Epilogue

I really can’t say thank you enough

Dear Friend,

I have always wanted to write a book since I was little. Im not kidding, ask my family. I would find notebooks and write the cutest little kids stories complete with coloured drawings and everything.

Recently, I discovered that desire never completely disappeared. So I thought maybe instead of writing a book, a series of blog posts would do (mostly because I didnt have any money).

Well, I told my wonderful friends Sefe and Ruth about this at the onset and they were supportive to the very end. Then I started to plan what exactly I wanted to write about and I decided I wanted to explain myself because it felt like so many times I hadnt been given the opportunity to do so. Also I wanted to write something people could relate to.

Mercy Adedigbas blog was a huge source of inspiration for the title and style and John Greens personae was a huge source of inspiration for the themes and concepts.

My heart goes out in appreciation to Aduragbemi Odubela and Ohima-Uzebu Henry. The former who was so diligent in reviewing and reading each of the letters (he was more or less like a project supervisor to me) and the latter who was also very helpful in editing, feedback and general moral support.

I also cannot but thank each and every of the outstanding people who took it upon themselves to ensure that every of these letters got the publicity it needed. Some of these individuals I didnt even ask to help, they just did. I cant thank each of you enough. Your devotion and kindness has truly overwhelmed me.

And Of course, I owe a ton of gratitude to the faithful readers of this series, who would come to this site every day in search of something. I got readers from places I could only dream of; India, South Africa, The United Kingdom, America etc. I even got new followers (smiley face).

And to those remarkable people who gave feedback either personally or on the blog post, I cannot tell you how much this meant to me. There were so many days I just didnt want to do it. The state of things bothered me so much that I felt so selfish to put this out but I really had to. Plans had been made that could not be changed. Your words in times like this, gave me reason to be optimistic.

I may not be able to mention you all by name but you carry heavy value in my heart and Im so grateful. I have always wanted to feel like a writer and this time all of you made me feel like one.

Thank you so much.

Love,

Boluwatife.

LETTER7: PRIVILEGE

Dear Friend,

For most of my life I have lived as what some would call ajebutter specifically; from a middle-class background (and I cannot emphasize enough that middle class is not the same as rich!)

You would know this by the fact I went to private school for both primary and secondary education, by my pseudo-american accent that makes people slightly more interested in what I have to say and by the fact that even though my name is literally Boluwatife, I cant speak Yoruba but Im learning French. 

Basically I am as middle-class as it gets地nd even though this is easily construed to be a bad thing, Im not ashamed of it, I am actually very grateful its just that

DIGRESSION: THE NIGERIAN MIDDLE-CLASS

The Nigerian middle-class family is kind of clich矇.  So clich矇 that you can always tell who they are by their token house girl that follows them to church on Sunday in her obviously less attractive attire or by their trophy children studying either law, medicine or engineering in a federal university or even abroad.

But the Nigerian middle class doesnt want to be middle-class forever, they want to be rich. So they struggle and hustle. They send their children to the best schools. Only the best; because even though they are not poor, poverty is not their portion.

BUBBLED BABY

Being born privileged in terms of financial stability can put you in a bubble. It can make you insensitive of the world around you and of the struggles around you.

I remember a lady who used to make my moms and my hair and her kids would wear the same clothes every day. Now as a kid who had a lot of clothes, I found that strange. So I asked the boy why are you always wearing the same clothes? 

He was speechless

Needless to say that, if in that moment looks could kill, my mother would have been guilty of murder.

But that day I began to understand something, the privileged are almost always blind to the sufferings of the underprivileged.

Your biggest challenge may be getting an iPhone, while somewhere in the world someone elses challenge is getting their next meal.

THE WORLD WE LIVE

The world is changing you see, the cost of living in Nigeria recently went up for everybody but the standard of living did not. That is something of a tragedy. 

The rich proceed to get richer, and the poor proceed to get poorer. And sometimes the rich even have the audacity to judge the poor on the basis of his poverty.

Conclusively, I dont know how privileged you are or you arent.  But I dont believe we should be comfortable with the great inequality in the world. I believe a position of privilege should be a position of kindness.

Dearest Friend, the world needs your kindness. 

