And the story continues...
Over a year ago, I wrote about my mom's passing and lessons learnt from the experience, see post The Awakening and literally dropped the mic (for lack of a better phrase).
I have had to give one excuse or another when asked "Semira, why haven't you written in a while?" - ranging from writer's block, absence of the urge to write etc.
But the truth is beneath all those excuses was fear; after loosing my parents and a series of other events that had me wondering if an old woman in my village was on my case, my idea of reality was shaken from the core and I was not the same person I used to be anymore, I was a different person with a largely new perspective trying to get comfortable in my new skin and it was scary as hell.
And since I largely write from my real life experience, I was worried about putting these new thoughts and emotions, which I was still trying to make sense of, out there; wondering what if I seem too philosophical now, what if people can't relate to what I am writing now, blah blah and each time I opened my computer to type, I quickly shut it; saying tomorrow, tomorrow I will write but not today.
And finally tomorrow came and here I am; drowning that irrelevant critic's voice (God, i have missed this sound - hearing my keyboard click) about to write a letter to my nineteen (19) year old self; things I wish she knew back then and things I am glad she didn't know:
Today is your nineteenth birthday, sure you woke up giddy, wondering when mummy would call and sing her usual happy birthday song, in that croaky voice that explains why she never made it in the choir (deep down though you must admit that is one of the highlights of your birthdays) - Treasure that croaky voice my love, it may not be here forever.
Has Juwon called you? Don't mind her, she forgets easily but trust me when I say she will come to mean the world to you as you grow up and become your core support system - Don't worry she will call, she always does even if it is later at night.
Excited about spending your first birthday as a University undergraduate? With so much expectations on what you would do with your new found freedom - Enjoy every single bit of it because before you know it you will miss the sheer joy of free pocket money and the school work that you assume is the biggest problem in the world will seem so tiny in the face of adult responsibilities.
I hope you spend today with friends; laughing and just having a really merry time - Hold on to that and never take it for granted, for a time would come where "quality time" with friends will be sparingly given, due to your busy schedule and the different paths life will take you on.
I want you to dwell in this moment; don't worry about tomorrow. Dwell in the innocence and naivety you carry around at such a tender age; hold on to that tightly before it is shattered by the harsh reality of the good/evil that exists in the world.
Feel free to roam outside campus without the fear of a bomb going off when you least expect it or without having to deal with seeing people who are victims of such hateful crimes struggle to piece their lives back together.
I want you to remember the world is indeed your oyster; take that opportunity, indulge in that art, believe in yourself and your abilities - never let the opinion of others define who you are, love yourself securely, feel free to make mistakes and stumble as you go along; don't take life too seriously and don't waste the time you are given - Balance, my love, balance is the watch word.
Fall in love; that sweet innocent butterflies in your tummy kind of feeling, bask in it my dearest one, such memories will either make you smile one day or leave you will vital life lessons, either way experience it.
You are way stronger than you look - there will be moments that would break you, make you question your existence and leave you shattered, hold on my love for those very moments will show you who you truly are and carve you into the woman you are meant to be.
Remember, life is not all about you and your needs; ask yourself what you can do for someone who can do nothing for you - hold on to kindness, compassion and empathy; the world needs it now.
Most importantly, my dearest one, always be patient with your growth; trust me when I say you haven't gone through your first phase of regeneration yet and when it starts happening, remember to be patient - Life is a journey with really no fixed arrival time; you just keeping trudging on, growing and learning as you go along.
Above all, always keep the line of communication between you and God open, He will be your anchor when the storm hits.
Finally, just for the sake of it, stroll to Pepsi garden and buy that "burger" made from just bread and suya - such level of simplicity will be missed when you grow up.
Your future self.
What would you say to your nineteen year old self if given the opportunity?