Thanks Mom for ushering this wonderful child into the world

Lets assume it’s 20-something years ago. It is on the 25th day of June and it is 8:21AM to be exact. I see strange new faces. Who are these people? Where am I? I don’t even know why I’m covered in blood. Or why my life should begin with yelling. I’m being born.

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Today is my birthday! My sixth 21st birthday, to be exact! Yes, you read that right.
This is me in them wonder years. I wonder how and when I got here. I wonder where all the time went. It feels like someone been holding the remote control and just pressed the fast-forward button and baam, I’m now twenty-all-those years old! This is a set-up that I didn’t sign up for. I was forced into adulthood, against my own will. I have not mapped out a plan for this (though I look like I do). This is not me going confidently in the direction of my dreams. 

    When I was young, I thought all the shit I had planned would work out. I watched and read fairytales and the idea of Prince Charming had imprisoned me in a box of unrealistic expectations when it came to love and relationships. I thought I would meet a nice guy, fall stupidly in love, get married by the age of 23, have babies and live happily ever after. Ma vie était tout tracée! *Everybody laugh with me* Haha. Then life happened. I met guys who broke my heart and one whose heart I broke. 

    Now I’m old enough to realize some of my plans won’t work out and it officially sucks. It’s probably wrong that sometimes when I attend a wedding or see a friend’s baby, I think “what the hell am I doing with my life?” Others have their shit together! But then I think to myself that just because you finished last doesn’t mean that you failed. It just becomes annoying and irritating when people keep pestering you with questions and reminders such as “uzashaka umugabo ryari?” *rolls eyes* As if a husband is something you find at the market and take home with you. Or as if having a husband is a priority or even an accomplishment. In the midst of such annoying episodes, punching them really seems like the better option. But for the sake of not letting my mama down, a coy smile does. Anyways, finding that special someone is never easy, and has never been. That someone who really gets you (why are the good ones always unavailable?) Maybe one gets a sign, like hear a choir of angels singing, or a bright light shines upon him like some supernatural vision from God. But what do I know? I think it’s going to be many years before I find that someone. For now, I’m enjoying my singlehood. 

    Anyways, I have this image in my mind of what my life should be but I don’t know how to get there. It’s like dreaming of everything you have ever wanted but then it’s a cruel trick waking up and realizing it was all FAKE! I often feel like screaming “this is a scam and I need to speak to whoever is in charge!”

    2016 has been a bad but important year in my life. It was so overwhelming, I had a really tough time while working on my dissertation. But with the support and (unconditional) love from my family and friends, I worked hard to achieve the milestone and I officially graduated with decent results (distinction). God’s greatest gift is having such a beautiful family and friends. I learned (the hard way) from every incident that happened to me (especially the heartbreak) and I’m very glad that I went through it and I’m super proud of myself that I sailed through.

    • Am I happy? Definitely, I am.
    • Am I thankful? Yes, no doubt.
    • Do I feel blessed? Indeed, I am.

    Now it’s almost half-way through 2017, and here I am. Single, sleepy and unbothered. Even more lazier than a cat. And still super broke. There’s no difference between the 3-year old me and the me now…financially, I’m still dependent on my parents. I still have nothing in my name. I’ve listed other (random) things that I know about myself…

