It’s been over two months now since I left the NYSC orientation camp and I just wanted to share with you some of my bittersweet experiences in camp…one of which was the “man o’ war” drill.
A cold Monday morning was the day my platoon was to start their drill. I was already excited…finally! I had patiently waited for this day for the past two weeks. I felt this was the climax of the whole orientation course. It starts with body exercise of jogging and shaking of the hands and legs. Then, we were shared into groups for the different drills. I looked forward to the last and final stage which was the rope climbing.
So, we started off, doing press up exercises, lifting heavily cemented buckets, jumping ropes, pole walking, wall climbing…and also, jumping them too. The drill went on until something very surprising happened.
For the drill, we are supposed to dress in our ajuwaya (khaki uniform). It was my turn to climb the wall and just as I was about to cross over the 10 feet high wall, I heard an embarrassing sound I dreaded the most. At that moment, I silently prayed it did not come from me. Well, turns out that my khaki tore…but that was not the worst part. It was the fact that my khaki tore in an area where it was not supposed to tear…embarassing!??
I turned and saw the faces of my platoon members; some were sincerely sorry for me (at least I could tell by the look on their faces) while others…wore a smug expression(I wanted to use my boots to kick them in the face).
Well, it was already done so why don’t I just give the camera a beautiful smile as the photographer said, “C’mon, look over here and say cheese”. And also, not to forget, we had to do the imbecile dance (do the tata…don’t have a clue what was being said). That’s just by the way.
I quickly went back to the hall to amend the torn khaki and rushed back for the drill…I had not done my most anticipated exercise which was the rope climbing.
Why was I so interested in that?
Well, I love things that exhilarates and excites me…you know, something that just keeps my pulse racing. So you see, climbing, walking and sliding on ropes over 15 feet high would give me just that!
I was scared at first, frightened to my bones but that made me more excited and “good to go”. LOL…my moral was extremely high. It was finally my turn to climb the rope and I trust that I was in good hands. I screamed all through that exercise, and just as I was about to do the next round (ladder climbing and walking on the rope), my hands were literally shaking. Our trainee said that for the next round, he was going to separate the guys from the girls as it was not compulsory for girls to do it but the guys would go first. And then, I overheard him tell his colleague that I ( the oyibo) would not be able to carry on with the drill because of the way I screamed while i was on the rope climbing phase. I felt he could also see my hands shaking. But c’mon, those ropes were not stable.They wobble as you climb!
I was sad. No, angry
Did I want to prove to him that I could actually do the exercise?
Hmm…nah. I wanted to prove to myself.
I was just angry that he underestimated me without giving me a chance. Well, I don’t blame him. It actually looked like if i tried climbing that rope, where next I would find myself would be in the hands of my Lord Savior. LOL.
But seriously, I really wanted to complete the whole drill. That’s the point of the whole thing. And, I won’t allow the embarrassment my ajuwaya uniform caused me to be in vain.
It got to my turn and the trainee asked me if I really wanted to . I looked at the rope and said yes. He laughed, revealinng his brownish yellow set of teeth and had to ask again in his thick hausa accent, “Oyibo, you sure say you go ‘pit’ do this one? No be by ‘porce’? Me I no want any nonsense here. I don talk my own”. I turned and smiled at him and told him that am good to go.
With sweaty palms and pulse racing, I climbed the ladder and with those same sweaty palms, I did the rope walk. My sweaty plams made the rope so slippery I felt I would loose my grip and fall. But, I walked the rope, screaming, again. “Don’t look down, don’t look down” I kept whispering to myself. I could hear my friends saying ” you are almost done, just a little more to go” (A ‘little more to go’ felt like centuries).
Finally, I was through and wanted to carry on with the next drill when the trainee asked me if I wanted to come down.
Well, I have come this far so why don’t I go ahead and complete it? But, I think I regret doing that because for few minutes, I could not walk well. This is how it works: I had to cross my legs over a thick thin rope and slide down the rope with one leg stretched out. My entire body was rested on my inner thighs which had to do the sliding…ouch!! That was quite painful.
But…I did it! I did it! I completed the exercise! All of them. A soldier walked up to me and gave me a high five. He said he could not believe I would be able to do all the exercises and that I surprised him. Well, I must say, I surprised myself too. Lol, oyibo ajebo like me (am only permitted to call myself that).
I was so overjoyed and extremely happy. Yaass girl! My heart was beating like a war drum and I was doing my victory dance when one tall lanky guy that resembled a walking corpse, walked up to me and said “Yellow paw paw, you too dey fear ooo. You just dey scream for us like say you wan die”. Say what?!
I really felt like knocking his yellow decayed tooth out of his mouth (don’t mind me, just joking?). But, not to spoil my moment, I ‘kpom kpi’ and smiled at him, revealing 32 set of shining white teeth!
My point- Kill the fear before it kills you!
Some people have allowed fear lead them on that they have become slaves to this illusion. I believe that every individual is facing or have faced a particular kind of fear. It may be fear of change, starting a new business, walking down the aisle (yeah, people are freaking scared of that), making that decision, taking that bold step; whatever it is, we have all faced something that brought that feeling to our minds.
There are many exeprieces I have faced in terms of dealing with fear but I find this a very challenging one . If I allowed the fear to make my decision, I knew I would be leaving with a heavy load of regret on my shoulders (I am definately not up for that kind of life). So you see, it was really a big deal to me because it made me know and believe that I can do anything once I put my mind to it and that’s the feeling you get once you conquer that fear.
And how do you do that? By taking the bold step to do it afraid. I heard this word first from the mouth of a woman I always admire- DO IT AFRAID!
Since I heard those words, I always try my best to do that every time I find my self being afraid to do something.
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? (I always ask myself that) Okay, let’s see…Death? Let me also add that a lot of people have died while doing the same exercise but I still did not allow the thought to overwhelm me, I went right on and said my last prayers. I was able to carry on with the exercise, not because I wasn’t scared (I mean, I actually felt I would loose my grip and fall head on) but because I carried on strongly despite the fear. Now, I feel like I can say to myself “I have lived through this, I can take the next thing that comes along”.
So, you wanna kill that fear, then you can start by making a list of everything that makes you afraid and then ask yourself what is the worst that could happen…rejection, humiliation, taking insults, you name it. Just take a deep breath and do it afraid! But sweetheart, refuse to allow the fear of what could happen make nothing happen!
Yeah, I think I have said enough so over to you guys, what was your experience with that particular thing you were afraid to do and how were you able to face the fear? I would love to hear your stories so don’t forget to share them in the comments below or you can send me a mail- email@example.com