When I was little, I used to admire a black frilly miniskirt in a shop near my house. I told my mum I loved the skirt, she said I should face my studies and pass my exams. I did and I had a good result, I told her to buy me the skirt as a gift, she didn’t say yes or no. I eagerly waited for the day she’d buy me the skirt, I waited for a long time but the skirt never came.
When I got older and everyone was registering for the common entrance of the secondary they wanted to attend. I had my mind made up already, it was one of the prestigious schools in Kwara state I wanted to attend. Those kinda schools where they wear crisp white shirts, silk ties with well pressed skirts completed with sparkling white socks and black shoes. That was the look of scholars then and I wanted it. I sat for the exams, I passed, I made a friend the day I wrote the exam and I spoke with an Oyinbo woman (I faked some useless accents that I know would sound really funny to her) for the first time! My thoughts ran ahead of me and I started seeing myself in their uniform, arguing with the Oyinbo woman and proving to her that I knew something in English. I never attended the school, I didn’t know I wouldn’t attend it and when I eventually knew, the 10 year old me felt a pain I’d never felt before, it was as if something was stuck in my guts and then it found it way to my chest and stayed there, a dull ache that wouldn’t go away. I spent weeks sulking around the house, snapping at everyone and having to endure taunts from my friends in primary school whom I had excitedly told ‘Hey, I am going to Taico!’ ‘Do you know they have one kitchen there where you eat plenty food with just 80 naira?’ ‘See see, see their fine calender.’
I eventually knew what I felt 10 years ago was disappointment, but I was too young to put a word to it.
As I grew older, disappointments began to take different forms. It was no longer about frilly skirts or fancy schools. It was more realistic, non-material things which have a lot more to do with my progress. I have been promised a lot of things by lots of people, promises that if when fulfilled will make me soar beyond my wildest imaginations, promises of things I never thought I’d be promised and they all have one thing in common – they are always broken.
After enduring years of torments, I stopped expecting much from people. I see humans as people who are liable to ‘feck up’ so I kept promises made by them at arm length and my shock absorber is ever ready at my beck and call when things go awry, as usual.
Failed promises however, triggered something in me. It made me learn how to turn my pain to something worthwhile. When I couldn’t attend the school I thought I’d attend, I play word games in my head, make new words out of other words and try to form six or more possible words with it. I’d tell myself ‘if the words are six or more, it means you’d go to Taico.’ the game made my English better because I always refer to the dictionary to see if I was correct. When Taico didn’t come, I vowed to be above average wherever I find myself, just to rub it in Taico’s face like ‘hey, sucks to your brick class rooms, your beautiful white auditorium, your fine lawns and awesome food, sucks to your fine way of dressing and Oyinbo teachers, I am doing well at my new school and fine. Sucks to you’ *breaks down into hot tears*
Failed promises kept me awake. It told me the bitter truth about life. Nobody owes anyone any darn thing and if they don’t do it for you when they promise to, you should not whine like a ninny over it. The world owes nobody nothing, you go there and take whatever you want yourself by working your butt off. It would never come to you as you sit in your comfort zone, making cotton candy wishes on mirages of promises. The fact that it was promised to you doesn’t make it your birthright, cry, be bitter, mop but don’t drag it for a long time. Wipe your tears, dump the bitterness, raise your chins up and do it yourself. Walk towards it, strut towards it, sway towards it, crawl towards it, you can even limp towards it. Just don’t abandon it.
Turn your disappointments into blessings. When life gives you kolanuts, grind it in a blender, add sugar, blackcurrant, pour some ice in it and turn it into your Coca-Cola.