Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pre-relocation pains

Sitting on my dresser is a blank handmade card that I bought in the midst of pain-filled months. It reads:

“The most important thing is this: that at any time we are willing to give up who we are for who we could become.”- Charles Dubois

The events that led to my relocation from the States were confusing, painful and scary. In the span of a month, my job and relationships turned sour and I retreated into a shell. For the next 6 months, I just existed. Little interest in anything around me. Numb days gave way to numb nights. Sleep and books were my only respite. I was stuck in a ditch and I didn’t know what to do. But even worse, I didn’t want to do anything. My spirit just didn’t care anymore.

It was not a life threatening crises, not a relational crises, not a financial crises, but a deep, heart wrenching, identity crises. The fleeting nature of life shocked me and disillusion, touched on in this post, followed.

I wondered, what will I make of my life? Will I just die like that when my turn comes? Another face, another name bites the dust? Who do I want to be? Then I saw this card and asked myself: Am I willing to give up who I am to become that person I want to be? A simple barter exchange. Lose the old, get the new.

Another of my card reads:
“Progress always involves risk: you can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”—Frederick Wilcox

Yes, those months were difficult, but in hindsight, they were life-saving. Because I was forced to face the future and think about my life rather than just let it happen. If you are going through heartbreak, deep loss, confusion, disease, or emptiness right now—grieve, cry, pray or retreat, but don't miss the ray of hope that will come, because with it a new chapter of your life will follow.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Butt exposure

When I received my NYSC-supplied trousers, they were 3 sizes too big and dangled 2 inches off the ground. But I couldn’t be bothered with amendments so I held the trousers up with the belt they supplied and pulled up my green stripped socks to hide my skin. (I know, I really need to outgrow this "I don't care how I look "phase) You’d never have known my uniform was big unless you were passing by the day I was walking down a street in Wuse Zone 3 and my belt …gasp...unhooked itself. The yeye khaki raced for the ground, but I managed to catch it before it exposed my sacredness.

I guess you could say, I don’t hear word, because five months earlier during orientation camp, I stood up after a stimulating conversation on the parade ground and… Well, let’s just say I suspect my male friend caught a brief view of my pant but kindly pretended not to. That obviously wasn’t enough to scare me into re-fitting the trouser and jacket that I felt should have fit properly in the first place.

But seriously, what’s up with NYSC giving us uniforms without even a glance to see if it’s remotely close to our size? When collecting my uniform on camp, I felt like a kid standing on the lunch line, collecting a packed sandwich—without a choice of turkey or ham. They reach into their pile, pull out a uniform and hand it to you. But in fairness to them, collating and sorting 7-piece uniforms for more than 100,000 corpers, is not an easy feat. So the uniforms run big to leave room for amendments.

Naturally it means girls get uniforms that are too big while big guys get tight uniforms –very unflattering to their bellies I must say. Some men can’t wear their boots or sneakers because they’re too tight. My problem is the reverse: My boots are a size 43 and I wear a size 40. Some peeps swapped shoes, while most gave their uniforms to the tailors who were eagerly waiting to adjust uniforms at prices that would sew a new pair.

I tell ya, get 2,000 humans together in a facility with no facilities and it’s not just a 3-week orientation camp, but a job generator for at least 100 people willing to cater to the teeming corpers.

So after my parents teased and warned me about further butt exposure, I finally gave in to refitting. One is a shot of my NYSC Khaki trousers after the amendment. Still too short, I went to the market to look for fabric and got one custom made for my 35-inch inseam. Nice upgrade ey?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Working in America

Working in corporate America left me just a tad bit disillusioned. Don’t get me wrong O, the pay was great. I was making twice what I needed to be comfortable. In other words, after I paid tithe, rent, car loan, electricity, heat, phone and internet bill, fed the household and put 10% of my salary in my savings account, I still had half of my salary to play with. But its called disposable income for a reason —something always disposes you of your money. It could be something as minor as Sunday lunch at a Thai restaurant or the last $5 Tee in your size at Gap. On the other hand, it could be something major like a car breakdown, a trip to California or a friend in dire need.

The pay was great but my bubble burst when I realized that money comes, money goes, and all this while I was living someone else’s dream. I was dancing to the tune of expectations and assumptions and did not stop to check if the shoe fits. I didn't stop to see if it was to my taste, my style and true to my person. I just wanted it because it was the fad. It was practical and it was comfortable. But it was not me.