Thank you for reading. It has been a truly amazing experience with you. Have a wonderful life. 

Best wishes, 

Boluwatife Ehimony.

LETTER SIX: IDENTITY

Dear Friend,

Who are you? 

And no, I do not mean the deeply-resonating, virtually unanswerable, existential; who are you? (In a whisper)

You know, the kind of question that Mufasa asks Simba so that he can find himself and take his place as the rightful king of Pride rock.

I mean something simpler; who do you like to be known as? What do present yourself as? What is on your Facebook bio? Your twitter bio? Your LinkedIn bio? etc Feminist? Communist? Child of God? 

Who are you?

Everyone has an identity in this sense. The mental picture they paint or want to paint in peoples minds.

THE ASSUMPTION OF AN IDENTITY.

One thing that really grinds my gears is when people ask me if I go to the Deeper Life Bible Church because I do not wear jewelry or make up or trousers. 

Yes, I do not wear any of those things (but I am so spectacularly beautiful that you wouldnt notice奸ol匈m actually joking but really I dey alright) but I do not go to the Deeper Life Church, I go to RCCG at home and The Glory of God Student Fellowship in OAU and both of which have been invaluable institutions in the course of my life and though I really have no qualms with the Deeper Life church my point is the basis of my dressing is not some churchs instruction but based on a personal commitment to Someone I love and the firm conviction that I am enough the way I am and I do not need to change because you expect me to.

But I understand why people ask me this question. Because they want to fit me in a box, they want to categorize me so that they can better understand me because that is what we humans do. 

We define and we categorize so that we can understand. 

The problem with this is that it works fine with concepts and probably objects but not humans because we are much too complicated for that.

MISCONCEPTIONS OF IDENTITY

There are two misconceptions about identity that I find particularly interesting. 

One is that your identity is the measure of your worth i.e. you are valuable because you are an intellectual, or you are a person of worth because of your activism. 

This is wrong because you are inherently valuable as a person and the identity you uphold will neither alter nor affect that. And people who only value you because of who they think you are, dont value you very much.

The second wrong notion is that an identity is for others, something like a dress we put on, not to cover our nakedness but for other people to feast their eyes upon.

This is wrong because your identity is not for people to assess you and figure you out. If you build your identity around that, you will find yourself constantly morphing to fit peoples expectations. And trust me when I say there is nothing as sad as someone who is only what people expect them to be.

SO WHO AM I?

The truth is that identity is necessary, it gives us a sense of direction and helps us navigate the role we play in this world and how we play that role. It doesnt have to be too complex.

So, to the initial question, let me give you my own honest answer. 

The truth is I am actually a lot of things, but I just prefer to be thought of as a person .

Thank you for reading, see you tomorrow.

Best wishes,

Bolu

LETTER FIVE : OBLIVION

Courtesy of internet Hopefully public domain

Dear Friend,

I want us to focus on something deep and existential today…lol!

What do you think will happen when you die? 

Wait before you answer that. 

I dont mean like what you think will happen to you. I mean like what you think will happen after you?  Like who will remember you and stuff like that?

I actually really hate those kinds of questions but I cant help thinking about it every now and then. 

I cant help thinking about Oblivion.

LET ME EXPLAIN

I first came in contact with the concept of oblivion through my older brother (of blessed memory) who read The Fault in our Stars by John Green. In the book, one of the protagonists was haunted greatly by his fear of oblivion.

My brother immediately understood this fear and how legitimate it was. Maybe this was because he somehow knew he didnt have very long, I will never know for sure. but he did try to talk to me about it.

However, I was like 13 at the time, so I couldnt really understand the point he was trying to make or why, what he was saying was so important.

 About four years later, I finally understood oblivion in form of a question:

Can you die without a name?

SO WHAT IS OBLIVION

Simply, it is the fear that the world will carry on without you. That it will forget you. 

I believe we all think about what will happen after our departure from earth at least sometimes, but I dont mean consciously and deliberately thinking about it. I mean thinking about it in the form of the desire to be something more.

You see, we are all in one way or the other aware that we have a short  time here and that is why we want to make the most of it. We want to be great!  We want to be famous,  we want to be known,  we want to leave a legacy so that even after we’re gone those who come behind us, will know宇hey will know that we were here. 

