Drawing the Curtains on 2017

Thursday, December 28, 2017




Seems like just yesterday that we were gossiping about the drama of 2016, and making “New Year, New Me” resolutions that we were planning to break. Right??

2017 is almost a blur; it whizzed right past with a snap of fingers, like a twirl of wind. Granted, it was not as dramatic as 2016. But it did have its fair share of interesting events.

(Sigh)

Hold my hand, while I walk us through the past 362 days... or as much of it as I can.


Worldwide

Irrespective of your personal opinion (or lack of, thereof) of the United States, truth remains that the USA has great influence on global affairs, in more ways than politics.

And so, it was with trepidation that the whole world held its breath, as Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.  True to his campaign promises, he embarked on obliterating every possible relic of the immediate past administration; from immigration policies to health/tax overhauls.

In between the conspiracy drama with Russia and the tantrum trade-offs with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, POTUS never failed to keep the world gainfully entertained in some piece of action or the other.

Sadly, his administrative policies sparked clashes between anti-racism campaigners (largely of the #BlackLivesMatter movement) and white-supremacists (consisting mainly of members and affiliates of the Klu-Klux-Klan), even as there is a visible surge in overt racism, white-supremacy ideologies, and general racial intolerance in the USA.

Elsewhere in the world, faith in humanity was equally shaken, with the emergence of a video footage (courtesy of CNN), showing migrants (consisting largely of West Africans and predominantly Nigerians) being ‘sold’ into slavery in Libya.

Even as the world turned its rays on nabbing the immediate perpetrators of this crime, there remains the need for accountability of the governments of the countries, whose nationals are victims of this atrocity. This is because until such governments ensure that the expectations of their citizens are met and their interests protected, these citizens would continue to risk their lives in the search for a “better tomorrow”, thereby ensuring that the ‘human market’ continues to thrive; perpetuating the ugly cycle.

But it has not been bad news all through;

2017 will be significant as the year in which a large number of victims of hidden sexual abuse found their voice and received liberation, in calling out their assailants. With the hashtag #MeToo, revelations poured in against predators, which revelations have brought down prominent people such as Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. Even Judge Roy Moore lost the Senate Election in Alabama, owing to his past victims of sexual misconduct coming forward lifting the lid on their silence.  

(It would seem that there is hope for humanity after all)

Serena Williams gave us the most BEAUTIFUL wedding of the year, while Queen Bey ushered in her twins.

(She did not let us hear word with her photoshoot 😏😏)

And we dissected the use of terms such as ‘Cougar’ and ‘Bossy’, as labels created and/or used on women, in order to make them feel or act smaller so as to avoid ridicule for their personal lifestyle choices, or personality traits. 

Live, and Let Live.

Nigeria

If the problem in the USA was that its President was too ‘active’ - albeit in a rather dramatic sense - the case in Nigeria was quite the reverse for 2017.

For the longest period in the history of Nigeria as country, the President was absent from the country for a total period of 155 days (almost 6 months), on rather obscure health grounds. And while the people prayed for his good health, it did nothing to the ‘trust’ relationship between the President and his people that the real cause of his long absence was never actually shared with the people who sponsored his maintenance.

On the heels of his return in August was an outright clash between agitators for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Nigerian Army, in which civilians were maltreated and assaulted by the Army. While the motive for common peace may have been valid, extra-judicial actions of the Army (just like famed misconduct of the other security agencies, such as the Police or SARS) belittles our fragile democracy, and the human rights of the Nigerian citizens, which the Constitution guarantees.

In the meantime, the goodwill upon which the present administration was voted in – the promise of change – appears to be running out fast, even as things continue to remain the very same as they have always been.

For example, the national refineries are yet to be fixed, so that we have continued to import fuel at increased cost to the people, with the festival of ‘fuel scarcity’ still being observed from time to time.

In 2017, we were compelled as a nation to confront the reality of Depression and the effect of Mental Health issues. The passing of Taiwo Ariyo and other instances of depression-induced deaths created the much-needed awareness, thus necessitating general public discourse on depression.

While we are still a long way from having adequate structures to effectively tackle mental health issues, our collective recognition of the existence of mental health issues are large strides in the dealing with the problems, while demystifying the stigma and secrecy in which depression was hitherto shrouded.

