2016: Conversations I’m grateful for
“Kamga, you’re a difficult person to like. Do you know that?”- Howard M.B. Maximus, one I’m proud to call my friend.
I’ve found that if you have a great sense of humour, a wide range of interests, great perspective and something you’re passionate about, whether we like each other or not doesn’t matter — we’re going to have a great time. And this past year, has been packed with such times.
2016 has been ah-mazing: I read more books than the decade before. I met Gary Vaynerchuk, digitally. I quit my internship at Canal 2 . I moved to Douala and back to Buea. I fell in love. I blocked more people on social media too. I’ve had life altering meetings both online and offline. I wrote my first passion driven writing manifesto. I attended not one but TWO creative writing workshops. I hosted 5 people in my small apartment. I organized and presented not one but TWO poems at the #IYAGriotNights. I laughed again with the woman who crushed my heart 5 years ago.I started this publication with my friend and partner in crime. I watched Love Jones, Juice, For Colored Girls, Lawrence of Arabia, The Bodyguard AND Cool Hand Luke.
And Deadpool. Man, Ryan Reynolds is ze best.
The year didn’t pass without its nimbi though: I had a near death experience; I suffered one of my worse depressive bouts; for a while, I thought I wasn’t good enough to have a loving relationship; I was completely homeless for a week; I attended the burial of a 27 year old man whose life was just getting started; I lost a writing competition; I lost motivation, I didn’t launch my business; I fell out of love too. Twice. I went through a major first born son emergency. Even now, my country is still in crisis.
The spectrum of events that occurred is a beautiful memory rainbow I cannot help but smile in retrospect. Even recalling the list of the dark times above, I find it hard. This year has been good to me. I’m alive.
Thank you Lord. I’m grateful.
There’s a common thread between the things that make me smile this year, it's the people I met and the conversations I had. Hundreds of them. Each engaging and exhilarating. A few more than others. Here, I mean conversations I can still picture in my mind. People who make me have faith in mankind. People who have believed in me when I didn’t. Who, with one phone call, one message, one comment on medium, brought the fire back in my scorched soul.
I want to take this post to celebrate 26 out of such people. 26 because that’s how old I am. This is not an exhaustive list (and this is the part where you understand why some people don’t like me): I mess up sometimes. *Jared Joker* Really, really bad. And I forget very important stuff. It doesn’t change how important you are to me.
Mom and Dad.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I have incredible parents who have sacrificed a lot to let their four kids get great education. My father is way more than a father — this year, he became my worse enemy. And ended up as my strongest ally. My mother teaches me about love, care and sacrifice on a daily basis. She doesn’t even know that. Everything I know about family is from them, and my family is the most important thing I have.
Maybe you’ve forgotten the ride you gave me from MTN Douala to my home in Logpom. I needed that talk. I needed the words of encouragement you’ve been sending. You showed trust and love by even talking about me to H. That meant so much to me.
This year we had the argument of the century. On his birthday, we literally cried while texting each other. I remember I was going through a dark time. We’ve been friends for a while. But in 2016, we became brothers. I love you di man.
Your age and size fools many into thinking you don’t deserve all the things you work so hard for. You’re an inspiration and a light in this sad land of derelict youth with lost hopes and broken dreams. I look up to you. I know how pissed you are that I’m not living to my potential. Don’t worry, I’ve got plans for us bro.
My friend and cheerleader. What would my dark clouds be without your tin lining? The one who reminds me I’m not alone, even when I want to be. That day at the pool was one of the best days of my life. And my record is still 1.35 seconds. We should go check again sometime soon.
We may never meet. We may only share digital hugs and binary smiles. It doesn’t matter. I know you’ll sneak up on me when my text bleeds too much.
I found a friend in an elusive sexier version of my sapiosexual crush — you. smart, brilliant, ambitious soul. I look forward to meeting you. I can’t believe we’ve been reading each other’s blogs for all these years only to become friends in 2016. Typical ENTP.
Facebook says we became friends in June this year, I think Zuckerberg’s device is wrong. We become friends when words took life. When poetry kissed paper and rhyme became infinite. My love, we will meet. Till then, I’ll take solace in our Instagram messages.
You make me regret my genes. Would you mind if I became your clone? Keep the good looks though, give me your mind. That I may share in your unbridled intellectual prowess. You make me proud to be an African. Then again, we are all brothers from other mothers. You’re our Gary Vee, you just don’t know yet. Thank you for the Snapchat chats and the laughs. I will publish a book with Kusoma because I know the heart it carries.
