If there’s a category of people who know a thing or two about rejection, self-doubt and uncertainty, it is writers. One time a police officer asked what I did what for a living and when I simply said “Writer”, I could see the quizzical look on his face. A look that asked, “Is that even a job?”. Toeing a path where you are never sure of the outcome of your efforts can be mind-crippling. For the creative, there’s the constant pressure to create; and not just create, but surpass the success of previous work.
It’s the six-letter word everyone aspires to. The evidence that we are not where we used to be. Proof of our progress. The desire for growth is embedded in the human psyche; there’s hardly anyone who, for instance, would not have it listed as a new year resolution—either overtly—or covertly. The quintessential human aspires to…
He had tweeted, “Your boyfriend is an Uber driver”, and to be sure the mockery was not lost on his audience, he posted “laughing in tears emojis” along with his tweet. In his opinion, Uber driving was not a profession to be proud of and a girl whose boyfriend drove an Uber should hide her face in shame.
It’s the zeitgeist of our time: the derision of those we perceive as unimportant or lacking material possessions.
Success…to be deemed successful—the story we all want—that earnest yearning to be looked upon as one of the few who knows exactly what they are doing. The admiration, the fandom even that we fantasise about when we put our plough to work. We are positive that we can make a career out of our hobby or passion and so we pursue it for love, for joy, for self-gratification; and in the hope that someone else, maybe two, will connect with our conviction. Sometimes, our hunch is right; we get all the plaudits and everyone wonders why we did not start off earlier. At other times, however, they give the damning verdict—”You are not nearly as good as you thought.”
Recently, a cab driver hit on me. It wasn’t a shy, can-we-be-friends-first-and-then-you-know-maybe-something-can-happen-from-there kind of hitting on. It was a full-blown, I-really-like you-and-would-like-to-date-you-and possibly-marry-you kind of hitting on. It was cute. A tad annoying, but cute. He had been sent to pick me up for an appointment of sorts, and I had every right to be upset by his utterances. He was being unprofessional and if I had reported him to his employers, he may have been heavily reprimanded or even lost his job. But aside the slight the irritation I initially felt, I admired his courage. I was impressed with his guts and it got me thinking…
“What’s the worst that could happen, anyway?” That’s the question I ask myself when I am at a crossroads. Whenever I sense myself getting exasperated about taking a decision or getting apprehensive about the possible outcome of a situation, I imagine the worst possible thing that could result from taking the wrong decision. And many times, that question induces the damn it mentality I need to face my fears and do it afraid. It’s the tonic I need to get going and it helps put things in perspective.
In a few days, the year 2017 will wind down completely. In usual fashion, we will be wishing one another a happy new year. And like every other time when a new year is ushered in, many will be full of new hopes and aspirations. It’s a script that plays out every 365 days. It is constant. Unchanging. The truth is, at the end of the day, the Ist of January in any year is just another day, however, one can’t deny the sense of freshness and new beginning it elicits. Whether some of us downplay it or not, a new calendar year will always represent a good time to do a self-appraisal, and start afresh.
Mr President has returned home after being away on medical vacation for 104 days. His arrival and subsequent nationwide address have been a controversial subject of discourse between his staunch supporters and those who feel his extended stay away and state of health should have been handled a lot better; and possibly prodded him to resign on account of ill-health. It’s a debate that has been ongoing since the first time he was away for medical treatment. The whole controversy stems from a loss of faith by a section of the populace that the current administration has the capacity to lead Nigeria to the promise land.
It’s at the top of our prayer point list – Failure be gone! Nobody wants to be associated with failure. A word that is synonymous for everything bad, everything that spells defeat and rejection and an inability to succeed. No one likes to fail. I certainly don’t. However, I strongly believe that failure can prove to be an ally contrary to what we think.
“How rewarding has writing been for you?” he asked. “Do you make money from blogging?” She wanted to know. These are the sort of questions I get fairly regularly. While the perception of what a typical career should look like is changing in this part of the world, there’s still a significant level of cynicism about certain vocations and how lucrative they are or aren’t. Writing falls in the category of such professions.