It was a cold night and I was busy swaying my hips from side to side on a fairly busy road when a man walked up to grab my arm in the full glare of everyone. His plan was to obviously establish some sort of communication and hopefully get me to say Yes to his proposal and later get on to bed with him.
What other rational explanation is there to walking up to a stranger, a woman to grab her arm? I still think y’all dudes need to hold quarterly meetings where you discuss right and wrong ways to ‘chyke’ a lady though. You people seem to need inspiration because one of you had told my sister that he liked her eyeballs. That was supposed to be a line too. Just kill me!
I freed myself and quickened my pace. Just as I was recovering from the firm grip of his rough hands, a dude who had witnessed the scene called out to the man from a distance in sarcasm. He asked why he was so bold to do that. Next thing I heard this dude say, ‘you sef too dey do shakara, wetin dey for your body, abeg shift one side’
My second guess is that I was supposed to acknowledge his shabby defense of me and get on to talking with him. This is another stranger I do not know, another person whose intentions towards me are not clear. This is someone (in Lagos) who could be conniving with the first dude to rob me or take advantage of me in any way. Was it not in Lagos the other day? Dude walked up to babe to grab boobs! The rest is a very long story, I will spare you of the details.
Minutes before I wrote this post, I had decided to rest from the many brain tasking stuff for a while. What I do in these cases is watch YouTube. If I were at home, I would watch a movie. A colleague walked by just when my YouTube channel came on and said, “oh, but you always claim to be busy, this is what you are doing at work. How come you are watching YouTube?”
In two of these instances, I had to literally tell myself, “Esther, not everything can get to you. Not everything is allowed to get to you”. It is that simple.
In case 1, my default response to the situation was to talk back to stranger number 2 and engage him out of confusion and hurt for all of what he said. When I did that in times past I ended up more hurt and confused as to why I was the subject in the first place.
In case 2, my default response would be to explain to him that I am not the lazy colleague and that he was because he only came to work every day to sit and push work assigned to him to other people. I would be tempted to explain that there is a possibility he is projecting his failures and irresponsibilities and looking for ways to justify his redundancy in the organization. By the way, I have never met a lazier boy in my life, no jokes!
I would have also asked if there was ever a time I categorically told him I was busy. Could it just be that he was able to figure out that, given my many tasks, I am definitely, indeed busy? Of course, I would also go on ahead to explain that I was tired for the day and that I just needed to get my head to rest with “ON FIRE” by Victoria Orenze on YouTube.
I would waste my emotions, explain unnecessary stuff and practically look clumsy just to defend myself in two of the many ugly cases I have to encounter every day.
Until I gave myself series of pep talks, I always wasted energy. I pep talk myself every day and to get myself to listen to my advice is not easy. It is practice and more pep talks. It is also conscious and intentional listening.
One more case until I close up on all these cases. I think this one is worth talking about. A neighbour had accused me of tampering with some of the stuff she dumped by my window. The only reason she would do that was that I had mentioned that I didn’t like that she dumped stuff by my window. Logical, reasonable thing was that she go dump them by hers.
Of course, she said no. I later on, discovered that she is a weed addict, so, little wonder. The so-called stuff that she dumps by my window, my roommate had moved them on one of those days. My roommate heard when let’s call her ‘weed don’t lie’ was complaining to the hostel manager, she was accusing me of being the one looking for her trouble. She was sure I was the culprit. All these were relayed to me by roommate, remember, the one who actually did the moving.
I swallowed all of the information but worried about clearing my name. I had no idea what name I was planning to clear though but my default response was to ascertain that I am the good girl, not the bad one. I also heard that ‘weed don’t lie’ had threatened to request footage from the CCTV camera to know who moved her things. Just so you know, weed is a bastard.
Hostel manager had reportedly defended me and said that I was always away at work, there was no way in the world I would have moved her stuff within the time frame she had noticed the move.
All of this story is getting longer than I hoped. Story cut short, I wanted so desperately to defend myself. I wanted to say that I truly dislike all of what’s dumped at my window but that in the least, she needed to know that I was good enough and that I wouldn’t have gone to move her stuff.
I write this and it’s exhausting in itself!
If we had to worry about every statement, remark, behaviour, we would be quickly exhausted. Do we have any idea of how many more stupid situations we would find ourselves in before the end of the day? We are to have a list of things we are allowed to worry about, in priority. It will help to assign priority to what to give a f**k about.
Another method is to assign a day to worry. If something unpleasant happens, how about “I will worry about this on Friday evening, after the close of business for the week”
Do we still remember to worry about them? No.
Not everything is allowed to get to me. If it worries me so much, I write about it and safely tuck it away. Otherwise, I could learn the art of immediately dumping things in the trash before they fully mature in my mind.
This is the same with disappointments, failures, unforeseen circumstances. How many are we to worry about, a few of them, I think.
It is constant, intentional practice. Bad situation happens, decide to discard and then, truly discard. Next…