Back to one.

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Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash

*Sighs deeply*

So here we are, standing at the edge of a cliff, knowing we have to jump. We’re scared but mostly excited. This jump is long overdue.

When we set out, we didn’t even know where we were or where we wanted to go. I doubt we even realised we were moving. But move we did; we flew, ran, crawled and sometimes ground to a halt. There are times, we went so far off the trail and for months at a time, we just sat, staring into the distance, weeping and wailing at our inadequacies.

We did persevere and here we are finally, watching the sun set in the horizon, knowing that if we take this jump and hit the ground running, regardless of our sprained ankles and heaving chests, we shall be the view; a phenomenon so magnificent, millions of people will take time out of their days to watch.

This isn’t to say that we haven’t been pretty little things. That we haven’t had people drooling over us, spamming our inbox, begging for text backs. For the most part, we have been disappointing little shits, leaving people hanging, breaking all our promises. And for that we apologise. Like I said, that time was spent eulogizing, but never quite burying, our insecurities.

But for now, we do what we do best; light fires and talk. Ours has been and will continue to be a safe space for our anger. As long as you are here, you can cry and curse. We shall laugh too, mostly at our pain, uncoolness, and occasionally at escapades narrated by the dramatics of an African mother. But more than that, we’ll be unapologetically our authentic selves. We shall bear our souls and wear our hearts on our sleeves. We’ll be vulnerable and honest and a little bit vulgar.

We’ll also conquer new territory (short stories and book reviews). We’ll shoot our shots and take our Ls (this hip millennial language is not making the jump though because I caaaan’t.) And maybe, just maybe, we get over our imposter syndrome, or at the very least learn to coexist with it. We’ll try to find, appreciate and maybe even love our voice. We’ll try not to compare ourselves or envy the travelers we meet on this road; with their self-assured walks and steady voices. We’ll trust the process and enjoy the journey even on the nights we feel lost and stagnant, like our trail became circular.

So find a spot and get comfortable. Grab a drink and let’s get this party started (or continued.) Remember to invite more people and speak your mind, because you can’t keep a fire going if you don’t add firewood.

Me? I promise to be a good host. I will give you regular, quality reasons to stay at my party. Occasionally (read mostly) things will get intense and gut-wrenching. But I’ll grieve with you guys. I’ll be the weird MC that tries to look cool but mostly fails at it and ends up bawling in the middle of a vote of thanks. Except I’ll try to be deep and relatable and somehow I’ll manage to convince you to drag along your clan, even though you won’t be able to extend the invite with a straight face because, how do you invite people for righteous anger and inevitable heartbreak, even one that’s well-packaged? But we’ll also make (pseudo) intellectual arguments and we’ll try not to break our necks while nodding in agreement, or lose our voices disagreeing.

Welcome

Feel free to let me know how your experience here can be enriched.

​Dear daughter; lessons on love and friendship.

I chuckle at the irony of what I’m about to do. Truth be told, I don’t know much about love and friendship. Attempting to talk about it, would be like Hitler giving a lecture on tolerance. I’ve only ever had a handful of friends and up until I was twenty, I did not understand these two concepts. I would like to believe that I have grown; that in just two years, I have acquired knowledge I should have amassed in twenty two years. But really, the jury is still out on that. So let’s see.

Friendship as I know it is the purest form of love. You are going to grow up in a society that will make you believe that a sexual relationship is the height of all relationships. But you are my daughter, and as you will find out, I am not in the business of raising you into a cliché. You will be a rebel, an outcast, an outlier before you ever are ordinary. So take it from me, if you screw up all the relationships you will ever be in, if you’ll break the hearts of everyone you set your sights on, pick one friend that will know every bit and crevice of your soul. When you find this person, it doesn’t matter gender what they’ll be (because people will try to tell you that you can’t be friends with male people. Another myth I’ll debunk), be good to them. Endeavor to unravel every bit of their being. Learn the difference in the quivering of their voice when they are about to cry from happiness or sadness. If you can’t do anything else for them, never let them forget that you love them. Be vulnerable, be honest be raw. Because really, out of all the things you could give to people, the greatest will always be your uncensored self. That and your time. So if they ever call you in the middle of the day saying they are having a bad day asking to talk for a minute, please say yes. Because you can always finish your homework an hour later. What you shouldn’t do is let your friend go through the day thinking they are a bother to you. If you ever have the power to make someone feel better, do it. And as you get older, you will find that these are the things that truly matter.  

