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PROLOUGE

Dear Reader: If you are reading this then there are several possible reasons why;

-The world did not come to an end. Good thing

-The pandemic ended and I did not survive- not necessarily a good thing- and some gold diggers decided to Anne Frank it.

-The pandemic decided to disappear and I cash this baby out.

– The pandemic has shown no sign of leaving, we have learnt to live with it and I have turned my dear journal to a dreary history book.

Either ways. It is being read by you. I don’t know how this will play out. I might start coughing tomorrow and die in 5 days time- my throat has been itching- I might not write an update for weeks because may uninteresting life has become even less interesting or I may be whisked away by a royal family of handsome rich people who are adamant that their highly chivalrous and intellectual son must marry me and the pandemic will be a royal honeymoon. Then I’ll have plenty of stories to tell.

Another thing is I may be too embarrassed writing my life’s deepest senselessness and I may not be able to share all this.

        Chapter  One: The Lists

I know I’m not going back to that humid office that smells like our boss’s sweat for a long time. I feel it in my bones. Maybe Corona will mandate the closure of the wastage of time, mental energy and fashion sense that is NYSC or maybe I’ll be rusticated because of the hostile energy I exude whenever I wear that terrible Khaki that looks so nice on me. Apparently poopoo green is my colour, with the things I’m beginning to discover about myself, I’m not even surprised. 

I know I’m going to miss a few things like the chit chat with Lauje, the office assistant who is either in his twenties or fifties-I really can’t say- tall and lanky (hence the name) and whose head is clearly missing a few knots. He is loud and almost always speaks off point except he is talking about money; then he becomes a pro arithmetician.

I’ll miss looking at Mrs Binta, the lady whose real complexion remains the biggest office mystery -because a mix of the purple-brown lipstick and heavy foundation do funny things to ones visual senses- as she strolls in last every day and strolls out first because her ex-husband was the director and no one can say nothing.

I will definitely miss the epileptic wi-fi I can connect to only on the stairs on the way in and even though it means meeting and greeting people except when I’m pretending to be on the phone, it is worth downloading three episodes of Stranger Things after three hours.

I have barely stepped off the Napep when the scent of Jacqueline’s noodles swarm my senses and a wave of nostalgia hits. I already miss that heaven sent plate of noodles that tastes like epiphany. I always discover new things about life in every fork and I suspect she cooks them with weed, chicken poop or something like that so that we always keep going back for more. I told Hadiza that the other time and she looked at me as if I am a heathen for suggesting Jacqueline might have a slight.

Today, the Government have made an announcement ordering all offices to shut down. Today, I make two lists. 

One; all the things I would love to do in the three months (my estimate, seems far fetched but we shall see) it will take before Corona sorts himself out (definitely a guy). 

Second list; what I would love to do before the world wraps up and ends in the next few months because while an extreme end of my mind is hopeful, the other extreme end is in plain idiotic paranoia.

I swear when I see the figures of Covid-19 cases on the screen of TV before I walk out the moment the news starts because Millennials aren’t meant to like news, it looks like we have reached the finishing line and they are just rolling in the end credits. 

But then Anne Frank probably also thought so, then she decided to write a journal, then the world (Germany here) picked up the pieces, pieces of her memory and glorified her years of isolation and eventual death. Could be me. Being famous even if post mortem is better than passing through all this ‘The First Wave’ movie come to life without being acknowledged for my bravery. So let’s write this journal.

Here’s what my lists look like. Should we start with the gloomy one or the hopeful one?

To do list before Covid19 departs and the world gets back to normal even though I doubt that:

– Make money

– Make friends from different countries

-Eat junk

-Exercise 

-Make money 

-Get a boyfriend

-Make sure he is rich and doesn’t have smelly mouth (these two are hard to find together)

-Start planning on getting hitched (how does this even work?).

-Reconnect with family and old friends.

-Be nicer 

-Read Qur’an, learn Hadith everyday 

-Try reading a novel without having a headache and nausea

-Meditate inside a tub of warm water

-Sleeeepppp to get rid of eyebags and unwanted people

-Practice becoming ajebutter

-The boyfriend must be rich (emphasis)

-Go natural and grow hair to a healthy afro or waist length, whichever comes first.

-Melanin popping or just bleach the darn skin.

Pretty realistic right?

To do list before the world wraps up AKA Apocalyse

-Memorise Qur’an

-Have one kid, but I’ll have to marry first right? And I really have no time for that.

-Make money

-Sadaqah

-Eat junk because we will all die.

-Spend all the money on food… I repeat,  we will all die.

– Tell your crush you have a crush on him and that we will all die.

-Write a letter to your boss giving him tips on how to stop smelling like a skunk for the betterment of Earth.

-Sleep or don’t sleep. That’s your problem because we will all what…?

-Slap Tasi’u’s always clean shaven head because I really want to do that before I die.

There, done. My list looks like the beginning of an award winning movie.

Now to the implementation.

‘Hmmm! You smell like your office’, my sister greets as she walks by. 