    1. If anyone could ask anyone who knows me, they would easily say that I don’t like talking, at all. I have thought about jumping out a window to end a conversation. But I have the loudest mind. I always have something on my mind…every single minute I’m thinking and analyzing.
    2. I’ve been asked countless times why I’m mad, just because of my face.
    3. I have an extreme phobia for frogs (and lizards). I see a frog and run for my dear life.
    4. My greatest pet peeve is seeing someone spit. Spitting takes me on another level of anger. If only killing was legal.
    5. I’m not a morning person. I don’t remember the last time I rocketed out of bed and sprinted for my life in the morning.
    6. I don’t wear make-up. I find the whole process of applying make-up very tiring and time-consuming. Make up doesn’t make me feel as good as that extra 1 hour of sleep. For those girls that wear make-up, kudos to you. Your effort deserve recognition and appreciation.
    7. I have dreadlocs. Faux locs. I cheated on the locking process because I didn’t want to go through the shocking and most unpleasant part of the experience, the budding stage a.k.a the ugly stage, as my hair was starting to figure itself out. 
    8. I have the weirdest dreams. I’m a professional dreamer.
    9. I google everything. When I can’t find something on Google, then I know that the Lord is testing me.
    10. I have the world’s best parents. And I have the best godmother. Together, they all give me ambition.
    11. I’m very observant. I pay attention to every single detail.
    12. I’ve never fought with friends (or others) in any way whether physically or verbally. However, I have ignored (and cut off) a handful of friends that weren’t trustworthy.
    13. I prefer beer over any other alcoholic beverage. Wine? Nah. Whisky? Nah. Just beer, preferably a cold one.
    14. I hate high heels. And I don’t know how to walk in them. I be like a grasshopper. Hehe.
    15. I’m terrified of needles and syringes.
    16. I seek perfection in everything I do.
    17. I watch a ton of movies and TV shows. My most favorite being GoT & HTGAWM. And I so very much love French movies, my favorite ones are Le prénom, le dîner de cons, and most of Louis De Funes films.
    18. I have a high metabolism and I’m really slim. I can eat a lot of food without getting fat. I’ve been eating lots, not skipping breakfast, only to find out yesterday that I weigh only 46kgs. The horror!
    19. I love MEAT…all kinds of meat…pork, beef, chicken, goat meat, you name it…whether boiled, grilled or fried. I also love salads and fruits (especially mangoes. Yummy)
    20. I have a shopping addiction and I derive great joy from it. And for that reason, I always keep a shopping list (just in case).
    21. I speak basic French and I hope to continue improving. I want to learn Spanish, German and Chinese (currently learning Chinese).
    22. I want to learn sewing. In the future, I want to be wearing clothes that I’ve sewn myself. And I’m also thinking about going to culinary school because I love cooking.
    23. I’m rubbish at anything sporty, and have always been. As a child I’d find any way to get out sports activities at school.
    24. Everyone tells me that I look younger than my actual age. The last person I showed my ID card (a policeman whom I told my age thought I was joking, so I showed him my ID card as proof) suggested that I cut off 10 years. So, I now officially declare myself 19 years old.
    25. I’m best friends with my Dad. 
    26. After stopping many years, I’m now doing art again (drawing, mainly). It’s not easy but I know I can go far, so I don’t intend to ever stop again.

    There is still so much I still have to do, so much I want to accomplish!

    My birthday is always an opportunity for me to reflect on all those little things that make me realize just how blessed I am, and how much good I have in my life. 
    As I celebrate my birthday, I do not just see someone who is a year older. I also see someone who is full of unbelievable awesomeness, more talented and even more loving.

    Today, I have looked in the mirror, and I found that it is not so bad! In fact, I can still pretend to be ten years younger, than I actually am (see #24).

    So, cheers to myself for surviving another year. And thank you, Mom for giving birth to this wonderful child. 

    To being forever young.

    Happiest of Birthdays to me.

    Introducing Me: Angela, the artist


    Drawing has been one of the best parts of my life ever since I could hold a pencil.

    I started drawing at a young age, but not continually. I remember helping a teacher at school make cards for her class, for the Christmas holidays. However, as a child, Mom didn’t encourage me to draw because she thought drawing would distract me from paying attention in class. She wanted me to concentrate on my studies. Then studies replaced drawing and my art was put aside. But I always knew that time would come when I could dedicate much more time to it. Because I’ve always believed that such gifts are given to us like seeds to water and nourish them and to let them grow. 

    I graduated from college, in Feb 2017 (thank heavens). However, I didn’t want to apply for a job then. Even though I didn’t want to, I couldn’t apply anywhere without licensure. The process consists of sitting for a series of exams and because of that, I had no intention of sitting for another exam any time soon.

    Speaking of jobs, today the job market is tough. And too tight. Businesses are too volatile and complex. Jobs that once took a bachelor’s degree, now take a master’s. Then there are young students, working hard and studying for a degree that may not be helpful for finding work. Thus, debt-strapped students wallow in student loans. For some job offers, experience is one of the requirements. 3 years experience or even 5 years experience. Hehe. Yet, as a graduate, one has limited quantity of experience. Sometimes if you’re lucky to get a job, the job is in a rural location with very little potential for growth. Yet one has big city dreams. It is a struggle, and it is (very) hard to remain positive. 

