About a week ago, I got laid off.
It was the second time.
See ehn, I’m not going to come here to put up the whole hard-core attitude. I cried..let me not lie..e pain me no be small.
Let me clear the air because I know some of you have started imagining a really wild scene of Esther wailing and throwing herself on the floor..#sigh#
“Too weird for this environment…”
It was a Monday morning. I was looking really nice (does that even sound right?) Anyways, I matched to the office and settled down to work on my Corel draw (I’ve gotten quite good at it). I had barely fixed a background colour for the work I was doing when Ifeoma walked in to inform me that the lady that was the ‘Secretary and HR personnel and Caterer and office Mother of nation’ and more wanted to see me.
I had a meeting with her the Friday before that Monday. She kept asking me how the job had been for me so far. If I was enjoying it. If I was being productive. If there will ever be a day when I would wake up and decide not to come to work. I knew what she was driving at. I knew. But, I decided to play dumb (like I always do). I just smiled and answered her questions with yes’s and no’s. To be honest, this job wasn’t exactly my dream job. In fact let me rephrase..the job is totally far from my dream job. But, I didn’t tell her. I just smiled and answered her questions with yes’s and no’s.
On my way to her office, I asked Ifeoma if she knew why ‘The lady with all the titles’ wanted to see me. She said she didn’t know. I had an idea but I just needed confirmation so that I could at least be prepared for the announcement because I knew it definitely wouldn’t be good.
As soon as I stepped into her office, she asked me to have a seat. Then the speech began. “Esther,you are very creative. You know that?” (I rolled my mind’s eyes and said “duh”) But when I opened my mouth,I heard myself laugh for like 30 seconds then I said “thank you”.
Then she went on ” but I feel like I hired a good person for the wrong position. I feel you’re too calm about everything. I think it’s weird. I think you’re weird. I think you’re weird. I think..I think you’re too weird for this environment. However, I’m going to terminate your appointment today and give you a cheque.”
I was counting the boxes on the carpet…there was none actually. My facial expression didn’t change. I didn’t adjust my body. I just starred at the boxes…okay I said there was no box yeah? In my mind there was hundreds of boxes..options,alternatives,next moves, strategies…
“Esther..” she called “what do you have to say because I feel I’m going to limit you by keeping you in this office..” “See,it’s cool.” I said. Then I smiled and picked my temple hair..”it’s cool”.
She smiled and said ” I knew this will be the way you’ll handle this. Why don’t you ever express your emotions. It makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know what to expect from you and that again makes you even more weird”.
In my mind I said..actually my mind was blank. My temple hair in my hand, boxes in my imagination,I laughed for like a minute and said “What am I supposed to say again? It’s cool..really” then, I got up and walked straight to my seat. Leaving her more spooked than the day she met me.
I made jokes about my termination. I laughed…o boy! I did. As I joked,I began to ask myself questions like didn’t she know I was weird when she hired me? Didn’t she know that..wait first, I needed to understand why someone’s appointment will be terminated because the person is ‘too weird and calm and unable to express emotions?’
You’re waiting for the cry part yeah?
Here it is.
I had to call Mfon.
As soon as she heard I was laid off, she yelled “you say? Ok. They will call you back tomorrow shebi?”
“No.” I said. “My appointment has been terminated. As in sacked”
“wait wait wait. After all that you’ve done for those people? What is wrong with them? Give me the director’s number. This is madness. When I tell you that I want to come and visit you in Lagos,you’ll be saying no. Now, who will go and talk to those people for you?” She said.
Wait. What?? How did we get to this topic? I tried to open my mouth to talk but somehow,one tear rolled out,then another..then another..till the predicament no longer seemed like a joke. I said ” I’m tired. Am I that bad? Do you think something is wrong with me Mfon? Why does this keep happening? Do I have a problem?”
My mother answered and said the same words or almost..(I’m beginning to think she heard from a movie…the words always sound similar) the same words she said to me the day I called her to tell her I failed an examination..”stop crying. I didn’t train a weak child. Wipe your tears. Take you bag and go home. Pay your tithe. Go home and pray to God. Ask Him questions. He’ll answer you. Crying won’t cause any difference. And you don’t have a problem. People just find it difficult to deal with people that appear different and you are different..even as your mother,it took me a while to get used to it. I’m coming to Lagos”. The tears dried up immediately I heard the last words.