I glare at her for a second.  ‘You see, it is these things you say that makes people contemplate suicide’

She laughs and walks away feeling like her life’s mission of annoying people 3 times in an hour is gaining momentum. 

I knew things were out of control when I found my sisters ‘To Do’ list from three years ago and in between the ‘make friends and stop talking to them’, ‘buy Iphone 8plus through prayers’ and ‘escape going to the University’, she legit has ‘annoy people for no reason at least 5 times daily’ like some sort of worship.

‘When did they take the lights?’ I ask her.

‘They never brought it back’ she screams back. 

I let out a long sigh, drag my bag behind me and vow to get a power bank the next time I go out. Then I remember Corona and I sigh even deeper. 2020 is going to be a long year, I can feel it.

Disclaimer: This journal is a pure work of fiction. It, in no way depicts the life of the writer nor any person. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Are You Okay will follow the life of our protagonist (she still has no name), and her quest to fulfill ‘the list’, or at least some part of it. She will discover how not-so-straightforward life is, how plans unfurl in funny ways, how family can be the crowd you want to avoid and how love can be found and possibly lost within a short time.

Most importantly however, she will find out about herself. And I hope everyone following this journal will open him/herself to self-discovery too.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

It is the most interesting of times…

I have been duped of the money I was given by my Dad as my poverty alleviation intervention, the guy I’ve been crushing on for a year was crushed by a truck driver and my only reaction was to laugh at the irony of how my crush got crushed, my clothes have become 3 boubous and 2 nighties because they were the only things I could fit in, I have approximately a football field of pimples playing hide and seek on my face, the world has run out of my favourite chocolate and …. Oh yes! Corona; the beginning of the end.

It is the worst of times.

The Year of Lefasefarel.
Welcome to my journal.

You reading this can post all the things you wish to post about your life but I defiantly will not believe you because I’ve been let down so many times by people i thought had it together but are so full of it.

The reality is that It’s not all picture perfection and rosiness as is always the case on social media (I mean who will show you a picture of his failure and hard times?) because social media life and reality are as far apart as Spongebob and sense. 

Many events and people and situations were responsible for the reality check that knocked my sense to proper functionality because I too- like many others- had, once upon a time assumed that to a very large extent, the width of the smile on a persons face on his/ her social media pictures and videos are a reflection of reality. Boy was I  wrong!

Turns out for some, it was the only place they had to smile, it was the only way they could feel a flicker of happiness which soon dies and in a bid to revive it, they need to post more pictures, tell more lies, spread more rumours and pretend they are fine.

Social media (using term to refer to situations whereby people live-literally breathe on -and because of social media) is a sickness, a mental disorder and many are suffering from it directly or otherwise. 

Remember that Middle-Eastern British couple that were the perfect muslim couple personified? Remember the sham there lives were and how in reality, one had even attempted suicide? (Even though they are back at it now)

All because they had to portray a perfect life on social media and they couldn’t keep up because no one’s life is that flawless and in pushing to do so, they lose themselves .

There are the rich ones who are in fact broke or are fraudulent. Or the ones who body shame and flaunt their perfect bodies which in reality are photoshopped, or the ones who are easy-breezy-life-peasy but their lives warped AF. 

They are all masks, a facade; believe at your own risk. Social media profiles are in most cases the only aspect of people’s lives that they can control (before hackers come for that too), and of course they’ll paint it pink and lavender.

It is sad how we spend hours and money at the expense of a real social life all so that we can lose our souls to the internet in exchange for a clowns suit, because only in the clown’s world is it always full of laughter and merriment.

There are plenty more people I’ve admired, Nigerian socialites, motivational speakers, celebrities whose real lives look like a dull shade of black. 

Motivational speakers are the worse because behind all those words urging you on is a broken spirit roaming about a dark cage but the worse part of it is that they do not know. They see from the inside out so as far as they are concerned, you are the broken-spirited person in need so they try to heal you who needs little healing by giving you bits of the spirit they have left.

If social media where to be away for a little while and people are to try and really please themselves no matter the condition away from the eyes and expectations of others, then life would have been so much easier because many will find themselves.

I’m not painting social media bad, far from it; if you know how to utilise it for good. I’m not saying don’t post your pictures even if you are fake smiling (fake it till you make it right?). I’m not saying delete your social media account or don’t listen to motivation, I’m just saying; wise up, know what to believe, know who and what to emulate, do not compare yourself with others, do not kill yourself to measure up to those who probably have less. 

Be you. The people you see on Instagram should never be the scale to judge your life and successes on. Many are sham.

I want to lose weight but I don’t want to hear the mention of exercise, dietary changes, portion control, surgery or any non-surgical procedure, starvation, or any slimming tea that cannot work within 4days of use and cannot prevent the recurrence of fat. In other words, I need to lose weight by doing one magical thing once to make the extra fat disappear never to appear again.

One concept (out of many) brought by the white man that I do not appreciate is that of ‘fat’ culture. Fat girls used to be the divas in Africa. But no! The white people zoomed in and said ‘hey, see those bunch of chubby happy people, let’s go call them fat and try to make them miserable’, all because of what? So that I’ll stop eating fried meat? Lai lai.

