Make up your mind.

“I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

One thing about me? I am indecisive. It is top ten most annoying things about me. I recently had a job interview and I was asked what my weakness was and without hesitation I immediately mentioned my indecisiveness (of course taking care to emphasise how I am working on it). Funny enough, I had just been thinking about my indecisiveness before the interview so I had my answer ready to go. Nice looking out God.

Yesterday I was fed up with myself and had to ask myself what exactly my problem was. I had gone to get some cookies that I really had no business eating (I’m a sugar addict, send help). Even though this was my third time in a week getting these cookies, and I had been deliberating over the choice of cookie flavours all day before leaving my house, I still found myself at the cookie shop second guessing myself and asking the shop attendant to decide between two flavours for me. Even as she was bagging up the cookies and ringing up the order I had half a mind to ask her to make some changes. I finally made my decision and walked out of the shop completely insecure about my choices. I just felt uncomfortable. After walking on for about five minutes with this sinking feeling in my belly, I said to myself “girl what’s your problem? It’s a fecking cookie for goodness sakes. You’ve been here three times already, you should know what cookies you like by now. Even if you don’t like it so what? it’s just a cookie! Damn. You weirdo!” That’s what what I needed to hear (lol) and I immediately felt better and the sinking feeling was gone.

My indecision is tightly woven into the very fabric of my being and it drives me insane. Everything has to be second guessed. There are times when my heart screams yes! and I don’t have to question anything but those times are few and far in between. I don’t know what it is I am so afraid of. I am afraid of making the wrong decision, that much is clear, but most of these decisions are not even a matter of life and death, they literally do not matter. Yet I waste precious finite time agonising over them. It is infuriating. I need to learn how to manage this. Most of the time when I am being indecisive I am not making any concrete thinking or weighing the options with any intelligence; I am simply just being indecisive and stressing myself out.

What are you so afraid of? What are the consequences of buying a cookie that you do not like? It’s flour and sugar, you will most likely eat it all. If I was a therapist here is the point I would try to make a link between my fear of making mistakes and some repressed trauma from childhood Are you afraid that your parents made a mistake in marrying each other and making you thus injecting in you this abject fear of making decisions out of fear that you make the wrong one and ruin your life and possible end humanity as we know it? For a while my indecision made sense to me; of course I have to spend half an hour deciding what to eat at this restaurant only to end up ordering the wrong thing anyway because if I don’t like my food then I will have wasted my money and not be satisfied. Then I am hungry and without my money. But it just grew and grew and took over my life like a venom coursing through the bloodstream. In many ways I feel like a child who has been ushered into adulthood without any guidance and I need my mummy (or some other responsible adult) to make decisions for me. The fact that it is EYE who have to make these decisions is bewildering.

This also means I have an issue with execution. I want to do something, and I have the ideas but I just let them float about in my head without actually doing anything. For example, I volunteered to plan social events for my work team. I sat with these ideas for ages not daring to make any decisions on my own. I needed someone else, preferably a higher up in the team, to discuss the ideas with and to get their backing before going on to plan the event and notify the whole team. I could not bring myself to decide for the team; if possible I wanted to ask each person what they wanted and get a general understanding before even sending out an email. Again I am like a child that needs mummy to hold my hand. Then I got two emails from other people on the team with their executed social plans: “Hey guys we are planning a bowling outing. Let me know if you’re interested!” Simple pimple. I felt so bad, the way I do when I feel I have failed at a task and someone else has had to take over. I imagine someone rolling their eyes saying “this girl is not forthcoming with any ideas let me just go ahead and plan something.”

My indecision is never more evident than on my birthday. Oh my word. I want to do so many things but will my friends be able to make it will it be convenient for them will they be willing to spend this much money on my birthday will they….? The result of which is that I end up being incredibly stressed out by my approaching birthday and sometimes I find myself with no birthday plans, just alone and depressed. A few years ago my friend said “Just tell us what you want to do for your birthday and we will let you know if we can participate.” Those words have stuck in my mind. I did go ahead and share my plans and they turned up, spent the money and I was happy. The crazy thing is that when my friends have plans I always show up, so I don’t know why I run myself ragged trying to decide on what is best for everyone without even first letting people know what I want.

Recently I went house hunting and found one that was alright and ticked most of my boxes. I could have made a decision there and then but of course I had to “sleep on it” and by that I mean not make a decision and hope the universe somehow makes it for me. It was not until the estate agent called me to say the flat had been taken that I started to have real regrets. I still have not able to find any place as good, and I am completely fed up with my current place. I was not making constructive points about what I needed to know to make a decision about the flat. I was just hmmmmn I don’t know. It still pisses me off to think about it. In this case the reason for my indecision was “What if I settle and something better comes along?” A stupid thought, given that I had been searching for ages and hadn’t found anything.

In the job interview, I said that I am learning to deal with my indecision by first carefully considering all possible outcomes and the consequences of each. In effect, what is the worst that could happen? I also said that I need to communicate more with those around me, rather than wallowing in isolation. Most of these decisions do not need to be made by myself alone, there is nothing wrong in seeking advice and help from others. A problem shared is a problem half solved, as they say. As with most of my afflictions, I know the solutions; it is just difficult to fully extinguish one’s neuroses.

I read somewhere that indecision is a decision, just make a decision and stick with it!

“Having made the decision, do not revise it unless some new fact comes to your knowledge. Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.”
― Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”

Since you’ve been gone

I want so much that is not here and I don’t know where to go for it.

It has been over a month since I last posted anything, which is wild as I have been through a lot since then. Well not really. My emotions have been through a rollercoaster. One thing about me? I am going to be stressed out over the tiniest of things.

Let’s start at the beginning.

