On a scale of 1-“Ah God, are we fighting”, how bad was your 2016? (4)

The truth about my 2016 is it wasn’t all heartbreaking. There were some moments that were so ridiculous that I was like “Nah this year is a joke for real. It can’t be serious.” 😂 One of these moments was the night of the Superbowl. So I have this super close friend (let’s call her V); I’ve known her since I was 2 so you can imagine. However, being over here, V and I have had a long distance friendship/sisterhood for the past couple of years. But when we do get to talk proper, we speak for days and spill all our tea.

For days before the Superbowl, we’d been sending voice notes back and forth over whatsapp catching up on life. We started off with my woes lmao and then delved into hers. Her tale was the tale of an Igbo demon. Disclaimer: This story is mad twisted. V had been dating her current boyfriend for a while (can’t remember how long but let’s call him BF), but before him, there was a boy in her life whom she’d thought was “the one” for her (let’s call him ‘ID’ for igbo demon). They were never officially in a relationship but what they shared was more than a “thing.” She loved him so much, and she knew he loved her too, but since he wasn’t “good at talking about his emotions”, he didn’t express himself often… but she just knew. His family called her “our wife” and everything. So although they weren’t in an official relationship and he didn’t directly state any intentions, she was content with what they had and just knew that he was her end-game.

raw-1                 Red flag, red flag

Anyway, ID had a female best friend in Ghana (let’s call her Uche) who was also close to V. V had asked Uche many times if she liked ID, just to make sure she wasn’t stepping on any toes, but Uche kept saying she did not. Yet, V noticed that every time she posted ID on snapchat, the Uche babe would start moving funny and acting one kind. But she and Uche were so close that V decided that she was the one trippin’ because “Uche wasn’t that type of person.” Life carried on and so did their friendship.

One day, Uche called V and asked her “How do you feel about ID?” and V started gushing. Oh I love him sooo much. Even when I see him Monday to Thursday, if I don’t see him on Friday, I feel incomplete… *insert a billion emotional clauses, you know how people in love be like* Sha, when she was done, Uche said “Oh, okay. Well, he’s my boyfriend.”

raw                 ((SHOOOOOOOK))

(PAUSE: When V told me this, I was so mad because this Uche babe is clearly a snake. That was so unnecessary. If you’re coming to tell me somebody is your boyfriend, tell me straight up, let’s be moving. Not the one that you’ll make me expose my whole nyash complete as a prequel to the info you’re about to provide). Anyway, V apologized to her (??? imagine) saying she had no idea and now she knew, she’d back off completely. V was so upset, she couldn’t believe that these two people she trusted so much had just played her. So as she went through the next couple of days crying and sulking, she was tweeting all them “heartbroken” tweets. Guys, can you imagine that this ID boy messaged V saying “Can you delete your tweets? You’re upsetting my girlfriend.” (???)

So V replied the goat–ahem, boy–telling him he wasn’t f@#king serious and kept doing her. Uche now contacted V telling her, “You’re so shameless. Instead of you to face your own relationship” On top of that, Uche started telling V so many personal things V had told ID in confidence (trust me, these things were superrr personal) just to rub them in her face. So V called ID POPPING OFF, and do you know what this boy said? This boy said and I quote “Yeah well, I tell my best friend everything. Hashtag bestfriend code”

raw (3).gif    This was literally me at this point

This boy was a freaking joke. Hashtag bestfriend code? What is this? Primary 2? Sha, obviously there was no going back from that. V moved on and blocked the both of them. But it wasn’t easy getting over him. She cried for weeks. She even started crying in the voicenote she sent to me. She felt so deceived and embarrassed. I felt so bad for her man.

Anywayyy, where do I come into this story? Let me tell you. The night of the Superbowl, V kept calling me but Beyonce was performing at the time and if you know me, you know Beyonce is literally my MOM; it would have been disrespectful to not wait until after her (AMAZING) performance 😂. So I called back after the performance, and the conversation went like this:

Me: *acting like I hadn’t seen all the missed calls* HEYYYY GIRRRL WHAT’S UPPPP

V: *solemn voice* Hi Chioma

Me: *confused because she called me “Chioma” and not “goat” or “bitch”* Ahh V, are you okay?

