The other day I was having a conversation with a relatively new friend that I call Hobbit on account of his really interesting feet. His feet are so arched that they quite literally put the arch in arch. They're also really hairy. I know that this seems like an odd thing to notice, but I did and so now, he's hobbit, the Sam to my Frodo. I like to think of our relationship like that. I can't possibly be the Sam to his Frodo because I can't bear to not be the protagonist of my own life.
He said, "you know Afam, people don't change."
I disagreed with him so I said, "you can't say that. I'm looking to change. I need to be more efficient. I need to manage my time better. I'm going to be twenty-five soon. If I don't change I'll never get where I want to be. This is probably one of the reasons why we're friends. I see qualities in you that I want for myself. If I can't change then I might as well live out what's left my days on Elegushi beach drinking with the locals, and aspiring to nothing."
I'd caught him, and I knew it.
"People don't change unless they want to." He countered.
I agreed with this, but I can't see how people don't look at themselves and see how they could be better. I don't understand how anyone can be so comfortable with simply being. Are we not all works in progress? Do we not all evaluate ourselves and look for ways that we can fix things. Of course there are bits of you that you can't fix, because there's nothing wrong with being the way you are. For example, I'll probably always dance on the street when everyone's looking and after a day of socialising, I'll probably always turn off my phone because I need time to recalibrate. And I'll probably never be fine with people poking me or tickling me. I quite firmly believe that Papa Afam did not release sperm, and Mama Afam did not contribute an egg so that I'd be open to being prodded like a cattle rearer's cow. If you're a seasoned afamzer (loyal reader of The Ramblings of a Madman) you already know this. The best way to make me lose my cool is to poke my right nipple. Those of you that aren't Nigerian will wonder about the specificity of this, but I've been teased that way so often that I can tell you the exact result of each poke. A grab at the right nipple may result in me violencing you without apologising.
"Do you know the one thing all successful people have in common?" he went on.
"Single mindedness?" I asked.
"Yes, but also sacrifice. They all sacrifice so much. But we're too obsessed with being ourselves to sacrifice anything. We're all so occupied with the superficial things about ourselves that we can't find the time to push for a greater objective."
He was making sense. I couldn't refute his assertion. Anyone who has ever seen me when I'm pimply would see why this is. I often map the growth's progress for a day or two before I give in to my base instinct and burst the damn thing and I don't stop at bursting. After I've burst the villain, I squeeze the are repeatedly to make sure that I've done all that I can to remove all the toxins it was holding. After that I changed the topic.
I said, "All I can think about is when I'll be done growing up. You can't grow up forever, and it's terribly inefficient to postpone it. I can't be 37 with the same problems I have now. It's so easy to get stuck in life. I don't want to be stuck."
The silence was profound. I don't think we spoke after that, and if we did, then we probably went the way of light-hood: the stuff that lubricates conversation. We may have spoken about his love for finding new music on Soundcloud or my undying predilection for all things Taylor Swift. While we were filling the air with words that didn't matter, my thoughts were racing.
I'm glad for all the growing up I've done, and I'm eager for me to do some more. I'm glad that I know myself better than I did a year ago. I'm Afam. I don't see myself clearly. My face is spotty, and my facial hair is scruffy because it still grows in patches. I'm emotional about my work in the worst way. I'm a writer that has a blog so why do I still feel mildly embarrassed whenever I leverage on my facebook friends for virality? I'm still a work in progress, but I can't tell you how glad I am that there is progress.