Tomorrow I will turn 25. That goes to say that I have lived a ‘quarter’ of my life. Life, no matter how fair it has been to me so far, is turbulent still. Its nuances sway me, like a stray plastic afloat a river. A lot of things, over the last 25 years have taken place unexpectedly, that they found a way to deplete the joy and happiness one readily finds in life. Yet I have a lot to be thankful for. Therefore I thank my Chi- that splendid guardian that has walked with me right from conception; who consoled my mother through the pains of ‘child-birth’ and blotted her heart with the exhilarating joy of child-delivery. My Chi whom it was that watched over me on my infant bed lest I roll off and was with me as I grew older; saving me from every trouble- especially when I wantonly created the problems myself. I thank my Chi for being patient with me through the stormy times of adolescent stupidity…. My Chi who shared my sorrows and joys and always gave me hope of a better tomorrow; who gave me exceptional strength and lifebelt to sail through the stormy oceans of life. I couldn’t be more grateful to my Chi who has continued to make good my name- CHIMEZIE.
It will be ungrateful of me not to mention my mother. Of a truth, I lack still the appropriate words to convey my gratitude, for my mother is the God I see. Indeed, “God couldn’t be everywhere, therefore he created mother.”- this I have found self-evident a lot of times and especially in relation to my mother, no matter how blasphemous it sounds. Be that as it may, I want to unequivocally state that: “Nne m bu ife m”- my mother is my light. All I am, all I ought to be, I owe all to her. It was her who snatched hope from the sharp claws of despair; victory from the gnawing jaws of defeat. For while everything seemed bleak, while I wallowed in palpable darkness, she lit my path. A lot would have gone wrong but for her timely intervention. A lot came through and because of her. I pray God and my chi to keep her for me.
I want to thank everyone who has made my first quarter on earth memorable. Family, friends, foes, and colleagues alike. Special mention will be made of my family- and friends-those who have seen me at my best and my worst. Names to be mentioned are innumerable. But I most take out time to mention – THE FIRM-a group of fine, learned gentlemen with whom I have had, shared and enjoyed years of uncommon friendship and brotherhood. We are not without our problems, to which I must agree I caused a lot…. Yet you all contained me in your loving forgiveness and unbridled understanding. #NoHomo# but I love you guys. I hope that we shall continue to show people what (genuine) friendship really is and entails.
I have met a lot of people in my life, especially in the last 7 years, physically and on social media too. Even on the pages of all the books I’ve read. And at the same time, they have had a lot of influence on me. Truthfully, the influence has been more positive than otherwise. I will mention a few.
UzochukwuOdonwodo, Arinze Okiche, Uchenna Ezeoha, Amina Miango,Okwy Obu, Gold Odenigbo, Gimba Kakanda, DikeChukwumerije, Victoria Lekwa, Ijeoma Adim, Uloma Ogbonna(Nee Ibeleme), Franc Utoo, Onyeka Nwelue, Ekene Ngwu,Osano, Don Corleone, JFK, Bill Clinton, Che Guevera, Prof. B.Okere, Prof. G.O.S Amadi, Prof. Uzodimma Nwala, Prof. Chinua Achebe, Prof. Wole Soyinka…. My success at extracting the positive influence from all these people has been largely dependent on my ability to sieve- knowing what to keep and what to do away with. I thank you all for the shared ideas and criticisms- even the ones which were not constructive. For in as much as I am not opinionated, some of them have not been able to sway me against my earlier beliefs. I hope it would, in the nearest future. But I do not want you to be disappointed for all of us have a right to our choices. I sincerely apologize if I had ever made you feel subordinated in your own beliefs.
I have met with a handful of women in my life. I have also ‘fallen in love’ (sometimes wrongly) with some. Some while they were just girls; when I was totally unaware of what feminine inclinations is all about and thus wallowed in naivety. Hence, I said and did a lot of things because of sheer ignorance and inadvertence. I met some others later, while I have been sparsely clad with the awareness of the feminine train of thought and idiosyncrasy. Today, my knowledge and awareness of these fine but psychologically convoluted creatures of God have increase. But alas! No man-dead or alive- can boast of the totality of that knowledge and awareness.