It was my birthday. Nuff said. What is it about one’s birthday to bring out the sadness and dismay in one’s life to the forefront? I realised some years back that birthday depression is a real thing and I think it’s because of the expectations that birthdays are fun and filled with love and presents, and when you’re not fully basking in goodness the whole day, depression creeps in. That is my theory. I also realised that it is solely my responsibility to make my birthday a good one, so I try to make plans. My birthday fell on a weekday this year so I had the option of doing something the weekend before or the weekend after. I chose to go into town to stay with my friend the weekend before; none of my other friends could make it but I didn’t mind. I spent the weekend with her, we ate, and went to the gallery, and saw a play and it was nice. Then my actual birthday came, and though I had technically celebrated my birthday, I still had the birthday blues. I had the day off and had fantasies of getting my nails done, a deep tissue massage, a facial, all the good relaxation things. Of course I did not actually book anything so it was all fantasy. I get anxious and stressed out over everything, and that includes not relaxing as much as I want (or wasting a day off). Though I didn’t make any spa booking, I had dreams of relaxing fully the whole day in bed, finishing up some of the items in my Netflix watchlist. Of course that was not to be. I had to respond to calls the whole day which yay! people care about me on my birthday but also nay! leave me be. Another thing about me? I hate being on a phone call longer than I want to (I hate being on a phone call period). It just annoys me when I cannot get off the phone, or when the other parties cannot take the hint- I have sighed twenty times and said “well I’m just going to go get ready now” thirty times, so why are you still talking? The trigger for my irrational irritation is that I could see the hours hurtling past which meant my day off would soon be over and I was not relaxed at all. My friends got me breakfast and snacks which was so kind of them. Still I was alone in my prison room so there were no festivities and no birthday vibe. I had miscalculated greatly.

The biggest source of my annoyance and stress came from the most unlikely source. A couple of weeks prior while walking to get food, I came across a food truck in town centre and decided to see what it was about. Turns out it was a vegan food subscription service. I am not vegan (or even vegetarian) but I have been in a food rut lately and also trying to be healthy. I thought this was a good opportunity to try vegan recipes so I signed up for this, and went on to get my beef burrito. I then promptly put this out of my mind and ordered some Nigerian food for the week. The first box arrived and of course I was not ready for this so I put away as much as I could in the fridge. Then I went away for my birthday weekend. Imagine my annoyance when I got a notification saying the next food parcel was due to be delivered in a couple of days. Arrrrghhhhh I’ve not even cooked the first one yet! Even more annoying is that given that I completely forgot about it, the company had gone ahead and chose the meal options for me. Now I started to panic; one it’s vegan food which I doubt I will like; two I live in house with other people and have limited fridge space; three I’m wasting food and money. To crown this, my friend decided to get me HelloFresh food subscription for my birthday. Now I was completely stressed. I have no space! I have not even cooked the food I have. This is all so hectic. The hellofresh delivery was not due until the weekend after my birthday so Again I decided to cook the vegan meals in the first package on my day off aka my birthday to free up space and soothe my fraying nerves.

The appeal of these food subscription services is the ease and convenience…allegedly. It took me thirty minutes to peel and dice the butternut squash, and an eternity to put the whole meal together. It was supposed to be a curry but I must have reduced it too much because it seemed too solid to eat with rice. As I cooked it I knew this was not a meal I was going to enjoy eating. I was only able to cook one meal and I was so bloody irritable by the end of it. It was my birthday and I had wasted it on nonsense. Now it was evening time and I had work in the morning and there goes my day off. I was so sad. It made no sense.

The foul mood persisted into the next day. I’m still working from home which is beginning to seem more like a curse, but that’s a story for another day. I was just so annoyed and sad. Was it really just birthday depression? My irritation boiled over when I was allocated a topic to present at a team meeting the following week. Whew. That pissed me off! I hate for someone to just allocate something to me, like I’m a child or a baby staff. I stewed for days off of this irritation, and did not even respond to the message. I vented to my friends and sister about this mood, and I managed to diagnose myself. I came to the realisation that my irritation may be because I am deeply unhappy with my current life. I have been in my current job and house for over five years now and I am just over it all. After years of complacency I finally want to move on. Another thing about me? I can stay in one spot for ages, and I have a high threshold for boredom, but the minute I choose to move on I am completely done and cannot stand it one second longer. I figured that was the cause of my angst- In my mind I had moved on from this job and this house; so every moment that I was “forced” to remain here is torture to my soul.

It is not that easy to move on. In my mind I was already done with this job- every time future plans were referenced all I thought was “I’m not going to be here.” In my mind I was going to get the first job I interviewed for, which of course also stressed me out worrying over whether it would be a good fit and whether I would be going from frying pan to fire. Do I wait until I get a new job before looking for a new place, or do I just decide where I want to live and search for jobs there? I was stressed. Now I know that I worry too much for no reason at all. Every time I worry it ends up being for nought. Still, I worry.

At the start of the month I had to go into the office for a team meeting; rather than being annoyed I was actually looking forward to it. I had just got my hair done so I was feeling myself. I went in twice that week, and enjoyed it. It was good to talk to people and laugh. This brought me to another realisation. Could it be that I, the queen of the introverted introverts, was actually getting sick of working from home? I looked back at the other times I had gone into the office since the pandemic, and it was always a nice time. The bulk of my intensely negative feelings about work started during the pandemic, which also coincided with increased responsibility at work (which is definitely another stress factor). Could it be that despite my constant profession of how much I love working from home, being at home 24/7 was akin to being in solitary confinement which was ruining my mind and spirit? I shudder to think so.

My already fragile mood took a nosedive yesterday when I got an email with my work allocation for the next few months. We were to work from the client site twice a week and one day in the office. See that ruined my mood immediately. Now this was a client that was just assigned to me with no prior discussion. I hate when they do that. Hate it. What’s the point of being in a senior role if I can be randomly assigned clients with no forewarning. Then I found out that a delivery I had been waiting for all day was returned because my flatmate did not recognise the name and told the delivery people that the owner of the package no longer lived at the property. I just could not.

