I’m not from a rich family or usually have money whenever I want; I’m just a very content person. Sometimes I have money, sometimes I don’t; when I do, I make the most of it (well not all the time; I remember when I was in primary school and my dad’s friend gave my siblings and I fifty naira –back when Nigerian money had value, and I lavished it on candy. My dad whooped my ass that day and I don’t think I lavished money like that anymore. Other time was in the university; the truth is we never had pocket money growing up, my “pocket money” was whatever was left from my school bills – my dad gave money sometimes though.It was tough not having money as my friends did, not being able to buy dresses I want and use money whenever I want. My eldest sister assisted me sometimes with clothes and bags – I collect them whenever I visit (before she realizes it I’m already in campus) and she gets pissed every time, lol. School was not that frustrating and I didn’t have to be the richest kid there since I looked (still do) really good, people just assume I’m from a wealthy family. Sometimes I get so broke but didn’t feel like it cause I had accommodation ( lived in the school hostel) and for me having a roof above my head is enough for me. I’ll just go to class since it wasn’t far from my hostel, go back to the hostel after lecture and prepare my meal. So as I said, it wasn’t all that bad and I’m a very content person. The good thing about being young is you don’t have responsibilities, just do right by your parents and they’ll take care of you (some parents though) if they are buoyant though.
After university, you are literally on your own, at least kids like me that their parents were just trying to pay for their school tuition fee. The truth is I had no idea how it was going to be; I barely watched news or wasn’t interested in the economy of the country. But during my NYSC days, I began to have an idea of what was going on (and don’t tell me NYSC was educational; in my opinion, it was a waste of my time and the government could have done better in terms of allowance) but I wasn’t really convinced until I entered the labor market.
I got a job after a year and the half, the one in port-Harcourt (some people get a job immediately after NYSC, some after three or five years and some didn’t even get a job that they had to start they own businesses – the ones that had income to begin with) and the economy wasn’t looking so bad from where I was until I left the job due to harassment from my job and I stayed another year before I got another one. These jobs were not all that but they helped pay my toiletries and feeding so I guess it was something right? As time went by, the country got worse; it was harder to get jobs, pay bills etc and I kept jumping from one dead end job to the other.
Now unemployed and obviously broke since I am on my own (even people that have jobs are frustrated because their salaries do nothing for them –the economy has never been this bad). Guess what? I was living in a rented apartment, paying electricity and security bills so I’m sure you can imagine how I felt (not there anymore, I’m at my mum’s now). The building was by the road –I wanted it that way so it’ll be easier to leave for work, my caretaker lived in the compound and I had a terrible neighbor I shared electricity bill with. According to her, she is a ‘business person’ which meant she was always at home.
For someone like me that usually leaves the house by 7am every morning for six months since I moved there to not going to work every day was challenging. I didn’t want any of them to know I lost my job but it was impossible because they were always at home and my care taker has a car wash business just outside the compound, so… the environment was really exposed. Most times I would stay indoors, especially since the business I started right after didn’t work out due to capital and I was very cautious at every movement in the compound. I felt like a prisoner in the apartment I paid for cause I was worried about people finding out I’m home. I could not sleep at night (taking cool midnight showers helped) ,spent time with people I had no business with just to pass time. I was desperate to get a job before my rent expired that I kept meeting disgusting men i thought were responsible, I also had a thing with my neighbor – will write on that soon and no it wasn’t that bad.
Being broke and unemployed as a lady in Nigeria is not something I wish on my enemy. The temptation, frustration, depression, oppression and desperation are endless.
I was tempted to do things I knew I would not normally do. Married men asking me out, some wanting me to carry their baby in the name of “I will give you a job” while some pretended to help just to get me to give in. They were not all married, some were single or had baby mamas. My ex (for like two seconds) was proposing a mock wedding (hmm, okay I think it was before I told him I lost my job), It was frustrating!
I was so frustrated I was giving attention to a total loser and to the wrong people; I would get into that story but it’s quite lengthy – Trust me this guy was a loser. Just know that the loser pretended to be single and wanted to settle down but he has a wife and a baby (well that’s what he told me after I finally had a reality check).
I was so depressed I contemplated ending my life (I even had a plan in my head; make a video on Facebook, doing it in my bathroom on a work day that before people would get to me I’d be gone- I know! What a terrible thought and thing to do) – kids please don’t try this. I didn’t like waking up in the morning cause I didn’t see the point (I usually start sleeping from 4-6am), skipped breakfast- sometimes there was no breakfast, gained weight. Exercise helped my mood sometimes (not with my weight since I was off and on but with depression) – sometimes I would dance, music helped too and watching motivational and inspirational videos.
Though it felt like I was the only one going through what I was going through but reading other peoples story and how they overcame it and became successful gave me some perspective.
Though things are really tough in Nigeria, some people are still slaying and don’t get me started on social media (yes, most of that is not real but believe me, it gets you sometimes especially being in a fragile state). It wasn’t just social media ,I faced oppression in my apartment (my neighbor bullying me to pay my electricity bill, just one time she paid hers early),the so called men promising to help me with a job, flashing their cash and influence on me.
I was desperate at some point; to take any job (applied to waitress- trust me, waitressing in Nigeria is not a job), I was willing to do anything so I could pay my next rent. I went to clubs to submit my cv since I was harassed in all “my corporate job”, I might as well go to where it is expected ,at least I’d be getting paid and I don’t have to wake up so early in the morning. I got one ‘job’ as a bar supervisor, I was offered eighty thousand naira but I became greedy and insisted on a hundred thousand. The manager said he would get back to me but he didn’t, that was how I lost that job but I decided not to have any regrets and keep moving.
You know the annoying thing about these men that claim to have it all? They can’t even give you what you want. One time I told myself when I get to visit any of them again I would say this; “why don’t you want to help me? Is it sex you want? Okay fine! I need one million naira and it should be paid up front before anything happens” and I’ll see what they would do, lol. Since they decided to treat me like a hooker, I might as well make money off of it. I know you are wondering if I would do it…uh, hell no! That’s why they need to pay upfront, lol. At a point I thought of settling down with any guy that is ready to.
Anyhow, being broke and unemployed in Nigeria as a lady is dilapidating. The thought of going back to my mum’s place was not ideal (besides it’s not the worst thing) but I had to suck it up and go back before I do something I would regret for the rest of my life. Though I felt like I was going backwards but sometimes you have to take a step back or lean back to see what’s ahead or in front of you especially when your future is as bright as mine *smiles*. And I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, this is just a temporal set back and I have learnt (still learning) so much that I understand why I have to go through what I’m going through – it’s prepare me for who I am meant to be.