I have a love-hate relationship with my room in school. I live on the top floor, directly underneath the water tank and due to some management errors; water gets into my room – A LOT! The first time it happened, they said the tank fell and they would fix it, we let it slide and cleaned up the mess. The next time it happened, they changed the ball something in the plumbing system – I’m not big on physics, so I can’t really explain it, but it didn’t work. Subsequently, every time we let out for holidays, I came back to a mess – soggy books, spoilt food, damaged clothes, bags and shoes that had to be thrown out. Every time, same old story – we are sorry but we don’t
know where the fault is coming from, and every time, I had to understand.
Alot of people talked to me in the chaotic nights when the drip-drops from the ceiling won’t let me sleep and the mornings after, when I’m hurrying for an 8am lecture and getting my makeup done, with water soaking my shoes. They were sympathetic, of course, but there was
little they could do. The advice was the same – ‘Once the rent is due, move to another room’,
‘Haba! How can you be living like this, they should be paying you compensation sef, if it were me, I won’t take it o’.
I would nod vigorously in agreement while squeezing out brown water from the mop, and when the rent was due, I found myself paying for the same room again.
I cited many excuses to convince myself I was doing the right thing.
‘It was my first room, technically, I launched it, no one had been there before me, how do I start leaving to another room, what if it’s worse off, there’
‘They said they would fix it’
‘How do I start all over again’
‘They would fix it’
Here I am, some months later, throwing out another batch of foodstuffs
and clothes and wondering if I made the right choice after all.
You see, I had this attachment to the room and no matter how bad it was, living there, I held on, believing it would be better, believing things would change.
If this describes your love life, then this article is for you.
I was one of the lucky few to find my first love and first relationship in the same person. I honestly find it weird when people say they fell in love for the first time, in their second, third or
fourth relationships or some, never with the one they ended up with.
I begin to wonder what they had been doing all their lives, dating all those people and not being totally smitten like all first loves go. I mean, honestly, if you’ve not had that puppy love experience and the attendant heartbreak, then, my – oh – my… Mine lasted 10 months, broke off, came back after four years and despite the lies, secrecy and sneaking around, I thought things would get better. The other woman wanted to know if the lie he told her matched the ones he had told me, and I believed him when he said he was not interested in her, just waiting for the right time to break it off, how she was delicate and he didn’t want to hurt her – I’m guessing now that I’m the one made with a heart of cement and at the time, I believed it – just the way I believed her asthma would kill
her if he left her.
This is the point where I pause, to laugh.
In retrospect, I look back at my 16 year old self and wonder all the things I would have done differently, if I was a little bit wiser.
I remember falling into another situation that looked like love for the first few months. When he started cheating and hiding his phone, I blamed myself. When he locked me out of his house and turned off his phone, I blamed myself. My friends were livid, they cussed him and warned me never to go back, I nodded vigorously and at the next phone ring, was back in his arms. It took him breaking up with me four times for me to learn to say no and mean it.
He was shocked, I was too. He tried the kneeling down and the tears, I looked away and said no. He was dumbfounded, I was too. He tried the long text messages, calling himself a fool and me? The wife material he didn’t see all along. He said he would die, I offered to dig the grave. He was amazed, I was too. You see, I used to be so good at forgiving, once you said you were
sorry, my brain would do a quick reset and the vicious cycle continues. It was my first time saying no to anyone, I always took the exes back – always! This time, my friends said they’d give me a few weeks and I’ll be back to him and i believed them, because that was something my old self would have done, but it’s been like forever and I’m still here, and he didn’t die.
It’s totally okay to move on – and not feel guilty about it. I’ve been around long enough to know that you don’t owe anyone a duty to forgive, endure or suck up to anything they do to you. You’re allowed to move on and it’s totally okay. Can I get an Amen?
I was listening to Dua lipa the other day – I love music Alot and I’ve found out, there’s always a song for every situation. Someone’s been through whatever you think is going to drown you and came out
okay. In the song, she had some rules for dealing with a break up and the pre-Chorus went something along the lines of
One: Don’t pick up the phone, You know he’s only callin’ ’cause he’s
drunk and alone.
Two: Don’t let him in, You’ll have to kick him out again.
Three: Don’t be his friend, You know you’re gonna wake up in his bed in the morning. And if you’re under him, you ain’t gettin’ over him.
Alot of people stay in toxic situations because they’re comfortable and don’t want to begin again – you know, the ‘Tell me more about yourself’, ‘Have you eaten today? ‘,’ what’s your favorite color?’
questions. I mean, nobody wants to ever have to do that again, so even if their partner is abusive, they stay, either because they swallowed the pill of endurance and long suffering, or they believe things would change – and if it doesn’t, the consolation would be in the fact that the people telling you to move on are agents of darkness that want you to be single like them.
Some others stay, because their other half comes to beg and blame the devil for their mistakes, knowing you won’t be able to say no, and you don’t, because you think you can work with it and fix them –
Telling yourself, maybe if you stopped snooping through his phone and nagging, he would stop cheating and berating you – I mean it’s always your fault, it has to be. God forbid your partner is held accountable for their own misdeeds, it has to be something you did to push them away .
It’s not your duty to ‘fix’ anybody, and I hope you realize that there’s only so much you can do – a cheat is a cheat and so is a liar. Enabling them, is showing them you’d always take them back no matter what, and they’ll never change because you make excuses for them, somehow everything has to be your fault, or the other woman outside, never the fault of your partner.
Don’t be the soggy part of rice no one eats unless they have no other option.
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