Thursday, June 6, 2024

Memo: On Self-Preservation


Photo Credit: Bhavya Shah

There is something about self-preservation that extends to the things we own. Especially the best of them all. We hold on to them and hope they last forever. They cannot. We know this. But we try nonetheless. We stretch and pull, until they thin out. Our gold comes to mind. Other valuables too. We rarely use them. Less their value decline. And their specialness wears off. 

My house is no exception. My mother's most expensive wares lie in the most exclusive part of the house  where no child's playing ball or exploring hand will ever get to. Don't get me wrong. It's not that we didn't use it. They are brought out once in a while, when the moon turns blue and the sky red. When the most special of all special visitors come. I hate doing the dishes on such days. However will I explain my existence if one slips? “I go explain explain taya, no evidence.”

I used to begrudge my mother for it. For something she spent a fortune on, I didn't understand why it had to gather dust without living up to its utility. Or justifying its cost.

Photo Credit: Dane Deaner

I guess it is instinctual. I will come to understand my mother when I bought my favorite jacket. It was a beautiful one. The most beautiful I've ever seen. Fashionable without being fussy. Just my style. I paid through my nose to have it, without regrets.  People loved it. They fawned over me each time I wore it. And they paid me generous compliments till my black cheeks turned red. 

Boyy! I could wear it everyday. But where is the joy? People will think I have no other clothes. Or it will lose its magical touch. English literature will say, “familiarity breeds contempt.” And the slang will say, “dem go see you finish.” They can’t possibly see me finish. I won't let them. So I hid it in the depth of my wardrobe, bringing it out only when the moon turned blue, and the sky red. 

It wasn't just that. I had other valid concerns. What if I wash it away and it begins to slack? I could reduce its worth. How then will I justify the ridiculous sum I bought it for. The hole in my pockets? I wasn't going to experiment. 

Photo Credit: Lea Ochel

So you can imagine my panic when my friend asked to borrow. I quickly went to the internet and searched for the user manual, “how to say no without saying no.”  I had my fears. She could lose it. Wash away its embellishments. Or discolour it. Then she will apologize. I will be forced to test the bonds of my friendship against my favorite jacket. Since I am supposed to be a good person, I will swallow my tantrum, lest outsiders hear and spit at my atrocity. 

“Is it because of a mere jacket?” 

“But she apologized.” 

“Is she usually this way?” "Ahh! True colors don dey show.”

Then there is my conscience part, which obliges me to choose living things over non living things. But believe me, it is not always that easy. I had become like my mother. Like us. 

I guess there is still a little good left in me. It will make me choose the supposed better part. Then, I will break down behind closed doors and mourn my loss. At least, I am mourning just this loss, not that of my friendship. A better choice indeed, I will hope. So much for mastering the art of detachment. 

I know. My imagination often takes me far. But there was no need to test my Goodness. I followed your advice and nipped it in the bud. I sat her down to painstakingly explain the pros and cons. By the time I was done,she decided she didn't want it ‘that’ much. I didn't blame her. I sighed in relief. 

Imagine my dismay when after all my precautions, I searched my wardrobe under a red sky and a blue moon and I could not find this jacket. This must be Nemesis. Impossible! I did nothing wrong. 

Photo Credit: Crew

I searched my wardrobe again, till every piece of clothing was out of place. I pestered my roommates to search theirs too till my room began to look like an abandoned clothes dump. And I became convinced that my favorite jacket was indeed nowhere to be found. Trust me to move on. My denial stage didn't last long. Life goes on. So must I.

I know. Life is a mesh of a thousand possibilities. I could have still lost this jacket, nonetheless. But it would have enjoyed its feel and it would have earned its use.

It's been two years now. I am still breathing fine. But it did teach me a lesson. To enjoy it while it lasts. To live life in full. To use my things to the end, understanding that they came to serve me. And not me to serve them (Nah, not after spending that kind of money). So I hoard less, letting go. Knowing that all I will have left of me is me. So use your jacket, friends - if you get what I mean.

To every Rose that grew from Concrete; Blossom! 

9 Comentários:

  1. Thank you for this. At the end of the day, we’re all we have left. It’s always better to do the things, use the things, feel the feelings, enjoy the moments while we’re here. Thank you❤️

    1. Thank you, dear. We are indeed all we have left.

  2. Behind the New Jacket and its fading away, lies the sad realities of loosing precious things, precious moments and even special bonds. But there is room for personal growth , advancement and forging ahead in spite of great difficulties. I am grateful for this thought provoking piece by the writer, Onwudiegwu Annette. MORE GREASE TO YOUR ELBOW.

    1. Thank you so much, Larry. I am so glad you got the underlying message.

  3. A reminder that YOlO
    Great read Annette 🤍

    1. Thank you so much, Paschal. Every blogger deserves a reader like you.

    2. Thank you so much, Paschal. Every blogger deserves a reader like you.

  4. Nice piece Annette