5 Things I’m Grateful for at 32

This will probably be one of those long ass articles I’m prone to write once in 5 months. So you know the drill

Introvert. I spend a lot of time thinking, reflecting, having conversations with myself and replaying conversations with others. During my trips down memory lane, I rarely venture beyond a few weeks out.

It’s my birthday in a few hours though. And so, the “reflect on the past 5-10 years of your life” elves have been visiting.

This year, I looked back and saw so many reasons to be grateful. I crossed the big 3-0 a while ago and since I’m not in the “Have I achieved all I set out to achieve by 30?” camp because let’s face it, all I thought about before age 30 were comic books, videogames, Jesus and girls. Come to think of it, not much has changed. Anyways…

So this week, I made a few trips back in time. I recalled a lot of conversations I had with myself that were inspired by articles I had read. These were the years before I became a writer.

Let me give that some context.

It was 2011, and yours truly was studying web design and AutoCAD at NIIT in Ikeja. I was pretty enamored with the writing life as at then and would stalk my favorite authors online – reading not just their books but their op-eds, their blogs, their interviews, everything. I guess I was looking for the secret to the successful writing life (there’s none, stop believing those bullshit articles cos many of us worked hard and got lucky).

Anyways, so I spend an inordinate amount of time, especially on my trips to and from NIIT, reading tons of materials online. Then I came across an article by Stephen King, a particular statement in it would touch my heart till today.

Talent is getting published and getting paid. Did you write something for someone? Did they send you a check? If you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.

I wrote that quote straight from memory (I think it’s 90% accurate). The statement meant the world to me back then. It still does. Here’s the most recent version of the article I could find, if you’re interested.

I’m grateful today that, despite being told repeatedly by a former boss to abandon my desire to be a writer cos I’d starve, despite several false starts, after years of doing pro bono work for NGOs, today, I’m a writer who pays the light bill.

Second thing I’m grateful for. I recently discovered a truth about myself. A sad one.

Somehow I’d come under the illusion that everyone else’s happiness supercedes mine.  I’m grateful for my good friend, Chi, who confronted me and helped me realise this.I don’t know how it got there but there it was, staring me in the face.

Some symptoms were: When people are horrible to me, I rarely confront them. I’d prefer to just withdraw and simmer in pain. Pain passes, wounds heal, better not to cause a fuss over hurt feelings or bruised egos. On the off-chance I do confront the perpetrator, I end up feeling guilty when they apologise. I feel bad I’ve made someone feel bad for something they did so I end up making an excuse right there for them and telling them it was all my fault. Toxic, I know.

I dont share my personal issues with the important people in my life. I can write an epistle about sweet nothings but when it comes to sharing the important stuffs – struggles, fears, hopes, desires, pains – nah, lock up! This has been a problem in many of my relationships and friendships. The reason is the same, guilt follows talking about that kind of stuff. In my head somehow, to rant is to be weak. And to be weak is to be a crappy partner or friend.

I could go on, but I’ll stop here.

So, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be finally self aware about these things and to begin the journey to recovery. Having been stuck in the horrible loop for three decades, it’s not going to be easy to fix but it will be done.

Which brings me to my next point. It’s 2-in-1.

I haven’t talked or written about my depression for a long time, either on the blog or in real life. For good reason, I’ve been doing really well, especially with avoiding triggers and embracing routines that curb the loop. But late last year, something happened that nearly dragged me back under.

Prior to this, my last bout of depression was in 2014. Since then, life’s been pretty awesome, (cos let’s face it, a day without depressive clouds is an awesome day, for those who know). But last year, a shitty boss and a broken heart nearly brought the clouds back in my life. I’m glad to say they never fully formed. I, Ibukun, looked the dragon in the face, flipped it the finger and walked away.

No more depression!