    Anyways, since I’m done with school (at least for now) it was a perfect opportunity for me to commit myself to reviving my art. And now I have my mother’s and father’s full support and encouragement. It wasn’t until about the time my best friend was getting married (four months ago) that I began to revive my God-given gift again. I started by thinking of a wedding gift to give her. I wanted to give her something unique. Something made specially for her, and only her. Something that had meaning beyond any words could express. Something that would make pleasurable, vivid memories. Picking up a pencil and starting drawing after a 20-years stop was hard. So, that’s when I started to make decorative art. With the help of a carpenter who made a frame for me, I made a wedding gift for her. 

    For another friend’s wedding, I made him also a wedding gift.

    And since then, I’ve been drawing though not frequently. For now, the very reason I draw is because I can. I draw because I need to. Because it is fun and fulfilling. It’s a passion that flows strongest in me. It’s like a force that can’t be stopped. It’s something beyond explanation. My natural gift is generated from creative passion. Spending hours on a drawing gives me a real sense of accomplishment once it’s done. 

    Claire & Placide

    H.E. Paul Kagame

    I feel so great when I see my drawings. It is so satisfying. I feel the same with my art pieces. I could spend hours staring at an art piece that I made. My life wouldn’t be the same without it. 

    I have wanted to be an artist, for as long as I can remember. Maybe my name will never be in lights or no pictures will be taken of me on any red carpet but I have a dream to do art professionally, not just as an amateur. I want to use the God-given gift to the fullest possible extent to make the world a better place in some way. And I hope my work brings joy to people.

    I’m still on the discovery path, exploring many subjects…painting, weaving, calligraphy, collage making. For now, the particular kind of art I’m inclined to do is decorative art. Drawing is relaxing, for the most part. However, it can be challenging and frustrating at times. So I do decorative art because it’s a lot easier (for me) to do than drawing. And I feel it is one of the best means of expressing myself. Few weeks ago, I also began taking classes for (bamboo) weaving. It wouldn’t hurt if I also made some bamboo handicrafts. However, I don’t intend to stop drawing because I want to be an expert in drawing and the only way to get better is to so it consistently.

    Even though this is the beginning of my art career, I already feel that relief inside that I am doing what I love doing.

    Child of the technologically challenged

    ​My folks are a hilarious pair. My Dad is always telling us funny stories and cracking jokes. He’s always been a funny guy. I love when they are arguing, like siblings. And when it comes to technology, they are even more funnier. And more stressing.

    How do I send a message to someone without everyone else seeing it?

    Who are all of these people in my Facebook?

    How do you know if someone has read the email you sent them?

    Why are my contacts in different colors? See? This one is in red, this one is in purple, this is in green…

    Since I’m the one living with them, I’m always the one they call when they need help with a phone problem. I may know what downloading means or how to install an app, but there are some things that are a bit much for me. I’m interested in tech and stuff, but I know my limits. However, because I know some vaguely tech-related stuff, they seem to forget that I studied Biomedical Sciences and think that I pursued ICT. It’s like they think that I was born holding an electronic gadget. Some things they ask me about/to fix are too far beyond my own abilities (and that’s when I run to uncle Google for help). Because there’s a world of difference between figuring out how to install a new app on my phone and resetting mom’s phone, screwing up, and depriving her of communication entirely. 

    Well, most of the time, I feel more than a little obligated, since it is me that introduced them to these things in the first place. And make no mistake, I don’t mind helping them. However, I think it would be better if they learned a few skills of their own, rather than me doing all the work for them. So, I try to bring them into the technical age without frying their brains. Though it’s good, it’s a bit hard. Because they always forget.

    In the past (when I was still at school) when Dad needed help with a phone problem (like updating WhatsApp), I’d help him with detailed steps. I’d provide him with written instructions. A tutorial. Except that he lost them every time. Even so, Dad seems a bit more interested than Mom. He reads news online, has a Facebook account, has learned how to download videos…he tries to keep up with the online world. 

    My mom? She is probably never going to catch up with technology. Like never. Till date, she has a hard time composing a text on her phone. And when she does manage, it’s mostly a no-spacing-no-punctuation-mark type of message. The type of message you read like…

    Facebook? Unknown concept to her. WhatsApp? Oh please! To take a photo, she forgets and accidentally changes to video. Or she moves the camera when she takes photos so that they come out blurry. Or when she takes videos, she forgets to save them and when she tries to show them to us, there aren’t any. Then she remembers that she forgot to save them and it makes me laugh a lot. 