ALL YOUR FEARS AND WORRIES

I really want to tell you oblivion is pointless because it is. 

It is inevitable. It will happen. 

The generations after you, may very likely not know who you were, and if they do happen to know you based on some mind-blowing historical feat you accomplished, they still wont care too much about you because theyd be too busy with their own struggles with oblivion. 

So you see宇he circle continues.

But the thing is, we cannot stop it. We cannot run from our desire to be remembered. 

As a matter of fact I suspect God put it there so each of us would long to make the most out of our stay here. So everybody wants to leave a mark unfortunately (as John Green noted in The Fault in our Stars) quite too often what we leave behind is nothing but scars, this is why we have the likes of Hitler, of Stalin, of Abacha and Idi Amin, people who are continually remembered only for their wrongs yet all they wanted, was to be great.

I guess what Im really trying to say is:

I hope in your struggles against oblivion, in your desire to be remembered, you do more good than harm. 

 Thank you for reading, and see you tomorrow 

Best Wishes,

Bolu.

LETTER FOUR: VULNERABILITY

Dear Friend,

I have noticed there are many people who are of the opinion that vulnerability is a synonym for weakness and so will do everything to avoid being or even appearing vulnerable. I lowkey suspect it was this mentality that gave rise to the notion of a hard guy/girl.

But this is not to say that vulnerability is a wonderful thing per se. Actually, to be vulnerable means a readiness to allow someone to do you strong thing or to see you finish and lets be honest nobody wants that.

There is a lot you can be vulnerable with. You can be vulnerable with things, (like me writing these somewhat personal open letters to you) and you can be vulnerable with people.

It is usually the latter people avoid most…even me.

EXPERIENCES WITH VULNERABILITY

Naturally, I tilt towards loyalty as a personal and compulsory virtue and as a result, there is a certain devotion I will always give to someone I consider a friend or as I used to put it;

I cant unlove a friend. No matter what you do I will always love you.

This used to be my personal philosophy but when a friend did something truly hurtful, (and yes emotional injuries count!) my philosophy changed very quickly;

Dont trust anybody! The heart of man is desperately wicked. Lol!

Funny as it is, I was so determined to never get hurt again that I literally avoided people LIKE A LOT. 

I wouldnt save numbers, I wouldnt apply myself to conversations, and I became very cynical of peoples intentions and would often think

why are you coming close to me. What do you want?

Basically, everyone I met was guilty until proven innocent.

BUT THATS NO WAY TO LIVE

You see, I think a lot of people in my generation (yes I am in fact referring to millennial and Gen Z folk) despise vulnerability; most of us havent lived that long and yet have been hurt so much, so deeply and some of us have caused hurt that is so much and so deep. And so there is a lot more coldness in place of camaraderie as a friend once put it; 妃aintaining the human body but having the EQ of  AI. 

Now isnt that something. 

Yet the more I think about it the only thing that can sufficiently hold us as a race is love. Our lives are lacking greatly without love. Even the greatest of Gods commandments require us to love.

But do you know what?  We cannot love if we refuse to be vulnerable.

In truth our hatred for vulnerability can be understood. Pain is difficult, disappointment is difficult. And when we allow vulnerability, we open ourselves to these things. Yet, how can we avoid vulnerability when it is one of the ingredients of love? And how can we fully live if we refuse to love.

In short, vulnerability is truly a lot of unpleasant things but it is also trust, hope and faith that the person or thing you are taking a chance on is worth it. 

Thank you dear friend, see you tomorrow.

Best Wishes,

Bolu.

LETTER THREE: AWKWARDNESS

Dear Friend,

I want to ask you questionsss!

Have you ever considered yourself an awkward person? If yes why? And if no why not?  Do you know anyone who you can say is awkward? Do you think its a bad thing? Or are you one of those weird people who think its cute (lol).

Im asking these questions because I dont think social awkwardness is addressed often enough and I want us to fix that.

Anyways, for me Ill have to admit its a yes. I am an excellently awkward person, I have always been and its not just because I cant hold a gaze. 