V: Not really

Me: What happened?

V: Chioma, remember what I told you about ID and Uche?

Me: Yeah, omg what happened?

V: *long silence* I made it all up.

Me: ?? I don’t get

V: Yeah, I made it all up.

Me: That doesn’t make sense. Like why?? ??

V: Because you’d told me about the bad thing that happened to you, so I just wanted to say something heavy too so we could bond

raw-4   …At this point, I realized I’d been friends with a psychopath for 18 years…

Me: But that STILL does NOT make any sense! What I told you was more than heavy enough to “bond” over. Why did you feel like you HAD TO add something on top?

V: I know, Chioma, I’m so sorry. I’m such a horrible person.

Guys, I couldn’t believe it. I was just remembering how she cried in the voicenote she sent. Like this couldn’t be real life. So I was there lost in thought and confusion, trying to just make some sense out of the matter and then, a high-pitched male voice started talking to me on the phone.

BF: Chioma

Me: *trying to shake off my shookness and be cheerful* Hey BF! What’s up? How’ve you been?

BF: *even higher-pitched voice* L-l-l-let’s just cut to the chase here! Did you hear what your friend said?

Me: *thinking “Nigga damn, can you bring down this voice a few octaves?”* Yeah I heard, but I’m so confused

BF: Exactly! It doesn’t make any sense. I told her that if YOU her best friend didn’t believe her, then there was no hope that this could possibly be true!

And friends. That was when it hit me. Ya girl was in a boiling pot of stew.

giphy

So what happened was BF had gone through V’s phone and read our messages/listened to all our voicenotes. Therefore, he’d found out that she had cheated on him with ID, and she had been considering leaving him if she got her money up. He confronted her, telling her to get out of his house but she’d told him the excuse she told me (that she made up the whole story so we’d bond/I’d feel better). He obviously didn’t believe her but he made her call me and put me on speaker so he could hear my reaction.

I had messed up, messed up bad. But I still tried my futile best to help. I put on my bad bitch voice and started shouting at BF:

Me: “Hey hey BF, yo you need to calm down. I don’t know why you’re shouting at me. If she says she made it up, then she made it up!”

BF: *ten octaves higher* WHAT!? So you believe her?

Me: Of course I believe her! Idk how your relationship is set up but I know she’d never lie to me–so I believe her, and you should trust that she wouldn’t lie to you

(I know this was very unethical of me but guys, GIRL CODE! Actually HASHTAG BEST FRIEND CODE** 😂 I had already messed up, I had to at least try). Anyway, V took back the phone telling me she was sorry for dragging me into this mess, and she’d talk to me later. Omo I felt so bad for her. Her own had finished–there was no possible escape from this. It was game over. The referee had blown the final whistle.

The aftermath of this was heavy, truss mi. But sparing y’all the details and keeping a long ass story short, V and BF are still together till date–I even spent a day with the both of them when I went back to Nigeria for the summer. By this point, I knew my 2016 was being produced by Tyler Perry. Ya girl was dead in advance for the rest of the messiness it was preparing to unleash…

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On a scale of 1-“Ah God, are we fighting”, how bad was your 2016? (2)

The New Year carried on. Didn’t let that “small letter l” (shouts to Baba!) get me down of course. I had just moved into an apartment in Spanish Harlem–my independence was back! It was lit! I couldn’t wait to see all that the year held for me.