Do you remember the link to the personality tests you gave me? It was a pivotal moment. One that guided me to the version who writes this. Do you remember the advice you provided on that idea I had? It’s the base of the framework I’m currently setting up. You’re royalty. A great mind in a great body. Do you ever frown? *sourires*
You own a piece of my heart I willingly shed. You taught me more about honesty and truth in one month than all the books I’ve read. You’re a strong, courageous woman. I can’t wait for you to unleash all you can be.
From the other end of the world, every single day reading your words have given me the boost to hold on to the edge when my fingers clamped. I love your grind. It’s not Vaynerchukesque. Duh, it’s Jon. And it’s fucking inspirational. You’ve affected not just me, but a lot of my close collaborators. You’re saving lives with your writing. You’re saving lives with Creatomic. You may never read this. That’s okay. Your point has been made and dreams have to be brought to life.
Nothing will be the same again. Thank you for showing me possibility.
If you’re reading this, you must be smiling. You know why. You’ve shown me that a man and a woman can have a friendship that doesn’t elicit emotions related to babymaking. Your dexterity is exemplary. I think of all the work you have and how you still make time to live your passion. You make me feel lazy. I like that. I can’t believe we only met this year.
You offered me a Bible as a gift. In this Bible, you wrote words that I go back to when my brain tricks me into thinking I’m not worth a friend. You’re more than a friend — you’re my spiritual mentor. All this time spent running away from The Word…with you gently nudging me back. Thank you for not giving up on me this year.
The Medium Staff doesn’t get it. That the shy authors always need a resident cheerleader. That your recommend provides that ounce of external validation needed to believe that in the myriad of text and colors, someone out there cares about what I write. Thank you Ali. We’ve not had a comment dance or a private note sharing session but I’m grateful for all you write and all you do for the community of writers who have only one single wish: to be read. You’re always there for us. I’m here for you bro.
With your annoying high pitched voice, you made me understand what “care” meant. You stood your ground and didn’t take my crap. We may not have what we’d wanted to, but you’ll remain special to me. I wish you happiness. I learnt more about relationships with you this year than my previous life.
Your story, your attitude and your poise made me realize how blessed I was. When I think of you, I can’t feel entitled. That wasn’t exactly a chanced encounter. Was it?
You brought out this content beast in me in my desire to share my world with you. I just read my reply to your comment on my post and I remember how much I was pleased to go through your work. Remember I said you wrote like me? I hope you’re doing well when you are.
Dr. Alexander Bede
I remember where I was when you called from the UK. I remember where I was when you made me believe would could pull-off a Spoken Word Poetry evening in 7 days. You believe in me. And if I can’t hold myself accountable to my wasted potential, I know your quippy concern will get through. You selfless, big hearted bastard. I hate your awesomeness. Beware, I intend to challenge you to a Spoken Work Poetry Battle.
It may seem like your words fell on a duck’s back. It didn’t.
This subtitle should NOT fool you. These are people who have transformed my life entirely. Either by their posts, podcasts, words, a well placed warm hug or a timely (usually unexpected) gift. I met some of these people this year for the first time. I could write books about every single one of them. Then again, this post must end at some point. I intentionally merged my favourite digital and physical humans. :)
Simo Jandie, Gary Vaynerchuk, Dzekashu Macviban, C. Befoune, Tsi Nkwe, Larissa, James Altucher, Leslie, Kathleen N.,Mike Sturm,Howard M.B Maximum, Benjamin P. Hardy, Banye, Helen, Praxede, Elodie, Koumande, Elsa, Tatiana, , Isaac Kamga, Todd Brison, UnmistakableCreative, Yannick F. ,Cynthia Anji, Mafor, Nyumia [many names inadvertently omitted] and of course, the staff at Medium.
P.S: I just had a litany of future post ideas — one on each of these names. You’ll see them through my eyes and maybe, just maybe, I will show you how incredibly loved these people make me feel.
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He co-writes with C. Befoune on this publication — Self-ish . Their goal is to share the lessons they’ve learnt from multiple sources in the domains of Self-improvement, Content Creation and Human Relationships.
You can easily get him on Twitter.
*Now that he’s single, he may reply your DMs.