    And the best part is always her questions…

    Why are these words (notifications) moving across my screen?

    Why is my battery draining so fast?

    Where did my airtime go?

    Is it possible to send a message to multiple people?

    Do I have a Facebook account?

    Well, it’s not that she can’t learn, it’s just that she’s never been really interested. It’s not that important to her. So, I always remember who I’m dealing with. 
    Honestly, I think it’s cool when I can teach them something new. When they achieve something little it makes me so proud of them. I count it as a great achievement that I got Mom to shoot a video and take pictures (during the convention), before she went back to her clueless life.

    Disturbing the Peace 

    ​A medium sized, middle class suburb located 19 km from the City Center, hence the name “cuminicyenda”. We moved here in 2004. We hate this place for its remoteness to almost everything…the market, pharmacy, bank…most necessary goods and services are within riding distance. There’s not much activity here, so we commute elsewhere for them. And public transport here is a complete terrible failure, but is at least available (that’s for another post). Cuminicyenda it is.

    Our neighborhood is under the flight path of Kigali International Airport. And from where we live, it’s the landings rather than the take-offs that disturb us. Some aircrafts are barely noticeable that their sound is almost as loud as the sound of a car driving by, it’s just that it lasts a little longer. But there are those that fly over so loudly that they rattle the windows and shake your soul. Those aircrafts that fly over screaming above the rooftop that they give babies nightmares. Those that make it impossible to have uninterrupted conversations. When you’re in a conversation, either on the phone or face to face outside, speaking louder is useless. You just stop talking, let the plane pass and then continue on. And when you’re watching TV, you miss hearing every other minute.

    Regardless, we don’t get a lot of noisy traffic and our neighborhood is generally peaceful. Or it’s just that I got used to most of the noise. Or that I have unacknowledged hearing loss. Hehe. I don’t know which is which. For fear of crashes…well, such events terrify me. The thought of an airplane being in a situation where they lose control and can’t avoid us, terrifies me. Besides that, our neighborhood is suitable for human living. 

    However, few months ago some other kind of noise pollution joined in.
    First, I heard the sound of drumbeats. I thought that it was someone playing loud music. But it went on for an hour. People joined in shouting songs of praise. Maybe it was a choir doing rehearsals and they would be gone in another hour, I thought. The following day, the same happened. And the following day. And then their noise started as early as 9AM. The noise was becoming a bit unbearable. We later learned that a certain Mama Pasteri started a church, in our neighborhood. Nowadays, churches and prophets are springing up everywhere…churches have become businesses. Where did the spirits go?

    Our patience was being tested by the church members whose worship services were ultrasonic. The drumbeats from the church were too loud, they made our houses vibrate. They sung. Noticeably unpleasant songs that lack musical quality. They clapped hands, jumped and did all the acrobatics. Few yelled out random words. Praise Jesus! Hallelujah! Disturbances, yelling and tantrums that interfered with our hearing. You can imagine what we were going through daily.

    Nowadays, their worship services are only held on Sundays. Even so, these people pray at the top of their lungs. They don’t feel satisfied with moderating their voices and keeping the volume low. They don’t feel satisfied with praying in silence especially in the middle of the neighborhood where babies are sleeping and people are working. People who can’t pray in silence simply annoy and irritate me.

    I, by the way, am also a Christian. 
    Prayer is a means of communicating to God, in word or thought. And before you say a prayer, God knows it already. Even before you have the thought within your mind, God already knows it. And God is not deaf. God listens! So, why the noise?

    It’s great that some people out there are praying for all of us. It’s just the volume of their voices that frustrates me. Why must they shout? Do they pray to a god with impaired hearing? Or they worship the same god that the prophets of Baal worshipped? 

    Jesus came to bring peace, but some of His followers won’t stop disturbing the peace. 

    Well, get it from me, Jesus doesn’t love you anymore because you’re shouting. And please don’t tell me I’m on the wrong path. I’m doing fine, thank you very much. Don’t even try giving me a lecture, just because I don’t agree with your shouting (and doctrines and opinions). What’s left? Pray for me? 