In your lifetime, you will come across people that you will be inexplicably drawn to. The sad thing about life is there won’t be a lot of these people. So when you do come across one of those people, drop everything and see what shore that current dumps you on. These people will come in various forms; family, friends, strangers on the street. They will serve different purposes for different periods. I hope you will be selfish enough to enjoy these people, especially the ones that are not permanent (actually nobody really is because we all die.) But just because people aren’t permanent doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. Some of the best memories will be made by people you shared a bus ride with, people it didn’t even occur to you to ask their names. 

Finally, I hope you know what kind of treatment you deserve. Don’t ever be too busy loving and supporting other people you forget to do that for yourself. No one deserves to be happy more than you do. If you ever are to choose between people, pick the ones that put in an effort over the ones that claim they love you. Because not everyone that loves you will try. But people that try will always love you. Pick the friend that listens to you. Pick the friend that knows all the different ways to put your pieces back together because they’ve seen you fall apart so many times. Pick the friend that cherishes, you’re A-Zs, your skin to your bones. Pick the friends that knows all your scars and the story behind each one. Pick the friends that calls you just because. God, pick people who try. I cannot tell you how important that is. And when you have chosen this person, try for them. Try even if it kills you.

And when all is said and done, not all relationships last. There are people who for whatever reason will hurt your feelings. Please forgive those people. If I should leave you with anything, may it always be an unwavering assurance that people’s actions are not a reflection of your self-worth. This is in no way saying that you are beyond reproach. We all need a little shaping. What we do not need however, is a crumbled sense of worth stemming from someone’s indecency. If you ever have to listen to such misconceptions, if your only choice is to sit and watch your life and everything you stand for be reduced into a vulgar misunderstanding spewing out of even more vulgar mouths, I hope you know not to turn the pits of your stomach into a graveyard; a dark dreary place to bury every judgement passed, every door slammed. But above everything else, may you always find the light inside you. That you will use this light to illuminate your shadows of self-doubt and turn them into reflections of beauty and joy. That you shall always put your happiness above all else.

YOU WHO FOCUS ON FIFTEEN-SIXTEENTHS OF A MAN.

So, it is no secret I love comedy series. There is this comedy TV series titled “Happy Endings.” I think I mostly like it because it is such a simple show. You know, you don’t have to think when watching it. It is not like The Big Bang Theory where they are always talking about a scientific concept, or Two and a Half Men where everything had sexual innuendo. Don’t get me wrong, I love Chuck Lorre. He is a comedic genius. But if you ever need to just sit, stare at your screen and get entertained, Happy Endings is the series to watch. So one of the characters, Dave, in this series discovers he is one-sixteenth Navajo (a Native American tribe). in one episode, the characters are having an all American thanksgiving. So Dave decides to integrate the Navajo culture to this thanksgiving. How? By adding clams to the menu. So he sets to go get clams but he is a very gullible person so he ends up losing his car and all his money before he even gets to the store. So when he finally gets to the store, seeing as he has no conventional form of currency, he has to appeal to the store keeper’s emotions by getting into how his people (the Navajos) had to endure all types of tribulations just to get to the first thanksgiving. But the storekeeper is really confused, like, “You’re white.” To which Dave replies, “you who focus on fifteen-sixteenths of a man.” I don’t know why, but that statement has stuck with me.

