Looking Back to When I Turned 23 and was in a Funk

Me at 24 in Lagos, Nigeria.

I remember that for a long time, all I ever wanted to be was an adult. I would look with envy at my siblings who were much older than I was living what was seen as “the best life” and want to be them so bad.

My mother was always at had to bring me back to reality thank goodness.

I took time out to look at an entry I made when I was just turning 23 that never got to see the light of day and now, I am ready to share minor entries of my various thought processes.

23

I turn 23 today and I needed to share this for posterity.
This past year hasn’t been the best for me especially mentally. I have had to lie numerous times about being fine when in all reality, I want to scream down a building, but we move.

I don’t know what this ‘article’ is meant to be but I just felt like putting pen to paper if you get the drift.
I want 23 to be meaningful. I want to let go of the walls that being Nigerian has forced me to build. I want to be happy and really let go.

I haven’t exactly been touch or fully at any point believed without a doubt the presence of higher beings per se and honestly, I want to find out what works for me.
Not for anyone else or to be part of the rest, but what really is there for me and cling to it.

I woke up some minutes to 12am and unlike the previous years, I spent it looking through my phone while looking through my being trying to find that bit of excitement that comes with getting a year older. But this year, I didn’t have it. You must have read here, here, and here about the previous years on adulting and deduced from my tone a kind of happiness but this year, I feel flat.

Maybe its because I’m on foreign grounds and not physically surrounded with those who genuinely love me for me and not because of what I bring to the table/ can offer, or because this past year has been a roller coaster of emotions for me, my mental health took a nosedive, I started grad school (which I sometimes think was one of the wrong moves I made) and had pretty serious things/ conversations come up in my 3-year relationship. In summary, several things were going wrong and I didn’t know how to fix them.

Three calls have come in so far and I think they could tell it wasn’t like the past years. Something is off but just like them, I’m yet to put my finger on it.

Anyhoo, here are some self-portraits I took yesterday when I arrived at Brighton where I’ll be spending the next few days trying to get all of me aligned and in one space (one shared above).

Second Entry

My 23rd cycle around the sun is ending soon and I really am proud of making it till now. At the risk of sounding super dramatic, 23 was a lot and I am glad to be leaving it behind.

In summary 23 was the following words/ phrases; firsts, challenging, lonely, betrayal, pain

This legit sounds like a storyline from African Magic Yoruba or Bollywood. Come to think of it, I could make a quick dollar if I sat down to write the story in detail and sold it to a movie outlet. Yes, it was that dramatic.

Hopefully, by the time you read this till the end, if you are a friend of mine that felt I was being a ‘big girl after going abroad last year’, or if you follow me on socials, you will be able to understand why.

In 23, I finally experienced independent living and it was not as wonderful as I hoped and I learned that as much as I love my space, the community is super important. I also got the most rejections I have ever gotten in my life. I applied for jobs, opportunities, scholarships, and all the shebang this year and got either the generic email response or I was ghosted completely, and this did a real number on my esteem.

My relationship went downhill, and it marked the end of a 4year old romance and this wrecked me even more. So much so that I remember calling my mum and just crying till my tears ran out.

I woke up and showed up every day even when I just wanted to be asleep. I slept a lot and apparently, that is a coping mechanism. I finally sought real help and left the pep talks to the background. I got therapy for a while and had a professional affirm I was not being “in my feelings”, that my hurt was valid, my anger was allowed and they gave me steps to help me heal, forgive and to move on.

No matter how much you want things, remember, life is happening actively all around. You can either get on the train or stay put but now I am more of the mindset, life is actively happening around and it is okay to miss the train a couple of times. Take time to explore the stop, seat, and exit. Another train will definitely come round, and you can get on at any time.

Looking back now I still marvel at how put together I was and how in the midst of so much chaos I was able to put down my thoughts and feelings in a way that looking back at it now, I can still remember how I felt then.

I ended up spending my birthday walking around Brighton city exploring the city, taking walks by their pebble beach at the Brighton Pier. I visited the upside-down house, did a little shopping, had lunch at an all you can eat buffet, played games at the pier, and walked home to the Air BnB I was staying at for the weekend and ended the night with drinks, music, and laughter. All the feeling of melancholy from the early hours of the day gone.

Have you ever had situations like this where you wrote your feelings down but could not share? For the fear of being overly vulnerable? Here is a reminder/ motivation to do just that.

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