    If you want to, just go ahead and do it.

    Dear INES, We Are Officially Over

    2011 is the year I got into INES, a place that I would quickly learn to loathe.

    I heard about INES Ruhengeri from my best friend. The small school in the middle of nowhere, Musanze, didn’t sound so appealing at first, until I learned they had a Biotechnology program. Oh, and it was run by Catholic Fathers who are known to be serious & committed when it comes to education. Decision made! Boy, I was in for a big surprise!

    Within minutes of being there, I could feel the rot beginning to set in. The first thing that hit me was its uniquely depressing appearance.

    To begin, there was a maze of things to figure out – who to get to know, where to go for this or that. A lot of my energy went into trying to make sense of the new environment. It felt overwhelming to start over in a new place with temperatures that were uncomfortably low. Also, coping with new people took me enormous energy.
    As such, I suffered with my eating. I’d struggle to eat my meals. And on several occasions, I was physically sick. Even on the shortest of days, when I only had to be in class for a morning lecture, I’d go back to my place feeling physically and mentally drained, exhausted. My weight suffered greatly. I was scared and confused as to why this was happening because I’d never previously had a problem with my eating. Well, I was a picky eater but nothing more sinister than that.

    At times I felt suffocated. I spent most of the time at my place, with little to do but read, watch movies and sleep. Though I tried, I never felt as though I belonged. My place (read: ghetto), was my safe haven.

    There were days when I was so tired that I could barely drag myself out of bed to go to class. Those mornings when the alarm went off and I would lay in bed thinking to myself “do I really need an education?” All I wanted to do was sleep in or watch movies. But with my imminent future constantly on my mind, I couldn’t afford to sit on my butt, watching movies, while my classmates were studying.

    Well, sometimes I did. If I woke up (feeling lazy) and felt like I didn’t want to go to class, then I didn’t go. There was no one around to force me to study, to go to class, or to get a good night’s sleep. However, to stay productive, I had to know how to control myself…I had to maintain my own schedule and develop my own study habits. So, generally in the days approaching exam time, I had to catch up with the rest of the class. Those were the times when I’d lots of work that even thinking about sleeping was a luxury. I would be pushing past midnight reading. On such occasions, it was hard to take a night off, even when my mental health depended on it. When my body said enough is enough and finally gave in, I would try to take a 20-minute nap but wake up 8 hours later confused as f*ck. 

    It takes enormous self-control to go through the pressure of college life.
    Generally, the pressures are financial problems and a lot of work to do. Though, personally I didn’t have any financial problems.

    College life for me has been a series of the worst possible scenarios I could come in and during my final year, INES became a hellhole. The experience that can be deemed the worst would be when we had to submit our dissertations. After getting  the signature from my supervisor, I went to submit the dissertation only to find that 3 other different guys had to first review it before submission to the department. I was like…

    It was like they took immense pleasure in tossing us around and making us wait. I always left the place swearing all the cuss words that I knew.

    And I suppose this is what eventually brought about the problems INES is suffering from now, and what will probably be its downfall. INES Ruhengeri is a very bad university in terms of anything that management/administration should be really be judged on. It is terribly run. But things need to be tightened up, standards need to be improved. 

    INES is full of people who really want to be there…like those students who ask a question that requires a 30-minute explanation, 6 minutes before the class ends. Seriously? And it always has to be to that professor who can’t leave a question unanswered. Those were the students who had obviously bought into a badly sold dream of bettering themselves and, at times, it was horrible to watch – knowing that they were doing five times as much work as me, but somehow we were still drifting along in the same leaky boat. Hehe. INES is an institution that needs a serious overhaul, but is instead potentially ruining the lives of thousands of people. 

    Some people think being a student is easy. But being a student (especially being a student at INES) has never been easy. As with every struggle, studying calls for the grace of God. And the encouragement of friends and family.

    College life, though it was fun at times, but make no mistake, it was exhausting. However, it has helped me grow as an individual.

    The step into the real world is a scary one. Finding a job is horrifying because the job market is tough, now. It’s a real struggle and it’s hard to remain positive. Jobs that once took an associate’s degree now take a master’s, and debt-strapped students wallow in student loans. And there are those who are studying for a degree that may not be very helpful (at all) for finding work.

