I look at my nephew and my mother’s face stares back at me. It is almost new year, and little things have begun to remind me of my mother; the bottle of gold spot I saw on Bariga Sugar, the Eva wine bottle I saw at a supermarket, and the suya from the university of suya guy in my hometown I have begun eating again this year.
New Year’s Day, Years Ago
The whole family gathers in the sitting room. It is new year’s day and we are about to pray. My mother is wearing a scarf, wrapped around her head. We stretch our palms out and cup them to our face… “Bismillahi Rahmani Roheem…” we make supplications, thank God for sustaining us in the previous year, pray for guidance and blessings in the New Year, and pray that God sustains us and spare our lives. This last request would not be granted for my mother.
After the prayers, we eat suya and drink Eva wine from glass cups. We click our glasses together and say happy New Year. There are no mobile phones at the time, so we have no friends to call or send texts to. It is just us- a nuclear happy family.
Once or twice, a family member has tried to resurrect this ritual. But, I want the memory of this ritual with my mum preserved, not covered up with new memories. So I do not encourage this.
In my late teens, I would ensure I get airtime on my phone and would wait for the clock to announce a New Year and begin to make calls, wishing my friends and acquaintances Happy New Year, I would receive and send flowery and superficial messages. I soon got tired of it, I got tired of reading BCs and copied and pasted messages that I did not believe were sincerely meant for me. I simply just say ‘Happy New Year’ out of obligation.
I often wonder why people are so excited about the year, I wonder why I was ever excited about it. What’s so special about a New Year?
For some, it’s a time to start afresh and/or reflect on what they have been through. To celebrate their survival and accomplishments.
I try to reflect.
This has been a year of testing limits and torturous hope. It has been a year of learning to be unapologetic about existing and chasing my dreams.
In the middle of the year I had my most emotional and mental breakdown while smiling at everyone and answering ‘Fine’ to questions about how I am and how I am doing. Thanks to life and hormones. I would wake up in the morning and wish I could go back into unconsciousness.
This tweet describes my 2017:
I learnt you can go through shit and still look clean https://t.co/r3EvMmSpFo
— ThaRock (@PetrePan_) December 31, 2017
In an interesting turn of events, I am here excited about the possibilities of 2018. I am thankful I survived 2017, thankful that I was able to turn pain into a fuel. What are you thankful about today? What are your hopes for the new year? Please share in the comment section below.