As I laid awake from 2am-5am staring at my phone (terrible habit!), I decided to change my perspective about things. Sure, it’s annoying to have to start going back into the office regularly; having to get up early-ish and get dressed, but perhaps that’s what I need now? I have lived without structure for 2 years, surely that’s enough. Rather than seethe over this, why not look on the bright side? I might enjoy working with a big team again, rather than by myself in my room. I still have two days a week to work from home- it’s the best of both worlds. Like magic, my irritation lifted and I started to feel positive about the whole thing. The positivity must have dried the dark rainy cloud hanging over my head because the rest of my day went better than the day before. First off I went outside to stick a note to the door, asking the delivery driver to call my phone number; within five minutes both packages I was expecting from two different delivery companies arrived and I did not have to stress about this the rest of the day. Work went okay, and now I’m writing this post that I have been meaning to for weeks. Some times all it takes it a mindset shift.

The HelloFresh delivery arrived and of course I panicked a bit. I was on my way to get my hair done so I threw everything in the fridge…or so I thought. Turns out what I thought was the ice pack was actually a pouch for the protein and I did not realise until the following afternoon. Yikes. I threw everything in the freezer (note the coping mechanism?) When it came time to cook, I panicked again- defrosted everything and then put some back in the freezer. It was a mess. Long story short, the meals were delicious, and by the grace of God I did not suffer from any meat related poisoning. I could only cook two of the vegan meals (the second was a fajita that I thoroughly enjoyed because I love tortillas) but I saved the ingredients I could and threw away anything that had gone off. There ends the debacle of the food delivery crisis. I’m glad that’s over with, and I’m sure most people would not have been anywhere as dramatic as I was over nothing.

I cannot end this without mentioning Easter weekend. Everyone is excited about the four day Easter weekend right? So was I. I was going to chill and be productive- clean my room, declutter, apply for jobs, write and explore outside. I did none of these things. I started out bingeing on Netflix as usual, but as the days loomed ahead I got tired of watching tv and just turned it off. Wow. That is not me at all. Rather than enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing, I was so bored by the endless days. The days stretched into each other and I lowkey longed for work to resume. How pathetic.

It is official; I have become a prisoner of my room. I’ll end this with a quote from Sylvia Plath:

“Go out and do something. It isn’t your room that’s a prison, it’s yourself.”

Still worry.

“The hardest thing is to live richly in the present without letting it be tainted out of fear for the future or regret for the past.”

― Sylvia Plath

I have written about my anxiety and propensity to worry many many times. Here I am again. Sigh.

After a gruelling few months at work, exacerbated by my failure to book in adequate holiday throughout the year (though with the workload and lack of resources it wouldn’t have mattered); I finally got two weeks off and decided to spend it in Canada where my sister lives. I awaited my time off with excitement and bated breath, tumbling between happiness and nervousness about my trip. One on hand the thought of my forthcoming holiday was the only thing keeping me going, as I had completely lost all will to exist. On the other hand, the thought of travelling was nerve-racking. Thanks to COVID, travelling is subject to even more restrictions and I was thoroughly stressed out. I did all my research to understand all the documents needed and made sure to get all of them. Still I could not shake the nervousness. I prepared a list of things I needed to do before my trip- buy a suitcase, change some money into CAD, etc, and I ticked them off one by one. Still I could not shake the nervousness.

My friend who travelled to Canada a month prior told me of the long lines and how it took her hours to go through all the checks and how she just barely made her flight even though she was at the airport four hours early. This stressed me out even more and I planned to get to the airport 5 hours before, just in case. My flight was scheduled for 2pm so I decided to take the 8am coach to arrive at the airport at 9am. I woke up at 5am to ensure I had everything in order and aimed to leave the house by 7:30am. However by the time I had maneuvered my luggage down the stairs, it was already 7.45 and I started to panic as I desperately searched all the ride sharing apps for a driver. I was praying and panicking at the thought of missing my 8am coach which would then throw all my plans into disarray and ruin my life! (okay not quite that crazy but I was stressed). I finally managed to get a driver that was 3 minutes away and waited in agony as he took his time. Eventually he arrived with five minutes to spare and we began the mad dash to the coach station. We pulled in at exactly 8am, just in time to watch the coach pull away. I couldn’t help myself and I yelled out an expletive (and apologised to the driver). Thanks to COVID the coaches are no longer every twenty minutes but every hour and I was so distressed. Now I was going to get to the airport at 10ish which could possibly be too late ohmagawsh! I was tired as I had only slept for a few hours; I had two suitcases to check in and one carry on luggage but still felt that I didn’t pack enough and started worrying about that; I only had one jacket and two rings-ohmagawsh. Long story short, the coach left at 9am, I got to my terminal at 10:30, and by 10:45 I had completed all of the checks and was on my way to my gate. I was stunned. I have never been through the airport checks that quickly. Never.

I had hours to kill and was exhausted. I sat in the airport looking at myself, and wondering what all the worrying was for. Upon knowing that there was a real possibility of me missing the 8am coach, why did I not just chill and aim for the 9am? Why did I need to wake up at 5am? Why did I stress myself out so much? What is wrong with me? I cannot even pretend that I will learn from this because this happens all the time and I never learn.

I finally made it to Canada and the arrival checks were are bit longer due to the lines, but even that was nothing serious. Now I had to find something new to stress over and that was work. I had a lot of work which I was planning to wrap up before my trip but of course as usual I had placed unrealistic expectations on myself. I therefore decided to do as much as I could early in the morning of my first day of holiday. Of course my laptop battery died as I was working and I discovered that the pack of three travel adaptors I bought were for Australia, US, and Europe but none for Canada. Hello stress! I started to stress out so much it ruined my mood and I had to go lay down. I spent the next two days searching the local stores for an adaptor before finally ordering an expensive universal one on Amazon scheduled to arrive the next day. Except it didn’t. More stress! I kept worrying about not completing the work and possibly holding up the team. I had also been working on a document when my battery died so I worried all my work would be lost and I would have to start over. Eventually the adaptor arrived, much to my relief. The relief was short lived when I realised there was no “Canada” option. Omgomgomg what to do? After five seconds of flash hot panic, I tried the US option and it worked. Now wait a minute. I already had a US adaptor…..surely….it couldn’t be. I went and got the US adaptor that I brought with me and voila it worked. I could not believe myself. I had been stressing out for days, walked around to different stores, spent a lot of money on something I already had? I felt so foolish but I was too tired to really be mad at myself.

