Chronicles of ajidara – The Centre-Piece #2Temitope Oyetunji
MY SIDE OF THE STORY
Growing up in a family of six children, it just stood to reason that the family had to produce a medical doctor at least.
And being the brilliant and smart kid I was, I realized early enough that the lot had fallen on me and my fate was sealed.
Although as a child I was fearless and talkative, led the children choir and acted in the adult drama group; pursuing a career in the arts just never really occurred to me.
In junior secondary school though, I fell in love with English.
Even though I could not speak the language fluently, I readily scored higher in class work than my classmates who spoke ‘queens’.
I loved writing essays too. Each time we were asked to write, I came up with brilliant pieces which I expected would fetch me special recognition.
With each essay I wrote, I kept dreaming of that special day, when my English teacher would call me to the staff room; extol my writing prowess before the other teachers, and crown me the literary queen.
So when we were given an assignment over the holidays to write a short story, I knew my chance had come to eventually get the attention of my teacher.
I took my time, wrote out my heart, chose my best words and added a number of humorous lines aimed at unwinding my uptight teacher.
After I read through the beautiful story that emerged, I was sure it was all I needed to lay claim to my crown.
For days after I submitted my debut manuscript, I read over my drafts, reveling in my own ingenuity and entertaining ideas of how I could become a great writer if I worked at my skills.
Alas when one of my classmates handed me back my manuscript with no message from the teacher for me, I knew all was not well.
I opened my book, still hoping for a panegyric written in red, but I found none! Instead, a demeaning 40% stood in a circle on the blank space at the end of my inimitable story.
And with that sad incident, my blossoming love for writing was snuffed out by my English teacher, who put an end to my grandiose dreams of becoming the next Cyprian Ekwensi.
So when after my exams I was placed in arts class, no warning bell went off in me.
In fact I thought it an insult to my intelligence; as far as I knew the brilliant ones belonged in science class.
Besides, I had my family to think about, being side-lined so early in my pursuit of the family dream was just not acceptable to me, my dad neither.
The truth about me is that since as long as I can remember, I’ve never really been a studious student. In those days, I was just a smart student who possessed a mojo for passing exams brilliantly with little effort.
That was why failing woefully on my first attempt at JAMB came to me as a surprise.
So I thought, maybe I had overworked my mojo, maybe it needed a little help. But even after putting in a lot of hard work on my second attempt, I scored an average nowhere near the required score.
That was when I came to the painful realization, that my mojo was gone! And then my doubts began, because I didn’t see how I could survive med school without it.
Still, to confirm or dispel my doubts, I gave my mojo one last trial with the pre degree exams. But when the results came in, I was back to where I was.
At a point in the midst of my doubts however, I realized how being around my mates; who had made it into Medicine made me feel like half a person.
At first I convinced myself the feeling would fade with time, after all I wasn’t denied admission unjustly, I simply did not score high enough.
But as names of colleagues who didn’t even score as high as I did in the exams, began to find their way into successive supplementary lists, I started having a re-think.
Eventually, after much thought and prayers, factoring in the family dream and my own pride, I arrived at a resolution.
Next thing I knew, I found myself in med school naked!
Academic life without my mojo was grueling.
For the first two years in med school, Goodness! I struggled.
Knowing that my mojo was gone, I knew I had to double my efforts, so I went to the library more frequently. But instead of reading, often I just stared on at my books in disbelief of how difficult it was for me to simply transfer their contents into my head permanently.
My test results consistently portrayed me as a dancer, dancing around a stage called average; often taking several steps below the stage but only few steps above occasionally.
It was then I began to wonder if I had made a mistake coming down this road.
In my third year, while preparing for my first major exam in med school, I came under great physical, emotional and spiritual stress. I put in all I had in terms of effort and in the end, I only managed to scale through by the skin of my teeth.
After that experience, I concluded that since my struggles were not giving me results, what I needed to do was to slow down till I found a better way. And so I did.
But I did not only slow down in my academics, I slowed down in my walk with God and in my pursuit of purpose as well. My whole life was almost coming to a ground halt because I had no drive whatsoever. No vision, no direction, just thick darkness.
And then, as if I didn’t have enough on my plate already, just as I was about rounding up my fifth year, our institution was caught in a political struggle.
As a result, I spent three long years in the same class; adding idleness and depression to my plate of troubles.
As common sense rightly said, it was during this time of complete dejection that I stumbled upon a pen, a guitar and purpose; and I came alive!
Finally I had found something I could do with ease and satisfaction, and my spirit as though previously locked up began to find expression.
Every time I picked up my pen to write, the words just came rushing as if I had opened a flowing tap. The guitar reawakened my love for music and singing; and like a bolt, purpose hit my rekindled spirit and sent me whirling into the supernatural.
To crown it all, love happened to me.
I closed my eyes in blissful gratification at my discovery and fortune and by the time I opened them Part III MBBS – the penultimate exam in med school was at my doorstep.
But instead of panicking and picking up my struggling shoes, I relaxed.
Though I previously thought I had been stripped of my mojo, in my sojourn in the supernatural, I discovered that I had never been without His grace a day of my life. I simply had not realized how it worked.
And now, with Part 111 MBBS out of the way, finally the countdown begins of my days as a medical student.
But the story has just begun, because I know that the road ahead is an exciting one and there shall doubtless be more exhilarating stories to tell.
I don’t know why common sense is so mad at me because I’m not doing badly and I don’t see how I could have done things differently.
DIVINE WISDOM SPEAKS
I’ll tell you why common sense is angry, he has no clue! He’s judging you based on what he has seen you achieve so far in comparison with your peers, and that’s because he does not have the privilege of seeing the complete picture like I can from up here.
I don’t blame him, he can only judge based on the common trend he has been observing, such that when he sees something different, he labels it abnormal.
He does not understand that you are one of such distinct ones whose lives are intricately woven to throw him into confusion. I tell you, he’s the one who is confused.
I have been ordering things around you from the outset and now you are beginning to connect the dots. I must say that was a remarkable composition you wrote about yourself!
I’m sure you now understand what happened with your mojo but I still want to clear up some things about your career.
Remember at that time when you weren’t sure what to do, you asked me to have my way and do my will.
I know with the turn things have taken, the struggles and delay you have experienced, you might be tempted to think I didn’t answer that prayer. But I want to assure you that your prayers were answered and you are indeed on the right track.
Don’t allow common sense to sow a seed of doubt into you, you just watch as my plan unfolds.
Every talent I have given you is for a purpose and they will bring you much profit as you follow me through the paths I have prepared for you.
I am a Father of lights and you are a shining light.
So shine on! Dear child.
FINAL WORD FROM ME
I’ve read stories of great men and women written in retrospect but I invite you to join this artistic medic, as she brings you inspiring reports from her adventure in the world of arts and medicine.
Oh my God! This is going to be interesting!