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Dear reader,

Happy New year once again! I trust your new year kicked off with so much positive energy from you. If  not, please be good to yourself and stay positive!

I want to share my story with you. It’s a recap of my experiences, challenges, testimonies and gratitude of 2015 and I hope it inspires you to believe in yourself even more this year.

The advent of the year 2016 opened up a cluster of thoughts, swinging me back and forth in reminiscence of the different occurrences of the past year, which had put me in an array of emotions, that made me laugh, smile, tear up, almost give up but in the end, proved itself to be worthwhile.

If there’s anything to be thankful most about the past year, it has to be for LIFE!

You know, many times we pull through a lot, dealing with our own struggles and pain alone without anyone sharing in our burdens and even if they did, they could never feel exactly what we feel. I’m thankful for the life of me– of last year and this year.

Last year, in the months of June, July (especially) and august, I was like a dying flame ready to be blown off by the tiniest whisper of the winds.

Anyone who has never been at the point of losing their lives may never know the true value of life. I had survived the excruciating pains of a ruptured appendix, experiencing a two-times surgical operation within the stretch of a drastic month. I experienced the scalding and scorching of hell’s flames and made it back alive!

I had lost so much weight, I could be said to be darker than even my own shadow, picking breathes from my little heartbeats, and making broken speeches within the pauses of exhaustion whenever I spoke.

I remember my mum bringing me back home after my first surgical operation in Benin Republic where I completed my Law Degree. I choose to jump the experience of the first operation. It can’t be told in just a single blog post.

So roll over to returning home from my weeks of torture at the hospital. I was totally unrecognisable! My Big sister had hugged me severally like it was the last she was going to see of me after that night. I slept through the night of that day replaying all of the events back in Benin Republic; from my days into weeks of hospital admission, the torture of the pain I went through all night on the lonely hospital bed, feeding on bags of drips. I was happy to be back home and alive even with the pain of the stitch on the right side of my tummy. It was all going to be over now that I was in the company and love of family, so I thought.

But evening passed and morning came and I had to be at the hospital in Nigeria for a check-up and removal of my stitch if due. Little did I know that I was about to re-live the painful experience of my first operation all over again because underneath my plastered wool and gauze, was a loosened stitch with so much fluid which had made the cut even deeper and saturated. The cut was so deep, one could see the inner tissues of my belly. I didn’t sight the walls of my home again until about 2weeks of another round of hospital admission, undergoing another surgery. I had to be stitched all over again!

I have only shared a little from what I would love to call “My near death experience” because of the immense gratitude my heart remained with after facing this challenge. Beyond my health challenge, I am grateful that I got another chance to live and with this second chance, daily, I am reminded of my purpose– To grow, to build, to inspire, to lead.

I’m grateful for the privilege of being able to be present for my graduation ceremony on the 25th of July 2015– less than 72 hours after my discharge from the hospital, after my second operation. Though I limped and was still in subtle pains, struggling through the clicks and flashes of the camera on my graduation day, I smiled through it all because being present and healthy again to celebrate with wonderful family and friends in school seemed a dream I was yet to come to terms with.

Every other day after my graduation ceremony was over, I picked back what seemed like the pieces of my life I’d abandoned one of which was writing and blogging. I decided not to be drawn back or sulk over the challenges I’d been through. I kept pushing because one never achieves anything over negativity. It never really mattered if I had not covered my set tracks for the year, what mattered to me was to keep moving– to keep pushing!

I’m grateful for every other events that have happened over the months from my graduation until December, 2015.

For the success of #PATRIOTSFORCHANGE blog contest which rounded off on the 1st of October, 2015.

For the opportunity of speaking at the #HangoutwithElsieisy event organised by Elsie Godwin.

For discovering my new love for spoken word poetry which I first began last year with my first performance at #Empoweredbywords organised by James Ademuyiwa, and subsequent performances at poetry events as Arthub by a wonderful father and poetry Pioneer Mr. Eriata Erihbabor who I love to sit and talk with even when I can’t find my words.

Speaking of my new found love for #Spokenword Poetry. This surely covered part of my gratitude lessons of 2015. I had attended #FistofWords event at Ibadan last month, organized by our very own Kukogho Iruesiri Samson and up until the scribbling of these words, I had not found the words to put down about this wonderful event because it left me totally overwhelmed!