I eventually got around to updating the work and no one cared. I checked again today and the manager has not even looked at it. Why did I convince myself that if I didn’t run myself ragged trying to complete all the work, the world would fall apart? One of the best things one of my managers said to me was along the lines of “The work will never finish” meaning there will always be something to do so relax when you can.

Even on holiday it is difficult to fully turn off. I keep worrying that there’s something I should be doing and then I worry my holiday will be over and I will not have rested enough. So I try to relax-worry I should be doing something productive; I try to do something “productive”-worry I should be resting. By productive I don’t even mean something related to work, but really just anything; it could be researching new career opportunities, planning my life, doing some creative writing and so on.

Now I’m stressing out slightly about a domestic flight I have to take within Canada, and also booking a COVID test for my return to the UK. Oh I’m also not looking forward to the end of my holiday and having to return to work. I will try to apply lessons from my experiences and take things easy. Stress and worry are so futile, but I cannot help it. Nothing is really that big of a deal and I need to chill out.

I think I need a lifestyle and career change. I could be one of those people who transitioned from the corporate world into a creative space and have never been happier. One thing is for sure; this constant worry is not sustainable and I need to figure it out.

Oh to be carefree and wild.

I have no idea.

“All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that,
And I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
But who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This poetry. I never know what I’m going to say.
I don’t plan it.
When I’m outside the saying of it, I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

We have a huge barrel of wine, but no cups.
That’s fine with us. Every morning
We glow and in the evening we glow again.”

― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

Worry worry baby.

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”
– Swedish Proverb

“Your rest is not rest. You are resting so that you can work. You are working so that you can rest. You are caught up in a circle.”
― Shunya

One thing about me; I am going to worry. A good chunk of my life is spent worrying about what to eat, the rest is spent just worrying in general. I don’t remember when I first encountered anxiety, but it has quickly become the mainstay of my life, that annoying guest that was to spend the weekend but still remains seven years later and even now receives guests in your home.

I am always anxious. I noticed this a few years ago in the thick of prepping for professional exams. I was anxious about the exams while studying for them, anxious on my way to the exam venue, anxious on my way back home, and anxious for the six or so weeks before the results came out. When I say anxious I don’t mean “casually hoping for the best and slight nervousness”, no I mean waking up at 3am in the morning panicking about my answer to question four. I mean constant heart palpitations and skipped beats that has me running off to WebMD.

If I really think about it, anxiety has been around for much longer, although back then I did not call it by its name. I remember the days back in University when I would wake up in a cold sweat, my heart thumping so hard it was impossible to sleep. What was on my mind pray tell? An impending operation? A death? A breakup? An eviction? Nope. It was the exam I had earlier that day. Then the results would come and I would get top marks (I once got 51/50, no lie), enjoy a slight relief while my heart preps itself to go through the ordeal again.

Writing truly is my therapy because as I write it I am beginning to diagnose myself. I don’t remember this anxiety back in secondary school, not even during final year exams. I barely studied back then- I just freestyled the whole thing and still managed to get decent grades. I remember my final year Agric exam in which I casually decided to glance at the textbook before the exam and was so shocked to see that one of the points I read in the textbook actually came up. Wow who knew that reading a textbook prepares you for an exam? I did not have this anxiety in my first term of university- I spent all my time eating butter croissants and watching old American TV shows; The Cosby Show, Good Times, The Jefferson’s and the like. I would literally pause an episode of The Cosby Show, go write an exam and come back to finish it. Sigh good times. Then I got my result at the end of the term and was not pleased. That was when I had the awakening.

What is the awakening you ask? Hold on, I’ll tell you. After seeing my embarrassing first term GPA, it dawned on me that I would have to sit up if I ever wanted to graduate with honours. The period of coasting was over, and I could no longer rely on common sense to pass my exams. I said to myself- you are smart and you are capable of excellent grades, you just have to apply yourself. If you don’t you will spend the rest of your life trying to convince yourself and others that you could have graduated with honours. And so I did. I began studying hard for each class, and actually started getting good grades. From then on I was always on the Dean’s list for academic achievement and even made the Chancellor’s list for academic achievement (this came with a medal). But there was a cost.

See the result of me applying myself was that I got the results I wanted, but accompanying this was a silent stranger who snuck in like a thief in the night. Whereas previously, exams and tests were not the end of the world for me, they quickly become so. No longer could I nonchalantly waltz in and out of exams, now I had to deal with stress and panic on both sides of the exam. I would beat myself up worrying about the exam I just wrote and this stress would only be abated temporarily by an excellent score. Once I got 89% on a psychology midterm and that ruined my week. I was depressed and dismayed. It was ridiculous.

This stranger has followed me from step to step, sometimes walking slowly at a distance, and other times climbing on my back and putting me in a chokehold.

I no longer have exams, thank goodness, but now the anxiety is about work and life in general. Listen I cannot work and be anxiety free at the same time. Work stresses me out to no end and I am tired of it. Thanks to my anxiety, a meeting scheduled for 2pm means I am going to be stressed until 2pm. Everything else I do before 2pm will pale in significance to the meeting.
I also worry too much and assume unnecessarily. A manager could ask a quick question and that is enough to send me in a downward spiral of doubt and angst. “Oh God what the hell does she want oh my goodness why won’t she leave me alone I ain’t got the answers sway and I feel bad because I probably should have the answers now she has activated my doubt and made me feel foolish and I wish I didn’t have to work with her but really she is not a bad person just overbearing and the reason I feel bad is because she is asking valid questions that I should have asked and oh God I thought tomorrow was Friday but it’s not so now I have to face two more days with her uggggghhhhh let me pep myself up so I don’t sound depressed on the quick call which I really would rather not be on“. Then we have the call and it’s not anywhere close to being a big deal. Madness.