So I have been a little ticked off lately. Why? First, I am suffering from an acute shortage of hard copy material to read. Because yeah, I am one of those people who still prefer physical books. There is something about turning actual, tangible pages that is just immensely therapeutic. I like to think of it as a metaphor of sorts. A sense of closure, if you may. Plus I also feel like downloading books in a sense just compromises the material, not to mention illegal most of the time. Second, I have been forced to rely on blogs and Instagram captions for my reading material. I mean I love reading people’s blogs. I have to, especially since I need you guys to love reading my blog. But I just miss books. Plus, I feel like the universe has been aligning a series of slightly annoying posts for me to find. Get this, over the last few days, I have run into a lot of pasts and articles referencing Jhene Aiko’s line in Post To be, “you gotta eat the booty like groceries.” What annoys me about this is most of this people probably haven’t listened to any other of Jhene Aiko’s songs. Because if they have, they would know there is a lot more to her music than “eating the booty like groceries.” And I guess it just bugs me that she has been singing about peace and love and souls and weed for years only for her most famous line to be “you gotta eat the booty like groceries.” Because if you ask me, she is the very definition of soul. And I realize Adele just made the world emotionally unstable. But I also know it is one thing to appeal to people’s emotions and another to appeal to someone’s individuality, their spirituality, who they are as a person. And I feel like Jhene Aiko does that. She is like a singing Kendrick Lamar.

So why am I bringing this up now? It is the holidays and a lot of us are home. And maybe it is just me, but home is a little boxing. Sure, for the first few days it is fun and nostalgic and comfortable. But after a few days, you have done all the catching up you needed to do and all the excitement sort of just dies down. It is especially harder for me because I grew up a quiet withdrawn kid. And overtime, I think my family mistook that for a shy, weak personality. And maybe I was. But I have grown up and I think I can say I am very opinionated and I feel very strongly about things. I am not particularly shy, I just like keeping to myself. I don’t have a weak personality. If you ask me, I have a strong personality in my own way, it is just not loud and in your face. So every time I come home, I feel like my family expects me to fit into this image they have of me in their head. I think they expect me to be the person they think they know. And that is mind-numbingly exasperating and somewhat hurtful. And so my point is, human beings are complex and layered. There is so much to people that what we used to know about them. And I think the world, or at least this coming year, would be slightly better if we understood that. If we made an active effort to understand people, not as what we want them to be, but as who they really are, who they are becoming.

If I should have a daughter

If you are ever at a party, smoking cigarettes on a rooftop with some girl with extremely rugged jeans and green hair, ask her how her day was. I promise you won’t regret it. Because unconventional people have the most exciting stories to tell.

If you are ever hanging out with your closest guy friend, just the two of you, and he turns around and kisses you, kiss him back. Yeah, it might make your friendship weird, but you can always work on your friendship. Or you could always make new friends. Regret on the other hand is difficult to work through. Because one day, you’ll be alone in your bed at two in the morning and you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from wondering how he would have tasted like.

If you are ever at a party taking shots, playing truth or dare and they dare you to make out with some girl. It is okay to say no if you do not feel drunk enough and you know you will remember it the next morning and feel like throwing up. Who cares if they call you uptight and not fun. Those are your lips after all, no?

If you ever like a guy who doesn’t like you back, don’t pretend it doesn’t hurt. Cry yourself to sleep if you must. Hell, cry for weeks if you want to. Write cheesy poems. Listen to sad music. Just know that eventually, you have to put it behind you and trust me, a lot of times, the easiest way to do it is to go on that coffee date with that other guy.

If you ever break up with your first love. Baby, that is going to sting for years on end. Because yeah, a woman never really forgets her first love. You just have to do whatever it takes to heal. Do not date anyone for a while if you do not want to. Move towns if you have to. Write him angry letters. Burn those angry letters. Cry until you throw up. Drink until you pass out. Let yourself grieve. Let yourself heal.

If life ever brings you disappointment after disappointment, heartbreak after heartbreak, as it will. If it is ever too much for you to bear, so much so, you feel like you are drowning in tears, losing your will to live. Here is what you do; you take a break, and you go figure things out. You go find yourself. Travel the world, go for walks at one in the morning, watch the sunset, listen to crickets. Come home.

