The world is filled with chaos, everywhere is spun upside down. For the first time, the whole world is quiet. The cities are hardly bustling, the markets are practically empty, the stalls are closed and people are working from home. The world has come to a standstill. The pandemic has caused several nations of the world to declare a period of isolation for their citizens and Nigeria is not left behind. With new cases rising every day, a lot of States are on lockdown mode.
I am caught in one of these affected states. I stay in Lagos State, the centre of excellence. My life is as chaotic as the nation. I have unpaid bills, a messy relationship and since the isolation started, no job either. You can call me a frustrated individual. I am one of the kind-hearted, loving and sensitive people you’d ever meet. I am who you may call a ‘people pleaser’ and that may not change anytime soon.
There is just one problem with me though, “fear“. I have a small social circle but I also have a very good friend, she’s called “Fear”. I have lived with her for as long as I can remember and she has stopped me from achieving a lot of things in life. She clutched good deals from me, she has made me live in crises with my head tucked between my tail and she has taken away my voice. The one thing I have to myself, my gift, writing, I have also lost to fear.
The pandemic is not helping matters either. The fear of being infected with the virus has made me even tighter. To summarize my life, I live in constant apprehension.
Writing was once my lover, the one thing I could do for hours without taking a break. But it got to a time when I started giving it less attention. I made up excuses and promises to myself to write when I was less busy but I ignored it. I became so engrossed in my pursuit for financial freedom that I slowly began to forget I once wrote.
The isolation has been terrible for me, I am becoming depressed by the day and there is really no one I can talk to about my fears. Today is no different from the other days. Two weeks and counting, I am about to go crazy. I picked up a cup of tea and moved to sit beside my window. I could see the street from there, it was wet, empty and depressing like my life. For a moment, I thought of suicide. Maybe I should just end my miserable existence. No one would notice for a long time after all.
I quickly shook my head to rid myself of such thoughts but they come back with reinforcements. I caught glimpses of how terrible my life had been. The disappointment from friends, family, colleagues, the way I have always been pushed around, the abuse from my past relationships. I fell to the floor and yelled. Life has been unfair, the isolation is not helping either. I do not doubt my problems will kill me before the isolation ends. Slowly, tears trickled down my face, soft hiccups turned to full-blown hysterics. I seldom cry but for the first time in years, I cried. I cried so hard like I have never done.
After a long time of crying and reflecting, I made up my mind. Life has not dealt with me any lucky card, I have had to put up with a lot of things in my life but one thing is certain, I am alive. That has to count for something. I cleaned my tears with my elbow as I stood up. I walked to my shelf and traced my collections like a mother caresses her children. I halted at a row that holds leather-bound books. I flinched before picking up one of them, opened it and immediately covered my mouth. It’s been so long but it still looks elegant. Some of my fears retreated at this point. It was as though I had gained more confidence by holding the book. I slowly walked back to the window and for the first time in years, a smile adorned my face.
I know that I have a lot of fears to get rid of, I know that I have allowed them to take over my mind but at this point, I would do anything to get rid of them. And I am going to start by picking up my pen to write again. There are different ways to combat anxieties in our lives. For some, it was at their lowest point, for me it was an unexpected moment. Any way we choose, we must make sure that fear has no place in our lives.