A small portion of my anxiety is the regular anxiety that functioning adults have when dealing with work and deadlines, but most of it is self inflicted from the pressure I put on myself. A manager leaves a review comment on my work and immediately I start to feel stupid for not knowing the answer and not thinking about that in the first place. Then I feel annoyed with the manager and the job as a whole. It’s a mess.

It was the intense stress of exams and waiting for exam results that drove me back to God in 2019, and once I got over that I went back to being a pagan but that’s a story for another day.

The thing is that I can’t just quit my job and hope for happiness because the anxiety is in me not the job. Even if I get a job in which I can explore my creative talents I will still be riddled with anxiety. Even those people who seem to have it all- writers, singers etc must constantly deal with anxiety. I can just see myself as an award winning writer-living in my dream home and still battling with anxiety over my new book; screaming out in irritation every time my editor calls to check in, worrying about meeting the deadline and being sick over how the book will be received. I won’t have a monthly salary/steady income so there will be the stress of ensuring I don’t go broke.

The only way I can be truly happy is to have no pressing responsibilities, no deadlines, no “urgent meetings/quick calls to discuss…” All I need is a steady influx of >£10k each month into perpetuity and I’m good. Oh my God I can’t wait to find the life that’s for me.

Sad girl.

I was in a bad mood yesterday. Sunday evenings are always a bit depressing, as I try to savour the last few minutes of the weekend while utterly dreading the looming Monday. Yesterday was especially bad as I was in all of my feelings and missing home. Home is a continent away; I am in a different continent from every single member of my family. It has been over a year since I saw them last; two years for some; and before then it was over a year since I had seen them and so on. This is the price one pays for working abroad. Years away from home has made me independent and self sufficient, but also incredibly lonely and dammit sometimes I just want to be at home. I’ve been away from home for ages; first hours away at boarding school, then a continent away at University, a brief return home before jetting off again to another continent for another degree and now career. I have missed so many family functions; weddings, births, funerals, general drama.

The older one gets the more you start to wonder what it is one’s life is for. I’m so over my job; I always say things could be worse because they truly could. As far as jobs go, mine is fine; I have enough independence and flexibility, and the pay is alright. But still, I am not settled and my spirit is not happy. Sometimes I’m fine, and sometimes I am so depressed by the thought that I have to log in to work every single week with only two days off a week, and I have to do this for decades! I get so much anxiety thinking about work. Most of the anxiety is in my head though, and I always try to tell myself it’s not a big deal, you don’t even have to leave your bed. I guess it’s just the fact that the day is not mine, and I can be called on at anytime. It’s tough. I can’t do this for much longer but then I am the one who has to make the decision on what to do next. Even if I get a new job, what’s the assurance that it won’t be the same or worse? Even being self employed has its cons. But wow this job does not feed my spirit at all. I need to be doing something more creative perhaps, but you know what they say about the grass on the other side. Then add to this the fact that I live with a revolving door of strangers that I can never get truly comfortable with, in a space that is not fully mine and you can see how over it all I am.

Today like yesterday
Tomorrow like today;
The drip, drip, drip,
Of monotony
Is wearing my life awa
(Langston Hughes)

Yesterday was hard. All of these feelings flooded in and overwhelmed me. All at once I was hit with the strong nauseating feeling of dissatisfaction; I am terribly dissatisfied with my life. I don’t have any friends or family near me. I just want to go home and sit on the couch watching poorly made television with my family, and eating dinner someone else made. I want to see my nieces and nephews grow up in real life, rather than through pictures. It is not natural to be alone. We are not built this way, regardless of how much I have come to crave solitude. I was not happy yesterday.

I feel much better now, and I felt better before going to sleep. I was deep in my self pity when a group call came in from all of my family. Now I absolutely despise people calling me, and the ringing of my phone is enough to drive me into a rage (or something not quite as dramatic). So even though I was missing home, I was not in the mood to speak to anyone so I ignored the call. But they called back again and again and eventually I picked up. It’s rare to have a call with all members of my immediate family, and what are the odds that it came in just as I was feeling so low. Though the call was raggedy with people’s connections coming in and out, it lifted my spirits tremendously to talk to my family. I just want to go home-not a physical place, but home as in the warm embrace of my loved ones.

What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don’t know and I’m afraid.

2020 Recap.

I’ve been writing on this blog for over five years now, and I hardly go back to review things I wrote in the past. Sometimes I do go through an old post and I am either quite impressed by my insight and eloquence, or cringing at the childish nonsense and lack of editing.

To round off this great year, I have gone through all the posts from this year and highlighted a few of my favourites.

Hello Twenty Twenty: This was the first post of the year, and what a year that has been. In the post I was full of optimism: “2020 feels different” “I feel good going into 2020 and I am determined to make this year count.” I wanted to do a lot with this year and my vision statement was to engage my life mindfullydiscover my purpose, and travel. I do not feel that I ticked off any of those boxes. In this post I also outlined a few things I wanted to do in order to achieve my vision; let’s go through them shall we?

By the end of the year, I want to be in a much more fulfilling space in my life, I want to have a full rich life that I am proud of. I don’t want to be bored. I want to meet people who will change my life for the better. I am definitely not in a more fulfilling space in my life, in fact this was possibly the least fulfilling year, or to rephrase, the year in which I felt the most restless and unfulfilled. I was so stressed out and anxious at work and I realised my current lifestyle is not sustainable. I really need to get off my butt and start doing things that enrich my spirit.