WHAT IS AWKWARDNESS?

Well, some would say it is the inability to adequately interpret a social situation and express ones self appropriately in the context of that present social situation. So basically, you are never sure exactly how to act around people.

HOW DOES IT FEEL?

Its not great I tell you. 

For instance, I have a lot of difficulty talking to people because I literally do not know what to say. Im not even joking 70% of the time I have no idea what to say. 

You say something funny. Im stuck. 

You say something serious. Im stuck. 

I literally have to mentally calculate, as you speak, the most suitable reaction and response.

This is why I hate talking altogether except by some miracle the person Im talking to is someone I can flow with, or someone Im already familiar with. 

It also does not help that I naturally Im a bit insensitive (actually very insensitive, not inconsiderate, insensitive) so if I mistakenly blurt out the first thing that comes to mind you will not like me very much. 

As such, I am very conscious and sensitive of my insensitivity thus I select my words with deft precision.  

But hey, I think I have an explanation for why I am the way I am or why awkward people generally are awkward.

MY THEORY

So heres the thing. You know how theres intelligence in the context of the classroom right? Theres also emotional intelligence which empathy plays a huge role in. 

Well, I believe theres also social intelligence which applies to your ability to also provide the adequate corresponding response to social stimulus (lol! dont mind me I just want to sound smart). 

But actually, awkward people (and we do exist thank you very much) are very similar to people with learning difficulties or people who are naturally emotionally unresponsive. 

Okay maybe its not that bad but its not very good either.

HOW THESE PEOPLE ARE TREATED

Im guessing I have already mentioned this previously but I got bullied a lot when I was younger and I didnt have too many friends (back up! My childhood was not miserable o! I just had a few difficulties as with a lot of other children in similar situations). 

My awkwardness and social ineptitude was obvious even as a child because the other children could tell you were strange, odd, weird…awkward they could sense your unintelligence and in a society where intelligence is worshipped and exalted, all unintelligence must be punished; even social unintelligence. 

That was about 10 years ago. Im an adult now, no longer a child and it would surprise you to know not much has changed. (Maybe I have a little) and at the end of the day, nobody wants to play with those awkward children because something is definitely wrong with them.

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

Best Wishes, 

Bolu. 

LETTER TWO: INSECURITY

Dear Friend,

I have a secret to share with you. Please promise you will not judge me or hold it against me. You probably will but here it goes.

I cant make eye-contact. 

No really, I mean it. I hate the thought of looking into another persons eyes with utmost passion. I cannot even look at peoples faces directly.

Now before you start analyzing my level of self-esteem, I have a reason. So I have myopia and this means I squint like A LOT.  I can barely see without my glasses otherwise everything is blurry and I have to squint to see anything. Naturally, eye-contact is kind of awkward when the other person is squinting into your eyes. As a result I am very insecure about my eyes and thus hate eye contact or even the thought of peering into someones face lest they look at me, and I squint at them.

(And for those wondering尖es I squint even with my glasses because well myopia)

So thats me. What about you? 

What are your insecurities? Do you have a similar ophthalmological-specific dysmorphia? Or is it just regular dysmorphia? Are you insecure about how smart you are? Or your economic status?

THE PROBLEM WITH INSECURITIES

You know when I was a kid, I was pretty sure everybody hated me and I dont even know why! Although in truth I am pretty awkward (more about that in the next letter) and so I got bullied quite a bit and of course those jerk kids with good eyesight would  always make fun of my not being able to see well .

 But this is not really special, children can be cruel and lots of kids get picked on.

 Yet I was so sure that I was utterly unlikeable. This kept me from making as many friends as other children, because before I attempted to approach you something had already told me you hated me. 

Needless to say, this is also a form of insecurity but the point is; this is how insecurity works it keeps you trapped. It stops you from doing what you want to do. Maybe even what you need to do. It tells you youre not good enough.

WHAT THEN IS INSECURITY?

 In truth it is a form of fear.  A fear of  what if?  

what if Im not good enough and this other person finds out. Do you know I struggled with this so much that I avoid people I like? 

I will literally do everything to keep an acquaintance from becoming a friend because of how insecure I am about me.