    Graduation is glowing in all its golden glory a few days away. I’m super glad I’m finally done with INES… With all that’s cost me, I’ll not miss INES or anything that has to do with it. And I’ll not miss being a student any time soon.

    Sincerely,
    The student who won’t miss you.

    One journey, One Purpose: To Claire and Placide

    Today I’m invited to eat and drink while my best friend a.k.a my Tante is getting married.
    Our story began in 2009, when I first saw her during the Ingando. I knew from the start that there was something special about her. Her weird light shone bright and I instantly knew that she was that crazy girl that I wanted to get to know. Then when we got to campus, I met her again and this time she was one of my roommates. I was happy to share a room with her.

    However, I don’t know how we became friends…it just happened and now she’s one of my very few but close friends. I’ve been given many blessings and I’m thankful for whatever brought us together. 

    Claire has been and is an incredible friend. Her amazing soul, the depth of her heart, her little quirks, her ability to be honest and upfront yet supportive…Claire is, quite simply, the best! She’s one of the most amazing people ever! She is reliable…I’ve always counted on her, which is always nice to have in a friend. I have a few wonderful women in my life and she’s definitely one of them. She’s one of the very few people I don’t know how my life would have been without them. No matter how dark any day got, she was always a bright light that shined. She was always there with a smile, and a word or two of encouragement. 

    As I still spent time kissing toads (hehe), she met her soulmate. Then it finally happened…he got down on one knee and asked her the four-word question. And she said yes. My heart was filled with happiness when she told me about the engagement. Now, she’s getting married (sounds weird to say that).

    Today, she embarks on the next stage of her life with her Mr Right, Placide. As I watch her live the fairy tale that we read about as kids, I’m reminded just how important she is to me…how much I love her, how much I admire her, how much I’m proud of the woman that she is.

    To you my Tante Kler, you’re my role model in so many ways. You inspire me just by being yourself. I love you. Thank you for always being closest to me even when we were in separate stages of life. We all get distant to a certain degree when we make huge transitions in life. However, you didn’t drift away and let me get very far. Thank you for never giving up on our friendship.

    I want you to know that you are an amazing human being that deserves the best in the world. You are worthy of all the love in the world and I believe you have found it in him. I’m so glad you found the one who makes your heart and soul happy.

    Marriage won’t be easy, but I know you are a strong woman. God made you extra special and made your husband especially for you, so together you will overcome any challenge that your future faces. 

    I don’t need to tell Placide everything wonderful about you, because he already knows all. I want to thank him. Thank him for making your dreams a reality. Thank him for giving you the fairytale that you so very much deserve. I hope that he loves you in a way that makes you believe in love every single day.  

    The moment you both said “I do” you became one. One marriage, one journey, one purpose. My wish is that your love for another grows every single day. 

    I love you, always my Tante.

    To Claire & Placide.

    My Moments of 2016

    I used to think that the worst thing in the world is losing someone you love. But I was wrong. The worst thing and biggest mistake one can make is losing oneself in the process of valuing someone too much. And forgetting that you too are special. I’ve learned the hard way that the worst kind of pain is that without open wounds or broken bones and that it hurts the most. And leaves the biggest scars.  
    A year and a half ago, I got my heart broken and it truly almost killed me. 5 years earlier, I’d met a guy and fell for him. Let’s just say that I thought I was lucky to have found him and I held on to him like I’d found the cure for world peace (Hehe). I thought things were perfect and that they’d never fall apart. Then all hell broke loose when he told me the truth. His words were like a glass splinter working its way into my heart. I was devastated. I’m convinced that different people awaken different beasts in you. I felt unlovable and worthless. I was left in a million twisted little pieces. There were endless questions without answers. I questioned my worth.  

    After numerous (failed) attempts to save the relationship, it was time to unfuck myself and be who I was before all the sh*t that dimmed my shine happened. I’d to let my weird light shine bright again. I’d to forget what I felt and remember what I deserve. I prayed hard to find the strength to let go of him and to forgive him. Holding a grudge was too heavy a burden to carry. Though it was a long and ugly process, I have forgiven him. But I must admit that I wouldn’t have forgiven him without Divine intervention.  