What is fat to me maybe not be fat to you. My definition of a fat person is completely different from that of the white man who categorizes people as either anorexic or obese. What they don’t know is that all those ‘fat girls’ who get bullied in high school are normal in weight over here. 

Anyway, as a fat girl everywhere (and I use the adjective ’fat’ with so much fondness), problems unique to your body size tend to arise. For example the extra awareness of body mass and the space it takes, especially when you want to take public transport and the only spot available is one between two fat women (I hardly see fat men in public transport), and you have to squeeze your own fat to join them, and they just mash you to one side, you literally feel your own fatness getting rolled like dough, that’s when you’ll know fat is elastic.

How many of you can’t climb Okada because you feel like the tire will burst, the Okada will not move and your side will slowly go down while the driver goes up until your weight under-balances the whole thing and the driver falls off. I have a friend who has this as a phobia.

Let’s talk about image. Wearing clothes can be easy enough before you look in the mirror, that’s when you start to find everything wrong with it. From the fitting to the bust to the waist to hips, you might take it back to the tailor to shape the waist because it will look better and by the time the clothes are back, you can’t fit in them. Reality check: our waists are layered, what did you expect?

I usually look at myself in the mirror each morning to monitor my belly’s activities. Are you getting rounder, flabbier or flatter? And when that slimming tea I’ve been taking for two days whispers ‘flatter’ to me, I see that my stomach has shrunk and I yelp in joy. My 20k slimming tea is working. It will take 5 days for me to realise I was just sucking in my stomach. My 20k wasted. And I’m like…

Slimming teas are stupid something. As a novice, I advise you to maintain. Do not start using those things if you will go to work, school, bank and definitely not market because it will turn your stomach into a craze house. Make sure you will be at home for the 30 rounds to the toilet to come. One will think with all those trips your stomach will touch your back after one bag of tea. Instead, it’s like you have just shited out your intestines but the fat dey gan.

When you feel like you are ill and you google what it means to have itching fingernails, hard feet, rumbling stomach and fat thighs and they tell you that one of the diseases has symptoms such as Weight loss and you are like ‘Well, the disease doesn’t sound so bad’ even though another symptom is dimentia. But then you are stupid.

When you are ill for days and you lose 5kg and everyone is lamenting how the sickness has taken a toll on your fat and you are also nodding with a sober expression but inside you are jumping and screaming in happiness. You don’t mind if the illness will eat up all the excess fat without making you feel sick.

But then you get better, and you start making up for all your lack of eating. And now you eat 2 big indomie and still feel hungry instead of one. You can literally feel the Kg add up till you are fatter than you were. It’s annoying that all that sickness and nothing to show. 

Stop watching reality shows, movies, cartoons, news and TV if you want to maintain your sanity in a world that celebrates and rewards slim. They’ll just remind you of your extra weight every minute because their fine is characterized by being weightless while yours is not but sometimes you forget that. The Kardashians will make you want to get a waist trainer to slim it in but it’s a lie, it wasn’t waist trainers and exercise, it was surgery. Nigerians die during Liposuction, be warned, case study: Former First Lady.

What fits the goose might not fit the gander. My skinny friends and sisters can eat 50 tonnes of fat loaded food and never gain an ounce (witchcraft and wizardry), I dream about eating cucumber, I have gained 23KG. And then once you start eating junk after a diet, forget that thing, you are broken rollercoaster, you must go all the way and then some. Your eyes will become a scale and as every bite of juicy goodness hits your stomach, your KH has upped but you can’t stop. Don’t worry, perks of being a great person.

Even disney princesses are slim. The fattest is Tiana who is black and no more fatter than my thin sister… and she still has flat tummy. They make it feel like we can’t find our Prince Charming. Just because you can’t run and hug our prince charming without toppling him over and suffocating him and we can’t be carried bridal style expect Prince charming is a weight lifter (in that case Prince Charming will want to make you start gyming, it’s a trap), doesn’t mean our happily ever afters will be less beautiful.

I, for one have grown so much fond of my fat. It’s my shock absorber. I’m less shocked at turn of events or actions of people than slimmer people who lack the padding to absorb the shock before it reaches their heart. Plus it takes more effort to break my heart because my heart lies on a pillow within. I think that’s why fat people have better sense of humor and are more sarcastic.

I’m not fat to the point of being unhealthy… Thank God. And I don’t advise anyone to be, if you are please do something about it. I try to keep fit by walking and strolling and that’s why I can cover more distances on foot than many. I’m just an average Jane who, in a sea of thin, hungry looking people looks not chubby, but fat. So I’m not a ‘not-healthy’ advocate. I just want to rock my flabs in peace, and I’m addressing my number one critic- Me.

I have more. Maybe will share it in part 2. 

What are you fat girl problems?

Disclaimer- The writer writes to connect, to be relatable, to be a home for people who might just not have the right avenue to vent. This is in no way depicting my everyday life. I am not bemoaning a condition or anything serious. This is real life issues on a light note and I shouldn’t be explaining my writeups but well…