What if they find out Im not that special?

 SO WHAT DO WE DO WITH OUR INSECURITIES?

Im not sure here and I promised this wasnt going to be an advice-dishing platform but I believe we are better without our insecurities. We are better when we throw them out the window and just do what we want to do and I think the only way we can do that is to forget about the people watching. Just forget what people may or may not think about your body, your financial status, your intelligence and just be you!

Our insecurities dont have to be our insecurities it doesnt have to define us.

Thank you, see you tomorrow.

Best wishes,

Bolu.

Letter 1: Depression

Dear Friend,

I spent most of  2018, my first year in the university; feeling deeply depressed. No I mean like actually depressed like long-lasting deeply resonating melancholy because of

A guy! (Face palm)

So long story short, I got into this emotional entanglement/situationship with this individual who really didnt feel as strongly about me as I did him. (I know this is already sounding cheesy please bear with me).

 Anyway, he just sort of disappeared and for some reason this had a profound effect on me. Can you imagine me a whole vanilla-flavoured-caramel-coated-chocolate cream pie like me depressed over homo sapiens?! Well匈 was.

WHAT DOES DEPRESSION FEEL LIKE?

Well, let me put it this way. You live in this really stinky place thats very bad for your health and sometimes you go far away from home. You go on these outings that help you forget where you live, and breathe clean, fresh air but at the end of the day, you will always come back home.

So people with depression can laugh, have fun and look like they are okay but at the end of the day, they go back home to depression street.

I remember how I kept sinking into this deep pit of despair. Some days it was better not to wake than to feel so inadequate, so uncertain, so desperately weak and helpless. It felt like there was a wound nobody knew or knew how to heal.

Depression doesnt feel good. Sometimes, it doesnt even feel manageable.

SO, WHAT HAPPENED?

9 months. It took 9 months for me to get out of this ugly pit. After months of quiet internal deterioration and listening to sad songs that ONLY MADE EVERYTHING WORSE!  I was finally okay!

But I can actually trace it back to an event. 

I was in this fellowship retreat, and as usual I was feeling numb and empty then the preacher was talking about a lot of things which were totally unrelated to my state of mind but for some reason the words he spoke brought hope and more hope until for the first time in a long time I felt fine. I honestly barely remember what he said yet somehow God used those words to fix me.

YEAH BUT?

I cannot even lie it was not easy at all. I already told you how it feels even though I dont think emotional states can be adequately described. And trust me you can never understand if you havent been there. 

So maybe you do know someone who is going through the same thing you may not be able to understand but you can try. 

You can be there because that is all that person needs, someone who is truly there for them.

And maybe that depressed person is you. You need to talk first to God then to people who can help ease the pain. I promise that even if right now youre not okay, you will be.

Thank you, see you tomorrow.

Best Wishes, 

Bolu

PROLOGUE: 7 LETTERS?

Dear Friend,

My name is Boluwatife Ehimony and I want to share with you 7 Letters.

They are open letters about some themes that I have been thinking about recently and I want to express them with you and possibly know how you feel about it as well.

All of my letters will be based on on personal about my own life experiences.

The primary aim is not to offer any sort of life advice or ‘life advice’ or ‘life-hacks’. I really just want to share with you some of my thoughts and stories but if you are able to make something out of it, that would be a joy to me.

So for the next 7 days I will write you a letter on the following titles:

  • Depression
  • Insecurity
  • Awkwardness
  • Vulnerability
  • Oblivion
  • Identity
  • Privilege

So today, I just want you to know what you’ll be getting into. I hope you do enjoy this experience with me算

See you tomorrow.

Best Wishes,

Bolu.

Story trailer : Unfixable (a girl called Resilience)

“My mother named me Resilience and I don’t know why. I don’t know what she was thinking but that’s my name.
Resi for short.

But I guess when you ignore how embarrassing my name is and how it got me teased a lot as a child and even after, then you’ll appreciate it.

In my life I’ve needed my name a lot, I’ve needed to remind myself about my name and what it means. That’s because I have been through hell on earth or at least something close.”

This is the story of a girl so badly bent and broken that you could call her Unfixable…

Unfixable : Coming Soon on this space!

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