    Everyone’s been lied to, used, betrayed, and hurt. A strong person falls down, gets up, tries again, perseveres no matter what life throws at them and faces tomorrow with a smile. Because there’s nothing painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong. Frankly, I never thought there was anything good about being hurt by someone you love. I never thought I could possibly learn anything from being hurt. Yeah, it’s a shitty feeling in the beginning. 

    I often gave myself pep talks, like “Don’t be sad, you’re doing great“; “Angela you’ll be fine, love you“; “Don’t give up God will give you the strength to overcome this“; “This too shall come to pass“… I distracted myself by trying to think about someday when all the pieces would finally come together. The day I would look back at the times that had passed, smile, and ask myself, “How did I get through all of that?” The moment I got past the hurt, I was able to see the beauty in the situation. 

    I was able to look out for myself and it has effortlessly benefited me. I embraced my new-found single life. I was able to reflect on what had happened and realized that I was the shit whether he wanted to be with me or not. I discovered strengths I didn’t know I had. I have only one life and I ain’t spending it crying miserably. I got cautious with my time and energy. 

    As if I wasn’t having a bad time enough, INES joined forces to make it worse. Completing my dissertation was a frustrating struggle. After applying for permission to collect data, I finally got clearance after much delay (4 long months of waiting, yet initially I was told it took only 3 weeks). Carrying out a research study demands lots and lots of patience. Then there was this lady (the boss) I’ll call Eva who wasn’t helpful at all. For weeks, instead of giving me what I needed, she kept giving me excuses…”This week is accreditation week, come back next week on Monday“, “We are very busy, come next week“, “Not today, come back next week” I was hammered with endless and pathetic excuses. Every time Eva saw me walk in her office, I swear she wanted to punch a hole in her desk. Hehe. But I couldn’t understand what she wanted. Maybe I looked like someone coming straight from the village with no Biomedical background at all. But it wasn’t like I was going to publish the data on this blog. Or discuss it with everyone in my neighborhood. Neither was it like she was giving me the country’s top secret files or nuclear weapons launch codes. Well, I thought that as long as I had clearance, she had no choice but to give me the data. My assumption was wrong. 

    After 4 extra months of more brouhaha, I was running out of time. I had no choice but to change and go for another (much simpler) topic that wouldn’t demand much time to complete. I designed questionnaires, wrote the proposal and it was approved for the next step. Data collection is always the hardest part. You spend 10 minutes explaining the nature and purpose of your study (to participants) and only 2 agree to participate. Though it was their right not to participate, I felt like screaming. Anyways, some were very sweet and completed the questionnaires swiftly. I finally got the data I needed and went through with analysis. Working with my supervisor who didn’t respond in a timely manner to written work I submitted, was equally frustrating but together we managed to get it done. Submitting my work to the department was even more frustrating. I was pissed at everyone at INES and hated them, at equal measures.

    At this point, I know that all wounds, no matter how bad, heal in time. I’ve realized that this is a cold world, so I’ve learnt to put my feelings in my pocket. However, I know for a fact that I’m loved. I know that I mean the world to some people and that they care a lot for me. Through all this, I always got support. Whenever someone asked how far I was with my dissertation, and I told them that I was stuck at some point, they either comforted me or offered support that ranged from financial help (money) to free printing services. I would have become insane without these very people. Bless you all. 

    These people also restored my hope in love. After the breakup (probably the ugliest in human history) I thought I was unlovable because I measured my lovability based on him. However, being shown immense love and endless support, opened my eyes to see that there’s nothing wrong with me. Absolutely nothing. And I know that there’s always another fish in the sea and that not all guys are the same. Just because one hurt me, doesn’t mean the next one will hurt me, too. I don’t doubt that there are still some good men out there. So, I won’t deny myself a chance to be happy. And the statement “If you can love the wrong one so much, just imagine how much you can love the right one” reminds me of all that I can offer. So yeah, I’m still waiting for mine…  

    The pain is still there. It never really goes away. However, it doesn’t keep me awake at night thinking about what could have been. Nor does it make me cry. It does it make me hate him, either. Instead I thank him for teaching me a valuable life lesson. 

    Looking back on 2016, I see how much God has protected me, and how much He’s blessed my life. I entered 2017 happy and very single.

    Happy New 2017 y’all. 

    P.S. To all the men and women out there who broke our hearts, thank you for helping us grow.