I never knew I would take this decision one day
But events which unfolded in my life drove me insane. (A story for another day)
And I made a promise to the girl looking back at me in the mirror
I told her boldly
I am putting me first.
And I say it without flinching.
Like so many of you, my entire life has been spent caring for other people. That’s how it is with those bestowed with innate compassionate feelings for others. I’ve had a listening ear for families, for friends and even for strangers. I’ve been a great support to ‘everybody’. I was a spend-drift. No. Not what you think. I spend my days caring for others. I spend my time helping out those in acute need. I spend my nights making a list of problems to solve, who to send money to or reflecting on an earlier plea for help which ultimately became the norm.
The frequency at which these cry for financial assistance pour in, one would think I have a tree that produces money at my backyard. Or that I am a shareholder with the Central Bank.
And sometimes I wonder if it is a crime to be born, a Nigerian.
How can one person carry the huge responsibility of many people? Odikwa impossible, biko nu. Absolutely impossible! But this is the raw truth with many individuals.
Ah! I spent days, weeks, trying to balance me and the weight on my neck. But this wasn’t any easy. It was almost choking me as I try to balance me and my mind. The whole problem became too weighty for my shoulders. And I became overwhelmed in the face of the daunting call for help that my whole body began to ache profusely and my shoulders began to hurt terribly. This became the catalyst that informed the need to look inwards and peruse into these scenarios encroaching on my finances, my happiness and my sanity.
You know, I got lost in the act of trying desperately to keep everyone in good standing. I gave and gave until the scales began to come down. And you know the truth about these whole dramas, most of the recipients were standing tall in smiles and happiness for the largesse but they weren’t standing in gratitude.
Being appreciative of little things and being thankful for a good deed done to them was scarce in their lifestyle. A life of no appreciation, no thank you and no gratitude is a low life. I discarded these thoughts as they litter on my inner space. And I wondered why things are this way with some people.
Being an African with family and extended family values became a kind of curse. It became a huge discomfort and a big problem on the head. Being an African and being a Nigerian place an enormous responsibility on you. You wake up to all kinds of pathetic stories that seek your compassion and these stories whether true or false touches on your empathetic valves. You wake up to telephone calls, messages and emails demanding financial assistance.
“Biko, (please) I need to pay my children’s schools fees”
“Ah, please, we haven’t eaten for days now. Survival has been so tough. Please for the sake of the children, do something”
“Please Auntie, try to help me this last time. I beg you in the name of God. Please I won’t ask for help again”
“My first son just got admission to the university and this demands huge finances. Kindly assist us, my dear sister”. Even when we are not even related in any way o.
“Stella, you know I lost my job for some time now and things are so difficult for the family. Kindly help a brother/sister here and God will bless you. Ah, please, help me.“
Oh! God help us all to surmount the enormous problems that besiege us.
Different people. Different stories. Different cry of despair.
I will refrain from talking about online friendships especially here on this platform – Facebook. Those who never even engaged on any of your posts, bench warmers on your FB list, acquaintances and the endless call for financial assistance and help. These incessant cry of distress becomes overwhelming and bitterly disturbing sometimes. Though I am aware a lot of people are besieged with problems, but this depletes the pocket when it becomes one too many.
Therefore, I decided that I am putting the scales down and I am going to start showing more concern for me and me alone this 2019. Change is the only constant thing so don’t blame me yet, okay.
Yesterday was for them and everyone else. I know I have paid my dues in helping humanity a little bit. Now, I need to take a break and concentrate on me. I am embarking on another act of kindness, to me and not to ‘them’.
Enough is not a decorative word. It is good to use it sometimes to checkmate one’s actions.
So, enough of the mother Christmas appellation. It is draining.
Enough of the buoyancy.
Enough of carrying other people’s problems on my head. Enough of making other peoples problem my problem.
Enough is enough.
Now, I am putting me first.
I say it with all due respect
And I say it without flinching
Knowing I have paid my dues and touched lives.
Well, tomorrow is another day
Perhaps, I will reconsider this stance.
When money begins to grow in my backyard.
To be compassionate is good but can sometimes be overwhelming especially when the material and emotional resources at one’s disposal are limited. It is difficult to be a Nigerian when it comes to matters like this. However, we need to be reminded that Oliver Twist, that fictional character by Charles Dickens, had nothing to do with Nigeria. He was not a Nigerian. Indeed, we are in a broken world where pains and sufferings and lack exist.
The only way to curb the spread of this “Begging” and “Entitlement” culture is to close one’s heart to sentiments and emotional blackmail if one wants to get out alive. Lol. I’ve expressed myself here as a notice that has been echoed verbally too. It’s my new standpoint, new visions and a new goal. I have no regrets with the help rendered, hitherto.
But going forward, moderation and a blatant emphatic NO are the keywords to adopt.
*This was my post on Facebook. Take note that my Facebook audience is different hence the use of certain parlance to buttress my point.
Peace and Love!
Copyright © 2019 by Simple Dimple. All Rights Reserved.