sky. She may not have been the brightest in my life, but her light shone on me in ways that nobody could ever replicate, and she was gone. She would never get to see Nadine wear the dress she’d gotten her. I’d never get to dance with her again after plying her with alcohol, regardless of her protests. I’d never hear her encourage me to be all I could be and draw strength from her the never ending well in her soul.
“Fear will eventually become hatred. Do not use it as a tool for respect”
Things between my old man and I finally reached a peak where I would not be afraid anymore. I spoke my mind to him, and let him know exactly where things stood between us.
“Humility is key”
A friend once said to me, “There comes a time in every man’s life, where he will be humbled beyond his wildest imagination.”
In 2013,I learned humility; that my pride was nothing when there were responsibilities I had to fulfil and deal with. I heard words spoken to me by people that hurt and broke me in ways that I’d never have believe possible, but I had to swallow those words and force myself to change, because that was all I could do. I found myself going to meet people for help, that I would have never have given a second thought to in ordinary times.
“Certainty without flaw is often delusion, and no certainty at all”
At some point, I had no idea what was going to happen. I lived with the simple belief that even though they never went as I planned, things would get better some way or the other.
“Love is never a smooth road”
I’ve always known the truth behind the statement, “Love is never enough”, but I learned how much work it truly is. Behind the picture of roses and butterflies, the tale of our love holds tears, bloody knuckles, broken doors and shattered bottles.
But… things didn’t turn out so bad.
My woman and I? We started working at it. Step by step, changing what she ate, researching about how to deal with hypotension, exercise, inch by inch, with God helping us, we brought her out of it. And you should see my woman now; she couldn’t walk down the street without passing out, once upon a time, but now she works out with me every other day and is stronger than she’s ever been in her life. Our battles have made us stronger. We’ve become a team, and we’re working on becoming a power couple to be reckoned with. Start saving your ticket money; Turks & Caicos may be sooner than y’all think. 🙂
Blossom? She went through her treatments like a warrior. She’s back home now, moving a little slower than she used to, but with that same awesome sense of humor, and that big old heart brimming with love and kindness. I love her more than I ever have, and I’m going to do my best to make sure she reaps the benefit of being a great mother, raising a good man.
Baby Bear? Well, a different doctor looked at the foot and showed us how to simply massage it back into place. She was walking about by her first birthday, and is kinda impossible to catch these days. Things still aren’t as easy as I’d like them to be, and the challenges are still there. But I’m doing my best every day. Trying to make the right decisions so I can be the right person for her. Provider, protector, teacher, and most importantly, Father.
I lost 25 kg in less than seven months. The discipline and hard work involved was immense, but I did it. I have a lot of people to thank for supporting me, but I have to thank Olumide Alabi and FireBox Fitness for being my main motivators.
In the last quarter of the year, when I thought there was nothing good that could come, and I’d lost hope, I applied for a job and started the interview process. It was crazy, difficult, exhilarating and frustrating at the same time. And in November, God made it happen. I got that email congratulating me, and knew that indeed, God always has a plan, and sometimes, he loves us enough to be late.
Now, we’re at the end of the year. The end, which was a beginning. We decided to make it official; loving, learning, growing with each other. She’s the helpmate that I never thought I’d have, and after spending the last 525,949 minutes with her, learning her (eg. fellas, if your woman says “no, I’m not hungry” the smart thing is to still get food for the both of you. Else, you may die hungry), and letting her love me despite my stubborn nature and penchant to fart when I’m lying next to her, I’m grateful to God for bringing her my way, and hope that this new year of our life and relationship is even better than the last year.
Thank you, 2013.
You weren’t what I thought I wanted, but you gave me everything I didn’t know I needed.
Hallehamdulillahi. All I could think of while reading this was, here’s a true Fatona. No idea what that means. All the best to you Panda, and the women in your life. Thank you for sharing.