Somewhere in my psychology textbook or notes is an allusion to forced forgetfulness. Purposely refusing to retain a piece or pieces of information due to trauma or so many other reasons.
While flipping through the pages of my memory today, I came across an almost forgotten page. An almost forgotten experience. Apparently, after the huge disappointment, I forced myself not to think about it and somehow induced some level of forgetfulness. Except, I didn’t entirely forget. Losing your money to a Ponzi scheme isn’t something you can quickly erase from your memory.
Oh and, that’s not the only reason I’ve been unable to forget my experience with Racksterli.
When I was still friends with ‘him’ I envied how far he had come with his business. I overlooked how hard he worked to get to where he was. I was only interested in my insecurities. One of which was, not having my own money. Something he had or rather, was growing in abundance.
That insecurity stemmed from my belief of not being enough for him. Or for anyone at all. Especially him. I wanted to be on the pedestal I placed him on so bad, I forgot I put him on that pedestal. I wanted to be seen and cherished and appreciated like his relatively successful friends. He seemed to have more respect for them and held them in much awe. Especially the ladies.
This got me wondering what I could do with my life asides bagging a degree. The challenge appealed to my subdued independent side. Subdued because my mum had talked the flame of independence out of me to a very reasonable extent. I had become relaxed and a little too comfortable with stipends and unstable allowances. I had no skills or at least none I could think of at that moment. I wasn’t serious with my writing. My business ideas needed a lot of capital. One I couldn’t raise. I was understandably frustrated.
The Racksterli gist was circulating at that same time. Everyone I knew was investing and cashing out. But I wasn’t. Firstly, I had nothing to invest. My stipends could never. Secondly, I knew it was a Ponzi scheme. It was a bit too good to be true. I was utterly skeptical and just a little envious of those that seemed to be cashing out. Before we stopped talking, he mentioned wanting to invest too and I warned him against it. Scared that he might lose a lot of money.
Well, I’m glad I did. Maybe not entirely but, oh well.
Two weeks after we stopped talking and I had passed the denial phase and was freshly in the anger phase, I made a stupid decision. My rage was partly fueled by envy. I hated that he had money and I didn’t. He had access and I didn’t. The girls he liked seemed to have money and I didn’t. Except, I didn’t want his money. I wanted mine. I wanted the respect I saw in his eyes when he talked about certain people.
Asides that, I also wanted something that was solely and entirely mine. I’m a possessive person. I wanted something I could build. Something I could watch grow. Not a baby of course. But maybe a pseudo baby. And that was when an acquaintance put up a rather convincing post about Racksterli.
Racksterli was an ‘investment' platform that paid you daily for tasks when you register with a certain amount. They had plans that would suit the pockets of different ‘investors’. All you had to do was register, start posting some mundane stuff daily on your Whatsapp or Facebook and your wallet gets credited. At the end of the month, you get a certain ROI. It seemed reasonable at the time because the ROI wasn’t an outrageous amount. You know, the kind that screamed ‘Scam’ from miles away. It seemed safe and for lack of a better word, reasonable.
I had seen a lot of posts hyping the platform. Everyone swore they were making it big and the platform was legitimate. I didn’t believe them. Not until one fateful day.
Fueled by my anger and a growing feeling of helplessness I began a search for a profitable business or an investment I could venture into. I was determined to make something out of myself. Something strong and beautiful. Something I could cherish and be proud of. . . I have no idea why my first thought was ‘Racksterli’.
I fought a constant battle with myself, trying to decide if I should or shouldn’t ‘invest’. A part of me knew it wasn’t entirely legitimate. The other part however had already begun building an empire on a 14,500 naira foundation. I had it all mapped out. Invest the first N14,500. Be consistent with my tasks. Get paid N21,000. Add a little money and reinvest. Then keep growing from there. I was sure I would be a heavy ‘thousandaire’ before the year ran out. I had it all figured out. However, my heart and mind remained on the battlefield in a draw, till I saw her post.
To be clear, she is a writer. Almost as good as I am or maybe even better. She seemed to have mastered the art of persuasion too. That and the fact that I was already in a losing battle with my mind did the trick. She vouched strongly for the platform and made a few lofty promises. One of which included refunding anyone that registered under her if things didn’t go as planned. That sealed the deal for me. I mean, what could go wrong? If it did go wrong I’d politely ask for a refund, right? As promised. I was ready to start making some shmoney.
As I said, my stipends could never. I barely had enough to get me through the month in school. My needs were constantly on the rise. Prices of things were rapidly changing and well. . . I was in school. I believe that’s enough explanation.
Luckily (if I can call that luck), I was in charge of the money for house maintenance. And it was given to me at the same time I decided I was going to ‘invest’.
That’s exactly what I did. Invest.
I pulled out a huge chunk from the maintenance money and registered. I was proud and elated. I felt like I finally had a part of my life under control. I was all confident and sunny. Grateful that I was picking up my pieces faster than I had imagined. It all seemed to be going so well. I made my daily posts and checked my wallet balance religiously. I didn’t miss a beat. Everything else seemed to be falling in place. A part of me felt I was moving on too fast but I was quick to discard that thought. There was no such thing as too fast. Not at that moment. Not for the next two weeks or three. Not till it was time to finally make a withdrawal.
Now, I have absolutely no idea if the platform crashed because I joined or if it was planning to crash before my registration. But crash it did.
It started with minor issues here and there. Delayed posts. ‘Unrefreshed’ pages. Minor inconveniences. Then major ones, summed up by an inability to pay us. Or rather, me. I didn’t care about anyone else.
For the first time in my life, I felt a cold sweat break from my skin. For the second time, I almost got acquainted with the floor in a faint. For the hundredth time, I got my heart broken. Literally. It was almost too bad to be true.
I had to bend over backward to make sure the money I took didn’t have a direct effect on the smooth running of the house. So no, I wasn’t ok. My first instinct was to ask for a refund immediately, as initially promised but I thought better of it. Not immediately though. I had to choose the high road. ‘Investing’ was a decision I made, not one I was forced into so I had to live with the consequences.
Contrary to what you might expect, my world didn’t entirely crash like a pack of cards. Yes, I had built a few lofty dreams around a meager N14,500. But, knowing I had lost the money, I held on to the dreams. It hurt. I can’t even begin to lie about that. It felt like a plan A turning out so horribly and there wasn’t even a plan B. But my confidence stayed with me and so did my determination.
As sad as I was, I was proud I could lose that amount without causing a scene. I was ashamed I had lost it to something that stupid, especially with how advanced the world is now. But I was proud nonetheless. A rather unhealthy mix of emotions.
That experience formed a certain mindset. One I can’t fully explain but, three months later I launched my business. My brand. One that didn’t require too much capital but has served me so well ever since. I regained my confidence. My view and understanding of wealth changed. A lot of things changed and I’m proud of how far I’ve come.
And, though I won’t be making stupid investments in the future (hopefully), I’m grateful for that failure. The assignment was failed correctly if you get what I mean.
You don’t? Never mind.