And so, I’m grateful for my support system. My amazing family – supportive, patient, my number one cheerleading squad, every win for me is celebrated with dancing and prayers and lots of food. They’re the best support system every writer should have (seriously fam, I’m considering packaging you and putting you up on Amazon :)).

Also grateful for my friends  – Gosh! I have the weirdest, nerdiest, craziest, funniest and loving collection of friends ever. They call, they visit, some actually write letters (imagine that!), they send memes, tweet random silly things at me, or even randomly plan mini vacations with me.

Honestly, God blessed me with friends and I know it.

Finally, I’m grateful to be punching in another year on the calendar tomorrow. There might be no party, but there will definitely be dancing and cake. Loads of it.

Here’s a random picture of me looking (and being) happy. That’s Olumo Rock in the background

Before you go, remember to send cake.

Thanks for reading!

It’s my little sister’s birthday

Itunu Taiwo GlowingScenes

Today is my sister’s birthday.

It took me all day to write this post in my head. The problem is that two months ago, this girl took to her blog to finish me with praise of the highest kind.

She made me feel like the best thing that has ever happened to mankind. The post was full of mush and gush and every other nice sentiment I can think of. And contrary to (a troubling) popular belief, I’m actually a soft guy who likes such things likes blatant expressions of adoration, no matter how corny.

Anyways, back to the matter at hand. Writing something about my junior sis.

The earliest memory I have about my sis is walking her to school (we attended the same primary school). The reason why I remember this is probably because it was our daily ritual, walking to school which was about a 30 minute walk from our home in Akoka.

I didn’t realise it then, but a huge part of my life would be wrapped up in my relationship with this small girl.

The next memory I have that involves my little sis is a particular argument I had with one of my friends. I don’t remember what the argument was about but it must have been pretty serious, (as serious as an argument between 8-10 year olds can be). I remember this girl standing right beside me and supporting every single point I made, even when I drew facts right out of thin air. When I laughed she laughed, when I raised my voice, she was my backup. We usually won those arguments. Nobody was a match for our tag team.

More than two decades later, this babe still does the same for me everyday of my life.

I remember us spending hours playing with the Sony Walkman, singing and recording our shrill kid voices as we sang the songs from Sound of Music. And then she’d let me adlib the really tricky parts and I’d ruin the song by overdoing it and she’d laugh till her eyes teared up.

Side Note: D-Re-Mi will never be the same again. I always hear her voice in my head whenever I hear the song.

That’s a tradition we’re yet to break. We still mess around with songs. God help you if it’s your song we decide to cover next. God help you. It’s good to know there’s someone I can goof off with and let my screwball side run wild. And I am one goofy person.

My sister thinks I’m the funniest person in the world.

Some of the most important memories of my life have her in them. Time will not allow me to narrate all the times we ganged up against mom and dad (mom especially) and just bullied them till we had our way.

Or the times we spent doing bible study. Whenever my sister is confused about something, she’d come to me to ask. As if I’m a rhema machine. I should probably have been charging you money for all those consultation sessions.

Today, with all the great people she reads and follows on the internet – John Piper, John and Lisa Bevere, Francine Rivers etc, it’s a mystery to me WHY she still come to me to ask questions. I honestly don’t know. But I’m glad to know she still thinks my thoughts are worth hearing.

But that’s my little sister.

My little amazing sister! She’s so smart. And pretty. And funny. And patient. Whenever she writes, she sets the pages on fire. If anyone’s going to make it as a writer, it’s her.

She’s passionate. And focused. I don’t know how she churns out 2000 word episodic stories every week. But somehow she manages even with a fulltime MSc program.

I don’t know how soft and tender hearted people can be so resilient and strong, but my sister pulls it off effortlessly.

Gadget freak. Cute dresser. Troublemaker. Yam lover. Perpetual fine girl. Confidant.

And best friend of my childhood.

Itunu Taiwo, when you read this, I want you to know , you are cherished. There are no words to convey your importance in my life.

I wish you a very Happy Birthday today.