2015 in view: of tears, laughter and victories

I believe the New Year starts out with new desires, new dreams, and new goals. Make no mistake, the New Year is not a ‘cleanser’ for the sins of the previous year, but I like to see it as a fresh start and ain’t nothing bad with that!

So, 2015 started and I was excited for a lot of reasons – New Year Jollof rice, writing, making extra money (it never hurt; did it?) and most importantly, a better-developed lady.

The year didn’t start out great. Malaria along the line and then I was dealt my first huge blow in my new found career – screenwriting. But I took a lesson from it; “when people want to cut you off; they just need an excuse.”

The beginning of the year continued with his topsy-turvies but it hit a new low when I lost my Uncle and “Big Daddy” (as we called him as kids) to cancer. We had been praying for him since late 2014 when he was diagnosed and we were all hoping for a miracle. I even wrote my second cancer-themed blog series, ‘Two weeks to go’ about that period praying that my Uncle would be fine like the ‘Ade’ character in my series and get to full remission. However, on Sunday, March 15th we received a phone call from his family that he had lost the battle. I watched my mom cry on several occasions; she’d be sitting somewhere maybe listening to the news or reading and then the tears would just flow. We trusted in God to see us through that period as the loss of a loved one is really devastating. I haven’t found the proper words to eulogize him, but I am thankful that he knew I loved him.

I took a major step in forging ahead in my career by getting into a business partnership. A friend and I set up a filmmaking company and then we started work towards producing our first film. Making a film is a big deal! We tried pitching stories to companies as we sourced for funds to carry out a project. No luck! At a point, it seemed as though we were never going to get the money to do a film. Any type of film! But, here’s the truth, you are going to keep waiting for opportunities if you don’t take a step; and guess what: those opportunities won’t come. In August, we shot our first production, a docudrama which we financed from our pockets and on a very thin budget. “Her Lines” was a major leap for us, not because it raked in a million views on YouTube which of course, it didn’t; but because it was our motivation towards something big. I am grateful to God because down the year, we have a total of three productions which have been financed by my partner and I because we chose not to give up, and we believe that the New Year would be much better by God’s Grace. Lesson here; “take that step!”

When I lost my Uncle who was above fifty years, I felt it was premature. There are a lot of things he’d miss. He’d miss seeing his grandchildren, he won’t get to see my cousins marry or even attend mine or that of my brothers. Life does take a lot from you and most times, we just have to be ready for these things.
But, nothing prepares you for the death of an age-mate. And when life took Ayobami Oke from me, I knew what it was like to hurt. I knew what it was like to cry till your throat hurt and rock yourself back and forth and tell you that it’s going to be fine. Ayo, tall, athletic and the perfect basketballer. The perfect friend. Me, the not-so-perfect friend. He was known as ‘massive’ to his pals. Ayo never mentioned that name to me, but he used it as an alias when he’d comment on my blog series. He supported me. Ayo and I were close. He’s that friend you’d call and he’d be ready to do anything for you. Back in the university, we’d walk and talk and of course, I’d hear about basketball from him but he also knew how to listen. We kept in touch even after I had graduated from the university (I was a year ahead of him), but then, we grew apart. We struggled to get the friendship we had because I was too ‘busy’ with work, with life and goals. I failed him. We tried to meet up on several occasions but life kept getting in the way. When I was busy, he wasn’t. Then he was on his internship and we couldn’t find the time. The truth is, there is never a perfect time but if someone is important to you, you have to find the time. When the news of Ayo’s came to me that morning, all I could do was rush to his WhatsApp and buzz him endlessly, I waited for my messages to deliver like the last time but they never did. I am not so busy anymore, if only Ayo would give me another chance; we’d hang out, we’d talk, we’d eat, we’d laugh. But, Ayo is not coming back. And I am never going to see him again. I went to his funeral to pay my last respect. I wish I had done better. For all the things we should have said that we never said, “I am sorry, Ayo.” Here’s what I learnt, “Be there for people. Talk to your friends. You never know the conversation that’s going to be your last.”

I had shed a lot of tears this year but I did have the tears of joy. It’s been my year of immense reward for my work. I might not have won the AMVCA yet or gotten a nomination for it. But I did win the Homevida Awards and I bagged four nominations in the Nigerian Writers Awards . I might not be able to explain the joy that fills my heart, because sometimes there are no words to explain God’s goodness, even when we are not deserving of it. The thing with awards and recognitions apart from the fact that they force me to be spotted in gowns, (if you know me quite well, I love my sneakers and jeans) is that they do serve as a motivation and a sign that you must be doing something right. And when it comes to writing, I only want to do it right. Here’s the thing, “You’ll win! Trust God and keep at it!”

Over the years, in between blogging and screenwriting, I have found myself ‘struggling’ to finish my debut novel. Sigh! But, this year, I have crossed a personal landmark I have set for myself and it has me so excited and grateful to God and friends like Ire Akinsola, Timayin, Dipo Ogun and Yemisi who would not stop asking about my Novel, even when I felt they were bugging me! I am not saying so much about this novel but it is my first and the journey towards it has been intense but I believe and I am hopeful that it would be worth your while! To all the people who have supported me since I started writing (age 2! Yeah!) and blogging fiction series in 2012, a paper back novel from me is coming your way soon and I would appreciate more of your support. Thanks again! “To George”

Ah yes! CHELSEA! These guys have given a new meaning to ‘surprises’. This year they have won the English Premier league and have also managed to be the whooping dogs of the new season. Isn’t that surprising?! I can get really emotional about Chelsea, so I’ll just stop writing here about them.

Of people; Friendships end. I learnt this. I accepted this.

Of people again; love people, make memories, people deserve your smile.

Of Debtors; pay me what you owe me! I worked for it.

Of Family and Friends: You are my strongest support system. God bless you.

Of Love: Surely, there’s a George out there for me.

Of Life: I am ready. Take your best shot!

Of God: Who am I that you are mindful of me? I am nothing without God’s Grace.

See you in 2016!
Love,
Tomi Adesina.