With these women, I have had trials and triumphs. Some have left me- for reasons known and unknown- just like I’ve left some; largely due to my Gemini-flightiness and an almostundying quest for deeper meanings. Sadly, some I left unnoticed and in the lurch that all they enjoyed was a chilling silence. To these ones, I must say I am sorry for my seeming insensitivity. I am not always like that. But you see, in life, we cannot ‘take care’ of some distraction. They have an expert mannerism in effortlessly enveloping us. I have also admired many women whom for a lot of reason didn’t, couldn’t and will never look my way. I have loved some, they have loved me too. I have hurt some, they have hurt me too. But that is what love is: a mish-mash of pleasure and pain; heaven and purgatory.
Truthfully, some hurt were greater than others. But in all, I have learnt what I couldn’t have learnt any other way. I would not know if they all learnt a thing or what it was they learnt. But amongst what I learnt were: that some things cannot breathe and live, no matter the amount of life you inject into it. That people do not love you because you begged to be loved. They love you because they want to (and that is the most enduring) but they can also decide not to love you. Loving someone is a choice. I learnt that love is not a thing to be fallen into. Rather it is something you (build and) live in.
In this quarter of my life, I have been at crossroads. Sometimes I did not know the path to ply. I always took one anyways, sometimes blindly- relying only on faith and fate. I do not regret any decision I had to take, no matter how imprudent it appears now. That will make no difference. My joy is that I have learnt what works and what do not. I have also told lies because I could not bear to face the consequence of telling the truth; and a lot of times it had left me unhappier than I had been. I have also told some truths while I knew apparently that I was alone and things may not turn out in my favour. I have asked a lot of questions too- the kind a lot of people thought I should not have asked especially when it borders on my religious belief. I believe now still, just like I believed then, that it was imperative I ask those questions. I must mention that I have received answers to some and they have been helpful. Well, the quest is still in motion.
It is now my belief that man should not and will not be judged by his religious inclinations but by his duty to Humanity- his ‘neighbours’- and how well he performed same. Therefore, as shocking and disappointing as this may sound to a lot of people, I want to clearly state that: I know God. I believe in God. But I do not want to be referred to as a ‘Christian’; simply because I do not want to be muddled up with a group of people amongst which a lot do not worth the name they bear. I am not a hypocrite. I know for sure that there is no one clear, defined route to God. We find God in our own different ways.
The last 9 years of this quarter have been rippled with emotional ambivalence. There have been times I laughed so hard. I have cried too. I am never ashamed to do that. For allowing the tears to flow when we can no longer hold its stormy rage is exponentially relieving. It takes crying to find out what I am saying. I always remember- “a young man who has not wept is a savage…” I am not a savage.
Lately, I have been alone- and lonely. It surprises a lot of people that I have become almost reclusive. Yet, my aloneness and loneliness are not bereft of their endearing teaching. Inter alia, I have learnt the need for and the effect of deep reflections- on the past, present and future. Reflections are never counter-productive. I have also learnt the need for planning. I have come to understand and appreciate the need for genuine friendship and companionship. I have most importantly learnt that a man should seek a woman, first not as a sexual partner but as a healthy companion.
Lastly, on coming of age, I know very well that I have done and said a lot of things that I am not proud of. I do not remember all of them. And I ask all whom I have been affected adversely by these- family, friends or foes and colleagues alike- to please forgive me. And know that I sincerely forgive you all your transgressions against me, even if we cannot get along ever again.
At this quarter of my life, with its (Quarter Life) crisis, I have renewed my dreams and aspirations, my hopes too. I pray my Chi to give me whatever it takes to pursue and achieve them; for the sake of God and Humanity.