If you ever forget who you are. Or if you ever feel the pressure to be someone else, spend a few days alone. Remind yourself who you are. And whoever that is, just remember you are the very definition of perfection. And that is enough. Take it from me, one of the most painful things in life is losing yourself. Trust me kiddo, you do not want to go down that road.

If you ever find yourself over-thinking things like why that guy you met on the bus and asked for your number hasn’t called you, or why he didn’t ask you on a second date, or why he just stopped talking to you. Just remember that not everyone you meet in your life is meant to stay. Some are meant to make that bus ride less boring, or for late night conversations that night you had an argument with your mum and your best friend is offline.

If you are ever eating your favorite snack and your friend asks for some, give it to them. Yeah, it is things like these that will give you mini heart attacks and put you in so much pain. But someday, you are going to look back and treasure those moments. And if that doesn’t happen, you could always take pride in your alleged generosity and selflessness.

If you are ever feeling alone, or sad or sacred, you call me. And I will send you a couple of Drake’s albums. And when you get them, you first listen to ‘Shot For Me’ in ‘Take Care. ’ Because that is my favorite song and that will be my way of telling you that I know what you are going through because I have been where you are. You just have to wait it out, you’ll be okay.

to the men that loved us.

So I have been mauling over this question, “when is the last time I expressed gratitude to anyone for loving me?” and I realized it’s been a while. And so that is what I am going to do. But I am going to start with the male members of society because I spend most of the time referring to them as selfish, arrogant bastards and maybe this is my way of making it up to them. Plus, father’s day is coming up. But so that they do not feel so special, ‘we’ are going to write this.

To our fathers and everyone else who has been a father figure? I don’t know how you did it. Maybe you left our mothers before we were born or walked out before we were toddlers. Or maybe you stuck it out and taught us to ride a bike, punch the guy who first kissed you. Or maybe you were never really home because you had to work, make ends meet. And maybe we are the best of friends, or maybe we don’t really have any functional relationship. Either way, in whatever way you chose, you have molded us into the women we’ve become. Confident or insecure. Ambitious or lazy. Either way, we owe a huge part of who we are to what you did and didn’t do for us. And maybe some of us are angry at you and some of us owe their very existence to you (not in the literal sense.) but we am going to say thank you. Because you have taught us lessons. And that is the greatest gift a father could give a daughter. For the best fathers out there, you taught us that just because a guy claims he loved you, he didn’t have to get stuff out of you. You taught us that we could always come back home and that you’ll always be there. You taught us that you’ll always catch us when we fall. That you’ll let us sit on your shoulder if we ever needed to reach higher. And for that, there is no guy we will ever love more than we love you. And for the ones who let us down, thank you for teaching us that it doesn’t matter how broken you are, that is as whole as you will ever need to be. And for that, happy father’s day.

To our brothers. And cousins. And everyone who has threatened the guys crushing on us. Thank you. But sometimes you should mind your own business. I will admit this is going to be difficult to write because I do not have brothers, but I have amazing cousins. And yeah, we do not talk as much, but I know they have my back. And honestly that is all I can say. And to my friends who are brothers, thank you for being such bullies, for not doing house chores, to sometimes yelling it to our faces that you are better than us. We know you mean well.

To the guys that broke our hearts. Some parts of us still hate you. Some of us are not over you. Some of us are crazy. We have stalked you, logged into your Instagram, and deleted the pictures we took together. And some of us don’t really care about your existence. Either way, thank you. Thank you for teaching us that we could endure pain and still get out alive. Thank you for fueling our creativity, for the soppy love poems we wrote, for the songs that reminded us of you, for the drunk texts we sent or not. For the shots of vodka we took, for the times we threw up in the bathroom wishing you were there to hold our hair. For the pills we took, for the times we felt so dead. For the times we kept feeling our chests, convinced that our hearts had followed you. But most importantly, thank you for allowing us to feel the refreshing feeling of healing. To learn to laugh again. To look in the mirror and love our scars. To learn to be ourselves again. Thank you for helping us grow.

