On days like today Nifemi comes to visit. Always uninvited and unwanted but he just never takes a hint. Whenever he shows up everything goes wrong. All the hard work that has gone into making me who I am unravels. I continue to fight tirelessly to keep him away but for some reason he always finds a way to appear. I tend to be avoidant and the other day I thought that I would end our friendship. The funny thing is that I never thought it would be possible. We are so close that he is a part of me. He understands and embraces me when I am not ready to face the world before I even express it. I always feel bad about spending time with him but he is familiar.
I spent the last 2 months understanding who Nifemi is. To get perspective I talked to a friend who has experience dealing with such relationships. I described our friendship from the beginning the best I could remember. I got tips and tricks and we walked through possible scenarios and I was ready to confront him he was gone. He completely vanished. It has been about a month since I have heard from Nifemi but tonight he came back loud, comforting, annoying, beautiful and more toxic than ever. Do not worry I stood my ground. He will not be coming back for a while.
In an attempt to humanize my toxic negative thoughts I have called them Nifemi. With a Yoruba name as beautiful as Nifemi the harm is subtly hidden within its rhythm. He usually tells me all the things I believe about myself that are not true. He reminds me about my past failures and all my shortcomings. He never lets go of the fact that I am not good enough or worthy of all the things I try to do. A lot of times he tries to box me in and strategically remove me from my friends so I can spend more time with him. He constantly manipulates my emotions just because he can. Most times when I realize he has overstayed his welcome I try to leave but he reminds me that my value exists only because of him. The thing is that sometimes I believe him because it is true. On those days he takes control and unfortunately it has brought me close to the end.
It has been difficult to say the least dealing with toxic negative thoughts. Although it has taken me to some of the recesses of my mind, I am grateful because it has taught me compassion. Each time I interact with Nifemi I gain a greater appreciation of what it means to be myself and ultimately what it means to be human. As I try to break down the barriers that keep me away from becoming me, Nifemi stops me. I can not really blame him because he exists to protect me. Negative thoughts are there to keep us away from danger. But like all relationships they require balance. You have to know when to engage and when to say no.
It is always a constant battle because most times I do not even notice Nifemi till it is too late. All I can do is try harder to understand him because he will be with me as long as I live. He is me.