The Awareness of It All

Everyone has those moments when they are pulled out of reality. For one second, reality bends and you see something that you have seen happen before happen again. Or you have an inkling that it will rain the next day, and the next day, as sure as if there had been a weather prediction or someone had been to the rainmaker, the rain falls.

The ones I’m really wary of are the ones you can’t put your finger on. Like the time I was sat in a keke wondering what was wrong with the man seated next to me. It was as if the space was not enough for us and I kept trying to adjust so that we can be more comfortable — but I should have paid more attention to the phone in my pocket which I later realised to my horror, was stolen.

I imagine what it must have been like for whoever came up with the phrase, “the dawn of realisation,” in the exact moment when all the pieces of the puzzle begin to make sense. If you had not been there to witness the parts, it will never have the effect of having the whole wash over you. Once, I came home from school only to see one charging cable from my new Motorola phone left from a raid the robbers had taken time to perfect. It was like magic, here today and gone the next.

The slow dawning of realisation is something for the books, even better is the well-crafted illusion that it has to pierce through before the realisation can take full effect.

It’s not like you are not aware that these things can happen, and this is where awareness differs from experience, they just never happened to you.

Awareness needs the constant reminder of experience to remain steady in a place that can be easily grasped.

Your phone can be stolen.

Your mother can cry like a newborn.

Your family can die.

Your friends can give up on you.

Those you love can give up on life.

All of this and there’s nothing else to do but watch and wait once more for realisation’s dawning.

The process is often rife with rhetorical questions, and all the emotions shaken, pressed together and poured out generously. The most poignant usually at the audacity of the world to just move on, unaware of the rip in space and time.

“There is no right or wrong, only a song”

Here’s the thing about space and time: the man who is fighting for his change in the danfo, talking non-stop about the stupidity of the bus driver, was at one time the same as the man who forgot his change with the danfo driver, wondering and cursing himself for being that stupid.

What I see about myself now is bloated, needing to lose weight, insecure, but what I see about myself when I look at a picture of myself — in which I was thinking the exact same thing — is young, beautiful, perfect and wondering what the fuss was about.

Think how much suffering we go through without ever entering into the evil forest. Life is tough and we need daily reminders and intermittent experiences to up our daily awareness that the world is tough on all of us.

Faraway daily reminders are out there happening to other people and not us, mere statistics and numbers on a chart to be wary of, until they become the ones that hit close to home.

Faraway feelings are treated the same way too. I am recovering from depriving myself of the legitimacy of my feelings because they did not stand in front of me, did not send me a chat, did not pop up on my screen long enough to say hey, and for me to decide whether I wanted to pull it down and reply or wipe it away like a fly that found its way in through the open door.

I know all the reasons why I wouldn’t want to dwell on these faraway things, but now I think of reasons why I want to. The awareness of it all, close enough to grasp and hold and savour while it lasts, is really all any human really has.

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Adaku Nwakanma

Adaku Nwakanma

I write about digital product design.