I need to stop being so lazy and restless. I want to actually take the time to figure out what drives me, rather than simply going where the wind blows. Ha. Ha. Ha. I’m still so restless and still so lazy and still so undriven. I faintly think writing is what my purpose is but I am too lazy to fully pursue this.

I want to finish a piece of writing (at least a draft), rather than leaving a bunch of scanty stories and poems. I’m disappointed in myself that I was not able to achieve this and there are really no excuses. I spent all my time either working or recovering from work. I watched so much films, shows, YouTube clips that my eyes were twitching from all the screen-time. I barely read any books and did not complete any writing. I hope 2021 will be better but I have to do better.

I want to develop and maintain fulfilling relationships. I developed zero relationships this year, but I will say that the lockdown made me communicate more with my friends and family. I could have reached out more often to more friends but as always there was nothing to say.

I want to commit to a hobby rather than spend all my time either working or watching television. I want to travel at least four times (to four different places). Ha. Ha. Ha.

I want to have another great birthday celebration. My birthday was in the first week of lockdown so I spent it alone. However I woke up early and went to the shop where I got myself some flowers, ice cream and brownie mix. I enjoyed calls and messages from friends and family, baked the brownies, and then dressed up and settled down to a fun virtual party with my friends, eating my brownie and ice cream. I was alone in my room but I was not lonely; I felt the love and I was happy.

Addict: I wrote this post in January about loneliness has become a staple in my life; simultaneously a burden and a craving. Loneliness is terrible but the longer it stays the more it attaches itself to the personality that it is difficult to be rid of it. I particularly love this quote from Olivia Laing: Loneliness grows around them like mould or fur, a prophylactic that inhibits contact, no matter how badly contact is desired.

For the love of God: In this post, I revaluated my feelings about religion and God. It is amazing how fickle opinions are, and how opinions are really dependent on life experiences. A stressful 2019, and the deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, made me realise the importance of a belief system and having something to fall back on. Being an adult is hard, and for a lot of people religion, as well as the concept of God, can provide much needed comfort, similar to a child with a security blanket.

The year of realising things: By now 2020 is the year in which everyone has realised something-good or bad. My personal realisations revolve around the relationship between my eating habits and skin issues, and the impact loneliness has on all these. I also realised that I have an addiction to sugar, diary is bad, fibre is good, and nothing really matters.

Two sides of the same coin: I am highlighting this mainly because this issue had been on my mind for the longest time and it was a relief to finally put it down in words.

Who Killed Malcolm X?: This Netflix documentary led me down my usual rabbit hole of articles and YouTube videos as I attempted to devour everything about Malcolm X.

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to: My birthday has always been a source of angst and anxiety for me. I spend all year stewing in my loneliness, mostly happily, but my birthday is the one day where I want to be celebrated. I started writing the post to whine about how I have never had any good birthdays, but in writing it I realised that I have actually been quite fortunate and that people in my life have done their best to make me happy on my birthday. It is just easier to remember the bad birthdays. In summary; it is nobody’s responsibility to make my birthday a happy one. I need to make the plans and make my own dreams come true.

I love all women….even the ones that I hate: In this I laid down my frustrations and anger at the treatment of women as sexual objects with no autonomy.

Illusion that youth is happy: This quote from W. Somerset Maugham spoke deeply to me. A lot of young people are under the erroneous impression that our teens and twenties should be full of wild raucous fun and Gatsby-esque parties, which then puts so much pressure on us to be having fun all the time. The quote is simple and direct- it is an illusion that youth is happy.

All my baking posts: If there was one thing that I did in 2020, it was bake. I discovered my love and ability for baking and that made me so happy during the early days of lockdown till weight gain and cystic acne put an end to that. The feeling of satisfaction I felt as I removed my creations from the oven is incomparable. In 2021 I should redirect this energy into healthy cooking that feeds my body and skin.

There’s nothing to fear but fear itself: In which I conquer my fear of making Mac and Cheese.

A Countervailing Theory: In a year in which I barely left my house, I was happy to be able to go see some art at the Barbican.

Self care: This aspirational post on self care; aspirational because some of these are things I do, and things I should do more of but don’t.

On purpose and fear of missing out: “I don’t think your life has to have a purpose, or you a grand ambitionIt is okay to wander through life finding interesting things to do until you die.” I saw this quote on Instagram and it lingered in my mind until I wrote this post on my phone while relaxing after an invigorating spa session in Wales. I was at peace when I wrote this and that’s what I feel whenever I come across this post.

Take me back: Take me back to my childhood when I was carefree and happy. Random childhood memories regularly pop into my mind and I find myself drowning in nostalgia, especially as I live away from my family and have not seen any of them in person in a year.

This is the last day of the infamous 2020, a year which started out as everyone’s year, until Kobe Bryant died and nothing was the same again. For 2021 (which some have pointed out sounds like twenty twenty won), I just want to be alive and well, and I want the same for my family and friends.

Take me back.

Take me back to ten years old; the age of innocence and bliss. Take me back to my old family house on the Lagos Mainland where I spent my entire childhood surrounded by all my family, with my closest friends just next door. I miss sitting in the big parlour with my family-mother, siblings, aunts-watching one Nollywood film or the other while the men sat in the other parlour watching their own shows, their racuous laughter reverberating across the house. My father would be in his room watching the news, which at the time I found incredibly boring and grownup-ish. I mean who cares about yet another conflict when Genevieve and Omotola were being bad girls? When he wasn’t watching the news, my father sometimes watched the Turner Classics Movie (TCM) channel which may be partly to thank for my love of classic films. Take me back to a time when I saw my loved ones every single day.