I found the apartment quite last-minute in a Facebook group. It was a four-bedroom, two-bathroom. Quite spacious (for New York, at least), and literally ONE block away from the subway so it was ridiculously convenient location-wise. Since it was Spanish Harlem, groceries were cheaper. I had two grocery stores 10 steps away from my house, and they both sold plátano which was a huge plus for me because plantain is quite hard to find in most parts of the city (Side note: Am I the only one that just never says “dodo”? I can’t do it. Same way I call eba “garri” 90% of the time–I guess it’s the igbo in me 😂)

Since I found the apartment on Facebook, my three roommates were total strangers. I was living with a caucasian French guy, black French girl (MOUNINA MY FAVEST SIS, LOVE YOU BEBI!), and a caucasian American guy (he was quite cute, but I’d later find out this one was a potential rapist, thankfully not from personal experience! But that’s tea for another day 🐸). Obviously I didn’t tell my parents there were two guys living in the apartment, but I lowkey never outrightly lied. (Parents: How are your roommates? Me: They’re fine! “They” is a gender neutral pronoun. Not my fault they automatically assumed that all the members of the ‘they’ were female 😂)

Mounina and I instantly got along. Within a week, I knew I’d made a friend for life, and I kid you not, this is truly the story of my life. About to go off on a tangent but… a “small circle” is nothing but a myth to me. At times, I obsess over it and wonder if I’m being too naive or too trusting with way too many people–but other times, I like to think about it as a blessing. I’ve been blessed with so many good people in my life whom I’m eternally ready to throw hands for–call me at 3am? No wahala, I’m ready. Let’s pop off! 😂

Anyway, my internship was supposed to start very soon but I was yet to receive my OPT work authorization. (The international student struggle is actually so real) I was particularly frustrated because I had done everything right. The previous semester, I’d gotten all my documents ready for the first day I was legally allowed to apply for the authorization. I went to my school’s international student office with my file of documents in hand, but the Director told me they were not collecting any documents until after the OPT workshop. When she told me this, I literally wanted to knock her head because I had a feeling this thing would come to bite me in the future. But since I wasn’t trying to get deported, I jejely went my way, came back two weeks later and submitted my docs literally the second after the workshop was over. Yet, I still found myself in the position I tried not to be in. My authorization still hadn’t come in and I was scheduled to start work in a couple of days. I was irritated but not too worried because I knew my firm would understand that the situation was out of my control.

So the day of my internship orientation came by, and I went in for two reasons: (1) To demolish the poppin’ free breakfast (2) To tell the recruiters about my situation. My recruiter tried calling USCIS (United States Citizen and Immigration Services) to check the status of my application, but she didn’t get any new information. I’d also contacted my International Student Services Director, but she couldn’t help me either. I was completely at the mercy of the Department of Homeland Security. As if the devil hadn’t poured enough sand in my garri, my recruiter informed me that they would have to rescind my job offer if my authorization didn’t come in 14 days.

Since I didn’t have the authorization, I wasn’t legally supposed to be at the orientation so they gently asked me to leave. And that was when the tears came. I held them back till I was out of sight but once I went underground, I let them quietly flow. It didn’t help that I was (/am) such a worrier. What if they actually take back this offer? It’s too late to recruit. If they take back this offer, does that eliminate my chances of a full-time offer? I’m already locked into a 5 month lease – How am I going to pay this Manhattan rent? What am I going to be doing between now and May (commencement)? Do I have to edit all my grad school applications to reflect this new development? Also, what the hell do I look like right now on this train – Chioma, surely you know better than to cry with make-up on?? 

This was a very trying period for me. I spent my days checking my authorization status every 30 minutes, calling USCIS, vigorously cleaning the whole apartment, praying novenas, worrying and crying of course (one of my apparent favorite pastimes 😂) I was angry at myself for stressing myself out. I was angry at the Director lady, the firm, U.S. Immigration, Obama, everybody and they mama! I was angry at God too ngl, but thankful to Him at the same time because He and my friends & family were the rocks that helped allay my fears during this period.

Because my life is so dramatic, I finally received the authorization in the mail literally the Friday before the Monday that marked the END of my 14 day grace period. It was too movie-esque to not be God. Call me extra but I instantly got on my knees, thanking God with tears of relief. He had come through again! Ya girl wasn’t going to be sleeping on the streets. She had been set free from the shackles of unemployment. The new Caucasian work clothes she bought to stunt on ’em weren’t going to waste! The amazing year I’d planned for myself was back on track… Or so I thought.