These last five months in Lagos have given me so much.
Because man, I’ve been so afraid and anxious. Afraid of shame and conflict. Anxious about people. Afraid of being too simple for the world. Anxious about being popular or having the centre of attention. Afraid of romantic love and attachment. Afraid of responsibility. Anxious about money. Afraid of throwing it all away. Always on guard. Trying to be in control. Calculating, calculating, calculating so unconsciously, it no longer even resembles fear.
And then I come home — to save money I think, but slowly I realise — to save myself. It’s so much easier to be a stranger in the world than a boy at home. Nowhere else triggers my anxiety like this fucking city. The weight of expectation is so heavy. Everything is here, everyone is here (even when they’re not). But now I’ve stayed long enough that I’ve had to deal with many of the things that scare me, one after the other. And looking back now, I’m grateful for all of it. An education I didn’t sign up for, but one I desperately needed.
My whole thing is constant self improvement, but this time feels like such a leap. Like my adult self is now in front and the child no longer has to be on guard. I can engage with the world and hold complex ideas about myself and others. I’ve reconnected with my odd sense of humour and want to share my opinions more often. I can accept love and responsibility. The man knows, better than the boy, that pain is inevitable but misery is a choice. All of these difficult feelings make up the experience.
Relax, sweet boy.