A letter to my 13 year old self
First of all, let me start by saying that you ain’t seen nothing yet!
You are still cooped up in that shell you are so used to; quiet and shy, a girl of few words, but with a smile for everyone. For starters, that smile will be wiped off your face soon when you realize that like every woman, you have to bear the burden that comes with being a teenage girl budding into womanhood. Your smile will be misinterpreted by testosterone-laden men and you will find yourself having to shield off unwarranted advances by taking up a serious look every once in a while. Your friends tease you now; a ‘smiling machine’ they call you, but in a year or two, the world will force you to hand out that smile in rations.
You will be a late bloomer; please practice some patience because your boobs will take forever to ‘show up’ and when they do, they will come out with very little enthusiasm! Hehe, don’t worry though – they will make a good appearance. Eventually.
Your first boyfriend will be nice, but you will break his heart. Another man will ‘snatch’ you away from him, and you will fall for this new guy hook, line and sinker (All’s fair in love and war, right?). He will sing for you. No really, he will. He will write you a song, he will write you poems and he will draw pictures of you. You will hang the pictures and the poems in your room. In a nutshell, he will turn your hormonal adolescent world upside down. Then he will leave the country for ‘higher learning’ and your relationship will dwindle off – and you will be left with the memories of a guy who connected with your soul (and sang to it). Aaaah! Karma.
Don’t worry about high school. You will get through it in one piece and with good grades too. The years after high school will be the tough ones. Financing your college education will be a hustle. I know this seems unbelievable right now, but not to worry, not much damage will be done.
You will suffer loss. You will lose your paternal grandmother while in high school. This will be your first sense of loss. Then, you will lose your niece, just months old, after high school just before you join college. This will be an even bigger blow. The morning before your niece’s demise you will kiss her chubby cheeks so many times and you will play with her for a while before leaving. Then you will come back in the afternoon, and you will be told that she is gone. You will ask God why? You will remind Him that you were just from praying for your family. You will feel betrayed by God. You will be devastated. Double devastated; because of the death and because of your sister’s devastation. You will try to be strong for her but you will be confused, not knowing what to say or do, especially since you will still not know what motherhood is all about, yet. You will cry in torrents and hope that by so doing the tears will flow out with the pain.
Sadly, that will not be the end. Two uncles and your witty grandfather will be added to the list. Yeah, the only grandfather you have ever known will leave too. These losses, among others, will teach you the importance of life, and the importance of the people in your life. You will take it all in stride, struggling to keep your head up.
A time will come when you will see life not only in black and white, but your eyes will be opened to the shades of grey as well. What’s more, you will meet someone.
He will be the father of your two daughters. He will love you. You will take your time (the longest time) to let him in. You will be friends for close to two years before you end the skepticism and start dating. You will be cautious simply because he will hold your heart at the palm of his hands. This will only be a problem because it will make you vulnerable. Ironically, caution be damned when you decide to have children because it will happen with a blink of an eye. Being a mother is one thing you will want in your adult life more than anything else.
There will be significant highlights in your life, but the birth of your daughters will take the crown. These will be the most glorious days of your life. First will be Hailey. Then Heidi will follow three years later. And you will love like you never knew you could. Your heart will warm up and tears will well up in your eyes every time you talk or write about them. They will make your heart swell; they will fill it to the bream.
With the onset of motherhood, the woman within will finally come out. That woman will teach you how to be more assertive and you will learn to follow your heart and to stand by what you believe in.
Remember how your classmate (was her name Noreen?) once gave you a pen and a paper (or was it a scented writing pad?) and asked you to help her draft a nice romantic letter to her boyfriend? Remember how she said you had a way with words because the English teacher had asked you to read out your impressive composition to the class? Remember how the teacher asked the other pupils to learn from you and write intriguing pieces for their exams. You must remember how awkward it felt sitting down with Noreen and trying to find the words to express her love for a man –scratch that- boy you barely knew. It was hilarious right?
Well, Noreen had a point though. Skewed as it seemed, she was right that you had a way with words. A few years from now, Facebook, a social networking site will be born and you will be caught up in its web. You will use it to put your witticism to practice. Soon, your writing will catch the eyes of a couple who run an online magazine; Mr. & Mrs. Oluoch (Sylvester & Pamela ) and they will help you to take your writing more seriously– God bless them. You will be one of the contributors on their online magazine, a job you will do with unbridled passion. This passion for writing will motivate you to start a blog and from then on, you and the pen (keyboard?) will be inseparable.
Life will hand you lemons girlie. Sometimes you will make lemonade, other times you won’t know how to and you will hurt and cry your heart out – you will never be one to be ashamed of your tears. You will do just about everything your heart commands you to do and never wonder ‘what people might think’. You will never be afraid to be yourself. When you feel like silence, you will be quiet and will not struggle to fill it with empty words just for the sake. You will come to understand the magic of words; and the damage they can cause when used carelessly.
You will promise yourself to always stand on your own two feet simply because you are likely to fall harder if someone carries you then let’s go. This will be your motivation to always stay grounded, no matter how tempting it is to get carried away.
Most importantly, you will give love and you will try to be happy.
So saddle up girl, your journey is just beginning. Don’t forget to have fun. You my dear, will do just fine, considering.
Your older (smarter) self
P.S: Happy International Women’s Day to all you phenomenal women!