It has been a full year for me. Full of ups and downs, ins and outs. I say full because every quarter of the year witnessed a change of some sort in my life. Some unsettling, some exciting. In the midst of it all I have questioned my goals, my dreams and more often than ever before my capabilities. I have asked Can I do this? Can I be that person that I desire to be? Can I make my dreams reality? Many times I stood trapped in front of those questions, immobile. Too afraid of what the answers might be. I have been crazily busy of late, starting my day at 4 am and not ending it till 10 pm sometimes. I have come to know what it means to be too exhausted to think. At some fearful moments, I have been afraid that my brain might just explode with exhaustion. It has been an emotional year, with ghosts over a decade old rising from the dead and giving me a call. Amazing how we think we have settled our scores with some people until they call us. Then we realise that perhaps some chapters may never end even as we move on to new ones. I won an award for my writing this year. It was both long expected and long awaited. I have been writing, submitting and getting rejected for about eight years now. The award was a sorely needed encouragement. It wasn't BIGGG but it was just what I needed or so I thought, until I found myself agonising over a new story I was writing and wondering if I had any talent at all barely a week after the awards were announced. Yet in this full year, with its ups and downs, its doubts and cares, I have learnt so much. I have learnt that being Nigerian, I can handle more stress than I thought. I have learnt to take quick naps with my eyes half open (really). I have learnt to be thankful for the past I wish I could change because even though some had it better, others had it worse. I have learnt to forgive myself and others. I have learnt that I must be my greatest fan I have learnt how to write in restrooms, sitting on a toilet bowl with someone knocking on the door. It has been a full year and I am grateful for the highs, the lows and the inbetweens. I am grateful because in it all I have learnt.


Dear Olakitike, It is wonderful to hear your voice again. It seems we have all needed a much earned break.

Your award is a spectacular achievement. Your name is up there now in lights. And that's huge! As for continuing to doubt your abilities, I learned this year that I have to have some doubt in my writing ability...else I might not keep on trying to make my writing better!

I look forward to reading this next story of yours. I am sure it will be beautiful and amazing. Much Love Tina

By the way, I love this line: "It has been an emotional year, with ghosts over a decade old rising from the dead and giving me a call."

Olakitike, What a roller-coaster year you have had. I am not sure i would have your stamina and determination but through it all, you received the recognition that you richly deserve. I am sorry that the joy only lasted a week as your writing is compelling and engaging, and you should still be riding on the wave of celebration for all that you have achieved. It may seem that the award was not big but think about how you were chosen amidst all the competition. Your piece stood out, it pulled your name to the top of the pile and reflected your skill in writing. So please, take back some moments of joy and pride from the demands of your days and know that we are all so proud of you.

I hope that you might share your story with us and I look forward to reading more from you. Wishing you an abundant new year of inspiration and creativity... outside of the toilet stalls!!! Much love, Janice

Dear Olakitike,

You are a wonderful writer, Just beileve in yourself and keep writing. You will do wonders :) and the remember these experineces can take your writing far. When a writer writes stories he/she tends to draw from his/her experiences and you rich experiences all only make you better.

Lots of Love

With best wishes,

Nusrat Ara 


Dearest Olakitike,

Congadulations for winning the Award.

I also loved the line quoted by Tina, "It has been an emotional year, with ghosts over a decade old rising from the dead and giving me a call." It made me want to read the article you wrote. May you kindly share it with us.

Love Gertrude

Dear Olakitike,

Life is always full of endless challenges and trials! Without these there's no life at all . Trials, frustrations and failures make us better persons , because these make us aim for success. I'm so happy for you having the award! It doesnt' matter if is is big or small, what matters is your hard work is recognized. Big things stars with small ones. I've also got the same feeling with you, of not being good enough sometimes but I supposed its a matter of believing in ourselves. I 'm not a trained writer before this journey and training wih Pulsewire - i just love to write especially when I feel nobody cares. I don't really have ideas of the hang ups or so called journalist or writers blocks but I think there is always a level of doubt in everyone of us. Just go on with what you believe and capable of doing my dear. There is also a place for everyone of us under the sun.

Keep believing in yourself!

love, malaya


Sorry to be responding so late to your journal, but I wanted to let you know how dear you are to us. Your journey may be bumpy now, but you are a determined, passionate and extremely talented woman... so I know that while trying now, your strength and courage will pull you through this time and you will only continue to evolve along the path of your dreams.

Sister, we are behind you and marching along with you. We are here to comfort and encourage you when you fall, and we are here to celebrate your accomplishments. So know that you are never alone.

Congratulations on the writing award! You deserve it.

Love, Jade