“No o. Don’t worry. I’m fine. I’ll be fine” I said
“I knew that’s the only thing that will make you stop crying.” She laughed.
So, before I left, I joked with Ifeoma and Seyin (Ifeoma’s one time love..hehehehe), then I happily…emphasis HAPPILY went to see the mallam that makes my amazingly unique sandals. I’m weird…it’s high time I embraced it.…since that’s what you think…I must at least get used to it.
O! Did I tell you that I told ‘The woman with all the titles’ that her actions were ridiculous? I said “this is ridiculous. If you have a problem with me tell me. Not that I want this job..trust me, I do not want to be here..but using my being weird as a disguise for whatever issue you have with me is just ridiculous. Didn’t you know I was weird the day you interviewed me?”
She said ” I knew”
“What changed now?” I asked? “That I’m calm? Is that your problem? I’m too laid back? Is that it? I need to understand this issue because ‘you are too Weird’ is just a ridiculous thing to say” She suddenly became quiet. It felt good…o yes it did.
Basically, I don’t know if I was laid off because ‘I’m too weird’ but from one ‘acclaimed’ weirdo to a potential one, that was a totally weird move.
10th December 2014
It’s all I can say.
Expecting people to act or react to things the exact way you do;now that’s extremely weird.
I made peace with myself this year…I’m different…everyone is..some just feel more comfortable in their differences than others..then the others see the comfortably different people and call them weird…who even invented the word? It’s probably a name he gave his wife or first son because the boy was different or who knows?
I don’t move at the earth’s pace..I move at my pace…it works for me.
I don’t think of my relationship status every Saturday…it’s not even an issue..that doesn’t make me gay…so, please stop asking if I’m gay biko
I don’t like certain songs..that doesn’t make me strange…it’s just personal preference..you have yours too..don’t you?
I love boots and really nice uncommon songs…that doesn’t make me irregular.
I don’t think you should start thinking someone is going to marry you because he kissed you…that doesn’t make me I don’t know. It’s true na. I’m not saying you should go round Africa kissing everyone o..I’m just saying if…then, don’t expect wedding the next Saturday.
I love arts and tradition and vintage and antique and mallams…it doesn’t make me bizarre..
My ideal job is not in an office.
I like to travel and take pictures and have beautiful bicycles and lovely vintage boots and wear whatever vintage piece I can lay my hands on.
I desire to live in a homey house and have loved ones and family around and explore arts and have people praise my works instead of my ‘talents’ and volunteer a lot and just be free.
Do I want a better life?
Of course I do want a better life. But who said having a better life is equivalent to having so much money that it drips like the excess mayonnaise one shawarma spot I know puts in their bread? I don’t think that’s better..it’s probably more money but it’s not better.
I’m learning to live life at my own pace: exploring roads untraveled.
It is one life I have and I do not intend to die regretting I didn’t try something my heart always longed for.
All these and more (except the fact that I’m a pretty good stalker…chai I’m really good) doesn’t make me weird.
It just makes me a human that’s pretty into living life the way I was wired to.
People should really evaluate their definition of weird.
And I’m probably putting this up to tell the ‘weird’ people from the ‘weirdo clan’…I’ve got your back…just live life like you’ve always wanted to.
Do what you’ve always wanted to.
Live life like it’s the only life you’ve got..cause it is.
Let your past go past you..don’t dwell on it..it’s boring like an old bad joke.
Love and let yourself be loved(I’m almost a big hypocrite in this part..but don’t do what I do..do what I say)
Write bad poems and laugh.
Draw human beings the way Tutu draws them and hide them under your bed.
Make Coconut oil like Ilo and tag all your pictures #teamnatural vs teamweaves.
Look for trouble like Edidiong.
Dream..and work towards it.
Do what you love.
Make announcements in an elevator.
Laugh hard but take it easy with the tears.
Just live like you were wired to.
Be you…be weird.
Just don’t loose your job. #and no,I’m not happy abbourit about it but life goes on
And o yes!!! ‘owu breeze’ has come but e go beta
(just thread carefully)
We would all be weird if we really lived the way we were wired to..as individuals…not as a clan or clique or whatever term people give as excuses to be like everybody else.
I love you much and I hope to hear about your “weirdness too”