When a Perfectionist Fails

Ramatu Ada Ochekliye Hi. I’m Ramat and I am a perfectionist; but you know that already, don’tcha? I’ve known this about myself since forever. Quite frankly, I am not ashamed of it. It has pushed me to go hard for what I want, improve myself, demand the best from myself (and others) and always put my mind in a position to learn more. That has made me a workaholic, social media junkie, adept reader and a terrible info-maniac. There is a downside to this though. You see, the perfectionist has a range of problems; from wondering if he/she is ever good enough, to a painful fear of failure that can be so crippling it prevents the person from realizing his/her full potential. The perfectionist is also very caustic, intolerant, unwilling to show weakness and overly demanding of perfection from others. I am all of these things…and more. Today, I want to do something that goes against the persona I project to people.  I Am. Admitting. That. I. Fail. At. Things. Phewwwww! That was a relief!  Or maybe it isn’t.  Either way, a story might explain why I am making this confession. I’m just going to start before my other personality takes over. Sometime in July, 2015, I saw this advert about an audition for on-air-personalities with Ebony Life TV, Lagos, scheduled for the second week of august. I was stoked at the possibilities a move to that station would do for my career. I got excited; really excited! I told my friends and my sisters about the audition and I guess my excitement was infectious. Soon enough, we were discussing logistics because I had never been to Lagos State. Yeah you heard that right; I had never been to Lagos State!  I knew I had two options; take a luxurious bus for a pretty long donkey trip or take a flight. Here is another thing though; I had also never been in a luxurious bus or on a plane! I imagined disgracing my grandmother with my show of nerves on a flight so I decided that I was going by road. In case you missed it, I decided to go by road from Yola in Adamawa State, North East Nigeria, to Lagos State, South West Nigeria; a journey that was pegged at almost 23 hours. That was when it occurred to me that I could break my trip; go to Abuja and spend the night, then head to Lagos the next day. My trip was fine until day two of my journey. It was Friday and I was finally on my first luxurious bus ride heading to the big ole Eko and I knew that I had to stay awake to catch all the sights of the States I had never been to.  We got to the NASFAT area at about 7pm after having to deal with lots of traffic jam. That was when my problems started. There were too many people having a festival of sorts, or more appropriately, prayers at the NASFAT area. I could feel the claustrophobia closing in and I just wanted to leave that place. I kept imagining what would happen if an adventurous bomber decided to strike. The plagues of living in the North Eastern part of the country right? That thought had not finished forming when we heard these bangs on the body of the car. They were so loud they jolted most of us into sitting positions. I remembered all the stories I had heard about Lagos and imagined that a gang of robbers were about to pounce on us and kill us all. My heart was literally in my mouth. I cursed my alter ego that deceived me into taking a window seat. After some minutes, I looked down and saw that the rabble rousers were part of the worshipers. I breathed a quarter sigh of relief and started seriously praying to God to protect me. We were at that same spot around the NASFAT area for five hours! 5 frigging hours! My bum was on fire, my friends and sisters were sick with worry, and the claustrophobia had given me really horrible chest pains and a headache. A little after 12am, we broke even and continued on our way. That was when I realized that I had not even entered Lagos yet! Arrgghhh! When we got to the destination my friend asked me to alight at, it was 2am and pitch black. As soon as the bus stopped, some thugs – and I use that term knowing its full meaning – came up to the bus just as I was about to step out. I didn’t see any tricycle, taxi, or any form of public transportation. I imagined how the hell I was supposed to get to her place. One woman started shouting in the car about how the driver was endangering our lives and that he had to get us away from that place. You know I died a thousand deaths right? In retrospect, it is funny how scared I was though the fact that I nearly peed myself is really quite embarrassing. I deviate. Back to my story. Some woman in the car said, ‘Young woman, those are thugs there. You better go and sleep in the bus station if you do not want wahala.’ She didn’t need to tell me the ‘wahala’ before I quickly rushed back to my seat and settled in. The driver started the car again and we headed to the bus station. We got to the park after an additional 15 or 20 minutes on the road. For the first time in my life, I was going to sleep on a bench in a bus park. Definitely got my Lagos hustle on! I slept fitfully and woke up at 5am to some of the other passengers arguing about the roles of women in society. That would have been my cue to jump in but my body was bushed and I just needed to get to

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