Disclaimer: I am going to big up myself because I am fucking wavy.
I can’t recall the layout of my home before Barnfield, let alone my first home in Nigeria. I don’t know what my sister’s favourite colour is, let alone remember the conversations we’ve had. I do recall staying in several locations during my time in Nigeria but to say which one I lived in would be a bold ass lie. I also have recollections of shared moments with my sister, but to convincingly narrate a loving one would prove far too challenging — the numerous homes accompanied with faint memories of my sister and I have one thing in common, the absence of my parent’s presence. Till sometime last year, I believed uncles, aunts and my sister raised me; then I asked my mother if that were the case. A light chuckle followed shortly after her Swaggy P impression, she quickly informed me that we were only apart for a year, silence followed as I tried to make sense of what was said. What I perceived to be the truth was mockingly dismissed, how could I even think that? I grew up believing I met my mother for the second time – first being birth – when I came to London at the age of nine…yeah, no. I am now aware that I have a lot of catching up to do with myself, and this is going to hurt. I am sure, the overwhelming dysfunction I was exposed to at an early age is the cause of my shit memory as the only way I could deal with the chaos was to suppress it all. I mean, depression has been linked to memory loss; it’s just a shame that signs were most likely dismissed due to my culture’s ignorant view of it. I’d like to know how I dealt with things, man. The sad part of it all is the person my inner child would find peace communicating with most would be my sister, the person I chose to follow out of our father’s home after she’d been kicked out – a decision that ultimately changed the course of my life – is someone I can’t stand to be around. So hearing my partner, or anyone talk about their childhood is a huge trigger point for me, as the memories of my childhood are limited to one or two fun events while the rest is a blur, a blur that causes nothing but heartache. As my mind continues to fail me, I can only assume that my childhood birthed a man who longs for attention; growing up without the knowledge of his parent’s whereabouts is his driving force. I can only imagine how heavy the feeling of confusion and loneliness was for me growing up, the constant change of location, trying to understand my abusers’ actions and why my sister couldn’t alleviate all the fucking pain. No child deserves to be raised feeling that way. That feeling continued once I arrived in London, why weren’t I living with both parents? Meh…at this point in my life, aged nine, feeling detached and confused had become the norm. I grew older, moved from one home to another, parent to parent, dysfunction and the need for attention followed like a nitty asking for spare change. Years passed, locations changed, friendships ended; then I found myself in university.
University, University…maybe you do meet a lifelong friend(s) while you’re there. A drastic shift in my life occurred sometime last year in the form of a mental breakdown. A year before my mental breakdown took place; I experienced two panic attacks, one in university and the other at an event. The thought of a person withering, mind and body no longer in sync, unable to suppress the rush of emotions was foreign to me, something I certainly wouldn’t have allowed my then self to experience. Mitigating pain had been a strength of mine; I was a well-tuned baffle with expansion chambers that funnel, cool and spread out my emotions to reduce the chances of honest communication. I believed I was emotionally mature enough to deal with this new chapter, well-informed on university antics – stories from others – I began to envision ways to deal with the challenges brought up in various accounts. Unfortunately, the stories were as trivial as you can get, stories that gave you a frail insight into the reality of University. Now that I’ve lived my own experience and accepted it for what it was, I can look back at events without passing judgement. I’m able to see just how little I knew about myself, and for some odd reason, I still expected others to understand and respect me. I was in for a huge surprise. Starting my day with an early morning rehearsal, what followed was a long ass retail shift, completing a final year project then rewarding myself with a very, very long zoot. Relaxed, I received a call from a fellow student asking if I’d be able to assist them with their project. It’s around one or two in the morning, I’m high as shit, still in my uniform, and my feet are killing me, but I make my way over there regardless. While I am there, I quickly gather that the student is unwilling to do anything, but I was still willing to lend a hand, to the point where I offer to write the whole thing for them. Time passed, suggestions countered with discouraging words, my focus began to drift, I felt myself grow in frustration as my body painfully reminded me that I’m in desperate need of sleep. To cut the story short, I said fuck it, eventually suggesting that the student’s a bum and in a sarcastic tone, wished them luck on their degree; then I walked out. That event is one of many, – where I did not articulate how I felt – I always expected others to acknowledge my efforts. It is a prime example of how I dealt with many issues that took place during my life, I was able to see what the other person was doing wrong and how it made me feel, but without sharing those feelings, I expected them to notice and correct their wrongdoings. Leaving the thoughts that occupied my mind in the hands of others eventually caused the panic attacks: one minute we’re taking a rehearsal break and the next, I’m curled up, unable to prevent the flow of tears as my body laid unresponsive. An experience made bearable due to my lifelong friend’s insight into it, as she too has fallen victim to panic attacks.