I especially miss sitting in front of the television on Thursday evenings, with my favourite meal of white rice and beef stew, waiting for it to be eight o’clock so I could watch another episode of my favourite show Superstory. It saddens me to think that I may never have another moment with all of my family- parents, siblings, fave aunties and uncles- under the same roof, chilling and enjoying each other’s company. Oh the bliss of those weekdays when the National Labour Congress (NLC) would announce a weeklong nationwide strike- meaning no school or work, and we would all just stay at home and enjoy the idle time. Even better were those rainy days when we were all indoors with nowhere to go; we would watch our favourite shows until the DSTV inevitably got scrambled, upon which we would go outside and play in the rain.

Take me back to Saturday morning, where the house was abuzz with cooking and cleaning. The women in the kitchen preparing the beans needed to make the Saturday morning breakfast staple- Akara. I would be asked to go grind the beans and I would frown all the way to the neighbourhood grinder, annoyed at this gross interruption of my morning television time. Akara and pap ready, we would eat it happily in front of the tv with the rest of the family. Saturday morning meant the men would be out and about doing the heavy lifting outside, cutting grass, cleaning the water tanker or just lazing around waiting for food. Saturdays meant visitors, which was either a happy time or a reason to hide in the room, depending on who the visitor was. Our favourite visitors were my daddy’s friends as they were very generous and never left without gifting us some money which my parents would immediately appropriate for safekeeping.

Hell, take me back to Sunday morning, even though back then they were not my favourite. It was not pleasant being woken up early to prepare for Church. My father always left much earlier so as to get to church on time. We went with mummy who took her sweet time, and this meant we were always in the back pew which I did not mind. Despite our lateness we would stay in church for what seemed like forever and when the service was finally over, our parents would begin their other group meetings and banter with friends. We would spend this time impatiently in the car, eating sweets and treats which we bought from the kiosks and street vendors. Finally we would go home and try to enjoy the rest of the day, whatever was left of it. Sunday Afternoon/evening was much better- we would happily eat the rice and beef stew which we prepared that morning before going to church, and spend time with our guests/cousins who had come to visit.

I miss having all my friends living on the same street as me. We would carpool to school together and upon our return we would congregate in one person house for lunch, television and play. Hell, there were days we got home and nobody was home in any of our houses. Whew the irresponsibility. Baby’s Day Out was our favourite film, and we would watch it every single day after school. This and Agbala Nga (not sure how to spell it), in which Liz Benson played a widow who pledged herself to the gods. How many afternoons did we hastily remove our school uniforms and change into our house clothes (borrowed from whoever’s house we were in) before settling down to the movie and a late lunch of anything from indomie to Agege bread and Pepsi/Coke/Fanta like bricklayers.

I miss playing outside in our expansive compound; we did everything; tag (which we called catcher), Suwe (hopscotch), and loads of other games I can’t remember. I remember my friend had a box full of toys and props and I would often stroll over to her house with my sister to act dramas with she and her brother. We played shopkeeper, mummy and daddy, school, church and so on.

Take me back to a time where deadlines and anxiety were non-existent in my lexicon. A time in which homework was optional; didn’t get around to doing it? Oh well. I miss having a landline and an address book with the numbers of everyone in my class. Nowadays the sound of my phone ringing drives me up the wall, but back in the day it was a real pleasure to get a phone call. I would dial my friends numbers and if I was able to get through to them we would chat about nothing for two wonderful minutes.

Take me back to my old self; the one who randomly decided one day that she wanted to have a small party at home, and made my mum and aunties cook Jollof rice and send out invitations to my friends in the neighbourhood. My uncle was the DJ and he played Tongolo (also inappropriate for our age) and that was the first time I gave D’Banj’s music the time of day. I miss the girl who saw a girl during church service and decided I want her to be my friend and just walked up to her to ask for her name. I remember the adults around us laughing and commending me on my youthful courage. I miss the girl who gathered all the neighbourhood children together for social events; the one who started a junior social club in which we spent 5 minutes discussing ways to improve our country before moving on to the main item of the day-food and drink and games. I miss the girl who would choreograph dances with her friends and then interrupt her parent’s conversations with their friends to dazzle them with our dances. I wonder what they thought of us; I’m looking back at it through my adult lens and I am amazed and amused at my audacity. I miss discovering new music with my family; Take me back to the night my sister and her friend had a concert in the parlour, singing loudly to Mario’s Just a Friend with fake microphones. I miss singing along to the Women of Faith album, and those 20in1 music compilations CDs we would buy in traffic. I miss singing into the standing fan and pretending to be on stage. I miss sitting with those lyric books and cramming the lyrics of my favourite American songs.

I miss the days when I was young enough to walk around without a top on, and I would spend hours running around the compound chasing and being chased by my friends in one feisty game or the other. At the end of the day I would say goodbye to my friends and collapse in a sweaty heap in the parlour; zero worries and zero cares.

Those were truly the happiest days of my life and I miss being happy.
Take me back.

In pursuit of happiness

It is past ten on Sunday night and I am anxious about Monday morning and all the work waiting for me; the carry over work from last week and the new work for the week. As always the weekend has flown by in a twinkling, but I don’t moan about this anyone because I know the week is going to zoom by just as fast.

Whew. This past week was hectic. So much so that I spent the whole weekend trying to recover from it (but of course I traded sleep for telly and I am not as rested as I would like). The problem is that I was assigned to a task at the last minute and it was something I had no clue about. I knew before the week started that it was going to be a stressful week and I was right. I spent the whole weekend stressing about the work I had to do and then spent the whole week stressing over it as well. I had no idea what I was doing, and I felt expectations were high which further stressed me out as I felt I was not being productive enough. Then I got my period. No better way to manage stress than by adding unrelenting physical discomfort to it.

I am not sure how much of the stress was self inflicted from my anxiety and general panicky nature and how much of it was actual genuine stress (due to the task itself. Of course I did not have to wake up at 6am to continue trying to figure out the work, especially as I had been worked on it well into the evening. This just made me more tired and unproductive. Add to this all the catch-up calls and emails about other tasks and the world in general I was truly fed up. On Friday at 18:30 after another demoralising hour long catch-up call I closed my work laptop and have not looked at it since. Who knows what stressors await me?

