January was a tough month for me.
It could have been worse- actually, some pretty good things came through for me this last week but, it wasn’t smooth sailing for the most part.
On January 2, I nearly had an accident. My right tyre’s ball joints gave out, so the tire dislocated. I had just begun to ascend a small flyover bridge, so thankfully, I wasn’t speeding. I was alone, it was kind of late, 8:30pm, and my night would have turned into a horrible story if it weren’t for one man, and a lovely couple that stopped to help me. My mom keeps telling me that Lagos is dangerous. She once said, “The day Lagos will show you ehnnn…” That night, Lagos nearly showed me. I was alone, and I had barely hopped into my deliverers’ car, when a good number of area boys surrounded my vehicle. Before we came back with a tow truck, more had joined. It was the makings of a crazy night. How would I have handled that on my own?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I had no doubt that God saved me that night. I had driven quite a long way, and half that distance was driven in pitch darkness (no street lighting), and the other half at super high speed because I was on the express. What if my tire had misbehaved on the dark road? Or when I was going on 100, 120? What were the odds that this nice couple saw me and instinctively, within seconds stopped to help me? I was super grateful, but that night, I was pretty shaken. I could not talk till the next day, lol.
It was discovered that the car had other issues, apart from the ball joints, but by Tuesday I had it patched up and was at least able to drive it home. Then, my tires expired and I started managing that problem too. The main upset of the car issue was that, after the cost of repairs, I wasn’t able to meet my savings goal for the beginning of the year.
That really upset me because:
I’m a planner. I love to plan. I can’t not plan. I’ve tried winging it, doing that spontaneous life thing, but it’s not me. That’s not how I get things done. Goals are unreal until I write them down. The downside to planning is, it really sucks when life happens and your plans are affected.
When Life Happens.
See. I’m a very highly strung individual. Super-duper Type A. It irritates me when I’m making plans by myself, or with others, and people are already giving reasons why we may need more time and they aren’t speaking specifically. Ehnnnn I’m busy so I don’t know if I can do this in a week, etc etc. I hate it so much. That you did not deliver because X, Y, Z happened should be the apology. What you say after you didn’t deliver- not you telling me to expect you to disappoint.
I know, I sound pretty annoying, but that’s me. And Life doesn’t care who you are.
It happened, it happens… And, there’s also that other thing about me and life happening.
It’s almost like I’m superstitious.
If I have a big day, and “life happens”- e.g. my zip pops, or my skirt burns, I somehow feel like it’s a bad omen. Like it’s a sign for how the rest of the day will go. I know, this is crazy but when I’m in the moment, that’s how I feel. My first day at my job, I was brushed in traffic. Not a major brush, but I was practically hyperventilating. Plus, there was a bad accident on 3rd Mainland Bridge that morning which caused a lot of traffic- I left my house at 5:30, and the fear of not arriving way before 8am threatened to kill me.
MeeMee was in Nigeria very briefly for Christmas. We had been meaning to get our photos taken, so we squeezed in a mini photo-shoot. The story of that is for another day (I’ll tell you about it) but let me just say- almost everything that could go wrong actually went wrong. I was somewhere between pensive, and simmering.
Everything was wrong. And, I couldn’t not focus on that. From the first thing- our location being unexpectedly closed that day, I just *knew* in my head, that it was over.
But, what if I didn’t? Maybe it was over because I believed it was?
What if I approached everything falling apart with positivity? Maybe that day could have been different? Maybe my life could be different?
It’s interesting. Many people think I’m Little Miss Sunshine. This is only half true. Where others are concerned, yes. But to myself, I do not let in this sunshine enough. I worry a lot. I stress too much. I overthink things more than most people do. Though little things make me happy, the littlest things also throw me off. I’m often very anxious, and if it weren’t for some special grace, I think I’d be highly susceptible to depression. The other day, I apologised to MeeMee for all the negativity she has to deal with on the regs- I know I’ve been pretty extra in the last few months.
I go through the highs and lows, just like everyone else, but I realise that with learning to adult, and taking on more responsibility, I cannot go on the way I always have.
Even though I did not go on vacation, the first work week of the year was especially tough for me. I was extra tired, I could not be productive, I was freaking out at the slightest, I felt extra extra pressed. By week 2, I had begun to feel physically ill, in fact, two times or three, I was so dizzy. I felt very ‘off’, I had no desire to move myself, and so I asked my mom if her driver could take me to the hospital. I felt that unwell.
He did, and my blood was taken, tests run. They returned, all clean. Nothing was wrong with me. Not a damn thing. So, I looked at myself. I had to. Physically okay, but mentally a mess. This was in fact, what was weighing on me so heavily that I felt like crap, and other people could see it too. I had to think about it.
Sure, being a type A person is who I am. It’s how I bluddy function. It’s how Beyoncé runs the world. It’s just the way I am. But do I really have to be this way? Like ALL of it?
So I told myself. It’s no longer a joke. “I’m such a stress queen, lol” is no longer funny.
Why am I always stressed? Why is my default mode stress?
Can’t find a file? Stress (Being frantic is the reason why I won’t find it anyway)
New task? Stress.
I don’t want to be a stress queen anymore. I don’t want to feel stressed. I hate it. It affects me. It is distracting. At my office, I am introduced to new things. I get this thing I haven’t done before, so I take it on, but lowkey worry about it. I spend more time fussing over the parts that don’t matter before I can finally think clearly and do the thing I had always been capable of.
So. Even though all the optimism I felt on December 31 was knocked out of me by January 2, I’m happy that somehow, I’ve been able to draw it back in.
I started out the next day (after I had the talk with myself) with positive affirmations. They may sound silly, but I realised I had one of my best days. The affirmations started out like this:
“I will have a good day. I will not be stressed today. I will not freak out. I will make progress today…”
I went on from that, to the things I wanted for others. The whole drive I went in silence, just me and the sound of my voice, and it was a day better than most.
Since then, I’ve been practising speaking to myself positively. Learning to let go. It’s the only way I’ll survive. I plan the predictable bits ahead- like what to wear, and I strive to be asleep by 10pm. I’m developing my own routine or action plan for my tasks, I’ll probably write that down and paste it somewhere- for the times my brain is too anxious, or so busy freaking out that it can’t do simple things.
I’ve been reminded of something I once learnt: Quiet Time is important. I no longer start the day with Traffic Radio (same old, same old everyday anyway). I say my prayers, or tell God how I want my day to be, about the things I want to achieve. It often starts out like a traditional prayer with song, and ends up with gist. Even when I can’t pray, the silence helps me.
I no longer listen to party music in the morning. I love me my pangolo but I need to gather myself in the mornings. I drive to work without music, or if the traffic is a lot, I listen to something: lately, Asa. Note to self: I need to make a playlist for the bad days.
On life in general, this quote from Kitchen Butterfly sums it up really, the approach I’m trying to build, to not be overwhelmed.
“There’s no making time, there’s just doing because I’ve discovered that the art of making time is the mother of procrastination.”
Make of that, what you may.
February, I see you. And you will be better.