Reacting poorly to those I wasn’t in committed relationships with were not sleep depriving cases for me, but the issues that birthed a cloud of uncertainty over my life were with those I considered loved ones. Sister, Brother, Mother, Father, Friend: titles gave me anxiety because those who held them had a responsibility to fulfil, an obligation to me, and if not met, I seem to lose all sense of self. Being one half of a stagnant relationship between brother and sister – either side fearful of the outcome once the initiation of an honest conversation took place – the last thing I expected was an opportunity to have a relationship with a half-sister. Believing that I had dealt with the emotional weight caused by the distance between myself and my sister, I entered this new found relationship unaware of the wounds I’d be exposing. And It did not take long before a look at the potential outcome of my commitment took place. Ronique and I were attending my nephew’s naming, it’d be the first time my half-sister met Ronique, so I was excited. Long before my arrival at the naming, I was made aware that my father would be present, but surely I’d be unfazed. For years I laughed when asked the last time I saw him, confidently responding then alluding to caving his chest in if I ever saw him again: I truly believed all those ‘I’ll never be like my father’ pep talks I’d give myself…lol. I walked into that hall, approached and greeted everyone at the table, including my father; then time stopped, all of a sudden I had to rush out of the hall, my heart was pacing once again, fuck sake. Within a matter of minutes, my entire day was ruined, everything that took place before and after is all a blur. I allowed my father to steal my nephew’s show. I chuckle now because the relationship with that man was thought to have ended when I was twelve but there I was, having a panic attack over a man I hadn’t spoken to in over ten years. It is clear the confused, lonely inner child still bears the scars inflicted by those he sought protection from; If I’m not in tune with how he feels, how will I be able to articulate those feelings to those who caused it and those I now class as loved ones. My sister and I haven’t had an honest conversation in over six years, and my inner child resents her for that. Even after my mother explained the reason why I didn’t receive a wedding invitation, my inner child’s resentment was sealed tight, locked away, and the key lay in the hands of his older sister. You can then only imagine how ecstatic that child was when he was introduced to his half-sister – maybe she had the key – he was confident she’d provide the care, comfort and protection he longed for his entire life. My inner child took over, straining himself in an attempt to impress his half-sister, but it was only a matter of time before that child grew tired. The fear of losing another sister clouded my thought process; I suppressed every urge to express any discomfort, reverting to the inarticulate child expecting his needs to be met. I seemingly entered this relationship without ever considering her life before meeting me, I just saw an opportunity to be loved by an older sibling, and I ran with it — a realisation that brought me to the OBVIOUS fact that my mother, father, sisters, friends and brother all live a life of their own. Now with the knowledge of the short and long-term effects of bottling my emotions, and how I struggle to see past the ‘responsibility’ of my loved ones’, I doubled down on my belief that life isn’t meant to be easy. That sense of peace, I need that. To lead a life filled with resentment towards anyone, let alone family members is an extreme sport, it’s self-harm; quite frankly, I’ve done enough of that. Luckily, due to my commitment to my [Friend] Ronique, and [Family] my mother and brother, I’ve experienced peace, peace found only when one commits himself to what he wants, never shying away from the journey’s hardships. I want a relationship with my sisters, and now, I’m more than confident I’ll be able to achieve my inner child’s dream, we move.
I’m going to die one day, and I’m excited. I grew tired of looking at my past and thinking what someone else could have done to prevent a situation that caused me to feel embarrassed, upset, angry or whatever. Not to say I’m going to take full responsibility for their actions – man’s not a poomplex – as relationships require both parties to be responsible for their efforts, but I now want to spend the remainder of my years accepting what has been, knowing I acted to the best of my knowledge. For a long period of my life, I shied away from acknowledging my growth and achievements; they were actions practised by obnoxious people: moments worth celebrating held no weight, I smiled, shrugged my shoulders and looked forward to tomorrow’s offering. I was engrossed in each day, beaming with joy as I soaked in the day’s teachings, but I never once stopped to credit myself for doing so. Now that I’m genuinely practising self-love by learning to own who I am, I’m able to communicate well with others without my inner child feeling the need to protect itself. I’m welcoming people’s honest, kind words as more than just mere compliments; these people see the person I am; those who’ve known me are witness to the person I’ve become. It’s time I notice, accept and own that person. I continue to build what will be a stable foundation, and rewarding career, I must remember that my current status does not define me; life is all about learning. I was once the kid who lived in a state of confusion, fear and loneliness but through unlearning years of programming, accepting love and communicating, I am who I am now. Just for a second, fuck where I want to be. I made it this far; I’m not an inmate, patient, bootcut wearer or another corpse, I am big boy L’s, the fucking one and only. I love who I’ve become, and I’m not stopping anytime soon. I’m going after everything I want, with the support of my loved ones.