To the guys that like us. Thank you. Thank you for helping us get over someone else. Thank you for thinking that our rambling on and on about that pair of shoes is cute. Thank you for removing that eye lash and somehow always thinking it would lead to a kiss. Thank you for texting us, and asking about our days even though we both know you don’t really care. Thank you for making us feel special, for spending money on us even though it earned you a lecture on overspending from your parents. And for the ones we like back. I do not know how you did it. And for the ones we don’t really like. I am so sorry. But if it is any consolation, karma is a bitch. The guy we like, doesn’t even know we exist. That said, stop sending sixteen texts at a time, it doesn’t increase your chances of getting a reply. But I do wish you the best in life. And thank you so much. Because I won’t lie, there are days we were feeling low, and you are the only person who told us they liked us. And I can’t speak for everyone else, but for some twisted reason, I kept those texts.

And to our friends. The genuine kind. Not the ones who think they have been friend zoned. The ones who sincerely care about us. I know most of us can count you on one hand. But you are our favorite kind of people. And yes, our conversations are mostly insults. And yeah, your girlfriends hate us. And some of us hate them too. But most of us don’t really care. Thank you for being there. Thank you for holding our hair while we threw up. Thank you for not leaving us when we broke down over and over again about some loser as you always called them. Thank you for picking up and listen to us complain about literally anything on this planet. Thank you for tucking us in bed even after we got drunk and tried to kiss you. Thank you for always teasing us. Thank you for punching us as a greeting because we just texted you and told you this guy felt us up when we hugged him. Thank you for treating us like one of the boys even though we cannot play those video games and keep scoffing when you talk about some hot chics. Thank you for not losing your patience when we insisted that you teach us to play fifa and then went ahead and just sat there, doing nothing with the controls. And to my best friend, I realize our friendship is somewhat unconventional. But beneath all the insults and faked disinterest in literally anything you say or do, I miss you. And I promise to continue to be a buzz kill till the end of time.

Best friends forever??

So I just found my ten year old sister making a card for her best friend. It had this BFF acronym splashed all over it.  I think it’s cute; cute as hell. You get? Because hell is not cute.
*high-fives my left hand with my right hand*
*has a sheepish green on my face*
*cries myself to sleep for being so lame*
So, BFF, huh? First, this is one of the cheesiest things I have heard in my life. Do not get me wrong, I believe in the concept of having a favourite friend. I think everyone needs a best friend. I just do not believe in forever. Especially not when it involves another human being with free will, ambition, direction, life.
Maybe I am just cynical but I do not believe anyone can get forever with anyone. Come on, what is this, the notebook? And that scares me.  Because my sister is ten. I remember being ten. Ten is the year I became who I am now. We had just moved into a different town. I had no friends. I only had my sister, whom we spent more time fighting than being each other’s support systems. But my sister is good with people, so, she didn’t really need me. Ten is the year my childhood ended. Ten is the year I became a loner.  Ten is the year I began to prefer books and music over people. Ten is the year I taught myself to look hostile. Ten is the year that I learnt to ignore people, tune people out. Ten is the year I taught myself to be self-sufficient. Ten is the year I lost the person I occasionally try to be. Ten is the year that broke me. Ten is the year I broke myself. For my sister, ten is just another blissful year in her childhood. Another year to laugh and make memories. I will admit, I am kind of jealous.
And maybe that is why it is so hard to watch her have such faith in people. Because I lost my faith in people when I was her age. Because I learnt of impermanence and the human capability to break their promises when I was her age. Because I stopped believing in forever when I was her age. Because I know that a few years down the line (god forbid), she won’t be bffs with whoever this card is for. And that is the hardest thing one can ever live through. Severed relationships. Because people don’t always keep their word. They stab you in the back, they move away, they die. But the worst kind is those friendships that just fizzle and die. No major fight. No nothing. You just talk less and less until one day you see them across the street and they are just total strangers. And you rack your brains for something to tell them, and a tense wave is all you can manage. It is things like these that put a fist through your heart. And in some ways, I feel like she is setting herself up for heartache and there is not a damn thing I can do about it. And that is the second hardest thing I am going to have to live through.

tut