Making it that day to Ibadan was a struggle between making such long journey alone and finding someone to accompany me. The latter became obviously impossible late the night before. The morning after, I had decided to journey alone regardless just for the love of poetry.

It was well over 4 hours’ bus drive from Lagos to Ibadan because of the traffic but eventually, I made it there successfully even though I was very much late. The friendly ambience of the place was everything, especially meeting faces I’d only met on social media but never in person.

It was on this day too that I finally met these two people that won my heart for the day– Kukogho Iruesiri Samson and Ayoola Goodness Olanrewaju (winner of Peregrine Reads October #Patriotsforchange contest)– both of whom I was just seeing for the first time. I couldn’t express the joy at seeing these genius faces in person or even the folks who walked up to me to say:

 “You’re Nonyewrites right? I follow you on twitter! I love what you do. You inspire me”.

These were not just words. These were deeper than words!

I recall sitting in the auditorium after break and photo session was over. The MC had begun calling the names of “important personalities” who had just arrived. I fiddled with my phone more interested in watching the performances to take place next and of course in rendering my own performance. The MC had called a set of names when he then said “and Lady Nonyewrites is also in the building”. I must have zoned off and on in a jiffy, trying to be sure it was my Nonyewrites or someone else had “bokoharamed” my twitter handle but I was proved wrong when the MC had continued “CEO of Peregrine Reads. Can you please stand up for recognition so they see the face behind the name”. Acknowledging the MC’s request, I stood up, gave a quick smile and sat down almost as quickly as I stood up. Yes, I get shy too!

When the programme of the event continued, I dashed off outside to see my secondary school friend, Benedicta Billion Odekanmi who made it for the event, for us to bond again after 9 years. While we caught up on old times, a span of social media friends and readers, most of which I hadn’t met in person came to meet me to express their appreciation for my works which they had been following up with online. I spent the rest of the moment taking pictures, exchanging contacts and receiving handshakes from people–but the whole time, what ran through my mind was, I never knew I was really doing “something”! I was writing for the love of motivating and inspiring people to become the best they can be, I was sharing beautiful works of different writers on the blog, I was engaging and reaching out to people, all of that was the routine that kept me fulfilled and happy but that the impact was getting even deeper than I thought, that I was oblivious of!

How best could one’s year be rolled up if not in the company of my wonderful and supportive family whom God has blessed and favored me with, and loving friends and loved ones coming together to celebrate my existence!

It was the 25th of December, 2015, Christmas day and my birthday! I continued to pen down my gratitude story, after hearing the beautiful things those present had to say about me, not just for the joy of being the celebrant but for how I’ve impacted on their lives in different ways. I was left speechless in between the words from the genuineness of their hearts, I was filled with a cluster of emotions over and over again, blessing God for what He had started doing in me.

These stories, I don’t often share. These memories, I let to remain in me to keep causing my flames of positivity and gratitude to fire on inside of me, energizing my every move and actions. But for some reason, I decided to share this little with you, just to inspire you who may be reading it now.

You see, I’m not there yet. I’m not even anything next to where I envision myself to be at least before my time is up but I’m grateful that even where I am, I am able to do something which is using the gift of God to me to impact on others. I’m still growing into this purpose and you are my inspiration to continue.

2015 is over but it’s memories hang on like a heavy sky. Here’s what I have learned from 2015:

  • Whatever you do, for the purpose of impacting on others, no matter how little you think it to be or how little your audience may seem, it not only grows but it leaves a lifetime effect which sets you up on greater grounds of success more than you ever anticipated.
  • This is the responsibility we all owe to ourselves– that the purpose of our existence be to positively affect others with our gift and this does not begin when we feel we have become “something”. It begins when we decide to pick our gift and align it with it’s purpose.
  • A failure is not one who has attempted and failed but one who has failed to attempt for fear of failing.
  • You may not have covered your set tracks but it’s never too late to start.
  • Quit beating yourself up, beat your goals up instead.
  • Finally, never under-estimate your effort, no matter how little. Every effort, little or great is a step closer towards the actualisation of your dreams.

Though we may not have reached the heights we anticipated yesterday, today is a brand new day to begin a new climb.

Remember that you’re God’s masterpiece and as long as you answer to His purpose for you, in faith and prayer, He can never fail you.

Have a spectacular 2016!

You are Amazing…

Chinonye J. Chidolue

@Nonyewrites

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