We also kicked against the proposed affirmative law by the Nigerian National Assembly, to ensure that 35% of Ministerial appointments consist of women.

Why settle for 35%, when women should rightly have (at the very least) 50%?

And even though embarking on international travel as a Nigerian is laden with various obstacles and challenges, we all laughed at my one experience where my 'Nigerianness' saved me from paying coughing dollars through my ears, on an international flight. 😄

Meet My Busy Mind

I promised a makeover at the end of last year, did I not??

Well, we got made over at the beginning of 2017 (yaaay!). Our reach increased, we hit our 100th post milestone, and we even got our very own shiny domain name. 

But let me share a secret with you:

I almost shut it all down. Severally.

For starters, Writers’ Block is a real female dog.

(*insert appellation*)

When it hits you, there is NOTHING. As in… zero. Zilch.

You are empty. Your well is dry. Your ink is dead.

It is overwhelming.

This year, I learnt that Writers’ Block hit the most when I was emotionally burnt-out. I came to understand that writing as a mode of expression is tied to one’s state of mind, so that when I struggled through emotions, my writing suffered.

The remedy was simple: take time off from the stressors, and just chill.

Thankfully, Bima, Obinna and the rest of the merry team were never too far away. I did not have to walk that road alone.

But there was still the challenge of having to juggle various activities and multitask a lot at the same time; often tearing myself between my professional career, blogging, writing exams… and generally enjoying my life on earth as a human being.

I discovered I was only able to allocate time for all my activities by sheer willpower, owing to the fact that I was genuinely passionate about all my activities. Which reiterates the age-old principle: that if you love something/someone, you will always find the time for it/them.

More importantly however, I was spurred to keep writing, by personal messages I received from subscribers, sharing how MMBM add value to them.  Knowing that there is at least one person, or two (maybe three even) whose life (or lives) are made better by this blog was enough to keep me going.

That this platform affects lives positively is more than adequate compensation for the late nights of researching and writing. The privilege to share the voice of my busy mind with the world makes my pillows fluffier at night.

The community upstairs is at peace. 😊


Me

In 2017, I learned a lot of life lessons, and unlearnt a couple of others.

The month of May found me stuck in a rut. I was being (literally) suffocated and boxed by circumstances I knew felt I had no control over. Despair stared me right in the face, and life was one, long dreary road.

And then, it hit me:

You ALWAYS have control of your circumstances. It may require you getting out of your comfort zone, but life will ALWAYS give you a choice.  

I took the first step on a leap of faith that month, and I snapped right back into my own.

My feet have not hit the ground yet from that leap, but the thought that I had the courage to acknowledge that only I was responsible for my own happiness, sanity and fulfillment keeps me flying still.

Like the Israelites, I find myself sometimes romanticizing Egypt, and flirting with all the “what ifs”.

But no one ever climbed Everest by looking or going back. So, I march on.

This year, I learnt to hold on, even when I wanted to walk away. And I learnt to walk away, even when I wanted to build a roof-hut, and hold tight.

(Confused? I was too) 😃

I mastered the art of picking my battles, taking on only the very necessary ones.

After all, nobody was born with fire on their head.

I learnt to relish inner peace, and desist from avoidable conflicts, thereby reserving my energy and resources for the fights over issues and with people that really matter.

Like the Nigerian Police.

I learnt to let my head steer my heart a little more and how to negotiate better with the community upstairs.  I learnt this year that being an adult is no walk in the park, and the only advice I’d be getting would be more from my own reflection in the mirror.

In 2017, I grew up.

And I am more than thankful for all the lessons learnt, friends gained and onslaughts made.

2018 Plans... anyone??

I have outstandings from my 2017 list, which are automatically at the top of my to-do list for the year.

Other than that, I’ll be focused on taking one step on after the other, and taking each day as it comes.

To you, who have made MMBM your homepage, commented on each post, followed any/all our social media channels, shared our articles, cried and laughed with us: THANK YOU

May the Universe be kind to you.

And to YOU, who may be going through trying times; do not ever give up. No one has it all together. Know that you’re not alone; we’re all in this together, whatever ‘this’ stands for.

You will be alright in the end. And if you’re not alright, it is not the end.

For 2017, it’s a WRAP Baby!!!

Image result for 2017 2018
Photo-Credits: www.cruisecritic.com

Peace and Love,


Meg.


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