Human Changing| Nma Chinaza Agada


The most potent way to avoid change is to dwell in nothingness – not be conceived, not take on the status of “being” because you may as well be called Human Changing. It is this phenomenon that accords the present its value. It is uprooting of a version of self to birth another that colors experiences and gives meaning to memories and hope. It is this nature of ours to cast off deep-seated parts of ourselves, knowingly or not, to take on forms that ultimately mark our procession to another realm that defines what we all call life even though we all own different versions in the most similar way.

Strange…but it is also the intrinsic tendency to be altered and modified, and our underlying inclination to go through the process that informs dread for death. More striking is this change is always abrupt. Always! Even when the process seems slow, giving enough time to erase or unlearn some things one backspace tap at a time. The momentum gained is never enough to make relearning easy or the healing swift. There is always that ‘falling off a sharp edge’. The process of change almost always comes with an immediate overwhelming sense of “alien-ness”. The subsequent, more capacious emotions are then defined by the nature of change that occurred. All in all, there’s no getting used to change, at least not at first and especially not with human beings.

And five minutes were all I got before the mail bearing the news came in. The HR Department sent an official message to everyone announcing that Nike had died in a car crash. The commotion and turbulent waves of fright that came in those five minutes of making calls, wondering what could have happened to “that my friend” left no time to prepare for the reality of the information that was oncoming. As I stared at the screen of my laptop, tears ran down my face not because the news had hit home but because I was strained from trying to unravel the box of tragedy that had Nike’s name on it. There was also the pressure of the obligation to grieve at the loss of anything wonderful and so I cried some more.

I got the text at home. Within the twenty minutes after I had gotten the news, I had made two trips to the bathroom in the bid to fulfill my duty to shed tears over the loss of a friend and then put myself together. I felt better but within myself I knew something was brewing and that when it came, I wouldn’t be staring at a mirror, dabbing my eyes and replenishing my lipstick to mask my anguish.

I had seen livid sorrow take hold of people, even myself in times past, and so I knew it was coming although I had never really probed the elements of grief that yielded such unbridled misery. So I made a mental note to prepare for whatever chaotic emotions would follow as I absorbed more and more the fact that Nike was dead. I got into the Danfo that evening thinking of the last time we had spoken. It was about two weeks earlier. I had met her in the elevator at the office and she had on one of her outsized jackets and a blue shirt. I think she loved blue shirts. Her hair was a nice bob with a decent closure. It piqued my interest and she told me that it wasn’t a real closure. Her stylist had improvised with a small piece of net. Cheapskate! I found it really funny and clever of course and so I asked her to hook me up with the lady. She promised she would, we hugged and I stepped off the elevator. There was some comfort in the fact that the last interaction we had was a hug.

Meanwhile, I noticed that I was the only one sitting close to me in the Danfo. Everyone stayed away from the lady crying so profusely. My shoulders convulsed terribly as I groaned in pain and even though I was in a vehicle filled with about nine people, comfort was nowhere to be found. I picked up the phone and called another friend and that was when I realized that I was a messier wreck than I thought. Muffled sobs broke into wails, groans and those raspy intakes of breath that happen after a long episode of tears. Amidst all of this, I was not enough to help myself. Now I see that indeed all that was necessary to sustain my being. That breakdown was invariably myself breaking down some walls within my existence to make room for her absence.

Absence needs space to exist too. This is how we grow after loss; we make room to accommodate the dearth and the expansion feels like healing so we embody it all and say “It made me grow”. But it doesn’t stop there because as we know nature abhors vacuum and so even though her absence has come to stay, its existence is symbiotic, latching onto our reactions, will and expressions to become whatever the fusion will birth. It is here that we have the chance to make magic; either mourn like those without hope or take this space and fill it with thoughts and memories and dreams and realities deserving of these departed ones and the people we are becoming. It is here that we have the chance to make change precious.

You see, change, especially tragic change is always in some way, abrupt.

Like Anais Nin once said,

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically.

We grow sometimes in one dimension,

And not in another; unevenly.

We grow partially. We are relative.

We are mature in one realm, childish in another.

The past, present and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present.

We are made up of layers, cells and constellations”


About the Author

Nma Chinaza Agada is a young Nigerian woman building a double-winged career in Management Consulting and Literary Arts. While working at a top-tier consulting firm, she currently runs a blog and is on the verge of launching The Negrifille Enterprise – a platform for providing innovative, immersive and mentor-based learning experiences as well as curating specialized content for and from African women and youth in business, career and the arts. She writes and enjoys prose and poetry, and draws inspiration from her African heritage, the complexity of her society and its facets especially as they interplay to redefine the contemporary African woman’s narrative.

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