Anxiety. This constant feeling that there is something I am not doing. Even worse when there is in fact something I should be doing. Over the past few years, the anxiety has become a constant- I do enjoy stretches of time where there are no deadlines and I can just pace myself and chill. Then the stress arrives and anxiety starts up. I am probably going to wake up early tomorrow to get a head-start on the work even though I really should not. Alas this is just my nature. Even though I tried to rest this weekend I spent a good chunk being anxious; constantly feeling that there was something more productive I should be doing.

Times like this I am so over work and I would much rather be a lady of leisure/stay at home daughter.

Despite (or because of) all the stress, I tried to find ways to lift my spirits. My favourite mantra “Treat yourself” came into play and that’s just what I tried to do.

  1. I got myself a new laptop case. Now my laptop is almost a decade old and I really should be thinking of replacing it rather than accessorising. One day I was just in the mood for a laptop case; I like those artsy cozy pictures of people working on their beautifully adorned laptops. So after a couple days of searching (I’m indecisive and cheap) I found a lovely one that was suitable for my laptop model. It arrived on Monday at the end of a hectic day and that lifted my mood tremendously. Just fitting the case on my laptop and looking at it made me happy.
  2. Free stuff: A flatmate of mine recently moved out, and in return for helping him pack up his things I was able to keep certain things including a shoe rack. I had been considering getting a shoe rack so this was nice and appreciated. It’s only a shoe rack but every time I see it I feel happy, mainly because I did not pay for it. The best things in life are truly free haha.
  3. Nutella: I am far from being a health nut, but there are people with worse junk habits than me. On this Monday I found myself in bed armed with a spoon and a jar of nutella. Before the lockdown I hadn’t had nutella or any chocolate spread in years; I’m not crazy about things that are too chocolately. I only got nutella after trying some of my flatmate’s with my pancakes and experiencing a rebirth. On this day, as I lay in bed in anguish, I decided bread and butter wouldn’t do, I needed chocolate. I started with bread and nutella, then a little nutella by itself, then a little bit more and more and more until the jar was wiped clean. Once I popped I couldn’t stop. I have no regrets. It felt good.
  4. I baked a chocolate chip banana bread: I bake something every week now and this week was no different. I woke up on Saturday morning and got of bed on Saturday afternoon to make the banana bread. I have made banana bread a few times now so I expected it to be a piece of bread. I started to panic when the batter looked more like bread dough but I managed to keep it together and sort it out. I got a new loaf tin and it turned out great. It looked good and tastes great. While the bread was baking I made some pancakes and fluffy scrambled eggs. Saturday afternoon was bliss.
  5. I ordered food. As I lay in bed after eating pancakes and banana bread, I started to worry about what to eat for dinner and for the rest of the week. In the middle of trying to figure out what to cook and when to go to the shops I made the decision to just order food instead. I had ordered KFC on Friday (never again) so it was unusual for me to order twice on the weekend but once I decided to order food my mind settled down and I returned to luxuriating. The food came and it was delicious.
  6. I cleaned my room: I am not the biggest fan of cleaning, being lazy and all, but I do enjoy it somewhat and I look forward to the aftermath of a deep clean-the fresh smell and airy feeling. So I did a sort of spring cleaning where I got rid of some things (still working on my hoarding tendencies). My bathroom is sparkling; I even managed to get rid of limescale and I can clearly see my reflection in the tap as I shower. That made me so happy. I changed my bedding, took a nice shower and then snuggled in the fresh clean bed. Bliss.

Going into the new week, I am going to try not to panic so much. I will try to sleep properly and resist the urge to start work so early at the expense of my wellbeing. May this new week be good to us.


Nostalgia is denial – denial of the painful present. The name for this denial is golden age thinking – the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one one’s living in – it’s a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.-Midnight in Rome (2011).

I am consumed with nostalgia, drowning in it. The littlest thing triggers it and I am in that state for at least a few minutes. Sometimes I come across a song or video from the eighties and I am devoured. I think of how everyone back then, so carefree and young, is now old(er). I think of how my mother must have grooved to it in her youth. It is even weirder when it is something relating to another country. Why does this make me nostalgic? I ask myself. All it takes is one thing to set it off and I spend hours scouring for more. Everything is up for grabs- films, TV shows, newspaper articles, TV adverts. Gimme gimme gimme more.

Unlike some fellow nostalgics, I do not wish I was born in a different time. The nostalgia is not because I wish I was present back in those days. I think of my nostalgia as a consistent longing for home, whatever and wherever that may be. The “memories” just make me feel so homesick even when the thing has nothing to do with my literal home.

“The Greek word for “return” is nostos. Algos means “suffering.” So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”
― Milan Kundera, Ignorance

I think the whole thing has to do with an underlying sense of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction with life. The constant yearning for something else has to be due to a discontent with the present.

The other part of it has to be my intense curiousity. I want to know everything and I want to fully immerse myself in all the experiences (from the comfort of my bed). I cannot experience life in those times so I do the next best thing-devouring everything I can find about that era.

There is also my fear of time and aging. One day today will be the past; the days we take for granted will become the so called good old days that we reminisce over.

Of course there is the yearning for a (supposedly) simpler time and this is perhaps the chief cause of nostalgia. The good old days when we were young and carefree with no worries whatsoever. Back in the day when our lives were someone else’s problems and all we had to do was play and complain. So when something evokes the memory of this relatively blissful time it is hard not to feel a bit sad really, especially if the present is all too stressful.

I even get nostalgia-or something similar- the present. A picture of a comfortable couch is enough to get me in my feelings- the couch represents cozy which represents comfort which means home. This is the cause of my fascination with interior decoration-I don’t fancy myself as a decorator, I just really crave pictures of home; the airy rooms, the big sofas in cozy parlours, the warm soft beds, the laughter and so on.

All rounds lead to home. The never ending search for home. One day I hope to find it.