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Thursday, 3 December 2015

HOW COULD YOU? --by Nickz

He was in his one bedroom flat alone lying in bed and chatting with friends online. Suddenly, the light bulb glowed—light just came. “Great!” he exclaimed. Plugging his cell phone to charge, he went to the DVD player, switched it on along with the TV and inserted the disc he picked from his neighbour’s CD rack. It was an unmarked disc with only one inscription, “Horror Series” The young undergraduate was anxious to watch some horror movies. The disc loaded and displayed the preview menu. To his amazement he was looking at a porno collection! The disguise deceived him. His first instinct urged him to eject the CD as fast as he could but his blood pumped faster from curiousity. He was not a kid.

His 20th birthday was in few weeks time. A couple of times, he had seen dirty pictures on his friends’ phones and a few other times while watching a movie but never in his life had he watched a full erotic video. His curiousity was mounting and his pulse was a stallion. Reducing the volume of the player, he fell on the other side of the balance when he selected the first video. The scenes were as lewd as he imagined.  The sights, the sounds and the thumping of his own heart made his head light just a couple of minutes into the video. Eventually, just like a child learns to walk, he started gaining stamina and the whole thing was becoming more and more magnetic that he finished one and selected the next. He was charged and tuned as expected.

Suddenly, a knock fell on his door, the voice being a well known one. It was Josephine, his very close friend and course mate. She usually visited him and they shared friendly moments together; they could watch movies, play scrabble or crack jokes about colleagues and lecturers. Unfortunately for him, the door was open and she was in before he could make any termination move. She noticed how uncomfortable he looked standing there before her, not until she looked at his TV screen that she realized what he was watching. He thought she would despise him forever but contrary to his expectation, she acted like a big girl, as if it was no big deal and threw herself on the bed to cool off from the noon’s heat.

With the presence of a third party, he was initially uncertain if to continue or terminate the journey but since Jose wasn’t complaining, he decided to finish up the current one. Jose trying to get some rest couldn’t get it as long as she was hearing the sounds of what he was watching. Telling him to switch off the set or walking out of the room would tarnish or diminish her self-acclaimed pride of “seeing and knowing all there is in sex”.  Deep in her, she knew she was just a baby, it was just a shield she erected to fit among her friends who often acted experienced. Unable to rest, all she could do was sit up and join him watch. Gradually, she became engrossed like him and together they kept climbing the hill of the ghosts. Heavily carried away by the scenes, emotions surged and urges mounted until they both started making out and it was no surprise they used no prophylactic. They were both first-timers on that lane which made it more dangerous and the outcome predictable.

To cut the long story, that afternoon, young Daniel drafted the turning point of his academics and entire life, same with Josephine, after she found out some weeks later that she was an expectant mother at the age of 18.

This story is not meant to excite you or misguide your imaginations. What happened to Dan and Jose in their fresh year could be termed a costly mistake which as we know, came with consequences. At the preliminary, the world would seem to be spinning at Ferrari speed while mind keeps asking the pricking guilt-encapsulated questions, “How could you do that? Why didn’t you stop it?”And then the worst part, “you have ruined your life.”

In reality, almost everyone makes one mistake or another. So many try to ‘undo’ theirs by fitting their necks into hanging ropes, others just give up on every other thing that mattered to them and go into hibernation. Others try to pretend there’s no mistake while the cowardly ones keep yelling “It wasn’t my fault!”

It’s true mistakes hurt, they stir up regrets, bitterness and sometimes, shame. But be careful, everything that makes you shy, angry or regretful is not necessarily a mistake. A young man going down on one knee and popping a box of circular jewelry before his lover asking the usual and receiving a No for reply should not feel it was a mistake he made if the ground was fertile enough. Her reaction may be based on a host of ‘reasonable’ reasons.

I have met and heard of several people who turned what the world called mistakes into remarkable successes and fortunes. It’s all about playing by the rules but if you have no idea of the rules, what’s there to play?

Once a wrong has been done, a person’s level of maturity and sense of responsibility is weighed on the scale, it has very little or nothing to do with age. It’s purely a function of knowledge obtained and readiness to activate it. In my own wisdom, I believe the first stage of troubleshooting is problem recognition before admittance of responsibility. One has to realize that there’s a broken mirror on the floor and that it fell from his grip. It takes some individuals quite a length of time to realize there’s a mistake and that they are responsible for it, which isn’t supposed to be so. The moment you acknowledge and admit your mistake, you take charge and responsibility over it and not the other way round. Admitting the fault means you stop blaming others, it means you stop exclaiming, “You caused this! Why didn’t you stop me?” and start saying “I know I messed up but I’ll pull though this!”

Some mistakes could be so depressing one may need a couple of hours or days to let it sink in and take its place in the mistake column in one’s brain. Within this period, the affected is not advised to make any hasty or impulsive decision on the situation. All that he has to do is to absorb the situation bit by bit and let it sink in. It might hurt to tears; it could make you want to bash a flower vase against the wall. It is necessary to let the ‘sink-in’ vent out. The outburst is good as it helps reduce the pain, though it shouldn’t be destructive. When your emotions cool off and you’re no longer crazily mad at yourself and others for the situation, then you’re ready to move on. Face the situation squarely, even though the reality may hurt friends and loved ones around you. They will respect you later. Don’t try to find the ‘softest’ way to go about it as it is necessary in most cases to open up genuinely to the people that will be affected indirectly or directly.

A parent once thrashed the kid for breaking a kitchen ware while washing it. She later drew the kid to herself and said, “I did not spank you because you broke the plate. I did that because you tried to hide it from me.” So many parents, especially educated and exposed ones have wisdom to treat children’s mistakes appropriately. In the case of Dan, it took him quite a length of time and motivation from friends to confront his family on the issue. He definitely did not receive an honorary medal when he broke the news to his parents but it eased up the situation as both parents, being responsible and understanding worked out a befitting plan which ended up in marriage for the two young adults.

Still on facing the situation, depending on the nature of the mistake, a different approach may be demanded. The method of addressing a bad marriage will be different from that used to address the case of a failed business or teenage pregnancy or a bad academic cumulative grade point.

As sad as it may sound, all mistakes do come with consequences; some long-termed while others are short-termed. In both categories, the good news is there’s a door—or window out of the fumes, even though it may not lead to the initial route but you don’t have a reason to suffocate in there.

This piece cannot go into the details of the systematic procedures involved in dealing with mistakes but it should definitely do one thing; it should encourage you not to give up on yourself, loved ones, business, marriage, academics, career or any endeavour. Personally, I made a huge academic mistake which I still carry the scar. It had hurt so bad I cried as a man. There was no ‘undo’ button as it was final. Later on, I accepted the outcome and moved on. Today, I see myself comfortably using the experience to counsel young undergraduates. That experience did not kill me because I refused to let it. I grew stronger than it and overcame it. I hope you overcome yours and be the next celebration.

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