The Enemy Within
Barely two months into the new job, my manager had written a lengthy email to the managing director to request that I be let go. The mail wasn’t entirely coherent from what I heard…something about me not doing enough to warrant a place on the team. I had heard the unsettling news from a trusted source but the big boss eventually confirmed the same to me in a random discussion one day. In his words, “I wonder if you people are fighting over the same man. They sent me a long email asking that I fire you, which is why I drafted you into my unit instead. I wanted to see things for myself.”
For a long time, I pondered on the “why”. Why would someone whom I never had an altercation or disagreement with go to such an extent to attempt to hurt me? I had my suspicion, however, as to why this seemingly happy-go-lucky personality could possess that level of venom. Someone I had genuinely liked and had looked forward to developing some measure of friendship beyond a smooth working relationship with
“It must have been the time she had misjudged my role and I had corrected them on my designation. And no, not in a rude or argumentative way. It was a civil, near cordial discussion. The damning email had been sent a few days after that conversation.
Not too long after, the same person they had attempted to get to “blacklist” admitted with his own mouth that I was one of the most talented staff in his company of more than a hundred people while encouraging me to work harder. In the end, they left that organisation (and not in a harmonious way) before me.
Every day, I would ask myself what I wanted to do with my life. I knew what I was doing then did not bring me excitement or fulfilment. It was something to pay the bills and pass time, only that time was passing a little too long, and there I was getting more unhappy by the day. The knowledge that I needed to get out but did not have the cojones to do so led to frustration. As the years rolled by, the uncertainty…the unsureness of how my life would pan out if I ended up retiring one day without having a career I could be proud to look back on scared me to no end.
And so I fought. The internal battle went on for so long. Many times, I would list the things I loved to do and try to figure out how they could translate into a career path. One rejection and fortuitous conversation later and I was on a journey to what I had always wanted and sought. A liberating road that fills me with gratitude every day and has taught me that whatever one wants and earnestly seeks long enough, one finds in the end.
Times You Want to Freeze
Popping my little girl, getting married to a good man, getting my first client, seeing my byline in the papers for the first time, gaining admission, the first trip outside the shores of Nigeria, hearing good news on a drawn-out matter. The moments that make all the stress and anxiety worth it in the end. The times when hard work has paid off and those when serendipity has simply shown up. All the stuff that renews one’s hope that many sparkling stars will still show up despite tumultuous times…that at some point, fear will dissipate and one’s efforts will yield the requisite reward.
My biggest phobia has always been losing a loved one. I have never been able to fully comprehend the finality of death and how it leaves one feeling hapless. Losing my dear father…losing my precious auntie, losing a dear friend who was so young and full of life and dreams. And while physical death keeps us aware of our helplessness in the face of our mortality, other kinds of death can equally keep us humble. An unforeseen job loss, the sudden break-up of a marriage, betrayal and its attendant maddening effect…
Our sojourn through life takes us through multiple paths and detours and while navigating these routes, the attitude to adopt is one of gratitude for what is, being present and deliberate about enjoying the moments, making memories, and living above the madness.