They say when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. However, like most cliches or advice, it’s easier said than done. This week I have struggled to write, but that’s a familiar struggle for even the most popular writers. Writing works well when you can just be at peace and articulate your thoughts on the subject matter well enough to pen them down. It can be pretty frustrating when you struggle with writer’s block, especially when it’s due to a horrid week or past couple of weeks. The flip side of this nonetheless is that one of the things that makes this vocation the best in the world is the free therapy it offers.
In a country where practising therapists and psychologists are almost non existent, and everyone is too busy with their own problems to pay enough attention to the next person, one of the favors one can do for themselves is the ability to find their happy place. As I considered different topics to examine this week; and there are quite a number of them – the Boborisky/Alder Consulting episode, the forceful marriage of a 14-year old by an Emir, the implication of some SAN’s in the ongoing corruption fight, the biting effects of the recession and several other issues that spring up in a country that is never short of drama, in a bid to distract myself from my own personal issues, I had some sort of epiphany. Why not use this platform to discuss what exactly was weighing on my mind instead of shying away from it.
Since writing ranks high on the list of my favorite things to do, it makes sense to channel whatever emotions I am feeling into what I love. If I view writing as a therapeutic craft, then it’s logical to test the veracity of that belief at this time. One of the dangers of being a writer or social commentator of any form is the tendency to preach and preach and preach without actually practising any of the things we proffer as solutions to a problem or condemn generally. When everything is going well, it’s relatively easy to sit on one’s high horse, or in this case, behind a computer to act as judge and jury over various issues. Throw in a personal “thorn in the flesh” and the view changes dramatically.
I’d like to believe that one of the reasons we face challenges is to keep us humble. It would be foolish and unrealistic to go through life expecting everything to be rosy all the time. I don’t care how happy a person appears to the public, someway, somehow they have stuff they are dealing with. And if by some miracle everything is perfect at some point, you can be sure that a storm lies ahead. It’s not a pessimistic outlook to life, it’s a realistic one.
The concept of life itself juxtaposes the good and the bad all the time. Every weekend for instance, we have people who are ecstatic that they are a getting married; the fairy tale they have always dreamed of finally comes to fruition. While in the same hour, another group of people are inconsolable because they have to bid a farewell they never envisaged could come so soon to a loved one.
When you’re sad and everyone around you appears to be happy, you wonder what’s so exciting about the world. You are tempted to ask if they can’t feel your pain. You feel like the odd one out in a group of happy people. And then thoughts that cripple you further find their way in. Where did I go wrong? Why did this happen to me? Why is it happening at this time? – as if there’s ever a good time for something bad to happen. And if you’re anything like me, then you stand a chance of being depressed if you don’t make a conscious effort to see to it that you avoid internalizing the situation.
I also strongly believe another reason we encounter problems in the course of life is to help us empathize with others when they go through a similar situation. It takes a person who has lost a loved one to fully understand and sufficiently empathize with another in the same shoes. It takes someone who has had to wait a painful couple of years to have a child to understand what another couple who are still keeping faith for their bundle of joy are going through.
As much as many of us feel intense anger when we hear of yet another rape case, especially one where the victim is a minor, as much as we’d like to believe we can feel the pain of the victim, the truth is that we cannot fully grasp the depths of their ordeal compared with one who has been through the same unfortunate incident. And so, tough times help us to adequately understand others who later find themselves in a position we have once been in.
Lastly, we go through tough times to enable us identify true friends, and help us become a stronger version of ourselves. To build the strength of our character, and fully appreciate the good times and many of the things we take for granted. At this point, you’re probably wondering what Lolade is going on and on about. Well, the past month was a tough one for me. I may not be able to go into specifics at this point, but, it was important for me to do this post.
Writing about it as proved to be the therapy I needed, just as I expected. It’s one reason why I absolutely love what I do. In the absence of psychologists and even funds to book a session with them if they were readily available, I can find solace here in my home. I can rant, I can vent, I can share my frustrations, and of course, the high points of my life too if I so wish.
In the meantime, I am just super glad it’s a new month. Many of us would agree that anything new signifies the opportunity for a fresh start. Renewed hope. A positive outlook. A fresh wave of optimism.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that many Nigerians have had a tough 2016, but, if you have had it particularly bad I hope this article gives you some sort of hope, especially with the knowledge that you have a kindred spirit here.
Like I am wont to say – This too shall pass. When things go South, keep your head up, because the only way to go is up.