If there’s anyone who has helped me in weaving language into a concrete narrative, Bolaji Gelax would be up there. It started with an awkward story I sent her, the kind of email you send and you are satisfied as a sender but not certain about the receiver. I don’t want to look at it again but funny enough,it helped me. Gelax felt I needed to up my story telling game and next was Valentine Makoni opening a WhatsApp group and I recall Amuron Mable was part of it, they were five people in number just to better me at writing and these continue to do a good job.
One thing that has helped me in life in life is accepting my ignorance and acknowledging that I have to learn because there is nothing sadder than being a know it all, that means that you have stopped learning. So with the writing that is a result of life,I always seek to be better so any writing advice is a blessing to me. This is against a backdrop of dropping literature for Political Education in high school (O’level). It must have been a case of passion against love, yes I loved literature but Political Education was my passion. I tell myself that perhaps, I would have been a better writer. There is no way you can run from your passion, politics is natural to me and whereas folks call it a dirty game,it is a necessary evil. So that is how writing was dropped at the altar of Politics.
So on the Friday 31st December,I am reading, Half a yellow sun while crushing on an Igbo’s writing not knowing that a Yoruba got me in her plans . A Naija number (+234) calls me, that’s rare because ever since I got ill, friends usually text me by WhatsApp because of my impaired speech. The number calls me repeatedly and I send them a text message to send me a voicenote. The insistence told me that this must have been a serious call.
“Compliments of the Season, Happy New year in advance, My name is Ayatomi and I work with a calling company, this is what we do, we call people’s loved one’s on special days, this is a message from Bolagi Gelax…”At that she said a prayer for me and wished me a great 2022. Never have I felt speechless. The irony being that with speech impairment, you are literally speechless. I was overwhelmed by Love. I began asking myself,”what right thing have I done to deserve the love from the friends I have got?”. Was it the online character that I painted in my stories?A couple of times, I have called Gelax and I do send voicenotes to her. She was one of the first people to request for voicenotes after reading my posts. I do remember her first voicenote,”I love the positivity in your story, the illness is not a deathbed and I thank God that you are alive and pushing on”
Alan Jackson in the song, ‘The older I get’ has a line, The older I get, the truer it is its the people you love not the money and stuff that gets you rich. Life has been the greatest lesson, Writing was never a plan but when the stroke muted me,I found clarity in writing, resumed blogging and here I am speaking with my right hand.I maybe walking through the fire but what matters is how well I do it. Life has no rewards for crybabies, so sitting down and crying is not on my to do list. Friends have been my greatest support system and this is where I celebrate the Afrobloggers community. I don’t want to say that life has been unkind. Life has rather ensured happiness and hope at my lowest moments.
What is amazing is that she could have sent a voicenote, but chose to use a calling company. That is beautiful and thoughtful. The good book has a verse about the Lord not leaving us nor forsaking us. I want to believe that the lord uses people and on New Year’s Eve, the Lord used Gelax. Bolaji, thanks for the love and encouragement, you definitely made my 2022 .At the risk of being called a fish (she does call me that sometimes), I would have more been elated ‘Kahima’ had called. Blessings to you my dear friend, I love you too.